I’m proud of the people of Washington; we’re doing well this
Christmas Eve. Washington is a privileged city. We’re not used to
hardship, and I’m not saying that we’re facing hardships now. But we
are facing threats. We’re under a Code Orange warning, signifying that
there is a high danger of terrorist actions against our country. Our
city is a desirable and likely target for terrorism. And we’re
reacting calmly, honorably, and well, and without panic. We’re not
letting threats and dangers spoil our lives or ruin our holidays. We’re
okay. Here’s to us. We shall have a Merry Christmas and happy
I wish to extend holiday greetings to all and pray that everyone has
a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year.
People who write to themail live at a high rate of (justified)
frustration, not to say rage. I wish them a break from this condition
and a healthy, peaceful holiday season.
Meanwhile, they could help me as I wallow in this condition myself.
Having no younger-than-senior person in my household, I can't figure out
how to play CDs when the machines I try to play them on deny their
existence. CDs seem to vary in thickness and my machines are unable to
adapt. Does anyone know some cute trick that will help?
Today is the 30th anniversary of Home Rule for the District of
Columbia. I just wanted to wish you all a very, very happy home rule!
Happy Holidays one and all! And don't forget to vote.
Boo to the New Memorandum of Understanding
Ed Delaney, firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Washington Times, http://www.washtimes.com/sports/20031221-122505-5613r.htm,
terms of new MOU with DC and the Washington Baseball Club: “The new
agreement removes the opportunity costs from a potential repayment to
Malek. Should someone else own a District-based team and Malek not be
involved, the total repayment to him would be $1.23 million. The money,
amounting to expenses already paid out by Malek's group in the pursuit
of baseball, would come mostly from the new owner, with the sports
commission aiding the transfer.” Uh, where is there any proof that the
WBC has spent $1.23 million or anywhere near that amount on the baseball
effort, and why should DC funds be going to cover speculative spending
by a private entity to own a baseball team?
Also from the article: “Meanwhile, [Jack] Evans and Malek said a
property known as Banneker Overlook in Southwest has emerged in recent
weeks as a new stadium site candidate, joining New York Avenue NE, RFK
Stadium and another spot near the Washington Navy Yard. The site,
however, would require some elevated construction over Interstate 395
and is one of the smaller parcels being considered for a ballpark. ‘There
are a lot of questions with that spot, money not the least of them,’
Evans said. ‘But it is very interesting and not something to be
dismissed out of hand.’” Will someone please tell me what the point
was of not one but TWO baseball stadium site evaluation studies in 1999
and 2002 costing the city upwards of $500,000 — both of which failed
to acknowledge the flaws in two similarly problematic stadium sites near
Mount Vernon Square until reality intervened and took the sites off the
table — if sites that were passed over as lacking such as the Banneker
Overlook site are going to be lobbied for by the WBC and DC Council
despite all of the expensive and extensive research conducted on the
matter? The article further states that “The Banneker Overlook site,
owned primarily by the National Park Service, is also a candidate to be
the home of the forthcoming National Museum of African American History
and Culture,” which seems to be a more suitable use than a potential
stadium site for a team that might never come.
In light of MLB's refusal to put a team here but instead insist that
DC spend massive amounts of public funding on a stadium before doing so,
it's quite surprising that Evans indicates in the article that not only
is that fine with him, but MLB can count on Evans’ doing whatever it
takes [by hook or by crook?] to ramrod a stadium scheme through whenever
MLB wants one: “If they want to do the deal, they need to contact me,
contact the city and say they definitely want to do the deal. If they do
that, this absolutely can get done. There are many avenues we can pursue
to get it done.” If there were the same amount of can-do attitude and
dead-certain pledges from Evans and the mayor's office applied to the
actual needs of DC citizens that they seem to be offering an indifferent
and horribly-run industry like the baseball monopoly, things might start
looking up around here!
The article [about the DC Archives] in the Washington Post on
December 4 by Sewell Chan just shows how administrations over the years
have neglected important facets of governing. I feel that the Federal
government should step in and retrieve those records of a national
nature, such as the wills of Dolly Madison, Francis Scott Key, etc.
