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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Karl Rove and Azzam the American: ONE AND THE SAME?!?

This has been bugging me ever since I first saw the pic of "Azzam the American" early yesterday evening. Look at this comparison photo: Bush campaign strategist Karl Rove on the left, and "Azzam the American" on the right:

Azzam seems to share a very similarly proportioned head with Rove. The position of the eyebrows and size of the nose almost seem identical. The right hands of each might be close in size to each other. The mass and angle of the shoulders... sheesh they look a lot alike. Also, note that Azzam is wearing glasses, and they look to be very much of the style that Rove is most seen wearing.

I took the photo of Azzam into Photoshop and played around with curve levels. I'm no photographic expert by any stretch, but I did get this "enhancement" if you want to call it that...

Is "Azzam the American" really Karl Rove? Who knows. But at the rate things are going in this election, with four days left I'll wager and RC Cola and a Moon Pie that this has yet to be the most outrageous thing we'll have seen before the end.

I gotta say this though: the "terrorist tape" doesn't sound authentic at all, no matter what anyone in the government is saying right now. This guy is totally lacking any real passion in his voice: he sounds like a walk-on audition for a dinner theater. His voice makes him sound as threatening as Steve Urkel. THIS is supposed to be scaring the juwillikers out of us? C'mon guys, I don't have the resources that the feds do but even with my meager means of giving this the hairy eyeball, this is either Karl Rove under a headdress, or some college kid who drew the short end of the stick from the fraternity hazing committee.

Sith happens

StarWars.com unveiled the official "teaser" poster for Episode III: Revenge of the Sith tonight. Dire portent of things to come...

4-0 and the curse is lifted

For the first time since the Bolshevik Revolution, the Boston Red Sox have won the World Series.

Pray that Bud Selig doesn't get his expansion teams, 'cuz it might take Boston another 86 years to repeat victory :-)

TheForce.net reviews Star Wars Episode III on November 1st.

For real.

I've NO idea how he pulled it off (and quite frankly I'd be more than a little scared to know, given this guy's connections: Mossad and MI-6 should look into recruiting him) but my friend Josh Griffin has somehow seen a roughcut of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. He's set to deliver the goods on what he thinks of it so far in his final post as editor of TheForce.net this coming Monday, November 1st. A few tidbits have leaked out on this thread at the TFN message boards (registration required to view) but in a nutshell, Josh thinks that Episode III is going to totally redeem the prequels and George Lucas as an epic storyteller, if anyone had doubted that during the past few years. Want a teaser of what we can expect this coming May? Swipe your mouse over the following "Inviso-text" (a TFN invention by the way) spoiler-boy: HIGHLIGHT TO READ Yoda and Darth Sidious have a lightsaber duel.

A bird in the Bush

Take a good long look at this picture...

That's a still from a video (Quicktime format) from the mid-1990s, apparently when George W. Bush was running for governor of Texas. He calls it his "one-fingered victory salute." Notice how much he smirks and snickers at making the gesture.

Maybe somebody needs to tell born-again Christian George W. Bush that holding up the middle finger is the indication that someone should go to Hell.

I'd like to report that this might have been something in his "wilder, younger" days that he might stand to be forgiven for. But looks like old habits die hard as this photo reveals, taken after Bush was already President of the United States...

Maybe Texas, or Alabama, or Kennebunkport, or whereever he hails from has a different sense of civility, but growing up I always heard that anyone who sticks up his middle finger like that so much wasn't so much "rude" as he was "heathen". NO ONE deserves being given that kind of gesture and what it stands for, regardless of circumstance.

If any Christian is still going to vote for a guy like this, I more than welcome him or her to write in and tell me why they are and why they're still convinced that this man has anything resembling a Christ-like spirit. 'Course, I was learning all about that four years ago.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled blog-casting...

The story got around. More than I was expecting. With five days left 'til the election, might as well move on to other things instead of letting this blog go stale from lingering on that one lil' story.

More fun stuff, I promise (okay, *maybe* some more stuff about the election too).

Friday, October 22, 2004

This guy has the #1 reason why a Christian like me should vote for Kerry...

...and that's to keep the Nazis from REALLY coming to power.

Carl Worden has a really good piece at The Sierra Times about why he's no longer affiliated with the Republican Party: because the fascists have taken over. Lest there be any question of his character...

I've been a registered Republican since I pulled my first lever in a voting booth, and I've voted as a loyal Republican for Republican candidates consistently every year. I am 55 years of age. I am considered a right-wing Christian conservative and strict constitutionist who knows the Framers of the Constitution expected strict adherence to that original document unless and until it is amended.

You don't get much more conservative and constitutionally-minded than I am, and that is why I just cast my Oregon vote-by-mail ballot for Democrat John Kerry as the next president of the United States. So did my wife -- and she's a very independent thinker. I know there are thousands of lifelong Republican/Independent conservatives who are going to do the same thing on November 2nd, because they've written and told me so.

The absolute last straw for me took place at the Bush rally, held in Central Point, Oregon on October 14th. President Bush stayed in Jacksonville, Oregon overnight after the rally, and protesters and police clashed on the streets. I sent out a photo of a Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy, all Nazi'd up in black leather riot control gear and grinning evilly as he shoved a woman holding her 5 year-old daughter. It wasn't the finest hour for local law enforcement, but even that wasn't the last straw for me. No, the last straw for me happened just before the Bush rally itself.

Slam here for the meat of the story.

Monday, October 18, 2004

GEORGE W. BUSH AND ME: My Anti-Dubya Story A Week Later

Seven days ago I posted The Night George W. Bush Ordered A Thug To Tell Me To "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!", my account of what happened at the Republican rally during the Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University in 2000. No need to recap all of that here: everyone is more than welcome to read it for themselves (though I had no idea until later just how long the thing was. My editor at our student newspaper in college was right: "Chris Knight you are a wordy wordy monkey" :-)

See that counter at the bottom of the page? Last Monday it was reading 420 hits since I installed it about four weeks ago. At this moment it's reading 1,703. The only bit of self-promotion that I openly did for it was a post to TheForce.net's message boards that same evening. Thirteen people finding it seemed realistic... but not thirteen-hundred people! In one week my lil' blog saw three times as many people who wound up here than all of the previous month put together.

Anyway, it was a conscious choice on my part to not post anything else for awhile, so that as many people as might find my account could do so. But I'm going to post on other things from here on out, although from now 'til November 2nd there'll also be a link to the original article at the top of each post - serious or otherwise - that I make. And to everyone who has already showed up to look at my blog: thank you! Seeing those counter numbers has really made my day :-)

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Night George W. Bush Ordered A Thug To Tell Me To "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!" (Caution: harsh language)

This has been something I’ve been saying would be posted for the past month now. I had it in mind to post today since it would be the anniversary of the incident, then said a few days ago I'd do it before then. As things turned out I was so busy over the weekend that I didn't have time to collect my thoughts enough for it. So now, I get to share it on the 11th after all.

And if any of George W. Bush’s supporters from Karl Rove on down to the lowliest bootlick want to try to destroy me on this: "bring 'em on." I've already written that I'm ready to admit to anything that they could throw against me for my doing this. They can attack and try to destroy me all they want, I don't care: I'm going to tell this story as best I can and nothing's going to deter me otherwise. But if anything happens to my loved ones because of it... well, I think I could take on Rove in a fair fight.

The Scales Were Still On My Eyes...

I was probably going to vote for George W. Bush four years ago. Seriously.

