Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan versus Borat

Sacha Baron Cohen is earning the attention he is getting.

For the past few years Cohen has portrayed Borat, a fictional Kazak journalist. Borat frequently depicts Kazakhstan as a backwards nation full of child rapists who drink horse urine. The Kazak is no fan of the character and the president of Kazakhstan has personally threatened to sue Cohen. Cohen, as Borat, responded in typical fashion joining the president in denouncing "the Jew" Cohen.

With the President of Kazakhstan visiting President Bush "Borat" found an opportunity for free press. He was turned away from the White House while being followed by numerous reporters.

Roman Vasilenko, Press Secretary of Kazakhstan, is fighting a war of words against Borat. In response; "Borat" told reporters, "There is a man name Roman Vasilenko who is claiming to be Press Secretary of Kazakhstan. Please do not listen this man, he is Uzbek imposter, and is currently being hunted by our agents. "

Will Kazakhstan get the joke, give up, or continue falling in the trap? I guess the latter. Be sure to check out Borat's Myspace Page and regular webpage to see what the Kazaks are upset about.

Category: Miscellaneous

Friday, September 29, 2006

This is why I have problems with Al Gore and other "environmentalists"

Fresh off the Robert Christopherson incident Al Gore opens his mouth. Gore has claimed smoke from cigarettes is a "significant contributor to global warming." If the bad habit is a significant contributor then what the heck are cars and factories?

To all my fellow environmentalists and nature lovers: The reason there is so much disarray is because of people like Gore who make idiot claims with little to no science backing them up. I love the environment and nature. But let us study and protect it with a little less idiocy and dogmatic-style and a little more reason.

Category: Physical Geography

Robert Christopherson hates me!

Maybe that is a stretch, but it is close

Doctor Robert Christopherson is the author of Geosystems, a popular physical geography textbook, and professor at American River College, one of the largest community colleges in California.

Christopherson gave a guest lecture on global warming and how it is human caused. He stated there is consensus among the scientific community that global warming is human caused. He gave evidence and projections that were higher than what Al Gore predicted in An Inconvenient Truth (a work which has been attacked by some). He capped off his presentation by saying the economy would make more money if the United States adopted the Kyoto Treaty (very, very, very questionable to say the least).

Now long time readers will know I am a fan the works of Harm de Blij and others who, while believing in climate change, question how bad it will be and whether or not humans are influencing it in any meaningful way. So I decided to ask what Christopherson thought of The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg and tie that into climate cycles. Lomborg scientifically questioned how things really are and proposed cost-benefit analysis on if things should be done concerning some environmental issues.

This is what happened:

Robert Christopherson: Are there any questions?

: "Thank you for your speech. Are you familiar with Bjorn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist..."

RC: Interrupting "That is not science! That is not SCIENCE!" "I am doing science. We should stick to discussing science!" RC went on to say that Lomborg should be studying RC's work and about two minutes into his rant said, "Lomborg should talk to the half-starving polar bears!"

At the end Christopherson implied he would wish to continue our "conversation" later but the people sitting next to me just looked at me with stunned faces from the vicious beat down that just went down. To top everything off Christopherson then ended the question session. There was only question asked- mine. I was quickly rushed by Ph.D. and Master students who wished to know what the background of the question was. "What did you DO!?!?" and "Do you think he's mad?" (sarcastically) were some things I was asked. A student told me he wanted to ask about extraterra global warming (global warming on other planets) but told me that even if Christopherson did not end the question session he would not have asked the question because of Christopherson's attitude.

Is this science? When a side is denounced as not being science (Lomborg has been dealt worse: he is a victim of multiple threats of lawsuit) and those who have questions are met with domineering and intimidating responses: are we not close to those who imprisoned the scientists of old?

Note: Robert Christopher blames "the oil companies" for creating "false images" and "spin" portraying the scientific community as not a unified field believing in human caused global warming. He enjoys flying, boating, driving, and other uses of fossil fuels to travel to the North and South Pole. He uses a computer (do not even get me started how computers ruin the earth) and his textbooks are printed on paper. To reach his speaking destination he took a plane to the airport and then drove quite a distance. He blames global warming not on himself but solely on "the guy going 85 on the interstate getting 8 miles per gallon."

Category: Miscellaneous

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Controversy about European Union Regional Maps

Catholicgauze has a big day today so I will have to steal a post from Map Room Blog:

"The Daily Mail and British Conservatives have their knickers in a twist over maps from Interreg III, an EU initiative designed to foster “cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation.” The Interreg maps — available here as PDF files — overlap one another and indicate regional, trans-border affinities, but that doesn’t stop the Mail and the Tories from fulminating against European attempts to wipe out national borders (lumping Kent with France and east England with Scandinavia) and create a European property tax. Via MapHist."

