Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yucca Mountain shouldn't be partisan

This first published January 1, 2009 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

This is the start of a brand new year, and things are looking tough for the rest of it. The economy is taking its toll on America’s families, including those here in Nevada.

The Nevada Legislature is gearing up for the 2009 session, which is expected to be the hardest, if not cruelest, in decades, especially on those without a voice.

One thing that isn’t brand new is the idea of storing the nuclear industry’s waste in Nevada at Yucca Mountain. This plan is getting some attention from the Republican Party of Nevada. Because the economic chips are down, some are willing to sell their souls, or at least the health of their children and grandchildren, for some short-term economic gain.

Last month, the Nevada Republican Central Committee took a field trip to Yucca Mountain to see just how safe it would be to store the deadliest garbage known to man.

For years, the Department of Energy has been waving the money bait in the faces of Nevadans, hoping greed will overcome their good senses.

With the economic collapse of 2008, a no-new-tax governor, a weary gaming industry, broken retirement funds — just to name a few of our aches and pains — a cash infusion might be inviting to some.

The lifeless body of the Yucca Mountain Project, Nevada’s greatest demon, could start to quiver with life at the smell of fear. The fear of economic destitution is a powerful one, so beware.

Former Republican Nevada Gov. Robert List, who has become a nuke lobbyist, led the tour of fellow Republicans. List is the only former Nevada governor to turn against Nevada on this issue.

List’s actions remind me of something my father, Mike O’Callaghan, also a former Nevada governor, wrote in this space in 2002.

“So who are the people supporting this dumping on Nevada?” he wrote. “Generally speaking, they are people who have made a living from some part of the nuclear business, plan to make money from it or are presently making big bucks from it. A large majority of Nevadans who love living in this area and are raising families don’t want any part of having the waste, and all of its obvious problems, on their highways or deposited in a place that science hasn’t been able to support.”

Seven years later, his words still ring true, and Robert List is the poster boy.

The conservative talk radio hosts are claiming that Nevada is snubbing its nose at billions of dollars in economic benefits that could fix the billion-dollar state budget deficit.

I would call that blood money.

More than 70 percent of Nevadans oppose Yucca Mountain, but could the thought of economic prosperity change their minds? The way I see it, that’s what the nuke pushers are hoping for.

For decades, we have recognized Yucca Mountain as being pure politics at the national level, but the sides were split more regionally. States that had nuclear power supported Yucca Mountain. Those that didn’t, opposed it, fearing the trucks hauling waste through their states.

However, this year it has turned partisan in the state of Nevada. Bob List, pushing his influence on his fellow Republicans to attempt CPR on a “dead on arrival” Yucca Mountain Project is deplorable.

Who can forget how President George W. Bush promised the people of Nevada just eight years ago that the project would be based on sound science? Everyone knew the science was flawed, so with that promise, Nevada gave President Bush the votes he needed to win. In turn, he shoved it up our collective promised repository. Today, the science remains flawed.

President-elect Barack Obama has also said Yucca Mountain is dead and, with Nevada being one of the most influential states in the country because of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s clout, we have a sense of security.

That doesn’t mean we can let our guard down for a second, no matter how tough the economy gets. Once you sell your soul, you can’t get it back for 10,000 years, and that’s a long time, even on God’s clock.

My only hope is that the Nevada Republican Party chooses a better path and decides not to risk the health and futures of generations in Nevada to come.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular column for the Home News.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Solutions for a broken economy

This first published December 18, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

How many B-2 bombers would it take to bail out the state of Nevada? That’s easy. One and a half would suffice.

I turned on Discovery Channel the other night hoping to catch “How It’s Made.” Instead, I caught the program “Destroyed in Seconds.” I really enjoy “How It’s Made” so much that I can blow a whole evening watching how things are manufactured.

Being of the male gender, I was also a bit fascinated seeing things get blown up while everyone survived. I’m not sure which was more amazing: how quickly something got trashed or the fact that everyone survived.

In the episode I watched, there was a segment showing the crash of a B-2 Stealth bomber. Miraculously, the pilots ejected and only received minor injuries. However, the bomber blew up in flames.

Do you have any idea how much a B-2 bomber cost?

Don’t be concerned, because I asked several of my friends on different occasions if they could tell me how much a B-2 bomber cost. One said, $100 million and another said $200 million. Neither is even close. The closest answer I received was a half a billion dollars, and that isn’t even close.

For fun I asked how many B-2 bombers would it take to bail out the state of Nevada. No one had a clue. It would take nearly two Stealth bombers to dig Nevada out of its budget shortfall at $1.5 billion a piece.

This exercise put a few things in perspective for me, such as the size of the state’s budget shortfall and just how easily the federal government could bail out Nevada.

When you think about the size of a B-2 and the size of our state, the $1.5 billion price tag doesn’t seem that great.

I’m also reminded by the program just how quickly a Stealth bomber can be destroyed and just how quickly budgets can go up in flames. Even more importantly, it reflects how fragile our economic base is in Nevada.

We should be doing everything possible to diversify our economy here in Nevada. There are several ideas being tossed around, such as renewable energy, but will that help in the immediate future to solve our economic woes?

Not a chance, but it’s definitely an option for our long-term future.

Nevada could expand mining opportunities — except we are one of the largest producers of gold in the country as it is. However, we are being pillaged by the mining industry. Unlike casinos, which pay a gross revenue tax on gaming winnings, the mining industry pays taxes on net profits after exemptions.

Since 2000, Nevada miners have extracted more than $25 billion in gold from this state and have put a tiny fraction of that into state revenues.

During 2007, mining operations extracted more than 6 million ounces of gold from Nevada. Next to water, gold is Nevada’s most precious natural resource, and it is being sucked out faster than the waters of Lake Mead. By the end of this year, 8 million ounces of gold are projected to be produced in Nevada, with very little money going into state coffers.

Can you imagine how many B-2 bombers could have been built with the gold extracted from Nevada soil since 2000? The answer is 16. The only thing stealthier than the B-2 Bomber are the mining profits leaving Nevada.

Here in Nevada, where the state budget was “destroyed in seconds” and gaming and mining are “how it’s made,” we need to work together to develop solutions to fix our broken economy.

Smelly tourists

At the risk of my critics calling me a Harry Reid apologist, I should clear the air regarding his recent remarks about being able to smell the tourist coming to Washington, D.C., in the summer.

Well folks, having been to the capital in the sweltering heat and humidity of summer, I can testify to the fact you can, indeed, smell the visitors as they shuffle by the thousands through the halls and galleries. I should know since I’ve been one! So your sweat don’t stink?

What stinks worse than the capital in the heat of summer is the goofy commentators, editors and other media types who took the opportunity to water the already rabid far right. This proves one thing: Sen. Reid has a target on his political back and Republicans such as presidential candidate-turned-talking head Mitt Romney will do anything to keep the heat on.

Fortunately the capital now has air conditioning to keep visitors cool, and most Nevadans will keep cooler heads to keep Nevada the most powerful state in the union by not only returning Reid to the Senate in 2010 but also Sen. John Ensign in 2012.

Gee, all this flap over new air conditioning in the capital and a straight-talking senator from Searchlight, Nev.

Nuff said!

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular column at the Home News.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Young athletes 'go for broke'

This first published December 4, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

It’s been four years since my dad passed away and three years since I first penned this column about the Go For Broke trophy. This is a good time to dust it off and tweak it up, not only because we’re celebrating outstanding athletes, but also because next Sunday is Pearl Harbor Day. It is the perfect opportunity to think about the event that was the catalyst for the Go For Broke trophy.

• • •
It is that time of year when the Home News presents a Go For Broke trophy to one football player from 12 of our local high schools.

Not a season has passed that I’m not reminded that something is missing in local high school football. Indeed, this is often pointed out by regular fans of prep football. This year was no different when I attended a Bishop Gorman football game and an old timer came up and said, “Sure miss seeing your dad at the games.”

Isn’t it funny how the words never change?

My dad loved watching the kids develop into men by hard work and discipline. Yes, and over the years he watched a few girls develop into fine young ladies by playing special teams.

Not only was Mike O’Callaghan a decorated war hero and former governor of Nevada, but he was also a coach and teacher. His passion for people was evident in everything he did. He loved the underdogs and championed their efforts. His love for teaching and his enthusiasm for high school football led to the development of the Go For Broke trophy.

In the spirit of teaching and the understanding of the importance of this award, I must tell you the story of its foundation.

At the young age of 11, my dad’s family lost their farm in Wisconsin for the expansion of military operations. By the time he was 13, trainloads of Japanese Americans were arriving in Wisconsin for interment, held as prisoners of war in their own country.

The threat from the Empire of Japan escalated after the surprise attack and bombing of Pearl Harbor. The fear of Japan grew into prejudice and mistrust of Americans of Japanese decent.

Ironically, nearly 40 percent of the population of Hawaii was of Japanese decent. The military didn’t know what do, because half of the defense team looked like the enemy. The Nisei, soldiers born from Japanese immigrants, were rounded up, had their weapons confiscated and held at gunpoint.

Eventually, they were given back their weapons with much suspicion. The Nisei were secretly and swiftly shipped out of Hawaii in the middle of the night without being given a chance to say goodbye to their families.

