Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Washington DC One Of The Worst Cities For Moms?

In honor of Mother’s Day The Daily Beast (home of an extensive blogger roster including my republican dream girl Meghan McCain,) published a list of the Best and Worst cities for mothers, can you guess where Washington DC ended up in the ranking of the top 200 cities? Try 7th to last- right above LA.

The list took into account mothers per capital; quality of child care, schools, and maternity care; and an all-important metric: per capita searches on Citysearch.com for “Mother’s Day Brunch,” and “Hair Salon.”

That last criteria is where they lost me but take a lot at the DC compared to the top ranked city (Bosie, ID) and see for yourself:

#193, Washington, DC

Moms-per-capita: 186

Child care: 162

Schools: 5 out of 10

Maternity care: 35

Pampering: 48

#1, Boise, ID

Moms-per-capita: 61 out of 200

Child care: 20 out of 200

Schools: 7 out of 10

Maternity care: 63 of out 200

Pampering: 86 out of 200

With cities like Coral Springs, FL and Elk Grove, CA topping the list I wonder if this ranking is skewed towards smaller cities but then again these cities ranked high in child care and pampering. Again I don’t know about that last metric…

Other notable cities on the list: Arlington, VA (#37); Alexandria, VA (#127); Baltimore, MD (#130)- DC what do you think? Is it that bad out there for a mother and family in The District?

In The News: Buried Dog Turns Out To Be Balloon

I give the Washington Post credit for occasionally posting lighter stories going on around the DC area- like this one that caught my eye:

A resident reported that a white dog appeared to be stuck in heavy snow in a yard; it had not moved in some time, and the caller feared for the animal’s safety. An officer entered the yard and discovered that the “dog” was a metalized nylon balloon with the face of a white dog on it. The balloon had become lodged in the snow.

At least the resident meant well.

Bad Luck: Woman Accepts Mountain-Side Proposal Then Falls Off Mountain

Photo courtesy Flickr user QuiteLucid

The headline says it all: “Fall on Trail in Md. Is a Scary Climax To Proposal Outing.”

The Washington Post story instantly got a click when I saw it in my reader.

Last Sunday a couple went on a hike on the Billy Goat Trail near Great Falls, MD.  While hiking, the guy took the moment to be all romantic and pop the question, to which the girl swoons and accepts. Shortly after the woman falls down a rock face and had to be air-lifted off the mountain.

Luckily the injuries were not life threatening, and according to officials there was no alcohol involved and the couple appeared to be experienced hikers. What could of been a tragic tale goes down as a very odd news item.

You can check out The Post story which includes video of the rescue, maybe next time you should just stick to a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant.

DC Video: "Auto Tune The News" Makes Politics Easier To Hear

I took a look at Anne Schroeder Mullins’ post on Auto Tune In The News, a series of remixed news videos set to a hip-hop beat and run through a vocoder Auto-Tune . The result is Joe Biden sounding less like Vice-President, and more like Kanye West. It’s really amazing. Throw in some crazy costumes and you have an entertaining way to enjoy the recent news stories.

The videos are done by The Gregory Brothers, an all-family musical group based in Brooklyn.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Psfn6iOfS8[/youtube]

I didn’t know that Katie Couric had skillz.

Thoughts On The Holocaust Memorial Museum Shooting

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Today James W. von Brunn will be charged for the murder of Stephen T. Johns, a 39 year old security guard that he shot when we walked into the Holocaust Memorial Museum with a rifle and opened fire. Johns was critically wounded before two other guards returned fire on the 88 year old von Brunn, a known White supremacist. Both men were transported to George Washington University Hospital Center where Johns later died. von Brunn remains at GW Hospital in critical condition. von Brunn made his views known on the website holywesternempire.org, which has since been taken down. However I visited the latest snapshot of the site on the Internet Archive and I was disgusted. This man is clearly full of the hate and ignorance that the Holocaust Memorial is fighting as pointed out in today’s Washington Post editorial. I fully agree- the Holocaust Memorial is a a place for us to remember and experience a dark time in our history, so that future generations will not forget what took place and hopefully will learn and grow to become a better society.

Everybody here at Metblogs would like to send our condolences and thoughts out to the family of Stephen T. Johns and I know I speak for everyone when I say what happened yesterday was tragic. Johns gave his life in order to protect the thousands of others in that building that walked away frightened but unharmed. The Museum is closed today in honor of Johns but I cannot wait for it to re-open so it can continue it’s mission and show that in the face of adversity the Museum will continue to serve it’s mission as a place of memorial but also education.

Before I end with some quick thoughts I encourage everyone to read Franco Beans short but thoughtful take on the events

On the Death Penalty…

One of the first reactions I got was a question from my co-worker (who’s from Massachusetts), “does Washington DC have the death penalty?”

I know where he was going with that, I checked and DC doesn’t have it. I don’t know if I want to start thinking about whether or not he deserves to die- maybe things will sort themselves out before I have to think about such a complicated subject.

On More Irony…

Others have already pointed out the irony that a reading of Anne & Emmett, a play about a fictional conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, was scheduled to happen at the museum. Tonight happens to be the closing night of the Washington Jewish Music Festival. A time of cultural celebration stands to end on a somber note.

On Police Jurisdiction…

Clinton Yates made a comment on Twitter on the number of law enforcement agencies involved in the ordeal. Wackenhut provides security for the Holocaust Museum while DC Police & Park Police responded to the incident. FBI also sent a unit in to aid in the investigation. So who’s in charge? The fight for jurisdiction sounds like a plotline from 24 or a scene from any police flick.

