Today was a good day

They caught the serial arsonist.

The old ethics rules are coming back to the house.

The President is rushed to the basement after an airspace false alarm.

They're going to try to bring back the dollar coin again.

North Bethesda resident Glenn Merberg cannot tell the difference between the conventional LASIK surgery he had done in his left eye and the custom LASIK in his right.

It's all good.

Pas de baseball

I was wondering how we were going to screw up baseball. And the way in which we have screwed it up was genius.

For example, last night: great game. The surprising John Patterson pitches a gem. Brad Wilkerson hits one into the upper deck -- section 470, to be exact. Not an easy thing to do.

It would've been nice to have actually been able to watch, or listen to, the game.

Thanks to recent lawsuit shenanigans between Comcast and the Orioles, the only Nats games that will be televised are the ones UPN-20 has already contracted to show, which are mostly on the weekends. Thus, last night's game wasn't on TV... not even on baseball's premium Extra Innings package (which I have, b/c I'm a freak) on digital cable and satellite TV services.

Meanwhile, the "radio network" for the games is a joke. All the games are carried on 1050 AM, "Federal News Radio", which I didn't even know existed until a few weeks ago. And there's good reason, because here's a list of areas the signal covers:


Some of the games, apparently at random, are also carried on 104.1 FM, which I can pick up only marginally better. But still... the ones that aren't, I can't even pick up in my apartment. So sad.

(BTW, to add insult to injury, if you do pick up the radio broadcast, the first run scored in the game is sponsored by Fox News. I wish I was kidding. It's the "Fox News First Run of the Game." I should have expected that.)

Oh, but guess who I can watch and/or listen to? THE FUCKING ORIOLES. Oh, thank God for that. Comcast is carrying their games, as is 980 AM, which actually has a halfway decent signal.

Ugh... this is all Peter Angelos' fault, for meddling with the stupid TV rights. The whole situation is basically playing right into his hands; we can neither watch, nor listen to, our new team. But we can watch or listen to his team.

It's hard to describe the unjustifiable level of anger I feel toward Angelos. But I will try to put it in perspective. I would like to take a large metal item, sort of like a giant speculum, and jam it up his rectum. Then, I would clamp the handles together, thus causing him to be eviscerated from the inside out, in a highly gruesome manner. And then, as I'm walking away, someone would come up to me and be all, "Where's Peter Angelos?" and I would answer, "He had to split." In an inexplicably Austrian accent.

Wow, that's disgusting. Sorry. I suppose I should put up a parental warning of some kind.


Umm, ---> IN RETROSPECT! <---

Really, there's no reason I should be THAT mad. That kind of anger should only be reserved for truly evil beings (e.g. Dan Snyder). But I am. This whole thing is ridiculous, and could have been worked out months ago if baseball not dragged its feet, over everything, as usual.

Oh well. Just call me a charter member of the Peter Angelos Giant Speculum Brigade. I'm going to go get some T-shirts printed up.

Culture of Life scorecard

Tragic victimTerri SchiavoDonte Manning
Age at death419
Time spent as a vegetable15 yearsAbout three weeks
Cause of conditionCardiac arrest; chemical imbalance caused by Terri's bulimia (and by drinking nearly a gallon of iced tea)Being shot in the head
(Gunman remains on the loose)
LocationPinellas Park, Fla. (950 mi. from D.C.)13th and Euclid St. NW, D.C. (within boundaries of Congressional theocracy jurisdiction)
Congressional responsePersonalized novelty legislation;
unprecedented intervention into judicial process
[crickets chirping]

Last year, 24 of the District's 198 homicide victims were juveniles. Donte is this year's fifth. And right in Congress' backyard! I'm sure this time they'll actually pay attention to the city around them and do something about it... or, yeah. Do the usual and completely ignore it.

To recap: gay civil union issues and local real-estate developments require immediate Congressional attention! Children routinely getting shot requires no attention.

Oh well, you know how it is... "Donte Manning" just doesn't play as well on Fox News.


I'm worried about the Examiner... 's

Normally, I try not to be an officer for the Typo Police. I've certainly had my share of typos and John Ritter-esque misunderstandings while writing this blog. But these things happen when you don't have an editor. An extra set of eyeballs or three can help catch errors and fix up confusing... um... writing... segments.

The Washington Examiner, conversely, does have editors. Unless they've had to cut back already; as noted by the media column in the City Paper last week, the Ex appears to be having issues selling its back page. Perhaps Anschutz is finding out that starting a pandering right-wing rag in order to win influence among Congressmen, a la True Father's own billions-losing Times, isn't as easy as it looks.

Whatever the reason, things are getting awfully sloppy on the pages of the free tabloid. For example, from today's paper:

Comcast SportsNet suing of The Orioles, Major League Baseball, and the newly formed Mid Atlantic Sports Network, could be a very good thing for fans of the Washington National's.
OK, well... National-apostrophe-s. Common mistake. How about moving that apostrophe-s to after the word "SportsNet". And the "The" before "Orioles" shouldn't be capitalized.

Whatever, again, this is highly nit-picky. But that's a pretty ugly first sentence. Not only does it appear in the paper that way, but they didn't even bother to fix the web copy. Another random example: this article about the Nats' new stadium announcer spells his name wrong throughout. Everybody else got it right.

Oh, but it gets better. Especially on the editorial page. If you're going to pander to the anti-environmentalists, I guess sloppiness doesn't matter.

Predictable as the sunrise, President Bush has nominated a new chief for the Environmental Protection Agency and a Democratic senator has put a hold on the nomination over some esoteric dispute about information sharing.
Typical of this editorial, none of the details are filled in: the actual names of the nominee (Stephen Johnson) and the senator (Thomas Carper) are never mentioned.

The American public was long ago bamboozled into thinking the air and water are getting dirtier, that U.S. industry is poisoning us all and the only way to do anything is to follow the pied piper's of the environmental movement.
Oh dear, it's that pesky 's again. Not to mention that nothing's presented to prove that we've been "bamboozled" in the way of public opinion polls or scientific data about the environment. This entire thing is basically, "This is how I imagine the world to be. Just go with it."

Polling over the past decade has shown three things pretty consistently: first, that the public thinks the environment is ever more in dange:
Yes, "in dange".

The first of these is patently untrue. Every measure we have of environmental health in the United States is improving. There's more forestland and parkland, and less air pollution of just about every kind. Endangered species like wolves and eagles are doing better.
Yay, everything's fixed! You know what that means: time to fuck it up again.

