Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts

January 22, 2017

Bush Fights at The Inauguration Obama Remains Cool

Only looking at the funny, stupidly dumb and politicly astute as more political as ever can we survive when things happen in the next four years that have never happened before. We will see how good this nation is or what a worldly monster it has been since its inception. Looking at this picture will undoubtedly make some anti war Americans wish for the times of Bush’s wars. However we will see. Hopefully we will be gracious but still not taken as fools when we are told 3 million is less than 0. We wont argue at the impossible but just laugh to shame the offender selling the silly numbers.


Obama plays it cool as Bush struggled with a sheet of plastic (Picture: Reuters)

January 18, 2017

Trump Thinks Rules Don’t Apply but MonicaCrowley, Washington Said Otherwise



With Breanne Deppisch
THE BIG IDEA: Donald Trump and his team believe that the rules and norms of Washington do not apply to them. They are wrong, and yesterday brought a significant proof point.
Washington veterans marvel at how much Trump has been able to get away with because he just doesn’t seem to care what anyone else thinks. The president-elect has disregarded the long-standing tradition that there should only be one president at a time. He talked to the leader of Taiwan in contravention of the one-China policy; his national security adviser has been in contact with a senior Russian government official. He has refused to fully divest his financial holdings, given his son-in-law a government job and ordered his aides to declare war on an independent ethics office that raised questions about these arrangements.
There have also been so many developments related to Trump’s Cabinet appointees that Tom Daschle's use of a businessman's limousine and chauffeur, which created tax issues that prompted Daschle to withdraw his nomination for HHS secretary eight years ago, look small and insignificant by comparison. Several news stories that might have doomed past nominees have drawn less attention than Trump’s early-morning, made-for-cable tweets. 
For the past 10 days, the poster child for this phenomenon has been Monica Crowley, a TV talking head who despite a dearth of serious experience was appointed as the senior director of strategic communications on the National Security Council 
A steady stream of stories since the weekend before last has revealed pretty egregious examples of apparent plagiarism over a period of several years, from a 2012 book to her PhD dissertation and op-eds.
I have little doubt that Barack Obama and George W. Bush would have immediately terminated someone who did what Crowley appears to have done if that person was up for a similar posting (with a role in speechwriting and drafting statements in the name of the president).
There are many precedents: Plagiarism doomed Joe Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign, and just three years ago Montana Sen. John Walsh (D) ended his campaign for a full term after it came out that he’d plagiarized a paper for the Army War College.

Monica Crowley is not the first in politics to face charges of plagiarism

Play Video2:35
President-elect Trump's national security spokeswoman is stepping back amid allegations of plagiarism. Here are four others who faced similar accusations. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)
But Trump learned crisis management from his mentor Roy Cohn, who had been Joe McCarthy’s chief counsel during the witch hunts of the 1950s. Cohn, who represented Trump when the Justice Department sued him for housing discrimination in the 1970s, taught him to never apologize and to always counterpunch.
That’s exactly how his team initially responded to the revelations about Crowley. The transition team put out a statement saying, “Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country.” Trump continued to stand by her even as publisher HarperCollins announced that it would no longer sell Crowley’s book and more stories detailed fresh examples.
Finally, because a handful of reporters doggedly pursued the story, the pressure became too much. Yesterday afternoon, Crowley sent a statement to the Washington Times to say that “after much reflection” she’s decided to stay in New York. She made no mention of plagiarism.
-- The conventional wisdom that all of Trump’s Cabinet picks will be confirmed by the Senate shifted somewhat over the long weekend, and the odds are increasing that at least one will be stopped. Democrats continue to express some hope about blocking Steve Mnuchin for Treasury or Tom Price for HHS, but secretary of labor-designee Andy Puzder seems like the more vulnerable target. His hearing has already been postponed, and CNN reported last night that the restaurant executive is having second thoughts. "He may be bailing," a Republican source plugged into the Trump transition effort told John King. "He is not into the pounding he is taking, and the paperwork."
The most potentially damning revelations, which could get a full airing during a public hearing, are about past allegations by Puzder’s ex-wife that he abused her. She has now recanted, and he has always denied wrongdoing, but Politico reported last week that she appeared in disguise on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” as a victim of domestic violence, after having accused him multiple times of physically assaulting her in the 1980s.
A public debate about domestic violence is not something the transition team wants because it will distract from his agenda while prompting a re-airing of the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video, as well as a round of unflattering stories about the calamitous end of Trump’s own first marriage. (During a divorce deposition, for example, Ivana said that Donald had raped her.)

