7.02.2004

A goose holocaust and a panda conspiracy

One hundred Canada geese were euthanized in the Olney community of Waterview for the heinous crime of pooping. If there is such a thing as cosmic balance, the members of the homeowners association (the ironically named "Environ") who made the decision will be slowly and painfully eaten by coyotes.

In other dead animal news, the same rat poison that killed two red pandas at the National Zoo last year also sickened some zoo workers at the time. For some reason, they were first driven to a Metro station before being taken away in an ambulance, and told to hide their place of employment from medical personnel. The zoo released employee accounts that largely blacked out, presumably due to matters of national security (Washingtonese for "you don't need to know how completely retarded we are").

7.01.2004

2 short

I actually had a pleasant evening yesterday. Went to dinner in Dupont Circle (no, not at Lauriol Plaza, but at Tomate) and caught a movie, the Hunting of the President, at Visions cinema (although I get better sound in my living room).

The movie got out kind of late, 11:15, but in time to catch a Metro train. You know what I'm not a fan of? Two-car trains after 10 p.m. And it looks like I'm not the only one. People are not enjoying having to cram onto a full train, or wait 15 minutes for the next one.

I'm hard-pressed to believe Washington can be a vibrant city with actual nightlife when it pulls crap like this.

Plus, I got spoiled by London, where if you miss a train or a bus, there's probably another one 1-2 minutes behind. There's no reason at all to drive in London; you'd be crazy to, since the public transportation is so good. Not so here.

Wrap your head around this comment

From the comments:

You are the typical white Dumb-Ass(R)
which is usually 2 shit-faced to realize that you have niether the guts nor the brain to really see the WHOLE DC. As we hate the Government just as much as you do.
OK, I guess we're turning this into a black-white issue. Yes, I'm white (and thus not cool enough to replace the word "to" with the number "2"). But I'm not the one who created the strong racial divide in this city, and in fact it's one of the things that I really, really hate about living here.

I used to live in Atlanta, which bills itself as the "city too busy to hate." And I found that to be true. Perhaps it's because there's a sizeable, well-to-do black community and a collection of great black colleges; perhaps it's because I could walk into Ron and Gladys' Chicken and Waffles without drawing a second glance. For whatever reason, I didn't sense the same resentment between blacks and whites that I do here.

It's not that there's overt hate going on in Washington, but there is a seething, below-the-surface rivalry along racial lines that reveals itself when you talk about things like D.C. voting rights (e.g., if they elected Marion Barry twice, they don't deserve a seat in the House). Would D.C. still be disenfranchised if it were predominantly white? Would it still be chronically underfunded by Congress? No, but that's the kind of environment we live in. It fosters further dislike, and occasionally makes me feel unwelcome when I do travel down to D.C.

Meanwhile, every day I do get to experience suburban Virginia first-hand, where a xenophobic white population supresses anything that might contain the slightest bit of soul, and barely tolerates a poor Hispanic contingent (providing all they're doing is cleaning our offices or serving us fast food). Thus, in Washington, we get the worst of both worlds.

So why is it that you hate DC?
I love when people ask this. LOVE IT. I actually had a reporter contact me one time about the blog, and ask, "So just WHY do you hate D.C. so much?"

That's the point of this site, people. There are over 500 posts explaining why I hate D.C. and the surrounding metro area. I couldn't possibly boil it down to a one-sentence answer.

The rest of the comment made by brain explode, so I won't attempt to respond. But I would like to preserve it for posterity:

Have you ever took the time to VISIT DC long enough to NOT have an opinion on anything you wrote, other than what you took from the Washington Post?

Oh and take a walk on my block and say some crazy shit like that. In you earlier statement on 6/23, "I hate DC. Everyone is mean, self-righteous, and overdressed."-----I wonder why and if you had a sense of humor you would get the bumper sticker and the license plate.

Listen to this if you have real player and "Change the world" Screwed UP!! Go buy the regular version

[URL]

6.30.2004

A tax on the mathematically impaired

The closest casinos (featuring table games such as blackjack) are 4 hours away in Atlantic City. Anybody who managed to open up a casino closer to home would be sitting on a gold mine, Trebek.