Euroskeptics in the United Kingdom do not consider the isles as part of Europe. Anyone or thing that says otherwise and tries to wear down British nationalism meets stiff opposition.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bolivia Headed Towards Civil War?

While America and the World's attention are diverted towards the Muslim world there is a storm brewing south of the Rio Grande, and not only in Mexico. The trouble this time is Bolivia's Evo Morales.

Earlier this year the people in Santa Cruz voted for greater autonomy. Their complaints were that Morales was damaging the local economy by Marxist economics and he was turning himself into a dictator. To show the people of Santa Cruz how mistaken they are Morales has installed road blocks and is forming loyalty militias in Santa Cruz.

It is getting so bad that the Argentine foreign ministry has predicted there is a 56% chance of civil war soon (but not 57%...). Civil Wars are getting more common as the world reaches another turning point. Supporters and nay-sayers of the United States are watching if America can hold the Middle East and global dominance. Its a battle between republicans and a league of tyrants. Hopefully good can win while avoiding becoming a Chimerica.

Publius Pundit is blogging about the situation and is a great place for updates.

Category: Geopolitics

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stunning Mountain Photographs

National Geographic has announced its winners of the Banff Mountain Photography Competition. The winners deserve their title. It is more than just photographs of mountains; it is that plus photographs taken in mountainous areas. Check it out for yourself.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Old New World Order

Remember when Catholicgauze had his crazy cartographic dream about redrawing the Middle East? Well, in 1941 Maurice Gomberg did something even wilder: he redrew the world and gave detail plans about how the "New World Order" would look.

Sun Bin already has made some key notes so I will point out the more interesting parts. Be sure to check out his blog to download the hi-res version of the map.

North America becomes a protectorate with the "option" of becoming an equal member of the United States. The Monroe Doctrine was alive and well in 1941.

The British Commonwealth does not become part of the United States of Europe. The question of whether the United Kingdom should become part of "Europe" still is a very controversial one. Europhiles and Euroskeptics still are battling each other for control of both the Conservative and Labour Party.

Roosevelt was more pro-Russian than pro-British. He made several comments that the war would not be fought to save the British Empire but he was willing to give Stalin a green light. This feeling must have been more widespread than I originally thought. India, British Africa, and the Falklands are lost. However, Stalin is given all of Eastern Europe including all of Germany and Austria plus Iran! Iran would give the Soviets direct access to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. The greater reason of the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan was to eventually secure seaports in the Indian Ocean. Imagine what Stalin could have done.

"Hebrewland" is established in Transjordan with land on both banks of the river Jordan. I am sure the Arabian Federated Republics will not mind.

Germany-Austria, Italy, and Japan are declared "indefinitely quarantined" and placed under a proto-United Nations control. Things get real scary when the Rhineland and East Prussia are "de-Prussianized." Lands like Elsass-Lothringen are given to France along with the Rheinland.

We Allies apparently had no trouble with the concept of ethnic cleansing. Systematic genocide was also cool with us as "a Population Control Policy shall be applied" in the loser countries to "reduce the numerical power" of the ex-Axis nations.

Foreign businesses and resources are nationalized according to the plan. This was made during the days of Keynesism and before people realized that planned captialism only works in the short term.

The Roma and Kurds still lose.

Just imagine this world. With all of Eastern and the most industrialized parts of Central Europe under the control of Stalin. With Americanized Imperialism instructing all Africans, no matter if they are Arab, Ethiopian, Congolese, or Afrikaans to unite (Rwanda was small and look at the problems from there!). And quarantined areas as models of Allied morals. While I support how we would fought to victory no matter the cost or time, was this the world we truly wanted?

Category: Historical Geography

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Representations of Indians and US Army along the Oregon Trail: Outside of Saint Marys

After leaving the Saint Marys Mission the Oregon Trail began to divert away from the Kansas (Kaw) River and begin the long jot to the Platte River. The land itself was given to tribes like the Osage and Delaware. The path way was traveled not only by Frémont but later was the military road for troops going from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Reilly.

Right outside of Saint Marys is a sign advertising the excellent pay station. The sign has an Indian chief with a fancy headdress on, a prairie-style headdress. It was a disappointment to see that the historical society which made a great and accurate museum put up a horribly off sign.

