Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bike-and-Blog Opinion Sharing -OR- Crazy Old Aunt Dorothy Rides a Penny-Farthing & Candy Goes EXTRA! EXTRA! Stupid

The bell tower of Foundry United Methodist Church under stormy skies, Washington, D.C., 5:55PM June 2, 2013. It rained very heavily about 45 minutes later.

Foundry is the church that President Clinton and then-First Lady Hillary Clinton used to attend back in the 1990s. This church is sufficiently urban loosey-goosey PC uber-socially liberal with its "ALL ARE WELCOME" signs and rainbow flags touting Capital (gay) Pride.


This entry features some odds and ends both personal, weather-related, and political commentary. It is 11:28PM as I start it. I want to have it posted by 2AM. I just got back from the gym and I'm cooking dinner* while watching TV, specifically, the pair of Married, With Children reruns aired on Antenna TV between 11PM and midnight. I then switch over to TV Land and Hallmark for Frasier and The Golden Girls, respectively.

Of note, actress Jean Stapleton has died. Best known for her role as Edith Bunker, she died at 90.

Boxwood bushes outside the Barclay Ravenel on 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:18PM June 2, 2013.


*Dinner is somewhat oversized and should be good for two meals. It's the Tyson slow-cooked beef pot roast and two Success rice-in-a-bags and steamed Brussel sprouts and small carrots (the Safeway was out of broccoli). Oh, and for a beverage, the raspberry-flavored Vintage Seltzer water that I seem to drink so much of, although I can't help but have some Coca Cola soda pop. I need the sugar, caffeine, and fizzy combo hit.

The corner house with its castle-like rounded turret side at 16th and Swann Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 6:03PM June 2, 2013. I really like this house and its old Victorian feel as well as its "secluded" setting behind all those trees and bushes.


I had a good gym workout -- 5 mile jog, some weight-lifting, and swimming. I only did 16 laps since I only had about 20 minutes in the pool. I got a late start in part because I stopped to watch part of Lawrence O'Donnell's marvelous segment that was being shown on the TV outside the entrance to the locker rooms. The lady Kathleen who sometimes works there always watches the MSNBC lineup. She works at the nearby Brookings Institution during the day and regularly treks up to Maine where she has a house.

Storm clouds approaching from the west northwest as seen from my Hampton Courts apartment, Washington, D.C., 6:21PM June 2, 2013. It rained very heavily shortly thereafter -- torrents, in fact, but National Airport (KDCA) only picked up 0.12" in that event. More like 3/4" fell in 20 minutes in around my neighborhood.


This was the third day in a row that I made it to the gym and did the above routine. I weighed myself yesterday and was at 152.5 pounds in my bathing trunks as measured on the big scale in one of the men's locker rooms. This is 31 pounds down from when I started nearly a year ago (on June 23, 2012). Including muscle mass gain, I've lost now closer to 35 pounds. My ultimate goal has been around 145 pounds.

The colorful flag of the Republic of the Congo at its embassy along 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:14PM June 2, 2013. I was walking to the gym in this picture (and back in all the other ones I posted above). Don't confuse the Republic of the Congo with the Democratic Republic of the Congo-turned-Zaire-turned-back-to-Democratic Republic of the Congo.


I'll take off tomorrow and Thursday. On Thursday, I'm supposed to go with Imara, Nick, and Jake to a D.C. Jazz Festival event at the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. (Andrea is away this week.)

I got a haircut earlier tonight at the Hair Cuttery with my regular stylist Brittany cutting my hair. She is returning to college soon so I'll have to find another stylist (probably Tommy who also works there). I walked over to the gym and yet another Chris H. sighting. He walks around quite a bit and (probably) as no car. This is unlike Matthew "M. WADE Tipamillyun" Henry, who will drive in his BMW if he has to go more than 25 feet. (Or is he now driving a Jaguar XK??)

A close up (as good as my cellphone camera could take from 16th Street) looking toward Stead Park with the "Team DC" kickball team in full Sunday JR's alcohol-for-sale fueled / borderline public nuisance mode. There was some drag queen screaming out the rules of the game as I walked by and lots of shrieking.


On a tangentially related note, it has been my experience living in D.C. over many years that you are more likely to see big name Democratic politicians, pundits, and senior members of government walking about than Republican ones.

A small green patch of flowers and shrubs at Dupont Circle (between P St. and Massachusetts Ave. on the east-southeast side of the roundabout), Washington, D.C., 8:22PM June 3, 2013. I was walking from the Hair Cuttery to the YMCA.


By the way, I'm supposed to get a bicycle this weekend. I'm actually buying it from my top boss for a good price. She lives way out in Maryland and (track work permitting) we're supposed to meet at the Shady Grove Metro. Assuming this all works out, my plan is ride it back to D.C. via Rock Creek Trail starting in Lake Needwood park (which is about 2 miles from the Metro station).

I haven't had a bicycle since 2004 (when I had three stolen in rapid succession but never mind that). I'm not really sure what I'll do in terms of getting a lock or where I'll ride it. Bike theft is so rampant in D.C. that there may very well be a professional bicycle theft ring in operation.

No, I've never done the Capital Bikeshare program. It has gotten quite popular in the past two years.

This brings me to my first political commentary ...

