As I write this column here in our nation's capital on the eve of a multi-billion dollar, high technology war, our security perimeter has been penetrated, and downtown traffic has come to a standstill for 14 hours because a North Carolina tobacco farmer, Dwight W. Watson, has driven his John Deere tractor into a pond on the Mall near the Department of the Interior. Mr. Watson, a flag-waving Army veteran apparently is upset about the government's tobacco subsidy program (as who amongst us is not?) and threatens to blow up his tractor. The formidable threat of an exploding tractor has overwhelmed all the anti-terrorist assets of our capital. I know our government is doing all it can, but who could have expected an insidious good ol' boy running a tractor into a 3-foot deep pond? The police are afraid that ole' Dwight has a fertilizer bomb on his tractor.
Well, of course they can detect some fertilizer, he's a farmer, for goodness' sake. But (perhaps surprisingly, I know my way around a John Deere tractor) there is nowhere to hide a large quantity of exploding fertilizer on a John Deere -- no capacious trunks or hidden compartments -- just the gas tank, which is less than 2 cubic feet in size (even on the big tractor he is driving). Given the solid quality and thick gauge steel of a John Deere, such a small explosion probably couldn't even disable the tractor, let alone threaten surrounding stone and steel buildings. The park police should just drag Dwight and his John Deere out of the pond, slap him on the wrist and get ready for the real enemies in our midst.
I don't mean to be frivolous at a deadly serious moment (well, actually, that is precisely what I mean to do -- if I don't laugh, I think I might cry -- or at least get moody). So on the Reader's Digest theory that laughter is the best medicine, I thought I ought to report on the war crises gripping Hollywood as the weekend approaches. This is Oscar weekend, and the war couldn't have come at a worse time for our Hollywood friends.
According to Variety, the bible of the movie industry, although the Academy Awards are still scheduled for live broadcast at 5:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, "The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this weekend will be going over its contingency plans." I didn't even know they had contingency plans. I don't suppose there are too many young, strapping, Hollywood matinee idols pulling their trusty shotguns down from the wall, or rushing to the recruiting office or joining their reserve units.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.