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Free the Government’s Plantation – The New York Times, October 6th, 1991
|| 10/7/2009 || 9:33 am || + Render A Comment || ||

Free the Government’s Plantation

The New York Times, Oct. 6, 1991

Washington, D.C., with a population of 607,000, has more people than Alaska, Wyoming or Vermont. But its elected officials have no real power and the city is denied a voting representative in Congress. The Federal Government treats the District as a colony, controlling local policy on issues ranging from sanitation to abortion and undermining the city’s ability to raise revenues.

Washingtonians deserve self-government no less than other Americans. A bill pending in Congress, H.R. 2482, would admit Washington to the union as New Columbia, the 51st state. The bill deserves attention and a vote of approval in the House. But that won’t happen until languid Democrats schedule hearings. The legislators need to provide more than lip service they’ve given to statehood in recent years. Even if statehood fails, debate could suggest intermediate solutions. The current arrangement is more suited to a dictatorship than a democracy.

Washingtonians have suffered long under second-class citizenship. They were first allowed to vote in Presidential elections in 1964. Permission to elect local officials followed slowly: in 1968, the school board; in 1971, a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives; and in 1973, the mayor and the city council.

The Home Rule Act of 1973, which granted limited self-rule, contained dictatorial restrictions. The city cannot so much as reschedule garbage collection without groveling before Congress, which has 30 days in which to disapprove. Nor can the city determine its own budget or set independent policies. President George Bush recently forced the District to disallow the use of local tax revenues to furnish abortions for impoverished women. His weapon: vetoing the city budget. Impoverished victims of rape and incest will be denied a choice available to American women elsewhere.

The Federal presence harms the city fiscally. The District is forbidden to tax nonresidents, many of them Federal workers, who comprise about 60 percent of the work force. Federal properties are also exempt from real estate taxes. The city calculates that all taxing restrictions combined cost it $1.9 billion a year in revenues.

An ill-informed Mr. Bush said last year that he opposed statehood because the city’s funds `come almost exclusively from the Government.’ That’s wrong. The Federal contribution at that time was about 14 percent of the city budget, the Government gave a paltry $430 million in lieu of lost tax revenues. The cost of municipal services provided to the Government is difficult to calculate but potentially worrisome.

Those who oppose statehood often claim that the Constitution forbids creation of a state in the District. That claim is without merit. The Constitution says only that Congress will exercise exclusive legislative control over a seat of Government that does not exceed 10 miles square. A state could be created that reduce the size of the Federal enclave but not eliminate it.

The real objections to statehood are political. When Mr. Bush opposes statehood, he is opposing the creation of two additional Democratic Senators, one of whom would surely be Jesse Jackson, now an unpaid lobbyist, or `shadow senator,’ who represents Washington in the Senate. The Democrats also have acted spinelessly, giving statehood little more than token support.

How can the United States champion democracy abroad while it disenfranchises District citizens who die in wars and pay taxes the same way other Americans do? There is every reason for Democrats to gather courage, convene hearings and then bring the issue to the floor. Sooner or later, Congress will realize it has more important tasks than overseeing schedules for garbage collection.


This newspaper article was obtained from the Congressional Record in the Library of Congress related to H.R. 51, The New Columbia Admission Act of 1993. The article is not in the public domain but is being republished here under the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



Statehood for the District of Columbia – The Minneapolis Star and Tribune, June 27th, 1987
|| 10/6/2009 || 9:21 am || + Render A Comment || ||

Statehood for the District of Columbia

The Minneapolis Star and Tribune, June 27, 1987

Walter Fauntroy, nonvoting delegate who represents Washington, D.C., in the House, seeks to transform the District of Columbia into the state of New Columbia. Fauntroy’s quest is a long shot, despite support from such prominent Democrats as House Speaker Jim Wright and Majority Leader Tom Foley. Yet he deserves to succeed because his cause is just.

In the past two decades, district residents have been granted home rule and the right to vote in presidential elections. But they still lack representation in Congress. In 1978, Congress offered for ratification a constitutional amendment that would have provided congressional representation but stopped short of statehood. When the seven-year limit on ratification expired in 1985, only a few states had approved the amendment. Minnesota was one of them. With the failure of the 1978 amendment, Fauntroy offered his statehood proposal, which requires only congressional approval and presidential signature.

Like all other U.S. citizens, district residents honor U.S. laws, pay U.S. taxes and serve in the U.S. military. Unlike other U.S. citizens, they have no direct say in what laws Congress will pass, what taxes Congress will impose and what wars Congress will declare. Fauntroy seeks to redress that fundamental unfairness.

