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Potomac Confidential

Marc Fisher
Post Metro Columnist
Thursday, June 3, 2004; 12:00 PM

Potomac Confidential fills the midday lull with discussion of the latest news and a rigorous slicing and dicing of the issues that define who we are and where we live.

Read today's column:Charity's Gaffe Smacks of Burlesque Act (Post, June 3)

Marc Fisher (The Washington Post)

In his weekly show, Washington Post Metro columnist Marc Fisher veers wildly from serious probing to silly prattle, and is open to topics local, national, personal and more.

A transcript follows.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.


Marc Fisher: Welcome aboard, folks. Wave bye-bye to George Tenet. And bye-bye to D.C. Council member Harold Brazil, too? The Post's story on Brazil using his paid city staff to handle matters for his private legal practice is quite damning. Do you think he should go? And hello to slots in Washington? Voters in the city may get the chance to opine on that idea this fall.
Today's column asks whether a breast cancer charity is right to spurn a donation from strippers who held a benefit to further the cause of cancer research. The Tuesday column visited Petworth, the District neighborhood where a 12-year-old girl was shot, and homeowners of all ethnic stripes have joined forces to demand police action.
Your turn starts right after we call the Yays and Nays of the Day:
Yay to U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman, for his pro-free speech ruling yesterday telling Congress and Metro that they may not ban ads from the transit system simply because those ads disagree with national drug policy. The ads in question support the legalization of marijuana.
Nay to both Rep. Jim Moran and his challenger in Tuesday's Democratic primary, Andy Rosenberg, for ugly campaign tactics late in the game. A holiday parade last weekend was marred by a Rosenberg campaign worker handing out anti-Moran brochures while calling out, according to Moran, "Beats his wife, beats his kids." Rosenberg admitted that his aide did wrong and said the aide wrote an apology. Moran, for his part, has been playing unfair, too, attacking Rosenberg, implying that Teddy Kennedy endorsed Moran and never heard of Rosenberg, when Rosenberg actually worked for Kennedy on the Hill. And so forth.
Now, what's on your minds?


Silver Spring, Md.: Marcs,
As a 40-ish woman I am all for breast cancer research fund raisers But like everything else unfortunately, breast cancer is a business. I am not trying to be cynical but drug companies and radiologist and others make millions off this disease. I am sure there is no one answer but there is one research that has not been done. It seems simple enough yet the remedy does not involve medicine . The link between bras and breast cancer, as it impairs the lymphatic system. Other legitimate studies have noted interesting findings as a side note. Why is it that this study is not funded? Do you have any background info on this.

Marc Fisher: News to me. But you're right, big charities are big business, and there are few more disheartening exercises than reading the IRS reports on many big charities to see how much money is wasted on huge salaries for executives and big payouts to high-priced consultants. You can read all about it at one of the great Web sites, GuideStar, which contains the IRS filings of pretty much every non-profit in the land.


Capitol Hill: What exactly is the "gaffe" referred to in your headline? The organization's refusal to accept the money on the donor's terms? The donor's self-serving decision to raise money for breast cancer research by way of a sleazy striptease event? Or you for airing it publicly in an effort to make a good organization look bad and portraying a strip club, which endorses the objectifying of women's breasts as the core of its business, as a do-gooder? Whose gaffe is it?

Marc Fisher: The strippers didn't set any terms for the charity to accept the money. They offered the receipts from their benefit with, ahem, no strings attached. The charity said no because of the nature of the donors' work. As long as that work is legal, why should any charity say no?


Washington, D.C.: Mr Fisher, a serious question about acceptable use of the public trash cans: Am I allowed to use them to throw away the bag of dog poop I collect while walking my dog?

Marc Fisher: I have no idea, but I bet there are D.C. solid waste inspectors who could find something in the city code that would make that illegal. But I'll bet you lunch that no one is cited for that violation, because the inspectors would have to retrieve and save the evidence. Far easier to nab you for dropping a piece of junk mail in the trash.


Alexandria, Va.: What do you think of the speculation that John Kerry could pick Virginia Governor Mark Warner to be his running mate?

