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February 29, 2012 / Christian Clansky

The very special ‘Once Every Four Years’ edition of The Daily [News, 2.29.12]

EDUCATION | District Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson is calling for the creation of national standards for investigating cheating on standardized tests. At a symposium with the Department of Education yesterday, she said (Examiner, 2/29):

Because there is no standard, either for identifying potential wrongdoing or for investigating once cheating is alleged, we are left with a fuzzy picture of what reliable outcomes are.”

YOUTH | D.C. Council Examines Cancelled Youth Job Training Contract (WAMU, 2/29)

– The annual Helen Hayes Awards nominations for local theater have been announced. Here’s the full list. (Washingtonian, 2/29)

Opinion: Robert Bettman, board chair of DC Advocates for the Arts, asks, Why Don’t Mary Cheh or Tommy Wells Support $10 Million for D.C. Arts? (HuffPo, 2/29)

WORKFORCE | A new report from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute takes a look at the steadily rising unemployment rate in the District, which was 10.3 percent at the end of 2011. Highlights of the report include (DCFPI, 2/28):

– Residents with a high school diploma faced a substantial increase in unemployment.
– Unemployment among Black residents has risen notably.
– Young workers still have a high unemployment rate.
– Low-wage workers saw a slight decrease in unemployment rates this year.

– The head of Dimensions Healthcare System, the company that operates Prince George’s Hospital Center, has resigned following allegations that he received kickbacks. (WBJ, 2/29)

With Few Other Options, More Low-Income Patients Visit ER for Dental Care (WAMU, 2/29)

Georgetown medical students check up on underserved (WaPo, 2/29)

BUDGETS | Fairfax Executive Presents $6.7 Billion Budget (WAMU, 2/29) The headline reminded me of this clip.

ENVIRONMENT | Graph of the Day: Suburbanites Pollute More (City Paper, 2/29) I’m not sure if I believe this, but the reasoning is that city dwellers pollute less “[n]ot because they’re better people, necessarily, but because their surroundings just allow them to be more efficient.”

Related: Perhaps it has something to do with the District being the first local jurisdiction to have a bag tax. Montgomery County now has one, too, but Virginia recently rejected the option. (Pilot Online, 1/21)

TRANSIT | Metro creates new bus alert system for delays (Examiner, 2/29) The new system is just a permanent statement on WMATA’s homepage that reads, “Metro buses are delayed.” Just kidding, but that would be accurate.

LEAP DAY | On the subject of Leap Day – which is rather unjustly not recognized as a federal holiday – do you know the legend of Leap Day William (pictured to the right)? If you aren’t wearing yellow and blue today, then you probably don’t. But rest easy, NBC’s 30 Rock dedicated an episode to it which you can see on Hulu for free.

Also, here’s a great explanation for why we need leap years – and it isn’t nearly as simple as we were all taught in second grade. (UPDATE: fixed the link. Sorry about that.)

Greater Greater Washington linked to this very cool blog post about the history of Constitution Avenue, which was once an above-ground canal that is now underground. Definitely worth a read. An added bonus for those of you dreading the upcoming tax deadline – the IRS building is apparently built on top of wooden piers that extend into the underground creek. So there’s always the possibility that the IRS could sink…


  1. kldavis / Mar 1 2012 8:24 am

    Wow! Perhaps it’s because the District has a “big tax”? Really? Five cents for a plastic bag that will never decompose in a landfill is a big tax? I haven’t read the original City Paper article, but picking up on “efficient”, perhaps, the big difference might be that most suburban residents have to drive to everything they want to do, for instance just to run errands like going to the grocery store, the drug store or the dry cleaners, whereas city residents don’t need to — or if we do drive, we drive shorter distances. How much mileage do you put on your/each of your family’s cars each year? I put about 2,500 on mine, and that includes a couple of trips to/from Bethany Beach.

  2. christian clansky / Mar 1 2012 10:09 am

    You’re right – the measures of pollution are much more complicated, and I’m sure driving has a lot to do with it. I walk, bike, or take public transportation in the city, and so do most of my friends. The bag comment was more of a facetious link back to a recent news item. That said, I’d wager that the bag taxes in D.C. and MoCo have made a lot more people think about unnecessary waste.

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