Both Mike DeBonis (http://tinyurl.com/lt3cyp)
and Eric Wemple (http://tinyurl.com/nnw5z2)
at the City Paper have scolded The Washington Post for its
latest foolish editorial on the Fenty administration (“A School for
the Fentys: There’s an Innocent Explanation for Where They Ended Up,”
The editorial created an excuse for the favoritism that Fenty received
in placing his twin sons in the school the Fentys preferred, but it gave
no reason for readers to believe the excuse it invented. Wemple wrote,
“[I]f the edit board has a scoop here — then it should say so,
within the four corners of its editorial. If not — if it’s just a
possible explanation — then the board should take a close look at what
it’s doing here. Playing the role of flack for the Fenty
administration, that is.” The Post’s editorial board has
acted as a highly partisan advocate for Fenty ever since he assumed
office, and it has taken his side in every dispute between him and the
council or any political critic. There’s no longer any reason to pay
attention to the Post’s judgment when it comes to the Fenty
administration; it has no independent judgment on that issue. But there’s
a difference between being a predictable supporter and cheerleader, by
which the paper just loses its reputation for reliability, and being a
politician’s spokesman, by which the paper loses its integrity. The
editorial board has crossed that line.
Colbert King investigated the death of Deborah Brown, about whom I
wrote in the last issue, and asked, “Why Is Deborah Ann Brown Dead?”
Not surprisingly, the answer has to do with the Department of Youth
Rehabilitation Services. King’s open mind, his willingness to be
critical of the administration is much missed on the editorial board of
Deborah Ann Brown, a Postscript
Dorothy Brizill, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday morning, family and friends of Deborah Ann Brown gathered
at the Austin Royster Funeral Home on 14th Street to say a final goodbye
to the Columbia Heights resident who was killed by a seventeen-year-old
drive-by (bike-by) shooter, Devonte Carlton. In his regular Saturday
column in the Post, Colby King memorialized Debbie (“Why Is
Deborah Ann Brown Dead?” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/04/AR2009090403341.html),
and blamed her death on the District’s juvenile justice system and,
specifically, the DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. King
noted that he and the citizens know little about Carlton’s criminal
past because the District government restricts access to juvenile arrest
records: “The city believes juvenile offenders ought to be protected
from the stigma of public knowledge about their behavior.” King also
reported that Carlton’s brother, Lafonte, 18, “was charged in
January with two homicides in the District — one allegedly committed
in December 2008, the other on January 9. He was under the supervision
of DYRS at the time of his arrest.” He also noted that, “At age 15,
Lafonte was placed in DYRS custody by the court until age 21 for
committing a homicide. However, he was released from secure detention 2
1/2 years later.”
At Saturday’s funeral, the city did a further disservice to Debbie.
No government officials attended her funeral service. Neither Mayor
Fenty, Jim “the sheriff of Ward One” Graham, nor MPD Chief Cathy
Lanier attended, sent a representative, flowers, a card, or letter of
condolence. Their sympathies are elsewhere.
Half a Million Dollars for an Elementary
Ed Delaney, email@example.com
I wish I had blank checks for fun stuff that I could stick my name
on. From http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/26/AR2009082601718.html:
“Parents who take in a youth soccer game at Harriet Tubman Elementary
School in Columbia Heights shouldn’t have any trouble remembering who
the DC mayor is. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) held a ribbon-cutting at the
school Monday to unveil recent renovations, including a new soccer
field. The field, which cost taxpayers $558,000, appears to rival those
at colleges. It features artificial turf, safety padding, bleacher-style
seating for 250 spectators, a wrought-iron fence, team bleachers, and
soccer goals with new netting.”
RCN Freezing and/or Pixilating TV Picture
Jay Vinton, firstname.lastname@example.org
A while back in themail, there were a bunch of complaints about
Comcast digital cable service and the TV picture’s freezing and/or
We are a district RCN subscriber and we have had the same problem
since RCN dropped analog service in the spring. Every couple of minutes
there will be a brief hiccup where the picture freezes and/or pixilates,
and then continues on.
