As day concludes, death toll at Navy Yard rises to 13

Navy Yard Area Map

Thirteen lie dead in a Navy Yard office building, victims of a mass shooting, purportedly committed by Aaron Alexis, a 34-year old avionics engineer. The Southeast DC community, and the city as a whole, are shocked by the blatant act of violence committed against uniformed personnel and civilian personnel working side by side at the Navy Sea Systems Command on the base of the Navy Yard.

At times, the information situation was very fluid today, as the media and others attempted to make sense of the situation. Death and casualty tolls varied throughout the day, but have peaked at twelve dead, with a “dozen or more” additionally injured.  Three wounded in the attack are being cared for at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, including one Metropolitan Police officer who was shot in his lower extremities. One victim was shot in the head, but the bullet did not penetrate her skull. All three are stable and expected to survive. 

There is still an ongoing investigation at the Navy Yard, as the MPD, Military Police and FBI search the Navy Yard from stem to stern, looking for a person of interest described as a black male, around 5’ 10”, between 40 and 50 years with a medium complexion and graying sideburns. If you have seen this individual, please call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.  An additional person was identified as a person of interest or subject, but he was cleared.

The FBI would also like anyone with knowledge of Aaron Alexis in the last few days to please get in touch.

The area around the Navy Yard is still largely blocked off from traffic, with M Street SE blocked from South Capitol Street to the 11th Street SE.

Tonight’s Nationals game was postponed, with the team releasing a statement, “All of us here in the Nationals organization were deeply saddened to learn of the tragic events that occurred this morning only a few blocks from Nationals Park.”

Public transportation running through the area is also affected, with buses unable to transit the area, which will cause delays across a number of bus lines affecting the area.

As you leave today, please re-route around the Navy Yard unless you have to be down there, as the area is still an active crime scene and investigation is still in progress.

It’s been a hard day for the District. Our Federal and Military workforce are a special group of people, a group with dedication to service of country and community, and attacks against them are particularly enraging. Our thoughts are with all those affected by today’s tragedy.


Active Shooters at Navy Yard, Multiple Victims

An active shooter situation on the grounds of the Navy Yard this morning has brought the Southeast Waterfront to a halt this morning. IAFF broke the news this morning shortly after 8:15am with a tweet alerting followers to the incident. As the situation developed, the US Navy confirmed the incident is ongoing. The number of injured is not fully know at this time, but is at least 5 people (including one police officer), with one victim found as far away as New Jersey Avenue SE and M St SE, which is six blocks from the Navy Yard entrance.

Workers on site are reportedly sheltering in place at this time, and some tweets are reporting the arrival of the SWAT team to search the Sea Systems Command building for the shooter.

Descriptions of the shooter, or their motivations, are not yet known.

Our thoughts are with all those near this horrific tragedy.

Update 1, 10:22am: The Navy is now saying that there are 3 shooters involved in the incident, with 12 victims, four of which are dead.

Music, News, Night Life

Update on the Passing of Josh Burdette, That Guy at the 9:30 Club

An impromptu memorial to Josh Burdette in the lobby of the 9:30 Club Monday night

An impromptu memorial to Josh Burdette in the lobby of the 9:30 Club Monday night

Longtime 9:30 Club manager Josh Burdette, 36, was found dead in his home in Kensington, Md. early Sunday evening, according to reports from the police department in Montgomery County.

According to news reports, Burdette’s death is being investigated as a suicide.

9:30 Club co-owner Seth Hurwitz Monday released a statement praising Burdette, popularly known as “That Guy at the 9:30 Club”:

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News, The Hill

Frager’s Gone

Frager's Hardware after the fire, a burnt out hust

Photo by @IAFF36, used with permission

The iconic DC Hardware store is all but a ruin, this morning. Firefighters still remain on-scene to make sure the remaining paint products aren’t reigniting, and that the fire they fought most of the night doesn’t spread any further than it did. The south side of Pennsylvania Avenue between 10th and 12th is still blocked off by fire trucks and emergency personnel, and as the photo above shows, what’s left may not be salvageable.

Hill resident and COO of Anacostia Playhouse Julia Christian set up a Give Forward campaign late last night to benefit the owner and staff of Frager’s, with a target of $100,000. There is already more than $2,000 in the donations box across 32 donors. While Frager’s was likely insured, coping with any disaster like this isn’t as straight forward as the insurance commercials lead you to believe.

