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The one where Governor Mary Fallin steals a story from Public Radio…

12:00 AM EST on January 11, 2011

In yesterday’s inaugural address, Governor Mary Fallin closed her speech with a story about an encounter she had with World War II Veteran Ed Vezey. Mr. Vezey is the last known survivor of the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was sunk by the Japanese in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In the speech, Governor Mary talked about some of the things she claimed to learn from her visit with Mr. Vezey.  Some of it she even recalled in “vivid detail.”  Here’s the text from Governor Fallin’s address:

Years ago, I had the opportunity to meet a man named Ed Vesey [sic] and hear his story. Ed is believed to be the last person living who was aboard the USS Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor. And I’ve been thinking a lot about something he once told me.

Ed, who is 90 years old and lives in Moore, told in vivid details his personal story of events on the USS Oklahoman that fateful day.  He still feels the pain of the loss of his good friend and roommate during the surprise attack.  He remains appreciative to this day to his fellow midshipmen on the USS Maryland who pulled him from the debris and body filled waters.  After the Navy, Ed finished college and became an engineer and traveled around the world on business, and had a large family with his wife.  Ed has lived a full life and his motto is simple:

"Life is one whale of an adventure.  Grab hold, and go with it"

So, Ed, on this day, when we begin a new important – yet promising - adventure, we will heed your advice. We are grabbing hold of the opportunities and challenges before us as we go to work for the people of Oklahoma; and today marks our start. So let’s get busy!

Wow.  What a touching story.  In fact, it’s so touching that KOSU reporter Gail Banzet filed and aired a similar story about Mr. Vezey... last week.  From the KOSU website:

Ed Vezey is believed to be the last Oklahoman living who was aboard the USS Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. I recently met with the 90-year-old at his home in Moore and talked with him about that fateful day, a memory that never fades…

Interesting how the first paragraph of the NPR report sounds a lot like Governor Mary’s first few words about the topic.  Coincidence, right?  Here’s more from the KOSU report:

Ed rode down into the water with the ship as it turned on its side. He remembers how the oil in the water made it almost impossible to swim, but he made it to the nearby USS Maryland.

“I swam over to the Maryland, the ship we were tied up next to, and I was all slimy with oil,” Ed said. “I couldn’t pull myself aboard so some guys threw me a line off the Maryland.”…

And more...

Pictures of World War II memorials and the USS Oklahoma hang on Ed’s walls, and he doesn’t mind talking about Pearl Harbor, but there are some stories still too painful to tell. To this day, he’s saddened by the loss of his roommate and best friend Frank Flaherty who died in the attack.

“One thing you find out by going through something like Pearl is how you react in a real emergency,” he said. “You don’t really know until you get put right to the gun.”

After the Navy, Ed finished college and became an engineer for GE. He’s lived all over the U.S. and traveled internationally for 57 years until his retirement. With seven children and multiple grandkids, he now lives in Moore close to one his sons. Few people get the chance to live a life like Ed’s and his motto is simple.

“Life is one whale of an adventure. Grab hold and go with it,” he said.

First of all, we have learned through the Ogle Mole Network that Mr. Vezey claims that the only time he’s ever spoken about some of the specifics of his story – specifics that Mary Fallin specifically recalled in “vivid detail” from her speech – occurred when he was interviewed by KOSU…a few weeks ago…by reporter Gail Banzet.

If that’s true, do you know what it means?

Mary Fallin – Yes, that Mary Fallin - appears to be stealing stories from National Public Radio and then passing them off as her own.  Let me repeat, Mary Fallin appears to be stealing stories from National Public Radio and then passing them off as her own.

In other news, Mary Fallin also aced her ACT, is fluent in Latin and is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt.

Anyway, although stealing stuff like that is a weird and tacky thing to do, I guess it could be worse.  She could be stealing stories from Hee Haw or the chain emails that your uncle forwards to you.  And if she ever uses obscure car knowledge as an analogy in a speech or accidentally calls Tulsa World reporter Randy Kriebel “Zorba” during a press conference, at least we’ll know why.

Also, maybe the next time Mary sees or hears of a news story on the radio, television or in print, she’ll just cite the story instead of fabricating a personal connection to it.  For example, instead of saying “Years ago, I had the opportunity to meet a man named Ed Vezey and hear his story,” instead say, “Last week, I learned about a man named Ed Vezey on the local radio.”

If she does this, instead of coming off as a lying politician trying to sheepishly associate herself with an a honored wartime veteran, she’ll come off a bit more genuine. And if she does that, maybe people across the state will warm up to her a bit.  Perhaps her approval rating will improve and her original supporters will forgive her for selling out to big corporate interests.

But then again, all this can still be a coincidence.  And Mary Fallin could also have aced that ACT.

p.s. - Hope to have a statement by the Governor's Office sometime today.

Update 1: Here's the statement from the Governor's Office.

Update 2:  A story by Gan Matthews at seems to refute our sources through the Ogle Mole network, but here's some thinking that Mr. Vezey may be doing the "right thing" and smothering this story before it grows.

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