Warner fundraiser Mame Reiley told the Washington Post on 11/1/00 that she had arranged a lobbyist's controversial $25,000 loan to Rep. James Moran.

If Kerry did pick Warner, do you think that Republican opposition research types might look into the relationship between Gov. Warner, Mame Reiley and James Moran?

Marc Fisher: No, I think if Warner were a serious contender for the veep designation, those vetting his background would stick to his own extensive record in politics and business, not to anything that might slop over from Moran's many troubles.
But on the larger question of Warner's usefulness to John Kerry, there's a lot to be said for Virginia's governor as the flavor of the month among Democratic governors. His success in getting his tax reform through this year has the whole country's governors and pols talking. Warner is an attractive candidate with a proven record of reaching across party lines. But he's from a pretty solidly Republican state, and he's a pretty new face. There are so few good veep possibilities out there that you have to consider Warner a real candidate, but I still think something of a longshot.


Arlington, Va.: Marc,

Jim Moran has gotten more and more bizarre. Remember how in your column on him, he kept bringing up the Chapman couple in Alexandria? His Web site has the most absurd attack on them now Jim Moran Web Site What does he gain from this? Or has he just gone off the deep end?

Marc Fisher: Moran and Rosenberg have both opened their web sites during this campaign to extremely robust and sometimes vicious Web logs with lots of participation from the other campaign's partisans. It makes for fun reading, but I don't see where it helps either candidate. It's nice to see these debates raging, but does it in any way decrease the political polarization the country is suffering through? Does it win anyone votes? I doubt it.


Arlington, Va.: Today's column about the strippers wanting to donate money reminded me of the scene in Gone With the Wind when the prostitutes wanted to donate money to the confederate's cause and they couldn't until Melanie intervened and graciously accepted their money. Where is Olivia De Havilland when we need her?

I'm sure I'm not the only one who will say this.

Marc Fisher: Great reference.
Sadly, Olivia de Havilland probably never made it down to Club 55.


Boston, Mass.: Now I have nothing against strippers but they are getting a little silly now. They really shouldn't get all indignant that the charity doesn't want their money. Many of these charities' primary goals is to help and empower women and even if the strippers don't want to admit it they are doing the polar opposite, even if it is for a good cause.

Did anyone ask what Bill Cosby thinks of this?

Marc Fisher: Well, the woman who owns the place and the women who work there make the argument that they are running their own business, making money, building capital, and running their lives as they choose to. Obviously, there's something inherently degrading about that line of work, but there is at least an argument to be made that it's as legitimate as running a slots parlor, for example. And I bet Cosby would have no problem with this; he's reported to love that scene.


Washington, D.C.: Marc -- I know you spend some time looking at Columbia Heights and the surrounding area. Have you followed the story on the Lincoln Multicultural Middle School principal who spent student activity funds on two buses and then sold one in Mexico? I've got some funny related info I'd love to share. I'll likely e-mail you. Thanks.

Marc Fisher: The school bus story is one of the great DC schools tales of all time--stunning, sad and hilarious all at once. A principal walks (drives?) off with two school buses and apparently sells one to somebody in Panama! I'd love to hear whatever info you have. Please do e-mail me.


Silver Spring, Md.: Very sad trend finally beginning to hit home with all of the teenagers killing or being killed on the streets. D.C., Maryland and Virginia have all had recent murders/maimings perpetrated by young adults. Most of them happened when the typical high schooler of yesteryear would have been at home asleep. When are local parents going to take a hint? It is dangerous on the streets, especially after midnight. If you see kids getting murdered well after they should be in bed, why do you continue to let your youngsters bop back into the house when YOU should be asleep since you, as the parent, probably have to go to work later that morning? It's unbelievable that so many parents don't have a clue as to how to properly raise and discipline someone living under their own roof who can barely take care of themselves. Very sad.

Marc Fisher: One of the most disturbing things you can see in any late-night drive around the city is the remarkable number of kids--even very young kids--who are out on the streets very late at night. We're talking midnight and beyond. Supposedly the city has a curfew for minors, but there doesn't seem to be much enforcement of it. More important, the parents who let these kids stay up that late are producing what many teachers describe to me as a generation of kids who physically cannot make it through the day because they are so exhausted.