The only way environmentalists keep the direct-mail spigots going is by moving the goalposts (for blood lead in children) [sic] or inventing new crises like global warming.
Sadly, this dismissive "you made it up" attitude about global warming mirrors what happened to another environmental scientist from long ago.


And honestly, shouldn't something like "blood lead in children," whatever that means, be considered a serious problem? It sure doesn't sound good.

And remember that part about the public thinking environmental problems are getting worse? Well, why doesn't the Bush administration start asking why things are going to hell in a handbasket instead of fighting the impossible battle to explain that things are getting better?

Whose laws have failed? Why, the command-and-control, regulate-everything-to-death programs of the 1960s and 1970s. They need to be replaced by modern laws that are flexible and use the lessons we've learned as we've deregulated our economy and seen the collapse of government-run economies in Eastern Europe.

If all these programs - fought for every step of the way by our wonderful environmental lobby - have failed to protect the environment as those same environmentalists do ever day, isn't it time someone was held accountable? Isn't it time we tried something new?
Err... but you just said that everything was going really well and improving, Examiner. I took your word for it! So... I think what you're saying is that Bush should pretend that things aren't improving, and use that as an excuse to impose more "flexible" policies. Which, you know, he's already done, if by "flexible" you mean "non-existent".

On the day President Bush and his allies start asking those questions and proposing broad and aggressive plans for revamping environmental laws to lower the burden on business by granting flexibility at the same time Bush proposes raising standards to make environmental laws actually successful, it is the environmentalists who'll have to spend their time explaining that the environment is cleaner and that all the laws have been working.
Wait... trying to follow the logic... and... no. I can't do it. I have no idea what they are trying to say.

Unfortunately, I think I have a singularly personal insight into why this piece is such a mess. I think I probably know who wrote it.

Because I think that's the same Examiner staff member who sent me an e-mail after I complained about the anti-cable editoral a couple weeks back.

You'll recall that I said: "[A] la carte programming would be nice. But the angle the Examiner takes is what pissed me off: 'succumb to our Christian will, or face the wrath of the FCC.'"

The e-mailed response I received said:

Subject: Love your blog
From: "David Mastio"

Are edit didn't endorse the regulation of cable, just the motive behind
I hope we get cable channel choice and then the motive dies down.

David Mastio
Editorial Page Editor
The Washington Examiner
(703) [xxx-xxxx]
OK... well, those are English words. However, when strung together in that particular order, they don't form a coherent sentence.

Wow. Look, I don't really like doing this. For all I know, this is a spoofed e-mail that didn't really come from David Mastio (although it sure looks authentic). More importantly, it's not especially fair to eviscerate specific individuals, who aren't public figures, in a forum where they don't have a chance to defend themselves.

Unless they really deserve it.

And, if you Google his name for five minutes, you'll see that Mastio has basically been on a one-man reporting crusade for the past several years against any and all environmental regulations placed on industry. Apparently, that crusade hasn't ended, even now that the EPA, under Bush, has basically descended into self-parody.

So, there you go. Sorry to be so nasty, David, simply because your quest to provide fuel for the anti-environmental types happens to conflict with my specific political beliefs. But I'm sure you'll be fine, as there's a fantastic market here in Washington for people who are willing to be conservtive mouthpieces. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and look on the bright side: you're a professional writer, and I'm not.

... 's.


The Foxworthy Factor

It's time to play: Let's Put My Prejudices To The Test!

From the comments:

"Apparently, you're too liberal/black/gay to make your own decisions. Instead, some douchebag homophobic redneck from Kansas will tell you what you can and can't do."

Because being from Kansas automatically makes you a redneck, right?

Ah, the two-edged sword of prejudice rears it's ugly yet increasingly familiar head...

KIR | 04.22.05 - 11:12 am
Ooooh, snap! I got served! Somebody has demanded satisfaction!

OK, everybody ready? Let's Put My Prejudices To The Test!

Sam Brownback was born September 12, 1956, and grew up on the family farm near Parker, Kansas, where his family still farms. In high school, Brownback served as state president and as a national officer of the Future Farmers of America. Later he received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University...
OK... so far so good...

As a member of the House of Representatives, Brownback took a lead role among the freshman class of 1994 in pursuit of his philosophy to reduce the size and intrusiveness of the federal government, reform the Congress, and to help return the country to its traditional values.
As we all know, this is code for "I hate the gays... FOR JESUS."

Additionally, Brownback fights to protect our children and our culture by protecting traditional marriage through the Federal Marriage Amendment, by nominating judges that strictly uphold the Constitution instead of activist judges bent on rewriting the law through his position on the Judiciary Committee, by holding the media industry responsible for violent and sexual content affecting our children through the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act and the CAMRA Act, and by protecting the unborn through the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, the Cloning Prohibition Act, and the Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act.
Etc. etc. etc. I have to say, it's looking pretty good for James' prejudices.

Just to be sure, I looked up the wikipedia definition of "redneck."

A slang term, usually for a rural white southerner who is politically conservative, racist, and a religious fundamentalist. This term is generally considered offensive. It originated in reference to agricultural workers, alluding to how the back of a person's neck will be burned by the sun if he works long hours in the fields.
Check, check, check.

And, ladies and gentlemen, the coup de grace: a photo from that same Brownback bio page.


So there you go. The moral of the story is my preconceived notions are always right, bitch*.

How does it feel, random detractor? How does it feel to be made my bitch? Feels good, doesn't it?

Oooh yeah. It does.

*-NOTE: Correct gender of libertarian bloggers excluded.

Happy Earth Day, from the Screw-The-Earth Capital of the World!

On this Earth Day two years ago, the So-Very-Rev. Sun-Myung Moon's Washington Times published my favorite editorial piece of all time. The hyperlink is dead, but I remember:

Today marks the 33rd annual celebration of Earth Day. It's an important day to mark, although it must be remembered that the reason for the holiday is not to save the Earth per se — as if anyone could preserve a vast rock that is billions of years old — but rather to remind citizens to be good stewards during their short span on it.
They went on to endorse the Bush plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. On Earth Day. Hilarious.

And also sad, because it basically sums up the current Washington line of thinking on the environment: the planet will still be here 1,000 years from now, so anything we do to it now is OK. People like me would prefer the planet still be able to, you know, support life. But apparently that doesn't fit in with the Repulicans' plan; I suppose they figure the Rapture will come way before that.

