Holy Sports Talk, Batman!
Seems in some ways to be an even better indicator of public opinion than polls charting Bush's approval ratings - the sports guys are beginning to question Bush's priorities and the war in Iraq.
From an August 22 item by USA Today sports columnist Ian O' Connor:
This was a minor misstep when measured against a biking and fishing vacation lasting longer than the Spanish Inquisition. Bush is a man who cares about fitness — this is good. When a bum knee forced him to stop running, he could've done what most 50-something men with bum knees do: limit their recreational pursuits to synchronized channel-surfing. Bush burned calories on the 10-speed instead.
But nobody wants to hear about his impressive pulse rate and body-fat percentages when American boys and girls are dying overseas, and when lawmakers start throwing around the dreaded V-word — Vietnam — in the daily dialogue on Iraq.
Although not known to be a sports columnist, Maureen Dowd offers a similar side dish of snark:
I mean, I like to exercise, but W. is psychopathic about it. He interviewed one potential Supreme Court nominee, Harvie Wilkinson III, by asking him how much he exercised. Last winter, Mr. Bush was obsessed with his love handles, telling people he was determined to get rid of seven pounds.
Shouldn't the president worry more about body armor than body fat?
Instead of calling in Karl Rove to ask him if he'd leaked, W. probably called him in to order him to the gym.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Bush Enjoys Vacation While Troops Continue to Make the Ultimate Sacrifice
67 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since President Bush began his annual vacation. As of today, 1,874 men & women have lost their lives in this war.
President Bush has defended his vacation during a time of war by saying "it’s time to get on with my life." Given his recent approval ratings, if the election was held today, the majority of Americans would be happy to give him an early retirement. This year's five week break is, according to the Washington Post, "the longest presidential retreat in at least 36 years."
Bush lies, they die
Thoughts on Iraq, its very bad constitution, and a cowardly press
President George W. Bush did something remarkable several days ago. He actually mentioned the number of Americans who have died in Iraq — 1864 and climbing.
Bush’s reference to the dead comes at a time when his standing in opinion polls is lower even than Richard Nixon’s during the depths of Watergate. In those days of constitutional crisis Nixon mustered an approval rating of 39 percent. Today, Bush scores 36 percent.
Bush spoke in a context intended to bolster support for the Iraqi constitution, a seriously flawed document that is a recipe for intensifying the low-level civil war now being waged by that gang of out-of-nation Islamic terrorists and in-state die-hard supporters of Saddam Hussein who have come to be known collectively as insurgents.
Rather than promote a Western-style pluralistic democracy, the existing Iraqi constitution contains more loopholes than the US tax code. The worst of these loopholes can be used to deny women liberties and rights while simultaneously opening the door for religious courts to review and overturn civil, secular legislation.
One of 1873 regulars
Casey Sheehan sold shoes. When careless customers left soiled nylon socks or shoebox packing materials on the floor, he’d clean them up. When kids purposefully swapped shoes and put them in different boxes, he’d reunite the correct mates. He also emptied garbage, restocked shelves, swept stockroom floors, and completed various other mundane tasks that come with a job in retail. I know this because for two years we worked together at a low-end department store called Mervyn’s in our California hometown.
Like most employees at our store, Casey wasn’t great with customers. He was shy and sometimes awkward, and could be unfriendly to clientele and co-workers alike. All reasons, I thought, that he eventually left the shoe department and started working in the back room, a job code-named "logistics," where he concentrated on tracking inventory and replenishing stock. On logistics, Casey roamed the cavernous back rooms alone most days stuffing new products, such as towels and sheet sets and soap dispensers, onto wooden shelves, visiting the store’s various departments to deliver goods or conduct price checks. Yet Casey and I still had our problems. When I’d call him on our store-issued walkie-talkies to request assistance, he’d rarely respond with a sense of urgency. I never thought the guy liked me very much.
Bronwyn Garrison, my best friend’s wife, dated Casey in high school, where they both took theater classes and performed in a staging of an obscure play, Good Morning Ms. Dove. Garrison says that Casey was an Eagle Scout and an altar boy. He played video games and liked Star Trek.
