News, The Daily Feed

Happy Birthday, DC!

Photo courtesy of

‘Happy Birthday, America’
courtesy of ‘afagen’

Today is DC’s 209th Birthday! While the city of Washington was founded in July of 1790, the Organic Act of 1801 passed on February 27th, 1801, which created the District of Columbia, which contained the counties of Alexandria (west of the river Potomac, including the islands) and Washington (east of the river Potomac).  The free cities of Georgetown and Alexandria were not to be affected by the creation of the District, their own laws and codes were to remain intact.

If you’d like, you can read the act (starts at the bottom of the first linked page) thanks to the Library of Congress.

Happy Birthday, DC!

Music, The Features

ShamrockFest is Coming

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘joelogon’

It’s hard to believe that winter’s nearly over. Monday marks the calendar switch to March, and there’s just three more weeks of foul nastiness before we turn the corner on Spring, which will be a fantastically wonderful sight for all of us who’ve spent the last four weeks staring at ever-present snowbanks. It’s enough to dream of blooming cherry trees, days spent at the park over a grill, surely, but what about getting some celebrating done?

Enter ShamrockFest at RFK on March 13. It’s your standard outdoor arena concert that runs all day, features about a dozen national and regional acts, and is generally a good excuse to get out of the house for a day. This year’s lineup features area darlings Carbon Leaf and Scythian, as well as Canada’s Enter the Haggis (whom I have on good authority from a friend in upstate New York kick more ass than Chuck Norris in a room full of midgets), as well as national touring acts The Roots and Train.

So here’s the deal, we have a pair of VIP passes to give away, so leave a comment below (remembering to use a good email address, as that’s how we’ll reach you) and we’ll pick a winner by the end of next week. One important thing to remember: VIP passes come with all the beer you can drink (provided you do so responsibly.) so you must be 21 to win, and Shamrockfest will be checking your ID.

Regular tickets can also be purchased for $24.99 right now, and VIP passes can be bought for $69.99. So, drop off a comment here, and enter to win! We’ll see you there.

News, The Daily Feed

Two Planes Collide at National, No Injuries

Photo courtesy of
‘US Airways Jets at DCA’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

Two planes collided this morning on the ground at National Airport, causing significant damage to the departing plane. No injuries are reported at this time. It’s not clear how the collision occurred, but one of the planes had to cancel their flight due to the damage. More as details come.

The Daily Feed

DC Schools announce schedule changes to cope with snow closures

Photo courtesy of
‘Field trip’
courtesy of ‘clio1789′

DC Public Schools has announced the updated calendar for the remainder of the school year and several teacher professional development days – what were called teacher workdays where I went to school – have turned into regular attendance days. Great news if you were trying to figure out what to do with the kiddies on March 19th and May 17th, less awesome if you’re a teacher now forced to do your mundane tasks in your off time.

Kids will be even less thrilled to have their half day on June 18th turn into a full-length day… which will be followed by two added days, the 21st and 22nd.

The Daily Feed

Attention All Local Bands – Six Flags Wants You

Photo courtesy of
‘Tune It!’
courtesy of ‘Mike Licht,’

Think your band has what it takes to land one of 10 spots available at the Six Flags location just south of Baltimore? The Six Flags team just announced that 10 bands will be selected to perform each day for the first week and a half of the park’s 2010 season.

The bands selected will be featured as part of the park’s “Live & Local” series, a popular event for the past several years.

Want to enter? All you need to submit is an electronic press kit (including links to any websites you may have) to the Six Flags Entertainment Department at or mail a hard copy to P.O. Box 4210, Largo, MD 20775, attn: Six Flags America Entertainment.

The submission deadline is March 15.

The Features

D.C. blogging & defamation law – some expert input

Photo courtesy of
‘The First Amendment does not cover burping.’
courtesy of ‘wfyurasko’

After news of Meg’s firing started to make the round yesterday I dropped an email to Kevin Goldberg of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth of Arlington. FH&H is a local law firm specializing in communications law – things like FCC filings or regulations, fines, copyright issues and so on. They’ve also got a blog about communications issues that several of their attorneys write for, including Goldberg. Sometimes it’s a little rarefied, but you can find items there about things like licensing fees on podcasts too.

Goldberg’s role there is more in line with some of Meg’s problems – he’s focused on freedom of speech issues, including in online publishing. I came to know him as a student in his Media Law class at George Mason University, which I’d highly recommend if you’re concerned about your vulnerability as a writer. He was nice enough to take a few minutes to talk with me on the phone about some of the issues raised by this situation and some of the local laws in play.