After a long voyage on a cramped troop transport ship to Oakland, Calif., they were loaded on troop trains headed for the farmlands of Wisconsin to await orders at Camp McCoy.

My dad often told us stories from his childhood and wrote several columns about the 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team. One of his favorites went like this:

“This Wisconsin farm boy and hundreds of others living in and around Camp McCoy soon learned to respect the soldiers from those faraway islands. So did a division of soldiers from Texas who didn’t want to give them room on the sidewalks of nearby towns. Almost three dozen went to the hospital one night when the smaller men had enough. My father, only 5 feet 8 inches tall himself and a World War I veteran, became a cheerleader for the new troops. He followed their heroic exploits with great interest as they fought their way across Europe.”

The men from the 100th/442nd loved the game of craps that was so popular in the Hawaiian Islands. Every good game of dice must come to end. It is that point when one lays it all on the line for one last roll. This is when you “Go For Broke.”

It was my dad’s admiration of a group of underdogs who were willing to “Go For Broke” against all odds that is the cornerstone of the Go For Broke trophy. Casualties were high and decoration plenty for the 100th/442nd.

My dad described it best:

“Heavy combat in Italy resulted in more than 900 casualties before the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team were joined together. Now the ‘Remember Pearl Harbor’ battalion and the ‘Go For Broke’ regimental combat team were together.

“The combat record of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was unequaled. The cost was heavy and resulted in 9,486 Purple Hearts. Heroism was an accepted fact of life and death that the men faced during seven major campaigns in Europe.

“The accomplishments of the young Japanese Americans during World War II, both in Europe and as military intelligence people in the Pacific, have placed them high on the list of American patriots.”

In the spirit of those brave Americans of Japanese descent, we look for the athlete who lays it all down.

He may not be the star but oftentimes is the inspiration of a team.

He may not be the leader, but he is a warrior in practice and game.

Although dad first dedicated this award 24 years ago, its foundation began in the heart of a farm boy from Wisconsin more than 60 years ago. The award will live on in its name and the hearts of those who receive it.

This year we are presenting 12 trophies to area athletes, including these fine Go For Broke recipients who have already received theirs thus far. Others will receive their awards in the next couple of weeks.

Michael Wadsworth, Silverado High School; Tanner VanOverbeke, Coronado High School; Chris Waitkus, Foothill High School; Trey McGhin, Centennial High School; and Croix Nikodemus, Faith Lutheran High School.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular column One Man's View.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tuition hike would dash dreams

This first published November 20, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

A meeting between Gov. Jim Gibbons and representatives from Nevada higher education took place last week that included University Regent Chairman Michael Wixom, Chancellor Jim Rogers and Daniel Klaich, a vice president in the system, to discuss the upcoming budget. The Carson City meeting lasted a whopping 30 minutes.

First of all, 30 minutes isn’t enough time to even suggest anything, much less agree to anything. However, I’m sure it felt like a 12-hour day for the governor having to sit with his chief nemesis, Rogers.

One of the subjects Rogers and Gibbons discussed was raising college tuitions to help fill the gap.

Apparently, it was an effective use of time and enough to get the tuition increase ball rolling.

Since then, much has happened to make an increase more likely. It now has the support of State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley and a band of others with vested interests in higher education in Nevada. However, there is one caveat being tossed around, and it seems to make an increase palatable. That is any tuition increase would stay at the individual institution rather than go to the general coffer for redistribution.

The situation is so desperate in Nevada that every possible avenue must be explored. However, this doesn’t change my concerns about education in Nevada as whole.

Nevada is at the bottom, rated 47 of 51, when it comes the number of people who have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher — fewer than 25 percent of Nevadans.

Higher tuition in Nevada would put a college education even further out of reach for Nevada families. I predicted that enrollments would drop starting in January because of economic hardship. Raising tuition right now would only exacerbate the problem.

Many families may be reconsidering college options for their kids, such as enrolling them in the community college for two years to complete transferable undergraduate courses for less before enrolling them in UNR or UNLV.

Many Nevadans are concerned about losing their jobs, owing more for their homes than the market value and keeping up with the enormous cost increases of groceries.

According to a poll commissioned by the Reno Gazette-Journal and KTVN-TV Channel 2, 26 percent of respondents said they were “afraid” or “very afraid” for their jobs; with 37 percent “not too” afraid and 21 percent “not at all” afraid.

Nevada is ground zero for the mortgage crisis and now foreclosure crisis. Many parents were counting on second mortgages to fulfill college promises to their children. Those promises are now impossible to meet for many parents who are now faced with losing the roof over their heads. The dreams of getting a college education are quickly vanishing for many young people.

I don’t know about your household, but our grocery bill has nearly doubled in the last two years, even with fewer kids at home. It’s even more of a hardship for the adult student who is working a full-time job and going to school full or part time in an effort to better their quality of life and improve their employment opportunities. Oftentimes they are also raising a family at the same time.

Education is often the key to opening the gate leading out of poverty or into financial independence.

If the governor, Legislature and the Board of Regents raise college tuition now, they may as well change the locks on the gate of opportunity for many Nevadans young and old.

This is survival of financial fittest at its best.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular column One Man's View.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Action needed on U.S. 93 now

This first published November 13, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

Wake up, Gov. Gibbons! The clock is ticking, and before we know it the O’Callaghan-Tillman bridge will be open and the traffic nightmare may very well be real.

In July last year, Robert Malone, a contributing editor at, scribed an article titled “America’s Killer Roads.” In it he names U.S. 93 between Hoover Dam and Wickenburg as one of the deadliest roads in America.

I can’t say too much about the entire distance, but one thing is for sure: I have plenty to say about the six or so miles west of Hoover Dam and then the next 16 mile east of Hoover Dam.

Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, travelers definitely put the lives of themselves and their families in harm’s way when driving the short 22 miles of two-lane highway. It was a constant battle between 18-wheelers chugging up hills then racing down hills and impatient drivers getting in or out of Las Vegas.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, all 18-wheelers have been banned from crossing the dam and rerouted over to Laughlin and up U.S. 95 through Searchlight.

This has been an excellent solution, especially with all the improvements made to U.S. 95, such as several passing lanes, divided highway sections and the relatively flat terrain.

The 22 miles of U.S. 93 to Boulder City, although it has improved with the absence of trucks, still remains deadly. The tractor-trailers have been replaced by reckless tour buses, unsure tourists and other assorted vehicles going and returning from Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk.

I have lost count of the near-misses and many crashes while driving between Hoover Dam and the point 16 miles south where U.S. 93 becomes a divided highway.

The most common culprit is the impatient driver not satisfied with the posted 65 mph speed limit. During the past three years, I have had a few close calls requiring evasive and dangerous maneuvers to avoid a head-on collision, including hard braking, ditch diving and rail sliding. One time, I was inches from the guardrail going south, while the northbound vehicle being passed was in dirt. The impatient jerk between us was zipping past without a care in the world.

Even though the Arizona Department of Transportation has plans to widen the road east of the dam, there are no set plans for the short length of the 93 between the Hacienda Hotel and Buchanan Boulevard in Boulder City.

So what does this have to do with Gov. Gibbons? U.S. 93 is controlled by the state, and traffic controls have to be approved by the Nevada Department of Transportation. The NDOT director is appointed by the governor. A plan needs to be under way now to stop an impending train wreck.

Granted, I’ve never been a fan of creating a bypass around Boulder City because of economic concerns for the city. I fear that a bypass would take all of the car traffic off of Boulder City streets and leave Nevada Way blowing in the wind like Seligman, Ariz., after Interstate 40 was built.

Even if I were a fan, the project is so far down on the list of state highway projects, it won’t see the light of the drafting table for years — or should I say the pixel of the CAD anytime soon.

Perhaps Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could find a way to keep the big rigs flowing down U.S. 95 or through Laughlin until a safe solution is in place. That might be a no-win proposition for the senator to even address, however. Some gadfly would say he was trying to profit by keeping the traffic flowing through Searchlight, his hometown, if he advocated such a move. Another gadfly might accuse him of trying to get the traffic away from Searchlight if he opposed it.

This kind of controversy wouldn’t be anything new. Several years ago, he had gotten funding to widen U.S. 95 through Searchlight from a two-lane road to a divided highway. Back then, U.S. 95 was a blood alley and many lives had been lost on it. A group of yahoos accused him of trying to increase the value of his property by improving the roadway — which by the way was pure BULL. You could have gotten all the traffic in the world to Searchlight, and it wouldn’t improve the values without a water source or sewer options. Searchlight has limited water resources for the present or near future, for that matter. Needless to say, the opposition delayed the funding for the road. In my opinion, many more people died unnecessarily on U.S. 95 because of distorted reasoning.

Because of Nevada’s vast open space, the article hits home for me because our kids — and many of yours — drive long and narrow roads through rural Nevada to get home for the holidays.

According to Malone’s article, “In 2005, 61 percent of those killed while driving died on rural, two-lane byways, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office. In Arizona, two-lane roads have three times the fatalities as four-lane roads. In California, more than half of all fatal accidents are on two-lane roads. In both Texas and Connecticut, they account for two-thirds of fatal accidents. Overall, rural roads account for less than half of the total miles in the U.S., yet are bigger killers than the interstates or urban streets.”

