Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ronald Reagan Building

"The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, named after former United States President Ronald Reagan, is the first federal building in Washington, D.C. designed for both governmental and private sector purposes.

Each of the organizations located in the Pennsylvania Avenue building are dedicated to international trade and globalization. Organizations headquartered in this building include the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The first private sector lease was signed with investment banking firm Quarterdeck Investment Partners, Inc. The building hosts conferences, trade shows, cultural events, and outdoor concerts. Post-9/11, security requirements for high-profile federal buildings have limited the amount of public/private access anticipated by the center's designers." ~ Wikipedia

Friday, November 25, 2016

Conflict of Interest

"In 2013, the General Services Administration leased Washington’s historic Post Office Pavilion to the Trump Organization for $180 million. Before his inauguration on Jan. 20, the GSA must terminate the Organization’s lease. The 60-year deal presents unprecedented and intolerable conflicts of interest. Swift action by GSA is necessary to protect the integrity of the federal government contracting process."

Steven L. Schooner is a professor of government procurement law and co-director of the Government Procurement Law Program at George Washington University.

Daniel I. Gordon was President Obama's first Federal Procurement Policy administrator.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


I never would have thought our American lexicon would suddenly become filled with words like "white supremacy", "white nationalism" and "AFA". But something's been happening in the USofA these past few years and, folks, it ain't pretty!

"Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) was a militant anti-fascist organization founded in the UK in 1985, by a wide range of anti-racist and anti-fascist organisations. 
It was active in fighting far-right organisations, particularly the National Front and British National Party. It was notable in significantly reducing fascist street activity in Britain in the 1990s. AFA had what they called a 'twin-track' strategy: physical confrontation of fascists on the streets and ideological struggle against fascism in working class communities. 
Among its more notable mobilisations were violent confrontations such as the 'Battle of Waterloo' in 1992 and non-violent events such as the Unity Carnivals of the early 1990s." ~ Wikipedia

Are such organizations useful in the struggle against fascism? That's a question I've been wrestling with these past few days. Based on my observations of this past Saturday's demonstration, I tend to agree with Andrew Gilligan of the Sunday Telegraph who said that "anti-racist groups fuel the very division, polarisation and tension they are supposed to counter."

I say that because I believe members of the AFA were largely responsible for the violence that broke out. To be sure, no encounter would have occurred if two members of the NPI had not decided to insert themselves and their hateful views into the demonstration. On the other hand, I believe it was members of the AFA who provoked and finally directly contributed to the fracas.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

White Nationalists

As I noted in an earlier post, protesters at the Ronald Reagan Building were there mostly to demonstrate against the "white nationalists" who were meeting inside. While I've long had an idea who those people are, I came away from this past Saturday better understanding the subtle differences among them. While I find all their views odious and unacceptable, here's some of what I learned:

"White nationalism is an ideology that advocates a racial definition of national identity. Proponents of the ideology identify with and are attached to the concept of a white nation. It ranges from a preference for one's specific white ethnic group, to feelings of superiority, including calls for national citizenship to be reserved for white people.

White separatism and white supremacy are subgroups of white nationalism. Separatists seek a white-only state, while supremacists add ideas from social Darwinism and Nazism to their ideology. Both subgroups generally avoid the term supremacy because it has negative connotations.

Critics have argued that ideas such as white pride and white nationalism exist [solely] to provide a sanitized public face for white supremacy, and that most white nationalist groups promote racial violence." ~ Wikipedia

Add my name to that list of "critics". 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Camera Crews

As I said in yesterday's post, I arrived at the Ronald Reagan Building at about the same time as the reporters and camera crews from various media outlets were arriving and setting up their equipment. The fellow shown here in the coat and tie was kind of like a one-man band in that he was shooting video and interviewing protestors. Others were there solely to shoot video. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Having read about the National Policy Institute (an alt-right, white nationalist think tank) luncheon in the Ronald Reagan Building and that a demonstration was being organized to protest it, I hopped aboard the Metro and headed downtown. I wanted to experience firsthand what the mood was like among people around places like the Department of Justice, the Capitol, the FBI as well as, of course, the Trump Hotel and Ronald Reagan Building. I arrived at the latter just when the police arrived and the organizers were laying out the ground rules for the protest.

Security was handled by the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service in coordination with the D.C. police.

The Federal Protective Service police were going over their notes before the protest.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Maintenance & Repair

Now that the Charles Mercer has been taken out of service for the year, it's time for it's annual maintenance and repair. These fellows looked like they were doing a great job.

Some interesting tidbits of information I picked up about the boat over at the Friends of the Historic Great Falls Tavern site: 

"The Charles F. Mercer includes superstructure features typical of the double-decked packet boats that plied the C&O during 19th and early 20th centuries. These features include an enclosed cabin and deckhouses running substantially the length of the boat with an additional topside, day deck built into the cabin roof and, in turn, covered by a single continuous, canvas canopy.

