The shape of things to come

Can a shape be politicized? Of course it can. In fact, shapes are the latest battleground in America's struggle for dominion over the world. At the center of controversy is the humble crescent -- a shape most of us associate with freshly baked rolls. To Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, however, the crescent is the symbol of Islamic fanaticism and he wants it removed from the design of a proposed 9/11 memorial honoring the passengers and crew of Flight 93.

The design of the memorial (although not the memorial itself) is called "Crescent of Embrace," and its creators say its shape is simply an organic outgrowth of the topography of the crash site. It has the approval of Flight 93 family members, local residents, officials, and other national figures. Tancredo has sent a letter to the National Park Service saying the crescent is "unsuitable for paying appropriate tribute to the heroes of Flight 93 or the ensuing American struggle against radical Islam." It is not known which shape Tancredo prefers over the crescent or whether he has yet written to NASA to object to the shape of the moon when in its crescent phase.

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