Saying No To Flt 93 Memorial…

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Isn't it bad enough for Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.) that he shares a name with a homicidal former leader of Liberia who is currently awaiting trial on crimes against humanity?

Apparently not. The Wash Post reports that the Tarheel congressman–in the midst of a reelection campaign against former Redskins QB Heath Shuler, no less–is refusing to vote for a federally funded memorial to the victims of United Flt 93, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field on 9/11. Taylor is, in fact, the only congressman opposed to shelling out $10 million to buy the land for a permanent memorial (a makeshift one has been in place for a few years).

For Taylor, a large landowner in the mountains of western Carolina, the issue comes down to principle: The federal government is already the largest landowner in the country, and he believes that no additional tax dollars should go to more land buying for this or any other memorial. Beyond that, the families have committed to raising half the $60 million needed to build the memorial but so far have raised $7.5 million. Taylor is concerned that the federal government will be left holding the bag.

Taylor is not simply going up against the rest of Congress but against Rep. William "Bud" Shuster of Pennsylvania, "the Prince of Pork" and one of the most powerful guns in the lower house.[*]

I have no idea if Taylor is in fact committed to lower spending across the board–he pulled a 92 percent rating from the American Conservative Union last year, which suggests he might be a tax-and-spending cutter. But he also pulled a craptacular 40 percent on "personal liberties" from the Republican Liberty Caucus. To his credit, he's pulled as low as a 0 percent rating from the John Birch Society. (Go here for a compilation of his ratings.)

But even if he were a small-government fanatic, I'm curious as to what motivates a guy to take his stand on this particular issue (soon to be a major motion picture even!), one which even Texas Rep. Ron Paul–the Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky of small government all rolled into one–apparently doesn't feel a need to attack.

More ratings for Taylor: He pulled a 90 percent from Americans for Tax Reform; 55 percent from Citizens Against Government Waste; and a C+ (55 percent) from National Taxpayers Union.

Update: Thanks to reader Raymond C. Eckhart for pointing out that Bill Shuster is not King Bud but his son. Regrets for any confusion.

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  1. Only $60 mm!? What kind of chintzy memorial are we talking here? I envision a marble full sized reproduction of the plane itself surrounded by a wall festooned with frescoes depicting the martyrs in the act of fighting the terrorists. This should take up several acres and be surrounded by gardens manned by a platoon of full time caretakers. This will be good for the economy, provide jobs, and magnify the glory of the martyrs for millenia. It’s win, win all around. Also, hundreds of years from now, tourists will come to Pennsylvania to marvel at the civilization that built the monument.

  2. If Heath does politics as well as he does football…then Taylor should be planning his celebration party already.

    “I’m curious as to what motivates a guy to take his stand on this particular issue…”

    Because, he’s on the side of the terrorists. I’m sorry, but 9/11 has been milked dry a hundred times over—and I applaud anyone who has the balls to stand up to the “taboo”. I don’t give a shiznickle how sensitive the issue still is…it’s time for our judgment to be unclouded. Well, you know, less clouded.

    And anyway, he’s running against Heath freakin Shuler!

  3. I’m a little confused as to why Ron Paul isn’t against this legislation. Perhaps he figures since the plane went down defending the White House, Federal dollars are as warranted here as they are for soldiers’ funeral expenses.

  4. I am quite a bit more sympathetic towards this memorial because there were true heroes who died there.

    But they’re asking for 1200 acres in a remote area!! Someone tell me who the hell is going to visit there, much less a generation from now?

    Taylor is right. It would be much, much more significant to have some sort of scholarship program in honor of the heroes of 9/11, one of whom was a gay rugby player 🙂

  5. Taylor’s not running for national office, he’s running for office in the mountains of western NC.

    This fits in perfectly with the mindset of the electorate here.

    I believe he’s also (over)compensating for some seriously questionable decisions related to Abramoff and one truly weird situation over his vote for CAFTA.

  6. Maybe he knows they hit the plane down and is more worried than the others that this knowledge will come out somehow.

    (I think Cathy is handling the FOIAs on this, but some of the others may want to do supplemental FOIAs as a redundancy check in case hers get stonewalled somehow. The New Media: good, new info is job 1!)

  7. “I am quite a bit more sympathetic towards this memorial because there were true heroes who died there.”

