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For Tickets, See Jack: District campaign finance law allows members of the D.C. Council to raise up to $80,000 a year for constituent service funds, outside of their tax-funded office budgets and their campaign accounts. The idea is supposed to be to use these to pay for things like electrical bills or heating costs that constituents can’t afford; Ward 2’s Jack Evans, however, seems to have spent about a third of the money he’s raised in the last decade on sports tickets. (Evans says he gave most of the tickets away.) Maybe the theory is that without help from Evans, teams like the Wizards, the Nationals, or the Capitals wouldn’t be able to pay for their own energy bills? -2
No Taxation Without 140 Characters: People who don’t live in the District don’t always appreciate the extent to which those of us who do live here are denied basic rights of democracy; when the rest of the nation looked on with bemused horror as the federal government threatened to shut down earlier this year, we were the only ones whose own local government was tied up in the mess. Now, at last, it’s time to remedy the problem—with a virtual march. Mayor Vince Gray wants everyone to post a message to Facebook and Twitter at 8:28 a.m. tomorrow to protest our lack of representation. Considering how successful the Twitter-based attempts to show solidarity with Iranian democracy activists were, we hope to see the whole country changing their location to D.C. by 8:32 a.m.—but we’re not actually expecting anything to change as a result of all this. -1
School’s In: With all the paranoid coverage lately, we wouldn’t be surprised if people saw hordes of kids streaming into schools this morning and thought it was another flash mob. It was, instead, the first day of school, even though Labor Day is still two weeks away. There were apparently no major glitches at any of the District’s public or charter schools, several of which opened in new buildings. (Our interest was caught by one new charter school in Ward 7, the Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts, which will presumably serve middle schoolers who are eager to pursue a lifetime of low wages in a dying industry.) +2
MLK Memorial Officially Open for Making Memories: Getting a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall took almost as long as getting a federal holiday to honor him did. But the statue finally officially opened today near the World War II Memorial (and, as a bonus, unlike the World War II Memorial, the King memorial doesn’t look like it was designed by Albert Speer). Tomorrow is D.C. residents’ day; the actual dedication will be Aug. 28. +2
John Beck, We Take It All Back: On Friday, we mocked Redskins quarterback John Beck, who started that night’s preseason game, on the grounds that he hadn’t taken an NFL snap in years, but was poised to take over the job mostly because his competition was Rex “Sexy Rexy” Grossman. Then Beck wandered into Indianapolis and led the team to a 16-3 win over the Colts. If they keep winning these exhibition games, adjusting to the regular season and the inevitable losses is going to be a real shock. +1
Friday’s Needle rating: 66 Today’s score: +3 Today’s Needle rating: 69