I mean... sitting on a gold mine. Period.

There is a group looking to put casinos in D.C. But not the real, fun kind; it's the kind where you sit down and stare into one of 3,500 "video lottery terminals." Apparently they're like slot machines, but no details have been released with regard to payouts. Presumably these would be worse than traditional slots, which typically pay out 90-95 percent of a bet on average. Meanwhile, state-run lotteries sometimes pay out as low as 50 percent of cash wagered per play (to use typical Pick 3 games as an example).

Earlier diatribe about house edge here. We have many lottery games in all three jurisdictions, including government-run keno games in D.C. and Maryland. All are gigantic rip-offs. Blackjack, which for some reason has a greater "evils of gambling" stigma attached to it, generally offers no less than 99.56% payout per bet if you play correctly, and is more fun because you actually get to interact with real people instead of a computer screen. I get my fill of staring at a screen when I'm at work.

Once again, I'm in the wrong line of work

We already have a serial arsonist who's been at it for over a year. Now we also have serial bank robbers! They've struck six times in and around D.C. since January, netting an easy $300,000.

Once again, the forces of the FBI, D.C. police and Prince George's County police are dutifully on the case. (Separately.)

No, Dick Cheney. Go fuck yourself.

Washington's clearly not getting a baseball team anytime soon. Is this enough to make me a Yankees fan?

Cheney, who visited both clubhouses after batting practice, watched part of the game from the box of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and part from a first-row seat next to the Yankees dugout, where he sat between New York Gov. George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Cheney was booed when he was shown on the right-field videoboard during the seventh-inning stretch.
Well, still no, but that's awesome.

Uh-oh

I just got gently reprimanded for wearing shorts and sandals to work. I fear it could be the beginning of the end.

Anybody out there looking to hire a software engineer? MSCS, 2.5 years exp. C/C++ but can pick up anything. (Sadly, as you might expect, I'm crap at networking.)

6.28.2004

Did I mention that I fucking hate D.C.

As expected, I received a ticket for being nicked by a robomatronic speed camera on DC-295.

My crime: doing 61 mph in a 50-mph zone. On a two-lane highway, with a median, in light traffic. The fine: $50.

I hope you choke on it, motherfuckers.

Ten months until I can move away from this miserable fucking hellhole.

Falling Down: The Reality Series (a.k.a. D.C. in the summer)

A pedestrian, nudged by a car in Georgetown, threw his drink at the car. This led to:

- one stabbing
- one brandished shotgun
- pedestrians fleeing in terror
- M Street closed for three hours

The pedestrian was the one who did the stabbing, after being chased by someone from the car into... snicker... Urban Outfitters. (Ahh, Georgetown; it's the mall away from the mall.) He apparently managed to find a knife or some other sharp object to use as a weapon.

After the stabbing, the pedestrian smartly escaped into the night, evading having to deal with the cops. The story doesn't mention whether there was a note attached to the crook reading, "Another criminal for you boys in blue! Signed, Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man."

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You don't suppose this mystery pedestrian could have been... the mysterious man in the red-jacket? I mean, I'd like to think that our Crimson Dynamo wouldn't throw his drink at a car just for hitting him, but we all have our off days. And escaping heroically into the night is definitely part of his Batman-esque motif.

6.27.2004

Dragging through the swamp

Despite what the war hawks think, terrorism can't be combatted by throwing our military might around and hoping the bad guys will be cowed back into the shadows. The "terror" part of terrorism depends on the element of surprise. It's not knowing where, when, or how the next attack is coming that keeps us afraid. Thus, the way to fight terrorism is to remove the element of surprise.

And we can only do that by knowing what they're up to; by having intelligence that's strong enough to discover what terrorists are up to. The most frustrating thing about 9/11 was that we had the intelligence we needed to perhaps prevent it, but the information was not passed around between the various departments of the FBI.

