Skip to content

Trump imploded

I’ll be the first to admit that my Trump bust was not the easiest to identify by sight. The Tiara on his head covered up his most telling feature – his comb over. Furthermore lots of folks thought it was the Pope’s hat. Although the papal miters have lots of decorations a cross on the top front seems not to be a feature. I hoped that the pointing finger would have given the sculpture away but that still left people confused. Finally the scowl should have been the tip off.

trump muslim ban pointing finger

Pope Francis has never been anything other than beatific.

When I first put the sculpture’s picture on Facebook a few folks read that the head was empty (I needed the snow inside to build the tiara and the tiny pointing hand. Some folks offered to come and fill it up with various unmentionables but I preferred the vacuum. It seemed more appropriate for an extreme narcissist. The bright light of day finally overcame my Donald and long after his nose fell off the head collapsed in on itself. It remains to be seen if the real Donald will follow suit.



These anonymous posts in an unknown blog

My blog is This isn’t it. I blew it up somehow in December and was too busy then, preparing to go to Israel, to seek help fixing it. It turns out that was a fatal mistake.

I was also reluctant to fix it then because I was about to start serving my second two years on a new school board with three new members. Three of the six board members who had voted to censure me on Christmas of 2015 had retired after a bruising year and I didn’t want my blog posts to stir up animosity anew with their replacements. (BTW – I was one of the six who voted to censure me)

The remaining to censurers are now the highest officials of the School Board. After taking these new positions they handed out very few committee assignments to Art Johnston or me. I don’t mind. That’s politics. To the victor go the spoils.

In fact, because of  my trip to Israel I missed the Jan 4th organizational meeting of the School Board. Even if I’d been there my vote would have been in the minority and wouldn’t have changed the officer election results. (BTW #2 I had a potent experience in Israel and Palestine and would, for the time being, prefer to write about them and not the school board)

As I peck out this alternative blog (which may become the official replacement) I’ll continue to write about whatever I want to. National politics is one interest and what a year it will be. The School District yada yada yada. And most recently my Grandfather George Robb has been of intense interest to me. I got back last weekend from a lecture at the National World War I Museum all about my Grandfather.

I should make two things clear even though no one else knows about this alternate blog of mine. I have been treated fairly by our new chair Annie Harrala. She is being very careful not to encroach on the rights of minority members to participate in School Board meetings. Also, newly elected board member Nora Samstad is proving to be the cool, logical and fair-minded Chair of the Business Committee. She  paved the way to burying our old tyrannical policies which denied Art and I the chance to ask questions at School Board meetings. They have been shoveled into a hole and covered up so that their rotting corpses can no longer stink up our meetings.

Think Kids 2016

I have explained my absence from our schools over my first two years on the school board by saying that I didn’t want any employees of our District to be penalized for having been seen talking to me. My fear was probably a little exaggerated and to be honest spending two years defending Art Johnston from a myopic and tyrannical School Board majority was terribly time consuming.

Now the times are a changing…..sort of. Our new school board is composed of more rational people even though we are two years further into a deepening crisis. In 2013, the year I took a board seat again, we got a couple million from the legislature and, with my help, passed all the local levy requests we put to the voters. On the other hand, for the third time in the wake of ex super Keith Dixon, we approved a teacher’s contract on the assumption that buying teachers off with money we didn’t have was the best way to keep harmony in the District. That was very short sighted.

I am finally making good will tours of the schools. I began that process tentatively last year with tours of our schools. This February I asked all our principals to let their elementary teachers know that I would love to read in their classrooms. I used to do this all the time when I was on the School Board before. As of yesterday I had read in about fifteen classrooms in five of our ten elementary schools. Sadly “I love to read” month,
(February) has come to an end but I’d stack my Pig Pig Grows UP and Me First to any other classroom reader’s selection in the State of Minnesota. I hope the word gets out that I would be willing to read anytime. Oh, and I read three books for one grandson’s Northstar Academy Kindergarten class.

I have also attended four of the Think Kids meetings being held at our schools. I’m skipping out on the Wednesday Think Kids meetings because that’s my evening with grandsons. Despite this I can make a couple observations. The first of which is that hardly anyone is bothering to attend them. The four o’clock meetings rule out parents who work. The five parents I counted at one such meeting were outnumbered two to one by administrators and teachers. At another meeting I  left when a single parent arrived surrounded by a dozen District Staff.

These meetings are set up to give the District feedback on what we need to do in the future. I have learned a lot from the teachers at these meetings but heard precious little feedback from our customers -the families. We were told last night at Congdon that 2000 people showed up at first Think Kids meetings in 2013. I’m sure they  told us that they  wanted smaller classrooms. Ditto 2014, 2015 and 2016. Many, if not all, of the other desires could be addressed if we had enough support staff or paras or teachers to fill in the voids. Evem after the legislature gave us a couple million extra dollars in 2013 those voids persisted but now that windfall is over and done with and we face a projected $3.4 million dollar shortfall for the next school year.

It was also stressed last night at Congdon that the Think Kids meetings were designed to focus our attention on kids and stop talking about buildings…..(“Red Plan” buildings).  We are, however, still transferring three million bucks a year from our general fund to pay off Red Plan debts which grew by 25% as more ornaments were added to the initial Red Plan budget. We are still sacrificing staff to  pay for the building debt. But as the Superintendent told the parents at my table – the only money we have is the money we have or words to that effect.