We started by discussing employment issues and free speech in general, where the news is pretty good… if you’re an employer.

When it comes to your bosses, Goldberg says, “There are varying degrees of control they can exert over you. If you say things that are disparaging to the firm – even if it’s done on your own time – that could be a punishable or fire-able offense.” We chatted a bit about a recent NPR story that discussed the fact that, for most of us, we have and keep our jobs at the whim of our employer. If they don’t like the way you slurp your coffee they’re pretty much free to can you.

Goldberg’s more relaxed about this than a lot of us, which you could write off as optimism about people or perhaps as a result of his professional consultations with employers looking to write policies. “It takes a lot of – let’s just say it nicely – chutzpah to” fire people for saying things you dislike, Goldberg says, and “put yourself … in the position of really painting yourself not only as a bad boss, but a censor.”

We spent a lot more time on the defamation issue, and what he had to say was a lot more reassuring to anyone concerned about getting sued by someone who doesn’t like the things written about them… mostly.

Continue reading

All Politics is Local, News, People, The Daily Feed

White House Social Secretary Stepping Down

Photo courtesy of
‘Down to the Oubliette’
courtesy of ‘Karon’

According to an Obama administration official, Desiree Rogers will be leaving her post as the White House social secretary. Rogers was a much hyped hire for the Obama Administration, and was even featured in the February 2009 issue of Vogue.

However, recently Rogers had faced a wealth of criticism for the handling of the Salahi-Dinnergate kerfuffle that took place during a November 24 state dinner for the Prime Minister of Indian. Whether or not this debacle factors into her departure is unknown.

The Daily Feed

DC releases more details on same-sex couples and marriage licenses

Photo courtesy of
‘Gay Marriage Legalized in DC; Oral Roberts Drops Dead’
courtesy of ‘Mike Licht,’

The Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs has put out a release about the imminent availability of marriage licenses for same-sex couples. The date they’ll be available continues to be projected as March 3, subject to congress’ being in session. Most of it is delightfully unsurprising: want to get married? Show up with proper identification and pay the $35. Just. Like. Everyone. Else.

*sniff* I’m misting up a little here.

The items that are different and noteworthy is that you don’t have to pay that $35 if you’re already a registered domestic partnership in the District. You’ll still have to pay the $10 for a certified copy of the certificate if you want one, but the application fee is waved. You should also look into any requirements if you’d registered a partnership in another state – the Office of GLBT says “the other state’s law may require you to dissolve it prior to marrying in the District of Columbia.” Odd and curious – anyone know specific examples of this kind of issue?

The Daily Feed

DC Property Values Hit the Skids, But Not Too Bad

Photo courtesy of
‘Real Estate For Sale Signs’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

DC’s property assessments for 2011 are coming in way down from 2010. Residential is down an average of 3.7 percent and commercial property is down 10.6 percent. While this is good for the taxpayer in general (lower value means lower tax amount) about 22,000 residents will be paying higher taxes (by an average of $345) due to new legislation. While those looking to sell may not be happy about this, we’re doing far better than some other metropolitan areas that are seeing drops of up to 25%. For once, we are definitely not California Dreamin’.

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Warm Fuzzies and a Party for New Orleans


On Saturday, a fun fundraising event combines a film and a New Orleans-style party, all to help rebuild a neighborhood damaged by Hurricane Katrina as the nation’s first zero carbon community.

The film is MINE, a powerful story of the essential bond between human and beast set against the backdrop of Katrina. An award winner at the SXSW film festival, it’s at AFI Silver Theatre at 5:45 p.m. A short talk from the producer and a first-responder animal rescuer follows.

At 8 p.m., the party moves to Jackie’s Restaurant, also in Silver Spring, with music, a silent auction, and an optional $10 buffet. A $5 donation is requested at the door.

All proceeds go directly to Historic Green. For two weeks this March in New Orleans, Historic Green will gather hundreds of students and young professionals, who’ll bring energy and ideas to help the people of the Lower Ninth Ward revitalize their community. They’ll meld preservation with sustainability, creating healthier, safer, more livable communities.

Eat Like Me, Food and Drink, The Features

Eat Like Me: February’s Best Dishes

Photo courtesy of
‘Not today’
courtesy of ‘JulieLG’

The theme of February 2010 was snow. SNOW EVERYWHERE, in flurries, in blizzards, in mounds. Even I was hesitant to head out in the big storm, only making it out once when I made it over to Westend Bistro to sit at The Pass on Sunday night after Round 1 of the storm had settled. Restaurants in our area struggled to stay open, they weren’t able to get wait staff in, shipments of food weren’t making it through the snowy streets, and even if places were open, it wasn’t the same turnover they would normally get on a Friday or Saturday night. It was a tough month – places were hurting after the break, and institutions like Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup ran happy hours this month to make up for it. I’d encourage you to get back out there in March and support your favorite restaurants, they’re hurting, and don’t you need to get out of the house anyways?

