Pat’s Market in Belle Haven is Closed


Pat’s Market, a small mom and pop roadside market in Belle Haven neighborhood of Fairfax County, has closed. It was used as a filming location in the movie The Sentinelstarring Michael Douglas.

Driving to dinner last night, Mary and I noticed it had closed. We had tried stopping there for ice cream once after a picnic on the nearby George Washington Parkway, but it only accepted cash, so we went to Baskin Robbins instead. We never returned. (They later started accepting credit cards according to a Yelp user.)

A Yelper left this obituary:

So sad to discover that Pat’s Market has closed due to an upcoming construction development.

Like Nancy Kerrigan, I must cry out, “Why! Why!…Why” No, more more coldest beer in town…and no more Live Bait! There are simply no words to express this great culinary loss. Yup, I know how you feel, Nancy, for it is just like being kneecapped with a expandable police baton. Damn them!…

I know, Nancy, the pain isn’t half as bad as the knowledge that humanity can be so cruel and callous. But, you survived to go on and win a Silver in the Olympics, and I guess I will make it through without Pat’s Ceviche…But, as you know, Nancy, the loss is still painful. You will be missed Pat’s Market. You will be missed.


New Silver Line Ad Features Broken Escalator

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Skip to about :53.

Of course, the escalator probably works, but this was too good to check. But you never know.

The LeBron James Redemption


Friend and former colleague Scott Campbell shares this excellent rendition of LeBron James’s quasi-apology letter… in the voice of Morgan Freeman in the classic film The Shawshank Redemption as performed by comedian Frank Caliendo. (Which was, to those who don’t know, filmed an hour away from James’s home in Akron at the former Mansfield Reformatory.)

I highly suggest watching the video. Caliendo is very talented and does an amazing impression (his specialty.) Had never heard him do Morgan Freeman before.

I wondered what the Caliendo track would sound like put to the score of The Shawshank Redemption. So I put the track to music to find out.

Here it is:

EDIT: Apparently there was music when it ran, but it was edited out.

Phone Spam Is No Fun

Over the past month and a half, I’ve been getting robocalls from Spanish-speaking telemarketers. As you can see below, at all hours of the day — violating the law.

Thankfully, I have Google Voice and can block callers, but that doesn’t stop them. They keep coming. It’s happened close to 50 times at this point, and the weird thing is that every call comes with the same prefix and area code as my own cell phone. I’ve tried calling the numbers back to be removed, but they largely don’t work and those that answer don’t speak English or pretend not to.

After the tenth call, I changed my settings to require callers to identify themselves…and that’s cut back on the spam a bit. I figure not all of the 10,000 people who could have a 202-527 phone number are spammers. I’ve submitted a complaint to the FTC, but the problem with regulating activity like this is that technology changes and regulators have a hard time keeping up.

Eat a dick, spoofers.

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Are Bicyclists REALLY Terrorists? (Yes!)


Courtland Milloy’s Washington Post column has received a lot of criticism from the emotionally unstable bicyclist crowd. So much so, that apparently 40 bicyclist/terrorists are planning a spontaneous bike ride/sit-outside protest to demand to meet with editors and Mr. Milloy to discuss his column.

Of course, this is all part of a ploy to make him read a forced apology recorded from one of their GoPro helmet cams in front of a bicycle caliphate flag before, well…

Bicyclist or Terrorist? You decide.

To keep this debate on track, I will make sure not to mention that fact that the protest sounds like something terrorists might do. And to further keep this discussion above the fray, I will not compare this bicycle weather mask to something a terrorist might plausibly wear.

Or bring up the fact that when ISIS terrorists aren’t stealing MRAPs and Humvees, their preferred mode of travel is bicycles. That wouldn’t be cool.

For those who must know my commuting habits, I am a car driver to and from work, a walking pedestrian for lunch or happy hour, and am a communist-red key fob toting member of Capital Bikeshare.

If you’re thinking “what is an ardent republican doing riding bikeshare?” I’ll tell you. I figure if the government is going to spend federal monies intended for welfare recipients on a hobby mostly performed by college educated wealthier-than-average white males, I might as well capture the subsidy. And it helps me almost never take WMATA, which I’ve taken five times in the past year.

Now that we’re keeping things above the fray, let’s look at some of Mr. Milloy’s concerns and see if bicyclists are, indeed, terrorists.

“They’ve got more nerve than an L.A. biker gang. And some can be just as nasty.”

Most of the nerve I’ve experience from bicyclists is, well, as one. For pointing out unlawful or unkind behavior.

The thing about many cycling advocates is that they’re generally quick to tell anyone who’s not asking that bicycle sharing is a great transportation idea because it is commensurate with the goal of spending more money on cycling and cycling infrastructure. A means to an end, if you will.

