Pelosi praises Iowa delegation

By Evan Anderson – Making the rounds of the Rialto coffee-computer table still proves satisfying, with various Honored Guest-pass holders and minor media meddlers loitering around hoping for any tidbits or trivia.

Point of fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi already has been here and gone, the only person of interest left is Governor Culver milling around the hotel lobby with a grande something from Starbucks. The Nevada delegation is now easily identifiable thanks to the cowboy hats many received at their delegation’s breakfast earlier this morning. Our delegation received the praise of Speaker Pelosi, as well as French Toast with fruit and more pineapple. Senior ranking Illinois Senator Dick Durbin also paid the Iowa delegation a flying visit, thanking our caucuses for functioning so very well.

The helter-skelter headaches, familiar fallen arches and cramping calves are beginning to settle in for many of the Iowa delegates, with many thanking the DNC for providing bottles of Ibuprofen in the delegation’s welcoming bags. Said Peggy Whitworth, delegate from Cedar Rapids, “I hope I don’t fall asleep until after I get on the plane.” Whitworth went on to say that although tired from the convention activities, she nonetheless feels like a seven-year old, energized and eager for more.

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Kucinich, Schweitzer liven up convention

By Evan Anderson – Tuesday’s DNC convention left even the protestors and Republicans in Denver too passionately enlivened to sleep. Although it must be noted up front that Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich did receive the first minutes-long standing ovation, due to his fiery oration against small-minded Republican so-called “family values,” the night was young and the delegates were just warming up.

Kucinich had all the energy of a kitten suckling from a Starbucks’ espresso machine, which complemented his repeated slogan of “wake up America. Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana, came to the podium later in the lineup, but provided the most entertainment, and perhaps even the most overlooked political diss thus far on the convention floor.

Schweitzer, a dead ringer for Oscar nominee Jackie Oakey, followed the Keynote Speaker of the convention, former Virginia governor Mark Warner. Warner, well-known to Cedar Rapids democrats from his brief 2006 under-the-radar presidential exploration in Iowa, gave a lawyerly speech filled with much rational behind the need to remove the GOP from power. However intelligent Warner may be, some delegation members practically burst into “Show Me” from “My Fair Lady,” murmuring, “Words, words, words I’m so sick of words!”

Although many in the Virginia delegation were camped out in the hallways handing out blue and red Warner stickers with much gusto, they seemed the only group entirely enchanted with Warner’s address. Several Iowa delegates seated as Special Guests in section 351, next to Hawaii and Ohio delegation members, noted that Warner would make a wonderful teacher, but the former cell-phone magnate’s entire speech was forgotten about thirty-seconds into Schweitzer’s address.

Whether or not the Montana governor meant to deliberately overshadow Warner shall remain unknown to all, except a few pretentious -and therefore, only speculative- media talking heads. Schweitzer noted that natural, renewal energy is important to everyone, and that the only “green” promises McCain offers are greenback kickbacks to the Oil industry executives and further tax cuts for polluting industries in America. The standing ovation following Schweitzer’s address were remarkable, the entire general assembly seemed to anoint him the convention cycle’s protégée to watch for, which was exactly what DNC officials had anticipated would happen with Warner.

There was much love for Hillary Clinton throughout the entire convention hall even before she took the podium after 10:00pm Iowa time. Senator Clinton’s greatest successes in her speech include her slogan of “no McCain, no way,” as well as a myriad of symbolic calls for party unity. Delegates were given Unity-Hillary signs. It is clear now that the McCain campaign is the only “functioning” body in Denver that is striving to keep Clinton delegates from endorsing Obama.

Note of interest: speakers following Schweitzer, including many Congressmen, were overshadowed by the unexpected presence of Senator Joe Biden in the honored visitor’s gallery directly behind the Arizona delegation’s seating. Iowa delegation members stuck halfway up in the air back in section 351 were able to lean out and catch any number of “artistic” pictures of the top of Biden’s head (still balding).

