In a surprising April 1 press conference, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) unveiled plans to transform the Lower Colorado River into a massive canal that would provide ocean-going ships access to Las Vegas. General Alberto "Al" Muerzo, P.E., civil works head of the USACE's South Pacific Division, and Mr. Richard "Dick" Cabeza, P.E., Regional Director of the USBR's Lower Colorado Region, met before dozens of reporters and dignitaries to describe the 20-year, $600 billion project, known as the Colorado River Access Project (CRAP). Cabeza said "CRAP will indeed transform the southwestern USA by providing direct shipping access to the ocean. Yuma and Las Vegas will become deep-water ports. Cruise and container ships will be able to reach Las Vegas and regurgitate their human and other cargo. It's awesome!" Muerzo added that the capstone of the world's largest engineering project will be a lock system that will raise ships above Hoover Dam into Lake Mead, which will be dredged. "I mean, I thought the Corps' project to straighten the Mississippi was something, but this is unreal. Gees, big boats in the desert! Whoa!" he gushed.
Anthony "Tony the Roach" Pizzeria, spokesman for Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman (unable to attend because of a grand jury appearance) said Mayor Goodman was "real entoosiastic." Pizzeria continued: "Dis project will truly make Vegas into a woild-class city. We dunno wadda say. Jus tink - all dem construction workers, sailors, and merchant seamen lookin' for somethin' to do. Already we are startin' to issue brothel permits." Clark County DA Hugh Jeego said he was most interested in the Lake Mead dredging, as he expected to be able to solve hundreds of missing persons cases. Jeego elaborated: "I mean, with all the concrete at the bottom of Lake Mead, we could build another Hoover Dam! Forget the Meadowlands - I betcha Jimmy Hoffa's down there. Man, I could be on CSI!"
Dubai Ports World, which gained notoriety in its failed attempt to operate ports in six East Coast cities, will be named operator for the new Port of Las Vegas. Sheikh Ali bin-Dovr, spokesman for DPW, expressed great pride in landing the contract. "My countrymen have been coming to Las Vegas for many years to be serviced. It is now time to return the favor, and we will be honored to service Las Vegas." When asked about DPW's treatment of women, he replied " Hey, no hay problema. We already have plans to introduce casual Fridays, on which some of our secretaries will be permitted to wear colored burkhas - with their husbands' permission, of course."
Sunny Summer-Day, reporter for the Arizona Cilbuper, inquired as to the acquiescence of the Mexican government, since part of the canal would be in Mexican territory. "The what of the Mexican government? Oh. Hey, no hay problema!" replied Muerzo in his best Spanish. "We've already bribed the politicians and the drug cartels, and besides the Mexican engineering firm ABRIL-TONTO will handle the Mexican CRAP," he added. Muerzo went on to say that Mexican President Calderon has long been a big supporter of CRAP.
Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Tomasina "Tommie" Gunn hailed the project as an important component of national security. '"There will be thousands of Mexicans working for ABRIL-TONTO on the Mexican side, so they won't try to sneak into the USA," she said. She added that the Mexican portion of the canal will be hand-dug so as to maximize employment and kickbacks to government officials and drug kingpins, which will keep things muy tranquilo.
Reporters questioned Cabeza and Muerzo about the wisdom of proposing a huge public-works project in a time of massive deficits, the rebuilding of New Orleans, and the Iraq War. They deferred to White House spokeswoman April Foolz, who was quick to respond: "Both President Bush and Vice-President Cheney have promoted CRAP to Congress and the American people for over six years, so the time is right. We are confident that CRAP will prevail and that Congress will pass CRAP". Foolz continued: "Furthermore, the project will not cost the taxpayers one thin dime. It will be funded by the interest income from the Social Security trust fund and a surcharge on the oil we will pump in Iraq through 2025, when US military operations are slated to maybe perhaps end. It's a slam dunk!" Cabeza added that the benefit-cost ratio calculated by Dr. Haywood U. Gonow, the Meyer Lansky Professor of Creative Accounting at UNLV's Department of Economics, was 309.231/1. "Or maybe it was 1/309.231. Dang! I always get that mixed up! But hey, no hay problema, we are in good hands," he added.
When asked about the benefits to and the effects on the various indigenous peoples who depend upon and live along the river, Cabeza said "Come again? The who? They live where?"
Muerzo mentioned that environmentalists would be mollified by the comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), prepared by Nevada State University's Department of Home Economics. The study found that the canal and its construction would not harm any living things, because the Colorado River flows through a desert. "Everyone knows nothing can live in a desert, so you can't harm what isn't there," said the EIS director, Dr. Ima Shill. "I mean, have you been to Yuma in August? I mean, it's so friggin' hot there you can fry burgers on a rock. I'd rather live in New Jersey than spend a day in Yuma during the summer. Have you ever been to New Jersey? Let me tell you..." Upon questioning, she added: "All we found were some wealthy geezers around Lake Havasu City and some farmers around Yuma. So, no hay problema!" beamed Shill.
A spokesman for Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Ken Frito-Lay, said the Senator would immediately seek Department of Defense authorization to designate Las Vegas an official Navy service port, where all types of naval fleet "servicing" can occur. "Las Vegas has far more to offer the Navy than does San Diego, and besides, it is not nearly as corrupt. It can also begin "servicing" the Navy even before the ships arrive," he said. In another jab at San Diego, Frito-Lay introduced Las Vegas' new motto: "America's Finest City - Sort Of."
!Feliz el primer de abril!
(Happy April Fools' Day!)