Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Month: February 2009 Page 1 of 4

Reminder: VASA Ride in DC on Sunday

Sunday, March 1st, will bring us DC’s third VASA Ride.   They had 200 riders in 2007, and around 300 in 2008.  Would love to see that increase substantially this year.  And with snow and cold predicted for Sunday, who could possibly want to stay home?

Oh, right – what’s the VASA Ride?  It’s a mass ride (of varying lengths) sponsored by the Embassy of Sweden to celebrate the Vasaloppet, a Swedish ski race.   Last year we rode from the Embassy up MacArthur Boulevard to Cabin John and back.  It’s not a race – just a fun group ride.  The best part?  The free hot blueberry soup served by the Embassy at the end.  If you’re in the DC area, I hope you’ll check it out.   More info, including start times and (optional) registration here.

(A Step Away From) Marijuana Madness

A not insignificant step forward to a more intelligent approach to drugs in the US:

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is sending strong signals that President Obama – who as a candidate said states should be allowed to make their own rules on medical marijuana – will end raids on pot dispensaries in California.

Asked at a Washington news conference Wednesday about Drug Enforcement Administration raids in California since Obama took office last month, Holder said the administration has changed its policy.

“What the president said during the campaign, you’ll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we’ll be doing here in law enforcement,” he said. “What he said during the campaign is now American policy.”

Not a bad path towards budget cuts, either.

Pardon Me, Stewardess, I Speak Jive

As TPM notes, this is *not* from The Onion:

And check out this latest development in Steele’s campaign to create a hip-hop image for the GOP. Michele Bachmann praised Steele’s speech: “Michael Steele! You be da man! You be da man.”

Next up – some of the GOP’s best chairs are black people!

(I wish I could claim credit for the title.  Alas, I stole it from comments elsewhere.)

The Irony of the GOP

As noted in many other places this morning, Gail Collins describes things perfectly:

Louisiana has gotten $130 billion in post-Katrina aid. How is it that the stars of the Republican austerity movement come from the states that suck up the most federal money? Taxpayers in New York send way more to Washington than they get back so more can go to places like Alaska and Louisiana. Which is fine, as long as we don’t have to hear their governors bragging about how the folks who elected them want to keep their tax money to themselves. Of course they do! That’s because they’re living off ours.

Midweek Makeover: Such Promise

Okay, so I’ve completely dropped the ball here.  It’s not you, it’s me.  Really.  I’ll be back, for sure.  Tonight, we take a look at a cover for which I make no apologies.

Britney (the clip you’re getting is from a Miami “live” performance, which is just as well, as Miami is where I was when I came to really appreciate this track):


The Cellibabies hit a great cover, here.  Now, I need to note a couple of things.  First, you need to FF to 2:38 to even hear it.  Second, you need to understand my deep appreciation for all things cello.  Finally, this entry is dedicated to all those poor junior high cellists who didn’t understand how hot Jaqueline DuPre was:


It can be improved upon, for sure.  So let’s get to it.

Such Faith

Just off a flight from Salt Lake City, and the two (business partners?) next to me pointed to the (long-existing) cranes that are part of the DC skyline and remarked how quickly “that stimulus money is moving.”

Think That New Car Is Yours? Not Quite.

I’m coming late to this, but Vivian Paige brings our attention to a bill that I couldn’t quite believe, the first time I read it.  As Vivian describes it:

Very simply, the change [to the law] would make it easier for the seller of the vehicle to take possession of [a vehicle which you have contracted to purchase, made a downpayment/trade-in on, and have taken possession of, but for which the dealer has not yet made an application for title on your behalf]. Where’s the problem? Well, what about returning the trade in and the downpayment of the purchaser? Shouldn’t those things occur at the same time? This bill doesn’t take that into consideration.

Another concern of consumer protection activists is that it will open the door for the filing of criminal charges – as opposed to civil charges – against buyers who don’t, for whatever reason, turn over the vehicles immediately.This is despite the fact that Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code says that these are civil cases.

It’s a ridiculously bad change to the law (something that Del. John Cosgrove, sponsor of the bill, seems to be fond of attempting), and is up for hearing today.  Follow the link from Vivian’s place for information on

Related: Mark Brooks follows the money.

Eric Holder Is Right


In his first major speech since being confirmed, the nation’s first black attorney general told an overflow crowd celebrating Black History Month at the Justice Department the nation remains “voluntarily socially segregated.”

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” Holder declared.

He is absolutely right, and anyone who says otherwise is almost unbelievably naive or pushing an undeclared agenda.

Midweek Makeover: A Love Delayed . . .

is not a love denied. No explanation required.

Stuck with the Burris Mess

You wonder if maybe the GOP paid Blagojevich to name Burris to the Senate seat, thus ensuring at least one massive Democratic failure and ongoing embarrassment:

Yesterday was not a good day for Roland Burris.

First, he admitted that, contradicting the impression he had left over the weekend, he had tried to raise money for Rod Blagojevich after a conversation with the then-governor’s brother. (That acknowledgement came on the heels of an affidavit Burris filed earlier this month which itself contradicted his sworn testimony to the legislature about conversations with Blagojevich’s circle.)

Then, we learned that two investigations have been launched into the new senator’s shifting explanations. One is described by the Chicago Tribune as “a perjury review,” being conducted by John Schmidt, the local prosecutor in Springfield, and a Republican. Schmidt said he was acting on a request from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

It seems almost certain that the man committed perjury, and will be prosecuted for it.  A reasonable person might think that he’d prefer to handle that out of the public light.  But as we saw with his appointment battle, the man is almost entire incapable of self awareness or shame.  We’re going to be stuck with him for a while, I fear, and it’s going to be ugly.

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