News Bullets, someone call 911 Monday;

Today is the 68th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and I haven't seen a single news story about it. I haven't looked very hard though, so don't go yelling about how all of downtown is closed for a special ceremony at the World War II memorial. I'd know about that, since I seem to get a DC Alert text for every pothole discovered in this city. I am a little surprised a Control+F of CNN.com for "Pearl Harbor" yields nothing. Imagine in another 60 years when people forget about 9/11 being 9/11. Or 911 not being 9/11.

We had some snowfall on Saturday that amounted to nothing, thanks in part to our Obama-inspired flintiness. Here's a socializing tip: if you can't think of anything nice to say about someone, describe them as "flinty." For those wondering, the National Zoo is not flinty.

What's in the news?

Fires in the local news this weekend. A large fire destroyed an empty rowhome in the 1300 block of Oak Street, NW in Columbia Heights early Saturday. Nearby homes were evacuated, and some families were displaced. The house was reportedly undergoing renovations. I'm going to check with DCRA to see if there's any information on permits for the work. There was also a fire reported in the New South dorm at Georgetown University last night. Some students were displaced due to water damage from sprinkers.

Legal clinics are facing tight budgets, cuts. Offices providing free legal services in DC, Virginia and Maryland have been hard hit by the recession. Funding has dried up, while demand for non-criminal legal services (rent disputes, foreclosure, bankruptcy) have skyrocketed. Interestingly enough, the way free legal services are funding revolves around interest rates. From the Post:
At the heart of the problem are historically low interest rates. Legal aid societies nationwide rely on income generated through an arcane process linked to the federal rate, and "what's been good news for everyone else was a blow to us," said Susan Erlichman, executive director of the Maryland Legal Services Corp.
Seems like it might be time to rethink how legal services for the poor are funded. All criminal defendants are guaranteed the right to legal representation, but not for civil cases.

Metro banked on people discarding low-value farecards. Surprise, surprise, in a recession people are deciding not to waste money. Metro had banked on some $11 million in low-value farecards being thrown away and never redeemed. Since more riders are using Smartrip cards, Metro now only assumes 3% of purcahsed fares will be discarded. Previously that amount was 5%. I'm a little puzzled on why this even matters, though. Once a farecard is purchased what does it matter if it's used or not? Metro already has the revenue from the purchase. Someone out there with budget experience tell me why it matters if the card is redeemed.

Protesters manage to crash Fenty's birthday bash. Mayor Fenty celebrated his 39th birthday with a fundraiser Saturday. Protesters gathered outside the what-would-have-been mayoral mansion, and some even manged to get inside. Chants of "one-term mayor" were heard at one point. I found this one bit to be interesting:
Most guests declined to comment, but Omar Nour of Columbia Heights said the protesters wouldn't dampen the party.

"I just support him in everything that he's been doing politically as well as -- you know -- other aspects."
Such as? Funneling money to his cronies? Or maybe he meant the triathlons.

Redskins almost play the spoiler, but then we screw that up. Yup. Best description I heard during the game was "that resembled less of a football play and more of a metaphor for health care reform."

Washington Post calls out Founding Farmers on their claims of being green. According to writer Jane Black, the eco-chic "farm to table" restaurant is making incorrect claims on their menu. Since DC is full of rabid food bloggers, I'm sure we'll hear more about this. We'll also likely hear a ton about how the Washington Post sucks, or something like that.


  1. Metro doesn't get to claim unused fare value as revenue until they're actually used (until then they are an unknown liability).

    Metro has a formula that worked for a while which assumed a certain amount of unused fare value was permanently lost or damaged. They were then able to claim it as revenue they could keep.

    Since people have been using Smartrip cards a lot more, they don't lose the farecards or have them damaged as much, so there's less permanently unusable farecards out there.

    Hope it helps.

  2. That makes sense. I wasn't sure at what point it was considered revenue, whether it was when you purchase the card or when you use it.

  3. No, that still doesn't make sense. That's still bullshit.