As Casey’s mother, Cindy Sheehan, prepares to resume her protest on a dusty roadside in Crawford, Texas, people across America have divided into two camps: those who put Cindy on a pedestal, and those who say she’s exploiting her son’s sacrifice to advance her own political agenda (or that she’s being exploited by the left). But for those who actually knew one of the soldiers killed in Iraq — even if he was a guy in the shoe department who didn’t like you very much — Casey Sheehan’s mom is performing a service in the absence of the coffins.
Casey never struck me as anything other than a regular guy. There’s nothing wrong with that, and for once in America we should celebrate a hero for what he really was. There were 1872 soldiers just like him.
Issue Date: August 26 - September 1, 2005
LINK TO ORIGINAL
Press Wants to Know if Pro-War Officials Will Send Their Own Kids to War
By E&P Staff
Published: August 27, 2005 7:45 PM ET
NEW YORK It's a question from the press sure to be posed more and more as the months go on, directed at public officials who continue to support the Iraq war: If you believe in the cause so deeply, why aren't your own kids signing up? Most prominently, President Bush (through his press spokesmen) is now hearing it, but it's now trickling down to the congressional and state level.
Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, a strong backer of Bush policy in Iraq -- who has give sons age 24 to 35 -- heard the query yesterday, from a Boston Herald reporter. Romney, who has promoted National Guard recruitment, replied, a bit angrily, that he has not urged his own sons to enlist -- and isn't sure whether they would.
The Herald tossed the question as Romney as he was honored by the Massachusetts National Guard. "No, I have not urged my own children to enlist. I don't know the status of my childrens' potentially enlisting in the Guard and Reserve," Romney said, his voice tinged with anger, the Herald reported.
Neither the Romney children nor the governor have served in the military, a Romney spokeswoman said.
Velvet Revolution Takes Off The Gloves,
Launches Controversial Long-Term Ad Campaign
CRAWFORD — The Velvet Revolution, a nationwide movement started immediately following the discovery of numerous voting discrepancies in Ohio following the 2004 Presidential election, is launching a long-term advertising campaign questioning “why the rich children of this chicken hawk administration won’t go to war.
Arrests, rhetoric highlight protests
By Thaddeus DeJesus and J.B. Smith Tribune-Herald staff writers
Sunday, August 28, 2005
CRAWFORD -– With five days left until the end of anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan's vigil near President Bush's ranch, Crawford became protest central Saturday as supporters and opponents of the Iraq war rallied, marched and simmered in 101-degree heat.
A handful also got themselves arrested, including a protester whose anti-Sheehan sign was deemed unnecessarily offensive by organizers of a large pro-Bush rally. The man carrying the sign became violent when he was asked to put it down.
Ken Robinson, of Richardson, Texas, who described himself as a Vietnam veteran, was carrying a sign at a “You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy!
Grim reminder of the future
[Information I’ve seen indicates that] 89 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan so far this month as the four-year anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, with no sign, or mention, of Osama bin Laden, despite bombings in London, nor does President Bush appear interested in finding him or the anthrax terrorists. Indeed, Bush is busy setting vacation records.
For Americans who’ve noticed the looming cloud over the United States since Bush took office and wonder, “What’s going on?
Call This Passive?
We're Young and We Do It Our Way
By Anya Kamenetz
Sunday, August 28, 2005; Page B03
I'll never forget the first time I marched on Washington. It was an overwhelming rush to join such a huge crowd, drumming and dancing, shouting to stop the war. When we saw the small city of people-- 100,000! -- assembled on the Mall, we knew we were making history.
The date? Oct. 26, 2002. My age? 22. The war? Operation Iraqi Freedom.
As the vigil of Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan has refocused a jaded media's attention on the antiwar movement, some are asking: Why has a middle-aged mom emerged as a hero? Why not a young radical? Where is the youthful passion that fueled popular politics a generation ago?
Well, it may come as a shock to those who wear the blinders of nostalgia, but the youth movement of today is bigger than ever before. We're just having some trouble getting the world to pay attention.
Despite the familiar, unthinking smear of young people as apathetic, I and the countless others I've met and reported on over the past five years care just as much as our parents ever did. The difference is in the balance of hope and despair -- how much we believe we can truly affect a world that progressives, anyway, think is going horribly wrong.
