Gone with the Wind Published Aug. 1, 2008
“As a little kid growing up in Topeka, Kansas, my family would often troop down to the basement when civil defense sirens warned us that conditions were ripe for tornados. I always wanted to stay above ground to see a twister like the one that blew Dorothy Gale’s house onto the Wicked Witch of the East. . .”
A sneak peak at my Reader Weekly column for this week.
As I look through the dried, pink wine droplets on my computer screen I’m reminded of just one more reason that last night was a very bad night.
Yesterday was to be the day that we dramatically presented our petitions to the School Board to demonstrate that the community was behind us. It was not much of a surprise to hear Tom Hustad, last night’s acting chairman, say that we were more of an imaginary group than real and tell us that we were all being a little emotional about having our voting rights stripped away. Us and Martin Luther King Jr. Boo hoo hoo.
The wine stains came when I had to call a close member of my extended family to prompt them to honor an agreement over a long simmering family dispute. Reaching past my filled wine glass for the phone I managed to tip the glass over and soak everything in a three foot radius. I mopped up after that storm though all the nearby paper products, and my office is a bit of a mess after the past few weeks, have nice little pink reminders of the mayhem.
The spill was just the first post school board disaster. My phone call was too. Apparently honoring agreements in family disputes was a low priority. I gritted my teeth and went to bed stewing about this while trying to ignore the flashes of light from a storm passing overhead.
“Wake up the basements flooding.” I heard as Claudia rocked me violently to consciousness. My son had discovered an inch of water in the basement so I crawled out of bed in my skivvies and groggily made my way down the final disaster of the day. It had been raining to beat the band before bedtime. A report of a foot of water on Hwy 169 near Orr had flashed across the 10PM weather report. Our rain gauge read just over four inches this morning.
I made the mistaken assumption that all the water had flown in from the walls which occassionally happens. I quickly pulled up the drain cover thinking it would all magically disappear only to see a terrible black fluid bubbling up from below, discoloring the formerly tea colored water. I frantically tried to push the drain cover back on and then looked for something to bail the ugly water to pour and flush down the toilet. The Toilet flooded copiously. My drain was blocked.
Frankly it all reminded me of the folks trying to take away my voting rights. I washed up exhausted and left the mess for the morrow. I did a good bit of stewing before finally succumbing to the powers of Morpheus.
My daughter called yesterday. She is about, it seems, to deliver our first grandchild. This baby is in a hurry and if delivered will be about three weeks premature. If so it will be something of a tradition because Claudia (the grandmother and my sweetie ) was a preemie. There was a question about whether the baby, who is only about four pounds at the moment, was getting enough oxygen.
Its not quite 5AM and we haven’t heard from the new Dad to be but we had planned to drive to the Twin Cities today anyway for Claudia’s work with the Minnesota Safety Council. I had planned to see my mother. We may spend the day instead at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
I picked up a pair of magnetic signs for Harry’s car today. I took this picture of one of them on my wife’s car and then I took it off. I don’t want to lose them or have them stolen before Harry sees them.
If you’d like to see more of these signs around town, please contribute to Harry’s campaign.
“Official Loose Cannon” seems like a wierd job title, how did you guys come up with it?
Harry and I were sitting in Jitters discussing where I fit into his campaign. I was groping for a title that would encapsulate how I look for ideas for spreading the word, research certain issues, and do grunt work like editing posts and some gofer work. Creative director seemed a bit presumptious, publicity director is really beyond my experience, and Chris is already campaign manager. Given my unpredictability the description “loose cannon” popped out of my mouth.
Harry responded with glee, “Official Loose Cannon!” So until my job has more focus, other than getting Harry elected, I will be doing things as I see they need to be done.
And one of the things to be done is remind you to visit the campaign web site to pass the word and to make a contribution. Printers and T-shirt makers don’t work for free.
I’ll soon be applying for endorsement by Minnesota’s Independence Party. I printed out the application forms just before midnight will send them in. I also found the Party’s succinct platform. I support this platform unreservedly.
