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Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity? In Washington? Hahaha!

* Full coverage of the 'Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear' *

Jon Stewart says he is going to stage a Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington on Oct. 30.

The dueling rallies face several obstacles. (Comedy Central)

Sanity? In Washington?

That's not how we roll, Mr. Stewart.

In fact, Stewart's rally - which will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Oct. 30, simultaneous to Stephen Colbert's Mall March to Keep Fear Alive - has already begun to bring on The Crazy here in Washington.

Seems one of the organizers of the Marine Corps Marathon, which will take place in Washington the morning after the Comedy Central star's clambake, told the New York Times they had been approached by the organizers of Stewart's rally about sharing the portable toilets each event is required to provide as one of the conditions of securing permits to stage the events.

In fact, the Marine Corps Marathon didn't just turn down Comedy Central's environmentally-conscious offer to share portable potties, share the tab, and have them cleaned and re-stocked before the marathon starts at 8 a.m.the next day. Marathon director Rick Nealis, told the paper in its Thursday edition, that instead of using the usual plastic-strip ties that do so much to keep interlopers out of traveling toilets on the eve of the race -- he planned to go that extra mile and would, for the first time use "real, live padlocks" on the 100-ish potties he was setting up around the Mall on Oct. 30 in advance of the race, to make absolutely sure no Stewart or Colbert fan could partake of them (Nealis said he's planting a total of 800 potties along the marathon's 26.2-mile course).

"I understand that they were having problems ordering porta-potties, that they might have to go as far as Baltimore to get them, but I just didn't want to share," Nealis told the paper.

But by the time WaPo TeamTV correspondent Emily Yahr called Nealis Thursday afternoon, plans had changed.

Even though National Parks Service spokesman Bill Line assures WaPo TeamTV's Mall bureau chief David Montgomery there will be enough toilets for rent in the greater Washington/Baltimore area to accomadate both events, the Marine Corps Marathon is taking no chances. It has decided it will not allow its traveling toilets be delivered to the Mall until they're sure all the Stewart and Colbert fans have gone away.

"We were looking at putting padlocks on porta-potties. Since then, we realized the smarter thing to do is just to have them delivered later," Nealis explained to Yahr.

"So where I might have the delivery come at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon, now it will come around 10 p.m. So we're going to work a little bit harder -- a little bit later than normal. What we're going to do is smarter, so there is no mistake on whose stuff is out there."

Nealis said the whole sharing thing really did not work for him.

"One of the problems was, what if everybody did use [the porta-potties] and you ran out of toilet paper...runners would be Tweeting, and on Facebook, and that's not something, on our level of expertise...that they're expecting from the Marine Corps Marathon."

By Lisa de Moraes  | October 7, 2010; 7:42 PM ET
Categories:  Local TV, Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: 'Real Housewives of DC': Fat lady has not yet sung
Next: Rick Sanchez apologizes again, sells some books on "GMA"


Wow, what a grump Marathon director Rick Nealis is.

Posted by: sdposter | October 7, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

The director of the Marine Corp Marathon is sure a horse's a@@, and needs to consider resigning because I'm sure the Marine Corp doesn't need someone like that as the face of the Marine Corp Marathon.

Posted by: clintolive2 | October 7, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

It makes no sense! They are on two different days. As a taxpayer and resident, how would Rick feel if I said I am tired of sharing my streets for the Marine Corps Marathon?

You know what? I think I will tell my city leaders to oppose this. Every year, they unnecessarily clog the streets and cause a safety hazard. I, along with the thousands of people who are going to attend the rallies, are busy working to pay the taxes to finance these streets, the staff to set up, the police force. That's in Arlington AND DC. They don't make a profit to pay for these services. They just drain our resources! Like my father used to say, "Take all that energy and time you use to train and pitch in helping our community and rebuilding our country." Fifty years ago people didn't have the time to run in marathons, they had stuff to do!

Posted by: jstack1106 | October 7, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Real classy, Mr. Marine. Maybe we should change the motto to "Semper MY".

I'm with you, jstack. They can go run their marathons on their USMC Bases, and leave the cities for the citizens.

