- 12:03 pm - Fri, Feb 22, 2013
- 6 notes
The Atlantic profiles Washington, DC’s successful European-style bicycle-sharing program, Capital Bikeshare, in a pleasingly numbers-driven look at the sociology and demographics of unconventional transportation infrastructure in a growing city. (Follow our ongoing coverage of DC and its quirks here.)
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
- 6:01 pm - Wed, Feb 20, 2013
- 3 notes
You either do what you like to do for free or you have an entry-level job for $25,000 where you answer the phone and are someone’s assistant. It’s this weird compromise people my age have to make.
Jessica Schulberg, quoted in Washingtonian’s profile of DC’s professional underclass: the perma-interns.
One of your editors landed a job in DC through an unpaid internship, and has many colleagues who have done the same (and your other editor just started her third unpaid internship in two years). But every time we have this conversation it seems the stakes have become more dire, with Charlie Rose settling lawsuits filed by unpaid interns and pop-culture entities like Glee and Girls portraying the arrangement with both irony and impoverished romance.
On Twitter, Chris Albon has been collecting anecdotes from his readership, and Joshua Foust is offering some strong contributions as well (he’s been vocal on the subject before).
What do you think? Is the unpaid internship the unfortunate consequence of an unhealthy job market? Or is it a valuable, if grueling, opportunity for students to gain experience and connections they can’t access with as much ease any other way?
- 3:02 pm - Tue, Feb 19, 2013
- 2 notes
Real-estate directory Trulia runs a terrific in-house analytics blog. They recently took a look at the distribution of unmarried young people in various US cities, disaggregated by sex, and found that neighborhoods are often disproportionately “pink” or “blue.” The blog goes on to examine some of the sociological trends behind the data (women are often in residential zones, while men tend toward downtowns and newly-developed business districts) — but how do your humble hosts check out?
Ivan’s ZIP code in Arlington, Virginia is a light pastel pink on the map above, and indeed a little less office-dense than Rosslyn, Crystal City, or downtown DC. Of course, the alleged purpose of this chart (finding singles) is moot to him, because he is spoken for on the relationship front.
Amanda, meanwhile, resides in a ZIP code with a midrange shade of amaranth pink in uptown Manhattan, which is indeed mostly residential. And as any single female New Yorker will confirm, it does seem like all available men are in far-flung corners of Brooklyn and New Jersey.
- 12:03 pm - Wed, Jan 16, 2013
- 3 notes
In our ongoing coverage of how weird and awesome our nation’s capital is, we’re very excited to pass on the news that President Obama’s limousine will carry the standard, incredibly sassy Washington, DC “Taxation Without Representation” license plates beginning at his second inauguration on Monday.
These plates, of course, refer to the fact that while residents of the District pay federal taxes, they have no voting representation in Congress. This is a touchy subject, and many local activists refer to DC’s status as one of “second-class citizenship,” especially since the capital city is more populous than Wyoming and Vermont.
- 6:02 pm - Wed, Jan 9, 2013
- 6 notes
Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks is a site that makes visible the income differences that are often felt, but not often seen by a neighborhood’s residents. Especially in cities like New York and DC, where your hosts live, bright red blocks and bright green blocks abut frequently. (H/t DCist)
Focusing on DC, Washington City Paper’s Aaron Wiener points out the starkness of the District’s dividing line at 16th Street NW.
What does your neighborhood look like? How does your block’s color compare to your expectations?
- 12:02 pm - Tue, Jan 8, 2013
- 16 notes
The American Conservative is subletting office space from lefty magazine The American Prospect
And we just think it’s the cutest news — and such excellent sitcom potential!
We also love Daniel McCarthy’s reference to Arlington as “a hotbed of lobbyists and defense contractors.” Keep fighting the system, you anti-establishment conservative, you.
- 3:02 pm - Sun, Nov 11, 2012
- 16 notes
Argo (2012): a storytelling feat. And for once, it’s a story really worth telling.
Amanda and Ivan both saw Argo last weekend, and we have observations. Ivan, DC denizen that he is, provides bullet points:
- Between the public fuss over the US Consulate in Benghazi and the release of this film, the US Foreign Service has been having a surprising moment of cultural relevance, which I appreciate.
- Several times in the film, there were oblique references to interagency cooperation and rivalry (“Why is State taking the lead?”), but no real detail. I can guarantee that most of the audience at the Georgetown AMC, while occasionally giggling at scenes taking place less than 2 miles from where we sat, were a little curious about the mechanics
- As noted by David Haglund, the operation was carried out with significant lead planning by the Canadian diplomatic mission in Tehran. While I always enjoy seeing the great Canadian patriot Victor Garber in a wig, I feel the script sidelined his character, Amb. Ken Taylor, in favor of Affleck’s charming CIA exfiltrator.
