Blogged by Brad Friedman from Denver...
It was a long and hot day in Denver. The mercury topped out at 90 as we roamed the streets from one venue to the next. At least on the ground, as we got our bearings today, mostly far off the grid of the incessant and inane ramblings of cable news coverage, it was a fairly run of the mill afternoon and evening.
Given the world we live in, the lack of news is probably a good thing. So, at the risk of disappointing Fox "News", nothing blew up, huge riots did not break out, most everyone seemed to be in a good mood everywhere we went, and even the security detail, present but not overbearing, were polite and welcoming, even as parts of the city were blocked off in Baghdadian fashion.
Here then, are a few random and sometimes personal observations and notes as seen from on the ground and throughout the day...
- We stopped first by the Central Presbyterian Church where the Progressive Democrats of America are holding their week-long, "Progressive Central at the DNC", as co-sponsored by The Nation magazine. (I'll be speaking on a panel there on Tuesday on "Clean, Fair & Transparent Elections.") The turnout was good, and featured speakers today included Reps. John Conyers, Lynn Woolsey and Steny Hoyer (yes, that Steny Hoyer, perhaps he missed the "Progressive" part in PDA's name?)
- While, unfortunately, we missed Hoyer (to whom I would have loved to have asked a question or two, namely, why it is that he so fiercely advocates for the use of unverifiable touch-screen voting machines), I'm told he was given a warm welcome by the Progressives, as thanks for at least showing up. Nancy Pelosi, who had been expected to come, may have had second thoughts after a series of recent embarrassing outings in California.
- I was able to hand a freshly burned DVD of the brand-spanking new documentary Murder?, Spies & Voting Lies to Conyers, with a request that he pass it along to a staffer of his who has become a friend. "What's it about?" he asked. I explained it was about vote-rigging whistleblower Clint Curtis and my attempts to tell his story. "Well then, you'd better give me another copy so I can watch it myself," said the gentleman from Michigan.
- Across the street from the PDA event, demonstrators were around the door of The University Club where a meeting of NOW was taking place inside. Anti-Abortion demonstrators had enormous, graphic and grotesque photos of aborted fetuses, and banners declaring Barack Obama as "The Abortion President" or some such. As they bellowed through their bullhorns, the opposing Pro-Choice demonstrators stood quietly with signs reading "Feminists Are the Majority". A truckload of riot police waited just up the street. They wouldn't be needed today.
- The happiest place in Denver, for our money, and for their air conditioned, wireless net connection and welcoming attitude, was over at a restaurant near the Pepsi Center named Lime Cantina, where the fine bloggers of Scholars & Rogues have made their homebase this week. I suspect we'll be visiting them often this week. The hospitality of the mostly-Colorado-based crew was a welcome respite, and I was happy to finally meet Mike Sheehan (who also serves as an editor at RAW STORY) in person. He took the opportunity to pull me aside for a bit of a Q&A that I suspect may end up on S&R in the coming days.
- Over at Daily Kos' "Big Tent", I was told that as a blogger, I couldn't get in if I hadn't pre-registered and paid the "$500 to $1000" that all the other bloggers had, according to the friendly gate-keepers out front. The Big Tent? Not so big, apparently. I mentioned that I was also covering the DNC for the Guardian and was told, therefore, I could have a press pass, but would need to be escorted in to look at the bloggers blogging. That was odd and amusing all at once.
- Once inside, I was happy to see the good Henry Copeland, creator of BlogAds.com and was able to commiserate on the dreadful lack of ads being purchased by the political parties across the board on blogs of Left, Right and Other. I hear Barack Obama has a few million dollars at his disposal. Would it kill him to fork out $30,000 to buy an ad on every progressive blog in the sphere, and thus support those who support the causes he says he believes in?
- I was also happy to say hello to the lovely Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake who I hadn't seen since she had some serious medical procedures not long ago. I'm happy to report she looked to be in fine fettle amongst the long tables of blogging bloggers who, it seemed, might have been able to cover the proceedings just as well at home as they were from a tent a mile or so away from the Pepsi Center. Were it not for our commitment to speak at PDA's event tomorrow, the same may well have been true for us.
- As I was watching CNN's streaming Internet coverage of Michelle Obama's speech, they were simultaneously streaming the presser being given by the Aurora Colorado Police concerning the Obama assassination plot reportedly busted up tonight. Creepy. Very.
- While grabbing a quick late-night bite with our friend, radio host Peter B. Collins, I noticed CNN's post-Day 1 coverage featuring "the GOP response" in which the chyrons read "Where the Democrats too Soft on Bush?" and "Michelle Makes Her Case" (Did she need to make one? Will Cindy have to "Make Her Case"?)
- Sorry, Fox "News", we were unable to find any riots so far, keep trying. If there were any, we couldn't find them. Neither could we find the "Freedom Cages" where protesters where supposed to be preemptively detained while exercising their free speech rights. Better luck tomorrow.
As we noted last week as we began to head out here, all and all, we'd rather be in St. Paul, since it'll likely be much more "fun" to cover. But here we are, and here we'll be again tomorrow and for the rest of the week. If there's any news of note, and even if there isn't, we'll do our best to let you know what we're seeing.