Inside the Capitol

Friday, May 28, 2010

6-2 Vesta Richardson and Sandra Day O'Conner

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Congratulations to yesterdays winners. To the losers, I offer the encouraging advice from former U.S. Rep. Joe Skeen, who often noted that he lost seven elections during his long political career.
That career was capped when he was named chairman of the House Appropriations' Subcommittee on Agriculture.
Being a subcommittee chairman may not sound impressive but the House Appropriations' subcommittee chairmen controlled all the money and were reverently referred to as Cardinals.
I can't tell you who won yesterday since this column wasn't written late last night. That honor goes to the reporters who write for the front page.
So what we'll do today and the next few days is catch up on recent items that were displaced by the exciting lead up to yesterday's primary election.
* * *
Coffee klatches around the Capital City were abuzz a week or so ago about a picture in the Santa Fe New Mexican of Gov. Bill Richardson with a nice looking blond on his arm. And it wasn't his wife Barbara.
It was the governor's sister Vesta Richardson, a medical doctor in Mexico. The two were headed into the state dinner held for Mexican President Felipe Calderon. It turns out Dr. Richardson also attended the last state dinner held for a Mexican president in 2006.
Our governor was clean shaven and wearing a fancy bolo tie with his tuxedo. The couple made the short list of dignitaries cited by several publications.
The meal was traditional Mexican, prepared by a guest chef flown in from Chicago. It included Oaxacan mole, a term that national broadcasters typically slaughtered. They usually pronounced mole the same as the little brown furry creature.
It didn't help that the following day one of those creatures scurried and stopped in front of the podium as President Obama was making an announcement. That led, of course, to suggestions that the mole was an escapee form the kitchen the night before.
Some wondered why the visiting Mexican dignitaries wouldn't be served American food while in America. We have plenty of food to be proud about.
The answer may be that this visit wasn't about American pride. It was about the status of Mexicans in our country. And one way to demonstrate our appreciation of Mexican culture is to serve gourmet food from their own country.
* * *
Almost-New Mexican Sandra Day O'Conner has retired from the U.S. Supreme Court but she still has opinions. One of her pet peeves is that Americans know far too little about how their government works.
She has recently developed a Web site called "Our Courts" aimed at teaching middle school students in a fun and challenging way. The site includes detailed lesson plans for teachers as well as four computer games students can play individually.
I played one and learned a great deal..
O'Conner grew up on a ranch straddling the Arizona state line about 25 miles northwest of Lordsburg. The ranch house was in Arizona but the family did all their business and shopping in Lordsburg.
Sandra would have gone to school in Lordsburg but her parents sent her to El Paso to spend the school year with her grandmother and attend Radford School for Girls.
They tried her at Lordsburg for a year but then sent her back to El Paso. My father was superintendent of schools in Lordsburg at the time so I'm sure it was a great school but something didn't work out. She touches on it in her book, "Lazy B" but doesn't say why.
O'Conner says we are getting progressively worse at civics and government. She blames it on the federal program, "No Child Left Behind," which is based on rewarding test scores in math and science.
The unintended result, she says, is that many schools have dropped civics or government as a requirement or have stopped teaching it altogether.
WED, 6-2-10

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)

We're leaving this afternoon for a week in Fla. with kids and grandkids.  I'll have computer with me and cell: 505-699-9982. After surviving a tsunami and an earthquake this year, maybe I'll get triple lucky and add an oil spill to our adventures. So far my big travel problems have been confined to finding computer connections.


Post a Comment

<< Home