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In Defense of Snow Wimps

Et tu, Mr. President? Are you joining the ranks of those newish Washingtonians who don’t bother to distinguish between the occasions when our region’s hysterical reaction to winter weather is justified and the occasions when it’s not?

To be sure, there are times when the standard D.C.-area reflex -- sheer, unmitigated panic -- is one of the more curious displays of human behavior to be found anywhere on the planet. I have seen cars abandoned alongside our freeways in two-inch “drifts” of snow. And, yes, the stocking-up on bread, milk and toilet paper -- as if a couple of hours of “wintry mix” might somehow render the roads impassable for months -- is borderline psychotic.

But before you make fun of your daughters’ school, Sidwell Friends, for closing “because of -- what? -- some ice?,” take a few minutes to study a map.

Washington, unlike Chicago, is situated at a meteorological and geological borderline. The nation’s capital is where north meets south and piedmont meets coastal plain. Chicago is where north meets farther north and flat water meets flatter land. These distinctions have consequences.

Chicago is far enough north that winter precipitation is likely to be pure snow, and if it’s snowing on the Northside, it’s almost surely snowing on the Southside as well. Washington’s winter storms tend to bring a bit of everything, depending on where you live -- snow, rain, sleet, freezing rain. And, yes, ice. The streets can be fine around the White House and utterly impassable just a few miles away.

That’s where the geology part comes in. Again unlike Chicago, we have hills. I live on one, and I can attest that no one can drive a wheeled vehicle of any kind up or down my hill when the street is covered with a smooth, reflective sheet of ice, as it was this morning. I doubt that even Todd Palin could manage it in one of his “snow machines.” Please don’t come try, or you’ll end up in my neighbor John’s front yard.

Those are the reasons why this wussy little storm led Sidwell Friends to sensibly declare a snow day. Students, teachers and administrators coming from points north and west couldn’t have gotten there safely. Buses would have been sliding dangerously across residential streets. There will be plenty of times when school officials make a boneheaded call on winter weather, but this wasn’t one of them.

By Eugene Robinson  | January 28, 2009; 5:52 PM ET
Categories:  Robinson  | Tags:  Eugene Robinson  
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Maybe you need some salt trucks? An inch of ice, OK. A slight glaze? The north would shut down all winter if we didn't have salt, sand and plows.

Posted by: bobtich | January 28, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Closing the schools is the right thing to do.

Unlike Chicago, we get a few days year at max that we have bad weather...rare occasions in a row, therefore we don't have road teams or highway services compared to areas that consistently have this type of weather. It doesn't make 'budget sense' to prepare for this all the time and when it does happen, it's probably much easier to 'close' things down then risk an accident or injury to just prove we are as tough as Chicago or NY.

Remember this...if they didn't close school and some kid got killed or hurt on the way to school because of the ice or snow due to an accident involving a car, bus, falling, etc, we'd never hear the end of it.

Posted by: cavatellie | January 28, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

The kneejerk defensiveness of the DC elite is just about as funny as Obama calling them weather wimps. Perhaps Washingtonians doth protest too much.

Posted by: barbnc | January 28, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

tuesday was a TEACHER workday in prince william county. they closed the schools to TEACHERS at 12 noon. this is total bs. how can you demand excellence when the school administration closes an already closed schools to let out TEACHERS. they have cars, i am sure they went home, of course stopping at mcdonalds for lunch, they weren't closed, probably stopping at the Safeway for dinner supplies, they sure weren't closed, or the drug store, the mall, whatever you name, all open. How can this continue? 2 classes of people here obviously, those that work for a living, and TEACHERS

Posted by: heybabywhzupp | January 28, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

With respect to the DC reaction to a little bit of snow -- MUST BUY MILK! NO SCHOOL! -- the critics are absolutely right. It's insane.But ice is another matter. An inch of ice is worse than 5 inches of snow.
No school district chief is going to take the responsibility for yellow buses sliding off the roads into ditches. And it truly was icy today. That being said, Sidwell Friends wimped out when DCPS did not.

Posted by: fmjk | January 28, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Mr. President -- please stay out of DC government issues and please give school principals a break. As far as closing school, it's damned if you do, damned if you don't. Also, next time we have an ice storm, could you send someone from your staff to clear my driveway?

Posted by: jbcjd | January 28, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Dateline: Summit county, colorado - snow stops school about 1-2 times every year. Ski country is used to snow.

DC: President Obama is on the mark, however, DC does not know how to deal with snow. When you add bad drivers to the mix and school buses at the same time as bad weather back here, your chances of getting in an accident grows.

Closing schools, though, is the right thing to do around here. The problem is, when schools have snow days they make everyone else scramble to arrange daycare. People around here think that 4 wheel drive SUVs have velcro tires and will stop moving as well as they start moving.

Mr Robinson, I agree with you!

Posted by: thelaw1 | January 28, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

it was light conversation and not a dis'.

Posted by: egalitaire | January 28, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Robinson, Spoken like a true "snow wimp" Could this possibly be reflective of the Washington way? A minor challenge and time to shutter the windows and hide? If you all run out and buy up milk and TP whenevr it snows, it's a little more than you make of it!

Posted by: writedave | January 28, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

"Unlike Chicago, we get a few days year at max that we have bad weather...rare occasions in a row, therefore we don't have road teams or highway services compared to areas that consistently have this type of weather. It doesn't make 'budget sense' to prepare for this all the time and when it does happen, it's probably much easier to 'close' things down then risk an accident or injury to just prove we are as tough as Chicago or NY."

That argument is sheer nonsense.

You're saying that it is better for the District to shut down for "the few days or so" that the roads are slick here (with whatever, ice or snow) rather than be prepared to deal with it every day of the week for months like Chicago.

With that logic maybe we ought to move the Federal functions that are here to Chicago and let DC go back to being a sleepy ol' Southern town where people roll over under the covers at the first hint of snow. If it's "too dangerous" for kids to get out and get to school then it's too dangerous for adults to get to work and that includes the adults that are responsible for the daily administration of this country. I think that you're just hiding behind the kids' jackets.

