Thursday, December 30, 2010

Obama Administration Officials Cashing In ...

Remember When Obama said he was not going to hire lobbyist in his administration ? Right ... And then he did anyway ? Right ..
Well now those who used their positions to regulate the financial industry are going to jump ship and cash in on their "experience"

Sounds to me like a bit of conflict of interest, no ? These people set the rules are now going to go to those companies which they just regulated .... Nice work if you can get it.

Amplify’d from

The president's recently departed budget director is joining Citigroup.

The New York Federal Reserve Bank's derivatives expert is joining Goldman Sachs.

And numerous investigators from the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are joining Wall Street's top law firms.

In recent months, prominent officials from the White House, Justice Department, SEC, banking regulators and other agencies, both federal and state, have been walking through the proverbial revolving door to join Goldman, Citi, other financial companies and top law firms in Washington and New York.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Metro is Clean! Well, As Clean as Dirt

Wow, I must say, this is quite a relief ;)

Metro no dirtier than the rest of the world: WUSA9 went searching for germs, swabbing high traffic areas around the Metrorail system like escalator handrails, and ticket machines. Nearly all the bacteria collected were common bacteria found in dirt, and virtually everywhere else.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Seriously? Only 18 Cars You Can Hit

Wow, well done, would have been nice to get a round 20 hit

UPDATE 9:19 a.m.: Police are charging 34-year-old Austina Marie Biggus, of Walkersville, with hit and run and driving under the influence after she apparently struck 18 cars overnight, AP reports.


A person was arrested early Monday morning after striking 18 vehicles in the area of West Fourth Street, Frederick police said.

Authorities responded to the area around 2:19 a.m. after several reports of reckless driving. Officers found the suspect vehicle at the back of the Allegheny Power site near East Church Street and Pine Avenue. The vehicle had crashed into a fence and the driver was still inside. The person was taken into custody.

Police say the vehicle struck 18 vehicles on West Fourth Street, Dill Avenue, and Fifth Street. A tree, a traffic sign, and two gates at Allegheny Power were also struck.

No injuries were reported.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jimmy GardnerWatching a documentary on Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was UN rep in Iraq. He was in charge in 2003 when the UN compound was bombed. One Army medic who setup triage said "we had to decide who was going to live and who was going to die". Such a powerful statement brought, tears to my eyes

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DC Crime Takes an Up Tick

I posted yesterday on the DC News and Notes Amplify blog about the DC crime rate and how it is seeing a rise, even though we are not landing on any major violent crimes poll.

I mentioned in that post that there has been a rash of new crime, especially assaults taking place in and around some areas of NW, like Logan Circle and others. One other location that has seen a jump is the Mt Vernon Sq neighborhood. It has gotten bad enough that DC had stationed police on several of the corners in and around 5th St. So I was shocked to see this report pop up showing a robbery took place just the other night, and it looks like it was literally right under the noses of the polices patrolling the area.

Appears that these patrols are having little effect on curbing these crimes ..

Amplify’d from

1100 block of 5TH ST NW

Report date November 20, 2010

Police dept. ID




The taking from another person, or immediate actual possession of another, anything of value, by force or violence, whether against resistance or by sudden or stealthy seizure or snatching, or by putting in fear. This includes carjackings.


Robbery: Assault with intent



Yes This Would be Terrifying

Not what I want to wake up next to ...

Amplify’d from

Now This Is Terrifying: A D.C. woman woke up this morning to find a strange, naked man in her bedroom. Police are investigating the incident, which took place at a home on the 2400 block of Ontario Street NW, but they didn't find any evidence of forced entry or any other clues as to the identity of the suspect.


Monday, November 22, 2010

DC Becoming a Safer City? Think Again

I read this with interest as a DC resident. While it is true DC has become much safer in recent years, we have witnessed a rash of crimes in the city leading to some concern. In the Mt Vernon Sq area along with areas in and around Logan Cirlce, we have been witness to muggings and attacks, some in broad daylight.

In our neighborhood, Mt Vernon Sq, we now have a much increased police presence to battle what was upwards of 14 muggings in the last several weeks, along with home break ins, etc ..

Lets not count our chickens just yet

Amplify’d from

DC barely makes least safe cities list

Two decades ago, DC was the murder capital of the year.  This year? We barely made the violent crime list, and we’re ranked behind St Louis (#1, sorry Chris), Detroit (#3), Oakland (#5), Baltimore (#11), and New Orleans (#13).  DC is currently at less than a quarter of the murders from the peak year in 1991, and will likely finish the year well beneath 2009’s total of 143.  Congrats, DC, this is a milestone I think we can all celebrate.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You for Your Service

I just wanted to take a quick minute to thank all those, past, present, and future who have undertaken the noble cause of joining the armed forces and protecting our country.

I was a member of the US Army for just under 8 years.  Was it hard?  Yes.  Was it sometimes miserable?  Yes.  Was it worth it?  Yes.  It was obviously a very different time then, the US was not fighting a 2 war front and most of us were relatively safe from harms way, but in the end, the step I took in order to gain some discipline, maturity, and direction in my life was the best one I ever made.

I have gained so much, to include life long friends, who thanks to Facebook, we keep in better touch.  It is true, you get out of it what you put in, and the armed service is a great tool to demonstrate that.  In my honest opinion, I truly believe that some type of service, it doesn't necessarily have to be strictly military, needs to be compulsory in this country.  Our society is becoming out of touch with a firm base of reality and this service of the country helps put it all in perspective.

To end, I would call for many of you to take a few seconds and juts a few dollars to send our men and women fighting for freedom a Cup of Joe.  It is a small, yet very appreciated token, the least we can do.

Thanks all for your service and appreciation.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Sorry Bout that, We Got Bad Directions

And we accidentally invaded your country. Now I have heard of bad directions, gut ...

Amplify’d from

You would think that military professionals would rely on something other than Google Maps in determining where countries have their borders. However, down in Central America, there's apparently been something of an international incident, after a Nicaraguan military commander, using Google Maps as his guide, brought his troops into Costa Rica. He insists that he was just following what Google Maps said, and that he never intended to go into the neighboring country. Yet... the report also notes that there was a Costa Rican flag there, which the Nicaraguans took down and replaced with their own flag. You would think, at that point, that everyone involved might double check to make sure they were on the right side of the border. After raising their own flag, the Nicaraguans apparently set up camp, cleaned up a nearby river (nice of them) and then dumped sediment into Costa Rican territory (not so nice of them). If this truly is an honest mistake, then hopefully nothing more is made of it, but it sounds like Costa Rican citizens are quite upset about the whole thing, leading Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla to go on TV to ask citizens to "be calm... amid the outrage that these events provoke within us."


re: #dcmayor I must say that in his first two days as Mayor Elect, Vincent Gray has underwhelmed drastically making me wish that Fenty write in campaign was actually supported by him, he could have won

Thursday, November 04, 2010

$200 Million a Day for Obama Security

Amamzing how much taxpayer dollars are being spent on this trip.
But I guess I would rather pay this than for Obama to fly around and campaign for what turnes out to be quite the "shellackings"

Amplify’d from
Mumbai:  The US would be spending a whopping $200 million (Rs 900 crore approx) per day on President Barack Obama's visit to the city.
"The huge amount of around $200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit," a top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit said.
About 3,000 people including Secret Service agents, US government officials and journalists would accompany the President. Several officials from the White House and US security agencies are already here for the past one week with helicopters, a ship and high-end security instruments.

Can We Impeach a Mayor Before he is Sworn In ?

This guy is not off on the right foot, by any stretch.

You might think that a politician who gave up nearly a quarter of the votes in a slam-dunk election -- to a candidate who wasn't even backing the write-in campaign organized on his behalf, no less -- might want to be a little more conservative with his political capital. But Vince Gray appears to really be playing with fire so far. First, Gray held his victory party on Tuesday at a nightclub whose owner owes nearly $900,000 in back taxes. Then, Gray named Reuben Charles, whose frankly shoddy financial history has been widely documented, as the head of his transition team. And today, Gray reportedly didn't show up at the funeral of deceased MPD Officer Paul Dittamo -- leaving Fraternal Order of Police chief Kris Baumann, whose organization endorsed Gray in September's primary, "apoplectic." With nearly sixty days left to go before he is sworn in on January 2, Gray's hardly getting off to a flying start. [An update: it turns out that instead of attending the funeral, Gray chose to eat lunch with Kwame Brown at The Fourth Estate.]

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Mayor Elect Gray Stuck in the Past

Many DC residents were hoping for new blood, a fresh start as the new Mayor gets ready to take office. However, as feared it looks like Mayor Elect gray is stuck in the past, selecting a couple former Mayor Barry staffers to lead vital city services on his transition team.

As a DC resident, am sad to see Fenty go. For all his faults, he moved the city forward not back.

The transition team that will develop the framework for Vincent Gray's mayorship includes a handful of members with links to the District's troubled 1990s and former Mayor Marion Barry's administrations.

Gray announced his 15-member team Wednesday afternoon, a day after officially winning the uncontested mayor's race. Transition team members, Gray said, will prepare concrete plans for how he'll handle education reform, economic development and government operations.

