Sunday, August 31, 2008

Post DNC Convention Thoughts - AshPolitics

So I've had a few days to consider my overall impression of the Democratic National Convention. While it was certainly a fantastic experience (excellent networking, exceptional star gazing, fantastic speeches, interesting panels and round tables), I think, for me, it boils down to an almost catastrophic waste of resources.

Let me say at the outset that I recognize the need to rile up the base for the election season. I understand that without an energized, hardcore set of volunteers, the party would be sunk. I'm not sure, however, that the party needs to spend the millions of dollars it did to achieve that effect. I sat in the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night watching the multi video screens scrolling text and flashing stars wondering if we really needed all of that? The party spends four years raising money from major donors just so they can spend a chunk of that money to throw lavish parties for said donors at the Convention. It seems a little nuts.

Yes, it all looks great on TV and that certainly is another goal. Yes, more people watched Barack Obama's acceptance speech than the Olympics. What those people don't see is all the wasted money behind the scenes: the piles of speech copies left at the end of each night (even though they had also been emailed to all press members); the concerts and parties thrown for donors; the lavish (yeah, I'll admit it) party thrown for the media. Certainly, much of the money to fund this was donated by major corporations, but doesn't that introduce another issue with which we should be uncomfortable?

Hats off to the Dems for throwing the "greenest" Convention ever. Heck, the beer cups at the media party, which appeared to be generic plastic and were emblazoned with the Coors logo, were actually made of corn and compostable. But in light of the interview I had with the taxi driver from the Sudan, maybe all that money would be best spent somewhere else.

Hurricane Gustav: Twitter "Tweets" of New Orleans Residents Show They're Leaving

I just happened to check out the Twitter "tweets" -- messages -- left by New Orleans residents, or at least those who listed as living in that city which seems to be the target of yet another Hurricane, this one called Gustof.  How I did it was by simply typing "New Orleans" in a search on Twitter.

Some of the messages are from people who have already departed, like aliciammyers, who reports that she's "Driving towards Nashville. Want eggs so badly. Traffic is non-".  Then sarahmparks writes that she's "keeping an eye on Gustav".   Emmaleigh3 reports that she's "Watching pirates of the carribean and waiting for the storm".  

She'd better get out of there!!

Twitter's a good way to determine the mood and place of people in a region during a disaster like Gustav.  I'm going to follow the New Orleans people via Twitter in the days to come.  

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska In Mini-Skirt

Cementing the perception that Alaska Governor and now Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin is a hottie, we have this photo of her in a mini-skirt.  It's not real; as it turns out, it's photoshopped.

UPDATE: Sarah Palin in a swimsuit shows legs.


But with this, comes another perception: as one who's not ready to be Vice President, let alone President of the United States.

For example I present this article that was posted on the "Writers for Obama" web listserv. I don't know who the person is, no one does, but it's worth reading:

From a Classmate...the word on the GOP VP Candidate.

[I'd feel better publishing this if I knew the author's name, and could
verify it, but assuming this is not ghostwritten, it is very telling and
very insightful....This came from the most interesting Yahoo! group, Secular
Humanist, from the Moderator, Greg Dempsey]

Dear classmates -

As an Alaskan, I am writing to give all of you some information on Sarah
Palin, Senator McCain's choice for VP. As an Alaska voter, I know more than
most of you about her and, frankly, I am horrified that he picked her.

The most accurate description of her is red neck. Her husband works in the
oil fields of Prudhoe Bay and races snow mobiles. She is a life time member
of the NRA and has worked tirelessly to allow indiscriminatehunting of
wildlife in Alaska, particularly wolves and bears. She has spent millions of
Alaska state dollars on aerial hunting of these predators from helicopters
and airplanes, dollars that should have been spent, for example, on Alaska's
failing school system.

We have the lowest rate of high school graduation in the country. Not all of
you may think
aerial predator hu nting is so bad, but how anyone (other than Alaska wolf-
haters, of which there are many, most without teeth), could think this use
of funds is appropriate is beyond me. If you want to know moreabout the
aerial hunting travesty, let me know and I will send somelinks to
informative web sites.

She has been a strong supporter of increased use of fossil fuels, yet the
McCain campaign has the nerve to say she has "green" policies. The only
thing green about Sarah Palin is her lack of experience. She hasconsistently
supported drilling in ANWR, use of coal-burning power plants (as I write
this, a new coal plant is being built in her home town of Wasilla), strip
mining, and almost anything else that will unnecessarily exploit the
diminishing resources of Alaska and destroy
its environment.

Prior to her one year as governor of Alaska, she was mayor of Wasilla, a
small red neck town outside Anchorage.The average maximum education level of
parents of junior high school kids in Wasilla is 10th grade.