Voting Rights and Party Competitiveness
Paul Wilson, pawilson at starpower dot net
In regard to comments about political parties and admission to the
Union, as far as I know, voting rights has never been a reason used for
admitting any of the 37 new states since 1789. That dog just don't hunt.
On the other hand, maintaining political balance has frequently been
part of the process of admitting new states, to wit, the Missouri
Compromise when Missouri and Maine came in together to preserve the free
state/slave state balance in the Senate. Predictions about party loyalty
are often wrong. Hawaii was largely regarded as a Republican bastion
while Alaska was presumed to be Democrat. Quite the opposite has
happened. Still, the idea of balance was there. Admission of both states
at the same time would not upset the apple cart.
Party registrations in DC often give a very distorted view of the
electorate's views. DC is not as monolithically Democratic as it
appears, and a few well-crafted reforms would loosen the Democratic
Party's grip on the city. As one who tilts rightward and voted for Carol
Schwartz in '02, people wonder why I'm a registered Democrat. Well, for
one thing, due to the all-important primary system, the “real”
election is the Democrat primary, and registering Green, Republican, or
independent means you are effectively disenfranchised in the District of
Columbia. Why the devil would I want to register as a Republican in DC?
So I can choose between Carol Schwartz and "write-in" in the
next Republican primary? Should I just register as an independent and
stay home? It's only the registered Democrats that have much say over
who gets elected to the Council from the ward seats, not to mention
Mayor. Want to support political diversity in DC and eliminate the
hegemony of the Democrat establishment? How about doing away with party
primaries altogether in DC and making the local elections nonpartisan,
with run-offs when there's less than 50 percent of the vote going to a
If there is a real electoral crisis in DC, it is the lack of true
diversity of opinion and the lack of conservative voices in the city's
politics. If there's any place in the nation that needs to hear the
gospel of smaller, more accountable government, lower taxes, and less
government intrusion into the lives of citizens, it's DC. The lack of
voting rights on the federal level is to me largely a red herring used
to distract us from cleaning up our own messes using the powers we
already have. Is it the lack of congressional representation that caused
"signaturegate," the bungled closure of DC General, and the
sweetheart real estate deals? Is it Delegate Norton's nonvoting status
that keeps our public schools in such poor condition, that drives high
crime rates and that keeps Charles Ramsey in his job? Let's stop blaming
Congress for a city administration that we elect.
Is it legal for a management company to increase your rent in a month
that is not an anniversary of your signing a lease? I signed a lease
with Gelman Management in June of 2000, and my rent usually went up in
July of the following years. However, I received a note under my door a
few weeks back saying that my rent is to go up $35 a month starting next
month, January, a full seven months before I expected an increase. I
have received conflicting opinions about this. Some say it's fair as
long as they aren't charging over the ceiling of the apartment, some say
it isn't fair at all. Any advice, or should I just suck it up and pray
they don't keep doing this month after month until I can no longer
afford to live in my tiny efficiency apartment? To add insult to injury,
there is peeling paint in my apartment and the building's hot water is
on and off and the elevator’s broken down a lot lately.
Holiday Schedule For DPW Services
Mary L. Myers, email@example.com
Following is the holiday schedule for DPW services through the end of
2003. In observance of Christmas Day, there will be no street sweeping,
parking enforcement, booting and towing, litter can service, leaf
vacuuming, or trash and recyclables collection on Thursday, December 25.
All services except for trash and recyclables collection will also go on
hiatus Friday, December 26. DPW's trash and recyclables collection
schedule will slide one day. Thursday's trash and recycling routes will
be collected on Friday, December 26. Friday's routes will be collected
In observance of New Year's Day, there will be no street sweeping,
parking enforcement, booting and towing, leaf vacuuming, litter can
service, or trash and recyclables service on Thursday, January 1, 2004.
All services resume on Friday, January 2. Trash and recyclables
collection will slide one day.
