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Among the bummers of the shrinking Washington Post is the dearth of weekend news about the District of Columbia. More than ever, this is a paper that is sucking wind to make it through the weekend. The Sunday edition, for example, has virtually nothing on D.C., though there is a pretty good Marc Fisher column about the flu and fear. Fish goes back and finds some kid who’d gotten a vaccination decades ago and uses the anecdote to illustrate his point, though he doesn’t really make the case that fear is the real problem here.
Most of the good stuff broke just before the weekend: Washington City Paper‘s own Mike DeBonis reported on how Ward 3 CouncilmemberMary Cheh got punished when Fenty administration officials pulled out of an education forum that she’d organized. And DeBonis was there, too, when Harold Brazil, a former at-large councilmember, was convicted of misdemeanor assault on Friday.
One of Brazil’s points definitely resonated, and it relates to the way the case was adjudicated. He lamented that a jury of his peers didn’t pass judgment on his case. Indeed, this was a bench trial, meaning that the judge, Jennifer Anderson, determined Brazil’s culpability in a fracas that went down last October in the Georgetown tattoo parlor Jinx Proof. Key to the judge’s determination was that Brazil apparently gave the first shove and thus started the melee.
To which, DeBonis may well say whatever. In a Loose Lips piece a while back, our prolific politics columnist made the argument that this whole case adds up to a bunch of nothing. I gotta believe that if a whole jury had been empaneled to hear the case, they, too, would have been frustrated with the idea that this constitutes a prosecutable offense.
On other fronts, Post Ombudsman Andy Alexander writes about how some readers responded negatively to the paper’s positive coverage of President Obama’s news conference. At issue was Style critic Tom Shales‘ take on the presser. Very approving, that is. Shales praised Obama for charting a break with the past:
You ask, he’ll answer — earnestly, disarmingly, enchantingly, even — and most of the time convincingly, which is no small accomplishment for a politician.
Conservatives didn’t like the tone or the content and hit the comments section accordingly. At issue for Alexander is whether readers can clearly see that this is a review, commentary. Labeling it as such would be a good idea, the ombud says. I suppose. Clarity is always a worthy goal. But really—-is anyone out there actually confused as to whether Shales’ stuff is news or opinion?
Relatively good news on pig flu.
How this jockey rode this strangely named horse to victory at Churchill Downs is a great story.
Best news in a long time for Republicans: Party leaders are saying that it’s time to give up the nostalgia over Reagan and move on. I like that idea a lot, if for no reason other than that it’ll rid the next GOP convention of tired old lines about the Gipper.