Next Stop: Metro’s Ethics Committee

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Metro is facing challenges on multiple fronts, and a potential conflict of interest at the tri-state agency’s highest levels could fall through the cracks.

Until recently Metro’s board chairman, Mortimer Downey, was on the payroll of a firm paid $81 million by Metro. The firm, Parsons Brinckerhoff, was involved in the construction of the Silver Spring Transit Center, which finally opened last week, five years late and $50 million over budget. Both Metro and Montgomery County, Md. are suing the company.

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Nap Turner Way


New street sign outside Twins Jazz, 1334 U St, NW

DC’s U Street is heavily gentrified, with lots of luxury condos and lots more on the way. But a few short decades ago, U Street – then known as Black Broadway – was the cultural soul of Chocolate City. It got a little of its luster back with a street naming for Napolean “Nap” Turner on Friday, which Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed “Nap Turner Day.”

Turner, who died in 2004, was a musician, singer, poet, actor and mentor to the young. He was also, despite coming to radio relatively late in life, a legendary host on WPFW 89.3 FM, where he was known as Nap “Don’t Forget the Blues” Turner.

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The “Rigged” Presidential Debates

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 7.54.03 AMElection season is here and presidential debates are taking center stage as millions tune in to watch candidates vie for the nation’s top spot. With all eyes on the candidates, little attention is paid to the behind-the-scenes jockeying that determines crucial details, like when the debates are held, how many there will be, and who gets to participate.

During the primary season, the two major parties craft their own guidelines.

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Will the U.S. “Jeremy Corbyn” Please Stand Up?


Jeremy Corbyn. Photo by The Guardian

Election 2016 is underway and it’s clear something is stirring. Political outsiders are making waves, while more polished pols are sinking.

The top two candidates on the Republican side, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, have never held elected office. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders, a 74-year-old socialist senator from Vermont, is drawing mass crowds and fast becoming the front-runner. Meanwhile in Britain, Jeremy Corbyn, a self-described democratic socialist, shocked odds makers, who pegged his chances of becoming Labour leader at 200 to 1.

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Hungry for change at FERC

Activists setting up outside FERC

Activists setting up outside FERC

On the sidewalk below a nondescript office building nestled behind D.C.’s Union Station, a dozen activists are camped out. It’s Day 4 of their 18-day hunger fast outside a little-known federal agency.

As a result of their fast, and earlier more confrontational actions, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has become more widely known, if not loved, by activists. The agency regulates interstate oil and gas pipelines, but activists say it’s been captured by industry and is more rubber-stamp than regulator, and has allowed U.S. fracking to grow uncontrollably.

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How U.S. Media Helped Wash That Little Boy Ashore

Aylan's body washed ashore (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Aylan’s body washed ashore (Photo:AFP/Getty Images)

A picture of a little boy’s body washed ashore has touched a nerve. It’s that of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, according to news reports. His 5-year old brother, Galip, drowned on the same boat, along with their mother, Rehan. The father, Abdullah Kurdi, who survived, spoke with the AP.

The family is from Syria, but had fled to Turkey. They were trying to get visas to Canada, where Abdullah’s sister lives, but Turkey wouldn’t oblige, so they set out on an ill-fated boat ride to Greece.

The image of little Aylan lying lifeless facedown in the sand has stirred much debate: Should the pictures be shown? Is Europe doing enough for refugees? While important questions, they are being asked here in the U.S. by a media that is complicit in Aylan’s death.

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Slain journalist’s dad criticizes media, but coverage omits this

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 2.38.37 PM

Screen shot of Andy Parker and Chris Hurst being interviewed by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly

While Andy Parker’s sharp criticism of politicians and the NRA has received extensive coverage, there’s been a noticeable silence surrounding his critique of the media.

“I’m challenging you, the media, because… this is one of your own,” Parker told CNN. A day earlier his daughter, Alison Parker, a 24 year-old reporter with WDJB in Roanoke, Virginia, was gunned down on live television, along with her cameraman, Adam Ward.

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Petition calls for Jon Stewart to moderate debate

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Jon Stewart should moderate a 2016 presidential debate. That’s what a petition, which has nearly 300,000 signatures, is calling for.

Having Stewart moderate would liven things up, something the-usually-staid debates could use, particularly if Donald Trump doesn’t win the Republican nomination. It would also attract younger viewers, who make up the Comedy Central star’s base.  Continue reading

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The Post vs. Vincent Gray

photo-1D.C.’s paper of record, while maintaining its reputation as an objective news source, is on the verge of swinging the mayoral election.

On an almost daily basis the Washington Post is cutting down Mayor Vincent Gray, as it bolsters its candidate, Councilmember Muriel Bowser. The latest polls show the Post’s efforts are having an effect, with Bowser and Gray now neck-and-neck.  Continue reading

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D.C. Taxi Documentary in the Making

Taxi Commissioner Stanley Tapscott on The Taxi Link - photo by Julie Espinosa

Taxi Commissioner Stanley Tapscott on The Taxi Link – photo by Julie Espinosa

D.C.’s taxicab industry and recent credit card mandate are the subject of an upcoming documentary. Filmmaker Julie Espinosa recently released the teaser, which includes footage from The Taxi Link.

“Currently there is a lot of confusion surrounding reforms to the D.C. cab industry,” Espinosa told DCist. She plans to “tell the story through the eyes of independent cab drivers, the D.C. Taxicab Commission and owners of the incoming tech startups.”

Watch the teaser here >>  Continue reading

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