We seem to be lightening up this thread.

  1. At least for a while so I found a couple less than serious articles:
    WASHINGTON, DC--During a speech Monday, President Bush disclosed for the first time the pivotal
    role the 1984 science-fiction adventure film The Last Starfighter played in his decision to enter politics.

    "My whole life, I'd grown up around politics, but
    it wasn't until that fateful day in 1984, at a
    matinee screening of The Last Starfighter at the
    old Orpheum Theater in Midland, TX, that I finally
    realized that my destiny lay in public service,"
    said Bush, speaking at a Republican National
    Committee fundraiser at the Washington Hilton.
    "The movie showed me that no matter who you
    are and where you come from, you can make a
    big difference."

    The comments surprised the estimated 600
    RNC members in attendance, as well as Bush's
    aides, who expected the president to discuss his
    proposed tax cut and plan for governing post-war
    Iraq. Not even his closest advisors knew of Bush's
    passion for the Reagan-era space epic.

    Straying from his scripted remarks, Bush
    described at length his "lost" years of the early
    1980s in Midland.

    "I was holding down two jobs, one at an oil
    well, the other for a third-rate professional
    baseball team," Bush said. "I had gotten a local
    girl pregnant, and I spent my weekends watching
    golf on TV and drinking with my buddies. My dad
    was vice-president then, and occasionally he'd
    offer me some vice-presidential stuff to do, you
    know, just to get a taste for politics. But I was too
    distracted by other things. Basically, I was your typical unfocused kid."

    One idle Saturday, Bush said he purchased a ticket to a matinee showing of The Last Starfighter. The
    seemingly inconsequential act would have profound repercussions on the young man--and, ultimately, on
    the entire nation.

    "Just minutes into the film, I found myself relating deeply to Alex, the lead character played by Lance
    Guest," Bush said. "He lived in a trailer park and had little opportunity to advance himself. His only
    escape was playing video games."

    After achieving a record score on a video game called "Starfighter," Alex is contacted by a mysterious
    man who invented the game. The man, named Centauri, proves to be a space alien whose home planet,
    Rylos, is under impending attack by a sinister invasion force known as the Ko-Dan Armada. Centauri had
    invented the game as a means to recruit standout video gamers who could pilot the real-life versions of
    the Gunstar spaceships featured in the game.

    Bush was enthralled.

    "Here's this kid, with nothing going on in his life, and it turns out that his only talent, one that seemed
    so trivial and ridiculous, could alter the fate of the galaxy forever," Bush said. "That really inspired me."

    Bush said he could also identify with Alex's initial reluctance to becoming a Starfighter.

    "At first, Alex didn't want to do it," Bush said. "He figured, why should he fight for the Star League and
    risk his life battling an enemy he knew nothing about? But then, when the other Starfighters were killed
    in an attack on their base and [evil emperor] Zur sent his vicious Zan-Do-Zan assassins to Earth to kill
    him, Alex began to realize that the only thing standing between the Ko-Dan and universal conquest was

    Continued Bush: "I realized that if Alex turned down the chance to be a Starfighter, he would have
    been assassinated, and Earth would have been destroyed. It made me think long and hard about my
    own place in the world: Was I making the right decisions? Was I helping people as much as I could? Was
    I missing out on a chance to save mankind?"

    Bush added that he loved the film's breakthrough computer-generated special effects, as well as the
    fact that Alex had a robot double--something he had dreamed of having in his youth.

    Transfixed by the film, Bush would go on to see it seven times that summer, memorizing its dialogue
    and buying a VHS copy on the day of its release. But The Last Starfighter's most profound impact on
    Bush was the way it motivated him to leave the private sector and enter politics.

    "It made me realize that politics truly was in my blood," Bush said. "Who cares if I wasn't a good
    businessman or a sharp scholar? Alex was even worse off than me, and look what he achieved."