But that PSA isn’t what I’m here about. I’m here about all the things I ate in February that I loved. Unfortunately, when you combine being out of commission for 7 days stuck in my apartment, along with February being a short month, and I think I have broken the record for LEAST amount of places eaten in one month. I did much more cooking for myself than letting others cook for me. Luckily, this short month, when I did eat out, was full of DC classics. I was still able to hit a few of my favorites, and wound up with some delicious dishes, regardless of the time constraints. Continue reading

News, The Daily Feed

Fenty Proposes More Recycling

Photo courtesy of
‘Bottlecap Folk Art Reflection’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

Mayor Fenty is proposing additional levels of recycling for residents and businesses, requiring tenants and citizens to separate out cardboard and plastic from their trash, in addition to cans, newspaper, office paper and glass. The Examiner suspects that this will mean stepped up enforcement on DC businesses, along with stepped up fines, which will probably mean there will be an all-office memo about your trash cans again.

It’s not clear if this is a budget neutral move, but we’ve asked the DPW for more information.  Of course, we’re still not to the point yet where we’re collecting compostable material like San Francisco, so I suppose we’ve still got a ways to go before we’re super green.

Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Insert Banana Peel Joke *Here*

Photo courtesy of
‘Perfect Placement’
courtesy of ‘gadgetdude’

At around 4am last night, a truck loaded with bananas overturned on the Northbound portion of Interstate 270.  Traffic was briefly closed between the Capital Beltway and Old Georgetown Road and was  reopened in time for today’s rush hour. The southbound portion of 270 was unaffected.

If you’re driving by this section of 270, you’ll spot the truck on the shoulder, as the truck and it contents will be removed after rush hour.

The Daily Feed

Positive Attitude Makes Marquis A Leader

Photo courtesy of
‘Jason Marquis’
courtesy of ‘MissChatter’

Baseball – like any sport – is a mental game. Attitude is everything. Jason Marquis is a firm believer of that fact.

He is the projected starter for Opening Day, bringing 231 starts over 10 major league seasons, and his head is in it to win it.

“I feel like you play 162 games, to win 162 games,” Marquis told Florida Today. “You don’t put expectations like, ‘Oh, I hope we get to .500 this year.’ I hope we win 162 games.

“Now, obviously has it ever been done? No. But that’s the mentality you should take. Treat each and every day as an individual, treat each game as its own and try to win one game at a time, get an out at a time, make plays and execute, and I think it will lead to a good season.”

Marquis’ guidance and leadership as a veteran could prove to be a moral boost for a team that’s trying to carve a new, winning path this season.

The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: U Street

Photo courtesy of
’13th & U, NW’
courtesy of ‘NCinDC’

As we’re wrapping up District neighborhoods before moving on to the Maryland and Virginia ‘burbs, this week our featured neighborhood is U Street– one of DC’s greatest neighborhoods.  It has had its ups and downs, but today U Street is a vibrant urban community filled with one-of-a-kind restaurants, galleries, and bars.  Read on to find what you need to check out next time you’re in the area (including the bar where everybody knows your name), some surviving institutions from U Street’s heyday in the early twentieth century, and what makes U Street such a great neighborhood.

History: The U Street neighborhood was originally developed between 1860 and 1900, and it was filled with Victorian-era homes for the post-Civil War influx of residents. Then a streetcar came along and led to more commercial development along U Street. The U Street corridor became the most desirable area for African Americans to settle in the early 1900s, leading to the country’s largest urban African American community (until that title was claimed by Harlem in the 1920s). It was a major cultural center for the black community, and it was known as “Black Broadway”, with Lincoln Theater and Howard Theater in the area. And Duke Ellington grew up in the neighborhood too!

Continue reading

News, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Metro Announces Two Safety Programs

Photo courtesy of
‘Killing Time on the Green Line’
courtesy of ‘Bogotron’

Metro this morning announced two safety programs now approved by the board: rollback protection on 5000-series cars, and door control unit repairs to 500+ cars. The former repairs should be done by this summer, but the latter will take until Spring of 2011.