I would be interested to find out if other RCN subscribers are
experiencing this as well.
[As in the Comcast case, if you’re having similar problems with RCN,
please send me your complaints, including your neighborhood or block. I’ll
forward them to the Office of Cable Television and not publish your
E-mail in themail unless you want me too. — Gary Imhoff]
New York Times:
Firefighters Become Medics to the Poor
Gabe Goldberg, gabe at gabegold dot com
“In Washington, Some Firefighters Provide Primary Care, These Days,”
September 4, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/us/04firehouse.html?hp.
“Peeling off his latex gloves after treating a 4-year-old boy having a
severe asthma attack, J. R. Muyleart sighed with a touch of frustration.
It was 3 a.m. and in the past 24-hour shift, Mr. Muyleart, a
firefighter, had responded to at least one emergency call per hour. But
only two of those calls were for fires; most of the others involved
heart attacks, diabetic sores, epileptic seizures and people complaining
of shortness of breath. ‘I joined the force to battle blazes, not to
be an emergency room doctor,’ Mr. Muyleart, 35, said as he and the
rest of Engine Company 10 drove back to their firehouse, which for most
of the last 15 years has been the busiest in the country, according to
SHARP Program at Ballou High School
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
Here’s something worth watching: a two-minute YouTube video of the
Summer Humanities Arts and Readiness Program at Ballou High School (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_uREbZpQE4).
Inspiring work by teachers, students, and video producer Brandon Bloch (http://twitter.com/bloch_party).
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom
There were two Saturday evenings over the last two weeks that I have
taken the Red Line to Gallery Place and transferred to the Green Line
for my trek to the Navy Yard Station for another Nationals’ game. Both
Saturday nights my total commute each way was one hour and ten minutes
from my front door to my seat in section 142. For the entire summer
before that my commute each way was only 45 minutes. The difference was
the long wait for the Green Line train at Gallery Place and at the Navy
Yard stations. All four times the wait was 20 minutes. That seems
unreasonable for a Saturday night when there is a ball game at the park.
I have to ask Metro: wassup?
Errol Mazursky, Environmental Leadership Program, firstname.lastname@example.org
ELP is pleased to announce that applications for our 2010 Fellowship
Classes are now being accepted. Over the past ten years ELP has been
helping emerging leaders from academia, business, government, and the
nonprofit sector to strengthen and refine their leadership capacity.
Through our residential learning program, Fellows are continually
challenged and inspired by their peers, trainers and ELP staff to move
their professional and personal goals to the next level. For more
information or to apply, click http://www.elpnet.org/2010_applications.php.
The DC Department of Public Works has announced how services will be
affected in observance of Labor Day, Monday, September 7. There will be
no trash and recycling collections on the holiday. Trash and recycling
collections will “slide” to the next day for the remainder of the
week. For example, Monday’s trash and recycling collections will be
made on Tuesday and Tuesday’s collections will be made on Wednesday.
In neighborhoods with twice-weekly trash collections, Monday and
Thursday collections will be made Tuesday and Friday. Collections
normally made on Tuesday and Friday, will be made Wednesday and
Saturday. Trash and recycling containers should be placed out for
collection no earlier than 6:30 p.m. the night before collection and
removed from public space by 8:00 p.m. on the day(s) of collection.
Parking enforcement for meters, rush hour ticketing and towing,
residential parking, abandoned vehicles towing, and booting will be
suspended. Other violations — blocking a fire hydrant, crosswalk, bus
stop, or driveway — will be enforced.
Both Ft. Totten (4900 John McCormack Drive, NE) and Benning Road
(3200 Benning Road, NE) trash transfer stations will be closed on
Monday, September 7, in observance of the holiday. Ft. Totten will
reopen Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. for residents to bring their trash and bulk
items. Other services suspended for Labor Day include scheduled street
and alley cleaning and nuisance abatement. All services will resume
Tuesday, September 8. To view DPW’s trash and recycling holiday
schedule for the remainder of the year, visit http://www.dpw.dc.gov
and click on Holiday Schedule under the “Information” header or call
the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311.