Near the town of Belvue are several markers which interpret the story of Louis Vieux. A road sign markers says he was a "Potawatomi leader of French and Native American lineage" who operate a toll bridge over the Vermillion River. The sign brief talks about how he ran a successful business offering services and supplies to the emigrants. The sign also mentions a series of cholera graves from the outbreak of 1849, nothing is mentioned concerning Uniontown. On the military side it mentions the military road between forts. The Kansas State Historical Society and the Kansas Department of Transportation were responsible for the sign.

Diverting off Highway 24 will take one to the Vieux family graveyard. Near the cemetery is a sign by the Pottawatomie County Highway Department which gives a slightly different view of Vieux. While mentioning he was of Indian and French ancestry, it is worded very carefully to make him and the tribe operate on different parallels. Going up the hill one gets to his actual grave. Only here does it say he was a chief of the tribe, and only on his grave marker from 1872. However, the iconography of the various graves makes it clear he was Catholic. The synergy is perfectly captured. I theorize that the Potawatomi who said "being Indian was worse than being black" was and still is to a partial extent still correct. The sign made by the local county was most distant to the truth of Vieux's role while only his family and then the state sign could give a more realistic depiction of who exactly he was.

Near the grave of Vieux and his family are the graves of 49ers that died from the cholera outbreak. The stones are worn but still present. A sign gives a quick breakdown of what happened. Only the emigrants are mentioned and nothing concerning Uniontown is present. Indians are mentioned as conducting raids along the trail in general.

Continuing to walk from the 49er graves one crosses the Vermillion River on a bridge built on the exact spot of Vieux's old bridge. On the west side is the ruined Luis Vieux Elm tree, a national champion tree from 1979 which was later directly hit by a tornado. Near the tree are six markers which say "SOLIDER" on them. I presume these are soldiers’ graves, possibly from the cholera outbreak. However, no marker and no book so far have been able to tell me why these signs are there. A sad mystery.

The last thing to see outside of Saints Marys is the Oregon Trail Nature Park constructed by Westar Energy. I have blogged about this before so I will keep this part short. The park is truly a sight to see but it needs work. Its main depiction of Indians is some sort of hybrid between Sioux, proto-Indians with only spears, and political correctness to the extreme (why are they not killing the buffalo in the hunt?). The only mention of the army is a few words of military passing along the trail.

The node of Saint Marys is behind us. The last hour or two of Kansas is ahead of us until we hit Nebraska.

Category: Oregon Trail

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The New Iron Curtin

The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the downfall of Communism and the Russian Bear. Russia went from a big, bad nuclear threat to the butt of jokes. Many saw Russia as a once great drunk who would slowly pass away. However, since the rise of Putin, an ex-KGB agent, Russia has been on the rise to become a rival of the United States and the European Union.

Both Chirol at Coming Anarchy and Radio Free Europe are discussing Russia's plan for regional dominance. In short, Russia seeks to destabilize its eastern neighbors with the belief that unstable neighbors will rely on Russia for help and be unable to join the European Union and NATO. A dastardly plan, indeed.

In an era where the West and Russia should team up to stabilize the unstable arcs of the world, Russia is playing for short-term gains at the cost of other nations.

Category: Geopolitics

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Geographical Travel from Pole to Pole

Rob Gauntlett and James Hopper ,the youngest Britons to climb Mount Everest, are planning on travelling from pole to pole. They have set up a website to document their journey. A secondary goal is to provide an environmental description of the lands they pass through.

While still in the planning phases; Catholicgauze is very interested. (Hat tip: Radical Geography)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Anousheh Ansari in Space!

Anousheh Ansari: the first female space tourist, the first female Muslim space goer, and the first Iranian astronaut is in space!

She has her own blog where she is documenting her journey. She also has a flickr site with plenty more pictures. In her native Iran reaction is mixed with some cheering her on as a role model for younger children and women; while others are upset a woman is doing something productive. Catholicgauze says: GOD SPEED!

Category: Space

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ice Age Britain was a site of many human failures

Humans first came to Great Britain around 700,000 years ago; however, the first sucessful settlement was only 12,000 years ago. The reason was because the ice sheets from the Ice Age would constantly push people out. The move-in and move-out occured seven different times!

Be sure to read the hyperlinks as National Geographic provides fascinating details.