More than just the shop, there’s a whole staff at Frager’s who lost their place of work last night in the fire. Matchbox owner Fred Herrmann told DCist late yesterday that any Frager’s staffer who needs temporary work should come to their Barracks Row location on 8th St SE today between 2 and 5pm and he’ll do his best to put them right to work. I would suspect that following the lead of The Tune Inn and Capitol Lounge and elsewhere, there will be a fundraiser in the near future to benefit the staff as well.

There’s a big hole in the Capitol Hill community this morning. Though there are promises from Councilmember Tommy Wells and Mayor Vincent Gray to help Frager’s rebuild, it’s going to be a long and arduous process to get back to anything like normal. As a local archaeologist wrote yesterday, “It all changes, and we never seem to record the right things in the right order at the right time. It’s hard to know what to do.”

I can only think of one thing to do today: appreciate your neighborhood and city institutions. By fire or by tragedy, they may leave before we’re ready. This city is full of many beautiful, incredible places like Frager’s, places that can’t easily be replaced or rebuilt, that are unique to our place and our time, special threads that hold together neighborhoods and communities. Our communities need places like Frager’s the same way they need schools and fire stations and hospitals. They’re just not the same without them.

Help Frager’s rebuild if you can, or help make sure your own institutions stay healthy in your community, it’s doing DC a good deed, and that truly matters.


Frager’s on Capitol Hill Ablaze

Fragers fire

Photo by Tim Krepp, special to We Love DC

Amid evening rush, the horrible news became clear: Frager’s Hardware on Pennsylvania Ave SE was ablaze.
The fire, classified by DC Fire & EMS as a four-alarm fire, has over 100 firefighters on the scene. Multiple DC FEMS tower trucks attempting to put out the fire. Likely lost are the Frager’s Hardware Store facing Pennsylvania Avenue, as well the Frager’s paint store behind the main building. The 93-year-old hardware store has been a pillar of the Capitol Hill community, and a massive resource for the community.
Frager’s was, for all intents and purposes, the heart of Capitol Hill. It was the place you went for help, for supplies, for support. Numerous stories were told tonight on Twitter
Thankfully, the damage to Frager’s doesn’t include its staff. Owner John Weintraub reported to Charles Allen, chief of staff to Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells, that all his staff escaped unharmed.
Frager’s isn’t the first Hill icon to suffer a major blaze in recent history. The Tune Inn suffered a kitchen fire that closed the famous pub for a number of months in 2011. In April of 2007, a horrific fire gutted Eastern Market’s North Hall. Both were rebuilt with significant support from the city and the Capitol Hill community. I suspect that Frager’s recovery will be similar. 
The fire is, at press time, still not contained, and the IAFF local 36 suggests that this will be an all-night affair getting the flames in the paint store down. Smoke from the fire was visible from throughout DC, from nearby Nationals Park to as far northwest as Tenleytown


National Cathedral will allow same-sex marriages

In a message from Dean Gary Hall forwarded to We Love DC, the National Cathedral announced to members late yesterday that they would begin to hold same-sex wedding ceremonies in the main sanctuary of the church:

It is now only fitting that the National Cathedral follow suit. We enthusiastically affirm each person as a beloved child of God—and doing so means including the full participation of gays and lesbians in the life of this spiritual home for the nation.

Consistent with the canons of the Episcopal Church, the Cathedral will begin celebrating same-sex marriage ceremonies using a rite adapted from an existing blessing ceremony approved in August 2012 by the Church at its General Convention. That approval allowed for the bishops who oversee each diocese within the Church to decide whether or not to allow the rite’s use or to allow celebration of same-sex marriage. In light of the legality of civil marriage for same-sex couples in the District of Columbia and Maryland, Bishop Mariann Budde announced last month that the diocese would now allow this expansion of the sacrament, which then led to my decision for the Cathedral’s adaptation of the same-sex rite.

The Church does limit who may be married at the Cathedral by policy:

All weddings at the Cathedral are conducted as Christian marriages in which the couple commits to lifelong faithfulness, love, forbearance, and mutual comfort. At least one person in the couple, therefore, must have been baptized. Only couples directly affiliated with the life of the Cathedral—as active, contributing members of the congregation; as alumni or alumnae of the Cathedral schools; as individuals who have made significant volunteer or donor contributions over a period of time; or those judged to have played an exceptional role in the life of the nation—are eligible to be married at the Cathedral.

