Bush Escapes Fall of Constitution in Philly and Waxes Militaristic at Wright-Pat
furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sat Jul 5 09:28:57 MDT 2003
Well, folks, the hastily-organized Dayton protest against Bush was a
bust -- small numbers of dedicated activists from outside of Dayton
who endured heavy traffic in search of Dayton protest organizers and
activists almost melted down in oppressive heat (the hottest day so
far in Dayton this year). A tiny peaceful protest without direct
action and civil disobedience right outside of places like the
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (where there is practically no
demilitarized public space) has no chance.
Bush made a correct PR choice of avoiding Philadelphia and seeking
refuge in a well-secured military base in Ohio ("Mr. Bush won Ohio in
2000, roughly 50 to 46 percent, carrying its 21 electoral votes.
According to the Almanic of American Politics, no Republican has ever
been elected president without winning Ohio, which is considered the
most Republican of the big industrial states," [Raymond Hernandez,
"President Praises Troops in a Patriotic Speech in Ohio," _New York
Times_, 4 July 2003,
he stuck to his initial plan of attending the opening of the National
Constitution Center in Philadelphia (Cf.
<http://www.justiceinjuly.org/press_release_0613.html>), he could
have been symbolically slain (or literally "hit in the head and
knocked to his knees" or worse) by a falling picture frame signifying
the downfall of the US Constitution, while thousands protested his
domestic and international policy around the Center.
***** New York Times July 5, 2003
Mishap Mars Opening of Constitution Museum
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PHILADELPHIA, July 4 (AP) - The opening of the National Constitution
Center, a museum devoted to the United States Constitution, was
marred today when a huge wood and steel frame collapsed, injuring
several people and narrowly missing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
The frame, which was at least 15 feet high, slowly toppled as the
guests of honor at the ceremony pulled red, white and blue streamers
that were supposed to trigger the drop of a screen at the museum's
front entrance on Independence Mall.
Instead, the streamers pulled down the frame, which fell on Mayor
John F. Street of Philadelphia, Senator Arlen Specter and other
The crowd of 4,000 gasped as the frame came down around Justice
O'Connor, who had counted down from three to start the ceremony.
Mr. Street and Mr. Specter were struck on the arms as they tried to
fend off the falling structure. Joseph Torsella, president of the
National Constitution Center, was hit in the head and knocked to his
Mr. Torsella was woozy, but walked to an ambulance. He was treated at
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and released. Mayor Street and a
government worker were also treated for minor injuries....
Organizers said that when the guests pulled on the ribbons, a screen
bearing a reproduction of the signing of the Constitution was to have
dropped, revealing a newer painting underneath, with some of the
celebrity guests standing in the places of the founding fathers.
A Constitution Center spokeswoman said officials were trying to
determine what went wrong.
***** Saturday, Jul 05, 2003
Posted on Sat, Jul. 05, 2003
Frame's Fall Mars Opening
By Jacqueline Soteropoulos and Anthony S. Twyman
Inquirer Staff Writers
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor had just concluded her
Liberty Medal speech....
But when she and the others - including Gov. [Edward G.] Rendell,
U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, and Mayor Street - simultaneously tugged
metallic ribbons to simulate opening of the curtain, they instead
pulled down a massive piece of the stage scenery, in the shape of a
It struck Specter, Street and Joseph M. Torsella, Constitution Center
president, injuring them slightly. The top beam of the frame, termed
"very heavy" by Street, crashed to the floor directly in front of
where O'Connor was seated in the first row.
"We could all have been killed there," O'Connor was overheard saying
into her open microphone as she and the others looked in astonishment
on the massive beam lying almost in their laps....
Rendell saw the structure falling and moved out of the way, but was
sitting next to Torsella.
"He deflected it partially with his arm, but part of it hit him in
the head... . Joe fell to his knees," Rendell said.
"I said, 'Joe, are you all right?' He said, 'No.'"...
Contact staff writer Jacqueline Soteropoulos at 215-854-4497 or
jsoteropoulos at phillynews.com.
***** Thousands protest near dedication of center
As many as 5,000 gathered at Franklin Square and marched through
Center City to oppose U.S. policies.
By Martha Woodall
Inquirer Staff Writer
While dignitaries marked the opening of the new National Constitution
Center yesterday, several thousand of the hoi polloi marked the
Fourth with a noisy, upbeat antiwar rally a block away at Franklin
Afterward, in a march that snaked through the hot Center City
streets, 3,000 to 5,000 demonstrators shook placards to a steady
drumbeat and chanted: "Stop the crazy son of a Bush! Stop the war
When the protest originally was scheduled, President Bush was
expected to attend the Constitution Center's opening. He later
decided to skip the celebration, but organizers went ahead with their
The event attracted veterans of the antiwar movement, college
students, and parents pushing children in strollers.
"We think there was a lot of diversity," said Phoebe Schellenberg, a
spokeswoman for the nearly 20 groups that organized the event. "We
were really pleased because we are trying to say it is people from
all walks of life who are opposing these policies."
Speakers and demonstrators lambasted not only the war in Iraq, but
also Bush's foreign policy and domestic agenda.
Charles Sherrouse, a Northeast Philadelphia resident and member of
the Green Party, said the administration had watered down the
Constitution. He and others said the USA Patriot Act, which increased
the federal government's surveillance powers after the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks, was unconstitutional.
It "is really reminiscent of the McCarthy days. It's taking away our
rights of free speech," said Franny Breen of Center City, another
Green Party member.
To illustrate the point, a huge puppet of Bush feeding the Bill of
Rights into a paper shredder was stationed at the rally-site entrance
with a sign reading: "Defend our rights, repeal the Patriot Act now."
"This is a way to exercise the rights that we have," said Candace
Olkus of East Mount Airy, who attended the rally with her husband,
Shane, and daughters Alex, 10, and Sage, 6.
Deirdre Giswold drove to Philadelphia from New York City with a
friend. "In essence, it's not just Bush," she said. "These issues are
important if he is here or he's not... . Wherever he is today, maybe
he'll hear us."
There also were pleas for Green Party support, calls for ending the
death penalty, and speeches demanding the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal
from Pennsylvania's death row.
No incidents were reported at the rally. Police said two
demonstrators from the Kensington Welfare Rights Union were arrested
later when they tried to force their way into the Constitution Center
Contact staff writer Martha Woodall at 215-854-2789 or
martha.woodall at phillynews.com. Inquirer reporters Anthony S. Twyman
and Robert Moran contributed to this article.
* Calendars of Events in Columbus:
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://www.osu.edu/students/sif/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://solidarity.igc.org/>
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