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Washington Post "Shopping Guide" is a very wasteful

If you live in the Washington, DC, area, you probably receive "The Washington Post 'Shopping Guide'" in your mailbox.

Or in the case of some of us, it is shoved through a mail slot, where it scatters all over the floor, and is a royal pain to pick up. Especially if you have a physical handicap.

We have several acquaintances who have attempted to stop delivery of this hugely wasteful mailing, to no avail. And so have others: see "If You Don’t Get It, Good!" in the Washington City Paper, by Erik Wemple, September 25, 2008.

They have been unable to find a "remove me from this list" option anywhere on the Washington Post site or the Washington Post Ads site, and thus this hugely wasteful mass of paper continues.

One wag has suggested that after removing the address label, put the already wasteful mess into a large envelope with both the From: and To: addresses as "The Washington Post/ Post Plus, 1150 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20071" and put the envelope, with no postage, into any USPS mail box. As the wag said, "No postage and no address label seems like fair play since the Post makes it impossible to stop this wasteful mess of paper from being delivered." We, of course, would never advocate such a tactic - put at least one stamp on the envelope and leave your address intact and request that the Post remove your address from its database.

Alternatively, you can contact the Postmaster and declare that you consider "The Washington Post 'Shopping Guide'" to be unsolicited pornography and that you do not want it delivered to your home. Request a 1500 form from the U.S. Postal Service to stop the delivery of sexually explicit material.

Update: We received an email that you can be removed by calling 202-334-7730. Let us know if that works.

Also See

April 17, 2010 02:27 PM   Link    Comments (0)

"Likely D.C. traffic problems during nuclear security summit"

Washington commuters know about the demands of hosting national and international events. Still, they are in for a rare and challenging experience Monday and Tuesday [April 12-13, 2010], when world leaders gather at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for a nuclear security summit.
. . .
We know which streets are marked for closing, but police can block other streets for security at their discretion. And we'll have more than 40 world leaders in town. That's a lot of motorcades.

Likely D.C. traffic problems during nuclear security summit, The Washington Post, April 11, 2010

April 11, 2010 11:27 AM   Link    Comments (0)

Faculty Favorites: Dining and Places - Steve Roberts

We asked our faculty and authors to share with us some of their favorite things about living in our nation's capital. Their responses are posted in "Faculty Favorites"

Steve Roberts (bio), a journalist, political commentator, and the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University, shares his favorites.

Favorite Places to Visit

Fun Things to Do

Favorite Restaurants

For more, also see our Visiting Washington DC pages

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December 1, 2007 08:07 AM   Link    Comments (0)

Faculty Favorites: Dining and Places - Ron Faucheux

We asked our faculty and authors to share with us some of their favorite things about living in our nation's capital. Their responses are posted in "Faculty Favorites"

Ron Faucheux (bio), former Chief of Staff for Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), shares his favorites.

Five most interesting places to visit

Five favorite restaurants

For more, also see our Visiting Washington DC pages

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July 5, 2007 08:17 AM   Link    Comments (0)

Faculty Favorites: Dining and Places - Dan Parks

We asked our faculty and authors to share with us some of their favorite things about living in our nation's capital. Their responses are posted in "Faculty Favorites"

Dan Parks (bio), an editor at Congressional Quarterly, shares his favorites.

Best place to take an out-of-town guest to show off your knowledge of the Washington area

Best beer selection

Best place with view in a hip neighborhood

Best bike ride

For more, also see our Visiting Washington DC pages

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June 9, 2007 07:57 AM   Link    Comments (0)

Faculty Favorites: Dining and Places - Mike Koempel

We asked our faculty and authors to share with us some of their favorite things about living in our nation's capital. Their responses are posted in "Faculty Favorites"

Mike Koempel (bio), co-author of the Congressional Deskbook, shares his favorites.




For more, also see our Visiting Washington DC pages

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May 25, 2007 09:57 AM   Link    Comments (0)

A funny Christmas Carol

Saw "The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's production of A Christmas Carol" - highly recommended for a fun evening with family.

See the review by DC Theater Reviews.

This is the closest you will get to seeing a Holiday panto in DC - playing through December 31st - go!

"The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's production of A Christmas Carol," through December 31, 2006, at the Church Street Theater, 1742 Church Street NW, Washington, DC, near DuPont Circle, 800-494-8497

We parked for free on the street near Malaysia Kopitiam, where we ate a delicous dinner, then walked to the theater (just east of Dupont Circle).

