Thursday, Sept. 20, Noon ET

Potomac Confidential

Marc Fisher
Post Metro Columnist
Thursday, September 20, 2007; 12:00 PM

Potomac Confidential fills the midday lull with discussion by Metro columnist Marc Fisher, who looks at the latest news with a rigorous slicing and dicing of the issues that define who we are and where we live.

Fisher was online Thursday, Sept. 20, at noon ET.

Check out Marc's blog, Raw Fisher.

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

Archives: Discussion Transcripts

A transcript follows.


Marc Fisher: Welcome aboard, folks--lots going on today for our dissection here in the news lab.

The dry cleaners in the $57 million pants suit has shut its doors, victim of the financial and emotional strain caused by Roy Pearson's pursuit of megabucks for his supposed loss of a pair of pants.

The shooting of a 14-year-old boy by a D.C. police officer continues to roil the city, with unanswered questions about where the boy's gun and the cop's bike may be, and about why a police officer was out freelancing in a search for his stolen minibike in the first place.

This Sunday will mark the last day of play for RFK Stadium and there's a lovely salute to the faded old park by Tom Boswell in his column today in Sports. What are your memories of the place once known as D.C. Stadium?

Washington Post Radio vanished from the airwaves last night after a 17-month run. Its successor, 3WT, premiered this morning, featuring Bill O'Reilly, Neal Boortz and other nationally syndicated loudmouths. Your thoughts on the switch?

On to your many comments and questions, but first, let's call the Yay and Nay of the Day:

Yay to the forensic detectives at the Smithsonian, who, as deftly told by Michael Ruane in today's Metro section, tracked down the identity of a young man whose casket was unearthed by a construction crew working in Columbia Heights in 2005. Check it out.

Nay to the no-snitching culture that has infected too much of the city, leading to scenes such as those that have unfolded on TV this week, when the only people willing to talk about the killing of a 14-year-old boy are the old folks in the neighborhood, because the younger people somehow believe it is impermissible to discuss openly a shooting that tears at the basic safety of the place where they live. The fear and conformity driving the no-snitch culture is making it ever harder to hold people accountable for their crimes, and that only makes life in the city harder for all.

Your turns starts right now....


Arlington, Va.: So is Roy Pearson doing his little happy dance right now? He only bankrupted himself, lost his job, and caused a dry cleaner to go out of business, but he sure made his point! He took himself and the Chungs down with him, but he made his point.

Think Pearson and the Chungs will share a one-bedroom cardboard box outside the 3rd Street Tunnel this fall?

Marc Fisher: Well, it's not quite that dire. The Chungs are down from three dry cleaners to one since Pearson began his crusade against them. The family is severely damaged, and their prospects for profit at their one remaining store are not great. But they're a lot happier to be out of the store in Northeast that now sparks very troubling memories.

As for Pearson, he's still on the city payroll. And even if he will be out of a job at some point in the coming months, he's likely to continue suing people, hoping for one big payday eventually.


DC: Can we just STOP showering the Korean dry cleaners with sympathy already???

Isn't ANYONE at all wondering what got this judge so ticked off to begin with, that he went nuts and sued the dry cleaners for "mega-millions"? I don't know about you, Marc, but I use Korean-owned cleaners near my job and home. All of them hire employees who are rude, surly and curt, and god forbid you ever express dissatisfaction with their service! I am not saying I would sue for millions, but I would like to tell all thes nasty dry cleaners out there 3 things: You're too expensive, you should guarantee your work, and I don't appreciate the surly attitude!

People (like you!) should be more skeptical of this case instead of showering these people with sympathy (and money or "donations").

Marc Fisher: I grant you that some dry cleaners could use some stiff lessons in courtesy and customer service. But goodness knows there are lots and lots of cleaners out there--you could vote with your feet, you know. That sends a pretty powerful message, and it doesn't require the services of a lawyer.


