A mild earthquake hit the Washington, D.C. area this morning at around 5 a.m. It broke a jar of grapefruit marmalade that fell from a crowded shelf in my house in Arlington. Centered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, the earthquake was only around 3.7 on the Richter Scale, absolutely nothing by California standards. It did succeed in waking me and my daughter up, though. (She thought it was a “truck.”) Area residents likened it to a “big truck” or “train passing by.” Further south in Fredericksburg, Virginia, a resident said her bed shook and likened the quake to a jet passing overhead.
The so-called “Beach House Bailout Bill” recently passed by a House Committee would force taxpayers to subsidize flood and earthquake insurance for certain homeowners, most of them wealthy. The bill, H.R. 2555, has drawn criticism from environmentalists and taxpayer groups. Critics say it would effectively subsidize “development in risky and environmentally sensitive areas,” and is a “financial disaster waiting to happen for the taxpayers and the federal budget.”