June 3, 2016

DC No Longer a Gay Ghetto (Is this a good thing?)



                                                                          
Image result for washington dc gay ghetto

In 1968, Deacon Maccubbin quit the U.S. Army.
He’d been stationed in Virginia with the National Guard while the movement against the Vietnam War reached a fever pitch. The Norfolk native started to feel guilty donning his uniform, knowing young men were dying in droves for an absurd cause. So Maccubbin burned his military papers. He spent a little under a year at Fort Belvoir, plotting his return to a civilian life guided by activism.
“I told them I was gay,” says the 73-year-old Dupont Circle resident, whose closet door came “flying off” when he was 28. “You could do that and they would sometimes discharge you.”
It worked. In 1969, Maccubbin came to D.C. on what was supposed to be a two-week vacation. He found an affordable boarding house about a block from the circle and fell in love with the city. Gay political groups and bars had taken root; anti-war and civil-rights demonstrations abounded.
An entrepreneur at heart, Maccubbin bought an ailing crafts store in Dupont two years later and transformed it into Earthworks, a head shop. (“We were all hippies,” he quips.) A trip to New York in 1972 would change his life. In Greenwich Village, Maccubbin stumbled across Oscar Wilde Bookshop, a store devoted to LGBTQ literature, considered the first of its kind.
“It was a very tiny, little space that had maybe a few dozen books on the shelves,” Maccubbin recalls. “But it was a warm and welcoming place where you could read stories about yourself.”
The District lacked such a literary mirror. In an age where coming out was more dangerous than it usually is now, when being openly gay often triggered prejudice and scorn, books and newspapers like the Washington Blade, established in 1969, played a crucial role in creating communities. Print mattered, not only as a means of relaying information on gay happenings but also as one of drawing queer folk together.
Sensing a demand in the District, Maccubbin opened Lambda Rising, D.C.’s first LGBTQ bookstore, at 1724 20th St. NW, in 1974. He’d settled on the name after the International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh adopted the Greek letter as a symbol of solidarity. Lambda Rising’s first space was about 300 square feet and stocked with 250 titles. Maccubbin spent $4,000 to launch it.
At the time, “there weren’t many things that were gay” in the neighborhood, he says. “But people were here and they were gay.” Other residents were gay-friendly. After the store’s windows were smashed in the middle of the night, business owners along Connecticut Avenue NW organized a collection for Lambda Rising and donated the proceeds to Maccubbin, he says.
Today, Lambda Rising’s final storefront, at 1625 Connecticut Ave. NW, is a Comfort One Shoes. Other LGBTQ spaces have vanished from Dupont, too, including Mr. P’s, the Fraternity House (later, Omega), Phase 1’s Northwest outpost, and the Last Hurrah (next called Badlands, and most recently, Apex)—watering holes that catered to gay men. D.C.’s queer quarter has diminished with the fading of such institutional anchors, places where LGBTQ individuals could play out their identities and lower their guard among birds of a feather.
In these venues’ absence have sprung new venues and meeting places, many along the 14th and U Street NW corridors, serving D.C.’s next generation of LGBTQ denizens. The concentration of queer culture has scattered, however, and some look back on the “gayborhood’s” heyday with pride and saudade.
Gay Dupont may not be dead, but it’s slowed down considerably—as have those who vivified it.
 
