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Sat May 4, 2013, 11:21 AM

 

In 1996, I visited Washington DC. I walked up the East Steps of the Capitol and into the Rotunda...

In 2013 - two weeks ago today - I actually believed I could still do the same.

Um... no. There's now a Capitol Visitors Center. Very impressive, but it was as close to getting into the building itself as I could get, without reservations (which I had no idea were now needed). That saddened me, but thought I could lift my spirits by going to Penn Ave and checking out the North Portico of the White House.

Um... no again. Penn Ave was closed off in front of the White House (due to two losers who decided to set off a couple of home made bombs 450 miles away). Hell, couldn't even get anywhere near the Zero Milestone, which is due south of the WH (fenced off w/ armed, uniformed Secret Service). This is as close as I could get:



The US has become so frightened that we can't even bask in the wonderful history in our Capital City. And that has saddened me beyond belief. I used to LOVE visiting DC. Now it's just a place that you can see from afar, but not touch.

I hate what we've become.

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Reply In 1996, I visited Washington DC. I walked up the East Steps of the Capitol and into the Rotunda... (Original post)
Cooley Hurd May 2013 OP
nadinbrzezinski May 2013 #1
caledesi May 2013 #41
LuvNewcastle May 2013 #2
graham4anything May 2013 #3
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #6
graham4anything May 2013 #8
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #11
graham4anything May 2013 #16
corkhead May 2013 #17
Recursion May 2013 #29
hobbit709 May 2013 #18
Thor_MN May 2013 #43
rhett o rick May 2013 #30
caledesi May 2013 #42
graham4anything May 2013 #44
KentuckyWoman May 2013 #4
leveymg May 2013 #5
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #7
graham4anything May 2013 #15
leveymg May 2013 #25
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #32
graham4anything May 2013 #33
leveymg May 2013 #35
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #46
CBHagman May 2013 #9
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #12
Recursion May 2013 #21
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #22
Recursion May 2013 #23
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #24
Recursion May 2013 #27
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #34
Recursion May 2013 #36
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #39
Drale May 2013 #10
MrScorpio May 2013 #13
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #19
MinM May 2013 #14
leveymg May 2013 #31
Recursion May 2013 #20
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #26
Recursion May 2013 #28
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #37
n2doc May 2013 #38
Carolina May 2013 #40
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #45
Carolina May 2013 #47

Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:23 AM

1. A paranoid, failing empire.

 

That is what we have become. And we can correct, but first we need to know what ails us.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #1)

Sat May 4, 2013, 01:47 PM

41. So true! nt

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:34 AM

2. The Forbidden City

The last time I was there was in the 80's and we had a wonderful time, even though it was summer and hot as hell. We got gouged by vendors, too, but we were able to wander freely. I'll probably never go back if things stay as they are.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:37 AM

3. In October I visited. And stayed 3 days. Need to go back and stay for another 5. So much to do.

 

Like a good restaurant, one needs reservations because so many people want to visit.
That is a good thing.

Like our security, the more the better.

Instead of whining, use the extra time to visit the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial
and all the FREE musuems, and if you just went, you got to enjoy the Cherry Blossoms(if you were in DC the last month).

You went in the heart of the blossom season, which one can spend hours basking in it just walking around.

So why complain?

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #3)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:43 AM

6. No one is whining, Graham.

 

Lamenting is different than whining.

I've visited the city about dozen times in my life - the first time in 1975. It is a completely different place now.

"Like our security, the more the better."

Your statment reminds me of the Ben Franklin quote:

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

And, I'm a History nut, not an Arbor nut, so I could give a rat's butt about the Cherry Blossoms.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #6)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:48 AM

8. Ben Franklin "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

 

All those nuts with guns would think nothing of not using them given half a chance.
And all of them are rightwing extremists.

