US Attorney Ron Machen really wants to see documents from Mayor Vince Gray's office. [Loose Lips]
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell got a temporary reprieve from a date with the lawman. [Capital Comment]
Maryland will announce which casino company—probably MGM—will build a casino in Prince George's County. [Post]
Former Washington correspondent has a sad about being a Washington correspondent. [Capital Comment]
Federal judge tosses developer's $100 million lawsuit against Howard University. [Washington Business Journal]
Brian Boitano announces he's gay, becoming third openly gay athlete to be part of White House's delegation to Winter Olympics in Russia. [ESPN]
It's taken three years for DC to get as much snow as it did in in one day of "Snowpocalpyse." [Capital Weather Gang]
Screenings of well-known Christmas movie Die Hard, and other stuff to do this weekend. [After Hours]
Washington stinks, according to a guy who doesn’t live here anymore. In an essay for Politico Magazine titled “Take This Town and Shove It,” Sam Youngman, a former political correspondent for Reuters, tells all of his colleagues still stuck here to “get out of Washington. It’s messing you up more than you know.”
Ninety-five percent of the immediate reaction has been laudatory, with tweets from many of Youngman’s fellow journalists—many of them brave enough to still practice their craft in Washington—urging their followers to read his woeful tale. According to Youngman, we are all living in a horror show; only by moving back home to Kentucky has he managed to see the error of this city.
Youngman’s story is full of clever zings, dismissing a list of attractive Hill staffers as, “Washington hot, which is a step above rehab hot and two levels below jury duty hot.” It also has pathos, as he confesses that his nine-year stint in DC was full of drinking (he even admits to a stint in rehab), one-night stands, and an apparent addiction to Twitter. Those activities are certainly important, but if that was the extent of Youngman’s Washington experience, it’s not difficult to say he was probably doing it wrong.
For all his desperation about “This Town”—DC’s often seedy, always incestuous melange of media and political professionals skewered in Mark Leibovich’s recent book of the same name—Youngman comes off as a victim of his own naïveté. Did he really come to Washington expecting to cover honest brokers and work alongside other young journalists who aren’t trying to race up the career ladder? Should we be mortified to discover there is more to the White House than, as he puts it, marveling at aircraft carriers and honoring college basketball teams? In 2012, Youngman found himself “reporting on battles of snark between Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom and Obama strategist David Axelrod while ignoring the actual war we are still fighting in Afghanistan.”
Washington, like any other beat, is what you make of it. It’s not tough to find a good story in Washington, it just takes a bit of effort. There’s no rule that says all fresh-faced reporters who come here have to become horserace hacks who ignore the life-and-death issues that Youngman says he lost sight of. One of the boys on the bus, he surely had his opportunties to ask Fehrnstrom and Axelrod about their candidates’ plans for Afghanistan.
In the entirety of his screed, at any rate, there is no evidence he ever tried to escape the This Town lifestyle. But if you’re going to spend every evening sightseeing at the Hay-Adams or picking off interns at the Capitol Lounge, you probably weren’t planning on getting out of the proverbial bubble in the first place. Even now, he makes a point that he can’t remember every one-night stand’s name—cool, Draper-esque brag, bro.
To be fair, there are a few common sins Youngman identifies, like tweeting at other reporters to get the attention of better-known colleagues, snarking about political races you’re not even covering, and making endless references to Game of Thrones. I’m as guilty of those as anyone (especially the Game of Thrones part). Many of my Twitter conversations include people who have earned that stupid blue checkmark signifying a “verified account.”
But there’s no need to nuke the whole town for these silly distractions, or even to decamp to Kentucky. There’s an obvious irony, too, in writing about the useless carnage in Politico, the publication that has done more than any other to stoke the notion of politics as bloodsport. (Perhaps it’s an act of epic trolling on Youngman’s part, but I’m guessing the purpose of his piece is not to take Politico to task in its own pages.)
By the way, what did Youngman, now the political reporter at the Herald-Leader, find when he moved back to Lexington?
“At least once a week, I hear conventional wisdom from D.C. or New York upended by words directly from the mouths of a Kentucky voter. Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’s campaign is described as strong nationally, but it looks like a hot mess up close. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), often mocked by cable news, is cheered and encouraged to run for president at small restaurants in impoverished mountain towns throughout Eastern Kentucky.”
