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Washington, D.C

Biden says at DC roast that of 2 presidential candidates, 1 was mentally unfit. ‘The other’s me’

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Biden says at DC roast that of 2 presidential candidates, 1 was mentally unfit. ‘The other’s me’


WASHINGTON (AP) — The big news this week, President Joe Biden said at a weekend Washington roast, was that two candidates had clinched their party’s nomination for president. But one was too old, too mentally unfit for the job, he said.

“The other’s me,” Bidden quipped.

The digs against Republican Donald Trump kept coming from the president at the annual Gridiron Club and Foundation Dinner, as Biden deflected ongoing criticism that his memory is hazy and he appears confused, instead highlighting moments when the 77-year-old Trump has slipped up, too.

“Don’t tell him, he thinks he’s running against Barack Obama, that’s what he said,” said Biden, 81, who also quipped that he was staying up way past his bedtime.

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It was the first time Biden has attended the dinner during his presidency, and comes as the 2024 election looms and the rematch between Biden and Trump heats up. The annual bacchanalia, now in its 139th year, traces its history to 1885 — that was the year President Grover Cleveland refused to attend. Every president since has come to at least one Gridiron.

Biden veered quickly into the somber, though, highlighting what he sees as a real threat to democracy should Trump — who continues to falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen — return to the White House. The speech had echoes of Biden’s campaign remarks, criticizing Trump as well as too soft on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We live in an unprecedented moment in democracy,” he said. “An unprecedented moment for history. Democracy and freedom are literally under attack. Putin’s on the march in Europe. My predecessor bows down to him and says to him, ‘do whatever the hell you want.’”

Biden then introduced the Ukrainian ambassador, Oksana Markarova, and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.

“We will not bow down. They will not bow down, and I will not bow down,” he said.

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Biden, dressed in white-tie attire as is the custom, brought his daughter Ashley.

The dinner has a reputation as a night of bipartisan mirth, and was jam-packed with politicians and who’s-who of Washington, including Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, at least eight other Cabinet members, at least five members of Congress, five governors and at least five ambassadors. Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who’s in town for St. Patrick’s Day, also attended.

Also speaking at the dinner were Harris, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican.

Biden closed out the dinner, speaking also about the importance of a free press. Although he may not agree with everything the news media prints, he said, he understands the necessity of journalism and said he was still working to bring home journalists Evan Gershovich and Austin Tice, one held in Russia, the other who disappeared during a reporting trip in Syria.

“Good journalism holds a mirror up to society,” he said. “We need you.”

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Biden and Harris were seated at the head table along with other administration officials and the foreign leaders, plus Gridiron president Dan Balz of the Washington Post. Seated also at the table were Balz’s bosses, the Post’s Executive Editor Sally Buzbee and the newspaper’s owner, Jeff Bezos.

The dinner was held at the Grand Hyatt. No photos or TV were allowed.

___

Associated Press writer Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Michigan, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Washington, D.C

Here are the latest numbers for BTR’s nonstop flight to DC

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Here are the latest numbers for BTR’s nonstop flight to DC


(Collin Richie)

Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport’s nonstop service to Washington’s Reagan International Airport is operating at an average 65% capacity as it nears its one-year anniversary, according to BTR Director of Aviation Mike Edwards.

The service, which was launched by American Airlines in June, was operating at roughly 45% capacity in August, as reported in Daily Report, well below the 68% recorded in July and the 74% during the first month.

Edwards says the flights have recently been closer to 75% full. 

“We’re pleased with the increase,” Edwards says. “We’re going to continue aggressively marketing the flight. We need the community’s support to make sure we can maintain that service. American Airlines has made a large investment in our community by launching this service and we want to make sure it succeeds long term.”

Edwards says the airport’s goal is for the flight’s load factor to reach 80% or higher to maintain the flight.

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“Looking at other regional markets with service to D.C., the average load factor is about 84%,” Edwards says. “We’re confident that once we get to 80%, the service will be viable in the long term.”

