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CAMP CASEY INSPIRES HUGS AND MARRIAGE
By Jeff Norman
U.S. Tour of Duty
August 23, 2005
My day began yesterday with breakfast at Spanos Coffee Station in Crawford, which is a sort of a George W. Bush shrine. According to the lovely proprietor, Dorothy Spanos, the president generally eats there at least once when he is in town for extendended stays. But she told me she doesn't think Bush will be popping in anytime soon, even though he is here for the whole month of August. Hmmm...
Although she seemed unprepared for a couple of my requests, Dorothy did her best to serve an omlette that would satisfy my cityfolk palate. When I asked her what kind of cheese she had, she replied cheerfully, "Shredded."
At last night's U.S. Tourof Duty event at SMU in Dallas, Scott Ritter delivered a major address about U.S. foreign policy, the media, and his experiences as a UN weapons inspector. His talk was far too important and revealing to merely summarize in this space, so I will be posting extensive excerpts and video clips in the coming days. Scott is one of the greatest public speakers I have ever seen. I wish he could participate in every U.S. Tour of Duty presentation.
The Dallas crowd repeatedly gave standing ovations to Scott, Gold Star mom Karen Merideth, Iraq veteran Jeff Key, and Austin slam poet Genevieve Van Clete, who announced she would be marrying her fiance, Peter Ravella, at Camp Casey, probably on Sunday.
Genevieve successfully cajoled almost all of the audience members to hug one another, although the two Marines (Scott Ritter and Jeff Key) in attendance opted instead for a friendly handshake. During the panel discussion that closed the evening, I commented that Scott and Jeff had not embraced, which prompted them to warmly wrap their arms around each other's shoulders. No word yet on whether they will become the second couple to wed at Camp Casey.
I just spoke to the "Commander" of Camp Casey, former diplomat Ann Wright, after she met with local authorities to fight proposed parking and stopping bans aimed at stifling protests within a 7-mile radius of the president's ranch. Ann told me that following her Sunday night performance, Joan Baez stuck around Camp Casey last night to tell stories about her years of activism and to again sing songs. According to Ann, Joan is planning to make it three consecutive nights tonight. I'm back in Crawford, and will report tomorrow how it goes.