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Abe Pollin

[Bulletin, just fyi: Washington Post closing all national bureaus. I remember when we had Booth in Miami, Maraniss in Austin, gobs of people in New York, someone in Chicago, Denver, and three people in Los Angeles, including a Style writer.]

Last week, with Lebron visiting, I wandered down to the Verizon Center area to feed off some of the energy. There was no need to go to the game itself, though it was a good one, up there in the corner of an Irish pub. The neighborhood itself is an astonishing development: Whether you call it Chinatown, or Gallery Place, it's Washington's answer to Times Square, a place that throbs with energy on almost any night of the week, all year long.

And that's thanks to Abe Pollin, the owner of the Wizards.

Pollin died today at 85. He was, from what I've read, one of the great owners in all of professional sports, committed to more than just winning. Maybe a little more winning would have made some fans happy, but Pollin was the epitome of decency in his relations with the community. What other owner would change the name of his team because he didn't like the way it echoed the crime rate in his city?

Here's a profile of Pollin that appeared in The Post a dozen years ago:

By Thomas Heath and David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writers

Three mornings a week for 25 months, a tan Mercedes-Benz pulled into a parking lot at the edge of Chinatown, a few steps from the construction site of MCI Center. Inside, the driver rolled up each pants leg of his Hickey Freeman suit, pulled on hiking boots and dialed his car phone to let the project manager know he had arrived. Then he grabbed his hard hat with his name imprinted in black letters and strode forward to check on the biggest investment of his life.

Abe Pollin, local sports entrepreneur, has lavished his attention and more than $200 million on Washington's new downtown sports arena, which will open Tuesday. Riding on its success is his 50-year business career, his personal wealth, his National Basketball Association Wizards and National Hockey League Capitals.

At a time when most wealthy 73-year-old men are thinking of retirement, Pollin has taken on a huge challenge. His privately financed arena became a four-year struggle, slowed for half a year by contaminated soil, a paralyzing snowstorm and asbestos. A White House telephone line under the proposed site had to be relocated for $4 million.

The arena site -- at Seventh and F streets NW -- was too small, so streets were closed and buildings torn down. There were highly publicized setbacks such as the so-called "smart seats," which didn't work. A practice facility was added for $750,000. There was a successful lawsuit by the Paralyzed Veterans of America to increase the number of seats for wheelchair-bound spectators.

Through it all, Pollin has been financially stretched, keeping US Airways Arena going, signing basketball and hockey players to million-dollar contracts and footing the bill for the construction of MCI Center.

On Tuesday night, the day before his 74th birthday, Pollin will proudly unveil the second arena he has built for his hometown in the past 25 years. More than 20,000 people will watch the Wizards play the Seattle SuperSonics, the same opponent that Washington -- then known as the Bullets -- played to inaugurate Capital Centre in Landover in 1973, and Pollin will beam from his giant luxury suite just 20 rows off the floor.

"I walk through that building {and} I get tears in my eyes. . . . It's unbelievable," Pollin said. "I've got everything I've ever done in my life on the line. I've pledged everything. My advisers think I'm nuts. But I wanted to do something special for my town."

In recent speeches and talks around the city, Pollin has couched the project as a gift to Washington -- his town -- for helping make him a successful businessman.

"I don't want to sound corny," he said during a recent interview, but "this is the nation's capital. It's been good to me all my life. And I decided to do it. Not everything is dollars and cents."

He also did this for other reasons: He is by trade a builder. He loves challenges. He knows how bank financing works. He knows politics, and his close relationship with D.C. Mayor Marion Barry helped make this happen.

Most significantly, he still craves the action.

Even Pollin's critics -- those who say his teams fall way short of matching the achievements of those owned by large corporations -- acknowledge that he is generous. He sits on 25 boards and foundations, many of them with his wife, Irene. They donate large sums of money to charities and causes and both have received numerous honors.

But building MCI Center and moving his two teams downtown also was a cold business decision. US Airways Arena, served by the Beltway, had become difficult to get to, and as a venue had become out of date.

Pollin's advisers said there was not much question that the chosen site was the best location in the metropolitan area. MCI Center would be sitting above the Gallery Place Metro station, in the middle of downtown Washington and its 20 million annual tourists.

