I just returned from a deeply moving and inspirational interfaith service for unity at a church in downtown Gainesville, organized by 25 members of the local clergy as a counterpoint to this Saturday's planned burning of the Qu'ran by a fringe church leader. Below the jump, I am posting the contents of the program without comment, as the speakers and substance tell the story on their own.
Unfortunately I can't post any photos, as my PDA camera is broken. However, several news agencies were there, so I hope visuals eventually start hitting the airwaves. By my rough count at least 200-250 people attended, despite this happening in the middle of a workday on one of the first weeks back to school, and with very little advance notice. While the church was not quite "Easter Sunday crowded", several people had to stand in the rear. Most were local residents rather than UF students, though some students were there. In particular there seemed to be a predominance of retirees, probably reflecting who could make it at noon on a Wednesday. All manner of folks attended with all types of dress. I saw at least one camouflaged hunter's cap, and southern drawls abounded.
My wife and I recently moved to Florida, into a house whose previous owner very clearly had wingnut tendencies. As such, we're usually among the first to receive direct mail propaganda from conservative hacks with an interest in influencing Florida politics. Today I received a nicely produced, full page single-fold brochure asking:
Will Some Washington Politicians BLOW UP Your Healthcare?
(Accompanying Photo: a balloon in the fashion of a $100 bill, hand with pin ready to pop it.)
We knew Gov. Mark Warner's entry would catapault this into a top-tier pickup opportunity, but a Washington Post poll coming out tomorrow shows just how strong his chances are.
Update [2005-4-8 17:39:48 by Plutonium Page]: From the diaries. I was just about to post this. Fantastic news -- Plutonium Page
From the NYT:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday canceled a controversial program to test the effects of bug spray and other pesticides on infants after two Senate Democrats threatened to block his confirmation.
Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Bill Nelson of Florida said they would place a ``hold'' on the White House's nomination of acting EPA administrator Stephen Johnson unless he canceled the $9 million program.
The Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study would have paid families $970 to videotape how spraying insecticides in their homes affected infants over two years.
Nice job and thank you Sens. Boxer and Nelson (FL).
It seems like standing ground keeps looking more and more like a winning strategy.