He seemed like a nice enough guy. And at the time I was a registered Republican. But I'd also reached a point in my political development where I could no longer be impressed by party labels or cheap imagery to win me over to any candidate. It's just that of the two major party candidates that year, if you put a gun to my head and told me to choose I would have likely picked Bush over Al Gore but other than that I really didn't know enough about Bush to have conviction enough to vote for him. But I had no reason not to vote for Bush: bear that in mind especially as you partake of my tale of woe, Noble Reader.

But that was before the night of October 11th, 2000. Maybe you'll remember it as the day of the Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. You might even remember watching it.

I didn't watch it. Can't say that I remember looking at any footage from it either. The only thing I recall from the 90 minutes or so of the debate was furiously driving back to my apartment in Asheville, my mind afire with how I should type out my report on what happened earlier that evening. But I need to step back a week or so and share about how this wound up happening to begin with.

Until two years ago I was a regular poster on Free Republic. I signed up for the site in early 1999 and thought that "Darth Sidious" was a pretty apropos moniker, given that I've always been a big Star Wars fan (and 'cuz I knew that Sidious would be THE major bad guy of Episode I a few months off). Actually, I did more than just post: I was a member of that site's "advisory board" (though at the moment I can't really recall what it was that the advisory board did) and even – at my own time and expense – pulled off what some said was the first-ever "one-man Freep". I'm no longer part of Free Republic: its owner banned me two years ago for my admitting that I would vote for Erskine Bowles over Liddy Dole in North Carolina's Senate race and in his mind that obviously made me a "Democrat": no joke, that's the reason he gave for banning me. Free Republic used to stand for a lot of principle: nowadays "Frei Republik" is more like it. You gotta goosestep for the GOP if you want to survive there. But, no real loss on my part. And the biggest reason I voted for Bowles is because he was a REAL North Carolina resident, not a carpetbagger like Dole (she hadn't lived here for at least forty years prior to running).

I mention this only because this is how I wound up getting an invitation to the Republican/George W. Bush rally and barbecue that was being held at the Dixie Classic fairgrounds in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on the night of the Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University, on October 11th 2000. There was another forumer (I forget exactly what her screenname was) who was a Republican county commissioner from nearby, who a few weeks earlier had asked me if I would like to come to the rally they were having since I was a reporter. Now, a cub reporter getting a chance to maybe get in a quick interview with the governor of one of the largest states in the Union, not to mention might be the next President of the United States: what do you think I said to her? I told her "definitely!" and a few days later an envelope arrived at my apartment in Asheville bearing an invitation and a letter describing some of the security protocol that could be expected: things like having some ID, etc. Nothing unreasonable to be sure.

I told my editor about it and he thought it was a great opportunity. But we also discussed, and I told him as much, that I didn't want to ask Bush any "hardball" questions because I was only being afforded access to the GOP rally, not the Democrat one. It didn't seem fair in my mind to pepper Bush with anything more potent than "how are you enjoying North Carolina?" and "can you describe what your biggest priorities are if elected?" without being able to do the same with Vice-President Al Gore. I know that's not something that probably happens much in journalism these days, but I grew up believing that reporters were supposed to be honest and fair and objective: the kind of journalists that Clark Kent (didn't mean for that to be ironic given the news today) and Peter Parker were in the comic books and it was that sense of duty and ethics that I tried to bring to my own job. I like to think that in most ways, I'm still like that.

Well anyhoo, the day of the rally came and I was pretty excited about going into the field like this for a story. I left Asheville a little before 1 PM that day, after swinging by the office and chatting with my editor, then calling my girlfriend because it would probably be pretty late before I got back. On my way out of town I stopped by the new Best Buy that had just opened up and thought I'd pick up some "traveling music" for the three-hour long trip to Winston-Salem. I wound up buying the 2-disc soundtrack for Children of Eden which I had no idea was out but HAD to buy. My college's drama department had put that on about two years earlier and I've thought since then that Children of Eden must be one of the neatest lil' musicals ever made. I mean, some of this music really has a way of sticking in your head... in a GOOD way! My favorite song from it is probably "Generations", but I digress (I just wanted to include all that to give an idea of how much from that day I do remember). I left Asheville, stopped briefly in Black Mountain to gas up, then headed east on I-40 to Winston-Salem.

The locals from Free Republic had instructions to meet – at the behest of this politician lady who sent me the invite – at a parking lot near the stadium in Winston-Salem, across the road from the Dixie Classic fairgrounds. I finally found the place a little after 5 PM (after finding myself somewhat ahhh... bewildered... about the geography of downtown Winston-Salem).

The first sign of trouble that night was something that although disquieting, I had placed it far out of my mind by the time the REAL deal came down. Ya see, everyone else in the group went on to the fairgrounds so that they could get an early enough spot in line, figuring that it'd be backed up for the security detail and all. But this lady I'd gotten the invitation from told us that there were still some people who were supposed to be coming to join us, and that she didn't want them to not know where to go. Matt (the other reporter among us) told her that he'd stay by where we'd parked for awhile, and when they showed up he'd direct them on to the rest. I guess it's part of my nature that I don't like the thought of anyone having to hold down the fort alone, so I volunteered to stay behind with Matt also.

About 20 minutes after everyone else had gone, a Winston-Salem city maintenance truck (I guess that's what it was) pulled into the parking lot where we were. It had a North Carolina license plate... in addition to plates from Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, you name it. I'M NOT KIDDING this was a CITY GOVERNMENT vehicle and it had ALL these state license plates on it!! The driver – he was black, missing some teeth, seemed a little drugged, he never made that much sense... I didn't get pictures of him but I remember him well – told us that we'd have to move our vehicles, that it was a private parking lot and we were trespassing. This was right next to the stadium and we didn't see anything to indicate that it was a public or a private lot: we'd only come here because some lady politician from nearby told us to park there and I guess we could trust her to know a public from a private lot, right?

Anyway, we told him that we couldn't move because there were a lot of people with us who had cars there and we didn't want them to return and find them missing, and where was it posted that we couldn't park there anyway? This guy got all higgly-piggly in a fit and drove off. Maybe 15 minutes after that a Winston-Salem police cruiser pulled into the lot and a cop and deputy sheriff got out: they told us we'd have to move also. Thing of it was, they couldn't tell us if it was a public or a private lot either. Then they started steaming because they demanded to know which cars belonged to people that we knew and which ones didn't: we refused to tell them until we had assurances from them that the cars would STILL be there following the event. Matt told them about the city truck with the extra (and illegal) state license plates and told them they should investigate THAT but they told him in so many words that they weren't interested. The cop threatened us with arrest (again, despite the nefarious status of whether it was really public or private) and the Forsyth County deputy sheriff told me – and not the last time I would hear this phrase that evening – to...

"Get the fuck out of here if you want to know what’s good for you."

Shocking, to be sure. So much so that I didn't even think to get his badge number (one of a number of mistakes I've made as a reporter... but this was when I was just really learning the trade. Given enough seasoning I doubt that would have happened). Well, Matt and I got into our own cars and drove out of the lot. I was going to make a note of the incident in my story but before leaving I rolled down my window and told the deputy that his attitude was something a person could expect from Nazi Germany, not here in America. He proudly smiled and said "thank you sir."

I drove on to the fairgrounds parking lot across the street, put the whole affair out of my mind and walked a little ways to where the end of the line was for the Bush rally. There were two rallies being held that evening: one for Al Gore and one for George W. Bush. I saw the Gore rally going on: it seemed to have a lot more casual, "party" atmosphere to it. It struck me even then that the Vice-President's party was a lot less controlled than was the one for the governor of Texas: looking back on things now I have to laugh at that observation before I understood just how controlling Bush could be.

"Get the fuck out of here" Redux...

