Quite a lot, if you happen to be the late Sen. Pat McCarran (D). Not only is Nevada‘s largest airport named after you (not inaptly — the anti-New Deal, pro-fascist McCarran’s signature achievements included splitting off the Air Force as a separate branch of the armed services. But McCarran was also a racist, an anti-Semite and a xenophobe, who wrote of immigrants that they were “hardcore, indigestible blocks which have not become integrated into the American way of life but which, on the contrary, are its deadly enemies.” Accordingly, there is belated anti-McCarran pushback both in Carson City and in Washington, D.C. In the former, state Sen. Tick Segerblom (D) wants McCarran’s name of his eponymous airport, while in the latter Reps. Reps. Jacky Rosen, Ruben Kihuen and Dina Titus (all D) are requesting that McCarran’s statue be banished from Capitol Hill.
The Los Angeles Times got a hold of the Rosen/Kihuen/Titus letter, which “said McCarran led anti-communist crusades, pushed for severe anti-immigration laws and helped pass the Internal Security Act, better known as the McCarran Act [his most famous achievement], which ‘tightened deportation laws and allowed for the exclusion of organizations, [and] revocation of citizenship.'” If all of this sounds suspiciously timely, UNLV history professor Michael Green puts his finger on it: “I think it’s a statement of going away from what [Donald] Trump and the Republican Party are being criticized for … the message involves the idea of inclusiveness and diversity.”
“We can’t have a racist, anti-Semitic former elected official being the face and name to our state,” Kihuen told the LAT while McCarran defender and Air Force veteran Matthew Buehler wrote, “It would truly be a travesty to rename the airport, thereby masking the accomplishments of this historic Nevadan.” (The slimy U.S. senator played by G.D. Spradlin in The Godfather, Part II is believed to be modeled on McCarran.) Getting the McCarran name off might be the easy part, comparatively speaking. The corollary to de-McCarraning the airport is renaming it after ex-Sen. Harry Reid (D). Like McCarran, Reid spent decades bringing home the bacon. And he was a comparably divisive figure. S&G thinks there are Nevadans more deserving of the honor than Old Sixty Votes, starting with former governor and U.S. senator Richard Bryan, a more statesmanlike public servant. And what about pioneering gaming regulator Robert Faiss, an important figure in the evolution of Nevada’s signature industry. S&G welcomes your nominations.
* In the week of last week’s Oakland Raiders vote, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is doing a bit of ass-covering on the subject of uniting America‘s game with the gambling capital of the U.S. “Society in general has a little bit of a change with respect to gambling,” he rationalized. He shifted the emphasis to things like point shaving. “I think we have to make sure that we continue to stay focused on making sure that everyone has full confidence that what you see on the field is not influenced by any outside factors. That’s our No. 1 concern. That goes to what I consider the integrity of the game, and we will not relent on that … I think when you look at what Las Vegas is today and what it was a decade or two ago, I think it’s a much different city.”
“Who the hell is going to corrupt an NFL quarterback when they make $25 million a year,” queried Steve Wynn, taking his best shot at Goodell. “What are you going to offer them? A new car?”
While Goodell was shielding his posterior, American Gaming Association prexy Geoff Freeman ran a victory lap, saying, “The second announcement of a major sports franchise to locate a team in Las Vegas in just the last 12 months demonstrates how far gaming has come, from a niche industry to a $240 billion economic engine that supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. The gaming industry currently partners with professional teams around the country and we look forward to soon doing the same in Nevada,” he added rubbing it in.
* Many of President Trump’s appointments have been controversial but I think we can all join S&G in congratulating Jonathan Galaviz of Global Market Advisors, who has been named a special advisor to the State Department. If Galaviz’s recent activity is any indicator, he will be focusing on Pacific Rim issues. I’ve met Galaviz and read his work at every opportunity, and don’t think the Trump administration could have done better. And Global Market Advisors is keeping Galaviz’s seat is warm for when his diplomatic duties are over. Who could ask for anything more?
* That on-again, off-again megaresort near Madrid is on “off.” The civic government booted Cordish Gaming and its $2.2 billion project. The company may regroup and try again.