Sunday, August 03, 2008

DNC Convention Invesco Tour | CNN Grill | Pepsi Media Tent City

On the morning of July 31st 2008, I boarded a United Airlines morning flight to Denver to attend the final (?) media walkthrough before the Democratic National Convention, this one at Invesco Field.

Unlike my first media walkthrough trip, I ended up renting a Saturn SUV for ground travel. The reason was simple: it was cheap. Cheaper to rent than a Prius and because they were in low demand versus the economy cars. In a way it worked out to a savings of about $25. Invesco Field was only 20 minutes away from the airport, so it was a quick trip for me.

I arrived at Invesco at 11:20 and ran into a DNCC employee (who I will not name by request) and who walked me around the stadium (we ended up on the field at one point) and eventually into the main briefing meeting.

For security reasons I did not film the main meeting discussion, but focused more on the 'broadbrush" tour and interviews of key media people there. On the way to the main press box, I met "Oreo" who's one of the main contributors at and talked about how the blog came to be and who the writers were. To my surprise, one of them was a person who had his own blog called "Mr. Superdelegate" for a time, and gave all of us political junkies fits trying to figure out who he was. It's become a great resource for DNC Convention news.

After talking with Oreo, and heading to the main field, I met Sara Burrett, who's a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News. Sara -- who I talked to while tripping all over myself on the Invesco Field sidewalk -- told me that she was a court reporter until this assignment and that her current focus was on the lawsuit the protest group Recreate68 and their leader Glen Spagnuolo, who's known for protesting the Columbus Day Holiday in Denver and for whom a split was caused between his group and other protest groups.

See, even Democratic PROTESTERS can't get along.

But I digress.

Sara also pointed out where Senator Obama will stand to give his acceptance speech, which is about on the 50-yard-line of the field used by The Denver Broncos.

That about ended that part of the tour. But Oreo and I decided to take a tour of our own making. He drove us over to the Pepsi Center area to see the media tent city in the making. Two construction reps let us in and we parked and walked the grounds. The media tents must be about 25,000 square feet in size each, and there were two made already, one for NBC News, the other we didn't know who was for, perhaps CNN.

Writing of CNN, we then walked over to the Brooklyn Grill for a quick lunch. Oreo informed me that the grill was to be transformed into the "CNN Grill" and almost on que, we saw a stencil being used to paint the CNN = Politics logo on the side of the building. They had just got started with this, and we were the first to record the action.

The one problem with the CNN plan is the restaurant workers know nothing about it. They don't know if they will be paid double-time or who will get to work the shifts, or anything and they're getting a little nervous about the whole deal.

Then, on the way out, Oreo, who lives in Denver, pointed to where the DNC Media Party was to be held over at an amusement park nearby.

In all, the Democratic Party is working overtime to make the DNC Convention work. The objective is open-ness. The main issue now is still scheduling. Contrary to reports, many of the speakers and speaking days have not been fully set. Speculation that Hillary Clinton will not be the VP choice because of the Tuesday "Women's Day" event is faulty at best.

On the way back to the airport, I turned in my rental car and then forgot my iPhone in it. Alamo Rent-A-Car got it back to me very quickly and for that I give thanks.

Bush Legacy: a BAD TASTE in GOP's Mouth

Isn't it ironic that President Bush, once clearly a darling of conservatives and Republicans alike, may come to be, in the words of Ann McFeatters in the Boston Herald, "loathed by most of them."

The problem is that Bush isn't at all what people thought they were voting for. The "Compassionate Conservative" label was the epitome of sound-bite marketing, for openers. Show me any even moderately compassionate initiative Bush championed, and on review you'll find it was driven by pressure from outside, not his own leadership. And the notion you'd vote for him because you'd like to have a beer with him? Nevermind that he doesn't drink anymore: Who really thought they'd like to have a beer with him?

Answer: people who'd like to have a beer with anybody.

Republicans = small government?

When you look at his term of office it seems likely that he was, in essence, a figurehead. The three amigos? Or the two amigos and the figurehead? Bush with Cheney & RumsfeldSadly I see President Bush primarily as a puppet of the likes of Cheney & Rumsfeld, who realized Rove had hold of a guy that could be made electable at the national level. There is little on the record to suggest Bush has been a savvy leader with a vision for the betterment of this country.

No, instead the GOP had the drop on the dems in marketing, two cycles in a row. Effective smear attacks from surrogates while their guy appeared to remain above the fray. A dose of fear, a carefully acquired Texas drawl for an Ivy Leaguer from a privileged family... It was brilliant.

Unfortunately, it was brilliance applied to electing a self-interested cabal fronted by a puppet. Bush has presided over some of the most disastrous policies in modern U.S. history - the economy is hanging by a thread as we pour our precious lives and resources into an investment in big oil noguls becoming even richer. And how are the folks atop those companies faring, while the rest of the country deals with unemployment and recession? Oh, right: Their best quarter EVER.

Another irony, of course, is that Rumsfeld has been consigned to the back room somewhere, while Cheney continues as arguably the most powerful Vice President the US has ever seen. Some say the only reason the various calls for impeachment of George W. Bush are not pursued more stridently in congress is the realization that it would lead, at least briefly, to Cheney ascending to sole control of the Oval Office.

Follow the money:

One has to hope that the sense and sensibility of the citizens - and voters - of the USA will help turn the U.S. back from the old-school politics to embrace respect for both the average people as well as the political opposition. There are signs such candor and civility is valued over the increasingly transparent, self-serving "mis-speaking" that has become all too commonplace. We must hold elected officials to a higher standard. It is short-sighted and shallow to tolerate duplicitous, politically expedient apologies after the fact as "expected behavior" though the mainstream media continues to look the other way. We must ask who profits from each decision, be it invading then rebuilding Iraq or stockpiling Tamiflu at taxpayers expense.

The alternative is to continue our slide from prominence toward a second class status on the stage of world affairs. That's not the legacy I want to leave for my offspring - what about you?

read more | digg story

Zennie62 On WIth Kenrg And Renetto

Zennie62 On WIth Kenrg And Renetto

Today -- well, Saturday -- I received an email invitation from YouTuber Ken Goldstein, who you may (or may not) know as Kenrg on YouTube. He was inviting me to join what he and other call a "vlogging experiment" and is called "Vloggerheads."

That would be me.

The site is only eight days -- yes eight days -- old and already there are as of this writing 46 members. Folks like Esther, Beth, and star YouTubers like Renetto, Kenrg, and Gimmeabreakman who made this great video:

Where he tries to answer the question "What is a vlog" from the comfort of a pool he's in somewhere. He even goes underwater for a bit. That means he takes the camera under water -- watch -- how he does that I don't know because if I did that with my Sony camcorder, that would be the end of that machine.

Anyway, I love to share my ideas on video, but I want to get paid for it too. YouTube allows that; I just have to see his improvement. his viewpoint. I'm not giving up on YouTube at all. I think this can enhance the total experience of videoblogging and increase the visility of YouTubers at the same time.