Lately, Washington DC has been abuzz with the FBI's plans to relocate outside of the District.
But for some, the movement of major government agencies to the Maryland and Virginia suburbs means something potentially revolutionary: legal grounds for DC to finally achieve statehood
. [more inside]
Women Who Conquered the Comics World
Robbins knows something about the glass ceiling for women cartoonists because she first hit it herself in the early 1970s, when she tried to join the male-dominated “underground comix” movement based in San Francisco. After the men cartoonists shut her out, Robbins joined forces with other women cartoonists to create their own women’s-lib comic books. She went on to become a well-respected mainstream comic artist and writer, as well as a feminist comics critic who’s written myriad nonfiction books on the subject of great women cartoonists and the powerful female characters they created. Naturally, Robbins has spent some time hunting down the original cartoons from the women who paved the way for her career, and as luck would have it, she found the very first comic strip ever drawn by a woman, “The Old Subscriber Calls” by Rose O’Neill, practically in her backyard.
The Big Lobotomy: How Republicans Made Congress Stupid
A quick refresher: In 1995, after winning a majority in the House for the first time in forty years, one of the first things the new Republican House leadership did was gut Congress’s workforce. They cut the “professional staff” (the lawyers, economists, and investigators who work for committees rather than individual members) by a third. They reduced the “legislative support staff” (the auditors, analysts, and subject-matter experts at the Government Accountability Office [GAO], the Congressional Research Service [CRS], and so on) by a third, too, and killed off the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) entirely. And they fundamentally dismantled the old committee structure, centralizing power in the House speaker’s office and discouraging members and their staff from performing their own policy research. (The Republicans who took over the Senate in 1995 were less draconian, cutting committee staff by about 16 percent and leaving the committee system largely in place.) Today, the GAO and the CRS, which serve both House and Senate, are each operating at about 80 percent of their 1979 capacity. While Senate committee staffs have rebounded somewhat under Democratic control, every single House standing committee had fewer staffers in 2009 than in 1994. Since 2011, with a Tea Party-radicalized GOP back in control of the House, Congress has cut its budget by a whopping 20 percent, a far higher ratio than any other federal agency, leading, predictably, to staff layoffs, hiring and salary freezes, and drooping morale.
How the “Sassiest Boy in America”
became the most interesting man in rock-and-roll.
DC vs Marvel: Kitchen Stadium Edition -- In The Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook
, "Mighty Marvel Superheros show you how to perform heroics in the kitchen creating meals that are out of this world!" Meanwhile.... The DC Super Heroes Super Healthy Cookbook
simply promises "good food kids can prepare themselves." Let the battle begin! [more inside]
You probably know of Paul Dini
as the guy who, over the past 20 years brought to television Batman, the beloved DC's animated universe
(with Bruce Timm) and Duck Dodgers (among many other things).
He's now working at Marvel after 20 years with Warner Brothers.
Speaking recently on Kevin Smith's podcast
he claimed that executives are spurning female viewers because they believe girls and women don't buy superhero show related toys
, which may go some way to explaining the Wonder Woman decision (previously
Dini's comments come at a time
when many feel
that the gender segregation
of toys is regaining strength.
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
Here's a would-be documentary miniseries that PBS has buried in a single 3-hour bloc. It conatains the perspective that has been lost in all of the reimaginings and reboots durinng the last 15 years.
It will broadcast in repeats during the nest 2 weeks, or you can watch it online
If the Federal Government shuts down on October 1st, the DC city government is supposed to shut down as well
. In a bid to keep the city functioning, Mayor Vince Gray has declared all city employees "essential."
