Archive for the ‘GSA’ Category

Plumbing Boom in DC

September 30, 2011

Plumbing Boom in DC

The U.S. General Services Administration tested a prototype nuclear composting toilet in the GSA regional headquarters lady’s room on Monday. Unfortunately, the maiden voyage did not go as planned, and two brave test pilots were injured.



Samoa Season in Washington

March 14, 2009

Samoa Season in Washington

In the Nation’s Capital this weekend cherry trees are just starting to bud, but the Girl Scout Cookies® are in full bloom.

Get outside. Take a walk. Smell the Samoas®.

You owe it to yourself. Find cookies NOW!


Vote for your favorite Girl Scout Cookie®

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

DC Aquarium — Dead in the Water?

January 3, 2008

DC Aquarium -- Dead in the Water?

Washington’s secret museum near the Mall, the National Aquarium, may be evicted by the General Services Administration (GSA).

Established by the federal government in 1873, the aquarium was “privatized” during the Reagan administration but coasted by, rent-free, in the basement of the Commerce Building (14th & Constitution Avenue, NW). GSA just noticed something fishy: the aquarium is no longer federal, and private entities in government space are required to pay rent.


GSA Sends DHS to Saint E’s

October 2, 2007

Coming to take them away?

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) may move the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the site of Saint Elizabeths Hospital (“Saint E’s”), the historic Government Hospital for the Insane.

GSA did not say if this is a reflection on DHS policy or organizational capacity.

DHS is currently scattered in more than 50 Washington-area locations. Inmates of Saint Elizabeths have been described as scattered, too.

Saint Elizabeths is a National Historic Landmark and on the National Register. In order to preserve the site for use by DHS, GSA will demolish 18 or 25 designated historic buildings on the hospital’s West Campus.

There is no indication that GSA intends to check into Saint Elizabeths before making these plans final.

Image made without sharp tools in the therapeutic crafts shop by Mike Licht.

The Road to Blackwater, Paved with Contracts

October 2, 2007

These guns are contractors, like most Federal employees

If Federal buildings are not thoughtfully planned, well executed, well-maintained, if century-old Federal buildings are not in good repair, the General Services Administration is accountable. GSA knows the rules, knows that if rules are broken more than jobs will be in jeopardy, for those rules are U.S. laws and regulations. 

But most Federal agencies today are in private, rented space, some of it built-to-order under “Public-Private-Partnerships” where government avoids a large one-time construction expense by renting a new building for a decade or two at a price that could have purchased the building several times over. 

The developer has no incentive to maintain the building, only responds when things go badly wrong, and the government tenant has little recourse since lines of authority are unclear. When the lease expires the developer may give the clapped-out building to the Feds who are stuck demolishing it, disposing of the rubble, and figuring out what to do with the lot, which they probably own anyway.  

This is how credit furniture companies get rich and poor people stay poor, right? Brace yourself: it gets worse. Most employees in that Federally-rented building are rentals, too.