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Posted at 8:35 AM ET, 02/15/2011

Josh Howard brings intensity, savvy to Wizards

By Washington Post editors
Morning brew

After missing 19 games with discomfort in his left knee, Josh Howard has returned and is making a difference for the Wizards.

Columnist Tracee Hamilton says the win over the Cavaliers was nice, but the Wizards still have a long way to go.

With 15 road games remaining, the Wizards players hope they aren't don winning away from Verizon Center.

The Wizards' win meant Chick Hernandez finally got a haircut (DC Sports Bog).

AROUND THE WEB
Flip Saunders and Gregg Popovich talk about Jerry Sloan (Truth About It).

RealGM.com examines the Wizards' trade deadline needs.

David Aldridge weighs in on Jerry Sloan's departure (NBA.com).

Kelly Dwyer analyzes the problem with DeMarcus Cousins (Ball Don't Lie, Yahoo!Sports).

FOXSports.com's "10 NBA Seasons to Forget" had quite a few Washington connections.

According to Terence Moore, LeBron James is the clear MVP -- not just in the NBA but among players throughout the four major sports leagues in North America (FanHouse).

By Washington Post editors  | February 15, 2011; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wizards hope they aren't done winning on the road
Next: Jump ball: Is Cousins worth a try?

Comments

Lebron is definitely not the MVP. Derrick Rose I believe deserves it. No one has done more with less. He is average 24 ppg and about 8 apg in a season that he hasn't had both Boozer and Noah on the court at the same time for most of it and yet they are still right behind Boston and Miami. James still has two all-star players around him, and what has Rose had?

Posted by: meatkins | February 15, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Breaking News:

WIZARDS and KINGS involved in block-buster trade. RASHARD LEWIS, YI JIANLIAN and NICK YOUNG go to the KINGS for DeMARCUS COUSINS and their second round pick.

WIZARDS pick up HASHEEM THABEET for 2011's second round pick and future considerations.

And ANDRAY BLATCHE is traded for KEVIN MARTIN straight up.

WIZARDS draft TERRENCE JONES in June to completed a sweeping make-over of a most moribund current team.

Oh crap, I woke up..........Come on EG do the deals.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 15, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't go as far to say josh howard makes that much of an impact since it was masked with playing against the worst team in the nba. However, when he was playing his first game against the heat he played efficiently.

Posted by: jefferu | February 15, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Rose may be the MVP, but LeCrybaby is the best player in the league.

The Bulls could very well win the East. Funny how some folks thought EG took advantage of their desperation for Lebron/Wade, as if we stole Kirk and Keveen from them. Sure doesnt look like it now. They knew last season's roster was not good enough and another major piece was needed, Boozer is a perfect compliment to Noah and a great target for Rose. Now all they have to do is pry Nick away from us and they are set for years.

Posted by: divi3 | February 15, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I like seeing Josh Howard out there. Still, you have to be a realist. Looks like Josh has played 9 games with 1 start this season. His career in Washington to date is 13 games, 4 starts. He was active for only 31 games in Dallas before the trade, starting only 9 of them. in '08-09, he played in 52 games, with 51 starts.

So far, Howard isn't looking like a viable piece in the rotation.

I was hoping he'd alternate with Thornton at the 3 -- complementary styles.

Very nice player when he's here.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 15, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"Funny how some folks thought EG took advantage of their desperation for Lebron/Wade, as if we stole Kirk and Keveen from them."

What an odd argument. Chicago clearly hoped to sign LeBron or Wade and didn't make it. From then on, they were punting, along with the Knicks and Nets. Like NY they were very lucky with their key FA. They weren't as fortunate at guard; they've been looking to solidify that rotation all season.

And a 17th draft pick wasn't much to sacrifice for a team that was hoping to go deep into the playoffs this season. 17th picks usually don't produce much right off the bat, and this year wasn't an exception. The benefit: they wouldn't have to pay a first rounder.

So nobody stole anything from anyone. The Bulls got what they wanted, and the Wiz, a roster in need of major rebuild, got their wish, as well, in the form of a pick.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 15, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Of course there are those fans with a well-developed set of delusions about the value of certain current Wiz players who hoped against hope for more, and have been looking for someone to blame ever since...

Posted by: Samson151 | February 15, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Will the Bulls make a deal for a shooting guard?

Chris Sheridan - Too much smoke out there for there not to be any fire, especially with the Bulls willing to give up their 2011 1st round pick. J.R. Smith, O.J. Mayo and Parker are the names I keep hearing.