M Street NW, Washington, D.C.: What really bothers me about this whole ordeal with the Chungs is the racism involved. Just read the comments section to the story here at the and you'll see comments saying that the Chungs "deserved it" because of the way "those people" treat black people. Can we make it clear that no one, no matter what race, deserved to have Roy Pearson do this to them?

Marc Fisher: Good point--the longstanding black-Korean tension that has flared every few years in Washington continues to be a factor in this case and the public perception of it. But this really came down to a family-run business that tried to do right by its customer--remember, the Chungs paid Pearson generously for his troubles when he had complained about service once before the lawsuit--but the customer just wouldn't take Yes for an answer.

_______________________ Dry Cleaners' Victory in Pants Lawsuit Still Comes With a Loss (Post, Sept. 20)

Marc Fisher: Here's today's column on the cleaners.


Washington, D.C.: Regarding the shooting in Condon Terrace this week: If these police officers were off duty and acting on a personal project, why is it considered a police shooting?

They were acting in no official capacity. Why does the city not distance itself from them more and condemn this sort of freelancing -- regardless of what really happened?

Marc Fisher: If the cop was out there freelancing, then you're right, the city and the department have to hang him out to dry, because the rules clearly don't allow for that. If his bike was stolen, his job was to report the incident like anyone else. If he had a bead on who had his property, he should have called his superiors and gotten his fellow officers on the case. Any officer knows that. If he went out in pursuit of the kid he thought had his bike, and he was off-duty and out of uniform, that's vigilantism, pure and simple.


Arlington, Va.: Marc,

I liked your blog post on Moran, but I was troubled by the large number of people who responded that you wouldn't have written the article if it wasn't for the Jewish controlled media. The funny part is the WaPo and the NYT have taken considerable criticism on both sides of the Palestinian debate for being too biased. Do these people realize the irony in their posts?

Marc Fisher: Most assuredly not. There are a few issues on which I and many other writers get blasted equally and with great vehemence by both sides. We can pat ourselves on the back and say that when the rage pours from opposite extremes, we must be doing something right. Or we can recognize that we live in a world in which increasingly people live in their own realities, without much regard or patience for any effort to see if there might be a common set of facts on which all can agree. Reading the comments on that blog item, I was struck by the number of folks who decided that my view is that no one may criticize AIPAC. In fact, I not only welcome criticism of the Israel lobby, I tend to agree with much of that criticism, including some of Moran's points. But Moran's comments went far beyond criticizing the lobby; rather, he decided yet again to tap into age-old stereotypes about insidious Jewish influence. It's a sleazy move by a guy who knows better.


D.C.: Mark, do the gloves fit O.J. this time or must they acquit again?

Marc Fisher: Is there a contradiction there? After all, the gloves--and far more important, the DNA--fit just fine last time, and that did absolutely nothing to halt an acquittal.

_______________________ Jim Moran's Tiresome Attack/Apology Routine (Raw Fisher)

Marc Fisher: Here's the item on Moran.


Alexandria, Va.: I am so appalled at the Jena 6 rally. These teenagers beat another teen bloody, injuring both his eyes and ears. They should put these kids away until they're adults, as far as I'm concerned, so they can learn some respect for other people.

Marc Fisher: The Jena case is yet another example of overreaction on all sides. Flip the races and it's not hugely likely that the prosecutors would have thrown the book at the kids, slapping them with every charge he could think of, as appears to have happened in this case. But it's also true that the kids reacted inappropriately and apparently illegally, even if they were provoked. So a lot of the emotional support for the kids is from people who are conveniently ignoring the fact that those who were arrested seem to have done wrong. Two wrongs, and so on....

_______________________ Jena Six: The Case and the Protests

Marc Fisher: Here's the story, and here's another comment on it....


Jail the Jena 6!: Is there anyone with any political will ready to stand up to Al Sharpton et al to tell them that this is not the Scottsboro boys redux? Perhaps the cliched slogan of different standards of justice hides the fact that in this instance we are talking about different degrees of crime. There does not appear to be any dispute over the crimes that these young people committed, just whether they should be tried as adults or juveniles. Is that really worth a march? If this is the only thing that African American leaders can put there hat on to rally the troops, then I would say it's time to declare racism dead and move on.