The lack of an up-to-date computer network was seen as one of the stumbling blocks to staying a step ahead of the terrorists. Obviously, a new system was needed. Predictably, that system is over two years behind schedule.

The Virtual Case File system is being deveoped by Computer Sciences Corporation, where the project has apparently fallen victim to the tsetse flies of sloth in the swamp of greed:

Now, more than $500 million into the four-year-old project, the F.B.I. has received new computers and access to e-mail and the Internet for agents.
Wow... they have new computers and e-mail access. But no case file system. And it only cost $500 million.

What... exactly are you guys doing over at CSC? Besides sponsoring bicycle teams to boost your own visibility. At least our tax dollars are going to something useful, since they're clearly not going towards solving the FBI's computer problem.

I don't think it matters if you're liberal and you think spending is justified, or conservative and think we should cut back; the way contractors cheat the government, by dragging their feet and doing shoddy work, is reprehensible. As taxpayers, we're simply not getting our money's worth. In this case, CSC is hampering one of our few legitimate anti-terrorism efforts. And, since external oversight of the project is apparently completely lacking, we have no idea what the holdup is.

6.26.2004

Shock

Baseball pushed back the Expos relocation decision for the 417th time.

Meanwhile, Steve Fainaru's cautionary tale of Bud Selig's Milwaukee folly, Miller Park, is a must-read.

6.23.2004

Seen on craigslist

I hate this place

I hate dc. Everyone is mean, self-righteous, and overdressed.
Oh thanks a lot, buddy. I'm on post, like, #559, and you manage to boil it down to 10 words.

You've got spam

DULLES, Va. --(Business Wire)-- June 23, 2004 -- "Earlier this year, AOL began litigation against a major spammer, and in the process of which, discovered that an AOL employee had stolen member screennames in 2003, which AOL believes were used to send junk email. AOL has uncovered no information indicating that this theft involved member credit card or password information stored by AOL. AOL rapidly brought this information to the attention of federal law enforcement, and this morning the AOL employee was arrested and charged with criminal activity relating to the theft of these screenames.
I've really missed the boat on this cheating thing. Even watchdog agencies for consumer rights are doing it.

Face it, me; making an honest living is for suckers!

The day everything made sense... in the Twlight Zone

Wow, what a strange day already. I keep turning around and expecting to see Rod Serling standing there. Three articles in the Post this morning worth noting.

1) They picked up the Moon-crowns-himself-the-Messiah story, on Page A1 no less (even though it happened in March). John Gorenfeld, you're finally, finally, going to Disney World.

2) Legislation was introduced to give D.C. a vote in the House. It's the old Utah-gets-a-seat-too compromise, but with the twist that D.C. would get an extra seat all its own, without being lumped in with Maryland. Could 200 years of stupidity finally be reversed? And here's a bit of history I didn't know:

Congress narrowly approved a constitutional amendment giving the District one House vote and two Senate votes in 1978. But only a fraction of the 38 states required agreed to ratify the plan for a majority-black, Democratic city, splintering along rural, racial and partisan lines.
3) "Senate panel recognizes D.C. Structural Deficit." My God... could they actually be considering giving the District adequate money to operate?

So, three incredible stories. There's only one plausible explanation... everyone's been reading my blog! Sing along with me! Heal the worlllllllllld, make it a better place... no?

6.22.2004

Bumper sticker seen while driving home

"I live dangerously; I drink tap water."

I also saw a Honda Element with license plate "MINI H2", but that's a story for another time.

Another sad, sad time.

Three things about Bull Run

Scary and sad story out of Bull Run Middle School, where a 12-year-old brought rifles to the school with plans to hold hostages.

