More Free Money

Nationals Park will remain, until the beginning of next season, the most expensive stadium in the history of Major League Baseball. That's $100 million more than the second most expensive stadium,. Safeco Field in Seattle. What did it get the city? The threat of a $100,000 a day lawsuit from the beneficiaries of our generosity, the Lerner family.

Now we're offering the owners of our soccer team, DC United, $150 million to build a soccer stadium just east of the Anacostia River. Dead man walking Natwar Gandhi claims that the giveaway would put the city over our recommended Wall Street debt ceiling.

You'd think that this would be the biggest hitch in the city's battle to build a soccer stadium, but, no. The biggest hitch is that the United's owner, Victor B. MacFarlane, who is being presented with $150 million of free money, wants more. He wants a cool $225 million.

This is outrageous. We can't afford our initial proposal and MacFarlane has the audacity to ask for more.

The DC City Council set the precedent that no amount of public money high enough that the city won't build a playground. It's pretty hard to blame MacFarlane when the city has Council has proven itself all too eager to throw money at team owners. That makes it hard to blame MacFarlane for holding out for more.

No, I can still find room for blame. Stop being such an asshole, Victor, and take the money that's (stupidly) being given to you.

All this money is for soccer for Christ's sake. I know there are soccer fans out there, but Major League Soccer is barely a blip on the national sports radar. It's not worth the money. This is like spending hundreds of millions of dollars on lacrosse or on the WNBA.


Metro Potpourri

Would just like to note that I have been late to work the last two days due to Metro chicanery.

Yesterday I was on the S-line and the bus driver stopped short. Two people went flying. I am proud to say I was one of them. I was leaning down to pick up a bag when I went flying. Thankfully, some very nice citizens caught me and prevented me from face planting. Thanks, citizens!

The other person who lunged forward wasn't so lucky. She bonked her collarbone pretty hard. The driver had to call an ambulance. So that bus went out of service.

Today, I was on the Red Line towards Farragut North. I had a primo standing spot by the door. You know those spots where you can lean on the plexiglass? I love those. Anyways, after every stop, there was a noticeable brake odor. Burnt rubber. This isn't unusual so everyone ignored it.

Until Woodley Park. When the doors opened there, my fellow passengers and I noted that our train was on fire. Our car filled with smoke and, naturally, everyone had to be evacuated out. And waiting for another train in a smoke-filled Woodley Park is no picnic. By the time trains get there, they're almost always already packed to the gills.

Bonus: Now I smell like burnt rubber and have a headache from all the smoke inhalation.

And has anyone else noticed that the trains on the Red Line are coming five minutes apart again? Argh.


How Not to Run a City

It's Memorial Day weekend. I'm going to assume that this weekend produces a lot of tourists here in DC. After all, what better way to celebrate Memorial Day than to see all of the memorials that the city has to offer. Obviously, this isn't rocket science.

So, one could reasonably expect that many of these tourists will be depending on public transportation to get around. Right?

So why in God's name is there going to be track work this weekend on three different lines!!??

The Red Line and Green Line delays (estimated at around 15 minutes) are especially galling. Lots of tourists stay in Montgomery County. One-tracking between Medical Center and Friendship Heights is going to inconvenience thousands of people that the city should be trying to impress. We depend on their tourist dollars.

The Green Line delay will be between Greenbelt and College Park. So anyone trying to get to the city from BWI using public transportation might as well diddle their thumbs for an extra 15 minutes. We're leaving quite the first impression on our tourists, aren't we?

There is absolutely no reason why we can't deal with these delays on a non-holiday weekend. Any money we lose with a one week delay would easily be recouped by keeping our tourists (and other weekend commuters) happy.

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!

Which old witch? The gray rape witch!

That's right folks, months after being moved from the Style section to the slums of the Health section, Laura Sessions Stepp has finally taken the hint and has accepted the Post's buyout offer. She gets to enjoy an early retirement.

There's only one way to celebrate the good news. Rainbow party! My place tonight at 8pm. You're all invited! Punch will be served.

Attention All Football and Wolf Trap Fans

This isn't DC's fault, but it blows nevertheless.

