Wednesday, July 2

DC TUESDAY

DC CLIPS

Scotus Blog D.C. outlaws any self-loading rifle or handgun for which there exists a magazine holding more than 12 rounds. For example, the Colt .45 handgun has been, since its invention in 1911, one of the most common American handguns. The Colt .45 comes with a standard 7-round ammunition magazine. It's possible, if you search long enough, to buy a 15 or 20 round magazine for the Colt. Except as a novelty, these magazines have no use on a Colt .45. They make the handgun much too large to carry, and they extend so far below the grip that they make the gun awkward to handle. In the District of Columbia (but nowhere else in the United States), the Colt .45 is banned. Not just banned if you have a 20 round magazine for the gun, but banned even if you only have the standard 7 round magazine. Preposterously, the D.C. ordinance classifies the 7-round Colt as a "machine gun," and outlaws civilian possession of these so-called "machine guns." [The Heller case] says that there may not be bans on guns "typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes." This surely encompasses the Colt .45, and the thousands of other models banned by D.C.'s overbroad "machine gun" law. The D.C. ordinance prohibits over half of the handguns made in the U.S. in a typical year, and a very large fraction of rifles, including low-powered .22 caliber rifles from venerable companies like Winchester. The D.C. City Council would do well to re-write its machine gun ban so that it applies only to real machine guns. If not, it will be close contest to see whether the ordinance is removed first by Congress or by the courts.

Emendation: The comment in the last issue on the Heller decision was by Jim Myers, not Jim Heller. Got the case and the commenter confused.

Keith B. Richburg Washington Post Six years ago, the Philadelphia School District embarked on what was considered the country's boldest education privatization experiment, putting 38 schools under private management to see if the free market could educate children more efficiently than the government. . . This month, the experiment suffered a severe setback, as the state commission overseeing Philadelphia's schools voted to take back control of six of the privatized schools, while warning 20 others that they had a year to show progress or they, too, would revert to district control. Students at Philadelphia's schools have made improvements overall, the commission said. But the private-run schools are not doing any better than the schools remaining under public control. Longtime opponents of the privatization plan immediately said the decision showed that the experiment of turning schools over to private managers and market forces -- an idea popular with pro-school-choice Republicans and pushed at the time President Bush was taking office in Washington -- had run its course. . .

We were just about to start a contest for guessing when the first mention of an opposition candidate to Fenty would appear, but WKPW3 on the Concerned 4 DCPS listserv beat us to it: "D.C. residents may be open to new leadership and the right candidate needs to make himself/herself known. There will need to be a grassroots movement because the media will probably not give any publicity to other candidates. In the meantime, citizens can expect incumbents to reinvent themselves and separate themselves from controversial decisions. Incumbents have the media on their side and anything they do seems to be acceptable as long as they tow a certain line. . . If there isn't a viable candidate on the horizon, then the leadership will not change. There are not a lot of politicians that were defeated after one term and some of those that were should not have been. It is difficult to educate an entire electorate on key issues when the majority of the media is pushing the other way. It will take an extraordinary candidate with the right strategy to change the leadership or positions if that is what is needed. Where is that person?

Washington Post The District should spend $90 million in tobacco settlement money to expand primary and urgent health care through community health centers in the city's underserved areas, mostly east of the Anacostia River, the independent Rand Corp. advised in a report.

Jacqueline L. Salmon Washington Post A group of supporters of the National Cathedral greenhouse, have presented cathedral officials with a proposal to reopen it as a for-profit business with an educational-outreach component. Saying they have fundraising commitments of between $80,000 and $100,000, supporters of the 58-year-old greenhouse said that reopening the facility as a business makes sense and that it has a built-in clientele of gardeners who have shopped there for years. . . Under the proposal, the cathedral would bring in an outside vendor to run the facility, and any donations raised would be used to fund botanical and ecological education programs, perhaps for local schools.

Eavesdrop DC - Eastern Market at lunch time. . . One girl is standing at the bus stop and sees her friend walk by. . . Girl 1: Hey girl, what's up how's your summer? You still runnin' 'round with that bad boy?. . . Girl 2: Oh no, he dead. . . Girl 1: He dead?! No! He dead? When? . . . Girl 2: Few weeks ago. It don't matter. We weren't goin' out no more.

WUSA A new study from Allstate Insurance says Washington drivers have more wrecks on average than any other place in the country. After studying crash data over the past two years, researchers found DC drivers average an accident every 5.4 years. The National Average is every ten years. Here are some averages from other local other cities: Baltimore, Md.-5.9 years Alexandria, Va.-7.0 years Arlington, Va.-7.1 years Norfolk, Va.-8.1 years Hampton, Va.-10.5 years Richmond, Va.-11.1 years. Los Angeles has traffic as bad as the DC area, but its drivers average fewer wrecks... one every 7.1 years. Philadelphia is 6.6, and Chicago at 7.6.

DC Examiner Mayor Adrian Fenty, who did not let a deadlocked taxi commission stall his plan to install meters in every D.C. cab, last week appointed three people to replace all but one of the members who voted against meters. Current Commissioners Theresa Travis, William Carter and Stanley Tapscott are out. Appointees Scott Kubly, Paul Cohn and Bart Lasner are in. . . Carter was not surprised about being replaced. “They want what they want, not necessarily what’s best for the city,” Carter, who backed a zone meter system, said of the Fenty administration. “That’s the way this administration works.”

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