1) It's Columbine all over again, in the sense that nobody seems to have taken this boy's social isolation and desperation seriously. News stories reported:

Friends, neighbors and fellow students described the boy as quiet and polite, but also said he was mercilessly teased about his weight, his glasses and his clothing.
School is tough, and it's especially tough in the tony exurbs where, if you don't fit in, you will be mericlessly exiled by your peers. There's a quote from My So-Called Life that always stuck out in my mind:

Angela: My parents keep asking how school was. It's like saying, "How was that drive-by shooting?" You don't care how it *was*, you're lucky to get out alive.
When you spend most of your life in a hostile social situation where you're on the outside looking in, it's hard to remember that real life isn't like that. This boy probably felt trapped in an awful situation for what seemed like an eternity, and in his mind the only way to escape that situation was to violently lash out at his enemies.

2) And here in America, of course, we solve all our problems by shooting at them. Guns are lethal and wonderfully dramatic, and they give you that macho, psychological edge that can turn even an oppressed weakling into a homicidal bully. Dare I mention the fact that NRA headquarters is a short drive east on I-66 from Bull Run Middle School? Or are we in an irony-free zone today?

I suppose it doesn't matter, since nothing could be more ironic than the month we spent being cut down by sniper bullets in 2002, to which the NRA of course responded by lobbying against a national database of ballistic fingerprinting (apparently successfully, since I haven't heard a damn thing about the issue since '02). I suppose the fairly good probablility that at least one child of an NRA employee attends Bull Run will have to be enough irony for me.

3) According to the Post, reaction to the presence of the gun was swift and effective.

Police officers from all areas of the county responded when the emergency code was broadcast as part of a comprehensive response plan the county implemented after the Columbine shootings. Police officials estimated that more than 100 Prince William police officers and sheriff's deputies and officers from nearby jurisdictions responded to the scene. They said the first entry team approached the school about 10 minutes after the 911 call was received.
Over one hundred law enforcement officals responded! That's an incredible and timely turnout by the police, which of course brings to mind the completely opposite response we'd be likely to see in the District. D.C. has had its share of school shootings in the past year, and I can't even imagine 100 police officers in D.C. responding (or, for that matter, that many who aren't on their coffee breaks at any one time). And can you imagine neighboring jurisdictions helping out the District? Me neither. Hate to bring up the separate-and-unequal gap between D.C. and its suburbs again, but there you go.

Now watch this drive.

(Hmm, I can open that <liberal-ranting> HTML tag, but I sure can't close it.)

6.21.2004

Lead pipe cinch

Oh, you thought perhaps that replacing the leaden pipes of D.C. was going to be handled in a professional and efficient manner?

Longstaff figured that someone representing the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority would be back to finish the job outside his home in the 100 block of 13th Street SE. Instead, a public works inspector who noticed the bricks issued him a $35 fine for "failure to maintain abutting public space in a clean condition."
That's absolutely ingenious. Bravo, D.C., for finding a way to make money out of your own inability to complete a job.

Propers: Oculus.

Random aside: Michael Marcotte, the WASA chief who recently resigned, was an acquaintance of mine, although I haven't talked with him since the story broke. I guess you know you've lived here a while when people you've met start to get swept up in government scandals.

6.18.2004

Cats and dogs living together

D.C. residents are doing an unprecedented job of not killing each other this year. Homicides are down more than 25 percent from last year, and at this pace the District will have fewer than 200 homicides by the end of the year for the first time in recorded memory (well, certainly in more than a decade). Twice in 2004 we've reached 11 days without a murder on the murder counter.

Am I worried about jinxing us entering the hot season? No, because the murder jinx resulting from Marion Barry's attempt to re-enter politics eclipses anything I could possibly say or do.

6.17.2004

Virginia: it's the new Alabama

Virginia fully unveiled its desperate campaign to convince its adults to stop screwing around with minors. "Isn't she a little young?" the advertisements ask, before unleashing the best PSA tagline ever:

"Sex with a minor. Don't go there!"

Don't go there. Awesome.

In wake of the Commonwealth's new anti-gay marriage legislation, I think we should consider a new campaign:

"Gay civil unions? Talk to the hand!"

6.16.2004

Burnination

Hmm, how about that. The Washington serial arsonist strikes again. And, let's see, this would be for the 39th time.

