Political pratfalls

After President George Bush had to leap over the handlebars of a Segway scooter about a week and a half ago to keep from crushing his head, I've been more aware of people tripping, falling, running into things and generally hurting themselves.

I also read in People magazine about Madonna trying to balance a cup of coffee while riding her bicycle. She took a dive and sustained a bruise.

And, sadly, lost her coffee.

You'd think she could afford a cupholder or basket on her bike. She is Madonna.

Perhaps it was a new, Hollywood-style Yoga position she hadn't yet perfected that caused her to kiss the pavement. Or a failed Kabbalah exercise.

I went on a bicycle ride across town last weekend and noticed people falling all over the place. Perhaps the nice spring-to-summer weather has turned us all into a bunch of empty-headed klutzes.

Some guy walking down Carson Street with a group of friends was talking loudly and wildly gesticulating. Suddenly, he dropped to the ground. His friends were laughing so hard that one of them almost joined him on the sidewalk. Another one started to choke from chortling.

Some little boy appeared to have been thrown off a porch by a frustrated parent but, instead, had been trying to hop steadily on a pogo stick. He looked embarrassed because someone noticed his accident, but he was happily bouncing as I rolled by during my return trip.

There was a teen riding what seemed to be a homemade motor scooter. With Segways costing almost $5,000 each, making one's own seems viable.

I could hear him coming from almost a mile away. The machine sounded like a devil-possessed lawn mower. I thought he was going to knock me down, roll over me and leave little pieces of me in his wake.

The teen was pointing and laughing as he passed me. My bicycle is white and orchid with flowers. And I wear a helmet. Yeah, I look kinda nerdy.

So what's it to you?

As he tried to turn a corner, he flew off the side of the contraption and onto the ground.

"Ha, ha!" I laughed, rolling past.

I looked up at a helicopter passing overhead and chuckled about how accident-prone people seem to be right now.

This is when I lost my balance on my bicycle and nearly went down myself. Payback for my lack of sensitivity didn't come at that moment.

Nah, nah, nah!

Am I the only person who believes life in Nevada resembles an episode of "America's Funniest Home Videos" -- without the crotch blows, kicks and punches?

Nevada politics definitely appear to be like that, though falls, blows, kicks and punches take the form of verbal rhetoric and threats.

Most state politicians were feeling positive about completing their work and then -- splat! -- grounded!


Another special session of the Nevada Legislature starts Wednesday. Again, most of the participants express high hopes. We'll see if our lawmakers can reach a consensus on how (and, perhaps, to what extent) to best fund state services.

It wasn't looking good as of the weekend, however. Gov. Kenny Guinn has threatened to sue legislators who stopped the tax package needed to pay for the two-year, $5-billion state budget , according to the Associated Press.

A tax package requires approval by two-thirds of the legislators in both houses. The budget required fewer votes for passage.

Guinn also reminded AP that Assembly Minority Leader Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, has threatened to take him to court to get budget talks reopened.

Hettrick and a group of other legislators still require budget reductions before they'll approve a tax plan for the next two years, according to previous reports.

The governor, however, won't reopen or consider budget cuts until he sees a tax plan passed.

Bruises all around.

When legislative activity begins anew, let's hope someone remembers to bring a first aid kit. And some athletic cups and padding. The rhetoric is already rough enough to put someone in the hospital.

Let's hope this special session won't be a repeat of the first. Someone likely will have to make a sacrifice for Team Nevada.

Unfortunately, it appears it will be us citizens.


Assemblyman Ron Knecht, R-Carson City, wanted to clarify his views about the budget crunch.

He's not totally against raising taxes. Nevada's population growth and inflation require some added revenues to ensure the budget covers citizens' basic needs, just not the amount the governor wants, he said.

Knecht said he once held a "no new taxes" view, but abandoned it before he was voted into the Assembly.

"I took a lot of grief for it," Knecht noted. "But the ballooning deficit made me change my mind."

His maximum allowable amount? "Around $400 million," he said.

Knecht is one of the legislators who support Hettrick's plan and is among the group of lawmakers who blocked the other tax plans. Knecht and Hettrick would also like to see mandated limits on state spending, according to previous reports.


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