    Bush admitted that, while running for Texas governor in 1994, he kept his Last Starfighter
    videocassette cued up in his campaign bus' VCR, ready for rewinding or fast-forwarding to his favorite
    scenes on a moment's notice.

    "When my spirits were sagging, I'd watch the scene where Alex tells Centauri that he's just 'a kid from
    a trailer park,'" Bush said. "Centauri replies, 'If that's what you think, then that's all you'll ever be.' It
    helped me remember that the only boundaries that exist are those you create in your mind."

    Continued Bush: "Or, as Alex says to [his girlfriend] Maggie, 'Don't you see this is it? This is our big
    chance. It's like, whatever this is, when it comes, you've got to grab on with both hands and hold tight.'"

    The fundraiser audience reacted to the Bush speech with near-silence.

    "I sort of remember the movie when it first came out, but I never saw it," RNC chairman Marc Racicot
    said. "As a Bush supporter and GOP policymaker, maybe I should rent it sometime."

    Former White House communications director Karen Hughes, a close advisor to Bush in the early days
    of his presidency, said she had failed to realize the full significance of The Last Starfighter during her
    time in the administration.

    "When I first started working for the president, he would sometimes mention the movie. Once or
    twice, he even tried to get me to read his Last Starfighter fan fiction," Hughes said. "But I always
    assumed that his decision to enter politics was shaped by his desire to continue his family's long history
    of public service. The Last Starfighter. Wow."

    Added Hughes: "That probably explains why [Last Starfighter co-star] Catherine Mary Stewart is our
    ambassador to Zambia."
  2. 1 Comments

  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    Mailing Seeks Funds to Stop Sen. Clinton


    Mailing Seeks Funds to Stop Sen. Clinton

    Associated Press Writer

    May 7, 2003, 5:03 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton repeatedly insists she isn't running for president, but a new nationwide Republican effort aims to raise
    funds for the 2004 election by suggesting the GOP has to stop her.

    "Are you ready for a new Clinton era in Washington?" the letter from the Republican Presidential Task Force begins. "...It could happen. But only if you let it."

    The appeal being sent this week continues: "If Republicans don't take immediate steps to counter her, Senator Hillary Clinton will continue to rise unimpeded to the
    very pinnacle of power in Washington and we will see the dawning of a new, more liberal Clinton era."

    The three-page letter points out that the New York senator has said she will not run for president in 2004. Nevertheless, it focuses on Clinton's quick rise through the
    ranks of the Democratic Party since winning office in 2000, arguing that she has become her party's "top fund-raiser, their top ideologue, their leading voice in
    opposition to President Bush."

    High polling numbers for Clinton among Democrats have fueled speculation about her plans, but she has repeatedly said she will not run in 2004.

    The Republican letter, written by Task Force chairman Sen. George Allen of Virginia, cites several news reports describing Clinton as a burgeoning political force.

    Allen, who also serves as the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, writes that his group will launch "a new mission: To stop Hillary."

    A $120 donation earns donors "Platinum Member" status and makes them eligible for a membership card, lapel pin and ceremonial American flag.

    "Only with your support will we have the resources to battle the multimillions of dollars Hillary Clinton is raising from deep-pocketed liberals," the letter says.

    Clinton's spokesman, Philippe Reines, said, "while their attention is flattering, Senator Clinton will continue working with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to
    get things done for New York and America."

    Clinton was the target of similar Republican fund-raising efforts in past elections, and one Republican operative familiar with the new appeal said she still energizes the
    Republican base as much as she does for the Democrats.

    The senator, who is not up for re-election until 2006, also has been used as a fund-raising foil by a New York Republican looking to unseat Sen. Charles Schumer,
    D-N.Y., in 2004.

    Michael Benjamin, a Wall Street trader seeking his party's nomination, has sent out a letter arguing a victory over Schumer would "set the foundation for defeating
    Hillary Clinton in 2006."

    Copyright 2003, The Associated Press