Apparently we're not in a big hurry to solve this one, seeing as the arsonist has been at it since March 2003. He's killed one person and injured several others; in this latest one, firefighters had to rescue five residents from an upper floor.

In a completely unrelated story, all but three of the 39 fires were set in the predominantly black neighborhoods near the D.C.-Prince George's County border. That's just in case you were wondering why the FBI hasn't gotten involved. (Plus, as we all know, it doesn't count as terrorism unless a Muslim does it.) But don't worry, a "regional task force" headed by Prince George's County is on the case. (Read: the sun will explode before they catch the guy.)

Virginia: it's the new Mississippi

Virginia now has the most restrictive anti-gay law in the country. Yes, we're so much more enlightened since the days of school integregation that we've actually lapped ourselves and somehow become less tolerant. And the rave reviews are already pouring in:

"I won't buy a home in Virginia. I'm done," said Bo Shuff, a 30-year-old gay-rights activist who has rented in the Washington suburb of Arlington the past two years.

Edna Johnston, a lesbian who has scuttled plans to move her historic-preservation consulting business from Washington to northern Virginia, said, "It's not a signal, it's a message: 'You're not welcome."'
More information at my new favorite website, Virginia is for Haters. (Hey, no wonder I live here!)

What about Bob?

John McCaslin self-corrected his erroneous story about "so help us God" missing from an FDR quote at the World War II Memorial. Not, of course, before it was posted here, here and here. Atheists, political correctness and the ACLU were then predictably and summarily bashed for ruining the country and so on and so forth.

I'm curious about a couple of things. These two things will be labelled "a)" and "2.".

a) Couldn't McCaslin have called the memorial spokeswoman (Betsy Glick) before running with the original story? Just to, I don't know, double check the word of a random tourist overheard by a friend? Or maybe look up the text of the speech on the Internet, before taking the word a man named...

2. Bob McEwan? Who exactly is the man who fed McCaslin the original anecdote? He's never identified in the original article. Whoever he is, he screwed over McCaslin something good.

6.15.2004

He's not the messiah; he's a very naughty boy

John Gorenfeld is finally, finally getting some pub regarding the Moon self-coronation story.

CapitolFax interviews one of the Congressmen involved, Rep. Danny Davis. Disappointingly, Davis' response is somewhat muted compared to mine:

Davis wouldn't budge, comparing the elaborate ceremony to a "fraternity or sorority meeting," or rituals performed by the local Elks lodge. "That's kind of the way I regard these ceremonies."
I never joined a fraternity or went to an Elks meeting, but I really don't think there's a whole lot of people crowning themselves the fucking Messiah going on there.

"I don't know if he was comparing himself to Jesus the Christ or anything like that," Davis said, adding, "and if he was, then that was his conceptualization of himself." But, he stressed that Moon was not his messiah. "Jesus the Christ is my guy."
He said as he handed Moon his crown:

6.14.2004

More stuff about Washington Times corrections, D.C. police stupidity

I missed this before: the Washington City Paper's Eric Wemple offered to track corrections for the Times in his own column, since the Times seems unable to do so. And then Fran Coombs, Times Managing Editor, said in an internal memo that the City Paper was right, despite being akin to low-grade toilet paper. Ouch.

Meanwhile, this comment by Suzie on the 911 entry is priceless and should be preserved forever:

So this weekend my friends [...] see a guy trying to break into their neighbor's house next door. In the utter brilliance of DC cops, the cops arrive and find the guy; then immediately bring him over to their house for my friends to ID him. Then the guy sits looking really pissed off in the back seat of the cop car, staring at my friends, memorizing their faces and of course, knowing where they live.
People, for your own safety, do not move to D.C. if you think you might ever need the police, fire department, an ambulance, etc. You're putting your own life at risk.

Too bad I like football; I live in Washington

Daniel Snyder is a total prick. But we already knew that.

I put my name on the waiting list to get season tickets for the Washington Redskins in 1996. I got a long-awaited phone call from a team representative in December telling me my number was up, and if I wanted them, six season tickets were mine.

