Congressional Cemetery is home to 171 cenotaphs honoring members of Congress who have died. The tradition began in the early 19th century, when it was often impossible to transport bodies home for burial. Later, as this became less of an issue, members of Congress still chose to have a marker in the cemetery, even if their final resting place was elsewhere.
Washington funeral grounds like Congressional Cemetery often served as parks for the city's residents. Gravestones shaped like picnic tables encouraged people to come and spend the day, and even have a picnic.
In the 1990s, as the cemetery fell into disrepair, a small group started paying to mow the grass. That group grew to become the K9 Corps — an official organization of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery.
The cemetery that served as the first national burial ground remains an active cemetery. Here, the headstone of Rep. Tom Lantos of California, who died in 2008. The stones on top have been left by visitors as a mark of respect for Lantos, per Jewish tradition.
Among the cemetery's many luminaries is Washington native John Phillip Sousa, the bandmaster of the Marine Corps Band, who wrote more than 300 compositions. Each year on Sousa's birthday, the Marine Band pays a visit to the cemetery to play a musical tribute.
Rebecca Roberts serves as program director at Congressional Cemetery and is the co-author of a new book on the cemetery and its history. Her grandfather Hale Boggs, a representative from Louisiana, has a cenotaph in the cemetery. Boggs was aboard a plane that disappeared over Alaska in 1972 and presumably crashed; his body has never been recovered.
Back at the turn of the 19th century, Uriah Tracey was something of a trendsetter. The Connecticut senator was one of the first to fight in the Revolutionary War — and then one of the first to attempt secession from the Union. And in 1807, he was the first member of Congress buried in what later became known as Congressional Cemetery, in Washington, D.C.
Refinance activity continues to boom, fueling the home-loan market. Low interest rates have created a class of "serial refinancers" — those lucky enough to borrow at lower rates — and given them new opportunities to spend their freed up cash.
Settlement attorney Robert Gratz never used to be on a first-name basis with his clients.
"In the past, our practice was such that you'd see people, and that was the end of it," he says.
Gratz now sees the same faces all the time, of clients refinancing again and again — these days in the mid-3 percent range.
For more: Why does the government subsidize crop insurance in the first place? We try to answer that question in our latest podcast.
The federal government spends about $7 billion a year on crop insurance for U.S. farmers. Policies are sold by private companies, but the government sets the rates, so the companies can't compete on price.
People enjoy a sunny day on the beach in Knokke, on Belgium's North Sea coast, in April 2011. This summer, the weather hasn't been as nice — and resort owners and officials are feeling litigious over a pessimistic weather forecast.
Parts of Europe are experiencing extremely rainy weather this summer. But some tourist towns in Belgium and the Netherlands say their season has been blighted too — not by bad weather but by bad weather forecasting.
The mayor of the Belgian seaside resort of Knokke says it's a crime that tourism there is down this year. He means that literally.
A barista processes a customer's payment using Square, a device that turns a mobile device into a card swiper. More businesses are using the devices to simplify credit card payments. Others are embracing technology that allows consumers to pay with their cellphones.