"We did all kinds of studies, but it was pretty obvious that downtown was the best of all locations," said Raymond A. "Chip" Mason, president and chief executive officer of Legg Mason, which was Pollin's financial adviser on the project.

The $200 million project -- hatched in 1995 -- initially was to be financed primarily by the sale of municipal bonds. But after a year in which the city's financial situation continued to decline, Pollin decided to finance the project himself. Barry did not argue.

A little more than two years later, Abe Pollin has another arena. He is the dean of NBA owners, a link to the days when a group of basketball entrepreneurs bought teams for less than $1 million and traded players over a handshake instead of a fax line.

"Abe Pollin reflects an ownership style that was forged in a different era . . . the single owner of a building and two teams," said NBA Commissioner David Stern, who has known Pollin since 1966. "I would put him on the endangered-species list. Washington is lucky to have a member of the species before it becomes extinct."

Pollin developed his love of sports as a youngster in Washington, spending afternoons at Washington Senators baseball games with his father, Morris, who owned a successful construction business. Abe also proved adept in the building industry, and by the age of 40 he was one of the city's most successful businessmen.

He bought the Baltimore Bullets in 1963 with Arnold Heft, his former partner and a real estate developer, for $1.1 million and moved them from Chicago to Baltimore. The team now is worth more than $100 million. In 1972, Pollin got an NHL team (which started play in 1974).

At that time, he built Capital Centre, now US Airways Arena, for around $16 million, and moved the Bullets to Washington. Capital Centre opened the day before his 50th birthday.

He had initially wanted to build his first arena in downtown Washington, but could not work out a deal in time to satisfy his commitment to the NHL to put the Capitals on the ice by 1974.

The Landover arena was a gem for its time, featuring the world's first Telscreen to watch instant replays and the first skyboxes, which have undergone a name change to "luxury suites." Pollin's Bullets won the city's only NBA title in 1978 and had one of the best records in the NBA during that decade. The team fell on hard times in the 1980s, but Pollin is hopeful young stars such as Juwan Howard, Chris Webber and Rod Strickland can win him another championship.

The Capitals, meanwhile, struggled through the 1970s -- Pollin threatened to move the team in 1980 because attendance was as poor as the team -- before things improved. The Capitals, under then-general manager David Poile, were successful on the ice, making the playoffs 14 straight years before missing out last season. The hockey team, Pollin has said, loses millions each year. The basketball team does better.

Poile was fired after the season and replaced by George McPhee and Ron Wilson was hired as coach, replacing Jim Schoenfeld. The Capitals have started the season stronger than the Wizards and play a more exciting style of hockey than they did previously.

Still, the Capitals have never won a Stanley Cup and the Wizards, with a new name, are struggling as the Bullets did much of the past 16 years.

For years, Pollin was criticized because he refused to get into salary battles for free agents against many of his corporate competitors. Now both his teams are among the top 10 in payrolls. He had to change. "I had no choice," he said. And he says he is not happy that the higher payrolls have brought higher ticket prices (among the highest in sports) for Washington fans.

Over the last decade, cities or rich team owners have built state-of-the-art sports palaces that contain thousands of premium club seats and hundreds of luxury suites, which brought in millions of dollars that owners could use to buy better players. New arenas have been built in downtown Phoenix, Cleveland, Boston, Chicago and Portland, to name a few of the cities.

To finance his project, Pollin borrowed from a group of lenders led by NationsBank. He pledged his two teams, US Airways Arena, nearly all of his real estate properties and his arena-management business to get the loans. He was aided considerably in the drive by Peter OMalley, a Prince George's County attorney, and NBA Hall of Famer Wes Unseld, now the Wizards' general manager.

With the financing in place, Pollin, Barry and O'Malley grabbed silver shovels in October 1995 and turned the first scoop of dirt at the downtown site.

Problems began piling up almost immediately. Diggers hit 30 contaminated tanks buried just under the ground. It cost millions to truck the stuff to Detroit and set back the project by six months.

The biggest snowstorm of the past 50 years struck in the first week of 1996. Two buildings slated for demolition were filled with asbestos. Nervous banks demanded that John Stranix, a respected construction manager at Clark Construction, take over Pollin's side of the project management.

As millions of dollars poured into the arena construction, Pollin was spending tens of millions more to beef up his team rosters. Mason, Pollin's financial adviser, said there were critical periods "where he was pretty far out on the ledge" financially.

There was more. The 3,000 club seats had been sold, in part, by telling buyers their seats would be equipped with electronic gadgetry that would allow fans to buy tickets to other events or play video games or call up statistics during a game. But the technology wasn't there and Pollin quietly dropped the idea, although MCI is providing something similar in the hallways.

Susan O'Malley is president of Washington Sports Inc., Pollin's holding company for his teams, and the daughter of Peter O'Malley. During one grim period, she recalls, "I said, Let's walk away.' "

But Pollin stayed focused. He needed revenue, so his marketers went after it.

A 13-year naming-rights deal with Washington-based MCI worth $44 million -- still one of the most lucrative of its kind -- provided a lot of breathing room.

Pollin said he expects the arena name to remain despite MCI's recent merger with WorldCom Inc.

He signed big-name corporate sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Chevy Chase Bank and others to multiyear deals worth millions. His marketers sold all 110 luxury suites, which are priced between $100,000 and $175,000 a year.

With Pollin stretched thin and the project behind schedule, opening by the beginning of this season was hopeless. But Pollin couldn't afford to lose the entire season, so the deadline was set for Dec. 2.

If the new arena couldn't get it done by then, the sponsors, luxury suite holders and club seat fans who were paying MCI prices would be stuck in the old building.

So Stranix ran his crews 20 hours a day, throwing steel up as fast as time and safety would allow and sending his workers off in a dozen different directions at once. Nature cooperated, too: Last winter was one of the mildest in years.

On his thrice-weekly visits, Pollin would exhort the workers to "finish by 12/2."

"His overwhelming contribution was driving everyone to the Dec. 2 date," Stranix said.

"His imprint is on every aspect," said Brad Clark, vice president of and senior project designer for Minneapolis-based Ellerbe Becket, which designed MCI Center.

As he walked toward the arena for a reception last week, Clark ran into Pollin on the street outside. As Pollin greeted him, his eyes welled up.

"This place is fantastic," Pollin said. "It's just what you said it would be."

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 24, 2009; 4:45 PM ET
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Note to fellow basketball unenthusiasts: the former name was apparently the Bullets.

Posted by: engelmann | November 24, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

He really did revitalize a city.

Jack Kent Cooke could have done so, too, if his ego hadn't been so big (and he hadn't p*ssed off our then-mayor; what did he call her? "Little girl," or something?)

Posted by: -TBG- | November 24, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Did he still own the Capitals, others noted he owned the Wizards but no mention of the Caps.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 24, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the former name was inexplicable.

I've been remiss in visiting Washington. I got to see the Penn Quarter/Chinatown area in early December, when a street market was operating around the splendidly refurbished Smithsonian. I brought back some Nicaraguan pottery. Went to a play at the new Shakespeare Theatre.

My fuzzy recollection of the same area from around 1987 was that it seemed forlorn.

So whatever Pollin did with design and management of his sports palace, he got it right.

Portland, Oregon's basketball palace was forlorn, despite all sorts of planning to make it "urban". Ft. Lauderdale's looks like Portland's, but it's in the midst of a vast field of parking. It has its own expressway ramp. Orlando's building a new arena, which looks to be in, but not of, downtown, just like its predecessor.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 24, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

It's reassuring, sometimes, to know that wealth and decency can be said in the same sentence. And the implied contrast with other owners one might be able to name is obvious.

Speaking of names, I remember how horrible I thought the name "Wizards" was. But it does seem to have grown on me over the years. Note that the team hasn't, but the name has.

And I note with some nostalgia the name "Seattle Supersonics" in that article. Remember the back-to-back Sonics/Bullets series in '77 and '78? This was *huge* back in Seattle.

And probably was out here too.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 24, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Ted Leonsis owns the Caps. He also has the first rights to by the Bullets/Wizards from Pollin.

Interesting to read in the article mentions of MCI and Worldcom, which blew up financially and no longer exist and the Capital Centre/US Airways Arena, which blew up literally and no longer exists.

Posted by: -pj- | November 24, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

RD, I am not an NBA fan, but there was a time when I watched a lot of basketball, my time was the Sonics and those back to back teams. Then they brought in the, somewhere around the time of the 3 point rule, possession rule, shot clocks I began to lose interest. Now I just find the NBA too hyper for me.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 24, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

It is indeed heartening, RD, to realize that wealth, generosity and civic virtue need not be strangers. I aspire to the latter two and lack the former, but I know people here who meld the three. A generous pocketbook, a good heart, and a determined will can work wonders for a city.

I just realized that the Seattle SuperSonics are now the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 24, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

"He dialed his car phone..."

Now there is an anachronism. Anybody got a car phone these days?

Charlotte imploded its arena, built way out in the south of town in the late 80's, and built a new arena uptown for the Bobcats. I think it will be an asset in the long run, but in the short run, that decision ruined some political careers. City Council went forward with the project in spite of a referendum in which voters said no to the project. But uptown is a destination nowadays, and there are 15,000 people living there. Fifteen or so years ago, there were no residents at all in the central business district.

Posted by: slyness | November 24, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I should note that I chose the Sonics not for their winning ways, but for drafting former Notre Dame players, a team I also watched a lot when I was young - a trip to a cousins wedding at the University, when I was 7, hooked me on the school.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 24, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

At the NYT:

First graf:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Washington Post is closing its bureaus in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York as the money-losing newspaper retrenches to focus on politics and local news in the nation's capital.

Posted by: laloomis | November 24, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse


In '79 my roommate was from Seattle. He was happy; I was not.

Posted by: -pj- | November 24, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Third graf:
The news comes after the Post told several employees at its website that they would be laid off too, and follows several rounds of buyouts in recent years.

Already lost Froomkin. Wonder who got the ax in this latest round?

Posted by: laloomis | November 24, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I noticed that, too, slyness. Anyone trade by fax anymore either?

Posted by: -TBG- | November 24, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, slyness. IIRC, there was a plan to put a basketball arena, a baseball park and maybe even a football stadium in the area framed by Mint St. and Morehead St. They should have done it then, when land was relatively inexpensive, but built the ill fated new Coliseum and Knight's Castle instead. IMO, this was one of the bigger blunders made by the county planning commission, along with their propensity to allow extensive residential and commercial development *before* they improve the roads. Take your pick: Prov, Rd., Mallard Ck. Ch. Rd, 49 in the Steele Creek area...and all of the rest of the infrastructure, like FD/EMS stations that went in almost as an afterthought.

Posted by: -jack- | November 24, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

From Kurtz's reporting on the closures of the Washington Post bureaus in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles [and Hollywood]:

Brauchli, a former foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, acknowledged that "unquestionably there are advantages to having someone on the ground at times." But, he said, "We are not a national news organization of record serving a general audience. Nor are we a wire service or cable channel."

So, I guess that leaves the NYT as the national news organization of record serving a general audience?

Posted by: laloomis | November 24, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Guess the ax fell on three news aides.

Posted by: laloomis | November 24, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Lisa deMoraes is one of the journalists being offered reassignment from Los Angeles. Got to be tough to cover the TV industry from DC, though. Sigh.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 24, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Here's hoping the next Wizards owner is half the gem Abe Pollin was.

From the list JA provided in the last Kit, I'd think they were holding the state dinner in Abe's Gift to Downtown...

Either that, or it's reeeeeeeeeeeeely comfy in the White House dining room. Only a little surprised to see Deepak Chopra, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and M. Night Shyamalan on the list. Question -- Does the State of the Union "one Cabinet member absent" protocol hold for state dinners? I think I saw the entire Cabinet on the list.

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 24, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Very sad news about the closing of the Post's bureau. Very short-sighted, I'm afraid.

Posted by: -pj- | November 24, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't blame Joel for being upset about not getting invited to the White House tonight. Tom Friedman and his wife are attending.

Posted by: slyness | November 24, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey... did we wish Brag a happy birthday today?


Posted by: -TBG- | November 24, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Brag!!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 24, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I would much rather see the Washington Post become a smaller paper than become a nostalgic memory.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 24, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Front Page Alert, although hopefully a mild one...

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 24, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Still my hometown paper.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 24, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Brag!

Posted by: -pj- | November 24, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Michele Obama looks absolutely stunning tonight...