New federal regulations will not allow Metro to operate as a super-cheap charter service. In other words, you know how Metro takes you to Fed Ex Field and Wolf Trap? Yeah, don't get used to that. Those jobs are all going to private companies now. The change will mean that we lose out on cheaper fares and the cash-strapped Metro will lose out on almost two million dollars annually. Worst of both worlds.

Thanks, Federal Transit Administration!


DC Baseball Still Doomed

We didn't have to build a $674,000,000+ stadium and give it to the Lerner family. But we did. It was awfully generous of us. So you'd think that the Lerners would be grateful that the city picked up the tab on the most expensive baseball stadium in American history.

Instead, and I can't believe this is just now being disclosed, the Lerners are threatening to sue the city for $100,000 a day for every day that the stadium has been open. Their reason? The stadium wasn't completed in time.

As Marc Fisher so eloquently points out, "I somehow recall spending $5 on a hot chocolate at the ballpark that night -- and watching a breathtaking walk-off Ryan Zimmerman home run sail out of the stadium."

Mr. Fisher, I too remember spending $25 on ludicrously overpriced beer and $8 on a heaping pile of chili nachos.

Alas, the team's offices weren't ready in time. It's a small detail, but an important one nevertheless. The city has allowed the Nationals to keep their old offices in RFK rent free until the new offices are completed. This is not good enough for the Lerners.

Now, I understand that a deal is a deal. It's not the Lerners' fault that Mayor Anthony Williams signed one of the most lopsided agreements since Manhattan was purchased for some pocket change. But, for Christ's sake, cut us a friggin' break, Lerner family. We gave you almost seven hundred million dollars. The most important parts of the stadium were ready on time.

Some city officials are so angry at the Lerners that they don't want to talk to the family anymore. "It just turns my stomach that they would take all the goodwill we had and risk it on petty little technicalities," says one D.C. official, who declined to be named, saying he doesn't want to become the focus of the owners' wrath.

City attorneys accused the Lerners of "finger-pointing and windfall-seeking." It's hard not to reach that conclusion myself. It's good to know that no matter how much you give someone, it's still not always good enough. It took less than two months for the city and the Lerners to be at each other's throats. The Nationals symbolize total incompetence both on the field and off it.

It's Been Long Enough

Fire. Natwar. Gandhi.


The City's Best are Back on the Streets

When a police officer fucks up - and boy oh boy can they fuck up royally - the officer in question must be notified of the charges against them. Then the city has 55 days to make a final decision on the officer's employment status. That seems easy enough, right?


Seventeen fired officers were just rehired, with back pay and restored seniority, because the city failed to tell them they were fired after the 55 day deadline.

Officials promised to be more careful about meeting deadlines after a Washington Post article revealed that more than 200 officers who were fired or suspended from 1991 to 1993 had their penalties overturned by courts or labor arbitrators because of lapses.

Assistant Chief Peter Newsham, who is in charge of internal affairs, said the department had been misinterpreting the 55-day deadline. In the 1990s, the department mistakenly interpreted the time rule as a guideline, not a requirement, causing judges and arbitrators to torpedo case after case.

Fantastic. Seventeen officers who have no business having a badge get their guns, handcuffs, and authority back when they've proven they're incapable of bearing such a weighty responsibility.

Oh, hey, Peter Newsham. "Misinterpreting" something is fine once. Letting this happen again is all kinds of stupid. Fool you once, shame on you. Fool you 17 times, go fuck yourself.

In one recent case, arbitrator Michael A. Murphy sided with an officer who had been fired for taking disability leave while working at another job. Murphy ruled that the officer, Toledo Kelley, should get her job back and chastised the department for violating the 55-day rule yet again.

The city should know better, Murphy declared, citing "a cumulative series of awards, over an extended period of time, addressing the very same issue between the very same parties, and reaching a unanimous conclusion." He added that there has been an "unbroken string of precedent, spanning a period of more than twenty years."

An "unbroken string of precedent" is the perfect term to describe the city's incompetence. I need to use it more often.