The Wicked Witch of the Wall Street Journal

The progressive blogosphere and even the MSNBC nightly political news and talk show programs has been abuzz and agog over the cartoonish comments made by the the loathsome and repellent Dorothy Rabinowitz, a Wall Street Journal editorial board writer and right wing political commentator and author who is perhaps most notoriously known for her ugliness toward the 9/11 widows. Naturally, she's a darling inside the Fox News Bubble. She is like an Onion parody of a reactionary writer. 

The other day during an in-house newspaper interview in a segment called "Death by Bicycle," Rabinowitz - looking like a ghoulish Danse Macabre character or a melting wax figure -- made the following statements about New York City's new Citi Bike Program.

"Do not ask me to enter the minds of the totalitarians running this city." "I would like to say to the people who don't live in New York... envision what happens when you get a government run by an autocratic leader." "We now look at a city whose best cities are absolutely begrimed by these blazing blue Citibank bikes." "It is shocking to walk around this city."

"The most important danger in this city is not the yellow cabs... it is the cyclists, empowered by the city administration."

"I invite the mayor... to stand on Lower 5th Avenue and see exactly what happens every day." "We have a mayor who is a practiced denier" "If the mayor had any guts, he would have undertaken a study." "The bike lobby is an all-powerful enterprise." "The city is helpless before the driven, ideological passions of its leader."

Source here. The video of the interview is available embedded in this article.

The funniest response I saw was on Jim Romenesko's blog "When was Dorothy Rabinowitz last on a bicycle?" in which he posed a Tweet from Bike Snob NYC (shown in an image capture):

A Penny-Farthing ... Ha ha

But the best substantive response came from my hero Paul Krugman, who wrote in this blog entry:

"So the point is that we shouldn’t think of the Journal as reflecting people who try to live in Manhattan as if they were upper-middle-class suburbanites; it’s reflecting people who are members of the modern carriage trade, and who get annoyed at the proletarian peddlers getting in the way of their chauffeurs."

Thank God for the progressive blogosphere and the MSNBC political news shows / media infrastructure in place. Twenty years ago, we would have had to looked to the sh!tty print media (think The Washington Post) or the big three network nightly news shows and CNN.

The WaHoPo editorial board, to the extent it covered it at all, would have had some stupid "Maybe she has as point ..." editorial or, even worse, a lame attempt at a humorous editorial.

The only thing worse than Fred Hiatt trying to be Very Serious is Fred Hiatt trying to be humorous.

And the Great and Powerful Letters Editor at the time, Martha "M.J." McAteer would have used her preternatural "gatekeeping" powers to ensure that only some meek and mild "opposing" opinion reduced to 200 words and all milquetoast mewling and begging for GOP approval, which of course means surrendering to the corporate oligarchs and/or the neo-Confederate crazies ("I beg and beseech that we all come together and hold hands in a centrist, bipartisan manner ...").

In case you haven't noticed, I dislike intensely the print Post newspaper. I rarely even physically touch it. Its on-line incarnation is more tolerable.

This brings me to my second and final political commentary of this entry  ...

The "Gut" of the Washington Consensus Media Establishment

Speaking of the worthless Washington press corps, Lawrence O'Donnell had on his show The Last Word earlier tonight had a terrific segment "The Most Ridiculous Question Asked on TV This Weekend" on how stupidly D.C. journalists and pundits are covering the mostly bogus IRS scandal.

For starters, let's be clear that President No Drama Obama already prejudiced the outcome of this by being so fearful and coming out so aggressively on the IRS "targeting" of small Teabag groups all across this country.

The fact is, the IRS was simply trying to enforce in this ugly post-Citizens United world its own rules on what constitutes a 501(c)(3) "non-profit" and 501(c)(4) "social welfare" organization.

Perhaps the criteria that was used was crude but any group submitting an application stating that its SOLE PURPOSE is to "defend freedom" and "THE DEFEAT OF THE MUSLIM KENYAN SOCIALIST BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA AND EVIL LIBTARDS TRYING TO CONFISCATE MY GUNS" does NOT constitute a tax-exempt "social welfare" organization.

[The remaining pictures in this entry were provided to me by Chris T, who is still in self-imposed exile in Alabama and sends me pictures of small towns in rural stretches of the state. The current ones are from a place called Tallassee taken on June 1st. They are posted without captions.]

Over the weekend, CNN's Candy Crowley interviewed the vile and deeply shady Rep. Darrell Issa and asked him about his "gut" feeling on whether the White House "knew" about the targeting of Tea Party organizations.

O'Donnell also argued a few weeks ago that the "real" scandal happened in 1959 when the IRS unilaterally redefined the purpose of a 501(c)(4) organization. You may watch this video segment embedded here.

Lastly, here was former Obama advisor David Plouffe's take on Darrell Issa, who has been making all kinds of Fox News viewer-satisfying accusations and smears including one in response to Crowley's awesomely stupid question:

"Strong words from Mr Grand Theft Auto and suspected arsonist/insurance swindler. And loose ethically today."

Here is the back story from a Ryan Lizza article in The New Yorker in January 2011.

I wonder if Ruth "Mother" Marcus was STOPPED COLD by this Tweet.

OK, that's all for now. I was going to post a bit of a weather update as well but I'll refrain except to say the two-day precip totals were 0.54" at KDCA, 0.68" at KBWI, and 0.92" at KIAD.

My next planned update will be on Wednesday or Thursday night.


P.S. I posted this entry at 3:21AM or nearly 4 hours after started the entry.

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