Marc Fisher: Well, that's going a bit far, don't you think? The fact that a bunch of radio hosts were able to gin up a big demonstration shows that there are still lots of raw nerves at the intersection of race and violence and that the symbols of racial hatred that have been so powerful throughout our history remain potent. There is of course still racism and there will always be racism, but ideally, we can and will get to a point where the necessary vigilance against racism can focus on the most vile and important expressions of racism, and not on defending people who have also done wrong--even if they believe they were provoked.


N. Bethesda, Md.: Marc, let's rally fans to come cheer on the Nats during this, their last weekend series and the last baseball game EVER at RFK. The weather is predicted to be perfect and, if the past is precedent, all merchandise sold in the stadium will be 1/2 price. And the games will actually mean something!

I must say it gives me a lot of satisfaction that the Nats will almost certainly finish with a better record than the Orioles. With increased spending on talent and a brand new park, the sky's the limit next year! Well, I can dream, can't I? In the meantime, y'all come out and support your team!

Marc Fisher: Nicely said, and I believe the team is expecting a very large crowd for the final game at RFK. But there are three other games before that, and attendance this week has been marginal, so those might be good games to go to. All sorts of giveaways, too.

In the bad news department, the Nats have apparently decided to sack TV play by play man Bob Carpenter, which is a terrible shame, because he's a total pro and one of the best in the league. The decision to get rid of Carpenter but keep color commentator Don Sutton is especially strange--Sutton is very good, but Carpenter was the real star of that pair in the TV booth.

_______________________ RFK Is Full Of Concrete Memories (Post, Sept. 20)

Marc Fisher: Here's the Boz column.


Condon Terrace: Yes, city should hang them out to dry, but I suppose it should be considered a "police shooting" if the officer used his city-issued weapon.

Curious about the father's comment about the teenager being questioned numerous times about crimes in the neighborhood (including homicide) but he was never charged with anything. So (assuming he DIDN'T take the bike and there's no bike and no proof) did the officer simply suspect him because he knew him?

Marc Fisher: It's all very sketchy, but so far, I don't see much reason to doubt the account that the officer thought this was the kid who took his bike. I have no idea whether it really was this young man who did it, and, as always, the fact that the kid turns out to have been less than a Boy Scout does raise suspicions about what his role may have been. But you really don't have to get to that question in this case, because even if the teen did shoot at the cop, the foundation question is why was the officer out there without having summoned help from actual, on-duty officers?


Baltimore: Re the shooting of the 14-year-old: What makes this event even more egregious is that, according to The Post today, neither of the officers in question are actual street cops. (At least not now.) The guy whose bike was stolen (and who fired) is in the helicopter unit and his buddy, ironically, works at producing training videos for the force. It sounds to me that these guys got a little "cowboyed up" over a small time theft. And the whole question of their being a .45 caliber bullet hole in the SUV is a little hinky now, as the SUV left the scene immediately. For long enough for someone to put a bullet through the door, I wonder?

Marc Fisher: Well, that's the insinuation as questions are being raised about the SUV having left the scene. I start out skeptical about that kind of conspiracy theory--in most cases, things are happening way too fast for anyone to take the time to decide to go off and concoct phony evidence. And remember, the investigators did find casings on the ground indicating that someone exchanged shots with the police--so there is circumstantial evidence backing up the story that there was an exchange of gunfire.


Arlington, Va.: Wrong-o Marc. When you're a cop, you're a cop 24/7, in uniform or out, as long as you have a badge, sworn to uphold the law.

Marc Fisher: Quite right, but as Mayor Fenty said on the radio this morning, that applies to emergencies, and deciding to go out hunting for the kid who stole your minibike doesn't quite qualify as an emergency. The officer had the same recourse to help as any citizen--call the police.


