Category Archive 'Washington DC'
14 Jun 2014

Land of the Free

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gaypride4

Like the rest of us, Ol’ Remus is disgusted.

Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, in Lakewood, Colorado who violated the law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple was directed to change his store policies immediately and force his staff to attend the training sessions. For the next two years, Phillips will also be required to submit quarterly reports to the commission to confirm that he has not turned away customers based on their sexual orientation, says Todd Starnes in this article, Baker forced to make gay wedding cakes, undergo sensitivity training, after losing lawsuit, at Fox News.

    Shortly after Dykes on Bikes rumble across the starting line of the Capital Pride parade in Dupont Circle on Saturday, an expected 150,000 spectators should witness something never before seen on an American city street — a U.S. Armed Forces color guard marching alongside rainbow flags in a gay pride parade.

Aaron Davis at washingtonpost.com

Remus says – Pointedly humiliating the armed forces is now a career credit in DC.

15 May 2013

Politico: DC Turning Against Obama

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A triple helping of scandals and five years of arrogance on the part of the president and administration are coming together to mark a turning point in relations between this administration and the Washington political establishment. The special protection that Barack Obama has enjoyed for five years may be coming to an end.

Politico:

The town is turning on President Obama — and this is very bad news for this White House.

Republicans have waited five years for the moment to put the screws to Obama — and they have one-third of all congressional committees on the case now. Establishment Democrats, never big fans of this president to begin with, are starting to speak out. And reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration.

Buy-in from all three D.C. stakeholders is an essential ingredient for a good old-fashioned Washington pile-on — so get ready for bad stories and public scolding to pile up.

Vernon Jordan, a close adviser to President Bill Clinton through his darkest days, told us: “It’s never all right if you’re the president. There is no smooth sailing. So now he has the turbulence, and this is the ultimate test of his leadership.” Jordan says Obama needs to do something dramatic on the IRS, and quick: “He needs to fire somebody. He needs action, not conversation.”

Obama’s aloof mien and holier-than-thou rhetoric have left him with little reservoir of good will, even among Democrats. And the press, after years of being accused of being soft on Obama while being berated by West Wing aides on matters big and small, now has every incentive to be as ruthless as can be.

This White House’s instinctive petulance, arrogance and defensiveness have all worked to isolate Obama at a time when he most needs a support system. “It feel like they don’t know what they’re here to do,” a former senior Obama administration official said. “When there’s no narrative, stuff like this consumes you.”

Republican outrage is predictable, maybe even manageable. Democratic outrage is not.

Read the whole thing.

24 Sep 2012

Good Times in the Capital

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Banquet at President Snow’s Palace

The United States is experiencing the worst economic times since the Great Depression, but there is one region of the country that has been enjoying boom times all its own.

Matt Yglesias:

It used to seem shocking that five of the ten richest counties in the United States were part of the DC Metropolitan Statistical Area, but the 2011 American Community Survey numbers released yesterday show that the DC suburbs now account for seven of the ten richest counties in America.

Loudon, Fairfax, and Arlington in Virginia lead the way followed by Hunterdon County, NJ then Howard County in Maryland; Somerset, NJ; Prince William and Fauquier in Virginia; Douglas, CO; and Montgomery County, MD.

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Ross Douthat, sounding unusually conservative, noted yesterday that the comparative advantage in affluence of America’s capital these days seemed to resemble that of the capital of a particular dystopian fantasy novel recently made into a successful film, and remarked that, if relations between the provinces and the capital have not yet completely reached the point depicted in The Hunger Games, their differences in prosperity have exactly the same moral basis.

If you don’t mind congested roads and insanely competitive child rearing, all this growth is good news for those of us inside the Beltway bubble. But is it good for America? After all, like the ruthless Capital in “The Hunger Games,” the wealth of Washington is ultimately extracted from taxpayers more than it is earned. And over the last five years especially, D.C.’s gains have coincided with the country’s losses.

