Sunday, April 2, 2017

The latest news in Adams Morgan


Monday, January 16, 2017

Welcome to D.C., where only 4% voted for Trump

The 2016 presidential election results for the District of Columbia. Source: DC Board of Elections 
Welcome to the District of Columbia. Whether you are here to celebrate President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration or to protest it, you are sincerely welcomed to this city. It's a great place, and hopefully you'll find time to visit the museums and get out of the downtown area to explore the neighborhoods.

Here are 10 things you ought to know about the people who actually live here.

1. Only 4 percent of the District's residents voted for Donald Trump, so if you see a lot of people celebrating the inauguration in a bar odds are they aren't from around here.

2. There are 660,000 plus people living in the District and the population has been growing at about 1,000 a month. DC's population is larger than Vermont and Wyoming. DC residents can vote for a president, but the District has no representation in the Senate or voting representation in the U.S. House. That won't change in a Republican-controlled Congress.

3. DC residents take pride in the District. We really do. One of the more popular Websites in the area is called Greater Greater Washington. The site is dedicated to discussing ideas for making DC better.

4. We love bicycling. If you are unfamiliar with Bike Share really check it out. Seriously. Just go to a bike share station, slide in a credit card (It's inexpensive, pricing here). The rental machine will spit out a numerical code that you use to unlock a bike. Just punch the code in and go. Tip: When you return the bike, give it a good firm push into the rack and make sure the green light comes on.

5. Bike lanes everywhere. But if you rent a Bike Share bike in Adams Morgan and plan to go downtown, you're in luck. The trip is, generally, a very gradual downhill toward the Potomac. There are bike lanes all over, but there is a really nice protected bike lane (meaning clearly separated from the road) down 15th NW that will take you to the White House.

6. The museums are free, but please leave a donation if you can afford it. They need all the support they can get.

7. Metro has been challenged lately with some deferred maintenance issues. But even though DC residents may complain about the Metro, they really do like it and want it to succeed.

8. DC isn't a swamp. That's an unfortunate expression and while the metaphor is understood, it tends to distort the perception people have of this region. There are 6 million people in this area, and government related employment has helped this area thrive. Of the 3.1 million employed in the Metro area, approximately 450,000 work for the government or the military, reported the Washington Post. People, on an individual level, are worried that the Trump administration will bring layoffs, but on a regional, macro level, the area is generally confident it can thrive no matter what. The diversity of the economy is expanding, and a big reason for it is DC's talent pool.  About 50 percent of the Metro area population have a bachelor's degree, and about 23 percent a graduate degree.

9. DC is real place that has the ability to handle a crowd of a million plus people without disrupting neighborhood life. It has had decades of practice. (Transportation does get challenged for anyone heading near the Mall, White House or parade routes, and the Metro can get jammed generally, but that's a different issue. You may want to consider a walking route as a backup, cabs or Uber.). But once you're outside the National Mall and White House areas you are now entering a completely different world apart from the government, a series of neighborhoods and the home of many.

10. Why did DC vote so heavily against Trump? Trump isn't supportive of issues that many DC residents believe are important. That includes responding to climate change, moving to an economy less dependent on fossil fuels (see bike lanes, mass transit), protecting the environment, creating a health care system that provides health insurance for all, voting rights and a tax system that does not favor the upper class, among many other issues. I didn't make this last point to engage in debate on this, just to explain that the vote isn't a provincial response to job issues.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Expanding our nuclear capacity, bomb shelters and fear


Years ago, I was exploring a City Hall building about to undergo renovation. This was in New Britain, Conn. I was working as a newspaper reporter. Joined by the city property manager, we went to the basement and worked our way through a series of tunnels and small rooms in the circa-1850s building.

In one room was a stockpile of bomb shelter supplies. It included toilet paper, drinking water in cans, and food rations, mostly high protein biscuits. It was a total time warp.

We really don't think today about nuclear weapons and war the way we did in the 1960s. I was a kid back then, but clearly remember a duck-and-cover drill. In class I daydreamed about a nuclear bomb going off in the distance.

The government no longer prints phamlets about radiation or technical guides for do-it-yourself bomb shelters. But those days may return.

Readers of Eric Schlosser know about the real risk of nuclear near-catastrophe (See his recent World War Three, by Mistake in the New Yorker), as do followers of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, which has moved the Doomsday Clock forward to three minutes to midnight, and that was before Donald Trump won the election. But most people, I suspect, don't pay it much mind.

I haven't thought about the risk of nuclear bombs going off by accident or design in many years. There's too much stress about it, and I'll admit to avoiding the topic altogether. But then Trump Tweeted this:
The idea of expanding our nuclear capability ... and why exactly? It feels as the stress of the 1960s is about to make a return.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Adams Morgan's goodbye to Obama, hello for Trump?


