John A. Logan, the Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the
Republic (the fraternal order of Union soldiers in the Civil War) first
declared the observance of Memorial Day in 1868. This was his
i. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of
strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who
died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose
bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in
the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but
posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services
and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the
purpose among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those
kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers,
sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What
can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory
of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our
country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom
to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny
in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that
the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their
adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her
slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed
grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent
visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no
ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that
we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in
the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and
warmth of life remain to us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred
remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest
flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they
saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to
aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a
nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.
ii. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this
observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year,
while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed
comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid
in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in
time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
iii. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order
Commentary on Current District Leadership
Karl Jeremy, email@example.com
In his Saturday column, “A Dangerous Spiral for Fenty and the
Colbert King correctly captured the tenor of the mayoral race, the 2011
mayoral budget and the ability of councilmembers to act with integrity.
The financial future of the city and whether or not the District is
headed for another congressional intervention has me most concerned.
Congress hasn’t done a sterling job of managing federal dollars
lately, so it is unlikely that any new intervention will put the
District back on sound financial footing.
District residents will survive Mary Cheh’s creative social
engineering and new taxes, but in the budgeting process, throwing good
money after bad to ensure reelection is not acceptable leadership.
Actually, it wasn’t clear last Wednesday whether David Alpert or the
council was in control of the budget, but in the end David and the
Greater Greater Washington tweeters prevailed, and DDOT will have its
streetcars! The fact that E-mails in May could so influence the resolve
and leadership of those councilmembers running for reelection in the
September primary casts serious doubt on whether or not they are
suitable for elected office.
Adrian Fenty has shown contempt for his constituents and a preference
for selected developers and his fraternity brothers. In less than four
years, he has allowed the city’s reserve fund to become seriously
depleted and put the city at risk for another intervention. If the mayor
and council are currently fixated on the elections, now may be the time
to ask, whether or not the District can afford four more years of Fenty
and councilmembers who, knowing the state of the District’s finances,
moved forward with passage of the mayor’s budget? Perhaps as Colby
suggests, it is time to elect a new mayor and councilmembers with
integrity, backbone, and fiscal responsibility.
Bigger Is Better for DC HIV/AIDS Prevention?
Richard Urban, firstname.lastname@example.org
The District of Columbia Department of Health is now distributing
Trojan condoms, including the super-size Magnum variety, as well as
Durex condoms. So one can conclude, according to the DC HIV/AIDS
Administration, that the problem is not that youths are having sex, but
that they are not using condoms enough. However, there is no data to
support this approach. No program anywhere in the world has ever
succeeded in increasing the rate of condom use throughout the general
population. Researcher Ed Green has done important work in this area .
Condom distribution in the District increased from 600,0000 in 2007 to
3.2 million in 2009. Yet at the same time the rate of HIV infection
increased by 9.2 per cent. So it appears that there is a correlation
between more condoms being distributed and higher HIV infection rates.
Ed Green found the same effect in his research in Africa; using condoms
seems to give a false sense of security. Countries with the highest rate
of condom use also have the highest rates of HIV infection. Botswana,
Zimbabwe, and South Africa have the highest rate of condom distribution,
and also the highest rate of HIV infection (20 percent to 35 percent
among males ages 15 to 49).
Although 42 percent of DC high school students report never having
had sex, and 69 percent have not had sex within the previous three
months, the District does not spend any money to increase the number of
youth who are abstaining from sex. It is noteworthy that, without any
help from the Health Department, 21 per cent more youth are now
abstaining than fourteen years ago. It makes sense to encourage this
positive trend. A column in the Washington Post on condom
cites Councilmember David Catania’s Youth Sexual Health Project, http://www.davidcatania.com/publicdocuments/YSHP.pdf,
which I have written about before, http://tinyurl.com/25sn34n.
The beginning of Catania’s report cites Canadian Health Education
Guidelines: “Sexuality encompasses sex, gender identities and roles,
sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy, and reproduction.
Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires,
beliefs, attitudes, values, behavior, practices, roles, and
A proposed sexual health education curriculum for seventh to twelfth
grade instructs youth to view art that includes homo-erotic art by
Jessica Walker, http://www.redbubble.com/people/porcelainpoet/art.
It is interesting to note that parents were not included as one of the
three groups that were interviewed to determine attitudes toward
sexuality. Instead, youth, school nurses and health providers were
interviewed. It is time for David Catania to step aside, especially in
light of the failure of leadership on HIV prevention. The Youth Sexual
Health Project report, which appears to be the impetus for the addition
of the new condom brands, makes it clear that Mr. Catania’s focus is
on encouraging acceptance of various sexual expressions and lifestyles,
not on promoting what is in the best interest of the youth of the
District of Columbia, which is risk avoidance by sexual abstinence
outside of marriage.
