Archive for the ‘Capitol Hill’ Category

State of the Union 2007 Around the Capitol

I walked over to the Capitol tonight to check out what photographable stuff was going on in the area in the way of protest actions. Word was there’d be a big “State of Emergency” thingy, but when I got to the Grant Memorial, this is what I found:

Protest Panorama

Protestors Protestor - WMD Protestor Protestor I HAS A PITCHFORK Support Our Troops

I estimate about 25 people, some with signs, while on the Memorial steps someone in a Bush/Devil costume waved a plastic pitchfork as he (she?) pantomimed to live audio of the SOTU address. More photos here. I also got some pretty Capitol Dome pictures. Aren’t they pretty?

Get Ready for a Fare Hike

Metromap.png With Metro’s giant budget gap looming, and the budget meeting to discuss new fare and service options this evening, commuters and other Metro riders ought to get ready for some pain in the wallet. Metro’s fares have remained constaint since 2003, and are now facing a significant increase.

What’s good? SmarTrip users won’t pay quite as much an increase as those who use paper tickets, with paper ticket fares going up by $0.65 to $1.75, while SmarTrip fares will go up only $0.15 to $0.45.

What’s a little weird? That the downtown core stations will get an extra $0.35 tacked on to the fare. From Courthouse to L’Enfant Plaza on the Orange Line, Pentagon to L’Enfant Plaza on the Blue Line, Pentagon to Mt. Vernon Square on the Yellow, Mt. Vernon Square to Waterfront on the Green Line and from Dupont Circle to Union Station, is the new zone (see also the graphic here) that will receive an additional $0.35 congestion charge.

The new “max fares” under the new fare regime would be $4.75 for SmarTrip customers and $6 for paper ticket customers. Also on the block are some of the weekend and holiday services, so you may end up waiting longer and longer for trains on the weekends and on certain holidays. Metro won’t be changing service for holidays like Independence Day because they’re not completely mental. As many as twelve bus-lines may also face service cutbacks or outright route cancellations. Fares for the bus may go up by $0.05 if WMATA’s plan goes into effect.

So, fares are on the rise, and services are going to be cutback. Is this too much of a fare hike? Too much of a service cutback for too much a service cut? What say you?

graphic shamelessly cropped and borrowed from this Washington Post Story, with kudos to the graphics team there and apologies because any graphic I’d have done would’ve involved stick figures or badly drawn metro maps.

Washington, DC’s 1st Gift to the World – The Smithsonian Institution

Smithsonian Castle

Originally uploaded by m-t-z.

Throughout the past week, we’ve talked about six other gifts that the DC Area has given to the world. If you’ve not yet read them, we’ve archived them here for you. They include DC’s incredible music scene, to the cherry blossoms, to Marion S. Barry himself. DC’s gifts are legion, and by no means is our list canonical. We seek to highlight some of DC’s unique spots and moments, and this last gift is chief amongst our list.

DC’s Smithsonian Institution, established under a gift from British scientist James Smithson in 1846, was chartered to be “an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” And so it has been, since that day. Smithson’s gift of over 100,000 gold sovereigns (which was melted into $500,000 of gold) has turned the organization into a monument to human knowledge and will. That gift was the source of significant controversy in the legislature here in DC, with many senators concerned what it would mean to have such a gift given to the nation at large. Some contended to accept it would violate states rights. Others still suggested it would cause other common men and women to do the same, forcing the US to act as executor. Those efforts, though, were overridden by the strong desire for a national university, and so from that was born the Smithsonian Institution under a board of trustees.

The Smithsonian now controls 19 museums outright, and has a partnership with 144 more. 24 million people every year visit the institutions that surround our national mall. The Air & Space Museum and its expansion near Dulles house such aviation achievements as the SR-71 Blackbird, the Space Shuttle Enterprise, the Wright Flyer and one of the Lunar Lander Modules. The Freer, Sackler and Hirshhorn Galleries and Museums, as well as the National Portrait Gallery, contain this nation’s artistic treasures and highlights, as well as visiting exhibits from all over the world. The incredible Museum of Natural History includes such wonders as the Hope Diamond.

The Smithsonian Institution’s indelible mark upon American History in culture is on par with any political event, with any natural event, with any city in this country’s borders. The Smithsonian is almost a rite of passage amongst America’s youth who come to Washington to see it and be educated by it on an annual basis, and no trip to Washington would be complete without seeing it.