Posted by: nan_lynn | October 8, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that wealthy "performace artists" like Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert get a special tax break by § 62(a)(2)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code? Why shouldn't nurses or garbage collectors or shoe salesmen qualify for a tax break too?

Posted by: gertie_gumdrops | October 8, 2010 3:05 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that wealthy "performance artists" like Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert get a special tax break per § 62(a)(2)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code? Why shouldn't nurses or garbage collectors or shoe salesmen qualify for such a tax break too?

Posted by: gertie_gumdrops | October 8, 2010 3:07 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin impersonators for Halloween - Prepare.

Thomas Chi
Selling Sex with Sarah Palin

Posted by: thomaschiinc | October 8, 2010 3:48 AM | Report abuse

The marathon date is known and published
over a year in advance with 30,000 people paying $90 a piece to run. Add in 100,000+ fans and no offense but its a far bigger event than these two rallies put together. So your "leave the city for the citizens" just sounds like petty complaining. There's a reason this is called the "people's marathon".

So if the guy charged with being responsible for all those people doesnt want to take the chance that something gets screwed up - good for him. Maybe the people at Comedy Central should have done a little more investigating before picking the date and then crying about things not going their way.

I can see why he would get stressed out. Setting up all the support stuff takes a long time. Now he's not going to have the day on Saturday to do a lot of that.

Personally I blame the Park Service for even allowing these permits to go forward on back to back days.

Posted by: dcmidnight | October 8, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

There goes my support for the Marine Corps marathon. If Rick Nealis wants to start a battle, then he should be prepared to wage war. Good luck keeping your directorship after the fallout from this because you are going to be screwed.

Cons try to conive, but never hide their intentions very well.

Posted by: slydell | October 8, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I will definitely be at both of the Rallies. It should be a really fun (and funny) day.

However, as a former Marine and volunteer for the Marathon, let me tell you that putting this event together is monumental. Rick Nealis is correct, if things don't go well, everyone goes online & blasts "why didn't do this or that." He's almost damned if he does or does not.

Hundreds of people work and volunteer to make this event happen (which as dcmidnight pointed out is well-known ONE YEAR in advance - actually, it's always the last Sunday in October making the date public to infinity).

Why do you want to gripe at Mr. Nealis for wanting to have one less wrench in the system?

Semper Fi, Rick Nealis. See you at both Rallies and the Marathon.

Posted by: ms1234 | October 8, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Just curious why you see this as a battle? The people running the marathon have worked the last 10 months to prepare. Rick has @ 150,000 people to be worried about and IMO the last thing he needs is to rely on another group to get his portajohns cleaned on time. What if they screw up? What if they say, oh, sorry, the company we hired didnt show up. Then he's got 30,000 runners and a city full of fans without proper support.

Give me a break. Again, maybe CC should have done a little more due dilligence before choosing this date - and then crying that they cant get shared resources. Did they just decide they would have a rally and hope that they could get other people to bend over backwards to support them? Maybe they should have thought this through a little better.

Everyone I know thats running the race or is involved in the race supports Rick 100%.

Posted by: dcmidnight | October 8, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I think it's the metal padlocks that take this to an extreme. TP could easily be replaced in time for the race. And since 800 potties will be placed for a stretch of 26 miles, rally folks would only need the ones on the mall which could easily be cleaned in time for the marathon. And saying CC should have done more investigating is ridiculous. It's a one-time event. Was CC really supposed to say, "Oh, the Marine Corps marathon is Sunday so we can't have our event on Saturday." They saw Oct. 30 was available and selected that date.

Posted by: Brianguy | October 8, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Folks really need to relax a bit and stop letting the media (no offense, Lisa, you're cool) drive us all to be extremist conspiracy theorists. CC made a legitimate and conscientious offer, and Nealis responded in a completely legitimate and logistically sound manner. I'm not really sure what the news is here other than maybe the DC Metro has run out of temp potties. Both events have the right to be there and do things the way that they see fit. Chill and channel your inner Jon Stewart - moderate yourself and stop trying to polarize everything.

Posted by: figgy_va | October 8, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I guess they will be taking steps back this year...