Category: Historical Geography

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Geography and Being Single in America

Sigh... To "celebrate" Unmarried and Single Americans Week the US Census has released data concerning the unmarried in America. Facts like 41 percent of all U.S. residents age 18 and older makes the unmarried a large demographic. Some of the data is interesting and some just plan sad. (Hat Tip:

Meanwhile, MSN gives the top cities for singles to date in the United States. Catholicgauze recommends Washington D.C. The reason is because the city is filled with people who were at Boys/Girls State while they should have been dating in high school. By just wearing my red Washington Nationals cap I meet a staffer who was "interesting" and we will leave it at that.

Category: Miscellaneous

Monday, September 18, 2006

Right seizes control of Sweden

As I have been saying for a while now, the political right continues its victory march across the world sans Latin America (things are reaching breaking out however between democrats and Castro-lites in places like Mexico and Bolivia). Center-right parties have ended 12 solid years and practically 60 years of Social Democrat dominance in Sweden.

The Moderate, Center, Liberal, and Christian Democrats earned 48% of the vote will the Social Democrats and their Left allies only garnered 41%. The victors vow to shift from welfare handouts to job creation.

Sweden is at a fork in the road. Population via births is declining and the economy, while still strong, is beginning to suffer because of the social engineering. Also, a large increase in Muslims who reject Swedish culture with violence has made many wonder if the Social Democrats have an immigration policy or if immigration is just happening to Sweden.

Category: Geopolitics

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Latest Unrest in the Muslim World

"Dear Pope Benedict XVI, I humbly request that you rescind your statement as my contemporaries and I do not believe that it would help relations between our religions. Yours truly, Amad Ibn-Battusa"

So the Pope reads from a book which was made from the letters of a former Byzantine Emperor and a Muslim from Persia about the merits of Christianity and Islam. The Pope's goal was to show how spreading religion by force; whether it be Islam, Christianity, or Secularism is ungodly. Some Muslims thought this was anti-Islam and gives the impression Islam is a violent religion. To show how peaceful Islam is: Muslims did the weekly rage thing. It has been violent and only getting more so. Iraqi Terrorists have even vowed to homicide bomb the Pope.

Last time these cartoons were seen people died (all Muslims killed by other Muslims)

Like in the cartoons riots, many Muslims are showing how unstable they are and why they can easily be the biggest problem for the world in the 20th century. As of yesterday morning five churches were attacked, some by firebombs, in the West Bank (they all seem to be either Anglican or Orthodox. We are not dealing with the brightest of enemies. A London based newspaper stated the Pope's quoted remarks may lead to war. What the heck?!? Muslims are being killed by the car bomb load in Gaza, Darfur, Iraq, India, and elsewhere by other Muslims but not a word from CAIR or other groups. Al Qaeda threatens France (hardly the most willing country in the War on Terrorism) and not a word of outrage.

This is a big deal. As long as the West is dependent on oil there are economic concerns. There are also humanitarian and historic reasons to be involved with the area. When the gap goes nuts the whole world feels it. I honestly do not know what can be done. Any outside reform would meet more violence then what we are seeing now. Any inside reform faces extreme opposition from Islamic conservatives and the fact Muhammad made Islam almost reform proof. By saying Muhammad was the last prophet and declaring the Koran the final word on religion no Martin Luther can change things.

In a discussion with some Ph.Ds, the academics made it clear the Muslims were being provoked. However, you do not see Catholics attacking, murdering, and terrorizing everyone else when things like Battle Pope are seen (I actually think that is sort of funny, sort of). When the Virgin Mary and Jesus are mocked with things like "Piss Jesus" or "Dung Mary", I just think "jerks" and go on my merry way. When Madonna does her thing, there were protests but that was it. We do not write books calling for and dramatizing assassinations.

So I stand with the Pope and Angela Merkel by saying the quotes have been taking out of contest. I go further by saying "grow up" and get over it.

I call all on those who value peace and brotherhood to denounce the violence and do all in their power to end it. One can be upset at the Pope and I will listen to their complaints; however, this violence cannot be justified in any terms.

Category: GeoPolitics, Religion, War on Terrorism

UPDATE: Iraqi Terrorist and the Taliban oppose the Pope. Nice to make this issue black and white.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

DDT is back in Africa

The World Health Organization has announced it will use DDT to help stop the spread of malaria in Africa. The reason for the reintroduction is the sheer death toll on Africa's young: estimated at one million a year. The WHO plans to spray DDT not in fields but in living quarters.

DDT became a pariah when books like Silent Spring (somewhat faultily) depicted health and environmental damages caused by the pesticide. To minimize environmental damages the WHO will only spray indoors and not on agricultural fields.

In a land where AIDS and political corruption are killing millions; DDT is a necessary thing to save lives and build stability. Three cheers for the WHO!