Of course, coming off last season, when Washington wound up 5-11 and missed the playoffs once again, not everyone would have jumped at the chance, but being a die-hard Redskins fan since I was 3, I was elated. Some of my closest friends and I put our deposit down for all six seats. Then came the fun part of saving up the money -- I'm a second-year teacher; need I say more? I was told I would get an invoice in early April.

[...]

Finally in June, I received my invoice -- for two tickets. The letter said, "With Joe Gibbs's return, there's been a surge of fan loyalty across the country. Due to unprecedented ticket demand, the Redskins, unfortunately, cannot immediately fulfill your total request."
How much harder can this team screw over its fans?

Seriously, between charging the second-highest ticket price in the NFL (behind New England), and closing sidewalks before the game in the name of national security so they can force fans to pay $25 for parking, the tickets when mailed to fans should come with a letter stating, "Enjoy Daniel Snyder's penis, squirming around in your anus. Your friends, the Redskins."

6.13.2004

Times still inexplicably not burned down by angry mob

John Gorenfeld has some amazing stuff about the Moon coronation ceremony, including a hilarious transcript of the video. One Congressman, Rep. Curt Weldon, attended, but his secretary kept lying to John, saying Weldon hadn't attended. Sadly for all of us, the photos don't lie, even if the Congressmen do.

Meanwhile, nobody paid any attention to the debunking of the Times' "WWII Memorial FDR 'God' quote" story. And the Times never ran a correction on its awesome corrections page. Which means I'll have to listen to more crap about how atheist liberals are taking over the country and removing God from everything no matter the cost and blah blah blah etc., using this inaccurate bullshit as evidence.

But hey, what's the difference? The Times has a message to sell -- a scary, disturbing message -- and if its facts happen to be wrong, it doesn't really fucking matter, does it? Nobody seems to care enough to say anything, at any rate.

Radio Free D.C. (that is, free of radio)

The Post ran an article last week about the lack of college radio stations in Washington, something I've lamented a few times in this lovely forum of vitriol.

It's an interesting history. We've got several good schools here, but they've all either sold off their stations or converted them into commercial operations that are free from the influence of those pesky "students." American University and Howard University's stations are now strictly professional. Georgetown sold its station to UDC for $1 after the Jesuits became upset at students expressing some overly progressive views on the air (heaven forbid, at a college). UDC, in turn, sold it to C-Span for $13 million. (Profit!)

The University of Maryland is the only school in the area that still has a student-run station, but it's so weak I can't pick up the signal in Arlington. And judging solely by their sports fans, I wouldn't want to.

Bottom line: my presets are going to waste, and that 40-minute drive to Reston isn't getting any easier.

If I move to Seattle, God willing, KEXP will be my first preset. That's my promise to you, car stereo.

6.11.2004

Everyday, they don't never come correct

Googling yourself: it's faaaaaannn-tastic. However, I'm having trouble linking to this particularly good entry at Art is For Losers about the author's call to 911 a few months ago. So here it is, in its entirety:

why i hate dc

setting: 11pm, my apartment, i wake up to the sound of a woman screaming

get the fuck out of my apartment
door slam
something breaking
door slam
get the fuck out of my apartment now goddamnit
get the fuck out


911: hello, 911 what's your emergency
me: hi, the woman next door, she's screaming for a man to leave her apartment and he won't
911: a woman is screaming? what's she saying?
me: she screaming for some guy to leave her apartment, and he won't. and there's alot of door slamming and things breaking i think. she's really yelling.
911: where is the screaming coming from?
me: from the apartment next door
911: and you can hear her?
me: yes, i can
911: what's the address?
me: it's 1715 18th street nw, apartment 703
911: okay, you said 1518 17th street.
me: no, it's 1715 18th street.
911: okay, apartment number 604?
me: no, it's apartment 703, 1715 18th street apartment 703
911: have you seen anyone come out of the apartment?
me: no, i haven't seen either of them. but i hear them
911: i'll send a car to 1518 17th street immediately
me: no, the address is 1715 18th street. apartment 703. do you have that?
911: yes, i have it. what's your name please?
me: donald, i'm in the apartment next door, 702.
911: okay, i'm sending a car to 1718 15th street. is that nw or sw?
me: no, listen, it's 1715 18th street nw. apartment 703. do you have that? did you understand?
911: i'm sending a car right now. what's your telephone number please.
me: it's ___-____
911: do you still hear them yelling?
me: no, it's stopped now. it's quiet.
911: are they still in the apartment?
me: i don't know, i can't hear them anymore.
911: could you check?
me: what? check? check to see if they are there?