Thus, Earth Day 2005 sees another golden opinion piece from the TrueFather Times, this time about the Yucca Mountain controversy. For those of you unfamiliar, the government is trying to convince Nevadans that Yucca Mountain would be a good place to store radioactive nuclear waste. The nearby residents, as you might expect, are not so keen on the idea.

(Hey, I know: let's use Tom Davis' basement instead.)

The government's case has been somewhat jeopardized by e-mails sent between scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, self-described on its website as "an unbiased science organization." For years, USGS scientists have been working on computer models to determine how much radiation escaping the dump site might end up being carried out by the underground water. It's a delicate subject, because too-high levels could wind up affecting life around the mountain in the years/decades/centuries to come. And sadly, not in the cool "Eeek! Giant ants!" way, but in the sad, cancer-causing-genetic-mutation way.

Wait did I say they were "working on" models? I meant "totally fucking making them up," as the e-mails seem to suggest. (QA = Quality Assurance, the people that check and verify the models.) (Link via this blog.)

  • "Science by peer pressure is dangerous but sometime it is necessary."
  • "The QA bullshit grows deeper. I may need to say that I did everything by hand for the data package I am submitting that you and [redacted] reviewed. The program I wrote is not in the system and QA will be all over it like flies on &%#$. All references to [redacted] are being deleted. Here’s my question: When we go to start QA’ing the site-scale modeling work, will I get taken to the cleaners because I am not referencing either a tech procedure or a scientific notebook?"
  • [In response to the above:] "What if you just download the raw files from [redacted] and say you used those? Do they need to know any more than that? You don’t really need to do an analysis just say this is the data I used. Maybe that would work."
  • [Replying:] "Not a bad idea. I am now considering it. Ideally, one would assume that the more information you proved QA, the better the QA. In reality, it seems that the opposite is true. At any rate, it’s a damn shame to be wasting time with this sort of thing."
  • “Model simulations have been in progress but about 3 weeks ago I found a small error in the model input that was generated using the [redacted] data. The error was minor but would have created a QA nightmare so this was fixed and the simulations are being re-done (I’ll send you a summary of the results when I get to this point). The input files are basically re-formatted [redacted] export files with a minor amount of parameter estimation occurring to fill small gaps in the record (even for the high ranking sites, there are gaps all over the place). Here’s the weird news; to get this milestone through QA, I must state that I have arbitrarily selected the analog sites. So for the record, seven analog sites have been arbitrarily (randomly) selected. Hopefully these sites will by coincidence match the sites you have identified. P.S. please destroy this memo."
  • "Dealing with this QA bullshit is really starting to make me sick."
  • "Don’t look at the last 4 lines. Those lines are a mystery that I believe somehow relate to the work [redacted] was doing in entering the 1994 data. These lines are not used by [redacted] (we stop at 9/30/94). I’ve deleted the lines from the 'official' QA version of the files (which do have headers). In the end I keep track of 2 sets of files, the ones that will keep QA happy and the ones that were actually used."
  • "There is of course, no scientific notebook for this work. All work is in the form of electronic files…. They may be expecting to see something that at least looks like a scientific notebook documenting work in progress. I can start making something up but then the [redacted] projects will need to go on hold."
  • "The programs, of course, are all already installed otherwise the [redacted] would not exist. I don’t have a clue when these programs were installed. So I’ve made up the dates and names (see red edits below). This is as good as its going to get. If they need more proof, I will be happy to make up more stuff, as long as its not a video recording of the software being installed."
WOW. I love it... "Please destroy this memo!" Ooooops. USGS' headquarters, by the way, is in Motherfucking Reston, down the street from where I worked for most of '04. So at least they have some nice landscaping to look at while they fudge results and doom the ecosystem.

Back to the Times, where Joshua Gilder, a "visiting fellow" at the "Lexington Institute" (yet another player in Washington's massive bullshit industry), predictably says, "don't worry about that."

In order to obtain licensing from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, scientists will likely be required to demonstrate that the repository will pose no health risks for the next 10,000 years.

Give that one a moment to seep in.

Ten thousand years ago was the beginning of the Mesolithic era, when the Ice Age was ending, Great Britain became an island, and human beings started to take up agriculture. If Yucca is still a problem in 10,000 years, it will only be because our civilization has completely collapsed and we've all reverted back to the Stone Age.
Like I said, that's basically the best argument they can come up with. Ten thousand years from now it will be somebody else's problem. Or maybe civilization will have collapsed. Or, maybe civilization won't have collapsed, and we'll have fucked up an entire region of Nevada so badly that nothing will be able to live there. Races of futuristic apes will call it the Forbidden Zone, and a time-displaced Charlton Heston will happen upon an underground race of humans who worship the nuclear material, which he will then explode to destroy the planet once and for all. (Or am I confusing reality with the Planet of the Apes series again?)

Nevertheless, the models currently estimate that nearby residents will receive little to no radiation from Yucca in the next 10,000 years. Three hundred thousand years from now, nearby residents might receive an additional 260 millirem per year, assuming earth hasn't been demolished by an asteroid by then.
Hey, maybe Earth was destroyed because the asteroid hit our nuclear waste dump!

The point is: This is not a problem that will go away in a few centuries or even a few millenia; the radiation will hang around and just get worse in the long term. If we screw up Yucca Mountain, we've screwed it up for good. It looks like the government has to once again fake its "sound science" in order to make its case, and that calls everything into question.

But even with evidence that the tests were faked, the Times still finds a way to back the government. Which, after all, is why we have a Washington Times. A despicable, batshit-crazy cult leader makes himself into a respected media figure; all he has to do is parrot the Republican agenda, no matter what the cost to the public good, and everybody looks the other way.

This could only happen here.

Happy Earth Day.


Congress Bullies Washington Into Doing What They Want: a symphony in two movements

1. Also, D.C. will be renamed "East Kansas"

It's everyone's favorite scare-quotey issue, "gay" marriage. Oh, sorry, "gay" "marriage."

A leading Senate Republican warned Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) yesterday that a move to recognize gay marriages in the nation's capital would trigger a sharp backlash from Congress, and the mayor acknowledged that the District could jeopardize its budget agenda and domestic partner benefits if it mishandles the issue.

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback (R), the new chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the District, said he wanted to hear more from Williams but opposed a statement by the city's attorney general that "validly married same-sex couples" may file joint D.C. tax returns.
Ah, geez... not this shit again. Sorry, D.C.! Apparently, you're too liberal/black/gay to make your own decisions. Instead, some douchebag homophobic redneck from Kansas will tell you what you can and can't do.