In my experience, parents overwhelmingly support the promotion of
sexual abstinence as the best choice for their children. The Youth
Sexual Health Project report and the resulting recommendation to give
out even more types of condoms show how out of touch Mr. Catania is with
the majority of DC parents and voters.
Last Thursday, the Metro Board of Directors approved bus and rail
fare increases that will impact our city’s poor and unemployed. While
these hikes may not affect our wealthy neighborhoods, where the incomes
are high and unemployment is still relatively low, our city is made of
extraordinary contrasts in wealth and poverty. The increase in fares,
which ranges from 20 percent to 26 percent, are substantial for low
income families, and especially for those who live in Anacostia, where
the unemployment rate is the highest in the city at 40 percent. Unlike
DC’s unemployed and poor residents, Maryland and Virginia job seekers
and low-income residents will not be severely affected by the Metro
Board fare increases. Maryland’s and Virginia’s local governments
and agencies have implemented the United We Ride (UWR) (http://www.unitedweride.gov/1_3_ENG_HTML.htm),
and Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) federally funded programs.
These programs offer states and municipalities subsidized and often free
transportation services to employment and employment-related activities
for those most in need: the elderly, people with disabilities,
low-income individuals, welfare recipients, and other poor individuals.
Unfortunately DC legislators have yet to utilize URW and JARC federal
funds effectively to support our own low-income workers and unemployed
job seekers. The Georgetown Metro Connector Bus did independently and
creatively seek and acquire JARC funds — and openly admit their low
fare ($1.00) is largely serving Georgetown University students and
tourists throughout northwest DC, http://web1.ctaa.org/webmodules/webarticles/articlefiles/thirteen.pdf.
By August, Metro rail fares will increase 18 percent, from $1.65 to
$1.95; bus boarding charges will go up 20 percent from $1.25 to $1.50
for SmartTrip users, and even higher for cash customers who will bear
the most expansive fare hike at 26 percent from $1.35 to $1.70 while
peak cash Metro rail rider fares will rise from $4.50 to $5.45. These
increases are substantial for DC’s hourly wage earners, and are
particularly high for Ballou STAY alternative school and Anacostia
residents. Last fall a comprehensive student survey revealed that for
Ballou STAY students their number one concern is the daily
transportation cost, which they identified as the critical factor that
impacts their school attendance and access to viable employment. Recent
research findings from Brookings Institute concur: poor and low income
individuals face structural and transportation cost barriers that keep
them from seeking jobs, and are more likely to remain impoverished.
Unlike DC, Maryland and Virginia offer low income and unemployed
residents multiple programs that provide free transportation services to
and from employment centers — programs that capitalize on available
federal funds. So far our DC legislators have yet to implement similar
federally funded programs available since 2004 to our low income,
unemployed, and needy residents. Although DC has claimed membership of
the regional Transportation’s Plan for the National Capital Region
since 2007, our city has yet to develop effective programs to help
defray transportation costs to low income and job seeking residents. If
you are not yet convinced, read http://www.unitedweride.gov/MWCOGPLan_080418.pdf.
Why I Am Running as WTU General VP on Saunders’
Candi Peterson, email@example.com
Washington, DC, native Nathan A. Saunders is running president of the
Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) in our upcoming election. I believe
that Saunders is committed to reclaiming our voice in the “reform”
debate as the experts in public education, willing to engage community
stakeholders, advance the issues that directly impact teaching and
learning on a daily basis and is absolute in his belief that teachers
deserve adequate compensation and improved working conditions while
preserving due process and tenure protections. Having worked with Nathan
Saunders on the WTU Executive board for the past three years, I have
learned that he is a critical thinker, an organizer, and open to others
ideas even when they differ from his own. I know first hand that Nathan
is willing to stand up and fight for teachers, school personnel,
students, and schools. For these reasons, I am running with Nathan on
his slate as the WTU General Vice President. I am asking you to support
our entire slate of candidates. We support the following core values:
fairness, freedom, equality, integrity, responsibility, and security.
As an elected member of the WTU Board of Trustees, WTU Building
Representative, and The Washington Teacher blogger, I believe that the
WTU under the helm of George Parker just doesn’t understand that it
will take activist work to make our union effective against ongoing
attacks against teachers and school personnel. Parker has been easily
intimidated by strong leaders in our union and he seeks to squash their
voice and their involvement. Our union has been operating with President
Parker regularly canceling union meetings, with no contract for the last
three years, and with weekly robo calls going out to members and little
else. Parker has been unable to motivate or activate union members in a
call to action.
Several years ago when Nathan and I sought to get the WTU involved at
the Executive Board level to fight school closings, our current union
president denied us. That didn’t stop Nathan and me, and so we joined
a grassroots organization named the Coalition to Save Our Neighborhood
Schools (CSONS), in which we both worked with DC parents and community
residents to aggressively challenge Rhee’s closing of twenty-three DC
public schools. We also sought financial contributions from COPE (WTU’s
Committee on Political Education) to support the work of CSONS, despite
inside union opposition. This experience helped to reinforce our belief
that we must build partnerships with DC parents and community residents,
not just when we need something from them.
As The Washington Teacher blog has become increasingly more popular
among DC teachers, school personnel, and the community, I marvel at the
fact that it was originally Nathan Saunders’ idea. When Nathan
suggested it to me as a way to express my outrage against the 2008 red
and green tier teachers contract proposal that stripped teachers of
seniority rights, I jumped on board. The rest is history. Whether we
like it or not, social networks like blogs are the wave of the future
and they represent a powerful medium and one of the ways by which the
Saunders/Peterson slate believes that our union can serve and protect
our members, defend public education in the media, and raise the bar on
democracy and transparency. DC Teachers and school personnel are in the
fight for our professional lives. We need a slate who is willing to
fight for our future. I believe that the Saunders/Peterson slate has
what it takes to fight this war that is all about privatization and not
about students. Join us, support us, vote for us, spread the word, meet
our candidates, and schedule a school visit soon by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at 563-2144. We can do better.
[Re: themail, May 26] Segways for every man, woman, and teen would be
stopped by the Congress, since it would mess too much with the driving
rights of commuters. This is why statehood is the only progressive cause
that the council should be working on.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
National Building Museum Events, June 1, 3-5
Johanna Weber, email@example.com
June 1, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Book of the Month: Sven’s Bridge.
Join us in the Building Zone for an interactive reading of Anita Lobel’s
Sven’s Bridge and explore the wonderful world of bridges.
Readings at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Free drop-in program, recommended for
ages three to five.
June 3, 12:30-2:00 p.m., Community in the Aftermath: Mississippi’s
Green Post-Disaster Housing. Hear a panel of experts discuss Mississippi’s
efforts to produce durable, affordable post disaster housing units that
utilize the latest green building technologies. Free, registration
required. Walk-in registration based on availability.
June 4, 1:00-4:00 p.m., The Architecture of Diplomacy. Building an
embassy challenges a nation to reflect on how it wants to be perceived
abroad, and how it perceives itself. For example, in 1960, Denmark
established itself as a progressive and design-conscious country when it
built Washington, DC’s first modern embassy. Hear architects,
historians, and diplomats discuss the opportunities and challenges of
representing national values on foreign soil. $12 for members and Danish
Club of Washington, DC, members; free for students; $20 for nonmembers.
Prepaid registration required. Walk-in registration based on
June 5, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Construction Watch Tour: Fort McHenry
Visitor Center. Design inspiration for Fort McHenry’s new visitor
center in Baltimore came from the nation’s most enduring symbol —
the Star-Spangled Banner. Alan Reed, design principal with GWWO
Architects, leads a tour of the 17,200-square-foot center, scheduled to
open in early 2011 and designed to achieve LEED Silver certification.
$25, members only. Prepaid registration required. All events at the
National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square Metro
station. Register for events at http://www.nbm.org.
Fenty, Gray in Neighborhoods-Focused Mayoral
Forum, May 10
Tom Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and DC Council Chairman Vince Gray, the leading
candidates in the September 14 Democratic primary for mayor, have
confirmed they will participate in the Neighborhoods Mayoral Forum to be
held June 10 in Tenleytown. In addition to focusing on citywide issues,
the forum is intended to explore candidates’ views on a wide range of
issues specifically affecting the city’s diverse neighborhoods. The
forum will be moderated by former Ward 3 DC Council member Kathy
Patterson, a current resident of Ward 6. Other mayoral candidates
participating in the mayoral forum are Leo Alexander, Sulaimon Brown,
and Ernest Johnson.
The forum will take place at St. Columba Episcopal Church Great Hall,
4201 Albemarle Street, NW, just one block from the Red Line Tenleytown
Metro Stop. The forum will be held from 7:30-9:30 p.m. The neighborhoods
forum is being sponsored by the Ward Three Democratic Committee and the
Federation of Citizens Associations of the District of Columbia.
In addition to the forum, the Ward Three Democratic Committee also
will sponsor a mayoral straw poll on June 10 open to all registered
Democrats residing in Ward 3. Any registered Democrat residing in Ward 3
is eligible to cast a vote in the straw poll. Voting will be by secret
ballot. The straw poll will be held from 7-10 p.m. at St. Columba’s
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