Its not the colonscopy I hate

My Buddy is on my case because I’ve posted several title only posts:


There is nothing there.

Your Buddy

Yup, A couple nights ago I tried a new strategy to keep me on track. I’ve done it before for a single post occasionally – just typed in a title which I planned to address in the next day or two. Only this time I typed in four or five of the ideas that have been jangling around in my head. The last week’s posts, a fraction of what has been on my mind, have been showing up randomly. I’m trying to follow that idea from my friend who was an expert on organization. She told me that when you have a big project just break it up into little chunks and work on them. Don’t stop just because there is so much left to do. Just keep doing bite sized pieces and whittle the big job down until its done. (Well, that’s my paraphrase of the advice).

Before I posted the blank titles (small chunks) I had a whole lot of other chunks that I’d like to add. Since I posted those still blank chunks I sat through a church service and was provoked into jotting another half dozen down for later writing on my church order of worship. It was sitting on the keyboard when I cranked up the computer at about 4AM. (I’ve gotten about four hours of sleep tonight. Not bad)

To my eight loyal readers it will come as no surprise that this blog is a little like a seven year experiment in stream of consciousness. I type of some small fraction of the stuff going on in my mind to stop it overwhelming me and free my mind. I do it to explain my many oft contradictory thoughts and the political hoops I’m jumping through at any given time. Its sort of a purge. My Dad was a great believer in purging and in cleaning out one’s pores. I have the feeling it was something handed down to him by his mother who may have been a devotee of the movement (what an appropriate word) of the crank in Battle Creek, Michigan who got huge swaths of middle class society to buy into his theory that all one had to do for good health was eat right and have regular enemas. The first half still survives in Kellogg Cereals.

This blog is more about a purge of the stuff between my ears not the stuff between duodenum and sphincter. That’s a colonoscopy and as the recent billboards all tell us its an important procedure for all of us old farts. I’ve endured it twice and its not the colonoscopy itself that I much mind. They knock you out look inside and you wake up groggy and, if you are me, make slighting comments thinking you are funny to the nurse about the watery coffee they bring you afterwards while sitting in your hospital gown with a spouse ready to drive you home. At least, my spouse thought I was being a bit abrupt about the coffee commentary. I thought I was being wry.

No that stuff’s easy enough. Gotta check those polyps to make sure they don’t become malignant. I delayed the first one till a little after I turned that magic age of 50. I was told to do it again in ten years. I waited eleven. Last time, on the strength of the polyp, which was benign, they suggested five years. Damn.

The thing I hate about coloscopy’s is the two part process of purging yourself for the flexible sigmoidoscope to peer inside. The first part involves choking down the gag inducing salt solution in the comfort of your own home the day before the speleology begins and then hugging the porcelain throne for a day that the purging salts makes necessary.

This, of course, permits the medical crew hovering over you to see pretty pink flesh as they navigate your colon. I had one friend tell me that she skipped the purging without telling the proctologists just before the procedure. I was told they weren’t happy campers. No kidding!

It turns out that the poobahs of ISD 709 want to avoid a colonoscopy at all costs. The State Auditor didn’t give one. They don’t give the Red Plan critics the data. The majority of the Board for seven years has given a colonoscopy a pass. So intent are they on avoiding the exam they have concocted an asinine list of allegations to justify a show trial to remove their second longest critic from the board. I’ll have much to say if it comes to that. Annie Harala called a little preview of that from me at the last meeting “grandstanding.” I wrote her an email back telling her some of the grim details I’m prepared to trot out and warned her that if she thought what she was complaining about was “grandstanding” she “ain’t seen nothin yet.”

This District the patient that won’t take the purge. I’m sitting with my sigmoidascope while the plumbing is clogged up with ….. do I really need to say it?

The evidence is everywhere. Ten percent or more of our clientele has left the district to avoid overcrowded classrooms. I’ve asked for, and am still waiting for, a complete amortization table showing how much the Red Plan will cost over its lifetime. A little bit of incomplete data was sent to me and it suggested to me that instead of the $450 million cost I first deduced five years ago or the $480 million cost I estimated during last fall’s election the cost might be near $600 million. Meanwhile our classrooms are too big. We spent another sixty million dollars more on the Red Plan over its initial estimates on things like eight lane swimming pools. Perhaps coincidentally this decision was made after the swim coach Judy Seliga-Punyko defeated me in an election seven years ago. Had their been a bond referendum for the Red Plan the District would have been limited to spending whatever figure the voters approved. Without that vote and with the grudging connivance of the State Board of Education the District was able to silently ratchet up the cost by tens of millions of dollars. This is some of the money trail that goes cold every time the curious Art Johnston asks about change orders, and School Board authorization of them.

There is one simple solution, simple and damn near impossible. Raise taxes through the roof to pay for enough teachers to replace the ones we canned to pay off the bond holders of our however much it cost Red Plan. There are two strategies to win them over. Lie through your teeth, offer happy talk and I guess purge your critics and blame them for being poor sports. That’s the first. The second is hold your hat in hand and be honest about what the hell happened. That requires a colonoscopy and drinking those damn salts and hugging the porcelain throne for a day.

I think the Red Plan already killed one student who committed suicide when the District moved kids around like livestock in a cattle car to accomodate a break neck construction. It damn near lost another at Lincoln when one poor phy ed teacher had 38 rammy kids in one of Judy’s stellar Olympic sized swimming pools. I was a fair swimmer and swimming coach myself. At my best I could swim two lengths of a fifty yard pool under water without taking a breath. I could never hold my breath while stationary and above water much past three minutes. How many times does a teacher have three minutes distractions in the course of a fifty-five minute period? For teacher Linda Puglisi with 38 rammy middle school kids in her swim class while she taught solo one kid slipped unnoticed down to the bottom of the pool during one such predictable distraction. Thirty seconds longer and the District would have a multi-million lawsuit on its hands – just what it needs – and one more dead child.

Buddy, you’ve asked why the District needs a colonoscopy. That’s why we need a colonoscopy. I’m desperate to ask voters for more money but they don’t trust the leaders of this district any more than I do. Santayana said that “those who do not know the past are condemned to repeat it.” I say those who have their heads up their butts without having purged their digestive systems first might not want to pull their heads back out.

This, Annie, the kind of grandstanding I’m quite eager to begin pouring out if you attempt to remove Art Johnston and I might do it even if you don’t. I’ll have lots of people rooting for me. All Denfeld has good reason to be bitter. Ditto, the parents at Congdon, Lester Park and Piedmont. Those are just the schools I have read about so far in the News Tribune. They want smaller classes. We need to hire more teachers. But after hiring the former State demographer to guide us and after spending an additional sixty million dollars we build a whole rank of elementary schools that can’t even accommodate a school population that shrank by ten percent when the Red Plan down everybody’s throat and families fled to other school districts.

I told my buddy that the NTSB investigates every airplane crash. It checked out the plane crash that took out my mother-in-law when she flew up for my daughter’s baptism 32 years ago. Unfortunately, all the Duluth School Board Red Plan calamity has for clarity is the Minnesota State Auditor.

Oh yeah, and just wait till I subject myself to the possibility of a lawsuit for violating state statutes by revealing the District’s dirty laundry from my previous stint on the School Board to unmask Art Johnston’s chief accuser and the coterie of supporters that kept the accuser working in the District. I already told Annie about it in contravention of state law. It will give her grounds to remove me from the Board too.

(POSTED AS FIRST TYPED – meaning there has been no attempt to proof read this post yet)

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