Non-voting Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton
and the DC GOP
are also petitioning Congress to keep the city open. The District's budget comes from local taxes, but needs Congressional approval to spend it's own money
Thursday, September 21st, 1939, radio station WJSV in Washington, D.C., recorded their entire broadcast day -- from sign on, to sign off. The entire day is available here
In 1986, an episode public-access TV show Forestville Rocks
began with these words: "Butch Willis has moved into the most selective rock n roll territory, that of the inspirational primitive
. Guided by neither the commercial concerns of mainstream pop nor the calculated artsiness of new wave nor the hip rage of punk, Willis stands quite alone; undaunted, he dreams the rock n roll dream
..." [more inside]
Streaming video of local DC news as
an active shooter situation is ongoing. There are 10 victims mentioned so far at least two police officers are involved. DCist
broke the story before any local news stations did. [more inside]
Washington DC has had restrictions on the heights of its buildings
since the first year of its existence, thanks to its namesake -- George Washington himself laid down a limit of 40 feet in 1791 (and then suspended the limits, as did several of his successors). The limits waxed and waned over the next century or so until the U.S. Congress, in its capacity as the over-government of America's capital, laid down the Heights of Buildings Act of 1910
, setting the upper limit of any building at 130 feet. Now that the city is gaining population again (for the first time since the 1950s), developers and officials may be looking to release the federal height restrictions and give control to the city government
(which already has zoning limits in various areas that further restrict heights). The WaPo provides a visualization
demonstrating what the skyline might look like if the limits are raised, or even if areas filled out to the current Height Act maximums.
Chris Sims' amazing pitch for the Superman/Batman movie:
"A dang BOOM TUBE
opens up, and who comes out? Every Superman and Batman we’ve seen in mass media for the past thirty years
"With two years' hindsight, it is more and more apparent that the true shift signified by the advent of the Nu52 was that individual characters no longer matter (to say nothing of creators). The most important brand is not Superman or Batman or Green Lantern and certainly not Shazam or John Constantine, but DC Comics - oops, sorry, DC Entertainment. The most important thing for them is that they have a cohesive universe that can be presented as a legible whole. The great triumphs of superhero comics have traditionally come as a result of the genre's strange, disreputable, tatterdemalion profligacy. But it's becoming harder and harder for companies to justify extending that kind of creative freedom in regards to characters who might each and every one of them (in the minds of Warner Brothers executives) end up as their next billion-dollar franchise. The cruel irony is that without being able to offer that kind of freedom and trust to individual creators, the stories become sterile and vapid, and the IP is degraded. Marvel for the time being have managed to figure out how to walk the tightrope between control and liberty, enough so that a not-insignificant percentage of their line is actually very good, and many more books are pleasantly readable. There just aren't that many DC books I'd stop to pick up for free off the street. " -- Tim O'Neil reviews DC Comics' latest crossover, original sin and why the NuDC is so anemic
How DC Contracts Work. Mark Waid
, author of Superman: Birthright
(drawn on heavily for the recent film Man of Steel
), "explains how professionals are generally compensated for working on company-owned characters".
You know how you had heard there was a cool video out there showing the growth and construction on Capitol Hill rendered in 3D animation and you were all, eh, I'll watch it once somebody puts it on the same page as the Game of Thrones
theme so that I can get the full experience? Well now you have no more excuse.
The United States' National Security organization has many parts, from the famous (NSA
) to the mundane (OCI
) to the more esoteric (NRO
). But even the most dedicated Washington insider may not have heard of INR
. [more inside]
Ever wondered what the view at the very top
of the Washington Monument is like? Construction workers erecting scaffolding (for repairs needed after the 2011 earthquake) donned helmet cams on the day they reached the tip of the monument, so you need wonder no longer
Chris Richards, formerly of DC post-punk outfit Q and Not U
asks: Are foodies quietly killing rock and roll?
Political reporter John R Stanton
(aka Big John
) has been thinking about the gentrification of DC. Late last night, he tweeted up a story about DC in the old days
, personified by a junkie
Let Blelvis, the Black Elvis,
tell you what he is not doing. He is not begging, and he is not homeless. But Blelvis would never dream of denying you the opportunity to donate to his favorite charity, which, incidentally, is named Blelvis
. So he'll just turn around, nice and discreet, while you see what you can spare. The best nation in the world is a do nation
, and that's the truth.
The romance comic blog Sequential Crush takes a look at an astrology-themed love story from 1970: "Horoscope, Don't Fool With My Heart!
150 U.S. city flags, ranked from best to worst.
Top-rated flags are typically tasteful and abstract, like that of Washington D.C.
