Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin



Slate.com's John Dickerson captures the McCain VP pick perfectly:


Palin is a strong choice, to be sure, but what will it mean in two months' time?





Friday, August 29, 2008

The Convention, pt. 4 (Invesco)


I was informed quite early this morning that my press credentials would not suffice to get me into Invesco Field for the big speech. I was sad, yes, but I went downtown anyway. I stopped in at the Tattered Cover for some mate, an Economist, a danish, and a book of Sudoku, my guilty pleasure.

Took the Light Rail to Invesco and simply walked in. I held out my creds as I would have at the Pepsi Center, and I tried to carry myself as someone who belonged there. It worked. I ended up in the bleachers watching sound checks for will.I.am (WIllisms issmsm.s.semam.s..s..eiwiwle.) and Stevie Wonder, which was a real treat. It was seriously THE Stevie Wonder, and I saw him. And Michael McDonald, and Al Gore, and a whole slew of other cool and interesting people.

I finished the entire Economist while we waited, stuck underneath a speaker stand on the field. I also did a handful of Sudoku puzzles, of which I was very proud. Sometime in the afternoon, I'm not sure when, the meeting actually started. Lots of people spoke. Bill Richardson said a bunch of funny stuff, there was music, I watched the field fill with tens of thousands of people. Dick Durbin (Illinois reppin!) introduced a video about the Nominee. There were baby pictures, MIchelle stories, and some highlights. I was walking around the field during all of this, watching the crowd. They were quiet - very quiet. Just watching and waiting.It was eerie and wonderful.Then Senator Obama took the podium. The crowd exploded. As I rewatch the footage, I realize that he said "Thank you" for just under three minutes. Then he accepted the nomination. The crowd exploded again.


Again, as I rewatch this I can't help but realize that there were substantial things that I missed, like the Thank You Party in the beginning, a few of the things he said, and the way he ended the speech. I was wandering around, taking it all in; I was still listening, but it was hypnotic. The guy can talk. When he spoke of the military, the crowd chanted USA USA USA, which would normally have concerned me, but this loud patriotism felt strangely comforting. And then he said THANK YOU again and the fireworks went off and the crowd blew up and there were streamers and confetti and Obama's and Joe Biden's family came out on stage and everyone cheered and cheered.

Whatever happens in November, this was truly a night to remember. 82000-odd people at Invesco, and another 38 million watching at home. I am terribly lucky to have been so close, down on the field with the media, watching history. Hopefully November will keep with the theme. I got to bed late and tired.

Some little explosions and streamers and confetti:

video

And more:

video

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Convention, pt. 3


Today was slower than usual. Lined up a few delegate interviews for my correspondent. We wanted to find some Clinton delegates and figure out what was what with the roll call later in the evening.
 
As it just so happened, I was sitting in Press Pavilion #4 during the roll call, nursing a Fat Tire and watching each delegation rant and rave about the wonderful features of their state. I thought I had missed Illinois, but then they caught a deferment. Mayor Daley spoke briefly and deferred to New York. Hillary Clinton suspended the roll call for a vote by acclamation.
 
It worked, and Barack Hussein Obama II (betcha forgot he's got numbers after his name) became the Democratic nominee. It was all very nice.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Convention, pt. 2


I spoke with a number of delegates today as part of my "press duties." Accidentally spoke with at least one well-known Representative, which was slightly embarrasing once I realized who she was. On the whole, though, the day was a success. My legs are still killing me from the weekend's climb, but if you're wearing a suit, even a limp looks slightly cool.
 
Went to the Truman National Security Project meeting downtown, which was cool. Bill Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Perry was there, as was former Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig, who is now advising Barack Obama on defense policy. This guy could be the new SECDEF, and he's funny to boot! They spoke of many things, especially Russia's recent adventures in the Caucasus, and Danzig especially kept referring to all of America's foreign policy potential. He was talking not just about DoD, but also USAID, Peace Corps, Commerce, etc. It's what I call "full spectrum dominance."
 
