Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Looking for Crime in All the Wrong Places

So this weekend’s jewelry store shooting incident in Georgetown has incited panic among the white affluent citizens of Northwest DC. What is it about Georgetown that prompts this pompous feeling of superiority amongst its denizens?

Do they believe that merely because they are wealthy, crime cannot occur there? I am sure million dollar homes, really fancy cars, drunk college students and a large concentration of high end stores make that area totally undesirable for criminal types.

Perhaps, their comfort came from the idea that the local riff-raff couldn’t hop on the Metro and drop right on by. But nowadays, you can take any number of buses to get there. If you are a patient burglar you can wait 45 minutes to catch one of the 30 buses. You can take the Blue Bus…or….and even better…The Circulator. It travels from Union Station and it accepts your SmarTrip card. That is definitely the root cause behind this influx of hooligans. You know, before that bus they just couldn’t get in. I mean it isn’t like they could drive and park there before because criminals don’t own cars.

I am sure this incident will prompt additional “safety” precautions. Maybe more monitoring cameras because Georgetown definitely deserves the added security. Perhaps we could hold a rich person’s rally on the mall demanding safety! My personal safety suggestions involve roping Georgetown off in some way. I like the idea of putting it in a glass dome….kind of like a wealthy snow globe that “snows” Kate Spade purses, Armani suits and drunken Georgetown University students when turned upside down. But there are other options, we could make our own Great Wall of China in Georgetown, or with minimal effort expand the C&O canal and use the Potomac River to create a moat around Georgetown (remember how well the Rio Grande works for Texas??). Any of these options could successfully keep undesirables out and keep the citizens of Georgetown safe from the kind of harm they could only expect to receive while in Dupont Circle. I just hope this gets resolved soon. Next thing you know Georgetown will get all ghetto and people won’t be able to enjoy their venti soy caramel macchiattos without fearing for their lives (and Prada’s).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Know Your Devil: The Race for DC Mayor

Elections in DC used to be easy. Remember Marion Barry? It didn’t matter that he was a crack head who liked prostitutes. The residents of the District knew who he was without effort and so they would vote for him. I think his campaign slogan was “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” Yeah he was a crack head, but the other guy could have been a meth head….we didn’t know. And isn’t crack better than meth?

The one thing that is important about the DC primary for you non DC-ers is that…well….we don’t elect republicans to office. So even though there are republicans and independents and the ever popular DC Statehood Green Party candidate, it really comes down to the democratic primary. Whoever wins that primary gets to be mayor. That’s just the way it works here in the nation’s capital. So in the spirit of getting to know the devil, here are the candidates who’s names will appear on the various primary ballots for Mayor of Washington DC.

Michael A. Brown (D): Not to be confused with the other Michael “Heckuva a Job Brownie” Brown of FEMA fame, this Michael Brown is the son of Ron Brown, the late commerce secretary during the Clinton Administration. According to the Washington Post, Michael enjoys “playing basketball with [his] children and enjoy[s] a few holes of golf." I wonder if he also likes moonlight walks on the beach? His campaign platform includes the public schools, affordable housing, public safety and economic prosperity for the city.

Linda W. Cropp (D): Linda is currently the chairwoman of the DC Counsel. She has been officially endorsed by current mayor Anthony Williams. She has spent the past few days attacking fellow candidate Adrian Fenty for being soft on crime because he didn’t vote for a crime emergency bill that would put Georgetown in a biosphere bubble. Her “vision for DC” includes bettering the public schools, providing affordable housing, public safety, and economic prosperity.

Nestor Djonkam (D): Nestor grew up on a coffee farm in Cameroon and came to the US in 1990 to attend the Lincoln Technical Institute. According to his website, Nestor’s political accomplishments include being a US citizen and participating in the campaigns of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Anthony Williams and Tim Kaine. His platform centers on education, housing, crime and economic development. More importantly his webpage taps into the often forgotten French speaking demographic.

Adrian M. Fenty (D): I read recently that Adrian is the current front runner in this race. That doesn’t surprise me. He looks like a younger, balder version of Tony Williams (minus the bow tie). I am sure this has something to do with his success. Adrian would like to better the DC schools, bring affordable homes to the middle and lower class citizens of the city, reduce crime and bring economic expansion to the city.