Posted by: OPV1 | October 8, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Rick Nealis is joking, right? Please please please tell me it's all part of the act.

- he shouldn't contract with the company that's delivering the johns because they're obviously not responsible enough to properly service them
- the MCM shouldn't have the johns, since the contractor probably won't deliver them properly
- the Marine Corps shouldn't have the marathon, in case people show up and need to use the potty
- he should find another line of work, preferably in Antarctica, so we don't have to read about this foolishness again

Posted by: cfow1 | October 8, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Im running this race. Have put in 4 months of work, and usually don't have to go after the beginning of long runs, but WHy should I have to deal with the urine and feces of 30,000 people from the day before stinking up these port o potties if I do need to go. I support the Colbert/Stewart Rally, but that weekend may be one of the busiest weekends for DC with all the events and Halloween.
They have the cash, bring in their own potties, and take them out so we won't use them on the flip side.

Posted by: bmdugan | October 8, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Can't say I blame him.

We all know that if the porta-potties were there the day before, they'd all be trashed for the Marine Corps marathon.

Better just to keep everything separate.

Posted by: postfan1 | October 8, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Nealis has made a terrible decision, it's disgusting and horrendous. He deserves all the negative attention he is about to receive as a result of his actions/decision. In my opinion this man is un-American. I'm disgusted by his actions and if he doesn't change his course I will never support this marathon again.

Posted by: TerminatorBarbie | October 9, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten, including how to share. Obviously the Marines need to go back to kindergarten

Posted by: Kteacher1 | October 9, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who is bashing Mr. Nealis for his decision clearly has never run a marathon, or a race of any distance for that matter. The Marine Corps Marathon always falls on the last Sunday of October, and by virtue of that, it has been on the event calendar for years, and the planning for it has been in motion since the last runner crossed the finish last October. I find it extremely ironic that the National Park Service hasn't even officially APPROVED the rallies to take place, yet the marathon is the event being demonized even though it was on the books first. 40,000 runners are doing the marathon and 10K that morning, all of whom paid registration fees to ensure the availability of race resources -- including bathroom facilities, which are crucial in any distance race.....Especially in the later miles, after hours of running, hydrating and re-hydrating, and perhaps even facing GI upset. It just so happens that the Mall coincides with miles 16-18 of the race. It is a shame that the Marines and Nealis are taking so much flak for trying to protect runners who have been training 4+ months for this event and will be running for hours that morning. I am a 26-year old who actually does love Stewart's and Colbert's shows, but as a runner, I don't blame Nealis in the slightest for not trusting an outside organization to clean up the mess by the morning of the marathon. If something goes wrong and Comedy Central's plan to have the bathrooms cleaned by Sunday morning is flawed in any way, it is the marathon that suffers, and it would be Nealis and the other MCM organizers on the hook for the consequential fallout.

If Comedy Central has such a problem with all of this, they should have done more research into the DC event docket or just move the rallies to a different time. This is the 35th Marine Corps Marathon, and its runners shouldn't be the ones to suffer for the poor planning of rallies--JOKE rallies, might I add--that were only even conceptualized within the past month.

Posted by: nadine7 | October 9, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

It's unfortunate that Mr. Nealis has chosen to be so rude, and has decided to share his snarky "attitude" with the media. It seems to me Comedy Central and Jon Stewart were just trying to use common sense. Ferrying hundreds of port-a-potties around the city within a 24hr time period just seems ridiculously unnecessary. Kudos to Jon Stewart for attempting such a reasonable solution for both parties. And, a wag of my finger to Rick from the marine corps for acting like such a jerk. Setting a poor example by being so unreasonable...not to mention inhospitable does NOT make for good press. Shame on you.

Posted by: staceyd4 | October 10, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Uh, this is all pretty ridiculous. As someone who has organized countless, multiple-day events with thousands of people in attendance, I can tell you that the people who rent out porta-potties are quite capable of servicing them and keeping them clean through-out multiple day events—so there is no hardship to be endured by the marathon promoters by having the equipment used before their event.