I for one would LOVE to see about a third of the DoD's budget (a third would be close to a bazillion dollars) go towards the State Department. That would be awesome.




Monday, August 25, 2008

The Convention, pt. 1

I'm working with a major international news network for the Democratic National Convention. This means that I get press credentials and that I get to hang out with the rest of the press corps. The Pepsi Center has a few very large tents where the networks/magazines/websites hang out. Each of these tents has a lounge. These lounges are usually full of some sort of food and, more often than not, cold beer.
 
Super!

It is very interesting being here. There is a great deal of "hope" in the air, and the excitement is palpable. I am reminded, wryly, that there are only 4,000 delegates here.
 
I am one of 15,000 members of the media.
 
Oh my.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mountain Hurtin'


So I got home after the mountain climb and actually went biking for a while, which was silly, because I was already very tired and such.

When I woke up this morning (Sunday), I had to slide out of bed. My quads were destroyed, my knees were killing me, and my left gastroc had some sort of stitch in it. I spent the day lazing around the apartment. Hurt hurt hurt. I'm not sure if it was just the descent that did this to me, or if climbing up boulders might have had an effect.

Ouch ouch ouch. Advil. Not looking forward to running around during the DNC.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mountain Climbin'


Got to the trailhead exactly at 7 a.m., just like I had thought. Took some rad photos on the climb up. It was mostly sloping at that point, which lots of rocks, but pretty fun. Got pretty sweaty. Finally ended up on a side trail heading up into Shadow Canyon. It was great. I paused every now and then to drink and chill out. Finally made it into the Canyon. I wonder what the thing looks like from above with no trees, because to me it was a giant rock field. Weird. So I scrambled up that pile forever. Passed the strange man in the orange glasses who said, "You know where this trail goes?" I said NO, and he said, "Neither do I. It's got to have an end."

I disagree with him metaphysically, but I hope his geography is correct.

So I climbed and climbed and found myself stopping more often. I had already swapped out the bandana for my redband, and I wore the bandana around my neck. Climb climb climb. It was nuts. I finally made it to the saddle between Bear and South Boulder. I still chose SB, so I climbed more. Found a screw pine. Kept going.

Finally reached the scree field at the summit. I climbed up and up and up and finally poked my head out over a rock and



That's about what I saw, but with a whole lot of other stuff. Like there had been lots of "noise" and now there was just "silence with substance," or barring that, just silence. It was pretty damn quiet. I could see forever. To the west, the basin and the Rockies proper. To the east, the plains. South Boulder Peak is 8500 some odd feet, higher than Bear and Green, so the view was unobstructed. I stood there for some time. And stood some more. It was really outstanding and breathtaking and I now know that I will certainly mountain again once I get some more glucosamine chondroitin in me. So I sat down on a cold rock away from the little rodents and read some Kahlil Gibran. I spent 50 minutes on the summit, calling Mom and Dad to say HELLO and taking bunches of pictures, then I headed back down, running down most of the mountain.

This was a mistake.

I met a snake along the way, a tiny little baby guy, too. Passed lots of other climbers. Kept running. Ran and ran and ran all the way to the trailhead. Got to the car and headed out.

Two hours exactly up, 50 minutes on the summit, then 80 minutes down. It was a damn fast climb for my first time. And I definitely should have taken it slowerly. Read the post before this and you will understand.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Burma Shave



My CP final on Burma and rational choice theory is complete: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dd4vtbbk_79fmf8f9d4





I am still torn on whether GoogleDocs does a good job of presenting the work, but at least it's readable at the link. I would have shared it as a PDF, but as I found out tonight, with a SHOCK, GoogleDocs does not yet support PDF-publishing.

I know - I'm crying, too.

N.B. The paper is not that good, actually. I feel that it suffers from a real lack of direction. That being said, check it out and let me know what you think.