Perhaps because the bridge is partially named for my father, I feel a responsibility to point out its potential hazards and to remind the governor that he needs to do the right thing before 2010 gets here and the nightmare begins.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular column One Man's View.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Raising college tuition in Nevada?

The Las Vegas Sun’s capital reporter, Cy Ryan, reported about a meeting between the governor and representatives from Nevada higher education today.

According to Ryan’s story, (read here) “Gov. Jim Gibbons, University Regent Chairman Michael Wixom, Chancellor Jim Rogers and Daniel Klaich, a vice president in the system, met for about 30 minutes today in Carson City to discuss the upcoming budget.”

First of all, 30 minutes isn’t enough time to even suggest anything, much less agree to anything. However, I’m sure it felt like a 12-hour day for the governor having to sit with his chief nemesis, Chancellor Jim Rogers.

Nevada is at the bottom, rated 47 of 51 when it comes the number of people who have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher — less than 25 percent of Nevadans.

One of the subjects Rogers and Gibbons discussed was raising college tuitions to help fill the gap.

Higher tuition in Nevada would put a college education even farther out of reach for Nevada families. I predict that enrollments already will drop starting in January due to economic hardship. Raising tuition right now would only exacerbate the problem.

Many families may be reconsidering college options for their kids, such as enrolling in the community college for two years to complete transferable undergraduate courses for less tuition before enrolling them in UNR or UNLV.

Many Nevadans are concerned about losing their jobs, owing more for their homes than the market value and keeping up with the enormous cost increases of groceries.

According to a poll commissioned by the Reno Gazette-Journal and KTVN-TV Channel 2, 26 percent of respondents said they were “afraid” or “very afraid” for their jobs; with 37 percent “not too” afraid and 21 percent “not at all” afraid. For the RGJ story by Bill O’Driscoll Click here KTVN Channel 2, Click here.

Nevada is ground zero for the mortgage crisis and now foreclosure crisis. Many parents were counting on second mortgages to fulfill college promises to their children. Those promises are now impossible to meet for many parents who are now faced with losing the roof over their heads. The dreams of getting a college education are quickly vanishing for many young people.

I don’t know about your household, but our grocery bill has nearly doubled in the last two years, even with fewer kids at home. It’s even more of a hardship for the adult student who is working a full-time job and going to school full- or part-time in an effort to better their quality of life and improve their employment opportunities. Oftentimes they are also raising a family at the same time.

Education is often the key to opening the gate leading out of poverty or into financial independence.

If the governor and the board of regents raise college tuition now, they may as well change the locks on the gate of opportunity for many Nevadans young and old.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

No such thing as a free lunch

This first published November 6, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

Finally, the campaign season is over and my phone has stopped ringing. Monday night our phone rang off the hook with all of the calls going directly to our trusty answering machine.

This has been the dirtiest campaign season I can recall, greatly attributable to the robocall machines disseminating every imaginable distortion of the truth or misrepresentation of candidate character possible.

No sense in repeating them here so adios robocall!

Now that the election is over, we can turn our attention back to daily life and economics. One of the most interesting items to speak of is the price of gas. This fall marks the sharpest decrease in prices at the pump in four years.

According to, in December 2004 the average price of regular grade gas in the Las Vegas area was $1.81 per gallon. During the next 3 1/2 years, until June of this year, prices bounced up and down to an all-time high average $4.26 per gallon.

During this period, the following average highs were reached: September 2005, $2.90; May 2006, $3.15; May 2007, $3.20; and in June 2008, it soared to $4.26.

Since then the price has dropped an amazing $1.71 to its lowest average since March 2007 at $2.55 and is still dropping.

Interesting enough, the price of oil was trending the same as gasoline until June 2007. Then it bolted up from $70 a barrel to over $146 in just over a year, nearly doubling the increase of gasoline in the same period. Then it tumbled back in line to around $60 per barrel this week.

The question remains, will prices continue to fall if Americans continue to use less fuel? U.S. oil consumption is down 5 percent, mostly attributable to the troubled economy and world financial crisis. As the price of gas falls, we may be more inclined to drive more rather than pocket the savings.

This could also build some consumer confidence, encouraging consumers to loosen their tightened purse strings. However don’t get too giddy, because the Saudis are tightening their pipelines to force the price of oil back up to what they consider a comfortable level.

I’m no expert but I would bet the price of gas will start an upward trend sooner than later, even if we continue to reduce our consumption in the U.S.

Personally, I will continue to reduce consumption whenever possible by planning local errands, fewer trips out of town, carpooling and driving the hybrid whenever possible.

While on the subject of gasoline, I’d like to tell you about an experience my bride is having. First, you must understand that she comes from generations of penny pinchers, with three of them still living. She can find a deal where no other can except her mother, grandmother and aunts. They will jump through fire to get the savings or at least jump over more hurdles than most.

So, last August we decided it would be a good idea to have the windows of our Prius tinted. We looked around for a good deal and located a tinter. The business was offering a special on the latest UV block tint material, which was a bit more than the one we planned on. However, it came with $500 in free gas! Sounded fair enough, so we agreed to the super duper (or duped) tint job, and we would get a certificate for $500 in free gas.


Once we got home, she called the number to activate the certificate in order to receive our gas vouchers. She finds there are a few stipulation, such as one must purchase $100 in gasoline per month from the same oil company, then turn in the receipts before a certain day of the month with your vouchers to get a $25 gas card.

Okay, spend $100 on gas to get $25 free in gas easy enough. If you noticed, you can only claim $25 per month. Which means we will have to spend $2,000 over 20 months to redeem our $500 in free gas.

This is all attainable, right? One fillup of the Big Red Truck and we are three-quarters of the way there.

The vouchers arrive from all twenty of them on a single sheet of paper. They look official with the redemption number, month, the name of the oil company we’re using, a line stating “Return with $100 in receipts” and her name Donna O’Callaghan printed on each little voucher. There is a bonus here you can spend the $25 on anything the station sells.

I wonder if that includes $25 in quarters for the slot machines?

Needless to say the bride completed every detail and sent the first batch on Sept. 17, her birthday. I’m sure that was deliberate to memorialize the event. She waited the required 28 days then called to get an update, only to leave a message. Then a gentleman called her back to assure her the first card would be here in seven to 10 days. No worries, except its now been more than 20 days. She called again and now you can’t even leave a message, a recording assures you the gift cards are in process and they apologize for the delay due to processing issues.

One thing is for sure: While others give up, Donna will show them the other pincher in her, the Doberman pinscher. Look out While there is no such thing as a free lunch, a deal is a deal, and she knows it.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular column One Man's View.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Don't let lesser issues pass you by

This first published October 23, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s appearance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” was less than hysterical.

In fact, it was downright eerie — that is the striking resemblance of Palin and Tina Fey is eerie.

Her cameo did lend itself to blasting SNL’s ratings to their highest numbers in 14 years. But Alec Baldwin’s line about Palin being hotter in person was belittling.

In any case, Palin has yet to convince me she is vice presidential material and, more importantly, presidential material. I haven’t, however, completely made up my mind about which ticket to vote for.

Because I’m undecided, I repeat what I’ve stated since the inception of early voting in Nevada: I’m really leery of the idea because so much can happen in the last days of a campaign that could determine how people vote.

Why, if I had voted for McCain on Saturday and then on Monday a great American patriot like Colin Powell endorses Obama, I might feel regret. Actually, this race may have been more interesting had Colin Powell been running.

With that said, I must admit early voting can be convenient with busy schedules in a community that operates 24 hours a day. And in many cases it probably doesn’t matter whether people vote early or not.

I say this because many of the Democrats and Republicans I have discussed the election with would vote for their party’s candidate no matter what might possibly happen. It’s amusing how members of each party rattle off their party’s talking points or negative campaign rhetoric without regard to the facts or truth.

Democrats usually recite advertisement copy or news accounts, and Republicans recite the talking points of conservative spinners such as Limbaugh, Hanity and Levine. Being a talk radio junkie, I listen to these three spin doctors throughout the day, challenging the loosely weaved fabric they spin.

Politics is a tricky river to navigate because there is no perfect candidate who could possibly align with every issue you may consider important.

For instance, I know people who abhor abortion yet fervently defend the death penalty.

There is a businessman who complains about the debatable economic drain and increased cost of health care created by undocumented immigrants, then in the very same breath expresses how important they are to the survival of business in Las Vegas and this country.

Whatever your hot-button issue might be, try to remain cognisant of your lesser issues, because they could easily outweigh your hot button.

I’m not suggesting you vote for any particular candidate or back the platform of one party over the other. What I’m suggesting is that you think about the issues that are dear to you and vote your conscience.

If you have no special issues, then educate yourself on the issues, challenge the rhetoric and vote. There is no excuse for not voting, especially in Clark County where every opportunity is provided for you to do so.

Whenever I consider people not voting, I’m reminded of my father’s experiences as an observer of elections in places like Kurdistan in the early ’90s. This is a region on the borders of Iraq, Iran and Turkey where a people without a country called the Kurds live. In the case of the Kurds, many walked for three days to reach a polling place.

