If it weren't for the tragedy, we'd enjoy the respite from politics presented by the storm Sandy. Finally, after many months of static cacophony from politicians and media's self-proclaimed pundits, the weather has blown away the noise, and offered its own, real intrusion. It forced focus on immediate needs and common problems.
Washington Metro News
Dwight D. Eisenhower was as elementary to our lives as the five-star highways are today. He was a man like Ulysses S. Grant and Lord Nelson, but he did not strive to be. Hear Nelson declaring that England demands that every man will do his duty. Read Grant’s memoirs; he was as formidable a figure on the page as he was in the field of battle. But perhaps the greatest tribute to Eisenhower is that iconic photograph of him talking to the soldiers about to enter battle in Normandy. The photo speaks to American purpose and determination. What was he talking about? A tour of the Capitol will explain that he was talking about fly-fishing. And that is the honorable riddle behind Ike. Behind the general was always the man. The general was not an artifice apart. The general and the man were the same. But Susan Eisenhower is right in her criticism of the Frank Gehry design of the Eisenhower memorial, which includes a gigundous bas relief of the famous photo. Presented this way, it looks like something out of Stalingrad.
How many visitors to Louisville, Ky., on a quick tour would look to the tallest buildings and among them see the Empire State Building but with a Dome of the Rock oddly placed on top? Or booking through Harrisonburg, Va., on I-81 in the James Madison University vicinity, rush past a knockoff of the Potola? Just coincidence, I expect. But I brought it up to one good-natured architect who has been considered among the top five these past 50 years when he was designing a law school for a college I worked at and his building seemed a ringer for a specific Italian monastery of the 12th century. It brought a mischievous smile and a quick aside to his wife, rapid fast whisperings behind the hand in Italian that I wasn’t intended to understand.
Once again, the civic leaders inside this city leave a mark that’s just as soon forgotten. This time, Marion Christopher Barry, the son of Washington’s former mayor, Marion Barry, was indicted on possession of drugs and PCP.
Insert your favorite joke here about the apple not falling too far from the tree or whatever euphemism you care to use.
Apparently, Marion Jr. was dealing the same substances his father was notorious for while running this city. And when the five-O came knocking, Junior jumped out his window and fled. At least he was smarter than the old man to have an apartment where a jump wouldn’t kill him. It was only a matter of time, however, before he returned to his apartment and was arrested.
When Jetaine Hart came to Washington in 2009, she was well-accustomed to cramming the trappings of her life into a few small suitcases and moving them from place to place. By age 20, she moved to six different homes in northern California, each time uprooting the familiar for the unknown. Jetaine wasn’t what we affectionately call an “Army brat,” whose family moved periodically as service required; she was a child in foster care. Moving was not her choice; it’s what happened to her by chance.
If you’ve been following the latest shenanigans of elected officials running the District of Columbia, it’s easy to understand why the city is so messed up. I’m referring, of course, to Lincoln-gate, where D.C. City Council Chairman Kwame Brown ordered not one, but two 2011 Lincoln Navigator SUVs for his official use. Why two? Why not? Well, he didn’t like the color of the interior on the first one the city ordered at nearly $2,000 per month in leases.
It appears Mr. Brown wanted a “black on black” SUV and no other color combination would work. The reason he gave is that model “holds its value” longer than any other. So now the chairman is cost-conscious? How pathetic. What Brown hopes readers don’t remember is his insistence that the SUV be “fully loaded,” including a DVD player in the backseat. I don’t even want to know the reason behind that request.
I have lived on and off Capitol Hill now for more than 20 years.
I lived on the Hill in the early 1990s during the bad old days, when the crack
wars threatened the lives of many young staffers, and claimed the lives of a
couple of kids who were senselessly murdered in botched robbery attempts.
When the Marion Barry regime got too corrupt, I moved off the Hill into the relative safety of Virginia, only to return shortly after the 9/1l attacks. I was tired of traffic and I wanted to be closer to my job, which was three glorious blocks away.
“Lonely are the brave.”
— Dalton Trumbo
Visiting No. 1 Son in the hills last week, I overheard on his radio a young voice saying the Stewart/Colbert event in Washington was going to be “like Woodstock” for his generation. Was surprised that anyone 23 would want an event “like Woodstock.” Note on Woodstock: It was a “shadow” event for the phenomenal Summer of Love which happened just before in San Francisco. It was like if you designed a hippie church and invited a bunch of lawyers, toked them up and asked them to make it “like the Summer of Love” but with Bob Dylan as the New Jesus, and you would get Woodstock. And more on that: At Woodstock, a very legitimate and wise guru appeared between the acts and talked to the crowd. Ask anyone you know who was there, what was the name of the guru? They don’t know? They didn’t notice? Ask them why not.
I’m sorry, but the killing of James Lee, the Discovery Channel gunman who yesterday took several employees hostage, was the only option for that sick individual.
Special thanks go out to the Montgomery County officers and SWAT members who thought it better to shoot first and ask questions later about what kind of device Lee had strapped to his person during those intense hours.
The politico in me, however, can’t help but think of this gunman’s social views of the world. Apparently, Lee was no stranger to the Discovery Channel, and a vocal critic of its programming. He condemned human reproduction, and argued instead that we all should be “sterilized” to control the population.
Curious to see what it was all about, I attended Glenn Beck’s big rally Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial. And I’m glad I did.
First, because it gave me a good, close-up look at Tea Partiers: old, white and angry. From their T-shirts and their flags, it’s clear they all hate government. From their white hair, it’s also clear they’re all on Medicare and Social Security.
Second, because it gave me a good, close-up look at Glenn Beck. No doubt why he scheduled this rally on the Washington Mall: It’s the only place big enough to contain his ego. Barely.