Separation of Church and State
Malcolm Wiseman, email@example.com
Thank the gods for separation of church and state! Now, if only we
could study and practice its teachings. We might have a better, more
peaceful pluralistic world.
“Marriage” is the domain of the church; no government should be
about the business of defining or redefining it. Why aren’t we talking
about defining “civil union” or some like designation for
government-recognized partnerships and leave “marriage” to be
whatever a given sect says it is? Civil union is a win-win, unless what
you really want is to control and deny others who are different from you
or what you may be pretending to be. Like Mr. Austermuhle says here on
the issue, “Be honest.”
People who would vote the basic rights of others away, rights they
themselves enjoy, based on a religious or other belief, don’t deserve
those same rights, and especially not self-determination.
You gingerly sidestepped Martin Austermuhle’s question in the
September 3 themail, but he and your readers deserve an answer from you.
Would Loving v. Virginia or Brown v. Board of Education,
or the Voting Rights or Civil Rights Acts have enjoyed increased
legitimacy had they been validated by a majority of Alabama voters in
the immediate aftermath of their becoming the law of the land? Would
their legitimacy have been diminished had they not been ratified by
Alabama voters? Each of those milestones was a thumb in the eye of the
entrenched status quo. Each of them was pushed through by elites
doing what they were elected to do or confirmed by Congress to do: be
leaders, be on the side of the righteous, promote the general welfare of
the nation. And, decades later, almost all of us are thankful that they
were forward-looking enough and justice-seeking enough to have done so.
What those of us who support marriage equality want is more of the
forward-looking leadership and justice-seeking righteousness that led to
those milestones so that decades from now people can wonder again what
the fuss was all about. What we fear is bigotry masquerading as go-slow
conservatism, and an explosion of demagoguery poisoning civil discourse
and attempts at making DC more livable and more just.
Gary and wife, your position on civil rights is ridiculous. No wonder
the cops won’t talk to you.
What the Debate Is About
Gary Imhoff, firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll try one more time to make myself clear. Dorothy has not
written anything about gay marriage, and I have not taken a position on
gay marriage. I have taken the position that the definition of marriage
is an important issue that should be decided by the public, and not
imposed on the public by a council vote that the public is then
forbidden to challenge. I believe that government officials are
determined to impose that definition of marriage in DC. I am not sure
what the result of a public vote would be, though I suspect that
Massachusetts, which will have such a vote in November, and the District
of Columbia are the two states whose voting public are most likely to
support gay marriage. I am skeptical that the DC Human Rights Act
determines that gay marriage is a civil right that cannot be addressed
by an initiative or referendum (if it were, then the Human Rights Act in
itself would have legalized gay marriages, and have made any
redefinition of marriage superfluous). Nevertheless, it is obvious that
the public in DC will be denied the right to vote on this issue.
The public debate is over whether, in fact, same-sex marriage is a
civil right. Matt Wilson demands that the opponents of gay marriage
accept all his assumptions as a condition of entering the debate, when
it is his assumptions that are the subject of the debate. Wilson asserts
that same-sex marriage is a basic human right, equivalent to the civil
rights issues of the 1960’s. Many civil rights advocates, veterans of
the civil rights struggles, argue that it is not, and that they are
offended by the assertion of equivalence. Wilson does not acknowledge
their opposition as legitimate. If advocates of same-sex marriage want
to convince skeptics and opponents of their position, they have stop
offending the people they want to convince, and start treating them with
the same respect that they themselves demand. Accusations that there are
no grounds save bigotry to oppose them and that all arguments against
them are demagoguery will not convince anyone who is not already
convinced; name-calling will alienate potential supporters.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Humanities Council Events, September 10
Lisa Alfred, email@example.com
The Humanities Council of Washington, DC, presents Humanitini: Where
Happy Hour meets the Humanities. Thursday, September 10, from 6:00-8:00
p.m., Busboys and Poets, 1025 5th Street, NW. Metro: Gallery Place/Penn
Quarter. Free. Please join the Humanities Council of Washington, DC, for
its new Humanitini series, where young professionals can come together
to discuss the issues of the day that are relevant to themselves and
their community, in a relaxed atmosphere. We will be discussing, PHAT or
Fat: The Obesity Epidemic in America. The Humanities Council worked with
Busboy’s bartenders to create the Humanitini, a lovely, purple
colored, fruity martini. Please RSVP at http://www.wdchumanities.org
or call 387-8391
DC Public Library Seventh Annual Fall Book
Sale, September 11-12
Kandace Foreman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Come to the annual fall book sale, and get them before the resellers
do! September 11-12, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., rain or shine. Martin Luther
King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW. To volunteer, E-mail email@example.com.