    So, then, if certain people want a memorial, then those people should pay for the memorial…and convince others to pay for it too. But I no more support a taxpayer-funded memorial for the heroes of flight 93 than I do a taxpayer-funded memorial to the heroic KFC cooks of the 20th century.

  8. Evan:

    I’m just picking my poison. I don’t know of a culture in history that doesn’t erect memorials and shrines using funds taxed/stolen from the citizens/subjects.

    If they are going to build them, I have less heartburn if the subjects actually did something besides dying.

  9. And I really got my grouch going today.. but who the hell is interested in seeing the upcoming “United 93” flick?

    I think the first, second, and third most important elements of a movie is to BE ENTERTAINING. How the fuck is watching a real-life situation of innocent people dying a horrible death “entertaining”?

    And aren’t a bunch of limeys making this flick?

  10. I donated $25 to the memorial fund because I feel these were heroes who deserve something built in their honor. If every “patriotic” American who puts a flag sticker on their car did that, there wouldn’t be an issue of federal money. All the people that are aghast at Charles Taylor probably haven’t given a dime to this.

    Here’s where you can donate: http://www.nationalparks.org/flight93/

  11. National Review is going off on the “small government” pose of Taylor. He supports his own pork. One example is a set of roads through a national park that will connect small cemetaries left behind when the TVA took the land 60 years ago.

    This may, or may not, be a good idea, but come on. We can fund the United 93 memorial with money that won’t be spent in NYC because they can’t make up their freakin’ minds.

    Is the United 93 memorial still going to be in the shape of a Muslim crescent?

  12. How the fuck is watching a real-life situation of innocent people dying a horrible death “entertaining”?

    Was Schindler’s List entertaining? A lot of people thought so.

  13. “How the fuck is watching a real-life situation of innocent people dying a horrible death “entertaining”?”

    I ask you, Mister Niceguy, what of A Perfect Storm?

    Boy, I really got you there!

  14. No more than 10% of the US ought to be devoted to memorials, in my opinion, and I think we’re over the limit.

    For every new memorial, you have to close another.

    A memorial hard limit.

    This includes highway memorials too. Take one down if you put one up.

  15. I think the Flight 93 Memorial should be shaped like a crescent – that visitors are allowed and encouraged to shoot at.

    I admit I am alone on this.

  16. Is the United 93 memorial still going to be in the shape of a Muslim crescent?

    There was some controversy about this, and the architects have proposed changing it from a crescent to a circle.

    News Story

    Flight 93 Memorial Controversy

  17. joe:

    Good counter-point. I liked “Perfect Storm”. But I will argue that the men involved weren’t “innocent victims”. They were tough guys who knew full well the dangers of going out in the middle of the ocean. And (SPOILER ALERT), the principles weren’t crying at the end. Clooney just made a simple decision that he was staying on the bridge no matter what.

    Schlinder’s List – didn’t see it. I personally didn’t anticipate any entertainment value. It’s the same thing as watching Jesus Christ get his ass kicked for three hours. Not interested.

  18. Nitpick: If you read the WaPo story, it becomes apparent that Taylor is holding the bill in the subcommittee that he chairs: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/24/AR2006042401428.html

    Since I don’t think Ron Paul is a member of the House Interior Appropriations subcommittee, he presumably hasn’t had to take a position on it. So please don’t start suggesting he’s inconsistent or hypocritical just yet.

  19. The “makeshift” memorial is incredibly moving and ought, imho, to be all the memorial required. I highly recommend that anyone within driving distance go there once.

  20. one thing that makes schindler’s list more entertaining than united 93 is the fact that prior to schindler’s list – many people had never heard of him nor his actions. so, telling that story is entertaining in the sense that we were learning something new.

    i don’t know many moviegoers who haven’t heard of flight 93.

  21. I understand Disney World-Riyadh will be premiering a “Flight 93” ride soon.

  22. wise ass, my guess is that in Riyadh they will be premiering a ride based on one of the more successful highjackings.

  23. There was some controversy about this, and the architects have proposed changing it from a crescent to a circle.

    Good grief. We are truly the world’s stupidest people. Only 1 commenter out of 400 noted that it was a crescent and might send the wrong message? And how could the designer just not have it cross his mind all that time?

    Why not add a drawing of Calvin taking a piss into Mohammed’s mouth while they’re at it?

  24. That would be the Riyadh where Al Qaeda keeps carrying out terrorist attacks, and there is an ongoing secret war between terrorists and the state’s security forces, right?