There aren’t tributes from Michigan and New Mexico fighting to the death in Dupont Circle just yet. But it doesn’t seem like a sign of national health that America’s political capital is suddenly richer than our capitals of manufacturing and technology and finance, or that our leaders are more insulated than ever from the trends buffeting the people they’re supposed to serve. …

In reality, our government isn’t running trillion-dollar deficits because we’re letting the working class get away with not paying its fair share. We’re running those deficits because too many powerful interest groups have a stake in making sure the party doesn’t stop.

When you look around the richest precincts of today’s Washington, you don’t see a city running on paternalism or dependency. You see a city running on exploitation.

Read the whole thing.

01 Nov 2010

The Smug Rally

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Last weekend’s Stewart/Colbert Rally was described by liberal Atlantic blogger Joshua Green as “heavily ironic [and] slackerish.”

Rallygoers’ main object of contempt–mild, detached contempt–was Tea Party, not GOP

Signs a lot cleverer than your usual rally

But, with exceptions, usually less so than authors seemed to think.

As this derisive video made by Americans for Prosperity demonstrates.

Hat tip to Moe Lane.

30 Oct 2010

From Today’s “Restore Sanity” Rally

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Newsbusters attended.

08 Jul 2010

A Different Perspective

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Marine resting in Iraq

Veteran Marine officer Peter Somerville (who served in the Middle East) offers some perspective on the recent weather.

Yesterday’s High Temps:
Washington, DC: 102 degrees
29 Palms, CA: 106 degrees
Ramadi, Iraq: 117 degrees
Kandahar, Afghanistan: 107 degrees

Only one of those numbers represents a heat wave.

10 Feb 2010

Megan McArdle Blogs the Snowpocalypse

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It’s entertaining to read MM exercising her wit on real life as opposed to politics and economics for a change.

[I]n DC, only the main streets have been plowed. And by “plowed”, I mean that one meager lane has been cleared, so that even major arteries like New York Avenue frequently narrow to one lane. The side streets have been turned into defacto one-way streets–except that no one knows which way. The result is a lot like driving on a country road in Ireland, where you are apt to come upon someone going the other way, and then spend precious moments staring at each other until one party reluctantly backs up to a wider spot.

The difference is that Irish drivers are somewhat familiar with the conditions. DC today is the province of taxi drivers and SUV owners who seem simultaneously confused and overconfident. As I eased down the street in our little Japanese sedan, I quickly surmised that none of the drivers in the bite-sized tanks surrounding me had ever seen snow before. Three blocks later I revised that opinion: I don’t think any of them had ever seen cars before. Certainly not the ones they were operating. …

By the time I finally got to the grocery store, I discovered the scene many of you have already viewed on cable television. There was virtually no meat. There were no eggs–I thought I was missing them, until I realized that the egg section comprised the rows and rows of empty shelves stretching beneath one lonely carton of egg beaters. The frozen pizzas were pretty well decimated. Oddly, all of the shredded cheese and sliced cheese was gone, but there was plenty of the stuff in blocks. And I scored the last three containers of Yoplait Light. Oh, and the last four twelve-packs of regular diet coke. Sorry, Safeway shoppers–but I’m told that Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper. More than what, I couldn’t say.

I also noticed what Brian Caplan has remarked upon: the store brand frozen foods were pretty much still stocked at normal levels. This, even though Safeway’s store brands tend to be private label versions of top premium brands–and more than occasionally, are better than anything else on offer. I helped myself freely to their quite tasty rising crust pizza, but anyone who wanted a slab of Red Baron’s tomato-flavored cardboard was out of luck.

Naturally, both the fresh and frozen vegetable sections were still stocked to overflowing. I spent quite a bit of time last night making backup lists of vegetables I might buy, since I naturally expected that the produce would be picked over pretty well by now. Silly Megan. Apparently, when DC gets snowed in, it wants to do so with diet soda, Ritz crackers, six pounds of shredded cheddar, and a lifetime supply of stew meat. Me, I’m making slow cooker spaghetti sauce tomorrow.

When I got to the store, the lines looked reasonable. But by well before 9 am, they were stretching towards the back of the store. God knows what was left for the people who put off their shopping until noon.