Rand Paul? Has anybody in this town ever heard of that guy?
I’ve never been one for scare tactics, but when a friend had a particularly nasty run-in blocks from my apartment, I began to look for ways to keep safe during my solo runs through DC.
One way was to try out Road ID, a free smartphone app that sends friends real-time location updates during your outdoor activity. Contacts can follow your route from start to finish, tracking any suspicious pauses or lapse in activity along the way. Here’s how it works:
1. Start your Road ID session by setting an estimated workout time and choosing up to five emergency contacts. Don’t worry about exceeding this pre-set time—you can add more in 10 minute increments if you’re feeling especially ambitious mid-jog.
2. Select a message to be sent via text to your contacts once you begin, or create your own.
The holidays are fast-approaching, and you’ve got just a few days left to lock down some goods for those on your gift list. Finding something unique—especially last-minute—seems near impossible, but we’ve come to your rescue with 15 one-of-a-kind, locally made products. From geometric jewelry to handmade art to artisinal oils, these gifts—which are made and sold right here in DC—are sure to please all types of recipients. Kill two birds with one stone this season by supporting your local designers, artists, and retailers, while also gifting something totally unique. To the slideshow.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is the latest government official to weigh in on the name of the Washington NFL team, and he's not a fan.
“I think [Dan] Snyder is so shortsighted on this," Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told The Hill.
As if getting hammered on the gridiron every week wasn't bad enough, Washington has been dogged all year by the ongoing controversy over its nickname, which most dictionaries define as derogatory or a racial slur. While the Oneida Indian Nation of New York State has waged a season-long publicity campaign against the team's name, the franchise has also been criticized by numerous politicians as high up as President Obama.
But unlike Obama, who said in October that if he had Snyder's job, he would have to "think about” changing the team's name, Reid's take is far more cutting.
"We live in a society where you can’t denigrate a race of people," Reid told The Hill. "And that’s what that is. I mean, you can’t have the Washington Blackskins. I think it’s so shortsighted.”
Federal prosecutors were all set to haul Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, into court in connection with the ongoing Star Scientific scandal, but thanks to the McDonnells’ lawyers appealing directly to top Justice Department officials, the indictments will wait until the McDonnells are out of the governors mansion, the Washington Post reported Wednesday night.
Prosecutors were reportedly set to drop indictments on Monday, alleging that the McDonnells promoted vitamin manufacturer Star Scientific in exchange for $165,000 in gifts from the company’s chief executive, Johnnie R. Williams. The Post reports, though, that the McDonnells’ lawyers went around the local US attorney last Thursday and pleaded directly with Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole to question the credibilty of a key witness and ask for a delay in the indictments.
The McDonnells were told the following day that the indictments would not come right away, and that the decision on whether or not to charge the governor and his wife will be made no sooner than early January, and likely not before January 11, when Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe is sworn in.
Bob McDonnell, once a rising star in the Republican Party and considered a possible 2016 presidential candidate, has apologized to Virginia residents profusely while maintaining he has done nothing wrong. Meanwhile, those same residents have been stuck with the bill for his legal fees, which totaled $575,000 through November. With this week’s cancelled indictments, if he does get charged, at least it’ll happen when he’s a private citizen again.
If you haven’t been to Navy Yard since baseball season ended, you might not recognize the dining landscape (or even know that there is one). Two of the year’s bigger openings, the Bluejacket brewery and Osteria Morini, debuted over the past month. Now comes Agua 301, a modern Mexican eatery by the Zest American Bistro owners that’s helmed by former Masa 14/El Centro chef, Antonio Burrell. The 106-seat space is set to serve its first dinner on Saturday.
The warm-hued interior seems fitting for the water views from its large front windows. Come spring, guests can relax on a 44-seat outdoor patio with pitchers of margaritas or sangria. For now you’ll have to stick to the chili-infused dishes for warmth. Of course there’s fresh-made guacamole to start—plus one de la dia, currently a version studded with pomegranate seeds—ceviches, and a variety of bocaditos, or small bites, like grilled oysters with chorizo, tuna tartare tostadas, and beef barbacoa flautas (described on the menu “like a Philly cheesesteak,” albeit a Mexican one with caramelized onions, roasted poblanos, and queso fundido).