The photos he took are etched in my mind, especially the ones of the long lines, in some cases half a mile long.

It is disheartening to see voter turnouts in Clark County from past elections. I predict a higher than average turnout in this presidential election compared to other presidential elections.

If you do not vote in this election, you have little right to complain about the direction of this country’s future.

If 17 million people will stay up until midnight to watch SNL with Gov. Sarah Palin, just think of the millions who might get out to vote in this election.

That’s no joke!

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or His regular column is at One Man's View

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Government Misjudged Lifeline

This first published October 2, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

It looks like the rooster has come home to roost. The U.S. economy has tanked after the first “bailout” failed, as it should have.

Isn’t it amazing how the stock market moved up as the promise of a lifeline was looming? And then the line snaps, and computers take over with automated trades dumping stocks, causing a 777-point drop on Monday. Some jackpot.

Then on Tuesday, as Congress continued to mend the lifeline for another toss to the sinking economy, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped back up 485 points.

Personally, I’m not real fond of bailing out all of the hooligans who have been living high on the hog with multiple homes and private jets on the backs of citizens trying reach the American dream just to have it snuffed out like a bad cigar.

I’m even more disenchanted by the political stock that both John McCain and Barack Obama tried to lasso from the crisis. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t buy into the ridiculous name-calling and blame-shifting going on by both parties. As far as the debates went, both of them should have stayed in Washington D.C. for change — a real change.

Last year, more than 37 million people were living below the poverty level in this country — the wealthiest country in the world. After this year, who knows how many more millions will have been forced into poverty?

What will the big “Bailout of ’08” do for the average “take a lunchbox to work Joe” in America? Very little is my guess.
Being very fortunate to have a 401(k) plan — even one that has gotten the you-know-what kicked out of it lately — I have decided not to panic and ride it out. The beauty of my 401(k) is that I make all of the decisions on what funds I choose. The downside is some of my choices weren’t that great. But I made the choices, and is Congress going to bail me out from my bad choices? Hell no!

Is this economic plan going to bail out all of those speculators who bought multiple homes in, let’s say, Las Vegas? Let’s just hope not.

So what am I going to do about my 401(k) and our mortgage? Absolutely nothing. Remain calm and continue on as usual. I’m not running to the bank and withdrawing our cash savings to put it in the mattress either.

Not only that, I’m encouraging you to spend wiser and, like me, keep spending even a little bit. Especially if you can spend your hard-earned cash with the small-business people trying to keep their heads above water and a roof over their families’ heads.

This is what made America great and will continue to do so in the future.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to tip. Tips are what makes the world go ’round. Just ask any of the tens of thousands of tip earners in this valley — our neighbors that is!

Now what about how our Nevada delegation voted on Monday’s failed bailout attempt?

Remember my last column, where I said Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., needed to shed his Bush lap dog image? Well he didn’t do it on Monday. He voted just the way President Bush wanted him to. Atta boy Jon. Here’s a bone. Good Boy!

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., did the right thing by voting against many of her colleagues and the president. She said the plan didn’t do enough for Americans and too much for corporate America.

Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., voted against it, saying he couldn’t vote for it in good conscience.

Don’t get me wrong: I could support any of the three. Some just need to learn a little independence.

Even though this idea won’t help my 401(k), I believe Wall Street should not get a dime other than what’s needed to borrow for capitalization and conservative expansion to create new jobs in the U.S.

In a perfect world, we would bail out residents trying to keep their homes by providing refinancing in the form of government loans and the understanding only one home would be eligible per tax filing. In other words, if you have two homes and you filed joint tax returns in 2007, you could only refinance one with a government loan.

That would keep the foxes out of the roost and the hens laying.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular column at One Man's View.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Political directions are off

This first published September 18, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the running mate of GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, has captured the imaginations of millions of Americans for many different reasons. This is the land of capitalism, where a creative mind can capitalize on the Palin phenomena with very little effort.

So far we’ve seen the Sarah Palin dolls in different attire, the pit bull with lipstick T-shirts and every other imaginable gimmick.

The real question is: Will she ever become anything more than a novelty? Not to say that with any contempt or flare of sexism, but can she find a place in the minds of American voters?

The McCain campaign has kept her away from any open media opportunities where she could face multiple questions from more than one journalist. After her interview with ABC News anchor Charles Gibson last week, it’s becoming evident she is either unpolished or rather shallow.

This plays well with the hearts of middle America, because she is viewed more like the rest of us plain ol’ folk.

But how does that play with the voters? She has become everything the Republicans deplored about Barack Obama. She now carries the Rock Star label that Barack Obama carried during the Republican National Convention. She is younger than Barack Obama, too.

Just wait one minute. Who is running for president anyway, Palin or McCain? Other than the obvious, it is really hard to tell by media accounts, or rather the amount of media attention being given to Palin, overshadowing McCain.

The media will continue to fall all over themselves to get what they can’t have, and that is Sarah Palin over the pit barbecue spinning on a rotisserie of unfiltered questions. They will probably have to wait until the debates just like the rest of us to really get a look behind her fashionable eye wear and red lipstick.

There are many political tricksters in media-type sheepskin trying to unravel the Palin phenomenon, but only time will tell if anything sticks.

If this is anything like a high school homecoming election and not an election to the two highest offices in the free world, then Barack Obama should be very concerned.

Personally, I’m a bit concerned that Palin didn’t have a clue what the “Bush Doctrine” is and a bit more concerned she thinks that her ability to see Russia from a remote area of Alaska is international relations experience.

Americans need to take a long, hard look at these candidates, including the running mates. Wall Street is collapsing, not one brick at a time, but rather by entire buildings. The economy is in such a funk it is going to require some real leadership and vision. For this reason, we had better take a close look a our U.S. Congress, because that is where reform really begins. Without an agreeable Congress, the best of presidents can’t get a single bill passed.

So, whether Obama is a rock star or McCain is a great American war hero or Biden is ever mentioned or Palin is all lipstick and no pit bull, we are in need of some redirection in America.

Until then, I’m waiting for the debates.

Speaking of Congress, have you noticed the ads in the race for Congressional District 3 between Rep. Jon Porter and state Sen. Dina Titus? Personally, I like both Titus and Porter for various reasons. However, they both need to reconsider their ads.

Porter, for one, has this ad stating he personally helped build the solar generation project in Eldorado Valley. He makes it sound like he was out there shining the mirrors and negotiating the deal for the land. Then I see Titus referring to how she supported legislation for renewable energy.

We need to hear about how they’re going to bring change to the economy and how they will develop bipartisanship in a completely divided Congress.

Porter has to shed his Bush lapdog image, and I would suggest Titus get busy on the issues and not how she has a 30-year-old twang.

Last week I mentioned on my blog that Gov. Jim Gibbons — our politically challenged governor of Nevada — is going to host a seminar for governors-elect to prepare them for their new jobs.

No doubt the governor has plenty of experience to share with those newly elected governors. I imagined some of the seminar topics, so I created a possible top 10 list and posted it on the blog. Hopefully, the governor is only hosting and not providing the topics.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or His regular column is at One Man's View.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jon Ralston on Gibbons' seminar for new Govs.

Jon Ralston followed up today with his version of what Jim Gibbons might share with soon to be newly elected governors.

Ralston's Las Vegas SUN Column: Gibbons shares his secrets

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Gibbons' Top 10 topics for new governors

Flashed by Jon Ralston this morning and reported today by Brendan Riley of the Associated Press, Gov. Jim Gibbons the politically challenged governor of Nevada is going to host a seminar for governor elects to prepare them for their new jobs.

You can find Brendan Riley's story here.

No doubt the Gov. has plenty of experience to share with those newly elected governors. I can imagine some of the seminar topics so I've created a possible list. Hopefully the Governor is only hosting and not providing the outline of topics.

1) Whose words are they anyway? How to write your own speeches

2) Parking Garage Etiquette 101

3) How to dump a first lady in 10 days; barring she doesn't kick you out of the mansion first

4) 101 ways to text message on the public dime

5) Late night texting for dummies, uh Governors

6) How not to fleece rich widows

7) How to survive 23 percent approval ratings: Deny, deny, deny!

8) How to have fun after the party has left

9) Budget cutting basics; widows and orphans then education

10) Play dates for chief executives: kids school programs, rodeos and grocery shopping

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Experience is just the start

This first published September 4, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

Many of us are still trying to figure out who Sarah Palin is and what experience she brings to Number One Observatory Circle. In case you’re wondering, Number One Observatory Circle is the official residence of the vice president authorized by Congress in 1974 and is on the campus of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C.

In 16 years of public service, she has ascended to vice presidential running mate to Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

She is the first woman Republican vice presidential running-mate and only the second woman in history.

The first question people have asked me is whether she is qualified to be vice president. The simple answer is yes. According to the Constitution, a person must be a native-born citizen, at least 35 years of age and a resident of the United States for at least 14 years. Therefore, she qualifies.

Probably because it’s a simple question with a simple answer, folks then ask the follow-up question: Does she have enough experience to be vice president? That is a bit trickier to answer, because it’s all very subjective. Every American may have a different opinion on what experience is necessary to be president. Notice, I say president, because the vice president could become president at a moment’s notice.

