The Irish Model

As I was looking for a suitable reference to America’s long history of prejudice against the Catholics I found this interesting web page. It debunks the NINA memories of American Irish. (No Irish Need Apply) Regardless of the truth of the NINA signs anti-Catholic prejudice flourished until even after John Kennedy. Perhaps our current Da Vinci Code mania is a little echo of this past.

The comment on the page which intrigued me the most was about the resistance to doing well in school. Well Duh, any boy knows this. The boy who knows all the answers is likely to be unpopular with his less academic fellows who would rather get their play and aggressions out on the playground than in text books which are the preserve of the people who look down their noses at you.

This attitude is crippling. Its particulary devastating in the black inner city and it could become a problem with the growing Hispanic population. It is exacerbated by unequal school finance.

“This was part of the most sickening aspect of Irish-American life in those days: the assumption that if you rose above an acceptable level of mediocrity, you were guilty of the sin of pride. You were to accept your place and stay in it for the rest of your life; the true rewards would be given to you in heaven, after you were dead. There was ferocious pressure to conform, to avoid breaking out of the pack; self-denial was the supreme virtue…it was arrogant, a sin of pride, to conceive of a life beyond the certainties, rhythms, and traditions of the Neighborhood. Sometimes the attitude was expressed directlyMore often, it was implied. But the Neighborhood view of the world had fierce power. Who did I think I was?”

Our nation’s unwillingness to fully integrate and inspire newcomers when they are young and maleable will have unfortunate repercussions long into the future. Just look at western Europe and their unhappy and only partially assimilated young Muslims.

South of the Border

It occurred to me yesterday that as the 9/11 terrorists blew up the World Trade Towers the anti-immigration coalition seems intent on blowing up the Statue of Liberty – at least metaphorically. Its not the first time in our history that we’ve panicked about all those foriegners crossing our borders. There was anti Irish/Catholic sentiment from the potato famine years through the Civil War. There was the Yellow Peril Era and after 1st World War the Red Scare during which we rounded up immigrants with dangerous ideas and shipped them back to Europe.

I heard a sociologist once say that on average a person begins to get uncomfortable with his neighborhood when 7% of the neighbors start coming from somewhere else. In the 1950’s and 60’s fifties whole blocks of white people would buy a house rather than let its owner sell it to a black family. When those neighborhoods were breached “white flight” often ensued.The current rush to build a Berlin Wall on our Mexican border is coming from Southwestern states. The white residents there are getting a worried about all their brown skinned gardeners and nannies. Their solution is to build a wall.

This is the most rational commentary I’ve read yet about the hysteria over the Mexican/American border. Money Quote:

“Apparently, we’ve reached a tipping point of sorts; a perfect storm of post-9/11 security concern, cultural angst, and labor protectionism. Unfortunately, the restrictionists appear to be far more interested in simply doing something than in effectively resolving those concerns. There are, in the end, solutions far more consistent with US values, national security and the free-market wariness of government.”

Bush’s Betrayal of Iraq

I don’t know how else to put it. When the President convinced this nation to go to war he hedged his bets thinking that if we spent enough money to do the job so that we could guarantee success it might instead slow down our economy. I’ve called Bush a Texas gambler before but he never brought enough money to the table to match the card sharps at the table when they kept raising the terror quotient.

A Decade from now its possible that the world will say that Iraq was better off with our half ass help than it would have been under Saddam but then again maybe the Iraqies would have done it for themselves eventually and felt some pride in the accomplishment. I can’t forgive Bush for giving one soldier the responsibility of training 4,000 Iraqi guards all by himself.

Sit right down and mail myself a letter

I just paid to have my Congressman mail his Congressional literature to me. It says so right on the back:

“This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.”

If I was the Congressman I’d do the same thing. Franking privileges for Congressmen are as old as the Republic. On the other hand, I’d be a little embarassed to tell folks to attend my “Motherhood and apple pie” Forum. No, I’m just joking. His meeting down in North Branch is being called the “Hometown Values Forum.” None of those Republican “Family Values” for Jim.



Making this user friendly for my more senior readership

I’ve had a few older folks tell me that they’re having a hard time navigating through my stuff on the Upper Great Lakes Scandal. Don himself reminded me that almost anybody connected with it is at least sixty years old. Don is 79.

For starters I’m going to change the category from “Old News” to “Don Boyd Scandal of 1977.” That’s more specific. I may also try to separate the Old News/Don Boyd page from the rest of I have over 4,000 pages in Snowbizz and its probably as confusing for newcomers to the Internet to make sense of my web site as its been challenging for me to make sense of the thirty-year old UGRLC scandals.

Tongue in cheek?

I almost forgot. I was at the Memorial Blood bank yesterday with my sweetie so we could donate a pint of blood. A Mr. Anderson, who I’ve never met before came in after us. He told me he’d read my article on Boyd last week and said he thought it was tongue in cheek. We had a great conversation. He was about to head off to Russia next week. He’s been there several times to deliver bibles. I told him it remained to be seen whether the Boyd story had legs or not. If it doesn’t it’s sure moving fast without them.

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”


The official source for all the blather of the eccentric Harry Welty – Duluth School Board member, off and on, since 1995. He does his best to live up to Mark Twain's assessment: "First God created the idiot. That was for practice. Then he invented the School Board."