Washington Metro News

Washington Metro News

When the president’s life is threatened

CHICAGO — It is clear that the American people have a fascination with party-crashing, as has been portrayed by pop culture in the movie “Wedding Crashers” — for these crashers, the bigger the party, the better. And no party is bigger or more difficult to get into than a Secret Service-guarded presidential state dinner.

One can only dream of the adrenaline rush experienced by the two crashers who continue to make headline news after they shamefully exposed large holes in the Secret Service that is supposed to protect our president from the nefarious schemes of those who would like to destroy our country.


Salahi business no laughing matter

At first I thought it was. The White House party crashers were a perfect reality TV couple and the storyline was entertaining. I thought the whole affair was little more than tabloid-type hype.

Upon further reflection, I have changed my mind. This breach of security rates significantly higher than managing to sneak a five-ounce bottle of shampoo onto an airplane, as opposed to the permissible three-ounce version that makes us all safe from terrorists. (Gee — I know I feel a lot safer with that regulation.)


Restored in Washington: Respect for public service

Check out an article in Business Week about how things are changing in Washington, and the blog, which fills in the rest:

I was impressed by the Obamans respect for the people who work in government. The Bush administration treated government workers like lazy dolts—setting rigid goals for them and outsourcing government functions to private industry as much as possible. (Do a Google search on “Halliburton” to see how well that worked out for the taxpayer.) In contrast, Zients helps government people set their own goals and provides some of the essential tools they need to accomplish them. Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and good-government maven, explains the shift: “In the past, government workers were told that government is the problem and nothing was expected of them. Now there’s a new message: You do matter. Now, get stuff done.


The broken belief system

An apparently uninvited couple waltzes past what we have always been told is an impenetrable human wall against danger to the president.

We may have already forgotten the failures a few months ago in what we had grown up believing were the failsafe procedures to prevent cataclysmic disaster with our nuclear arsenal. Remember the cross-country B-52 flight of missiles that were never supposed to be armed over the United States, but were? Or the theft of a device carrying launch codes, or the Minuteman Three crewmembers caught sleeping near their silo duty posts?


Next stop for crashers: Federal prison

As someone who usually goes to the White House three times a week for the press briefings, let me tell you: It’s not easy to get in, even if you’re a regular.

You could bust into the Vatican and sit on the pope’s lap easier than you could get anywhere near the president of the United States.

Or so we all thought, until last week’s State Dinner, when a publicity-hungry couple from Northern Virginia strolled into the White House and shook hands with Barack Obama as easy as if they were walking into McDonald’s.


Social-climbing the White House gates

I’m sorry. I can’t contain myself. I have to write about this:

It is probably not true that when President Barack Obama announces Tuesday he’ll be ordering thousands more Americans to Afghanistan, the first two to go will be the couple that crashed the White House State Dinner. But there are probably some people here who would applaud the idea.


Insincerity Hall of Fame? Just asking

“Thank you for asking.”

If I am ever able to realize my dream to establish an Insincerity Hall of Fame, that phrase will have a prominent place.

It’s the usually dismissive response from someone who has just been asked, “How ya doin’?” I always want to fire back with “Thank you for answering” or “Thank you for thanking me for asking.”


Would you pull the lever?

Everyone in the D.C. metropolitan area remembers. I still think of it every time I see a white van. I even think about it when I see someone hustling to their car at a gas station. In October 2002, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd terrorized this area by randomly discharging bullets into strangers while they were pumping gas or strolling with their families through mall parking lots. Over a two-month period, they shot 16 people, killing 10.


Glad to have Mr. Tony back

After a summer of overheated and self-righteous zealotry, Washington was desperate for some consistent levity to lighten the mood. Luckily, Northwest D.C.’s own Anthony Irwin Kornheiser has returned to the airways after a long layoff to deliver some of the smartest two hours of programming anywhere.

The show airs on the Daniel Snyder-owned ESPN radio affiliate, but it rarely focuses on sports. The show is much more likely to wander through politics, reality TV, movie reviews and Kornheiser’s hilariously neurotic musings. There’s also plenty of sage insight from prominent pols like Newsweek’s Howard Fineman and “the smartest man in Washington,” uber-lawyer Abbe Lowell, but there’s also the absurd randomness of having Eugene Robinson talking about "American Idol" and James Carville picking obscure college football betting lines.


I am selling out! Insurers: Hire me as your lobbyist!

After much thought I have decided to sell out, in the tradition of so many progressive Democrats who like me have worked for congressional leaders and senior Democrats. After seeing the latest scam being perpetrated by industry lobbyists working with Democratic senators receiving industry money, which would allow bankrupt states to have state public options they can't do, and allow Republicans states to have state public options they won’t do, I have made the big career decision.