Rally and Recovery Fair, September 12
Rob Fleming, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Washington area recovery community will celebrate and share their
sustained recovery from alcohol and other drug disorders with a Rally
and Recovery Fair in Meridian Hill (Malcolm X) Park on Saturday,
September 12, from noon until 3:00 p.m. The Rally for Recovery, one of
dozens around the country and overseas, will feature musical acts and
recovery stories and the Fair will offer information from local service
providers. All who need or who support recovery are welcome. For more
information, contact Rob Fleming at 797-2388. The Rally is being
organized by the DC Recovery Community Alliance (http://www.DCRCA.org).
National Building Museum Events, September 12,
Jazmine Zick, email@example.com
September 12, 10:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m., family program: egg drop
workshop. Design your own container to protect an egg from a fall from
the Museum’s second floor balcony! Families can experiment with
engineering and architectural principles to make the perfect structural
design. Presented as part of AIA DC’s tenth anniversary celebration of
Architecture Week. Members’ children, $7 per child; nonmembers’
children, $10 per child. Ages seven and up. All children must be
accompanied by an adult. Registration required.
September 13, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Inter-school Student Design
Competition Design Charrette. Ever wonder what architecture students do
all day? Find out as teams of students from the Washington, DC, area’s
four schools with accredited programs in architecture — The Catholic
University of America, Howard University, Virginia Tech’s
Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, and the University of
Maryland — participate in a day-long design competition held in the
Museum’s Great Hall. Free drop-in program.
Adams Morgan Day Festival, September 13
Katherine Rivard, firstname.lastname@example.org
DC’s most talked about multicultural festival is back this fall
with its old traditions as well as some new additions. As always, the
festival will feature live music, dance performances and a kids’ fair.
New additions to the festival include a Green Pavilion, Pet Zone, and DJ
Pavilion. The Adams Morgan Day Festival showcases the city’s latest
artist trends and eco-friendly initiatives and bring the arts, culture,
family and fun together. September 13, 12:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., 18th
Street, NW, between Columbia Road and Florida Avenue. Free.
National Building Museum Ghost Tours, October
16, 18, 26; November 8, 15, 20, 21
Jazmine Zick, email@example.com
Everyone loves a good ghost story! See a different side of the Museum
on this lantern-light tour led by the ghost of Mary Surratt. Who are the
irritable rider on horseback and the footless figure? Why are there
mysterious faces swirling in the 75-foot Corinthian columns? All will be
revealed on this behind-the-scenes tour of the mysteries of the Museum.
$12 members; $20 nonmembers. Prepaid registration required. Recommended
for ages ten and up. Members preregistration is open; general
registration begins on September 10. Register before tickets disappear!
October 16, 18, 26 and November 8, 15, 20, 21, at 8:00-9:00 p.m.
New: custom ghost Tours for your group of five to twenty-five people.
Great for a birthday party, family reunion, work retreat, or as a spooky
get together with friends. Custom ghost tours can be arranged on
selected dates between December 2009 and June 2010. Learn more at http://www.nbm.org/programs-lectures/tours/custom-tours.html#Ghost_Tours.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
Wednesday and Sunday. To change the E-mail address for your subscription
to themail, use the Update Profile/Email address link below in the
E-mail edition. To unsubscribe, use the Safe Unsubscribe link in the
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All postings should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org,
and should be about life, government, or politics in the District of
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be printed, and messages should be reasonably short — one or two brief
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