That's another team not interested in Nick Young. It's kind of disappointing that none of the young Wizard players rate a trade rumor.

Posted by: djnnnou | February 15, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I was hoping for Flip to work a few small miracles. But to my chagrin, he hasn't come close to one yet.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 15, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

That's another team not interested in Nick Young. It's kind of disappointing that none of the young Wizard players rate a trade rumor.

Because it's not in the trade rumors? I didnt realize that's how the nba operated, with every move GMs are considering being public information.

At any rate, I would think they would want to go after a guy like Nick until after this season given the uncertainty of CBA and the fact he will be an RFA.

Posted by: divi3 | February 15, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Because it's not in the trade rumors? I didnt realize that's how the nba operated, with every move GMs are considering being public information.


Posted by: divi3 | February 15, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

According to Larry that's EXACTLY how it works. All offers must be relayed to reporters to be distributed to board readers all across America.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | February 15, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

What an odd argument.

The odd argument was yours that these teams were being fleeced in their efforts to get Lebron/Wade. They weren't, they were dumping players and salaries that werent going to contribute enough going forward anyway. The Bulls were weak at SG last season, now they are again this season. Yet they are in the race for 1st place in the East, after being .500 last year. That's just blind luck after not being the team that got Lebron? Of course not. Hell, didnt Rose even hint that he'd rather they not sign Lebron at one point?

Basically we got others teams unwanted leftovers (Yi, Kirk, late #1) and are hoping something pans out from it. Maybe it will, not saying it was a mistake on EGs part. But the idea we benefited from other team's miscalculations re: Lebron is silly.

Posted by: divi3 | February 15, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse


"Washington made a very wise move in turning Gilbert Arenas into a better on-court fit and better locker room presence in Rashard Lewis, but they need to make another three or four moves like this, even if they are practically giving away the aforementioned players (particularly Blatche)."

trading blatche away for nothing would be counter productive. trade him if its a good trade. itd be just dumb to trade him for the heck of it.

Posted by: skinsfan09 | February 15, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

of course the Bull's have a huge advantage on us. They could basically count on being able to sign Amare or Boozer so long as they had the money. Players want to go to Chicago, and DRose is a guy any big would like to team with.

Wizards on the other hand couldnt have signed Boozer or Amare regardless of what we wanted to pay.

Posted by: divi3 | February 15, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

That's another team not interested in Nick Young. It's kind of disappointing that none of the young Wizard players rate a trade rumor.

Because it's not in the trade rumors? I didnt realize that's how the nba operated, with every move GMs are considering being public information.

It's rare for a player of any consequence to get traded without some leaking to the press about his availability or about the deal itself.

At any rate, I would think they would want to go after a guy like Nick until after this season given the uncertainty of CBA and the fact he will be an RFA. Posted by: divi3

They won't be able to sign him for more than the MLE, and that's if the MLE is still around. I think the Wizards will match that.

Posted by: djnnnou | February 15, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

"It's rare for a player of any consequence to get traded without some leaking to the press about his availability or about the deal itself."

Which, even if true, would not be relevant here because, in the big NBA picture, Young is not "a player of any consequence."

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 15, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Question for those who fret constantly that McGee’s fragile psyche is being irreparably damaged by mean ol’ Flip’s insistence on actually holding him responsible for his on-court mistakes. Did you see the highlights of last night’s Spurs/Nets games? A little over a minute into the game Duncan blew a defensive assignment that led to an easy Nets bucket. Pop immediately called a timeout and spent pretty much all of it yelling at Duncan. Duncan proceeded to post a double-double, shooting about 65% from the field. So if being yelled at for an obvious mistake is somehow good enough for a unanimous first ballot future HoFer then how, exactly, is it somehow beneath a neophyte like McGee?

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 15, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps this is why we see no trade rumors about Nick, from Marc Stein:

The notion that the Washington Wizards are open to moving fourth-year guard Nick Young before the Feb. 24 trading deadline is fading. With speed.

The Wiz presumably have no untouchables on their roster beyond prized rookie John Wall when they're sporting a road record of 0-19, leaving them just one away loss shy of becoming the sixth team ever to start a season 0-20 on the road. But at least one interested suitor, noting that Young has arguably been Washington's best player since the pre-Christmas deal that sent away Gilbert Arenas, said this week that the Wiz sound intent on keeping him.

Posted by: divi3 | February 15, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Question from Nick for those who assumed his fragile psyche could not handle a starting role:

HOW YA LIKE ME NOW?