- Mark Lijek, one of the characters portrayed in the film, wrote a great little piece in the newsletter of the American Foreign Service Association, explaining some of these details. He’s also reflected on the experience in Slate, which you should read just for the delicious phrase “[t]he ability to arrange the move in Thai.”
- There’s a fascinating storyline involving an Iranian in Taylor’s inner circle, which unfortunately seems to have been excised in the final cut.
- Not to snark too much, but exterior shots mean to represent Tehran streets barely concealed their Istanbul-ness. You can’t just expect me to ignore all those squat little Ottoman mosques, Affleck!
Further reading on Argo: fact-finding from ForeignPolicy.com, and some thoughts on Argo and race.
- 12:01 pm - Thu, Nov 8, 2012
- 29 notes
DC is Home Rule, Taxation Without Representation license plates and knowing you live in a capital that hosts politicians who won’t give you voting control over how you improve your local or national community but saying “Fuck you” and volunteering, engaging and sticking around despite that.
From Holly Jones’s The Last City I Loved: Washington, DC.
Did you know that DC is home to more residents than the entire state of Wyoming? Did you know that Washingtonians pay the 2nd highest per capita income tax in the country? Did you know that, despite all of this, they have no voice in the House or Senate? That any local laws the DC government passes can be overwritten, rewritten by Congress? That’s fucked. But you can do something about it.
- 4:01 pm - Sun, Oct 28, 2012
- 6 notes
GQ gives Capitol Hill a makeover. Apparently very well-tailored pants and tilted photography are the way to update your look! Tailoring is the nuance of fashion, or something.
Ivan has long thought that DC contains more well-dressed young professionals than any other city, and after several visits Amanda must agree—though she insists that New Yorkers walk farther and schlep more than any other city’s inhabitants, so we get a pass on our “functional” style.
(DCist also points out that GQ picked a stereotypical slice of DC men, but not necessarily a representative one.)
- 3:27 pm - Tue, Oct 16, 2012
- 3 notes
We’ll admit, we sort of enjoy it when Andrew Sullivan freaks out.
Last week, the beardy gay uncle of the blogosphere vented about his move from DC to New York:
Just to walk a few blocks requires barging your way through a melee of noise and rudeness and madness. And a glance at your bank account shows a giant sucking sound as the city effectively robs you of all your pennies at every juncture. When you’re there for a few days or a week, it can be bracing. But living with this as a daily fact of life? How does anyone manage it?
DCist has mourned Sully’s departure from The Diner in Adams Morgan.
Sullivan’s readers, meanwhile, have been of two camps: those that propose Andrew move to Brooklyn on account of all the walkability and beards, and those who say Manhattan is unfairly maligned. And because New Yorkers like nothing more than sharing their opinions, Andrew has also rounded up New Yorkers’ practical feedback to his initial post.
Wonkistan has been vocal about its support of DC, but we didn’t realize New York needed defending! Amanda, a resident of Manhattan, enjoys weekend trips to Brooklyn but would like to state for the record that her borough is freakin’ great. It did take her an hour to commute ninety blocks to work this morning, and her wifi is slower than can be believed, but for now she’s sticking with this glorious little island.
And here, courtesy of BuzzFeed, is a glorious Sullivan freakout gif.
- 12:00 pm - Sat, Oct 6, 2012
- 2 notes
Happy Douglas Jefferson Day! Go on a buy a drink for a stranger in his honor!
…we recognize that you may have questions. What is Douglas Jefferson Day, you ask? Who was Douglas? In what horrific manner was he killed? Why is everyone drinking? And, most importantly, what the bloody heck is a flivrum?
Click through to find out, and if you participate, snap a photo and tag it #wonkistan!
- 4:41 pm - Fri, Sep 28, 2012
- 9 notes
Certain individuals (read: haters) have set off on another storm of articles about how Washington, DC is totally, inherently, and structurally unable to be cool. The Atlantic’s Rebecca Greenfield says it’s too expensive, too small, too full of boring people who come and go every two to four years, encumbered by an irredeemable transit system, and devoid of cultural credibility.
Josh Barro, similarly, claims that DC “attracts government nerds and sticks them in social situations where there is no pressure to suppress the boring.”
Ivan, on the other hand, says that DC is awesome, and full of motivated, passionate, well-balanced cool people, and if Greenfield and Barro think DC is boring, they need to go to better parties. Amanda, from what she’s seen, is inclined to agree.
DCist is on the right track: the least cool thing about DC is people who write about how uncool the city is.