I would be very happy if we could go back, and demand President Kennedy not be in an open air convertible, and RFK not having anyone but his security on the way out the kitchen,
and Allard Lowenstein been behind bullet proof glass when speaking to that nutjob who killed him, and well, John Lennon not getting out of a car on the street, then walking into the courtyard of his home.

but we can prevent those things from happening.

the lesson of history is to make sure never again will those things happen.

And next time, make reservations for the Capital.

BTW- of course you might remember they said that on 9-11, the plane shot down was heading for the capital. Thanks to everyone including God for that Building standing tall.

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #8)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:52 AM

11. I seriously doubt Franklin meant "lock down everything in fear" with that quote.

 

Taking measures to protect the President from gunfire is FAR different than preventing the public from seeing the public buildings it PAYS for.

I do appreciate your Random Thoughts, though.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #11)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:02 PM

16. Walk softly and carry a big stick- Teddy Roosevelt.

 

one can't monopolize and separate one person's quote without another one.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #11)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:05 PM

17. I'm due beer money for this experience

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Response to corkhead (Reply #17)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:23 PM

29. Bwah

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #8)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:12 PM

18. He also said something about those willing to give up essential liberties for temporary safety.

But your safety is more important than anything else.

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #8)

Sat May 4, 2013, 02:17 PM

43. No one remembers a plane being shot down on 9-11, because that didn't happen.

 

United Flight 93 went down in Pennsylvania when the passengers tried to regain control of the aircraft.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #6)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:24 PM

30. I believe Graham is being sarcastic. He is emulating Third Way Manny but just isnt telling us. nm

 

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #3)

Sat May 4, 2013, 01:51 PM

42. Hey, I lived in Alexandria for 5 years ... ah, the good times! nt

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Response to caledesi (Reply #42)

Sat May 4, 2013, 03:14 PM

44. The Birchmere!

 

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:39 AM

4. No, the Senate, House and White House are frightened - not us.

They've abused mankind the world over just to stick a few bucks in they and their friends pockets ... No doubt they think they are a target for the small fraction of a percent who think violence is the answer.

Not to mention our leaders really would rather not have to bother their beautiful minds with us masses. Which I think is the real reason why they've shut us out.

We were planning a trip to DC over the summer but are in the process of changing our plans.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:39 AM

5. Buy a Congressman or Cabinet member. They'll let you in for the price of admission.

Heck, they'll even hire you if you contribute enough money.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #5)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:45 AM

7. I wrote Senator Gillibrand's office for Senate Gallery tickets...

 

...no reply.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #7)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:00 PM

15. now, you know what, in thinking about it-

 

we needed reservations and tickets to get insideto see them on the floor, all through the years from our congressman. So this is nothing new.
The visitors center is new.

But then, go to Hershey PA and the chocolate factory, and 30 years ago, you got a great ride through the factory, now the last 15 years or more, you get a Disney like ride.

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #15)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:20 PM

25. That's not true. In the '90s no reservations at the Capitol - walk in and wait in line for a seat.

There were few areas that were off-limits to the public back then, as well.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #25)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:29 PM

32. In 1982, I was (16 years old) with a group of people in the corridor outside of the Senate...

 

...and saw the line forming up the staircase for the Senate Gallery. I simply went and stood in line, only to be stopped at the top of the stairs by someone wanting to see a pass. I said I didn't have one. All of a sudden, a man piped up behind me saying "Son, you want to get into the gallery?'
"Yes sir!" I chimed.
"Son, I'm Senator Jepsen from the Great State of Iowa and, if you want to go into the Gallery, you can go as my guest!"
"Can the group I'm with go with me?" I pleaded.
"Of course, son!" the Senator replied.

I went into the gallery and the first face I recognized was Senator Kennedy. The second was Amy Carter, who was serving as a page at the time. What an experience!

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #32)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:33 PM

33. Maybe that was to get to the offices and not the floor.Been a while.

 

Congress wasn't in session when we were there in October as it was a few weeks before election.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #32)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:40 PM

35. There was a table down the hall that gave you a cine style ticket for admission. First come-first

serve at the time, I recall. During important votes, when the galleries were full with spectators, it was difficult to get a ticket because guests of Congressional offices had first dibs. But, on a typical day, you could get in without a reserved Congressional ticket.