Unfortunately, I have to go to Wasilla every week to get groceries and other
supplies, so I have continual contact with the people who put Palin in
office in the first place. I know what I'm talking about. These people don't
have a concept of the world around them or of the serious issues facing the
US. Furthermore, they don't care. So long as they can go out and hunt their
moose every fall, kill wolves and bears and drive their snow mobiles and
ATVs through every corner of the wilderness,
they're happy. I wish I were exaggerating.

Sarah Palin is currently involved in a political corruption scandal. She
fired an individual in law enforcement here because she didn't like how he
treated one of her relatives during a divorce. The man's performanceand
ability weren't considered; it was a totally personal firing and is
currently under investigation. While the issue isn't close to the scandal of
Ted Steven's corruption, it shows that Palin isn't "squeaky clean" and
causes me to think there may be more issues that could come
to light. Clearly McCain doesn't care.

When you line Palin up with Biden, the comparison would be laughable ifit
weren't so serious. Sarah Palin knows nothing of economics (admittedly a
weak area for McCain), or of international affairs, knows nothing of
national government, Social Security, unemployment, health care systems -
you name it. The idea of her meeting with heads of foreign governments
around the world truly frightens me.

In an increasingly dangerous world, with the economy in shambles in the US,
Sarah Palin is uniquely UNqualified to be vice president. John McCain is not
a young man.

Should something happen to him such that the vice president had to step in,
it would destroy our country and possibly the world to have someone as
inexperienced and inappropriate as Sarah Palin.

The choice of Palin is a cheap shot by McCain to try to get Hillary
supporters to vote for him. When McCain introduced her today, Palin had the
nerve to compare herself with Hillary and Geraldine
Ferraro. Sarah Palin, you are no Hillary Clinton.

To those of you who, like me, supported Hillary and were upset that she did
not get the nomination, please don't think that Sarah Palin is a worthy

If you supported Hillary, regardless of what you think the media and the
democratic party may have done to undermine her campaign, the person to
support now is Obama, not Sarah Palin.

To those of you who are independent or undecided, don't let the choice of
Palin sway you in favor of McCain. Choosing her shows how unqualified McCain
is to be president. To those of you who are conservative, I guess you have
no choice for president.

But please try to see how the poor choice of Palin tells us a great deal
about McCain's judgment.

While the political posturing inherent in the choice of Palin is obvious,
the more serious issue is the fact that the VP is, literally, a heartbeat

I have to disagree with the perception of Governor Palin as "redneck" as she's said nothing but good things about Senator Obama and his Energy Policy Proposal.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin: "What Does A VP Do"?

On the show "Kudlow and Company" Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, during an interview with Larry Kudlow, asked what the VP did on a daily basis.  That was a terrible question to ask for someone who eventually placed herself in the position of being Senator John McCain's VP running mate.  It points to a kind of "on the campaign trail" job that the McCain people are undoubtedly doing at this point in time.  

That's not what the ideal VP candidate should entail.  It makes me wonder if McCain's people, or McCain himself, ever saw this video or even looked at her from a standpoint of the possibility that she would come off as a real neophyte.  

More on this soon. 

Senator Barack Obama Speech at the 2008 DNC Invesco Field

This was one of the most amazing speeches Senator Obama has given.  
But it is the best speech, because it was done before 38 million people.  

In this Invesco Field.  

On this August Thursday.  

Senator Obama made the case for Liberalism and did so better than anyone of our generation.

Here's the text from an email by PR Newswire :

 Democratic Convention
 Thursday, August 28th, 2008
 Denver, Colorado
 As Prepared for Delivery

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest -- a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton.  To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia -- I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story - of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart - that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That's why I stand here tonight.  Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women - students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments - a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less.  More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet.  More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making.  But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years.  We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land - enough!  This moment - this election - is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third.  And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight.  On November 4th, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."

Now let there be no doubt.  The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect.  And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time.  Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time?  I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives - on health care and education and the economy - Senator McCain has been anything but independent.  He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this President.  He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.  And when one of his chief advisors - the man who wrote his economic plan - was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."

A nation of whiners?  Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made.  Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty.  These are not whiners.  They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint.  These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans.  I just think he doesn't know.  Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year?  How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans?  How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care.  It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else.  In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own.  Out of work?  Tough luck.  No health care?  The market will fix it.  Born into poverty?  Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots.  You're on your own.

Well it's time for them to own their failure.  It's time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma.  We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President - when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job - an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great - a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman.  She's the one who taught me about hard work.  She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life.  She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine.  These are my heroes.  Theirs are the stories that shaped me.  And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us.  It should help us, not hurt us.  It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

That's the promise we need to keep.  That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.

Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes - cut taxes - for 95% of all working families.  Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them.  In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels.  And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution.  Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power.  I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America.  I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars.  And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy - wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy.  Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education.  And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance.  I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support.  And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability.  And we will keep our promise to every young American - if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American.  If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums.  If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.  And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime - by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow.  But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less - because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money.  It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength."  Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair.  But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility - that's the essence of America's promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad.   If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face.  When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.  John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That's not the judgment we need.  That won't keep America safe.  We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq.  You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington.  You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances.  If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice - but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt.  We are the party of Kennedy.  So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country.  Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe.  The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans - have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.  I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts.  But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.  I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease.  And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue.  And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes.  Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook.  So let us agree that patriotism has no party.  I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.  The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag.  They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain.  We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy.  The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn- out ideas and politics of the past.  For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose - our sense of higher purpose.  And that's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.  The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang- violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.  I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.  Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers.  This too is part of America's promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk.  They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values.  And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters.  If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what - it's worked before.  Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government.  When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty.  If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it.  I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office.  I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring.  What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me.  It's been about you.

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past.  You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result.  You have shown what history teaches us - that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington.  Change comes to Washington.  Change happens because the American people demand it - because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it.  Because I've lived it.  I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work.  I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I've seen it in this campaign.  In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time.  In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich.  We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong.  Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit - that American promise - that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance.  It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours - a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things.  They could've heard words of anger and discord.  They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead - people of every creed and color, from every walk of life - is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried.  "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.  We cannot turn back."

America, we cannot turn back.  Not with so much work to be done.  Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for.  Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save.  Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend.  America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone.  At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future.  Let us keep that promise - that American promise - and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

Matthew Modine, Willie Brown, Delegate On Barack Obama Event

On the floor of Invesco Field, I asked Actor Matthew Modine, former California Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, and a Clinton-now-Obama-delegate for their impressions of the event to that time. Modine said that "this is the place to be. Right here. Right now." Brown remarked that he had "never seen anything like this, and I'm 74 years old."

Barack Obama Speech - Long Standing Ovation

Sarah Palin - McCain's VP Pick Accused of Corruption, Enemy Of Open Government

Sarah Palin - McCain's VP Pick Accused of Corruption, Enemy Of Open Government

Today, in a weird attempt to steal thunder from Senator Barack Obama's rousing nomination event at Invesco Field in Denver, Senator John McCain will announce  that he's selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his VP pick.

(The matter of the fur around her neck will be discussed later.)

But it's a risk.  She's painted as "squeeky clean" but there's not just the commonly mentioned investigation of abuse of power, but allegations from "" that she's opposed to open goverment and "leads by Blackberry" working to hide records of communications by using that device.

On top of that, there's her interesting college background as a beauty queen, which causes one to want to look in that direction.

But the main question is can she be President of The United States?  Can she deal with the complexities of foreign policy?  The simple fact one has to ask that question is a problem.

Barack Obama Speech, Joe Biden, Fireworks Show Mark Event - Video

This video captures the amazing end of the Senator Barack Obama speech, with the emergence of Senator Joe Biden and an unexpected but stirring fireworks show.  More videos to come. 

Obama fans and delegates enjoyed the afternoon at Invesco Field in Denver

On the 28th of August, 2008, the Democratic party nominated U.S. Senator Barack Hussein Obama to be their endorsed candidate for President of the United States of America. The 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream..." speech on the mall in Washington D.C. now marks Denver, Colorado as another key site in the long march for racial equality in the U.S. - Senator Obama is bi-racial: his mother was a caucasian woman from Kansas, and his father an African from Kenya

It was a bright, warm, sunny afternoon in Denver. The line for admission streched for miles as excited attendees including the 6,000 conference delegates made their way into Invesco Field, the home of the Denver Broncos, to watch the last day of the Democratic Nominating Convention, culminating in Obama's acceptance speech.

First, some volunteers:

And no story about August 28th would be complete without comments from delegates. Two Minnesota Delegates took the time to comment on the goings-on, Mira Vats-Fournier of Faribault...

...and Minneapolis Mayor Raymond "R.T." Rybak, an early advocate of the draft-Obama movement, and the first big-city Mayor to announce his endorsement for Barack Obama's improbable candidacy.

Obama has a vision

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

At Deligate Area - Invesco Field - Barack Obama

Invesco Field - Obama Speech - Outside

This is an electric place to be!!

Howard Dean - Live Video At 4:40 PM - Barack Obama Speech

Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean took time to remind us all that John McCain can't remember the number of houses he owns as he launched into a speech on the Democratic Party's responsiblity to those in America who have less, not more.  It's now 4:40 PM MST as of the making of this video. 

Invesco Field - Live Video At 3:48 PM - Barack Obama Speech

This is the second video of the live series created as I sit here at Invesco Field in the Blogger Lounge. 

Invesco Field Democratic Convention

This is a blogger eye view of the field.

Terry McAuliffe On The Clinton Nomination of Barack Obama

This is a video interview with now-former campaign finance chair Terry McAuliffe who commented on Senator Hillary Clinton's nomination of Barack Obama as President.  Terry also informs us that he's going "To Dizzyland."  

