Posts Tagged ‘District of Columbia’

9-11 Urban Legacy: Cities of Bollards

September 13, 2021

9-11 Urban Legacy: Cities of Bollards

“It used to be that D.C. architecture consisted of graceful Georgetown mansions, neoclassical federal buildings — and, of course, the monuments. When the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts was founded in 1910 to guide Washington’s architectural development, it reviewed designs such as those of the Lincoln Memorial and the Federal Triangle. Over the seven years I’ve served on the commission, however, an increasing amount of time is spent discussing security-improvement projects: screening facilities, hardened gatehouses, Delta barriers, perimeter fences, and seemingly endless rows of bollards. We used to mock an earlier generation that peppered the U.S. capital with Civil War generals on horseback; now I wonder what future generations will make of our architectural legacy of crash-resistant walls and blast-proof glass.”

— Wittold Rybczynski, Meyerson professor of urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania.

Read more:

“The Blast-Proof City,” Wittold Rybczynski, Foreign Policy

“We Built DC Into an Urban Fortress After 9/11. And January 6 Proved It Was Penetrable.” Jane Recker, Washingtonian

“I Came, Eyesore, I Conquered,” Witold Rybczynski, Slate

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A Cry for Freedom

August 2, 2021

245 years ago,  British colonists in North America rallied around the cry of “No taxation without representation” to fight for freedom, but the tax-paying residents of the nation’s capital still don’t have a vote in Congress. Mo Rocca looks at the issue for CBS Sunday Morning.

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DC Emancipation Day, 1862: It Was Slaveowners Who Got Reparations.

April 16, 2021

DC Emancipation Day, 1862: It Was Slaveowners Who Got Reparations.

On April 16, 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act freeing the 3000 enslaved people in the District of Columbia. This was nine months before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Confederate states, many of whom actually remained in bondage until the the war’s end in 1865, and 20 months before ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, which definitively outlawed slavery everywhere in the United States.

Understandably, April 16th is a holiday in the District of Columbia, District Emancipation Day, traditionally celebrated with speeches, concerts, fireworks and parades. There’s a bit of rain on that parade, though, if you take a closer look at history. That 1862 act was called the Compensated Emancipation Act, and it authorized payments to DC slaveowners rather than liberation of enslaved people on moral grounds. It even sought to promote emigration of former slaves outside the borders of the United States.

In any case, black Washingtonians had their freedom. That’s definitely worth celebrating.

More:

“When Slaveowners Got Reparations,” Tera W. Hunter, New York Times

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Washington DC isn’t a state. Why not?

July 31, 2020

Despite America’s founding principles, politics perpetuates taxation without representation in the United States. Kimberly Mas and Madeline Marshall explore why Washington DC is not a state in this Vox video.

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DC Gets Few Needed Medical Supplies from Federal Stockpile

April 2, 2020

DC Gets Few Needed Medical Supplies from Federal Stockpile

The District of Columbia recieved few of the medical supplies requested from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile:

“The District got none of the hospital ventilators, safety goggles and hand sanitizer it asked for and received less than one percent of a requested 663,760 gloves and 1,132,478 respirator masks that officials requested.”

“D.C. City Administrator Rashad M. Young told D.C. Council members and the mayor’s office during a telephone call that he did a ‘readout’ Tuesday ‘of what we asked for and what we got, and it was pretty much nothing from them.’”

— “Federal government gave D.C. a fraction of what it sought to fight coronavirus,” Antonio Olivo, Jenna Portnoy and Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post

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Congress Screws DC in the Conronavirus Relief Package

March 30, 2020

Congress Screws DC in the Conronavirus Relief Package

Despite the best efforts of a holdout Tea Party loon, Congress finally passed a $2 Trillion stimulus package last week, the first step in shoring up the U.S. in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this federal response, each state government will receive at least $1.25 billion. The District of Columbia will receive $500,000.

Since DC is regarded as a state when it comes to federal grants, highway funding, education dollars and food assistance, many here feel that someone in the Administration or GOP leadership actively and intentionally shafted the District when the bill was crafted in the Senate.

