The Madness of King George

“There are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.”

– George W. Bush, April 2004
As dumb as this story is in print, especially knowing Fred as I do, what’s more irritating is the TV lead, something along the line of “Is local man a terrorist?” Truly idiotic.
Dan sent this from The Rude Pundit.
The I Word is out there. Yes, it is.
Friday, 12/23/05, 5:30 PM, 3rd Annual Crossgates Mall T-Shirt Walk, Enter through any entrance at 5:30 PM and converge at the food court at 6:15 PM. Please car pool where possible. Wear black. Bring a message of peace written on a shopping bag or attached to your clothing. From Wendy Dwyer’s email proposing this action: “Three years ago on December 21 , nearly thirty of us walked through Crossgates Mall in Albany, N.Y. wearing Peace tee shirts ie: Peace on Earth, Drop Toys Not Bombs and Don’t Attack Iraq. Most recall the arrest of Steve Downs in February when he and his son Roger bought a Peace Shirt FROM a vendor at the mall and wore it in the mall. 48 hours later more than a hundred of us and most local media converged on the mall to question free speech and the mall as the public gathering space. That weekend more than 300 people descended upon the mall and many were thrown out of the mall by Guilderland police, under threat of arrest. These events were reported in the media…all around the world…” Wendy also suggests, ” When we reach the food court area.. ….sing all we are saying is give peace a chance…if people like this idea. THIS MUST BE PEACEFUL. IT IS CRITICAL THIS BE NON-VIOLENT. NO SHOUTING, NO ARGUING” … “ IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE…………YOU MAY SAY I’M A DREAMER, BUT I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE, I HOPE SOMEDAY YOU’ILL JOIN US, AND THE WORLD WILL LIVE AS ONE”…John Lennon Wendy’s phone: 518-781-0071 or 518-542-4194

Twilight Tone

Rod Serling was president of the student government of Binghamton Central High School in 1940. I was the president of the student government of BCHS in 1970. When Serling came to give an address to the student body in 1970, it was incumbent upon me to introduce him.

His public speaking teacher back in 1937 was a woman named Helen Foley, a charming, ferocious woman who taught public speaking to me three decades later, and who died only a couple years ago. She also taught the late Richard Deacon, “Mel Cooley” on the Dick van Dyke Show.

Miss Foley helped write (or mostly wrote) this introduction I was to give to Rod Serling’s address, how he was a paratrooper during World War II, and other such detail that none of the students cared about; he was the creator of “The Twilight Zone”(!), which often cribbed Binghamton-area street names and character names (including “Helen Foley”) in his stories. I was in the middle of dutifully repeating my too-long monologue when Rod Serling just walked out on stage! I was mortified, of course, but in retrospect, he was right; the assembly was only for an hour, after all.

Later, he was in Miss Foley’s last period public speaking class. I must have had a study hall and gotten a pass, because I got to be in the class, listening as the writer wove one wonderful tale after another, how being the on-air personality of The Twilight Zone wasn’t his favorite thing, etc. What struck me, though, was that he was smoking his constant cigarette in the classroom!

Rod Serling would have been 81 on Christmas Day. Unfortunately, those constant cigarettes killed him in 1975.

Nevertheless (and despite the fact he was actually born near Syracuse), he was my hometown hero, who scared the bejesus out of me as a child, and continued to surprise a few years later.

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