||PLATFORMWe, the Independence Party of Minnesota, stand for government and political leadership that serves the highest long-term interests of our state. We oppose politics based on self-interest, extremism, or special interests. We are advocates for public policy that prepares Minnesota for a better future and we support political leaders who embrace the values and goals described in this platform
THE CORE VALUES OF THE INDEPENDENCE PARTY :
We believe defined values are essential to guiding political reform and assuring policies that benefit all. These are our core values:
||1) A democratic process with integrity and broad citizen participation
2) A justice system that is fair, wise, unambiguous, swift, affordable, and accessible to all
3) A society that is inclusive, embraces diversity, and protects everyone’s rights
4) Government policies which encourage and expect personal responsibility
5) Government that is fiscally responsible: equitable in its collection of taxes, careful in its spending, and honest in its financial reporting
6) Government that is a good steward: protecting the environment, preserving our public institutions, prudently managing public assets, and leaving for our children a better world
7) Government that is controlled locally whenever possible
8) Rights of privacy and personal liberties under the US Constitution, the Minnesota Constitution, and the Bill of Rights of the United States shall be strongly defended
9) An educated citizenry with the knowledge and understanding to preserve our freedoms and maintain our prosperity
10) Political leadership that acts for the greater good and prepares us for the future
I’m just wolfing down a PBJ sandwich and some chocolate milk after five successful hours petitioning. Signatures are not hard to get. I’ve added another 100 and I still have a couple hours of daylight to get some more. I’m a fifth of the way to the minimum number I’ll need to get on the ballot. I have eight days left to get them.
I had a phone message waiting for me when I returned. It was short and sweet. “Harry, what can I do?” That was my old buddy Edith who has also suffered the slings and arrows of the outrageous party with me.
An email was also awaiting me from the friend I’d asked to be my campaign manager. He’s still thinking about that but he reported back to a query I sent him this morning. He told me that most of the pages on www.welty4congress.org now fit on his smaller computer. Hooray! He also reported the my blogsite is askew on his computer. That may take a bit more work for me to straighten out.
And there is a good reason. Harry has been madly getting things ready to file for Congress. As if you hadn’t figured that out from all the notÂ so subtle clues I’ve been dropping.
I’ve got my webpage up. I haven’t formally announced yet but I will soon. I still have to choose from the fundraising software available but I’ll probably use a PayPal account.
There’s been a lot in the news I would have commented on had I not been so busy but that’s life.
Oh, the new website is (typos and all): www.welty4congress.org
I just figured out that my digital camera would take movies so I decided to record myself reading my recent Profile of Courage column. If you’d like to hear and watch a tiny image of me reading it here’s your chance. Like lots of first time efforts its kind of funny especially when I try to show you the picture at the end.Â I need some editing equipment and a cameraman.
My day was split in two by a mile swim. It began with two dozen folks learning how to raise money for the Duluth Schools Endowment followed by swimming then the fine arts.
I went to my second dance class with Claudia and worked on the rhumba and the waltz. I rushed off after that for three hours of rehearsal with the Duluth Superior Symphony Chorus. The Verdi Requiem we will be singing is coming along. Tonight we practiced with the symphony.
Tomorrow I’ll need to call or email our fund raising participants to keep the fire burning but I’ll begin the day with my convict. I’m strongly inclined to writeÂ a book for him on the Internet. I can’t prove it but I strongly believe Jim Oberstar and crew setÂ this guyÂ up to take a fall thirty years ago for their theft of public property to use for political purposes. Its a dirty shame if its true and I hope I’m up to the task of writing a book.
Unlike a lot of bloggers I like newspapers. Without the MSM (mainstream media) a great many of the bloggers who fancy themselves pundits would have little to say. My friend Tom West had it about right in a column he wrote for his little publication the Budgeteer last week. He pointed out that most of what the blogging community writes about originally came from newspapers.
Having an opinion is easy. Having someone else’s opinion is even easier. Since the Republican paranoia about the press bubbled over in the 1980’s Republican’s believe that all reporters are liberal and report accordingly That’s what group think will do once it has you in its grip.
Yes, reporters tend to be liberal. Surveys of reporters have borne this out. I think it comes from their college liberal arts degrees. The “liberal” in liberal arts means well-rounded more than it means politically liberal. In fact, that’s long been one of the aims of liberal arts colleges compared to community colleges or trade schools. Liberal arts graduates are expected to read widely, if shallowly, about a great many things.
I’ve always been struck by how many reporters, no matter how politically liberal, take their educations and turn it into healthy skepticism. Most have been quite open to conservative criticism of big government and our permissive society. I think its much more accurate to describe journalists as pragmatists rather than as polemicists let alone liberal polemicists. The blogging community on the other hand has a lot more polemicists. What is a polemicist? Think of them as being persuaders or, if you prefer, propogandists.
Because young people are abandoning newspapers in favor of second hand but free blogs I’m a little worried about our future. So, long as they don’t retreat into something like Fox News simply to have their prejudices reinforced America will likely survive this phenomenon and retain its open minded and vibrant culture.
Now that that’s off my chest, I can go back to my polemics.
My Blog’s masthead touts my authorship of snowbizz.com which I have been expanding since 1999. Its part hobby, part therepy and part politics.
Because its as untidy and eccentricly organized as my office I decided to make some sense of it here for anyone choosing to explore it.