Interestingly, the repairs to the DCUs suggest that it may be awhile longer until we’re back on Automated Train Operations (ATO): “Metro will repair door control units on 546 rail cars, which will enhance passenger safety once Metro resumes automatic train operations”. That suggests they’re either going to wait until we’re back on ATO to do the repairs, or that the repairs can’t be started until we’re back on ATO. Metro has given no public timeline for the return to ATO and has refused all inquiries related to that subject. Dave Stroup from Why I Hate DC yesterday called for a return to ATO sooner rather than later, suggesting that Metro’s current safety regime is more like security theater than actual security. I’m inclined to agree that if Metro wants to justify their fare hike proposals, they’re going to have to return service to something approximating normal more quickly than they had planned.

The Daily Feed

De-Frost Fridays

Photo courtesy of
’58.365 – History in the making.’
courtesy of ‘josh.liba’

The Phillips Collection is hosting a new event called De-Frost Fridays.  When you purchase admission to see Georgia O’Keeffe Abstraction on a Friday this winter, you will also get free cup of spicy southwestern hot chocolate by FoodArts in the Phillips Cafe.  De-Frost Fridays will continue now through March 19th between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. Hot chocolate, inspiring art, and a place to warm up during this frigid DC winter; I’m so there.

The Phillips Collection is located at 1600 21st. NW.

The Daily Feed

It’s not actually a snuff film, it’s just named that way

Screen shot 2010-02-25 at 3.58.28 PM

If, like me, you have fond memories of the kind of insanity Cherry Red used to bring to local stages, you’re in luck: you’ve got 12 opportunities this weekend to reminisce. What was called Thumbsucker on stage has become SNUFF.MOV on screen and will be screened at the Warehouse Theater this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Just in case the word “snuff” didn’t tip you off – this isn’t light fare for everyone. Aside from the obvious sex and violence, writer/director Ian Allen never used to seem interested in putting something on stage unless it was going to challenge almost everyone. Clearly celluloid hasn’t change that fact – check out the trailer at the film’s website if you need proof.

Personally I’ll risk being nauseated by a small film over being bored by Dances with Smurfs’ lame storytelling anytime, but it also doesn’t hurt that there’s no showings of Avatar right next door to super-bar The Passenger. I’ll be at the 10:30 premiere on Saturday, so if you come out, say hi. I’d suggest you reserve your seat rather than take your chances at the door – the Warehouse isn’t exactly the multiplex.

News, The Daily Feed

The Cigarette Tax That Didn’t Work

Photo courtesy of
‘This Is Gonna Kill Me (Again)’
courtesy of ‘M.V. Jantzen’

Buried in today’s paper was the report by Natwar Gandhi that said the District’s increase in per-pack cigarette taxes was a dismal failure, causing DC smokers to head to MD and VA for their nic fix, and it ended up costing DC revenue.  Of course, since political theatre is always farce, let’s take a look at the new Tobacco-Free Kids report, which suggests that DC could raise another $6.8M just by raising the cigarette tax another dollar.

Now, I’m no math whiz, but it sounds like a $0.50 hike cost the city money, and now you’re trying to tell me that we could make more money only if we taxed them even more? Sorry, Charlie, that don’t fly with me.  I think the only way that would work is if all the surrounding states were to increase taxes at the same time, an outcome that is so unlikely, the DC Lottery should consider that as a new game on which to bet.  

Nice job, Tobacco-Free Kids.  Apparently you’re not much for the mathematics here.

The Daily Feed

Riggleman Forces The Fundamentals, Nyjer Morgan Learns How To Slide Feet-First

Photo courtesy of
‘first run’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99′

Injuries in Major League Baseball are inevitable. This year – the Nationals are trying to limit the amount of times their players take a trip to the disabled list. How? By going over base sliding fundamentals.

“I’ve always slid feet-first,” the 29-year-old Nyjer Morgan told the Associated Press. “But I guess I’m getting a little older and I’m getting a little wiser.”

Getting a little older and a little wiser? A headfirst slide is the sole reason Morgan was left sidelined after fracturing his left hand while sliding into third base last August in Chicago – less than two months after being traded from Pittsburgh to Washington.

Sure, Nyjer – it does look like you’re working harder if you slide head-first into the bases (the Nationals outfielder says he likes to get dirty while playing ball because it looks like “you’ve been playing harder”, no pun intended … please feel free to let your mind wander into gutter territory with that one), but the injuries aren’t worth it if you want to play for a team who has a winning record at the end of the 2010 season.

Riggleman’s also got the entire roster working on the feet-first approach to sliding in order to cut down on hand/finger/wrist related injuries. Good thinking.

ALSO – THIS JUST IN – there’s a new guy in town by the name of Adam Kilgore. He’ll be the voice of WaPo’s Nationals Journal/the new Nationals beat writer this season. Welcome to town, Adam!