(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) One would expect that most demonstrations outside IRS headquarters in D.C. involve calls for lower taxes. This afternoon, however, congressional candidate Del. Patrick Hope (D) held a press conference outside the IRS to call for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
Hope, who’s one of 10 Democratic candidates running for the congressional seat of the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), said he supports the budget put forth by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which raises taxes on Americans making more than $250,000 per year and creates a new, higher tax bracket for those making more than $1 million. It would also close corporate tax loopholes and tax individuals making more than $100 million annually at 48 percent.
The budget also would eliminate the tax difference between long-term capital gains income and regular income from salaries and wages. It also would reverse the effects of the sequester, which would mean more jobs for federal workers. Hope circulated a petition trying to draw support for what he calls the “Millionaire’s Tax,” and said he gathered 33,000 signatures.
A tax hike on the wealthy “solves our revenue problem very simply, by bringing in more revenue,” Hope said. “Our future is at stake in the upcoming Congress. Will we pass a grand bargain that cuts our social safety net? Or will we close the loopholes and demand the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans pay their fair share? That’s what the 2014 election will be about all over the United States — and that is where we have our biggest differences in our primary in the 8th District.”
The higher tax rate could hit residents of the district Hope seeks to represent particularly hard. Arlington has consistently ranked among the five richest counties in America in recent years, even landing at No. 1 by some metrics. Hope’s campaign, however, argues that a relatively small number of Arlington residents are in the very high income bracket that would be impacted by the Millionaire’s Tax.
Hope, a resident of Arlington’s Buckingham neighborhood, also released his tax returns and called upon his opponents in the June 10 congressional primary to do the same. Hope, who works as a healthcare attorney in addition to his part-time duties as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, earned $231,197 last year — $197,621 from work as a lobbyist for a nonprofit healthcare association, $28,176 from the Commonwealth of Virginia and $5,400 from Johns Hopkins University. He paid $38,645 in federal taxes, or 16.7 percent.
“Transparency is something that is very important in politics,” Hope said. “The people we seek to represent deserve to know everything about us.”
Entertainment icon Oprah Winfrey spoke at a fundraiser for congressional candidate Lavern Chatman (D) Saturday evening.
The event was held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott at 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City. Tickets for the fundraiser started at $150. At the high end, a $2,600 donation to the campaign came with reserved seating, admission to a VIP reception and a photo with Winfrey.
The fundraiser was closed to the press. The Chatman campaign issued a photo (above) and the following press release following the event.
Democratic congressional candidate (VA-CD8) Lavern Chatman hosted a campaign event Saturday night in Arlington, Virginia.
Chatman has run effective nonprofit programs and organizations. She is the former CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, she founded the Grandfathers Group mentoring program for at-risk young boys, and co-founded the Nova Coalition an organization focused on increasing voter participation, voter restoration, and civic engagement. Personally, Chatman has a group of 15 young women she mentors called the “Fab 15,” and all 15 women attended.
“I will continue to be a champion for Virginia women,” Chatman said. “I am pro pay equity, pro-choice and pro women’s health. I have been in the trenches working with and mentoring young women and girls and I want to keep making a difference for my community in Congress.”
Chatman serves as a “host parent” for one of the graduates of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls – South Africa while the student is studying in the United States. Philanthropist and global media leader Oprah Winfrey appeared at a campaign in support of her friend.
“Stedman and I came here tonight to support Lavern Chatman,” said Oprah Winfrey. “I’ve seen how Lavern embraced with her whole heart being a host mom to one of my girls, who recently graduated from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa. Lavern makes people feel like they matter, and I see that Lavern is happiest when she is serving others.”
“This was a great event for our campaign and to advance the conversation about what we can do to champion issues that impact women and girls in Virginia,” Chatman said. “Oprah and I share a strong commitment to making a difference for future generations.”
Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) announced this afternoon that he’s ending his campaign for Congress.
Lopez was one of nearly a dozen candidates in the race to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) His campaign issued the following press release today.
Thanking supporters and pledging to continue his work to expand opportunity, Delegate Alfonso Lopez announced today the end of his campaign for Congress:
“I got into this race because even though on paper the economy is doing well, too many people are still struggling to make ends meet. Everyone deserves the opportunity to build a better future.
I am proud of how my campaign resonated with many voters in the Eighth District, especially new Americans, and that we assembled a coalition of many generous supporters. However, after we closed the fundraising quarter, I took the time to evaluate, with my team, the position of my campaign. It is clear to me that I do not have the resources necessary to run the campaign we wanted and that the people of the Eighth District deserved. With that in mind, I do not want to ask my supporters to continue to make the sacrifices of time, treasure and talent that they have so generously made thus far.
Although my campaign for Congress comes to an end today, my work to expand opportunity for all Virginians continues. In the coming weeks, I will lay out a new plan for my work to expand opportunity here in Virginia. We must do more in Richmond to ensure that everyone has a chance at the American Dream.
The voters of the Eighth District have many qualified and talented candidates to choose from on June 10 — many of whom I know well. I am confident that our next representative will fight for the progressive values of Northern Virginia.”
Lopez’s fellow local Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Del. Patrick Hope, is also running for Moran’s seat. Hope issued the following statement this afternoon regarding Lopez’s decision.
Alfonso Lopez has been a leader for environmentalists, gun safety advocates, and for new Americans in Richmond and during this campaign for the 8th Congressional District. I want to publicly congratulate him for running a strong campaign. I’ve seen Alfonso’s tenacity when we served together in Richmond, and we are lucky to have him as part of the Arlington County delegation. Alfonso has a bright future in politics, and I look forward to continuing to work with him in the future.
Retiring congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) says members of Congress are “underpaid.”
It may not be a popular message at a time when Congress’ approval rate is hovering around 13 percent, but Moran says the $174,000 salary for members of Congress isn’t enough to allow them to “live decently in Washington,” according to CQ Roll Call.
“I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world,” Moran told Roll Call.
Dennis Bartow, 39, announced yesterday that he will be vying for the retiring Moran’s seat, facing Micah Edmond in a Republican convention, set for April 26 at Bishop O’Connell High School. Bartow, a U.S. Army veteran and founder of two companies, lives in Alexandria with his wife and son.
Bartow announced his candidacy in a press release, in which he says he served in the military in Iraq, Kuwait and Kosovo. He also founded Bartow Imports, which distributes wine to 10 states, and a federal government contractor. He is running on a platform of economic development and “smaller, smarter government.”
“The neighborhoods and communities that make up Virginia’s 8th District stand at a crossroads today in how we are governed,” Bartow said in the release. “I’m running for Congress because Americans are tired of the gridlock and pessimism. I believe we can work together to create policies that will spur job growth and prosperity again – so that every American has the opportunity to share in our great nation’s promise. I will reinvigorate the district and our nation with the business experience and entrepreneurship that helped me launch two successful businesses and create jobs.”
The filing deadline for the election was March 27. The field for the primary includes 11 Democrats — Adam Ebbin, Alfonso Lopez, Patrick Hope, Bill Euille, Charniele Herring, Bruce Shuttleworth, Lavern Chatman, Don Beyer, Mark Levine, Satish Korpe and Derek Hyra. Nancy Najarian, who had announced she was running in March, only secured 549 signatures of the required 1,000 to qualify for election, according to the 8th Congressional District Democrats’ website.
The Democratic Primary will be held June 10. The 8th District has been a Democratic stronghold for decades, with local and national Democratic candidates consistently winning more than 60 percent of votes.
The Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act (FAIR Act), if it passes, would represent the biggest wage increase for federal workers since the 2008 recession. Moran co-sponsors the bill with Fairfax County Rep. Gerry Connolly (D), who introduced the legislation, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), John Tierney (D-Mass.) and other House members.
Moran said in a press release announcing the legislation that the attrition in the federal workforce has increased 35 percent since 2009. In 2013, earnings grew in every industry except for civilian federal workers, whose earnings fell $6.7 billion according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Federal workers were granted a 1 percent pay increase last year, the press release said, but that lagged behind a 1.5 percent growth in inflation.
“Federal workers deserve to be compensated for the vital role they play in the lives of millions of Americans,” Moran said. “These are the men and women finding lifesaving cures at NIH, catching criminals, supporting our troops, and protecting the environment. They have bills to pay and families to support. After three years of pay freezes and too many furloughs, they’ve earned this modest, decent raise.”
After the jump, you can read Moran’s full press release: (more…)
A bill introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in the House of Representatives this week would clear the way for states and localities to take full legislative authority over regulating the towing industry.
Tow trucks were classified federally as “interstate carriers,” in 1994, putting its regulation under federal oversight, preempting state and local towing laws.
A year later, according to Moran’s office, Congress legislated away the regulatory body that oversaw the industry, leaving it vulnerable to predatory towing without consequences.
Moran’s bill, if passed, would remove the federal preemption and bring towing regulation fully under state and local control.
“Our state and local governments are the most logical places to regulate towing and many already have an established body of law in place to do so,” Moran said in a statement. “This bill would bring those laws back into effect by removing federal preemption and allow state and local governments the ability to establish common-sense, pro-consumer towing protections for their residents.”
Moran’s announcement of the bill — called H.R. 4131, the “State and Local Predatory Enforcement Act” — comes less than two weeks after Arlington passed a new set of towing regulations aimed at protecting car owners, while raising the trespass towing fee car owners must pay to $135.
Moran co-sponsored an amendment in 2005 that gave states and localities some towing oversight, but some governments were still open to liability with their towing laws. If Moran’s bill passes, that would no longer be the case.
“Representative Moran has long been a champion on this and many other issues important to state and local governments,” Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said in the press release. “Dating back to 1994, he has worked to make certain we have the ability to enact common-sense, pro-consumer trespass towing protections for our residents and visitors. Arlington County’s towing ordinance is in place and successful today because of his efforts, and we thank him for the introduction of this legislation to remove the last vestiges of federal preemption.”
The full text of Moran’s press release is after the jump. (more…)
Liberal talk show host Mark Levine will join this year’s crowded Democratic primary race for retiring Rep. Jim Moran’s 8th Congressional District seat.
Levine, 47, hosts “The Inside Scoop,” a syndicated talk-radio program, and has previously worked as a legislative counsel to former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). He also has worked as a corporate trial attorney, teacher and “Nazi hunter” for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Levine’s entrance into the race makes the field for the June Democratic primary an 11-horse race, along with Dels. Alfonso Lopez, Patrick Hope, Charniele Herring and Mark Sickles, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer and Lavern Chatman, Bruce Shuttleworth and Derek Hyra. Republican Micah Edmond is also vying for the seat.
“All the people I’m running against are good Democrats, but they’re going to walk in there, cast a vote along party lines, we’ll lose [234-201] and it’ll be business as usual, back to dysfunction,” Levine told ARLnow.com. “Politics could use a lot more forceful advocacy. What I’ve done on the radio is I’ve shown how we can use discussion, rhetoric and talk to change the entire debate and not just lock our heads and vote.”
Levine filed for the race today, he said, hoping to use the seat to promote his platform of universal healthcare, expanding Social Security and Medicare, and protecting women’s rights and voting rights, among others.
“I don’t believe there’s a single federal issue of any importance that I haven’t dealt with,” he said. He’s gone on TV hundreds of times — including frequently on Fox News shows like “The O’Reilly Factor” — to defend his positions, carrying a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his pocket.
Levine said his time as a “Nazi hunter” came during the summer of 1990 when he was in law school, working for the Office of Special Investigations tracking down Nazi war criminals who had lied on official documents to gain entry into the country and earn citizenship. He said he personally built cases that allowed the DOJ to deport two Nazis.
Levine lives in Alexandria, where he moved in 2001 after he was hired by the Congressional Black Caucus to build the congressional challenge to the 2000 presidential election.
“I’m a true believer,” he said. “I believe in America, I believe in the constitution. I really firmly believe in this stuff. If that’s what people want, they can elect me.”
Photo courtesy Mark Levine
Lavern Chatman Running for Congress — Lavern Chatman, former president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, has announced that she’s running for the 8th District seat of the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.). “We need leaders who understand the struggles and joys of raising and educating children and the benefits of providing them opportunities for economic empowerment,” Chatman, a Democrat, said in a statement. [Blue Virginia]
TandemNSI Launches — TandemNSI, Arlington’s initiative to bring national security technology companies together with government agencies and universities, officially launched Tuesday night. The $525,000 public-private partnership is being launched at a time when Arlington is still smarting from the impending loss of the National Science Foundation. [Bisnow, DoD Buzz]
McKinley Elementary Expansion – A plan to add 225 seats to McKinley Elementary School by the fall of 2016 is moving forward. Arlington Public Schools hopes to complete the design of the addition by the end of 2014 and begin construction by mid-2015. [Sun Gazette]
Restaurant Challenge Begins — The Ballston Business Improvement District is now accepting applications for its Restaurant Challenge. The BID is seeking the area’s “next signature restaurant.” The winner of the challenge will receive an interest-free loan and an 11-year lease on the former Red Parrot Asian Bistro space at 1110 N. Glebe Blvd. ”This new program is designed to activate commercial space and showcase the community of Ballston as a magnet for discovery and innovation,” the BID said. [Ballston BID, Washington Business Journal]
Marymount Creates Redskins Gear for Women — Fashion design students at Marymount University in Arlington have created new fashion-forward Washington Redskins apparel for women. The student project was initiated in response to what a professor saw as a lack of stylish options for female Redskins fans. [Marymount University]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
In a statement, Fisette said a major decision point for him was “the contrast between the dysfunctional climate on Capitol Hill and the can-do atmosphere in Arlington.”
Congressman Jim Moran recently announced that he will not seek re-election. He deserves our heartfelt thanks for twenty-four years of strong, principled service to all of us in Northern Virginia. His voice and experience in Congress will be missed.
Many friends and colleagues have asked of my interest in running for this seat and have encouraged me to run. While appreciative of those comments, I have decided that I will not seek this position.
One reason for my decision is the contrast between the dysfunctional climate on Capitol Hill and the can-do atmosphere in Arlington. The state of politics at the national level is disheartening, with the outsized influence of shrill, well-financed forces and the disintegration of sincere efforts to forge compromise, respect one’s colleagues and realize the potential of government to make people’s lives better. The distorted effects of re-districting and the demands of a relatively small band of conservative extremists have hijacked the House in particular for the moment.
Arlington is different. This community continues to take policy deliberations seriously, engage widely and with civility, and put our progressive values into action. As a result, we have achieved amazing things together and are in a strong position to continue moving forward. Here, diverse people with good will and good ideas can and do make a difference. Having just been re-elected by the voters and tapped by my colleagues to lead the County Board this year, I will be staying to continue my work in our wonderful community.
There are many qualified Democrats who could represent the Eighth District very capably. I will work with our party’s nominee to secure a victory in the November election and keep the Eighth District in the progressive ranks.
Introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama, would ensure that approximately 800,000 furloughed federal workers receive pay for the duration of the government shutdown, regardless of furlough status.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced the legislation to the Senate, which is likely to pass the bill, Moran said last week.
“[Saturday's] legislation guarantees that retroactive pay for our Federal employees will not become a political bargaining chip,” Moran said in a statement. “This is an issue of fairness. 800,000 federal employees are already weathering the effects of pay freezes, benefit cuts, and furloughs; and now, because of a dysfunctional Congress, they’ve had to worry about even receiving a paycheck.”
In a rare display of bipartisanship, the bill passed 407-0. Moran, however, used the occasion for another jab at congressional Republicans.
“I’m glad my friends across the aisle were able to put aside their ideological crusade to dismantle Obamacare and get behind this legislation,” he said, via press release. “Their approach has already wrought too much hardship and today’s vote ensures it won’t hit the family budgets of our civil servants.”
Also on Saturday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that 300,000 Pentagon civilian employees who had been furloughed would return to work.
With some 800,000 federal workers being furloughed as a result of the government shutdown, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and other local members of Congress are calling for retroactive pay for civil servants.
Moran and nearly a dozen cosponsors have introduced the “Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act,” which would provide retroactive pay for furloughed employees after Congress gets its act together and passes a government funding bill. Following the last government shutdown, in 1995 and 1996, the Republican-controlled Congress passed similar legislation.
While 85 percent of federal workers live outside the D.C. region, an extended shutdown could have wide-ranging impacts locally, from financial difficulties for families to possible pain for the regional economy.
Moran and his cosponsors released the following press release about the Retroactive Pay Fairness Act early this morning.
Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, introduced the “Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act” to ensure all federal employees receive retroactive pay for the duration of a federal government shutdown, regardless of individual furlough status. Congressman Frank Wolf will be the lead Republican cosponsor. They are joined by Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-[MD]), Rob Wittman (R-VA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Scott Rigell (R-VA), and John Delaney (D-MD).
“Nearly a million federal workers could lose their pay because Congress failed to do its job and keep the government up and running,” said Rep. Moran. “Leaving the question of retroactive pay for furloughed employees, already shouldering much of the burden of sequestration, up to this highly divisive Congress is deeply concerning. Today’s bipartisan proposal shields family pocketbooks from partisan politics and reaffirms our commitment to our federal employees.”
Federal employee pay is suspended in the event of a funding lapse or government shutdown. Retroactive payment for “non-essential” and “essential” employees must be approved through the legislative process by Congress.
“Employees at the FBI, DEA and U.S. Marshals Service shouldn’t be punished because the Congress couldn’t get its job done,” Rep. Wolf said. “They should be properly compensated for the hard work they do to make our nation a safer and better place. Let’s also not forget that several federal workers paid the ultimate price just last week in the Navy Yard tragedy.”
“It is unacceptable that Congress’s failure to reach a responsible agreement to fund the government will force federal workers to stay home without pay rather than serve the American people ,” said Rep. Hoyer. “Our hardworking federal workforce – middle-class Americans who support our war fighters, defend our borders, keep our air clean and food safe, care for our veterans, and fulfill many other critical services – should not have to face furloughs. Like so many other Americans, they have mortgages to meet, college tuitions to pay, and families to support. That’s why I have joined my colleagues in sponsoring this bipartisan proposal to meet our basic moral obligation to our public servants and ensure all federal employees receive retroactive pay.”
“After months of furloughs and multiple pay freezes, the worst thing we could do to federal employees is to impose a needless government shutdown furlough on them,” said Rep. Holmes Norton. “In the past, Congress has not permanently placed its own failure to keep the government running on innocent federal employees. We should follow past precedent and retroactively pay our beleaguered federal employees who face furlough if the federal government shuts down on October 1.”
[ ... ]
“In the mid-1990’s, the Republican-led Congress provided furloughed Federal employees with retroactive pay in recognition that our civil servants do not deserve to be victims of congressional dysfunction,” said Rep. Connolly. “Our bipartisan bill will ensure that this Congress, just like the Republican-led Congresses before, honors its commitment to the dedicated men and women of our civil service who serve our constituents.”
Photo courtesy Andrew Clegg
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) was frustrated with House Republicans Monday afternoon, just hours before a midnight deadline to reach a deal to keep the federal government from shutting down.
“It’s terribly unfair, it’s wrong and it’s irresponsible on the part of the majority of Congress,” Moran told ARLnow.com. “The idea that you would deprive 35 million of affordable health insurance for a minimum of a year in exchange for keeping the government open for another 45 days; that’s not a real negotiation. We can’t accept that.”
Moran said the chances of a shutdown were “pretty high,” and expressed dismay that his constituents would be among the hardest hit of any district in the country.
“I think [my constituents] know that I’m doing everything I can to keep the government funded,” he said. “I feel terrible that this kind of anxiety has been put on their shoulders through no fault of their own.”
Monday afternoon, President Obama said in a press conference that he was “not resigned” to the government shutdown, even after the U.S. Senate voted 54-46 to reject the House’s measure to delay a shutdown 45 days in exchange for delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for a year.
Moran said he has prepared a bill with bipartisan sponsors that, if the government were to shut down, “would drop at 12:01 a.m.” to ensure federal employees furloughed by the shutdown would receive retroactive pay. While Moran expects the bill to pass the Senate, he said he’s less sure about its chances in the GOP-controlled House.
“There are a lot of Republicans who want federal employees to be punished just because they work for the government,” he said. “These are the ones who are more often than not elected on the platform that government doesn’t work. They get elected, then they go about trying to prove it.”
The last time the government shut down was for 21 days in 1995 and 1996, during which time Moran was also in Congress. He said legislators who were there “swore they were never going to let it happen again.”
“I think the American people are going to appreciate the federal government more when they find they don’t have it,” Moran said.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) says the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday was “only the latest in a long line” of horrific events.
The shooting spree claimed the lives of 12 people and gunman Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist. Moran, an outspoken supporter of gun control legislation, spoke on the House floor today and said that Congress must act to pass stronger laws to minimize gun violence.
“While it’s too early to know what might have prevented this week’s mass shooting, we do know what will ensure it happens again: doing nothing,” he said. Moran’s office supplied the following transcript of the speech.
On Monday, just over one mile from where I stand, once again our nation experienced a horrific incidence of mass gun violence. Our deepest sympathies go out to the friends and families who lost loved ones at Washington Navy Yard.
As this chart shows, this mass shooting is only the latest in a line that includes Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown. But even these horrendous mass killings do not fully reflect our nation’s problem with gun violence.
Each year, approximately 100,000 people in America are shot by a gun, 30,000 die from a gun-related injury, and 10,000 are murdered by a firearm. By 2015, gun-related deaths will surpass auto-related deaths for the first time in decades. And while it’s too early to know what might have prevented this week’s mass shooting, we do know what will ensure it happens again: doing nothing.”
Our nation’s gun violence epidemic will continue so long as we resign ourselves to the belief that indiscriminant violence is the price of freedom. The Chief Medical Officer at MedStar Hospital expressed the sentiments of many when she pleaded, “There’s something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to try and eradicate.” If we don’t do all we can to minimize gun violence through stronger laws and improved services, all we’ll ever have to offer our constituents are more condolences.
Claim: County Erroneously Booted Car — A D.C. resident named Rebecca Jones says she parked her car at her fiance’s private residence in Arlington and was surprised to come back from a trip and find it booted. The county claimed she owed nearly $4,000 in unpaid taxes but, Jones says, later admitted that the enforcement computer system targeted her car only based on name association with a different Rebecca Jones. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Native Makes ‘Most Beautiful’ List — Arlington native Carolyn Walser, 28, has made The Hill newspaper’s annual 50 Most Beautiful People list. Walser, a Democrat, is a scheduler for Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) was a staffer for the former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.). [The Hill]
Military Appreciation Night at Chick-fil-A — On Saturday, from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m., the Chick-fil-A restaurant at 2200 Crystal Drive in Crystal City will hold a Military Appreciation Night. Active and former military personnel and their immediate family members are eligible for free food and drink with valid identification. [Facebook]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick