Happy Emancipation Day! It’s been 150 years since Lincoln issued “an act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia.” The act affected more than 3,000 people and helped set the stage for broader emancipation later in the year, and ultimately the abolition of slavery. [See more here.] It’s a holiday in the District (and is why Tax Day isn’t until the 17th). Emancipation in DC was part of the broader process in which the Civil War become more clearly centered on the question of slavery — in part out of military necessity. See Kate Masur’s blog post from the Times last summer about slavery and the battle of Bull Run (she’s an expert on DC in the Civil War and afterward, having a written a book about it).

I checked the White House web site to see if Obama had commented on DC’s Emancipation Day. Not that I can see but maybe it’s hiding there somewhere behind one of those blog items proclaiming how much he likes drilling for natural gas.

We’re going to do another one of our Civil War sections soon, and I’ve got a couple of ideas that might just by coincidence require me to spend a lot of time outside in battlefields and hiking through the woods and tromping over mountains and thinking big thoughts and napping in a hammock. Because I like history so much.


Steve Hendrix had a nice day hit today in the paper (I contributed very little) that touched on something very much on my mind lately: We have a sports team in town that looks really good. No, not the Caps, though they’re hanging in there. The Nats look great. They can’t hit, but their pitching has been phenomenal for the most part. Lots of squeaker victories; three of the last four games have gone to extra innings. Strasburg pitches tonight. The entire staff has an ERA of 1.99, which is ludicrously good. I say the time to jump on the bandwagon (TM Tony Kornheiser) is right about now.

By the way, in the official scorer’s write up of the game, which I read online last night, there was this notation:

“M DeRosa to second on fielder’s indifference.”

Not “fielder’s choice.” Indifference. Is that an official term? What’s the scoring code for that?