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Recipe for Disaster

Nevermind that we still really don’t have a decent citywide plan for dealing with a major 9/11-sized crisis.

Ignore the fact that the District picks up most of the tab for security with regard to terrorist threats.

Completely gloss over the fact that the DC Metropolitan Police can’t even stop a group of hoods robbing tourists on the Mall.

Who here thinks that a 40% cut in Homeland Security Funding for DC is a good idea?


Thought so. Somewhere in all this, the District will have to make up another $31 million in order to keep next year’s security budget at this year’s level of funding. We can’t stop robberies by petty criminals and suddenly we’re supposed to be able to stop a terrorist attack? Seriously? Are you smoking crack? Er, no, not you Mister Mayor for Life, we know you are.

How the hell does this happy horse shit happen?

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Tiger Cubs Born at the Zoo

Apparently, the National Zoo is on fertility drugs. Between Baby Pandas, Baby Cheetahs, Baby Giraffes and all manner of other babies, the Zoo welcomed three new Sumatran Tiger Cubs last week. Like most DC families Zoo animals, the parents are split, with Soyono here in Washington and the father Rokan down in San Antonio. This is Soyono’s third litter of cubs, her previous four progeny are now in other zoos across the United States.

Am I the only one who wonders how all that happens? Is there some giant zookeeper poker game that happens somewhere? I can just see how that would play out…

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs Continue reading

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Monumenting Without A Permit

When all else fails in this world, people find the most bizarre ways to protest. Hunger Strikes. Clothing Strikes. Striking Strikes. Saturday, though, one of the more bizarre protests I’ve heard of is going to take place across from the Supreme Court. Faith and Action Ministries is going to unveil an illegal monument to the Ten Commandments.

Weighing in at 850 pounds, the granite copy of the ten commandments will be visible to the Supreme Court building. Of course, I can’t decide which is funnier: that this will be illegal, or that the guy could be arrested for putting a stone on his front lawn. Perhaps someone else can tell me?

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Resist the urge…

…to impint your hands, your feet, or write your name. Do not create you own walk of fame.

Do not do it. No, don’t. Its concrete, its public, it will be there for years, and you will look the fool.

Then again, who would know? Its only one sidewalk panel. It would dry quickly. I would be gone, and yet…


This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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The Wisdom of the Manolo

Manolo the Shoeblogger (not to be confused with Manolo Blahnik) has a weekly column in the Express. Last week’s was especially full of wisdom on the topic of summer in DC:

It is not the secret that the summer in the District of the Columbia, it can be unpleasant. The humidity and the heat they are oppressive, and the mosquitos they are as thick and as importuning as the candidates asking for the contributions.

It is this latter fact which always makes the Manolo give thanks to the person who invented the electronic zapper of the bugs. This clever device it kills the pests while the electric blue sparks provide us with hours of joyful entertainment.

If only the zapper it could be produced in the extra-strength congressperson size, then this city of Washington, truly it would be the Garden of Eden.

Garden of Eden, indeed.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Scientology @ Ballston

Are you uptight this holiday weekend? Do pool parties and BBQ’s with Mom stress you out?

Then take heart and take the handy Scientology stress test at the Ballston Metro station.

No word if you get a free Dianetics book or if you’ll be jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch in a few years.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Civilization comes to Shirlington

Civilization comes to Shirlington

Originally uploaded by tbridge.

South Arlington has long been a grocery wasteland, with your options being a run down Safeway, and even more run down Giant, and no good place to get groceries that you wouldn’t be scared of. Sure, the made-over Safeway on Route 7 looks nice, but the fish section still reeks, the beef looks a bit picked over, and the “organic” produce section is just a few tiny veggies. You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig.

The new end of the Shirlington Village will have a Harris Teeter, a Robeks, a Caribou Coffee and a Johnny Rockets. While it’s not a Wegman’s, or an indie coffee shop, it is a real grocery store, and something South Arlington has desperately needed.

About goddamn time! Now…when does it open? Shirlington Villages’ site doesn’t say, nor does the Harris Teeter site, and all the signage down by the space doesn’t issue a date. However, most of the façades behind the fence appear to be mostly complete, which is a good sign that perhaps this fall we might have a new grocery store…

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Turns out, It’s DC’s Drivers That Suck

GMAC Insurance recently did a test of the knowledge of drivers in the United States and while Rhode Island took the prize for the worst drivers in the country, our own District wasn’t far behind. DC scored, on average, 76.5%, where Virginians scored 83.5%, and Marylanders scored 79.5%.

I scored slightly below my fellow Virginians at 80%, how well do you rank?

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Differing Takes in Local Reporting

With the Rayburn Office Building still locked down, and no sign of a shooter in sight, it’s very interesting to see how the local TV stations are handling the situation versus how the cable news stations are handling the situation.

