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17 Feb 2012 16:06


U.S.: Three things you should know about the U.S. Capitol bombing suspect

  • one Amine el-Khalifi, a 29-year-old originally from Morocco, has lived in the U.S. since he was 16 and has long outstayed his visa, meaning he’s living in the U.S. illegally.
  • two Khalifi was captured in a year-long sting, thinking he was being assisted by al-Qaeda, when he was actually being helped by FBI. Sound familiar? It’s happened before.
  • three Though Khalifi was arrested near the U.S. Capitol, officials say that “at no time was the public or congressional community in any danger.” Whew. source
  • » A couple quick thoughts: We’ve seen a number of these “honeypot”-style terror schemes in the past year or two, and the end result always makes us wonder — were they actual threats, or were they simply tricked into looking threatening? If it’s the former, then perhaps this was a good idea. If it’s the latter … the tactics seem questionable. As journalists, we of course have to take them seriously whenever they crop up. But second-guessing is certainly fair. (Note: We’ll post updates on this topic here.)

19 Jan 2012 14:25


U.S.: DC Metro workers accused of robbing fare machines to buy lottery tickets

  • Stealing to gamble: Two DC-area Metro workers have been arrested, accused of a scheme to steal coins from fare machines and spend them on lottery tickets. Federal prosecutors allege the duo, John Haile and Horace McDade, defrauded the machines while on shift together; the investigation was launched after a source reported that Haile would regularly buy lottery tickets using bags of $500 or so, all in coins. Is it that hard to find a Coinstar, man? Haile’s records, and this is the crazy part, show $150,000 in unexplained income since 2008. As lottery officials told the authorities, to secure even just the winnings confirmed to them, he had to have been buying “an extraordinary amount of tickets.” (Photo by Eric Fisher) source

05 Jan 2012 22:53


Politics: Kennedy comeback? A new generation plans a Congressional run

  • A family legacy continues: A Kennedy has held a high position of power in D.C for 63 years – until the passing of Edward Kennedy in 2009 and the retirement of his son Patrick in 2011. Joseph P. Kennedy III has decided to run for Congress to fill the gap. The Spanish-speaking Stanford and Harvard Law graduate hopes to fill the Congressional seat of Barney Frank. He’ll have some big shoes to fill, in more ways than one. source

05 Jun 2011 00:59


U.S.: The guy who designed DC’s Metro map preps for a redesign

  • A classic design gets a refresh: Nearly 40 years ago, graphic designer Lance Wyman designed a map that’s come to define a city. The result — a map of a fairly self-contained Metro system — has survived numerous station changes and many iterations to remain a truly useful piece of work. With upcoming changes to the Metro system that will make the map significantly more complicated, Wyman’s getting another chance to work on the design, which needs room for Dulles Airport, a new color and a ton of names that have gotten unwieldy over the years (see “U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo“). And people are clamoring for a redesign — seriously, check out this contest right here. If you’re wondering if the 73-year-old Wyman is getting nervous about all this, the answer is yes. This is his ’68 Comeback Special here. (photo by The Washington Post’s Jennifer S. Altman; see a gallery here) source

29 Apr 2011 12:18


Politics: Is the White House Correspondents’ Dinner out of control?

  • The correspondents’ association dinner was a minor annoyance for years, when it was a ‘nerd prom’ for journalists and a few minor celebrities. But, as with so much else in this town, the event has spun out of control. Now, awash in lobbyist and corporate money, it is another display of Washington’s excesses.
  • The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank • Arguing that the White House Correspondents’ Dinner — an event once noted for its low-key approach and minor celebrity host — now has dozens of parties around the event, is flooded with money from lobbyist types, and has numerous celebrities looking to hob-nob with both politicians and the media. While Milbank doesn’t criticize its peers for the individual parties or any small aspect of the whole, he says that “the cumulative effect is icky. With the proliferation of A-list parties and the infusion of corporate and lobbyist cash, Washington journalists give Americans the impression we have shed our professional detachment and are aspiring to be like the celebrities and power players we cover.” And he’s right. That’s dangerous. source

