City Desk

Washington Post Could Leave D.C., Publisher Says

When the Washington Post announced in February that it was considering selling its 15th Street NW headquarters, new District office buildings in places like NoMa seemed like probable candidates for the paper's new home. But the Post could be headed to the suburbs instead, according to publisher Katharine Weymouth.

“If possible, we want to stay in the District,” Weymouth told a group at the American News Women’s Club last week, according to the Daily Beast's Eleanor Clift. A move to Virginia or Maryland would be an ironic reversal for the Post, which has been moving its suburban bureaus into smaller offices.

Read more Washington Post Could Leave D.C., Publisher Says

District Line Daily: Pigskins Curse

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

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Are the Pigskins—thanks to their more offensive official name—under a curse keeping them from a Super Bowl win? So ventures Post columnist Mike Wise. "Until it is broken, until the name is changed, this town never sees another Lombardi Trophy," Wise writes.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • As many as 11 wounded in North Capitol Street shooting. [Post]
  • Weekend Metro trips remain a hassle. [Post]
  • But buses are getting closer to taking credit cards. [Examiner]
  • Teen shot and injured during police chase. [WJLA]
  • Bike crashes up in Fairfax County. [WTOP]
  • Man wounded in H Street shooting Saturday night. [Post]
  • Prince George's school board member earns censure for unclear reasons. [Post]

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The Needle: Pricey Power

Zapped: Pepco wants to raise rates on D.C. customers. -1

Squeezed: Georgetown's fans say they'll unfurl what they claim is the largest homemade sign in college basketball history in the team's game against Syracuse on Saturday. +3

Read more The Needle: Pricey Power

Police: Suspect in Hit-And-Run Put His Keys Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine

Most of the discussion about a Tuesday hit-and-run on a D.C. police officer has centered on how the District didn't have ambulances to help him. But there's more to the story, namely, suspect Kevin M. Burno's unorthodox method of storing his keys.

Burno was driving a white Lexus Tuesday when his car allegedly struck the MPD's officer scooter. While Burno was being processed into a cell block, however, U.S. Marshals discovered he had kept the Lexus' keys in an unusual place (emphasis added):

Read more Police: Suspect in Hit-And-Run Put His Keys Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine

FishbowlDC Responds to Libel Claims: It’s Satire!

FishbowlDC's Betsy Rothstein

We're still one cruel month away from the first hearing in Washington publicist Wendy Gordon's lawsuit against Washington media site FishbowlDC. But by reading Fishbowl owner Mediabistro's response to the complaint, filed Wednesday, we can get a taste of  the company's upcoming defense.

Gordon, you'll remember, is suing Fishbowl for libel over a series of posts that  painted her as a boozy horndog willing to have sex with wax statues. The response from Mediabistro, on behalf of other defendants WebMediaBrands and Fishbowl employees Betsy Rothstein and Peter Ogburn, suggests unsurprisingly that they're planning to claim First Amendment protections.

"The commentary, when viewed together with the photographs of plaintiff taken in public places that accompany the postings, represent satire, opinion, hyperbole, and other expressions of speech squarely protected by the First Amendment and District of Columbia law, or is otherwise not defamatory," the response reads.

Read more FishbowlDC Responds to Libel Claims: It’s Satire!

Washington Dating Gets Even Snobbier

Have you ever been on a date with someone and discovered their alma mater isn't even ranked in U.S. News + World Report top 80? It's a real reverse panty-dropper, right, ladies?

Fortunately, Alex Furmansky, founder of dating site Sparkology, has a solution for keeping out the riff raff. "Everyone is required to have a college degree, but we force all of our men to also be verified grads of top universities," he says.

Right now, that list includes around the top 80 schools on U.S. News' rankings, plus some international and regional schools. No word on where currently unranked George Washington falls (Update, 2:35 p.m.: Sparkology tells me that GWU grads are welcome after all).

"It's about coming from a good institution and knowing that this person has a good head on their shoulders, and that's what women want," Furmansky says.

Read more Washington Dating Gets Even Snobbier

Uber Driver Allegedly Assaults Customer for Burping

A little gas can cause big trouble. Sedan service Uber finds itself the subject of a lawsuit—and with one fewer driver—after a customer's burp allegedly sent the driver into anti-American, anti-gay rant.

The trouble started on Feb. 13, 2012, according to a case filed last month in D.C. Superior Court. Arlington resident Seth Bender ordered an Uber cab at the corner of 9th and U streets NW, and got into the sedan with a friend. But then the trouble started.

