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Archive: Virginia

Raw Fisher: Toast

If today's weren't the last installment of Raw Fisher, I might be writing about a small victory -- the District's decision yesterday to save the Eastern Branch and two other Boys & Girls Clubs, a cause I've tried to champion here for years -- or about Half A Tank, a new blog chronicling a journey across the Washington region and beyond by a Post photographer and writer searching for the stories of this recession. But today is the end of this particular road, and so I thought I'd use this last moment to offer readers one final chance to explain...

By Marc Fisher | June 4, 2009; 07:21 AM ET | Comments (12)

Virginia Loses 1st Newspaper (More TK)

The Clarke Courier was a small newspaper for a small place. Its circulation was but 2,240, but in a county of just 14,000 people, that meant that if you wanted to know what was going on in Clarke, you had better check the Courier. No more. The Courier last week became Virginia's first paid circulation newspaper to die in the epidemic of closings, layoffs and cutbacks that are part of the dismantling of the American news infrastructure. It won't be the last. More than 10,000 journalism jobs have disappeared from U.S. newspapers so far this year, a pittance compared...

By Marc Fisher | June 1, 2009; 08:22 AM ET | Comments (4)

After 1,250 Columns, The End

The first of 1,250 columns, nine years ago, spoke of a time that seems impossible now, of heady young tech moguls flush with money and drunk with possibility, instructing the chef at The Palm in Tysons Corner to spell out "Netscape" for them -- in crabmeat. Today's is my last column, and as I scan the archives, I see stories of public arrogance and private foibles, but mostly, I see stories of people poking their way through life -- a quest I've tried to capture here a few times each week. Those first columns covered topics that seem all too...

By Marc Fisher | May 30, 2009; 11:55 AM ET | Comments (6)

In Virginia, Who Votes Will Decide Who Wins

At the last three campaign events I've gone to, I've heard exactly the same opposing views from Virginians contemplating the June 9 Democratic gubernatorial primary: "It's only governor, so I don't think I need to vote" runs slam into "I'm tired of politics after last year, but this is for governor, so I guess I better get out there and vote." In the Washington suburbs, attitudes toward local and state government are different from those in most places around the country. Because of proximity to the District and the large number of people who have some connection to the...

By Marc Fisher | May 26, 2009; 07:42 AM ET | Comments (3)

McDonnell & Kaine Agree (On Cute Kids)

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Bob McDonnell's new TV commercial touting his nice family guy credentials for being elected governor of Virginia is a tribute to the folks who made Gov. Tim Kaine's very similar spot just four years ago. But if imitation in the advertising craft is seen as something closer to plagiarism, then McDonnell's "Family" spot is a sign of a campaign that's trying way too hard to divorce itself from the Republican party's damaged image as a collection of socially conservative sourpusses. Here's the McDonnell ad, which features the GOP candidate sitting...

By Marc Fisher | May 15, 2009; 09:37 AM ET | Comments (3)

Mucking Around For Votes: Clinton At The Pig Sty

The regular weekday visitors at Frying Pan Park come for the tractor ride and a look at the goats and the pigs. Yesterday, immediately next to the pigsty, there was a bonus attraction: the former president of the United States and his buddy, who is running for governor of Virginia. Most of the park's visitors chose the pigs. (A helpful sign assured all that you can't catch swine flu from visiting Porky.) The farm park just east of Dulles International Airport in Herndon is a magnet for young mothers looking for a diversion for their preschoolers. The campaign visit by...

By Marc Fisher | May 14, 2009; 08:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Your State's Rock Song: Orioles, Dave Matthews, U2?

A reader writes that he was visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland last week on the day news broke that Oklahoma has adopted an official state rock song. At the rock museum, there's an exhibit noting that Ohio was the first state to declare an official state rock song, "Hang On Sloopy," by The McCoys. Apparently, the song was adopted not because Mr. Sloopy lives "in a very bad part of town," but because the song's authors are from Ohio. State legislators generally having a passionate desire to pass some law, any law, other states...

By Marc Fisher | May 12, 2009; 08:37 AM ET | Comments (13)

Moran And Dulles Taxi Politics

J erry Schaeffer wasn't born yesterday. Play around in a tough business like the D.C. taxi industry for half a century and you get to see just how power really works. Sometimes, when you're trying to land a contract, merit isn't enough. There's a reason God invented lawyers, Schaeffer knows. But when Schaeffer lost the contract to provide taxi service at Dulles International Airport in 2007, he says he was the victim of a power play that trumped any measure of merit. Schaeffer says he lost that deal as a result of a political alliance that Virginia voters should consider...

