All posts by harrywelty

Seachange on Environmental Politics coming

As someone who has never had any doubts about whether humans are impacting the global climate, only on the extent of the impact, I’ve watched the skeptics of global warming with interest for twenty or more years. Republicans (and they have been the greates skeptics) seem to be rediscovering their inner Teddy Roosevelt.

This story in today’s DNT shows that if anything Minnesota’s red state leaning, red blooded, hunters are leaping ahead of wimpy liberals in their concern for the Earth. There’s nothing like a lifetime of tramping around outdoors each fall to give a person a sense for the changes taking place on the ground.

I’m not the only Duluthian to marvel as seeing the cardinals of my southern Minnesota youth appearing in my neighborhood. How will the Kyoto Treaty, hating Republicans deal with this change in the political environment? As the great conservationist Roosevelt said as to his rough riders as they faced San Juan Hill… “Last man up is a rotten egg.” (He said something like that didn’t he?)

DaVinci Debunked

I read today in the DNT that some folks plan on picketing the the DaVinci Code when it comes to a Duluth theater. The “Code” as well as the recent publishing of the Gospel of Judas, has prompted a lot of historical self-examination lately. So is “Misquoting Jesus” which I put down halfway through and am eager to get back to.  

While some churches are warning their parishoners to avoid the flick my wife and I will be joining a jolly bunch of Presbyterians to see it this Sunday. I gather that the movie is not getting rave reviews but since I’m too busy to read the book this will be a painless way for me to see what all the fuss is about, The coffee, pie and good fellowship we’ll enjoy afterward at Church are also a powerful draw. I don’t plan on taking Dan Brown’s theological stuff too seriously but I appreciate the fact that his book is prompting Christians to reexamine themselves. We’ve got to watch out for those albino monks.

Glitches

I gave up a little past midnight last night trying to insert the sample of the FBI letter to Don Boyd in the second to the last post. I’ve spent a couple hours this morning trying to do the same thing. Maybe the server at my website is off its game. I’ll keep working on it through the day.

Endorsement

My brain is so tired. I spent nine hours with Don Boyd today going through his files. I was inspired enough, despite my exhaustion, to put a nifty new entry into the Old News site: Endorsement. I even included two bits of evidence which are very arresting. Too bad the wrong people seem to have been arrested.

I took some photos until my camera’s battery went dead. This note from the FBI was harsh.

When a Mule Foals (an ancient Roman saying)

This story caught my attention recently. It is about a hunter sweating out genetic tests on the bear he’d killed. Had he killed a grizzly he’d have been in trouble. He was happy to hear that he’d shot a half grizzly – half polar bear mix.

Evolution has had a billion years for such instances to occur and apparently we humans did a little mixing ourselves with Chimpanzees for a million or so years after we began diverging from them genetically. That’s what the analysis of our species DNA suggests

The first time I can remember hearing about this was in grade school when my family visited a zoo with ligers in it. Ligers are half lions half tigers. Mules too are well known hybrids of horses and donkeys. I read an article a few years ago about the world of animal husbandry being rocked by the discovery of a mule that was fertile. Apparently one common casualty of different species successfully interbreeding is their offspring’s fertility. Just a minute let me do a google followup on that story …….Oh here, very interesting.

I read an interesting book ten years ago Wonderful Life by Stephen Gould. It was all about the “explosion” of life in the precambrian era when animals seem to have gotten past our 800 million-year long, single cell, stage of life. Gould said scientists theorized that during this time there was in effect a massive experimentation as different types of critters had the ability to mix with each other leading to all sorts of odd beasts. Natural selection helped sculpt the best fit and began the familiar branches of the tree of life.

According to an old theory we all have bits of another lifeform in our cells called mitochondria. These are called the power plants of cells. It has been suggested that they a separate animal hundreds of millions of years ago that somehow got caught up in a symbiotic relationship (think lichens) with another one celled animal becoming an energy source for such things as locomotion. Today they are part of most animal cells and not a separate animal at all.

So, are we a monkey’s uncle? Of course not. Chimpanzee’s aren’t monkeys!

The Cache

I’m heading off with Don Boyd to see his hidden cache of information on the scandal I’m writing about. Don tells me that what he’d really like to do is pay for an audit of the material which was used to send him to jail. He thinks such an audit would fully vindicate him.

