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February 1, 2009

Hurrah for Three-Fifths

Dear Whole People:

It has nothing to do with current local life in the District of Columbia, but Ralph Chittams mentions it in passing below. Since my college days I’ve been bothered by how it has been misunderstood, so I’m going to take this opportunity to defend the “three-fifths of a man” clause of the Constitution. Here’s how the clause actually reads: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” This clause is often misread as a devaluation of the humanity of slaves, or a denigration of them, or of black people generally. It certainly wasn’t meant that way or read that way then.

In the colonial period, there were both slaves and bound servants in the United States. Bound servants were indentured for a set time period, usually in order to pay off a debt or in exchange for learning a trade; slaves were indentured for life. Both slaves and bound servants could be white, black, or other races. Over the first couple centuries of American life, bound servitude became less frequent, and it became increasingly rare for slaves to be other than black. By the time the Constitution was written, slavery was regionalized and racialized; it was almost exclusively practiced in the south, and slaves were almost exclusively black.

What was at stake in this clause of the Constitution was not how much blacks or whites, free people or slaves, should be valued as people. It was only how much representation each state would have in Congress, and therefore how much power each region would have in Congress. Southern representatives to the Constitutional Convention argued for counting slaves fully in their states’ populations, because the greater the population of their states, the more representatives and the more power they would have in Congress. Northern representatives argued that slaves did not have voting rights, and therefore should not be counted toward the population of states that had slavery. The pro-slavery position was counting slaves fully in terms of setting the number of representatives a state would have in Congress. The antislavery, pro-black position was counting the population of slaves as little as possible toward determining representation. The three-fifths compromise was a northern, antislavery victory, since it reduced the power of the southern states in Congress — it would have been an even greater victory if only two-fifths or one-fifth of the number of slaves had been counted toward determining representation. People who believe that slaves should have been counted as “whole people” are actually wishing that southern, slave-owning states would have had greater power and influence in the decades between ratification of the Constitution and the Civil War. So, hurrah for the three-fifth clause.

Gary Imhoff


Tax Refunds from DC?
Joan Eisenstodt,

I paid last April; I filed the paperwork by October 15, and was due a refund. DC has not processed the return or (obviously) sent the refund. My accountant has written. I’ve contacted our councilmember’s office to no avail, and am frustrated. Does anyone know if DC is, like California, not sending refunds? Does anyone have any good ideas about how to move this along?


Emergency Response in DC
Ed T. Barron, edtb1@macdotcom

There are numerous cases each year of emergency vehicles getting lost and not finding their caller in the shortest time in responding to an emergency call. One way that problem can be avoided is to have a person at the home location of the emergency responding unit manning a computer and using Google Maps on a computer to find the best route to the location of the emergency. The person using the computer stays in touch with the co-driver of the emergency vehicle via cell phone and vectors that emergency vehicle right to the emergency location. The person at the home base could be a volunteer high school student who knows how to use Google Maps. This would save the horror stories of emergency vehicles wandering the streets looking for the emergency without requiring a GPS receiver in every emergency vehicle.


Your Technology Columnist: RSS Explained
Phil Shapiro,

Last week I explained how can be a very useful tool for subscribing to blogs and other sources of RSS feeds. RSS is a concept that can be difficult to understand at first. Here’s an article I wrote that explains more about RSS:

Suffice it to say that if you develop some skill at subscribing to RSS feeds, you’ll be better able to tune into the varied streams of information on the Internet. You’ll be more clued in and less clued out. In this very busy world we live in, that’s something everyone needs.


House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
Kathy Henderson,

Hats off to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for understanding the plight of disenfranchised District citizens and working to assist our own Congresswoman Eleanor Norton to achieve voting rights for us. Congressman Hoyer is a friend to the District, a strong regional partner, and noteworthy Democrat. I am glad he supports Congresswoman Norton’s efforts to advocate for each of us. If you feel as I do, please share your thoughts by contacting his office at 225-4131.


