Thursday, December 31, 2015

TA: Tracking participant progress in a workshop

If you are leading a workshop and the participants are working on laptops, try using sticky notes as a way to gauge where everyone is in the process of completing the assigned task.   UCLA teacher Miriam Posner, in A better way to teach technical skills to a group, describes how assigning students to small groups combined with the sticky note strategy serves her students well.   This could easily be adapted for work not on computers.

Additional ideas are on Hacker News in the responses to the Posner blog post.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

ABC7's Chris Papst interviews Mayor Muriel Bowser

Another good DC history read

Relive the good ol' days of The Bayou Jan. 3

The Bayou: DC's Killer Joint Trailer from dave lilling on Vimeo.

From murder to redemption, from jazz to rock and roll, from striptease to Kiss, from Mister T to misadventure, from business-as-usual to anything-goes, the documentary, like The Bayou itself, will arouse the senses. (The IDA)

Relive the concerts or learn about this famed club Sunday, January 3 at midnight (Saturday night); watch "The Bayou: DC's Killer Joint" on WHUT.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Mayor Bowser on NewsTalk Dec. 29

Mayor Muriel Bowser will guest on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt Tuesday, December 29 at 11:00 am.

Tune in to NewsChannel 8 streaming here,, to see the conversation.

If you have questions or comments, call (703) 387-1020 or email ( the show.

December 29: Tech advice on @kojoshow

DMHHS staff list, updated

As of December 22, staff in the office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services are:

The phone number for the office is (202) 727-7973.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

More book recommendations

Hacker News readers talk good and so-so reads in 2015: Ask HN: Books you read in 2015?.   And Adam Grant offers up 10 non-fiction must-reads in 2016: The 10 New Books to Read in 2016.

Know of other lists?   Leave them in a comment.

TA: Getting the most out of Google Analytics

Shift Communications offers good advice and clear instructions in 3 Google Analytics Issues to Correct for Better Data.   If you're looking for something to do over the holiday that is work-related but something different, take a look at these three fixes::
  1. Fight referrer spam
  2. Use Google Analytics to track your social media channels
  3. Connect the Google search console

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Changes at Washington Business Journal

WBJ's Editor-in-Chief Douglas Fruehling announced in Note to readers: We are ending our TechFlash email newsletter a number of changes.   In addition to the TechFlash news, Tina Reed's portfolio will be expanded, Andy Medici will cover additional topics, and James Bach will cover things I just don't understand.   Read the piece for the details.

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Kaya Henderson guests on Harvard EdCast

Monday, December 21, 2015

CM David Grosso recaps 2015 in video

January 8: Miss Pixie’s Presents: Street Sense Rising

Miss Pixie's Presents: Street Sense Rising, Friday, January 8 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm, will feature two short films: Fairness Rising and Raise to Rise.

From the event website:

In Fairness Rising, follow the amazing men and women of People for Fairness Coalition - an advocacy group of unhoused and formerly unhoused individuals - as they fight against the odds to win housing for all.Then, in Raise to Rise, experience D.C. General from the inside as a brave mother raising her two-year-old maintains a secret iPhone diary of their time at a shelter notorious for its uninhabitable conditions and structural neglect.

The event also features a Q&A with the film-makers.

Space is limited.   The event is free, with a suggested donation of $7.00.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Track Santa as he makes his way around the world

NORAD Santa Tracker has a new look and some new functionality but retains the distinction as THE place to go to follow Santa around the world as he delivers presents.