The truth is, the 2000s so far have taught our generation that the old methods of expressing your beliefs -- activism, voting -- aren't going to work by themselves. And we're just now figuring out what to do next.
A quiet majority replaces Vietnam's "silent majority."
BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Friday, August 26, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" is an aphorism of uncertain truth everyone seems to have etched into their minds. Who can forget? From the sound of the "antiwar" tom-toms thumping across the land, forgetting the past is the one thing America doesn't have to worry about. We routinely open the sepulchers of memory, and just now it is the "ghost of Vietnam" that is strolling among us.
Gary Hart, a former Democratic senator from Colorado who ran for president twice and worked on the McGovern campaign, published an op-ed in the Washington Post this week in which he exhorted someone in his party to actively oppose Mr. Bush on the war--to "jump on the hot stove" of Iraq, notwithstanding the Democrats' searing experience with Vietnam.
Chuck Hagel, a senator from Nebraska and current presidential marathoner, is beating his singular path to the nomination by explicitly saying that as in Vietnam, we are "bogged down" in Iraq and "need to be out." Also on the yellow brick road to the presidency, Democratic senator Russ Feingold has called for withdrawal from Iraq by Dec 31, 2006
Maybe Santayana was misquoted. Maybe what he meant to say is those who remember history are condemned to repeat it. And repeat it, and repeat it.
Joan Baez, now 64, has descended from the mists to sing songs at Cindy Sheehan's Crawford ditch in Texas. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, respectively 62 and 61, have decided to cap their careers with a new song called "Sweet Neo-Con" ("It's liberty for all . . . unless you are against us, then it's prison without trial.") The ghost of Tom Hayden showed up on Bill O'Reilly this week to announce, with the confidence of experience, that "an exit strategy is an art form all in itself." And indeed some polls have dropped the war's support below 50%.
Here's a truer saying: It's déjà vu all over again.
Any politician aspiring to the presidency who gets the call wrong on the Iraq war may find himself in the ditch George McGovern dug for his party in 1972--with 37.5% of the vote. Perhaps the reason Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden aren't jumping in front of Cindy's parade is that as a matter of species survival they're required to keep an ear to the ground. And you know what, the times really have changed since Vietnam.
Richard Nixon, amid a similar low ebb of popularity with Vietnam, gave a famous speech in 1969. This was the year after the Tet offensive, which caused Walter Cronkite's famous Hagel-like throwing in of the towel. In that speech Nixon described a "great silent majority" in America. The idea, of course, was that the daily media attention commanded by the antiwar movement was missing a class of Americans who sat home seething at the behavior of the protesters.
Today, because of the Internet, no one has to seethe in silence, as wired activists in both parties proved in 2004's high-tech election, and now. But it may be that the current infatuation with anti-Bush, anti-Iraq sentiment is again missing a political current flowing beneath the surface of the news, just as the media missed the silent majority 40 years ago and the values voters in the 2004 election.
Pro- and Anti-War Demonstrations Hit Texas By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 37 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - Several thousand people descended on President Bush's adopted hometown Saturday, attending a rally supporting him or arriving for the last leg of an anti-war demonstration near his ranch.
The pro-Bush rally by the school football stadium was the culmination of the "You don't speak for me, Cindy!" tour that started last week in California — referring to the protest that peace activist Cindy Sheehan started Aug. 6 near Bush's ranch.
Several times the crowd of about 1,500 chanted, "Cindy, go home!"
"You are giving hope and encouragement to the enemies of America," said former California Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, a Republican who co-founded Move America Forward, the group that coordinated the rally.
Meanwhile, busloads of war protesters gathered several miles away at "Camp Casey," named for Sheehan's 24-year-old son who died in Iraq last year, for a Saturday bell-ringing ceremony to honor soldiers serving in Iraq. Organizers estimated the crowd at more than 2,000, but it appeared smaller.
"I know that the Camp Casey movement is going to end the war in Iraq," Sheehan said, adding that no other families should have to suffer the loss of a relative. She led the crowd in chanting "Not one more!"