Funeral Notice for Richard Woodlee
Dorothy Brizill,

On Thursday, January 29, Richard A. Woodlee had a heart attack and passed away. Richard was the husband of former Washington Post reporter Yolanda Woodlee. A viewing for family and friends will be held on Monday, February 2, from 5:00-8:00 p.m., at the Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home, 11800 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland, at the intersection of Route 29. Following the viewing, Yolanda and her soon Ryan will receive family and friends at a repast at their home, 10302 Nolcrest Drive, Silver Spring, Maryland. Richard will be taken to his home city of Louisville, Kentucky, for a funeral service on Friday.


Book World — Our World — Lost
Star Lawrence,

I was sorry to hear about Book World. I am sorry one of my three “driveway” papers vanished into electrons three weeks ago. Our remaining one, the Arizona Republic, is getting skinny, glomming sections together, eliminating sections on certain days. But it is still out there and, as far as I know, hasn’t borrowed money at 6-for-5 from a Mexican guy, like the New York Times. That may be coming. Hope there are enough rich Mexican guys. I am completely fed up with the people who say, “Oh, who needs newspapers, we can get our news 140 characters a time on our RazzBerries, or whatever.” We need all forms of media to stay ahead of these fast-talking politicians. Well, not fast-talking, but you know what I mean. Dismantle all papers and when some hacker brings down the house of electrons, we will have to go back to mimeograph. The old will be new again — but never the same.


Response to “DC Statehood — Another Perspective”
Bob Levine,

As a native resident of our fair city, thank you for this view [themail, January 25]. As far as federal taxes, I’d love not to pay them, but also take back Home Rule, the city council, and our other trappings. Give us back our territorial status and subsidies to run the largest federal monument there is, and one that we govern so badly. I’ll bet the Committee for District Affairs, if they were made responsible for DC, would do a much better job of running the place than the current government.


Let’s Talk About Voting Rights
Ralph Chittams, Sr.,

Anne Anderson wrote in the January 28 issue of themail, “I, for one, refuse to be bought off with the thought of paying no federal taxes in return for giving up my right to an equal voting voice in the government of the United States.” But, that is exactly what proponents of DC voting rights will be doing if they succeed — “giving up my right to an equal voting voice in the government of the United States.”

Those who argue in favor of voting rights for the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives are accepting the same flawed logic that permitted the Continental Congress to accept the compromise that resulted in African slaves, among others, being counted as three-fifths of a person. “Something is better than nothing.” Citizens of the District of Columbia are American citizens, and as such are entitled to all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto. We are not now, nor were we then, three-fifths of a person. Neither should we have to settle for one-third representation or unequal treatment under the law. If it is voting rights you want, then you have to fight for it all — full voting rights in the House and Senate. Settling for less is tantamount to admitting that we are less than full citizens of the United States. How many are willing to make that concession?

There are those who will argue that we should take what we can get. After all, something is better than nothing. Let us examine that position. If Rosa Parks believed something were better than nothing, African-Americans would still be riding the back of the bus. After all, at least we were on the bus. If Rev. King believed something were better than nothing, African-Americans would still be drinking from “colored” water fountains. After all, we did have access to water. If the Suffragettes believed something were better than nothing, women still would not have the right to vote. After all, they were still citizens. If those advocating DC Voting Rights get their way, Citizens of the District of Columbia will still be treated as second-class citizens. We won’t be fully enfranchised, but at least we will have some representation. Just as partial rights weren’t good enough for those who came before, partial rights should not be acceptable to us now. Citizens of the District of Columbia deserve no less than the full measure of humanity as articulated in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

I, for one, will settle for neither partial rights nor unequal treatment under the law. I demand to be treated no better, and no worse, than any other similarly situated American citizen. Those similarly situated Americans are the citizens of Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, The Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands — American citizens who also have a nonvoting representative in Congress. Yet those citizens do not pay Federal taxes. Therefore, as one who is against DC Statehood, I am left with but one viable position to take. Citizens of the District of Columbia should not pay Federal taxes either. That is the only solution that makes me whole. The time has come for us to join the ranks of patriots, on whose shoulders we stand, who understood that liberty diluted is liberty denied.