Posted by: -TBG- | November 24, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Just watching This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Marg Delahanty just spoke (sort of) to Sarah Palin. In her infinite wisdom Sarah thinks Canada needs to reform our health care to a more private system. You can't script comedy any better.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 24, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I agree, RD, but are these business decisions unnecessarily hurting the product? The Post stopped being a "paper of record" a long time ago and narrowed its distribution base before that. But I don't see provinciality (if that's a word) as a way of maintaining a national presence as an institution, if not a physical product.

Posted by: -pj- | November 24, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I counted only 7 cabinet secretaries - Ray Lahood (Transportation) isn't there, neither is Arne Duncan (Education). The VP is there. Cool that M. Night Shyamalan and Steven Spielberg are there, as well as Kal Pen, Gayle King (Oprah's BFF). Bobby Jindal too. My Congressman is there (Jim McDermott) - not sure why.

Very sad about the Post closing bureaus.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 24, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't read the supermarket tabs like I should, so I have to throw this out there: is this the first time Katie Couric has been completely public with her much younger boyfriend of the preppie name?

Posted by: joelache | November 24, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

No, they've been all over New York and LA, Joel.

Posted by: Yoki | November 24, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

The previous name, the Bullets, came with the team from Baltimore if I remember rightly. Didn't it? In Baltimore, it was alliterative and referenced the city's shot tower at which bullets once were manufactured. Not such a good name for DC, what with local crime and presidential assassinations on the mind, and so on.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 24, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I think 'Utah Jazz' is the perfect illustration why teams should change names when they change cities.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 24, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

>Already lost Froomkin. Wonder who got the ax in this latest round?

Priceless. Remember this the next time your husband's bank lays off employees and you come crying to us!

Posted by: -larkin | November 24, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

You are correct, SciTim. The Bullets weren't making it in Bawlmr, and they were purchased and kind of sort of moved to DC.thus, a compendium of history. The original Bullets are described, albeit in a wiki, and took their name from the venerable Bata Bullets high top sneaker. This, in its day, was the alternative to a pair of chucks:

The original Bullets were peers of the '55 world champ Syracuse Nationals

The team now known as the Wizards started life in Chicago, in the fledgling NBA, and gave the Knicks a run for their collective money in the days when Phil Jackson would come off the bench, IMHO, as a headhunter. He'd score, but I remember his role as an enforcer inside the box, particularly if someone dared attempt a slow layup or hook. Jackson's chop would usually draw three shots.

speaking of which, I believe I'm at the three link limit. If this posts, my memory will not have failed me.

Posted by: -jack- | November 24, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Sorry I missed all the commentary about ball handling and basketball in today's Kits.

Abe Pollin was a good guy and a decent owner, and well -- at least he didn't rename the Bullets the 'Sea Dogs' (anyone else remember *that?* RD?) pj, ya made me chuckle with those explosive comments.

Pollin was never afraid of experimenting as a philanthopist or an NBA team owner (Manute Bol and Spud Webb anyone? Muresan? Michael Jordan? Oy.)

Still, he'll be remembered as a man who used his resources to give a lot of folks chances when others would not - and I admired his heart and optimism about life and people.


Posted by: -bc- | November 24, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Bingo. I remember the announcer for the Bullets at the Cap Centre, and his: *Wes* UNsellllld!!!! Further, EAARRlll MonROE!!!


Posted by: -jack- | November 24, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what your problem is? Falling axes hurt all involved. Reminds me of listening to Barbara Ehrenreich last week in Seguin.

Ehrenreich said that Obama's lack of providing a social safety net for the poor and the unemployed will be one of his biggest failures--if not the biggest blemish on his presidency. She compared this failure of Obama's to Bush's failure to provide assistance to those affected by Hurricane Katrina. I hardly considered her partisan, but an advocate for stopping the persecution of the poor for being poor.

The IASP research and policy brief also shows that less than half of all U.S. families have sufficient savings to address essential expenses and invest in opportunities for mobility when faced with a job loss. Moreover, many more households of color lack the financial assets to meet their expenses during periods of unemployment. Sixty-six percent of African American and Latino households are not asset secure, and only 20 percent of households of color have financial assets to invest in opportunities for mobility. While most American families lack sufficient wealth to invest in education, housing, business ventures, or training for better jobs, the dramatic distance that marks families of color is a reflection of the profound, deep, and systematic racial wealth gap.

