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March 8, 2000

Waiting for Godot

Dear Theater-Goers:

Has anyone else noticed how Reaganesque Mayor Williams's state of the district address was? If you didn't attend or see it on television, and you haven't read it, it's online at Think of it. Not only did Tony copy the gimmick that Reagan originated in his state of the union addresses, of having local heroes sprinkled through the audience to point out as guaranteed applause getters; not only did he end with Reagan's patented line, “God bless you, and God bless the District of Columbia” (well, Reagan said “the United States of America”); but he also echoed Reagan's boundless optimism. It's morning again in the District of Columbia. Every day, in every way, everything is getting better and better, and there's a silver lining in every cloud. All right, so six students at Ballou High School, where the speech was given, have been murdered so far this school year, but that just proves that our students are courageous, since they are brave enough to still go to school. Feeling better?

At last, I can really blame something on technology. The last issue of themail got caught in the Erol's/RCN/Starpower outage, so that, as near as I can figure out, subscribers to the HTML version got two copies each, while subscribers to the straight text version didn't get their copies until Monday morning. That adds personal urgency to the request in the last issue for recommendations for DSL Internet service providers. Does anybody know of a good, reliable one who has a reasonable deal to offer?

Gary Imhoff


Washington as Absurdist Theater
David Sobelsohn,

On Sunday, March 5, Andrea Carlson wrote about the drug deals in her neighborhood, noted that she'd repeatedly called the police, and complained, “Nothing ever happens. Nothing changes. The police never come. It's awful.”

In Samuel Beckett's “Waiting for Godot,” one of the two who wait, Estragon, complains that “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful!” I always suspected we were living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.


At Least It’s Not Colombia
Bryce Suderow,

Andrea Carlson's piece about her neighborhood reminds me of my neighborhood. I live at 9th and E NE. There is an open air drug market at 12th and H, a few blocks from my house. The drug suppliers are one family that lives on Wylie Street, a one block street that is located between H and I and between 12th and 13th. A member of the this family gang killed a cop named Scott Lewis several years ago, and last year they threatened to kill our sergeant, our street cops, and members of our orange hat patrol. Yet the police of the 5th District let them operate with impunity. This family has so terrorized their neighbors that 40 percent of the houses on their block are vacant. This allows them to pursue their activities without being watched by prying eyes. Last year, when two new families moved onto the block, the gang set fire to their houses, which caused the other families to abandon their plans to move onto the street. When a neighbor appeared on television at a rally protesting the police failure to close down drug markets, the gang set her car on fire. (She had previously been beaten up by one of them.) This year, one of the gang set on fire a house on K Street, killing three people, two grandparents and their grandchild.

As far as my own experiences are concerned, this fall a drug dealer at 12th and H threatened to kill me twice because I observed him and his pals dealing drugs. I reported this to the MPD and was interviewed by the detective assigned to the case. Although I urged the detective to let me point out the drug dealer who threatened me and also offered to identify the drug dealer by looking at mug shots, the detective has not followed up on the case. This is troubling because I am an orange hat and a death threat against me is a felony and should be taken seriously by the police. Nor did the detectives at 5D try to solve the arsons that I mentioned above or the death threats against our orange hats and our police. We have concluded that the vice cops and detectives in our area are either on the payroll of the drug dealers or are incompetent. We expect no action from them because of their dismal record. When we mention our crime problems to the commander of 5D and other high-ranking officials, we are told that crime is down.

I have been called DC's “last angry man” by The City Paper and have been stereotyped as a police basher because I expect the police to do their job the same way they do outside of Washington, D.C. In the towns and cities on our border, the local governments provide prompt and competent services. The police come when you call them, and they catch the bad guys. When the school buildings get old, they fix them or build new ones. The teachers teach the kids to read, write and do math. The fire engines aren't old and decrepit. Here the government provides minimal services, but no one seems to get very upset. Everyone acts like our lack of city services is standard, while in fact it is an anomaly. When I tell my neighbors that I don't see any improvement in the MPD's performance or in the conditions in my neighborhood under Chief Ramsey, they reply, “At least he's not Larry Soulsby,” or “But he's not rotten like Soulsby.” When I ask them if Tony Williams has fulfilled his promises, they reply, “No, but at least he's not Marion Barry.” Why do we settle for so little from our government? Where's the outrage? Why are we so passive?