For purposes of longevity and maintenance, the Mercer is built on a painted aluminum hull with wooden rails and a fully cedar super-structure. The Mercer is 57' at water line with a beam of 13'."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Superman Revealed

When I saw Superman pick up this phone, I "called" him out and said that he must be Superman. He insisted he was only pretending. 

Sure! But we know the truth. :-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


I happened to be following Superman along the C&O Canal towpath one day recently and you'll never guess what happened next. :-)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Mixed Media

Bugs appear to be attracted to the bright colors of paint, much to the consternation of this artist. I suggested to her that she should therefore refer to her art as "mixed media". :-)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

Bike Rides

“One of the most important days of my life was when I learned to ride a bicycle.”
~ Michael Palin

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Long Walks

Long walks are sometimes good for the soul.

"Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it." ~ Søren Kierkegaard

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day 2016

It's all about the sticker. :-)

You can follow the day's developments on my Twitter feed. Expecting a long night tonight. (-, - )…zzzZZZ

Update: Well, folks, the unthinkable has happened and I undoubtedly have entered what will be a long period of deep mourning for my country. There has never in my lifetime been a person more unqualified and more personally unfit to be president of the United States than Donald Trump. America is descending into a political wilderness entirely of its own making. Pity us. The patients are now in charge of the asylum.

Monday, November 7, 2016


"One of my favorite places along the C&O Canal is Widewater. Located between Great Falls and Anglers, Widewater has a natural wildness to it. It is easy to forget that it is man-made.

Although it looks more like a lake, Widewater is part of the Potomac River's historic path. At one time, the Potomac River meandered through it, passing east of Bear Island. As the river started to cut the Great Falls, it abandoned many of its channels. By the time the canal was to be built, the river was comfortably situated where it is today, west of Bear Island, and only a little water flowed in the old channel.

Canal engineers decided to use the old river bed as part of the canal to save on the effort of carving through more rock. They walled off the channel on either end of Bear Island with over 50 feet of dry laid stone, placing the towpath on top of that wall. The old river bed was then inundated with water to within a few feet of the towpath.

Most of the canal is only six feet deep and 60 feet wide, but not Widewater. In some places it is around 50 feet deep and almost 500 feet across. A small island lies in its center. With Bear Island on one side and the Gold Mine Tract on the other, the Widewater area seems protected from the outside world. On most days, it is quiet and serene. It is a great place to view the sunrise, bird watch, fish or take a flatwater kayaking trip." ~ Canal Trust

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Fall Colors

Actually, the fall colors where I live are only peaking now, a couple of weeks late as compared with last year. These first two pics are from the Widewater region of the C&O Canal.

Ah, and you might remember this place (below). It's the Watergate Complex in D.C. This is another election year, after all. And, once again, our nation's capital is rife with conspiracy theories. :-)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

World Trade Center

There's been a lot of discussion in our local news about how appropriate it was for the Ronald Reagan and World Trade Center to host this past Saturday's National Policy Institute's luncheon. Building managers say they had no option given the federal government's policy of non-discrimination. 
The Ronald Reagan Building, the biggest structure in the U.S. capital city, is federally owned, but run by Trade Center Management Associates, a unit of Drew Co., a Boston real estate development company. 
The firm defended allowing the nationalist group to use the venue. It said in a statement that its contract mandates that unless there is a security threat by an organization or person who asks for meeting space, the building is available for rental. ~ New English Review
My question is did or did not NPI's use of the facility pose a security threat? And who decides what does and does not constitute a security threat?


A little tea for your tillerman. :-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


"The boatmen (usually with their families) were a rough independent lot, forming a class within themselves, and intermarrying within their own group. They frequently fought amongst each other for any reason, be it racial slurs (real or perceived), precedence at a lock, or for exercise. They fought with lockkeepers over company rules, or even with the company for changes in toll rates. During winter when the boats were tied up, they often lived in their own communities away from others. One boat captain observed that on the canal, women and children were as good as the men, and if weren't for the children, the canal wouldn't run one day.

In April 2, 1831, Daniel Van Slyke reported: it is with great difficulty we have been able to preserve order among the boatmen, who in striving to push forward for a preference in passing the several locks are sometimes dis-posed to injure each other’s boats as a means of carrying their point. An unfortunate in-stance of this kind happened on Wednesday last at the locks on the 9th section. A strongly constructed boat ran her bow against a gondola loaded with flour, and so much injured her as to render it necessary to transship the load. But no damage was done to the cargo." ~ Wikipedia

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Last Pull

Well, these days are over, at least until next year. The Charles Mercer was pulled out of service and is in dry dock undergoing its annual maintenance and repairs.