But wait! It's our savior, The Bowtie! I'm sure the mayor will stand up to this travesty, this infringement on our capital city's self-government.

Williams said that while he supports gay unions, "My personal opinion and what I do as a matter of the public policy of the District sometimes may be aligned and sometimes may be different."
Or maybe he'll just kowtow to whoever's in power, as usual.

At any rate, here's a homework assignment for everyone: please come up with a gay-sex-related term for "Brownbacking", much in the way "Santorum" has come to have an... er... alternate meaning. (Surely it won't be that hard to think of something for "Brownbacking.")

2. Sm*rt gr*wth

A real-estate developer had this crazy idea to build a dense, mixed-use development near the Vienna/Fairfax Metro station.

The plan would replace a few dozen homes with thousands of condos and several offices, and it would all be right by the Metro, which would presumably encourage people to take the train and leave their cars at home. And it would all be vertical: parking underground, stores on the ground floor, residences above.

So: it's thousands of new residences, and an effective use of space that encourages people to avoid driving and instead use mass transit. In an area that's about as crowded, sprawly and horizontal as it gets, this sounds like a Very Good Thing That Should Be Encouraged.

Ohhh, no... a Very Good Thing That Should Be Encouraged... in Washington... I think you know what's coming next... that's right... wait for it... waaaaait for it...

SMACKDOWN CRACKDOWN. Can you smelllllllll what Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) is cooking?

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III said he will intervene in a contentious local issue by proposing legislation to scale back a massive development planned next to the Vienna Metro station, a project he acknowledges is near his own neighborhood.

The Northern Virginia Republican appeared at a community meeting this week that attracted many opponents of the project. He said he attended as a homeowner. But the crowd of about 500 broke into applause when Davis announced that he would amend a Metro funding bill to block the sale or lease of land the agency owns next to the Orange Line station in Fairfax County.
Uggggghhhhhh... no no no. Not more personalized novelty legislation. Oh, but it is.

Wait, it gets better:

"All of us need to be careful in public life that we're not legislating our personal pet peeves just because we can," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D), a MetroWest supporter who used to represent the area on the board. "I think it's unfortunate that there would be a threat from Congress to interfere with local land use. . . . Is Congress now going to pick and choose what Metro may or may not develop?"


[Davis said,] "I'm sorry, but unfortunately, the Congress of the United States has jurisdiction over Metro. The Board of Supervisors doesn't."
Ohhh, no he DINNNT!!!

God, what a fucking bastard! And what's his authority on the subject? Well, you see, he moved to Fairfax almost a whole year ago. And, of course, the only logical action for one to take is to wield one's Congressional Powers to make sure NOBODY FUCKING ELSE GETS TO LIVE WHERE I LIVE, DAMMIT.

Arrrrghh. STUPID SHORT-SIGHTED FUCKING IDIOTS. Here's a chance to finally, finally, get some actual smart growth up in here. Instead, we get the usual, not-smart growth, which is: "go live somewhere else." And, since attitudes like this drive up property values even more, eventually people are commuting here from their homes in Kentucky.

And it's all because one NIMBY homeowner, who happens to be in Congress, can single-handedly torpedo the whole thing.


Dear George Washington,

When you selected this particular area of swampland in which to place our nation's capital, you lacked to foresight to know that it would, over 200 years later, be more than a three-hour drive from the nearest casino gambling.

In my opinion, this taints your entire legacy. If I'm going to have to deal with the misery that is the city named after you, at least you could have placed it close enough to AC to pull off a day-trip.

And also, did you come up with the exploding manholes bit, or was that Pierre L'Enfant? Either way: really bad idea.


What happened to the Parents Television Council's "Worst Clips of the Week"?

Thanks to a loyal reader for sending me this Slate article. I was wondering where all the good clips had gone.

"There are no real baseball fans in D.C." --Orioles owner Peter Angelos

Yep, I got to go to last Thursday's opener. More photos:

Free Washington Times-es being handed out. Thanks, True Father!

Looks like the Army's lowered the minimum enlistment age to 7. Not a big surprise. This must be the big recruitment push they were talking about: big inflatable mascots. "Hi-yuk! Let's go kill some 'insurgents'!"

"We'll start signing Negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites." - Redskins owner George Preston Marshall. So glad this guy gets a memorial.

Lots of protestors out, with cries of "Millions for the stadium, peanuts for our schools." Some D.C. Vote people were out as well. Again, good luck.

And it was the first baseball game I've been to involving snipers.

Overall, though, it would take a lot to ruin having baseball. And yeah, of course there are problems. The food service was non-existent... there just wasn't any. Not a surprise at all if you've ever tried to get food at a D.C. United game. Hobbling up those steep upper deck steps on a sprained ankle is no fun, and they won't even bring hot dogs to your seat. Metro proved itself to be, surprise, completely incapable of handling such a big crowd... the crowd to get back into the station after the game stretched for a full block (although my fuck-the-man top-secret shortcut of simply walking south a couple blocks to the other entrance was somewhat effective). Yes, the mascot is an eagle named "Screech", presumably because "Slater" and "Zack" were taken.

None of that matters. Baseball, motherfucker. I went out again on Sunday, and that was the true example of what baseball can mean. 72 degrees and beautiful outside; families out enjoying the day and the game; kids running around having a great time, some of them maybe attending their first game. It's like a big 35,000-person picnic.

And baseball's unique in sports, because it's the ultimate economic equalizer: anybody can go. There are enough seats and enough games that it keeps the prices low. You can walk up, day of game, and get a seat at RFK for $7. Who doesn't have $7 to watch a major league game? It's not like the NFL, where you have to take out a second mortgage just to watch the Redskins lose to the Cowboys for the 83rd straight time. With baseball, anybody can go out and enjoy the day and enjoy the team.

So, this is great, at least until July, when the stench from the Anacostia and the sewage lines under RFK start driving people away.


Random thoughts

- My health insurance sucks. The co-pays for office visits and prescription drugs all doubled this year. I went in today for an appointment; my doctor finally showed up after keeping me waiting for 30 minutes. He was, literally, wearing a party hat as he walked in (it was his last day at the practice). We talked for all of three minutes. My co-pay: $40 of a $65 bill. ARRGGHH.

- Can we make more of D.C. like Adams Morgan? Except with, maybe, an easier way to get there? Other than that, I generally like it there. Here's the pinball review: Ripley's Believe It Or Not at Pharmacy Bar is in good shape. Elvis at Asylum mostly works, but leans further to the right than the Times and Examiner put together.

- Yes, it's decided: we need more Adams Morgans...es. Oh, but minus that spaghetti place next door to Blue Room. That place blows. How do you screw up spaghetti? Somehow, they do it. Bravo.

- Which is better: Jumbo Slice, Original Jumbo Slice, or Real Original Jumbo Slice? I'm not telling you which one I went to, because I don't want to spawn yet another 179-comment thread on why I was wrong and how I know nothing about living in cities and why don't I move to Hoboken.

- Hey, they fixed that misplaced street sign at 17th and M, that I had displayed in my photo essay a while back. (Too lazy to link. It's back there, somewhere.) Somebody had suggested I post a fix request on dc.gov... I did, and they actually fixed it. That's... unprecedented. I really am speechless. I made D.C. a better place! Oops, did I overstep my bounds, since I don't even live there?

- It's true: I live hundreds of miles away in rural Arlington. Er, make that ones of miles away. I can drive home from 17th and M in less than 10 minutes; yet some people think I'm stupid to complain about D.C. proper because of that. Thing is, I don't discriminate. I complain about the whole region. And, at the very least, you have to give me this: at least I care that it sucks. I actually care that my capital city is like unto a shithole, and would like to see improvements. Most people in the region who might have a say in the matter... Congress, suburban city councils, etc... don't care. It won't stop sucking until more people start caring.

- OMG, can you believe that the Nats actually have a winning record at this point? They won series on the road against the Phils and Braves... wow. Are we sure we got the Expos and not some other team by mistake? Oh, and the Wizards made the playoffs tonight, too. I feel like this all must have been foretold in Revelations.

- And, I might even get to go to the Nats opener. Kick ass... a chance to boo the President in person. But the best aspect of the Nats actually comes next Thursday... the first day game during the week. The first chance in three decades to ditch work in the middle of the day and go watch baseball. KICK ASS. Maybe now some of those self-important Washington workaholics will lighten up a bit. (Yeah, or not. Expect to see many laptops and cell phones.)

More novelty legislation

This has to be a joke:

The region's congressional leaders reintroduced legislation Tuesday that seeks to help District of Columbia residents and business owners, who pay some of the nation's highest taxes.

The Fair Federal Compensation Act of 2005 would require Congress to provide the city with an annual $800 million federal contribution - adjusted for inflation - dedicated to infrastructure improvements.
Sorry, D.C. The likelihood Congress will pass this is zero. They need to use that money to buy the FBI a computer network that doesn't actually work. (Again.) I don't know how to say this, but... They're Just Not That Into You.


There are only 20 people more loathsome than I

Incredible... I can't believe I beat Washingtonienne AND Michelle Malkin. That THAT!

The authors describe me as "snooty." Mind you, one of them described the Cheesecake Factory as "mangy waste, sold to bottom feeders", while the other one's name contains both a "Randolph" and a "III". But right, I'm the snooty one.

Anybody else sensing a growing anti-James backlash lately? I don't know where it came from, since, you know, I still have absolutely no influence or power over anything, whatsoever. I'm, you know... just a guy. With a blog. Why is the fact that I don't like living here such a big deal?

I'm basically just passing the time until I can move away from a city I don't like, and trying to have some fun with it. I can crack some jokes, get my write on, push the known boundaries of profanity, etc. But some people who do like living here act like I've shot their grandparents. I guess my writing style fosters that kind of climate. But seriously... chill, people. What are they going to do, shut down the city because of what I say? Not likely! I can't even get Dance 360 on the air, dammit!

I'm just not that important. There's no way I should be on the same list as Bob Novak. I don't even make any money doing this.

But hey, people who loathe me: I have good news. I sprained my ankle pretty badly over the weekend. It's in a splint and propped up on my computer right now. If I'm not as funny for the next 6-8 weeks, it's because I'm playing through pain. Or, at least, that's my excuse.


Chadfredo Cordero

Wow... Chad Cordero just tore through the heart of the Phillies order, like it was butter, in the bottom of the 10th. Which is good, because my team needs all the extra wins it can get:

So, to recap: Nats on TV, 0-1. Nats not on TV, 2-0. Maybe Angelos did them a favor.

OH, AND ALSO: Apparently, you shouldn't expect Metro to take you home if a game goes into extra innings, as neither the team nor Metro wants to pick up the tab for running past midnight. So, have fun hanging out in that neighborhood after midnight. Lots to see and do.


Somebody smack Peter Angelos

The Nationals just won their first game. They beat the Phillies 7-3 in Philly; Zach Day had a great start; Brad Wilkerson hit for the cycle.

Sure would have been nice to watch it! But hey, at least the Orioles are on. Right now they're losing 7-0. That's great.

This is ridiculous. Time to storm Castle Angelos. I'm boycotting the Orioles. (Judging by ticket sales, so are a lot of people.)

Only we could make baseball this annoying

I should have seen it coming, I suppose.

1) The Nats play the Phillies tonight. It's the Nationals' second-game ever!

Buuuuut it's not on TV locally. Anywhere. Not even on any of those awful lascivious cable networks like "ESPN".

Oh, but guess which team you can see locally, on Comcast? The Orioles. Of course.

I'd really like to know what kind of dirt Peter Angelos has on baseball, that he was able to blackmail them into this awful TV deal. It's gotta be good.

2) D.C. can afford to pay $Texas (yes, that's Texas with a dollar sign in front of it) for a ballpark that the Nationals will profit from. But local non-profit Little League teams that want to play on city fields at night are being forced to pay $25/hour for lights under a new regulation. However, as anyone who has walked around the city at night knows, this is in keeping with D.C.'s usual anti-street light policy.

3) Any hopes that the Nationals might actually provide an escape from politics have already been dashed. The city council passed a resolution requesting "that Major League Baseball should require members of the Washington Nationals Baseball Team to wear a patch or insignia on their uniforms to bring to light the District’s lack of full voting rights in the United States Congress." And, there's a push to take over that RFK sponsorship by naming it "Taxation Without Representation Field at RFK Stadium." Sayeth their website:

Think of it. Every time we enjoy the national pastime here in DC, we'll remind America that we lack another national tradition – democracy.
Or, how about this: let's just watch baseball and forget the politics.