Secretly, though, most real cyclists hate Capital Bikeshare and those who use it. Why? They’re not true believers. You have to spend as much as a nice used car on a bike to be a true believer.

The family from Kansas tooling around DuPont circle at rush hour? The young intern with the red badge of courage salmoning against traffic?All are pawns of the bicycle caliphate and a necessary evil for the cause.

In short, they’re not the real cyclists, those who are the ones pulling the strings. Sort of like leaders of a organization with cells, or something.

Before my cyclist friends think I am calling you terrorists, I’m not. Not all bicyclists are terrorists, but most terrorists are bicyclists. I’ve witnessed a college classmate of mine (rightly) chewing out a dumb pedestrian he nearly took out for crossing against the light outside of Union station. Update: Classmate (whose memory is obviously better than mine) writes to remind that he didn’t say a word to the asshole pedestrian in question crossing against the light.

Frankly, he should have, just to teach him a lesson, like “and that’s why you always leave a note.” Had he clipped him, I would have said to him while he was in a state of shock “this is why you never cross against the light.” If only I had one arm.

Milloy, rightly, thinks the idea of a bicycle escalator is absurd.

“They fight to have bike lanes routed throughout the city, some in front of churches where elderly parishioners used to park their cars. They slow-pedal those three-wheel rickshaws through downtown during rush hour, laughing at motorists who want them to get out of the way.

Now, some of them are pushing to have a “bicycle escalator” installed on 15th Street NW, going uphill from V Street to what used to be known as Malcolm X Park (until influential newcomers to the city pressed to get it changed back to Meridian Hill).”

Yes, I think bike lanes are evil and my cyclist friends will never agree with me on that. Other religions than those who align with the bicycle caliphate must come second to the bicycle caliphate.

Little old ladies need convenient parking near their church on a Sunday? Sorry, bicyclists were too busy off on another-taxpayer funded bicycle trail in the woods to notice.We’ve gone from “share the road” to “heed our demands absolutely or we’ll cause trouble.” Which doesn’t sound anything like the logic of terrorists.

Are we only supposed to share the road when bicyclists are forced to share it with us because they don’t get special treatment with their own lane? Or does share the road mean “let’s get rid of street parking?” Which is partially what Milloy is alluding to, since we’re basically ceding 25% of our working lanes to bicyclists who comprise a total of commutes much closer to zero.

“Share the road?” More like Sharia roads. Am I right?

I think we can all agree that Rickshaws are the worst — especially at 5:30 PM on the road leading to the Lincoln monument. I’ve seen them laughing. Why? Rickshaws are most popular in countries that harbor or are sympathetic to terrorists/ the bicycle caliphate, they’re laughing because they’re winning.

Don’t believe me? Rickshaws are popular in Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden was hiding. Case closed.

Lastly, the touchy topic of ghost bikes, left at the scene of where bicyclists are killed. Honoring martyrs much? Terrorists would never do that.

“All Five of our Government Run Television Stations….”

This Newcastle ad campaign did not appeal to me at first (perhaps it’s because I don’t like Stephen Merchant), but the new Elizabeth Hurley spots are pretty good:

Too Many Ads on the Site

Sports Illustrated affiliated webpage is what I would call a prime example of how to ruin user experience via advertisements.

They should change their name to


The Problem With Automatic Voter Registration


Tonight at Hillary Clinton’s debut on the Ricki Lake Christiane Amanpour CNN Townhall, there was a discussion about “mandatory voting” (what is this, China?) and “Automatic Voter registration.”

Election Law Blog notes:

5:55 p.m.: Asked if there should be mandatory voting, Clinton “no,” but argued “there should be automatic registration.”

“When a young person turns 18, that young person should be registered to vote,” she said. “And I deplore the efforts by some to restrict the right to vote.”

Now, I suppose trial lawyers might love the idea of a bigger jury pool — or maybe they won’t. Friend of the blog and former professor of mine Doc Lawrence says:

I actually don’t have a problem with this (although I think automatic registration would not have a very large effect on voter turnout; frankly I think the biggest depressing factors in the US are election fatigue and weekday voting).

Doc’s views are on point, but my concern with automatic voter registration is one of procedure. I think it would probably cause a lot of problems.

Potential candidates for President usually don’t campaign on non-federal issues, so I don’t think we’re assuming wrongly that Hillary is talking about a federal proposal to automatically register voters*. (*= Assuming felons, green card holders, illegal aliens excepted.)

Typically, and with some notable exceptions, election law  is left up to the states. But the feds do have the ultimate say.

Oregon has been considering such a measure:

which would allow the state to automatically register any Oregonian when a state agency already has their name, age, address and digital signature


The measure calls for using driver’s license data from the state to automatically register people if they are citizens and meet other criteria for voting. Under the bill, the secretary of state’s office would send a postcard to all new registrants giving them a chance to opt out of registering.