Thank you, James Smithson, for your incredible gift.

Tags: Metblogs7Gifts 7Gifts Metroblogging7Gifts

Jim Moran: Lockstep

Jim Moran, Congresscritter for the 8th District of Virginia and Alexandria resident. God what a toolbag this guy is. The Post Express Blog has all the sordid details on his career, except for the MBNA loan he took conveniently around the time of Bankruptcy reform bills. Assaulted an eight year old black kid? Check. Two jilted girlfriends in a fight in front of his Alexandria home? Check. More Pork Spending? He’s gonna earmark the shit out of appropriations bills!

Gotta love scumbag local politicians. I was really disappointed he survived his primary challenge in 2004, and deeply disappointed no one would stand up to this worthless thug.

Part of the Process

Monday night, I sat in the Arlington County Library Auditorium and took the two hour class on how to be an election worker. I learned how to read the pollbook, how to identify a legitimate ID (hint, your utility bill can work, in a pinch.) and where all the checks and balances in the process lie. I even learned that if you’re not on the pollbook, you can still vote a provisional ballot, which get examined the next day. I learned how to set up a touchscreen voting machine, even if I don’t think they’re all that secure, or all that reliable.

Overall, it’s an intense process. What gives me faith in our system is the process sheets that I was given. The documentation for an election is incredible. Signatures. Checks and Balances. Cards. People. Criteria. Benefit of the Doubt. The process behind elections is what make them great, not whether or not you’re voting on a touchscreen or on a paper ballot, or yanking on a lever.

Become part of the process. Your faith in elections is faith in people, and working on election day is part of that process.

Politicians and Their Porn

With all the foofaraw attached to the Virginia Senate Race, I didn’t think it could get weirder. Then It Did (thanks Wonkette!). Senator Allen’s campaign brought up Jim Webb’s written fiction novel. Which, of course, drove Slate to drudge up all the pornographic writings of previous and current politicians. The best part? It’s a Quiz! Match the written samples with the politician that crafted them. Featured are Ken Starr, William Cohen, Barbara Boxer and William Buckley. Below the cut are some of the choicest samples. Who knew our leadership had such dirty minds!

8 Days Left. Who Are You (Not) Going To Miss?

With just 8 days left until the Midterm Election of 2006, most of those who are up for reelection have log since abandoned the District for their home turf, where they’re stumping and fundraising and speaking and putting up attack and defense ads on television. It’s likely that several incumbents might find themselves short of a seat when the returns are all in.

Tell me, gang, who will you miss when they’re gone? Who won’t you miss at all?

I know I won’t miss Mark Foley, and I’m fairly sure the dearly departed Tom Delay won’t be on my “man, I wish he was here!” tally, and as dire as Santorum’s race looks, I don’t think I’ll miss him much, either. I’d be interested to see how Michael Steele would do in the Senate, and of course, there’s always the battle royale between sexist Jim Webb and racist George Allen…

Tell us your faves and your passes. Who you do you want in? Who do you want out?


Here’s a fun tidbit: Wonkette and The DCeiver claim POTUS himself, the Big Bush went to the Thomas Circle CVS on Friday morning.

I don’t know why he went to CVS, but I do know why he went to that CVS.

See, if he went to the CVS at Columbia Heights, this truck would be blocking his swift egress – note it’s even parked next to the oft ignored No Parking signs.

And we all know the CVS at 15th and K isn’t any better. He’d be stuck in this mess, like every week before.

Sticker Shock

Don’t you just love when you know where people stand on an issue.

Warner Says No

Well, it appears that former Virginia Governor and NoVA Business Magnate Mark Warner is saying no to a presidential run in 2008. What is it about smart people not wanting to seek that high office? Oh right, would it be the constant digging into their personal life? The absolute media scrutiny of every move you make, right down to how you wash your hands after you take a whiz? Yeah, I wouldn’t want that job either.

Neither, apparently, did his wife: “People who know Warner say his wife and daughters have never been eager to see him run for the presidency. His wife, Lisa Collis, was not a prominent Virginia First Lady and often remarked to people close to her that she did not like the political limelight.” My translation, for the media-impaired: Ms. Collis said to her husband that if he ran, not only would she tell him to take a hike, she’d wait and do it after their tenure in the white house, forcing him through four or eight cold years in the white house bedroom.

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