There are also practical reasons for granting statehood. Like many core urban areas, the district has suffered a declining population, loss of commercial and industrial tax base to surrounding suburbs and increased poverty. Costs grow faster than city resources. Most states, recognizing the vital role central cities play in metropolitan economies, respond with urban aid raised by taxing suburbs–or by giving core cities the power to impose a payroll tax on suburban commuters.

But Washington has no state government to help out; its suburbs are in Virginia and Maryland. And the district charter prohibits a payroll tax. Which leaves only Congress to finance the rising cost of district Government. And that means Minnesota taxpayers shoulder as much of the district’s financial burden as those in Virginia and Maryland, who benefit directly from the district’s government-dominated economy.

Federal support will always be appropriate, given the government’s enormous tax-exempt holdings in the district. But statehood would allow Washington to tax commuters or work out other arrangements requiring Virginia and Maryland to bear a larger share of the district’s burdens.

Fauntroy’s bill is likely to come to the House floor this fall. Because the district is Democratic, urban and black, it faces opposition from Republicans, rural legislators and bigots. None relish adding district representatives to Congress. Such crass partisanship and bigotry should not be allowed to subvert the drive for statehood. To ease the district’s financial burden and to erase an embarrassing political injustice, Congress should pass the statehood bill and welcome New Columbia to the Union.


This newspaper article was obtained from the Congressional Record in the Library of Congress related to H.R. 51, The New Columbia Admission Act of 1993. The article is not in the public domain but is being republished here under the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



Why Not Statehood for D.C. Citizens? – Seattle Times, May 11th, 1987
|| 10/5/2009 || 9:06 am || + Render A Comment || ||

Why Not Statehood for D.C. Citizens?

Seattle Times, May 11th, 1987

The path is strewn with all sorts of political and legal obstacles, but the District of Columbia is pressing ahead on a campaign that could give it full statehood–a 51st state to be called New Columbia.

And why not? Despite its place as the seat of national power, the district long has been a governmental orphan whose residents have second-class political status. It elects a mayor and City Council, but local decisions are liable to congressional veto. Residents can vote in presidential elections, but their representation in Congress is limited to a single nonvoting delegate.

In 1978 Congress proposed a constitutional amendment to give D.C. full voting representation–two senators and at least one representative–but only 16 of a required 38 states had approved it before the ratification period ran out three years ago.

Now advocates of full statehood are saying there’s no need to pursue the tortuous constitutional-amendment process. Congress, they say, could establish New Columbia simply by enacting a law, and a bill to do that is working its way through the House.

Citing various legal authorities, opponents disagree and promise a court battle if Congress approves the statehood measure.

The Reagan administration also is resisting the statehood proposal, partly because of expectations that the members of Congress elected from New Columbia would be liberal Democrats.

Still, the case for statehood remains strong, if only as a matter of simple fairness. The district’s population at last count stood at some 637,000–far more than in Alaska, Delaware, Vermont or Wyoming.


This newspaper article was obtained from the Congressional Record in the Library of Congress related to H.R. 51, The New Columbia Admission Act of 1993. The article is not in the public domain but is being republished here under the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



Map of Westminster Street NW in Washington, DC from 1921
|| 9/27/2009 || 4:46 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Last year I published Then & Now Birds-Eye Views of the Westminster Neighborhood in Washington, DC [1884 & 2005] and earlier today I came across some new maps of the street I’ve lived on for the last 5 years. This map comes from the 1921 edition of Baist’s real estate atlas of surveys of Washington, District of Columbia. It shows the neighborhood pretty much as it is today except for the neighborhood playground that currently sits where houses 193-196 used to be and some of the stables & garages people had constructed in their backyards have been removed.

Below is the citation from the Library of Congress entry:

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My own Coat of Arms, the Origin of the Stars & Stripes, and Hartburn, DC
|| 6/2/2009 || 1:57 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

Original image created in Chicago, 1894.
From the Library of Congress’ An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera.

Some time in the future I’d like to read more deeply into heraldry and come up with my own Coat of Arms. Today there is so much talk about name branding that I think it would be an interesting juxtaposition where my Coat of Arms could visually explain some subtle details about me. My motto would either be Socio Ditata Labore or Gloria Immortalis Labore Parta, but how would I go about designing the shield? That is where I am currently stuck at, but I imagine that if I were to dig deeper into the arcane traditions of heraldry, I would come up with something fitting.

