Archive for ‘convention’

August 26, 2008

Dang: I missed the riot

VodkaPundit, Charlie Martin and I had been enjoying refreshments Monday afternoon on the patio outside the Capitol Bar at the Sheraton on 16th Street. I’d already filed for PJM, and Vodka and Charlie had covered some excitement at the Denver Mint. We’d had a long day, and I was eager to get somewhere to plug in the laptop and watch the primetime convention proceedings on TV. So we headed back to PJM HQ in a high-rise condo a few blocks away.

Bad decision. We were leaving the scene of what, in a little more than an hour, would be the scene of a semi-riot — the closest thing to Chicago that “Recreate ’68” has so far produced. Zombie filed an on-the-scene report.

But as we left the Sheraton, all was still calm. We noticed large groups of police in riot gear on street corners as we walked down 16th Street, but thought this was just a precaution. Apparently, the DPD had intelligence that trouble was brewing. There was some sort of protest at City Center, and it seems that some of those protesters had the idea to march on 16th Street. Police were not going to let that happen.

When we got to PJM HQ, I was surprised to find Michelle Malkin herself blogging there. Founding Bloggers videographer Andrew Marcus and his crew were editing footage from the day’s excitement, when Truthers had swarmed Malkin.

After about an hour, my cell phone rang. It was Evie Brown, who had been visiting friends in Denver (not for the DNC) and was at the Capitol Bar when we were there. Gregarious as always, I’d given Ms. Brown my business card, and now she was calling with an urgent message: “They’re rioting! The Sheraton is on lockdown!”

I was tired, and didn’t feel like walking back for what might prove to be a false alarm. But Jim Hoft and Charlie Martin decided to take a video camera and go check it out.

No false alarm: Police had cordoned off a street and surrounded protesters who were trying to reach 16th Street. And the center of the action was right at the Sheraton. If we hadn’t left the Capitol Bar, we’d have been right in the middle of it. Grrrrr.

Ah, well. Bad luck or bad choices. Either way, there’s action all over town, and you can’t be everywhere. I’m blogging this basically to give you an idea of how difficult it is for one person to cover the entire convention scene, and why collaborative reporting via the blogosphere provides the best panoptic approach to the experience. Just hanging out at the Capitol Bar, however, I made contact with a source who later tipped us to the action, and that Jim and Charlie were able to capitalize on that tip to provide coverage. Teamwork.

As Vodka says, exhaustion is setting in, and it would be nice to have more sleep. But the excitement overcomes the exhaustion, so I have to force myself to shut it down.

Tuesday: The Women’s Caucus. Imagine me in a roomful of liberal women, some of them possibly heterosexual. Frightening. Oh … yeah, met an ex-Edwards delegate. Heh.

August 25, 2008

D-Day: Street scenes

The marquee of a Denver strip club.

Hope for sale!

A Catholic priest participates in a pro-life protest outside the Convention Center.
Activists with

Tonya Wheeler is an activist with the “Recovery Caucus.”

A PETA activist protests outside the Convention Center.
Code Pink activists march to protest Nancy Pelosi.

DENVER — Sen. Barack Obama credits gay activists with making the Democratic Party “immeasurably stronger.”
In a letter to the party’s LGBT Caucus — the acronym stands for Lesbian/ Gay/ Bisexual/Transgender — Obama said the group “will be crucial to bringing our Party together and sweeping us to victory on November 4th.”
The letter was distributed at today’s meeting of the LGBT Caucus at the Denver Convention Center.
“Congratulations on being part of the largest LGBT Caucus delegation in Democratic National Convention history,” Obama wrote. “I look forward to seeing the LGBT community turn out in record numbers to help create the changes we seek.”

Read the whole thing. Right now I’m sitting outside the Capitol Bar at the Sheraton on 16th Street with VodkaPundit, who’s living up to his nom de blog, having just ordered his second vodka rocks. He’s about to head out to cover the attempt of activists to levitate the Denver Mint. I’ll let you know if they succeed.

