Archive for the ‘Capitol Hill’ Category

Thirsty on Capitol Hill


Thirst quenched yet?

Walking through Capitol Hill, I spied this occupied front stoop. If you look closely, that’s 10 water jugs.

10 five-gallon water jugs or 50 gallons of water drunk.

50 gallons would be 100 days of water at an average of two quarts/liters of water per day. Or 50 if it were two, maybe 30 if it were three or more. Regardless, they would need to be a thirsty household.

Or is this the sign of a mystery “water club” I’ve heard government workers share?

What’s your theory?

New Victims of Communism Memorial attracts clergy, segways

communism1.jpg

On Wednesday, President Bush blocked traffic for a while to dedicate DC’s latest memorial. This one is for Victims of Communism. The statue is a replica of the one they used in Tiananmen Square. As memorials go, it’s not too bad, it’s relatively classy and it doesn’t dominate the skyline like DC’s last memorial, the gargantuanly hideous Air Force Memorial. It’s also nice to see a memorial dedicated to peace and not war or hubris (like a lot of other monuments in DC). You can find it at the intersection of Mass Ave, New Jersey Ave, and G St, a couple of blocks from Union Station. I can only assume they picked that location because it offers a great backdrop of a burned out, abandoned building to remind us of how destitute Communist economies can be (see second photo). The statue is also staring directly at Georgetown Law School, probably to represent how Victims of Communism can look to the laws of the United States for protection from being tortured and/or being held in secret prisons with no charges.
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19 Robberies in 1st District since Friday

robberies.png Since Friday, there have been 19 robberies in the 1st Police District, which covers the area around the Capitol, and down to the Anacostia, and as far north as the junction of New York and Florida Avenues. The 19 robberies over the weekend add up to 60 robberies, without gun, and 19 armed robberies, with gun, a 20% increase from the same time last year. And while violent crime, as a whole, is down just about a percent, without the rash of robberies over the weekend, we might be looking at something like a 20% decrease in crime across the First District.

So, what happened this past week to spike a 20% increase in robberies? We can’t blame this strictly on youth violence, we can’t blame it on much of anything, really, it seems. So, what’s with the spike in crime? If you can find the hints in the Crime Map and tell me what you’re seeing that I’m not, say so in the comments.

Eastern Market Blog

We Will Rebuild Eastern Market: When the tears have dried and the embers cooled, what comes next? Rebuilding, of course! New weblog Save Eastern Market is keeping track of progress on restoration, with photos and vendor updates. The Before and After cleanup comparison photos are a bright beacon of radiant hope.

(Props to Annie Earley for the photo of Eastern Market vendors, and thanks to Terrapin for the tip.)

Update: Tom links to more opportunities to support the resurrection of Eastern Market.

Capitol Power Plant

I’ve seen those old smokestacks near the Capitol on my walks around the Hill before, but I had no idea what they were; this WaPo article resolves my puzzlement: “Reliance on Coal Sullies ‘Green the Capitol’ Effort.” It’s the Capitol Power Plant, which, despite the “power” in its name, does not actually supply electricity, but rather provides heated and chilled water to the Capitol Complex via [guess what] a series of tubes.

Apparently the Plant burns coal to do its dirty work, releasing clouds of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon “We Call it Life” dioxide into the District’s air for our better health. Not just that, but the underground network of pipes which carry their fluids to the Capitol’s climate-control capillaries are lined with asbestos. This also explains that serious walled-off digging area AOC has going in the parking lot between E Street and Mass Ave NE near Union Station, the one with the big sign warning of a respiratory health hazard from asbestos.

Senators Byrd (D-WV) and McConnell (R-KY) appear to have a bipartisan effort going to keep the plant burning coal so it can pump more dirt into our air. Perhaps their constituents currently residing in DC might care to send them a note?

(Gracias to Grundlepuck for the squirrel/smokestack photo. Also note that the Capitol Power Plant entry on Wikipedia could use some extra meat on its stubby bones.)

