Washington D.C. Trip 2006 – Day 3

Day three began with a tour of the US Capitol. You have to go through your Congressman to get tickets to the US Capitol tour and also for tickets to the White House tour. Casey went through her Mississippi congressman since I figured mine wouldn’t talk to me since I write him letters telling him what to do. We ended up getting tickets for the Capitol tour but not the White House one (I figure that is related to my letter writing activities).

So we got up early and headed out for our tour of the US Capitol. We were quite excited to get to see where it all happens, where the laws get made, where a bill is born, etc, etc. Unfortunately as we would come to find out, the Capitol tour consists of three rooms. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We get to the tour and go through the metal detectors and x-ray machines (I got really good at yanking all metal off of my body and putting it in a tray during the trip). These machines are pretty much in every building you go in. Good thing they are there to keep us safe from all of the bad guys.

So we make it through security and are waiting in a line for the rest of our tour group to arrive. While waiting some workers arrive to do some construction stuff in the Capitol. They are pushing a nice big cart of supplies in crates. Unfortunately their cart is wider than the metal detector. So what do the guards do to protect us from this potential threat. They have the cart just go around the metal detector.

But maybe they will search the crates. Well, that would make sense except that the crates were screwed shut. So the fantastic federal security guards call in the bomb sniffing dog to make sure it is ok. The dog detects no bombs inside the box. I’m feeling better now. Except for the fact that that crate could have been filled with guns, knives, or a frickin’ Two-Handed Broad Sword. Good thing those guards I’m paying for with my tax dollars are doing a good job.

So the tour finally begins and we go to the Rotunda (the center domed part of the Capitol building if you see it in a picture). This room is absolutely beautiful. There are statues of important figures from each state, amazing artwork, and of course now cost spared in making it look nice (gold leaf around the paintings, marble everywhere, etc). Oh and we saw the people that had the screwed shut crates here, they were being paid to renovate the benches in the rotunda. There is an amazing picture on the ceiling of the rotunda and a mural around the edge.

There are steps that apparently go all the way up to the top of the rotunda, but our tour guide said your Congressman had to personally escort you (I’m thinking at least $10k campaign donation to get that kind of tour). So explain why I can’t just go walk up there if I want. I can’t go bashing the marble with a hammer since security would have already confiscated it (unless I brought it in inside a large screwed shut crate).

Next we went to the old supreme court chamber. Nothing really notable here except for a fact that set Casey off (rare since she doesn’t get into these things like I do). Did you know that whenever a new Supreme Court Justice is appointed, they have a carpenter custom build them a chair to the their precise measurements. That’s right, you are paying to have some carpenter on payroll for this purpose. Think of this while you sit in your crumby office chair at work and pay 30% of your wages to “The Man”. I vote that they get the same crumby $30 office chair I do. Heck I’ll buy it for them myself so we can just fire that carpenter.

Next we ended in the last room. The gift shop. Of course. Oh yeah, and one of our group wanted to take a picture of the closed doors that lead to the House of Representatives but one of the two security guards at the door wouldn’t allow her. Why? Why? Why? I’m pretty sure every inch of that building has been photographed and those pictures are available online, so it is not like that is national security. And if you are a guard and don’t want your picture to end up online, get out of public service and off my dime. If you are a citizen working for a private company, you can say no to having your picture taken, but if you on my dime, suck it up.

You can pay their salaries, but not take their picture. That’s the rules I suppose.

So the Capitol tour was a real letdown. I would not really recommend it. It did cap off the experiences I had been having at all of the federal buildings though. You are not really welcome there. You the taxpayer are an inconvenience that they wish was not around. None of the wokers want you there or even like interacting with you. Maybe it was just me since they knew if I ever got elected King I would fire every last one of them.

We left the Capitol and swung by the National Archives to visit my poor abused Constitution and Bill of Rights (along with other documents or reproductions of documents).

Now the Constitution is very well protected in super thick glass. You probably couldn’t get through to it with a jackhammer. So guess how many people are guarding this document. Well not counting the three people at the metal detector when you enter the building, there is one at the door to the room where the constitution resides, and one guard ON EACH SIDE of the constitution. Now I dont’ know about you, but that seems a bit excessive to me. 3 guards drawing full-time salaries with benefits and retirement to protect something that really doesn’t need to be protected (remember the whole jackhammer couldn’t get through part). I recommend fire all three of those guards and replace them with a nice automated camera that one of the people at the metal detector at the door can watch.

Later we went out to the National Zoo. Winter isn’t really the best time to visit a zoo since all of the animals are hiding so they can stay warm. The zoo wasn’t the nicest I had ever been to, so I probably wouldn’t recommend it. But it was free….and there were Pandas (but somehow we only ended up with pictures of the Cheetahs).

We then came back into town and went by Union Station for some food and shopping. After that we met up with Casey’s friend Emily that works for a lobbyist and had some dinner and drinks. She showed us her office (which is the most expensive per square foot commercial real estate in the US). Guess those lobbyists are doing pretty well for themselves. The building happens to be the closest commercial building to the Capitol. Awesome view from the top floor terrace.

Then back to the hotel to rest up for the last day of fun.

Full Flickr Photoset Here

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