It was about 7 PM or so and I'd been in line for an hour. I'd taken some photographs and did some quick interviews with a number of rally attendees, asking why they were there etc. (one Scoutmaster told me he brought all of his Boy Scouts because this might be a chance to meet a future President). So far, things were really looking up: I had my invitation, all the tools of the trade, and some questions ready to ask Bush all in hand. I had gotten in a few photos and interviews with some people around me. And, I was wearing my lucky Star Wars baseball cap: the one that I'd gotten three years earlier at the big Air and Space Museum exhibit in D.C.

Some of the things I remember: from my place about 50 yards from the main entrance to the rally, the line stretched well out past the front gates of the fairgrounds. Looked like security was pretty tight on this: I saw guys with metal-detecting wands all over the place. There were Bush staffers crawling all over also, including this one guy with a bullhorn – about 35, wearing maybe a dark gray suit – who wasn't doing much else but basically going "Rah-rah Bush!". In retrospect he seems to have been the inspiration for the "Special Ed" puppet on Comedy Central's Crank Yankers:

"Goooo Bush, Yayyy Yayyy!"

Keep Special E... I mean, this Bush staffer in mind. He comes back into the story shortly.

I hadn't seen Matt (the other reporter from our group) for awhile. I'd been too busy working on material to fill up my story with to look for either him or the other guys from Free Republic that I had come in with. That is until a little after 7 PM, when I saw Matt a short distance from me: yanked out of line by two Winston-Salem Police Department officers on bicycles, and it looked like there was some "contention" between them. I remember Matt had this sign (though I forget what he had printed on it) and I figured that maybe that was it: that the cops were telling him that protest signs weren’t allowed inside the rally (?!?) but so far as I can remember, I don't think it had anything anti-Bush on it. He looked like he was holding his ground pretty well though. But as I got closer to where he was as the line progressed, I stepped out of it very slightly to lean my ear in his way: whatever was happening, an outside observer might be appreciated later on, I thought.

Well, that's when I was approached by two Winston-Salem cops. Including this one girl a few inches shorter than me (I’m 5'9 myself) and probably not that much younger than I was at the time (26). I've come to refer to her as "Officer Smartass". Officer Smartass asked if I was a reporter and I told her yes. She asked was I with Matt during "an incident" with the cop and the deputy a short while earlier. I admitted that I was there, "but we were trying to..."

"Let me see your driver's license."

"Excuse me?" I told her.

"Let me see your driver’s license."

"Why?" I told her. "On what grounds?"

"Sir, let me see your driver’s license."

I told Officer Smartass that before I did that, she was going to have to tell me why it was that she wanted to see my driver's license in the first place. That was something she wasn't prepared to do, other than "you were involved in an incident" which four years of studying the matter later, I can't find anywhere in either the Winston-Salem lawbooks or anywhere else for that matter that a brief (but non-aggressive) verbal altercation between a citizen and two law-enforcement officials was grounds to ask for "papers, please." I even thought as much. "Asking for my papers, fraulein?" I told her.

"Excuse me?" she said, finally blinking. Good. She wasn't expecting resistance. But I've never thought for a moment since then that I was doing anything wrong: this was a sworn officer of the law overstepping any obvious or reasonable lines in confronting a citizen and wasn't even being so kind as to give a reason why she was doing so. I don't care if they're police officers: when they're in the wrong, they have to be called on it and if necessary, slapped down. And if it's not by us, then by whom?

I'm not afraid of "law enforcement officials" anymore. It's wrong to even call them "law enforcement": they used to be "peace officers". Most of them haven't even read the United States Constitution: why should we give most of them the honor of calling them "law enforcement" when they don't even know the law to begin with? No, most of these people nowadays enforce the policies of corrupted politicians who believe it is they who alone can define "the law". That was one of the things I was coming to learn this night: that so long as you've a badge and a gun and someone official enough to say that you can use them, "the law" becomes whatever it is you want it to be.

We must have kept at this for about five minutes or so: they demanding to see my license, and I holding my ground and telling them that unless I was suspected of a crime then they had no right to arbitrarily demand my license. "Sir, I am ordering you to surrender your driver’s license," she told me. I asked her what was the alternative?

"You can spend the night in our jail," her companion, "Officer Grinning Idiot" told me, with too much glee on his face for his own good. Indeed, I think he was looking forward to slapping someone in the hoosegow that night: might as well be a cub reporter with a Darth Vader baseball cap who was only here to ask Governor Bush how was he enjoying the North Carolina weather. Yah, some dire threat huh?

That’s when Special Ed... I mean, the Bush staffer with the bullhorn, approached us. "What's going on here?" he asked.

Before either of the two cops could speak I started talking. "Sir, I've been in line for over an hour waiting to get into this rally. I haven't done anything at all, but these two came up to me and started demanding my driver's license. They can't give me a reason why it is they want me to do that."

"Welllll... when a police officer asks you for something you'd damned well better do what it is that you're told to do," the Bush staffer told me. "You're not supposed to question their authority."

I didn't say it aloud, but I was thinking that sounded TOO much like the essence of a police state.

I told him that I was only here as a reporter, that I'd been asked to cover it by a Republican official and that I wasn't anticipating any trouble at all, that I was looking forward to the rally and hopefully a chance to get in a few questions with George W. Bush. I figured that if he knew he was speaking with credentialed press that he would lay off and tell the cops as much.

"Do you have an invitation?" he barked. Yeah, I told him I did, and I knelt down to open my backpack and bring it out. I brought my credential out also. He didn't even wait for me to cordially present it to him: he yanked it out of my hand, looked over it with his eyes and then...

...ripped it into pieces and threw them into my face.

Speaking of face, he threatened me with physical violence because he said I was too much in his, though I was at least three feet away from him. "You are NOT going to be allowed into this rally!" he barked again. I demanded to know who he was, what his name was. "I don't have to give you anything," he told me. He then ordered the cops to have me removed. I reminded him that I was here as a reporter by invitation of the Republican party.

"You aren't the kind of reporter that we want. NOW GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!!" the Bush staffer screamed before stamping off.

I never saw Special Ed again after that. The officers were again threatening me with jail time unless I complied with them. And had other circumstances not been on my mind, I was perfectly willing to deny them my license, go to jail and make a story out of THAT!

Except my best friend was to arrive at my apartment very late that night after a tremendously long drive. He was going to spend the next few days at my place and we were going to drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy the fall scenery. I had no way to reach him from this situation and I didn't want him arriving at my place at 2 in the morning after coming so far only to find nobody home. I stand by my principles... but I also have to be a good host to whoever is my guest. If it hadn't been for that, I would have never relented to give them my license. My only concern at this point was just getting the hell out of here and away from smirking little fascists like Special Ed and Officer Smartass.

"Is this your correct address?" she demanded. I told her no. "What is your correct address?" I gave her one that wasn't necessarily my then-current residence... that's all anyone needs to know. "What's your telephone number?"

"I already have a girlfriend, so you can't call me," I told her.

"Excuse me?" she said. Good, she felt intimidated again, I could tell. Again, I gave her a number that wasn't necessarily the number that anyone could readily reach me at. Technically it wasn't "false information", but I wasn't going to make things any easier for this bronze-emboldened little twerp either. Then she asked for my Social Security number.

"You can't ask for that," I informed her. She insisted that she could, and gave me the usual threats.

"No, you can't. It's against the Privacy Act of 1974 for a person's Social Security number to be demanded as a form of identification." And indeed, it is illegal for someone to order you to give them your Social Security information. It may not be all that well-known or respected, but it's still on the books.

From the look on her face, I took it that she didn't like being outflanked by a mere civilian. And a journalist at that.

