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

Month: December 2009 Page 2 of 4

With Cops Like This . . .

Massive snowball fight at 14th and U, much fun being had. So what’s the reasonable way to react to your Hummer taking a hit from a snowball? Well, if you’re a veteran DC detective, you get out and start waving your gun around:

According to an eyewitness, a D.C. Police detective (pictured above w/ gun) went nuts after kids pelted his Hummer with snowballs at 14th and U Streets NW this afternoon. The veteran detective got out of his car and eventually grabbed for his gun, displaying it to the crowd. He did not immediately identify himself as a police officer. He calmed down once his fellow uniformed cop arrived. Apparently, someone called 911 to report a man with gun.

With police judgment like this, it’s no wonder that DC ends up paying out millions and millions in settlements related to police overreaction. For more detail (including pictures of the detective – you’ll want to be sure you never say boo to him, I’m sure, for fear of getting shot), check out the link above.

Update: And here are some fantastic photos of NYC pulling off what we couldn’t, it seems.  Do click.

Pope This

Perhaps the treasure rooms are running a little low?  Looks like the Vatican has decided, as Cory Doctorow summarized it:

The [Vatican’s] statement cited a “great increase of affection and esteem for the person of the Holy Father” in recent years as contributing to a desire to use the Pontiff’s name for all manner of educational and cultural institutions, civic groups and foundations.

Due to this demand, the Vatican has felt it necessary to declare that “it alone has the right to ensure the respect due to the Successors of Peter, and therefore, to protect the figure and personal identity of the Pope from the unauthorized use of his name and/or the papal coat of arms for ends and activities which have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church…”

“Consequently, the use of anything referring directly to the person or office of the Supreme Pontiff… and/or the use of the title ‘Pontifical,’ must receive previous and express authorization from the Holy See,” concluded the message released to the press.

The Catholic Church – trying to rule the world since, well . . . it came into existence.

Mississippi Goddamn


BBC. 2009.

Just . . .

Details here.

The Hard Streets of Arlington . . .

WashCycle picks up something I somehow missed in October:


LYNN ST. N., 2100 block, 5 p.m. Oct. 13. Two bicyclists collided on the street. One man allegedly assaulted the other and damaged the man’s bicycle.

That’s the miserable intersection of Key Bridge, cross-over to the MVT from the Custis, etc.  I’d expect a little more violence there, to be honest.  I know, it’s not funny, but still . . .

Interesting Redistricting Tool

Received this from an Open Government list I’m on, and think that it’s well worth sharing.  Try it here, after you read the original accompanying email:

In preparation for Redistricting 2011, the company I work for, Avencia, started building a web-based redistricting tool for collaborative/ community-based redistricting projects: http://www.redistrictingthenation.com/search.aspx and

Type your address –> get a shape of your legislative district(s) and get a compactness score (less compact is **sometimes** a sign of gerrymandering — some exceptions apply for geographic irregularities.

For instance:
shoreline, mountain range, rivers, etc.) + (first phase of) draw your own district.

Our hope is that a tool like this could be developed into a more complete toolkit used by political advocacy organizations to let citizens or groups of people fully participate in the redistricting
process by enabling the sharing, publishing, and voting of sample redistricting plans through
the Internet/ Twitter or other outlets. Ultimately, these plans might be used to influence final decisions. Screen shots of  a full blown redistricting toolkit: http://www.redistrictingthenation.com/services.aspx

We know there are some pretty important players in the redistricting world (especially software wise). There are also some great free initiatives like Dave’s Redistricting App:

So I’d love to hear your feedback not only about our idea, but also about what features an ideal community-based “redistricting tool” might provide users (i.e., if you had a dream app what would it be?)

This is going to be consuming a lot of state legislature time soon – best start getting prepared for it.

Well Done, DC. Well Done.


About 9/11 Being a Joke . . .

Turns out that that Washington Post screwup wasn’t what it initially seemed.

Friday Music: Timeless Edition

Irving Berlin’s Let’s Face the Music and Dance?  Has yielded much.  How could it not?

There may be trouble ahead
But while there’s moonlight and music
And love and romance
Let’s face the music and dance

Before the fiddlers have fled
Before they ask us to pay the bill
And while we still
Have the chance
Let’s face the music and dance

Ella Fitzgerald’s take:

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And then, well, there’s Taco:

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I love me some Ella.  And Taco?  Wish I could pull that off.  But my favorite?  Comes courtesy of Nat King Cole:

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Still, I can’t help but thinking that there’s a sublimely perfect version out there, somewhere . . .

The Stupidity of British Public Policy on Photography


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