Category: Physical Geography

Friday, September 15, 2006

Geography and Books: A Modern Dictionary of Geography

A Modern Dictionary of Geography 4th Edition is a must have for all students of any form of Geography.

The dictionary is by three British professors and it gives academic but straightforward and easily understandable definitions. The book is surprisingly free of political overtones (something which British geography is cursed with). I do think it favors physical geography over the human and technical subfields; however, this does not negate its essentialness to human geographers. On a very plus note it has easy to understand quantitative formulas and explanations of the formulas.

Catholicgauze gives an A+

Category: Books

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Three-Hundred Fourteenth Post

This is cause for celebration. This is the three-hundred fourteenth post of Geographic Travels With Catholicgauze!

While I do not believe in numerology I do have experience with "God Winks." Since before I can remember many moments of happiness and comforting events have some how been noticeably associated with "314." It may sound dumb but the sheer number of "314" events have made me wonder if there is something deeper going on in my small sector of the cosmos.

So I hope everyone has a happy 314th post and a merry day!

Postcards to Catholicgauze: Chartres

The second postcard to Catholicgauze is from the Cathedral of Chartres in Chartres, France. The post card is a photo of La rose nord (The North Rose).

The Cathedral has long been a symbol of French royalty. Queen Blanche of Castille donated the money necessary to build the windows in the early 1200s. The French lily and Castle of Castille are seen in several places. Christianity and French churches have a long relationship.

Note the various saints on the bottom. The Madonna in the middle and saint on the far right are Arabs (Orientals). The dress conveys a hybrid between the exotic while still having European undertones.

For more pictures of the Cathedral go here.

Category: Postcards

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Half of Chinese Do Not Know Chinese

"Nearly half of China's 1.3 billion people can't speak Mandarin." So says a Chinese educational ministry report claiming 47% of all nationals cannot speak Putonghua or "the common language" as defined by the Communist Party. Putonghua is based on the Beijing dialect.

If this is true then the forced Han cultural imperialism has its work cut out for it in multiethnic China.

For more on the new Imperial China read The Geographer’s New Map, Part II: China

Category: Languages

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

NOAA Nautical Maps Now Available

One of my more fonder memories is watching large tankers come into harbor at Duluth, Minnesota (it seems also to be the vaction hobby of my father). Combine this with a love a maps and one gets a love of nautical charts.

Now NOAA has made a collection of maps available online. The regions of the Atlantic Coast, Pacific Coast, Gulf Coast, Alaskan Coast, and the Great Lakes can be viewed. (Hat Tip: Map Room Blog)

Category: Maps

Monday, September 11, 2006

Wikipedia versus the Red Empire

Wikipedia refuses to bow to the murderous, censoring regime in Beijing. Good for them!

"The founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia written by its users, has defied the Chinese government by refusing to bow to censorship of politically sensitive entries. Jimmy Wales, one of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine, challenged other internet companies, including Google, to justify their claim that they could do more good than harm by co-operating with Beijing." (Hat Tip: Instapundt)

Remembering 9/11

9/11 has changed our way of life and the world in big and small ways. I pondered how to do this post and I still question on how to mark the infamous date.

I signed up for the 2,996 Tribute Project. I was assigned Hyun-joon (Paul) Lee. He was 32 years old, lived in New York City, and was killed at the World Trade Center. I could find out nothing more about Mr. Lee. However, that does not designify him at all in my mind. Lee was born, grew up, was educated, laughed, loved, cried, had friends, and wondered about his place in the world and cosmos. He is more than number 2341; he is a person whose irreplaceable life was brutally ended by an evil enemy which seeks to this day to destroy Western Civilization.

We came to the monster responsible; we will get more chances. I pray for peace and conversion to peace on all sides but those who live by terror shall die by the same evil forces they use.

Remember who our enemies are. They will lie to decieve us. They will say the West kills Muslim world wide ignoring the massacre of their brothers in Iraq and elsewhere by other Muslims.

September 11th is the date of a great wounding but is also a date of victory in Malta and in Vienna. Let us all rally around the great injustice of 9/11/2001. Let us gain resolve to finish what the enemy started. Remember the horrors of that day. We must be resolved so this never happends again.

For movies I recommend World Trade Center, Flight 93, United 93, Path to 9/11 (edited scenes can be viewed here), and Path to Paradise. For intersites I recommend the above mentioned 2,996 project World Statesmen's Memorial.