I was asked to walk the short distance to where Matt had been. Along with the two cops that had accosted him and the two with me, another Forsyth County deputy sheriff approached: he told Matt and I that we could either spend the night in jail or leave now or go to "the protest area". I had no idea whatsoever what a "protest area" was, but thought that maybe it was a place that we could lodge a protest. Yah, shows what a big dummy I was... but this was before such a thing became common knowledge after all. I told him we might as well go to the protest area. The deputy told the two cops on bikes to walk us over there.

On our way out I heard some of Bush's supporters telling us to "get the hell out of here," one girl in her early twenties called us "liberal assholes" and another told us to "go to hell". One guy casually muttered to me that we were "bastard reporters". Had I not been accompanied by two surly cops with bikes wearing only marginally un-dorky shorts while carrying shootin' irons on them, I would have probably decked that guy. The cops did nothing about this: one of them even flashed us a smirk as if to say "what are you going to do about it?"

Well, on the other side of the fairgrounds we reached the "protest area": a fenced-in area made of crowd-control barricades, with two outhouses inside. "Well, there's the protest area," the deputy told us, expecting us to be good sheep and go on in. "You can either stay here, or be placed under arrest and taken to jail to await arraignment in the morning." I told him that I wanted neither, that I was going to return to my car. "If you attempt to return the way you came, you will be placed under arrest," he told me. The way back to our cars was about a mile away now, straight through the fairgrounds. It would be at least a mile and a half walk back to them. I told Matt we might as well start walking... but not before I jumped into the "protest area" and waved my butt at the cops and deputies in true Monty Python fashion: I figured that going through this much trouble only to find ourselves here demanded SOME justification on my part.

We arrived back on the parking lot sometime later. I got back onto I-40 and did an average of 80 MPH on the drive back to Asheville and defied the Highway Patrol to stop me: I didn't want a moment to be wasted between me and my word processor and telephone to my editor.

The Next Day...

I wound up posting a cursory story about it to Free Republic a short while after returning. I wish now that I had listened to my tape recorder before then, because I didn't realize it until over a year later that it was still recording throughout the entire incident. It captured everything that happened from before when the two cops stopped me, through the Bush staffer's threatening me (it escaped my initial report that he also had told us to "Get the fuck out of here!", I had been so much in shock of it all) and on past our being taken to the "protest area". It was all there, so I can back up everything that I've written in this account.

Anyway, I posted a report about it to Free Republic, and later that morning filed my REAL story with my editor and it was posted to our website. It was cited in quite a number of places on the Internet during the next few weeks, but I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere for at least the past two years or so. My report on Free Republic elicited a pretty wild response: some claimed I wasn't a real reporter and others were saying more of the same would happen if Bush were elected. The lady who sent me the invitation wrote me a private mail angrily demanding to know "what the hell it is" that I was doing in writing about this, that she had "worked too damned hard" to see Bush elected to have someone like me trying to mess things up. I told her that I was only reporting on what happened, that I didn't CARE if Bush was elected or not... that that's not how I operated. I guess she wanted someone who could ONLY write glowing fluff-pieces about her man. I guess that's also what led to my getting kicked out of the place... but I’m getting ahead of myself here.

After Chad woke up after his long drive, we were both needing one: him to enjoy the scenery, and me just to clear my head of it all. We got us a box of Krispy Kreme donuts and hit the parkway, and it was sometime that afternoon, with all that beautiful mountain landscape around us, that something occurred to me and I had to share it with Chad...

...that the people I had dealt with the night before, they could never enjoy something like this. That as angry as I was about the whole thing, I should really be pitying them, because he and I could know a freedom that they would never really have or ever be able to appreciate. A man could be President of the United States, but he couldn't also have enough liberty to take a casual drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway as we were doing now. Nor could anyone who loved their sense of power too much – like the Bush staffer or those cops – really want to do anything like this.

I had some contentment in realizing that, but I must admit some quiet anger toward everyone involved, and toward George W. Bush. I haven't thought of him as being anything more than the worst sort of hypocrite, if that night was any indication of what he inspired in his followers. A few weeks later, during my girlfriend's first trip with my to my parents' home, I took advantage of the early voting we had there and when it came down to who I wanted for President I proudly cast a write-in vote... for Alfred E. Neuman!

You know what happened after that: the Florida fiasco, 9/11, Bush and the PATRIOT Act. People's rights getting clamped-down on. Bush having dissidents thrown into "protest areas" or "free-speech zones" that I was introduced to a long time before they entered into most people's zone of knowledge. For the past four years I've held back and watched this country turn into a veritable police state, that I had merely joked about back then. You can't even wear an anti-Bush t-shirt in some places without getting arrested. All this time in my gut was the growing feeling that something terrible was happening to this country because of this guy and his followers and I should do something about it.

I've tried to do something about it, in my own way as a writer. And there's one more thing that I can write about: something that I've held close to vest until now. Seems like as good a time as any to unload this bit of info...

Two Years Later...

It was early February of 2003. Well over two years had passed since the events of that night and I was far away from anything that I was at that time. For one thing, my girlfriend and I were now married. We were renting a house near where I had grown up and were starting to make a new life for ourselves. But as luck would have it I wound up being a full-time reporter at another newspaper (I was also teaching website development to some middle-schoolers part-time then also). And the incident from October 2000 was something that I had largely put out of mind, only really dwelling upon it anytime I watched the news and saw a report on other "protest areas" or something that made me think about just how big a group of hypocrites that Bush and his legion of followers are.

I was in the office for a few hours each week, but usually worked out of our home at my computer: I could come back there after covering a story, write it up and then e-mail it and any photos I'd taken with my digital camera onto the office. It was a pretty slick operation (though the paper itself went defunct several months later... but that's a whole 'nother story by itself). I didn't get to spend as much time as I felt obligated to have at the office during much of that winter because of the weather: the winter of '03 was HORRIBLE in this part of North Carolina. Most of the roads between the office and our house were practically inaccessible. There was a few weeks-stretch where I must have only been able to get there about once per week... but so long as I could get to the stories to cover and forward all the pertinent information from my house, it was all still going well.

So it was that one afternoon when I was able to get into the office, that the phone rang. It was one of perhaps only three times when I was there that it ran and it had been someone asking to speak to me by name.


"Is Christopher Knight there?"

"That's me, how can I help you?"

"You're the reporter there, right?"

Yes I was, I told the person. Probably someone wanting me to cover a church potluck or a school booksale, I thought.

"Are you the same Christopher Knight who once wrote for the Asheville Tribune newspaper?"

I had to pause at hearing that: nowhere in my articles had I ever once even hinted at once living in Asheville, much less working for a newspaper there.

"Yes, I am," I told this person, with no idea where this was supposed to be going.

"Do you remember what happened on the night of October 11th, 2000?"

That one jolted me severely. Of all the things I'd expected to hear from the other end of this phone call, that was decidedly not one of them.

"Yes, I remember," I said to the person.

"Have you ever wondered why it was that what happened to you, happened?"

What I wouldn't give to look at a photo of my face at that moment. "Yes, I have," I replied. "I've wondered about that quite a few times."

"Would you like to know why that happened?"


I have no way to verify if this is absolutely true or not. I'm only sharing this now because I've no reason NOT to believe that it's true, and it has struck me as peculiar that this person sought me out with this information when I in no way had opened myself for inviting it. And because this much at least lends itself to it being true: it does sound like George W. Bush's style to do something like this.

"I was there, that night. I was very close to the governor. And it reached him that there were a couple of reporters from independent news media in attendance.

"Bush didn't want that. He didn't trust you. He was afraid you would ask him questions that he could not control.

"Governor Bush's specific orders to his staff were to 'Haul those assholes out of here!'