Posted by: dubya19391 | January 28, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Forget about driving, I don't even go OUTSIDE when there is any ice on the ground.

I've had too many falls to worry about what anybody thinks.

If anyone feels the urge to be smug and superior, have at it because I couldn't care less. I'm not budging.

As for Obama, he LIVED here for several years before he came back as President. He knows exactly what it's like and I'm sure the administrators of his children's school didn't appreciate his comments.

Posted by: solsticebelle | January 28, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Mr Robinson, that won't fly. I live in suburban Chicago and we get snow, ice, you name it. 6,8, 10 inches of snow, they close in my school district. We don't shut down for a little ice.

Posted by: raygcollins | January 28, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse of the very few times I can remember ever agreeing with Eugene Robinson.

Posted by: Ruffles1 | January 28, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Gene! Having spent winters both here and in Chicago, I agree there is a big difference. It's very easy to walk or drive along a flat Chicago street covered with dry snow. The same can't be said about trying to navigate a hill or even a modest incline when it has a glaze of ice. A trip made worse because a significant number of area property owners fail to clear and salt their sidewalks after the original snowfall.

As for that time honored Washington tradition of clearing out the shelves at Giant or Safeway of milk, break and toilet paper prior to a storm - that is definitely borderline behavior.

Posted by: laSerenissima2003 | January 28, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse


I love you. But, as Colonel Sherman Potter used to say, this is horse hockey.

I just spent three hours driving from northern Detroit suburbs to Ann Arbor Michigan, a trip that usually takes less than an hour. As a one-time Vermonter, I spent a lot of those three hours cussing at southeastern Michigan wimp drivers.(Northern and western Michiganders have my full meteorological respect).

So sad.

Posted by: wgmadden | January 28, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Robinson perhaps you should take a little drive "north and west" and see what the conditions are. The main roads were fine. No different than a rainy day. The subdivisions had some slush on them. Sidwell's decision was not sensible. It was idiotic. They didn't want the darling sons and daughters of Washington's elite to fall on their little a(butts) so they closed school. Heaven forbid that ONE child should slip and fall. These are our leaders of tomorrow. Some will be obese and the others will be wusses because of thinking like yours.

Posted by: MKadyman | January 28, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Note to Obama: When in Rome, do as the Roman's do.

That means they close schools for a reason. We live here, we know. Trust us.

Posted by: RedBird27 | January 28, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely right, Mr.Robinson. I grew up in a "snow-storm" state. I now live in an ice-storm part of the country. NO comparison. Ice brings down trees and power lines and there can be terrible devastation. As I write this, thousands of Arkansans to the south of me are without power due to ice storms, and some aren't expected to get full electrical service again for as long as 3 weeks. No laughing matter.

We have a lot northern out-of-staters around here too. They are the ones who think they that because they can drive in snow they can drive on ice. And they end up sliding off in ditches.

PS And salt doesn't work below certain temperatures.

Posted by: martymar123 | January 28, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Well put Mr. Robinson. Having moved from Gaithersburg where i grew up, to Rochester, I have discovered this fluffy, white and Light stuff they call snow.

As I recall from my youth, we'd get some snow overnight and then it would creep up to 35-40 the next day, partially melting the snow in time for the sun to go down and all of a sudden you have ice.

here it stays cold for days, weeks on end without a partial thaw and therefore no ice. and the snow is so light and fluffy you don't have to worry about getting a heart attack shoveling your driveway. I just feel bad for the poor kids here, they'll never know how much fun a snow day can be!

Posted by: RochesterNY | January 28, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I feel your pain Gene. We have a few hills here as well. In fact my "driveway", i.e. private road, gains 700 feet of elevation in a half mile. Tomorrow morning I'll open it up as far as the town road. The town will plow to the state highway and all the kiddies will go to school on time. We're only getting 1 & 1/2 to 2 tonight ... umm that's feet. Of course we may be a little more self sufficient here since we live in the only state GWB never had the courage to visit, the proud Republic of Vermont.

Posted by: Dennis12 | January 28, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

To the commenter "heybabywhzupp." You say that teachers don't work for a living. I think you'd change your mind if you shadowed my wife through her day and followed her home to help her through an evening of UNPAID grading and preparation for the next day. Just because the kids leave at 3 doesn't mean teachers are done. Teaching is one of the hardest and least appreciated jobs out there.

Posted by: exdcman | January 28, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Almost every year the DC area and the federal government suffer BILLIONS of dollars in losses from these shutdowns. And why? Because the local governments in the DC metro area don't have fleets of snow plows ready to go out at the first sign of snow to clear the roads before rush hour. Instead, they contract to have dump trucks slather salt on the roads, causing more billions of dollars in damages from corrosion and environmental problems.

A thousand trucks or dozers with plows should be enough to do the job. At around $200K each they would cost only about $200 million. So why don't the local governments have them?

Because THEY aren't the ones losing billions! It's no skin off their noses!

Posted by: donnolo | January 28, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Having lived in the Baltimore-Washington area and as a current Chicago resident I have seen the differences between the two areas and Obama is right. But the difference is not in ice versus now or hills versus flat, it's that when the roads get slippery here we plow and salt them so they're not slippery any more. That means the major highways and arterial roads first and then the side streets. You don't, as Baltimore has done, pull the plows and salt trucks off the major roads during rush hour. It's not that your conditions are impossible, it's that you've never bothered to learn how to deal with them.

Posted by: dgfsickler | January 28, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the number of lawyers in the DC area is the reason school administrators are paranoid! I always love hearing DC transplants tell us how they used to handle the snow back in upstate New York, Michigan or wherever. They are invariably from some economically depressed area where the roads are much easier to clear since no one is commuting to a job. You don't see many of them in a hurry to go back to these winter wonderlands.

