Archive for the ‘Life in the Capitol’ Category

Inauguration 2009: DC Bars Go 24/7

Inauguration week just got a bit crazier.

I heard on MSNBC today that the D.C. council has passed “emergency legislation” that will allow bars, restaurants, and nightclubs to serve alcohol to 5 A.M. The legislation will also allow these places to stay open starting Saturday January 17th until the morning after the big day- January 20th.

Personally I am very excited over the news. Councilmen that voted against in the 9-4 decision cited a suspicion that many will be drunk at 5 A.M.- and I fully agree. I do suspect that many will now be partying all night long, and I intend to be one of them.

The move clearly benefits these establishments which can now generate revue for a longer period of time, however it is a wise move to try and accommodate the big inflow of tourists that will be in town that weekend.

While I personally still don’t know how I will ring in the new President, the increased hours have enticed me to make it a weekend I won’t forget… or maybe remember…

What do you think about the new law? Good move? Bad move? Great move?

Random Bag Searches on Metro

Metro’s new Red and White Signs indicating you are in a “we can look in your bags” zone.

According to The Washington Post, Metro announced it intends to conduct random bag inspections of passengers using the system.  Five to eight Metro Police officers (along with a bomb sniffing dog) are now fully trained and ready to show up and start looking in the bags of Metro Rail and Bus users.  The checks won’t happen at all stations or happen all the time but only “when transit police determine that circumstances- such as an elevated threat level- warrant heightened vigilance.”

I, for one, have some serious concerns about this program.  Truthfully, my thoughts on all security check-points can be mostly summed up by George Carlin’s discussion of “Airport Security” (Lots of foul language by the way)-but I’m not a complete idiot.  I realize that we live in a post-9/11 world and that there are people who would like to do some serious damage to our Nation’s Capitol.  But:

  • There are only eight officers ready to go.   Even assuming one officer can handle a station on their own (which is doubtful) that’s 8 rail stations/Bus stops out of…well… a whole lot more than eight (there are a 12,216 bus stops and 86 stations.  You do the math.  I can’t).  How effective could this possibly be?
  • Let’s pretend someone wanted to blow something up and they were going to use Metro to deliver their explosive device.  Let’s even pretend that Metro knows what this person wants to blow up and where they are likely to get on the train.  The real pain about Metro for these inspections?  It’s all connected.  If the target is the Pentagon and the bomber lives near me between the Airport and Pentagon City Mall-It’s just as easy to walk to Crystal City as it is the Pentagon City Metro.  It wouldn’t be much more difficult to take a bus down to Braddock Rd. and get on the train down there.  So if you’ve got eight people at the gates of even three Metro stops-they can’t get to what is already on the Metro from a point further out.
  • Inspections only concern those people who actually ride the Metro.  You can (and should be able to) refuse the bag search so long as you don’t mind not getting on the train/bus.  Well at least at that station anyway…or at least until Metro Police leave.  They won’t detain anyone who refuses a bag check either-which might come in handy if you happen to be carrying anything else that you wouldn’t want Metro to find-not necessarily just a bomb.  (You know in case you’re like me and smuggle breakfast on to the train each morning…)
  • I’m not a big believer in the 5-10 second bag search by the way.  Even at baseball games (where at least they search everyone and not just every Nth person a la the Metro system) they do this kind of half assed “make sure nothing is obvious” search.  Maybe I don’t understand the mind or a terrorist/violent person but if I’m planning on perpetrating some violence on Metro I think I would take the time to hide my bomb a bit better than to stick it at the bottom of my briefcase.
  • Inconvenience.  I’m willing to forgive a lot of things, including some hassle at the train station, if it will make DC safer for everyone.  I just don’t really think this will-so the idea of me getting stuck behind the tourist family taking 20 bags to Reagan to fly home for no good reason really…ugh.

This of course is just one view.  Maybe I’m missing something?  Agree?  Disagree?  What do you think about Metro’s new Bag Searching Policy?

What Does Washington DC Mean To You?

My pal Molly at the Washington Post recently told me about an essay contest the paper is having. Between now through the end of 2008, the paper wants to know what you think it means to be a Washingtonian. The entries should be no more than 300 words (so this isn’t your college term paper) and the winning entries get $100. You can get complete details at their web site.

As one of many that enjoy writing about The District I encourage everyone to express their viewpoint- after seeing that it’s only a short essay I may even pen an entry- I’m sure my 11th grade English professor would be proud!

Adams Morgan – DC’s Gotham City?

In regards to the title of this post- Gotham City was the first thing I thought of when I thought of a place with a lot of crime. Thanks to Domino’s Pizza for characterizing the city as such in those Dark Knight commercials.

Ok so any who Fritz Hahn over at the Washington Post just wrote about the rising crime in the popular night time destination. Reading the post made me connect the dots on a lot of stories I’ve heard in the local news. Fellow bloggers are also taking notice.

Hahn makes a really good point that I wanted to emphasize- it appears that a lot of the incidents are happening not on the heavily traveled 18th and Columbia streets- but the shady side streets that surround the area. It only makes sense, unless you are Pacman Jones, there probably won’t be anything happening around bouncers, secruity, and crowds of drunken people. Now I meant robberies when I write this- I’m sure lots of things are happening around drunk people, especially in Adams Morgan.

Adams Morgan has never been known for its saftey record- but I’m not saying stay away from the place as we all begin the long Columbus Day weekend. I’m just saying use your head and common sense and be safe if you do decided to walk down 18th street this weekend.