(#1) or subtly representational, like Madison, Wisconsin's flag
(#11), which is more or less a glyph of Madison seen from above. The bottom of the list has some that seem stuck in a briefly popular graphic style, like Provo
(#143), but most are timelessly ongepotch
like the flag of Milwaukee
(#147), which features a boat, a skyline, some smokestacks, some grain, County Stadium, a Native American,and a church. And then there is Pocatello (#150), whose flag was memorably profiled on badflags
. (Vexillology previously on MetaFilter
DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee oversaw radical reforms to Washington, DC's failing public schools. Amongst the results were widespread
irregularities on standardized tests that suggest they were tampered with by adults
. [more inside]
The Things They Leave Behind.
"When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened 30 years ago, something unexpected happened: People started leaving things at the wall. One veteran has spent decades cataloging the letters, mementos, and other artifacts of loss — all 400,000 of them." (Via.) [more inside]
Givens occasionally wonders why his unique fitness regimen creates such inexplicable antipathy. But he doesn’t let it bother him too much. “I just keep on going,” Givens says. “Look here. A man my age ain’t supposed to be doing this. Once they see the shape I’m in, they think, ‘Well, he can’t be too crazy.’ ”
Cedric Givens, DC's backwards jogger.
Direct link to Video
The original point of the sequester was that it would be terrible and “inflexible,” which would force Congress to choose a less terrible path, but obviously trusting Congress to not pick the most terrible of all available options was something of a gamble. So yes, sure, “flexibility,” but also maybe just “let’s not do this.” Unfortunately, “let’s just not do this” never comes up as an option on any of the shows, which all presented the argument as, on one side, “flexibility,” and on the other side, “a balanced approach,” which means a shitload of unnecessary cuts plus a bit more tax revenue, which sound nice but is still pointless contractionary policy.
Alex Pareene watched the sunday morning shows so you don't have to
"As near as I can tell, throughout DC Comics' more than 75-year history, the publisher has only ever hired two black women writers on monthly titles
: Felicia Henderson on Teen Titans and Angela Robinson on The Web, both in 2009. That should be put in some perspective: If those numbers are accurate, it would mean that DC has more white women writing monthly books for them right now than they've had black women in the same role in more than three quarters of a century. That said, they are potentially doing better than their principal competition: Try as I might, I cannot find a single black woman who has ever written a monthly ongoing comic for Marvel in the publisher's history." -- Joseph Hughes talks about the lack of Black comics writers at Marvel and DC both right now and historically. [more inside]
There's been a lot of talk in the US media about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the "Grand Bargain
" What are they?
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration." Fiscal Cliff 101: 5 Basic Questions Answered
. What's Happening: Fiscal Cliff Explained [more inside]
The fact that many of the actors in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy have previously portrayed high school characters has resulted in an extended trailer mashup resetting the Batman series as a teen comedy.
In 1977 Dial Press of New York published Robert Mayer’s first novel, Superfolks. It was, amongst other things, a story of a middle-aged man coming to terms with his life, an enormous collection of 1970s pop-culture references, some now lost to the mists of time, and a satire on certain aspects of the comic superhero, but would probably be largely unheard of these days if it wasn’t for the fact that it is regularly mentioned for its supposed influence on a young Alan Moore and his work, particularly on Watchmen, Marvelman, and his Superman story, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
Alan Moore and Superfolks: Part 1: The Case for the Prosecution
, Part 2: The Case for the Defence
, Part 3: The Strange Case of Grant Morrison and Alan Moore
! Be moved by his brief-yet-poignant award-winning animated film The Right Time
. Be charmed by his commissioned portraits of couples and
. Be inspired by his loose and fresh superheroes (Batman
)! And it wouldn't be Tumblr without an appearance by Sherlock Holmes
(not that one).
Hellblazer, the DC/Vertigo comic starring Alan Moore created occult investigator John Constantine, is being cancelled at issue #300
to make way for a new comic set in DC's New 52 universe. Hellblazer was DC's longest running continuously numbered comic
and it's cancelation marks the last of the DC Comics characters with Vertigo titles being taken back into the mainstream DC universe (previously
). Vertigo was originally an imprint for mature readers occult themed titles and creator owned work, though it has changed over the years with an adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo becoming the first Vertigo to receive TV advertising