Invesco Field Speaking Schedule For Thursday, August 28th (Today)

From The DNCC via email to me

Time Shown as local – Denver, Colorado MST

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM (LOCAL)

Live Performances (before gavel) 
Yonder Mountain String Band Performance
Jeff Austin, Adam Aijala, Ben Kaufmann, Dave Johnston

Voter Registration Presentation

The Honorable Luis Gutierrez
Member of the US House of Representatives, Illinois

David Plouffe
Obama Campaign Manager

Ray Rivera
Obama State Director, Colorado

Call to Order
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Permanent Chair, Democratic National Convention
Member and Speaker of the US House of Representatives, California

Rabbi David Saperstein
Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism – Washington, DC

Presentation of Colors
Disabled American Veterans

Pledge of Allegiance
Shawn Johnson
US Olympic Gymnast

National Anthem
Jennifer Hudson
Academy award-winning singer and Broadway performer

Elbra Wedgeworth 
President/Chair, Denver Host Committee

Presentation of Resolutions
Democratic National Committee Vice-Chairs
Mark Brewer
The Honorable Linda Chavez-Thompson
The Honorable Mike Honda
The Honorable Lottie Shackelford
Susan Turnbull

Honorable Bill Ritter, Jr.
Governor of Colorado

The Honorable Ed Perlmutter
Member of the US House of Representatives, Colorado

The Honorable John Salazar
Member of the US House of Representatives, Colorado

The Honorable Diana DeGette
Member of the US House of Representatives, Colorado

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM (LOCAL)

Video & Remarks 
The Honorable Howard Dean
Former Governor of Vermont
Chair of the Democratic Party

Video & Remarks: Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King 
The Honorable John Lewis
Member of the US House of Representatives, Georgia
Rev. Bernice King
Daughter of the late Dr. King
Martin Luther King III
Oldest son of the late Dr. King

The Honorable Bill Richardson
Governor, New Mexico

Live Performances 
Accompanied by John Legend (piano), Agape Choir, and band

Sheryl Crow

Ray Rivera
Obama State Director, Colorado

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM (LOCAL)

The Honorable Jan Schakowsky
Member of the US House of Representatives, Illinois

The Honorable Mark Udall
Member of the US House of Representatives, Colorado

The Honorable Tim Kaine
Governor of Virginia

Live Performance
Stevie Wonder    

The Honorable Al Gore
Former Vice President of the United States

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (LOCAL)

John Kuniholm
Wounded Iraq veteran

Live Performance
Michael McDonald

Susan Eisenhower
Granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Retired Generals Tribute
Air Force Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration (Ret)
Accompanied by additional generals

American Voices Program
Roy Gross
Monica Early
Wes Moore
Janet Lynn Monacco
Nate Flick
Teresa Asenap
Pamela Cash-Roper
Barney Smith

The Honorable Dick Durbin
US Senator, Illinois

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM (LOCAL)


Pastor Joel Hunter
Senior Pastor of Northland in Central Florida

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Permanent Chair, Democratic National Convention

Rep. John Lewis addresses the GA & AL delegations

This morning, I had the pleasure of visiting with the AL delegation for their breakfast and celebration of the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, "I Have A Dream" speech. Rep. John Lewis, the only man who spoke with Dr. King on that day still living, addressed both the AL and, after a request was received and honored to open the dividing partitions between ballrooms, the GA delegation.

Rep. Lewis, currently of GA, but a native son of AL, was amazing, as always. He talked about how far this country has come since he and his comrades marched from Selma to Montgomery saying, "Those of you who tell me nothing has changed, I'd like to tell you to come walk in my shoes." Saying that he had, "cried so many tears in the last two days," he went on to say that he, "never thought (he'd) see last night," the night when Barack Obama, an African American, was nominated for the Presidency.

Rep. Lewis was eloquent speaking about the nomination of Barack Obama for the Presidency: "What you did last night, what we will do tonight, we will be making a down payment on the fulfillment of (MLK's) dream." That downpayment, however, must be followed up by action and Rep. Lewis envisions a march on the ballot box. "We must march in every town, every hamlet, every village, every neighborhood. We must march on the ballot box and make Barack Obama the next President of the United States, not just for ourselves, but for the next generations. If we fail to elect Barack Obama as President of the United States, history will not be kind to us."

-Posted by AshPolitics

Get your one of a kind Obama accessories!

These beautiful ladies with Shaddai Designs sell handmade Obama purses and jewelry. You can reach Michelle Browder, the graphic artist, at 334-834-0551.

Joe Biden Speech, Barack Obama Surprise Entrance At DNC

This is a video of the dramatic entrance of Senator Barack Obama just after Senator Joe Biden finished his acceptance speech.

Jesse Jackson On Joe Biden; Barack Obama v. John McCain

This is my interview with The Rev. Jesse Jackson who talked about Senator Joe Biden's speech, and the impact of Senator Barack Obama's Presidential Run on America and American History.

Republican demonstrators at Convention

Republican demonstrators outside the CO Convention Center on Wednesday. (posted by AshPolitics)

Denver Mall, following Biden & Bill Clinton

Following the speeches on August 27th, 2008, at the Democratic Nominating Convention in Denver, the 16th Street Mall was buzzing. Here are three snapshot.

First, a quick clip of some vendors who knew their product was best viewed after dark:

Next, a teenage activist from Philly in to take part in counter-protests expresses concerns about the police presence and behavior. (Dark; think of it as an audio segment...)

She told me her parents are worried, but that she calls her mother every day.

Lastly, a conversation with a Denver resident as we rode the free mall shuttle. He's delighted with the fact the convention is "here" and thinks the political process benefits from being done right out in front of people. He also has some observations about Senator Joe Biden in the wake of Biden's acceptance speech.

James Tucker, African American Voice, on Hillary Clinton's OBAMA endorsement speech

James Tucker is the CEO and publisher of African American Voice, "the voice of African Americans in Colorado." Here's a short, candid assessment of Senator Hillary Clinton's speech on the night of August 26th, 2008, endorsing Barack Obama's nomination for President in Denver at the Democratic Nominating Convention.

Code Pink Elderly Woman Protester Slammed To Ground By Denver Police

This is a totally terrible thing to see on a video, let alone read about. An elderly woman protester was slammed to the ground at the DNC Convention by Denver Police. (Or I would double check that because some of the law enforcement officers were from places like Aurora, Colorado.)

There's no need for this behavior at the DNC Convention and some kind of investigation should be done immediately. See the video, which was captured by Rocky Mountain News.

Zennie Abraham at DNC Convention On CNN iReport After Biden Speech

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Anti-Surprise

All day, we had been hearing rumors that Barack Obama would make an appearance at the convention tonight. So when he strolled out onto the stage, I can't say I was really surprised. Please, thrilled, excited, yes. Surprised? No.

The excitement and energy of Obama's appearance was exactly what this convention night needed, though. While Bill Clinton and John Kerry made very good speeches tonight and the overall energy in the hall was good, the Biden speech was a bit of a low point. Yes, he was strong on the issues, but he sort of lost the crowd when he went into foreign policy territory, only regaining them when he started doing what VPs are supposed to do: hit at the other candidate. The end of his speech did not create the sort of raucous convention hall environment that we certainly saw last night. Having Obama arrive, however, put the mildly energetic crowd into a frenzy and left everyone nigh foaming at the mouth for tomorrow night. Invesco should be a roaring good time.

DNC Convention - Joe Biden

DNC Convention - John Kerry

This floor is packed. Senator Kerry is speaking

Sent from my iPhone

Hillary Clinton Suspended Voting; Nominated Barack Obama President - Video

This is a live capture video of Senator Hillary Clinton's dramatic entrance into the convention floor and with Representative Charlie Rangel and Governor David Patterson. The state-by-state voting was suspended and Senator Barack Obama is now officially the Democratic Nominee for President of The United States.

New Hampshire and New Jersey follow Clinton's call

The New Hampshire chair stood up and said that they were following Clinton's call and casting all of their 30 votes for Obama.

New Jersey stood up next and unanimously cast all of their votes for Obama to huge, raucous cheers in the hall. Z's gonna vlog on this ... watch for it.

Roll Call Voting In Process

It's 4:25 pm and we're in the blogger suite watching the roll call vote. We arrived after the vote began, but so far, the Michigan delegation has received the largest ovation. After all of the issues with seating MI delegates, they cast 125 votes to Obama and 27 to Clinton, with 5 not voting. We missed the FL vote. Darn.

Each state chair is giving proud facts about his or her state before they cast their vote. We're hearing about state hockey champs, which Senators were born where, etc. The floor is bustling and the blogger section is getting full. Thus far, there doesn't seem to be any real dissention, no fighting, etc. Votes are being cast for Obama and for Clinton without drama, except the excitement of nominating the next President of the United States. We heard earlier that the Clinton folks were trying to figure out a way to shut down the roll call vote in order to hold her voting in check and avoid any floor fireworks, but they apparently either decided not to or couldn't get the rules worked out.

As the voting closes and we get a final tally, I'll blog again. This is fun, y'all. Wish you were here.

A view from a cab - DNC Convention

I mentioned earlier that all of the cab drivers I've dealt with here have been fantastic. One of them was so interesting that I had to interview him on the spot. His name is Tawir Tawir and if I hadn't lost my cell phone, I'd have a great picture of him to show you. Tawir is a 40 year old man from the Sudan and he's been in the US for seven years. He's applied for US citizenship, but three years later, he's on his second fingerprint check. His name and the fact that he's a Muslim put him in a position to make immigration much more difficult.