Category: War on Terrorism

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bible Geography Maps

Remember the Geographical Spread of Christianity map? This tops it... Bible History Maps for all! From Old Testament to New and everything else you wanted. (Hat Tip: Great Map)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Representations of Indians and US Army along the Oregon Trail: Rossville, Uniontown, and Saint Marys

After leaving Topeka one diverts off the interstate onto Highway 24. This stretch of land along the Kansas River has significant Army and Indian history. The river itself was originally named the Kaw River after the Kaw Indians (who were also known as the Kansas Indians). Before the hump of overland migration John Frémont led his men west on the expedition that earned him the name "the Pathfinder." During Bleeding Kansas United States Cavalry and Dragoons patrolled the road in a vain attempt to keep the peace. No markers along Highway 24 mentioned these facts.

The first stop was at the Citizen Potawatomi Center in Rossville. The Citizen Pottawatomi are the descendents of Potawatomi Indians who accepted citizenship in the 1860s and merged into the popular culture. They are the largest tribe in Kansas yet have no reservation due to the 1860s treaty.

The center itself is merely a few offices and a convention center. Decorations are the tribe’s constitution and general, stereotypical Indian depictions. Included are a painting of an Indian maiden of a stereotypical tribe and the "Founding Fathers" Rushmore painting. Through sheer luck I was able to meet one of the leaders of the tribe. He was a man in his 60s with white skin and a rather heavy mustache. We talked about the tribe’s history in the area. I remarked about the family portraits he had on his wall. They were from the early 1900s and the people had clothing on which would make my blue-blooded ancestors seem like poppers. Fancy dresses and suits abound. I mentioned how they all seemed "white" and he replied that half the people in the picture would "deny with all their effort they were part-Indian. Being Indian was worse than being black back then." I found it a bit ironic that the convention center had generalized Indian decorations and only the office of one of the officials would have tribe related history.

As I left the center I was told the nearby housing project was being built by and for tribal members. It looked like any small town housing project. He also told me a bit of Rossville's history. The last treaty with the Pottawatomi in Kansas was signed here. No maker existed in the town about this. Local history ignores that fact.

Near Rossville was once Uniontown. The thousand plus town was the largest population center in Kansas before the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Uniontown was setup by the government as a place where white artesian could do work for the Pottawatomi and where Pottawatomi could run stores selling supplies to emigrants along the trail. The town was devastated by a cholera outbreak in 1849. The only thing left of the once great town are graves marking the white victims while the Pottawatomi were buried in a mass grave. The gravesites are now on private property in a corn field but are in the process of being transferred over to the Citizen Pottawatomi where they plan to memorialize the town and dead.

Next up is Saint Marys. Blogged about before St Marys was the site of a Jesuit missionary and school founded by Farther DeSmet. The mission served the Pottawatomi and offered housing and supplies (for a price of course) to emigrants. The mission site is now in the hands of the Society of Saint Pius X (who is in schism against Rome and has a great distrust of Catholics- including Catholicgauze).

Right next by is the Pottawatomi Pay Station and Saint Marys Museum. While the operators are very clearly SSPX members I was able to befriend the ladies and gain a tour of the museum and unlimited access to their library. The pay station was where the government handed out money to tribe members as promised in the various treaties. White traders attempted to secure crooked deals with various Indians but were prevented by Louis Vieux, a Métis and chief of the tribe at the time. The Museum prided itself with local Pottawatomi history and my tour guided repeatedly mentioned how the Jesuits tried to help and save the Indians from complete cultural destruction. Various exhibits showed the history of the tribe and Church.

Saint Marys town emblem is a great contrast to the accuracy of the museum. The local Indians like the Pottawatomi lived in multi-family log houses and the Kansas lived in permanent huts. However, the teepee, a temporary housing structure used by nomad tribes, was used to represent the Indian heritage of the town. Shame.

I left Saint Marys for the long drive into Nebraska. Several stops were in my way; however, before I left the Sunflower State.

Category: Oregon Trail

Friday, September 08, 2006

EarthTools: The Geographer's Google Maps

EarthTools might as well be featured on "Pimp my Google Maps" because it is that good. Earth Tools uses Google Maps as a base while providing extras like Sunrise, Sunset, Civil, Nautical, and Astronomical Twilight; local time; and Elevation data. In some countries like Ireland an extra map layer which shows contour lines are available. Just take a look at Sugarloaf Mountain.