Posted by: pgk5332 | January 28, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Has President Obama driven through the neighborhood around Sidwell in Bethesda? (Seems to me I've only heard about his wife coming up here to see the school.) I live a couple of blocks from the campus where Sasha is enrolled - the streets are extremely narrow. (Even worse than in Georgetown.) The huge motorcade vehicles barely fit down the street when it's dry - if they slid at all on ice, they'd take out the parked cars and probably some trees. Yeah. If there's ice, thank you for not sending Sasha and your fleet of tanks up here.

Posted by: treen | January 28, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse


I am shocked that Eugene Robinson, who normally is pretty well grounded, took the time to write this!

Obama will learn that he can't joke with the Washington media who are constantly trolling to make something out of nothing. There are many things of importance going on, but the Post chose to make something out of nothing. How silly.

Maybe the Post has too many people with not enough meaningful things to do.

Posted by: Amelgepo | January 28, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

So ice is more ice here than in Chicago? Or Vermont? People are more prone to fall on the ice here than in Boston? All we need to do is TREAT THE STREETS AS THE PRECIPITATION COMES DOWN and it is not a big deal. This sort of weather happens here every year and the problem is that the region is always unprepared.

I spend a fair amount of time in Vermont. Up there, the trucks are out when the first flakes appear in a storm--one comes along about every week this time of year--and every road is relentlessly treated (for snow OR ICE) and life goes on very nicely. People in Washington panic because the real problem is not the weather: it is the lousy local response, and in my opinion the city does as good a job or better than Fairfax county or suburban Maryland. Double the trucks, triple the trucks, the salt, the cinders, and we will see a difference. If it can be done up Nawth it can be done here.

Posted by: BRANTONPA | January 28, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Where I live in Connecticut (and have had my widely-spaced kids in public schools since the mid 1980's), the school system has become markedly more wimpy over those 20 years. Part of it I think is that there are many more buses now, with all the magnet schools, and they are very tightly scheduled, with the same bus and driver covering first the high school, then the middle school, then the elementary school, so they are unwilling to get sucked into a situation that will likely involve the youngest children having to wait extra-long at bus stops. The other reason, I am convinced, is a much higher level of concern for liability. And around here, at least, the private schools all follow the lead of the public schools rather than making separate decisions about weather cancellations and delays.

Posted by: herzliebster | January 28, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Over the last few years of living in Northern Virginia, I believe there are too many "snow wimps" around my neighborhood. I am from Michigan, where there are hills, and it often took at least 3 inches of snow to close school. But the snow had to actually be accumulating before the cancellation was called. I remember a couple of times out here where schools were closed preemptively in case of snow, almost like Bush calling for a preemptive attack against Iraq. On the days they called school off there was not a flake in the sky. C'mon, folks, grow up and learn how to deal with winter! Especially you Midwestern and New England expatriates.

Posted by: Motowner4Ever | January 28, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

it is not true that salt "stops" working below certain temperatures. It is meant to depress the freezing temperature of water. I have noticed since I moved here that they often wait until the precipitation is over before sending the salt trucks out. By then, the ice has formed and the salt does not work as well because it has to break through the surface of the ice. They need to learn the techniques of managing ice as those in colder regions. If the salt is already on the roadways, as rain or snow falls, it will not freeze readily-salt/water mixtures do not freeze at 0 degrees Celsius. It will require more salt, the lower the temperature. Since we rarely experience well below freezing point here, we certainly can do better.

Posted by: transplant1 | January 28, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I normally love your columns, but this is nonsensical and is a lame excuse for this area not accepting reality (snow/ice/sleet/etc. happen every year here) and taking appropriate actions.

I grew up in a snowy, icy, wintery place in the Mountain West -- notice the word "mountain," not "hill." The ice and slight dusting of snow today may require one to drive more slowly and be more cautious, but close school? shut down offices? really? Three years here and I am still surprised at the DC winter wuss factor.

I suggest shoveling your walks, throwing some ice melt, bundling up, leaving a little earlier, and getting on with your day.

Posted by: coffeeclutcher | January 28, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Much appreciated, Mr. Robinson. You captured my reaction to his sideways comments. And I don't care where others came from and how other areas handle snow, you dont get it unless you are local and you've lived through at least more than a decade of weather around here. But I'm also with some of the other posters - we're weather wimps? Let me introduce you to late July and August, Mr. President. Hope you look good in seersucker!

Posted by: speaker2007 | January 29, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

If every winter you get snow and, on occasion ice, you have the winter tires and some skill driving on it. If it is an uncommon event, you don't have those things.

In Northeast Washington State, I'm still looking out my window at ten inches of snow on my roof and a sleet of ice on my quarter-mile downhill driveway, but I have the right vehicle, right tires, and lots and lots of practice driving on it. It makes more sense to keep the clueless and unprepared drivers off the road and the students home. Why take the chance of a loss of life or injury in DC, when it will be gone in a day or two.

Posted by: SueRi | January 29, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Robinson, grow a thicker skin and quit being so sensitive over a joke.
It is weird for those of us in Northern Illinois or any of the frozen mid west to see people reacting the way they do to one inch of snow and it is amusing.
To take such offense over it is silly and rather prudish of you.
Lighten up.

Posted by: vwcat | January 29, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Robinson, if you'd like to feel weather-tough, come to California on a rainy day. We panic at the threat of rain as much as Washingtonians do at the threat of ice. Our roads aren't built for rain, and flood in a drizzle.

Posted by: bettenoir | January 29, 2009 2:18 AM | Report abuse

I took the esteemed new President's comment as a joke.

Though I did see some pundit on tv-- I didn't catch the name unfortunately--mention that most public schools did not have a snow day. He went on to report this quite zealously in defense of Obama's remark.

I'm not having much luck verifying if the public schools were in fact not closed.

However, if so, perhaps the pundit's misguided musings mentioned above, just served to stir the pot of D.C.'s contempt toward it's newest kid on the block a bit more. Truly unfortunate for us all.

What is that quote? "Grow a sense of humor." ~author unknown

Posted by: conservative_lipsticklesbian | January 29, 2009 4:17 AM | Report abuse

I am an unreconstructed conservative so far to the right I think President Reagan was a liberal. I disagree with President Obama about almost everything but this one he has gotten right.