We welcome this news, and are encouraged by the tolerance and understanding that the Episcopal church in the District is demonstrating.

All Politics is Local, Featured Photo, Life in the Capital, News, People, Special Events, The Features

Election Flashback: Party At The White House

Whenever something big happens politically, locals always have an urge to flock to The White House. Even though President Obama was in Chicago to celebrate his victory over Mitt Romney in last night’s Presidential Election, people from all over decided that the best place for them to celebrate was at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Sure other neighborhoods celebrated with dancing and fireworks, but there’s nothing like reveling in front of the home of the President. When Obama clinched the Electoral College I grabbed my camera and drove down to see the crowds and they did not disappoint. Most of them were young, probably intoxicated college students who held up signs and climbed trees. Phones were out either for calling loved ones, taking photos, or checking in on Foursquare. Over 200 people were checked-in at The White House when I checked-in.

Here are a few images I took as I swam through the crowds.

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DC Misses the Worst of Sandy

As the hurricane swirls northwest through Pennsylvania, Upstate New York and Canada, it leaves the DC area largely unscathed.  20,000 Pepco customers and 98,000 Virginia Dominion Power customers are currently without power. Large trees are down in the area, and a few have crushed cars, but the damage pales in comparison to the disaster ongoing in the New York City area.

Our thanks go out to those who worked tirelessly during the storm today, from the DDOT, DCDPW, DC Water and Pepco Crews, to the first responders of DC Fire & EMS and the Metropolitan Police Department. This city was ready for a major disaster, and thankfully only has had to deal with a minor one.

Our thoughts & prayers are with the people of New York City, New Jersey and other affected areas. If you get a chance today, donate to the Red Cross.

If you do still have downed power lines, please call 911 to report the location. If you have trees down on the public right of way, call 311. If you have a catch basin that is blocked, call DC Water at 202.612.3400.

Now: go check on your neighbors. 


Here she comes: Sandy Emergency Information

Rock Creek Overflow by Mark Segraves, WTOP

Rock Creek Overflow by Mark Segraves, WTOP

Emergency Storm Contact Information

Pepco’s 24 hour Power Outage Line: 1-877-737-2662
Pepco’s Downed wires emergency line: 202-872-3432

Pepco’s Storm Map
Dominion’s Storm Map

Call 311 for downed trees in the public space, 911 if it’s causing bigger problems

For any issues involving catch-basin flooding or backup, call DC Water at 202-612-3400.

Phone, Cable, & Internet Service

RCN Cable, Phone and Internet: call 1-800-746-4726
Comcast Cable, Phone and Internet: call 1-800-934-6489
Verizon Phone and Internet: call 1-800-837-4966
Direct TV: Call 1-800-531-5000 or visit their website
Dish Network: Call 1-800-333-3474 or visit their website.


Be Ready for Sandy

Weather Underground's View at 11am Sunday

We’re inside the window for Hurricane Sandy, and the storm’s earliest effects are now arriving in the DC Metro area. Winds are picking up now, and the first rains are already in Ocean City and are moving their way westward into the Metro area. We’ll see this continue over the next several hours. The storm is expected to bring with it high winds (50mph+) and a lot of rain (3-8″ is forecast) and that’s going to mean power outages across the metro area as trees come down.  Here’s a few things you should be prepared for:

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News, Talkin' Transit

Ax grinding 101: Parkmobile goes full Dodd-Frank

DCist and GGW have both weighed in on today’s Parkmobile email blaming an increase in their service costs on Dodd-Frank. If you’re scratching your head about what a law largely addressing Wall Street behavior has to do with your parking meters then you’re a pretty reasonable person.

Here’s the answer as it’s grounded in reality, though you need to follow a chain of events: one of the few Dodd-Frank aspects that came close to directly impacting consumers was an extension of authority to the Federal Reserve to make sure that credit card swipe fees were “reasonable.” The swipe fee is the base charge the merchant pays when you buy something by credit or debit card – you swipe and the merchant pays a base processing fee plus a percentage of the purchase.