Posted by: divi3 | February 15, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"Question from Nick for those who assumed his fragile psyche could not handle a starting role..."Posted by: divi3

Who said that? Oh wait, you just did.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 15, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Question from Nick for those who assumed his fragile psyche could not handle a starting role:

HOW YA LIKE ME NOW?

Posted by: divi3 | February 15, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Who ever said that? Seriously?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | February 15, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

"The odd argument was yours that these teams were being fleeced in their efforts to get Lebron/Wade. They weren't, they were dumping players and salaries that werent going to contribute enough going forward anyway."

I didn't make that argument. I said that Washington was benefiting from the rush to dump salaries to make room for top tier free agent signings. Certainly had that not been the case, they wouldn't have picked up the 17th choice and Kirk along with it from Chicago, for what amounted to bupkis.

Obviously, had Chicago signed Wade or LeBron, they'd have looked prescient. But they didn't, so they were left all dressed up and no place to go. Then they signed Boozer and for a while, when he was hurt, they looked like losers there, too. Now things have turned out OK.

One of these days, maybe you'll actually reflect what I've said, and we can have a discussion. Also, maybe the sun will rise in the northwest.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 15, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Players like Kirk and Yi were spare pawns in the Great Free Agent Scramble that happened last season. That's why they came so cheap. Any fan with a lick of sense could take a look at the Wiz roster and see that those two guys plus the rookies wouldn't be enough to make this a viable playoff club.

The rest could spend the season blaming the coach.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 15, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Why are people talking about trading Nick Young? That would be one of the dumbest ideas ever. First you have to understand that he is a restricted free agent, so even if you think about using him to get draft picks, the team that gets him will have a leg up on keeping him because of his restricted status. Would you want to risk trading him and possibly not being able to get him back even if he wants to come back?

Second, there are other players that could be used instead of NY, that can get a draft pick/young talent. Nick Young should be close to being considered a cornerstone for this team. There is no way you trade him. You could even let him play the market and match whatever is offered to him just so you don't over pay him. Very little benefit in trading him, and very high in keeping him.

Posted by: meatkins | February 15, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Aside from Wall and maybe McGee, there's not a player on this team that anyone will give up a draft pick (that's actually worth anything) or young talent (that's actually any good) for.

And aside from Wall, this team has no cornerstones.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 15, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps this is why we see no trade rumors about Nick, from Marc Stein:

Maybe, but it's not just about Nick Young. With the trade deadline being a little over a week away, I was hoping for some signs of activity.

Posted by: djnnnou | February 15, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Aside from Wall and maybe McGee, there's not a player on this team that anyone will give up a draft pick (that's actually worth anything) or young talent (that's actually any good) for.

And aside from Wall, this team has no cornerstones.
_________________________________
It's not about the player, it's about the contract. There are 3 other expiring contracts on this team. GMs don't always make trades based on talent alone. For example, do you really think the trade the Wizards made with Dallas was equal in talent? But it was equal in salary right and included expiring contracts. That's the point I was making.

Posted by: meatkins | February 15, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"First you have to understand that he is a restricted free agent, so even if you think about using him to get draft picks, the team that gets him will have a leg up on keeping him because of his restricted status. Would you want to risk trading him and possibly not being able to get him back even if he wants to come back?"Posted by: meatkins

It all depends on the offer. Nick has his fans (including HIS FAN) and some detractors. I don't recall him making any protestations of fondness for DC -- he usually waxes poetic about SoCal. So why worry about him wanting to come back? Once he's gone, he's gone, right? If you get somebody better in return, then go for it.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 15, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

there were a lot of people posting on here that switching Ny to the starting role after he excelled coming off the bench could be a problem. Their logic was that NY might not be able to handle the rigors of the starting role and that his "production" was the result of him being a scorer off the bench. I can't remember all the screen names, but there were more than a couple regulars who saw moving NY to the starting role as a problematic.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | February 15, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"there were a lot of people posting on here that switching Ny to the starting role after he excelled coming off the bench could be a problem."

Not the way I recall it. Most of the comments were speculative -- that perhaps the coaches didn't want to mess with a good thing (Nick coming off the bench). But it was clear that Gilbert stood in Nick's way -- they're both primarily scorers.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 15, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

It all depends on the offer. Nick has his fans (including HIS FAN) and some detractors. I don't recall him making any protestations of fondness for DC -- he usually waxes poetic about SoCal. So why worry about him wanting to come back? Once he's gone, he's gone, right? If you get somebody better in return, then go for it.
__________________________________________
I would imagine some people would want to trade him and then get him back later. I mean why would you just get rid of him? What is wrong with keeping him? You don't get rid of young budding talent when you're rebuilding. It doesn't make sense. If you trade him, but don't want him back, who the heck are you going to get to replace him that you can actually afford?