One of those is Thomas Downs, a former city administrator for Barry. Barry hired Downs -- who will co-chair Gray's infrastructure and transportation committee -- in 1981 to be transportation chief. Downs rose quickly and became Barry's chief lieutenant in 1983 after being credited for making the Transportation Department one of the city's best agencies. While serving as Barry's city administrator, Downs frequently played the role of spokesman for the mayor's troubled administration. In January 1987, it was Downs who defended the city's cleanup of a brutal snowstorm while Barry tried to make his way back from California, where the mayor had been watching the Super Bowl.

Joining Downs in leading the infrastructure committee is Cellerino Bernardino, who resigned as Department of Public Works chief in 1998 under an onslaught of criticism in the waning days of Barry's last administration. When he left, the city's inability to collect trash on time, maintain sidewalks and fix broken traffic lights had become nearly legendary.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

1500 Short of a Megachurch ?

These so called "megachurches" have always kind if fascinated me. As I grew up on Sunday mornings, the shows from these places were the only thing on.

Over the decades we have continued to see the leaders of these churches, and the churches themselves crumble under their own weight and own sins. A few remain popular, like Joel Osteen in TX as well as some others, but the major seem flush with controversy.

What I am curious about is the part where this congregation falls 15oo short of a megachurch ? Really? Who is making these numbers up, hopefully not our government ... I would think they have better things to do, especially e Dems these days as they prepare to take a beating :-)

Amplify’d from

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — The 10,664 windows did not get washed this year at the Crystal Cathedral, the iconic glass church founded by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, one of the original religious broadcasters. Volunteers are tending the church’s 40 landscaped acres, now that the gardeners have been laid off. And its renowned Christmas pageant — with live camels and horses, and angels flying overhead on cables — has been canceled for now.

Mr. Schuller said that when he came on board, a meticulous effort to straighten out the membership rolls found only 900 to 1,100 regular congregants at Crystal Cathedral — which would mean that it was about 1,500 people short of even qualifying as a megachurch. (The church spokesman, Mr. Charles, said Mr. Schuller’s figures were misleadingly low because he counted only those who attended every week. He said the church currently has about 10,000 congregation members.)


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vince Gray Ward 2 Town Hall

I was not able to vote in the recent Primary in DC since I am registered independent, but I will say that I was a Fenty supporter.

I do like however, the work Vince Gray has done to get out and listen to the residents of DC through these town hall style meetings he has been conducting in each ward.

Here is the lastest one from Ward 2. I am going to watch,a s you should to see what he has to say.

Is the Next American Generation Destined for Reduced Expectations

I am scared.

Scared for the future of the country and the effects of our current economic situation on the next generation. I am, I feel, the last of the generations where it was assumed that we would just automatically do better than the one before us. And for the most part that has born out to be true.

But I fear those times are coming to a sudden end. While our troubles have not hit the depths, or the deflation, that the Japanese are facing, I fear that the toll that our situation is taking on the next generation could be long lasting and hard felt. Honestly, I am scared for my children and hope like hell that things can turn around for them by the time they get old enough to enter the job market, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will not.

As you can see from the NY Times article, the recent economic struggle that Japan faced has created a culture of "essimism, fatalism and reduced expectations". They have resigned themselves that this is how it is and it will not get better.

Is that the direction we are headed ? I sure the hell hope not, but all great societies hit their tipping point and I just wonder if we have hit ours.....

The scary part about all of this is that one of the tools Japan used to battle recessions was called "Quantitative Easy" which is basically flooding the economy with cash made out of thin air ... we see where that got the, a large dose of deflation. This Quantitative Easing is being considered by many in the government and economists here in the US as the next step to turn the economy around.

Good idea ?, I think not, just read the article and decide for yourself.

Amplify’d from

OSAKA, Japan — Like many members of Japan’s middle class, Masato Y. enjoyed a level of affluence two decades ago that was the envy of the world. Masato, a small-business owner, bought a $500,000 condominium, vacationed in Hawaii and drove a late-model Mercedes.

Few nations in recent history have seen such a striking reversal of economic fortune as Japan. The original Asian success story, Japan rode one of the great speculative stock and property bubbles of all time in the 1980s to become the first Asian country to challenge the long dominance of the West.

Just as inflation scarred a generation of Americans, deflation has left a deep imprint on the Japanese, breeding generational tensions and a culture of pessimism, fatalism and reduced expectations. While Japan remains in many ways a prosperous society, it faces an increasingly grim situation, particularly outside the relative economic vibrancy of Tokyo, and its situation provides a possible glimpse into the future for the United States and Europe, should the most dire forecasts come to pass.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Verizon Bundling iPad with the MiFi

I got an interesting marketing email from Verizon this morning announcing the upcoming sale of the iPad.  This was not the interesting part, rather, it was the fact that they are promoting a bundled price that includes a 16GB iPad along with their MiFi mobile hot spot device.