Arlington, Va.: I have a candidate to run the D.C. public schools. He made some comments about a week ago about the state of African Americans in the U.S. He stirred up a hornet's nest even the two conservative fools O'Reilly and Hannity are talking about it. Have him put up or shut up. He has the degrees. I am talking about Bill Cosby.

Marc Fisher: Ha! Cosby indeed has a doctorate in education, though I think his organizational experience is limited to arranging his tours of comedy clubs. But he's a sharp guy and said some things that needed saying; he's generated a useful debate. But he's far too smart to take the D.C. schools job -- just look at the remaining finalists the city has for the superintendent job. Not exactly an impressive bunch.


Washington, D.C.: Bill Cosby may approve of the stripper scene, but Chris Rock disagrees: "If your daughter ends up dancing on the pole, you done f#$%!-ed up" as a parent. From his D.C. concert special on HBO now.

Marc Fisher: Rock is right.


Washington, D.C.: Re: the strippers donating to charity.
Would you also want the charity to accept donations from the KKK, etc. I'm not saying they shouldn't -- just asking.

Marc Fisher: Good question. The KKK is a tough one because while it is a legal organization, it has a history of participating in or encouraging illegal activity, so a charity could legitimately look at that and decide whether it wants to be tied to a group that supports illegal deeds. But if I were running a charity, I'd err on the side of accepting just about anyone's money.


Logan Circle, Washington, D.C.: I have to disagree with today's column's angle that the National Breast Cancer Coalition is made of blue noses for turning down donations from strippers. It's their business from whom they want to take money. I applaud them for turning down money from an industry with ties to organized crime and drug trafficking. Would you expect the National Breast Cancer Coalition to take money from a hookers' coalition?

Marc Fisher: Actually, where prostitution is legal, in Nevada, brothels can and do contribute to charities, and the charities take their money. But where it's illegal, I'd expect charities to say no.


Silver Spring, Md.: Marc, do cicadas eat?

Marc Fisher: Somebody will know the answer to this. I expect it is yes, but what do they eat?


Washington, D.C.: Today's Post reports DC Council member Harold Brazil has been using government employees to do the work of his private law practice. Brazil Used D.C. Staff For Private Law Work (Post, June 3) This is a front page story, so the Post must think it's a big deal. What does this amount to? Could this mean that Brazil has to resign or will be removed from office?

Marc Fisher: I can't imagine that he'd resign; it's just not his style. Ideally, this sort of story would encourage Council member Jim Graham to get back into the race and give Brazil the serious challenge that he deserves. Right now, Brazil faces only weak competition and seems assured of reelection.


Olney, Md.: Marc, did you read Andy Rosenberg's chat yesterday? Andrew Rosenberg on Live Online, (June 2) There are some really gullible people in Moran's district, but he was able to set people straight on a lot of the lies (or should I say "disinformation" or "propaganda") that have been propagated by Moran's cronies.

Marc Fisher: Rosenberg nicely detailed the policy areas in which he parts from Moran, whom he describes as a quite conservative Democrat. Moran on the radio this week with Kojo Nnamdi countered that he's more of a traditional liberal than Rosenberg likes to portray him as.


Vienna, Va.: How can you equate what a staffer for Rosenberg reportedly said (according to his opponent, not an independent party) with what Moran himself says? Further, why, in light of this, hasn't Moran been taken to task for lying about his promise to fire his manager for negative attacks made by him?

Marc Fisher: Good point--the Moran campaign manager who repeatedly said earlier in the campaign that Moran never made the purportedly anti-Semitic remarks that got him in so much trouble last year remains Moran's campaign manager. And Moran continues to issue hazy semi-denials about his remarks on the role Jews played in causing our country to go to war in Iraq.


What cicadas eat ... : They eat (suck out) the sap from specific trees.

Marc Fisher: I knew you'd know. Thanks.


Virginia: Adult cicadas do not eat. They only eat in their larval stage.

Marc Fisher: Uh-oh, discord among our esteemed scientists. Or maybe not--maybe this is merely additional detail.


