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So you’re kicking around D.C.’s exciting new downtown with nothing much to do. What would you like to find at the corner of 11th and G Streets? A supermarket to buy groceries for your swank nearby apartment? A neighborhood tavern with a friendly bartender? Hell, you’d have better luck in Arlington, buddy. City leaders are all excited at today’s news that the Woodies building may soon house the Newseum, meaning that if you’re looking for one more museum experience, downtown Washington is still the place to be.
Yes, that’s Judith Light, the mom from Who’s the Boss?, starring in Wit, the new play at the Kennedy Center. And yes, you get to see her naked. But no, Tony Danza will not appear.
And there’s still another sign that museum-and-monument Washington may be a little seedier than we give it credit for. Vandals today hit the Jefferson Memorial, drawing 2-foot “thunderbird-like” graffiti in oil on the monument to the third president.
And also: Tony Williams, for one, has an alibi. The mayor and the rest of city officialdom journeyed over to Ballou High School for marathon State of the District Address. Williams promised clean streets, smart kids, shady trees—and, by example at least, longer speeches. No word about his 17-point scheme for ensuring vandal-free monuments.
Today was Mardi Gras. People drank, indulged, spoke in fake Cajun accents.
Today was Ash Wednesday. People abstained, forswore, confessed. That’ll be three Hail Marys for every gratuitous pre-Lenten reference to N’awlins.
The penalties for tax evasion are somewhat stiffer—especially when you work for the government those taxes pay for. The Washington Business Journal reported today that there have been 2,213 cases of D.C. employees not paying their taxes over the past five years. By our math, that’s about one case for every staffer D.C. deputizes to comb our returns and make sure we haven’t gotten any decimal point wrong.
Four appointed D.C. school trustees quit today after control board Chair Alice Rivlin overruled them on a decision about the Paul Charter School. Now they won’t get to continue all that important, important work they’ve been doing for the past few years.
New multicolored lights presented to D.C. by Finland were inaugurated at Dupont Circle’s Metro station today. The station is one of the few remaining stops that don’t have some kind of double-barreled name designed to make every last nearby neighborhood feel included. Maybe now it should get one: Dupont Circle-Helsinki.
And if the city keeps treating its roads as if they were meant for only Arctic sleigh dogs, more and more citizens will get to see those pretty lights—because their cars will be in the shop. Deputy Mayor Norman Dong today publicly blasted the city’s Department of Public Works director over the continued digging and decay on D.C.’s streets.
And also: Qu’est-ce que c’est: “long-term tool kit?” Our brave mayor was in France today, speaking the international language of the technocrat.
“Who’s going to answer that question?” asked David Catania. “Anyone?” The subject was the budget, and the folks in front of him were Mayor Williams’ team of bureaucratic all-stars. Who spoke up? No one.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Cardinal Hickey today granted D.C. Catholics a dispensation, allowing them to avoid the Lenten ban on Friday meat-eating. It’s unclear whether the dispensation will also forgive Mayor Williams for cursing a blue streak after seeing a picture of himself with some Frenchie on the other side of the Atlantic alongside a big Washington Post story about his administration’s ineptness.
Man, look at all these freakers! Is the circus in town or something? Actually, yes: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey paraded across downtown today, complete with clowns, dancers, and elephants.
And also: An appeals panel ruled 2-1 that District residents have not been unconstitutionally denied a basic democratic right to a vote in Congress. We’ve been constitutionally denied a basic democratic right to a vote in Congress.
The District hasn’t done much to help the poor schlubs evicted after their slumlords’ apartments were condemned. But today the city trotted out a scheme that will at least help them all feel better while they’re homeless: revenge! Starting today, we can watch evil property owners get marched right down to the station house after being arrested. Kenneth and Patrick Welch were booked today on allegations that a W Street building owned by the father-son duo was a dangerous slum that had been illegally neglected. City officials promised a steady stream of arrests—either until those treacherous slumlords learn their lesson or until everyone stops paying attention, whichever comes first.
And also: The Welches may have some company on the perp walk at the 1st District sometime soon: Gen. Augusto Pinochet. A Justice department team is in Santiago today for meetings aimed at reopening their investigation into the 1976 murder of former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier in D.C. Years ago, several low-level operatives of the former dictator were convicted in connection with the car-bombing, but the current investigation allegedly follows the chain of command right up to the general himself.
The cherry blossoms are blooming! Everyone gushes. Except the people who are organizing the Cherry Blossom Parade, which is still a week off. By the time it happens, as usual, it will better be called the Nondescript Tree Parade.
Geez, what did the poor MCI Center ever do to the president, anyway? Keith Olive—who as a Secret Service officer is officially deputized to plow into anyone who threatens the chief—was arrested early this morning for drunk driving after allegedly crashing his SUV into a plate-glass window at the downtown arena.
Too bad Officer Olive’s car wasn’t parked atop one of the White House’s manholes today. The spot was the site of D.C.’s latest mystery manhole explosion today. PEPCO and Washington Gas are still expending energy deciding who’s to blame. —Michael Schaffer