Overall, the airport saw more than 67,000 passengers in March, a 7% increase compared to March 2023. American Airlines saw nearly 10,000 more passengers from January through March than in the same quarter of 2023. The overall passenger volume through the first three months of this year increased by 8.4%.





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Washington, D.C

Smithsonian Institute celebrates Earth Day in the community

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Smithsonian Institute celebrates Earth Day in the community


WASHINGTON (Gray DC) – The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. went out into the community Saturday to celebrate the upcoming Earth Day holiday.

The Anacostia Community Museum and Smithsonian Institute’s second annual earth day celebration worked to engage the surrounding community with the earth.

Museum acting director Shanita Brackett said Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to highlight how communities can help the earth.

“It’s an opportunity for people to reflect back and in this particular neighborhood really thinking about how historic this place is to the Washington DC environment,” Brackett said. “Here on site today we’re handing out seeds, [there’s a stand for] Freshfarm where you can pick up produce, learning about recipes that you can actually create from what you might grow in your own backyard or from a farm nearby.”

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Anacostia is a community that faces a disproportionately high level of food insecurity. Freshfarm stand manager Price Holman said Freshfarm is one organization working to fix that.

“East of the [Potomac] River we have not as many grocery stores in some of these wards around here, so its really important that fresh food gets here and that our community has options,” Holman said.

Freshfarm values sustainability, making Earth Day a good opportunity for the organization to focus on the future.

“It really just takes us back to what are we going to need in the future, how are we going to continue to make sure what we’re putting in our bodies is nutritious, what we’re breathing in is still safe,” Holman said.

One highlight of the Earth Day celebration was a 3-D chalk mural of flowers and ducks from the artist group Chalk Riot.

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The mural’s designer said she wanted to highlight the nature of the surrounding Anacostia area.

“Earth Day is important because the residents love the nature and the community, and they always interact with it, and it brings them joy and peace,” Ann Gill said. “It just brings a recognition to people to take care of the earth that they live in.”

Earth Day started in 1970 and is celebrated every year on April 22.



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Washington, D.C

Skies over D.C. went back to gray on Sunday, as mercury sank

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Skies over D.C. went back to gray on Sunday, as mercury sank


Perhaps fickle, certainly changeable, the weather in the Washington area on Sunday returned to gray skies and cool temperatures in stark contrast to the sunlit glories of the day before.

It appeared that high afternoon temperatures did not reach the 60 degree mark on Sunday at any of the area’s three official measuring sites.

In fact, at Dulles International Airport, in Virginia, Sunday’s high was only 54, which was 20 degrees less than the 74 there on Saturday. It was also 15 degrees below the average high at Dulles for April 21.

Sunday’s uniformly cool readings may have signaled that nature has not yet signed or even prepared the terms of summer’s lease. The low temperatures may have warned against assuming that bright warm days must hereafter be our lot.

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Perhaps Sunday was difficult to assess on its own, given the inevitable comparisons with Saturday. On that day it reached 75 in the District, under blue skies and in warm winds.

So in a sense, Sunday may have been a day of atmospheric consciousness raising. It demonstrated perhaps the dangers of unsuspecting reliance at this time of year on the likelihood of each day resembling the one before.

It showed the differences possible between consecutive April days. It asserted that even with only nine days until May, and the sun, visible or not, getting steadily stronger, nothing guaranteed that one day must inherit the thermal legacy of another.

On the other hand, by no means could Sunday be described as absolute in its gloominess. Even overcasts show variations. At times in the District in the morning, the blanket of cloud seemed to grow almost thin enough to transmit sunlight, and surroundings began to brighten.

The powers of the sun on Sunday became even more pronounced and noticeable toward sundown.

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As the sun descended at day’s end in Washington, the sheet of cloud seemed to come unfastened from the western horizon. It left a gap. Through that space in the sky streamed fiery orange sunlight, largely hidden throughout the day, but now unleashed.

Its reflection burned in windows, with a brilliance that sent a message of power and radiance.

It also may have had a wistful quality, suggesting how bright, in other circumstances, Washington’s Sunday might have been.



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