Adams Morgan is giving people a way to express appreciation for President Barack Obama in what passes for the neighborhood’s town square. Thanks go to the Adams Morgan Partnership BID, which sponsored this effort, for keeping the public bulletin board at Columbia, Adams Mill and 18th, interesting.

I hope the Obama appreciation is followed-up with a  “welcome” for President-elect Donald Trump because the responses are sure to be provocative.

Only 4% of all of the District Columbia’s voters cast a vote for Trump. You may have better odds of winning the D-3 lottery than finding a Trump voter on the street.

Trump’s White House arrival is being met with trepidation for multiple reasons, including the possibility that his administration might hurt DC’s economy. Trump may try to cut some agencies, namely Education, Environmental Protection, possibly Energy, Commerce and others as well. He intends to impose a hiring freeze.

The American Enterprise Institute, an influential group with Republicans, is urging Trump to move the FBI and Labor Dept., to other cities, such as Detroit. Trump may see this as an appealing to boost the economy in struggling regions. 

But it’s also possible that Trump’s impact on DC -- as in a desirable city to live in -- may not be bad. He wants to increase defense spending, which could boost employment in this area as well.

Obama attracted a lot of Millennial-age workers, but that may have been because DC was one of the few relatively economic bright spots immediately following housing collapse. These same young people, and many older people as well, may see DC as something to escape during a Trump administration.

That’s why it might be nice to see what people write about Trump on the Adams Morgan bulletin board.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Posting a Google Photo animation to Blogger is simple

Series of photos, circa 2013, taken from second floor of MLK library looking toward Verizon Center

Google Photos automatically creates panoramas and GIFS from your uploads. There is a tool to allow you to create these things on your own. If you are a blogger and use Google Photos, this is nice to have.

Google Photos assembled the above GIF without any prompting after I uploaded photos from an old SD card. Creating GIFs is a new experience, so kudos to Google for creating this image all by itself.

But how do you embed this GIF from Google Photos to a blog? Wasn't sure.

There are no instructions. Blogger does not appear as an option in the "share" function.  There is no "embed link" similar to YouTube.

But this turned out to be really simple, and very similar to posting any image on your blog.

First, went to Google Photos and clicked on "assistant." This brings up a page showing new movies, and albums and the other things it has assembled. This gives you the option of creating an animation, but in this case one of Google Photo's automatic creations was used.

Once you find what you want, click on the GIF to make it larger.

Right click on larger image, and then click on the "save image as" the option.

The save file will pop up with a .gif extension. Rename the file if you want and then save to local drive.

Go to your Blogger blog (This should work exactly the same for WordPress but haven't tested it.)

Click on Blogger image and upload as you would any photo for your blogger.

There may be even easier, more efficient and better ways to do this, so please share your techniques.

*Follow up: The bad thing here is there is no way to freeze the GIF, and the constant animation is probably irritating to some viewers. It would be nice if Google Photos put in an embed feature that gave users some control.

Monday, December 12, 2016

What's new in Adams Morgan, Dec. 10, 2016


The Adams Morgan community bulletin board at Columbia, 18th and Adams Mill is electric  mix of images, announcements, and weird stuff.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Don't let Apple diminish the Carnegie Library

I love my iPad. It's my main reading device, Words with Friends, etc. I once looked forward to going to Apple stores to check out the new systems. The design seemed refreshing. But not anymore.

The Apple aesthetic, thick wood tables, uncluttered layouts, semi-minimalist, has reached its limit. The stores are now, basically, cookie-cutters.

For sure, Apple has done some interesting things with its architectural designs: soaring ceilings, floor to ceiling windows and spiral staircases. It's Shanghai store, for instance, is spectacular.

But once inside, it's really all the same: Tables with equipment on them. That's fine in most places, but not here. Not in the Carnegie Library.

The Washington Business Journal reports that Apple plans to open a "flagship" store in the Carnegie Library near the Washington Convention Center at Mount Vernon Square. It's a beautiful building on a small island of green space.

A landmark building deserves a landmark occupant. But if it's Apple plan produce a copy of existing facilities for this space then the District should reject it.

This building, the product of philanthropy, was a library, it offered education, knowledge and access to world's beyond. The PC, tablet and smartphone are the new portals to knowledge, but they haven't replaced the role of the library.

If Apple wants this building, or some part of it, the building should function as more than a shell for its products. I don't know how that's done, but Apple is certainly capable of creating something that's more than a store. A store that makes the connection between the library and the computer, and shows a path for both.

What worries me is that Apple's reuse of this building will become of symbol -- a point of reference -- for arguing why libraries aren't needed.

What Apple can't do is let this store, in some way, telegraph the triumph of commercialization over the concept of a public library.

This is a historic and beautiful property and District residents should be assured that any future occupants are worthy of it. That may well be Apple, but not based on existing evidence or this announcement.