December 29, 2006 10:47 PM   Link    Comments (0)

Alexander Calder's wire puppet circus

boingboing has links to "Carlos Vilardebo's 1961 documentary of mobile-maker Alexander Calder's intricate, ingenious wire puppet circus. The flying trapeezes actually fly, the lion poops, and the belly dancer gyrates lasciviously in the mind-blowing film that shows that, had Calder not become famous as an artist, he might have been equally famous as a puppeteer. In four parts."

On YouTube: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4


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August 13, 2006 01:17 PM   Link    Comments (0)


Here's part of a conversation between a taxi dispatcher and a man who believed his wife was overcharged for a $25 cab ride.

GUY: Excuse me, I was quoted a rate of $19 by the people here at the hotel, and the fare came out to $25. I was overcharged
. . .
GUY: I think I'll call Monday. Right after I call the Taxi Commission.

ME: Be my guest. It's actually called the Hack Commission, but being a savvy all-knowledgeable consumer you already knew that I'm sure. And there's nothing they love more than listening to somebody complain about a suspected $5 overcharge for a trip from their $350 a night hotel to an $80 per person restaurant.

Overcharge, The Blank Top Chronicles, May 12, 2006

People, people, people: if you want an estimated cab fare, call the cab company. The doorman at the hotel may, or may not, have a clue. A hotel can't give you a quote for a cab ride, just like a cab driver can't quote you a room rate for a hotel.... Sheesh ...

May 29, 2006 04:37 PM   Link    Comments (0)

Weather this week

CapitalWeather predicts "Blowtorch warmth to start the week will give way to average temperatures by Wednesday and wintry conditions by the end of the week."

The detailed 5-day forecast is on the web site.

March 13, 2006 09:27 AM   Link    Comments (0)

"Anagram map of Metrorail"

Anagram map of Metrorail from genecowan

Anagram map of Metrorail from genecowan

Can’t stop myself. Here’s my anagram map of Metrorail, Washington’s subway. Wherever possible, I tried to tailor the anagrams to the specific place or a general Washington, DC sort of commentary. For example, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport becomes “Ghost Nonagenarian Drawl, Irrational to Nap.”

"Anagram map of Metrorail," genecowan, February 23, 2006

February 25, 2006 09:17 AM   Link    Comments (0)

Washington DC's Metro

Zachary Schrag, who produced the online exhibit, "Building the Washington Metro," has written a new book, "The Great Society Subway," to be published next month.

Metroblogging DC has an interview with Prof. Schrag.


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February 20, 2006 08:37 AM   Link    Comments (0)    TrackBacks (1)

Pundit Whodunit - Arena Stage

The Pundit Whodunit: The Case of the Political Puzzle

The Pundit Whodunit: The Case of the Political Puzzle

One-night-only performance of the original crime-solving caper, "The Pundit Whodunit: The Case of the Political Puzzle" in the Kreeger Theater featuring a cast filled with Members of Congress, District officials, and media celebrities.

Proceeds support Arena’s education and audience enrichment activities, which educate, excite and enrich the lives of more than 20,000 area young people annually.

March 6, 2006

The 14th Annual Arena Stage Benefit for Community Engagement. Individual Tickets available from $200. For information on tickets, call 202-554-9066, ext. 266 or email

February 15, 2006 08:57 AM   Link    Comments (0)

Kids and High School

School Without Walls’ 1996 valedictorian Wai-Ying Chow graduated summa cum laude from George Washington University, worked at the National Institutes of Health, and is now back in school for her doctorate. It’s a storybook ending, but not a common one for the District’s public-high-school valedictorians.

"Honor Roles," by Huan Hsu, Washington City Paper, Januray 20-26, 2006 (article follows up on 10 DC high school valedictorians from the classes of 1995 and 1996)

WELSH: We both agree that students need to be challenged, Jay, but you seem to think that they have to be in AP courses for that to happen. Your challenge index ignores the basic mission of schools and teachers: to take their students and stretch them as far as possible. The number of kids taking AP tests is but one tiny measure of whether a school fulfills that mission. You've unwittingly created an out-of-control monster, a smoke and mirrors numbers game, the equivalent of ranking the teams in the NCAA basketball tournament on the basis of the number of players who got in the game, instead of the final score. You have image-conscious public school officials so intimidated that they're putting as many kids as possible -- and I am not talking about average kids who are willing to do the work -- into AP courses so that they can get a higher ranking on your index. In fact, I already know the challenge index score you will give T.C. Williams on the basis of the 830 AP exams to be given here next month. Even if every one of those exams got a score of 1 (the lowest possible score on a 5-point scale) you will give us a 1.4 (830 divided by the 588 kids in the senior class) up from .949 last year. Are we a better school this year than last because more kids will take the AP test and we will finally make your Newsweek list? Hardly.

