Daily Archives: October 15, 2013

A weekend visit to D.C., aka “Shutdown Central.” A funny take on Columbus Day. And Bill Maher, nailing it yet again


Sorry there was no post on Monday; your humble correspondent just returned late Monday night from a trip down the Atlantic Coast. Had a small reunion of some of my college newspaper friends in Philadelphia (more on that tomorrow), then a family engagement party at my wife’s aunt’s house in Baltimore, followed by two fantastic days in Washington, D.C.

Yes, a few months ago a Washington, D.C., Columbus Day weekend seemed filled with promise. All the museums! The World War II Memorial and MLK Jr. Memorial, two things that weren’t there the last time I visited! All the…

Um, yeah, it wasn’t quite what we expected. The government shutdown has closed 95 percent of the usual tourist-y things I would’ve wanted to do, but we still made the best of it and had a great two days in the nation’s capital. As usual when I take a trip, I have lots of bullet-point thoughts:

— Best thing by far we did was visit the Newseum, something I’ve wanted to to for a long time. The Newseum is the First Amendment/Media museum located on Pennsylvania Avenue, and as a journalist I knew I would love it from the moment I heard it existed. It’s got a history of newspapers with ancient front pages, displays and tributes to coverage of 9/11, the Civil War, and the JFK assassination, really cool interactive exhibits, it was fantastic.

We were there for five hours on Sunday and an hour on Monday (a one-day ticket was good for both days), and I could’ve stayed even longer. I highly recommend it.

— It was disturbingly quiet in downtown D.C., obviously because of the now two-weeks old shutdown. Plenty of room to walk on the sidewalks, and very little car traffic.

What gets lost in all the b.s. posturing in the media is how much this is affecting real people, like the hotel concierge who told us he lost a ton of reservations this weekend, including a 300-person strong school group, and the restaurant waiter who told me their business has fallen off dramatically. People’s businesses and lives are being majorly damaged, like any of the politicians give a damn.

— We were a few blocks away from the protest at the WWII Memorial, so I can’t report first-hand on it, but let me just say that Sarah Palin and Ted Bleepin’ Cruz leading a rally of people protesting the government shutdown is just… there’s not a big enough megaphone in the world for that pot to call the kettle black, you know what I’m sayin’?

–Have said this before and I’ll say it again: The D.C. Metro is the most efficient, cleanest, best subway system I’ve been on anywhere (cue all my readers who live there gasping in horror). I don’t know, maybe I’ve been lucky, but all 4-5 times I’ve been in D.C. and ridden the Metro it’s been great.

**Next up, a bit of an “alternative” look at the man we got Monday off for, Christopher Columbus. Comedian Hari Kondabolu takes a look at Columbus and doesn’t come away impressed. I laughed a few times…

**Finally today, I always forget to throw some Bill Maher brilliance on the blog, but I happened to see this on the hotel TV Friday night and laughed pretty hard. It’s Maher, taking on Michele Bachmann, Antonin Scalia, and the sheer lunacy of the belief that the End Times are near and that the Devil walks among us.