Sharing the event equipment and the cost of renting them would be no hardship at all to either event and would, in fact, make the equipment provider's jobs easier and possibly save money and equipment transportation costs on both sides. Since this Marine marathon is likely being paid for with tax payer dollar's I am more than disappointed that this guy is giving up the chance to save money just because he doesn't feel like sharing.

Either he is not very good at his job, doesn't care about saving tax payer dollars or is just behaving like an ass because he can.

Maybe he should run for Congress.

Posted by: llb2 | October 10, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

llb2 -- while the Marine Corps has volunteers staff the event and help the runners and is the organizer of the races, the marathon and 10K are NOT paid for by taxpayer dollars. It is a nonprofit race that is supported by **entrants' registration fees** (close to $100 per head for the full marathon with 30,000 runners and a lesser registration fee for the 10K with 10,000 runners). And as with many other major marathons around the US, corporate sponsorship and donations also support the race. There also seems to be rampant misunderstanding of the races and who runs them. The Marine Corps Marathon and 10K are not solely for Marines; in fact, over 90% of the field is comprised of civilians. And again -- we paid registration fees to ensure certain resources would be in place and fully operational for us on race day. The argument that taxpayer dollars support the race's bathroom rentals falls flat.

Posted by: nadine7 | October 10, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

This is all so unfortunate. There are two events and both events need to provide for their own needs. I am a supporter of both events and am saddened to see this issue having such a polarizing effect....I think all involved should just relax.

Posted by: sat1113 | October 10, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I have to say that my first reaction was to feel really hurt. I sent the Marathon organizers an email listing my father's, uncles' and brother's name. They all served in the Marine Corps.

The attitude expressed really emphasizes the discrepancy between what is spouted by the extremes and what is real. The Rally to Restore Sanity is mor necessary than I thought.

My family has served this country since the 1600's. I care about it and the service men and women who serve. I care that they are treated fairly, are well equipped and not sent to fight wars based on falsehoods.

Posted by: JacklynD | October 11, 2010 1:15 AM | Report abuse

first of all in response to many of the posts here, while this rally may seem like a "joke" or "fake" rally. I assure you the hundreds of thousands of people that will be there dont think so. Maybe if you would read past the words "Jon Stewart" you could see what this rally is about.

secondly, having his portajohns delivered late just so rally members cant use them is a little bit less of a dick than the padlock routine. but the argument "what happens if the company whose supposed to clean them doesnt show up?" is a load of crap. or how about the guy who says "i dont wanna use a portajohn that so many others have used!" well i hope you're the first place runner cuz i have news for you...
I have the utmost respect for the marines (although my allegiances are all to the USAF) but to say noone else can do any rally on the days prior or the days after isnt a very well thought out argument. they said they would clean them, take care of them, and have them restocked before the race but since they're on comedy central they must be full of crap.

Rally to Restore Sanity. @~200k confirmed attending on facebook alone. pretty good for a fake rally I think. and I'll be one of them.


Posted by: adamlh | October 11, 2010 3:01 AM | Report abuse

Lisa, I realize this may be a bit pedantic, but the word is spelled "accommodate" not "accomadate".

Posted by: rogerwilson | October 13, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Just three quick things to note that people have commented on:

1. There is nothing in the article that has said Comedy Central is upset about this or is trying to incite hatred towards Mr. Nealis or the Marine Marathon. The bias towards the Marathon event is the doing of the author which should be understood.

2. It's the Marina Marathon's decision to make as to whether they'd like to use joint resources for their event and cut their costs and the resources used to ship the porta potties around. As an advocate for the rallies objectives (Sanity) I respect their decision and everyone else should refrain from the polarization that is so standard these days (especially about such a small issue).

3. For someone to say that it's a huge risk to share the porta potties as it will be hard to get them cleaned in time and to make sure there is enough toilet paper when the rallies end at 3pm and the race begins at 8am is a little far fetched. I've worked in the events industry for a long time and understand that things can go wrong but for as much of there being a chance that the porta potties don't get cleaned in time there is just as much of a chance now of them not showing up that night at 10pm (It would be the same company cleaning them that is dropping them off).

Posted by: JC90266 | October 14, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

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