Book World
Brigid Quinn,

While I too am saddened to see the end of the Post’s Book World as a stand alone section, I can’t really blame the paper. Nor can I go so far as to say the decision has a negative affect on the Post as a world-class publication or on Washington, DC, as a world-class city. As you know the economic downturn is changing many things in this country, including newspapers. The Post isn’t jettisoning the content of Book World. it is simply redistributing the pieces throughout the paper and throughout the week. If choices need to be made by the Post — and they do — I think it is more important for the paper to focus its limited resources on hard news. I seem to recall that many years ago the Post folded its stand-alone book review section. A number of years later the paper reconsidered and revived a stand-alone section devoted to books. I suspect when the economy rebounds — and it will — the Post will again do likewise.


Le Pain Quotidien on Capitol Hill
Norman Metzger,

I certainly agree with Ed Barron that LPQ (as us linguistically challenged call it) has terrific bread; but he really ought to fight off his better angel and try the pastries. I’ve sampled several, and they are really good. The most recent addition is called, I kid you not, an “Organic Green Tea Pistachio Kiss.” Splendid, and on a par with the apricot and apple-almond tarts. LPQ/CH, by the way, is at 7th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, a block off Eastern Market.



Registration for DPR Summer Camps, February 2
John A. Stokes,

Registration for the DC Department Parks and Recreation’s (DPR) 2009 Summer Camps opens on Monday, February 2, at 10:00 a.m. Registration can be completed online at or in person at DPR centers. This summer DPR will offer five two-week sessions from June 15-August 21, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. DPR will also offer eight one-week camping sessions at Camp Riverview, DPR’s coed residential (overnight) camping facility located in Scotland, Maryland. The campground is nestled among 217 wooded acres along the Potomac River near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

Camping fees are $100 per session for District residents for most camps and $150 for nonresidents. All camping fees must be paid at the time of registration; acceptable forms of payment are Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, or money orders made payable to DC Treasurer. Checks or cash are not accepted.

DPR offers a scholarship rate for District residents to ensure that summer camps are available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay; eligible families pay $25 per child, per camp session. Applications are available online at or by contacting the DPR Camp Central office at 671-0295. For more information about DPR’s 2009 Summer Camps, visit or contact the DPR Camp Central office at 671-0295 or


Dupont Circle Citizens Association Meetings, February 2, 4
Joel Lawson,

Two very important meetings next week: Michelle Rhee on Wednesday, and a Monday meeting on the 17th Street Liquor License Moratorium. And an open house at Ross Elementary on February 19

Liquor License Moratorium meeting on Monday, February 2, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., at Foundry United Methodist Church, 1500 16th Street, NW. DCCA joins with ANC2B, Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, and the Dupont Circle Merchants and Professionals Association in a community meeting regarding the liquor license moratorium for East Dupont (generally, covering the 17th Street commercial corridor). DCCA eagerly welcomes input on this important topic at any time, but also encourages you to attend Monday’s community meeting. For more information on the community meeting, click on to Commissioner Jack Jacobson’s blog:

On Wednesday, February 4th, at 7:00 p.m., at Foundry United Methodist Church, 1500 16th Street, NW, Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of DC Public Schools, joins us for a discussion of education and schools reform in the District.

Additionally, we wish to remind neighbors that Ross Elementary School will hold an open house for parents of prospective students on Thursday, February 19, from 9:00-11:00 a.m., 1730 R Street, NW. Come meet Principal Amanda Alexander, teachers, and current parents and pupils. There are numerous openings in pre-K and limited openings in kindergarten through 5th for the 2009-10 school year. Neighborhood children are given preference, with unfilled spaces available for out-of-boundary pupils. For more information, call 462-2054 or E-mail the principal at:


National Building Museum Events, February 3-4
Jazmine Zick,

February 3, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., readings at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Book of the Month: join us in The Building Zone for an interactive reading of Virginia Lee Burton’s Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Free drop-in program. Recommended for ages 3 to 5.

February 3, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Robert Lautman: A Lifetime of Architecture on Film. Robert Lautman, famed DC-based architectural photographer and Chrysanthe Broikos, Museum curator, discuss his ongoing sixty-year career capturing architecture. The exhibition Cityscapes Revealed will be open prior to the lecture. $12 member; $12 student; $20 nonmember. Prepaid registration required. Walk-in registration based on availability.