By Marc Fisher | May 10, 2009; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (3)

Psst...The President Ate Here Last Night

The word first got out via a text message sent with great urgency on Friday night. The president of the United States had stopped in at a neighborhood chili joint in Bethesda. Barack Obama had taken his children to an event at the Imagination Stage children's theater and then "came across the street to visit Hard Times Cafe, where he had chili and wings," according to an email that repeated the text message. That email begat another email and onward through the ether. Obamamania being what it is in certain circles, pretty soon a couple of Washington Post reporters...

By Marc Fisher | May 6, 2009; 07:55 AM ET | Comments (4)

Study: Md., Va. Prep Kids For Success. D.C. Doesn't.

Maryland is among the best places in the country in preparing children for success in school and beyond, according to a new study by Save the Children, the Washington-based non-profit. Maryland ranks eighth among all states and the District in measures such as parental encouragement, preschool participation and quality of home environment. Virginia landed 13th on the list and the District was way down at the bottom, at 42nd in the nation. Overall, the report paints a dismal picture of parenting and schooling in America. It finds that 68 percent of American fourth-graders are not reading at grade level--64...

By Marc Fisher | May 5, 2009; 07:48 AM ET | Comments (9)

Out-of-State Students: Boo! Out-of-State Dollars: Yay!

In their increasingly desperate search for messages that might win them some votes in ever-more Democratic northern Virginia, Republicans think they've hit paydirt with an appeal to parents stressed out about getting their kids into the state's universities. Over the past decade, out-of-state students have been given an ever-increasing portion of the seats at the University of Virginia, George Mason University and the commonwealth's other major colleges. Now here's a red-meat issue politicians can grab hold of: Force the schools to reserve more of their places for genuine Virginians and just watch the votes of grateful citizens roll in....

By Marc Fisher | May 4, 2009; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (18)

Small-minded Big-footing In Va. Governor's Race

Virginia's unemployment rate jumped to 7 percent in February, the highest since 1992, but what's the Republican Governors Association doing as they pump $1.2 million into their man Bob McDonnell's campaign for governor? They're busy yukking it up over the sleaziness of Bill Clinton and Terry McAuliffe, his longtime fundraiser turned Democratic candidate for governor. The Republican governors group's latest tactic is billandterry.org, a Web site that depicts the former president as an Obama-bashing, money- hungry, ethical slime who has come to Virginia to pay back McAuliffe, who is pictured in goofy party glasses and dubbed "Two-Faced Terry." Virginia's average...

By Marc Fisher | April 30, 2009; 09:09 AM ET | Comments (3)

From Fairfax To Richmond, "The Jihad Way?"

Esam Omeish's campaign web site is fairly typical for a candidate for state delegate. The big issues for his Fairfax County district are traffic congestion, growth issues and public education. But Omeish, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the 35th district, covering an area from Vienna west to Monument and Leehigh, is no ordinary candidate. He's a surgeon with a classic immigrant success story, having arrived in this country as a young boy who spoke no English, yet rose up through the Fairfax school system to attend Georgetown University. And Omeish is also a Muslim fundamentalist rabble-rouser...

By Marc Fisher | April 29, 2009; 08:25 AM ET | Comments (34)

Hiz Honor Remakes Virginia In Hiz Image

RICHMOND, April 30, 2010 -- Virginia Gov. Michael Bloomberg has imported a New York pace and a billionaire's bravado to his adopted home, completing his first 100 days in office with a trio of startling announcements: The former New York City mayor has ended the unregulated sale of firearms at gun shows, taken over troubled schools in the state's four largest cities and unilaterally ordered construction of a Potomac River toll bridge into the District. The governor will pay for the bridge from his own pocket -- and he'll keep the toll receipts. Bloomberg's surprise blitz through the 2009 governor's...

By Marc Fisher | April 16, 2009; 08:34 AM ET | Comments (3)

The 'Whitey From Virginia' Who Believed In Black Kids

George Kettle died today. To thousands who made their living in the Virginia real estate world, that means the man in the Century 21 sportjacket, the magnate who controlled the realty franchise for the Washington region, has passed on. But in Southeast Washington, Kettle represented something else--a way out, a chance to get what people in the suburbs get--an education, summer vacations, job training, internships, new clothes, all the little things that spell the difference between growing up poor and growing up with the expectation of success. I first met Kettle in 1987, when he stood before an assembly...

By Marc Fisher | April 15, 2009; 02:55 PM ET | Comments (7)

Zero Tolerance: Parents Talk Tough, But Are They Really?

We don't really know what we want. That's the conclusion of a social psychologist who decided it was time to test just how committed parents and others are to single-sanction, zero tolerance, tough love punishment regimens of the kind that many schools have adopted in the wake of a popular backlash against drug use by teenagers. Colgate University psychologist Kevin Carlsmith looked at the consistent support for the University of Virginia's legendary honor code--an example, he posits, of a policy that "assigns extreme punishments for minor offenses." Under the code, any case of lying, cheating or stealing leads to...

By Marc Fisher | April 14, 2009; 08:21 AM ET | Comments (17)

 

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