Queer pioneers like Maccubbin paved the way for the District’s current state of LGBTQ affairs, a far less radical one. A year after Lambda opened, he, some friends, and a few nonprofits put together D.C. “Gay Pride Day,” which would eventually become Capital Pride. 
By the end of the 1970s, Lambda Rising had relocated to a 900-square-foot retail space around the corner, on S Street NW. “Some of the customers said they would not be able to go into the new store because it was ‘too public,’” Maccubbin explains. “I’m happy to say we didn’t lose any customers as a result of the move. In fact, we gained a lot of new ones.”
In a sign that Dupont was reifying its reputation as a queer “ghetto” like the Village in New York and Castro in San Francisco, Gay Pride Day 1979 attracted 10,000 people and stretched three blocks. By 1983, attendance had doubled.
Lambda Rising’s business—and intended status as “more than a bookstore”—also flourished. In 1984, Maccubbin again moved the shop, this time to what would be its ultimate location at 1625 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Throughout its history, Lambda Rising served as a community center, rendezvous spot, and gossip mill for the District’s gay population. Visitors read but also cruised: Finding a partner or roommate at the shop was as essential to its social function as discovering an author who spoke to one’s experience. Maccubbin still has letters from patrons, near and far, who took advantage.
“Someone in Alexandria, Va. was letting me know how much he appreciated Lambda Rising because he knew his 15-year-old son was gay, but didn’t know how to handle that,” he says. The man told Maccubbin “how it was so refreshing to bring him in and show him around and let him know he was loved.”
Maccubbin attributes Lambda Rising’s decline to the Internet, in tandem with a globalized economy. Competitors began advertising in the same publications, such as the Advocate, and selling wholesale queer merchandise like rainbow flags and rings.
“Lambda Rising went the way of independent bookstores,” says Jeff Donahoe, secretary of the Rainbow History Project, a D.C.-based group that preserves LGBTQ history. “At one time, it might have been the only place you felt comfortable going into to purchase gay books. There was a certain amount of announcing yourself by going in there: ‘I didn’t know he/she was gay.’”
Donahoe gives queer tours of Dupont upon request, and says fewer people raise their hands when he asks whether they think of the neighborhood as “gay central” than in the past. Logan Circle, Shaw, and even NoMa have become popular answers. The LGBTQ fabric of the city has shifted “east and everywhere,” including to the suburbs, says Donahoe, who came here in 1986.
“At least one woman who I was friends with said that any man who lived in Dupont Circle was to be considered gay until proven straight,” he recalls. “That’s one person’s anecdote, but I think you’d get a lot of nodding heads if you told [it] around your office, if it’s people of a certain age.”
***
Talk to residents who’ve lived in D.C. for at least a couple decades and many will recount Dupont as a refuge from hate and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Miguel Mejia has worked for Whitman-Walker Health since 1992, when the clinic was located at 14th and S streets NW. Mejia, who emigrated from El Salvador in the 1980s, did HIV/AIDS outreach within the District’s Latino community. He remembers local LGBTQ bars holding themed nights such as drag shows from Thursdays to Sundays.
“Dupont Circle was like a little island where people would come and have a good time,” he says.
Still, at Whitman-Walker, some clients scheduled appointments outside of rush hour so as not to be recognized entering the clinic: “They would have to hide” because of LGBTQ stigma, Mejia says.
His colleague Joe Izzo, who’s served as a psychotherapist since the early 1990s, recalls “people dying left, right, and center” at the height of HIV/AIDS, which hit D.C. around 1983. “It was very much like a war zone.”
“The way of dealing with the shame, fear, horror, and trauma of the AIDS epidemic was that people just drank and drugged,” Izzo adds. “It was very prevalent in the bars and clubs. People were getting wasted and not realizing they were putting themselves at even higher risk [of HIV].”
Politically, the disease helped unify D.C.’s LGBTQ population in a more robust push for equality. As Rick Rosendall, the executive director of the District’s Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, recounts, residents in and around Dupont Circle fought to repeal an anti-sodomy law, a ban on gay domestic partnerships, and the suppression of queer marriages. Progress came piecemeal.
But despite the coalition of LGBTQ people and allies that had coalesced, Dupont remained a zone where privilege and exclusion fractured gay unity. Rosendall remembers “problems with carding” at bars. “There has always been racism and transphobia and discrimination in our community,” he adds. Some even criticized Lambda Rising, Maccubbin explains, for purportedly not having literature or other goods, like greeting cards, that were inclusive. He says the store did as much as it could, constantly attempting to be “multicultural and multiracial.”
Divisions in Dupont also persisted along gender lines. Bonnie Morris, a local professor who sits on the board of the Rainbow History Project, characterizes the neighborhood as something of a “mixed bag” for women during the latter half of the 20th century. Although venues like Club Chaos on 17th Street NW and Food for Thought CafĂ© at Black Cat provided queer women a place to partake and perform, some felt unwelcome at bars frequented by white men, she adds. 
“What has remained as the face of gay culture in D.C. is primarily what represents men’s history or men’s interests,” Morris says. “There’s now overwhelming interest in securing attention to trans and lesbian culture… On the other hand, I enjoy the intersection of everyone out for Pride.”