Marie C. Johns (D): Marie invited me to a picnic last weekend, but I couldn’t attend. Running on the 8th grade campaign strategy of “give people food,” Marie actually held a picnic on August 6th at Highview Park. The picnic included pony rides and a moon bounce for the ever crucial under age 10 voter, a DJ, and food. Marie, the former President and CEO of Verizon, thought for some weird reason that people from all over the city would want to hang out in SE. Shows how well she knows this city. Marie’s platform includes fixing the public schools, giving the people affordable home opportunities, fighting crime, and stimulating economic growth. If only she would promise free pizza every Friday.

Dave Kranich (R): I actually saw this guy standing on the corner of Wisconsin and Massachusetts holding signs and waiving to cars the other morning. That takes a lot of energy. Waiving like Miss America while holding a sign that says “Honk for Kranich” isn’t easy. Neither is being the only Republican candidate in a city that doesn’t vote Republican. His official online campaign began yesterday but you can tell no one is donating to this guy. Other than his website, there is nothing about him on the internet other than this picture of him looking like a tool. His official vision includes education, housing, economic development and instead of crime, he is focusing on the problem of beautifying our parks. I am sure park beautification is one of the top concerns of the average Anacostia voter.

Artee Milligan Jr. (D): According to his website, he is “running for mayor because our leadership has failed us and has allowed DC residents to be run forced out of the city due to the lack of affordable housing.” First off, I like my candidates to run a grammar check on their sentences. Residents run forced out of the city? Were they run out or forced out? Stop flip flopping and pick one already. Not the best job from someone who teaches people how to read. Among other things, he promises to fix our schools, provide affordable housing, make our city safe and provide jobs for DC residents.

Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D): First off I would like to say Kudos to Vincent for actually speaking on his website. However, this might not be the brightest idea for those of us who are at work when we go to his website. He is also, unfortunately, the man who claims responsibility for bring the club LOVE (formally Dream) to DC and I will hold him responsible for that! His platform includes education (his wife is a special education teacher), affordable housing, reducing crime and bringing economic growth to the city.

Chris Otten (Statehood-Green): The first thing to know about Chris Otten is that his webpage really sucks. I am a flash and graphics, catch my eye and let me know people are donating money to you kind of voter. His page lacks the pizzazz that I initially look for in my candidates. His platform is lengthy and includes public schools, affordable housing, public safety and yep you guessed it…economic prosperity for the city.

So check out your local devil and see who you want to vote for. Me personally, I am going with the one who wants to better our public schools, provide affordable housing, lower crime and bring economic prosperity to the city. Wait a second that is pretty much all of them…

Friday, August 04, 2006

Cold Hearted Lies or Why Local News is Awful


In general, I find the DC local news to be disappointing. Their lead in commercials are horrible, the stories are sometimes over the top and the sets really suck. For example, a couple of months ago, Jim Vance (NBC Local news) had a lead in that actually said "Police MAY have caught their man. Tonight at 11." Now I am sure somewhere in this world police actually arrested someone for something. While most likely a technically accurate statement, it left a lot to be desired in actually newsworthiness. A little more information, such as which police force in which locale caught a man wanted for what, would go a long way… But today I am all steamed up over the morning news and their inaccurate reporting.

I watch Fox 5 news in the morning. Not because I am necessarily a big fan of the wild antics of Holly Morris or the overall quality of the programming. And definitely not because I am a loyal Fox News watcher. Rather I watch it because I get up late, and I want to know 2 things and only 2 things…..the weather and the traffic, which I find Fox does a fairly reasonable job of doing. But, in yesterday morning's broadcast they were doing a recipe segment involving ice cream. I am not usually a recipe segment watcher, but as an avid ice cream aficionado I paid attention to this one.

What caught my eye was not the actual treats being whipped up, but the fact that they were using Blue Bunny Ice Cream. Now, for those in the know, Blue Bunny is some of the best ice cream around and it comes in a 1 gallon size unlike the puny portions you can buy of Breyers and Edys. I became acquainted with it during a trip to Minnesota. Anyways, the show kept saying things like: Blue Bunny is now available on the East Coast and Blue Bunny is now in the area. They led me on with their promises of creamy goodness available somewhere near me.

Alas, this morning a search of the pitiful Fox 5 webpage led to nothing about Blue Bunny. No locations, no nothing. A search of the Blue Bunny page led to even more heart wrenching news. No Blue Bunny here. The closest store that sells it is in Charlestown, WV. They also have a store selling it in Hagerstown. I have had it up to here with Charlestown and Hagerstown….they get Sheetz (open a store within the DC metro area already) and Blue Bunny!!!!!

