Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sotomayor proof of evolving melting pot

One Man’s View:

By Tim O'Callaghan (contact)
Tuesday, July 14, 2009 6:29 p.m.

The hot days of summer are finally upon us in the relentless Mojave Desert. Even for a native desert rat like myself the 110 degree temperatures can be tough. It seems just a bit hotter since my return from the Pacific Northwest where temperatures are either pleasantly warm or down right cold.

Things are apparently heating up in Washington DC as well with the opening of the Senate confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor and her honor in the hot seat.

It never fails to amaze me how the parties line up for or against the president’s nominee, to the point where their political colors are unmistakable no matter how qualified a nominee may be.

Seriously, don’t you think the small number of Americans that actually follow the confirmation hearings don’t see through the veil of political partisanship? Or are they also stuck on their own political agendas?

The most honest statement made during the opening day of the hearing was from Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, saying to Sotomayor, “Unless you have a complete meltdown, you are going to be confirmed.”

Then Graham followed up with a jab at her “Wise Latina” comment she had used in several speeches. She would say, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion.” And in one speech she added, “than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Not the wisest choice of words, however, it does ring with truth, and I hardly find it to be racist or sexist. I do find it ironic because, until my generation, white males pretty much controlled this country in every sense of the word. And by the way, if you haven’t noticed, the country is still dominated by white men.

However, things are changing in America, the “Melting Pot” of the world. If America is to continue the path set forth in the Declaration of Independence, we must accept it wouldn’t always be “all men are created equal” but it would evolve to be all people are created equal.

Yes, America is evolving in many ways as people pursue their happiness, struggle to keep their unalienable rights and for many to simply grasp those rights.

From the time I type this column to when you read it and to the end of the Senate Confirmation Hearing for Sonia Sotomayor, plenty can happen. However, I’m betting with Sen. Lindsey Graham to say Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed, because a meltdown is not likely to happen with one as strong, confident and qualified as she is.

Judge Sotomayor and I may not share all the same philosophies or the same life experiences, but I’m confident she will be a needed balance in the pursuit of blind justice for all.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the News, can be reached at 990-2656 or tim.oc@vegas.com. He writes a regular blog at tocomv.blogspot.com.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

After 25 years, she still leaves me in the dust

One Man’s View:

By Tim O'Callaghan (contact)

Wed, Jul 1, 2009 (5:48 p.m.)

Newport, ORE. — It was 27 years ago I first laid eyes upon Donna, affectionately know to readers as my bride, at the Las Vegas Sun, where she worked in the dispatch department. I was an ad runner while cutting my teeth in circulation at the Henderson Home News and Boulder City News.

I remember as though it were only yesterday when I walked passed the department with its fish-bowl appearance — in the old Sun building, almost all departments had glass upper walls so most everything was transparent, as it should be.

Anyway, there she stood with a stack of ads to be shuffled between production, the art department and sales. She was wearing a yellow T-shirt and overalls. Her long blonde hair framed her face with her blue eyes, and a devilish smirk stopped me dead in my tracks. However, her feelings were not exactly mutual, and it took a little time to sway her my way.

We had some common interests in motorcycles and dirt bikes, which led to our first date, which was to repair the flat tire on her Yamaha IT 175.

I was not the greatest mechanic but capable enough to fix a flat tire. Yep, it took three of us and only two hours get it done.

In contrast, today I can do it in 20 minutes.

With the tire fixed, we pursued our goal of going out to Boulder City to ride. It had been a while since I had last ridden a bike, but it’s like riding a bicycle — you never really forget, right?

Well, not exactly!

She had located a nice sized jump where she effortlessly launched into the air and landed with ease. After several jumps, she pulled up to me and said, “Here, you try.” I said, “No problem!” Boy was that an overstatement.

I launched, I flew and I landed on the ground, shredding my new 501s and my knees.

To this day, I’m still picking pebbles out of them — my knees that is.

Fortunately, I had a job so I could pay for any need repairs, like the handlebars, clutch handle and rear fender.

Oh, she has a wicked sense of humor. The only way she could get more laughs out of the situation was to continue dating me and ribbing me for the next 27 years.

Within two years, we would be walking down the aisle, but not without a few bumps in the road.

The first was our drive down to Brea, Calif., where we would let her grandma know we were getting married.

It went something like this: “Grandma, Tim and I are going to get married.”

She said, “Oh! You are? What church are you going to get married in?”

I said, “St. Anne’s in Las Vegas.”

She said, “Isn’t that a Catholic church?”

The soon-to-be bride chimed in, “Well, he is Catholic,” and Grandma said, “Oh no! You’re Catholic!!!”

I was stunned and I said to myself, “Yeah and your granddaughter is converting, to boot.”

As I mentioned to myself, my soon-to-be bride would begin the process of her conversion to Catholicism, which would take about a year.

No worries, except that her family was moving away from Las Vegas and she would have to move in with my mom and dad until the completion of her formation and our wedding day.

Talk about complicating matters. We worked in close proximity. Donna worked at the Sun with my dad. I worked at the Henderson and Boulder City papers with my mom. Donna now lived with them, and my dad had a curfew in his house, no matter how old you were.

By the way, we continued to work together most of the last 27 years.

During those years, we have laughed, played, struggled and cried together.

We have raised three beautiful children, each unique in their own way. I suspect you never really stop raising them.

We have celebrated the lives of three grandparents. We mourned the loss of my mom and dad, but together we also celebrated the accomplishments of their wonderful lives together.

To this day, we share the same interests we had when we first met, but it has come with some compromises, such as trading in her beloved motocross bike, respectfully named E.R., due to the stitches my bride received from their first encounter on Christmas Day.

The Bride cared for her bike as though it were a child, cleaning and primping it all the time. However, we agreed after we reached 45 years of age we would shift from two wheels to four on the dirt.

So as promised, she put E.R. out to pasture and converted to riding a quad.

So today, June 30, we celebrated by going salmon fishing off the coast of Oregon to spend treasured time together outdoors, where we have made so many memories.

For the record, we each caught one fish. Mine was the larger by a scale.

I can’t wait to see what the next 25 years will bring us.

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.