Residents who normally receive DC trash collection service are
encouraged to put holiday trees, without ornaments or tinsel, in
curbside tree boxes by January 4, 2004. Trees will be picked up during a
special one-week collection from January 5 -10, 2004. Residents who wish
to keep their trees longer should put them out at their normal point of
trash collection (curbside or alley) after January 10. Trash trucks will
then collect the trees with the regular trash, as space in trucks
permits over the following weeks.
Steps to Take When You Suspect Identity Theft
Ben Slade, firstname.lastname@example.org
[Put 030516 in the subject when replying to me to avoid my spam
filters.] From an article I recently read: Your best defense is taking
fast action to minimize future damage. Contact your local law
enforcement agency immediately. File a police report in the jurisdiction
where the theft occurred. This proves to the credit providers you were
diligent. Next, immediately notify the national crediting reporting
agencies by calling Experian at 1-888-397-3742, Equifax at
1-800-270-3435 and Trans Union at 1-800-680-7289. Place a “Fraud
Alert” on your name and SSN. Then, any company that checks your credit
knows your information was stolen -- they must contact you by phone to
authorize new credit. Obtain a copy of the FTC’s ID Theft Affidavit
form. Download copy of the ID Theft Affidavit PDF file online, http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/affidavit.pdf,
or call 1-877-ID-THEFT for a copy. “Call For Action,” a consumer
network based in Maryland, offers assistance to victims of identity
theft. Call 1-866-ID HOTLINE (toll free).
For anyone who has had personal information stolen: all three major
credit bureaus have a special number that you can report and have a
fraud alert placed on your record. Credit will not be granted without a
call to you to verify that you are the one requesting the credit.
Unfortunately, it won't help if someone is passing your checks, but
calling the bank immediately is your best option in that case. One nice
result is that you will no longer receive unsolicited credit card
offers. The fraud alert is on your account for one or two years and, if
you'd like to continue it, you can extend it for five years. In
addition, you won't receive the unsolicited offers and no one will be
able to check your credit without your permission either.
Edward Cowan, Friendship Heights, email@example.com
Essita Holmes's complaint about the failure to the authorities to
catch and prosecute the two women who, she believes, have used her
driver's license illegally merits some sympathy — none of us would
like to go through what she has had to do. But her note to themail seems
to miss one point: it appears that an employee of DC DMV was responsible
in the first instance for the theft of her identity when she surrendered
One would think that DMV and MPD could identify the employee(s) who
corruptly passed on her license to others. She says nothing about that.
Is DMV indifferent? Or did Ms. Holmes fail to report its effort to
identify and prosecute the malefactor?
Identity Theft and Racial Profiling
Dwayne L. Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
I read your message about identity theft, and I am sorry that it
happened. That kind of a crime is senseless. However, just as senseless
is the mentioning of the race of the persons who committed the crime.
Would it be any more or less serious if the crime were committed by an
Asian American, Latino, or a white person? Somehow, it makes the crime
seem more heinous that two African American women were the culprits.
That kind of racial profiling is really not necessary. The crime was a
crime. Period. Regardless of who committed it, they should be punished.
I looked up “petard” after reading the mention in the last
themail. I was fascinated to read that the word comes from the Latin
“petar” — “to break wind.” Looking up “petar” in a Latin
dictionary, it seems that may be in error; there is no entry. Looking up
“pet” in a French dictionary one finds the definition “fart.”
The infinitive is “peter” [please imagine an accent over the first
“e”]. Pardon my etymology [a librarian should know better]. We are
nevertheless dealing with a partially enclosed explosion at, one hopes,
[A couple Internet entries credit the Latin etymology. See http://www.quinion.com/words/weirdwords/ww-pet1.htm
Try looking up other naughty words in your Latin dictionary to see
whether they are listed; it may well be that you are just using a modest
dictionary. — Gary Imhoff]
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Washington Storytellers Workshops and
Performances, January 13 and following
Brad Hills, email@example.com
In The Eye of the Beholder: Stories About Beauty featuring Reuben
Jackson, Arianna Ross and Melissa Bunce, at The Speak Easy. Tuesday,
January 13, 8 p.m. at HR-57, 1610 14th Street, NW, between Corcoran and
Q Streets. $5 admission. Doors open at 7:30. Show up early to get your
name on the open mic list. Listen to some of the area's best
storytellers and then get up on stage to tell us your story. Because no
one else is going to.