    Gee, I wonder what terrorists and Saudis could have in common that would make people ignore that fact that they’re trying to kill each other, and conclude that they’re on the same team?

    Whatever could it be?

  25. independent worm,

    It did cross the designer’s mind – the crescent was chosen deliberately. The crescent was to be called the “Crescent of Understanding,” and was meant to highlight our society’s awareness that not all Muslims are terrorists and our refusal, even in our grief and rage, to engage in such prejudice. Most of us, anyway.

    Which is a perfectly fine sentiment, but probably not one that needs to be highlighted as a central theme of this memorial.

  26. I reckon the best memorial would be a twenty five foot high bronze statue of a hand, flicking the bird.

    And aren’t a bunch of limeys making this flick?

    And yes Mr Nice Guy a limey and one of my own is making this movie. I can only apologise.

  27. I hope they have a lissening room and put the Blackbox tape on loop there so that experts can verify its authenticity and completeness. They can do up the lissening room like a funeral parlor so that the tape is analyzed in a respectful, hushed setting for reflectiveness and shit.

    I would also likely a daily two hours of silence at the memorial to mark the interval between the 1st plane hitting the WTC and the Air Defense Squad failing to show up at Shanksville for the big finish.

  28. I think the first, second, and third most important elements of a movie is to BE ENTERTAINING.

    I’m pretty sure that this is not one of the standard things taught in like film studies courses or anything. In fact, I’m positive.

    The Battle of Algiers — not entertaining, great movie. Ditto the collected works of Robert Bresson.

  29. I’m pretty sure that this is not one of the standard things taught in like film studies courses or anything

    True Phil,

    But’s that why no one who ever went to film school has made an entertaining movie. Ever.

  30. Slightly off topic, but I think the NYC memorial should be a statue of a giant ape eyeing the Empire State Building 🙂

    As for federal dollars going to memorials, it seems to me that we’re getting a little memorial happy. The Mall, for instance, will have no grass to walk on within a century. I’m all for memorials that are privately funded, but there is such a thing as too much.

  31. RC,
    Alas, this thread concerns Flight 93, not the others whose flight numbers have passed into history. But yes, slamming into a fake skyscraper would be way cooler than nosediving into a pasture in Pennsylvania. It would make “Mission: Space” seem like the Tea Cups.

  32. Dammit, Mark, it’s spelled apologiZe. “Z”. Don’t you over-the-ponders learn yourselves the King’s English (and I’m talk’n about King George). 😉

    Or mayhaps you be from the Great White North? I loved that show.

    And I have to admit that there is at least one movie I love that features innocent people dying horrible deaths.. hospital patients, no less. “Hard Boiled”. Woo rules.

  33. Mark, didn’t Coppola go to film school? I believe that Scorsese did, too. I think it would be hard to argue that they haven’t made an entertaining film in their careers. Though neither seems capable of it now, but that’s another issue.

  34. 1200-acres for a plane-crash memorial?? That nearly a 1/4th the acreage of the entire Gettysburg Battlefield site’s 5600-acres. The Kitty Hawk National Site has 200-acres, and a nice educational-center and gift shop that cost maybe 2-million-dollars. I fail to see ANY REASON that Flight 93 needs anything even that elaborate; in-fact anything more than the 40-acres of the actual crash-site from the woods to the road, with a nice 15-ft granite plinth, is magalomania and narcissism

  35. This makes Ron Paul look pretty bad, IMO, since he has always supposedly opposed all other memorials, medals,etc paid by taxpayers “on principle.” Why make an exception here. but not in other “deserving” cases…

  36. “This makes Ron Paul look pretty bad, IMO,”

    Since people have to scroll all the way to the bottom to post, why don’t they bother to read the intervening posts?

    —————————–
    Nitpick: If you read the WaPo story, it becomes apparent that Taylor is holding the bill in the subcommittee that he chairs: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/24/AR2006042401428.html

    Since I don’t think Ron Paul is a member of the House Interior Appropriations subcommittee, he presumably hasn’t had to take a position on it. So please don’t start suggesting he’s inconsistent or hypocritical just yet.

    Comment by: SR at April 25, 2006 11:22 AM

  37. And to footnote my “United 93” movie rant..

    I just read that at the New York premier, they had baskets filled with tissue-packs at the entrances.

    Christ, if this isn’t a mawkish, collectivist jerk-off, I don’t know what is.

    I hope that film tanks. Big time.

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