If you’re buying a flat-screen tv then the percentage, called a discount rate and usually in the 2% range, is the big chunk. If you’re selling gum or slurpees, however, then the approximately $0.30 swipe fee is the big deal. But you as a merchant suck it up and accept it because consumers are paying more and more with plastic even while the credit card companies spend millions to run commercial that portray people paying with cash as slow line-clogging buffoons.

However one thing that has stuck in a lot of people’s craws for a long time was the banks continuing to charge swipe fees on debit card purchases that were just as high as the credit cards. They felt that since the bank had instant access to the consumer’s balance and were at a lower risk for fraudulent charges that they should see some decrease in their side of the equation too. Card processors said no thanks, we kinda like this billions-a-year with low-risk thing.

Schumer’s Durbin’s amendment was just one more salvo in this war which has included lawsuits and other sabre-rattling. The Fed was now in the business of setting a price and they settled on around $0.21 though there’s some additional complexity.

The common-sense reaction to this, then, would be “then why didn’t my Parkmobile costs go DOWN?” Well, because debit cards aren’t the only part of the equation. The banks liked their profit margins, so when that revenue stream dried up they took two actions – they cut back on debit card rewards programs and they raised prices in some other areas… including costs related to charge cards.

You can argue whether or not it’s a good thing that those other areas had been cheaper when money was being made off the debit card users. Certainly if your style of credit use meant you are now paying more then it seems like not such a great move. But the bottom line is this: Parkmobile is raising costs because, presumably, the bottom line went up.

So if you get to here and ask “then why didn’t Parkmobile just say that the fee was going up because credit card processing costs were going up rather than mentioning Dodd-Frank?” Well, that’s where the ax grinding part comes in. When you’re a company under a larger umbrella that works in areas of “product management, domestic and cross-border expansion, government relations and the capital market” and your founding partners have been in bed with Goldman Sachs and other private equity firms… then maybe you’ve got larger feelings about financial regulation than just what a credit card charge costs. So why not stir the pot and point some fingers at something you’re not all that fond of anyway?

UPDATE 26 October 4:23p – I mistakenly identified this as an amendment to Dodd-Frank originated by Schumer; that’s incorrect, it was Durbin.


City Paper/Kojo Nnamdi Poll revelatory on District’s politics

citypaperCity Paper Imagery used without permission, but with fervent hopes of fair use holding up in court

This morning’s Washington City Paper/WAMU Kojo Nnamdi Show poll results post is phenomenally interesting for its snapshot of DC. Broad-based and far-reaching, it breaks down the results of the city-wide poll of 1,222 likely voters with a variability of +/- 2.8%. Included are issues of citywide import like open primaries, taxi and sedan service, red light and speed cameras, a new D.C. United stadium, and the various city-wide elections that are up for grabs this November.

Give it a gander, it’s worth your time to look at the politics of the district. Some highlights:

Of all the Wards, Ward 5 is most likely (26%) to tell you things have gotten significantly better since 2010. Ward 4 leads the people who said it’s going the opposite direction at 28%.

Those responding that the District should not have its own representation (just 6% of respondents) come from the city’s toniest wards: Ward 3 (40%) and Ward 6 (29%).

Wards 4, 5 and 6 are in a near-tie for the most civically active, measured by neighborhood meeting attendance. Ward 3 trails that category by a large margin.

It’s not often we get such a good window into the politics of the District. Relish this one. Nice job, WCP and Kojo!

All Politics is Local, News

James O’Keefe’s new shitshow, coming to Arlington

YouTube Preview Image

Here ya go – the next “expose” from Project Veritas. This time it’s hidden video of Patrick Moran on hidden camera as a fellow talks about his idea to fraudulently vote on behalf of no-show registered voters in Virginia.

I’ve never been a big fan of Jim Moran’s and now it seems his kid doesn’t have the best judgment either. It seems pretty clear to me that he’s just trying not to alienate an existing volunteer – he doesn’t play along, repeatedly goads the guy into putting his efforts into real get out the vote efforts, etc. Like most of the O’Keefe products it seems to rely 90% on prodding people who have to glad-hand others and who are reluctant to firmly call someone out on their BS.

All that doesn’t make it into the final video, of course – what fun would that be? You’d take time away from the boogah-boogah about how Pat Moran is a paid individual on Jim Moran’s re-election team!