Posted by: meatkins | February 15, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"It's not about the player, it's about the contract. There are 3 other expiring contracts on this team. GMs don't always make trades based on talent alone. For example, do you really think the trade the Wizards made with Dallas was equal in talent? But it was equal in salary right and included expiring contracts. That's the point I was making."

Posted by: meatkins | February 15, 2011 1:11 PM


The Dallas trade doesn't really prove anything, at least not anything currently relevant to the Wizards or your point, because (A) There were expiring contracts involved on both sides (B) there were no draft picks or young players involved in that trade. The Wizards basically traded away a bunch of overpaid, underperforming vets for cap space. Now, would some other team be willing to trade their overpaid, underperforming vets for expiring contracts? Sure. But why would the Wizards want to make a deal like that? They've already got enough overpaid, underperforming vets. They need fewerof them, not more.

Being on the receiving end of a deal like the one they made with Dallas would do nothing to help the Wiz in their rebuilding efforts. The two sets of circumstances are totally different.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 15, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Question for those who fret constantly that McGee’s fragile psyche is being irreparably damaged by mean ol’ Flip’s insistence on actually holding him responsible for his on-court mistakes. Did you see the highlights of last night’s Spurs/Nets games? A little over a minute into the game Duncan blew a defensive assignment that led to an easy Nets bucket. Pop immediately called a timeout and spent pretty much all of it yelling at Duncan. Duncan proceeded to post a double-double, shooting about 65% from the field. So if being yelled at for an obvious mistake is somehow good enough for a unanimous first ballot future HoFer then how, exactly, is it somehow beneath a neophyte like McGee?

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 15, 2011 11:39 AM

Yep, this has been Pop's style. He has been consistent with it throughout Duncan's career. Early in Duncan's career, I would wonder whether it would be counterproductive. It hasn't been as of yet. I think it is more a testament to the leadership in Pop than the approach itself.

Flip doesn't have the pedigree of Pop. So, this hard nosed style by Flip might not suit him to well, especially since he appears not to be hard nosed across the board.

If your grandmother was playing for Pop, she would get the same treatment, not so with Flip.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 15, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Divi--

"Howyalikemenow" is one word. See: Dee, Kool Moe.

Posted by: Urnesto | February 15, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse


The Dallas trade doesn't really prove anything, at least not anything currently relevant to the Wizards or your point, because (A) There were expiring contracts involved on both sides (B) there were no draft picks or young players involved in that trade. The Wizards basically traded away a bunch of overpaid, underperforming vets for cap space. Now, would some other team be willing to trade their overpaid, underperforming vets for expiring contracts? Sure. But why would the Wizards want to make a deal like that? They've already got enough overpaid, underperforming vets. They need fewerof them, not more.

Being on the receiving end of a deal like the one they made with Dallas would do nothing to help the Wiz in their rebuilding efforts. The two sets of circumstances are totally different.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 15, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse
___________________________________
What are you talking about? The only expiring contract from the Wizards in that deal was Brendan Haywood. The Mavericks wanted them because they wanted to get some better players to fit in their system. My point is completely related because it shows you that you can use those expiring contracts to get assets. I'm not saying that the Wizards have great players to trade but a lot of times when teams make trades like that they buy them out to save cap space. My point was about what the Wizards ended up getting, they ended getting expiring contracts with what they had to give up. My point is another team could be in the same position as the Wizards this year and do the same thing. I'm not suggesting that the Wizards take back bad contracts, I'm suggesting that the Wizards use these expiring contracts to get draft picks from teams that need to shed salary. There are going to be a few suitors I'm sure.

Posted by: meatkins | February 15, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

"My point is completely related because it shows you that you can use those expiring contracts to get assets."

Not the kind of assets that a team in the early stages of rebuilding like the Wizards need, because none of the assets the Mavs got fit that description.

As an abstract point . . . sure, teams are sometimes willing to trade players with longer contracts for expiring ones. But with specific regard to the Wizards, it's highly unlikely that any team is going to give up the kind of young talent or good picks this Washington would be looking for in a trade. Usually, when a team trades for expiring contracts, they're dumping players with bad contracts, bad attitudes, poor production or some combo of the 3 (which is exactly what Haywood, Butler, and Stevenson were in DC).