Whats interesting about this, to me at least, is the fact that Verizon is using its current hardware, the MiFi, to bundle with the iPad (which they will only have the wifi version not the 3g version AT&T has).  Without this, Verizon would sell the iPad, make minimal profit from the sale of the device and thats it.  There is no recurring subscription fees from a wifi only device as far as Verizon is concerned.  However, by bundling it with the MiFi, they will lock the consumer into a mobile interent subscription service fee giving them the recurring income that they need to maintain.  pretty smart move, and this is from someone who despise these companies ;)

Maybe the Recovery Act Should Have Been Spread Out a Little More

Being a DC resident and working in Gaithersburg, I spend a lot of time driving in, around, and through the city. In a word it has become a mess. It seems that DDOT DC has taken it upon itself to start a road construction project on every damned road in the city. Whether it be the 12th St project, the 18 St closure, it seems that around every turn and up every road there is a road project underway.

It seems that the city got a load of Recovery Act $$ and went absolutely wild. Now I think DDOT in DC does a pretty good job, but someone must be responsible for scheduling these projects , no ? It was like kids on christmas morning who got a big cash present ... Budget not only your money, but your time and schedule while thinking about us regular folks trying to get around the city


Friday, October 15, 2010

Bikes Are Accountable to the Laws Too

One of the most frustrating things about living in the city is traffic, cars and bikes.  Oddly enough both are accountable to the lawas of the road

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Turning Bad Service Into a Good Experience

We recently moved from one apartment in DC to another.  Part of the process is obviously the ceremonial transferring of the utilities, to include the beloved HD cable service and broadband.   I mean what the hell would I do without that, read ?  Forget it.

In any case I made my first call to Comcast to get the service transferred to the new apt.  I was told that the previous tenant had never called to disconnect the service so I would not be able to have service at the new address until they did ... and how I was supposed to go about that was a mystery.  I was told by the support person that she would look into it and call me right back.  Yes, you guessed it, no call back.  I got busy packing and called back a few days later to chat with a gentleman who told me if I could fax him a signed copy of the lease, we could get the ball rolling.  Fax?  I said ... hmm i dont have a fax but I can email you the signed copy.  (This is where I almost lost it) follow along with the rough transcript of the conversation

Me:  I have a signed soft copy I can email you right away

Comcast Rep:  Oh no sir, we cannot accept emails

Me:  So I cant just save a lot of time and email it to you right now ?

Comcast Rep:  Oh no, our email system is not capable of accepting email from outside the company

Me:  What ?!  Are you kidding me?

Comcast Rep:  No I am not.  Actually no bog companies accept email from the outside.  Call Verizon or DirectTV and they will say the same thing ..

At this point I was floored and ended the call in sheer disgust.  I decided to call right back and see what the support roulette wheel landed on this time.  I got a nice man who told me he didn't need to signed lease, I could simply give him the phone number of my rental manager and he would call and verify and we could move forward.  I gave him the number and he said he would get back to me in a matter of minutes.  Guess what ?  You got it, never heard from him again.  So at this point you are probably thinking, "How can this get better".

I turned to Twitter of course.  I popped out a quick tweet to @comcastcares about the trouble, or atleast as much as I could fit in 140 characters.  In a matter of minutes I had a reply from @ComcastMelissa asking me to email her the lease and my info.  I obliged and not 1 hour later I was called by someone on her team to set up the service appointment !  I was floored.  But it did not end there.

Today was my service appointment.  I did  not have huge expectations, but was once again pleasantly surprised at the turn from terrible service to a great experience.  The tech, Bill, came early and proceeded to knock out the work in no time, making sure I had future outlets ready for tv's.  At the end though, he told me that he noticed that the signal to the junction box was very weak and it concerned him that would affect my service.  He climbed back up a fire escape to the roof to trace the issue.  He found that the service line from their pole was undersized and needed replaced.  He had already called and set up a two man crew to take care of the work on Saturday so that our service would be consistant and improved. Wow !  Before leaving he made sure to leave his phone number along with his supervisors in case I had any issues.  Wow!  It was like a modern day twilight zone.

We live in a service society today, yet the service we get .. well it mostly sucks.  Sadly we have come to expect the example i reference in the beginning.  This was one example though where a few people took a horrible negative, and with very little extra effort turned my experience into a good one.

Thank you