When Tom Toles and I were in school together in the snowbelt south of the City of Buffalo we never got a weather day unless, in the words of the then superintendent of our school system, "...a white crow flies backwards through my kitchen at midnight."

There is a reason the South lost the war. If the weather wimps find their feelings bruised, my advice is this: Chill!

Posted by: acpolvino | January 29, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

Put some salt on the roads. That melts ice, duh. Two years ago after a huge blizzard up here in Vt. I was called in to sub at a nearby school. Our driveway had yet to be plowed so I walked to school. I got on my snowpants, boots, etc. and struggled down our 50 yard long driveway. The snow depth on the driveway ranged from the middle of my thighs to my waist. It took me half an hour. At the bottom of the driveway I had to climb over a 10 foot bank of snow the city plow had left. You guys in DC are snow wimps.

Posted by: kathy71 | January 29, 2009 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Clearly we need to duke it out in Soldier Field, unless the Redskins can't make it to the airport because of some ice.
And, yes Chicago is relatively flat, but in Iron Mountain MI, Wausau WI et al, they don't wear $1,000 suits and they don't cancel school.
Barack rules!!

Posted by: nlaatsch | January 29, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

I grew up in Boulder, Colorado and learned to drive there, and I wholeheartedly agree with Gene! I would much rather drive through a heavy snowstorm in Colorado - even through the mountains, where the roads are always prepared and cleared quickly and the drivers know how to deal with snow then drive here after a wintry mix event. The issue is not the amount of precipitation; it is the amount of experience that the drivers have dealing with it!

Posted by: MarylandMom2 | January 29, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Spoken like a true Washingtonian Wussy. Whining, "It's the hills, it's the ice," is the same old worn out excuses. Get real. There are 2 interconnected reasons people living in this area flock to the grocery stores the day before a one inch snow. They are the lack of inclement weather we actually experience. People in this area simply don't experience bad weather often enough to feel comfortable dealing with it. The second reason is because of this low level of inclement weather we don't have an adequate number of snow/salt spreaders to clean up during and after a snow/ice event.

I moved here from Jamestown, New York in 1977. Jamestown is part of the Western New York snow belt. It is also very hilly. We also saw large amounts of both snow and ice. It was rare to close schools or cancel work. Hence, to this day I am still amused by the reactions of Washingtonians (which I assume I am one of by now) every time a flake falls from the skies. Truth be told I rarely drive in Washington snow events myself. Not becuase I can't, but becuase I'm scared to be on the roads with people who can't drive in bad conditions. What you witnessed with Obama yesterday was his amusement. It's impossible to live in the north and relocate to DC and not be amused. If you didn't see that amusement in his face watch the next time snow falls and they interview Obama. He'll have the same look on his face the rest of us who relocated to Washington from the North have. You just need to take responsibility for the fact most Washingtonians are "Wussies" when it comes to snow.

Posted by: blund | January 29, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Coming from Vermont, and having lived in Erie PA (where I'm told they've had 111in. of snow so far this winter) the weather panic and inability to cope is pretty laughable. However, in snowy climates the rule seems to be get to all the roads at least once in 24hrs, but from my window I can see a major road and I watch the plows and salt trucks go over and over and over the same patch of road every 15 min. Having said this, now that I've lived here, I am grateful that they close schools as it cuts down on the number of idiots on the road who think because they have an SUV that they're invincible.

Posted by: levermontois | January 29, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Time to toughen up America, there's a new sheriff in town.

buy a snow shovel, buy some gloves, brave the elements, and get to work/school.

stop whining.

Posted by: joel_the_ornery | January 29, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Barrack, you rascal!

Oh, Eugene, you kidder!!!

Oh, Isn't this fun?! We're joking about snow, and it seems serious, hahahaha, but I'm really exposing my man-crush on Barrack.

A democratic president and a fawning, embarrassing press. Eugene, maybe Barrack will invite you to his birthday party with the rest of the cool crowd, and you two can talk about girls and stuff and maybe he'll let you sleep over.

Get a grip and start acting like a journalist, not a teenage girl staring at a boy band.

Posted by: aswnylaw | January 29, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I guess it's easy for him to say...his kids will be chauffered to school. Why should he care about the others? Not his problem.

Posted by: Bytheshore | January 29, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

The kneejerk defensiveness of the DC elite is just about as funny as Obama calling them weather wimps. Perhaps Washingtonians doth protest too much.

Posted by: barbnc | January 28, 2009 6:40 PM

Uh no, it non-Washingtonians that doth protest too much!

Posted by: danielmsnyder | January 29, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

To the commenter "heybabywhzupp." You say that teachers don't work for a living...
Posted by: exdcman | January 28, 2009 9:37 PM

Also, after 2 or 3 snow days, the schools do have to make up the lost time. Thank you, exdcman.

Reminder that DCPS did have school. A two hour delay was so that neighborhoods could clear the sidewalks of the sheets of ice (Not snow -- ice) which many did not do. We had students walking in the streets because they sidewalks were pure ice.

Having recently moved here from western snow country - where we would go to school with several inches to a foot of snow - there is a huge difference between snow and ice...and ice on hills. Out west, we did not get this kind of ice.

Posted by: brigid1 | January 29, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

mr. robinson: having married into a family with d.c./va. roots i used to find my winter trips from syracuse( adv. snow 120")

to dc an experience. while not as populated as dc, syracuse, i can assure fellow posters, commutes during storms! as the annual winner of the golden snowball award(despite oswego county protest!)we have little choice. how else are we going to get to the dome for a b'ball game so SADD does not overtake us and we go nuts! here in philly i see the same behavior as dc. one cannot swing a dead cat w/o hitting someone in a 4wd vehicle. yet 1" of snow and everyone drives 10mph to the store.
to all the folks in dc who refuse to admit they live in a northern city i have some advice - buy a set of snow chains. buy some snow tires ! stimulate the economy! google for more info. and, as many have suggested, some plows and salt trucks. as r. madow said last night why in the mighty u.s. is the nations capitol and much of the country cowed by winter weather EVERY YEAR! as if it is a surprise.

