Wednesday, October 3



NOT CONTENT WITH covering every empty square inch of DC land with dull high rises, it seems the developer corporados are getting delusions of grandeur, witness this news release: "An award-winning, 60-year-old commercial development firm in Washington, D.C., will present design plans this week for a grand 'Tower of Invincibility' to be built in the nation's capital as a permanent monument celebrating freedom, sovereignty, and peace in America." Behind this bizarre idea is Jeffrey Abramson of the Tower Companies. Says Abramson, "Everyone is invited to visit the website and submit three possible locations in Washington for the Tower of Invincibility in the order of their preference. Invincibility is the domain of every citizen and therefore everyone should have input on where this great testament to national invincibility will be built." Our suggestion is that it be placed in a large pit at Blue Plains. Rumors that Tom Cruise is going to build a competing structure for the Scientologists can't be confirmed.


WHILE FENTY AND OTHER pols jumped the gun in their conclusions about the DeOnte shooting case, they may have lucked out. The facts they should have waited for are coming in and it doesn't look for the cops involved. From the Post:

- The 14-year-old killed last month in a confrontation with D.C. police died of a gunshot wound to the back of his head, according to a newly obtained autopsy report.

- The report also notes numerous unexplained cuts and bruises from blunt force trauma on the body of DeOnte Rawlings, especially the left side of his face, shoulder and back. The report offers no conclusions about police conduct or what caused the injuries. "The body has some blunt force injuries including abrasions, contusions and lacerations and a single perforating gunshot wound," wrote A. Wayne Williams, a pathologist with the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

- The report notes that the youth's hands and fingers had no obvious gunshot residue, powder or soot. Police have said they did not perform gunshot residue tests because they are unreliable.

Greg Lattimer, an attorney for the Rawlings family, said the medical examiner's findings -- especially those describing injuries on the side and back of his body -- are "extremely troubling" and cast doubt on the police version of events. "A kid doesn't get shot in the back of the head and then give himself a bunch of traumatic injuries," Lattimer said. "He didn't fall off a building."


DC EXAMINER - The U.S. General Services Administration may remove 18 to 25 of the 62 designated historic buildings on St. Elizabeths Hospital's west campus to make way for a new home for the Department of Homeland Security, according to recommendations the agency made in a recently released draft plan


BALTIMORE SUN - A phone rings at 6:08 p.m. in Arlington, Va. A 45-year-old man picks up. The caller doesn't even have the chance to offer a greeting. "I am still alive," reports Ian MacKaye, the front man of such punk acts as Minor Threat and Fugazi, and the founder of Washington's Dischord Records. This would not be news except that The Sun and apparently many other organizations had been told that MacKaye was, in fact, dead. We were told that he died Monday night at Baltimore's St. Agnes Hospital. A call to the hospital found no evidence of such a patient. We followed up with calls to Dischord (left a message) and to MacKaye's home. "I am happy to report that I am not dead," says MacKaye. He and the record company had been blasted with calls, he says, after premature reports of his death were posted on MySpace and Wikipedia. He says he hasn't been able to find the MySpace reference, but had the Wikipedia posting removed -- and then re-removed, once someone reinserted the false news.


DC EXAMINER - A former top-ranking official in the District of Columbia's Public Schools has been charged with making off with more than $500,000 in public money that was supposed to go to children in the city's troubled schools, court documents filed Monday show. Eugene P. Smith was the director of internal audits for the school system until 2002. He had been comptroller in the schools until taking the auditor's job in 1999, according to court records. . . The Smith investigation, which was kept under wraps for four years, is another embarrassment to the city's charter school program. Hundreds of millions of public dollars have been dumped into the city to create the charter schools, which are built on the premise that outsiders can run schools better than the tired and bloated traditional bureaucracy. But test scores in the schools continue to lag, and several schools have crashed amid financial and criminal probes.

The buzz is increasing about "Ballou," a documentary film about the Ballou High School Marching Band and the trials, tribulations and triumphs the squad has seen over the last few years. . . The film, which is still in post production, has been submitted to the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and will likely be featured at the 2008 AFI Silverdocs Film Festival in Silver Spring.
This Thursday, the director of the Ballou Marching Band will be featured on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

- Two kids, 9-10 years old, hand-in-hand. . . Little boy: "What kind of car do you want when we get married?". . . Little girl: "A BMW!" Little boy: "OK!"