But is it really experience we are looking for? Take our own Gov. Jim Gibbons, for instance. He looks great on paper when it comes to experience. He is a geologist, a lawyer, a hydrologist, a pilot with a distinguished record and former congressman with 10 years in office. Yet he is the worst governor imaginable with no sense of good judgment.

The state could elect anyone as governor and, if he surrounded himself with good people, the right people, he could be the best governor ever.

Judgment is the key qualification that should be ferreted out of every candidate. There lies the challenge: for voters to determine judgment and character of those running.

Apparently, Palin has done a respectable job as governor of Alaska and mayor of a community half the size of Boulder City. A colleague pointed out that Oscar Goodman would have more experience if you compared populations. Alaska has a population of 675,000, which is half the population of Southern Nevada — if, indeed, Oscar were the mayor of all Southern Nevada, as he claims.

So what was Senator McCain thinking when he selected Governor Palin as his running mate? Talk radio black sheep and eccentric Michael Savage said McCain was trying to lose the election. Interesting, but not likely.
Is Palin the sacrificial lamb for the Republican National Committee? Couldn’t McCain convince Mitt Romney to run?

Perhaps the real strategy is to pull the Hillary Clinton feminists away from Obama — or at least give them a choice. Probably not, because Palin’s pro-life stance would be way too much, for even the most centrist feminist to embrace.

McCain’s choice of Palin did accomplish a couple things. One, it neutralized the experience debate and kept the prospect of a woman veep alive. However, who ever expected the first woman veep to be a Republican?

What do I think about Governor Palin’s children and their issues? Nothing. They mirror what’s happening in America. Although I find it disappointing that she knew about her daughter’s situation, and the governor still accepted the opportunity, thrusting her 17-year-old into the world media and into the jaws of savage beasts.

I find this disturbing, because of my own experience growing up in the governor’s mansion. It’s painful when your parents are criticized and even more painful when the media point out your own or even siblings’ shortcomings. Especially painful is the feeling of failing your parents’ expectations. It is one thing to experience it in the privacy of the family, and completely another to read it in the paper or see it on TV.

Unfortunately, we know more about the Palin children right now than we know about their mother. I’m sure in the coming days and weeks, we will all ferret out what’s important and what’s not.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular column at

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Family experience fosters insight

A version of this first published August 21, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

A friend of mine sent me a compelling letter concerning her two adopted children and their journey to recovery from a disorder many people have not heard of: attachment disorder. Because of space constraints, I’m posting the entire commentary here on my blog. The names have been withheld to protect the boys’ identities.

A Chance at Life: Helping Children with Attachment Disorder

Even with the insights and empirical knowledge I acquired from twenty five years of working with the homeless mentally ill, I felt unprepared and ill equipped to respond effectively to the steady escalation of dangerous and disturbing "acting out" behaviors manifesting in my twelve and thirteen year old sons. They came into our lives at two and three years of age through the Nevada State foster care program. There were no serious signs of effects of the neglect they had endured before coming to us. They were animated happy children who brought joy into our lives. By the time they were four and five the adoption was finalized.

My personal journey into the suffering of my dear sons, Todd and Tyler, has informed my heart yet again in a new way of the urgent and essential life task of learning to love unconditionally. Through the tragic and terrifying turn of events that have shaken our family, I have been awakened to a deeper understanding of why so many that we see on the streets are so broken and seem to be caught in a never ending cycle of self destruction.

I have also realized that every fiber of experience and wisdom that has been woven into my heart over these years has prepared me for the unsentimental nonviolent love, imperative to the recovery of my two sons. I am reminded of the famous quote from Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov , "love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams and books." It is suddenly clear to me that my work with the homeless and my call to be mother are intimately entwined. Both requiring me to never give up on those who society would deem undeserving. Whether that be the homeless man on the street or the delinquent, "problem" child. Both experiences have shown me how to find and mend the heart of the dejected outcast. Indeed, in both instances I have learned what is possible when compassion and empathy replace punishment and rejection.

Presently, both of my sons are in treatment centers. Their placement was in response to their steadily escalating, dangerous, delinquent behaviors. At twelve and thirteen, they were showing signs that something was terribly wrong. We were well into crisis management before we found a therapist who actually understood what was happening. Hence, my husband and I have been living a crash course in the affects of disrupted attachment, sometimes known as Attachment Disorder. We have learned that children who suffer abuse or neglect during the first two years of life, develop an adaptation for survival. One of many serious consequences of this is their capacity to trust adults is severely damaged. Psychologically they have learned that in order to survive, (not die) they must be in complete control. So they manifest behaviors that are subsequently defiant and oppositional. In turn the adults who they already do not trust; parents, teachers, police etc. react with fear, anger or punishment, which in turn fuels the defiance and reinforces their psychological reality that adults are indeed unsafe and cannot be trusted.

There is also a high correlation between parents who neglect or abuse their children and mental illness, increasing the proclivity for mood disturbance in the children as well.

We learned that when children with a history of early trauma reach adolescence, they begin to psychologically relive the trauma suffered during those first two years of life. Indeed often they manifest the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. They begin to experience anxiety, depression and rage.

We pieced all these factors together to begin to understand why our children were self destructing, why they were not coming home at night, getting into fights at school, not going to school. At twelve and thirteen they were taking drugs and alcohol. They had no regard for our parental authority and would be thrown into a violent rage when we set very reasonable limits. We were getting called by the police in the middle of the night because they would sneak out and get into trouble. They were both caught shoplifting a number of times. It was all brought to a head when they were arrested for breaking into a vacant house. While my husband and I were desperately trying to get help we endured many visits from the police. Authorities consistently gave us well intended but misguided advice. They would inevitably remind us that we had the right to use physical discipline on our children and that if we did this we would have better control. One officer, thinking he was helping the situation, told our boys to behave or they would be sent back to child haven.

After many months of living through this nightmare we found a therapist who had personal experience with attachment disorder, he had foster adopted seven children. He helped us to understand what was happening and what we could do about it. At about the same time our research lead us to the Institute for Attachment and Child Development, a therapeutic program in Colorado specifically effective in treating children with disrupted attachment issues.

It was Holy Week, my husband and I were back in Colorado at the Institute for Attachment and Child Development. Tyler has been here for a month in a therapeutic foster home. Here, he was, with the help of highly skilled treatment parents put into a developmental box, bringing him to a younger psychological age. This process along with medications for mood disorder would prepare him for a long anticipated two-week intensive aimed at healing the wounds of his original trauma of early neglect as well as his relationship to Gary and I as his parents. The therapist warns that it will be a roller coast ride of emotions especially for Tyler and that we as parents need to stay on the platform comforting him through it all.

By day three my son is laying across my lap . He is weeping the tears of grief and disappointment that have been buried under layers of anger, confusion and pain. Together my husband and I held him secure, rocking and soothing the deep sobbing that was finally being released. This went on for about an hour before he became calm and the crying ceased. Then the therapist spoke with Tyler to help him understand what just occurred and when he asked Tyler how this all felt, Tyler smiled like a happy child and replied, "satisfying".

It is unfortunate that there are so many who are born, through no fault of their own, into dangerous and compromised circumstances and never find relief. Often they are inheriting a legacy of mental illness, drug and alcohol addictions, neglect and abuse. Nationally one in four former foster youth will be incarcerated two years after leaving foster care. Across the country, for many reasons, there has been a call to reform the foster care system. Part of this reformation should include efforts to provide effective treatment for these children. Perhaps it is time we do more for the future of these children than just building more prisons.

Attachment Disorder and it's concurrent conditions ( is a very serious social ill that can and should be addressed. The therapies are specialized but not impossible to teach and learn. It is possible to find effective treatment to give these babies/children who experience abuse and or neglect a better chance at life. The institutions and bureaucracies that are set up to respond to these children first need to be willing to look at the studies and research on brain development and the effects of this on these babies. They need to take seriously the potential human and social costs that comes from not treating these children. They must be willing to teach potential adoptive and foster parents about these kids and how to parent these children. There needs to be treatment homes with trained treatment parents to care for these kids in every state.

Comprehensive structural changes in adoption/foster care systems will not only alleviate the suffering of families, it will sow the seeds for social transformation putting to rest legacies of abuse and neglect. Certainly this kind of structural change can and will over time yield a decline in the number of homeless mentally ill.

Tyler and Todd are finally both at home. They both successfully went through the treatment program at the Institute for Attachment and Child Development. They now have a new understanding of family. They were helped to face the truth of their original traumas. They were prescribed effective medication. They have a desire to be part of family and have tools and insight to continue the work of healing. My husband and I have also been given the parenting tools and support to help the boys navigate through their struggles. With continued therapy and medication management the prognosis is good. We are on the road to a brighter, healthier future for our family .

We are full of gratitude for the family and friends that have generously supported our efforts to obtain this specialized treatment for our boys. We only wish that someday this type of treatment will be accessible for all families who are raising children with disrupted attachment. We are heartened to see that there are local efforts being made to bring in experts on the subject to educate and work with local parents and clinicians in the field of foster care and adoption.

