Tom Sherwood's Notebook: 12/10/08

The holidaze are upon us, and we're already a bit frazzled.

The sour economic times are not helping with the ho-ho-ho's.

It reminds us of when our friend Bill Ogletree of CTIA-The Wireless Association announced one recent Christmas that he was going out to "spendulate" the economy. That was a nice joining of the words "spend" and "stimulate."

This year, he doesn't have a made-up word. But if he did, we doubt it would have the energy of "spendulate."

  • Pageant of Peace?

Maybe the authorities should think of another name for the annual event where the president lights the National Christmas Tree.

In the name of "security," the roads nearby are closed, armed police surround the Ellipse at the White House, and visitors must go through metal detectors. The whole thing has an air of artificial joyfulness.

The only good thing about the ceremony these days is that a permanent tree was planted some years ago, so they don't have to drag a newly cut one in every year like they do at the Congress site. Democrats on the Hill, take note.

  • Let's Go Bowling

Quick: How many college bowl games are being played this season?

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If you guessed three dozen, you're almost right. There are 34.

Our favorite name (we're back to word choice again) is the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on New Year's Eve. Louisiana State will be playing Georgia Tech, but we don't care about that. We just like the sound of "Chick-fil-A" (the sandwiches are pretty good, too).

We actually bring up the bowl schedule just to point out that this year Washington is leading the bowl parade.

The inaugural EagleBank Bowl will be played at RFK Stadium on Dec. 20. Wake Forest will go against Navy. Should attract a good crowd. But the game will start early, at 11 a.m.

The other bowl games that day are not huge competition. There's the magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl in Florida, the New Mexico Bowl at the University of New Mexico and the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl.

For a full list of bowl games, teams and start times, click here.

  • Tag, You're It

Will a President Obama allow the "Taxation Without Representation" license tags on the presidential limo? City leaders hope so.

Spurred by WTOP political commentator Mark Plotkin, the 13-member D.C. Council has written the president-elect asking him to respect the city's campaign for voting rights.

"As you ride down Pennsylvania Avenue, during the Inaugural parade after being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009," wrote Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans, "displaying the license plates would send a clear message to the entire nation and the world about your support for this issue and remedying this injustice."

Former President Bill Clinton allowed the slogan on his vehicles, but President George W. Bush removed it for his two terms.

More important than license-tag gimmicks, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is asking that Congress pass the city's voting rights bill before Feb. 12 -- the day the nation will celebrate the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birth.

There is a feeling that with more Democrats in the House and Senate, the city ought to junk the partial-representation plan and go for broke by demanding two U.S. senators along with the House member. That would be a much tougher battle, but many advocates say it's the only principled position the city could take. Why should it settle for partial representation?

Ilir Zherka, head of DC Vote, said on WAMU's "Kojo Nnamdi Show" last week that the House vote bill is just the beginning of lobbying for full voting rights. He says it's better to have something than to go all out and end up with nothing.

Whether that's right or wrong, it's unlikely the city will dump the good chance at one vote in hopes of gaining full citizenship.

Two other gimmicks for voting rights are still up in the air. The D.C. Council has approved legislation to ceremonially rename part of South Capitol Street as "Taxation Without Representation Street." It has also approved an electronic sign for the front of the Wilson Building to show how much District citizens pay in federal taxes.

The hope is that the electric sign will be up in time for the inaugural parade.

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