The tool is available in English, Español, Deutsch, Français, Italiano, 日本語, 中文, and Português and provides the following information in Santa's Village:

  • Learn about Santa, his magic sleigh, and holiday traditions
  • Santa's favorite holiday songs
  • The Arcade in which you can play a new game every day
  • The Theater which shows movies about Santa and NORAD
  • NORAD HQ where you can learn about NORAD, its mission and work

If you are on the go December 24, you can still follow Santa.   The Santa Tracker app is available for Apple and Android mobile devices.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The December 18, 2015 DCR Tweeted

TA: Leveraging Twitter for Nonprofit Initiatives

While the podcast Leveraging Twitter for Nonprofit Initiatives dates to 2014, the ideas shared by Caroline Barlerin, Head of Twitter for Good, and HandUp director of business development Sammie Rayner are still spot-on.   So take 40 minutes to listen to this podcast.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Diane Rehm guests at February 11 Q&A Cafe

Diane Rehm joins Carol Joint at the Thursday, February 11, 2016 Q&A Cafe at the George Town Club (1530 Wisconsin Ave NW).   Expect Rehm to talk about her career, life, retirement, and her new book On My Own.   The event will start at 1:00 pm with seating starting at 12:30.   The fee is $35; call the George Town Club to make a reservation, (202) 333-9330.

Sharing because this makes me smile

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

GGW chat with WMATA's Paul Wiedefeld (transcript)

Several worthwhile reads

THere are several pieces you might enjoy or find interesting:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December 17: "Dream City" at 21

District of Columbia Affairs Section of the DC Bar is holding the lunch program "Dream City" at 21: The Life and Legacy of DC's Most Important Political Book Thursday, December 17.   RSVPs are required; click on the link above.

From the event notice:

Come and join us for a light brunch and have a candid conversation with the authors of the seminal book on District politics and government - Dream City: Race, Power and the Decline of Washington, DC - which was republished last year as a 20th Anniversary edition. What do authors Tom Sherwood and Harry Jaffe think about the District’s stature and outlook now, 21 years after the publication of their chronicle of corruption and decline? What is the state of race relations and politics in the nation's capital? What has changed for better or for worse and what remains unchanged? Is the District in decline today, or are we on the rise?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

December 11 DC Register in Tweets

Respond to the call! Brentwood PO needs Christmas wish fulfillers

Approximately 600 children (and their parents, grandparents, etc.) are relying on Santa―the Brentwood Post Office―to fulfill their Christmas wishes this year.    The post office needs our help to make Christmas morning a happy one.   According to Dana Wyckoff, from Friends of Rosedale Library, "one little boy wrote this is the 2nd year he's asking for something, since he didn't get a reply last year."

There are various ways to help.

  • You can fulfill all or part of the requests in a letter
  • Swap out more general age-appropriate gifts (book, hat and gloves, doll, socks)
  • Individuals can pick up to 10 letters
  • Organizations and offices can take up to 25 letters
  • Fpr those who cannot get to the PO, Friends of the Rosedale Library has 20 letters.   You can fulfill all or part. or make a donation. Contact Wyckoff via email,

How to make this happen: With your driver's license in hand, go to Brentwood Post Office (900 Brentwood Rd NE) Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm, Saturdays 9:00 am - Noon.   At post office, ask for Sherry/Secret Santa Helper.   When you return the gifts, they must be gift wrapped, marked with the number of the letter, and returned to the PO in a sealed mailing box (with number of the letter on the outside) NO later than Monday, December 21.   Donors pay for mailing (though they sometimes waive that if you're donating a lot).

Take the WBJ unusual tourist destination quiz

The Washington Business Journal's How well do you know Washington's unconventional tourist spots? will test what you know about the city's "quirky landmarks."

Friday, December 11, 2015

Free two-part webinar: The Hidden Financial Lives of America's Poor and Middle Class

Stanford Social Innovation Review, with support from Citi Foundation, is hosting a two-webinar series in 2016.   The Hidden Financial Lives of America's Poor and Middle Class take place Thursday, January 21, 2016 and Thursday, February 4, 2016.   From the website,
An unprecedented look at the financial lives of working Americans and new insights for designing policies, programs and products that can help make their lives better.

There’s no question that the American economy has undergone dramatic change over the last 30 years—stagnant wages, rising inequality, automation, freelancing, and globalization. The impact of these economic changes on the lives of low- and moderate-income Americans has been difficult to see, until now. New research indicates that current programs and policies for helping families escape poverty, build stability, move up the ladder, and invest in the future are based on an outdated understanding of what their financial lives looks like—one that no longer reflects reality.