On September 11 & 12, 2008 at the West Charleston Library there will be an Attachment Disorder Training: Theory, Treatment and Parenting presented by Forrest Lien, LCSW and Konnie Stoltz, Therapeutic Foster Parent and Parent Trainer from the Institute for Attachment and Child Development. Contact information 702-375-2171

Signed: A local Mom

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hard times call for local measures

This first published August 8, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

Is the Boyd Gaming Group’s delay of the Echelon resort just the tip of nontraditional economic indicators forming in the minds of Las Vegas Valley residents?

Most people are less likely to be aware of major economic indicators used by analysts to gauge the ebb and flow of the economy, such as sales of retail and food services or perhaps gross domestic product.

The indicators most of us can relate to are events or realities in our daily lives.

The construction of Echelon being stopped mid-swing for a predicted 12 months is a good example of an event that has a chilling effect on many locals. How so? The very fact that 600 of our neighbors are out of work, leaving them and their families in a state of uncertainty, hits home.

Let’s not forget the contractors and subcontractors who provided our neighbors with jobs. Those companies have suppliers and vendors that rely on them to keep their businesses going and their employees working. The trickle-down effect can be far-reaching in a small community that isn’t economically diversified.

Southern Nevada is dependent upon the gaming and tourism industries and is nowhere near to being economically diverse.

Another traditional indicator is the growing number of empty retail spaces in strip malls. Retail vacancy rate is nearly 7 percent of the 4.5 million square feet built. Office space has been reported at nearly 17 percent vacancy.

A friend once told me Americans tend to base the economy on the price of a hamburger. Well, if that’s true, then we must be in a rut. According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, McDonald’s is considering taking the Double Cheeseburger off the dollar menu or at least exploring how to make it less expensive for the company.

In some locations, McDonald’s has been making the burger with one slice of cheese and calling it the Double Burger with Cheese. Other locations have been selling them for a $1.09. In case you’re interested, this burger flap is actually about the price of cheese and not beef — at least for now.

The stumbling economy and the high price of gas helped tank U.S. auto sales, dropping 13 percent in July. High demand for smaller cars is propping up market hopes while the sales of light trucks and SUVs has all but crashed them. However, the luxury market appears stable — interesting! Perhaps this is an indication of the shrinking middle class.

No worries, though. I read somewhere a dealership in Florida is offering a small car with the purchase of an SUV.

There are plenty of economic woes in the airline industry, as well. Some airlines are charging for more than one bag, whereas customarily one could check two bags for free. Some routes have jumped 276 percent in the last year, making it impossible for some folks to fly.

Fewer people are taking vacations away from home and opting for the staycation, staying home or close to home. I’ve heard of some local families going on mini-Vegas vacations by taking advantage of highly discounted Strip hotel rooms for a couple of days. Actually, you can stay at Harrah’s for $49 a night. If you would like something more luxurious, the Bellagio has rooms from $179 advertised. What a concept! A cheap room in a nice hotel with the best accommodations possible, including pool, cabana and some entertainment.

That’s investing in the local economy.

The bright spot on the horizon is the price of gas is falling. I personally find this very suspect, especially on the heals of record profits by big oil companies. Americans tend to have very short memories, and this is what appears to happen. The oil companies push the price of fuel up to an unbearable point, then back prices down enough to make folks feel at ease before the dramatic climb to the next record price begins. We Americans are dumb enough to play the game. The oil companies continue to make record profits for their shareholders, which is the American way. Rightfully so!

Personally, in the case of Exxon-Mobil I refuse to buy their gas unless there is no other choice. In fact, I would rather pay a little more to a smaller company.

Sure the economy is sucking wind, but what can we do about it? Plenty. Start by going to local merchants whenever possible, even if it might cost a bit more. This helps keep our dollars in our community, where it counts.

If you eat out a lot or a little, consider eating at locally owned, independent restaurants instead of the chains that send profits out of state to other communities. Most local eateries are family owned and operated, thus supporting multiple households. Check out the dining pages in some of our papers or one of our coupon books for good deals.

Supporting our local merchants will help buck both traditional and non-traditional economic indicators. Give no free rent in our minds for the economic boogie man.

Shop wisely, community-wise that is.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular blog at

Monday, July 28, 2008

We must confront our own racisim

This first published July 24, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

ATLANTA — The weather here is hot and sticky. The days get long and hot here in the South. The resting place of the greatest civil rights activist in American history, Martin Luther King Jr., this is the perfect location to discuss racism in America.
This week I have the privilege of spending a week at Oglethorpe University, with not only many of the brightest minds in the area of social justice, but also people who teach and live it.
The Social Action Summer Institute brings Catholic social action leaders from around the United States together to share best practices and study advanced topics.
It is a national institute for Catholic social justice ministries to develop leadership skills in community activism and the advocacy for those living in poverty or on the margins of society.
This year’s advanced track is a symposium on racism with presentations titled “The Color-Blind Ideology: The Current Racial Order in the U.S.” by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, professor of sociology at Duke University. The Rev. Bryan Massingale, doctorate of sacred theology and associate professor of theology at Marquette University, is presenting “The History of Catholic Social Teaching on Race and Racism.”
Although the intention is to build skills to prompt Catholics in the pews to take action, that action benefits all people of every race and every faith. The very basic theme is to protect human dignity of all people in the human family.
Ms. Sherry Frank of the American Jewish Committee is presenting “Building Interreligious and Interracial Justice Coalitions.” The title of this presentation exemplifies the importance of solidarity within the human family just as it is important in your or my immediate families. Individuals together with families create communities, the collective power of communities make nations and the people of those nations make up the human family. And just as there is strife, disagreement and fighting within families, it is the same with the human family. Therefore as people of faith, with all faiths working together, a change in the world is possible.
Having grown up in a family where racism was pretty much non-existent and taboo to say the least, we grew up understanding all people are created equal no matter what the color of their skin, race, nationality or gender. Our parents took every opportunity to share different cultures with us.
In my own experience, I was pretty much color-blind as a child, having a Pollyanna view of racism because I had not ever experienced it. That was until we moved to Las Vegas from Carson City and I transferred to Valley High School. It was there I got my first taste of racism — but it was a reverse racism where I mistakenly felt at the time I was the victim. At first it appeared to be just a case of bullying and intimidation, until names referring to the color of my skin were used.
Fortunately, it didn’t last long. I ended up befriending many of my African-American tormentors. Sounds odd doesn’t it? Today I can draw on the same friendships developed back then following a racially turbulent time in Las Vegas. Some of my friends are now successful businessmen and community leaders.
My parents helped me understand the racial strife and how to deal with it by example, a few good books and a couple of movies to start. But most of all, their care and love for all people was evident and made a lasting impression. Their encouragement to experience others’ cultures or the cultures of different nationalities, including language and best of all cooking, set the foundation for human understanding and compassion.
The challenge today is to get people to confront their own prejudices by first eliminating the “us and them” mentality and striving for equality among all people. It’s not only a class issue, but rather deep-seated color issues, as well as white privilege.
This year we honored the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 40 years after his assassination, and today, after 40 years, we have not come close to abolishing racism. Although we have developed tolerance in society, tolerance is not the solution, but rather a Band-Aid.
Yes, we could very well elect an African-American president this year, but does that mean we have become less racist in America?
I don’t think so, but it does indicate a shift in the scale of racial equality.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular blog at

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Return to hectic life disappoints

This first published July 10, 2008 in the Boulder City News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

After a few days of R&R in Lincoln County, I begin to wonder why I don’t spend more time in rural Nevada. It is a simple life where things tend to move at a slower pace than our urban and suburban paces — except when it comes to family, a neighbor in need or work.

One can be sure most folks in rural Nevada are kind, generous and hard working.

Admiring the view of the Dry Valley from the back porch, I watched the ranchers cut one field of alfalfa while on another field they were busy gathering up harvested alfalfa into one-ton bales. In a third field, they tended to the irrigation system that delivers life-giving water to the alfalfa.

The most pressing thing on our minds was what to fix for breakfast and when to go fishing or exploring the back roads of the mountains.

However, in the back of my mind were the realities I intended to leave behind at home. Concern about the price of gas coupled with a failing economy was ever present from Las Vegas to the rural stretches of the state. It appeared fewer people were escaping the heat of the Las Vegas Valley.

Normally traffic from Las Vegas to Pioche would be busy on a holiday weekend, with motor homes, campers, travel trailers and the like. Although there were a good number, it was not nearly as many as in previous years.

It still made for a very relaxing weekend with no real crowds to deal with at the nearby lakes and streams. By Sunday afternoon, I was charged and ready to get back home.

My recharged batteries were quickly draining by 7:30 Monday morning while making my daily trek from Henderson to Bishop Gorman High School as part of my carpooling duties for summer school. The 32-mile summer school commute has been much quicker than during the regular school year largely because, during the summer, we hit Interstate 215 before 7 a.m.

However, on this Monday some genius came up with the bright idea of reducing the westbound 215 Beltway to one lane. At first I thought there might be an accident, because a Clark County School District police car passed us on the left emergency lane with lights flashing. That’s odd, I thought, a school cop responding to a freeway accident.

After 30 minutes of toiling in the stop-and-go traffic, I realized that the previously mentioned genius had reduced traffic to one lane during one of the heaviest commutes of the day. I must have overlooked the notice in one of our papers warning of it.

