All posts by harrywelty

100 words for the Strib

The Strib asked me to tell them in 100 words or less what I would do about the one issue that is most important to me. This is what I told them in 99 words:

“Congress has been so busy waging partisan warefare that it has allowed the national deficit to spin out of control. At ten trillion dollars it will put a monstrous burden on our children just when they have to face competition with the dynamic economies of China and India. This burden is just one of many accumulating for the next generation including lost health insurance, abandoned pension plans, and a shaky social security system. As a member of the Duluth School Board I devoted myself to keeping our district’s spending in line. I would do the same as a congressman.” 

Ad ing it up till 1:30

Since there was no one to be bothered at home I stayed up till 1:30 AM. I puttered around with an idea for an ad for my campaign.

My campaign manager saw the link to Micah and then watched the fun claymation ads that he made for me. Chris thought they might do the trick this time. I emailed back and told him: “been there done that.”

Still, the idea of a tongue-in-cheeck ad again was tempting. I quickly imagined a new claymation ad and then thought about how I might go about getting it made without Micah who, considering his imminent marriage, obviously has other things on his mind now. 

Before heading to bed I also filled out a candidate questionaire that the Minneapolis Tribune sent me which and they will be posting on the Internet. I also took a few pictures of myself at their request to upload to their site. When its up I’ll direct your attention to it.

More on Highway 53

From today’s Strib (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Some Highlights

“the Minnesota Department of Transportation says it can’t use most of that windfall until 2012, because the agency is so short of money it can’t fix roads that are far busier and congested.”

“Labeled pork by critics, congressional earmarking has mushroomed in recent years. Last year’s $286 billion transportation bill contained $24 billion for more than 6,000 named projects. A similar bill in the mid-1980s contained 102 earmarks.”


Six years ago I ran another guerilla campaign against another entrenched politician, Doug Johnson. When I saw a story about a creative young fellow who at 13 was filming wonderful little claymation movies I got a brilliant idea. I asked him to make a couple of 30 second claymation spots for me. They were a hoot.

Micah was able to develop these skills in part because he was home schooled. His parents are devout Christians yet despite my liberal reputation Micah was allowed to have at it.

Micah’s commercials were very much on my mind because I just had lunch with the same production studio that worked with Micah to put the final touches on his claymation videos. Imagine my surprise to stop after lunch and pick up a Reader Weekly and find that 19-year-old Micah had contributed a column. Micah wisely observes that the conservative church’s phobia about all things sexual is frequently counter productive. What a wise young man.

When Oberstar’s Power just doesn’t cut it

About the time that Jim Oberstar said that the quarter billion dollars designated for the Bridge to Nowhere” was Alaska’s he was getting $50 million for the widening of Highway 53 to International Falls.

Because of Governor Pawlenty’s determination not to raise taxes leaving Minnesota befeft of the state money to match Oberstar’s project its not going to be built any time soon. The State Highway Dept doesn’t consider it a priority because the rest of our roads are falling apart and in need of much less glamorous maintenence.

With Jim’s ten trillion dollar deficit a lot of road maintenence is likely to be deferred in the years to come. So much for his power. Pothole anybody?

Gun Owners of America

Even though I haven’t filed my campaign papers for the FEC the lobbying community has me in their sights. There was a fat letter waiting for me from Gun Owners of America. Apparrently a rival of the NRA, GOA’s website has this to say for itself:

“The GOA Board of Directors brings over 100 years of combined knowledge and experience on guns, legislation and politics. GOA’s Board is not satisfied with the “status quo.” Americans have lost some of our precious gun rights and WE WANT THEM BACK! This is why GOA is considered the “no compromise” gun lobby.”

I heard a story recently that congressional candidates are refusing in ever greater numbers to fill out the many questionaires sent them by special interest groups. For the first time in twelve elections I’ll follow suit. I’ve been telling people that I have more opinions than you can shake a stick. In fact, I’ve got many of them on my website including some information on Gun Control. Here and Here for instance.

Iraq is the best example I can think of of a society where everyone’s ownership of guns affords little of the protection that our founding Fathers envisioned when they wrote the Second Amendment. Back then the cumbersome, single shot hunting rifles owned by our farming population were the backbone of an almost nonexistant military.

The most unfortunate aspect of single interest politics is their no foot in the door attitude. Even when compromise is obviously called for none is tolerated. Gun control is just one example. I told my campaign manager that its fairly obvious that the concealed & carry provisions Minnesota recently adopted hasn’t been the disaster that the anti gun forces predicted. Still, my acquainence who’s sister was blown away by an angry husband should not be ignored.

The GOA seem to think that arming everybody is the personal equivelent of the 1960s policy of Mutually Assured Destruction in which the US and the USSR were guaranteed not to go to war because, since both nations had nuclear weapons, it would mean the total destruction of both nations. By this GOA reasoning the woman who was shot by her husband only had herself to blame for not answering her door with a loaded weapon.

I don’t think so.

Cooling waters

I’ve returned from the hottest weather I’ve ever experienced. Claudia and I drove up to Sonoma with our kids for the day to taste wine. By our second stop the car’s outside thermometer read 113 degrees. We stopped for lunch in Healdsburg at a restaurant where all the air condiditioning seemed to be sucked out with each patron who opened the door.

The Minneapolis airport was 85 Degrees when we returned this afternoon and by the time we drove to the crest of the hill overlooking Lake Superior it had climbed to 91 degrees. It plunged to a temperate 74 by the time we turned up 21st Ave E. It was heaven! Thank you Lake Superior.

Among the several phone calls waiting for me was one from Richard Winger who publishes a newsletter about third parties. He wanted to know if I was in any way tied to Unity08. I called back and told him that while the Unity title was partly inspired by them I was not affiliated. He was from San Francisco which I had just left and it gave me a good occasion to complain about the lousy weather I had just left. What was that that Harry Truman said about the kitchen? Mr. Winger may do a story about me in his newsletter. If he does he’ll send me a copy.