Just left the LGBT Caucus meeting at the Convention Center. Outside the caucus, a couple of guys were promoting their product, “Gay Republican Hypocrite” playing cards. The guy displayed the deck, and I saw that my friend Jeff Gannon is the six of spades. “Hey, I know that dude,” I said, and they gave me a deck.

Whatever you say about these Democrats, they’re all about entrepreneurial activity. Fourteenth Street in front of the Convention Center is a bazaar of Obama-related merchandise. I’ll upload photos shortly, but I’m told Jose at PJM is screaming for content, and so I’ve got to write something.
PJM cameraman Andrew Marcus reports that the “Unofficial Blogger Total Access” credential actually works. “Nobody reads the fine print,” Andrew says.
August 25, 2008

D-Day in Denver

Just got into Denver, and my latest American Spectator column is now online:

The ragtag coalition of semi-pro agitators calling themselves “Recreate ’68” has dedicated itself to a vain attempt to turn this year’s Democratic National Convention in Denver into a simulacrum of the notorious 1968 Chicago convention, when Mayor Richard Daley’s cops busted the heads of anti-war protesters in the streets.
As much as I’d love to cover a riot — or at least be serenaded by the distant music of hippie scum howling in pain while I sip a cold Corona at a sidewalk cafe — it’s unlikely that the misguided nostalgia of “Recreate ’68” will be any more successful than the 30th anniversary re-enactment of Woodstock, which notoriously resulted in at least four reported rapes.
This is not your father’s peace-and-love generation.

Please read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Anita Thompson’s in town and can’t quite get the whole “Recreate ’68” thing.

I met two North Carolina delegates on the flight into Denver. My seatmate was Don Davis, mayor of Snow Hill, N.C., Democratic candidate for state senate, and an Obama delegate. He introduced me to Chris Hardee of Manteo, N.C., who is a Hillary delegate.

It was from Hardee I heard the news that Hillary is releasing her delegates, as we were on our way to baggage claim.

VodkaPundit picked me up at the airport and we’re staying at the home of his friends Matt and Ali Traylor. Right now, VodkaPundit’s drinking our host’s scotch and we’re watching a wee-hours TCM showing of Wanda Nevada with Peter Fonda and Brooke Shields, a cheap imitation of Paper Moon with creepy overtones of Pretty Baby.

Well, I’m about shot. If I fell asleep in 5 minutes, I might get 4 hours of sleep. We’ll be on the scene soon

August 22, 2008

Democrats tough on security

Michelle Malkin:

Every person inside the Pepsi Center has to have a badge with a bar code. You scan it to get in and out.
One of the few instances where the Dems believe in, and practice, tough border enforcement.

Yeah, but do they have one of these?

August 22, 2008

D Minus-3: Malkin in Denver


Via Hot Air. The complete “Recreate ’68” protest schedule is here. I just hope that VodkaPundit has already made contact with our inside sources at Shotgun Willie’s.

UPDATE: The DNCC just sent out a press release:

In an effort to give back to the community that has been such a gracious host, the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) held a Community Open House at the Pepsi Center today, allowing Denver residents and students to be among the first to see the unveiling of the innovative Convention podium up close and in person. . . .
Some 1,500 Denver students visited the Convention hall for a special youth program led by Democratic National Committee (DNC) Secretary Alice Germond and DNC Director of Party Affairs, Phil McNamara, who presented a “Convention 101” lesson on the historical significance of political conventions and the role they play in the democratic process. Additionally, youth were able to see the Convention hall up-close, sit in the same seats as delegates, take photos of the podium and participate in a mock delegate voting exercise.

That’s “giving back to the community”? Letting people take a tour and see your convention stage? Like they’ve been feeding the homeless or something.

August 21, 2008

D Minus-4: ‘The One’

A new video to warm you up for the Denver revelation — a Mile High and an Inch Deep:

August 21, 2008

Scheduled anarchy?

The “Recreate ’68” protest crew has published its complete schedule of events for the Denver convention, including such highlights as:

9 a.m. “End the Occupation” march, Capitol
1 p.m. “Funk the War” dance party, Pepsi Center.
4 p.m. Copwatch training, Lincoln Park.

9 a.m. March to Freedom Cage, Skyline Park
6:30 p.m. Code Pink concert, Cuernavaca Park

2 p.m. Public Enemy concert, Civic Center Park
4 p.m. Third World Liberation Struggle-First World Alliance Teach-in, Civic Center Park

11 a.m. Rage Against the Machine concert, Coliseum
3:30 p.m. Iraq Veterans Against the War March, from the Coliseum to Cuernavaca Park

11 a.m. “Lockstep Behind the Party” protest, Pepsi Center
2 p.m. March to Invesco Field from Lincoln Park

Of course, if they’re trying to “recreate” the protests at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, they’re way too organized. The Chicago protest schedule was more like, “Get high, get laid, throw rocks at cops, scream ‘police brutality’ when the cops try to arrest you.”

The Denver protests will include a lot of unscheduled activity. I mean, you don’t really expect them to announce in advance when they’re going to start smashing windows and looting, do you?

August 21, 2008

‘A Mile High and an Inch Deep’

That’s the slogan the GOP has slapped on this year’s Democratic convention in Denver:

Two dozen staffers of the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee will head west this weekend to combat the media coverage the nomination of Barack Obama will draw. The slogan for their opponents: Not Ready ’08. . . .
“This is an effort to get beyond the glitz and celebrity of Barack Obama’s convention and talk about the reality of his record,” said Matt McDonald, the McCain campaign’s senior adviser in charge of the Denver efforts.
Former McCain opponents Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, along with Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and a host of others, will be in Denver working with the staff in a two-story office within walking distance of the convention site.

Meanwhile, VodkaPundit will be getting the scoop at Shotgun Willie’s.

August 20, 2008

D Minus-5

Five days from now, I’ll be in Denver, perhaps rolling into VodkaPundit‘s place about 2 a.m. Monday. I’m sure he’s having a grand time trying to explain this to Mrs. VodkaPundit: “But honey, he’s a professional journalist . . .”

There will be many important stories to cover during the Democratic National Convention. Not all of these stories will involve large expense tabs at Shotgun Willie’s, although my sources in Denver say that fine establishment is where many delegates and Obama campaign operatives plan to spend most of the week.

“Unofficial HQ,” as Barack and his hard-partying crew from Chicago say and, hey, when you’re raising $50 million a month, why not? The taco plate’s only $9.25, and it’s a perfectly legitimate campaign expense: Community outreach.

In between mingling with the political insiders at Shotgun Willie’s, we’ll also be covering the street carnival of clueless morons dangerous radicals progressive activists engaged in futile gestures pseudo-political wanking constitutionally-protected dissent on the streets of Denver.

Of course, we will also cover the intolerable snoozefest endless demagoguery exciting developments at the convention itself.

This should be one of the most important political events of our lifetime, and we’ll be right there at the platform debate the major speeches Shotgun Willie’s.

Trust me. I’m a professional, remember?

UPDATE: Badger Blog Alliance:

There is no problem so great it cannot be solved through brute strength and ignorance. And maybe Photoshop.

Indeed. Ruhypnol can also come in handy.

August 20, 2008

Denver: Pray for anarchy

With tear gas and riot batons, please:

With names such as Recreate 68 (what, re-create Nixon’s election?) and Unconventional Denver, joined by anti-authority stalwarts such as the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army and Code Pink . . . the DNC protesters have long been up in arms about how they won’t be given free reign of the Mile High City. They’re already accusing the city of essentially planning to combat them with paramilitary tactics. Denver, for instance, has set aside a warehouse to hold detainees in case the protests turn into another Battle of Seattle; protest groups have already christened the facility “Gitmo on the Platte” . . .

Assuming the Denver PD are up to the job, I’ll be able to sit on the patio outside the Supreme Court Cafe on 16th Street listening to the police batons cracking anarchists’ skulls in the distance. Sweet music.