One reader emailed me with an interesting point about my Q&A with Salvatore Basile about his book on how air conditioning changed America forever:
Your article missed something considered pretty huge for those of us who exist in Washington, DC.
The Capitol city was built on a swamp. Only with Air Conditioning did Congress become viable as a year-round endeavor. Prior to the adoption of AC, politicians avoided the city in hot and sweaty months because it was (and is) awful. Air Conditioning gave us a Congress that meets year-round. And for those of us who commute into and out of this metro area, when Congress is gone (it is not the 535 members, but the thousands of others: Staff, journalists, lobbyists, rent-seeking sycophants), everything about the National Capitol Region is much nicer. The rest of the Nation probably agrees as well -- they can do no harm when they are not here!
I blame the AC.
Noted, reader. Duly noted.
(For what it's worth, Basile's book actually spends a fair chunk of pages talking about the struggles of trying to cool the nation's capital, which unfortunately didn't make it into my Q&A. It includes such drama as President Taft installing an early Oval Office cooling system, which needed to be fed a ton of ice a day. Then President Wilson ripped it out after news of the pricey ice bills became public.)