High Contrast Spring

As I exited from the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge, bound for Constitution, I had the most glorious view over the massed cars waiting for the light. The stark black tree trunks and branches against the seafoam green baby leaves is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a long time. The return of real Spring, and with it the sunshine that my body just craves, is the most relieving thing to a sufferer of seasonal depression. So, despite being late, tired, stuck in traffic and sneezing like it’s my job, the return of high-contrast Spring to the DC area is most definitely welcome.

Webb Staffer Arrested for Gun at Capitol

One of Virginia Senator Jim Webb’s staffers was arrested today for trying to take a loaded firearm into the Capitol. Relax, relax, it looks like he wasn’t going to go all postal on someone, it looks more likely that the staffer was carrying the Senator’s gun, which was left loaded and inside his personal effects, unbeknownst to the aide. There’s a lot of guessing as to what really happened right now, but overall, it just looks like an embarassing faux pas, not something really important or sinister.

Recommence ignoring the Hill in 5…4…3…

One Step Closer to a Vote?

One of the things that DC loves to snark about is our lack of representation in the hallowed halls of Congress. While some sarcastically claim that every rep is their rep, that may be coming to an end. A Bill to give DC a voting seat in the House of Representatives (along with another seat for Utah) made it past the House Judiciary Committee this afternoon. Though, it still has a long way to go, including a vote of the whole House of Reps, the Senate, the likely veto by President Bush and the votes again to overturn the Veto, not to mention numerous legal challenges related to the Constitutionality of the Law, but it’s at least a small step to making Eleanor Holmes Norton into more than just a delegate. DCist’s Martin Austermuhle has been following the hearings and has a great summary of today’s action.

I think I’d like to see the District get a seat in the House, a full vote on matters legislatural, but the thought of “Senator Marion Barry” is enough to keep me from getting behind the effort full steam.

Scooter Takes One For The Team

Every city has its own version of the Fall Guy. In Sports right now, it’s Barry Bonds’ trainer, now serving jailtime to protect Barry Bonds, for reasons no one can fathom. In Art, it might be the curator of the Getty, taking the fall for the art world’s bizarre problems of dealing with stolen paintings. Today in Politics, it’s Scooter Libby, who’s fallen on his own sword, and is now found guilty on four of the five counts, and likely faces 18 months to 3 years in federal pound me in the ass prison for something resembling a coverup of who leaked Valerie Plame’s identity to reporters. Some say he’s covering for Karl Rove. Some say he’s covering for Dick Cheney. Either way, he faces DC’s most unlikely outcome: jailtime for breaking the laws here, not making them.

DC Doesn’t “Get” Technology.

It’s so frustrating to hear about all the anti-technologists on the Hill. People who won’t read email, or deal with documents on servers, or hell, even congressional offices that don’t understand the concept of good, or in some cases any passwords. I’m both relieved to see, and dismayed by, Washington’s cold reception to Google’s Eric Schmidt who gave a talk at the Willard the other day about technology. I was relieved to see that even the big C-level executives from the West Coast get the same blank stare that I do, and dismayed by the area’s complete ineptitude when it comes to matters technical.

New York City understands the value of technology. San Francisco and LA understand technology and use it to power their economy. In DC, we just gape at it, like a bunch of slack-jawed yokels, and then once it’s clear we don’t understand it, we busy ourselves with trying to legislate it to death.

One of the morons in attendance at the Willard the other day asked Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, the most powerful company on the internet, about his fellow morons’ email habits concerning the Reply All button.

Christ on a pogo-stick, man, are you a complete fool?

DC needs technology, it needs networks and telephony, fibre rings and spam filtering, packet routing and VOIP, but it treats it as something it can’t comprehend and then just ignores. Well done, DC, you just invited one of the most popular companies in the world to show up here, only to be ignored and laughed at. Bravo.

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