I understand that it doesn’t necessarily make sense for DC to maintain plentiful snow moving equipment, when these types of heavy snowfalls only occur about once every seven years. But it seems to me we could try to maintain some psychological readiness. If this is how we react to a snow storm, what are we going to do when the Russkis invade?

13 Sep 2009

Estimated Two Million Demonstrate in DC

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Yesterday’s mass protest against federal spending was estimated by the comparatively neutral Daily Mail as made up of “up to two million.”* US Parks and Recreation estimated 1.5 million.

All this was not even front page news for the New York Times, for whom the numbers involved dwindled to mere “thousands.” The Washington Post more generously acknowledged “tens of thousands.”

The astonishing demonstration of massive popular opposition to socialism naturally proved a problem for the left’s commentariat. The preferred discounting technique was demonstrated by Think Progress: point to Confederate flags, identify expressions of opposition to Barack Obama as “racism,” describe open expressions of conservatism as “offensive” and “radical.”

Glenn Greenwald at Salon dismisses all opposition to Obama as illegitimate, coming from people with heretical and unacceptible views, worthy only of contempt and dismissal.

What I find amusing is the leftist Greenwald’s claim to proprietorship of “the country’s core founding values.” Since when was the left in favor of the framer’s republic of federalism, individual rights, personal responsibility, and limited government?

Nothing that the GOP is doing to Obama should be the slightest bit surprising because this is the true face of the American Right — and that’s been true for a very long time now. It didn’t just become true in the last few months or in the last two years. Recent months is just the time period when the media began noticing and acknowledging what they are: a pack of crazed, primitive radicals who don’t really believe in the country’s core founding values and don’t merely disagree with, but contest the legitimacy of, any elected political officials who aren’t part of their movement. Before the last year or so, the media pretended that this was a serious, adult, substantive political movement, but it wasn’t any truer then than it is now. All one has to do is review their behavior during the Clinton presidency — to say nothing of the Bush years — to see that none of this is remotely new. Nothing they’re doing to Obama is a break from their past behavior; it’s just a natural and totally predictable continuation of it.

UPDATE 23 Feb 2010: The Daily Mail, at some point subsequent to this posting, revised the estimate in its article downward to “As many as one million people.” The original estimated figure was also cited here.

ABC News also denied having made a 1M to 1.5M estimate.

Michelle Malkin sheds more light on the numbers controversy.

10 Sep 2009

Ground Broken for New $3.4 Billion Homeland Security Campus

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Ezra Pound at St. Elizabeth’s

Politicians gloated as ground was broken and a great river of federal dollars began flowing for the construction of the home of yet another massive federal bureaucracy on the 176 acre hilltop site of what used to be Washington, D.C.’s insane asylum.

What could be more appropriate? The next directive requiring the confiscation of pocket combs and cavity searches of blue-haired grannies can be written in the same location that not so long ago used to be a padded cell.

The federal government locked Ezra Pound away in the same asylum in lieu of prosecuting him for treason for siding with Benito Mussolini during WWII. Perhaps the unruly spirit of the modernist poet will continue to preside over Homeland Security’s new cubicles, resulting in the Canto replacing the memorandum and translations from the Chinese or Occitan filling out the press releases.

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Washington Post
:

Councilman Marion Barry was late, and Mayor Adrian Fenty even later, but both arrived in time to grab a golden shovel and turn a little earth on the lush green lawn of St. Elizabeths Hospital. And with that, ground was officially broken for the $3.4 billion headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, a vast new federal complex that will be built on the quiet hilltop with spectacular views where once stood the city’s main hospital for the mentally ill. …

Barry thanked Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who helped create the grab-bag department of security-related agencies after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. …

Lieberman hailed the largest federal project built in the region since the Pentagon. And Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the new campus, which will be home to 14,000 employees when finished in 2016, will help her fledgling agency grow into a more cohesive entity with a unified culture.

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Doug Powers puts the cost into perspective.