Laurel, Md.: Kids today need to realize what snitching actually means. If I see a crime or have information to put someone behind bars THATS.NOT.SNITCHING. That's doing my civic duty as an American. If I commit a crime and I offer information about someone else who may have committed a crime or give up someone that may have been with me in that crime in exchange for a lesser sentence or whatever now that's snitching.

Marc Fisher: Exactly right--I'd love to see some prosecutions of people for failing to cooperate with investigations and for failing to tell what they know of crimes.


Snitch: Hate to get Orwellian, but the only way to kill the "no-snitch" culture is to stop using the word. There is nothing sneaky, underhanded, betraying, or dishonorable about working with the police to catch a criminal; therefore the word "snitch" does not apply.

"Snitching" should only apply to egging on your little brother to get something from the cookie jar, and then running to tell mom.

Marc Fisher: Yep. Doing your civic duty is never snitching, but this no-snitching virus that's loosed into society goes well beyond kids on the street clamming up about crime. I see this in schools now all the time, where kids won't report other kids who are openly cheating, where there's a code that inhibits kids from discussing peers who are endangering their own health and that of others.


San Francisco: Hi Marc,

Re: Maryland and gay marriage

I agree with you that the ultimate solution would be for government to get out of the marriage business. Shame that seems unlikely to happen. (I am reminded of early Karl Marx's "On the Jewish Question": The issue isn't the Jews -- it's the notion of religious differences altogether.)

However -- though it may seem odd given the source -- fmr Sen. Santorum actually had a point. If government indeed cannot restrict the rights/privileges of marriage to its "traditional" celebrants, then what is preventing marriages based on incest, polygamy, polyandry and even bestiality? (Incest and bestiality might warrant bans on public health grounds, but that's debatable.) The point is sensational and involves 0.000?% of the population, but it's technically valid.

What do you think? "Consenting adults" includes populations other than "normal" homos and heteros.

Marc Fisher: Thanks--Government could get out of the marriage business and still assure that incest and bestiality don't become rampant, simply by legislating against those behaviors. There's no contradiction between passing laws that protect the quality of the gene pool and deciding that while marriage is a social good, it is best regulated privately, by religious faiths or other social conventions.


Washington, D.C.: The comments from you and your chatters regarding Jena are pretty depressing. I have been following this case prior to Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton getting involved (at least publicly). As a white person I find the situation in Jena to be a total disgrace. If you and others don't want rallies like these to take place, then then white kids should be expelled from school after they hang nooses. That is a direct and clear threat. If it was just a joke, well they aren't funny and should still be expelled. Perhaps they need to learn how to act. If any of you had your kid in jail for a fight at school for over a year, facing over a decade in jail, you'd all be looking for help too.

Marc Fisher: Agreed--the noose-hanging kids ought to be punished, and in a very public manner. Had that been done quickly and openly, could the rest of this all have been averted? We'll never know, but it's at least possible. But the authorities failed to act decisively against the noose hangers, and the rest of the events played out as they did, so here we are. I just don't see the point in pretending that the kids who are unfairly overcharged by the prosecutors somehow have clean hands.


Florida: Marc, and Alexandria,

No one who is supporting the Jena 6 and the rally today think that beating up the white boy is "okay" or should be excused. But find me a white teenager who fought at age 16 with another person who is facing FIFTEEN YEARS in jail. Please.

Marc Fisher: Right--good point.


Jena 6!: I think the Jena 6 charges should be significantly reduced, and I think the police should charge the boys responsible for hanging nooses around the school with a hate crime.

That said, why is this the issue that rallies blacks in America. Last time I drove through Anacostia, I noticed there were a lot bigger issues affecting the African American population rather than some punk kids in Louisiana?

Marc Fisher: Probably because this is an easy one--symbols touch our emotions, and people react not only to the facts at hand, but to decades of history, most of it not good. Confronting the harder issues evident in any poor neighborhood is much more difficult--and a much better use of time and energy.


