L’Enfant’s Genius in Planning DC Greater Than You Thought


(A digital rendering of the U.S. Capitol as it would have looked in 1814; credit: Scott Berg)
Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s genius in planning Washington, DC becomes even more dramatic when reading and looking through this material presented in an interactive presentation in the Washington Post Magazine by George Mason University’s Scott Berg.
Be sure to watch the animated treatment of the building of Washington, DC midway down the article.
— Steve Clemons


13 comments on “L’Enfant’s Genius in Planning DC Greater Than You Thought

  1. questions says:

    pp 40-41 suggest that expertise in witnesses requires a reasonable method, some training in the relevant field, peer review, how the expert gets from a premise to a conclusion (as in, does the expert actually use evidence or prejudice), and even the use of “intellectual rigor,”
    What a funny thought all of that is.
    Blankenhorn does not make the cut. But he has lots of opinions on what marriage is all about.
    Blankenhorn’s expertise is built upon “ipse dixit” — he said it himself! He’s his own expert and he just KNOWS these things because he does. Nevermind expertise or evidence or premises and conclusions that bear the proper relationship to one another.
    WHOA, and then there’s a poli sci prof from Claremont McKenna, w/ a Ph.D. from Berkeley. Wow! Now THERE’S a credential!!!!
    Sadly, his credential is more related to general politics in CA and not to gay and lesbian social power in CA. So, yeah, he’s fine in his own field, but turns out not to be much of an expert way way outside his field. Certainly not enough of an expert to use his judgment to set policy. (p. 50 of the decision)
    Funny, that.
    Then there’s a very long findings of fact section which point by point runs through the issues at stake, the arguments made, and point by point cites actual evidence.
    It takes a shockingly large number of words to do this.
    Funny, that.
    And then he runs through all the legal issues.
    A lot of words, this decision.
    “An evolution in the understanding of gender, not a change in marriage” — p 113.
    Domestic partnerships are not separate but equal — in fact, they are not equal at all. (114-115)
    Strict scrutiny, narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest — oh, I guess not. (p. 117)
    Any chance of rationality, then indeed the court would defer to the legislature. But there ain’t such a thing here. (118)
    There’s a sex discrimination component, as well. (120 or so)
    And hey, there’s no scarcity of marriage licenses or those who write them up, so one couldn’t even claim that level of government interest in preferring one over the other.
    The whole “purported interest” list is worth reading.
    And then the happy happy conclusion.
    A lot of words, and he got it right!
    Here’s hoping!


  2. questions says:

    p. 24 is lovely!
    Lines 6-22.
    It’s not copy/paste-able in the format I’m reading.


  3. questions says:

    Could the 14th Amendment thing really be geared towards the CA ruling — they sued under denial of equal protection according to the decision which I’m skimming.
    Lines 14 and 15, page 3.
    Imagine the dogwhistle of hating on gays and browns simultaneously.
    Wow. What a sick fucking possibility. We’re not a people known for knowing stuff. So you get the number 14 in people’s heads over the immigration panic shit, and then you add the gay panic to the brown panic. And you get really good ‘pub turnout in Nov — which turnout was supposed to be really good anyway.
    Maybe the independents and dems will rally now as well.
    Hope Obama has about 3 or 4 more aces up his sleeve…. His arms are pretty long. There’s some room.


  4. questions says:

    On Sharron Angle, by Sharron Angle:
    “Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun found the audio of an April 21 radio interview in which Angle said:
    “And these programs that you mentioned — that Obama has going with Reid and Pelosi pushing them forward — are all entitlement programs built to make government our God. And that’s really what’s happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government.”
    I think Harry Reid will be fine!
    (Bob Cavnar also writes for DailyHurricane.com. He’s very very skeptical of all of BP’s claims about any and everything.)


  5. questions says:

    Hopeful signs of hopey changey hope-i-ness:
    Even Alan Keyes thinks Lindsey Graham has jumped the shark on the 14th Amendment. Here’s hoping for a complete split in the ‘pubs and a repfudiation of the fucking batshit wing of the party!
    Prop 8 is temporarily dead! I hope those guys know what they’re doing when it hits the Supremes. I could half see half the Supremes being against the 14th Amendment if they had a chance…. So where will they be on the fundamental right to marry regardless of procreative status?
    BP may or may not have knocked out the spill with this static kill thing long enough to do the bottom kill thing…. “Rockman” on theoildrum.com likes it a bit more than Fishgrease and Bob Cavnar have liked it. Who knows.
    A kos diary on vast quantities of hidden bodies — of dead fish — CT or truth? When it comes to BP and PR, I won’t take bets either way.
    Pelosi is calling the House back into session long enough to pass a state bail out that Snowe and Collins thought was acceptable. It doesn’t inject extra money as it’s being paid for by cuts, but if it saves some classroom misery, it’s something.
    Chris Dodd loves him some serious filibuster according to a HuffPo piece. The Senate is a funny thing, a thing to behold, a bizarre and brilliant and beautiful creation!


  6. Bart says:

    Questions, once the 14th joins the 4th in the scrap
    heap, the Republican goal will be to force every
    citizen to apply for citizenship anew, thereby
    culling the herd.


  7. k l m says:

    This was fascinating, thanks for posting it.


  8. questions says:

    What the fuck is the Republican issue with the 14 Amendment?
    Just. What. The. Fuck.


  9. questions says:

    Really interesting systems look at the BP Gulf mess.
    What if there were a point system to help ease the pressure on any individual?
    Everyone gets a chance to chalk up some number of risk points for various concerns, but it takes some number of people’s concerns before things shut down.
    You end up with a NUMBER instead of a worry.
    You get more people involved so that no one person ever takes the blame for a shut down.
    You can enforce corporate responsiveness to number-based delays.
    You can standardize the practice across the industry.
    And you get multiple data points so that you have the judgment of crowds instead of the mistake of an individual.
    You also no longer need heroes or whistle blowers or anyone to challenge white coat experts a la Milgram.


  10. questions says:

    Packer’s piece on the Senate in the New Yorker is marvelous.
    Read it along with “Unorthodox Lawmaking” by Barbara Singer and have hope! The chamber will evolve just enough regarding tactics that legislation will squeeze through in bits and pieces to suit the re-election strategies of the members.
    Have hope!
    And on lobbying,
    “During the 2008 election season, politicians from both sides of the aisle promised to rid government of lobbyists


  11. questions says:

    quotation within a quotation:
    ” Back in the early 1970s


  12. questions says:

    From the kos front page:
    “That’s the argument they’ve been touting for years. Remember in 2006, when John Gibson warned that white people needed to have more babies to counteract Hispanic birthrates?
    To put it bluntly, we need more babies. Forget about that zero population growth stuff that my poor generation was misled on. Why is this important? Because civilizations need population to survive. So far, we are doing our part here in America but Hispanics can’t carry the whole load. The rest of you, get busy. Make babies, or put another way — a slogan for our times: “procreation not recreation.”
    This was not just the rant of one crazy conservative on Fox News, though. This is what conservatives believe. They even have a name for it: demographic winter.
    Conservatives have taken to using “demographic winter” as a catchphrase for turning the discussion into another battle in the culture war. For many on the Right, demographic winter describes a future of economic catastrophes, the decline of Western Civilization, and the destruction of the “natural” family.

    Demographic winter — or “birth dearth” as it is sometimes called — is the ultimate culture war battle, rooted in the rise of feminism, legalized abortion, the acceptance of homosexuality, illegal immigration, and the growth of minority populations. All of this is supposedly the result of a multi-decade campaign by liberals to undermine “natural law” and the “natural” family.
    In other words, our entire civilization is at risk because of abortion and immigrants and equal pay and environmentalists and all the other things that rightwing Christian fundamentalists don


  13. questions says:

    I declare this space open thread in the name of questions!
    GUESS WHO SAID THE FOLLOWING!?? (answers are below. Don’t cheat and scroll down!)
    “It is not surprising, then, that during the last bubble (from 2002 to 2006) the top 1 percent of Americans


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