It occurs to me that it ought to be donated to the Minnesota History Museum. Someday a history student working on a Masters Degree or a PHD could wade through it and do this story justice. I only intend to scratch the surface.

An army on the way to disaster

says a veteran military reporter to one of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s underlings:

“…this is not an army on the way up but one on the way to a disaster… so far it is the willingness of these young men and women to serve, and to deploy multiple times, and to work grueling and dangerous 18 hour days 7 days a week that is the glue holding things together.

all the cheap fixes have been used; all the one-time-only gains so beloved of legislators trying to balance a budget and get out of town.”

A Superintendent for 14 years!

 In 1978 I ran for the state legislature for a second time. I decided to go about it differently as knocking on doors seemed mindless and hadn’t gotten me elected two years before. I made appointments with about 80 leading citizens thinking that somehow these meetings would generate good vibes. If they did they made no difference in the outcome of the election. 

One of the people I met with was Richard Pearson Duluth’s Superintendent of Schools. I met him in his office at Old Central High School. Since then I’ve met with three other superintendent’s in that office.  Richard Pearson died last Friday. The Trib had a nice story about his career in Duluth. 

I didn’t really get to know Dick until years later when I served on the School Board. Our times in office were quite different. He became Superintendent during the “Minnesota Miracle” when the state pioneered the practice of equalizing educational spending between rich and poor school districts. He witnessed the first and only teacher’s strike when the teacher’s unions were flexing their muscles. He served for fourteen years! Before I was finally elected on my fourth attempt for the School Board the District averaged one Superintendent per year. During my time on the Board we had a three-year and a seven-year Superintendency. Fourteen years! 

Dick’s family and mine both belonged to Glen Avon Presbyterian so we saw each other there. I went over to his house once to ask about school finances and he commisserated with me a couple times over the fiscal difficulties I faced. He was a practical man and this served him well during his leadership of the District. I’ll miss him.

It takes one to see through the fakes

I just read the best indictment of right wing punditry. Not coincidentally it was written by a conservative. He doesn’t even give the blogosphere’s myopic, pro-Bush supporters credit for being “conservatives.” It was a genuine pleasure to read.

Here’s one sample with an inspired observation about the value of the blogosphere:

“The combination here of rage and fear is potent and toxic. One of the principal benefits of the blogosphere — with its daily posting and unedited expressions of thought — is that it reveals one’s genuine underlying views in a much more honest and unadorned fashion than other venues of expression. For that reason, the true sentiments of bloggers often stand revealed for all to see.”

Photo Op

From today’s DNT:

U.S. Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar is scheduled to visit the Duluth area Thursday.

Klobuchar is planning to listen to area residents’ concerns about gas prices at the Holiday Gas Station at 9314 W. Skyline Parkway at 2:30 p.m.

More Money for the Board?

The last time the School Board raised its pay was the year before I was sworn in. Evidently the Board is considering whether to bump the pay up by about 11 percent.

Laura Condon, who has served for 9 years says she’s opposed to this since the District is having hard fiscal times. So what else is new? If the Board had been taking cost of living adjustments for the last 12 years the pay would be considerably higher than the proposed increase.

This seems like a good time to bump up the pay. Bob Mars, a man of means with a sense of noblese oblige would disagree. He never accepted his pay. He felt that being on the School Board was a responsibility that should be given freely. This is a rather utopian idea. I never voted for a pay raise for myself because, like Bob, I didn’t need it and it would have been politically awkward. However, I’d hate to see the Board become the preserve of the well-to-do. The pay did help a couple of our Board members of more modest means. Certainly being on the Board is a great responsibility.

Things are going pretty well for the District right now and the Board seems to be functioning smoothly under the new Dixon Administration. I say go for it. I’ve got no problem with the School Board’s taking a pay raise.

Minnesota trending GOP despite Bush’s Meltdown?

The “Captain” exults at the recent Strib poll which shows the GOP hanging tough in Minnesota:

“In a surprising result from the Star-Tribune’s Minnesota Poll, the GOP has surpassed the Democrats in party affiliation by standing firm while voters abandon the DFL. The Minnesota Poll shows that 29% of all Minnesota adults self-identify as Republicans, while the Democrats lost six points since last year, dropping to 25%”