Pickup DC Style Ultimate Frisbee, Pickup Friends

Courtesy of Flickr User Kyle Walton

Courtesy of Flickr User Kyle Walton

I just found this ad on the Washington, DC Craigslist:

We have two long running pickup ultimate frisbee games that are looking for a few new players. A number of the regular players have recently headed off to new and exciting lives involving international travel, marriage, grad school or longrunning saturday morning hangovers, so a few new regulars would be welcome.

The pickup games are ALL skill level and very laid back. We have everyone from overweight shorter guys to incredibly sneaky and fast women to 6 foot 5 former college athletes and total novices. We welcome all ages and genders, and we generally don’t keep score. The spirit of ultimate frisbee is collegial and fun, and we try to make sure that everyone has a good time. Its just good exercise and a ton of fun.

I’ve seen these guys playing on the Mall before and it always looks like they are having a great time. Stop by and get some frisbee in. You might just see me there one of these days.

Saturday Game Location
Saturdays from 11am to 1pm
In the Field of Garisson Elementary School on the Corner of S and 11th NW-two blocks from the U street metro

Tuesday Game Location
Tuesdays from 6-8 pm
On the Mall in front of smithsonian air and Space museum. Corner of 7th and Jefferson SW

Today’s Blatant Opinion Piece: Fannie Mae’s Impact On DC

To the public, major mortgage companies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had mixed records. On one hand, the past few months have been marred with reports that reckless lending to unqualified borrowers has left the company in shambles, with all borrowers and investors affected.

And on the other hand, Washington, DC knows first hand that the mortgagors were involved in a great deal of charity work, perhaps despite their inability to afford it in the last couple months. According to an NBC 4 story, the women’s homeless shelter N Street Village is now worried that their donations could end now that their biggest supporter, Fannie Mae, is controlled by the federal government.

Their concerns are legitimate. The federal government has already said that the investors are out of luck, that dividends will no longer be paid, so where is room for charity? Maybe the Feds will feel bad and put N Street Village on “welfare.” But it is a real shame that the government did not let events with Fannie Mae play out.

Without a government takeover of Fannie Mae, the company would have been forced to make some really difficult decisions- they would have had no choice but to slash their mortgage load to disinclude unqualified borrowers. They would have had no choice but to tell the world that borrowing does not make you rich enough to buy a McMansion, it makes you poorer.

If unable to fix their horrendous business mistakes, they would have gone out of business, and new entrepreneurs would have filled their gap in the market, likely with a better game plan, and the need to reach out to the community with charity like Fannie Mae.

But instead, look what has happened. Our federal government has grown by leaps and bounds, with mortgaging soon to be as poorly run as DMV. Instead, every charity that Fannie Mae supported may be out of luck. And instead, all the taxpayers and not the businessmen at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will be financially responsible for almost $5 trillion in faulty mortgages.

9/12 In DC: Sketchy Packages, Metro Delays, Education Spending

  • This morning the busy Orange and Blue lines were shut down for more than an hour and a half after a suspicious package was reported to Metro officials. Though the all-clear was given at 7am, delays have persisted throughout the day.
  • Expect delays on the Metro system to only become more numerous this weekend, as the Yellow Line bridge over the Potomac River will be closed for inspection and maintenance. Though all riders are encouraged by Metro to use Blue Line and the fancy extra trains it has been given to handle the demand, Yellow Line will be available throughout the weekend to handle local traffic from Huntington to Arlington Cemetery.
  • Mayor Adrian Fenty just unveiled a new $1.3 billion dollar plan to upgrade DC’s schools. The plan is aimed at improving natural lighting, air quality, and acoustics. Since that costs more than a billion dollars to do. “Researchers” say that the improvements could lift test scores, I say that the $1.3 billion dollars would be better spent trying to increase DC’s appalling! 56% graduation rate.

Remembering September 11th

It’s hard to believe it’s already been seven years since the horrific attacks of 9/11/01. Today Washington observed a moment of silence at 8:46 am, the moment the first airplane smashed into the World Trade Center.

9/11 Memorial At The Pentagon

9/11 Memorial At The Pentagon

A ceremony was held closer to home this morning, where at the Pentagon former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush spoke to dedicate a new memorial to the victims of September 11th. The memorial site contains 184 benches, one for each casualty at the Pentagon on 9/11. The memorial site contains 184 benches, one for each casualty at the Pentagon on 9/11. All over the internet today, people are marking their Twitters and Facebook statuses with memories of what they were doing and who they were with during the tragedy that changed the world. All we can do is remember those who sacrificed their lives on that terrible day, and carry their legacy into the future.


Via the WashCycle, word is that BikeDC is a go!  At the end of September, a 17-(car-free)mile ride through Washington, DC.  See the sights of Embassy Row, Cathedral, and Capitol Hill, and take a spin with the local cycling team at RFK.    Check it out!

Buy it Fresh

baby tomatoes @ dupont farmer’s market
Originally uploaded by gingher

Discouraged by the slim pickings at your local Safeway and Giant? Worried about FDA warnings about Salmonella contamination of fruits and vegetables? Don’t want to spend more than $1 per orange at Whole Foods?

Support local growers and buy your produce at one of DC’s many farmer’s markets this weekend.

Saturday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Adam’s Morgan
18th Street and Columbia Road, NW

Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Chevy Chase
Broad Road and Northampton Street, NW

Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Heritage Park
Division Avenue and Foote Streets, NE

Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
U Street
14th and U Streets, NW

Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Mount Pleasant
Lamont Park

Saturday and Sunday 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
Eastern Market
7th and C Streets, SE

Sunday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Dupont Circle
20th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NW

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