"Bush sent his staffers to order the local law enforcement serving as security to assist them in having you sought out and evicted from the grounds. They were instructed to tell local officers that you could be arrested and jailed if you failed to cooperate. Bush did not want you there, so you were not going to be there. That's what he wanted and he usually gets what he wants."

It literally felt like my jaw had hit the floor. I was typing all of this into Microsoft Word as hard as I could: "How do you know about all of this?" I asked this person.

"Because I was there and I saw things from Bush that most people wouldn't believe. He's not the nicest man in the world to put it mildly. I doubt you'd think he's really a Christian either if you were to hear him."

"I thought we were escorted out because of this thing that happened just before we actually got to the fairgrounds, this deal in a parking lot across the road with..."

"That's what first tipped-off the Bush campaign that you were there. One of you told the police that you were reporters and that was your only real mistake. They soon discovered that you were both apparently there with legitimate invitations but that was never a real problem. I told you, what Bush wants, Bush gets."

"I want to be very clear on this: all that happened because it reached the ear of George W. Bush himself, then-governor of Texas and now the President of the United States, that there were two reporters there who were... why?"

"Because Bush is a control freak. He can't stand to not have anything outside his realm of control. If he can't control it, he'll try to destroy it. He doesn't care if that means destroying other people either. I never believed a person could be so much an egocentric until that night. All that happened to you and the other reporter because Bush was too paranoid about the chance of someone he didn't know or could control asking him something that would become public record, that he couldn't control."

"So we were tossed out of the place and had our rights stepped-on – both as American citizens and as reporters – because the man who might be the next President of the United States was too scared to risk getting asked something he couldn't answer?"


"How do you know all of this? Why should I trust you on this? Who are you exactly anyway?"

"I told you, I was there, and was close to where Governor Bush was. I heard the whole thing."

This person then promised to contact me at some point in the future if, they determined, I really did need corroboration. This was shared with me because, as they put it, "you deserve the closure of knowing what was really going on." To date I haven't heard back from this person but if/when they do, they'll know where to find me.

Wrapping Up...

There. I've done it. I've written it out for anyone who cares to read it. As soon as I hit the "Publish" button it'll be out there for all the world to see.

I can't vote for John Kerry on philosophical principles, mostly having to do with his stances on abortion. I thought he gave a pretty good answer about it during the town hall-style debate a few nights ago... but this is one thing I still can't compromise on.

But as much as I can't vote for Kerry, he gets my respect because I've no reason not to trust him... which is something George W. Bush will never have from me. I've seen too much already with my own eyes to understand that he is a very small man who's carefully cultivated this aura of his being a humble and contrite Christian called to be "God's man" for the hour. "By their fruits shall ye know them..." but I can't make out anything of Bush's life to convince me the slightest bit that he's a true brother in the Lord.

Speaking of which, I've written to President Bush – twice now, once in a mailed letter and then with an e-mail – about what happened that night. I told him that the apostle Paul instructed us as brothers in Christ to resolve our issues between us, among ourselves, before we take the matter to the courts where we are then subjected to public's own discretion. I told him that this entire affair has been a grievance to me and that I wish to resolve it with him, so that it is no longer a thing between us as brothers in Christ.

To date he hasn't responded back with anything. Not that I really expected him to. But it puts this thing squarely in the public's right to know from here on out.

How can any of us trust a President who's afraid to meet with the American people... the people that he asked us to trust with serving?

How can any of us trust a President whose paranoia leads him to lash out at even an imagined nemesis?

How can any of us trust a President who considers himself a "great Christian leader" but wouldn't even pass the test for local church leadership that scriptures demand (see 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and Titus 2:6-8).

How can any of us trust a President who has dissidents – whether real or imagined – corralled up like livestock away from his sight, or even arrested and imprisoned?

How can any of us trust a President who has no qualms with sending others to die and yet is terrified to face death himself?

How can any of us trust a President who is supposed to be the Christian who loves his enemies... but instead sics Karl Rove's dirty tricks onto them?

How can any of us trust a President who doesn't care about destroying the United States Constitution?

How can any of us trust a President who doesn't care that he and his government trample on the rights of the people they are supposed to be serving?

How can any of us trust a President who doesn't keep his word (like on campaign finance reform – he said he wouldn't sign it but he did it anyway) and then expects us to believe that he will if given another term? Why should we trust him when he promises that there won't be a draft during his second term?

How can any of us trust a President who admits that he doesn't care how his actions are going to affects other people because someday "we'll all be dead"?

How can we trust a President who wants every American to be screened for government-defined mental illnesses? And does he get to be screened also?

How can we trust a President who actively works to instill fear, not hope, into the hearts of the American people?

How can we trust a President who once branded the buttocks of underclassmen while in college with a red-hot wire coat-hanger?

How can we trust a President who outwardly espouses that God is speaking "through" him, as if that makes him saintly or anointed.

That’s not a man to be trusted. That's a man to be treated for being delusional.

I refuse to hate, or be angry, at George W. Bush, or anyone of his staff, or any members of the Winston-Salem Police Department or the Forsyth County Sheriffs Office, for what happened that night. If I'm angry or have hatred toward them, then it means that they have won over my heart, that they have me in their control... and I refuse to give them that luxury. I was angry once, but no more.

I do not hate them. I do not wish ill upon them. But I do not wish ill upon my country either. Which is why I'm choosing to post this, now, as a warning for anyone who might heed it regarding my own experiences with the mindset that motivates George W. Bush and his followers.

That's all I have to say. Take from it what one will, but I've tried to be as truthful about all of this as I can be. Now let things fall where they may.

"For this is the day... that a Superman died."

I chose the final words from Superman #75 in November 1992 (the issue that saw the Man of Steel falling after saving Metropolis from Doomsday) for the title 'cuz... well, seemed all too appropriate.

It's being reported on Drudge Report and a few others at this hour that Christopher Reeve - who made us really believe that a man could fly when he was tapped to play Superman in 1978 - has died. Here's what Drudge has atop his page right now:
12:30:02 ET: Veteran Hollywood reporter Nikki Finke has learned that actor Christopher Reeve is dead, according to sources close to the actor. He died suddenly Sunday. News of his death has not been reported publicly yet. His family will make an announcement Monday at the earliest. Reeve was just mentioned Friday in the second live presidential debate by John Kerry. Noting he was a friend of the paralysed Reeve, Kerry said he was in favor of further stem cell research because Reeve could walk again one day thanks to such science.... MORE...

Report: Christopher Reeve is dead

I'm going to be very sad this day if this is true.

EDIT 10/11/2004 03:42 AM EST: It's true. There's now this story on Yahoo. Harry Knowles just posted this tribute to Reeve's memory a short while ago.

I know that most people remember Christopher Reeve for his work in the Superman movies, but if you get a chance go out and rent The Remains of the Day from 1993. It has Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, but Reeve appears a number of times throughout as this American diplomat who visits the estate. It's a small role, but in my mind it's a very strong indicator of the direction Reeve was headed into as an actor post-Superman. You might also remember his more recent role as Dr. Virgil Swann on the WB Network's Smallville: even debilitated, Reeve exuded raw power.

I'm not gonna write anymore right now. Reeve's Superman was a big part of my childhood and now with his passing, the inner child needs to go cry for awhile.

