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  • Hospital Blues
  • UMC, Back in the Day
  • Good morning sweet readers! It’s Thursday, which means last night the lords of journalism took a rib from the sleeping District and created this week’s City Paper. Fans of delicious irony will enjoy the cover story, which details Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder‘s full-throated defense of the first amendment a decade ago. LDP has a great column on how the District’s churches, like Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry‘s home of worship, The Temple of Praise, are becoming major players in the affordable housing game, and LL looks at businessman George Chopivsky’s efforts to convince the District to sell him Ward 8’s United Medical Center. Chopivsky’s spent a small fortune already, but if he wants to win the keys to the hospital, he’ll probably have to pry them from Councilmember David Catania’s cold dead hands.  Too far? (Careful observers will note that WCP’s famed photographer Darrow Montgomery did not have to work very hard this week; Temple of Praise is just down Southern Avenue from UMC) News time:

    “This is hard”: The Examiner‘s Freeman Klopott stays hot on the trail of the mystery of why MPD can’t figure out how to use breathalysers and why new Attorney General Irv Nathan keeps dropping so many DUI cases. A deputy to Nathan tells Klopott that Nathan will revive some of the dropped cases, but… “defense attorneys say, however, Nathan is killing the cases because he doesn’t want to turn over details on an internal investigation that could undermine the testimony of two D.C. police officers who are responsible for a third of the city’s 1,400 annual drunken-driving arrests.”

    Freeman also offers up an example of one of the cases that was dropped. It’s pretty darn funny.  “Marc Wilson Thompson was arrested on Oct. 31, 2010, on DUI charges. According to court documents, Thompson was driving north on 7th Street Northwest when he swung around a car stopped for a red light at the intersection with M Street  and then hit an eastbound car as he passed under the stoplight. Police say he drove a half-block before the front left tire fell off. He drove another 100 yards before coming to a stop, documents said. When asked to walk in a straight line, police say Thompson failed twice. He then reportedly said, ‘this is hard.'”

    AFTER THE JUMP: Rhee is Back!; Welcome Wal-Mart; Save Me Vince, Kwame…

    Just Who Is In Charge Here?: Former Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee informs District residents, via the Associated Press in Florida, that DCPS will indeed appeal an arbitrator’s decision that Rhee erred in dismissing 75 probationary teachers and those folks should get their jobs back with back pay, which could cost the cash-strapped District $7.5 million. “The school district is going to appeal the decision. They’re very, very confident in their legal standing and are confident that it will be overturned.” If they are so confident, then why haven’t they said anything? The Examiner notes that Rhee is first out of the gate that the city’s going to appeal, as interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson said Tuesday that the school system hadn’t made up its mind about making an appeal. As of this morning, the Post‘s Bill Turque still hasn’t heard boo from DCPS. In other Rhee-related news: Mafara Hobson, who used to ignore reporters’ questions for former Mayor Adrian Fenty, is now writing blog posts in defense of Rhee.

    Welcome Wal-Mart: Post columnist Robert McCartney says the District should welcome Wal-Mart and the jobs and tax revenue it will bring. He also reports that residents near the proposed store site on Georgia Avenue think the store better have some theft deterrents. “There’ll probably be a lot of shoplifting going on. They’ll need a lot of security,” says Terriea Sutton.

    Save Me, Kwame, Vince: Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham is scrambling to find $400,000 to save his ward’s “green team,” a “pet” program which “roams his ward supplementing city services by picking up trash, shoveling snow and removing graffiti,” reports the Post’s Mike DeBonis. “But there may be little appetite to save the program among Graham’s fellow politicos. The “Green Team” serves only Ward 1 and has been largely funded through spending earmarks inserted via the public works and transportation committee, which Graham chaired until this year. From his new post heading the human services panel, Graham will find it much more difficult to ensure continued funding for the program, which has been a major campaign selling point.”

    Let’s Hope the Cops Are Allowed To Actually Stop Teenage Bike Thieves This Time: WUSA9’s Bruce Johnson reports on the $62,400 security upgrades at Mayor Vince Gray‘s house including, you guessed it, a new fence.

    At-Large Councilmember Sekou Biddle won the endorsement of the D.C. for Democracy last night. He barely beat Bryan Weaver in the first round of votes, but cleaned up in the runoff round.

    In other news: Washington home prices up 8 percent from a year ago. Leading District needle exchange program to later this month. Former DYRS boss Robert Hildum sticking around as head of OAG’s public safety.

    Gray sked: Up in NYC all day, meeting with Bond, James Wall Street Bond Rating Agencies.

    Council sked: Hearings on concussions, truancy, and Office of Latino Affairs confirmation of Roxana Olivas.