151 Band

Friday, February 04, 2011

All The Small Things

How many times have you sat still and thought about the things that you take for granted?  Usually, it's not the big things - like a new car/truck, spacious house or the contents of your checking account.  More than likely, it's the little small things in life that get your attention, make you ponder the nuances of life itself. 

During the Snowpocalypse of 2011, I have been doing a bit of thinking and here is my list of small things that I realize that I have taken for granted or perhaps have learned to really appreciate.

Alka Seltzer:  What used to just settle an upset tummy has transformed itself.  There's Alka Seltzer Cold, Alka Seltzer Flu...and the list goes on.  But really, when the stomach is churning and burning from too much comfort food, there is always the go-to product, Alka Seltzer.

Perforated Toilet Tissue:  I don't know how it was invented, but anyone who has been to a public restroom and fought the dreaded "roll from hell" and tried to cut it with the Ginsu blade that is the tissue dispenser has come to love and appreciate the perforations in our home toilet tissue.  It's marvelous.

Books:  You can now download books to your iPod/Pad, to virtually every mobile device and now, there are devices designed just to download books.  Call me old-school, but I love the feel, the smell and the allure of the printed word.  While the newspaper business may be going down the crapper (after wiping with the aforementioned perforated toilet tissue), my hope is that books never go out of style and that the printed word somehow remains a part of our existence.

Respect From Kids:  Maybe it's just me, but it's nice to hear a kid say, "okay" rather than doing their best impersonation of Kathy Griffin when asked a question or to accomplish some amazing feat like hanging up their coat.  It's a little thing, but when they simply just do it and not give you lip, it's refreshing - a throw back to days gone by.

Drip Coffee Makers:  Amazing, aren't they?  If you have ever gone camping and used a camp coffee pot, you know that drip coffee makers are worth their weight in gold.

Warm Socks:  Hunters know how uncomfortable it can be out in the woods when the feet get cold - the rest of the body follows suit and it goes from uncomfortable to unbearable.  In this crappy weather, appreciation for a warm pair of socks is compulsory.

Hot Water:  A friend of mine told me the story of their water heater going out just before the snow and ice hit and I have to tell you, I can't imagine how tough it was for them.  With little kids in the house and the plumber informing them it would be DAYS before the replacement would be available...I can't even imagine.  Hot water is one of the little things that I truly appreciate.

That's enough for now...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Dancer's "Jesus Dance" Will Go On

A story that just had to be shared:

The show will go on for a fifth grader in Chatsworth who was kicked out of a school talent show over his interpretive dance.

He wanted to perform to "We Shine," a chart-topping Christian pop song, but school officials didn't like that he was dancing to a song with so much "Jesus" in it.

"The principal said that in her opinion the song was offensive because of its religious lyrics," David Cortman, Head Council with the National Alliance Defense Fund says.

Cortman filed a lawsuit against the school district last week. The school has since decided to let the kid dance in the talent show.

But there is still something Cortman still wants out of the LA Unified School District

"A policy that makes it clear that students won't be discriminated against if they happen to chose a talent with some religion to it," Cortman says.

Link.  This was a boy.  Wait.  What?

Obama Approves FEMA Aid

Beyond a controversial appointment to Secretary of State and a bunch that weren't, it looks like the first real official move of Governor Fallin was to reach out to the federal government to receive federal money for...snow.  From the Newsok.com story:
Gov. Mary Fallin asked Wednesday for the federal government to approve an emergency disaster declaration request for the entire state. President Barack Obama took action on that request and authorized the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency to supplement state and local response efforts that have been affected by the winter storm.
Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide at its discretion equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency in all of the state's 77 counties. While no dollar amount was mentioned in the initial news release from FEMA, it did say that emergency protective measures will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.
I apologize for the link, above, making you suffer through Dave Morris' droll, dry and boring video commentary.  It's the Oklahoman's way to be "hip and happening."

Congrats to the State of Oklahoma working hard to no longer be a donor state.  And hat-tip to Governor Fallin who can now say that one of her first acts as Governor did, in fact, bring money to Oklahoma. 