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How I met Joe Biden, Michelle Obama and Janet Napolitano

By Katherine MarcanoTuesday was another exciting day, and busy as well. In the morning I participated in a forum with Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Janet Napolitano, the governnor of Arizona among other distinguished guest.

I introduced Michelle to a crowd of at least 350 people, I felt very comfortable and relaxed. I had already met with Michelle so I felt very confident with her.

Michelle Obama is a humble, down to earth individual who also is very strong and intelligent and believe it or not she does listen, and always asks for advice and ideas. She likes to encourage people to do their very best and speak up!

Now Joe Biden made me smile and I laughed so much with him it actually reminded me of my father and I even told him so. I met his wife and OMG I was so confused and excited I actually confused her with Caroline Kennedy. Either way she was laughing and flattered that I thought she was 30 years younger. Mrs. Biden is a gorgeous lady, not only in looks but in spirit as well. I was very surprised when she was talking to me and then Biden mentioned again that she has been an educator for 27 years.

I was very much impressed after the forum was done with Senator Biden’s daughter Ashley. She came right after I walked down the stage and introduced herself to me, told me she too is a social work major and that she worked with juveniles in the correctional facilities. I was impressed and grateful to hear this I think her job is a very noble one and she sounded very genuine ( I actually like her father better now because of the charisma of this young lady) Great father, awesome daughter all in all indeed a very descent family.

Later in the day at the Pepsi center an hour before my speech at the convention I was sent in to have my make up and hair done, and afterward placed in a holding room with so many senators, governors and important people I lost count. Someone stood out in that crowd and that was Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.Sshe sat right next to me, we spoke about her background, my background and how she became a governor.

She does not have any kids and she lives in a tiny apartment. I learned she love shoes with heels, she really take care of herself, but she always believes there is a time and place for everything. She is very excited about these elections, she confessed. She realizes this history in the making. She gave me advice/pointers for when my time came to speak.

I was afraid/concerned I was going to feel isolated like an outcast but all the women I met they have and shared so many stories similar to average American like myself. There is a governor that did not finish high school but went on to get her GED. I am pleased to know that at least some of our leader are courageous women that have a good head on their shoulders.

I am inspired, I am transformed. I will forever treasured my memories here in Denver. I pray to God that our great nation is lead on the right path back again by a leader. And i am 100% sure that Senator Obama is the right man to get the job accomplished.

I also wish to mention a few people who really have make my time in Denver worth my while. Mystique is a young lady from Washington DC, she was incharge of helping me with the media, Victoria and Jon they were my speech coaching team, and there are other individuals I met along the way. All of them share something in commom, the opportunithy to help save America, and bring it to the right path.

There of course are many things to do at this convention, but I decided to head back to Cedar Rapids tomorrow. I must return to my ordinary life, the one in which I drive myself instead of having a driver. I will have to pick up after myself. I will reuse my towel at least twice maybe three times intead of having a fresh one everyday. I will have to make my own bed, make my own food, and where my steel tows boots to go to work. I won’t have the fancy make up, or the fancy hair, but what I will have in my heart will be that I am continuing to pass along the messege on why Barack Obama is the right man for the job to lead us. He is ready, he definately has the energy.

I saw Hillary speak tonight also and all i can say is Bravooooooooooooooooo Hillary you Rock!

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A satisfying experience

By Evan Anderson – Dear reader, I get my brownies. Double chocolate-chocolate chip, and now for the story of how I was sated…

Now, about that Hyatt. Helm’s Deep is no longer hidden. “Dr. Gonzo” has slithered in and established his beached. Actually, this Iowa delegation member scored an AFSCME invitation and intents to fully make use of it to fully explore this political season’s version of Cameron Crowe’s “the Riot House.” Just in the pale marble lobby alone, the entire flood of political impresarios, and their many handlers, shocks this meager caucus attendee to the core.

