JABbering Stooge

Friday, September 02, 2005

Camp Casey World Tour Report

Wednesday was the first day of the Bring Them Home Now Tour that started by pulling the stakes up from Camp Casey in Crawford and will culminate in a massive demonstration in Washington, D.C. on September 21. The first stop for the Southern Tour (of which Mrs. Sheehan is a part) was here in Austin. As part of my preparation for participating in the event, I made a sign from the following image that I cobbled together using Fireworks and Photoshop:

My sign got many positive comments from those in attendence. The only critique I got was that I put too many words in Michelle Malkin's mouth - I needed to make it more "sound-bite" friendly. But otherwise, those who saw it thought it was very clever.

My day started with going down to campus to use their computers to make the image. On the way back, I stopped by the brick-and-mortar version of the Unemployed Democrats store and picked up a couple of bumper stickers and a "No Nonsense in November" t-shirt.

After that, I had a harrowing adventure getting to CompuSigns to make an actual sign out of my little Crossing Over image. They were willing to give me what I wanted...just not on the same day. After convincing them that I needed the sign post-haste, they agreed to have it done by 4:15 PM - though they warned me that the image quality would be a bit degraded. I told them it didn't matter, and judging from the comments I got, I was right.

While waiting for my sign, I went across the street to BookPeople to pass the time. 4:15 rolled around quickly, and I picked up my sign on time. Best $40 I ever spent.

Deciding that I needed to park somewhere that didn't have a three-hour time limit on how long you were allowed to park (as is the case with both BookPeople and the downtown Whole Foods), I wandered over to one of those open-air pay-to-park lots on 7th and Neches and walked from there to the Capitol, where everyone was gathering. I arrived on the scene at 10 till 5. Here was the scene a few minutes after I arrived:

We milled about under the scrutiny of local news media until about 6 o'clock, when the bus transporting Mrs. Sheehan arrived on scene to enormous fanfare.

Interestingly, while we were waiting for Cindy's arrival, the drivers of several Captial Metro busses honked approvingly at us (at least, I think it was approvingly). Up until that point, I didn't see any pro-war people - except for maybe one bozo who kept riding back and forth on his motorcycle with an ugly glare aimed our way.

With the arrival of Mrs. Sheehan, we marched towards City Hall, many of us chanting anti-war slogans all the way down. We found at least two- or three-hundred more already at City Hall waiting for us. (Those of us who marched from the Capitol got the best view, IMHO, because those already at City Hall were seated further back, stadium-style.)

Here was my view of the events:

In addition to local activists regalling us with clever musical swipes at the regime in power, the lineup included several Gold Star Families for Peace members (including Mrs. Sheehan), Texas' famous populist Jim Hightower and an Austin member of Iraq Vets Against the War. During one of the applause lines, I made sure that Mrs. Sheehan got to see my sign. After staring at it for a moment to read it, she smiled in knowing approval.

Contrary to my brother's fears, the rally at City Hall went without a hitch. In fact, we couldn't even hear the pro-war crowd's banal barking for most of the rally - except for during a few brief moments of silence between speakers (and also during a moment of silence to commemorate those who died for this massive lie). All in all, I had a good time - I even managed to give my sign to Mrs. Sheehan as the convoy was starting to pull away. So those of you on the path of the Southern Tour - if you see a "Crossing Over with Michelle Malkin and Bill O'Reilly" sign, that's my contribution to the cause! :-}

As promised, I'll post my thoughts on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina either later today or tomorrow.

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