Sunday, February 26, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
- Gift Shop
- 24-Hour Front Desk
- Dry Cleaning Service
- Disability Accessible Facilities
- Laundry/Valet Service
- Luggage Storage
- Safe Deposit Boxes
- 100% Non-Smoking Rooms and Facilities
- Smoke Detectors
- Ice Machine
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Ask most people who were in DC today and they'll tell you it was a dreary, gray day. Not so for the lucky three of us who spent the day touring murals that burst with color despite the weather.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Will Virginia be the next Alabama when it comes to immigration policy?
That question hangs in the balance ahead of Tuesday’s “off-off-year” election in the state I call home. One party’s slim majority in the state Senate is the only barrier keeping us from severe measures like those adopted in Alabama—and Georgia and Arizona before it.
The problems these laws are causing go way beyond those Stephen Colbert highlighted in a mostly brilliant segment last week. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which is not known for its liberal bent, highlighted labor shortages and other economic problems such laws cause.
Think it couldn’t happen in Virginia? I’d rather not take the chance. Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, a lobbyist and political consultant with thorough knowledge of Virginia politics, has written an immigration-policy outlook for the 2012 Virginia General Assembly session. First, she points out that Virginia has almost 50 laws on the books that directly affect immigrants, most of which “are restrictions on the rights or benefits of ‘aliens’ or immigrants, including the rights and benefits of persons lawfully present in the United States.”
She goes on to forecast 25 bills likely to be introduced in 2012, listed under law enforcement, business and employment, social and medical services, education, and housing. All but two would have a negative impact on our neighbors who are immigrants.
Voter turnout tends to be low when we’re not voting for president, lower still with no congressional seats up. This off-off-year we’re not even voting for governor—maybe we should add another “off.”
But make no mistake: This election is big. I care about living in a state that lets its children go to school without fear, that doesn’t want to encourage racial profiling by police and underreporting of crimes to police, that recognizes the economic contributions of all of its residents. Those who agree should approach this election with the same fervor we have when we’re electing a president.
What kind of state do we want to live in? On Tuesday, we have an outstanding opportunity to answer that question.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
At the last minute, I came up with a way to join them. Two weeks earlier, the Loma Prieta earthquake had struck San Francisco. On Halloween, instead of trick-or-treating for candy, I asked for donations to the Red Cross to help earthquake victims.
Other than a $10 bill from a friend’s mom, the endeavor was unsuccessful. People wanted to give all of us a Halloween-size Snickers and be done with us; they did not want to reach into their wallets.
This year’s Halloween reminded me of that one—except that last night was a huge success.
Liz and I had received an invitation from our friend Jessica: “Join me for grown-up trick-or-treating! Wear a costume, have a drink, and go door-to-door collecting canned goods for Martha's Table, a food bank in Columbia Heights.” Jess has been collecting canned goods on Halloween for nearly 10 years. She is not closely connected with Martha's Table, though she does receive a note from them every year, in which they address her as a Mr. named Jesse.
We put on our ninja costumes and met up at Jessica’s house in DC’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Before trick-or-treating, we checked out the amazing block party around the corner on Lamont Street. (Best costume on an adult: a very well-done zombie holding a handmade “I WAS THE 99%” sign.)
Then we grabbed our backpacks and canvas bags and split into pairs to traverse different parts of the neighborhood, taking care not to hit the same house twice. We got a handful of looks that said, "Aren't you a little old to be trick-or-treating?"
But after we explained that we were trick-or-treating for Martha's Table, people’s generosity was inspiring. We expected them to give a can or two; at some houses, younger trick-or-treaters had to wait a minute while residents fetched four or six items—or, a couple of times, a plastic bag full.
When our backpacks and bags got too heavy, we had to make an unplanned drop-off at Jessica’s house before heading out again. At the end of the night, friends built towers of nonperishables on her coffee table. (The one pictured at left was followed by an additional one at least twice its size. And no, I'm not sure what the food bank will do with oysters, but most of the donations will be quite useful.)
We're sorry only that we heard, but didn't see, the annual Mount Pleasant rite of re-creating Michael Jackson's "Thriller" dance.