Mayor Gray, Norton barred from addressing pro-DC budget autonomy rally

Well, for DC self-government advocates looking to make a splash at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, this week, today’s budget autonomy rally was a wash.

DC Mayor Vincent Gray and US House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton were barred from attending the rally after police shut down a section of downtown Charlotte in response to an Occupy Wall Street demonstration.

From the Washington City Paper:

A massive police shutdown outside the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., meant that Mayor Vince Gray and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton were unable to speak at a pro-D.C. budget autonomy rally today, according to D.C. Vote spokesman James Jones.

Gray and Norton were supposed to be the headlining speakers at today’s rally, which Jones says was held at a designated “free speech zone” near the convention. But those plans went awry after a small army of police responded to a couple dozen Occupy protestors who occupied an intersection nearby.

“It was locked down, totally locked down,” Jones says of the area around where the pro-D.C. rally took place. He says the police presence prevented would-be rallygoers, including the mayor and Norton, from getting to the rally in time. The mayor eventually showed up, Jones says, but apparently not in time to give a speech.

The budget autonomy rally that wasn’t was the second setback of the day for DC rights advocates. The Democratic Party rolled out its 2012 platform on Monday morning, and, as expected, it included no reference to DC statehood.

Mayor Gray will press on with the District’s case the rest of this week, but, if Monday was any indication, he has a tough slog ahead of him in Charlotte.

Unsurprisingly, DC rates low on both parties’ agendas

Barring some unlikely showdown on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, this week, it looks like the Democratic Platform for the third time since 2000 will make no mention of supporting statehood for the District of Columbia.

Instead, Democrats are likely to endorse a blander option short of statehood, similar to the party’s position in 2008, which called for self-government and representation in Congress. Continue reading

Clinton heads to Pacific, but no American Samoa stop planned

Amid talk that the US intends “pivot” or “rebalance” its military forces to Asia and the Pacific, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jets off this weekend to the Cook Islands en route to East Asia.

Clinton embarked on a similar trip to Asia in late 2010 under similar pretenses. She wrapped up the visit by making a brief stop in American Samoa, a territory she won in her failed bid for the 2008 Democratic nomination for President. However, It doesn’t look like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be stopping in American Samoa this time around. Continue reading

Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-Zoo


Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-Zoo metro escalator in the District of Columbia. When I lived in Adams Morgan, I erroneously believed that the escalator was the longest in the Western Hemisphere, but apparently that honor actually belongs to the metro station at Forest Glen.

Pro-DC statehood billboards spring up in Charlotte, NC

With the Republican National Convention drawing to a close tonight, DC statehood advocates are beginning to focus their attention on next week’s Democratic National Convention.

If statehood proponents were disappointed by the Republican’s outright opposition to DC statehood, they’re not likely to find much solace in the Democratic platform, which it looks like will follow on the precedent set in 2008 and will only call for DC voting rights in the House of Representatives.

Statehood proponents are not giving up the fight, and have bought ad space in Charlotte, NC, where the Democrats will convene next week. Continue reading

Marianas’ Governor Benigno Fitial facing impeachment bid

From Australia Network News:

A minority bloc in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ House of Representatives has filed an impeachment resolution against Governor Benigno Fitial, who is in the United States for the Republican National Convention.

The resolution was filed by Joseph Deleon Guerrero, a former Republican who has left the party and is now an independent.

It accuses the governor of “multiple felonies, multiple acts of public corruption” and of neglecting official duties.

“We have listed 16 articles, five of which are acts of corruption, seven acts of neglect of office or rather neglect of duty and four commissions of felonies,” Representative Guerrero told Radio Australia’sPacific Beat program.

“We believe that through his actions he has breached his oath of office and through his actions there is apparently no regard for the rule of law or transparency,” he said. Continue reading

USVI Senate authorizes constitutional convention to try again

From the Virgin Islands Daily News:

ST. THOMAS – The V.I. Senate voted Tuesday evening to give the Fifth Constitutional Convention one more chance to do the job it was elected to do in 2007.

By an 8-6 margin, the Senate approved a bill proposed and amended by Senate President Ronald Russell to deal with the territory’s lingering lack of a governing document.

The Virgin Islands is one of the last entities under the United States flag that has yet to draft and ratify its own governing document. The territory has had five constitutional conventions – in 1964, 1971, 1977, 1980 and 2007 – that did not produce a successful document.

The Fifth Constitutional Convention passed a controversial draft constitution in 2009.

President Barack Obama, the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Congress ultimately sent the draft back to the territory in 2010 with recommendations to remove certain provisions granting native Virgin Islanders special rights based on birth or ancestry.

That never happened. Continue reading

Non-states roll call

Courtesy of Maclean’s, a run-down of how the GOP delegations from the non-states branded themselves during the Roll Call vote for the Republican presidential nominee:

American Samoa: “The only American soil in the southern hemisphere.”

District of Columbia: Apparently the DC delegation didn’t brand themselves at all, only saying that they were “excited” to vote. Perhaps they were still smarting from the RNC’s refusal to adopt their own stance on DC voting rights?

Guam: “America’s tropical paradise.”

Northern Mariana Islands: “We are strong believers in God.”

Puerto Rico: “The 51st state of the union!”

US Virgin Islands: “America’s paradise.”

Annaberg windmill


The empty shell of a windmill at the Annaberg sugar plantation on St. John in the US Virgin Islands.
If there was a steady breeze, sugar cane was brought to the windmill. Revolving sails–which have long since disappeared from this windmill–turned a central shaft, rotating the rollers and crushing the sugar cane stalks. Juice ran down the rollers into the gutter and flowed downhill to the factory for processing. 300-500 gallons of juice could be produced in an hour.

Seating the non-states at the GOP Convention

A recently-published map of the convention floor provided by Politico shows that the non-states have snagged some precious real estate at the Republican National Convention this week.

(click for larger) Continue reading