Rosslyn, Va.: From my office window in Rosslyn, I can see the National Cathedral. Recently I've noticed that one end of it appears to be red or pink. Am I imagining things or is there, perhaps, some kind of banner draped on the Cathedral or something else that would account for the color?

Marc Fisher: Got me. Anyone?


Washington, D.C.: Marc,

What is the status of the golf course transfer that you wrote about a few weeks ago? Any movement on that?

Marc Fisher: You mean the Awakening sculpture at Hains Point? At last report, it hasn't been moved over to National Harbor quite yet.


Fairfax, Va.: This probably wins me the Ogre of the Year award, but I found the story about the Ethiopian family that scraped together $12,000 to ship the mother's body back to Ethiopia for burial quite troublesome. Clearly these folks have very little money and that $12,000 could have gone a long ways towards improving their living conditions here. I am actively involved in efforts to help immigrants and stories like this, despite their good intentions, do not help our efforts.

Marc Fisher: I've never understood the deep emotions that attach to retrieval and proper burial of dead people. I'm just missing the gene that forms an emotional bond to bodily remains. Once I'm gone, I wouldn't care if my body was properly buried, tossed in the trash or left to rot in the morgue. Sorry, I know people have very strong feelings on that point, but I can't quite say I know why.


Arlington, VA: Excuse me Marc, but I think you're helping to feed the Jena-ness on the Condon Terrace case. The original Post report on the incident strongly implied that the officer didn't know whether his minibike was burglarized or not. I suspect he knows his neighborhood better than you or I do and is probably aware that private property has a tendency to move around on its own.

"Community policing" tells me that instead of calling in the brute squad to look for a missing bike, you start by taking a quick look around the neighborhood to see if it's in someone's driveway or front yard. You say, excuse me, but I'm pretty sure this is mine, and take it back. No one's life is ruined.

That practice works up until the point you see someone with your bike and someone starts shooting at you.

I'll completely admit that the officers' behavior is somewhat shady, but their initial intent sounds perfectly logical to me.

Marc Fisher: Excellent post, and I'm with you on the community policing idea, and the best news in this whole incident is that the two officers involved lived right there in the same neighborhood where this happened. That's terrific news for a police department in which all too many officers live many, many miles away and have no emotional ties to the place they police.

And I'm also with you on the idea that if this officer thought something was amiss, he just got up and wandered over to see if he could handle this like any other neighbor might. But at the point when he sees a kid who he thinks has his bike, isn't that when you and I would call the police? Isn't that the moment when he should say to himself--hey, maybe this gets solved amicably, and maybe it gets out of hand, and just in case, shouldn't I call my buddies and have them send over a patrol unit?


Cathedral: The banners on the west front of the Washington Cathedral commemorate its 100th anniversary this year.

Marc Fisher: Thanks....


Arlington, Va.: In regard to your comment on voting with your feet if you don't like a particular dry cleaner, is it true that virtually all of the cleaners send their stuff to one or two centralized locations for processing before it comes back to the particular store? I believe that there was a fight in Fairfax over other cleaners which were trying to compete with the centralized Korean cleaner.

Marc Fisher: Many, many small dry cleaners now outsource all their cleaning to central laundries. That's in part because they need more space to do that work, but it's mainly because of neighborhood opposition to the chemicals that are involved in dry cleaning. In the Chungs' case, the shop they just closed did all of its cleaning on premises. The little one downtown that they have left is an outsourcer, so the profit margin is much tighter for them now.


Yay for Roy Pearson!: I'm so glad he was able to make the Chungs pay! The dry cleaners and other Korean-owned business in DC need to learn from this. Treat people right, be willing to immediately correct mistakes and you will have loyal customers. I still don't understand why the Chungs didn't correct the issue in the 1st place by simply replacing the suit. It would have been so much easier on them if they took the initiative and replaced it. Glad they learned their lesson!

Marc Fisher: Whoa! The Chungs offered to replace the suit, they offered to pay Pearson to go away, they kept upping their offer, even to stratospheric heights--I think their offer reached $12,000 at one point. But Pearson wanted much, much more--he wanted to destroy them, and despite losing the lawsuit, he appears to have done mortal damage to their business.


Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Maine: The unspoken issue that permeates the the Pants Man debacle with the cleaners is the persistent bigotry in DC towards Asians and Hispanics by African Americans.

Does anyone doubt that if the same thing happened to Judge Roy Pearson by an African American owned cleaners, he never would have sued. And if a white/Asian/Hispanic person did this to an African American owned cleaners, the editors of the Metro section would have had an entire section devoted to the daily coverage of the case.

Isn't Pearson's racism the real subplot in this case? And why hasn't The Post covered this aspect of the case more thoroughly? (The Post is never shy about racism when African Americans are the object of the hate.)

Marc Fisher: I wrote several times about the racial dynamic in this case--lemme see if we can get a link.


Memory: I'm too young to actually remember this, but the most important thing that ever happened at RFK was the Redskins moving there.

Owner George Preston Marshall had kept the Redskins all-white throughout the 50s to market them in the southeast. At the time, there was no NFL in Atlanta, New Orleans or Florida; and there wasn't yet a Civil Rights Act either.

When the stadium opened, the Park Service told Marshall that he couldn't use it if he kept his team segregated. So he relented, and the Skins stopped being the last all-white team in ANY of the big three sports leagues.

Marc Fisher: See what sports team owners will do for a free stadium?


Washington, DC: C'mon Mark. I know you hate soccer, but RFK will still be home to DC United, the most successful franchise in DC for the past 10 years.

Marc Fisher: The United contract with RFK runs only through this December. The team and the city are talking about a new contract, but remember, United is also shopping for a soccer-specific stadium, either at Poplar Point, or if that doesn't work out, in the suburbs. I'd bet on demolition at RFK sooner rather than later.


Manassas, Va.: Regarding Washington Post Radio, I listened often, but found myself irritated by the "hosts" and their constant need to engage in witty banter with guests. I guess I wanted something a little more professional (some may say staid) in their conversations with all of you. I saw this as an opportunity to get deeper than WTOP and broader than NPR, with the understanding that it might not stay for long given the ratings niche.

I definitely don't plan to listen to the new format. Who needs more screaming? I do enough of that in my car...

Marc Fisher: Staid was never the goal of Washington Post Radio, though some may argue that it was nevertheless the reality. I think the basic theory behind the station, that there is a gap between the excellent but too-serious-for-some news coverage on NPR and the shallow immediacy of news on commercial radio, is correct. Will the Post try again? I have no idea, but someone will, somewhere.


Alexandria, VA: First thing I noticed about Washington Post Radio's drivetime replacement this morning: a LOT more commercials.

Hope this isn't a harbinger of the future, 'cuz if it is, Doyle and Burd are going to lose at least one listener.

Marc Fisher: I noticed that too. Dunno why that would be. Could be a first-day glitch.

_______________________ After Years Lost, Identity Reclaimed (Post, Sept. 20)

Marc Fisher: Here's the Ruane story I mentioned at the top of the hour...


Washington, dc: Over/Under on how long it will be until DC residents get voting representation in Congress?

Where is the outrage that Republicans still have no regard for minorities? The media coverage on this issue has been almost non-existent. Al Sharpton should have stopped in DC on his way down to Louisiana and staged a rally here for the hundreds of thousands of US Citizens who might as well live in Puerto Rico.

Marc Fisher: There's talk in today's news story about reviving the current D.C. voting rights bill and trying to squeeze out those extra three votes that vanished under the thumb of the GOP leadership this week. But that seems like a longshot. Sen. John Warner is making noises about crafting a constitutional amendment, but it's hard to see that making its way through 2/3 of the state legislatures, even if it could get out of Congress, which seems unlikely after this week's display of Republican antipathy toward the District.

This was the shot, and it lost.


Flip the races and it's not hugely likely that the prosecutors would have thrown the book at the kids, slapping them with every charge he could think of, as appears to have happened in this case.: ummmmmm the Duke case? The Prosecutor in that case had no problem throwing the book at those white kids. Maybe an angry gang of kids beating the living daylights out of one (1) kid is just plain wrong Marc.