Here's a recap of our conversation:

Ash: How do you feel, overall, about Obama and McCain?

Tawir: I like Obama, not because he's black like me, but because he means change. McCain just wants war, he will go into Iran, and make things worse.

Ash: Since you're a Muslim, how do you feel about Americans fearing that Obama might be a Muslim, when we know he's a Christian? Why do you think that's such an issue?

Tawir: Americans are scared of Muslims because of Osama bin Laden. The Jewish people fought Muslims for a long time and bin Laden gave them a chance to bring their fight into the open in the US. Israeli groups control the media in this country and that perpetuates the anti-Muslim feelings and that led us to Iraq. Or at least that's how I feel.

Ash: You're from the Sudan. Talk to me about the situation there.

Tawir: Darfur is Muslim, but this is not about religion. The government situation in the Sudan is not fair. There needs to be more in the Senate from Darfur. All politicians are from the Northern part of the Sudan. Americans are paying attention to the Sudan, but only to the Southern part and they are ignoring the Eastern and Western parts. The Northern part gets all of the politicans; the Presidents all come from the North.

There is a lot of oil in Darfur right now and that's why Americans are so interested in helping out. The Chinese control the oil in Darfur right now, but the Chinese people aren't interested in helping out the Sudanese people, only serving the government. The people do not get the money and the government does not spend the money on things the people need, like roads and schools, but only build themselves bigger buildings.

That pretty much concluded our interview, with just a short discussion of the party he had attended the night before for the Sudanese President, who is in town during the Convention. Apparenlty, there is a decent size Sudanese community here in Denver.

Tawir says that he will absolutely vote when he gets his citizenship. If he could vote in this election, he would cast that vote for Barack Obama.

No way Hillary hit a home run with her speech. No how!

DNC, DenverIf you've heard that used as a metaphor for Senator Clinton's speech on August 26th in Denver, you've been misled (as so often happens with metaphors) and the Senator from New York's been done a disservice. While pundits love sports metaphors, and admittedly America loves a home run, in the rarefied, thin air last night what Hillary engineered and delivered was much, much more.

I spent the evening in one of the 30 precious seats reserved inside the arena for bloggers approved and credentialed though the Democratic National Committee. Not great seats, bloggers are not by any means treated with the same respect as established commercial media, and our access is controlled by well-meaning volunteers who don't seem to have the same answer one moment to the next, but one can measure and sense the crowd - and this crowd was ready for Hillary's night in the spotlight.

On the heels of a moment of silence for recently deceased U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and a review of other friends no longer with us, from Ladybird Johnson to Shirley Chisolm, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont took the stage and started the process of looking forward. "From the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, to the Green Mountains of Vermont," the man who lives at the end of a dirt road in a community of fewer than 2000 people, the Senator who clearly understands what it means that 8 million rural Americans now live in poverty told us he's ready for the United States to "turn the page."

The crowd was totally involved and excited a short while later when Congressman Dennis Kucinich, earlier a candidate for the very nomination the Democrats are gathered in Denver to proclaim this month, talked about the reality of not moving the country from right to left (as political pundits tend to opine in sound-bites,) but rather from down to up. Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, after reminding us that he'd been in the Peace Corps himself decades previously, said his family had endorsed Senator Obama, "about five minutes in to the keynote speech in 2004." He called on the country to "Revive the spirit of [President John F.] Kennedy."

Steny Hoyer of Maryland listed the accomplishments that Democrats could take credit for with even the narrow majorities they'd attained in the U.S. House and Senate in the previous election, despite the fact that Senate Republicans remain in a position to frustrate progress. Janet Napolitano struggled to avoid berating McCain, but she did find that she could say something positive when McCain talked about the economy - she's "positive he doesn't understand the economy." McCain signKathleen Sebelius advanced that point, noting that McCain favors renewing the Bush~Cheney agenda for another four years. Signs waved, and the increasingly packed house was full of a sense of anticipation during a series of well-crafted speeches. Massachusetts Governor Devall Patrick, noted for his association with Senator Obama, cited the progress his family had made in just one generation rising from such poverty that he didn't recall ever even owning a book as a child on the south side of Chicago. He segued into testimony for Obama's commitment to education, and fiscal responsibility to contrast and repair the effects of the largest expansion in Federal Government paired to the largest run-up of the Federal Debt in history under the present administration.

Perhaps the real high point before Senator Clinton took the stage was the animated, crowd-pleasing performance by Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, clearly enjoying his rapport as the crowd responded with enthusiasm, at times chanting, "Four more months" to describe their readiness to see new faces in the White House. The excitement mounted amid rumors that the Denver Fire Marshall had decided to close the floor...

Then along came Hillary, greeted with thunderous applause and a sea of white banners bearing just her first name.

No way; no how; no McCain!