The Ten-Thouand Days "Wars"

One for the "Totally Useless But Still Cool Bits of Trivia" files: our friends at TheForce.net reported that as of yesterday (October 10, 2004) it has been exactly 10,000 days since the first Star Wars movie (now referred to as Episode IV: A New Hope) debuted in theaters. Ten thousand days of Star Wars. Eight-hundred sixty-four million seconds give or take. Probably more dollars than that in action figure royalties alone that "Uncle George" has raked into the bank.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Might as well get this over with

Twice in the past few weeks I've hinted about having a story about George W. Bush. The first thing I wrote was a long essay on why my motives have to be pure in sharing what happened: that it can't be out of anger or malice or spite. Either at him or the cronies he sent. Then it was another post about if I were to do this, that I should be prepared for repercussions from his followers and maybe even his campaign (again). In that one I made it known that if anyone has a charge to bring up against me, especially with anything that I've written online, that I'm going to own up to it. I know I've made mistakes... but I'll be darned if that stops me from publishing the things that have been on my mind for some time. Before going any further, I had to do those two things: make plain my desire for this to be the right thing to do, and pre-emptively confess that my on-line attitude has been far from perfect, lest any of that be thrown against me later.

Waiting until October 11th to write this seemed ideal, that being the fourth anniversary of the scales falling from my eyes because of this, after all. But I first noted this a few weeks ago and could have done something then, and maybe I've protracted this out because of fear: either of my own motives, or because although I don't mind being attacked, I've been most reluctant to subject my loved ones to any possible reprisals. Holding out 'til the 11th seems like just another excuse to run away from what I need to do and if I didn't do it then... well, when would I do it?

So my next blog entry, barring the Apocalypse and any inclination to comment on it, will be the full story, as best as I can relay it to anyone who might be interested. About the night that George W. Bush himself apparently sent a goon to tell me to "Get the fuck out of here!" Doctor Strangelove is about to come on the t.v. to my right, I figure that's a pretty appropriate thing to have on while doing at least part of this thing.

It'll be up soon. I promise.

"Doctor Strangelove" on at 10 PM EST on Turner Classic Movies

Just saw this listed and told my wife that I gotta watch. Doctor Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb has to rank as one of the funniest satires of all time, if not the darkest. What an amazing cast: Peter Sellers (in three roles), George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens, and a very young James Earl Jones headline this scathing (but hilarious) indictment of the Cold War mentality. I watched it for the first time during my first year of college as a critique for a history class and wound up searching high and low for a widescreen VHS version (there was one, by the way) 'cuz I wanted to have it as complete as possible. Heh-heh... I must have ended up with the largest collection of widescreen movies on videotape in the days before DVD. Anyhoo, it's a classic so catch it tonight and if not buy it off of Amazon or something so you can watch it later.

Government Hobgoblin Alert: They're coming for your CHILDREN!

From the Associated Press via Yahoo!...

U.S. Alerts Schools About Terror Threat

Thu Oct 7,12:28 PM ET

By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer

WASHINGTON - The Education Department has advised school leaders nationwide to watch for people spying on their buildings or buses to help detect any possibility of terrorism like the deadly school siege in Russia.

The warning follows an analysis by the FBI (news - web sites) and the Homeland Security Department of the siege that killed nearly 340 people, many of them students, in the city of Beslan last month.

"The horror of this attack may have created significant anxiety in our own country among parents, students, faculty staff and other community members," Deputy Education Secretary Eugene Hickok said in a letter to schools and education groups.

The safety advice is based on lessons learned from the Russia incident. But there is "no specific information indicating that there is a terrorist threat to any schools or universities in the United States," Hickok said.

Federal law enforcement officials also have encouraged local police to stay in contact with school officials and have encouraged reporting of suspicious activities, the letter says.

In particular, schools were told to watch for activities that may be legitimate on their own — but may suggest a heightened terrorist threat if many of them occur.

Among those activities:

_ Interest in obtaining site plans for schools, bus routes and attendance lists;

_ Prolonged "static surveillance" by people disguised as panhandlers, shoe shiners, newspaper or flower vendors or street sweepers not previously seen in the area;

_ Observations of security drills;

_ People staring at or quickly looking away from employees or vehicles as they enter or leave parking areas;

_ Foot surveillance of campuses involving individuals working together.

The effort is the latest by the Education Department and other federal agencies to encourage school officials to maintain and practice a plan for responding to emergencies.

After the terrorist takeover of the Russian school, President Bush (news - web sites) asked his top advisers to review their strategies for dealing with hostage situations, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has said.

The federal government is advising schools to take many steps to improve the security of their buildings. Those include installing locks for all doors and windows, having a single entry point into buildings and ensuring they can reach school bus drivers in an emergency.

The Education Department sent its letter by e-mail Wednesday to school police, state school officers, school boards, groups representing principals and many other organizations.

The Homeland Security Department also sent a bulletin Wednesday to federal, state and local emergency officials to provide fresh guidance based on the review of the school siege in Russia.

Take the president's last name and strategically insert two "l"s and an "it" and that's what this warning is full of.

Oh man, where to begin...? I spend a lot of times in public schools: my wife teaches at one and a few years ago I taught in some as a substitute teacher. And nothing has convinced me yet that what happened at the school in Russia is anywhere likely to happen here.

First of all, the hostage-takers in Beslan had a location from which to plan their attack. That's not so easy to pull off here, particularly if the supposed target is a school in a rural area or a small town. Those responsible for the Russian school incident had come from nearby Chechnya: they had ample opportunity to scope out the school and lay out details for the assault, all the while remaining inconspicuous. It would be VERY difficult for any group of people approaching the profile of the 9/11 terrorists to find a place in the United States from which to attack a school. Such a thing would require a minimum of ten such people (there were thirty of the Chechen group that held the school in Russia captive) and although a few might conspire to take over a few airliners, it would take MUCH more planning and coordination to consider a school as a target while keeping a low profile. That rules out any cause for concern on a national level.

Terrorists wanting bus routes?! Any given school system will have that information posted on its website. Not to mention that most publish their routes in newspapers prior to the beginning of each school year.

When was the last time you saw a shoe shiner or a flower peddler? For that matter, when was the last time you saw one named "Mohammad Atta"? To be succinct: just how DUMB does the federal government think we are?! Look, terrorists are NOT stupid: Boris and Natasha might get away with dressing like hobos to steal Bullwinkle's magic hat, but not a 27-year old man looking for potential sniper positions. They're smarter than that. And, they know that we're usually smart enough to KNOW that they're smarter than that.

"Observations of security drills"? Okay, what exactly is a "security drill"? My wife's school has fire drills and tornado drills, but this is the first I've ever heard of a "security drill". And they don't exactly come with much forewarning either. So unless a "street sweeper" is spending three weeks standing on the curb waiting for a school to have its monthly fire drill, there's nothing to worry about.

"People staring at or quickly looking away from employees..." So which is it? And "foot surveillance of campuses involving individuals working together" doesn't pass the smell test the least bit. Even when I was in elementary school many moons ago, ANYONE who looked out of place in a school without a visible visitor's pass of some kind was grounds for being halted by security or police. I saw it happen more than once. A public school isn't a place you can just walk around inside of without being noticed by the close-knit faculty and staff of the place... and if an individual couldn't get away with it, how could two or three or more? It's not like a group of Middle-Eastern strangers standing next to the water fountain aren't going to arouse some curiosity, after all.

Folks, this thing reeks of desperate electioneering on the part of the Bush campaign. This administration has spent the better part of the past three years creating and maintaining an atmosphere of dread and despair in this country, trying to make us paranoid enough to trust and rely on them without question. Heck, they don't even pretend they're not doing that anymore either: Vice-President Cheney practically threatened Americans with terrorism unless he and Bush were re-elected. And now these fearmongers are using public schools - and the children within them - to cultivate even more anxiety.

There's no sale here, 'cuz Bush's boys are hawking a bill of goods with this but I ain't buying.

"M-O-O-N, that spells 'dumb, dumb scientists'!"

