For what it's worth
By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

    There's something happenin' here
    What it is ain't exactly clear
    There's a man with a gun over there
    Telling me I got to beware

    I think it's time we stop, children,
    What's that sound,
    Everybody look what's goin' down

    -- Buffalo Springfield

Hi again, folks. You know who I am, so I won't belabor it -- and now you know that I worship the Buffalo Springfield. The quotation above is from their classic marching song back in the days when Richard Nixon was still our President. Ho ho. Where is the Boss, now that we finally need him?

Nixon was a Crook, of course, but he was also a rabid football fan -- and he knew the game, which still astounds me, but I have always had a soft spot for him because of it.

So what? you may ask. Why are we talking about Richard Nixon and the Buffalo Springfield when so many other sleazy things are happening in the world of sports today? Are we wallowing in some kind of atavistic endeavor?

Donald Rumsfeld and Bulls
Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, center, and Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., cavort with the Bulls on Monday. Coincidence?
No. Take my word for it. We are talking about the current White House seizing control of professional sports in this country, circa March 2002 -- which has been bothering me so much, of late, that I finally have to say something about it, since nobody else is.

I am a certified sports freak, myself, and my record in the way of full-bore Patriotic commitment has never been questioned. I too was a military man for a while. So I think I have earned the right to bitch out loud when the Federal government decides to stomp on my turf and annex the Sports business.

Wow! That is heavy, eh? You bet, but that is also what this country is all about -- which is decidedly not being videotaped by the FBI every time you go to a primo event like the Super Bowl, or the Olympics, or the NBA playoffs, and that is exactly what is happening today.

Click here to buy Hunter S. Thompson's new book, Fear and Loathing in America : The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist.
I don't know about you, dear reader, but I am not entirely comfortable with the idea of being loaded into a permanent White House database every time I attend a football or basketball game. Are you guilty of anything? You'll find out soon enough, next time you go to a game. Yes sir, that is true, and it's called Facial Recognition Technology. It was first used on the unsuspecting public at the 2001 Super Bowl in Tampa -- also known as "The Tampa Experiment" -- (long before 9/11) -- and was somehow justified in New Orleans and Salt Lake City, under the rubric of National Security priorities. Professional sports -- and maybe the Big Dance and the Kentucky Derby, too -- are more and more being put "under the protection" of Federal police and military authorities. This, too, is a matter of White House record.

Right, and let's take a break from this grim business for a moment. It is driving me to drink.

    Paranoia strikes deep
    Into your life it will creep
    It starts when you're always afraid
    Step outta line, the man come and take you away

    We better stop, hey, what's that sound,
    Everybody look what's goin' down…

That's it for now, folks. See you next week. And until then, remember the immortal words of Admiral Raphael Semmes: "God helps those who help themselves."

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's books include Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, The Proud Highway, Better Than Sex and The Rum Diary. His new book, Fear and Loathing in America, has just been released. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," appears each Monday on Page 2.



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