Compare this with the glamour and glitter of tonight's first state dinner at the White House. Glad I had that popcorn hull under my gum last Wednesday because I was listening to an NPR program that afternoon on the way to the dentist's office, and this one caller (below) was a reminder that to me that I should drive 110 miles roundtrip to listen to Ehrenreich.

One of the individuals who called into NPR heads the Catholic charity here in town that feeds those who need help. He said that people who come for a meal often gorge after the month's food stamps are issued. By the end of the month, they can barely afford food and sometimes deny themselves food in order to feed children, even if the children are dining on just three bowls of cereal per day as food intake--until the next food stamps are issued.

Our town just donated about a million pounds of food to the local food bank, and the Raul Jimenez dinner on Thanksgiving at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center downtown is the largest free Thanksgiving dinner in the country. There is no shortage of volunteers this year, with the anticipated number of people to be fed at about 25,000.

Ehrenreich did point out that the projected costs of the wars in Iraq and Afgthanistan by the year 2013 could be as high as $900 billion, a sum she feels would be better spent on taking care of those who have fallen through our country's social safety net.

Posted by: laloomis | November 24, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Elvin Hayes. Now HE was a bullet.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 24, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I never considered the Bullets moniker to be offensive. Just a name, like the Redskins. Why the Redskins? Don't know, don't care. SU used to have the Saltine Warrior to get the crowd pumped up. Heritage, as CNY was the territory ruled by the Onandaga tribe. The Warrior was dispensed shortly after the advent of PC mascots, replaced with the stupid Orange and the stupidest mascot in the world, The Dome Ranger. Harumph.

Posted by: -jack- | November 24, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

just because I can, The Race is On.

Posted by: -jack- | November 25, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

take the time to let this load. i beg to differ if you're disappointed:

Posted by: -jack- | November 25, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | November 25, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Son of G is home! Nice to have the family all together in the house. I can sleep well tonight.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 25, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

I can't decide if this description of Michele Obama's dress is racist... or the opposite?

"FIRST lady Michelle Obama chose to wear a gleaming silver-sequined, flesh-coloured gown on Tuesday night to the first state dinner held by her husband's administration."

Posted by: -TBG- | November 25, 2009 1:41 AM | Report abuse

I guess you should see the dress to understand my point...

Posted by: -TBG- | November 25, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Ha, TBG. It's certainly a clunky description. I heard CNN call the dress "champagne colored", which seems more accurate. Crayola renamed the "flesh" colored crayon a long time ago, according to Wikipedia:
"The color known as Flesh was renamed Peach in 1962"

Where was the description from?

Posted by: seasea1 | November 25, 2009 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Whatever colour it is, its a lovely dress.

Posted by: --dr-- | November 25, 2009 5:52 AM | Report abuse

We moved to Baltimore in 1994 and went to Chinatown several times as it was ebbing and the Verizon nee MCI Center was being built. The neighborhood was shabby even if the food was cheap and (usually) good, but the streets had a deserted scary feel even just before an event.

We were down there last weekend and there is no comparison. The only vestiges of the old Chinatown are the arch and the street signs. The restaurants (we ate at trendy Zaytinya-Greek style tapas) were all upscale and packed and it wasn't even a game night.

However, the success of the Penn Quarter (a name that didn't even exist before) seems to come at the expense of Union Station which is kinda hollowed out once the trains stop running.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 25, 2009 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Linda, a thousand pardons for misinterpreting your phrase "Wonder who got the ax in this latest round?" as insensitive to the unemployed.

Your fact-filled, chock-full-a quotes, *interesting* reply certainly proves how much you care about others.

Posted by: -larkin | November 25, 2009 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all, and happy Thanksgiving eve. Safe travels to all boodlers who will be on the move today, the busiest travel day of the year.

Hey Cassandra! I hope you have a lovely holiday and weekend.

We're staying home, and I'm almost ready for company. I will be ready by the time they arrive.

Posted by: slyness | November 25, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

JA weighs in on presidential decision-making:

I am reassured by the deliberative approach.

Posted by: slyness | November 25, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone, wishing all the travellers safe journeys.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: slyness | November 25, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

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