Come on baby... Don't fear the Reaper
Baby take my hand... Don't fear the Reaper
We'll be able to fly... Don't fear the Reaper
Baby I'm your man...

Geez, has it really been over ten years since ABC first broadcast The Stand?

I first read the novel during spring break of my senior year of high school back in 1992, and to date it's the only Stephen King novel that I've read (apart from maybe 1/3rd of Dreamcatcher). The book is widely considered to be King's finest novel ever, and the t.v. movie was a ratings smash when it premiered in May of 1994. But in case you've never seen or read either, The Stand is about what happens after a strain of the influenza virus that was created for biowarfare by the U.S. military gets loose. During the first 300 pages or so of nearly 1200 from the uncut edition the virus (nicknamed "Captain Tripps") wipes out 99.9% of humanity... leaving the survivors to face the really bad stuff.

That was the fiction about thirty years ago. Now check out what some guys who obviously never read The Stand have done in reality (full article at BBC)...

Killer flu recreated in the lab

Scientists have shown that tiny changes to modern flu viruses could render them as deadly as the 1918 strain which killed millions.

A US team added two genes from a sample of the 1918 virus to a modern strain known to have no effect on mice.

Animals exposed to this composite were dying within days of symptoms similar to those found in human victims of the 1918 pandemic.

The research is published in the journal Nature.

On the plus side, messin' around with flu like this could yield better vaccinations, especially when the next pandemic hits. But the bad thing is the flu virus mutates slightly - but just enough for any current vaccinations and antibodies to be useless - every few years... and anyone who's helping the virus shift its antigens like that wouldn't be doing us any favors if this bug got loose. But, just in case security around it does break down and you're one of a handful of people out of billions that might find this blog, here's some advice...
If you start dreaming about this guy...

Run!! He promises wild times in Las Vegas but mostly attracts losers calling themselves "Trashcan Man" before getting crucified or incinerated. Don't be fooled by that smiley-face button he wears on his jacket either. Instead, look for this lady (if you're lucky enough to dream about her)...

Mother Abigail is her name. She's a hundred and eight years old and still makes her own biscuits. Look for her in Hemingford Home, Nebraska. She's usually playing her guitar on the porch of her old house in the middle of a cornfield. You come see her... you and all your friends.

(Images from The Stand from Melnik's The Stand site.)

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Do you know of ANYBODY who walks around dressed like this?

More evidence of my longstanding belief that fashion designers are terminally insane and should be dragged out into the street and shot for the good of mankind.

Even for a black-tie affair, this seems like more than a little overkill. I can't tell if that's supposed to be a man or a woman in that getup. Hit here for more follies from those feckless French fashion experts.

John Edwards meets Dick Cheney... almost 2 years ago!

The photo that EVERYONE will be looking at soon...

I've seen it pop up in a few places during the past couple of hours but Daily Kos (I'm gonna have to check this blog out more often: just discovered it a few days ago and this guy runs a good site) has good dirt on Edwards and Cheney meeting in January of 2003. Earlier tonight Cheney said that until this evening's debate he had never met Edwards before...

...which boggles my mind, 'cuz Cheney did pretty well in holding his own tonight (I took a break tonight, and just watched the repeat a little while ago). He certainly did better than Bush last week. I couldn't really tell where one candidate was better than the other though, though Cheney seemed more seething than the collected Edwards.

Still, why wouldn't Cheney remember meeting Edwards at least as recently as January 2003? And then the answer hit me...

Dick Cheney is a Time Lord from Gallifrey! Of course!

Explains a lot, doesn't it? Cheney obviously arrived sometime recently, met Edwards tonight and came to understand how big a mess the United States has become involved with in Iraq. He must have stolen Doctor Who's TARDIS (no wonder the poor guy's been on hiatus for the past 15 years) and gone back to the 1990s and taken over Halliburton so that he could later exploit all the money that the war had coming in. Y'see, the Cheney we saw tonight was the Cheney before he became Vice-President!

And those heart attacks? Why should he worry: Time Lords have two hearts after all.

Now, what would Cheney's "title" be as a Time Lord? I mean, on "Doctor Who" we saw the Doctor, the Master, the Raini, the Valeyard, the War Chieftain... how about "the Scowler"? Seriously Mr. Vice-President, you came across WAY too bulldogish tonight. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and you need attract all the flies you can get right now.

But if one needs any more proof that Cheney is a Time Lord, I offer up this photo evidence that proves Cheney is not only a Time Lord, but an evil one also, like the Master! Why else would he ally himself with the creator of the Daleks...

(Makes ya wonder if the Bush-bots are really hideous green blobs, doesn't it?)

All they need are dilithium crystals and Starflee... I mean Air Force will be in business

Interesting science being reported in the San Francisco Chronicle: the U.S. Air Force is looking into harnessing antimatter for wartime use...

Air Force pursuing antimatter weapons

Program was touted publicly, then came official gag order

Keay Davidson, Chronicle Science Writer

Monday, October 4, 2004

The U.S. Air Force is quietly spending millions of dollars investigating ways to use a radical power source -- antimatter, the eerie "mirror" of ordinary matter -- in future weapons.

The most powerful potential energy source presently thought to be available to humanity, antimatter is a term normally heard in science-fiction films and TV shows, whose heroes fly "antimatter-powered spaceships" and do battle with "antimatter guns."

But antimatter itself isn't fiction; it actually exists and has been intensively studied by physicists since the 1930s. In a sense, matter and antimatter are the yin and yang of reality: Every type of subatomic particle has its antimatter counterpart. But when matter and antimatter collide, they annihilate each other in an immense burst of energy.

During the Cold War, the Air Force funded numerous scientific studies of the basic physics of antimatter. With the knowledge gained, some Air Force insiders are beginning to think seriously about potential military uses -- for example, antimatter bombs small enough to hold in one's hand, and antimatter engines for 24/7 surveillance aircraft.

More cataclysmic possible uses include a new generation of super weapons -- either pure antimatter bombs or antimatter-triggered nuclear weapons; the former wouldn't emit radioactive fallout. Another possibility is antimatter- powered "electromagnetic pulse" weapons that could fry an enemy's electric power grid and communications networks, leaving him literally in the dark and unable to operate his society and armed forces.

Following an initial inquiry from The Chronicle this summer, the Air Force forbade its employees from publicly discussing the antimatter research program. Still, details on the program appear in numerous Air Force documents distributed over the Internet prior to the ban.

These include an outline of a March 2004 speech by an Air Force official who, in effect, spilled the beans about the Air Force's high hopes for antimatter weapons. On March 24, Kenneth Edwards, director of the "revolutionary munitions" team at the Munitions Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida was keynote speaker at the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) conference in Arlington, Va.

Ooh-boy... this can't possibly be a good thing. I mean, the scientists working on something like this are just as likely (more?) to blow themselves to Kingdom Come before any weapons even reach the battlefield! Mash here for the rest of the story.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Rodney Dangerfield has passed away

Just now hitting the wires...

I don't care about the Vice-Presidential Debate anymore. I'm going to go to my bed and cry.

Godspeed, Rodney. You may have never known it, but you always had our respect.

EDIT 10/5/2004 09:12 PM EST: No comment necessary. From Rodney Dangerfield's official website. No notice of his passing yet but there is today's "Joke of the Day":

Promise to vote and Michael Moore might give you clean underwear

Parse this as you will...

State GOP says Michael Moore illegally offered underwear in exchange for voting

October 5, 2004, 6:19 PM

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- The Michigan Republican Party is asking four county prosecutors to file charges against filmmaker Michael Moore, charging that he illegally offered underwear, noodles and snacks to college students in exchange for their promise to vote.