As someone who just went through election worker training in Arlington last night, let me help you out of your freak-out, Veritas-heads. The new ID requirements ARE discussed at length in training and, in fact, a volunteer commented that she thought we could expect to be jerked around by someone looking to game the system. General Registrar Linda Lindberg shrugged and said “probably.”

She and everyone else is pretty unconcerned about it, and you know why? Because the process is pretty well-defined and documented. In my 100 page training packet there’s a two page spread with a grid laying out what is and is not valid ID under the laws – there’s two, actually, since both Federal and State apply under different circumstances. If someone comes in and is insisting they vote even though their documentation doesn’t match up right… we let them. On a special provisional ballot which doesn’t get counted unless they come up with valid ID which they produce at the Office of Elections in the next few days.

Moran knows all this, of course, and knows that someone serious about perpetrating fraud doesn’t need to interrupt a man’s pursuit of his bagel to ask how he might generate paper with the help of “a computer guy” and go cast fake votes. He’s just identified this dude as a useful idiot and was too reluctant to say “that’s stupid and illegal” when he should have.

UPDATE 6:29p – WUSA is reporting that Patrick Moran has resigned.

Food and Drink, Life in the Capital, News, The Daily Feed

The Bar @ The Daily Grill

Photo courtesy of Mr. T in DC
Rocket Bar Flickr Meetup
courtesy of Mr. T in DC

This week The Daily Grill, a Dupont/Golden Triangle lunch time locale and one of numerous area chain restaurants, unveiled a new bar and menu. While the layout of the bar, a U-shape, hasn’t changed, there’s been a dramatic change in decor that has erased the bordering on diner-ish feel, and replaced it with a more relaxed, yet upscale setting.

Beverage wise they’ve kept the delicious Wild Berry Mojito and expanded their on-tap offerings with brews from Shipyard and 21st Amendment, all a good decision if you ask me. Their revamped bar food menu mirrors the style and flavoring you’ll get at the restaurant. The only drawback to the menu is that many of the options are messy and not as finger-friendly as one would like bar food to be.

Another facet of the redesign that may be problematic is the limited space between the bar and the surrounding tables, which makes traffic flow extremely difficult when the bar gets crowded. All in all, the new Daily Grill bar and their happy hour is definitely worth a try if you work or live in the area.

News, The Daily Feed

Poker on the Potomac?

Photo courtesy of Play Among Friends
Paf Poker Challenge Final Table 2012
courtesy of Play Among Friends

National Harbor and MGM Casinos have today announced plans to bring a 4,000 slot, 250 table games luxury casino to Prince George’s County in the shadow of the Wilson Bridge. This is by no means a done deal, thanks to the gaming laws of the State of Maryland. While the plan represents a $1B investment in the National Harbor area, it hinges on an act of the Maryland legislatures, which must approve all casino developments including the new slot online casino.

Maryland currently has five casinos, the newest is Maryland Live! which was packing in the visitors during its opening weekend recently.  The Post’s Michael Rosenwald recently visited the newly opened venue amid the outlets and declared it “the strangest location in America for a large gambling venue,” between the TJ Maxx and the Burlington Coat Factory. National Harbor, which already sports a number of destination restaurants and convention opportunities, might be a better fit for the glitz and glamor of the James Bond casino image, with its Baccarat tables and snappy croupiers.

The table games would likely be a bigger draw for the DC area than the video slots. DC’s poker options were, for a long time, limited to jaunts up, at least until the HUD for PokerStars came in to the picture. the coast to Atlantic City’s shabby and sad poker parlors.

Within the last few years, West Virginia’s expanded table games options made a card game a closer possibility by enabling the online gaming at, but anyone who’s sat in that traffic knows better than to want to head out there for the weekend. Having a good close option for a card game might be a solid boost for the National Harbor development, but there are many opponents to gambling in the Maryland legislature, so look for this one to be a hard sell for a Fall emergency session of the Maryland body.


Kwame Brown resigns, faces felony bank fraud charge

Photo courtesy of dbking
courtesy of dbking

Seen above being sworn in by Attorney General Eric Holder, today City Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown tendered his resignation facing felony bank fraud charges brought by the Attorney General’s office. In a document released this afternoon by the Justice Department, Brown is charged with inflating his income on unsecured loans worth tens of thousands of dollars, in order to purchase a boat (ironically named Bullet Proof).