At 1:22pm, NBC 4 is showing a touching flashback as part of Days of Our Lives. Fox 5 is showing a commercial during Judge Hackett. At 1:24, ABC 7 is showing a fight between two lovers, JR and a pretty blonde woman. Things aren’t going well for JR. At 1:24, CBS 9 is showing the Young and the Restless. DC 20 is, of course, showing Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

NBC, ABC and CBS all had bits on the shooting during their noon newscasts, but have largely left the matter in the capable hands of the Capitol Police. What are the cable news nets doing?

CNN’s got about half their entire staff working on the matter, repeating the same three minute loop or something. However, they did point us at Rep. Jack Kingston actually reporting on his own blog about the experience being in the Rayburn building, holed up during the crisis. Great to see the Congressman using his own blog, way to go! We hope your rattled staffer is okay again soon.

MSNBC has a metric assload of live local shots, likely from NBC 4, but are also repeating the same tired story, breaking no news whatsoever.

Fox News is also showing the same tired tape loop, working on a two hour old story, regurgitating the same tired line of “No one can confirm shots were fired, there’s a press conference at 1:30.”

Local TV? Back to business, nothing to see here, just another scare, back to the soap operas.

Network News? Freak Out! This is a great easy story that requires no real work from us. Woohoo!

From the Capitol Hill Police Press Briefing:

“I think there are 5 floors in Rayburn Building.” — Isn’t that something you should know as a public information officer for the Capitol Police?

“Everyone is being questioned” — Really? Why? Doesn’t that sound odd to you? Why question everyone on the fifth floor when the problems are on the top level of the garage?

The PIO for the Capitol Hill Police is very professional, and I’m glad she’s dealing with the idiots from the cable nets instead of me.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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No Swimming at Virginia Beach…

I hope you weren’t planning on going swimming this weekend when you were headed out to Virginia Beach. See, higher than normal bacteria count has closed a few beaches there, and folks are recommended not to go swimming, lest they come down with a nasty, nasty, nasty infection of the lungs, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal tract. Generally, that means don’t go near the goddamn beach

I fully expect an alarmist Fox Local News story on Tuesday at a hospital down at Virginia Beach with a few sick kids because their parents let them swim there anyhow.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Reports of Gunfire in Rayburn Garage?

Yesterday it was Amtrak outages screwing up everyone’s lives, today it’s Gunshots Reported in the Rayburn Office Building Garage. The original alert to Hill staff was issued via email, since it appears that literally everyone on Capitol Hill are addicted to their crackberry. That message read (according to WTOP):

This is a message from the U.S. Capitol Police
If you are in the Rayburn HOB then Shelter in Place. Quickly move into the nearest interior office space or interior hallway and away from windows. The Capitol Police are investigating reports of gunfire in the Rayburn HOB.
If nearby, grab Go-Kits and personal belongings.
Close doors behind you, but do not lock.
Remain calm.
Await further instructions. Do not leave the building.

Nothing like a good panic on a Friday morning to twist up everyone’s knickers. Thanks unknown gunman, for freaking out a whole section of the city.

Whereabouts of Congresswoman McKinney during the incident are currently unknown.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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When the going gets weird…

…the weird turn pro.

After the weekend’s raid on Congressman Jefferson’s office, and the “Separation of Powers” flap between Congress and the FBI, the President has decided to slap a 45 seal on the records that were seized from the Congressman’s office.

What exactly are the pols up in arms about? It’s not like the FBI didn’t have a court-issued warrant. Or videotape of the Congressmen accepting $100,000 in cash. Or found $90,000 in his freezer. Why are they trying to prevent the conviction of one of their own who is clearly a crook. I mean, it’s not like someone planted $90,000 in his freezer. Or he’s not on tape. I mean, any idiot can see this guy belongs behind bars and not in the US Congress.

Why are the Congresscritters trying to stop the removal of criminals from their midst?

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Comcast Required to Carry Nats Games

This is one of those bizarre moments where I have to wonder what other solution was possible. Yesterday, Mayor Williams signed into a law a bill requiring Comcast to carry the Nationals games. I hate seeing fiats like this come from the District because it’s a bad law. But yet, Nats fans may rejoice, for soon enough you’ll get to watch all the Nats games instead of just a paltry few here and there.

I still kinda hope that Angelos wakes up and cedes the DC market back to the Lerner group. This petty bullshit has gone on far too long, and though I hate both Comcast and Angelos, I think it’s time we got some response for our viewership here in DC.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Bizarro High School Robbery

I don’t know why I listen to Washington Post Radio. I don’t. But it’s like a train wreck, sometimes I can’t stop. Today while I was running errands I heard a little snippet concerning this story. Nutshell version is that five kids from Whitman High School in Bethesda robbed a Smoothie King at gunpoint. Well, four of them did, the fifth guy worked at Smoothie King and was the inside guy. The real issue, though, appears to be that four of these kids are high school athletes, one of them was awarded the prestigious “All-Met” status by the Post.