"We want everyone to participate in this year's election, but not because they were bribed or coerced by the likes of Michael Moore," said Greg McNeilly, executive director of the state Republican Party.

The GOP said it asked prosecutors in Wayne, Ingham, Antrim and Isabella counties to charge Moore with violating Michigan's election law. The law prohibits a person from contracting with another for something of value in exchange for agreeing to vote.

Moore, a native of Flint, is touring the country and imploring "slackers" who usually don't vote to head to the polls this year, saying they could make the difference in the presidential race.

Hit here for the rest.

"Team America: World Police"... rudest movie ever? Kewl!!

Seems like only yesterday that "The Spirit of Christmas" was still just an underground video we were downloading in those pre-Kazaa college days. Before "South Park" was even a glint in the eyes of Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The boys have come a long way since then and with "Team America: World Police" it's sounding like they're gonna cement themselves as THE premiere satirists of these United States.

In all honesty, I never "got" the whole "South Park" craze. It was vulgar, but it could also be very funny and pointed at things that needed some jabbing anyway. But when your religion professor walks into the classroom one day and screams "BEEFCAKE!!" well... it all seemed a little nutty. To this day a Cartman t-shirt has never seen the inside of my closet. But I do still have my Bart Simpson shirt circa 1990: now THERE was a rebel that a guy could emulate!

Anyhoo, Stone and Parker are still working on it before the October 15th release date but I've heard enough good things about "Team America: World Police" already that I'm planning to catch it opening day next weekend. Take a gander at the trailer here but what REALLY sold me is the review on Ain't It Cool News by Moriarty, one of the movie authorities that I most respect. He's echoing what everyone else is saying: that "Team America" might be the crudest, rudest, most disgusting and offensive movie in the history of anything! F'rinstance, how does this sound as the refrain of a song:
"The gays and the straights/The whites and the spades/Everyone... has AIDS!"

Make of that what you will (and remember this movie is from the same two guys who used the word "sh-t" one hundred and sixty-two times during one 22-minute long episode of "South Park"). But if they're offensive, Stone and Parker are at least equal-opportunity offenders and will put the screws to anyone - be they Democrat, Republican or dumb animal - for sake of the high-brow/low-bar laugh.

Remember John Wayne Bobbit? Well...

...I never thought that a real-life story involving the penis could be any weirder. Leave it to our friends in Eastern Europe to prove us wrong. From IOL:
Dog has feast with owner's penis

October 04 2004 at 04:41PM

Bucharest - A elderly Romanian man mistook his penis for a chicken's neck, cut it off and his dog rushed up and ate it, the state Rompres news agency said on Monday.

It said 67 year-old Constantin Mocanu, from a village near the southeastern town of Galati, rushed out into his yard in his underwear to kill a noisy chicken keeping him awake at night.

"I confused it with the chicken's neck," Mocanu, who was admitted to the emergency hospital in Galati, was quoted as saying.

"I cut it... and the dog rushed and ate it."

Doctors said the man, who was brought in by an ambulance bleeding heavily, was now out of danger.

Look at the bright side: at least the chicken was spared.

Monday, October 04, 2004

"Don't Vote"? Might as well...

An associate sends along this from Daily Kos:
Mysterious ad campaign: "DON'T VOTE"
by kos
Mon Oct 4th, 2004 at 06:15:45 GMT

This is weird.

A series of billboards around the Twin Cities that brazenly declare "DON'T VOTE" have angered civil rights activists.

Fifteen of the billboards have sprung up in Minneapolis, St. Paul and its suburbs in the last few days. Several are in areas with large minority populations, including the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis, leading the NAACP and other groups to criticize even the suggestion that citizens shouldn't exercise the right to vote [...]

The billboards are owned by Clear Channel Communications Inc. Lee Ann Muller, the company's general manager for outdoor advertising in Minnesota, wouldn't say who is paying for the billboards, but said it's a "teaser" campaign and its full meaning would become clear soon.

"I made the judgment call that the end of the campaign has value and a positive message, positive benefits for the community," Muller said.

Kos is tending to think it's either a liberal or a conservative plot. I'm wondering if it's either: it sounds more like a stunt to pitch something (although Clear Channel has said that it's not for a product). Maybe it's for a new t.v. show: THAT has certainly been done before. When the original miniseries V ran back in 1983 NBC hired guys to put up "Visitors are your friends" posters then a few days before broadcast spray-paint the blood-red "V" all over 'em. More recently the marketing guys for the X-Men movie got a mob waving anti-mutant signs outside the Today Show window. What I'm trying to say is, I seriously doubt this is a legitimate thing to discourage some people from voting. It's more likely than not a clever marketing scheme, nothing more.

Although if there has been any election where "Don't Vote" is not only a viable choice but an attractive one, this year's is it.

WOO-HOO!!! NASA's monopoly broken! Private spaceflight begins TODAY!

368,000 feet straight to the bank. To the tune of $10 million.

A little while ago SpaceShipOne landed in Mojave, California. Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites has now won the Ansari X Prize, barely two months before the deadline. After more than forty years, manned spaceflight is no longer the sole province of major governments: anyone with a lil' creativity and the backing of a few investors can now soar past the atmosphere.

Congrats to Rutan and his entire team! They not only achieved all the goals of the Ansari X Prize, they also shattered the high-altitude record for an airplane. Now to break the next flight barrier: when individuals can hack out their own spaceships in their garages. Maybe this guy'll be the next pioneer.

It's not called the ASS-imilator for nothing

Spent the past few days since Saturday morning out of town, which included spending part of the day yesterday at Paramount Carowinds on the NC/SC border near Charlotte. We rode just about all the big rides 'cept the Vortex (the very first looping coaster that I ever rode) because it started raining. There's one I WON'T be riding again anytime soon: the new Borg Assimilator. Sorta like the Superman coaster at Six Flags in Atlanta, but you tilt backward instead of forward. This thing is scary as hell. I think it almost gave Lisa's Dad a cardiac infarction. Probably the first time in over ten years that something of Star Trek seriously frightened me.

And at the encouraging good word of a friend that I highly trust, I have started reading a new book: Black by Ted Dekker. I started reading the first 2 chapters Saturday night and had to give up 'cuz of drowsiness... which didn't help that in those first two chapters I wound up with no idea what this is supposed to be about. Still, it's part 1 of a trilogy that someone said was much like The Matrix saga, so my curiosity is piqued. I'll post a review later.

Friday, October 01, 2004

So how come Charles Manson doesn't get to be a Supreme Court Justice?

Antonin Scalia. Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Probably THE most powerful conservative-leaning jurist (along with Clarence Thomas) on the bench anywhere in America.

He said the following earlier this week while speaking at a forum at his alma mater, Harvard University:
"I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged," Scalia said.

As noted by Vincent Bugliosi in his book Helter Skelter, encouraging orgies was one of the primary methods that Charles Manson used to re-program his disciples, even to the point that some of them would kill at his command. If I recall correctly, witness (and former Family member) Paul Watkins testified that Manson would get an orgy going and pass out LSD for everyone to use... except for Manson. He used a far less amount of acid so that he could maintain his faculties while controlling the orgy.

But I wouldn't really worry about Scalia's comments. At least, not until he starts playing the White Album over and over while claiming that the Beatles are sending him "vibes".

Mash here for more about Scalia at Harvard.

"It's made out of PEOPLE!!"

So, earlier tonight AMC was showing Escape from New York.

Then the tube was dominated by the Presidential Debate.

And now, right this moment, Turner South is running something I never thought that network would even know existed: Soylent Green.

There's a pattern at work here, I'm sure of it...