What I want to know is why Fox 5 DC? Why lead me on? Why report that its available in the area when it is not? Why tease me with something that isn't available in DC or within 30 minutes of DC? That is just cruel and unusual punishment. Oh, and the new set is awful, spend money on better reporting…

Thursday, August 03, 2006

SAVE PARIS!!

You can help save Paris Hilton's money while increasing your own income. Yes, our Congress in their ever lasting wisdom decided to tie an increase in the minimum wage for us working slobs to a cut in the estate tax for the rich elite. Now I am not necessarily saying Paris is in favor of this, I don't think she has ever expressed an opinion about the estate tax. She has people who worry about that so she can lead a worry free party girl socialite heiress lifestyle. But in essence this estate tax cut affects only the wealthy like Paris and not me or you.


The Basics of the Bill:

Ok...we first have the portion dealing with the minimum wage increase. The minimum wage has been set at $5.15 since Clinton was in office. This bill would raise the minimum wage to a whopping $7.25. This increase occurs gradually with $7.25 becoming the set amount in 2009.

The portion dealing with the estate tax is a bit more complicated. First, a while back, Congress decided to gradually eliminate the estate tax. So every year until 2009 the "eligible" estate amount gets higher and higher until in 2010 the tax is eliminated all together. Then in 2011 it comes back (for once, Congress has actually created a financial incentive for rich kids to kill off their parents and grandparents in 2010). This new bill would make it so that when the estate tax comes back it only taxes estates between 5 and 25 million at a 15% level (it is at the same level as the capital gains tax. So if the capital gains goes up to 20% in 2011 then the estate tax will be at 20%, not 15%) and estates at over 25 million get taxed at a 30% level. So this current bill basically raises the exempt amount from 1 million to 5 million and reduces the top tax percentage for under 25 and over 25 million. So who are the people in favor of this.....well anyone who has an estate over 1 million dollars. Because the estate tax doesn't effect anyone whose estate is under 1 million (and I am taking individuals, not married couples).


Why does all of this matter?
Well if you don't care about an increased deficit, a crumbling social security system and a myriad of other programs that need funding, then it doesn't matter. But Congress cares about the people who donate to their campaigns in large sums, and the people who speak for political actions committees. Republicans care about their own wallet and the wallets of the rich. What is the point of linking an increase in minimum wage to the estate tax (or as the Republicans like to call the "death tax"....which again, is not a tax on dying or a tax that affects poor farm owners and small business owners and their families but a tax that really only impacts the extremely wealthy who have large estates). If you disagree with me over the number of people who benefit from the estate tax, feel free to take a look at IRS figures. In 2001, only 2% of the US population was affected and yet the government was able to raise billions off of those 2%.

So let Congress pass this bill. People like Paris Hilton deserve to get richer by the millions while the people earning minimum wage deserve only the slightest increase in the minimum wage. To tie the two together is to create a lose lose situation. If you vote for this bill you are giving the rich an undeserved break and if you vote against it, you are hurting millions of American who desperately need an increase in their living wage. Way to go Congress. In the words of Warren Buffet (#2 richest man in America) "I would hate to see the estate tax gutted."


Update 8/4/06:
The bill didn't pass. But it almost did, they were only 3 votes shy of getting it through. At least a few people still had the guts to do the right thing.

I think in this case Sen. Kennedy said it best: "Under the Republican bill, Paris Hilton and her family will get $250 million, while the tipped workers in Hilton hotels will lose up to $5.50 an hour".
Link

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Is Condi Strapped?!


So is Condi a little strapped for cash? Who knows but her bra strap was definitely showing at her most recent piano recital. I was sitting down taking a browse through Time Magazine when my eyes focused on the little bit of white peaking through her red sleeve.

I want to know the following:
1. Who told her a white bra was ok with a red dress?
2. Didn't she see the Oprah show where they told you had to get a proper bra fitting?
3. Why hasn't anyone else caught this?
Poor Condi. I am sure that piano playing can cause even the best strap to slip but someone should help her out here (especially with this picture circulating the news).

Picture Source:
http://radar.smh.com.au/archives/2006/08/caption_comp_9.html