Crispy fish tacos or kimchi-topped carne asada are also more snack-like (generally $7 for two).Thankfully, for the small plates-adverse, the offerings aren’t all “meant to share.” One of Burrell’s favorites, short rib mole chichilo, is particularly fitting for a late December debut. The meat is braised in chilies and coffee, sauced with a robust mole, and served over polenta-like nixtal made from the same cornmeal used in the tortillas. You’ll find similar portioning when lunch and brunch start in the coming weeks, with the likes of huevos rancheros, ginger butter-topped pumpkin pancakes, and a double-decker hamburguesa with chorizo and beef patties, beans, avocado, and a fried egg. The latter should come in handy after taking advantage of the daily happy hour.
301 Water St., SW; 202-484-0301. Open for dinner Sunday through Thursday, 3:30 to 10 PM; Friday and Saturday 3:30 to 11 PM. Happy hour 3:30 to 7 PM daily. Lunch (starting December 28) Monday through Friday, 11 AM to 3 PM. Brunch (starting January 1) Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 AM to 3 PM.
Check back on January 27, 2014 to see the full 100 Very Best Restaurants list on our website.
Last week we shared the 2013 No-Gym Holiday Workout. This time, we’re putting that treadmill to good use with a second fat-blasting workout provided by personal trainer Errick McAdams. Fair warning: It’s a tough one, so get ready to sweat.
1-mile run on the treadmill.
15 lat pull downs (Always pull bar down in front of head and choose a weight that makes the last three reps challenging, but not impossible.)
15 pushups (from the knees if necessary)
15 bodyweight squats
45 jumping jacks
Perform three sets
Run half mile on the treadmill at a faster pace than your mile
Do two sets of round one at 12 reps per exercise and 36 jumping jacks
Run a quarter mile on the treadmill at a faster pace than the half mile
Do at one set of round one at 10 reps per exercise and 30 jumping jacks
Thursday, December 19
MUSIC: Listen Local First takes over the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage with its Holiday Nine Showcase, featuring music from, you guessed it, nine local musicians. The nonprofit group is usually at the forefront on this kind of thing, so you’ll likely see some artists who are about to get much bigger. As always, Millennium Stage shows are free. 6 PM.
VARIETY: The Encyclopedia Show’s last performance of the year is a festive one: A Very Serial Killer’s Christmas. You’ll hear experts talk about the DC Snipers, poetry about “The Black Widow,” stand up comedy, and a true crime author’s take on the serial killer mind. As usual, expect lots of zaniness both during and between acts. Happy hour starts an hour before showtime. $15. 7 PM (happy hour), 8 PM (show).
ART: ArtJamz presents Artz Bazaar, a holiday blowout including three and a half hours of studio time, pick-your-own canvases, a free drink, cocktails inspired by famous works of art, a human canvas, live painters who know what they’re doing and might help you out, a deejay, and the chance to buy work by local artists. $15. 8:30 PM.
Friday, December 20
(SLAM)DANCE: Black Cat presents Krampus Kristmas, a night of punk, garage, and metal music on the main stage. Bar staff take over the deejaying for the night, so things might get a bit wild. Great Lakes Christmas Ale is five bucks all night. Christmas-up your clothes, but make sure you keep things punkish. Free. 9:30 PM.
FILM: Everyone’s favorite Christmas film, Die Hard, is turning 25 (!) this year. Say you want about the sequels (but mostly just say that they’re awesome), but Bruce Willis will probably never achieve the level of badassery he reached with the original. AFI Silver is screening it a couple times over the next week to get you in the holiday mood. $12. 9:15 PM.
SHOP: The stores along Cady’s Alley (along Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown) are hosting a night of slashed prices, food, and drinks. Shop between 4 and 9 PM for 15 percent off of all full-priced items at Babette, Bonobos, Artist’s Proof Gallery, Tuckernuck, and Steven Alan.
DANCE: 9:30 Club hosts 1958, a dance party featuring music by Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Prince. Maybe you’ve heard of them? Things get started around 8 PM but run well into the night. Video artist Robin Bell has figured out all the visuals to help power you through the night, and deejay Dredd keeps the party moving. $15. 8 PM.