Now if these tools could be (or if someone could show me) integrated into Google Earth or GeoPortal I would be thrilled. (Hat Tip: Spatial Ireland)

Category: GeoInfo, Neogeography

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Waziristan and the War on Terrorism

The Victorious Flag of al Qaeda

Bad news on the war front. Pakistan has signed a truce (which looks awfully like a surrender) to Taliban-allied forces in Waziristan ending the Waziristan War. The war started when Pakistan took on Taliban remnants and other allied forces in the region.

Waziristan is in the western-part of Pakistan in the tribal area. The tribal areas are just what they sound like, a sort of wild west were things are like as they were for thousands of years. Imagine if the Huns were somehow transported through time.

The truce has an number of points including the Pakistani Army is abandoning its garrisons in North and South Waziristan and will not operate in North Waziristan, nor will it monitor actions the region. The Islamists claim they will kick out all foreign fighters but this seems unlikely since they will not be pressured to kick out their allies.

Most likely the treaty was signed because many generals and other leaders in Pakistan's army are sympathetic to the Islamists' cause. So far the war in Afghanistan is going well for the Coalition and Afghan government with most engagements ending in complete defeats for the Taliban remnants. But now that the Taliban has won on one front they might be able to move men, supplies, and skills into Afghanistan to cause even more ruckus. (Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin)

Category: War on Terrorism

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The 100 Angriest Cities in the America

Men's Health Magazine has a list of the 100 Angriest Cities in America. The usual suspects like Detroit (if you ever been to Detroit or its airport you would be angry, too), Balitmore, Washington DC, and Oakland are there. So are; however, cities like Fargo, Sioux Falls, and Lincoln. I have no idea why these places are so angry. Maybe because nobody knows about them except a select few.

Category: Miscellaneous

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Nokhchiin: The New Name for Chechnya?

Chechnya may rename itself to Nokhchiin to avoid negative connation which relate Chechnya to a war-torn hellhole. Maybe they should try to end the Jihad destroying the republic before they soil another name.

Redrawing the Middle East

Update: Kurdistan is on its way

Cartography links to an interesting article in Armed Forces Journal proposing a redrawn Middle East. The premise is that, like Africa, the artificial borders and states are only making things worse. I will let you read the article to get Ralph Peters take on what the Middle East should look like. Catholicgauze has his own idea.

The above map is based on Mr. Peters' work. My changes and thoughts are as follows.

Sunni Iraq and the West Bank (and possibly Gaza) should be given to Jordan. Jordan has proven to be a working partner for a tolerant (or "maybe all infidels shouldn't die") Middle East. Iraqi Sunnis once served Hashemite kings and the Sunnis may learn to love Abdullah II as their protector. The Jordan has already made peace with Israel and has proven track record of suppressing Palestinian terrorism. The constitutional monarchy framework would be a reasonable compromise for the Middle East.

Arabia should be freed from Saudi tyranny. The thuggish family has done harm to the region and the rest of the world. With them gone, the loss of the oil fields and the holy sites, Arabia would turn into a tribal style government sort of like Afghanistan (it worked well before the Soviets invaded).

Mecca and Medina should become a sort of super-Vatican ruled by a council from the various branches of Islam. While this will lead to problems a Caliphate could not work because all sides would want the Caliph to follow their beliefs. Compromising is necessary.

Syria should lose the Golan Heights and parts of Kurdistan but be allowed to keep port cities on the Mediterranean. If the Baathist can be driven off without Muslim Brotherhood taking over, Syria could be another pre-civil war Lebanon.

Lebanon should stay as is. Sunnis, Christians, and Druze get along fine but the Shia need to be contained. If that can be accomplished Lebanon can once again have the Paris of the East.

Iran can lose some of the ethnic lands but gain former Persian lands. The students of Iran have pro-American sympathies and do enjoy parts of Western culture. The Mullahs must be destroyed.

Shia Iraq could be a more traditional Iran. They may not like the United States but would not hate it either. To make this happen Moqtada al-Sadr must die.

Finally, the crème de la crop, Israel. The Golan Heights are now settled with Israelis and not Arabs. That goes to Israel. In exchange they give up the mostly Arab lands of Gaza and the West Bank with some minor adjustments.

Category: Maps, Geopolitics

Monday, September 04, 2006

Geographers You Should Know: J.B. Jackson

John Brinckerhoff Jackson was born in France to American parents of Dutch descent in 1909. He spent his childhood between his home in Washington D.C. and preparatory school in Europe. His experiences in Europe gave Jackson an appreciation of people, culture, and architecture.

After graduating from Harvard and the start of World War II, Jackson signed on to become an intelligence officer in the United States Army. While in the army Jackson learned various geographic techniques. 1951 was the start of Jackson's professional geographic career. He founded Landscape magazine (and at first contributed all the articles and letters to the editor).