Chantilly, Va.: At least Cosby's education degree is real!


Marc Fisher: Ten points.


Farragut Square, Washington, D.C.: If you're going to throw out dog poop in a public trash can, you had better make sure that your name is not imprinted on the plastic bag. Years ago in Cambridge, Mass., my sister threw out a dirty diaper in a public trash can wrapped in a newspaper bag with her name and address printed on it and got a ticket in the mail with a huge fine. I think technically you're supposed to put that type of "solid waste" down the toilet.

Marc Fisher: Yes, that sounds right. But that's another dumb law--it's simply ridiculous to expect folks to carry soiled diapers around with them all day.


Washington, D.C.: Can we all agree now that having a curfew for teenagers should be made into law, not just in D.C., but in the 'burbs too? Recently, not only has Schuyler Jones died while staying out late (near 1 a.m.) and getting into a fight, and not only has the lacrosse kid Bowers died when driving home at 3 a.m. in the morning, but now a kid died while getting a slurpee at 3 a.m. in the morning also. It's clear to me that nothing good can come out of kids being able to roam free that late at night. These are clearly tragedies, but where are the parents in enforcing such curfews?

Marc Fisher: Presumably the parents are up all night themselves, having a grand old time, which may explain why it's so hard to get reasonable service from so many businesses these days. We're a sleep deprived nation of night owls.


Annandale, Va.: Hey Marc,

Are politicians required to take drug tests? ... Ol Marion is looking fairly skeletal ... you'd think Ward 8 might pick someone that could pass a drug test.

Marc Fisher: Well, as you may recall, he was about to run for office last time around when D.C. police found traces of drugs in a car he'd been using. Friends of Barry say he has been eager to get back into politics for some time, but that he has been traumatized and deeply depressed since the murder of his close friend Terry Hairston, the former D.C. school board member.


Cicadas: As larvae (for 17 years) they snuggle up against tree roots and sip the sap. Once they come up to mate, no more noshing.

Marc Fisher: Hey, we're cicada central around here.
But I've noticed a definite and pretty dramatic decline in the cicada song over the past few days--sounds like the invasion is almost over.


Rockville, Md.: What was most disturbing about today's column was the statistic that $4 million of the $6 million raised goes mostly to LOBBYING FOR MORE FUNDS FOR CANCER RESEARCH. Presumably, the other $2 million is for salaries and overhead. That $6 million could be better spent on research, patient support, etc. It sounds like the money was better off at Children's Hospital, instead of whatever phoney charity turned down the money to start with.

Marc Fisher: This particular charity seems to devote itself largely to lobbying for federal spending on cancer research, not on research directly. But I shared your dismay when I saw the vast sums of money that were going to lobbying, fundraising and other expenses that seem ancillary at best.


Charities as Business: So are you saying that all charity executives should work for far below market value, or maybe even for free?

Shouldn't professionals expect to get paid somewhere close to what they are worth?

If through my managerial and fund-raising skill I am able to increase the amount spent on research by $10 million am I not worth a salary of $500K? It seems to me the charity and its donors are $9.5 million ahead.

Marc Fisher: Exactly right--people working for non-profits should not expect to get rich. More to the point, they should not want to get rich. I don't care if you raise $10,000 or $10 million -- the point of your work should be to help your cause, not to buy yourself a summer home.


Boston, Mass.: Sure they are making their own money and running thier own business and it is better than selling drugs. However cheapening yourself as a woman and and producing a product which has absolutely no worth other then what men are willing to give it, is not noble. Sure there is a demand that they are satisfying but there are lines some people aren't interested in crossing and they shouldn't be upset about it.

Marc Fisher: I don't think Deloris Dickson and her employees would argue that their work is noble. They would say it is a business like any other, no different morally from selling hot dogs or heating supplies. I wouldn't quite buy that argument, but there are certainly plenty of marginally moral businesses that we accept as legal and that are widely viewed as legitimate donors to charities. Would a charity question money coming from McDonalds, which is being pilloried for creating a nation of fatsos, or from the makers of SUVs?


