John McCaslin

Unlike Las Vegas Democratic Mayor Oscar Goodman, Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley, a fellow Democrat, thought twice about criticizing President Obama when she took the House floor this week to bash critics of Sin City.

Mr. Goodman, you will recall, said Mr. Obama has contributed to Las Vegas' recent economic decline by warning companies not to visit the convention city on the taxpayer's dime.

"That's outrageous, and he owes us an apology," scolded the mayor. "He owes us a retraction."

Mrs. Berkley, a former hotel executive, says: "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. ... I've sat back as Las Vegas has been maligned, insulted and lied about for the sole purpose of making political points."

But rather than Mr. Obama, who got the anti-Vegas dice rolling, she singled out Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, for highlighting a Las Vegas "mob museum" as one example of wasteful federal spending; Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, for criticizing a costly "Sustainable Las Vegas" research project; Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal for decrying a Las Vegas-to-California maglev train route; and Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, who remarked this week that the same maglev train would transport happy passengers from Disneyland to the Moonlit Bunny Brothel.

"I grew up in Las Vegas. I've never heard of the Moonlit Bunny Brothel," says the congresswoman. "But I guarantee that maglev train is not going there."

WRONG FIGHT TO PICK

"Let's be blunt: Democrats are screwing with the wrong man," writes another of this country's African-American leaders, Bob Parks, a member of the national advisory council of Project 21 and a senior writer for the New Media Journal.

"They are proceeding with the assumption that Rush Limbaugh is a political figure, a seriously misguided assumption. Mr. Limbaugh is not encumbered by any re-election land mines, so he doesn't have to worry about his actions coming back to haunt him later. He is purely driven by getting more listeners and having the White House and Capitol Hill Democrats mention him by name is a promotion dream come true."

MRS. HUXTABLE

Actress Phylicia Rashad will deliver the keynote address (and receive an honorary doctorate degree to boot) at Howard University's 142nd Charter Day Convocation on March 13.

The university notes that its alumna became America's favorite "mom" when she starred as Claire Huxtable in the popular television series "The Cosby Show," starring Bill Cosby.

Now a Broadway star, she's appeared most recently in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof." In 2004, she was the first black woman to win the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her role in the revival of "A Raisin in the Sun."

NO ROLE MODELS

Given the failing grades among lawmakers on Capitol Hill, one can't expect children in the neighborhood to perform any better.

And so it is that a majority of students in the District's public schools have failed miserably to meet proficiency levels in mathematics and reading, while their two major standardized test scores (SAT and ACT) have stagnated, according to a new report by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Fifty states and the District were ranked from one to 51. Minnesota placed first, the District dead last.

NEW HAUGHTLINE

"Today is March 5. It's 'Multiple Personality Day.' Wonder if there will be a special observance in Washington for two-faced politicians?" writes veteran newspaperman and author Bob Haught, who didn't stay retired for long.

The longtime "Potomac Junction" columnist for the Oklahoman this week launched the online magazine "Haughtline Dweethly," at www.haughtline.net.

"It's my response to the decline of print journalism," Mr. Haught explains.

DEATH OF NEWS?

According to the Columbia Journalism Review, the number of journalists who have lost their jobs since January 2007: 12,000.

The question now, say editors of the magazine: "Will somebody come up with a way to support serious reporting in a digital age?"


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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