All posts by harrywelty

If you build (write) it they will come.

My blog is no Daily Dish with its tens of thousands of daily hits. Of course, with millions of eccentric blogs out there I don’t expect to get a lot of attention but its nice to see that my small number of visitors keeps climbing. The blog got a record 819 hits three days ago. It sure would be nice to hit a thousand.

The numbers are holding steady for my website too especially on the Old News section. I really wonder who’s been reading that. Senator Grams? The State DFL? I’d like to think everyone who values history would take a peek before I’m through. I may have to wait till some lawyer issues me a cease and desist order to find out.

I don’t know if I’ll attempt to add much to the blog this weekend. I’ve already spent a couple hours retyping some of the 34 pages of notes I took talking to Don Boyd on Thursday. Besides that, I still have a column for the Reader to write; we’re having a birthday party for some friends tonight; and I’ve got a Sunday School lesson to study for. There just aren’t enough hours in a day……

Another veiw of Iran

A fascinating piece in a recent New York Times about what is considered Iran’s national poem the Shahnameh which is for Iran what Homer’s Odyssey is to Greece.

One notable line from an author who was himself a Muslim:

“Damn this world, damn this time, damn this fate,
 That uncivilized Arabs have come to make me Muslim”


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.


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.


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.