Maryland: Re: cicadas. From cicaville.com:

"Q: What do Cicadas eat?

A:Human children are the primary source of nutrition for Cicadas."

Learn as much as you can! Protect yourself!

Marc Fisher: I was wondering what happened to that annoying little kid down the block. Now I know whom to thank.


Washington, D.C.: Marc, what do you think about the Post's Express? Bob Levey's opinions on it were well known, I wonder what others in the newsroom think.

Marc Fisher: I don't read it. I don't see the attraction of it. But I love the fact that it's free and that it's won an audience. Anytime I see folks reading a paper on the Metro, I am cheered and that goes for the Express, the Post or any other paper.


Re: The Strippers: Marc,

What about taking money from the Hells Angels? OR what about the NRA? Like the lottery winner in West Virginia who tried to donate a large sum to his church, and the preacher refused to accept 'gambling money'.

Marc Fisher: Both seem like perfectly fine sources of charity--they're legal. And they both do quite a bit of charity work.


Long Beach, Calif.: Is it true that CLUB 55 collected their charity money by instituting a "Pole tax"?

Marc Fisher: Five points.


Wheaton, Md.: The Harold Brazil council staff scandal: does it have legs? No big deal, or career ender?

Marc Fisher: Hard to say right now. It would certainly help a strong challenger, but no such person is in the race at the moment, and time is running out for someone to step in.


West End, Washington, D.C.: Re: Brazil and Graham

I guess I never quite understood why Graham pulled out at the urging of Linda Cropp. Is there a race element to this -- the concern that if Graham won, it would likely mean he would be replaced by a non-black (either white or Hispanic)? I am no fan of Graham (and think he's an odd fit for his ward), but he's a better candidate than Brazil.

Marc Fisher: Yes, race was very much the reason that Graham was given by his colleagues on the council who argued that he should pull out. The council is already majority white in a majority black city and Cropp and others argued that it would be racially divisive for a white council member to unseat a black member.


Cardozo, Washington, D.C.: Jim Graham is a punk. He wasn't willing to challenge that clown Brazil before, and doesn't deserve our support now. It's not a matter of race, it's a matter of competence. Only now is it a matter of corruption -- something I've always suspected about Harold.

Voters knew he was a fool when we reelected him last time. And we'll probably do it again. Council member is a lifetime job here.

Marc Fisher: Well, you're largely right, but there have been some examples of council members being ousted by the voters. And I don't know about you, but I'd put money on Marion Barry tossing Sandy Allen off the council this fall, presuming that Barry doesn't self-destruct between now and the vote.


Jersey City, N.J.: Do you see a direct link between the resignation of Tenet and the president's consultation with an outside attorney in case of a grand jury inquiry?

Marc Fisher: No. The president is consulting a lawyer because the grand jury may want to ask him questions about the Wilson leak investigation. Tenet's departure is a summer-before-the-election move to show the public that Bush is intent on cleaning up the intelligence machinery and sprucing up his own chief selling point, the idea that he runs the government like a business. Though last time I checked, most businesses are not sanguine about mounting ever more enormous deficits.


Alexandria, Va.: Two questions:

1. Can you corroborate the comment about Dr. Cosby and strip clubs? Because otherwise that comes off as irresponsible gossip mongering that's more suited to a Page 6 Style column.

2. WHY can't D.C. police get a firmer handle on the gangland croesuses in the "hot zones"? Are they that underfunded, or undertrained, or "undermandated"?

Marc Fisher: 1. Cosby is one of the most celebrated regulars at the Playboy Mansion, a fact you can find documented in hundreds of articles over the years.
2. The D.C. police approach to youth crews focuses too much on arrests and not enough on the methods that other cities have found productive -- intervention in the lives of the gangbangers, home visits, the sort of thing that has been done in Boston and then in other towns.


Rock Hill, S.C.: To a young person in college today, the U.S. occupation of Iraq is often little more than a remote academic subject and a whirlwind of dusty images in the media that look pretty much the same day after day. It's very difficult to grasp the possibility of a draft and actually having to go there. Are the rumors true of an impending draft bill? Are the chances of such legislation being passed today high? If not, then under what circumstances might they be passed, and when?