[Bryce's original message named the drug family; I have edited it to remove their name. Bryce is braver than I am. I'm not afraid of a drug gang, but the lawyers they could hire to sue for exposing them scare me silly. — Gary Imhoff]


More on Ward Boards
John Cleave,

Len Sullivan’s proposal (themail, 02/27) for improving the structure of educational oversight in the District is the first piece of rational thinking I have seen on the subject following the Council’s decision that the electorate be asked to endorse its irrational compromise. It deserves serious consideration. The proposal is that DC should have several school districts (interpreted by others as one for each Ward, which is probably an appropriate approach) each with its own elected school board, operating under the guidance and control of an appointed Board of Education.

The prime objective of any arrangement is to ensure that the District's public school children get the best education possible. That was the basis of the argument for a board appointed on merit from among people who can bring to bear relevent skills and experience in education. There is also, however, a very valid concern that parents and taxpayers also have a forum in which the special needs of the local community can be addressed. That is a rationale for an elected board. To have a policy, guideline and rule making District Board selected on merit for the skills it brings, and elected Ward Boards implementing the policy with their knowledge of local conditions and needs allows for clear accountability. The hybrid dreamed up by the Council does not. And I cannot see that this proposed structure need in any way conflict with or be made redundant by the creation of charter schools. On the contrary, the two approaches share a common goal.

Like Ed Barron, I hope we can get this far superior idea on to the November ballot. Or, better still, considered and agreed by the Council, and the requisite legal changes made, without recourse to a referendum.


Dog Walking
Victor Chudoswky,

Hate to belabor this, but Stacy Whitmire and Aimee Lessard's post about being hassled by police for walking their Engllish Bull Terrier is really troublesome. People have to know what is going on with this “pit bull” ban. First, Stacy and Aimee did nothing wrong — no dog is currently banned in DC. But hearings on this issue are scheduled for May 1. If you own any short muscular dog with short hair, beware — this bill allows any dog suspected of being a “pit bull” to be seized, and then in order to get your dog out of jail you must prove that a) it is not a “pit bull,” or that b) you possess liability insurance, a dangerous dog sign, muzzle, etc. Your dog can stay in the pound for as long as five weeks awaiting a hearing. In short, this law allows dogs to be seized, and then questions are asked later. In Cincinnati, which had such a ban and repealed it, police mistakenly identified boxers, bull mastiffs, even labradors as “pit bulls.” Massive amounts of time and money were wasted rounding up dogs that did not bite. That is why the Humane Society of the United States, National Animal Control Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, and practically every other humane/dog organization in this country opposes breed bans.

Owners of “pit bulls” — there are between 4,000 and 7,000 in the city (making it perhaps DC's most popular group of breeds) — are being scapegoated for a failing animal control system. The DC Department of Health is supposed to have a person doing humane education, but that position has been left open for six years. Animal control officers can't write tickets, even though this is the most effective means of enforcing leash laws — last year 59 percent of the dog bite incidents in the District were attributed to people letting their dogs run loose. Dog fighting is not a felony. Fines are too low, and an owner can barely be held responsible when his/her dog attacks someone. Compared to other cities our size we have too few animal control officers. Our animal control system is in a state of collapse — but some city councilmembers want to round up dogs which have never bitten anyone. Presumably the police would have to do this — so think about it — Jim Graham would have Metro Police hassling honest dog owners like Stacy and Aimee, while for every “pit bull” bite in the District there are more than three murders and fifty robberies. Your police are now going to be dogcatchers as well. Go figure.


Mayor’s Neighborhood Action Assessment
William West Hopper, Chevy Chase, DC,

As one of the people who volunteered at the Mayor's Neighborhood Action Summit to interview people about how they feel about their neighborhoods. I want to let everyone know that during the next two weeks volunteers like my self will out taking a quick (10 minutes or less) interview with people at random about how they feel about their DC neighborhood and the city as a whole. Please take the time to answer the questions — they are pretty straight forward, and will be a big help in forming the 2001 DC budget.


Neighborhoodism Rears its Ugly Head
Steph “Lived in Ward 3 before it WAS Ward 3” Faul

A recent post suggested, “I would rather provide a home that ensures that our mayor is in the center of the city he serves, than in a mansion way up in Northwest with the rest of the folks who can afford to be mayor.”