The Fire Sermon
By Chris Floyd
08/26/05 "Moscow Times" -- -- In his inaugural speech last January, President George W. Bush repeatedly invoked images of unbridled, ravaging destruction as the emblem of his crusade for "freedom." Fire was his symbol, his word of power, his incantation of holy war. Mirroring the rhetoric of his fundamentalist enemies, Bush moved the conflict from the political to the spiritual, from the outer world to the inner soul, claiming that he had lit "a fire in the minds of men."
But words are recalcitrant things; they have their own magic, and they will often find their own meanings, outside the intentions of those who use them. Bush has indeed inflamed the minds of men -- and women -- with his military crusade. But it is not the "untamed fire of freedom" that scorches them: It is the fire of grief and outrage at the lies that have consumed the bodies of their loved ones. This bitter flame burns in the rubble of blasted houses in Iraq and in the quiet, leafy suburbs of America, where the dead are mourned and the mutilated are left as the enduring legacy of Bush's cruel, wilful and unnecessary war.
This "fire in the mind" has now found its own symbol in the unlikely figure of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a slain American soldier. Here again, Bush's war-rousing words have gotten away from him. Sheehan's campaign -- which began as a lonely vigil outside Bush's vacation ranch and has now spread across the country -- centers on a single, simple request: that Bush explain to her what he means when he describes the war as "a noble cause."
Published on Friday, August 26, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
Mother's Day in Crawford
by Medea Benjamin and Gayle Brandeis
When Cindy Sheehan marched into Crawford, Texas to ask President Bush why her son died in Iraq, it was Mother's Day. Not the Hallmark-infused, soft focus, breakfast-in-bed Mother's Day that shows up on the calendar in May. This was the day that Julia Ward Howe envisioned when she created Mother's Day in 1870 as a time for all the mothers who lost their sons in the Civil War to protest the senseless violence.
Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation begins:
Arise then... women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Cindy Sheehan has risen up against the senseless violence of this war in Iraq, and countless women and men have risen up with her. The numbers at Camp Casey continue to swell, and support pours in from all corners of the globe. While George Bush says he feels Sheehan's pain but must "get on with his life," Sheehan's supporters are uprooting themselves from their lives-often at great personal sacrifice-- to vigil beside her in the hot Texas sun. Tired of seeing our soldiers and countless Iraqis die in an unjustified war, millions of Americans-especially mothers--are joining Sheehan's revolution of the heart. And in the process, they're exposing Bush's own heartlessness for refusing to meet with a grieving mother, and more tragically, for needlessly putting our sons and daughters in harm's way.
And What Did They Die For Once Again?
By Daniel Ruth
08/19/05 "Tampa Tribune" -- -- This may come as something of a shock to some of those yahoos down in Crawford, Texas, who are so upset with antiwar Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan's vigil outside the president's Godforsaken ranch, but if they were to look real close they'd discover she is committing first-degree, premeditated citizenship.
You see, we have this nagging, irritating, troublesome document called the U.S. Constitution. It's all the rage - or at least those dead bodies in Arlington National Cemetery thought so.
There, right at the top of the Constitution, there's this thing called the First Amendment.
Stop Drooling And Read
And if some of you goobers who have been shooting shotguns in the air to intimidate Sheehan and trampling white crosses in the ground honoring the dead troops who have sacrificed their lives for George W. Bush's war in Iraq could stop drooling for just a moment, here's what the First Amendment states:
``Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the FREEDOM OF SPEECH, or of the press; or the RIGHT OF PEOPLE PEACEABLY TO ASSEMBLE, AND TO PETITION THE GOVERNMENT FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES.''
Sheehan has a grievance - her son Casey died in Bush's war and thus she has petitioned the Clausewitz of Skull and Bones to explain why, especially since the administration's alibis for invading Iraq turned out to be more bogus than Burt Reynolds' hair, more than 1,800 American families had to lose a loved one.
Downing Street Memos Verify Death of Journalistic Ethics
by Carmen Yarrusso
The preamble to the Code of Ethics for the Society of Professional Journalists eloquently declares: "journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues."
Mainstream media's dismal failure to enlighten the public to the dire implications of the Downing Street memos is the final nail in the coffin of journalism ethics. Our mainstream media have officially given up all pretense of "public enlightenment" or "seeking truth" (much less "providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues") and instead have effectively acknowledged being a propaganda tool of our government.