Posted by: david-fahey | January 29, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

All these comments about VT, PA, MI, NY are irrelevant. This is the South, and dont forget it.

Posted by: michellem1 | January 29, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Here, here, Eugene. A snow whip I am not. I tried to get out of my neighborhood yesterday but Montgomery county failed to salt my ice covered street until Thursday morning at 7am. After spinning out in front of my driveway, I abandoned my car on the side of the road and crawled back home. My son's school was open. He reminded me that it was not worth getting killed over.

Posted by: angella3017 | January 29, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Okay... I'm at 4 op-eds, and counting, whining about the president's casual remark about DC weather wimps. Must be slow news day. I haven't found one yet about the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act... which is REAL news.

C'mon... give it a rest.

Posted by: CardFan | January 29, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

So, apparently, a sprinkling of ice and the presence of "hills" are enough to shut down the city? I'm from Minnesota--the south-eastern corner, where we have hills and steep bluffs and river valleys a-plenty, not to mention many miles of narrow, tricky, gravel roads that school buses must travel--and the excuse of hills is absurd. My hometown's school would've been ashamed to shut down or be delayed in circumstances like this week. A day of steady, slowly accumulating snow, then some sleet? Plows and trucks would've been out in force, and taken care of the problem, hills or no hills.

All that you need to survive a mediocre glazing of ice, even in a place with hills, is the civic forethought to supply your city with winter weather equipment. To acknowledge that, yes, you do live in an area that occasionally experiences a bit of winter, and maybe it would be a good idea to be ready for that winter when it comes.

Posted by: mr07 | January 29, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

toughen up
butter cup.

buy some chains and just deal with it.

North America = winter.
Even in DC

Posted by: roboturkey | January 29, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

It wasn't the president's words that were so stinging, but those he relayed from his 7 year old daughter, who noted that "In Chicago we'd still have recess on a day like this."

I will allow the southerners a bit of leeway on the issue though, given that they are not as experienced with such weather as some of us. As a Minnesotan, it is a bit ridiculous to hold Washingtonians to the same standard of weather tolerance that we must have here. For instance, we haven't had a day above freezing yet this year. To expect DC residents to behave as I would in such weather is unreasonable. But it is also unreasonable for them to take offense when gently ribbed by someone who can tolerate a bit of snow and ice.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 29, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the "scientific" answer. Giving science its correct due cannot be just for big policy decisions that are observed and applauded by all. Science has to play a role in every person's every day analysis. If the President cannot emulate this principle, how does he expect the citizens to correctly evaluate his policy in how it affects their daily life?

While the comment can be joke, Mr. Obama has now reminded too many people about his school choice and his elitist attitude. He has certainly reminded me of my irritation with his school choice. While the Obama's were trying to decide which "private" school to send their kids, I was struggling to find ways to ensure that my child gets a decent education in the 2 tier school district, since our family cannot sell our house to move to the "best" school district in this economy. I had almost forgotten how irritated I was with the news cycle that week.

Let's not forget, it's the small errors that kills most politicians career!!!

Posted by: Illinoismom | January 29, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The snow "up north" is different from the snow here. Ours tends to be icier because of the higher temperature and, therefore, more dangerous. And, we have it less frequently so have less equipment and experience. When I went to college in Massachusetts, the temperature was colder, the snow drier and sometimes on the ground continuously from Thanksgiving through February. I was amazed at how well organized local authorities were to deal with it. They had a lot of equipment that wouldn't be cost effective down here. I have always suspected that it is not the locals who strip the grocery shelves of toilet paper and milk. I stood in line in the Spring Valley Superfresh the other day behind a woman who had six gallons of milk in her cart. She told me that she had three children and couldn't afford to be snow bound without milk. I told her that in more than 40 years, I had never known a day when one couldn't get to the store because of snow. She was from New England.

Posted by: CheneyM | January 29, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

We are wimps. I admit it. But there is a line somewhere in southern PA where the people above this line know how to handle winter weather and the people below this line don't. A friend who was from Buffalo then living in DC area once told me she could drive from Buffalo back to DC in a snow storm and do great until she hits this line. And she may know how to handle driving in that weather but it's those others (like me) who aren't used to it that she fears.

And why do we close school even if no snow or little snow? Because if it does happen during the school day and gets heavier and then schools close, parents are in a snit having to get their kids picked up from school early. It is a lose-lose thing for school administrations.

Posted by: baltimoremom | January 29, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

What a lark! Snow wimps? LOL. As a Minnesotan, I drive on ice frequently. Sand and salt help a lot. But, of course, maybe D.C. can't afford the cost. In any event, I hope that the banter between President Obama and the D.C. people can be lighthearted sometimes.

Posted by: lassair | January 29, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"Those are the reasons why this wussy little storm led Sidwell Friends to sensibly declare a snow day. Students, teachers and administrators coming from points north and west couldn’t have gotten there safely. Buses would have been sliding dangerously across residential streets. There will be plenty of times when school officials make a boneheaded call on winter weather, but this wasn’t one of them.

Bravo! and I live in Nebraska!

Posted by: sabrina1 | January 29, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

As a 110% supporter of President Obama, it hurts me to have to say this: He just doesn't get it.

There are significant climactic differences between the midwest and the east coast, and he will need to become familiar with his new environment.

I grew up in the 1960s, just outside of Detroit. Winters were snowy but dry; everyone drove on hard-packed snow without a second thought. And, yes, Sasha, we got recess when it snowed. In fact, we typically got MORE recess when it snowed. We bundled up in our snowsuits and boots and went out to make snowmen (snowball fights weren't allowed on school property). We came in after 45 minutes or more with rosy cheeks and big appetites; we would eat and sleep especially well on evenings after a good snowfall.