Read more Uber Driver Allegedly Assaults Customer for Burping

District Line Daily: Furlough Blues

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

Sad news for a Friday: Post-sequestration, more federal agencies are handing out furlough notices.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Few answers in slow ambulance response to injured MPD officer. [WJLA]
  • In Maryland, it's gambling time. [Post]
  • You'll take the Pigskins' name from general manager Bruce Allen's cold, dead hands. [WTOP]
  • Quick-play games helping D.C. Lottery's finances. [Examiner]
  • Franklin School still sitting empty. [Examiner]
  • Metro struggles with ancient radios. [Examiner]

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The Needle: Cabs for Voting Rights

Vote With Your Wheels: As if the decision to choose a D.C. cab color wasn't hard enough, now voting rights lobbying group D.C. Vote wants the District's uniform scheme to include a voting rights slogan. -2

Ch-Ch-Changes: The Washington Post has named its first reader representative, and Post-watcher Harry Jaffe isn't happy. -1

Read more The Needle: Cabs for Voting Rights

Daylight Saving Time Should Be Abolished

Hands off our clocks, Warren G. Harding!

For nearly 100 years, daylight saving time has been a pox on American sanity. It's time for its long, dumb history to end.

Enough with changing our clocks (car, watch, bedside, kitchen); enough with the cutesy mnemonic devices ("spring forward—or backward?"); and enough with remembering things period ("is it this Saturday?"). Daylight saving time has been tried and tested all over the world for different reasons by many generations, and the only solid, incontrovertible fact to glean from this grand temporal experiment is that it's a pain in the ass.

What has daylight saving done for D.C.? Except for making people miss flights, morning meetings, and an hour of dear sleep, it's given us precious little. The District has a particularly tortured relationship with DST, having been the subject of a little experiment of Warren G. Harding. Harding generally opposed DST, but in the summer of 1922, he mandated that federal employees in the District of Columbia observe it. D.C.'s federal workers wound their clocks back an hour and had to go to work at 8 a.m. instead of 9. Private employers were allowed to follow suit or not. Predictably, a shitshow followed, as detailed by David Prerau in his book Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time. Harding, regarded by many as one of the United States' worst presidents, repealed his order following a summer of chaos.

Despite the annoyance of changing clocks and losing sleep (which always seems to coincide with the onset of a cold or a hangover, doesn't it?), DST persists, presumably because of the strong economic or scientific arguments in its favor. Except there aren't any.

Since World War I, DST has been implemented for different reasons, including energy crises, war, and Woodrow Wilson's golf game. (Wilson, a serious golfer who was possibly looking for an extra hour on the links, twice vetoed Congress' repeal of DST in 1919. Congress eventually over-rode his foolish ass.) Energy savings have most often been trumpeted by DST proponents in the U.S. and were a driving force in George W. Bush's extension of DST in 2005. But the science on this is hardly conclusive.

Read more Daylight Saving Time Should Be Abolished

Eric Holder Isn’t the Only One Saying No

In certain corners of the Internet, a written response from Attorney General Eric Holder to Sen. Rand Paul—following the Kentucky Republican's filibuster last night over concerns related to the Obama administration's drone-warfare program—has already become a classic of the political-memo genre. However, Holder's letter is eerily similar to a number of missives recently obtained by Washington City Paper.

The Honorable Adrian Fenty

C/o Runner's World magazine

Emmaus, Pa., 18049

 

Dear Mayor Fenty,

It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: "Can you slot me in tomorrow night at Minibar?" The answer to that question is no.

Sincerely,

José Andrés

Read more Eric Holder Isn’t the Only One Saying No

This Week’s Page Three Photo

900 Block of G Street NW, March 4

This and past page three photos are also in this gallery.

For the Kids of Type-A Washington Parents, Etiquette Isn’t Just for Debutantes

In the era of Honey Boo Boo, the well-mannered child doesn’t appear to be especially prized by the zeitgeist. Nevertheless, on a recent Sunday, Taylor and Jamie are among 10 children who have gathered at Tabula Rasa, an event space on Barracks Row, to practice their how-do-you-dos.

“How are you?” Taylor says to another girl. Jamie then enters the conversation, asking Taylor what her favorite color is. “Blue,” she says. “Me too!” Jamie says. “Do you—what do you like?”