Not One More
by CindySheehan [Subscribe]
Sun Aug 28th, 2005 at 05:48:25 PDT
Not One More
The Peaceful Occupation of Crawford
A photographer friend of mine went down to Crawford to the Pro-War, Anti-Peace rally today. There were about 1500 people there he said. He also said that it was the most "third reich" spectacle that he had ever seen in America.
My friend said that the speakers were whipping up the crowd into a frenzy of hatred for me (like they already didn't hate me?) and for the peace movement. My friend said that the entire theme of the rally was: "Cindy is killing American troops by her anti-American protest." Oh really, isn't George Bush killing innocent Americans and Iraqis by sending them to fight in an illegal and immoral war for power and greed? I think the real culprit is my neighbor: George.
August 29, 2005
Crawford, Texas: David Clemons seethes when he sees Cindy Sheehan on television, standing among small white crosses in an anti-war encampment named after her dead son.
To Mr Clemons her protest is a crushing insult to his own son, who was also killed.
"The lady is not honouring her son's sacrifice, because we don't have a draft and he went and signed his name on the dotted line," said Mr Clemons, of Winchester, Tennessee. His son Nathan, 20, was killed by a roadside bomb on June 14. "She'd better not be presenting herself as the voice of all the fallen."
However, Andre Lieurance, a retired naval officer whose son, Victoir, 34, was killed by a bomb the week before last, said he found Ms Sheehan so stirring that he might join her vigil at Camp Casey. "I just want some answers about why we're over there," said Mr Lieurance, also from Tennessee. "I don't even see the purpose any more. It's frustrating, and I'm angry."
Updated: Saturday, 27 August 2005, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
In search of an Iraq exit strategy
By Justin Webb
BBC News, Texas
LINK TO ORIGINAL
At the beginning of August, Cindy Sheehan, the mother of an American soldier who died in Iraq, set up camp in front of President Bush's Texas ranch, vowing to stay there until he agreed to meet her. Justin Webb considers the impact her protest has had on US politics.
Sheehan's voice just first to be heard
Aug. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
Cindy Sheehan isn't trying to speak for you or me. She is speaking for herself.
The difference is that she is speaking about those things that many of us have been speaking of for the past three years.
She is just the one who finally got the attention and the support that the anti-war movement has been needing to bring the war in Iraq and the questions and death surrounding it to the forefront of the American consciousness. Jennifer Burnett, Goodyear
August 28, 2005
Sheehan as food for thought
Painfully aware as I am that no camp in America's endless verbal war is free of sin, I have had to cross-examine myself in light of the all-out assault from the right on Cindy Sheehan.
From the talk shows to the columns to those downright chilling blogs, Bush loyalists who've never come within a country mile of a combat zone have carpet-bombed a bereaved mother whose worst offense is embarrassing the president about a supreme sacrifice when he's trying to relax.
Sheehan's refusal to follow the script, which says her son Casey died in Iraq for freedom, has made her a heroine of the antiwar movement, a distinction hardly calculated on her part and arguably melodramatic on the part of activists.
Now a public figure, she's subject to rebuttal. But to line up to lay into her, as these war buffs have done, to call her a "crackpot" engaged in "swindle" on behalf of a constituency that "doesn't think" and "borders on treasonous" is plain dastardly.
To pick at the consistency or judiciousness of her remarks when she is challenging a foreign policy that is built upon non sequiturs and falsehoods is nothing short of desperate.
To dredge up her divorce and other private irrelevancies is, sadly, standard procedure.
All of Us: A Poem for Cindy Sheehan
Geraldine Green 18.8.05
ALL OF US
and i she replied in a watery voice as she slung her hips forward over avalanche
and ice and i she cried on the hillsides crumbling soil and i she replied to herself
as she stepped like an antelope over the wall of the dead. the dead that lay like sandbags against
an oncoming river or tidal wave they could not stop they could not be stopped. and i they replied
as they marched side by side over elongated river beds like crocodile teeth and i we all cried as
OK, now I'm really pissed off... Just caught the CNN news and they said something insinuating that there were "thousands" of Bush supporters and "hundreds" of Sheehan supporters.
Let me set the record straight here and now! That is an absolute lie. They only showed Camp Casey 1, where there were a handful of supporters for both sides. As we have said all day, Camp Casey 2 had at least 2000 people there. That's a fact.