The magazine, and his research, focused on the vernacular landscape (aka everyday landscape). A great example is the home and village/town. From an interview with Jackson: In Puritan New England the church was the focus point for the whole village. Right in front of the church would be the common green. Laws were passed that no homes could be built more than a mile away from the church. This fostered a sense of community and a communal identity in Northeast America. However, with the passage of the Northwest Land Ordinance; land was divided into massive square sections which could be owned by one person. The need for a village was diminished outside New England and community was replaced with rugged individualism. Things like this are abound in Jackson's work from downtowns, to strip malls, to front lawns.

Jackson, a professor, never was comfortable with solely academic geographers. He made sure his writings could be understood by the general public and kept it free from post-modern influences. If you have time I recommend one buy or check-out from their local library Landscapes, Discovering the Vernacular Landscape, and A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time.

"I want Americans to explore the landscape for its own sake to develop an intelligent affection for the country as it is and a vision disciplined enough to distinguish what is wrong and should be changed from what is valuable and worthy of protection."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hezbollah in the Venezuela

What you are looking at has as much impact as the U2 photos of Soviet missile installations in Cuba

The above is a photo, taken and distributed by Hezbollah, of Hezbollah recruits in Venezuela. Venezuela Today has a scary article on how Chavez is allowing Hezbollah to set up operations with the Wayuu Tribe on the Guajira Peninsula near Columbia.

Hezbollah has an MSN Space page and a blog. They seem to like bragging about the merits of Islam and have some beef against the head of Univision calling him a true terrorist.

There are already rumblings of Islamists active in Paraguay which could be a reason why US Special Forces are actively training allies in the tri-border region. If Hezbollah, number 2 when it comes to killing Americans, is working with Chavez to gain a foothold in the West, cable style wars could spread from the Mideast and Africa into South America. Chavez, long a foe of the pro-American government in Columbia, may wish to use Hezbollah to aid FARC or other factions. Wheels upon wheels are turning in this scary world we live in.

Hat Tip: Gateway Pundit

Category: War on Terrorism

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Coming Mexican Civil "War"

Let us all pray it ends that way...

The Mexican political landscape is getting much worse. The loser, Obrador, who once vowed to give up even if he lost by one vote is now preparing to set up his own alternative government. He has even threatened violence. Things have reached a new peak with leftist members of Mexican congress blocking the state of the nation speech.

This is very bad for Mexico, the United States, and the world. If the turmoil gets worse except for the Mexican economy to falter even more after a period of slight growth. Illegal Immigration into the United States will increase even more (it has been estimated that 10% of all Mexicans are already in the United States, most of them illegally). To top things off, forty percent of all Mexicans want to immigrate to the United States already! A massive increase in illegal immigration would cause a backlash which will play into the hands of pro-border enforcement politicians in America.

Finally there is black gold. Mexico is America's third-largest supplier of oil to the United States. The oil provides about one-third of all revenue to the Mexican government.

If things turn really ugly the center-right has the backing of the military. Democracy south of the border will suffer a huge loss if they come into play.

Category: Geopolitics

Friday, September 01, 2006

Who reads GTWC?

By using my Clustrmap, e-mail subscriptions, Bloglines subscriptions, and Sitemeter I have a geographical break down of the readers of Catholicgauze:

1) Eastern Half of the United States: This is the primary base of my readership. From the Atlantic Ocean to the near the Missouri River people come to get their daily dose of geography. Congrats!

2) Western Europe: And to be more exact the United Kingdom and France. Several friendships have allowed links to Catholicgauze on UK-sites like Radical Geography. As for the French I suspect several reasons. Maybe they figured I call French "fromage" because I am so much of a Francophile (yes, that's it, yes...)

3) Western United States: Not to be outdone a coalition of Mountain Red States and Pacific Blue states seeks dominance.

4) Singapore/Australia Hemisphere Axis: A few readers and their friends are some of the most loyal readers of GTWC!

5) Eastern (scratch that) Central Europe: Readers from Hungary and the Czech Republic are new but become more numerous.

The Geography of James Joyce's Stephen Dedalus

I did it for Shakespeare and now its James Joyce's time. Joyce is well known for his works Finnegans Wake, Ulysses, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Now some Google Earth fans with way too much time on their hands have released placemarks for Google Earth and NASA World Wind which mark locations from the semi-autobiographical work A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. (Hat tip: Spatial Ireland)

Category: Neogeography, Books