Monday, July 14, 2014

Full Video Of House Oversight Hearing On Design Excellence

Design excellence in London, version 1.0 














If you're like me, you just can't get enough discussion of U.S. embassy design, whether of the Standard or the Excellent version, the plain or the fancy.

So we're in luck that C-SPAN has posted video of the full 3-plus hours of last Thursday's House Oversight Committee hearing on new embassy design practices. C-SPAN even includes a handy index with the video so you can skip ahead to your favorite parts of the dialog between the committee members and the panel.

My favorite moment came at the 55-minute mark, when Chairman Issa pointed out that the current chancery office building in London "was designed by the man that designed Dulles Airport, that it was built during a time in which design excellence, gorgeous buildings, were in [vogue with the State Department]."

That designer of Dulles Airport was the famed architect Eero Saarinen, and he did London at the height of the 1950s Modernist era. That era was the last architectural Golden Age when the State Department hired top-tier architects to do signature buildings. Yes, indeed, it was the Good Old Days to which the critics of Fortress Embassies look back with nostalgia now. Saarinen's design is still so beloved by fans of Modernism that there is a strong movement to preserve the building in all its original glory after the USG moves out.

So, the old building in London is a left-over from the previous age of excellent embassy design? And it's now so unsuitable that we want to replace it? Okay, I know it's old and everything, but still, that doesn't bode well for the present initiative for design excellence.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

TSB: Do you know anybody like you?

gwb

TSB said...

Ha! I know a few, now that I think about it, but there aren't enough of us to form an interest group.

Anonymous said...

That was a great 42 min on Django. I had no idea who he was but was amazing how he adapted himself to only having 2 working fingers and changed the music world. At the same time he never learned to read or write and was a complete flop in USA
gwb

Anonymous said...

http://news.yahoo.com/video/selfie-captures-chelsea-clinton-manhattan-001237095.html

TSB;James: According to my sources this sweet little millionaire said she would completely follow the evidence and the judges intructions but voiced concern about police and prosecutorial malfeasance and was promptly dismissed. gwb

TSB said...

I would have dismissed her from jury duty, too, given her close association with felons - her father and father-in-law.
And I'm extremely suspicious of her mother, whose old associates from Arkansas tended to also be felons.

Really, did you ever tally up all the people left behind in the Clinton's wake who ended up in prison?

Anonymous said...

Ha! Well, her mom got 20 minutes with Jon Stewart last nite to discuss her book (not) in front of an adoring crowd. They laughed about all the criticism and Hillary said "foreign policy is complicated". (And therefore should be left to criminals and humanitarian grifters)
gwb

TSB said...

"Complicated?" John Kerry makes it look easy.

James said...

"If you're like me, you just can't get enough discussion of U.S. embassy design," You are a sick man TSB, seek help now, while there is time.

TSB said...

Maybe there's a 12 Step program? "Hello, I'm TSB and I'm a fortress-aholic."

Anonymous said...

James: I saw somewhere today that Jihadi websites are talking about attacking the US Open. They didn't mention you specifically but they probably think you are playing in the Pro-Am. Imagine the ransom if they grabbed somebody live on ESPN!

gwb

Anonymous said...

Ooops! The 'US OPEN' is tennis. Carry On! gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: attack reported on Kabul airport:
Officials reported that a number of militants had burst into a building north of the airport, and the transport hub had been closed to all flights
NOTIFY KERRY ASAP! gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: My sources say Russkies shot down an AN-26 2 days ago over Ukraine and today a Malaysian 777 down over Ukraine. Kerry still thirsty in Vienna?? gwb

Anonymous said...

Rumor: Whitehouse in lockdown. Obama
moving to Martha's Vineyard for rest of summer. Also, McCain has meltdown
when asked who we should bomb next.
gwb

James said...

GWB: I would reply, but it would be a backhand compliment.

Anonymous said...

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-17/and-now-white-house-lockdown

TSB: All clear at WH! gwb

TSB said...

GWB: It's summer vacation time in Washington DC. Airplanes are downed over Ukraine, the Israelis go into Gaza, Libya is imploding, Kabul is under attack, Assad gains the upper hand in what's left of Syria, and The Camp of the Saints has gathered on our southern border. As someone once told me, 'things may not get better, but they will get different.'

Anonymous said...

James: I work so hard trying to get a reply out of you and all I get is
that 'Gone With The Wind' stuff I never read. As soon as I wrote that I realized I should have said: "KERRY ON"! But frankly, at this point, what difference does it make?
gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Well, that was fast. Yesterday
Obama sanctioned the Russian company that makes the BUK missile launcher.
gwb

Anonymous said...

"To quote Senator Fred Thompson..."
That was good TSB, but don't forget
Tori Nuland's famous words that rhyme with Too! gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: http://pagesix.com/2014/07/17/mogul-shells-out-500k-for-lunch-with-bill-and-hillary/

And you can bring the kids for half price!! For another $500K we'll bring Chelsea! And please! Take a free book. gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Hmmm, another Malaysian Air mystery? The most important question is who directed the pilot to change course and fly several hundred miles north over Donetsk? Kiev is in charge and it's on the voice recorder but I doubt if we will get the truth since nobody is asking the question. gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: It's all coming back to me now!
Ron Brown's Body! Remember how his
US 737 flew into a mountain top but then he ended up with a bullet in his head at Bethesda? Of course today's CIA would never be involved in such a thing. He's my favorite example of what happens when you mess with the Clintons. gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Ukraine's Security Service Has Confiscated Air Traffic Control Recordings With Malaysian Jet gwb
(no need to let facts get in the way of the propaganda)

James said...

"KERRY ON"! But frankly, at this point, what difference does it make?"
Heh!

TSB said...

GWB: With all the events going on now, I don't see why anybody needs conspiracy theories.

That old Ron Brown one always made me curious; was the idea that his plane was crashed into a mountain - deliberately, of course - but he survived, so next some conspirator who was waiting in the debris field shot him? If so, why shoot him and thereby give away the whole conspiracy? Or, assuming all that happened, why couldn't the conspiracy prevent a finding that he had been shot? (Was there such a finding?)

Alternatively, is it the theory that somebody shot Brown while he was on the plane? And then presumably also shot the pilots, or otherwise caused the plane to crash? If that happened, why shoot him at all, since that just gives away the whole conspiracy?

I could believe anything, provided it's internally consistent.

Anonymous said...

TSB: Ron Brown threatened to bring down Bill Clinton unless Clinton got his indictment overturned. After all he had been taking tons of campaign contributions in return for lucrative trade trips to Asia. The indictment only appeared once in the NYT. Clinton got the story stopped and pretended to play along with Brown. A few weeks later a lot of people were dead, including Ron. gwb
http://www.dangerouslogic.com/ron_brown.html

Anonymous said...

TSB: American ambassador Deborah Jones tweeted from the fortified US embassy, close to the fighting: "Heavy shelling and other exchanges of fire in our Abu Salim neighbourhood this morning, Alhamdulillah (thanks be to God) all safe".gwb (Evidently the 'Fortress'
is holding.)

TSB said...

GWB: I'm glad to hear it. That one isn't really fortressy, so I hope the locals simmer down.

Anonymous said...

TSB: Fortress was the word of the Guardian. The 'locals' were running for their lives cause they had no idea where the shooting was coming from. The Misrata's are trying to take back the airport from the Zintans who have destroyed it. And who knows where the head of the government is tweeting from begging for UN forces?? We should send James in on a camel to take supplies to the
embassy staff. gwb