However -- and it's a big however -- we didn't have ICE. Also, we didn't have hills. Also, we didn't have battalions of buses shuttling kids to and from school because we had smaller public school districts -- city- and township-based as opposed to the county-wide systems that are popular here in the east. Consequently, almost all kids walked to school -- in and on the snow.

Now, I don't know anything about school systems in the Chicago area -- whether they're large and involve busing thousands of kids or whether they're small enough to permit kids to walk to school. But I do know that the kind of winter Chicago gets is pretty much the kind of winter Detroit gets -- and it doesn't involve ICE.

President Obama will need to learn that there are different hazards on the east coast than the ones he encountered in the midwest. There are, for instance, huge liability issues involved in transporting tens of thousands of children to and from school when there is -- or may be -- ice on the roadways. Driving on ice is treacherous, especially in hilly regions like ours; driving on well-packed snow -- of the kind one finds in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, etc. -- is not particularly risky.

Here in Maryland and the District, we have freeze-thaw-freeze cycles that can make much of the winter hazardous. Add to this the kind of "wintry mix" storm that is typical in this area -- with sleet, freezing rain, and other forms of ice falling out of the sky -- and you have a recipe for disaster if you are busing children in the quantities that we do here and over the hills that we have here.

So, I'm guessing that this public outcry of "no fair!" will give President Obama the nudge he needs to learn more about the east coast -- his and his family's home for at least the next four years (hopefully eight!). He is a reasonable and reflective man who isn't ashamed to say he was wrong. And he is very wrong in this misperception of his new home.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | January 29, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Me thinks thou doth protest too much.

Posted by: rlj1 | January 29, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I second the motion that the entire Mid-Atlantic region needs to invest in snow plows and road salt. As a native Bostonian who has lived in Delaware for the past 4 years I also panic when there is a snowstorm. I differ from the author of this editorial however, becasue I stay off of the roads due to the regions terrible drivers, not beacuse my snow driving skills are lacking (they aren't).

Posted by: DylanA | January 29, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

There are times when Washingtonians are asked to get a thicker skin, toughen up, snap out of it. Everything about us is a joke: Our former president, our crippled school system, our Mayor-for-Life, our over reaction to inclement weather. The one positive light that glowed in a city of taxation without representation was our newest, most prominent residents of hope, our first family and the President of the United States, Barack Obama. In less than one month in office, President Obama has managed to mock us, alienate us by comparing us to Chicagoans as if he were not one of us, and deflate us by diffusing the air out of that tire of hope Washingtonians had of one day gaining national respect again as the nation's capitol. Sure, we have a back bone. We still love and admire him, but we're hurt. Our hurt transcends what President Obama said about our lack of strength and resilience in bad weather. He demeaned our character with a few poorly chosen words and a smirk. We will survive that and still support him in all kinds of weather, both literally and politically. That takes strength beyond what President Obama will find in any other city in the United States of America.

Posted by: Bluesette | January 29, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Well, at least we in DC know better than to turn around and mock the local jurisdictions that just spent millions of tax dollars, those at local saftey and transport agencies who spent thousands of hours in planning and implementation, and those residents who endured considerable inconvenience so that our fair President could enjoy a safe and happy Inaugural.

We may not deal with winter weather like we live in Chicago (guess what -- WE DON'T LIVE IN CHICAGO), but we manage to deal with the ridiculous road closures, security check-points, and so on ... just fine.

Posted by: DCLocal20 | January 29, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Listen, compared to Chicago we get hardly any snow in Washington. It would be foolish for the Washington area to ramp up and spend enough to have the equipment and resources on hand to deal with a Chicago style winter. Tough budget decisions need to be made....spend a fortune on lots more snow plows or deal with a couple of extra snow days. It isn't about being wimps, I used to live in Chicago. If the roads here aren't treated they are treacherous, and lots of secondary roads had not been treated yesterday. It was a valid snow day.

Posted by: columbiamd | January 29, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I have lived most of my life in places with lots of snow and ice. i still live in one. As a result, I understand why it makes sense for Washington to go into a fetal position during a winter storm.

We have snow plows, salt trucks, cars with winter tires, and years of experience driving hockey pucks. It doesn't make sense for DC to invest in the equipment and manpoiwer infrastructure necessary to adequately handle a storm, especially the ice storms that DC gets. Also, inexperienced drivers with summer tires are a recipe for disaster.

So, let the kids stay home so they can live for another day.

Posted by: raydh | January 29, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Et tu, Mr. Robinson?
My God, what in the world has happened to all you D.C. citizens that has you so overly-sensitive?
Oh, yes. Those last eight years of deceit and hypocrisy would drive anyone to the brink.
Well, try to get a grip.

Posted by: ginamarie101 | January 29, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Let's not discourage Washington's new year 'round resident from commenting on local weather and other elements affecting life in the District of Columbia. You don't hear those non-residents serving on the Hill ever taking note of anything local. Do you?

Posted by: FromtheRaft | January 30, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

I think it was President Kennedy who said that Washington was a city with Northern Charm and Southern Efficiency. The weather wimps are part of the southern efficiency contingent. Maybe if DC gets the vote, they will also get snowplows and salt/sand spreaders.

Posted by: jrorke1 | January 30, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

As somebody who grew up in the Detroit area, has lived in Boston and NY, I have to say the reaction the past few days to weather is nothing short of ridiculous. We had people locking themselves in their homes as if they were snowbound. I was shaking my head when I heard school was closed...and yet I could see grass sticking up through the snow in my front lawn. In Michigan you'd get school closings after maybe 5-6 inches of show. But an inch? Give me a brake. MAN UP!

Posted by: fortheclueless | January 30, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

I think it was an unwise public comment by the President of the United States. The leadership of his daughter's school made a decision about the safety of its community and he makes a degrading comment about people not being flinty like the mighty Chicago tribes. He thought he was being amusing but it could be construed as cutting because he is POTUS. Wise up Mr. Obama. Choose your words carefully and reserve your witty comments for your private conversations.