The District’s population — 702,455 people — is greater than that of two states, Wyoming and Vermont. Unlike U.S. territories, DC residents pay federal taxes, the most in federal taxes per capita than any other state. The coronavirus relief bill originated in the GOP-controlled Senate, and DC has no senators, so here we are. There’s a reason DC license plates read “Taxation Without Representation.”

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Go Greyhound, and leave pollution to us!

December 11, 2019

 

Go Greyhound, and leave pollution to us!

Bus deck, Union Station, Washington DC

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and the District Department of Energy and Environment have filed a lawsuit claiming Greyhound buses regularly disregard the District’s three-minute idling limit, polluting the air and endangering the health of workers, riders, and DC residents and visitors. The suit against the bus company is based on a DDOE study conducted at the Union Station bus deck, and the DA seeks reimbursement for investigation costs and $216,000 in penalties.

Washington DC is filled with idling intercity, charter, tourist, and commuter buses every day, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

More:

“D.C. sues Greyhound over buses idling at Union Station,” Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post

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Mitch McConnell Calls the Founding Fathers ‘Socialists’

June 19, 2019
Mitch McConnell Calls the Founding Fathers 'Socialists'

This looks like a socialist cabal to Senator McConnell.

On Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Laura Ingraham that a House propsal to grant statehood to the District of Columbia is “full-bore socialism.” If you haven’t been keeping score at home, residents of DC pay Federal Income Taxes but don’t have voting representation in Congress. The signers of the Declaration of Independence weren’t as comfortable with Taxation Without Representation as Mitch is. Neither are Washingtonians.

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DC Emancipation Day, 1862: It Was Slaveowners Who Got Reparations.

April 16, 2019

DC Emancipation Day, 1862: It Was Slaveowners Who Got Reparations.

On April 16, 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act freeing the 3000 enslaved people in the District of Columbia. This was nine months before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Confederate states, many of whom actually remained in bondage until the the war’s end in 1865, and 20 months before ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, which definitively outlawed slavery everywhere in the United States.

Understandably, April 16th is a holiday in the District of Columbia, District Emancipation Day, celebrated with speeches, concerts, fireworks and parades. There’s a bit of rain on that parade, though, if you take a closer look at history. That 1862 act was called the Compensated Emancipation Act, and it authorized payments to DC slaveowners rather than liberation of enslaved people on moral grounds. It even sought to promote emigration of former slaves outside the borders of the United States.

In any case, black Washingtonians had their freedom. That’s definitely worth celebrating.

More:

“When Slaveowners Got Reparations,” Tera W. Hunter, New York Times

Related:

“Georgetown students vote in favor of reparations for enslaved people,” Susan Svrluga, Washington Post

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

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

The Tipped Wage: Depending on ‘The Kindness of Strangers’

October 17, 2018

If you’re uncomfortable leaving a tip at a restaurant, there’s a good reason. The nominally-egalitarian United States adopted the custom of tipping during Reconstruction, when African Americans, newly-freed from bondage, filled many low-paying personal-service jobs. Tipping allowed employers to rationalize paying a pittance to servers, and allowed restaurant patrons to feel like the European aristocrats who initiated the custom. Even today, in the Nation’s Capital, while most workers get $13.25 an hour, restaurant owners can pay servers $3.89 an hour.

Americans calculate a restaurant tip as a percentage of the total meal bill, so the more expensive the menu, the greater the gratuities to servers. That’s why Washington DC’s high-end restaurant owners had no trouble finding employees to testify against a District of Columbia law mandating equal hourly wages for servers, despite the fact that DC voters had approved the measure in a referendum. The District Council voted 8 to 5 to overturn the will of the voters.

If DC voters want to ratify their referendum vote and end vulnerable restaurant workers’ dependence on “the kindness of strangers,” they’ll have a chance soon. Four of the council members who voted to repeal the fair wage law are up for re-election on November 6th.

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