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June 02, 2006

She's no "World's Largest Ball of Paint", but we're fond of her

SOL, originally uploaded by IHP.

Why did the Department of Homeland Security slash New York's ant-terror funding?

New York has no national monuments or icons, according to the Department of Homeland Security form obtained by ABC News. That was a key factor used to determine that New York City should have its anti-terror funds slashed by 40 percent---from $207.5 million in 2005 to $124.4 million in 2006.

The formula did not consider as landmarks or icons: The Empire State Building, The United Nations, The Statue of Liberty and others found on several terror target hit lists. It also left off notable landmarks, such as the New York Public Library, Times Square, City Hall and at least three of the nation's most renowned museums: The Guggenheim, The Metropolitan and The Museum of Natural History. [ABC]

So what does it take to be included in the DHS's Freedom Budget?

Here are some of the distinguished heritage sites:
  • Alexandria, Indiana: The World's Largest Ball of Paint ($12 million)
  • Niland, California: Salvation Mountain ($16 million)
  • Alamo Heights, Texas: Barney Smith's Toilet Seat Art Museum ($10 million)
  • Dedham, Massachusetts: The Museum of Bad Art ($31 million)
  • Key West, Florida: The Chicken Store ($7.5 million)
  • Alliance, Nebraska: Carhenge ($25 million)
  • And Soap Lake, Washington: The Giant Lava Lamp ($143 million)


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A Hoosier's perspective on the Alexandria, IN landmark:

Google Earth's perspective on the Alexandria, IN landmark:

Maybe DHS figures if terrorists destroy Lady Liberty then France will give us another. Our current Republican government has always been highly respectful to France, n'est-ce pas? Therefore the French will happily send us another if the need arises.

I bet the number of Homeland Security dollars earmarked to protect the Museum of Bad Art exceeds the value of the MOBA's entire collection. Don't get me wrong, MOBA is a fine institution and a credit to Deadham. But I think the terrorists would rather destroy our good art, or our art that can be seen from space, or something.

I take it as a good sign that we are worried about Carhenge.

Lots of commentary on this idiotic DHS decision, but this list captures it better than anything I've seen. Thanks.

I'm really trying very hard to come up with a fantastically witty comment about this situation, but I can't get past the tragedy of it. I suspect a better person than me could make this into a great comedy routine.

it's too bad alaska doesn;t have the world's largest igloo, or ted stevens would be all over that.

btw, giant lava lamp? i thought we were supposed to hate that kind of new-age bullshit!

Now that is one of the many reasons I do not trust the government to do anything right.

I'm pretty sure this already is a comedy routine. I'm not sure where this list comes from--i.e. it's just a dairy at daily kos, with no link--but assuming we're talking about the 2006 DHS Homeland Security Grant program, all of Washington state only got $32m, as opposed to the lava lamp's $143 million, which in fact is almost as much as New York City got.

further, if you look at the ABC document showing the no national monuments line for New York, it's just a checklist, it doesn't really show how the numbers they've used are used in making the ultimate calculations, so I doubt we'll ever see a document linking monuments to grants, dollar for dollar. Not that it isn't ridiculous, of course.

I don't know, maybe I'm being incredibly dense, but it sure looks like the post took the claim seriously enough, and y'all seem to take it seriously--I sent it around to some coworkers thinking it was genuine, until the questions started popping up...just saying...

This is a flat out, fuck you style, abuse of power.

My understanding is that the Statue of Liberty is considered to be on federal land, and not in New York.

And yes, the list seems to be a joke.

Can we secede now?

I'm definitely a fan of the Museum of Bad Art, but it's beyond absurd to think it's more of a landmark than the Statue of Liberty.

Dang, I probably could have gotten a few million to protect my didjeridu collection. Maybe I should shoot for next year's DHS budget.

If we abandon our cherished balls of paint, then the terrorists win.
Seriously, has anyone done a red/blue breakdown of the spending? Is it just pork and maddeningly shortsighted priorities, or are we looking at another blue-state tax?

This is a Kos "Cheers and Jeers" joke. I think.

In a rational world, that would be obvious. But I want confirmation it's a joke, too.

Look, I think perhaps as it's gotten out the ratio of money going to NYC versus money going to other large cities with salacious targets (quick: what's the city handling the most shipping the in country? hint: it's on the Gulf Coast), perhaps people have gotten more on non-NY senators and reps to bring home more of the bacon. Having moved from a city the Soviet viewed as rather more important than your average American did (supposedly we were number 10 on the list between the Army base and the transcontinental rail line) to one slightly higher on the list (re: economic damage of shutting down the largest port in the US AND destroying the US's largest petrochemical processing center), both in the state claimed as home by the current Adminsitration, I can appreciate how this might happen.

Whether or not I agree with it requires an actual accounting of what the money would have been used for in NY versus where it's going to go now. A list of tongue-in-cheek put downs is funny but not particularly useful in this discussion.

Chertoff was defending the decision on NPR today, rather reasonably. Apparently the Empire State Building and the other sites you mention count for more in their allocation if you classify them as structures with people actually living and working in them than as a "national icon" (like the ball of paint, or the Saint Louis Arch). Which points to screwy terminology, but not necessarily misplaced priorities.

As to the cuts, he claims they're in line with the three year running average, that Washington and NYC got a bump in 2k5 to make up for being shorted in 2k4. Haven't seen the figures to confirm this yet, though....

That's weird about Dedham, MA. That suggests that the decisions were not just motivated by animosity directed against blue states.

Boston got its funding cut too.

I once visited the Museum of Bad Art in Dedham. It is in the basement of a movie theater, and home to the art classics "Peter the Kitty" and "Sunday on the Pot with George." The art there is very bad indeed. I have found similar bad art in flea markets.

I've also been to the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum. There is no contest. The art in the Museum of Bad Art is much, much worse than the art in any of these famous New York Museums.

Funny... when the lava lamp in question was part of a Times Square billboard ad, it prob'ly wouldn't have qualified... which just goes to show how much the power of InTENT can command. Fab list!
Hey- anybody remember what Osama wanted? Wasn't it "U.S. out of Saudi Arabia; $100/bbl for sweet crude; and a resolution to the conundrum of Palestine". Two out of three ain't so bad... ^..^

Hey, wait a minute. Carhenge IS a national treasure. But the rest is carp, for sure.

the only one on the list that I have ever been to is the Chicken Store in Key West, which is about the size of the living room in an East Village apartment. Just a store where people sell a few goofy things with chicken puns (like, "Why did Emily Dickenson's chicken cross the road? ...because it could not stop for death.") and have a few of Key West's ubiquitous chickens in cages. Really, they had like five products that were all fairly similar and a couple of cages of chickens. Charming, but still...

Well, it will be interesting to find out who wer the folks who were involved in evaluating what were valuable landmarks and what were not...and I think a landmark's value some times also depends on its location - a well-regarded restaurant in a famous place like NY could be far more valuable ( at least in the terroroist' eyes) than a far more intrinsically valuable ( say a museum of historically valuable antiques) in some unknown US city...I'm not sure if this dependence of a landmark's value on the location it is at was considered during evaluation

DL @ Dumb - Where Suckers Converge @

I stumbled across your blog while I was doing some online research. It goes without saying that our government should be protecting us and protecting our national monuments from terrorist activity. Period.

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