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #15)

Sat May 4, 2013, 04:20 PM

46. Hersheypark=The US Capitol?

 

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:50 AM

9. There was a shooting at the U.S. Capitol in 1998.

Two officers were killed.

[url]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/shooting/archives2.htm[/url]

A guard was shot to death at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as well.

Security is tighter in government buildings in D.C. nowadays, but it has been since 9/11. I consider it routine to queue up to enter a congressional office building or the Library of Congress, and I actually found the latter, plus the U.S. Capitol, the strictest but not unreasonable in terms of what I was allowed to bring in. The same goes for museums. People bend the rules all the time (I've seen people photographing rare documents and paintings within seconds of getting the instructions from a guard or notice), but for the most part the rules are there for a reason.

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Response to CBHagman (Reply #9)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:53 AM

12. In 1996, we walked thru metal detectors before entering the Rotunda...

 

I don't know how the loon who shot the two Capitol police officers got in with a gun, but he must've NOT gone in the way I did.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #12)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:15 PM

21. He just shot the guard and walked through

Hard to beat that plan for simplicity.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #21)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:17 PM

22. I guess so, but maybe bullet-proof vests might've been more in line?

 

Granted, does little to protect you from a head shot, but (IMO) better than just roping the whole place off.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #22)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:18 PM

23. I worked in the Capitol in '93; it wasn't exactly laissez faire back then either

There were metal detectors back then, too, except for the guarded employee entrance on each chamber's side (those have metal detectors now too). The visitor's center is a big difference. I don't like it. But they were trying to build it years before 9/11, mostly because the Capitol didn't have room for a museum.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #23)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:19 PM

24. I really LIKED the Visitor's Center!

 

I just wish I could've gone into the Main building.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #24)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:21 PM

27. Well, the *real* fun part of DC is several blocks north

Check out Shaw, or U Street, or Columbia Heights. And of course Adams-Morgan. Or turn east and check out H Street. It's a great city!

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Response to Recursion (Reply #27)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:36 PM

34. Believe it or not, another place I made a beeline to was A Mitchell Palmer's old house...

 

... on R Street - the site of the bombing by the Galleanists in 1919. FDR lived across the street (he was Asst Sec of the Navy) and James Roosevelt, FDR's 11 year old son, found body parts of the bomber on their front walk. Here's what it looked like after the bombing:


Here it is today:


...and the former Roosevelt house across the street:

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #34)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:40 PM

36. I used to work right near there

Really cool place.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #36)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:42 PM

39. I just LOVE DC! That's why I was so sad to see so much locked down.

 

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:51 AM

10. In 1999, my uncle worked for out Representive

and we went to Washington and because of our connections, we got to ride on the little tram that goes under the street to the capital with all the reps and senators (I wish I had been old enough to know who they were) and a private tour of the capital. Do you know that kind of background check required for that now? Ridiculous!

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 11:59 AM

13. When I first got to DC in '87, I used to drive around DC and even right in front of the White House

It was an open city back thenů

Today, DC resembles an armed camp.

A few years ago, I was talking to a cabby who was a kid during WWII. He told me that war time DC didn't even look as militarized then, as it does now.

I'm really very doubtful that DC's once former openness will ever return.

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #13)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:13 PM

19. That's the thing... even in Wartime Washington did things get this weird.

 

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:00 PM

14. I recall rubbing elbows with Muskie and McGovern...

as a kid back in the early 70s. There was almost no restriction of movement back then.

Going back in 1986 it was different -- partly because I was there for business -- and iirc the Capitol Building was under renovation at the time.

