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The one-drop rule of classifying race gets a drop-kick in the Washington Post, courtesy of Marie Arana, the editor of the Post‘s Book World section.

And the big news for the next couple of days will focus on the playoff chances of the Redskins, who lost to this blogger’s favorite team on Sunday at FedEx Field. The sports commentariat will make much of the Skins’ continued offensive woes and perhaps a little bit about the Giants very good offensive line. But to me, the story line is Clinton Portis. Here’s a phenomenal back, a team-first sort of fellow, who this week showed his dedication by playing banged up. Specifically, sore ribs, sprained knee, and a bum hip. After Portis suffered a tough hit in the Giants game, commentator Moose Johnston said something to the effect that Oh, he’ll be back. He’s a warrior. That’s high praise from a former baller, and Portis no doubt basks in the adulation of everyone who says he’s such a tough guy.

But when is all this madness going to end? When will people wake up and say, hey, this is exactly the scenario, and the mentality, that lands former NFL players in arthritis wards and psych wards for the rest of their natural lives. I mean, yeah, sore ribs—everyone’s gotta play with those. But the hip and the knee? Those are joints, people, and joints are delicate affairs. Going hard against Justin Tuck and Kenny Phillips with already bad joints will do two things: Shorten Portis’ career and make it more likely that he’ll feel every step he takes for the rest of his life. I look forward to the day that teams recognize that their backups are generally worth more than their injured starters, and that it’s inhumane to cast them as heroes for risking lifelong injuries.

Post riffs on the odd fate of the acorn.

Key point for motorists around town: Alternate-side street-sweeping-related ticketing is over for the winter. Park on either side, despite what the signs say. Here’s the quirky part of the DPW announcement: “Residents and business owners will be notified when street sweeping resumes again in the spring of 2009.” Hey, DPW, can’t we agree on a date certain for the resumption of the ticketing? Can’t we agree on, like, March 16 or something. Or does City Desk have to break the news of the resumption, just as we did this year’s suspension date?