All things considered, taking disability leave and lying about giving blood to get four hours off are all firable offenses, but are they really that bad in the grand scheme of things? Maybe, maybe not. But some of the other reinstated cops are monsters.

Falsifying forms and records, not turning in off-duty police officers for assaulting citizens, and then there's the case of Officer Ariel Mannes.

...Mannes was investigated in 2003 for retaliating against City Paper reporter Jason Cherkis, according to an arbitration filing. In police trial board proceedings, he admitted using his position as an officer to access Cherkis's personal records and posting the information on a law enforcement Web site.

So a police officer used his position of authority to harass and intimidate a journalist? I can't think of an offense short of sexual assault or murder that would be worse for a police officer to commit. Again, to reiterate, he abused his authority by obtaining Cherkis's information and then abused his authority by egging on other cops to give Cherkis a hard time. Write a negative story about MPD officers and the result is clear, the cops will fuck with you.

This treatment of the Fourth Estate is a big deal. It undercuts the very values that we share as Americans. When someone in authority fucks up, the media has to be there to point it out. When asshole cops start monkeying with a free press, when authoritative figures use intimidation to disembowel the people's right to know, then we as DC residents are totally boned. We depend on a free press just as much as we depend on cops. If a cop can pull something so outlandishly corrupt and evil and keep his job, it really makes you think of the other things DC cops are capable of without being shown the door.

You'd think the MPD would take special care to make sure this asshole loses his job. The MPD failed in that regard and failed the people they're supposed to protect. Bone chilling.

And if Officer Mannes ever shows up on my doorstep, I would gladly sacrifice a frog march to tell him that's he a worthless piece of shit.


The City is Poisoned. No, Not Figuratively.

When I'm by the Tenleytown station, I like to cut through Fort Reno Park to get home. It doesn't even save me a block. It's just prettier, obviously, than Wisconsin Avenue.

The park has been closed since Wednesday for grossly unacceptable levels of arsenic. Some soil in the area had over 25 times the safe limit of the deadly chemical. If I were to make a pointless and nonsensical analogy comparing this to the legal limit of intoxication, this would be the equivalent of having a blood alcohol level of 2.0%. I know that number is meaningless, but sometimes it's fun to abuse numbers.

Anyways, 25 times the safe limit for arsenic. That is shocking.

Wait, no, it isn't. I had to deal with the same bullshit at American University when their Child Development Center was found to have contaminated soil. The Army Corps of Engineers had to tear parts of the campus apart to fix the problem. Why should Fort Reno be any different?

Of course Fort Reno's closure is a bit more inconvenient than American University losing its baseball diamond. The Mount Pleasant types aren't going to be able to catch the free outdoor concerts that have been part of Northwest Washington summers since God knows when. I'm sure this disrupts activities at Wilson High School and other youth leagues in the area. One of the biggest draws in a quiet neighborhood has been reduced to nothing. Hopefully it's temporary, but it certainly wasn't temporary over at AU.

Oh, and the park has a water reservoir. That's awfully disconcerting, isn't it?

This is supposed to be the nice part of Washington? The part with the hopelessly poisoned ground? Yay, DC!

Come Back, Trudeau!

Garry Trudeau, the author of the seminal comic Doonesbury, has been on sabbatical. Damn you, Watterson for popularizing this practice. I need my cartoon monkeys to work 365 days a year.

Anyways, the Washington Post is running other lesser known comics in Doonesbury's space as a until Trudeau returns. The current placeholder is Scott Hilburn's Argyle Sweater. Hilburn obviously has a special gift for taking the foibles of everyday life and churning them into relevant and humorous works of art.

Like today's comic for instance:

Hahahahahahahahaah! Get it!? Females are bad at sports! LOLOCAUST!

The only thing worse than a bad comic is a comic that's bad and mindlessly offensive. The Washington Post gave this guy a pretty big break. A break he so obviously doesn't deserve. I hope this piece of shit comic gets pulled post haste.



I've been out of town the past few days. Hurrah. Now I'm back. Boo.