"I'm not suggesting that the Wizards take back bad contracts, I'm suggesting that the Wizards use these expiring contracts to get draft picks from teams that need to shed salary."

Unless the Wizards are trading with a team that's under the cap, they'd have to take salary back. They can't just trade an expiring contract straight up for a pick to a team with no cap space. That alone severely limits the number of possible "suitors." And most of the teams that are under the cap are teams that are also somewhere in the rebuilding process, which makes them unlikely to trade away useful picks for nothing.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 15, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Not the way I recall it. Most of the comments were speculative -- that perhaps the coaches didn't want to mess with a good thing (Nick coming off the bench). But it was clear that Gilbert stood in Nick's way -- they're both primarily scorers.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 15, 2011 1:49 PM

As I recall it you in particular were making the argument that we should leave Nick on the bench, stick with Kirk The Fantastic because NY had just grown comfortable in a certain role etc etc.

You were also the one who just last week was suggesting we'd seen enough of Nick, it was time to see if Wall was more comfortable playing SG, er I mean, alongside a more "mature" player in the back-court.

Posted by: divi3 | February 15, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I understand all that, but there have been examples of this. As matter of fact, Ted Leonsis has a theory that he goes by BOYD, which is sort of what was done to get Kirk Hinrich. I don't consider Hinrich contract bad, but it was an example of something that can be gotten if the right deal is in place. I'm saying that it is easy, but it is better exploring that option than to suggest trading Nick Young. If you can take back a mediocre player with a year or two left on his deal, just to get a draft pick, than why not? Certainly you don't think Yi Jianlian is going to help us in the future do you? Instead of letting him expire, get something for him. There are teams that may use their draft pick to free up salary as oppose to adding more next year. The Wizards did that two years ago when they traded their second round pick. If you throw another small contract in with the draft pick, then maybe you help yourself because you add a draft pick for an expiring contract on a player you may have never intended on keeping anyway. The downside is taking the other contract, but this is the strategy Leonsis is trying to use. I mean there are a lot of possibility, but my original point was it is better to trade the expiring contracts than Nick Young.

Posted by: meatkins | February 15, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I think they should keep Kirk, are not going to get anything for him that is more valuable than his services to us. The guy is the only other PG on the team, obviously he is way overpaid, but unless saving $$$ short-term is the big priority I dont see why we wouldnt keep him.

Posted by: divi3 | February 15, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

@Samson
I think people were "speculating" that that was a good enough reason to keep him coming off the bench. I dunno if Gil being an obstacle was so much discussed as was NY's being comfy and relatively successful in the backup role. Most people who opposed NY getting the starting nod, thought that starting him would maybe disrupt his rhythm and was therefore a chance not worth taking.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | February 15, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

The debate on NY early in the season was exactly as Samson described it - why mess with a good thing? NY was finally showing some improvement and being more consistent and, at the time, there was also another impediment to his starting and I think his name was GA. And, now, who cares? NY is playing well by his standards in the starting roll. Good for him!

But, I got news for the NY bandwagoneers. He is still just a decent player putting up big numbers on a bad team. Notice how he folds against the big boys? Those teams that scout him, bully him, intimidate him, take him off his spots. He certainly isn't ready for prime time yet and I pray to god we don't overpay him as we just did with AB. Overpaying our own FAs has produced EG's most mistakes as a GM.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 15, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

But, I got news for the NY bandwagoneers. He is still just a decent player putting up big numbers on a bad team. Notice how he folds against the big boys? Those teams that scout him, bully him, intimidate him, take him off his spots. He certainly isn't ready for prime time yet and I pray to god we don't overpay him as we just did with AB. Overpaying our own FAs has produced EG's most mistakes as a GM.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 15, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

yeah like how Kobe and Wade dominated him! name these alleged big dogs that he folds against. You are talking out your Arse when you say that. Go to NBA.com look at the game logs. The spurs,celtics and surprisingly the bobcats give NY fits. He's actually put up some pretty good numbers against teams like OKC,LAL,MIA,UTA,PHX and NO.


How much is overpaying for NY?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | February 15, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Notice how he folds against the big boys?

No, not really.

vs Chi2x: 17pts/50%FG
vs LaL2x: 26pts/49%FG
vs Mia2x: 22pts/45%FG
vs NO2x: 27pts/47%FG

Boston and San Antonio have shut him down this season, but that's hardly criminal given how good those teams are.

Posted by: divi3 | February 15, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

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