so, i'm standing in the kitchen, smoking a cigarrette watching the street. one cop goes by. then another. then one stops, then backs up and parks. cop gets out. goes to the mcdonald's. 20 minutes later, cops arrive at my building and come upstairs. knock on neighbors door. no answer. then they leave. and then they call me. and ask what was going on.

boy, i feel safe.

posted by art the loser Tuesday, March 16, 2004
911 is a what, now? Joke, that's right.

And even when they fuck up and people die, they can't get fired.

Moral: Do not get into a situation where you need a cop in D.C. You will die before they arrive, perhaps of violence, perhaps of old age.

We have retards in charge of education

There were fewer applicants for private school vouchers in D.C. than there were actual vouchers. Could it be, because, I don't know, the "up to $7,500" provided by the vouchers won't cover tuition at a lot of private schools, and these poorer families can't afford to make up the difference?

Also note that, while tuitions have generally gone up since I listed them last year, the value of the vouchers has not.

Meanwhile, the $13 million in U.S. funds that was supposed to go to D.C. public schools to complement the voucher funding was withheld by Congress because the school system failed to come up with a spending plan, and the interim schools superintendent accused the mayor of sabotaging the funding in order to help take over the schools himself.

What the hell is going on here? These people should all be locked up for blatant idiocy.

Well, there I go again

How about that, Reagan's still dead.

I've decided to celebrate Reagan's legacy the way he would have wanted: by attending a happy hour fundraiser benefitting HIV/AIDS prevention organizations, this evening at the Blue Room in Adams Morgan from 6:00-9:30 p.m.

6.10.2004

Never let the truth get in the way

The Washington Times' John McCaslin printed this in his Inside the Beltway column the other day:

Mr. McEwan made his way around to the memorial's "Pacific" section, where a group had gathered to read the determined words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt when he announced the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked."

One woman, says Mr. McEwan, read the words aloud: "With confidence in our armed forces — with the unbounding determination of our people — we will gain the inevitable triumph."

Suddenly, the woman became visibly angry: "Wait a minute," she told her husband. "They left out the end of the quote. They left out the most important part. Roosevelt said — 'so help us God.'... I know I'm right. I remember the speech."

The couple shook their heads and walked away.

As Mr. McEwan puts it, "The people who edited out that part of the speech when they engraved it on the memorial could have fooled me. I was born after the war. But they couldn't fool the people who were there. Roosevelt's words are engraved on their hearts."

Those exact words were: "With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounded determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God."
What a heartfelt anecdote, perhaps worthy of Paul Harvey. Problem is, that sentence from FDR's speech is not the quote on the memorial, as you can see in this Snopes article.

Will the Times post a correction on its awesome Corrections page? Clearly we'll be waiting on that for a while. But it is possible to fire off an e-mail to John McCaslin at jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com and ask him what kind of crack he's smoking.

FDR, of course, also said... "I hate war."



If only that wisdom lived on today.

We live in a Dickens novel

As residents of the Watergate apartments whine over the devaluation of their million-dollar co-ops and the tragic loss of their $15 hamburgers, the homeless rate in D.C. was found to have gone up for the fourth straight year. Homeless people now make up 2.5 percent of the District's population.

6.09.2004

Ronald Reagan's untimely death shocks a nation

You know, I was glad that Ronald Reagan died on a Saturday, because I thought I would have to hear about it for the whole week. Dear God, how wrong I was. It's still being treated as the top story. BULLETIN! Reagan on Final Journey to Washington! Front page news! Wooooo! Nothing else is going on in the world more important that us moving a dead body across the country!

