Living in the Bubble
Dear Bubble Dwellers:
"When Will America Burst DC’s Bubble?" asks Salena Zito in Real Clear
Starbucks shops can be found in the three-mile walk from DuPont Circle
to the US Capitol. Not one of them had a line less than seven people
deep on a recent Wednesday afternoon. Twenty-one construction sites
filled with workers on girders and cranes towering over whole city
blocks can be found on the same walk. Commerce bursts from every angle
of this city: small businesses packed with shoppers, hair salons
charging more than the monthly mortgage payment on my first house for a
cut-and-blow-dry, and main as well as side streets clogged with traffic.
America’s capital seems bubble-wrapped in its own vibrant economic boom,
while great chunks of the nation struggle with uncertainty about how to
keep the engine going. In fact, six of the ten wealthiest American
counties are Washington suburbs."
But Zito warns, "The centralized power and wealth in our nation’s
capital are becoming so disconnected from the rest of this country that
it is palpable to everyone except those who live in Washington. In most
people’s lives, the driving issue is economic security. Washington’s
obsession is with social and cultural issues that drive bigger wedges
between Us and Them. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of
America’s complaints will burst Washington’s bubble."
Do you buy her narrative, or is it a false construct? Are we
Washingtonians really just everyday, down-home types, middle Americans
Need Advice on Donating Evergreen Bushes
Would anyone like to adopt a monumental evergreen bush, a smaller
mounded evergreen, or two prolific yellow-green acubas from our yard? Or
does anyone know of an organization that would dig them up and take
them? We have too little space to accommodate them in the manner they
deserve. All are mature and vigorous, although the shade-loving acubas
would benefit from a location with less direct sunlight.
Everyone we’ve consulted with — including two landscapers, the
Botanical Gardens, and the National Arboretum — has (gently) hinted that
it’s impractical to look for anyone who would be willing to go to the
trouble of removing and transplanting them, but it seems a shame to cut
them down if someone else might enjoy them.
If you know of a school, park, or other facility that would welcome
an evergreen that is eight feet around as a buffer from neighboring
properties, please drop us a line. And if you’d like more information or
pictures, feel free to contact us at 202-537-5996. Thanks for any leads
or for sharing your experience!
The July 4 Civil Disobedience March
I recall that some time ago, early in the gun debate, Attorney
General Irv Nathanson decided not to prosecute the Meet the Press host,
David Gregory, who displayed a thirty-round magazine on his show. Merely
possessing a magazine of that size was against DC law, but Nathanson
declined to prosecute Gregory because he viewed the matter as invoking
the First Amendment. I warned at the time that it was my view that
Nathanson in effect had abrogated the magazine proscriptions of our gun
laws by establishing a protest defense to the law.
Now this fellow Kokesh says that he will stage a protest of the DC
law that prohibits open carry by leading a march into the District with
loaded weapons. Chief Lanier has promised to interdict the marchers at
the DC/Virginia line and presumably arrest them if they pass the border.
It may be that, if arrested and prosecuted, Kortesh and the others who
are arrested will assert this defense and claim a 5th Amendment right to
due process and equal protection of the law and or selective
prosecution. In my view, Nathanson, like most liberals, does not and did
not consider the unintended consequences of his decision which in my
view was designed simply to protect a member of the privileged class.
This will be interesting if it plays out as announced.
Middle C Music Sends More Than Thirty
Instruments to Landfill Harmonic
The talented children of Paraguay who have inspired over a million
Internet admirers as they turn trash into music will finally get the
chance to perform with professional instruments. Middle C Music has sent
over thirty instruments to the Landfill Harmonic youth orchestra,
and I will personally deliver the instruments and see the children
perform. I was having lunch with friend and world-famous guitarist Berta
Rojas, when Ms. Rojas mentioned the Landfill Harmonic orchestra in her
home country of Paraguay. "Why don’t I make some calls?" was my
response, and one week later the first shipment of instruments was en
route to Paraguay.
The Music Link, a small, independent music manufacturer and
distributor, offered the instruments to me at cost, so I placed an order
and started arranging delivery to the youth orchestra. I will attend a
Landfill Harmonic concert with Ms. Rojas on Thursday, May 9, in
Asuncion, Paraguay, and personally present the instruments to the
The orchestra’s young members come from the village of Cateura, the
site of Paraguay’s major landfill. A few years ago, some of the
villagers, whose livelihood depends on recycling the refuse, began using
discarded oil drums, packing crates, forks, pipes, and wire to make
violins, cellos, horns, and flutes. The results have been startling,
both musically and personally. In the popular YouTube video, one teenage
girl musician confides "My life would be worthless without music." The
orchestra’s director, Favio Chavez, says "The world sends us garbage, we
send back music."
Regarding Don Hawkins’ Comment
Streetcars last a lot longer than cars. Just like maps can last
decades, Don Hawkins [themail, May 5] ought to be aware that so too do
streetcars, if properly maintained. Cars typically do not, except in
There are many examples, but the most visible are the experience of
New Orleans or the Market Street Railway ("F Street line") in San
Francisco, where streetcars dating as early as 1895 do run. Of course
there are San Francisco’s cable car lines — most of the lines are gone
but three remain, and date to 1890 and earlier. The modern streetcars in
Portland have been operating since 2001. Sadly, I haven’t been to Europe
or Australia or Hong Kong where streetcar systems and cars of various
ages have been operating for some time.
Drivers License for Immigrants
I have a suggestion for Mary C. Young [themail, May 5]. She should
remember that undocumented immigrants are not undocumented (illegal)
immigrants. One becomes an "illegal immigrant" only after being declared
so by a court.
The 2014 campaign season is off in the District of Columbia. The yard
signs for Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, who is the first official
mayoral candidate, have started appearing. And Ward 6 Councilman Tommy
Wells, while still in the "exploratory stage," has entered a new phase
of money hustling.
But, is the Ward 6 legislator creating his own class of bundlers?
Read more at
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
The Friends of the Tenley-Friendship Library will present an Ikebana
demonstration Saturday May 11 at 10:00 a.m. Join Ikebana master Jane
Redmon as she makes some very remarkable flower arrangements.
We will be in the second floor large meeting room at the Tenley-Friendship
Library on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Albemarle Street, NW. Take
the red line to Tenleytown, and bring your camera.
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