I was already revved up over the traffic mess, but I got really turbo-charged at the thought of the school cop using his lights and the emergency lane to get through the five-mile traffic jam. I will never know whether he had an actual emergency or not. However, I would bet not.

If you happen to be a parent, then you must realize I endure all sorts of strange music with the kids in the car. After dropping off the kids, I continue my morning ritual by scanning between the AM news stations to pick up on breaking news.

This is where conspiracy talk radio festers like a boil on backside of who knows what. The host this Monday morning laid out his question by saying Assemblyman Mark Manedo, D-Whitney, is creating a back-door attack on talk radio with a proposed bill to ban teen use of cell phones while driving.

The host continued to say the bill is actually a ploy to prevent his listeners from calling into his show using their cell phones.

No kidding, Manendo’s bill is a liberal attempt to ratchet up the “Fairness Doctrine” to push conservative talk show hosts out of business by preventing callers from calling in on their cell phones.
Whoa!!! Don’t drink out of that Kool-Aid cup.

I’m not a big fan of any kind of ban on cell phone use and I agree it would slowly chip away at our freedom of choice — to choose when and where we use cell phones. How we use them is a good point, though, and I have no problem with encouraging people to use a hands-free device while driving.

I’m the biggest offender of all when it comes to using my cell phone and driving. The cell phone has made it possible for me to get twice as much done in my day.

Texting is another issue altogether, because it requires the use of one hand and both eyes. Both of my daughters would disagree because they claim they can text without looking, which is unnerving. They are probably the exception rather than the rule.

The bottom line is that this proposed ban of cell phone use needs some rethinking. It should not take away a freedom nor single out teens or minors. What is good for the goose is good for the gander, and if such a law were passed, it should apply to everyone of all ages.

But in no way is Manendo’s proposal intended to stop conspiracy radiophiles from reaching out to their gurus of conservative spin.

With days like this, I could use another three days in rural Nevada, where conservative values reign and so does a little common sense.

Fishing anyone?

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular blog at

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A handshake once said it all

This first published June 26, 2008 in the Boulder City News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

There is a breakdown in the moral compass of American society, which seems to be spinning wildly as though it were seated on the North Pole.

Look at the headlines of teenage girls making a pact to get pregnant so they can raise their babies together, as though it’s a free pass to adulthood. The story is now being denied by city officials, while the high school principal is having a memory lapse, unable to recall where he heard the rumor. Either way, it is a sad indication of society.

Then there are more than 400 people connected to the real estate industry who have been arrested for fraud and other conspiracies connected to the mortgage crisis.

Remember the days when a man’s word was his bond and you could take it to the bank where the teller, who knew you, would accept it based upon your own word? I do!

Some of those folks were the ones who believed in Las Vegas and its potential to thrive, then blossom.

Some were of the unsavory kind. However, if they said they would do something like break your leg, you could count on it.

Then there were respectable ones who made a promise or even an indication they would do something and always followed through.

Growing up, I met many of them through my parents, who had the same high level of integrity.

I’m reminded of these folks who lived by their words after seeing the documentary “Where I Stand: The life of Hank Greenspun.” The film, produced by his granddaughter, Amy Greenspun, and directed by Scott Goldstein, was amazing.

Personally, it chronicled many of the incredible facets of Hank’s life that I already knew. Each segment was akin to untying a ribbon from a present, then opening it up only to discover another present inside. It unfolded the integrity of a man who feared nothing in the pursuit of justice, even if it involved the unjust actions of those sworn to uphold the law.

I said it chronicled many of the incredible facets. Not all, because there was much more to his life that may never see the big screen. His infectious adoration of children, his generosity to employees, his loyalty to his friends and his word as his bond.

Hank was magic, and he had a magic closet to prove it. Just ask the hundreds of children who experienced the mighty publisher opening the closet filled with joy in the form of stuffed animals, trinkets and a treasure chest. With their parents watching, Hank would invite the children to pick a toy to take with them.

I’m not sure who relished in the joy more, the lucky child or the inner child of Hank basking in a moment of unconditional love only a child can give.

He was generous with those who worked for him, even in the most challenging times.

Twenty-nine years ago, he gave a kid a job, even though the kid’s father thought it wasn’t a good idea. Hank said he would help him find a summer job, however. He would never promise then fail to keep his word.

The kid didn’t mind sweeping the mailroom and prepacking inserts for the Las Vegas Sun that summer. Who knew it would be the beginning of a lifelong career in publishing for that kid? Hank gave me my first job in the newspaper, or rather he suggested to someone else to do so.

It’s no secret my dad worked with Hank on a handshake that would extend another 15 years beyond Hank’s death, with his son Brian, until my dad’s death in 2004.

It had then become an annual ritual between my dad and Brian Greenspun. My dad would say, “It’s been another year,” and Brian would ask if he wanted a contract. The answer was always no, because he had one bonded by a handshake.

Hank was a fine example of the moral fabric that made this country great. If you ever get the opportunity to see “Where I Stand,” take it!

It may provide an opportunity for you to take inventory of your life and consider what you can do to help reset the moral compass of America. Perhaps, it’s as simple as following through on your word.

It sounds simple, but is it?

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular blog at

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Do Dems have time to recover?

This first published June 12, 2008 in the Boulder City News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

It's been exactly three months since I wrote about the Democratic dream team meltdown. That column can be found on my blog listed at the bottom of this column.

Now that Obama has prevailed and Clinton has conceded, she certainly has left the door open for the two of them to consummate a deal to seal the dream team, but will he be willing to dance?

It's hard to ignore the fact her spouse is a former president with very distinct opinions. This situation reminds me of something my dad told me more than a few times during his life when I made a decision he wasn't completely sold on. Depending on how little he agreed or disagreed, he would refer to me as Tim, son or boy. He would say “OK, boy, now that you let the tiger out of the cage, let's see if you can keep hold of its tail.”

The question for Obama is if he puts Hillary Clinton on the ticket, will he be letting former President Clinton out of the cage? Is he willing to hold the tiger by the tail?

Actually, it doesn't matter because Bill Clinton is a former president, and he will be an influence no matter who the next president is. That's just the way it is.

Hillary has much to offer the Obama campaign. She has great appeal to women voters. Even first lady Laura Bush said she admires Hillary for her grit and strength, only she wishes the first woman president would be a Republican.

Ah yes, what about the meltdown? Do the Democrats have enough chillers to remold the dream team, or will the Republicans keep turning up the heat? It might be easier to hire a Zamboni and create an ice rink in the desert.

In my previous column, I considered Sen. John McCain as non-threatening to the Democrats, but my consideration is quickly changing.

The election of the president hinges on the quality of the running mate by either candidate.

If I were a tag team wrestling promoter and looking to draw in voters rather than spectators or pay-per-viewers, I would select Obama-Clinton vs. McCain-Romney for a major payday. A matchup like that could give either a party a win.

Its all speculation at this point anyway.

Here's a bit of speculation you can chew on. A friend of mine has suggested to me the Republicans have pretty much given up and are letting the Democrats have the next four years to deal with the mess the economy is in.

That would be a mistake for them. In my opinion, which isn't much, they would be giving up the White House for at least four years and possibly 16. Imagine for a moment that Obama picks Hillary, they win, and she hangs in there for four years, possibly eight. She will still be younger than McCain is today, and he is not too old to run for president. Perhaps, she decides to run against Obama in 2012 — then she could possibly do two terms as president.

This is what I like most about elections, because it allows us the opportunity to imagine strategies that may never happen.

However, if I had a Democratic strategy, it would have been to nominate Hillary first and run Obama the younger of the two as vice president, then in eight years he would have been unstoppable. I'll let you know in November or 2012 if hind site is 20/20.

Tim O'Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular blog at

Monday, June 2, 2008

Gas prices change family's fun

This first published May 29, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

What used to be relatively cheap entertainment is no longer so.

For years, we have enjoyed less expensive gasoline in our Northwest Arizona getaway, primarily because there are fewer local taxes added on than in Clark County, which has plenty.

This was true until this past Memorial Day weekend, when the gouging began. The week before, I had checked our only local gasoline retailer in Arizona, and the price was $3.67 per gallon. Imagine my shock over the weekend when I went to fill two 5-gallon gas containers and the price had jumped to $4.19 per gallon. Heck, that’s 10 cents more than the notoriously high-priced Chevron station across from the Hacienda Hotel between Boulder City and the Hoover Dam.

That is a 52-cent jump in price with no explanation. It is taking advantage of unsuspecting visitors and tourists, who quickly realize the nearest pump is at least 30 miles away.

It has always been my habit to spend money at the combination gas station-grocery store to help the local economy by purchasing odds and ends like milk, eggs, bread and filling up with gas before heading home. Although I’m miffed about the weekend price hike, I’ll probably continue to add to the local economy. After all, they bake the best bread around. But I’ll think twice about purchasing gas before heading home.

The days of tossing $25 into the boat tank for a day’s worth of fun whipping the kids around on a towable are quickly fading, along with $20 to spend a day quad riding. The challenge for me isn’t in the price of gas so much as it is the challenge of planning our excursions with better purpose.

