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i'm currently on daily blogging sabbatical, but i'll be back very soon.

“Let Us Now End American Colonialism” – A speech by Ernest Gruening delivered to the Delegates of the Alaska Constitutional Convention on November 9, 1955
|| 2/16/2009 || 11:10 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

As someone who has advocated for statehood for the District of Columbia since I first learned about this civil rights issue, I cannot help but look to past examples of how others struggled for the same equality. The other day I began reading about how Alaska became the 49th state in America and realized how many of their struggles are similar to the ones faced today by the people of the District of Columbia.

Below is a speech by Ernest Gruening, the former Territorial Governor of Alaska (who eventually became the first Alaskan senator 1958-1968), which was delivered to the Delegates of the Alaska Constitutional Convention on November 9, 1955. I find the speech quite interesting because there are so many parallels to the plight of the District residents. It should be noted, somewhat sadly, that the 1960 census showed there were less than 300,000 people in both Alaska and Nevada, compared to 762,000 residents living in the District of Columbia at the time.



alaska consitutional convention photo Let Us Now End American Colonialism   A speech by Ernest Gruening delivered to the Delegates of the Alaska Constitutional Convention on November 9, 1955
Photo from the University of Alaska

We meet to validate the most basic of American principles, the principle of “government by consent of the governed.”

We take this historic step because the people of Alaska who elected you, have come to see that their long standing and unceasing protests against the restrictions, discriminations and exclusions to which we are subject have been unheeded by the colonialism that has ruled Alaska for 88 years. The people of Alaska have never ceased to object to these impositions even though they may not have realized that such were part and parcel of their colonial status. Indeed the full realization that Alaska is a colony may not yet have come to many Alaskans, nor may it be even faintly appreciated by those in power who perpetuate our colonial servitude.

Half a century ago, a governor of Alaska, John Green-Brady, contemplating the vain efforts of Alaskans for nearly forty years to secure even a modicum of workable self-government, declared:

“We are graduates of the school of patience.”
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YouTube music video of Natalia Clavier’s “Azul”
|| 2/17/2009 || 6:27 pm || Comments Off || ||

I’ve been a fan of Natalia’s for a couple of years now and always enjoy her songs. Check her MySpace or Facebook for more information. If you haven’t yet, pick up her most recent CD “Nectar”. I’m told she’s currently in Washington, DC recording songs for her next album.



YouTube video of DC Colonists demonstrating at the first Nationals game at RFK Stadium
|| 2/18/2009 || 11:38 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

On April 3rd, 2005, a group of DC residents staged a demonstration at the Nationals first exhibition game at RFK stadium. The group bought up a block of seats in the outfield and held up signs spelling out two messages: “Strike 4 DC Statehood” when players would strike out and “Bush Play Ball With DC” when the players would walk.



This video is not new per se, in fact I wrote about it when I first added to the video to my website, however at the time I was avoiding YouTube. Yesterday I decided to fire up the old external hard drive, found this clip in it’s original DV format, and I decided to compress & upload the video to my YouTube account….. and yes, I was the one dressed in “colonial attire” :-)



Text of H.R. 259 – An act to retrocede the county of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia
|| 2/19/2009 || 7:12 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

map of alexandria county Text of H.R. 259   An act to retrocede the county of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia

From 1840 to 1846, residents of Alexandria petitioned Congress and the Virginia legislature to approve retrocession. On February 3, 1846 the Virginia General Assembly agreed to accept the retrocession of Alexandria if Congress approved. Following additional lobbying by Alexandrians, Congress passed legislation (below) on July 9, 1846 to return all the District’s territory south of the Potomac River back to the Commonwealth of Virginia, pursuant to a referendum that would be held later in the year, and President Polk signed this first piece of legislation the next day.

A referendum on retrocession was then held on September 1–2, 1846 and the residents of the City of Alexandria voted in favor of the retrocession, 734 to 116, however, the residents of Alexandria County voted against retrocession 106 to 29. Despite the objections of those living in Alexandria County, President Polk certified the referendum and issued a proclamation of transfer on September 7, 1846. However, the Virginia legislature did not immediately accept the retrocession offer. Virginia legislators were concerned that the people of Alexandria County had not been properly included in the retrocession proceedings. After months of debate, the Virginia General Assembly voted to formally accept the retrocession legislation on March 13, 1847.