After an afternoon of activity at the Wilson Building – including a broken door in Brown’s office, damaged when NBC 4’s Tom Sherwood jammed his foot in it attempting to get comment – Brown tendered his resignation to Council Chair Pro Tempore Mary Cheh (Ward 3).

So what happens now? Well, Brown will be in Court on Friday to answer these charges, and likely plead guilty. Mary Cheh will be Acting Chair of the Council until Wednesday when the council will elect an Interim Chair from the five At-Large council members.  The Chairman’s position requires no outside employment, which would likely mean that David Catania and Michael A. Brown would not pursue it, leaving Vincent Orange and Phil Mendelson to pursue the interim appointment.

This is a tricky situation for the Council. District Curmudgeon has a pretty detailed dissection of the potentialities. It’s entirely possible that the District will be facing a November election – coincident with Presidential election – for a more permanent replacement for Kwame Brown. Should that person be Orange or Mendelson, we would be looking at yet another special election thereafter to fill their then-vacant At-Large seat.

Confused yet? Reads a bit like the playoff scenarios from Baseketball?

Yeah, us too.

News, The Daily Feed, Ward 5

McDuffie claims Ward 5 seat by wide margin

Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5 Councilmember-elect

Photo by Franklin Garcia, used with permission

In the special election held to replace disgraced former council member Harry Thomas Jr., the field was wide and deep with suitors for the position. Five strong candidates and seven additional candidates spent the last three months wooing voters from Bloomingdale to North Michigan Park to Fort Lincoln and Trinidad in hopes of garnering the wide open council. In the end it was Stronghold’s Kenyan McDuffie that captured the most votes – by a large margin – and will become Ward 5’s new voice on the Council of the District of Columbia at the end of the month when the election is certified.

McDuffie, 36, had worked previously for the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety’s office after an unsuccessful 2010 bid. McDuffie’s biography also includes stints working for the Civil Rights Division at Department of Justice, as well as at the Prince George’s County Prosecutor’s office, and as a letter carrier with the US Postal Service.

The margin of victory was wide – enough for McDuffie to claim a mandate – capturing more than 44% of the vote. Turnout, while fairly low at 15%, was significantly better than many analysts had predicted.  McDuffie’s final total of over 4,000 votes was double his nearest competitor – Fort Lincoln’s Delano Hunter.  North Michigan Park’s Frank Wilds finished in 3rd place with 15% of the vote.  

McDuffie’s victory broke out to outright wins in the western part of the ward – Bloomingdale and Eckington – as well as the central four precincts in Brookland and Michigan Park, and didn’t come in lower than 2nd in any of the precincts he didn’t take. McDuffie made the rounds of the news outlets today, including Kojo Nnamdi, Fox 5, Bruce DePuyt and others. The election results will be certified by May 30th, and McDuffie would like be sworn in just after the budget passes the council.

News, The Daily Feed, ward 8

Marion Barry: “Too Many Asians” own businesses

Photo courtesy of tbridge
Marion Barry
courtesy of tbridge

According to WAMU’s Elahe Izadi, on Election night, Marion Barry made disparaging remarks about Asian-owned businesses in his ward, and put emphasis on replacing them with African-American-owned businesses:

“We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops. They ought to go, I’ll just say that right now, you know,” he told a group of supporters on Tuesday. “But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”

The remarks are confounding to just about everyone. Mediaite has picked up comments from the Mayor and the President of the Pan Asian Chamber of Commerce.

Remember, DC: this guy’s here until he’s dead. And probably another term after that.

News, The Daily Feed

NASA sending two T-38s over DC tomorrow


photo courtesy of NASA

If you’re out for coffee tomorrow morning, and spot two low-flying jets over DC, don’t panic. These aren’t the scrambled fighter jets, they’re two NASA T-38 training aircraft doing a milk run over the city to get photography and train some additional pilots.  They’ll be flying fairly low – 1,500 feet – and should be pretty unmistakable in NASA white.

The T-38s carry two astronauts, and have a maximum speed of Mach 1.3, and can reach into the stratosphere, with a service ceiling at 50,000 feet.