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Response to MinM (Reply #14)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:26 PM

31. I bumped into both of them when I was working in DC in the 90s.

I chatted with McGovern in a bank line and a year or two later shook Muskie's hand on the street corner in front of the News stand at Connecticut & K. Both were open and gracious, and I let them know I wished they had become President.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:14 PM

20. PA Ave was closed when that jackass flew a plane into the white house lawn

It's been closed ever since then

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Response to Recursion (Reply #20)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:21 PM

26. To vehicular traffic, but not to pedestrians...

 

...UNTIL a few bombs went off 450 miles away. They've since re-opened it, but my timing was bad, I guess.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #26)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:22 PM

28. Oh, sorry, I misread that. Was Lafayette Park open?

I've never heard of them closing of PA Ave to foot traffic...

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Response to Recursion (Reply #28)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:41 PM

37. I believe Lafayette park was also closed.

 

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:41 PM

38. In 1996, people used to queue up along that wall by the mile zero marker

I remember they had an 'open house' day once a year at the White House. I wanted to go to but I didn't get up early enough. The easter egg roll lines were there as well.

Of course, I am old enough to remember flying when one could just stroll up to the airport gate to meet incoming relatives. A different world.

We are all so afraid now.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sat May 4, 2013, 12:51 PM

40. It saddens me so to see my beloved

DC today. I grew up in DC... lived there from age 4 months to nearly age 41.

Once upon a time it was an open, free city and great place to be. Open spaces and free access to all public buildings except the White House. You could wander around Capitol Hill as well as inside the Capitol Building and the House and Senate Office Buildings.

Though I lived in the NW quadrant, for grades 3-6, I attended what was deemed an experimental public school in SW DC called Amidon. The importance of this (besides education) was that it meant I rode past the WH everyday. I will always fondly recall some Fridays leaving school, we could see Marine One flying up over the Potomac from Andrews AFB. Our carpool would hustle (so much less traffic then) toward the WH where we would stop (even park) right on 15th St and run up to the WH fence so we could see JFK preparing to travel to Hyannis for the weekend. When he was murdered on that awful Friday nearly 50 years ago, my family rode down to the WH that night and saw the North Portico draped in black. Those were the days when the fence was more decorative, less fortress-like, and you could drive completely around the WH: PA Ave, 15th St, Executive Dr... In fact, in the image of the South Portico shown in your post, you used to be able to drive, and walk, up close and personal, so speak... the good old days of freedom

Anyway, in midlife, I reluctantly relocated because of my husband. Now when I go back to visit DC and the dwindling number of family members and friends who are still in the area, I am both appalled and disheartened by the change(s). We all reminisce about what once was and lament how the country is going to hell and how we're glad we're as old as we are. That's pretty sad isn't it?!

I prefer my memories, but feel for the generations that now only see DC as the enclave of the very rich and the very protected where access is more limited, lines are long, traffic is horrendous and so much is fenced in to keep "we, the people" away.

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Response to Carolina (Reply #40)

Sat May 4, 2013, 04:07 PM

45. I mirror you sadness...

 

The thing that made me fall in love with The United States was our history (ahem... not regarding Native American policy or Slavery). The spark that set it off was wandering thru the US Capitol in 1975 during my first trip to DC. Standing in the Rotunda and looking up at the incredible artwork lining the frieze. The statues of Lincoln, Washington and Jefferson. Imagining Jaqueline kneeling at the coffin of her husband, and Caroline slipping her little gloved hand under the flag-draped casket. Walking thru Statuary Hall, reminded that the great John Quincy Adams collapsed during an oratory and died on that spot. Looking down the shaft of the Senate Rotunda where they were to bury George Washington (Martha rejected the idea). Standing at the top of the steps of the North front, where so many of my heroes stood to take the Oath of Office (before Reagan changed it - he took his oath on the West front so he could face California - and it hasn't changed since).

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #45)

Sat May 4, 2013, 10:15 PM

47. Yes, that bastard

Reagan changed a lot of things, didn't he. I loathed him, his "government is the problem" mantra, his ruinous policies and the cabal he unleashed on DC and government in general that lived on with the Bush Family Evil Empire...

As long as I live, I will always call the airport Washington National Airport or simply National.

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