- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 25, 2011

A three-judge panel threw out a lawsuit last week against Maryland’s new congressional map, brought by plaintiffs who argued it illegally diluted black voting power.

The judges didn’t buy the claim that the map was intentionally made to stifle black influence, but they did express another important concern at a hearing last week — that it could dilute the votes of Washington Redskins fans.

While discussing the oft-desired “community of interest” in redistricting, the judges pointed out somewhat jokingly that the state’s approved map would change Western Maryland’s District 6 to include Pittsburgh Steelers fans from Allegany County as well as Redskins fans from Montgomery County’s D.C. suburbs.

But they also expressed doubts about the plaintiffs’ alternate proposal, which would have created a district spanning from Baltimore southwest to Charles County.

Baltimore Ravens and Redskins fans in the same district? The notion seems almost unspeakable.

“The first thing they tell you up there is to hate the Redskins,” Judge Alexander Williams Jr. said at the hearing, held in Greenbelt. “This is Redskins country.”

But what do you really think, Mr. Wilder?

Vice President Joseph R. Biden might be a “fine fellow,” according to former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, but that doesn’t mean President Obama should keep him on the ticket for 2012.

Mr. Wilder, who is not exactly shy about speaking his mind, made the remark after the effusive Mr. Biden said in a recent Newsweek magazine interview that the Taliban are not an enemy of the United States. (White House spokesman Jay Carney said the remarks were only regrettable “when taken out of context.”)

Mr. Wilder, a Democrat, said last week on Fox News that it was “not just a question of will Joe Biden make a gaffe - and incidentally, I like him,” he continued. “Personally, I think he is a fine fellow. But is he the person you want in place?”

Mr. Wilder called for an Obama-Hillary Rodham Clinton ticket as early as August 2010, writing as much in Politico.

“You know, you always hear that thing, suppose something would happen to the president, who would be in charge?” Mr. Wilder said during the television appearance last week. “The vice president. Joe Biden? You have got to be kidding today when you say the Taliban’s not our enemy.”

“Governor, you’ve got to speak your mind more often, you know. We never get an opinion out of you,” quipped host Neil Cavuto at the end of the interview.

“Well, you know — you never give me the chance, Neil,” Mr. Wilder said.

Watch your language

A few months after the D.C. Council had to be warned about using profanity on the dais, the District’s most legendary political figure was at it again.

During hours of debate on the council’s sweeping ethics bill - you know, that document intended to clean up anything unseemly about our city legislators - council member Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, let one fly while complaining that his colleagues spend many hours on ethics legislation, but don’t show up for hearings on education or jobs.

“So I have no choice except to vote for this bill because if I didn’t, people would say, ‘Marion Barry doesn’t believe in ethics. He wants to protect himself,’ or that kind of bull–-.” Mr. Barry said.

Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown interjected and politely asked, “Councilman Barry, Councilman Barry, can you refrain from that type of language?

“No,” the four-time mayor quickly replied, and continued with his comments.

• David Hill, David Sherfinksi and Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report.

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