Weekend in Review—Crafty Bastards Edition
A lot happening in a town like D.C. on an early October weekend. None of it, of course, compares with what went on Saturday at Marie Reed Elementary at the crest of Adams Morgan. That'd be the annual Washington City Paper Crafty Bastards arts & crafts fair. That this event is becoming a District institution is now a point of considerable consensus, and if you went on Saturday, you'd understand why: An ever-growing lot of craft vendors, an ever-growing selection of food vendors, enough Portapotties that you never have to wait, and beaucoup de people. Thanks to everyone who contributed, attended, thought about attending. Just wait till next year!
Ralph Friedgen lashes out at critics who questioned his job security after the Maryland Terrapins football squad fell to 1-3. They rallied against Clemson on Saturday afternoon to seize a 24-21 victory. Here's a straight-talking Friedgen: "I don't worry about what you say or what you write. I have been at this 41 years. I have won most of my career. If [school officials] don't want me here, I will go somewhere else. I think I am pretty well respected in the profession."
Good ol' Peter Nickles, the city's AG, takes to the opinion pages of the Washington Post to talk about gun control. At issue is the city's compliance with the law of the land on such questions as open-carry and concealed weapons. Nickles argues, "No court has yet ruled under Heller that an individual's Second Amendment rights include carrying firearms in public. Indeed, the Supreme Court specifically stated that an individual's Second Amendment right, 'like most rights . . . is not unlimited.'" He also argues that the District should....zzzzzz. Screw it—Nickles is a fascinating government official, but this piece is just killing me.
On the brighter end of the opinion spectrum lies Colbert I. King, who's got a killer piece about police protection at a charter school on Minnesota Avenue in Northeast. Question, though: Why's it so damn hard to find on the paper's new souped-up local Web site? Where's that annoying lady in the pantsuit when you need her?
And holy shit what a bad PR weekend for the beef industry. Check out this A1 story in the New York Times, which surely had some people at beef.org working some overtime hours. Need any more proof that the media is critical to our general welfare?
The huge investigative piece is organized around the plight of 22-year-old Stephanie Smith, who became paralyzed! after eating a burger contaminated by E. coli. The bad meat came from Cargill and the box was labeled “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.”
As the Times concedes, Smith's is an extreme case of poisoning.
But let Weekend in Review tell you where the even-more-extreme outrage of this piece lies. Follow me here: The Times went back and reviewed all the inspection records and the components of that particular beef patty ingested by Smith. It found who the suppliers were and how those suppliers monitored for contaminants.
Part of the quest involved submitting FOIA requests to the U.S. Agriculture Department, which, of course, inspects beef companies. And covers their asses, too. Check out this passage from the story:
The meat industry treats much of its practices and the ingredients in ground beef as trade secrets. While the Department of Agriculture has inspectors posted in plants and has access to production records, it also guards those secrets. Federal records released by the department through the Freedom of Information Act blacked out details of Cargill’s grinding operation that could be learned only through copies of the documents obtained from other sources. Those documents illustrate the restrained approach to enforcement by a department whose missions include ensuring meat safety and promoting agriculture markets.
Time for a cliche: Heads should roll.