Do you guys really think renaming the stadium would work, anyway? What... do you think you're going to shame the House of Representatives into giving D.C. representation? Hello... they just dissolved the ethics committee, simply because it was getting in the way of Tom DeLay finishing his new travel guide, See Europe on $50,000 A Day Provided By Mysterious Companies from the Bahamas Whose Names Look Suspiciously Like Anagrams: A Naftasib Publication. They don't feel shame!

Now, the good news: the Nats will debut their top-secret mascot on Sunday, April 17th, and I'll be there in person to witness it. I am, actually, looking forward to that. Speculation is running rampant.

It's time once again to play: Which Local Conservative Newspaper Pisses Me Off More?

It's Anschutz vs. Moon.

The Fundies vs. the True Father.

Holes vs. Inchon.

The Examiner vs. the Times. Allez journalisme!

First up, the Ex. They have an editorial thingy called "One Word" that's annoying as balls. They take a complicated issue and editorialize about it for one paragraph, which conveniently allows to them to leave out, you know, facts and stuff.

Remember the global warming treaty that was supposed to protect us from catastrophe? The rest of the world was outraged during President Bush's first term when he said we wanted no part of it. Now comes an article in the journal Science, based on data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, finding that even if we imposed greenhouse emission rules 1,000 times as strict as those in Kyoto, the world will still get a lot hotter, the seas will still rise and nastier droughts and storms will still pummel the rich and the poor alike. Nice to know before we went through much effort.
Wow, I'm convinced. There's clearly no point in trying to reverse greenhouse gas emissions. Good thing we pulled out of Kyoto.

Unlessssss... you actually read the article about the study, which says that due to the slowness of temperature change in the oceans, there's a lot of "warming momentum" that would take place even if we stopped emmitting all greenhouse gases right now. However, if we continued at our current pace, the impact on the average global temperature would be more than six times worse than that by 2100.

But don't worry about that. It's only science... nobody in Washington believes that stuff anyway. It's not like the scientists got any concrete proof of climate change, like by traveling to the future or something cool like that. The Examiner's stance is clearly stated: "Don't you take my Hummer away, NERD!"

Another "One Word" item:

Former drug addict and Culture Club frontman Boy George has announced he won't vote for British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the upcoming elections.
Hm. Funny how you never see them print "Former drug addict and President George W. Bush" anywhere in the paper.

Meanwhile, the Anschutz influence rears its totalitarian Christian head in this editorial, which calls for the FCC to regulate cable if they don't allow a la carte programming.

And fine, whatever, a la carte programming would be nice. But the angle the Examiner takes is what pissed me off: "succumb to our Christian will, or face the wrath of the FCC."

Television is the core of the problem though. Spend a few minutes surfing through the channels and witness it for yourself. On MTV, you may find drunken roommates having a threesome in a hot tub. On ESPN, you can watch an actor impersonate college basketball coach Bobby Knight, including the countless "f-words." Daytime movies commonly center around such mature topics as rape, incest and infidelity. Masturbation is a punchline. Casual sex is a given.
Oh, here we go. It's the PTC attitude again. Once again, some fucking motherfuckers want to control what I can and can't watch on my TV, for my own safety. You know those little program ratings that pop-up at the start of a show? They're there for a reason. If you have kids, you can block programming using the V-chip. Why is that not enough? Oh, I guess they'll tell me.

Ask any parent: While they can do their best to protect their children in their own home, the growth of cable television has meant that it is next to impossible to assure that their children won't be exposed to offensive programming in other venues.
Yeah, you know what that's called? Growing up. When I stayed over at my friend George's house in 6th grade, I looked forward to sneaking a peek at HBO so that I could watch Stripped to Kill. And yet, miraculously, I somehow didn't become a serial killer or a stripper. I am, in fact, a perfectly well-adjusted adult.

You fuckwads.

Although cable companies are quick to point out that V-chips and parental TV ratings help shield children from offensive content, these measures remain cumbersome and fail to give customers total control. Few V-chips are actually employed, and the guidelines for parental ratings are subjective.
So, just because some fundamentalists are unfamiliar with how to work their "evil magic picture box", I'm the one who has to pay the price? Fuck you, Examiner!

Besides, have you read your own paper recently? Specifically, my favoritest feature ever, "Too Tough for TV"?

Under congressional questioning over treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Porter J. Goss, the director of central intelligence, said, "You call it torture to have a woman in combat fatigues lead you around naked on a dog leash? Do you know how many guys in this room alone would pay good money for something like that?"

Jane Fonda's forthcoming autobiography will reveal that her former husband, Roger Vadim, brought other women into their bedroom. In other news, Ted Turner spent lunch beating his head against the wall.

In Japan, a chewing-gum maker says its "Bust-Up Gum" can increase a woman's breast size. No word on what "Bazooka Joe" does.
So, in conclusion: masturbation as a punchline = offensive. But S&M, threesomes, and ejaculation as punchlines = hilarious, eminently publishable comedy.

Meanwhile, out at the only-in-Washington intersection of New York and South Dakota, the Somewhat Rev. Sun-Myung Moon puts out his newspaper, the Daily Love Organ. And I see that, once again, his crack staff is putting out articles about gay marriage, while being sure to put "marriage" in "scare quotes." Which is why it was extra funny when, in a headline over a story about the Mexico border Minutemen, the anti-immigration Times also put the word "heroes" in scare quotes.

But the real story here relates to fan-favorite features writer and why.i.hate.dc staple Jen Waters. Poor Jenny Jen is trying her best to bring you the latest in stuff you don't care about. As a writer for the Moonie Times, she's come a long way since her days writing for "Newz & Viewz" on the website of Christian youth group YIFA.

In order to pray in an effective manner, it is important to stay abreast on the cultural issues.

One of the most controversial subjects of our day concerns the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Like most contentious matters, there are many sides to the debate. All of which need prayer.
Although Jen's writing has improved somewhat since then, she still has trouble, um... "staying abreast on the cultural issues," so to speak. Her latest manifesto concerns homeopathic medicine:

Dr. Molly Punzo is trying to treat more than symptoms. As a physician in private practice in Easton, Md., she regularly tells her patients to use homeopathic remedies instead of mainstream medicines.

After watching one of her patients recover from pneumonia when he tried using homeopathic drugs instead of antibiotics, Dr. Punzo became interested in the form of healing. It especially intrigued her because she felt frustrated by many of the side effects of conventional drugs.

