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Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 08/12/2011

Lunchline: D.C. Council, still shady after all these years

While you watched meaningless football last night, I was watching the GOP presidential candidates’ debate. Michele Bachmann came out guns blazing and didn’t let up until she’d eaten Tim Pawlenty for dinner. And watching it with a native Minnesotan, my colleague, Sara Schwartz, made the whole thing WAY more fun. The Gopher state was in the house last night, big time.

Technically, the D.C. Council is not allowed to earmark funds. But, because this is D.C., members have found a way around that pesky regulation and were using it to dole out money for the past few years. In
D.C. City Council's opening session in January. (Matt McClain - THE WASHINGTON POST)
short, the council was using a non-profit trust to steer cash to projects they desired. If you’re wondering, yes, Adrian Fenty’s name comes up in this story. And yes, his boy Ron Moten is mentioned, too. The shadiness of the elected officials in my hometown never ceases to amaze me. The Post’s Isaac Arnsdorf reports.

The U.S. Postal Service is about as close to extinction as possible, without actually being dead. The nation’s mail service has been losing money at a breathtaking clip and there doesn’t appear to be any windfall in sight. The losses due to declines in mail volume are in the billions and now USPS is considering cutting 120,000 jobs and pulling out of the federal health and retirement plans. The Post’s Joe Davidson reports on how the post office might drop 20 percent of its workforce.

I must admit, the concept of a face transplant is mind-blowing to me. And over the years, we’ve seen the surgery take monumental steps forward. But when, I heard that Charla Nash, the woman whose face was
Charla Nash, after a full face transplant at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
pummeled by someone’s pet chimp on a rampage in 2009 was getting one, I cringed. Yesterday, she revealed herself after two years of a veiled existence and the results are remarkable. In general, the procedure has gone from a last-ditch attempt to regain physical normalcy, to a near-mainstream process across the globe.

Some call people of my age ‘Generation Y’ but I don’t think that’s accurate. I prefer to refer to it as the ‘Nintendo Generation,’ as we were the first group to grow up with video games at home that weren’t
A Nintendo video game designer shows off an upcoming game. (Casey Rodgers - AP IMAGES FOR NINTENDO OF AMERICA)
ridiculously basic. Not coincidentally, that experience paved the way for the era of doing everything on a screen. Jeff Ryan’s new book, “How Nintendo Conquered America,” goes back to the early days of the Japanese gaming company, when it had a small startup outpost in Seattle. The Post’s Mike Musgrove has a review.

Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I’m going to tune in to the Redskins game tonight against the Steelers. To be very honest, this crappy team has been so bad for so long that I watch just to make sure I know what’s going on. I can’t even remember the last time I watched the burgundy and gold and actually expected them to win. No matter, it’s just a preseason game tonight, so we’ll see how it goes. The Post’s Rick Maese reports on the quarterback battle that officially begins tonight.

Extra Bites

• If you enjoy beer, you’ve got a good week coming up. The annual D.C. Beer Week starts Sunday, beginning a seven-day stretch in which you can not feel like a total jerk for ordering that $12 Belgian ale that nobody really likes anyway. The Going Out Guide has a fun list of the cool hangouts for brew.

• The first video from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s album is out. Of course, they DIY-modify a Maybach and of course, Aziz Ansari makes an appearance, too. These cats are having fun.

• Here are your warm and fuzzy photos for the weekend. Safety first, kiddos.

Check out my Facebook fan page anytime, or you can email me your questions at clinton.yates@wpost.com.

By  |  11:45 AM ET, 08/12/2011

 
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