Oh no this gets worse:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush barely mentioned the war in Iraq when he met with Republican senators behind closed doors in the Capitol Thursday morning and was not asked about the course of the war, Sen. Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, said.
"No, none of that," Lott told reporters after the session when asked if the Iraq war was discussed. "You're the only ones who obsess on that. We don't and the real people out in the real world don't for the most part."
Lott went on to say he has difficulty understanding the motivations behind the violence in Iraq.
"It's hard for Americans, all of us, including me, to understand what's wrong with these people," he said. "Why do they kill people of other religions because of religion? Why do they hate the Israeli's and despise their right to exist? Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me."
I don't intend to talk long about this because I am already stressed enough over my schoolwork and I don't think I need to talk too much about an issue which will simply frustrate me, but... I've been reading George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia lately, which is about his experiences as an English volunteer in the 'Government' forces during the Spanish Civil War (the 'Government' forces were the non-Fascists; apparently they were not nearly as monolithicly Communist as I had thought). The chapter I read last night on the bus ride home was about political discourse and the abuse of language; I find it unfortunately easy to find parallels (parallels, not equivalences) between the rhetoric deployed by the competing factions in the Government forces against one another and the rhetoric of our country's current leaders. The continued insinuation by Republican leadership that the only reason someone might disagree with their policies is that that someone supports terrorists is entirely disingenous and aggravating. It is as absurd as the failure of reasoning contained in the Islamic reaction to the pope's recent remarks (We are not violent; we will protest violently until you admit it). I do not think I exaggerate: see Dennis Hastert's two latest press releases - "For the second time in just two days, House Democrats have voted to protect the rights of terrorists" and "In fact, Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 159 of her Democrat colleagues voted today in favor of MORE rights for terrorists. So the same terrorists who plan to harm innocent Americans and their freedom worldwide would be coddled, if we followed the Democrat plan". I didn't think I would ever say this, but... I'm about ready to vote for Hillary.
Anyways, that is all. For further reading on the parallel, and an expansion into the general morality of the issue which I wholeheartedly agree with, I suggest Rod Dreher's most recent post:
"It's perfectly fair to criticize the Democrats for their position on this issue. What bothers me a very great deal is the corrupt and corrupting language the Right uses to criticize them. Oppose this bill, and you are for the terrorists."
Surely this is the greatest defensive touchdown in Eagles history. Dawkin's block at the end is hilarious, too.
Yesterday NPR reported that Dennis Mitsubishi of Columbus, Ohio was planning on a new ad campaign in which they announce that they are "launching a jihad on the automotive market". This seems to have stirred a bit of controversy, as some folks (CAIR, NPR, etc.) think that the ad is horribly offensive to (you guessed it) Islam. (There is also an image floating around that supposedly is a leaked print ad, though I can't speak for its origins).
So I suppose the question is, was Dennis Mitsubishi's ad cowardly or courageous? Is this possibly the funniest thing since the "Stop Pop's Hypocrisy" protest banner, or is it a severe breach of the bounds of civil speech?
Today's entry is qualified as a Thursday Travesty or Triumph, despite its arriving as far as possible from Thursday. The subject of investigation for today is a rather unusual landscape, brought to us by the enterprising members of the Google Earth community:
The above image looks exactly like a satellite photograph of a portion of the Karakoram mountain range, claimed by India (and possibly also Pakistan) but currently occupied by China. What is compelling about it, though, is that it is actually a satellite photograph of an incredibly accurate 900 x 700 meter scale model of that region, carved into the earth beside a Chinese military base in Huangyangtan:
For comparison, here are satellite photos of the model (top) and actual region (bottom):
I am announcing a change. As my understanding of the subject matter of landscape architecture grows, I have an ever broadening opinion of what is properly considered the subject of the old Thursday Travesty or Triumph series (which has never really been regular enough to be considered a series). Since the series has been spread out over such a broad period of time, I think it might be helpful (for myself primarily; if you are not aware of this, I write here for myself, to give organization to thoughts) to list the previous subjects of Thursday Triumph or Travesty:
1. Martha Schwartz: HUD Plaza Improvements, Washington, DC, 2005-09-22 09:17:25
2. The Parc Diagonal Mar (Barcelona, Spain), 2005-09-29 11:04:43
3. Capitol Plaza, Chelsea Heights, New York, New York, 2005-10-06 23:52:37
4. Alsop Ltd: Bradford redesign, UK, 2005-11-03 23:22:20
5. Sacro Bosco at Bomarzo, Italy, 2005-11-17 13:06:13
6. Temple Garden at Ryoan-Ji, Japan, 2005-12-02 16:38:32
7. 1893 World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago, 2006-01-06 10:48:34
8. Isola Bella, Italy, 2006-01-12 13:26:29
9. SITE: Ghost Parking Lot, suburban Conneticut, 2006-08-01 11:57:55
If you care to see any of them, I suggest simply clicking on the appropriate month on the left. If you do not care to do the work of scrolling down to the appropriate date, then may I suggest that perhaps you were not all that interested in seeing them in the first place.