Now, imagine 50 some odd voting jurisdictions forced by the federal government to coordinate sorting this mess out. Yes, they already have to coordinate it, but imagine adding lots of young people who are going to be transient for the near future, and don’t vote in great numbers.

What’s the point? Registering to vote is not hard.

Compounding the problem is that these kids go to college, meet an activist in the dorm/on the street who convinces them to sign a petition and register to vote for whatever cause. Their driver’s license, license plate, state where they pay income taxes all (likely wrongly) might be another state.

But now they think they’re registered to vote in another state despite all of that. And come fall, assuming they don’t lose interest, they plan to vote there.

Or maybe when they’re back home they plan to vote back home. Surprise!

With Oregon, somebody decides to change their driver’s license while attending college in Oregon to get in-state tuition. But, they still (wrongly) consider themselves residents of the state where their parents live, and still pay taxes and vote there.

Dumb as it seems, these things happen — and my friends who think I am a residency Nazi are also the same ones trying to convince me that keeping their out of state whatever isn’t some sort of fraud. (The DC/MD/VA area is pretty harsh on failing to become a resident.)

And these are adults we’re talking about — not 22 year olds.

Residency, we’re told, is all about intent — and people love cheating for whatever reason. Whether it’s taxes, making their vote “count more”, or their silly customized license plates they’ve had.

If Oregon, a state with just under 4 million residents expects an automatic voter ID law would result in 500,000 new voters, you can imagine the complications that would cause across the country in keeping the system safe and fair.

My opinion is that the complications of the real world get in the way when it comes to a national automatic voting system, and on top of that, it’s pretty much an unfunded mandate.

Enjoy jury duty!

My Nemesis, the Black Vulture, Comes to D.C.

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I hate black vultures, and not because I generally hate birds — I have a professional hatred for black vultures.

Back when I was a hill staffer, constituents contacted the office I worked for through the local agriculture county extension agent complaining about black vultures eating their livestock. I know what you’re thinking. Don’t vultures only eat dead animals? No. Black vultures also eat live ones, especially cute newborns.

They team up in packs, take out the eyes and other aspects of the face of their victim, and boom — dinner is served.

Black vultures are actually protected by a treaty the United States stupidly signed with a bunch of other countries. The logic of course being that we wanted to give these non-endangered violent birds with few (if any) known predators a license to kill other animals across the globe while simultaneously protecting the non-endangered ones that are logos for outdoor clothing companies like Eddie Bauer.

And because it’s a treaty, it’s not easy to fix when the unintended consequences become clear. The Navy discovered this when the nutters at Earth Justice went after them for bombing masked boobies on a small island the U.S. owns. (Yes, really. Masked boobies.)

Coragyps-atratus-002Farmers and ranchers out in the district wanted to comply with the law (read: not go to jail for killing a bird that’s not a Bald Eagle), and asked our office to look into it.

So, I called Fish and Wildlife and asked what the deal was with stopping them from killing livestock. Would FWS come out and capture them? Send them to a vulture foster home? A vulture preserve?


The FWS-proposed solution was they could go to a regional office and apply for a permit to kill one black vulture. After killing it, they instruct the rancher to hang it from a tree to scare away the other black vultures. (In retrospect, this sounds kind of racist.) The constituents weren’t pleased with this solution.

Short of withdrawing from the treaty, which won’t likely happen, that left them in kind of a pickle. Killing one of these without a permit can land you in the slammer for six months and a fine of $15,000. I couldn’t say this at the time to the constituents, but I wondered why they just didn’t kill the damn birds. After all, who would miss these things aside from wealthy liberal ornithologist city slickers, bureaucrats, and environmentalists?

It’s not like FWS has roving patrols of meter maids checking on the growing populace of  federally protected violent predators with no real predator to kill them. And it’s the middle of the country.

Anyways, the Washington Post reports that vultures, and by the photograph I’m nearly certain they’re black vultures, are now in Washington, D.C. — on K Street, no less.

I left the hill for the lucrative world of journalism and never heard if the vulture situation back west was really resolved. I emailed the local agriculture rep I once worked with, and he confirmed “We still have them here, just glad to share the over-abundance.”

The only known predators for black vultures are a few species of the eagle. And now that they’re in Washington, perhaps MetroBus can be added to the list of known predators.

It will be interesting to see if the black vultures become a problem in Washington. My guess is they’ll just be the butt of a “lobbyists are vultures” joke until they murder some hipster’s rescue dog at a dog park.

Only then will we hear the outrage.


Actual DCCC Memorial Day Weekend Fundraising Email

Somebody over at the DCCC is really aloof.