This is why we must be the media.
Posted by: madame defarge in wacko, texas at August 28, 2005 12:56 AM
Mitt backs war, but his boys are safe at home
By Maggie Mulvihill
Saturday, August 27, 2005 - Updated: 09:19 AM EST
Gov. Mitt Romney, who has comforted the grieving loved ones of soldiers killed in Iraq and promoted National Guard recruitment, yesterday said he has not urged his own sons to enlist - and isn't sure whether they would.
The Herald posed the question as Romney - a potential 2008 White House contender and backer of President Bush's Iraq policy -was honored by the Massachusetts National Guard after he signed a bill extending pay for state workers on active duty.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
'What They Died For' in Iraq is a Mystery
by Ken Lessley
President Bush spoke in Utah Monday defending his policies and practices in Iraq, and I have to say he seems focused solely on getting his agenda accomplished, regardless of who has to die unnecessarily in the process.
Referring to the "sacrifice" of the more than 1,800 American lives lost in Iraq to date, he said we must honor what they died for.
He left out the part about how they died for lack of proper armor, that the money for proper gear and equipment is still largely unaccounted for, that the families of the connected and powerful aren't sending their kids to die, that there weren't enough troops sent from day one, that their deaths will continue to mount for years to come, or that he started this war on false premises.
Published on Saturday, August 27, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
by Gar Smith
On August 2, George W. Bush fled the clamor of the Capitol and hopped aboard Air Force One for a two-and-a-half-hour flight to his Texas ranch - 1,300 miles from the Oval Office. Bush's five-week vacation has set a new record for the longest presidential hiatus in US history. It also marks a personal best for Bush, who had already established several benchmarks for excessive executive layoffs.
According to the Washington Post's tabulations, by August 2003, Mr. Bush had spent 250 days - 21% of his presidency - on vacation (166 of those days ensconced at his Crawford ranch). This year's jaunt marks Bush's 49th trip to Crawford since he was handed the presidency.
Bush's war in Iraq: The moment has come to decide whether to withdraw.
The Asahi Shimbun (Japan)
"Why did my son have to die?" This simple question from a bereaved mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq is fueling growing war-weariness across the United States.
Already, three weeks have passed since the mother, Cindy Sheehan, 48, set up camp near President George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he is spending his summer vacation.
Last April, Sheehan lost her son, a 24-year-old army specialist, in Iraq. Since early August, she has been asking to meet the president in person and calling for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Iraq.
Sheehan's anti-war message follows Bush trail
60-second ad airs on stations in Idaho, Utah
Bill Wallace, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, August 27, 2005
An anti-war TV spot featuring Cindy Sheehan, the Vacaville woman whose son Casey was killed in Iraq, has been dogging President Bush's footsteps as he traveled to Idaho and Utah this past week.
The 60-second ad, in which Sheehan speaks directly to the camera and castigates the president for "your lies" about the Iraq war, has aired on six television affiliates in Salt Lake City and Boise, Idaho, and is scheduled to run nationally on CNN and Fox Network News during the next week.
By Sam Coates
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 28, 2005; A03
CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 27 -- They arrived in thousands from all corners of the country, asserting their right to protest in the name of war and peace near President Bush's ranch.
It was almost 100 in the shade, but the temperature in this dusty prairie town felt far higher, with protesters of wildly differing views and temperaments packing into narrow roads and small open spaces. Some came to party, some came to weep, a small number came spoiling for a fight -- police said there were two reports of assaults.
This weekend is the culmination of the standoff between Bush and war protester Cindy Sheehan, who arrived 21 days ago. She came asking Bush to meet with her, even though he had done so before, to discuss the war. Her protest snowballed, with the arrival of Sheehan sympathizers and then pro-war demonstrators. Both sides planned major rallies over the weekend because it is the last one before Bush ends his vacation and Sheehan leaves.
Dear Clifford May:
Unfortunately Cindy Sheehan is too busy trying to keep other mothers' sons and daughters from dying in Iraq to accept your invitation to lunch.
But I would be delighted to accept your invitation in her place on one small condition: that you sign and submit this document, known as "DD Form 4/1".