This concept makes my bride giddy with excitement, because for her this is an opportunity for families to get back together to spend quality time with each other. This may include shorter boat rides and more family games on the beach or shorter distances on the quads with longer hikes and picnics while out exploring.

Her excitement over quality family time has been resonating with me lately, causing me to rethink how we’ve spent time with our children. Although it has always been our intention to engage our children, it seems I have spent plenty of time entertaining them probably more than I should have.

For example, we have a vacation home with a boat and a few quads. Granted the boat is small and 13 years old, but it has provided us special opportunities to engage our children by experiencing nature in ways not available to most Americans.

Are our children any worse off being entertained? I would say probably not.
The real question is would they be better off without the material stuff and spending more time playing board games?

Maybe so. Or maybe a modified combination would be better to build interpersonal communication skills.

Suppose for a moment that gas is $8 per gallon, you live in an urban city, work within a mile of home, you have no big toys and no car. How concerned are you about the price of gas?

Now suppose for a moment that gas is $8 per gallon and your situation is the same as today. How concerned are you?

It’s not out of the question to consider these situations, because gas is $8.93 per gallon in Germany. Why could it not happen here?

What adjustments would you make to your lifestyle? How would you entertain your children? Would you use the opportunity to engage your children? These are all interesting questions to ponder if you have a moment.

As the economy slumps and the price gougers gouge, look for opportunities to endure by bringing family and friends closer together. Throw a simple barbecue, listen to music and play a few games.

Why wait for the price of gas to go up in order to engage your family in healthy communication and board games?

My bride loves board games. I’m less than enthusiastic about them but willing to play.

So what about you?

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular blog at

Monday, May 12, 2008

Our refuse is no one else's business

This first published May 8, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

Setting the record straight.
A very astute reader sent me an e-mail pointing out an error in my column last week that needs to be corrected. The reader requested to be kept anonymous and I’ve agreed to his request.
He wrote, “I read your ‘One Man’s View’ in the Viewpoint section, May 1-7, 2008, Home News. Unfortunately, the information you gave concerning ‘interference with recycling containers’ was incorrect and a perpetuation of an urban myth. I would not normally be so familiar with this topic, but I witnessed a similar incident as your wife did, only it was 3 a.m. … I was cited the same incorrect information you printed. … However, in my case, they were not taking aluminum cans, but instead rifling through recycling and refuse looking for identity documents, as you foretold in your opinion piece.
“I phoned the Henderson Police the next day and was given the correct information and reference to City of Henderson, Ordinance 2545. … Apparently, many municipalities changed their city codes, pertaining to ‘refuse and recycling’ after Sept. 11 to heighten safety and security procedures. A Lexis/Nexis search will reveal thousands of such ordinances throughout the nation. A side note: Even the designated refuse collectors may not interfere with your trash. They are only authorized to transport it. Both my refuse and recycling handlers were aware of the law.”
So here is how the Henderson Municipal Code reads:
“5.17.080 Interference with containers prohibited.
“A. It is unlawful for any person other than the owner, the city or its franchisee, or their duly appointed agents, to interfere in any manner with any containers containing solid waste or recyclables or to remove any such container from the location where placed for pickup by the owner, the city or its franchisee.
“B. It is unlawful for any person, other than the operator of a drop-off center or his duly appointed agent, to interfere with or remove any recyclables from a drop-off center. (Ord. 2545 § 1 (part), 2006)”
There you have it. The recycle bins are off-limits in Henderson and probably in all of Clark County.
So what can you do if you see someone interfering with the trash? First, don’t call Republic Services, because they don’t care who gets the recyclables. Second, report it to the Police Department, especially if the interlopers are going through your trash.
Information is collected about you and sold to people who have less-than-honorable intentions.

Gibbons, do over

Reflecting back to last week’s column (if you missed it I posted it on my blog at
My good intentions of trying to keep the state’s first family in check blew up in my face. No sooner had my column published, the governor slapped the first lady with divorce papers, ending any chance of reconciliation by way of a warm fireplace and a blanket.
The governor also wants the first lady tossed out of the mansion and, to no one’s surprise, she isn’t going quietly.
The governor isn’t going to dance around this as easily as he did the Chrissy Mazzeo fiasco. In case you need a Gibbons/Mazzeo primer, it goes like this. The governor, then a candidate, was out having drinks with several campaign cronies at a popular Las Vegas drinking and dining establishment. After a few one-armed curls, he headed back to his hotel unattended. At the establishment’s exit, he happened across one of the damsels he had been working out at the table with.
The gentleman that he is, he offered to walk the woman to her car in the parking garage, where she slipped and he broke her fall by grabbing her arm, allegedly forcing her against the wall.
Her version of the story was completely different than the one I’ve strung together from news accounts. You get the idea, though.
The governor better pray he has better lawyers then he has advisers, because the first lady is a polished contender. His knee-jerk reactionary style often leaves him rethinking his decisions.
Just like the crazy idea of billing the widow of Steve Fossett, the millionaire pilot who vanished into thin air after taking off from the Hilton’s Flying M Ranch in Northern Nevada. That idea earned him a few dunce points for sure. He later restated his position to say he was asking her for a donation to defray the cost of the monthlong search.
That would be because he totally blew the state’s revenue projections. He promised no new taxes, and he is sticking by his word.
The beauty of all this is we only have 2 1/2 years before we can kick him out of the mansion. That is, if the first lady doesn’t do it first.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or He writes a regular blog at

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mansion living could help governor

This first published May 1, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

Gov. Jim Gibbons not living in the Governor’s Mansion appears to be big news these days — but maybe it isn’t.
Having the experience of growing up in the Mansion as one of Gov. Mike O’Callaghan’s five children, I tend to look at the private lives of Nevada’s first families with a little more sensitivity and an appreciation for privacy.
I mentioned a month or so ago that the marital unrest of Nevada’s first couple is their business and not the public’s unless it affects the governor’s ability to govern. I still hold that position, except there seems to be a new twist to the situation.
As reported in both the Review-Journal and the Las Vegas Sun on Sunday, the governor is living in one of the couple’s two houses in Reno while first lady Dawn Gibbons is residing at the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City.
Separation is not new to the Gibbonses, because while Jim Gibbons served in Congress for 10 years, he lived in Washington and Dawn Gibbons lived in Reno raising their son. As mentioned in a previous column, while Jim Gibbons was preparing his run for the state’s top post, she was busy campaigning for his abandoned House seat. Had she been successful, that would have led them to opposite ends of the country once again.
The situation is what it is, so let’s examine it for a moment.
Some folks are up in arms about the governor not residing in Carson City, much less the Mansion. There’s even a state law requiring the governor to live in Carson City, not necessarily the Mansion though. I think this law makes sense if this were 1867 and we didn’t have trains, planes and automobiles.
With the situation as it is with the Gibbonses, it actually makes more sense for the first lady to reside in the Mansion because of the number of events held there hosted by none other than the lady of the house.
If there is anything that bothers me about the governor living in Reno, it is the amount of wasted gasoline to commute back and forth from Reno to the Capitol at the expense of the taxpayers.
Now if the governor really wanted to cut the budget, he ought to suck it up and sleep in one of the three or so suites in the mansion. Having lived in the Mansion for eight years, I can assure you there is plenty of room for even the most cantankerous of foes to not get in each other’s way.
Speaking of sucking up, during the energy crisis in the ’70s we sucked it up to do our part as the first family by living with very little heat in the winter and lights out early every night. I remember our dad telling us he couldn’t ask casino operators on the Las Vegas Strip to shut off their marquees (which they had) if we continued to burn oil and electricity carelessly. Blankets and a warm fireplace were a way of life.
Perhaps this is good advice for the Gibbonses to rekindle what has been extinguished by years of separation. Blankets and a warm fireplace can be effective.
Recycle bins
Since we’re on the subjects of relationships and economic hardships, here is a situation of my own.
Last week, my bride gave me a jingle at the office to query me about the legality of removing aluminum cans from neighbors’ recycle bins. Before hearing her out completely, I wanted to convince her that, though the economy is bad, it’s really not so bad that she needs to pilfer the cans from our neighbors.
She assured me she had no intentions of doing such a thing, but there were a couple of guys sneaking around the neighborhood removing the aluminum cans from the recycle bins.
She asked, “Is there a number you can call to report it?”
“I don’t know let me check” I replied.
In a quick call to Republic Services of Southern Nevada, I was told there is no law against removing aluminum cans from the bins. The woman on the phone said, “Once you place recycle bins and garbage cans on the street, it’s fair game.”
“Really, are you sure?” I asked.
She assured me it was and said someone must have figured out the pickup schedule and was taking advantage of it.
Still not convinced, I walked over to my editor and gave her the “Did you know” line. With no surprise in her voice, she reassured me it was true. At the same time, she struck a little fear in me when she said that’s why people are allowed to go through trash. Some do that to find information about people and steal their identity. I’m not sure if that’s exactly what she said but it’s darn close and is still unsettling.
If you don’t have a shredder in your household, you should consider getting one. If the economy goes completely into the drink, please ignore the guy in the Big Red Truck pilfering the cans from your recycle bin. Worry about the guy going through your trash.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or