February 4, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Detour: The Landscape of Travel on Film. Schultze Gets the Blues, Directed by Michael Schorr, 2003, PG, color, 114 minutes, German with English subtitles. Starring Horst Krause, Harald Warmbrunn, Karl-Fred Muller. Striking cinematography of the German lowlands and Louisiana bayous frames this bittersweet tale of a retired salt-miner who is awakened by the rhythm of zydeco. $5 member; $5 student; $10 nonmember. Prepaid registration required. Walk-in registration based on availability. All events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line. Register for events at


Standards and Fundraising Success Workshop
Patricia Pasqual,

In this terribly challenging economy, DC nonprofits are more focused than ever on fundraising. As we work to craft the strongest possible proposals and develop relationships with foundations and other funders, we also must remain focused on our organizations’ infrastructure. We must insist that our “house in is order” and that our boards, volunteers, and staff are working within a strong organizational framework.

The Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector offers a model for how the most well managed and responsibly governed organizations operate. The Standards for Excellence code encourages nonprofits to embrace best practices in critical areas. Strengthening these areas will help you meet your mission and make your case to funders.

To learn more about the Standards for Excellence code, attend a special program on February 6 at 9:30 a.m. at the Foundation Center, Washington, DC. Space is still available, so be sure to register for this free informative program! at


Department of Parks and Recreation Events, February 6-7
John Stokes,

Friday, February 6, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., A Visit to MLK Library, 901 G Street, NW. The youth of the community will visit the historic Martin Luther King Jr., Library. Ages 8-12. For more information contact Kyanna Blackwell, Site Manager, 724-4876.

Friday, February 6, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Fort Stevens Recreation Center, 1327 Van Buren Street, NW. Black History Trivia and Photo Exhibit. Participants of all ages will enjoy a pictorial exhibit of famous black people while grouping off for a black history trivia competition. For more information contact 541-3754.

Friday, February 6-18, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Kennedy Recreation Center, 1401 7th Street, NW. Black History Movie Nights. Come join us both Fridays as we travel through history with movies depicting Black History figures, icons, events, and other important segments of the rich history of the African American heritage. For more information contact Pamela Pugh, 671-4794.

Saturday, February 7, 7:00 p.m. Westin Hotel, 1400 M Street, NW. DC Challenge Ireland. Eight boxers ages 8-18 from the Department of Parks and Recreation will be matched. For more information contact Marshall Cunningham, (202) 645-3961.


Historical Society of Washington, DC, February 7-8
Ed Bruske,

Saturday, February 7, 3:00 p.m., 801 K Street, NW, at Mt. Vernon Square. Hip Hop Cinema Cafe Series: The Freshest Kids: A History of The B-Boy, 90 minutes. 2002 Israel. The solSource Group and HSW are pleased to present the first film in the series of ‘Hip Hop Cinema Cafe’ by opening with a video presentation featuring DC Hip Hop notables produced by solSource Group. The featured film, The Freshest Kids is the first documentary to explore the mostly unknown history of hip hop’s first dance and its early pioneers. Known by many names — Breaking, Rocking, Burning, Going Off, B-Boying, Break Dancing — the style was born at DJ Kool Herc’s South Bronx house parties in the early 70s, catapulted to worldwide fame in the 80s, and evolved through the 90s into its latest gravity-defying incarnation as a thriving underground movement.

For the first time ever, legendary B-Boy pioneers such as Crazy Legs and Ken Swift bring their stories to you. From how the dance originated to how it has evolved through its history of more than twenty-five years, The Freshest Kids will leave you entertained, educated, and inspired. After the film, you are invited to participate in an audience discussion with some of the best B-Boys, DJs and Emcees on the DC Hip Hop Scene. A program collaboration of solSource Group and HSW. Ages fourteen to adults. or 383-1828. Free admission.