Marc Fisher: Ok, and look where the prosecutor in the Duke case ended up. Most prosecutors refrain from that kind of extreme behavior, and for good reason--there's plenty of real crime to go after without going off hysterically.


Snitching, DC: I think part of the problem especially in schools is the ridiculous zero tolerance policies. When I went to school if you told on a kid who was cheating, dealing drugs, acting strange the schools seemed to want to help. Now it seems the school want to declare they have "done something" and suspend the kids, expel them, call the police etc. Look at Jena these kids were in a fight at school charged as adults with an array of crimes. Please tell why anyone involved with this situation would ever cooperate with the police. We are looking at dire consequences. The mandatory minimums, zero tolerance policies and increasing rate of imprisonment lead to less cooperation not more and do not seem to be helping decrease violence.

Marc Fisher: Nice point. There is certainly an atmosphere of fear in many schools as schools, egged on by parents, have criminalized much of the adolescent excess that was once ignored, condoned or mildly punished. The whole idea of using misdeeds as an opportunity to educate not only the miscreant but the larger community seems to be lost--and that's the real shame.


Why the Jena 6 resonate: I think the whole situation of over prosecution resonates with the black community because its an example of how the justice system in America is not, for the most part, fairly applied to the black community. Higher sentencing for the same crimes, etc.

Marc Fisher: Right--exactly. And unfortunately, the facts of the current case sometimes don't matter that much.


Re: Jena 6: What people just don't understand is that if you take away the nooses and you take away the fight, this is about equal justice for all people. When you have a public defender who is associated with the family of the victim, and doesn't call one witness in this child's defense, that is not equal justice. If you think it is, then you do not understand how our system of justice is meant to work, under the presumption of innocence. If he were white and/or had money (a la OJ) then this kid would have been properly and legally defended. He might have been found guilty of something, but not attempted murder, and a decade long sentence.

Marc Fisher: Fair point, but if you take away the noose, you don't get started down this road at all, and you don't get the overreaction on the part of the prosecutor and so on.


Cooperating: I'm reminded of a time in grade school when everyone at my table was talking during a test. The teacher walked over and looked at me and requested the names of who was doing it. I told because I'd always been taught to respect authority and do what the teacher says. I got beat up after school, and few of my classmates would talk to me after that.

Marc Fisher: And as a result, you wouldn't do that again? Or do you still believe in your heart that you did the right thing--because you did. (Though you probably learned to take that communication to a more private setting. And ideally, the teacher learned not to be such a bonehead about putting a kid on the spot in front of others.)


Re: Memory: Wasn't Bobby Mitchell a star with the Redskins way before RFK opened in 1971 ? The comment of the Redskins being an all-white team up until RFK opened needs some fact checking.

Marc Fisher: Could be...that's the danger of this here format.


sports team owner question:"See what sports team owners will do for a free stadium?"

Any chance we could get rid of Angelos by promising any new owner a free stadium?

Marc Fisher: Angelos already has a taxpayer-provided stadium--and look at how he's wasted the opportunity. Only the calendar will save Baltimore fans from the owner who has destroyed a grand franchise.


Washington, D.C.: Marc,

Did you catch the University of Florida police officers who tased a student for "resisting arrest"? As an alumni, I'm disgusted with glorified security guards tasing a student IN handcuffs, but the online videos are entertaining, right? Don't Tase Me Bro

Marc Fisher: Ugly scene, and while John Kerry said all the right things afterwards about how the kid should have been allowed to speak, why didn't Kerry intercede as the officers hauled Meyer off? Isn't that what any speaker in a public forum should do--hear out the audience?


Marc Fisher: That kicks things in the head for today, folks. Thanks for coming along. More in the paper and on the big web site on Sunday, and of course the blog is up and running every day on

See you at the ballpark, one last time.


Editor's Note: moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company