At any rate, plenty of Washington roads will be affected tonight during rush hour as they transport the former president's corpse to the Capitol building and do a funeral procession or something, so that people can grieve or whatever. (I don't really understand this worshipping of dead bodies that we tend to do, and driving the coffin around as if it contained nuclear waste, but there you go.)

And expect more delays Friday during the actual funeral. Maybe then we can put this story to bed? Not that I'm not looking forward to the Reagan Rememberance Channel coming to my cable lineup.

6.08.2004

The face of Washington activism

Anybody who doesn't see the disconnect between the super-rich and super-poor in Washington need only look as far as this story.

Some of the buildings in the Watergate hotel complex have been converted into cooperative apartments which range in price from $350,000 to $1.5 million. For those with not quite that much cash on hand, you can rent this one-bed-one-bath apartment, with a whopping 965 square feet, for $1,650 a month, not including parking.

Naturally, some developers are willing to renovate the hotel part and turn it, too, into another gold mine of co-op apartments. But the current co-op residents are fiercly opposed, launching a vocal campaign against the sale and redevelopment.

Opponents countered with a flier headed "THE CHOICE IS SIMPLE." It claimed that accepting the Monument deal would mean "accepting 155 new luxury hi-rise co-ops next door directly competing with our own apartments, depressing our market values, and turning us into the 'has-been' 'Old Watergate.' "
That is, they don't want their apartments to look old and busted compared to the new hotness of the redevelopment. So part of this is "Keeping up with the Joneses". (Muffy and I would just DIE if the apartment next door looked better than ours.) And. by opposing new residences, they can keep their property values at ridiculous levels, unaffordable by mere mortals. Of course, there are other factors for the opposition:

"If you take the hotel, it will make the place dormant," said William S. Diedrich a retired U.S. diplomat. "It's a decent place to go [and] have a $15 hamburger," he said of the bar lounge.
Leave it to a diplomat to get all whiny that he'll no longer be able to get his $15 hamburger. I'm trying to recall if I've ever eaten a hamburger that expensive, and unless any were laced with angel dust and I didn't notice, I don't think so get these SPIDERS OFF MEEE!!!

Of couse, the group in favor of renovation is no more logical:

One, in favor of the sale and written by William Wolf, listed the names and phone numbers of the "six antidemocratic and recalcitrant Directors" who opposed the Monument proposal. "Call them and insist on democracy. This is America, under the rule of law. It is not Afghanistan, under the rule of the Taliban."
Yes, wait, let me make sure I read that right. Hold on. OK, I did. He really did just compare this pointless NIMBY squabble among the D.C. bourgeoisie to life under the Taliban. Just wanted to make sure before I killed myself. Thanks.

On April 12, people swarmed into the hotel's Monticello Room. An estimated 94 percent of the eligible members voted. The pro-Monument slate won by a slim majority.
This gets you motherfuckers out and voting? Deciding whether to turn the hotel across the way into apartments? Maybe if some of you directed some of that energy expended in saving your $15 hamburgers towards, I don't know, trying to secure representation in Congress for D.C., or maybe doing a little community service, or even, hey how about this, showing up to vote in polticial elections, D.C. would be a better place to live. Instead, we have a city where selfishness is the norm. It's a miserable... fucking... hellhole.

(NOTE: Nobody voted in Virginia today either, except me, apparently. Gotta love the American spirit.)

6.07.2004

Saturday

First, we drove all the way up to Baltimore to see the Orioles game, which got rained out. Driving back I discovered that, inexplicably, there's no exit from DC-295 to westbound Pennsylvania Avenue, even though you can get on coming from either direction and can also exit eastbound. After that, I'm pretty sure I got nicked by a speed camera futher down 295 (I saw the telltale flash coming from a parked car on the side of the road).

I give up. I think this city was designed specifically to infuriate me.