On the Uber Coverage…

Wonkette made a comment that the Washington Post’s coverage of the shooting made it the most exciting thing to happen, “since the midnight launch of Windows 95.” True WP is all over this story with live blogs and Twitter almost blew up (I got the fail whale during lunch) but that’s the kind of coverage we should expect now in the age of instant publishing/access to information. I will applaud The Post’s speedy reporting on the shooter’s neighbors impression of him. The post had a story up two hours after the incident showing that ol’ fashion reporting can still be done rather quickly.

Daily DC Item: Disney To Build Resort At National Harbor

 Kevin Clark -- The Washington Post

Molly Gannon over at The Washington Post tipped us off on a Post exclusive on Disney’s purchase of 15 acres at the National Harbor in PG county.

Does this mean there’s going to be a Disneyworld: DC Edition? Chances are no- they are planning to build a hotel resort that will probably compete with the other hotels on the developing complex.

The Harbour is quickly becoming a go-to destination for conferences and events, my roommate went to the Big Night DC this past winter and she told me that a good time was had by all.

I’m a little curious to see how Disney will pull off the resort, we all know they can do good cruises and theme parks- how would a Disney resort play-out?

F-16 Flyovers This Morning And Wednesday Night

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In an effort avoid another low-flying plane SNAFU, word is out that the North American Aerospace Defense Command will be conducting low altitude fly overs where F-16 fighter jets, Cessna prop planes, and helicopters will be involved in an exercise over downtown. The Post has the brief announcement, which notes that the activities will be taking place between midnight Monday to 6 AM. The exercise will repeat on Tuesday midnight to 6 AM Wednesday. For all you early bird don’t panic, it’s just a drill.

Daily DC Item: DC Doesn’t Have Swine Flu Yet, Busy Exporting Measles

"Oink" courtesy Flickr user RougeAngel

Walking around in the nice weather I noticed that my eyes were a tad itchy and my nose got a tad runny. Thank goodness they were simply my allergies acting up and none of the scary diseases on the loose right now.

Last week measles has been spreading around the area and the city has been working hard to keep it under control. So far it appears the best we could do is to direct it towards another state. I’m not a big fan of Missouri anyways. In all seriousness, you should make sure you weren’t in one of the at-risk areas and keep an eye out if you do develop symptoms (rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, or red, watery eyes.) Hmmm I hope I don’t have measles (luckily I’ve had my MMR.)

Of course just before we can squash one outbreak, we are busy preparing for another. The hot topic I’ve heard around friends this weekend was Swine Flu. It’s spread to the US after an outbreak in Mexico and now DC is taking measures to prepare themselves. Luckily no cases have been reported in the area so far.

Amtrak Revises Photo Policy

Union Station Interior

In recent months, you may have read about photographers who have reported being harassed by Amtrak police/personnel, and sometimes even having their photos destroyed, while trying to work inside picturesque Union Station in DC.  Well, Photo District News just tweeted that Amtrak (in cooperation with the National Press Photographers’ Association [NPPA]) has finally revamped their photography policy and published new guidelines for everyone to follow, nationwide.  Hooray!

Best of all in my book, is the news that “[a]n important aspect of the new photo guideline says that while nothing in the new photo policy limits or expands the authority of Amtrak police to investigate what a photographer is doing, ‘the taking of photographs and/or video may not, in and of itself, rise to the level of reasonable suspicion or probable cause.’”  Many of us have seen innocent tourists get harassed around town, and it is nice to see someone acknowledge that tourists like to, you know, take pictures.

Now, Union Station (as well as many other stations and rights-of-way around the country) is operated, in part, by a private management company….which has been the source of much of the confusion inside Union Station.    And while Amtrak is trying to help us out, it looks like that confusion might continue.   Though Jones Lang LaSalle, the management company for the commercial section of the station, does have a published form to request Union Station as a film or photo production site (for movies or professional photo shoots), there’s still no stated policy about amateur photography inside the managed portion of the building….though the JLL website does contain a photo gallery.   Confusing!

As the NPPA’s counsel stated, “My only caution is that while Amtrak operates nationwide many of its stations and right-of-ways throughout the country are operated by an array of property management companies…Those companies may or may not adopt these guidelines. Unfortunately the public has no way of knowing that when all they see is the familiar Amtrak logo. I still strongly believe that regardless of the ownership public areas are considered a public forum where first amendment protections for photography would apply.”

So, shutterbugs, be on the lookout for zealous JLL security personnel when trying to shoot inside and around the station…and let us know if you notice any changes with the implementation of the new policy!

* Photo used under a Creative Commons License by flickr user morning_rumtea

Smoke on your pipe, and put that in

Last Cigarette image by Flickr user justj0000lie

Wow, Virginia.  I never thought I’d see the day.  The legislature a)actually stopped arguing long enough to pass a bill and b) it was a smoking ban!

The new law was passed Thursday by surprisingly wide margins and, once signed by Governor Tim Kaine, will take effect December 1.  Bars and restaurants will no longer be able to allow smoking, unless they are “private clubs” or construct separately-ventilated enclosed rooms for smokers.  Some outdoor patios will also be smoker-friendly.

Smoking bans have been rejected numerous times over the past ten years or so by the state legislature.  But now Virginia, home of Philip Morris (Marlboro Country!), where tobacco leaves are painted on the state Capitol and the DMV offers tobacco heritage license plates, will be the 25th state (including the District) to enact a ban in bars and restaurants.

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