10 Apr 2011 21:38


Politics: Eleanor Holmes Norton: Screwing over DC “frosting” on budget deal

  • Having given the Republicans more than I am sure any Democrat in the House ever envisioned, it was surely unnecessary to pile on the District of Columbia and give them some frosting on what was already a very big cake. All along they said it is about ‘spending, spending, spending.’ How does the District of Columbia get into that equation?
  • DC’s House Delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton • Offering a pretty blunt take on the DC-damaging riders in the latest budget bill. One blocks the city from using its own money to fund abortions. The other allows funding for controversial school vouchers — without any consultation from local officials. (Vince Gray probably knows more than Boehner does on this; just a thought.) These are policies the city doesn’t want, but have to take because they’re technically part of the federal government. Norton has the most demeaning job in Congress. She has to basically take and take all these awful policies that get shoved down her constituents’ residents’ throats, and all she can give back is her opinion. She doesn’t even have a horse to jockey in the matter. source

07 Apr 2011 17:05


Politics: Eleanor Holmes Norton tells Congress to go to hell

  • We are absolutely outraged. This is the functional equivalent of bombing innocent civilians. It’s time that the District of Columbia told the Congress to go straight to hell.
  • Washington D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton • Expressing her rage at a rider on the latest bill proposed by Republicans in the negotiations to prevent a government shutdown. The rider would prohibit the District of Columbia from spending money on abortion services for low-income women. While this sort of rhetoric is very rankling to anybody with a differing opinion, the extent to which federal control encroaches on Washington D.C. is a touchy subject beyond simply the realm of abortion. The city belongs to no state, and thus has no voting rights (and thus no representation) in Congress. Holmes Norton is a “Delegate,” not a “Representative” — while her job description is roughly the same, she explicitly cannot cast any votes. While there’s always something said for keeping one’s cool, it’s not hard to see why she’s up in arms about this. source

23 Feb 2011 16:51


Biz: She’s dead, Jim: Local news site lays off most of its staff

  • before While Allbritton announced that they would be de-emphasizing the TBD brand, which was considered a future journalism model, they made it seem like there wouldn’t be any layoffs – just refocusing.
  • now TBD, a DC-based local news site, will now lose its sports and news coverage and become an entertainment site. Oh yeah, 12 people are getting laid off. So, yes, the TV guys did win. source
  • » A message to TBD’s staff: We hear you’ll be able to work on your publication for the next few weeks as its model changes – a temporary respite from unemployment. As someone who’s been in that position before, I can tell you it’s a bit of a dead-man-walking situation. Sigh. These things are never fun. Make the best of them.

03 Feb 2011 22:11


Politics: Redskins owner Dan Snyder learns about Streisand Effect

  • After another losing season in which your recently acquired $78 million over-the-hill quarterback got benched and your corpulent $100 million defensive lineman simply refused to play, it is heartening to see you focusing your resources on trying to punish a newspaper. Yes, it may be a dreadfully arrogant and stupid thing to do. But the point is, you seem to want to do it. And believe me, what makes you happy makes me happy.
  • Washington Post columnist (and supergenius) Gene Weingarten • Writing about Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s decision to sue the Washington City Paper for publishing this article about him. The piece, a mostly-hilarious thing that suggests severe mismanagement of a beloved franchise, angered Snyder so much that he fought for the firing of the person who wrote the article about him. So… just to be clear, guys, Snyder just sued an alt-weekly for writing an article about him nobody outside of DC would’ve seen, or anyone inside of DC would have remembered, had he just taken it for what it was – an attempt to poke fun at an unpopular sports personality. Streisand effect, 1, Dan Snyder, 0.  source

27 Jan 2011 10:32


U.S.: By the way, New Yorkers, DC-area residents feel your pain, too

  • 422,000 without power (but not us) source
  • » We’re going to work today, but … many federal employees are going into work late, if at all in the wake of the wet, slushy mess which crimped our collective commutes home last night. We’d complain more, but we have power and were able to make it to Panera this morning.