Across the room, Adam asks his brother Tim for his name. “I already know you,” Tim says. “I know, it’s practice,” Adam hisses back.

Presiding over the make-believe cocktail chatter is upmarket Washington’s own Miss Manners—Miss Crystal, who with her dark florals and tasteful jewels appears to be dressed for a wintry garden party. The children’s parents have disappeared for coffee and errands around Capitol Hill. For the next two hours, their offspring are entrusted to the Etiquette Institute, which today has promised a $75 crash course in the art of good manners.

Among adults, Miss Crystal is known as Crystal Bailey, a 29-year-old Department of Justice employee who describes herself as “passionate about etiquette.” She began the Etiquette Institute a year ago to teach the offspring of affluent parents about the ins and outs of first impressions, table manners, and netiquette. Traditionally, etiquette instructors find work in the world of society functions and beauty pageants—Bailey herself has several crowns to her name, including Miss Black Virginia 2009, in addition to her undergraduate and law degrees from Howard and William & Mary—but the Etiquette Institute appeals to a somewhat more normalized, if often just as affluent, clientele. “I can’t say there’s a typical customer,” Bailey says.

Bailey’s company is hardly the first etiquette entity to operate here. The Protocol School of Washington, which caters to the business class, opened in 1988, and Capital Cotillion has been instructing kids in ballroom dancing and society manners for 13 years. The infamous Mrs. Simpson’s cotillion class has been operating for years—it’s invitation-only and has no Web presence, except for occasional arguments on the DC Urban Moms and Dads message board about whether the class is fascist or merely elitist. According to a 2008 Washingtonian article, Mrs. Simspon’s, which was once the subject of a civil-rights complaint in D.C. for its allegedly discriminatory practices, doesn’t allow its students’ mothers to wear pants.

You won’t learn how to curtsy from the Etiquette Institute. Instead, Bailey is concerned with the finer points of modern courtesy. She conducts most of her lessons at private homes, where parents arrange for her to instruct their kids in daily niceties like table setting and answering the phone properly. The Etiquette Institute has also begun hosting workshops like the one on Barrack’s Row.

Read more For the Kids of Type-A Washington Parents, Etiquette Isn’t Just for Debutantes

Washington Gets Hysterical About Snow, and That’s OK

Definitely not yesterday's snow

The day after the snow day without much actual snow, Washington's getting it from all sides. The Post's Dan Zak blames the city's panicked reaction on residents "being the queeniest of drama queens." Zak's colleague, op-ed page writer and aspiring humorist Alexandra Petri, took to the streets to show just how little snow was sticking in an empty downtown Washington. National Journal's Matthew Cooper posited then-Mayor Marion Barry's absence during one 1987 blizzard inflicted a sort of post-traumatic snow disorder on the municipal psyche that still persists.

It's not just the hometown peanut gallery giving the city a hard time. Washingtonians are "weather wimps," according to the New York Daily News, which points out that Chicago managed to keep its schools open with a whopping nine inches on the ground. So why couldn't we?

Comparisons to other places are big with the rest of this set, too. Cooper praises the Bostonians' stiff-upper-lip approach to snow, and Zak imagines visiting Danes from the Faroe Islands amused by our panic. In Petri's video, Washington's snow response is held up unfavorably to its counterparts in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Kansas.

There's still a lot to be explained about how the forecasting went so wrong. The Post's chief meteorologist is already calling it a "bust" for the paper's Capital Weather Gang. But if you believed the predictions, and at the time there was no reason not to, Washington was in for a storm that would be serious by the city's standards. And that's what the would-be snow stoics are missing, even though it's right in front of their balaclavas: Washington, on average, gets less snow than the places they hold up as models of snow-moving efficiency. When a snowstorm as big as the one yesterday's was forecast to be comes through, we're supposed to panic.

Read more Washington Gets Hysterical About Snow, and That’s OK

District Line Daily: Hoop Dreams

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

In this week's Washington City Paper, in boxes now: as the Big East comes to an end, an oral history of the time Georgetown's basketball team dominated the conference, threw elbows for racial justice, and won the hearts of black Americans.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • If an injured D.C. cop can't get a District ambulance, what chance to regular residents stand? [Post]
  • Digital billboards headed to the Verizon Center. [Post]
  • Pigskins head back to court over name fight. [WTOP]
  • Lots of developers interested in future of FBI headquarters. [Post]
  • Washington Post managing editor John Temple steps down after less than a year in the position. [City Desk]

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