"Homeopathy addresses the whole person," Dr. Punzo says. "When someone comes in with any complaint that's physical, you can also track mental and emotional symptoms. The goal is to find the remedy to treat all the levels at once."

Homeopathy, a distinct form of alternative medicine different from herbal remedies, was started by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1700s. Homeopathic practitioners believe it is a more effective way of treating patients than mainstream medicine.

In the battle between conventional and alternative medicine, however, traditional doctors have their own opinions.
And she basically goes on and on like this, talking to doctors and patients, and getting various opinions on homeopathic medicine, without actually telling you what it is. It's really kind of hilarious.


Sorry, just contemplating the fact that she gets paid to write, and I don't.

OK, I'm back. Unfortunately, Jen may have some serious competition. And here it is, just called up from the Times' Double-A affiliate in Loudon County, coming out of the features bullpen... Shelley Widhalm.

The topic: basements.

Every afternoon after school, Holden and Aron Wegner head downstairs to the recreation room in their Bethesda home, at least when the weather is cold.
Um, WOW. I'm already sucked into the plight of Holden and Aron. And it's good to know that they mostly go down there when the weather is cold, because that's vital to the story.

Holden, 9, and Aron, 11, can play air hockey, pingpong or pinball -- or they can head to the media room, where their family likes to watch Super Bowl games, movies and television shows.
Heh. You know what my favorite Super Bowl game is?

The Super Bowl.

The soundproof room is equipped with a viewing screen and two levels of reclining theater chairs and love seats that all together seat 10.

"When there's big events, it's really nice to have it. It makes everything into a party," says Susan Wegner, the boys' mother.

As for their sons, "We wanted to give them an area they could call their own," Mrs. Wegner says.

Mrs. Wegner and her husband, Adam, with the help of the interior design firm Sroka Design Inc. in Bethesda, planned the basement four years ago when the Wegners' four-story home was custom-built.
Oh dear God. Not another story designed to show off what rich people do with their money. This used to be prime Jen Waters territory, like that time she wrote about doghouses of the rich and the rich some more. Oooh, SAT analogy practice time!

Those doghouses : those dogs :: this basement : these kids.

Anyway, the rest of the article talks about how you, too, can spend $60,000-$100,000 on a tricked-out basement, if you just happen to have that kind of money lying around.

It's truly a great day for journalism.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go get a $12 haircut.


Can't be mad!

When I was walking around town snapping photos for my Sunday photo essay last month, I noticed that on I St. (or Eye St., if the alphabet is too confusing) the streets were devoid of people but jammed with parked cars. Apparently, according to my, um, informants, a lot of those cars probably belonged to people working a little overtime at the World Bank. Because, you know... sending Burundi into perpetual debt can't wait until Monday.

Hopefully those people got out of the office yesterday, because yesterday was great. People were out in force actually doing fun things. Not only was it a big sports day, with the first Nats RFK game and a big sold-out (yes!) Wizards game, but it was also the rain makeup day for the Kite Festival.

Kite Festival is the best. It's probably my favorite thing to do in Washington that you can't do anywhere else. Hundreds of people fly kites on the Mall, with the Capitol and Washington Monument as a backdrop; kids run around chasing bubbles from the bubble machine. It's really, really fun. Even I can't be disgruntled about Kite Festival.

And then, today, baseball starts up. And we actually have a team to watch. Granted, a team that has no leadoff hitter, no farm system, no owner, and somehow already owes a "cable network to be named later" to Peter Angelos. And I'm planning on leaving town at the end of the year, so I'll only get to watch the Nationals in person for one season, during which they'll probably lose something like 104 games. But still: baseball. For the first time in years, there will actually be something to do around here this summer besides playing "Menace Those Tourists." I'm totally ditching work this afternoon to go get a frosty malted beverage and watch the game. (Sorry, World Bank people, you have to stay at work. Those countries aren't going to bankrupt themselves, are they?)

So. Um, I realize you don't come here for happy things. You came here to see me complain about Washington while throwing out random pop culture references, and then you were going to comment and call me a pussy, and suggest that my problem is not enough oral sex. Well, not today, dammit! Today's a holiday from all that. It's a beautiful day outside; let's all step away from the keyboard and go enjoy it.

Umm... Scott Bakula.


Get well, Donte

Last week, a nine-year-old boy, Donte Manning, was shot in the face. He was playing on the sidewalk outside his apartment and apparently got hit by stray gunfire. Nobody's come forward to identify who the gunman might be.

Donte's currently fighting for his life in a hospital. Strangely, Congress hasn't yet crafted any personalized novelty legislation to help him out. But I'm sure they'll be on top of it sooner or later.

</not holding my breath>

Whose (Red) Line Is It Anyway?

In an effort to avoid creating more candy bar-eating martyrs, Metro cops are undergoing... wait for it... conflict management training.

Oh, if only I could have been there. The training was apparently run by RobertPruitt.com. (Their motto: "Discover What's Outside Your Box!" Umm, I wonder if Wonkette knows about this.)

Anyway, the article's pretty hilarious, as Metro officers attempted to improve their lives through improv comedy. But the best part:

Pruitt divides people into four personality groups -- the controlling lion, the promoting peacock, the analytical owl and the supportive koala bear -- and advises police officers to identify their own type, as well as the passenger's. Pruitt says he is a classic koala.

Metro Transit Police Chief Polly L. Hanson -- a lion -- said she has already used the techniques she learned in the class.
"Sir, you are clearly a koala bear. I'm going to have to ask you to put down the eucalyptus leaves."
"Um, I...wha?"
(Sound of passenger being tasered)


"I Believe That Baseball is Our Future (Screw the Children)"

Hey guys,

Remember back when it looked like the baseball stadium deal would fall through? That was so much fun. Some people were arguing that we should maybe be spending the hundreds of millions of dollars not on a stadium but on, you know, schools maybe. But other people were all, "The money's not coming from the schools budget, stupid; it's all new revenue."

Well, it turns out the first group was right on. Because while the stadium will be paid for with new tax revenue, the schools are being starved for funding. The current formula increases funding according to inflation each year, but doesn't account for pay raises stipulated in union contracts. Which leads to more cuts every year:

The school system, which has about 61,000 students, established a minimum payment to individual schools to ensure that those with declining enrollments would still be able to provide basic services.

