Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Cold Day: Governor Fallin's inauguration came on a bitterly cold day and yet, an estimated 1,200 brave (and wrapped!) souls sat or stood outside for almost two hours to be part of it. And the bravest: Members of the military, who stood at attention in dress overcoats.

The Gadfly On The Wall
By Mike McCarville

Well Done: Having once been a gubernatorial staff member, I have a special appreciation for the rigors (and pitfalls) of such jobs. For eight years, Governor Henry had the services of a staff that, essentially, operated error-free. Chief of Staff Gerald Adams ran an admirable ship; Communications Director Paul Sund was always helpful, of good cheer, and a professional. I've heard the same of other staffers, from top to bottom. They now join a fairly elite club, those who have served our governors. Welcome to the club, folks.

High Expectations: As Henry's staff departs for other pastures, Governor Fallin and her staff moved into the governor's office. Fallin has, by all accounts, put together a respected, professional staff headed by Chief of Staff Denise Northrup. If the office runs as well as the transition operation did, the high expectations for the staff likely will prove reasonable.

Uncomfortable: Glenn Coffee has had a distinguished career in state government and it continues now as Governor Fallin's secretary of state. His new job is possible because, it is said, his salary comes from fees and not appropriated dollars. Were it the latter, he would be barred from taking the job for two years, as state law reads. Then Insurance Commissioner John Doak hires three immediate past legislators on his staff, same reason given as to why he can. Confess I am uncomfortable with this end run of the intent of the law, which clearly was to prevent ex-legislators from taking state jobs immediately.

Rhetorical Excess: The error-filled reporting of the senseless Arizona shooting was not the first impression many received; no, that was reserved for the idiots who laid blame without having any facts. Their rhetorical excess was fueled by an irresponsible news media which, in its quest to be "first" with every detail, got as many details wrong as it did right. The rush to be the first with important details of every story is a part of the journalistic credo, but the television reporting of this event was irresponsible. Reporting as "fact" something that comes via a third party, or is not soundly vetted as to its truth, leaves the media open to increasing distrust and ridicule...and there's already plenty of that. Time was, we believed what newscasters reported. No longer.

Me And My Shadow: Daughter Shelli called a couple of weeks ago. Said a stray dog popped up at her house on Harrah-Newalla road in the country. Likely dumped by someone. Yet the dog appeared well cared-for. She checked posts for lost signs, checked around and could not find the dog's home. Decided to take it to the pound. Ugh. We know what that likely means. On the way to the pound, stopped at our house. Black and white dog comes in, hides behind Ann's legs as I try to coax him to come to me. No go. Stays put. Dog needed to go out. Shelli put him in the backyard. I'm sitting in the living room looking out the front window and I see the dog trotting by, headed to the front door. Smart dog. Got out, came to the front door instead of hightailing it down the street. I checked the dog over. Clean teeth. Trimmed claws. Bright eyes. He started to get up on the couch. I said "No." He stopped dead in his tracks. We tried a few more commands. "Sit." He did. "Come." He did. Dog looks like a terrier, but he has this fancy tail that curls over his back like a squirrel tail. Shelli discovers the pound is closed this day, so she takes the dog back home (to join her four other dogs). Ann and I go to dinner. "Suppose," say I, "I call Shelli and tell her to give us a call before she takes that dog to the pound." Ann grins. Next day, Shelli shows up with the dog. Said everywhere her husband and son went yesterday, the dog was right behind them. Sort of a shadow. So...Shadow now lives at Casa McCarville and we've learned through research he is a Papijack. That's a cross between a Papillion (fancy French lapdog) and a Jack Russell Terrier. I'm still trying to impress upon Shadow that I am the dominant leader of the house, an idea he is slowly coming to accept. I am told it is necessary for me to imprint as the leader for his mental health and our hassle-free pet ownership.

Speaking Of Health: Challenges abound as the years progress. Discovered not long ago, at age 70, that I have a birth defect; the main aorta in the normal heart has three valves. My heart has but two. (The first person I told about a birth defect was quick: "Yeah, a missing brain.") Nothing unique about that missing valve; it's not uncommon, but it is pretty rare, the medicos tell me. Prognosis (with care) okay, but my cardiologist couldn't promise me another 70 years. Update: Examination shows one of the two valves is leaking. Not good, but no urgent problem.

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