Tomorrow I meet to discuss shooting some video but only after I spend the morning reading the news at Lighthouse for the Blind’s studio. Claudia will leave even earlier than me because she is flying off for business and to pick up her Father from Florida for a visit. It will be his first visit to Duluth in about 16 years. I wonder if there is any heat left for the East Coast what with California hogging it all?

Oberstar supports Bush

As promised, Bush vetoes stem cell bill Having visited my Alzheimers riddled Mother last week, a woman who suffers from one of the dread conditions that plague mankind and for which a stem cell solution might one day provide a cure, I can’t say that I’m impressed.

Its Bush’s first veto. Up to now the President and the Congress have shared the same brain but now Oberstar has joined him at the hips.

San Fran Man II

Yesterday we got out of the car at our hotel in Novato and the temperature was a scorching 107 degrees. The last time and only other time I endured weather like that was when I visited Scottsdale, Arizona as a seventeen year old. That time I tried to play some tennis and learned some important lessons in human limitations.

We took the boat to Alcatraz on our first night in California. It was a very interesting tour and some of us in our party are not easily impressed. We took the last tour of the day and the heat of the day was still, uncharacteristically, in the air as the evening turned dark and the San Fran skyline lit up. A lot of the Rock was off limits in part, I suspect, because of the neglect of the Federal Park budget by the Bush Administration. Still, despite its ongoing crumbling away the stories were fascinating.

Alcatraz was never filled to capacity. Today we are still building more supermaxes for our worst of the worst. Is it something in the air or were those really simpler times?

Yesterday we spent half an hour parking by and beginning the walk across the Golden Gate. It was just enough time to get to the first suspension spire (I can’t think what its really called)from which the cables are suspended. We got to Novato and our hotel and jumped in the pool with the kids. It was probably the first time in ten years that we did this and very likely the last time. The water was warm from the baking temps. Afterwards we mingled with my side of the family at the reunion where the youngest generation puzzled over their connections.

We had a remarriage and a new family start up and the children from both sides were very unclear as to their interrelationships. I woke up at 6:30 well ahead of the rest of my clan and to my delight found that the hotel’s business center didn’t charge for this computer usage. I’d decided not to pack our laptop afterall because we only packed carryon luggage for convenience.

I’ve been able to exchange a couple emails with my campaign manager. He’s beginning to check in the FEC (Federal Elections Commission) rulebook and he’s still recommending me blogs to read. On this our last full day my little group of four is breaking away to travel the wine country and then come back on coast highway. Its supposed to be just as hot. Hope the AC holds up.

San Fran Man

I had a very productive flight out to San Francisco today; wife, son and daughter all in tow. I brought 4 Duluth Tribs to finish and then alternately dozed and woke up to jot down a to-do list which should last me for a month. If I complete it, it will go a long way to making my campaign a very formidible affair indeed. Its interesting how a little quiet time helps one focus.

We met my brother and his family and ate at Fisherman’s Wharf in Allioto’s. It was a wonderful meal with a view of the Golden Gate in the distance. Took a walk to Ghiradelli square. (sorry about the spelling) and had ice cream with hot fudge. Tonight we cruise over to Alcatraz. I was warned that the wind off the bay would be cold so I bought a jacket to keep me warm.

I had an email waiting for me when we checked into the Mark Hopkins. I’ve offered a very capable local journalist the position of being my press chief. The email from the journalist in question suggested that we get together to talk it over when I return next week. It would be very limited work to begin with but if we work something out it would be another coup for my campaign.

My internet clipping service noted that I had gotten a mention in the Hibbing Trib and that Al Franken was heading a fund raiser for Jim Oberstar in Brainerd. The comic is promoting the wrong candidate this year but when I run for reelection that will change.


Blog Spam

I’ve spent the day preparing for a family reunion in California. Because I want to hit the pavement running when I get back on Sunday I’ve been tidying up the accumulation of campaign debris that’s built up in my office.

One chore I’ve been doing today is blocking spam from my blog. Each post has a message box for readers to make comment on. The insidious spam world has discovered that they can jam up the message boxes with tons of links to the websites their promoting; stuff like viagra and downloadable ring tones. It was a tedious several hours but I’ve probably saved myself a lot of work in the future.

A number of intriguing opportunities have arisen in the past two days and I’ve got some important meetings planned for next week which will kick things up a notch. I’ll be taking the laptop with me to Califrnia to check email and the news and update the blog. I’ve subscribed to a new internet clipping service so I’ll know exactly what the opposition is up to as well as see where I’ve been making headlines. I’m still invisible to Minnesota punditry. On an MPR hour of analysis this afternoon they didn’t even mention the 8th District race. Of course, that reflects poorly on Rod Grams too.

At the moment all eyes are on Matt Entenza’s departure from the race for Attorney General. Who killed him? Was it Mike Hatch? Hmmmmm. Well, he’s a well known back stabber and the two didn’t like each other.

No wonder my Mom didn’t want me to go into politics.

The “none of the above” candidate

I’m in ecstasy. There are only three candidates for 8th District Congress. That’s what I’ve been hoping for. Now all disaffected voters will be able to focus their votes on a single candidate.

In 1992 when I also ran as an independent for the same office I had to split this vote (which was ten percent of the total) with Floyd Henspetter. My party was the “Perot Choice” party and his was the “Term Limits” party. I got better than 70 % of the none of the above vote but not all of it. In fact, that’s what I jokingly told folks when I gathered my petition signatures. I told them that I was the “none of the above” candidate.

More than in 1992 none of the above will look good to people who want a little purple put back into an America split into Red and Blue.