Douse Those Trousers -- TrueMajority, a political group founded by Ben Cohen (of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream), visited Riverfront Park on Tuesday with a 12-foot statue of George W. Bush -- with his pants on fire. Members of TrueMajority created the PantsOnFire mobile to poke fun at the lies they say Bush has been telling. Their Web site (pantsonfire.com) says the mobile will travel the nation between now and Election Day.
For the People -- One reader recently shared with us a bit of history on the recently adopted ban on camping on public property. There is a precedent for camping on public property: During Expo '74, People's Park was set up as a designated place for fairgoers without lodging or other accommodations. It was also a place downtown Spokane's homeless were encouraged to stay during the fair -- a measure endorsed by all but one city council member and the chief of police. The name People's Park was adopted by campers there as a tribute to an incident in Berkeley, Calif., in 1970, when police killed a man after firing shotguns into a crowd demonstrating to keep an unused strip of University of California property as a common space.
Unconventional Measures -- Sure, they're beefing up security for the Olympics in Greece later this summer, but that's nothing compared to the ways Homeland Security officials are gearing up to protect the Democratic National Convention in Boston later this month and the Republican National Convention in New York City in August. According to the Washington Post, Boston officials have told downtown workers to simply stay home for the week of the convention, July 26-29. And an interstate freeway that runs near the FleetCenter will be entirely closed off. Manholes will be welded shut, and all waterways, including the Charles River, will be heavily patrolled to sniff out any would-be attackers.
In the Big Apple, the security concerns are even more profound, as anywhere from 250,000 to 1 million protesters are expected to join in the action. NYPD Blue will have 10,000 of its finest on extra patrols, joining unknown numbers of federal law enforcement agents. The largest collection of bomb-sniffing dogs in history will have their barks at the ready, and guards will even be posted at the ventilation systems of area hotels. Costs have not been released, but tens of millions will likely be spent.
All this to officially "nominate" two guys who everybody already knows are going to be the candidates and get them some really great TV exposure. Oh well, if we can't stage our made-for-TV pageants, then (say it all together now) the terrorists win.
Publication date: 07/22/04