The NEWS with Tim O'Callaghan

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Congresswoman Berkley is "Mad as Hell"

Rep. Shelley Berkley responded to a barrage of political attacks on Las Vegas, however, let's keep it real, these attacks are against Sen. Harry Reid.
Then there is the old disdain for Las Vegas from the extreme conservative right.

Here is what Rep. Berkley released yesterday....

(March 4, 2009 -- Washington, D.C.) Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today responded to Congressional critics of Las Vegas and to lawmakers who have attacked funding for Nevada projects, including the proposed Mag-lev high speed train. Berkley delivered her comments in a speech from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Her remarks are as follows:
Statement of Congresswoman Shelley Berkley
Mr. Speaker, I'm mad and I'm not going to take it anymore.

I've had enough of my colleagues bashing my district, my hometown, and the community I love, Las Vegas.

I've sat back as Las Vegas has been maligned, insulted, and lied about for the sole purpose of making political points.

I've been waiting for common sense to prevail. But I'm here to say that this nonsense, the bashing and lies about Las Vegas have got to end and they have got to end now.

It started with Senator McConnell's misguided attack on the stimulus bill by singling out a mob museum in Las Vegas as an earmark in the stimulus package.

There's only a couple of things wrong with that, there never was an earmark in the stimulus bill -- there are none -- and there certainly wasn’t one for a mob museum, there was never a mention of it in the stimulus package. The lies continue.

Then we found out about the Mag-lev train, countless republicans have misrepresented the $8 billion included in the stimulus bill as being an earmark for the Las Vegas-Anaheim Mag-lev route.

The only problem is even after it was pointed out that there is no earmark, that Las Vegas and California are going to have to compete with other projects, that this has been a project that's been in the works for 20 years and that it will bring thousands of visitors to the Las Vegas area and to the Southern California area, the lies continue.

The latest one was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. He repeated the lie in his televised response to the President's remarks to Congress, claiming the bill included funding for a magnetic levitation line from Las Vegas to Disneyland.

And then it goes one worse. Trent Franks just mentioned there's a Mag-lev going from Disneyland to the Moonlight Bunny brothel. Now I grew up in Las Vegas and I've never heard of the Moonlight Bunny brothel, but I guarantee the Mag-lev train is not going there.

The latest whipping boy is in the omnibus bill -- Sustainable Las Vegas.

Just yesterday, Senator McCain took to the floor of the Senate to attack sustainable Las Vegas. What does sustainable Las Vegas mean? He yelled. Let me enlighten the senator, it's a University of Nevada education and research program on energy supply, water supply and air quality issues that are very important for the desert southwest for cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix and Tucson. But he knows that.

So why is it different than the hundreds of other programs given out to other universities in the United States? Including universities in Arizona? Because it has Las Vegas in its name.

And let me tell you about my hometown of Las Vegas -- it's a community of families looking for a better life; it's a community of schools and churches and mosques, a community of small businesses, working people and beautiful hotels.

That brings me to the most egregious affront to Las Vegas. Stop bad mouthing Las Vegas and stop telling businesses and major companies to stay away from Vegas.

You are hurting our economy, you're forcing major layoffs of employees in the hotel industry. Hundreds-of-thousands of Nevadans depend on the tourism and convention business for their livelihood.

Las Vegas has long been a city where serious business is conducted, where small and large conventions can be accommodated. When it comes to business meetings, Las Vegas is the best city on the planet. You still get the best bang for your buck. Great hotels, great convention facilities, great restaurants, great transportation and a great price.

When you bad mouth Las Vegas, you are hurting our major industry, you're hurting your fellow citizens by taking away their livelihood. You are taking food out of their children's mouths.

Las Vegas is having a very tough time right now. High mortgage foreclosure rate, high unemployment, high bankruptcy rate. We are hurting. Every attack on Las Vegas by my colleagues is a knife in the heart of my city.

So I implore my colleagues, stop bashing Las Vegas. Find some other whipping boy. We've had enough, we're not going to take it anymore. I yield back the balance of my time.

Congressman lies about Las Vegas railroad

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., has either lost his moral compass, spent too much time in the Arizona sun or is a baldfaced liar.

Franks flatly deceived viewers on Fox's "America's Newsroom" earlier this week by implying that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had earmarked funds for a railroad from Disneyland to the Moonlight Bunny Ranch, one of many legal brothel outside Carson City.

How could Franks come up with such bucket of hogwash? It's obvious he has already spent too much time in Washington, D.C., because he has clearly forgotten his western geography. There is no direct rail right-of-way from Las Vegas to Carson City, 400 miles away.

First, the proposed $12 billion magnetic levitation train is planned connect Las Vegas to Anaheim, Calif., not to Lyon County, Nev.

Maybe he just got confused. There are two separate projects being proposed with a single thread in common — tourism.

The two rail projects are probably a century apart in design, the maglev is a super speed aerodynamic passenger train yet to be completely designed. The other is the McCloud No. 18, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia in 1914. This steam engine burns oil to make steam.

The reconstruction of the Virginia Truckee Railroad project began in 1974 from Virginia City to Gold Hill, with plans that now extend all the way to Carson City — well past the brothels at Mound House. By the way, the funds proposed for the VTRR are less than $500,000.

This is no more than another Republican arrow whizzing at the target on Reid's back. It also demonstrates the desperation of the GOP to cast aspersions on Nevada's senior senator and Senate Majority Leader.

The mere fact that a member of the United States Congress would go on a national cable news program to tell a lie is sickening. To fabricate such a ridiculous lie by combining two projects 400 miles apart, then spinning up a little diversion to include businesses that are in the vicinity of each project, is desperation.

Fox host Megyn Kelly laid the track for Franks' line of deceit by saying, "It's a super railroad of sorts, a line that will deliver customers straight from Disney — we kid you not — to the doorstep of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch Brothel in Nevada."

Franks clearly misled viewers by affirming the train would run from Disneyland to the Moonlight Bunny Ranch in Mound House, Nev.

Kelly later piped in with, "The bunnies are very happy about this development," adding fuel to Franks' outrageous lie.

Fox obviously has an inside line with the Bunny Ranch by means of Fox talk show host Sean Hannity, who spent some time interviewing the bunnies at the ranch in 2007.

Even though Kelly half-heartedly challenged the validity of Franks' claim, she was doing her best to take advantage of the interview.

The irony of Franks' charade is that 80 percent of his district, which includes the Colorado River system and the Grand Canyon, benefits from Nevada tourism, which sends thousands of Las Vegas and Laughlin tourist to those sites every day.

The second irony is that Franks alluded to Americans losing trust in government, but how can Americans trust congressmen like Franks when he is capable of totally twisting the truth with a straight face?

Wow, I need to remove my rose-colored glasses.

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