About two months ago I was rummaging through the Library of Congress’ An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera and came across the image above. I knew that the DC flag was based off of George Washington’s family crest, but I didn’t know that it had been changed over the centuries prior to his family’s arrival in America. Moreover, I didn’t know that the city I currently live in, Washington, DC, might have been called something completely different…

From a New York Times’ Letter to the Editor published on April 8th, 1984:

Eberhartpence, Eberhart, Hartpence, Hart – what’s in a name? Indeed, had it not been for a change of name back in the 12th century, our nation’s capital might be Hartburn, D.C.

You see, when George Washington’s British ancestor William de Hartburn moved from Hartburn to Wessington in 1130, he changed his name to William de Wessington, which later became de Washington. The ”de” was dropped when the family arrived on these colonial shores around 1659.

Had William retained his original name, the father of our country would have been one ”George Hartburn.”

Imagine that– a gastrointestinal themed capital city. The people’s pyrosis!

I bet the George Hartburn University would have an even better medical school too! It makes me wonder if there would even be a Hart Senate office building, lest someone get the wild notion of burning it down. Or what about the lexical ramifications of when the British torched Washington in the War of 1812? Would this alternate history be called The Burning of Hartburn? I can only laugh and, of course, take some antacids.


A very long time ago, a couple weeks after the reelection of George W. Bush in November of 2004, I wrote that my most recent map looked similar to the gas mask I had purchased days prior:

Yet living in DC with 4 more years of Bush, I am expecting some acid reflux in the belly of the beast…

While there was only one case of acid reflux to hit Washington, DC during the subsequent 4 years, and a mild case at that, I can laugh again at this alternative history double entendre. Acid reflux in the belly of the beast? Only if George Washington’s ancestor didn’t change his name.



A Perpetual Calendar showing the day of any month corresponding to any day of the week, for the year 1775, to the year 2025
|| 3/5/2009 || 7:44 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Last year I was planning on making six different calendars for 2009 to follow up the three calendars I made for 2008. I never ended up making any. It wasn’t that I couldn’t or wouldn’t, I just did really care at the time to make them. They didn’t end up becoming a priority, but I’m no sure why. I am still considering making one for myself, but haven’t yet.

The other week I came across this broadside on the Library of Congress’ Printed Ephemera Collection and thought it was worthy of sharing here. I’ll note that the graphic above shows only a portion of the original broadside, but for the purposed of this entry, it’s all I want to write about. This Perpetual Calendar was printed in Washington, DC in 1848 by the company Barnard & Sandy and is an interesting analogue means to find what the date is. Here is how:

The four steps it takes to find the day of the week.
1) Guide your finger to the years column on the right (or left) column
2) Guide your finger to the left (or right) to the central month column
3) Guide your finger down to the day of the week column
4) Guide your finger to the day of the month

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

It only works if you know what year it is, what month it is, and know either the day of week or the day of the month it is. For example, lets say you were unconscious for the last two weeks and don’t know what the day of the month it is (5th, 7th, 11th?) but you know that today is a Thursday, in March in the year 2009. This calendar will give you four options for the day of the month: 5, 12, 19, or 26.

Alternatively, if you knew that today was the 5th of March in 2009, but didn’t know the day of the week, you’d have to find where 5 shows up in the days of the month chart then find the point where the months of the year intersect in the day of the week box.

Once you figure out how to use this calendar its pretty easy to use. You can easily use this to plan for weekend trips for the next 16 years into the future or find out the day of the week a specific event took place in the last 234 years. I’ve come to the conclusion that while my art might be beautiful to look at for a year in the form of a calendar, I would rather construct a calendar like this one that outlives the 28 year cycle most leap year calendars follow. I think this would be an awesome project to undertake!



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What! A Bicycle Rifle? Yes?
|| 3/3/2009 || 7:14 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Click to view a larger version of the advertisement

So with Congress possibly changing DC gun laws to give DC colonists a token vote in the House of Representatives, I found this advertisement for a bicycle rifle to be somewhat humorous. With this rifle, I can lock & load & cycle and I make sure no one knocks me off my bicycle! I could discharge the rifle at a car’s wheels in case I feel that the car is getting too close to me. Imagine how I’ll be able to proactively protect my life and save myself from getting into accidents with larger vehicles with this handy rifle. I’ll have the most formidable bicycle ever!! The constitution might say we have a right to bear arms, but it doesn’t say anything about the right to have bicycles with arms. I predict the bicycle rifle will become the new Cycle Chic accessory item of Washington, DC cyclists. Just remember, you read it here first.