Posted by: joannsz | January 30, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Y'all haven't seen snow wimps until you come to Florida when the temps drop below 40, the wind howls out of the nether regions, and the rain comes down in sidesways sheets. . . minimal ice, but it's the damp cold that gets ya right between the hemline of your shorts and the tops of your Birkies. . . shiver!!! Thank god for polar-fleece wear or we'd never survive until the sun comes out and the temps soar up into the 80s....Those five hours of winter are sheer agony. :)

Posted by: cymric | January 30, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

I look forward to remembering this post in years to come when all the political pundits and brave "northerners" either start to forget that they've had harder winters and start to fear the washington weather, or just go back home. 4 years or 8, you all end up going home eventually. We stay.
Bottom line the rest of us hold our breath and stay home because we've been through the storms here that turn this place into a rolling valley of ice, and you haven't. We have to put up with the drivers who "just have to get to work because the world can't run without them" (um I think thats most of you...) and frankly the rest of us simply aren't willing to risk our children. Yes, my kids only had about an inch of ice to deal with, but about 10 miles west of me (same county) they had it worse. Better to be safe. Laugh all you want. But then go home.

Posted by: Liz817 | January 30, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Ray G Collins

You don't have a hill within 200 miles of Chicago

Posted by: JDB1 | January 30, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

kjohnson3 wrote:
Now, I don't know anything about school systems in the Chicago area -- whether they're large and involve busing thousands of kids or whether they're small enough to permit kids to walk to school.

My comment:
Yes. In Chicago proper the Schools are both large and small and some walk and others are bused. In the suburbs (depending on the suburb) busing is more common. The Chicago Public School (CPS) theory is that in many families either the only parent or both parents work. If school is canceled, the kids would be left alone (sometimes in unheated apartments) and would not get the school breakfasts and lunches. Therefore they don't close. And they have "secondary" step that they are supposed to take first (which they also have not invoked in more than 10 years). They direct everyone to take their kids to their neighborhood school, not their regular school. (My kids go to school a little over a mile away. They walk everyday -- even those days when it is below zero. Our neighborhood school is about 300 yards away). It seems perverse, but the age of the housing stock and the large number of poor folk in Chicago who need a warm place for their kids during the day makes it work. Lots of the private schools, in contrast, do close. As for Lab School, lots of the kids at Lab are related to people who work at the University of Chicago and the U of C hospitals and/or live in Hyde Park. Its a large, well heated complex of buildings that is in easy walking distance of most students. It tends to be open for similar reasons to the CPS.

kjohnson3 wrote:
But I do know that the kind of winter Chicago gets is pretty much the kind of winter Detroit gets -- and it doesn't involve ICE.

My comment:
Actually the Chicago winter involves a lot of ice. The temps go up and down over the freeze line and ice storms happen and ice on the streets is pretty frequent. We have already had quite a few days of very slippery streets. That's why God invented Salt, Plows and Sand.

I used to live in DC and, frankly, Obama's right.

Posted by: dcraven925 | January 30, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh my folks, lighten up, you'll live through it. Smile a little. Do you never jest in DC?

Posted by: chicago2u | January 30, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

You left one significant variable out of your cogent analysis, one that I observed repeatedly over 40 years in the DC area. DC gets a cyclical infusion of newbies, much like locust. Small infusions happen every two years. Large infusions, someetimes of biblical proportions happen every 4 years. They correspond with regime change.
A predictable segment of this infusion of "talent," be they Republican, Democrat, or simply Opportunistic, will have absolutely no concept of how to deal with snow. Blend them ever so gently with the seasoned snow vets and garden-variety muddlers in the geologic and meteorological brew that you've aptly described and you have a recipe for unmitigated disaster.

Posted by: mdrockjock | January 30, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I thought I'd seen it all when I was in basic at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. A Jeep in 4WD spinning all 4 on an inch of snow! I never figured how they managed to do it but the Jeep never moved.

But DC never ceases to amaze. This winter thing, it happens every year, does it not? It gets hot every summer. You have an air conditioner do you not? Why shouldn't you be as prepared for winter as you are for summer?

In Vermont we have automatic weather stations constantly monitoring local weather. We have GPS enabled plow trucks with interactive computers that link to the weather monitors and pre-treat the roads with brine or disperse the right amount of sand and salt when the flakes fly. The one or two person crew runs the main and wing plow. Our "bare roads" policy makes it easy for flat-landers to get where they are going, winter driving skills appreciated but seldom required.

Sure we get lots of beautiful powder snow in winter but we also get and know how to handle lots of that "wintery mix" and ice. We manage to drive in it using a combination of winter tires and common sense.

Of course most flatlanders never see these conditions since they occur only during stick season (after foliage & B4 winter) and mud season (after winter & B4 spring). But we carry on as usual regardless of the weather.

Reminds me of the story about the old Vermont farmer who was rocking on his porch during mud season. He noticed a top hat slowly making its way down the road that passed by his house. Eventually, curiosity got the better of him and he went over to the hat and lifted it. There was Parson Jones. The feller said, Why Parson, I did,'t know you would be out this way today. The parson replied, "I wouldn't be if Old Joe here wasn't 17 hands high"

Posted by: Dennis12 | January 31, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

To the extent that Obama's comment had a serious message beyond what was ostensibly a bit of light-hearted smalltalk with the press, it was not literal but figurative: that Washington's power elite needs to toughen up and do their job.

It was a comment on the culture of Washington, not its climate or school administrators.

Posted by: PaulG2 | January 31, 2009 2:46 AM | Report abuse

I spent a lot of time laughing with President Obama's when I heard the gentle ribbing from him about what he and his family, especially his beautiful daughter, observed when snow fell in DC.

Today, I read this column written by a columnist I only recognize because I watch lots of MSNBC after 6PM and I was surprised at his seriousness.

I rarely see schools closed in NYC. The snowplows are out and about immediately... almost as soon as the snow hits the ground.
NYC never stops, ever, Buses have to run, we have to go to work, and most city kids take city buses to schools.

