House Removes Needle Exchange Restriction

WASHINGTON (AP) - The D.C. government would be allowed to spend its own money on needle exchange programs and promotion of voting rights under the appropriations bill that has passed the House.

Riders prohibiting the spending have been attached to previous D.C. budget bills. But this year's Democrat-controlled House was able to defeat both amendments before passing the overall spending bill.

The District has one of the worst rates of HIV/AIDS infection in the country. IV drug users account for a third of new AIDS cases reported each year.

Mark My Words: Introduction

I think it's the proper and necessary thing to do. The title of this weekly column might strike you as a bit much. A little arrogant and presumptuous. The hopefully memorable title is not my creation. I ardently believe in giving credit where credit is due.

My very good and smart friend Bruce Collins who is a C-SPAN lawyer immediately came up with this moniker.

It had the right ring!

What I want to do each week is talk about politics - local and national. And anything else that comes to mind.

What this column will not be is dull.

Mark My Words: Laura Bush

In the middle of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, Mississippi native and activist Fannie Lou Hammer said it best. She said she was "sick and tired of being sick and tired."

I am sick and tired of seeing the Bush White House use the citizens of the nation's capital as a convenient urban backdrop to demonstrate their supposed "compassionate conservatism," while at the same time continue to deny the right to have an elected representative in the U.S. Congress from D.C.

Clinton Says D.C. Voting Rights 'Long Overdue'

WASHINGTON - Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed a campaign audience in D.C. Monday morning, saying she supports full voting rights for District residents.

Clinton spoke to a small gathering sponsored by the National Council for Negro Women. She said D.C. voting rights are long overdue, adding that it is wrong to disenfranchise those who live in the city.

Voting rights is a significant issue in Washington, where nearly 60 percent of the population is black.

Music Video Champions DC Voting Rights

WASHINGTON (AP) - An advocacy group that has led efforts to get the District of Columbia full voting rights in Congress is getting into the music video business.

Musician Da Vessel and more than 200 local volunteers participated in Saturday's video shoot by DC Vote.

The video was filmed at several locations, including the steps of the U.S. Capitol and Schools Without Walls in northeast Washington.

DC Vote says the video will be available soon on YouTube and on its Web site,

DC Congresswoman Sets Deadline for Voting Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) - D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is urging Congress to pass a voting rights bill by Feb. 12, the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Norton asks Pelosi to push for quick approval of the D.C. Voting Rights Act, which would give the District of Columbia a House seat.

Norton says she got the idea of using Lincoln's birthday as a deadline from Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

DC at Odds Over 'Taxation' Tag for Presidential Limo

WASHINGTON - Local leaders have hit a roadblock over the presidential limousine.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and the D.C. Council are all at odds over which license plate the new president will use once he takes office.

Fenty and Norton have both said they won't ask President-elect Barack Obama to use the "taxation" tag.

"I don't want symbols," Norton says.

Norton may not want a symbol, but the entire D.C. Council does.

A letter signed by all 13 councilmembers urges Obama to use the "taxation" license plate.

Step Up to the Plate

The day President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office he can send a dramatic signal that he supports voting rights for the more than 500,000 residents of the District.
The question is -- will he?

While local officials debate how to approach the voting rights issue, Obama can advance the cause and send a clear message of his support without spending one penny, without expending any political capital, without any congressional approval and without concern the Supreme Court would overturn it.