Congress Reaches Debt Ceiling Deal: Last night, Congress finally reached an agreement on the debt ceiling. Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement to cut spending by $2.4 trillion over the next ten years and raise the debt limit in two stages, $900 billion at first—with a $400 billion immediate increase—and a second increase of $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion, pending a vote in Congress. About 50 percent of the cuts will come from the Pentagon beginning in 2013. Social Security is exempt from cuts. The agreement came about 24 hours before Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the department will have exhausted every workaround on the debt ceiling. Nothing like waiting until the last minute.
Maybe instead of following Congress's debt negotiations, you were one of the people who went to go see either Dolly Parton at Wolf Trap or Britney Spears at the Verizon Center.
DC Sees Graffiti Increase: This weekend the Washington Post's Lori Aratani reported on a phenomenon that DC and many other large cities around the country are seeing: an increase in graffiti. Aratani reports that the city is on track to remove twice as much graffiti as it did last year; last year DC's Department of Public Works removed 1,780 instances of graffiti and this year it's already removed 3,946 instances. It appears most of the tagging isn't related to gang activity.
DC Tops Nation in Drug and Alcohol Abuse: A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that DC tops the nation in abuse of drugs and alcohol, with 11.2 percent of people 12 and older abusing drugs or alcohol. This rate is well above the national average of 8.9 percent, Emily Babay at the Washington Examiner reports. Maryland's abuse rate came in at 8.1 percent and Virginia's at 9.4 percent. Experts say the high rate in the District could be due to widely available illegal drugs, high stress levels, and difficulty getting into treatment programs.
Arlington Residents Protest Street Construction: Liz Essley at the Examiner reports that Arlington residents are upset about a construction project on Arlington Ridge Road between 23rd Street and South Meade Street that is scheduled to start on August 8. In 2009, residents asked the city to deal with one intersection where cars tended to go too fast, but now the city has planned a $200,000 improvement project that will rip up sidewalks, curbs, and lanes.
Medical Marijuana Users Must Pass Scrutiny: DC recently passed a medical marijuana measure, and Tom Howell Jr. at the Washington Times notes that the District Department of Health wants to ensure it gets "real applications" from "real people." The city also rejected 17 cultivation and 13 dispensary applications.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton Involved in Fender Bender: DC's congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton was struck by a Metropolitan Police Department vehicle in Southeast DC. Norton was traveling on North Carolina Avenue, Southeast, in her gray Ford Fusion hybrid Sunday morning at 9:30 AM near her home when she was struck by a police vehicle headed south on Eighth Street, Southeast, Donna St. George at the Washington Post reports. The best part? Norton's vanity license plate is reportedly "EHN1."
Briefly Noted: The Washington Post's Vanessa Williams wrote a profile of DC councilmember Tommy Wells, who has become increasingly unpopular among his embattled peers on the council. . . . Demonstrators from both sides of the abortion debate faced off in Germantown on Sunday over late-term abortion provider LeRoy Carhart, who recently moved to the state.