Yet many schools have been unable to provide the services deemed by the system as necessary. According to school officials, 15,472 elementary students attended schools without an art teacher in 2002-03, and 12,000 were in schools without a music or gym teacher.
So, the obvious question is: with the city experiencing a budget surplus due to the real estate boom, why not fund the schools properly? If you can tax local business to raise hundreds of millions for a baseball stadium, why can't you come up with enough to pay for teachers?

You could make the argument that the school system is wasteful, and doesn't do enough with the money it already gets. Buuuut... how is withholding the money needed to pay for the minimum number of teachers going to help? All that does is punish the students. Why can't they fix the system whil still funding it properly? Oh, sorry, I forgot... because nobody fucking cares enough to actually fix the problem.

And, just as an aside, for my retarded libertarian friends at the Cato "Kaelin" Institute:

The District spends more per pupil than almost any state in the nation, yet its students perform far below the national average on every measure of student achievement.
Yeah, if you think about why that is for maybe longer than 4.3 seconds, you might realize that D.C. consists solely of one expensive-to-live-in urban area, while the states all have at least some less-expensive rural and suburban territory to balance it out. The challenges D.C. faces educating children are markedly different than those faced by any of the states.


Anyway. In a completely unrelated story... completely unfucking related... the stadium cost estimate just went up to $581 million. That's up from the $437 million the Bowtie originally said it would cost. Oh, but it's totally worth it, because the stadium will change the "paradigm of ballparks."

In his pitch to the sports commission, [HOK dude Joseph] Spear said he and partner Earl Santee suggested overarching themes, including taking into account Pierre L'Enfant's design of the city and using glass as a predominant material to suggest the "transparency of democracy."

OK, I realize that I'm just a layperson, and that I actually know nothing about how government fiscal education policy works. However... it sure looks like the mayor is screwing 61,000 or so schoolkids out of an education so that he can go jetting down to Spring Training (on taxpayer money?) to sign autographs and hobnob with baseball celebrities. Here's the Bowtie (on the right) learning how to throw a baseball:

Wow. I think D.C. may have the whitest mayor in the country; by sheer ironic coincidence, he happens to be black.

Anyway, as the mayor learns to, apparently, throw like a girl, schoolkids get to breathe in the essence of pigeon droppings (really!). But it's all worth it, I suppose, if it means we get to watch the Bowtie try to throw a baseball.

So congratulations, Washington: you just pulled out all the economic stops for a glass-bottom ballpark, and no stops at all for education.

The transparency of democracy, indeed.


Jen Waters' Easter lede from last week: totally awesome

Good girls and boys are eagerly awaiting a visit from the Easter bunny this weekend, hoping the rabbit will be carrying a basket filled with surprises.
Hey, she's a professional features writer, people. She gets paid to take your face to lede school every week.

Can you dispute that good girls and boys are hoping for a basket filled with surprises? No, no you can't. Chump. So don't even try.

This is basically what most of D.C. looks like

Nifty indeed. I really like how there are burglar bars on the small window above the door, but the big windows on the street are unprotected. Maybe they're just hoping to confuse burglars.

Pic came from here.

Must... escape conversation... can't... reach... utility belt...

We had a little in-office baby shower for one of my co-workers the other day. Usually I avoid these little parties, thus avoiding having to attempt "conversation" with my fellow employees. But there was cake.

So, I get there and have some cake. Then the fun starts.

ME: This is pretty good cake.
SECRETARY: It's marble. I got it at Martin's [in West Virginia, where she lives (!)]. It's like our version of Giant. Actually Giant just bought them.
BOSS: So have they changed the signs over to say "Giant"?
SECRETARY: Not yet. Well, some of them say "Super G."
BOSS: Isn't Giant owned by a Dutch company?
CO-WORKER #1: Yeah, they're owned by Royal Ahold.
BOSS: That's a Dutch company, right?
CO-WORKER #2 (overhearing conversation, walks over excitedly): Are you talking about Giant? They were bought out two months ago.
CO-WORKER #1: Doesn't Royal Ahold still own them?
BOSS: I thought they just had a labor dispute.
ME (ready to commit harikari): I'm going to go get some more coffee.

And, after I got coffee, I went back to my office, never to be seen again. I'm sure that discussion went on just fine without me.

This always happens when I try to hold a conversation in the office: it goes off into some super-boring tangent. Every time I try to talk about something interesting, like movies I've seen, or sports, or current events, or vacations I've been on... these people look at me like I'm from another planet. There's this one guy I work with who, whenver I go on vacation, is more interested in which airport I flew out of and which airline I took than in the actual vacation. WHO GIVES A FUCK? That pretty much typifies the kind of crap I have to deal with. Honestly... don't you people do anything?

I've decided to just stop talking about things, because it's painful trying to have a conversation in this office. I don't remember it being so difficult at my previous jobs; there were always at least two or three people who were interesting to talk do, or who knew what was going on in the world and could sustain an interesting conversation.

(But see, that's why blogging is nice. I can throw out any number of references, and if people don't get it, I don't have to watch them staring at me like I'm from space. I don't even care who gets my jokes anymore: the right people will get them.)


Doubts On Weapons Were Dismissed

Love it. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. Utterly FUCKING brilliant bunch we've got up in here.

Even the Energy Department did not hold fast to its analysis. Although it dissented on the tubes, it went along with the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in concluding that Iraq had resumed a nuclear weapons program, based on arguments the commission called insubstantial and illogical. One analyst told the commission, "DOE didn't want to come out before the war and say [Iraq] wasn't reconstituting."
Oh, of course. Wouldn't want to interrupt the fun! It's only a fucking WAR we're starting here! Don't want to upset anyone!

Another key piece of evidence came from an Iraqi defector who told the DIA that Iraq had built a secret new nuclear facility. U.S. intelligence could not verify the report, or locate the alleged facility, which did not exist. After the war, the CIA concluded that the defector was "directed" in his claims by the Iraqi National Congress, led by then-exile Ahmed Chalabi. To this day, however, the DIA has not withdrawn the defector's reporting from national databases, the report showed.

And the beauty part: this gets bumped off the front page for the death of Terry Schiavo. What's more important: the life of one woman who's been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, or the lives of 15,000 or so non-vegetative Iraqi civilians and 1,500 or so of our own soliders who were mistakenly sent to their deaths by bloodthirsty idiots?

Judging by the personalized novelty legislation that Congress has taken to passing, it's the former. The Iraq story will fade from memory in a few days. So before it does, let me just say: WAY TO GO, people.