Oh, dear, this is quite disappointing. Some facts: (1) I don't know where Tony Williams lives, but he chose it when he was CFO, not mayor. (2) Williams is not a wealthy man; as I understand it he was raised in modest circumstances; (3) Nobody except maybe Steve Forbes could “afford to be mayor,” since campaigns are notoriously expensive and involve massive amounts of fundraising. Finally, (4) I'm shocked that someone who was upset at people dissing her neighborhood would turn right around and make a neighborhoodist statement like that. Why is it OK to make sweeping generalizations about Ward 3 but not Ward 7? Incidentally, I favor a mayoral residence; any new mayor thus moves in to a home pre-equipped with security systems and rooms for public functions, which ultimately saves the taxpayers' time and money.


The Shining House on the Hill
Thomas Smith,

Please note, folks, like the rap song goes. “It's all about the Benjamin's.” Translation: it is about money! Yes, I know that the mayor has to entertain, so what is wrong about there being an official entertainment building/home for official entertainment! Imhoff idea of renovated public housing still misses the point. The point is, he is not volunteering his time. We pay this guy a good salary, more than I will ever make and more money than most other folks in Washington will ever make. In fact, he probably makes twice as much as the average working class person in this city in this job, and the job Congress gave him allowed him to live at the Watergate with our money! How much more do we have to give this person? LET HIM PAY LIKE EVERY OTHER PERSON! Poor folks have to pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing and they struggle on year after year. Sorry everyone, charity starts at home; use our tax money for those things that benefit us the TAX PAYERS!

[Small correction: Mayor Williams lives in an apartment house katy-corner from the Watergate, not in the Watergate itself. And a question — we've all been assuming that the Mayor does a lot of official entertaining at home, but in fact I haven't heard of a single official event that Mayor Williams has held in his apartment. Is there really a need for a Mayor's Mansion just for parties that aren't being held? — Gary Imhoff]


Response to Larry Seftor
Daniel Pelletiere,

Mr. Seftor clearly has little understanding of the economics of this region. So here's a brief point-by-point reality check. Mr. Seftor is quite right that our national economy is more geographically dispersed than many other nations and therefore our capital city's economy is not the same thing as our biggest or most industrial economy. This is due to many factors, not least the relatively hands-off role the feds have played with industry. That said, London is London because of the Crown and Parliament, Nairobi is Nairobi because of the government, Berlin is Berlin. . . . Recent studies have shown that our economy is in many ways similar to national capitals worldwide. The only difference is that most of these capitals are over rather than underrepresented in the nations' economy and politics.

On this note, it is difficult to extract the role of government investments and policy from the development of any region in this country. Fairfax County (the supposedly more important jurisdiction to the south) depends on the $13.5 billion in federal contracts that go to Northern Virginia contracts. In fact, of the 58,000 jobs that the District has lost, 42,000 were federal positions. In this same period, the suburbs gained tens of thousands of federal jobs and untold numbers of private contractor positions. Our loss is their gain. Even a large percentage of the $6 billion in contract for District firms also leaks out, largely to Northern Virginia companies — some of whom use D.C. address to get preferential contracts. Still, studies done here at George Mason University and elsewhere have repeatedly shown that growth in the economy of the District has a greater economic impact on the region as a whole per dollar than investment made elsewhere in the region. While D.C. has only 12.5% of the regional population, it retains 25% of the regional economy. A focus on growth rates (which are no question important indicators of trend) but not on total levels, obscures the true weights of various local economies in the regional economy.

Most recently, the D.C. economy has started to add private sector jobs and high-tech firms, though the stability and size of this trend are still uncertain. One indication, however, may be that D.C. currently has more .com domain names than 26 states. The City's growth rate in .com addresses from July 1998 to Jan 2000 was 454%, third fastest in the nation, a third faster than Virginia and nearly twice as fast as Maryland. Since it is the suburban counties of states that normally drive these numbers (and recent literature suggests this is one of the best “internet economy” measures we have), this comparison is even more meaningful. As to population, D.C.'s population, along with that of almost every major urban center, has certainly declined sharply, from 800,000 in 1950 (an artificial high driven by war-time employment) to 523,000 (probably artificially low given the numbers that never register their residency and the recent turn-around in the real-estate market). This cannot be denied. But our population ranking is certainly artificially low because while Philadelphia, New York and other cities grew through annexation and Western cities sprawl extensively, here we have faced a historically fixed and in fact declining land base (i.e. Arlington). Thus our special status and history makes the comparisons Mr. Seftor attempts to make nominal at best.

