No Joy in Mudville
In D.C., a new baseball stadium opens amid the same old staggering poverty and inequality
Oh, they're so happy over on ESPN because of the Washington Nationals' new baseball stadium, which opened last night when George W. Bush threw up the first pitch.
The doofus POTUS was wild with his throw to Nats' manager Manny Acta. Strange, isn't it, that Bush's battery mate was Acta instead of the Nats' catcher, Paul Lo Duca. But the ex-Met is ensnared in the steroids scandal, so his PR quotient is below the Mendoza Line.
Funnier still was during the game itself, when Bush showed up in the broadcast booth to say of the steroids scandal, "I hope the players fix it." He didn't say "the commissioner" or "the owners." Only "the players."
The broadcast crew noted that Bush is a former baseball owner. But that's only technically true. Before he was even Texas governor, Bush was trotted out before the public as the "owner" of the Texas Rangers. But Tom Hicks was the real owner; Bush put up a minuscule amount of money but was only the front man for Hicks and the rest of the real ownership group so they could get a stadium and other parts of a sweet deal with Arlington, the home of the team. When the Rangers were later sold, Bush cashed in for a lot of dough.
Years later, Bush became Dick Cheney's front man, where he's been even more dangerous.
Too bad D.C. isn't making out as well as Bush. The new stadium was a point of contention when D.C. didn't even have a team and its luxury boxes were only a dream in the minds of politicians and lobbyists.
Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post kicked ass on that story in 2004, pointing out D.C. residents' terrible plight when the decision was finally made by Major League Baseball to put a team back in the U.S. capital.
As I noted at the time in "Playing Ball in D.C." [October 25, 2004]:
Yes, way down below them, if they could afford tickets in the cheap seats, will be the average D.C. resident. Bleacher bums? No. Just bums.
Since 2000, the gap between rich and poor has widened throughout the country. But D.C. was in terrible shape even during the Clinton years. From an analysis of census data by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute before Bush even took office:
Well, maybe things are better since Bush became president. Yeah, right. Here's what the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute had to say last October:
And how about that earning gap between rich and poor?
Trying to stem the out-of-control crime in poverty-stricken D.C., district officials enacted a strict gun law that the Supreme Court just got finished hearing arguments on. (See this L.A. Times editorial that lays out the arguments.)
Guns aren't the only problem of course. There's also butter. Only the pols and lobbyists can afford the high-priced spreads.
Meanwhile, even the baseball owners called the plan to finance the bonds for D.C.'s new stadium the sweetest sweetheart deal they'd ever seen.
The baseball owners and Congress were the ones playing ball. As of last night, the luxury boxes are now occupied by lobbyists and their lackey pols, while D.C.'s poor continue their everyday drudgery.
Wonder if there's a Larry Craig Memorial Bathroom in the joint?