When I wrote about my neighborhood last year, I mentioned that the League of American Wheelmen competed on May 20th, 1884 on the land that would eventually become my current residence over a hundred years later. The advertisement above is from the program of the competition on the Library of Congress website.


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Nixon Sends GIs Into Cambodia And An Inverted 1970 Map of Communist Controlled Laos and Cambodia
|| 3/1/2009 || 8:53 pm || Comments Off on Nixon Sends GIs Into Cambodia And An Inverted 1970 Map of Communist Controlled Laos and Cambodia || ||

The other week I found this flyer in the Library of Congress’ An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera. I inverted the colors because the location of the conflict & reason for mobilization are different, but the circumstances remain timely because America currently at war in two countries. I remember going to the White House for a demonstration nearly six years ago the weekend after George Bush invaded Iraq. I have the video that I produced that day somewhere backed up and I plan on uploading to the YouTube this month as a somber reminder. However, I learned six years ago that our government is going to go to war without the consent of the American public and protesting, while important, does little to change the course of events in present-day America. 39 years ago, however, demonstrations were an important part of ending the war in Vietnam. But will they help bring the troops home from Iraq & Afghanistan? Doubtful. Really doubtful.


THE WASHINGTON POST – Friday, May 1, 1970

Nixon Sends GIs Into Cambodia

NIXON DECLARES ALL-OUT WAR ON SOUTHEAST ASIA

THE PEOPLE MUST ACT NOW

MASS MEETING at the WHITE HOUSE at noon on saturday, may 9

In another attempt to stifle dissent, the Nixon administration has handed down regulations prohibiting demonstrations on federal park land without a 15 day advance notice. Public outrage at the invasion of Cambodia is so great we will go to the White House in spite of these regulations. We will assert our right to peacefully assemble. The police may block us. If they also decide to arrest us, we will maintain a militant non-violent discipline, and options will be provided for those not prepared for arrest. Meet us at the White House!

DEMAND IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF ALL U.S. TROOPS & SUPPLIES FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA

The New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam — 1029 Vermont Av. N.W. Wash. D.C. 20005


Courtesy of the Library of Congress


Notes:
1) On the transcription page on the Library of Congress website, I found that the map above was improperly cited as an “illustration”
2) I believe the map was probably published in the Washington Post on Friday May 1st, 1970



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Thomas Jefferson’s Map of Washington from March 31st, 1791
|| 2/28/2009 || 1:30 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Map courtesy of the Library of Congress

Throughout the week I watched the Senate debate on the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009. This bill (which I’ve written about before in its different forms) will give DC residents a token vote in the House of Representatives, while denying us representation in the Senate. (Taxation Without 2/3’s Representation!!) Thursday afternoon the Senate passed the Act after they also voted to add a bogus amendment written by the National Rifle Association to weaken/remove the District of Columbia’s gun laws. The vote showed clearly that the District of Columbia is still Congress’ little colony and even with the Act’s passage, DC residents are no better off than before, except of course, we’ll be governed by 536 unelected officials, instead of 535. Hurrah for continued tyranny masked as progress!

There were two words I heard over and over again during the Senate debate: Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, is revered as one of America’s founding fathers and after looking at his map that he drew in 1791 (and attempting to read his nearly illegible text), I’ve come to the conclusion that the Seat of Government that the Constitution gives Congress exclusive jurisdiction over (Article I, Section 8, Clause 17), is also nearly the same geography that was defined as the National Capital Service Area [link to Google Map] when DC statehood was proposed. This area is basically all the federal government buildings around the National Mall and is what I feel Congress should have exclusive control over. So why was the Seat of Government expanded to include the entire District of Columbia when Jefferson clearly drew a smaller vision 218 years ago? I don’t know, but fixing one of the Founding Father’s faux-pas should involve giving DC residents full equality that citizens of the rest of America receive, which means representation in both the House and the Senate.



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An Act for establishing the Temporary and Permanent seat of the Government of the United States
|| 2/24/2009 || 12:35 pm || Comments Off on An Act for establishing the Temporary and Permanent seat of the Government of the United States || ||

For last month or so I’ve been adding historic pieces of legislation here on my blog. The aim here, and the general aim of this blog, is to keep an ongoing, on-line journal that features things that I’m either interested in or things that I have created. Historic pieces of legislation related to the District of Columbia fall into the former category, and today’s entry is the text & scans of the act that established the Temporary (Philadelphia) and Permanent Seat of the Government of the United States in a “district of territory” that would eventually become named the District of Columbia.



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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!