Marc Fisher: There is indeed a bill that would reinstitute the draft, but I hear no groundswell of support for that idea from either party, and certainly not from the military, which has grown accustomed to being able to pick a higher caliber of service members from its volunteers.


Laurel, Md.: Marc,
Are you aware that D.C. Rep. Holmes is a co-sponsor for HR 163- the bill to reinstate the draft? What's the status of this bill? Are we going to hear more about it especially since more military personnel are having to extend their duties?

Marc Fisher: Norton is not a Rep., but a non voting delegate.
There is a growing sense that the military is being stretched thin, and the number one complaint I hear from those returning from Iraq is that they are being kept there too long. So manpower is a real issue, but much as I'd like to see mandatory national service, I don't sense the appetite for reinstating the draft.


Arlington, Va.: What? No one's talking about Marion Barry? I hope that's because he's a joke and has no chance of winning election again, but in a city filled with as many stupid people as D.C., that's probably not the case. What will it take to make that man GO AWAY?

Marc Fisher: Barry has routinely won 80 percent of the vote in Ward 8, his traditional stronghold. The ward's population has certainly changed since he last ran for office, but his charisma, his knack for tapping into popular rage, and his ability to rag on the mayor should enable him to win handily -- if he's clean.


Perspective on the Former Mayor-for-Life: It think it's funny that even people in the D.C. suburbs know Barry and his corruption only from his "set me up" TV appearance. To me, Barry's cronyism was much worse. A Post columnist once noted that Barry treated the D.C. government as an employment agency.

Marc Fisher: And he's still talking that way. On WOL yesterday, he was up to his usual ways, proposing massive new city subsidies for housing without so much as a syllable about how to pay for it.


Annandale, Va.: Baseball question: ... is there any chance in you-know-where that D.C. is ever going to get a baseball team? The one place that excited some baseball owners -- next to the mall -- just got shot down because a few locals were NIMBY ... clearly, the loud few seem to run D.C. politics.

Marc Fisher: Don't count out that site near the Mall. The L'Enfant Plaza/Banneker Park site is exactly the right kind of site for a stadium -- it would extend the city's downtown, creating a new stream of tax revenue and justifying public investment in the ballpark. It would connect the Anacostia River waterfront with the Mall and the heart of downtown. And hardly anyone lives anywhere near the site, so NIMBY problems would be minimal.


Bethesda, Md.: There is no credible evidence of a link between bras and breast cancer, and studies have been done on the topic -- check with the NCI Web site, National Cancer Institute.

Marc Fisher: Thanks.


Springfield, Va. -- soon to be former Metro rider: I have been a strong advocate of Metro the entire 10 years I have lived here. Unfortunately, it is no longer affordable for those that live on the outskirts of the city. If the proposed fare hikes go through, I will be paying over $15/day in Metro charges between parking, train and bus fares. Parking at my building in SW is $6/day for employees. So I will be able to save $200 a month just by driving to work. Even in traffic, I won't save myself any time, as between transferring twice on the Metro and waiting for a bus, I actually may save time. Will I save aggravation? Well, it's either the aggravation of sitting in traffic, or it's the aggravation of being on overcrowded, hot trains, or dealing with delays because of broken down trains, or buses that never run on schedule. $180-200/month may not be a lot to some out there, but it's a whole trip to the grocery store for my family that I can save by driving.

It makes me sad, really, because I used to love riding Metro. But they seem to come up with new ways every year to top themselves in incompetence. Between the wrong cars being ordered, 4-car trains being run at rush hour, the trains being hot and stuffy 80 percent of the time, buses on phantom schedules on top of increasing fares? No thanks. I have always enjoyed your columns on Metro though, I hope to see more as the summer progresses. My latest pet peeve is the fact that they are now forcing the use of SmarTrip for parking (which I agree with) but they put 1 maybe 2 ST machines in each station and they are frequently broken. So you have 9 regular farecard machines that stand unused and a line of 15 people at the ST machine.