I usually insist on traveling by bus. Unfortunately, both bus companies I use, Greyhound and Vamoose, have trapped me inside of buses with no air conditioning. This is unacceptable. With no way to open a window, those buses get like ovens. Demands for a refund were rebuffed and now I have to call customer service. Great. Thanks, Greyhound!

I guess I have to start insisting on the MARC.


It's Staggering How Much More Female Attention I Get When I Wear the Cat Shirt

Mount Pleasant supposedly has a dollar store. It's called Dollar Star. There's a bright sign in its front window that says "Uno Y Mas." I'm told that this means "one or more" or something along those lines. I am blissfully ignorant when it comes to any foreign language. It's clear that the owners of Dollar Star are blissfully ignorant about dollar stores.

The dollar is supposed to be the price ceiling, not the price floor. Why advertise yourself as a dollar store when almost EVERY SINGLE THING you offer is more than a dollar?

Check out this sweet towel:

I assure you that, in the history of humanity, this is the lowest quality towel that has ever been produced, packaged, or purchased. Its absorbency is laughable. How much did it cost at the Dollar Star?


Or how about this sweet t-shirt of a green-eyed cat romancing someone with a rose?

How much did this integral part of any dude's wardrobe cost at Dollar Store?


That shirt has no business being more than a dollar.

Mother's Day cards? Mas. Bottle openers? Mas. Small porcelain angel figurines? Mas. Every single thing is mas.

This is the equivalent of Pizza Hut serving nothing but hamburgers (though they're already pushing it with this pasta business) or Mattress Discounters selling nothing but cabinets. If you're going to advertise that everything in store is at least a dollar, why not go all out and rename yourself Penny Star? It's just as accurate.

I can just imagine a Dollar Star consumer going to a legitimate dollar store somewhere in Delaware or West Virginia and being absolutely blown away. Such is the power of MAS.


WJLA is the Turd in the Punch Bowl

Whenever my friends and I watch a 10pm episode of LOST, we usually stick around for another half hour talking crazy-ass theories (OMG, I think Claire is a ghost!). That means we're talking over WJLA's newscast.

Yesterday, we were in the middle of discussing what exactly Jacob wanted Locke to do when WJLA did a feature on Grand Theft Auto IV and how it will make your kids fuck prostitutes, kill police officers, and drive drunk.

Watch it here in all of its alarmist glory. Bonus points to WJLA for their "Embed Video" being broken. Sorry, guys. You need to click through.

These "journalists" all worked very hard to make it to this point. The point in their career where they can scare the dickens out of parents by using the ghost of a dead 18-year-old and the doughy specter of a 15-year-old glued to the couch.

Not mentioned is that every one needs to show ID to get the game. I'm 25 and I got carded. I haven't been carded for beer in years. So, WJLA, when you're talking to those scared parents, why not throw that in their faces. The story isn't that kids are playing an awesome game that has a shit ton of sex and violence. The story is that these moron parents bought their kids something that is clearly labeled as inappropriate for gamers under 17 without even doing a Google search. And now they're going to play Indian giver with the game in order to act like good parents.

That 15-year-old kid made a crucial mistake. If someone at a local news station asks you to consent to an interview while you're playing video games, the answer should always be "no." They are going to use you for evil.


This Certainly Explains a Lot

Take a nap at a frat party and you are just asking to be graped. Take a nap at work and you can use it as a flimsy excuse to write another sub-par article.

Talk about your double standards!


I'm Only Posting This to "Scoop" Big Head DC

The DC Madam killed herself.

Crazy 'Bout the Nationals

A very big thank you to The Bee in DC for sending me the new Nationals theme song. It's an absolute train wreck nightmare abortion fever dream.

It's called "Nuts About the Nats." It has to be heard to be believed.

The song was written by a very old man who used to be the PA announcer at Griffith Stadium.

"The lyrics for the song are meant to capture the fans' excitement, the rush of emotion and the fun and good times they are experiencing," said Charlie Brotman, CEO of Brotman, Winter Fried Communications and the song's author.

Epic fail, Mr. Brotman. Epic fail.

If they start playing this at every Nationals game, the boycott is on.