In this complimentary two-part SSIR Live! webinar series, researchers from New York University and the Center for Financial Services Innovation, will be joined by experts from the Aspen Institute, and Pew Charitable Trusts, the University of Michigan, and the Urban Institute to present new research findings, their implications, and insights for designing new policies, programs, and products to help improve the lives of low- and moderate-income Americans.

Anacostia Park: good for people now and in future

Sunday, December 6, 2015

New data about financially vulnerable families and news about innovative workforce program

Last week, Citi Community Development and the Corporation for Enterprise Development released new data about family financial security in DC.   The data is found on in Building Financial Security in the District of Columbia: A Data Snapshot (PDF)—a snapshot is shown in the image above.

As reported in the blog post DC's unbanked population twice regional rate, may DC individuals and families are financially vulnerable.   According to Family Assets Count,

  • 74% of single-parent households, 55% of households with children, 54% of renters and 73% of households with no education above a high school diploma live in liquid asset poverty in the District.
  • 18% of the District’s population receives the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), but only 4% are utilizing free tax prep services to receive their refund.
  • 12% of District households do not have a checking or savings account—nearly twice the national rate. So, nearly 32,000 households are more susceptible to using alternative, often predatory, financial services. Even among those households that have bank accounts, a full 25% still relied on alternative financial services, such as check cashing or payday loans in the last year.

Family Assets Count is a project of CFED (the Corporation for Enterprise Development) and the Assets & Opportunity Initiative along with Citi Community Development, Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB), and United Way of the National Capital Area.

In related news, Mayor Bowser announced the new Asset Building @ Work program, a partnership between CAAB and the Department of Employment Services.   The partnership represents an "innovative model of integrating financial capability services with workforce development program over three years." (Mayor Bowser, Citi, CAAB Launch Partnership to Strengthen Employment Services Programming).

Friday, December 4, 2015

Encouragement to make DC smoke-free

The District of Columbia was not one of the 50 communities selected as a Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion grantee but there is much we can learn from the national and local partners starting with ways to reduce the tobacco use and smoke exposure.

DC has taken numerous steps to reduce resident, worker, and visitor exposure to smoke but more can be done.   Young people continue to experiment with smoking.   According to the 2012 OSSE report District of Columbia PROMOTE. PREVENT. PROTECT. Youth Risk Behavior Survey (PDF), 5% of middle school students reported having smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days and 14% of the high school students reported having smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days.   And the number is likely higher; surveys relying on self-reports are known to under-report.

If you are interested in tackling this important public health issue, read the Partnering4Health project's Where You Live, Work and Play Should Be Smoke-Free, below.

National Orgs Success Stories Tobacco (002)

Unfortunately, CFSA reverts to bad old practice

DC's unbanked population twice regional rate

Nationally, one in every nine households (11%) in American cities with 200,000 or more residents are unbanked.   This means that people don't have a checking or savings account.   Those unbanked in DC amount to 11.8% of the population.   Regionally, 4.3% of the population is unbanked.

This information and more is available in the new estimates from CFED in their Assets & Opportunity Local Data Center.

There is deeper meaning to this data.   Consider how much more powerful the DC Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) could be when claimants have bank accounts.   Unbanked tax filers, according to Brookings' Alan Berube and others, commonly use high-priced refund loan products.   Berube et al. also write,

In the Washington, D.C. area, taxpayers claiming an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) of $1,500 spend, on average, more than 10 percent of this amount on tax preparation, electronic filing and a refund loan if they use a commercial tax preparer. One local preparer’s prices were typical of those for national chain preparers: $60 for preparation of a federal return with the EITC, $34 for a state return, $20 for electronic filing, and up to $90 for a refund loan, for a total of $204. (The Price of Paying Taxes:How Tax Preparation and Refund Loan Fees Erode the Benefits of the EITC (PDF))