Senator Clinton's much anticipated speech was much more than a home run. Not only did she touch all the points that analysts told us she needed to as part of healing the rifts, she crafted and delivered a masterful endorsement built to make it clear to those who aren't fully behind Obama's candidacy that not only is she herself committed to getting him elected, but she expects them to participate whole-heartedly as well. Hillary reminded the delegates - and her supporters not present in Denver - that too much is at stake, from health care to basic human rights, to let this moment pass. A home run is a single moment that comes together serendipitously, often unexpectedly. Hillary Clinton built and unveiled an epic monument to the power of a unified party to change the course of the United States of America.

Senator Clinton's endoresement of Barack Obama

Watch the speech

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

At Blogger Lounge After DNC Convention - Hillary Clinton's Great Speech

I'm in the middle of uploading videos from being on the floor of the Democratic National Convention, or what we've come to know as the "DNC Convention". I used that term as a throw-away line but it was certainly less than accurate.

Being on the floor of the DNC while someone like Hillary Clinton is giving the speech of her life is a total blood-rush. The reason I go back to the Super BOwl year after year is for the rise of emotions at kick-off. It's a drug like no other -- well, not true.

This. The Clinton speech. In that arena. Equalled the Super Bowl at kickoff.

What was special about Clinton's speech -- what is the hallmark of any wonderful speech -- is the moment. It's that timing we only dream about. A matting of need and action. Of volume and hearing. Of energy and sprit. I have to admit, I've never thought of Hillary Clinton as a great speaker until today. It's not what she said -- there are transcripts to be had of course. But a transcript can't communicate the inflection or the expression or the crowd -- especially the crowd -- that listened and reacted to that speech.

How an audience reacts to any speech in my view is the measure of the greatness of the work. It makes total sense. Words move people. From that perspective, Senator Clinton moved a nation tonight. She gave a great speech that will go down in history as one of the greatest speeches because it met the moment and defined it.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer

Wasn't I just saying how much I love Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana? He just hit it waaaaayyyy out of the park with his speech at the DNC. Wolf Blitzer called it, "rousing." That may be an understatement.

Governor's Round Table

On Monday, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a roundtable led by three members of the Democratic Governors' Association:

Gov. Joe Manchin, WV, Chair of the DGA
Gov. Brian Schweitzer, MT, Vice Chair of the DGA
Gov. Martin O'Malley, MD, Finance Chair of the DGA

While it's always important to the DGA to capture more Governors' seats, it's especially important in the 2010 elections when we head into redistricting. Right now, Democrats hold a majority of Governorships, at 28, for the first time since 1992. Gov. Manchin seemed quite confident that that number could rise to 29 or maybe even as high as 31 by the end of the election cycle in 2010.

While the importance of redistricting seemed to be the overall take away from the round table, my overall take away was how fantastic Gov. Schweitzer is. I love how he uses language, saying that the race between Obama and McCain in his state is, "dead danged tied right now." Talking on the issue of oil as it relates to the energy corridor in the Rocky Mountain West, Schweitzer said, "Obama realizes that the most important barrel of oil is the one you don’t use and the one you don’t import." Finally, when asked about the possibility of McCain picking a Republican Governor as his running mate, Schweitzer let loose this gem, "Boy, that would shake up the world if McCain picked another white guy to be the vice president." I love Gov. Schweitzer.

Thank you, Denver

Here's a quick shout out to the fantastic folks at Denver Health who took care of me today after a kidney stone left me unable to do more than put one foot in front of the other. From the security folks to the nurses to the EMT staff to radiology to the doctors, everyone was professional, kind, and caring. They also managed to get me in and out in five hours or so, which seems like some kind of record.

Another shout out to the folks at the Hyatt Regency at the CO Convention Center who, though I wasn't a guest there, realized my need and got me into a taxi cab in record time. And, finally, a huge shout to the cab drivers who cared for me today. I have never run into three tax drivers who took such good care of their riders.

Thanks, Denver. You guys rock.

Lou Gossett .Jr at The DNC Convention

An intense Lou Gossett Jr. Talks about a new foundation that he did
not want to talk with me about on camera. Weird!!

DNC Convention - Rep. Rahm Emanuel Speaks

It is 6pm and Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel has just given a great speech with a clear voice especially since he was the lead of an awesome party last night.

Now, having taken the large group photo, the crowd chanted Obama! Obama! All this while Hillary Clinton waits .

DNC Convention - Third Day In Denver; At Specialty Media Center

As I write this, I'm sitting at something called The Specialty Media Center, sponsored and ran by Microsoft. It's a simple affair, with tables chairs and a computer setup in the back. There are two couch stations with plasma screen televisions tuned to CNN. It's a great place to upload videos or -- as I'm doing -- install this blog report.