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Sooner Poll: Only 40% Of Oklahomans Think GOP Will Do Better Job Than Democrats

SoonerPoll and Tulsa World announced a very interesting poll.  And here it is, From the Tulsa World:
Oklahoma's 53rd Legislature will be the first with Republicans in complete control of state government.
The GOP owns large majorities in the House and Senate and inhabits every statewide office. The voters, however, have a sobering message: Only 40 percent think the Republicans will run the state any better than Democrats did.
And only 13 percent agree with the statement: "The Legislature spends most of its time working on issues important to me." Such were the findings of the most recent Oklahoma Poll, which asked 520 Oklahomans with a history of voting what they thought of the Legislature and state government.
"I'm a Republican, but I don't vote that way always," said poll respondent Patricia Duff of Tulsa. "If they quit blowing out steam and go to work, they might get something done. But they'll be like the Democrats. Mediocre."
There are a number of reasons why the public feels the way they do here in Oklahoma.  A lot of it has to do with how the Republicans promised big during the election cycle and now that they are in office, we see charges of cronyism, career politicians taking political jobs which stand in contrast to how they campaigned, and more of the "good old boy" network shenanigans seen under previous Democratic leadership.

Is anyone really surprised?  Our government is still being run by a small number of special interests and influences, and the communications infrastructure remains the same but somehow we bought into the propaganda that things were going to change.  Granted, we're only a month into the new regime, but we have already had more scandal and compromise than the previous administrative leadership did in four years here in Oklahoma.  And the talk is that there is more to come.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hochenauer - "Worthless Watchdogs: Rozell, Gilpin Should Resign"

Published with permission:

Unless news reports of their actions at a meeting Thursday were not true or were misleading, Herb Rozell and Tim Gilpin should resign as state Board of Education members.

At the board meeting, according to reports, Rozell and Gilpin joked about the pregnancy of a legislative liaison, Jessica Russell, hired by newly elected state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi, pictured right. Here’s how it was reported on NewsOK.com:

    Friday, board members Herb Rozell and Tim Gilpin apologized for jokes they made at the expense of one of Barresi's hires — Jessica Russell, a legislative liaison who is pregnant and expecting in April.

    Rozell, a former senator, commented that Russell would be “worthless” to the board if she was gone for six weeks on maternity leave during the peak of the legislative session. Gilpin made a motion that Russell not be allowed to have her baby in April or May.

    “I'm sorry if I offended the lady,” Rozell told The Associated Press. “Heaven forbid, that's not what you're supposed to do. I had no intention of belittling the woman.”

    Gilpin said the comments were meant as jokes. He said everyone was laughing, including Barresi.

Joking that a woman’s pregnancy makes her worthless as an employee and mocking her due date is about as misogynistic as it gets. It’s also anti-family and anti-children.

Have Rozell and Gilpin ever heard about the “glass ceiling,” a term which has been used to describe how historically many women have been denied promotions or raises in institutional and business settings simply because of their gender? Under the glass ceiling, women for years have been systematically penalized for pregnancy and raising a family as they hold down full-time jobs. This has been widely condemned as wrong.

The state Oklahoma Department of Education should be one of the last places where women should feel uncomfortable working simply because of their gender. The department oversees our schools. One 2006 study showed that approximately 80 percent of all teachers in the country are women.

Gilpin said it was just jokes. But under this logic, it’s perfectly appropriate then to make racist jokes or Polish jokes at public meetings in Oklahoma as well.

Just because it was joking—if that is really what it was—doesn’t mean it wasn’t demeaning and hateful. Lost in all the joking and its aftermath was the argument that some of Barresi’s new hires might not be qualified for their positions. Who is really going to care about that argument now? Who is going to care now about Gilpin’s remark, noted in the NewsOK.com story, that the board is a “watchdog”?

After the contentious meeting, House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, said there could be “significant reforms” of the school board’s authority this legislative year. The GOP has complete control of the Oklahoma government, and Barresi is a Republican. Under the current system, Gov. Mary Fallin, also a Republican, will begin making appointments relatively soon to the board.

It’s only a matter of time before Barresi—let’s be clear, I didn’t support her in the recent election and remain skeptical about her education agenda—gets to hire whoever she wants without interference.

Meanwhile, Rozell and Gilpin should do the right thing and resign. As watchdogs, they’re worthless to us now.

Hochenauer's website.