It’s Emancipation Day in D.C., and in addition to extending the dreaded Tax Day by two days, this year, the holiday celebrates the freeing of slaves in the District 150 years ago.
On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln freed more than 3,000 slaves in the District—nine months before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation and freed the slaves in the rest of the country, according to WAMU.org.
Many schools and local government agencies in the District are closed today and students and local politicians participated in activities and the Emancipation Day Parade throughout the city.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev Al. Sharpton and Rev. Joel Osteen were at a prayer breakfast this morning at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. The original copy of D.C.’s Emancipation Act was also on display as part of a special exhibition at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
A firework display will go up in the sky in the nation’s capital at 8:30 p.m.
* Jeffrey Thompson—the District businessman at the center of a federal investigation into campaign finance misdoings in D.C.—has resigned from the board of D.C. Chartered Health Plan, according to The Washington Post.
A statement released by the company said he resigned Friday from the company, which holds an approximate $322 million annual contract to manage health care for low-income District residents.
* In a move to appease Democrats and get the budget passed, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell requested that the Commonwealth Transportation Board allocate up to $100 million to cover the cost of tolls on Midtown and Downtown tunnel project in Hampton Roads, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
His proposal could delay toll collections until January 2014.
But there is still one major transportation-related issue that needs to be resolved before final approval of the budget: the funding of the metro line to Dulles International Airport.
Democratic senators want $300 million for northern Virginia in order to mitigate toll fees being used to fund the railway extension.
According to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Democrats are reported to be trying to strike a similar deal for northern Virginia that calls for the reallocation of funds in the state’s transportation plan from projects that have not yet been started.
* In a column for The Baltimore Sun, former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich said that he predicts a referendum to legalize gay marriage in the state would suffer a “decisive defeat” at the polls.
He further said that while he believes gays deserve respect, they do not have the right to redefine society’s most important institution.
Maryland's present flirtation with gay marriage is only the latest chapter in a long-running culture war. In the "Free State's" case, it will ultimately come down to the people through a ballot initiative. A likely result: a coalition of Catholics, African-Americans, Hispanics and conservatives from both sides of the aisle send the measure to a decisive defeat. (Such a result would make Maryland the 32nd state to defeat a gay marriage referendum.) Opponents of all stripes will be tested in unique ways. First and foremost will be how to go about stating an opposing opinion without the usual "ism" and "phobic" charges from the secular left. It's not so easy — being on the cultural defensive never is.