In Abraham Lincoln’s first State of the Union, delivered on December 3, 1861, he suggested restoring the District of Columbia to George Washington’s original boundaries:

The present insurrection [Civil War] shows, I think, that the extension of this District across the Potomac at the time of establishing the capital here was eminently wise, and consequently that the relinquishment of that portion of it which lies within the state of Virginia was unwise and dangerous. I submit for your consideration the expediency of regarding that part of the District and the restoration of the original boundaries thereof through negotiations with the State of Virginia.

I also question the legitimacy of the retrocession because in the bill below you can see that it states that both the county AND the town of Alexandria were to pass the referendum. The county of Alexandria never voted in favor of retrocession, only the town voted for it. Imagine if the land was returned back to the District of Columbia?

hr259 virginia retrocession senate1 Text of H.R. 259   An act to retrocede the county of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia

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The Peters Projection advocated on the West Wing television show
|| 2/20/2009 || 1:35 am || Comments Off || ||

NBC’s The West Wing – Why are we changing maps?? – From season 2 – Episode 16
A fictional group called the “Organization of Cartographers for Social Equality,” pitches President Bartlet’s staff to “aggressively support” legislation mandating every public school in America teach geography using the Peters Projection map.


Read more about the Gall-Peters Projection on Wikipedia. Or check out this trailer. [VIA Press Release from 2001]



December 21st, 2012, the 13th Baktun, and the flag of the District of Columbia
|| || 7:25 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Mesoamerican Numerals:
mayan numerals 13red December 21st, 2012, the 13th Baktun, and the flag of the District of Columbia

The Flag of the District of Columbia:
dc flag December 21st, 2012, the 13th Baktun, and the flag of the District of Columbia

A baktun is 20 katun cycles of the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar. It contains 144,000 days or 400 tuns or nearly 400 tropical years. The Classic period of Maya civilization occurred during the 8th and 9th baktuns of the current calendrical cycle. The current (13th) baktun will end, or be completed, on 13.0.0.0.0 (December 21, 2012 using the GMT correlation).

It just so happens that the flag of Washington, DC, which was created in 1921 by Charles A. R. Dunn (1894 – 1978) and is based on George Washington’s coat of arms, looks quite a bit like the number 13 in Mesoamerican numerals.

I will not make any further conclusions at the moment, but I think that this is quite an interesting visual coincidence.
What do you think?


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[DAILY LINKS] February 23rd
|| 2/23/2009 || 7:00 am || + Render A Comment || ||

These are my shared links for February 23rd



[DAILY LINKS] February 24th
|| 2/24/2009 || 7:00 am || + Render A Comment || ||

These are my links for February 24th:

  • Invader Interview – Space Invader talks about a semacode he designed, without actually mentioning the word "semacode," instead he only mentions QR-Code. Watching this video makes me want to go through with my QR-Code street art project that I've been thinking about for the last year.
  • 1 Cool Screen, 8 Different Uses – this is what viral marketing has come to: include every single cute animal into a 2minute video. It works, I mean I am sharing it here, but then again, should one buy a product based on the number of cute animals involved in the video? One word: no.
  • YouTube Dubber – I've been a big fan of YouTube Doubler, but this takes it to another level….
  • Censorship in Google Earth: The case of the missing Predator drones – since the Predator drone operations are run by the CIA and not the US military, were shutter control orders somehow not properly relayed via the usual channels?


An Act for establishing the Temporary and Permanent seat of the Government of the United States
|| || 12:35 pm || Comments Off || ||

For last month or so I’ve been adding historic pieces of legislation here on my blog. The aim here, and the general aim of this blog, is to keep an ongoing, on-line journal that features things that I’m either interested in or things that I have created. Historic pieces of legislation related to the District of Columbia fall into the former category, and today’s entry is the text & scans of the act that established the Temporary (Philadelphia) and Permanent Seat of the Government of the United States in a “district of territory” that would eventually become named the District of Columbia.


temporary home of government1790 An Act for establishing the Temporary and Permanent seat of the Government of the United States

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[DAILY LINKS] February 25th
|| 2/25/2009 || 7:00 am || + Render A Comment || ||

These are my links for February 25th:

  • Conundrum: Media Companies and Social Media – The paradox lies in this: As content becomes increasingly channel-agnostic (due in large part to, and perpetuated by, social media) and the demand for ubiquitous content across multiple channels and services rises– media companies find themselves in increasingly precarious positions as ultimately, their business models are extremely channel-dependent.
  • Scratchers Calendar Design – I still haven't made my 2009 calendars yet. Scratch that.
  • My Google Adsense Income – a fake Google Adsense Generator to show how much money you are making. Make sure you click on the ads.
  • Farming Fuels – As such, algae are able to yield thirty times more energy per acre than corn or soybean crops, theoretically producing over 10,000 gallons of fuel per acre (recent closed loop systems claim to produce between 100,000 – 150,000 gallons per acre). To put this in perspective, soy produces 50 gallons of oil per acre per year; canola, 150 gallons; and palm, 650 gallons.
  • Peux-t-on rire de tout avec une carte ? – Photos of the Europa map… "l’art c’est la liberté, la liberté d’expression est un principe fondateur de la démocratie ». « Se rendre compte des préjugés est une condition sine qua non pour s’en débarrasser"
  • About those missing Predator drones: It wasn't censorship after all – So yesterday's link about Google censorship was wrong… I'm skeptical.
  • Fenty's Late Night on Larry King Live – The LAST chapter? So, no senators, no statehood, nothing beyond the current bill? [I added a comment with Mayor Fenty's reply to Larry King's final question]
  • #19226 – This is a kinetic sculpture of a biker in… – The wheels are moved by the flow of the water.


Harvard Quilt #3
|| || 1:42 pm || Comments Off || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
harvardquilt3 Harvard Quilt #3

The other day I decided to snoop around on some of my old hard drives and discovered that I had quite a bit of imagery that I never used to create a map. Yesterday I decided to use some of this imagery to make today’s map. It features .3 meter per pixel imagery that was taken in 2002 of the area around Harvard University.

What is interesting about this imagery is that its really not .3 meters per pixel, but closer to .6 meters per pixel. I found this out when I was post-processing this map and discovered that when the imagery is viewed at its full resolution it becomes quite blurry. At first I thought that I had screwed up and over-projected the map, but when I reopened the source imagery I discovered that it was blurry to begin with. Had I known this, I would have only rendered the map at 9,000 x 6,000 (one half the current size) because this downsampling would make the map less blurry.

Anyways, I haven’t been as active on the mapping front because I’ve made just about every major city in America. I still intend on publishing an atlas featuring all of these maps, but I have yet to find an interested publisher and am wary about going down the self-publishing route. I would, however, love to start mapping cities in Europe. Please contact me if you can obtain public domain imagery of any European city.

View the Google Map of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

: detail :
harvardquilt3 cut2 Harvard Quilt #3
Do you see the heart within a heart?

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[DAILY LINKS] February 26th
|| 2/26/2009 || 7:00 am || + Render A Comment || ||

These are my links for February 26th:



Thomas Jefferson’s Map of Washington from March 31st, 1791
|| 2/28/2009 || 1:30 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

thomas jefferson dc map 1791 Thomas Jeffersons Map of Washington from March 31st, 1791

Map courtesy of the Library of Congress

Throughout the week I watched the Senate debate on the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009. This bill (which I’ve written about before in its different forms) will give DC residents a token vote in the House of Representatives, while denying us representation in the Senate. (Taxation Without 2/3′s Representation!!) Thursday afternoon the Senate passed the Act after they also voted to add a bogus amendment written by the National Rifle Association to weaken/remove the District of Columbia’s gun laws. The vote showed clearly that the District of Columbia is still Congress’ little colony and even with the Act’s passage, DC residents are no better off than before, except of course, we’ll be governed by 536 unelected officials, instead of 535. Hurrah for continued tyranny masked as progress!

There were two words I heard over and over again during the Senate debate: Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, is revered as one of America’s founding fathers and after looking at his map that he drew in 1791 (and attempting to read his nearly illegible text), I’ve come to the conclusion that the Seat of Government that the Constitution gives Congress exclusive jurisdiction over (Article I, Section 8, Clause 17), is also nearly the same geography that was defined as the National Capital Service Area [link to Google Map] when DC statehood was proposed. This area is basically all the federal government buildings around the National Mall and is what I feel Congress should have exclusive control over. So why was the Seat of Government expanded to include the entire District of Columbia when Jefferson clearly drew a smaller vision 218 years ago? I don’t know, but fixing one of the Founding Father’s faux-pas should involve giving DC residents full equality that citizens of the rest of America receive, which means representation in both the House and the Senate.



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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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