Of course, one would expect that the Post Radio would focus on “The charges carry a maximum punishment of 93 years in prison and a $1,000 fine.” Instead, they’re squabbling over whether or not the juniors would still be eligible for athletic scholarships. Worse still, the morning host went on and on and on about the banquet for these All-Met athletes and how many of them are deeply involved in their community, helping little old ladies across the street and, apparently in their spare time helping needy classmates rob their places of employment at gunpoint.

Why can’t we be asking questions like, “How quickly can we send these guys to trial?” and “If they’re guilty, how does 20 years in prison sound?” Instead of “Should we give these guys scholarships to play football?”

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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On today’s episode of jackass patrol…

…we’ll start with this fellow, who wants to badly to sell his RAV4 that he doesn’t mind risking his life and yours by driving around with 1/3 of his windshield obscured. I used to think the “remove before driving” printed on those sunblockers you put on your windshield when parking in the sun were laughable legal CYA manuvers. Nope, they’re apparently critical information some people need. Cross your fingers and hope that he gets hit by something he can’t see off to his right before he hits YOU when you’re off to his right…

Moving from dangerously moronic to jerkishly selfish, with have Jackasses numbers 2 and 3. If you live right off Route 7 and discovered that your yard is now a garbage dump, you can thank these two. You might think there’d be room in that thing to keep their soda bottles till they get somewhere with a trashcan, but you’d be wrong – that’s what the now-slightly-less great outdoors are for, it seems. If you see them out on the road, wave em over and ask what it’s like to be more special than everyone else.

Let this also serve as my official notification that I will no longer argue with people who claim our drivers suck more than everywhere else in the continental US. And to certain folks with persecution complexes who think I only bag on vegans – I’m an equal-opportunity hater.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Train Nightmares

I really hope, dear readers, that none of you were intending to take Amtrak’s Metroliner or Acela trains to New York and back today, or were planning on using the MARC rail system. This morning around 8am, Amtrak lost power along their entire DC to NY train route, causing trains to get stuck in the tunnels in Baltimore and beneath the Hudson River in New York. One train was stuck in Baltimore and evacuated, and four more were stuck in the Hudson River Tunnel.

As of now, power has been restored between DC and Perryville, MD and between NY Penn and Trenton, NJ, and trains have been moved from their tunnels, however, rail service between the two cities is still disrupted.

MARC rail is fairly well disrupted at this time, with their website status reading:

Train # 408 has been delayed and is sitting at the Odenton Station.

Train # 410 will take passengers off train #408 at the Odenton Station and will be moving under diesel power.

Train # 412 will move under diesel power.

Train # 414 will move under diesel power.

Train # 415 has been delayed south of BWI Station.

Train # 417 is holding at Penn Station in Baltimore.

WMATA Metro will honor all MARC tickets.

MARC will update riders as soon as conditions change.

Amtrak is also pretty well barfed, and this may cause out of position problems for train passengers tomorrow and through the weekend. Full service was expected to be returned by 11:15a, but as of now the website for Amtrak isn’t updated, and MARC has gone a full two hours without an update.

Losing power to a backbone transit service like Amtrak and MARC is a pretty big deal, yet no reasons for the outage are currently known, and no explanations are, I suppose, likely to be forthcoming. Nobody likes to say “mea culpa” in this economy when retribution at the stock market or in future contracts tends to be a serious matter that costs jobs, even when it’s the right thing to say.

Here’s hoping it’s sorted by tomorrow afternoon when travel hell-to-pay hits the greater DC region.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Bus-Bike Lane Abuse

This is the Bus and Bike Lane on 7th Street NW, the one installed last year when the DC Circulating Joke started. While the Bus & Bike Lane is not without controversy, all the moaning is now moot.

A short survey of those on 7th Street headed north shows that drivers are not respecting its intention – they are driving in the Bus & Bike Lane regardless of its posted purpose.

While I was taking this shot, a passerby said, “Yeah, I drive it in all the time. It’s great for passing.” And when I asked a nearby MPD officer he said that driving in the lane is not a moving violation but a $50 parking ticket.

While a $50 parking ticket ain’t cheap, he contented that people don’t care if it’s a ticket – they only care if its points on their license. The points might add up to a license revocation, while just a fine, well that’s figured into the cost of driving.

I am annoyed to see that the Bus & Bike Lane is abused, and angered by the proverbial shrugging shoulder from the Metropolitan Police Department. Bus lanes, and even more so, bike lanes are needed in this city and should be respected and enforced.

Driving in either should be more, like a $100 fine, a point or three on the license, and strict enforcement. Then DC drivers would give respect where its due – to duly posted and marked Bus and Bike Lanes.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

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Yea! Green Stuff in McPherson Square!

Give a cheer for these hard working National Park Service Employees! They are earning their paycheck this week, planting over 172,000 plants in area parks just in time for perfect Memorial Weekend weather. Here in McPherson Square alone, 2,700 marigolds are gonna be brightening our day soon.

Each one of those flowers will be lovingly planted, watered, and tended all summer long, beautifying our fair city. Beautification brought to you by these NPS guys.

Respect their work – stop and smell spring.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs