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The Pile: Thoughts, Life, and Photography of Joshua Davis

Disney Tries Its Hand at Urban Planning, Again

Disney has united both Democratic and Republican law makers in Anaheim, California, by trying to override their city’s decision to rezone land next to their theme park.

According to Fast Food Nation, Disney, McDonald’s, and a few other similar corporations where responsible for the creation of the squeaky clean suburbs that 52% of Americans live in. It helped them to leave the “Over crowed cities filled with people who where different then them.” Of course Disney continues to help Americans escape reality with their movies, music, and other media.

But Disney has taken their fantasy world a bit far by opposing both the city of Anaheim and a developer who wants to build some affordable housing next to Disney’s fantasy land. In order for this to occur the land would have to be rezoned. Disney feels the presence of affordable housing – and the types that occupy them – would harm their park. So the very housing that men and woman dressing up as Mickey Mouse and serving funnel cakes at their park would live in, Disney doesn’t want.

They’ve spent over $1.5 million in collecting the necessary 3000 signatures to put the zoning up for vote. But that’s not all, a campaign of fear has been created that tries to give residents an image of the area being overrun by “Darker colored people committing crimes.” It will be interesting to see if Disney will be able to over ride the will of the city council, and those that elected them.

And Disney’s other experiment in urban planning, Celebration, Florida seems a failure to me. Conventional wisdom states affordable housing spread throughout an area help to reduce crime, but Disney choose to cluster development. Another mistake was that they developed a downtown before there was population to support it, resulting in many retail shops closing. So who better to plan a city, Disney, or the city council?

Filed under: Economy and Business, Politics, The City and Suburbs

New Fairfax County Area Blogs

I’ve started two new local blogs. One is for my town of Reston, and is more in the likes of a Gothamist blog. The other one, for Tysons Corner, the twelfth largest business district in America, tracks it’s transformation from an edge city (think suburban downtown) to a real city.

Filed under: Life, Site News

Erythro


Photo by Joshua Davis (articnomad)

Erythro is the name of the moon of a gas giant in the science fiction novel Nemesis, written by Isaac Asimov. Erythro is part of a red dwarf star system passing close to the Solar System. The moon is apparently barren, apart from a covering of microorganisms. After several people who venture out onto the surface of Erythro are mentally damaged by the experience, the book’s main character, Marlene Insignia Fisher, is drawn to go out onto the surface.

From Wikipedia.

Filed under: Photography

Sim City 5: A Disapointment

I haven’t played the game yet, but what I’ve been waiting for, for years appears disappointing. The game is a departure from the path the series has taken – but it is more a realization of the original goal, to let users build maps.

simcity-societies-20070615055012230.jpg

The first Sim Cities treated you like an urban planner/mayor, where you zoned areas, layed pipes, built parks and schools… But ultimately developers chose where and what they wanted to build. Sim Societies seems like a micro management version of the Civilization series. Admittedly I’ve always wanted more control of the cities in Civilization games – but I found Sim City to be a relief from the macro management strategies.
Full post at my new blog at JoshuaDavisPhotography.com.

Filed under: Software, Technology, The City and Suburbs

The Destruction of America

Do conservatives realize their vision is slowly destroying America? I’m not talking about debatable issues like gay marriage – but decisions literally affecting American’s lives. For instance Bush has said “no gas tax increase“, because that would “Slow economic growth.” In 2000, gas was about $1.50/gallon, now it’s $2.50 upwards. I suppose it’s decimal increases that harm the economy.

Of course the conservative solution to not raise the gas tax, would be too say ‘Do it privately.” Which brings up an interesting story. I live in liberal Fairfax County, across the border is conservative Loudon County. There’s a toll road that runs between both counties. The section in Fairfax is a publicly run toll road. It costs 75 cents to use it. The other section in Loudon County is a private toll road, and guess what? The private company wants to raise the toll to 4 dollars. And the conservative residents want to see the government issue a price cap. So much for that whole private business/small government theory.

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Filed under: American Politics, Essays, Local Politics, Politics

Review: No End In Sight

Award winning film, No End In Sight documents the cause of failure in Iraq. They interviewed many government and former government workers involved with Iraq. Presented us with footage from the war, and generaly managed to keep the audience from dozing off.

The film felt very much like a propaganda piece – propaganda that any liberal would want see, but still there seemed to be no objectivity. For instance they seemed to pick photos and video of Bush that added nothing to the movie, except for showing what a dumbo he is.

No End In Sight

Some of their interviews seemed to take what the interviewers where saying out of context, for instance I noticed a couple of times there was a transition in the middle of a speakers sentence. But many of the leaders who realized they had made mistakes, where willing to talk. They told us what exactly went wrong, which while it certainly didn’t offer any help to fixing Iraq now, it offered insights in what not to do next time. The ones who still felt in debt to the president, or not at fault, offered little insight into what went wrong.

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Filed under: Black Matters, Book and Movie Reviews, Politics, The World

Dems and GOP Want More War

America might be becoming a nation of war hawks. In 2004 Bush said Kerry had no plan for the War on Terror. So now each candidate is coming up with a pubilcily shared plan. In fact it seems a clone of Bush’s, violence for violence.

Now Tom Tancredo, says we should attack Muslim holy sites, if terrorists first attack us. Considering the remarks he’s made about immigration, it’s no surprise that region by region he’s declaring war on the world. But Obama’s statement was the really surprising one, considering he promotes himself as a reconciler. And Hilary’s claim that Obama is to soft to become president was also a veiled threat of more violence.

I hope this esacalation in tought talk, is just talk and nothing more. We can not win the War on Terror by violently attacking perceived threats. Instead we need to focus on soultions to the root of the problem. Kicking our dependence on oil. Giving finacial, educational, and health aid to at risk middle eastern and African nations. We need a president who is compassionate but decisive, we do not need a(nother) king.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, War & Peace