Additionally, I have decided to drop the use of the title of the series in each post; from now on, the post will be titled in accordance with the nature of the individual posting.
What I will not be dropping is the essential nature of Thursday Travesty or Triumph, which you may read about on the left (that is, the sense that reducing something as complicated as the evaluation of a landscape's significiance to an up-or-down, yes-or-no dichotomy is both fun and instructive). What I will be dropping is the word "design" from the previous sentence (it was previously located between "of a landscape's" and "significance to an").
Alexandria National Cemetery and Ivy Hill Cemetery (Alexandria, VA)
WAAC Veteran's Cemetery Studio, Fall 2006
2006's kung-fu is very strong.
1. Ong-bak was released in America in 2005 (2005 was a warm up for 2006). Muy muay thai.
2. District B13 was released early in 2006. Very strong kung-fu, especially for Frenchmen.
3. Tom yum goong (The Protector) released in English in 2006. Its kung-fu was very, very strong last night. Nathan Jones is insanely large. Especially compared to Tony Jaa. I need not tell you, though, that Tony Jaa's kung-fu is much, much stronger.
4. Huo Yuan Jia (Fearless) will demonstrate its massively strong kung-fu on September 22. This will be the last time Jet Li's kung-fu is displayed.
Amazing. (Each one links to trailer on youtube, whose kung-fu is adequate; if you're unconvinced about District B13 try this). Tony Jaa's kung-fu is especially strong because he does all his muay thai without nets, wires, or computer graphics.
It is humorous to me that people tend to be afraid of activities such as flying or riding a bike while regarding automobile travel as perfectly safe. I think perhaps part of the reason that we tend to forget about the dangers of car travel is that we don't commemorate Henry H. Bliss's death as a nation. I think it would be a perfectly appropriate thing to have a Henry H. Bliss day on September 13th every year. If I have time, I think I may start a Henry H. Bliss Day campaign. Is anyone with me?
Oh yes. Who is Henry H. Bliss? "On September [13th], 1899, as he was stepping off a streetcar [please note that a streetcar is a railcar, not a motorcar] at 74th Street and Central Park West in New York, Henry H. Bliss was struck and killed by a motor vehicle, thus becoming the first fatality in the long war between flesh and steel." So that is who Henry H. Bliss is (Also note that Henry was only the first car traffic fatality in the Western Hemisphere, as the scientist Mary Ward was the first person in the world to be killed by a motor vehicle).
Let us continue the story. "Thereafter, the carnage increased almost annually until Americans were sustaining about 50,000 traffic deaths and about 2 million nonfatal injuries a year". Let us put these numbers in a bit of perspective. "It was as if a Pearl Harbor attack took place on the highways every two weeks, with crashes becoming so commonplace that an entire industry sprang up to provide medical, legal, and insurance services for the victims."
Please note that I am not suggesting that everything about the automobile is horrible, though I do hold a generally more critical view of its place in society than most, I think. For instance, transportation pollution used to mean manure; by the end of the 19th century, some 2.5 million TONS of horse manure were estimated to be falling into New York City's streets every day.
Well, anyways, back to Henry. It seems that the city of New York erected a small plaque to commemorate him in 1999 on the 100th year since his death. You can see the plaque here.
Actually, I'm pretty sure its bad for you (right up there with nursing homes and cars). As a child, I was permitted to watch only one thirty-minute program a day, which in my experience most people consider a draconian limit if it comes up in conversation, but I have to say that now it seems like a bit much. Who has time for thirty minutes of television a day? Think of all the things you are missing. I doubt I could convey adequately in this paragraph the depth of my occasional revulsion towards the television. I should note that I call it occasional, because its not as if I never watch; after all, some television is actually pretty decent story telling. In fact, the Simpsons really cracked me up last night when Homer said "who made you Judge Judy and executioner?" Wow what a pun. I mean you can't make that stuff up. I am pretty sure that the writer had to have heard someone who actually thought that the phrase is really supposed to be Judge Judy and executioner, because there's no way you could just make up a pun that good.
So anyways, now that you know I have that bias, you'll know why I instantly agree with this article on Slate about autism and television. Of course I think Gregg's right; he confirms my bias:
"Of the new research suggesting that defects in brain organization track with autism, Science concluded, "If a neuronal imbalance is to blame, no one knows how it arises." No one does. But the rise in autism disorders during the very period that early-childhood screen-watching has risen is disturbing. Eyes glued to a colorful tube is an intense form of "exposure" for any young child. Correlation does not prove causation, but there's an awful lot of correlation here.
Of course, most children who sit mesmerized by television suffer no harm, other than limited vocabulary and an uncontrollable desire for the latest breakfast cereal. Television viewing may even have benefits. But perhaps while TV is a wash or a good thing for the majority, a small minority of young children are seriously harmed."