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

[DAILY LINKS] February 10th
|| 2/10/2009 || 7:00 am || + Render A Comment || ||

These are my links for February 9th through February 10th:



[DAILY LINKS] February 11th
|| 2/11/2009 || 7:00 am || + Render A Comment || ||

These are my links for February 10th through February 11th:



The D.C. Colonist receives a warm welcome from Senator Joe Lieberman at today’s Business Meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
|| || 2:43 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

rollcall The D.C. Colonist receives a warm welcome from Senator Joe Lieberman at todays Business Meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Roll Call’s photo of the week from April, 2007

Today I attended the Business Meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs dressed in my colonial attire. I wear this costume for every congressional hearing related to representation for the residents of Washington, DC. I arrived early enough to snag a decent seat and sat down next to my friend Shadow Senator Michael D. Brown. As the other Senators arrived for the meeting he & I chatted about ideas related to what we can do next to get statehood for the District of Columbia.

A few minutes later when Senator Joe Lieberman walked in, Shadow Senator Michael D. Brown stood up, greeted him, and shook his hand. Senator Lieberman then looks at me and said something along the lines of “I’m glad to see that we have a colonist here. Do you go by the name of Paul Revere?” I said, “No, I’m just a DC colonist.” He followed, “So you don’t have a name? Just ‘DC Colonist’?” and I responded, “I’m just a DC Colonist that suffers taxation without representation.” He smiled, walked over to the end of the table, and sat down at his seat. A few minutes later the hearing began and he decided to greet me publicly…..

Click here to listen to the audio
or
Click here to watch the video

[to watch the video, you first need to hit play, then scroll the slider over to about 21:10 to watch the introduction]

Senator Lieberman said:

I do want to note and welcome Mayor Fenty of the District of Columbia we are honored that you are here and a somewhat older resident of the District from colonial times [laughter] also present. I gather you are making the general point about taxation without representation [off camera I nod in the affirmative]. Okay I don’t need to make my case any stronger than that [laughter]. Thank you for being here.



shadow2 The D.C. Colonist receives a warm welcome from Senator Joe Lieberman at todays Business Meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Also worthy of mention is that later on in the hearing (at around 43:15 into the video), Senator George Voinovich mentions the time when the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were in Washington, DC and we lobbied them on the Potomac River (right photo). Hearing him mention that day made me laugh. It was one of my favorite demonstrations I’ve ever taken part in! I remember watching the parliamentarians applaud our efforts from the ship and the following day they passed a resolution calling on the United States government to give DC residents congressional representation.

In the end, only Senator John McCain voted against the bill, S.R. 160, the senate version of the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, and it passed the committee with a vote of 11-1. Unfortunately, I agree with McCain’s opinion, only states should receive representation in Congress.

I feel that DC Vote and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton wasted a huge opportunity to give DC residents equal representation in Congress by reintroducing this three-year-old, constitutionally questionable legislation that was written for a Republican controlled congress. Times have changed, however, the bill and its constitutional underpinnings have not. I’m not sure what will happen next to the bill, like when will it be voted on, but I am sure it will be challenged on it’s constitutionality. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to work with my Shadow Delegation on lobbying for statehood for the District of Columbia.



UPDATE: February 12th, 2009 – Comedian Stephan Colbert interviewed Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton the following night:

Its too bad the editors missed the chance with the Colonist…

Related Colonist Entries:

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[DAILY LINKS] February 11th
|| 2/12/2009 || 7:00 am || + Render A Comment || ||

These are my links for February 11th from 15:25 to 18:10:



A Gigapan of the New York Public Library Quilt
|| || 12:40 pm || Comments Off || ||


A couple weeks ago, after seeing the fabulous Gigapan of the 2009 Inauguration by David Bergman, I decided to try out Gigapan for myself.

In the past I’ve used Zoomify to do roughly the same type of zooms, but over the years I’ve found that it has some important limitations. Most notably, I’ve found that Zoomify freezes up after I’ve been using it for a couple of minutes, which would always force me to reload the page. I believe this has to do with the Flash buffer or cache filling up with data and slowing down the viewing experience. Maybe the software engineers have changed this flaw, but I haven’t been too keen on adding all my maps as Zoomifiable entries because it takes too much time and I’m aware of a means to reverse engineer the tiles into the original map.

What is unique about this Gigapan, unlike all of my previous Zoomify maps, is that I went through the extra steps of saving the original map at its full size in .jpg format. In the past when I’d use Zoomify, I’d use a map that was saved at 9,000 x 6,000 pixels, which is half the original size of 18,000 x 12,000 pixels. The reason I shrunk the map was because I was unable to save the full-sized map in .jpg format using my photo manipulation software. Since the free Zoomify converter only took .jpgs, instead of the native tiff file format, I would have to resave the file at its largest size in .jpg format, which was around 9,000 x 6,000 pixels.

In order to bypass this current limitation, I chose to use Graphic Converter to open the original 18,000 x 12,000 tiff file and save it as a .jpg. The inherent problem here is that even with a somewhat new computer, it takes about 15 minutes to open the 216 megapixel file and another 10 minutes to save the file. In the end, the final .jpg saved to about 65 megabytes, which is considerably smaller than the original file size of about 500 megabytes. With this newly compressed map being so much smaller in size, I was able to upload it and share it here.

As regular readers know, a printed 60″ x 40″ copy of this map was donated to the Map Division at the New York Public Library back in October when I gave my presentation to the New York Map Society. If you are in New York City and curious about what it looks like printed out, head over to the library and ask to see it.


If you are subscribed to my RSS feed and are reading this on through your RSS reader, please click here to view it on my website or click here to view it on the Gigapan website.


Related Interactive Entries:

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[DAILY LINKS] February 12th
|| 2/13/2009 || 7:00 am || + Render A Comment || ||

These are my links for February 12th:

  • Polar Bears in the U.K. – I bet this could easily be done in the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC.
  • HOW INSTANT RUNOFF'S WORKING IN VERMONT – Because candidates know they may need the second choices from voters who support other candidates as their top pick, the campaigns are remaining civil, and attempting to reach out to a broader constituency, than would be typical in a plurality election.
  • Devolve Me – Upload a picture and see yourself turned into an much earlier version of human!
  • Market Share Update – MapQuest continues to hold a small lead over Google Maps


YouTube Music Video of Thievery Corporation’s “The Numbers Game” featuring Chuck Brown
|| || 6:24 pm || Comments Off || ||

The lyrics to this song stand in stark contrast to Chuck Brown’s appearances in DC Lottery commercials and for that reason alone I really like the song. The video shows a lot of footage from Ward 8 in Washington, DC that I hardly visit. In fact, its been about 2 years since I’ve been to the area where much of this video was filmed…



[DAILY LINKS] February 14th
|| 2/14/2009 || 7:00 am || + Render A Comment || ||

These are my links for February 13th through February 14th:



The 23rd Amendment – Time Magazine – March 31, 1961
|| || 6:05 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

I found this article when I was looking up more information about the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution:

Thanks to a succession of oversights by the Founding Fathers and early Congresses, the residents of the District of Columbia have never enjoyed one particular constitutional right cherished by all other Americans: the privilege of voting. There was no reasoning attending the oversights; it was just plain neglect.† Last week Rhode Island cast the 36th affirmative vote for the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution, giving 746,000 Washingtonians the right to vote in presidential elections — and three electoral votes. Ohio and Kansas are expected to ratify the amendment this week, making the necessary two-thirds majority for official adoption (only one legislature—Arkansas—rejected the amendment outright, on the ground that 54% of the District’s citizens are Negroes).

But after 161 years, Washingtonians will be limited to voting for the President and Vice President. They will continue to have no representative in Congress, no voice in their municipal government.

†One segment of the capital gained the right to vote in 1846, when one-third of the District’s land area, now Arlington County, was ceded back to Virginia.

What this article shows to me is how racist America used to be….
In some ways, even with an African American president, it still is.
sigh



Related 23rd Amendment Entries:



[DAILY LINKS] February 15th
|| 2/15/2009 || 7:00 am || + Render A Comment || ||

These are my shared links for February 14th



“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.”
Continue reading:

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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]





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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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