It wasn’t long ago that the Department of Homeland Security was just a fascist glimmer in George W. Bush’s eye that subsequently went on to become a symbol of one rogue and illegitimate administration’s gross abuse of civil liberties.

But now a new sheriff is in town, and a new enemy is in the cross-hairs that needs to be aggressively confronted, so it’s worth an even heavier investment of taxpayer dollars.

That and they needed the meeting space.

Assuming Napolitano holds a meeting every single weekday over the next 10 years, this new complex is only costing $1.3 million per meeting. Not bad by government standards — but we’ll round that up to $2 million per meeting on the assumption that they’ll buy bagels.

19 Jul 2009

Covert Intelligence: In Trouble on the Potomac

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Richard A. Clarke, in the Wall Street Journal, discusses, from a professional’s perspective, the political wars over US Intelligence Operations, describing recent events as “part of a 60-year historical pattern of manic swings of opinion in Washington about the efficacy of covert action.”

Most Americans might not think it was a big secret that CIA agents were trying to kill al Qaeda members, but in the weird world of Washington intelligence, it was.

For over a decade, in three different presidencies, there has been an ongoing debate about whether and how to kill al Qaeda terrorists and what part of the U.S. government should have the mission. The 9-11 Commission report details how President Clinton decided that killing Osama bin Laden and his supporters was not a violation of the ban on assassinations, how he authorized attacks, and how the CIA failed successfully to use that authority. Several media accounts this week indicate that after 9-11, the CIA put together a more serious effort to take out terrorists, but that the program was variously activated, deactivated, and put on hold by the four directors the CIA has had since 9-11. Senior CIA officers have been reluctant for years to create hit squads, fearing that a wave of CIA assassinations of terrorists would provoke a major al Qaeda retaliation against U.S. intelligence officers worldwide. They have also, with good reason, doubted the ability of their own agency to successfully kill the right people and then escape. Some have pointed to the Israeli terrorist targeting effort as evidence that such killings can be counter-productive, providing the terrorist groups with propaganda victories. Israeli experts are themselves split on the effectiveness of their killings, but it does seem likely that it has made it harder for terrorist leaders to operate.

It is puzzling that some people object to U.S. personnel killing terrorists with sniper rifles or car bombs, but have little apparent problem with CIA and Department of Defense personnel tracking down specific terrorist leaders with Predator drones and then killing those leaders with the unmanned aircraft’s Hellfire missiles. The terrorist groups probably see little difference in how we choose to kill their leaders.

Clarke is perfectly right. Outside the nation’s capital and beyond the circles of the chattering class elite, no one in America would ever understand why there is (supposedly) some kind of a legal and moral problem with US covert intelligence killing al Qaeda terrorists. You need elite education, real sophistication, and a habit of reading important publications to understand these things.

25 May 2009

National Memorial Day Parade Today

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The Americans Veterans Center in Arlington has brought to my attention that this Monday, May 25, 2009 The National Memorial Day Parade will start at 2:00PM on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th streets NW. The parade has been an annual event since it was revived in 2005 after a 70 year hiatus in the nation’s capital.

This year’s program advises:

It is the largest Memorial Day Celebration in America and will have more the 250,000 in attendance honoring those who have served and sacrificed. There will be marching bands, veterans units, and uniformed military personnel from around the country. The parade will also feature a special tribute to the U.S. Navy, and include Navy vet and Oscar winner Ernest Borgnine, fellow actors and veterans’ supporters Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna, and music star Lee Greenwood. Also participating is Edith Shain, the nurse from the famous World War II “V-J Day in Times Square” kiss photograph.

National Memorial Day Parade web-site

8:56 video of a previous year’s parade.

03 Jan 2009

Not Enough Media Bias in Washington For Him

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Josh Marshall complains that representatives of the MSM in the nation’s Capitol are insufficiently on his side.

Like many others, I’ve been saying this for years. So I’m surprised to be surprised. But the journalistic establishment in Washington, whether it’s the Post or the Politico or much of the rest of the journalistic apparatus in the city, is essentially Republican in character — not necessarily in terms of individual voting habits, though you’d be surprised, but in fundamental outlook about whose opinions matter and how government functions, which is what really counts. And you can see that resurfacing with increasing clarity just in that last week.

