The NEWS with Tim O'Callaghan

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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 tim.oc@vegas.com. He writes a regular blog at tocomv.blogspot.com.