News Bullets, "100 homicides" Tuesday;

Thanks to the anonymous commenter for the new name for the daily news briefs. I think it works well. Also, thanks to the people who donated thus far to the FOIA request. About a dozen donations came in, ranging from $0.50 to $15.00. Still not at $65 but it was nice to see some people pitch in. I think the discussion that's taken place regarding FOIA fees, government transparency, and bloggers is great. I don't know what the right solution is to all of this. I suppose it really means I shouldn't ask for FOIA requests unless I'm willing to spend my own money on it. Which is a shame, because that will only result in myself and others not pursuing things further. This also could be linked into the whole bigger picture of what is a blog (or newspaper's) content worth. Would anyone pay $0.25 a month to read this site? What about $0.50? If you did, I could afford to file a lot of FOIA requests and maybe even work on the site full-time one day per week. Interesting things to ponder.

MPD updates homicide count to 100. Just last month MPD Chief Cathy Lanier told the Washington Times that keeping homicides under 100 for 2009 was a reasonable goal. Well, we've had (at least) 12 homicides since then to put us at 100 with another three months to go in the year. Nice try, Cathy. So will she blame her department for failing at protecting citizens? Or will she blame some sort of trend that isn't her fault. We all know it's likely a mix of both, but since she's been taking personal credit for national trends when things are good, I suppose this should be on her and the department. Next time don't make absurd predictions. It wasn't going to end well.

The History Channel showed what a post-nuclear bomb DC would look like
. Day After Disaster was on last night, a 2-hour look at a terrorist bomb going off in DC. It'll be on again October 6. I live tweeted it for a bit, I can't decide if it was terrifying or hilarious. These sorts of scenarios aren't what I fear on a day-to-day basis. However, I did learn a few things, if a nuke goes off, DC Fire and EMS will tweet about it. No, really, they said that. Also, try to avoid looking at the flash, and open your mouth for when the shockwave arrives. That way your eardrums won't explode.

Street sense doing well during the recession. The City Paper takes a look at how Street Sense, the non-profit newspaper about homelessness, is actually growing in this economy. There's been an increase in vendors (perhaps not surprising) and some fundraising drives have helped. I suppose using the term "thrives" might be a little misleading, given that the paper is doing well because there are more needy or homeless people selling it on the streets. A subject for another time, of course, is homelessness in DC. I've gotten to know a few Street Sense vendors, and for many the job is a good pathway to a better life. If only we could get some more programs like Street Sense, perhaps we could eventually see some real progress in getting some of these people in need off the streets. Alas, I'm an idealistic blogger.

Metro gets federal funds for security cameras. WMATA accepted $27.8 million to install more security cameras on buses, in Metro stations, and in railcars. Most of the funds are directed towards cameras on buses. Privacy advocates have some sort of problem with cameras in railcars, though I have a hard time understanding why. I have to agree with Metro that I have no expectation of privacy when riding on the subway. I'd also advocate for cameras in the train operator area. Operators certainly have no expectation of privacy while driving the train. Airliners have the cockpit voice recorders.


  1. in the end, it's a shame that the money can't go towards more pressing wmata concerns, like purchasing new, safe train cars.

  2. Exactly. So we'll have dangerous railcars that are now a little bit safer from possibly being blown up by terrorists.

  3. Since security cameras seem to have almost zero effect as either a crime deterrent or a prosecution tool, I'd advocate them as being installed ONLY in the cockpits. At least then, there's a chance they could improve safety as operators know their activities are being recorded. Any other use seems to be a complete waste of money.

    Cameras never used in a prosecution, says District of Columbia AG's office (WCP, 2/09)

    Studies show cameras do nothing

    Many more studies showing cameras useless

  4. By the way: while I'm not a huge privacy nut as far as cameras in public places goes, the fact that they don't have any track record of providing any value whatsoever doesn't make a strong case for those who would argue that safety is more important than privacy.

    While it may be debatable what kind of rights to privacy you have in a public place, it's basically a fact that the cameras don't contribute to safety. Given that, I think the "arguable" right to privacy wins out.

  5. One thing about earning money from Blogs now is Amazon. You can upload your blog to Amazon for readers on the Kindle to read, for free or also for a charge.

  6. DC Resident here again.

    Cameras in the cockpits of metro cars makes a lot of sense. Jamie is right, cameras in public places have been proven ineffective at deterring crime and in prosecuting crime. Been to Baltimore city lately? Ask Baltimore residents how the cameras are working for them.

    FOIA requests for a fee is not a shame. Someone has to do the work to get you that information. I'm sure many would view your requests as frivolous and one that the government should not incur a fee to process. Are you so righteous that you actually think that my tax dollars should have paid for your request? I think not.

    Once you finally become a real reporter, then you can earn money either from a news outlet of some kind or through ad revenues on your blog. Until then, you'll just have to be like every other city blogger thinging that his (or her) blog is good enough to garner a book deal or something. If your blog becomes one that charges a fee, readers will surely get their DC Blogger news elsewhere.

    Yet again, your blog reeks of Stuff White People Like irony. Get over yourself.

  7. I'm not even really arguing against the fee. Some people here are. At issue is the fact that there are stories (the ghost bike is arguable, but there are others) that don't get covered by the bigger media (e.g. the Post, TV news) and will only get covered by blogs.

    I didn't ask the city to make FOIA free. Some people have. It does take labor to dig up records, and if it was free it would take forever to get results.

    And to anonymous, I don't know the point of using the DC Resident moniker. I'm a DC resident as well, so my tax dollars plus my after-tax dollars are going to pay for any FOIA request. I've lived in, voted, and paid taxes in DC for 7 years. Not forever, but long enough to say it's my money too.

  8. Well, I don't have a blogger account or my own blog so sue me for not coming up with a more creative name. I don't share my personal information on the internet, but my name is Jordan and I was raised and still live in Near Northeast. Happy now? Probably not.

  9. Whoa, whoa here DC Resident. This blog does NOT reek of Stuff White People Like.

    That blog was creatively written and quite funny. This blog is crapoise (French for crap).

  10. As if my parents aren't freaked out enough that I live in DC ... they'll never let it go if they see Day After Disaster. This makes me want to go home immediately and whip up an emergency evacuation plan. And build a bomb shelter in my backyard.