NY POST - Dean Johnson, a legendary promoter of gay parties in downtown Manhattan, was found dead in Washington, D.C., last week and pals fear he was murdered. Lower East Side photographer John Penley told Page Six that e-mails from Johnson's computer reveal he'd been going to D.C. regularly "to set up weird sex parties for a wealthy Saudi guy. Nobody knows his identity, but it's all very suspicious." Dean, who had a history of drug use, had no ID on him when his body was discovered, and stayed in the morgue for several days before he was identified. His death in under investigation. Johnson, 45, promoted the weekly "Rock 'n' Roll Fag Party" at the old CBGB. "There probably isn't a single gay in the entire city who hasn't been to one of Dean's parties," Penley said. Dean, with his shaved head and 6-foot-6 frame, also fronted rock bands and starred in porn flicks. . .

WONKETTE - Asks "Did a wealthy Saudi sex fiend kill Johnson?" That's a good question. Here's another one we'd like answered: Who went to these gay sex orgies in D.C. hosted by "a wealthy Saudi guy"? Where exactly on Massachusetts Ave. NW were they held? And which members of the Bush Administration and the Senate/House minority leadership can tell us more?

FROM HARPER'S INDEX: "Number of escort services and McDonald's restaurants, respectively, in Washington, D.C.: 26, 23"


WORST IDEA OF THE WEEK [NEXT TO THE TOWER OF INVINCIBILITY] - If Metro wants to find new ways to raise revenue through advertising, perhaps it should look west . . . and on the ground. A company in the Los Angeles area has found that there's a lot of money to be made in the stripes in parking lots. In several shopping center parking lots, a company called Parking Stripe Advertising has replaced those old-fashioned, space-wasting white stripes with markings carrying a message about an upcoming television program. - STEVE ELDRIDGE, DC EXAMINER

AP - D.C. residents were supposed to be allotted half the skilled-labor hours needed to build the new Washington Nationals stadium. But numbers from the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission show residents have only worked about one-third of the total hours so far. An agreement between the city government and labor unions also calls for stadium contractors to give district residents 100 percent of the lower-paid apprentice work. So far, 91 percent of that work has gone to city residents.



Neal Albert's investment condo is in the Columbia Hospital project directly across 24th Street from the West End Library -- not 1/4 mile away. - Ann Loikow


The Fall issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly is now online--and what a terrific issue it is! "The Evolving City" is an anthology of 36 poems that address the multiplicity of ways that cities change over time.



The Corcoran Gallery is named after the Washington banker William W. Corcoran. In Washington History, Holly Tank wrote, "During his life, he had made several individual attempts to help free slaves, and, as part of his militia duties, he had willingly helped subdue a mob of race rioters near Fort Washington and the Navy Yard in August 1835. He had even freed his own slaves in 1856, seven
years before the Emancipation Proclamation. Nevertheless, Corcoran was, like many Washingtonians, a Southern sympathizer and a supporter of states' rights. 'What is to become of us?' he asked in a letter written shortly after Fort Sumter. 'The South should have her rights in peace.'

Making Corcoran even more suspect was his daughter's 1859 marriage to George Eustis, a young Congressman from Louisiana and later secretary to the Confederate commissioner to France, John Slidell. Corcoran also continued to handle the financial affairs of several leaders of the Confederacy, including Jefferson Davis, and socialized with other Southern sympathizers. Winfield Scott, the Union's commanding general until October 1861, witnessed passionate outbursts at the Corcoran dinner table about Lincoln and the future of the country. A frequent dinner and house guest, President James Buchanan fell out of favor when he failed to accede to Southern demands in the last days of his term, and Corco ran never spoke to him again. . . He left America on October 8,
1862, ostensibly to visit his daughter, and did not return until 1865."



LAURA MCKENZIE, GEORGETOWN HOYA - Busboys and Poets is a crowning example of the District's thriving spoken word and poetry scene. Named in honor of Hughes, the bookstore/restaurant is at the center of a poetic culture invigorated by politics and race. At open-mike nights each Tuesday, a wide range of performers show up to read their mostly original poetry and essays - this week, participants included middle-aged men in suits, a teenage boys wearing an Allen Iverson jerseys, and a young woman donning a shaved head and a miniskirt. . .

A monthly poetry council brings together leading poets from different sections of D.C., focusing more on traditional styles of poetry and less on spoken word. Still, the Tuesday night open mike is the heart of the operation. Portraits of the Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. preside over the stage in the Langston Room, and underneath the portraits are written the words "waiting, wishing, dreaming." Over the course of the evening, 17 poets and one featured artist perform, each reading two pieces.



In his inaugural address, William Henry Harrison says, "The people of the District of Columbia are not the subjects of the people of the States, but free American citizens. . . . The legislation of Congress should be adapted to their peculiar position and wants and be conformable with their deliberate opinions of their own interests."






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