Marc Fisher: There are two problems here:
1) Parking prices in the city are way too low. Compared to other cities, ours are about half of what they should be to encourage more people to use Metro. If the parking companies don't want the extra dough, the city should tax the heck out of parking and dedicate the receipts to problem #2...
2) As Lyndsey Layton details in today's A section, Metro lacks the basic dedicated source of revenue that almost all other transit systems have, so the system is far too reliant on the fare box.


Hizzoner: I miss Marion. Who can forget, "I'm a night owl," when discovered along the tracks with a woman who was not his wife, or "I'm meeting with potential voters" while visiting a strip club, or the ever-popular, "The bitch set me up." Never dull.

Marc Fisher: He is the greatest. More on that in a column next week.


Arlington, Va.: Moran will win Tuesday in a landslide. Why? A long Arlington tradition of civic and political participation. Rosenberg has little civic involvement, even less party involvement. He was virtually unknown in Arlington until he announced. If Jay Fisette or Kate Hanley had made this a race, Democrats would have something to think about. But they won't turn out a popular incumbent who's spent a career in public service (no matter how flawed) for someone who lacks the unity connection we demand for public office.

Marc Fisher: You're probably right, and the real question voters in the 8th should be asking themselves is why didn't a strong challenger emerge? What's wrong with our system that even a Jim Moran does not attract a powerful challenge?


Virginia: Another "nay" to Moran ... last week he sent out a mailing listing members of the Democratic party who had agreed to endorse him. Among those listed was Hunter Mill's very popular school board member Stu Gibson, who in today's Connection says that Moran's campaign made up the endorsement after Gibson refused to give them one.

Marc Fisher: Gibson was so enraged by Moran including him on the list of endorsements that Gibson has now come out in favor of Rosenberg.


NIMBY's in SW: I'm one of them ... and decidedly not a bureaucrat or anyone of influence. I will fight this ballpark. If it happens, I'm moving. Way to go D.C.

Marc Fisher: The only housing anywhere near the ballpark site is a row of townhouses facing 9th Street in the Capitol Square development, and surely those folks would rather face a ballpark and restaurants than the current bowl of highway ramps.


20002: To clarify, should Eleanor Holmes Norton ever be referred to as Congresswoman or Representative? She uses the former on her Web site and correspondence and in most public appearances I've attended.

Marc Fisher: Those are bogus titles. Her correct title is Delegate.


Silver Spring, Md.: Bud Selig has been making positive noises about Las Vegas. Is the fix in (again)?

Marc Fisher: Just about every city in the race can parse some Selig comment to mean that we're on the cusp of winning the team, and just about every city has been dissed by one baseball executive or another. It comes down to a single factor: Either Selig will stand up to Peter Angelos and put the team in the only market that makes any financial sense, or he'll bow down to the Orioles' owner and sentence some other, third-rate city to a failed franchise.


Washington, D.C.: The Style section yesterday wrote that the Olsen Twins, when they were babies on "Full House," looked "vaguely simian."

Isn't it a bit of a low blow, even as to a public figure, to say that she was an ugly baby?

Marc Fisher: This being one of my cultural gaps, I'd never heard of those ladies before Libby Copeland's fine profile in Style, but I liked that line.


Los Angeles, Calif.: Did Club 55 donate a few hundred greasy one dollar bills, or did they go to a bank in order to sanitize their donation?
Ever notice how "love notes" on the railing help stimulate the economy? Perhaps the tax cuts should go to the exotic dancer set? Good times would arrive in a hot flash!

Marc Fisher: I think all charitable donations should be made in one-dollar bills.


Washington, D.C.: Where is Club 55. Is it like Studio 54? I wanna go!;

Marc Fisher: It's in Southeast, just off Capitol Street. I have not had the pleasure.


Chicago, Ill.: Is it wrong that I have a huge crush on Dana Priest?

Marc Fisher: Dana is a dynamo of a reporter and a kind soul as well.


Quote: "... higher caliber of service members from its volunteers.": Ask the inmates of Abu Ghraib about that.

Marc Fisher: There is that.
And we'll end it there.
Thanks for coming along, as always. Back in the paper on Sunday, and here again next week at our usual time.


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