Mejia says there’s “no doubt” Dupont was less diverse 20 years ago, economically and racially. But, he suggests, it was part of a “process” that led to all different types of people arriving there.
“My theory is this: For us to get where we are right now, there has to be a beginning,” he says. “So this community took over and said, ‘Look, we need to take care of ourselves, because if we don’t, nobody’s going to do it for us. We need to create a space where we can feel safe.’ Other people went to that particular area to feel, at least for an hour, [for] an evening, what they were.”
Somewhere between one and two decades ago, the neighborhood started losing its queerness—and some started worrying about the future of the District’s LGBTQ community.
Morris recounts when Dupont was affectionately called the “Fruit Loop”; these days, people give her blank stares when she uses that term. Bookstores and bars have closed. “Young people gained more rights, more people were accepted in their own families, they didn’t have to go to a ‘gayborhood’ to get that feeling,” she explains. “I miss the sense of a subculture.”
Maccubbin says he observed the paradigm shift away from Dupont about 11 years ago: a sign of “progress” for a community that had, on balance, desired to be “treated like everyone else.” 
“I believe part of it was mainstreaming and normalization,” Maccubbin proffers. “In part, it was gentrification; in part it was real estate becoming more expensive. People moved eastward and found places elsewhere. It’s kind of natural. The same happened in [other cities].”
In addition to norms changing, Morris points the finger at technology: Online dating and mobile apps, symptoms of a more “image-driven” culture, have lessened the need for LGBTQ spaces. It’s easier to swipe left on Tinder or find a hook-up on Grindr than to freshen up and hit the town. 
Which, of course, doesn’t mean area queer folk don’t relish a fun night of drinking and dancing. Walk into the Duplex Diner on a Thursday, Cobalt on a Friday, or Number Nine on a Saturday, and you’ll encounter bodies bumping to the beats of songs that’ve played since the ’80s. Within the last year, at least three gay bars from Dupont to Shaw have supplemented the tunes. Another, The Dirty Goose, plans to open on U Street NW this spring—near Nellie’s and Town Danceboutique.
Shea Van Horn has co-DJed MIXTAPE, a queer dance party, since 2008. The 46-year-old entertainment professional (who also promotes events and performs as a drag queen named Summer Camp) says when he first arrived in the District in 1998, much of gay men’s nightlife radiated west of Dupont Circle, near P Street NW. Over time, he grew interested in finding “alternative” spaces that were friendly.
“Sometimes it might just be a matter of more traditional gay spaces already being booked,” Van Horn says. “So if you want to find a space to throw a party or event, it requires creative thinking. You end up with an LGBT clientele that’s more open to the idea that we don’t have to go to a bar that’s been a gay bar for a very long time in its history… [and is] curious to venture farther afield.”
Does it matter whether D.C. has a “Fruit Loop” anymore? Not to the DJ: “I feel better knowing that there are a variety of places to choose from so I can seek out different aspects of the community when I want.”
***
Ensuring events accommodate everyone beneath the LGBTQ umbrella poses a challenge. “Speaking from my own experiences, I’ll look out at the dance floor of the parties I throw—let’s say MIXTAPE specifically—and it tends to be gay, cis, white men as the majority,” Van Horn says. “We’ve never marketed it with that sort of audience in mind: We try to promote it as a safe space for all. I would say there’s a lot of room to improve and to curate more diversity.”
That’s a concern shared by 32-year-old Kate Ross and 26-year-old Marissa Barrera, who founded the Coven, “a monthly, witchy party for queer women” inspired by the third season of American Horror Story on FX. The pair typically hosts the party at Smith Public Trust in Brookland, which can accommodate up to 350 people. At the Coven’s first gathering earlier this year, the rain and the distance from downtown didn’t stop folks from showing up. “It speaks to how much people want a space to congregate,” Barrera says. “It’s like a claimed queer space for the night,” Ross points out.
Ross says big-name LGBTQ spaces like Nellie’s and Town have started attracting a fair share of straight customers, not all of whom are educated about or sensitive to the community’s culture. “It’s disconcerting,” she says. “I’m in my safe space—why am I being hit on by a guy? I don’t know if there’s some type of straight entitlement where straight people feel they can come into our spaces.”
In the kind of “crossover” now apparent along the U Street corridor, Ross says she would like to see more respect for the norms of the queer community (no homophobic comments or staring, please) as well as a greater understanding of D.C.’s LGBTQ history. “It’s like they’re sightseeing in gay bars.”
The duo see value in a central gay neighborhood. Ross, who moved to the District in 2006 and lived in Dupont for four years, fondly recalls making gay friends on 17th Street NW by chance: “I would end up at Annie’s at the end of every night, which was awesome.”
Within the District’s contemporary queer community, though, not everyone has it easy. Ageism and body-policing remain issues, particularly among young gay men. But as D.C.’s LGBTQ folk have come and gone—in and out of Dupont Circle—the essentials haven’t changed. 
“It’s not that much different from 20, 30 years ago, what we have now,” Mejia says. “People still have a good time and try to figure it out and cruise in a club, pick somebody up if they don’t have a partner, see if they get lucky in the grocery store, bar, 7-Eleven. Because we’re human.”
“That’s still the same.”