In 2002, University of Michigan Law School's Michael S. Barr testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs about the unbanked.   In a related essay, he described the high costs:
  1. Basic financial services cost a lot.   Without a bank account, people must rely on check cashing establishments.   In 2000, the FDIC estimated that a worker making $12,000 a year would spend $250 to cash paychecks.
  2. Saving is hard without a savings or checking account.   "Bill Gale of the Brookings Institution has shown that, after controlling for key factors, low-income households with bank accounts were 43 percent more likely to have financial assets than households without bank accounts."
  3. "the unbanked are also largely cut off from mainstream sources of credit necessary to leverage their hard work into financial stability. Without a bank account, it is more difficult and more costly to establish credit or qualify for a loan. A Federal Reserve study found that a bank account was a significant factor - more so than household net worth, income, or education level - in predicting whether an individual holds mortgage loans, automobile loans, and certificates of deposit." (Banking for the Unbanked (PDF))

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Whaddya think? Sherwood for council?

Thought you might be interested: Why trigger warnings are bad, from personal experience

Rachel Edwards' (@naughty_nerdess) Trigger Warnings: Or how to create a generation of assholes without really trying may rub some people the wrong way, like the commenter Lori Williams.   But this piece in Medium is a personal account of triggers.   I may (or not) agree with everything written, but it is a counterpoint for the current narrative of must-have trigger warnings.
I think the answer for why trigger warnings exist is pretty simple. There is a desire to protect people from harm, even if it's psychological harm.


I'm going to say the one thing that needs to be said about this, but that no one will utter. If you need people to put trigger warnings on everything for you to live your live normally, then there is a place for you to go. It's called a mental hospital, and it's where people go to get stabilized. If you are the kind of person who'll see a dick pic online and then go to the closet and hang yourself, then you aren't healthy enough to be living in the real world.


In creating a world of trigger warnings, you also create a world where people are less able to deal with hardship. We learn how to endure and prepare for certain hardships by reading about them in books or seeing a character overcome them in a movie. It is through encountering the unexpected, that we can become inoculated against it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December 12: Students, get ready for the ACT and SAT

Felicia Fort, founder of One Step Closer: Finding the Fun in Math Tutoring Company, invites 8th grade and high school students and their parents to attend the Saturday, December 12 event Choosing the Right Test! SAT vs ACT!.   The event is free.

This event will feature workshops, question and answer sessions, and giveaways.

The event is being held at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library (901 G St NW).

Get learning!

Here's a super resource from Kristyna Z. (on Medium, @kristynazdot on Twitter): The 37 Best Websites To Learn Something New.

Categories of learning Kristyna Z. writes about are:

  • Take An Online Course
  • Learn How To Code
  • Learn To Work With Data
  • Learn New Languages
  • Expand Your Knowledge
  • Bonus

Kristyna Z. has created a list including the best of reader recommendations to her list.   There is a link to that list.

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Sign up for Lit Picks by DC Public Library Foundation

Like to read?   Want to know what is new or interesting?

DC Public Library Foundation compiles a list of books each quarter.   The curated list is an insider's guide, a look into what the staff are reading and enjoying.   Subscribe to Lit Picks for the list along with a discussion of "a variety of zany topics at the intersection of literature, art, technology and pop culture."

Sign up for the free newsletter; previous editions are on the sign-up page.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

TA: Engaging New Voters in 2016, Dec. 10

Engaging New Voters in 2016 is the latest webinar from Nonprofit Vote.   The free session takes place Thursday, December 10 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm.   Registration is required.

The session is grounded in Nonprofit Vote's new report, Engaging New Voters: The Impact of Nonprofit Voter Outreach on Client and Community Turnout (the report will be released December 2).   According to the organization,

One of the report's key findings is that when nonprofit staff and volunteers help their community members to register to vote or to sign a pledge to vote, those individuals turn out to vote a higher rates than other registered voters, regardless of demographic factors like age, race/ethnicity or income.

TA: Digital trends in 2015 and 2016

Want to learn more about trends in digital?   Interested in exploring the platforms were most useful for effective digital campaigns in 2015?   Want to learn from recent successful movements and nonprofit campaigns?

If so, register today for the free NetSquared DC December 9 event Digital Trends - Look Back at 2015 & Ahead at 2016.