Right now, it's 12:25. I'm about to upload a video featuring Cornell West and Tavis Smiley -- in fact, I'll do that now -- then will go to a hotel to get a lost credit card and then Walgreens and then Pepsi Center. I'm also worry about one of our group who's basically flown off-course dramatically and hurtfully.

It's the drama you didn't expect and don't want.

But that aside, this convention is a blast. It's the combination of the Super Bowl and The Olympics at once. Over the past three days, two of them active, I've met more movers and shakers than I can shake a stick at: Ed Gordon, Cornell West, Steve Doocy, Rep Jesse Jackson, Jr., Steve Westy, Jamal Anserson, Protesters, and the list goes on.

Last night you may have see the Michelle Obama speech, and the wonderful exchange between she and her daughters, and Barack. The convention's buzzing about that.

Today, it's Hillary's turn.

If you want to you can get arrested in Denver, but the officers operating near the DNC are restrained, respectful, and calm.

One of the striking impressions as one strolls the areas outside the Colorado Convention Center such as Denver's 16th Street Mall area, is that the law enforcement presence is huge. Officers from numerous agencies are present, sometimes sporting impressive crowd control tools and gear. They are here, prepared, visible, yet generally non-intrusive, and utterly professional in their demeanor.

police presence in Denver

permitless protesters being detained outside the Convention CenterThere have been a number of incidents for them to respond to, such as the one an officer described to me as discovering a package that, upon inspection, he called in to the bomb disposal team, because it "definitely wasnt somebody's lunch." There have been minor challenges for them - debris hurled from above, protesters without proper permits and/or identification (which resulted in the arrest documented here in pictures,) and naturally some plain old unruly behavior.

protesters need to play by the rulesYet, as far as I can determine chatting with the men and women arrayed througout the area for the protection of everybody, they are well-prepared for the long shifts, and responding with admirable restraint. I've seen no evidence of disproportionate use of force, just a widespread calming presence that reassures almost everybody. (There are always some who have a beef with enforcement agencies and their agents, and they can be relied on to lean more toward confrontation, naturally.)
arrested for protesting with no permit carrying no personal ID
If you want to get arrested in Denver, you surely can. Thus far, though, retstraint has been the operational posture of every single officer I've spoken to.

Upstaging charismatic speakers? Who would YOU want to follow onstage?

As you might imagine, there was a great deal of anticipation regarding Michelle Obama's opening night speech among the people at the Pepsi Center on the night of August 25th. Senator Kennedy had already used Caroline's introduction as a springboard to launch a monumental reiteration of his endorsement - not just of Obama, but of his entire vision and leadership style, likening it to the best memories of JFK, exhorting all to dare to believe in a "New Season Of Hope." Still, the wife of the soon-to-be Democratic nominee was arguably the most anticipated appearance of the evening.

Pepsi Center, Denver, ColoradoMany of the delegates, and no few of the others in attendance, are at their first national convention. The Obamas have inspired undeniable fascination and loyalty. As you talk to people who have come to Denver for the event, it's clear that part of what they're hoping for is the sort of budding inspiration Mrs. Obama represents for young women, and that will clearly blossom if Michelle and Barack become the next residents of the White House.

Michelle, working forward from her brother's introduction, stepped through her background, and delivered a deft speech touching all the highlights that have formed and informed her values, and those of Barack. She painted a picture of her relationship to Barack, and the harmony of their experiences, values, and aspirations, paying tribute to others who have worked for the betterment of life in the United States, from military families to Senator Hillary Clinton.
"All of us driven by the simple belief that the world as it is just won't do. That we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be. That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey, and Barack's journey, and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope."
Michelle Obama describes in her husband's rise a story that can inspire millions, but she never talks about how she herself is also a figure of inspiration, despite at times during the campaign having served as a lightning rod for those who seek to prevent Barack Obama's further ascendancy. We hear about their decision making process, but Michelle remains modestly focused on Barack's story. Yet we all know that this strong, brilliant, successful woman will serve as a role model for millions herself as she continues to exhibit poise and charm amid the disagreeable tactics of those seeking to undermine Obama's run for the Oval Office.
"He knows that the thread that connects us -- our belief in America's promise, our commitment to our children's future -- is strong enough to hold us together as a nation even when we disagree."
But to listen to the people streaming out of the Pepsi center in the wake of her eloquent, effective speech, where comments included numerous metaphors for success, you'd have to realize that every speaker of the night, from those who took the stage early such as MN Senator Amy Klobuchar and Angela Morgan, to Caroline and Ted Kennedy, to even Michelle and Barack himself during his video visit after her speech, was upstaged by Sasha and Malia. Miguel Del Valle, who had to follow Ted Kennedy's speech, must be thanking his lucky stars that he wasn't on following Malia and Sasha. No parent can fail to react to their unrehearsed affection, expressed so candidly, for their father - which tells us more about Barack Obama, perhaps, than all the efforts of those who seek to deliberately shape our opinions of him, pro or con.