Personally, I think the Washington Post would need to be blowing up US troops with IEDs to be more any more anti-Bush Administration than it is. I’d be curious to see Josh Marshall try expanding and justifying this curious claim to victimhood.

20 Jul 2008

DC Denies Heller Gun Permit

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WUSA9.com reports that the District of Columbia is insolently evading compliance with the Supreme Court decision affirming an individual right to bear arms based on the Second Amendment by playing games with definitions.

Dick Heller is the man who brought the lawsuit against the District’s 32-year-old ban on handguns. He was among the first in line Thursday morning to apply for a handgun permit. But when he tried to register his semi-automatic weapon, he says he was rejected. He says his gun has seven bullet clip. Heller says the City Council legislation allows weapons with fewer than eleven bullets in the clip. A spokesman for the DC Police says the gun was a bottom-loading weapon, and according to their interpretation, all bottom-loading guns are outlawed because they are grouped with machine guns.

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Apparently, Dick Heller has started filing petition signatures to get on the ballot to run for Eleanor Holmes Norton’s seat in the House of Representatives on the Libertarian Party ticket.

DC Wire:

Heller, Duggan reports, was at the doors at 6:30 this morning. He did not bring his weapon with him as D.C. regulations require, however. He did raise his frustrations with the District’s continued ban on semiautomatic weapons. It’s that issue that city officials and gun rights advocates both say is likely to land the city back in court at some point.

But we’re burying the real news here. It seems that Heller may not have brought his gun with him to register, but he was armed with a load of candidate petitions, Duggan said.

Seems that Heller is planning to run for the House seat currently held by Eleanor Holmes Norton. Heller is seeking signatures to be on the ballot as a libertarian candidate.

A man identifiying himself as J. Bradley Jansen, who said he was Heller’s campaign manager, said Heller must get 3,000 signatures and has until the end of August to collect them.

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Dick Heller registering his H&R revolver

Heller came back on Friday and registered a Harrington & Richardson Longhorn nine-shot .22 revolver. WaPo

DC residents can theoretically, therefore, still arm themselves with the top-loading Mauser C-96 Broomhandle semiautomatic pistol, the same gun Winston Churchill used on the dervishes at the battle of Omdurman in 1898.

The one in this 1:06 video is chambered in 9mm Parabellum. The original 7.63 Mauser cartridge is much hotter.

26 Jun 2008

Supreme Court Affirms Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms

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As predicted, Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, which was naturally decided by Justice Anthony Kennedy in his capacity as decisive swing vote.

On first glance, I would say that the Court’s ruling primarily represents a strong rebuke to intellectually farcical sophistry and the kinds of whimsical and creative legal analysis which divorce themselves from the Constitution’s historical background, the expressed views and intentions of the framers, commentaries on the Constitution, and the entirety of history before 1932.

Justice Scalia writes at length, and with ill-concealed contempt, for efforts to eliminate the individual right to keep and bear arms by facile manipulation of the prefatory “well-regulated militia” clause, happily following the jurisprudential practice of recent decades of including a thorough and comprehensive survey of the relevant history.

And he concludes:

There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both the text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.

But, no sooner does Justice Scalia arrive at his bold conclusion than he begins retreating from its implications and striving actively to limit its practical consequences.

Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. …

Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of smallarms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.

In the end, the ruling merely affirms the existence of the individual right to keep and bears arms, and strikes down the District of Columbia’s ban on handgun possession in the home and its requirement that lawful firearms kept in a home be inoperable. It specifically declines to address licensing requirements (which Heller failed to challenge). Insofar as the Court affirms a right of self defense, it has done so only with respect to one’s home.

The moderation of Scalia’s opinion is likely to make its power as a decision stronger rather than weaker though, and District of Columbia v. Heller signals a major reversal in the direction of Constitutional Law at the Supreme Court level.

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