The Healing Art of Storytelling, a workshop with Kathy McGregor and
Gail Rosen. Join Gail Rosen, professional storyteller and bereavement
facilitator, and Kathy McGregor, professional storyteller and nurse, to
learn about using stories as a tool for healing. Stories told and
elicited can support healing in a myriad of settings. Stories reflect
and honor our humanity and our emotions, providing a model of wholeness
and healing that can be consciously used. Saturday, January 17, 10
a.m.-2 p.m., 8720 Georgia Avenue, Suite 303, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Workshop fee, $50.
In Her Image: Folktales of Mothers and Daughters and the Men Who Love
Them, a unique and creative evening with famed storyteller Jeannine
Pasini Beekman in which she explores the connections between women
sharing lives and laughter, homes, and horrors. Included will be her
newest full-length piece, In Her Image, a dark and disturbing retelling
of the tale we know as Snow White. Jeannine Pasini Beekman is known
throughout the country for the wit, passion, and integrity of her work.
She draws from an extensive repertoire of folklore and literature and
has been in the vanguard of the storytelling revival. A professional
storyteller since 1975, she is the 1991 recipient of the John Henry
Faulk Award for Outstanding Contributions to Storytelling and 1999
recipient of the National Storytelling Network Oracle Leadership Award.
At Westmoreland Congregational Church, Westmoreland Circle at
Massachusetts Avenue, Saturday, January 31, 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 ($10
seniors, students, and ACDC members, $9 for WST members) at the door or
in advance by calling 301-891-1129.
Ms. Beekman will also be leading a workshop entitled Who Are These
People And What Are They Doing in My Story? Whether flocculate or
personal experience, literary or original, a story is revealed through
the action of its characters. During this participatory and experiential
session, Jeannine will guide participants in the process of analyzing
and developing characters. At the Maryland Association for Nonprofit
Organizations, 8720 Georgia Avenue, Suite 303, Silver Spring, Maryland,
Sunday, February 1, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Registration Fee, $35 (in
advance) by phone to 301-891-1129 or mail to WST, 6930 Avenue, #610,
Takoma Park, MD 20912.
CLASSIFIEDS — SERVICES
I am a jack of all trades when it comes to home improvement. I can
hang drywall, paint exteriors and interiors, hang windows, do electrical
wiring, lay cement, and work as a bricklayer. If you need something
done, bring it to Jerome. Call or leave a message at 562-3649.
Our wonderful housekeeper, Gaby DaSilva, has free time on Mondays and
Fridays. She has been with us for over twenty years, and is perfection:
Hardworking, intelligent, imaginative, and a good cook. Can serve at
parties. Speaks English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French. Excellent with
children and seniors. If you want a reference, call Henry or Jessica at
333 -9343. If you want to speak to Gaby, please call her cell,
240-305-7503 or at home at 301-890-3711.
CLASSIFIEDS — DONATIONS
For Love of Children (FLOC) Success Story
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
For Love of Children (FLOC) is an organization that has been doing a
world of good for many years in DC. See http://www.flocdc.org.
What's truly amazing about FLOC is the range of services this
organization provides to youth in our community. One small piece of FLOC
is the organization's New Technology Center, run by Richard Jaeggi and
his very talented teaching staff. Learn more about what Richard (Rich)
Jaeggi has done for our community in the success story posted at http://www.ctcnet.org/stories/index.html.
(See success story number 3, The Origins and Growth of the Techno Rodeo
Event.) Rich is reachable at email@example.com
if you'd like to say thanks. He tells me he could use some donated
laptops (working condition) to put into the hands of his students. Both
Macintosh and Windows laptops are needed. (Preferably from 1998 or
later.) He could also use spindles of blank CDR disks for the multimedia
projects his students work on. Lastly, digital cameras of any generation
are helpful for the community journalism that is taught at FLOC's New
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
Wednesday and Sunday. To subscribe, to change E-mail addresses, or to
switch between HTML and plain text versions of themail, use the
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All postings should also be submitted to email@example.com,
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