Sunday, February 8, 2:30-4:00 p.m., 801 K Street, NW, at Mt. Vernon Square. History Society of Washington Author and Lecture Series. Anthony Pitch’s new book, They Have Killed Papa Dead! — The Road to Ford’s Theater, Lincoln’s Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance account of the Lincoln assassination and its aftermath is compelling from beginning to end. Virtually every word of this riveting history is based on primary source material: new quotes from previously unpublished diaries, letters and journals — authentic contemporary voices writing with freshness and clarity as eyewitnesses or intimate participants — new images, a new vision and understanding of one of America’s defining moments. Pitch provides new confirmation of threats against Lincoln’s life as he traveled to Washington by train for his first inauguration, and a vivid personal account of John Wilkes Booth being physically restrained from approaching Lincoln at his second inauguration. Perhaps most chillingly, new details are revealed about conditions in the special prison where the civilian conspirators accused of participating in the Lincoln assassination endured tortuous conditions in extreme isolation and deprivation, hooded and shackled, before and even during their military trial. Pitch’s narrative adds important new insights to our national story as we celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial.

Anthony S. Pitch’s books include The Burning of Washington: The British Invasion of 1814, a selection of the History Book Club and winner of the Arline Custer Memorial Prize and Maryland Historical Society’s annual book award. A former journalist in England, Africa, and Israel, Pitch has been a broadcast editor for the Associated Press and a senior writer for US News and World Report’s Books division. Ages sixteen to adults. or 383-1828. Free admission.


New Orleans Cocktails, February 10
Phil Greene,

Just in time for Mardi Gras, Smithsonian Associates is hosting the Museum of the American Cocktail’s acclaimed Famous New Orleans Cocktails seminar on February 10, at the Atrium Cafe of the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History, from 6:45-8:45 p.m. Details at, or visit

Join master New Orleans bartender Chris McMillian and yours truly, Phil Greene, on this fun and informative discussion of New Orleans’ rich and fascinating cocktail lore, and learn the histories and how to make the Hurricane, the Sazerac (which is featured in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — Brad Pitt downs three of ‘em!), the Vieux Carre, and the Mint Julep. You’ll also shake for yourself the famous Ramos Gin Fizz, which was the Louisiana Kingfish Huey Long’s favorite drink. You’ll get to sample each of these delicious drinks, and will also be served great appetizers throughout. The cost is only $35 for Smithsonian members, $45 for nonmembers, but spaces are going fast, so register today at the link shown above. I hope to see you there, and laissez les bons temps rouler!


Mayor’s Arts Awards, March 23
Masresha Tadesse,

We invite you to the twenty-fourth Annual Mayor’s Arts Award, the most prestigious honors conferred by the District on individual artists, organizations, and patrons of the arts. Join Mayor Adrian M. Fenty as he presents these awards at a ceremony on Monday, March 23, at 6:00 p.m., in the Concert Hall Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Award categories include Excellence in an Artistic Discipline, Outstanding Emerging Artist, Excellence in Service to the Arts, Outstanding Contributions to Arts Education, Innovation in the Arts, Excellence in Teaching Performing Arts, Excellence in Teaching Visual Arts, and Excellence in Teaching Language Arts.

The Mayor’s Arts Awards are free and open to the public. E-mail questions to or call 724-5613. For more information, go to,a,3,q,528370.asp or contact Lisa Richards Toney at 724-5613.



Glover Park Condo for Sale
Lisa Paoletti Bonanno,

I have a one-bedroom, one-bath condo for sale at 4000 Tunlaw Road in Glover Park for $289,000. I have really loved living in this condo because of the proximity to Whole Foods, Starbucks, all the restaurants and night life on Wisconsin Avenue, the community garden plot next door, bus lines right outside my door, and being surrounded by Glover Archbold Park with hiking trails.

The condo features an updated kitchen with 42’’ solid maple cabinets, nine foot windows, southern exposure with tons of natural light, custom blinds, newer light fixtures in the dining room, kitchen, bath, and foyer, crown molding, and beautiful hardwood floors. The building amenities include a 24/7 secure front desk, pool, roof deck, convenience store, and dry cleaners. There is also a bike room. The building is known in the community for being a very well managed condo. The condo comes with an additional storage unit and a parking space!

To see pictures and learn more go to and search for MLS: DC6968614


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