Posting will be light this week because I have a serious project to pursue. That’s too bad because a great many important news streams are colliding. However, the life of my City, Duluth, can not be put on hold for these events let alone for my pontifications on them.
I’ve just finished my latest column for the Reader Weekly. It announces aÂ meeting to organize a major fund raising effort for the Duluth Schools which will be held in three weeks. Until then that will take the lion’s share of my time. Oh, I also have a short sojourn to San Antonio coming up this weekend. Since I haven’t figured out how to blog by email that space on the calendar will leave the Lincoln Democrats without their self annointed spokesman.
If you love the Duluth Schools take a look at my column. You may be just the sort of person we’re looking for.
As I was reading Joe Klein’s recent observations on why candidates seem so remote to the public – he blames consultants – it occured to me that Russ Feingold would be a very interesting Presidential candidate. He doesn’t seem like aÂ phony to me.
I saw Finegold’s humerous TV ads when he first got elected to the Senate because I live across the border from Wisconsin and his campaign bought lots of ads in the Duluth media.
He is a stunningly articulate candidate. He also, like Clinton before him, strikes me as being fellow who has powerful analytical skills. Unlike Clinton, however, Feingold doesn’t strike me as so calculating that he feels he has to travel through politics as though it was a minefied. That’s called “straight talk” and I like it.
One such position which has scared his fellow Democratic Senators cowering is hisÂ motion to censure the President for pushing domestic spying beyond his war time authority. I think the idea of an impeachment is foolish but I think a strong case can be made of censure which is purely symbolic.Â As long asÂ Republicans control both houses of Congress it can’t pass but it seems to me to be entirely debatable and possibly justifiable.
I’m sure that his motion will incline lots of Democrats to his candidacy and I’m sure Senator Feingold senses this. If so,Â then theÂ censure proposal could be calculating. Even so, I can’t help but think it comes from a genuine outrage over principle and I find that very appealing.
If I wanted another too calculating President I could support the other namebrand which has shared the Oval Office since 1988. Gosh, I hope it doesn’t come to that.
Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions
to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate
meanings for common words.
The winners are:
1. Coffee (n.) the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.) appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.) to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.) to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.) impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.) describes a condition in which you absent-mindedly
answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.) to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n.) olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run
over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.) a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.) a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.) the formal, dignified bearing adopted by
13. Pokemon (n) a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.) a person who sprinkles his conversation with
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.) (back by popular demand):
The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and
gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.) an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by
My daughter Keely drove up yesterday. She had agreed to sing at our church this morning. Shortly after 9/11 I featured her high school choir on my main webpage for several months. Her choir had visited New York two years earlier. You can see why I put this particular photo on my main page. It also included an mpg of the choir singing Lost in the Night with Keely singing a solo.
She has a terrific soprano voice and as we were doing dishes yesterday evening we sang songs together that I used to sing to her and her brother when I put them to bed. Streets of Laredo, Big Rock Candy Mountain, and my favorite, Waltzing Matilda were just a few.
After we warbled she got very enthused about my taking voice lessons and While I, amused, sat back and watchedÂ she search the Internet for voice coaches for me. She’d like to sing a duet with me.Â That would be neat.
She sang for ten minutes before church started. The congregation was attentive and still. (We are Presbyterians) The choir seemed mesmerized. Everyone joked afterward that I must be bursting my buttons. I just replied that the next time Keely sang I’d be sure to bring a needle and thread.
Since my appointment as a trustee of the Duluth Public School Board Endowment Fund last fall I’ve been slowly working on a plan to raise a serious endowment for the Duluth Schools. The present endowment is a hair over $450,000 and it has generated enough income to finance a dozen or more modest grants for innovative teaching projects every year for the past decade.
On May 2nd we are having a meeting of people who care about the schools to organize a massive fund raising project.
Over the last week we wrote and will be sending out a fund raising letter to our eighty or so past contributors. it also invites them to join us on May 2nd. That’s a very modest number of people but its all who have contributed to our endowment to date. I want a fund of 20 million dollars which should earn about a million dollars annually. That requires raising 40 times as much money as we currently have.
I’m planning to get at a minimum 40 people signed up to join us May 2nd. Getting them to the meeting will be my challenge. I’ll keep you up to date. In the meantime it will be the subject of my next column in the Reader. I hope I’m up to it.
Another member of the Defense establishment, Lieut.Â General Greg Newbold (ret.),Â who saw George W Bush’s Iraq war asÂ the adolescent’s escapade it has since proven to be, an escapade costly in lives and treasure, and who now regrets his failure to more strenuously voice his objections.
This isÂ very interesting videoÂ interview of John McCain by Tim Russert who challenges the “maverick” Senator onÂ his recent raprochment with Jerry Falwell. (My blog software doesn’t have spellcheck and I don’t know if raprochment has one or two r’s. Rats!Â Not long ago IÂ spelled prerogative “perogative.” Phooey! I’m only the pronouncer at our local spelling bees in Duluth. I’m not one of the contestants. I’m not that brave.)
As a “McCainiac” in 2000 (I began a website for his Minnesota campaign) its a little distressing to see him pulling his punches on the folks who treated him in such an unchristian fashion. On the other hand, pragmatic politicians always have to prepared for the awkward political necessity of sleeping withÂ surprising bedfellows now and then. I hope for the Senator’s sake that Falwell doesn’t snore.
It’s bad luck to predict misfortune becauseÂ such predictions can become self fulfilling prophecies.Â That said, its looking grim for the DECC’s hope of receiving state funding this year.
Things looked good after the Governor taunted Duluth into holding a referendum on funding half of a DECC expansion through local sales taxes. WhenÂ Duluth took up the challengeÂ and passed a referendum there was real optimism for the project. Unfortunately, the state’s putative half of the financingÂ isÂ not in either the Senate or House bonding proposal.
Although the Tribune recently editorialized that the Governor was our best hope for adding the full 30 million toÂ a final bondingÂ bill that seems unlikely to happen. Our Senator, Tom Bakk, has been crowing aboutÂ a humungous $118 million in miscellaneous bonding for northland projects in the Senate Bonding Bill. This boasting is a subtle warning to Duluth not to tamper with the current Senate proposal by trying to add the DECC.
In answer to the DFL controlled SenateÂ billÂ the House bill included $3 not $30 million for the project. If our own DFL Senator has no interest in pushing it who can blame the Republicans who control the House for only offering up 10% of the Governor’s proposal?
As someone who wrote a pro-DECC column I find this disappointing but not very surpising. I don’t see anyone with any political muscle who has anything to gain by pushing the DECC this year. On the other hand the Governor’s intervention and the City’s referendum have brought the DECC to the state’s attention. In a sense its like a plane circling theÂ airport waiting for the legislature to give it clearance to land. Ahead of the DECC are the long debated stadiums forÂ the Twins, Vikings and UM Gopher Football team.Â Â Â
If these other stadiums are finally approved this year it will be hard to deny Duluth in the years to come.
â€¢ SEE THE SLIDE SHOWÂ a nice three minute break
There are two things I really need. First, I need to lighten up. Second, I need to fold my shirts more efficiently when I’m doing laundry.
If, as my friend suggests, I’ve been too tendentious (argumentative) in my criticism of the President let me direct you once again to Andrew Sullivan. While occasionallyÂ tendentious himself this post strikes me as a quite rational analysis of the kind of President we have.
Moments after posting the previous entry I realized the difference between the two. If you were hiding a Jewish family in your attic, during World War II, and you told the Gestapo you weren’t hiding anybody you would be lying and doing right simultaneously. When I was growing up Biblical literalists had a hard time accepting this. To them the world was black and white. They wouldn’t countenance the heretical notion that you could take any liberties with God’s Ten Commandments, not even the one about never bearing false witness.When even more shocking questions were posed under the guise of “situational ethic” the literalists went into a state of apoplexy. It was bad enough to hear people trying to justify a lie but what about putting yourself in the place of a Jewish family hiding in the attic with a crying infant while the Gestapo was searching for Jews downstairs? Being found would mean certain death for everyone and the baby’s cries would definitely alert the Gestapo. The only way to save the family required smothering the baby. What to do? When I was a kid the literalists wouldn’t touch a question like this with a ten foot pole. Better the unexamined life.
So what do Bush loving, Biblical literalists make of this Administration’s “disingenuities?” I’d say that those of them who have stuck with Bush have crossed the treacherous black and white boundary of the Ten Commandments. In doing so they have followed in the footsteps of the pointy-headed thinkers from my youth who debated what that Jewish family should do. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
This is a post I attempted to send yesterday as it the next. When the battery died on the flight to texas so did the post.I’ve emailed principals, trustees, school board members and PTA leaders. Now while I’m in San Antonio I’ll wait for replies and hopefully some reservation requests. One principal emailed back promising to make substitute teachers available for any of his teachers who want to attend. Cool.
I gave Michele Wallerstein, our President, an option to suggest changes but got nervous and sent my column in to the editor/publisher before she replied. Being a diplomat she changed my dyspeptic references to “greedy” legislators covering their “fiscal mismanagement.” It did her no good as I had already sent it in. I told her our legislators were all Democrats and unlikely to take offense since they’d just blame Republics who controlled 2/3rds of the state government.
“Always do right. This will gratify most people and astonish the rest.”
I’m sorry to say that I had misremembered the above quote. I thought it began: “Always tell the truth.” Even so, I’d like to think that the “truth” and the “right” are synonyms.
Here’s a page of Twain quotes twelveÂ ofÂ which areÂ about the truth. Some ofÂ them (the sly and cynical ones) contradict the one above.”
I have a friend who regularly sends me stuff that I take strong exception to. He sent me the Captain’s post and then another pro-Bush posting from smalldeadanimals.com. This was my parting shot in the debate which ensued.
Dead rodent woman adopts the same dismissive tone as the Captain. Yeah, its good to be reminded that Scooter is in trouble for possible perjury and not for releasing state secrets but the issue in the public’s mind all has to do with this Administration’s honesty. Even so, perjury is an act of dishonesty and therefore entirely consonant with the public’s loss of faith.
LBJ, who did more to advance Civil Rights than any other President, also foisted the Tonkin Gulf Resolution on the US to justify his war. Lyndon got it passed in Congress based on a flat out lie. Is that in the same league as all the WMD stuff–.Well, the more we hear of the expert’s skepticism about WMD’s and the Administration’s scramble to silence the skeptics, the more Bush seems to be channeling LBJ. Don’t forget, LBJ had worthy motives too except that they didn’t change as much over the course of his war. Johnson was simply protecting the Free World from the advance of Communism.
At least LBJ, who craved adulation, had the humility not to run for reelection after he lost control of his tar baby. Bush only needs approval from God. Apparently God has told the President that lies told in pursuit of a good cause are no big deal — and lies told to cover up lies told in pursuit of a good cause; and the lies told to cover the lies told to cover the lies–.Oops, sorry. I meant the disingenuities.
Oh, and if the war Bush waged stirs up a generation of angry, unemployed, young Moslem men to spend all their waking hours trying to think of ways to kill Americans where ever they can find them —well, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
Obviously the Captain and Dead Rodent woman have views inconsistent with mine. Madly applauding claques hired by theater owners also have different motives from the rest of the audience at mediocre theatricals. George Bush’s Presidency needs a laugh track.
Andrew Sullivan has all the relevant quotes. Among them:
“There’s a lot of leaking in Washington, D.C. It’s a town famous for it. This investigation in finding the truth, it will not only hold someone to account who should not have leaked â€” and this is a serious charge, by the way. We’re talking about a criminal action, but also hopefully will help set a clear signal we expect other leaks to stop, as well. And so I look forward to finding the truth,” – President George W. Bush, October 7, 2003.
Mark Kirkorian’s NPR commentary on immigration is fascinating and unexpected. I read recently that Mexico is one of the world’s richer nations which adds weightÂ to Mr. Kirkorian’s observations. Listen to the audio
The Moderate Voice lists five consequences of Scooter Libby’s fingering President Bush.
- This administration does not just have a credibility problem, it has a credibility catastrophe.
- Bush is now in the “loop” on these allegations. The stories point out that he didn’t violate any law â€” but he can’t talk about how leakers hurt the government if he is actively involved himself in leaking when it suits his political purposes.
- This underscores again the abysmal failure of one-party government where there is effectively no vigorous Congressional oversight for political reasons. Under one party government Congressional CYLYKW (Cover Your Leader’s You-Know-What) has replaced Congressional oversight.
- Expect that if there are more revelations to come out, they will. Under the old modus operendi of journalism, this kind of story would trigger a competition in the media to get more on this angle (the President participated in leaks…so what other ones did he participate in?). The new attention deficit media of the early 21st Century may not pursue it the same way, but it’s unlikely that this will be the last story looking closely at Bush’s role.
- If the Democrats gain control of the House in 2006 it’ll be a whole new ball game. It will not necessarily mean impeachment proceedings (which is the threat some GOPers are using to try and rally their base for the mid-term elections). But there will be the threat of real â€” if even excessive â€” Congressional oversight coupled with political consequences.