It’s no surprise that Washington produces, attracts, and rewards smart women. What is surprising is the number of new women in power positions since Washingtonian’s last list of most powerful women in 2013.
This year, we salute the first female four-star admiral, applaud the first woman to head the Kennedy Center, and look for breaking news from a cadre of women in key positions at new-media outlets such as Vox and BuzzFeed.
What makes all of the women on our list powerful? They define the agenda and determine the course of action in their enterprises. They’re not necessarily members of Congress, for example, but could be the staffers who steer congressional action.
Over the past six months, we talked to dozens of area leaders to put together this list of more than 100 of Washington’s most powerful women. The roster reflects the many spheres where women now hold sway, in both the public and private sectors as well as in the arts, science, and community service.
The FBI and local authorities are investigating an apparent death threat against students at Howard University, a spokesman for the school says. The unconfirmed threat appeared on Twitter early Thursday in the form of an anonymous, racist rant seeking to connect the recent upheaval at the University of Missouri with Howard, the nation's oldest historically black college or university.
The rant appears to have originated Wednesday on an internet discussion site. In it, the author claims to have returned to Maryland from Columbia, Missouri, where earlier this week Missouri students upset with their school's tepid reactions to a string of racially motivated incidents prompted the resignations of top university administrators.
Airbnb's $8 million lobbying effort to win at the San Francisco polls is just the beginning. The lodging company announced Wednesday its "Community Compact," a plan under which it will "use its experience in cities across the country to work with policymakers here in DC." That's a cute way of saying the company plans to hire a ton of lobbyists to work on city and state governments.
There is a proposal in front of the DC Council right now that seek curtail the company's reach here. A bill pushed by UNITE-HERE Local 25, the union representing the city's hotel workers, would limit hosts to renting out rooms in occupied units instead of whole houses or apartments. The city's hotel industry briefly proposed legislation that would have capped the number of properties an individual Airbnb host could list on the site to five (none of which could be located in the same building), but it was withdrawn last week.
Airbnb will likely spend thousands of dollars to fight accusations of raising rents, hurting businesses, disrupting neighborhoods, and facilitating the occassional Ja Rule house party.
Bei Bei, the National Zoo's two-month-old giant panda cub, has proved again that he's a pretty great bear by taking his first cautious steps on all four legs. The cub, born August 22, was seen Tuesday evening wobbling around some rocks inside the zoo's panda habitat.
In a video, set to pastoral barnyard music, Bei Bei can be seen taking seven or eight steps on his own before his mother, Mei Xiang, nuzzles him, knocks him down, and then picks uph his growing body with her mouth. (The National Zoo describes the interaction as a "major cuddle.")
Although he lasted fewer than ten steps, Bei Bei's waddle cemented his second-place entry in Washingtonian's panda rankings. The cub, who weighed 9.5 pounds as of October 30, achieved the ability to walk on all fours on the 87th day of his life, several days ahead of the pace set by the zoo's previous giant panda cub, 2-year-old Bao Bao, who needed 93 days to become ambulatory. Well done, Bei Bei!
The George Washington University is sticking by a statement it made in October upholding the honorary degree it awarded Bill Cosby in 1997, despite a unanimous vote this week by its student government in favor of stripping Cosby of the honor.
"While we are shocked and disturbed by the allegations against Mr. Cosby, honorary degrees are conferred at a moment in time, based on what the university knows about the honoree at that time," the university's statement reads. "It has never been the university’s practice to rescind an honorary degree."
More than 50 women have accused Cosby of drugging or sexually assaulting them. While Cosby's public image has only been affected since 2014, allegations against the comedian date back to at least 1967, and Cosby admitted in a 2005 deposition to giving women sedatives while pursuing them for sex.
A few weeks ago, we asked for your best fall foliage snaps, tagged with #washingtonianfoliage. Now that the rain has washed most of the leaves away, we figured we should share the most creative and jaw-droppingly gorgeous snaps we saw in our Instagram feed.
We all remember the Redskins' Super Bowl win in '92, Joe Theismann’s broken leg in '85, and the Nats' World Championship in 2015 (they won, right?). But DC has had a multitude of sports moments—good and bad—that aren't as dramatic but are just as important.
Michael Jordan Blocks the Bulls
It was all smiles and competitive rage when Michael Jordan stepped out of the owner’s suite and back onto the court as a Washington Wizard in October 2001. While the legend’s two-year tenure as a Wizard player was marked with mediocrity, there were still times that Jordan’s greatness was on full display. His first game against his former team, the Chicago Bulls, was one of those times.
Late in the game’s second quarter, Jordan drained a free throw, making him only the fourth player in NBA history with 30,000 career points. Then, with only 15 seconds left in the game and the Wizards clinging to a small lead, “His Airness” flew. Bulls’ forward Ron Mercer was on a fast break with a clear path for what should have been an easy lay-up. Instead, Jordan come up from behind him and, with two hands, pinned the ball against the backboard. The sold-out crowd at the MCI Center (renamed Verizon Center in 2006) erupted as the 38-year-old Jordan stared down the Bulls bench. It was easily Jordan’s best moment as a Wizard.
18 months later, Jordan would re-retire as a player, thinking he was headed back to management. Instead, he was fired (for good reasons).
Joe Juneau’s Goal Sends Caps to First and Only Stanley Cup
It wasn’t a particularly memorable 1997-98 regular season for the Washington Capitals. While stars Peter Bondra, Adam Oates, and goaltender Olaf Kolzig led a talented team, the Caps were maddeningly inconsistent and finished only fourth in a rather uninspiring Eastern Conference. Then, the playoffs happened.
Three dramatic overtime wins propelled the Caps to a six-game series win against the Boston Bruins. Next came a dismantling of the eighth-seed Ottawa Senators (who had just taken down the heavily favored New Jersey Devils), where the Caps outscored the Sens 19-4 in the five-game-series win. It was on to Buffalo and a matchup against one of the greatest goaltenders ever, an in-his-prime Dominik Hasek. A evenly matched series set the stage for a dramatic Game 6. The Sabres led 2-1 with only six minutes to go in regulation when Bondra tied it. The game went into overtime, but six minutes and 24 seconds into the sudden-death period, Joe Juneau entered DC lore with a goal that sent the Caps to their first, and so far only, Stanley Cup Finals.
The Caps would end up getting swept by the Detroit Red Wings, but Juneau’s goal remains the most triumphant moment in Washington Capitals history.
The Maryland Terrapins Lose “The Greatest Game Ever Played”
Not every defining sports moment is a good one. Often times, it is heartbreak that defines a memory. In 1974, possibly the best Maryland Terrapins team ever (well, until this year’s version) lost to the North Carolina State Wolfpack in what was billed at the time as “the greatest game ever played.”
Today, there is of little need for the best teams to win their conference championship--68 teams, including 36 at-large bids, make the NCAA tournament. But back then, in order to even have a chance at a national championship, teams had to win their conference. That’s exactly what the Terps and Wolfpack--considered two of the best squads in the country--were fighting for on March 9, 1974.
Tom McMillen (who later served in Congress) and Len Elmore led the Maryland team to a five-point halftime lead, but the Wolfpack roared back. A missed John Lucas jumper sent the game into overtime, but a Wolfpack layup with seconds remaining sealed the deal and sent the Terps home. The Wolfpack went on to to win the 1974 national championship, but the game helped the Terps establish itself as one of the best (and most innovative) college basketball teams of the early 1970s.
Vince Lombardi Becomes a Washingtonian
With all due respect to Don Shula, Bill Belichick, and Joe Gibbs, Vince Lombardi is the greatest coach in NFL history. And for one glorious year, he turned around the Redskins and helped set the stage for a two decade run as one of NFL’s model franchises. It all began on February 6, 1969, when Redskins President Edward Bennett Williams introduced Lombardi to a rabid Redskin fan base, hungry to see a winner after years of losing. At the press conference, Lombardi explained why he had left Green Bay for Washington, “Why did I choose Washington among offers from other cities? Because it is the capital of the world. And I have some plans to make it the football capital."
While the team was far from perfect in 1969, they won more times than they lost. Led by quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, they finished 7-5, the first time the Washington Redskins had had a winning record in 14 seasons. Hope burned eternal for the 1970 season, but tragedy struck. During the summer, Lombardi was diagnosed with colon cancer. On September 3, 1970, Vince Lombardi died at 57.
Bill Austin coached the 1970 season, to disappointing results. But that season led to the Skins hiring George Allen and making a Super Bowl appearance in 1972.
The Washington Senators win the 1924 World Series
Yes, there was baseball in the nation’s capital before Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and racing presidents. The Washington Senators (also known as the Nationals) played 71 seasons in DC, losing much more often than they won. After all, the old mantra about the baseball team in Washington was “first in war, first in peace, last in the American League.” But for at least one season, that wasn’t true.
After splitting the first six games of the 1924 World Series, the Washington Senators and the New York Giants returned to Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. for Game 7. The Senators were losing 3-1 in the eighth inning until Bucky Harris (who was also the manager) hit a bounding ball over the Giants’ third baseman's head, driving in the tying runs. Legend has it that the ball hit a pebble on the infield, causing it to carve a bizarre path skyward. Innings later, rookie Earl McNeely won the game with a bounding single of his own. When the final out was made, Griffith Stadium erupted in celebration. As described by famed Washington Post sports reporter Shirley Povich, “the crowd catapulted out of the stands to thrash onto the field and to dance on the dugout roofs, refusing to leave the park until long after nightfall.” The next day was even more wild, with the joy spread across the city. As Povich also wrote, people packed Pennsylvania Avenue, “the streets lined by tens of thousands.”
To this day, the 1924 World Series is the only time that a DC sports franchise has clinched a championship at home.
The 1962 Thanksgiving Football Riot
It was Thanksgiving Day 1962 when more than 50,000 football fans packed into DC (now RFK) Stadium to see the private St. John’s College High School take on public Eastern High in the City Title Game. At the time, it was the largest sports crowd in city’s history. It started out as a joyous day, full of football, fun and turkey. But it soon turned tragic and violent.
As the game went on, it became clear that tensions were high in the stands, with St. John’s nearly all-white fans and Eastern's nearly all-black fans exchanging taunts. As the final ticks of the clock melted away, fans from both sides started seeping onto the field. Within moments of the final buzzer, an all-out riot started. Three hundred and fifty people were injured. In the end, St. John’s 20-7 victory did not matter. The riots and violence became a national story, marring high school football in the District.
The city title game between the city’s top public and private schools would not be played again for a decade. It then took a 42-year hiatus until 2014’s Gonzaga-H.D. Woodson tilt.
The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.’s Making D.C. History Awards honor organizations that have helped shape the city’s heritage. Last Thursday the society hosted the fourth-annual ceremony for the awards at the Carnegie Library, where it honored the Association for the Study of African American Life & History, Clyde’s Restaurant Group, the Cassell family, the Hillcrest Children & Family Center, the Ourisman family, and Wagner Roofing.
“We’re making history,” Historical Society executive director John Suau said. “That’s the purpose of the awards. It really brings together a broad spectrum of people and it’s a way to provide that sense of place in DC.”
DC traffic is not for the faint of heart. But some drivers have secret strategies—shortcuts, if you will—for getting across town in rush hour.
Are you one of them? We’re looking for savvy drivers to share their tips, for an upcoming story. Is there a street you avoid at all costs? An avenue that you love because traffic always zips along? Leave us a comment here or on Facebook, tweet @washingtonian, or email Sherri Dalphonse (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your best strategies for navigation.
The Reformed Whores aren't the only ones with a creative response to the Washington NFL team's epically vulgar legal defense of its nickname as the franchise seeks to restore the federal protections on its trademarks. The team's recent court filing also caught the attention of HBO's John Oliver, who spent a few minutes on Last Week Tonight picking apart the document, in which the team justifies its name—a word commonly accepted as a racial slur against Native Americans—by listing dozens of products with usually unmentionable names.
With the freedom of subscription cable, though, Oliver was able to read off many of the entries that other television channels blanched at. "I could go on, so I will," the English comedian said. "They also pointed to Milf Weed, Make Your Own Dildo, and Laughing My Vagina Off. I could stop, but I won't."