The result of this numbers game is the exact opposite of what you intend: The stronger students aren't getting the challenge they should be getting and the weaker students, instead of learning the basic things they will need for college, are being overwhelmed. Furthermore, at a time when high-paying jobs that demand two years of technical school or community college go begging because of the lack of skilled workers, your index is bolstering the myth that every kid needs to go to a four-year college or university -- a myth that Bill Gates has been busy reinforcing.

"Is AP Good for Everybody? It's Debatable," an debate with Jay Mathews and Patrick Welsh, The Washington Post, April 10, 2005

Who can argue against more kids taking challenging courses? Well, count me as one who can. School officials are deluding themselves that they're raising standards for more students. From what I've seen, this trend is starting to lead to more discouragement and less learning among students who do not have the skills or motivation to do the work in an AP course. It's also watering down the courses.

In the 25 years I have been teaching AP English, I have never seen such growth in the numbers of AP students as during the past three years. Last year, T.C. Williams had eight sections of AP English; this year, there are 11 — defining about half the senior class as “advanced.” Is this year's senior class so superior to last year's that three new sections had to be added? Hardly.

One reason for the increase nationwide is that the College Board has made a big effort to convince school districts and the public that the best way for kids to show “college-level mastery” of a subject — and impress colleges — is to get a score of 3 or above (on a scale of 1 to 5) on an AP test. This is a spurious claim — at least from my experience — given that any reasonably bright kid could get a 3 on the English literature test without taking the course. In fact, some universities, for this reason, are beginning to give college credits only for a score of 4 or 5.

"Watering down ‘advanced' classes: The nation's high schools are being flooded with AP, or Advanced Placement, courses. You'd think that would be a good thing. Think again." by Patrick Welsh, USA Today, March 7, 2005

Just before the school year ended in June, my colleagues in the English department at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., and central office administrators discussed which textbook to adopt for the 9th- and 10th-grade World Literature course for next year.

Of the four texts that the state approved, the choices came down to two: the Elements of Literature: World Literature from Holt, Rinehart and Winston and The Language of Literature: World Literature from McDougal Littell.

The problems with these two tomes are similar to the problems with high school textbooks in most subjects.

First, there's the well-documented weight problem. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has said that an increase in back injuries among children might be attributed to the enormous textbooks they lug around in their backpacks. Injuries aside, what kid is going to sit in a chair and relax with a heavy hardcover, 9-inch-by-11-inch compendium?

Worse is the fact that for all their bulk, the textbooks are feather-weight intellectually.

"How schools are destroying the joy of reading," by Patrick Welsh, USA Today, August 3 2005

Like American society, schools are full of challenges, but I still don't think that my school or the schools nationwide are in as much trouble as many politicians and education experts would have us believe. The myth that American schools are in bad shape has a long history. Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, points out that today's complaints about students' poor reading and math skills, ignorance of history, inadequate preparation for the work force, unfocused curriculums, lack of moral education—you name it—have been echoed for more than a century. In 1892, when fewer than 6 percent of high school graduates went to college, the Harvard Board of Overseers issued a report complaining that only 4 percent of the Harvard applicants "could write an essay, spell or properly punctuate a sentence."

"Touching Hearts and Minds," by Patrick Welsh, eJournal USA, July 2005

CRS Reports

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January 24, 2006 04:17 PM   Link    Comments (0)

NASA map of space-related sights in DC-Baltimore

Rick Lesaar of Crabtree + Company sent us this link to an interactive map

of 21 venues in and around Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Annapolis all related to outer-space. Includes several most people have never heard of (the Moon rock at the National Cathedral, the space race murals at the Russian Cultural Center, etc.).

Click this link: Then select either Washington, DC Area or Baltimore-Washington, DC Area.

Thanks Rick!

January 17, 2006 04:37 PM   Link    Comments (0)

Weather Closings and Delays

The web sites we find useful for school closings and delays are

December 5, 2005 01:44 PM   Link    Comments (0)

Are Law Degrees "Doctorates" and are Lawyers "Doctors"?

There's a thread on The Volokh Conspiracy that has many posts on whether a lawyer who has a JD degree (Juris Doctorate) can be called "Doctor".

There are basically 3 law degrees awarded in the U.S.: JD, which used to be an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) until it was changed in most law schools in the 1960s and 70s; LLM, a Master of Laws, which is usually 1 or 2 years of study in a specific field such as taxation, real estate, estate planning, etc., and which many practicing lawyers obtain; and SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science), which is a research degree and usually only obtained by law professors.

In those jurisdictions that require a law degree to sit for the bar exam, the required degree is a JD or an LLB, not an LLM or SJD.

The JD degree requires approximately 3 academic years of full-time study; most PhDs take at least 3 or 4 years to complete and require a thesis that must be defended (ABD means "All But Dissertation," which means that the person has completed all course work for the PhD but has not completed and successfully defended their dissertation).

Comments are open - weigh in with corrections, additions, etc.

November 22, 2005 10:10 AM   Link    Comments (0)

Metro Crowded, Fed Retirement, Cold Thanksgiving, Pajamas Media

If you're looking for elbow room when you ride the Metro during rush hour, you may be out of luck.

Metro officials say ridership is up considerably from the same time last year and the trains are only expected to get more crowded.

"Metro Rider? Learn to Mash In During the Rush," WTOP, November 21, 2005

In response to a congressional concern that federal employees need more help planning for retirement, the Office of Personnel Management is developing a "retirement readiness index profile" for government workers.

The readiness profile, which will be rolled out in late spring, will give employees age-based profiles that diagnose their state of readiness on various factors, including finances, that they should consider when planning for retirement.

"OPM to Prod Federal Employees to Get Cracking on Retirement Planning," by Stephen Barr, The Washington Post, November 21, 2005

The weather for the upcoming week isn't going to make many people happy. We start the week off with rain, then it turns windy and cold. No sunny, mild afternoons. Snow lovers may enjoy seeing the season's first flakes Thanksgiving morning but it's likely just to be a tease since it will change to rain and/or melt.

"The week ahead: White Thanksgiving?" by Jason Samenow, capitalweather, November 21, 2005

Pajamas Media / Open Source Media is hitting some rough water as it launches:

Cardinal Martini has a good overview of the OSM kerfuffle to date: "The Peasant V. Open Source Media Empire"

We'll just add that the Government Relations Blog Network, a mini-network on blogads, is still accepting members.

November 21, 2005 06:35 AM   Link    Comments (0)

"Washington is the dysfunctional-marriage capital of the country"

"Washington is the dysfunctional-marriage capital of the country," according to former divorce attorney Mark Barondess. "The only place worse is the Los Angeles area."

"The Breakup Artist," by Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, The Washington Post, October 28, 2005

October 28, 2005 09:49 AM   Link    Comments (0)

Don't even *think* about it ...

To ride the Metro, you can't jump the fare gate ... even if you are making a movie.

More good stuff in today's Reliable Source - no Jerry Garcia stamp this year; are diamonds a First Lady's best friend?

"Kidman, Fare Game," by Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, The Washington Post, October 26, 2005

October 26, 2005 09:38 AM   Link    Comments (0)

One glass of wine in DC won't result in DUI ...

unless the glass is very large or you are very small...

The D.C. Council voted Tuesday to void the city's "zero tolerance" drunk driving law that allowed drivers to be arrested for minor amounts of alcohol in their bloodstream.

The council voted 9-3 to pass emergency legislation to bring city laws in line with those of Virginia, Maryland and other states. Council members acted quickly after news reports highlighted a few cases where drivers were arrested after having a single glass of wine. Members said they were worried about a drop-off in business for District bars and restaurants and concerned that the city's law was fast becoming a national joke.

Like other states [Ed. When did DC become a state?], the bill would make clear that drivers with less than .05 blood alcohol are presumed to not be intoxicated.

"DUI Bill Passes D.C. Council," by Eric M. Weiss, The Washington Post, October 18, 2005

Other Resources

October 18, 2005 03:52 PM   Link    Comments (0)