I still haven’t forgotten the shameless way I was prevented from being part of the teacher contract negotiations in the winter of 2014 after being seated on the School Board. I hope that changes when we get a chance to start anew in a year or so. Here’s  what I wrote about my treatment after discovering just how shabbily I had been deceived. Its just two paragraphs from a much longer post:

Last night I was aghast to learn that another of my complaints against Mr. Rupp was for more grievous than I initially thought it was. He allowed our District to violate state law by keeping me out of a meeting during our contract negotiations that should have been open not only to me but to the public.

I’ve never revealed the full story on my blog until now for the sake of getting along but comity is long gone from the Duluth School Board and its time to face facts coldly. Last March I was left livid when our Superintendent, Mr. Gronseth, followed Mr. Rupp’s advice to exclude me from negotiations. This was despite Board conversations guaranteeing me access to the meetings and despite our board policy that made me a member of our negotiation’s team.


In the month leading up to my being kept out of those negotiations I was having a hard time sleeping because I was worried I’d find myself where I am today- up merde creek without a paddle!



By the Numbers

I stopped reading the Bible from the beginning about twenty-five years ago after Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus. I’ve only read hit of miss in the Old Testament since that time. I’ve got everything in the New Testament covered through 1st and 2nd Chronicles and I managed to wade through the psychedelia called Revelations that caps off the Christian testament.

About three weeks ago I began slogging through the fourth book of the Torah, Numbers where I’d left off so many years before. I’ve been reading it a couple chapters a night just before bed thinking that this would keep me away from the dreaded “blue screens” of my cell phone and computer which apparently thwart my bodies production of sleep inducing melanin. Reading the Bible also has the happy result in hastening drowsiness.

Numbers may be more numbing than other Bible books. About two thirds of it is a repetition times twelve of the identical sounding accounts of the tribes of Israel each nearly identical save for the Hebrew names of sons and grandsons of the Tribes and grossly inflated census numbers for each tribe  wandering through the Wilderness for forty years. The numbers rival those of today’s mostly urban Syrian refugees.

My recent visit to Israel has prompted me to begin this Biblical Odyssey. At age 65 I feel that its about time I read the book from cover to cover. Having just trod so much of the ground traversed by the church’s and my once Grand Old Party’s patriarchs and prophets it seemed like I might finally be able to make sense of the Hell that is the Holy land.

Its not the only text I’ve found myself consulting. I also read Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad or at least the 100 pages he devoted to Syria and Palestine. I also read the Palestinian portion of my Great-Grandfather, Henry Harrison Welty’s, 1911 diary of his three month voyage through the Mediterranean.

For the two and a half months my blog has been inoperable my head has gotten very full. Among the vast subjects I feel like talking about are Israel today, things I’ve learned about my Grandfather Robb, the train wreck that is 2016 GOP. The more I weigh in on these topics the better for my relations with new school board colleagues who are likely nervous about my renewing sharp observations about the travails of ISD 709. I am inclined to talk about my recent missions across the District to read in elementary classrooms or attend Think Kid’s meetings.

I’ll roll out these other subjects in good time but as a prelude I’ll leave you with one of the less onerous bits of reading in Numbers although it is quizzical.

I bumped into Ballam’s talking donkey in Numbers 31:8. God tells Ballam to put in a good word for his people with the Kings of Moab who know the Israelites are eyeing his lands. Ballam quite understandably does not want to risk life and limb taking God’s unwelcome message to Israel’s target. He finally does so when God has his donkey speak God’s orders to him.

God or Moses at one point orders the slaying of all boys children and non virgin women in 31:17 but that’s par for the course. I was a little disappointed that after Ballam did the Lord’s bidding he too was singled out for execution. Seemed a bit shabby but very much in keeping with how business is conducted in God’s country.











Eau de Schadenfreude

An old High School Classmate of mine and survivor of the US Foreign Service sent me a subject heading only email asking if I had attended Minnesota’s precinct caucuses last night to support Rubio. I’ve been threatening to go back the the Republican caucuses on the old blog but nothing about the last year has made doing so appetizing. Here’s what I replied to my old friend:

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

——– Original message ——–
From: harrywelty <>
Date: 02/03/2016 11:38 AM (GMT-06:00)
To: (and old friend)
Subject: RE: Did you caucus for Rubio? (EOM)

I haven’t been able to stomach the GOP for ages. Rubio and Kasich are the least objectionable Republicans in a party deserving of the rampaging ego called…..Dumpf….or something like that.
If the Demos could retake the Senate I could live with him.
I have held my nose over Hill for a decade. Suddenly I find myself rather liking her fragrance “Eau de Schadenfreude.”
If you are not up on you German here’s the definition of schadenfreude.
I have a long history of posting annoyed comments about what the Republican Party has become


Ms. South Carolina

Sculpted in honor of Donald Trump’s victory in the South Carolina Primary. The Ms. Universe Owner has since won Ms. Nevada and half a dozen other states last night on Super Tuesday.

Here he is pointing his finger again while he awaits the whole enchilada -his own Ms. America Title.

I think he looks better in a tiara.