D.C. is certainly no longer the sole economic or population powerhouse in the region. The Post and others are certainly justified in moving some of their focus to other areas of the region. The economic picture for the District is also not especially rosy. We need to do a better job in generating economic development that serves current and future residents. Many of the pressing issues that Mr. Seftor suggests should be tackled before a house for the Mayor are indeed key to the long-term reversal of the city's economic fortunes. And whether we need a governor's/mayors mansion at all is a good question. But don't for a minute believe the negative hype: D.C. on its own and as part of this region is a dynamic and important city.


More Road Tours
Ted Gest,

David Hunter posed a good question about lack of progress reconstructing Nebraska Avenue. More broadly, has anyone heard a cogent explanation of who is supposed to be restoring streets torn up by fiber optic cable installation, and when? Several thoroughfares I travel, including Connecticut Avenue and 15th St., N.W. (and I'm sure others that our readers here can cite) seem to be indefinitely cut up. Last week, one crew hit a utility line on Connecticut and caused a huge rush-hour tie-up. Granted such things can happen in construction, the many TV reports on the episode seemed to conclude this is inevitable when diggers really don't know what's down there. Is it inevitable?


DC Inspection Station
Suzanne Kramer,

My car (1990 Audi Quattro) failed inspection last week because my bellows were damaged and that prevented them from doing the emissions test. Okay, except when we called our Audi repairman he said he never heard of bellows. He said to bring the car out and he will have a look. I'd appreciate any suggestions about how to handle this one.


Worse than Before
Ralph Martin,

Yesterday, it took me four hours to do a routine driver's license renewal at the DMV. Four years ago, it took only one hour. In this area at least, Mayor Williams seems to have made things worse, not better. If he can't fix this in a year, why believe he is capable of making any important changes?


Tag Renewal ONLINE instead of IN LINE
Lindsley Williams,

I tried out the new DC web page, for the Department of Motor Vehicles today and was pleased to find its “tag renewal” section (one selection in left column or “pane”). Since tags on one of my cars expire later this month, I thought I'd try it out.

Vunderbar! Tags were renewed easily ONLINE instead of IN LINE or submitting the renewals to the vagaries of the postal service and processing staff. Two minutes later I had a confirmation sheet for my transaction. The system promises to send the renewal stickers out promptly, and in the meantime I have a receipt. Too bad that potholes and trash don't appear to be candidates for these new-fangled technologies.


Gas-tronomical Prices
Lorie Leavy,

I recently received a much-forwarded email regarding a proposed North American “gas-out” — i.e., a suspension of gasoline purchases -- on Apr. 7-9 in an attempt to force gas prices down. I would cheerfully participate if I thought it would have any effect beyond cutting into profits of local station operators. Not being very familiar with the distribution system, I've always assumed that the mechanics of petroleum price-setting were controlled a bit higher up the chain. But beyond that issue, can anyone explain why D.C.'s gas prices are always so much higher than those in surrounding states? On a recent trip to Montreal, we found no gas prices even close to those in D.C. until we hit Quebec, where they averaged about $1.80 a gallon. In Pennsylvania and in the Frederick, MD, area, they averaged about 20
cents below D.C. prices. What exactly accounts for the difference? Is it a function of taxes, or what?


Sales Tax
John Whiteside,

Michael Bindner suggests that DC should keep its sales tax, since it's the only way to get money out of commuters. I have to disagree. When I was a DC resident, I bought anything expensive (electronics, clothing, etc.) in Virginia, because there were more stores and lower taxes (and I worked there, so it wasn't a big trip). I also made a point of never buying gas in DC because it was so much more expensive. I don't think I was alone (in fact, this Saturday, I drove a DC-resident, carless friend out to a shopping trip in the burbs).

The sales tax is about the most regressive tax you can have. You may get to collect a few cents from a commuter who buys a small item at lunchtime, but the people bearing the brunt of it are the poorest people, for whom sales taxes eat up a larger percentage of income and who are less likely to have the means to avoid it by going to VA and MD to make purchases. Tax-free shopping could be a great draw to bring some major retailers into DC. (It certainly worked in New Hampshire, where Bostonians like me would regularly drive an hour to buy computers, stereos, etc., just over the border.)