October 10, 2015

The RICHEST Politicians in Washington or trying to get there



                                                                             


 When billionaire businessman Donald Trump announced his campaign in June, he told the crowd he would self-fund his presidential bid, explaining, “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich…”

The Donald’s campaign to be the Republican nominee for the White House is unique for many reasons, but one of the main things that sets him apart may well be his enormous personal wealth. With a net worth that reaches far into the billions, his “I’m really rich” self-assessment feel like a bit of an understatement.

While Trump’s wealth is an outlier, even in the moneyed business of political campaigns, many other politicians sport hefty bank accounts of their own. Using a variety of data sources and research, InsideGov took a look at the richest active politicians, ranking the top 24 officials and candidates. While creating the list, InsideGov consulted data from the Center for Responsive Politics and included federal-level legislators, governors and declared presidential candidates.


October 4, 2013

Frustrations Over US Government Shut Down Begin to Build





For many in the United States, life goes on, for now, as it always has despite the government shutdown.  But even for those who aren't  feeling any impact, there's a sense things are not normal.

In Washington, some things seem normal - like people walking on the National Mall, commuters making their way into work.

But monuments and other attractions are closed.

Streets are emptier. Commuter trains are less crowded - Metrorail is tweeting that ridership is down 20 to 25 percent.

Yet while many government offices in Washington are closed, this passport office in New York is still up and running.

“I would really be frustrated if I wouldn’t be able to get my passport.  I wouldn’t be able to go on vacation, and it would just be a big hassle," said traveller Adriel Friedlander.

Some goverment checks (social security checks) are also going out.  And at Dulles International Airport, government employees - like air traffic controllers - are making sure flights take off and land as usual.

Still tourists like Sarina Kawahara from Japan can't escape the shutdown.

"My friend said this is a big disaster for us because we can't go sightseeing in Washington," she said.

But there were no disasters getting in or out.  Things were moving along as usual.

Even though it's hard to tell at places like this airport that the government is shut down, for many Americans there is still a growing sense of frustration.

David Cook, a veteran, came to the airport to pick up his son and daughter-in-law arriving from England.  Earlier he tried to stock up on discounted groceries at his local military base.

"Can't buy food on the base or get gas on the base - any of those things," said Cook.

So he'll be paying much more elsewhere.

Empty classrooms for Head Start - a government-funded school program for poor children - are also touching a raw nerve,  and have sparked protests in New York.

“We want them to give up their salaries in Congress so our kids can eat, so that our kids can learn," said a teacher.

And in Washington:

“I was totally disgusted because we cannot run our Head Start program," said Yolanda Stinson, Head Start volunteer.

Other Americans, like the Reed family in Indiana, are in limbo,  waiting for approval of a government-backed mortgage that can't come until the government reopens.

''We're in this hotel for who knows how long," said Mrs. Reed.

"How long?" - that question is on the minds of many waiting for the shutdown to end.


Jeff Seldin
voanews.com

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