Sometimes our city schools will allow a late start day. Unfortunately we have all the winter weather here including ice/sleet/snow wintry mix combos. I prefer snow to wintry mix forecasts any day. I rather like the no snow days idea...but then I take the mass transit. I'm sure I wouldn't love a drive to work nearly as much.
Please President Obama, don't let the DC serious stuffed-shirts make you dull and boring.

Posted by: rnmina1 | January 31, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

HI Ya. I too moved here from the midwest and I know what Pres Obama's talking about. Of course his kids have an adjustment just like my kids did to the no recess with snow fall. We all went outside for some awesome king of the hill and ice skating but out east is a very different place. Snow or threat of snow can be a show stopper. Ice wrecks havoc out here(east) and the roads are not safe for the average citizen. He soon will join the ranks of wimps... and he'll not miss the windy city!!!

Posted by: xxsnowdazexx | January 31, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

The main problem is DC/Balt. people don't know how to drive in the rain, let alone with an inch of snow on the ground.

I once say a fender bender in a local parking lot caused by the rain!

Here's what you can do to learn how to drive in the snow. Then next time it snows, go to the nearest parking lot and practice doing donuts and spinning out of control.

Besides learning how to control your car when it gets out of control, it's a hell of a good time too!

Posted by: kevinschmidt | February 1, 2009 1:21 AM | Report abuse

My experience on Wednesday is that I tried to go to work, but couldn't because I was at the bottom of a hill where the street had turned into a hockey rink.

This could have been avoided if the street had been salted/plowed, but we don't have enough equipment to cover main roads, artererial roads and neighborhoods overnight, nor should we for the two times a year we might need it.

No one has mentioned the built in snow days though. Most justdictions here have 5 days of built in snow days, and if they don't get used, the schools are open an extra 5 days a year. It's late January, and there won't be many more opportunities to use the days (becasue unlike the north, it's very rare to see snow on the ground in March). Why not burn a couple days when you have the chance?

Someone else mentioned Air Conditioning... yes we do have AC, but that is because a typical DC summer has probably 100 days over 80 degrees. We probably have 3 with a buildup of show/ice. I was in London over the summer and they were horrified at the ridiulous heat wave of 80-85 degree days (in July)... nothing there had AC.

Posted by: someguy100 | February 1, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Banks collecting billions of dollars in federal bailout money sought government permission to bring thousands of foreign workers to the U.S. for high-paying jobs, according to an Associated Press review of visa applications.

The dozen banks receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for positions that included senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The average annual salary for those jobs was $90,721, nearly twice the median income for all American households.

The figures are significant because they show that the bailed-out banks, being kept afloat with U.S. taxpayer money, actively sought to hire foreign workers instead of American workers. As the economic collapse worsened last year — with huge numbers of bank employees laid off — the numbers of visas sought by the dozen banks in AP's analysis increased by nearly one-third, from 3,258 in fiscal 2007 to 4,163 in fiscal 2008.

The AP reviewed visa applications the banks filed with the Labor Department under the H-1B visa program, which allows temporary employment of foreign workers in specialized-skill and advanced-degree positions.

It is unclear how many foreign workers the banks actually hired; the government does not release those details. The actual number is likely a fraction of the 21,800 foreign workers the banks sought to hire because the government limits the number of visas it grants to 85,000 each year among all U.S. employers.

During the last three months of 2008, the largest banks that received taxpayer loans announced more than 100,000 layoffs. The number of foreign workers included among those laid off is unknown.

Foreigners are attractive hires because companies have found ways to pay them less than American workers.

Posted by: lucygirl1 | February 1, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

OK, I live in Vermont. I am also in the ski business. It is standard knowledge here that, in general, people over react to wether. The weather"man" cries about wind chill and exposed skin every time there is a breeze and it is below 32 degrees. NY is buried in 3" of snow and is a standstill! I grew up in Columbus Ohio, which is a flat terrain, and school was rarely called off.

We have to be smart in our decisions, but it wouldn't hurt for us, and through us--our children, to toughen up. Litigation, flat screens and a need "to talk rather than to do" does not bode well for our society and the tough decisions before us.

Kudos for the Obamas. You can lead a horse to water but....

Posted by: vtcxc | February 2, 2009 6:13 AM | Report abuse

As a visitor during 9/11, the hurricane and numerous "snowfalls of the century" in DC, I've come to realize that no city panics like Washington panics. The turkeys beheaded for Sarah Palin showed more calm and reason than Washington during a snow storm, or sewer explosion, or Metro derailment. Its just snow, its just a hurricane, its just an anonymous terrorist group trying to blow up the Pentagon.

There is no need to panic.

Posted by: Colorado4 | February 2, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Robinson doesn't think of other ramifications of this total shut-down mentality for the slightest hint of winter weather. Crucial doctor appointments that take weeks to schedule, missed business opportunities, day care schedules gone topsy-turvy and hundreds of other major and minor inconveniences all add up in the lives of the little people out here.

My mother-in-law drove for 2 hours to watch our kids while we were going to a doctor's appointment. The Dr. 10 minutes away, told us she canceled our appointment b/c she didn't want us to drive on the roads. Sheesh. So my mother in law drove 2 hours back home. Four hours wasted b/c of this hyper fear of weather. Gimme a break!

Posted by: thuff7 | February 2, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

With all the jurisdictions in the area that bus most students to school, closing schools is the right thing to do. In my opinion, school buses are among the most dangerous vehicles in which to ride -- no seat belts and often over-crowded -- and I wouldn't want to risk the life of NOT ONE CHILD by sending them out over roads that may be glazed with ice. Sidwell Friends did right by the lower school, which is located in Bethesda.

I would like to note, however, that DC Schools were NOT closed. Perhaps Sidwell Friends upper school should have followed suit.

Posted by: Tootsumi | February 3, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Actually, you're right. There have been years when kids were hit and killed when they didn't close the schools. People were falling in my neighborhood when they did try to walk on the ice. Obama was wrong, but the surprising thing is that you called him on it. You typically just praise anything he says. Good for you this time around.

Posted by: BettyM47 | February 4, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

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