Non-DC Campaign Posters
Ralph Blessing,

Well, you know it's election time in Maryland when suburban campaign posters start appearing in DC neighborhoods. This past weekend I spotted dozens of posters for a Maryland congressional candidate on trees and utility poles along DC streets leading into Silver Spring and Takoma Park. Interestingly, the posters were hung only on our side of the border. Follow the same roads into Maryland and the posters are nowhere to be found. According to Vince Spaulding, DC's Clean City Coordinator, citizens should feel free to tear them down, since only political posters for DC candidates are permitted in the District. But how do we keep them off our streets in the first place? The same candidate (Rosenthal) whose posters I spotted had them up in '98, as did Ralph Neas in other parts of NW. It's bad enough that we have no voting representation in congress, but do we also have to tolerate the political rubbish from other jurisdictions? Talk about adding insult to injury.


The Washington Post and Civic Journalism
Mark-David Richards,

My understanding from proponents of civic journalism is that The Post is known for being strongly opposed to the concept. There are different definitions of civic journalism. Kettering Foundation has done some good work on this, and we usually have discussions about how it has worked for different newspapers who have tried this approach at our annual AAPOR (American Association for Public Opinion Research) conferences. There are some very good examples of newspapers that took an active civic role, combining polling and public involvement/forums to assist in decision making, with great results. However, if the newspaper has a pre-established position on whatever issue is being examined (the school board would have been an ideal issue for this approach), it can't work, because they are an
advocate rather than a facilitator.


Update on National Building Museum Exhibit
David Sobelsohn,

The last two issues of themail had postings by myself and Rona Mendelsohn about the exhibit at the National Building Museum (401 F St., NW), “See the U.S.A.: Automobile Travel and the American Landscape.” The exhibit portrays the charming eateries and hostelries that awaited the white American auto traveler in the years before the interstate highway system. But it ignores the very different experience of African-American travelers, excluded from many of these same establishments and forced to bring food for their journey and make advance arrangements for lodgings.

I spoke Wednesday morning (March 8) with Susan Jones, president of the National Building Museum. Ms. Jones promised to erect, within the week, a text poster acknowledging the racial exclusion facing African-American travelers before the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The exhibit closes May 7, so a text poster represents the most efficient way of correcting the current distortion. Thanks to Ms. Jones, and to all themail subscribers who took an interest in this matter; and score one for historical accuracy.


Metro Snacks and Lost Shopping Carts
Phyllis “Community Driven” Hughes,

There must be something wrong with me, some quirk in my personality, that makes me want to obey the rules and requests made by management. For example, the Metro system has increasingly more riders eating and drinking on the trains, and rarely, is there an announcement. Families have picnics, rebellious youths and those who should be setting an example munch on snacks, and workday commuters regularly sip their coffees. The Metro management rarely, if ever, announces that eating and drinking (among other things) are not allowed while commuters are within the Metro system and on the trains. What's happened to good example? If we baby boomers and our seniors aren't doing it, then who will?

Another example, a rash of people remove the shopping carts from the Van Ness Giant. There is a regular flurry of shoppers, some of whom I have seen for nearly twenty years, taking them away. This is not only selfish, discourteous, and cheap on the part of the patrons, it is really stealing. HELLO! It costs the grocery stores at least $25,000 to $30,000 annually to replace the carts the shopping clods take, and it contributes to rising costs. Why not spend $30 at Linens' and Things, or some similar store, for a four-wheel shopping cart? Do some community service. And why not push a cart found on the plaza inside the store instead of walking past it on your way out of the Metro system?


Interesting Thing about DCA
Michelle Treistman,

After reading several postings about National Airport, I thought I'd share the following. Perhaps others in themail community noticed it, too. I traveled out of DCA within days of the name change. When I left, the often repeated PA announcement said: “Welcome, to Reagan National Airport, this is a smoke free, etc...” When I returned, less than a week later, the announcement was as follows: “Welcome, to [audible, but very short pause] National Airport...” It was still Reaganless, and now pause less, when I was there last Saturday, so at least the airport authority knows who/what they really are.


Kudos to Jim Vance
R.J. Fox,

Did anyone listen to the WAMU Politics and Government Hour last Friday at noon? Jim Vance, the best local tv anchor, reported on his interview with George W. Bush and Bush's clear position that he was against home rule for DC. I thought Vance did a great service to DC residents and all those listening by making clear that Bush was against DC home rule even though Vance distinguished home rule from voting representation just before asking the question.

A Bush toady called in to defend his response with a lame excuse that Bush didn't know the difference between home rule and voting representation. (Seems like Bush doesn't know the difference between a LOT of things, but that's another story.) This woman also said that this was a “local” issue, and Bush can't be expected to know about every “local” issue. Funny how the guaranteed rights of half a million citizens is a “local” issue. The Republican Congress seems to know all about DC local issues, don't they?

Applause to Jim Vance for calling Bush on the carpet and telling it like it is. I hope WAMU and Channel 4 will follow up on this issue. Go Jim Vance!


Bush on Statehood for DC
Aaron Lloyd,

Does anyone out there have on tape Candidate Bush talking about “home rule” in DC? I would very much like a copy, or if anyone knows where I could get a copy or transcript of that interview. Even the date of the interview would be helpful, thanks.



Outstanding Show
Vivian Henderson,

A Chronology of Black Musical Theater, “Black Broadway” — written, directed, and choreographed by Mike Malone — is the best buy in DC. It is playing at Ira Aldridge Theater, on the campus of Howard University. Remaining dates are March 8-11, 15-18, 2000. Tickets are priced at $12.50, and the show is worth much more. Don't miss it.


Ward 6 Democrats
David Meadows,

The Ward 6 Democrats are having a community meeting with a panel discussion of the proposed School Board reform initiative. Hon. Harold Brazil, Council Member At-Large, Ben Bonham, Ward 6 School Board Representative, and Larry Gray, Washington, PTA will be discussing the Pros and Cons of the “Mixed Bag” proposal compromise. Moderated by Dr. Howard Croft. All citizens invited to attend! Tuesday, March 14, at St. Peters Catholic Church, 300 2nd Street, SE, 7 pm- 9 pm. For more information, E-mail David Meadows, President, at



Apartment Available in Adams Morgan
Elizabeth Buchanan,

Studio available on 16th street. Large with separate kitchen and 2 large closets. Laundry facilities down the hall. Carpeted and modern kitchen with full-sized stove/oven and refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave. Apartment gets lots of light. In a quiet building with a doorman. $600/month plus utilities, which average $35/month. For information, please E-mail



Swimming Instructor
Steven E. Levy,

Swimming lessons needed: I am looking for a DC-based swimming instructor to give private one-on-one lessons to my wife, who wishes to learn how to swim. Need access to pool facility. Any recommendations? Please Email or post message to themail.


Hello, Tenleytown...
Dru Sefton,

Yes, it's that annoying Dru Sefton again, pestering loyal readers of themail about real estate. After much thought and looking we've finally decided that we want to live in Tenleytown. Love it there! If anyone knows of any homes (or duplexes) coming on the market soon, please let me know. I already have great info from Stephanie “Who Used to Put Stuff in Quotations in Her Name But Doesn't Anymore and No One Knows Why” Faul; she's been quite helpful. Looking forward to hearing from any Tenleytown residents out there!


Erica Nash,

Plumber: absolutely great, reliable, honest: Beal Plumbing, 703-318-9858, 8 am-5 pm, emergency is a different number.


Dave Nuttycombe,

From's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
TENT CIRCUS: Local gay Republican activist Carl Schmid knows that his candidate in this year's presidential race, George W. Bush, has taken some hits for embracing Christian fundamentalists and their homophobic leanings. But ever since he met the Texas governor last June at a Washington Hilton fundraiser, Schmid has put aside those concerns.
“He told me, 'You'll always have my respect,'” recalls Schmid.
The throwaway line apparently impressed Schmid, who can take heart that he stands alongside Bob Jones and Pat Robertson in the estimation of the likely Republican presidential nominee.
Bush is trying to accomplish what every primary contender is after — namely, expanding his tent as far and wide as possible without allowing the factions inside to tear it down. Last LL checked, the Bush coalition housed mainstream GOP tax-cutters, “faith-based” social service types, right-wing fundamentalists, and non-fundamentalist bigots of all stripes.
Read the entire Loose Lips column here:

From's CITY LIGHTS page, here are a few early warnings for upcoming events:
FRIDAY, March 10, Black Maria Film Festival, 8 p.m. at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 7th and Independence Avenue SW. Free.
MONDAY, March 13, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, at the Folger Shakespeare Library's Elizabethan Theater, 201 East Capitol St. SE. $10.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at


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