To get to the AFSCME luncheon program, one rides two sets of surprisingly long escalators. One feels like an easily impressed Dorothy Parker character ascending into the towering Hyatt upper floors, watching so many familiar politicos drifting pass on opposing escalators.

The Hyatt ballroom where the meeting is set is indeed cavernous, but seemingly less so as there are rows upon rows of speckled yellow and light blue glass fans suspended from the ceiling, drifting above our heads as if they were Monet’s blithe lilies or the First Class china dishes floating around the water in the sinking Titanic.

Below this agoraphobic spectacle, Iowa delegates happily participated in a political-pin swap with “Coconut Hat Al,” a Hawaii delegation member.

Inside the AFSCME luncheon, California Rep. George Miller was greeted warmly by the labor community as the delegates played a DNC Conventions Trivia game at their tables.

Miller received strong applause and cheering with his statement, “We need a president that gives a damn about working families.” Miller continued, a continuance of the Bush administration’s labor polices in a McCain administration, “would be lethal.”

Echoing Congressman Miller, the senior senator from New York, Charles Schumer, told the assembled crowd that the Democratic Party itself has always lost when working labor membership is low.

Senator Schumer made the point that Republicans are fighting against the very future of labor and, therein, the entire backbone of the DNC.

This event was a sharp contrast from the DLCC 2008 Chairman’s Luncheon, held several blocks away in the Ritz-Carlton. The Ritz is located below the media-protesting fire-lines of the 16th St. Ped-Mall and therefore, not very well covered by the media.

Iowa Delegation member, and Iowa State senate majority leader, Mike Gronstal is the presiding chairman of the DLCC. Gronstal kept his speech exceedingly short, no doubt eager to resume his meal. Delegates in attendance were served novella vegetables and steak; however, Gronstal surrendered his portion of steak to a Teamsters’ leader who vocalized his disappointment with the size of the meat. This gave Gronstal the fortuitous opportunity to mention how he has lost thirty-five pounds on a diet composed of Quaker Oats’ oatmeal and infrequent lunches.

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Chet chat

By Rod Boshart – Gov. Chet Culver used his three minutes of time to address convention delegates Tuesday by touting Iowa’s renewable energy effort and thanking Americans who have helped in the flood recovery effort. Culver said he looks forward to an Obama-Biden administration energy policy that will usher in 5 million new green-collar jobs and put an end to eight years of big oil companies and their Washington lobbyists directing national energy policy.

The hotel, restaurants and other scenes around Denver

By Evan Anderson – Just yards from the Iowa delegation’s hotel is an Italian restaurant whose sidewalk cafe is a discombobulating scene, compared to its next-door neighbor, Sam’s No.3 café.

Judging from the sidewalk patrons alone, you can’t even order Evian at the Italian restaurant without producing a receipt proving that you laid down over a hundred dollars for your designer aviator sunglasses.

Contrast this with the bicycle cops from Denver‘s elite riot patrols lunching just yards away at Sam’s No.3 on the corner of 15th and Curtis. The sidewalk venue makes for an interesting picture-perfect respite from the previous day’s clashes between rioters and police.

Some of the delegates from the Ohio delegation pose for pictures with these law enforcement officials, the smiles and jovial scene is a wondrous contrast to a morning’s brush with heated counter-protesters and police.

Some of the guests to the Iowa delegation stepped up the plate and helped diffuse a passionate three-way skirmish between protestors, police and various delegates and Denver youth who were calling for pro-GLBT rights. Iowa Hall of Pride members witnessing the encounter were livid to point out that some of those advocating better treatment of GLBT Americans were not so much protected by police as watched aloofly, cautiously.

The corners of Stout St. and 15th have turned into a big tent circus, missing only the tigers and elephants (although plenty of pins showed elephants and John McCain in, shall we say, very humbling descriptions). Just up the street from the tents are the fake-couture stalls, ironically just across from the local TJ Maxx.

An unofficial caucus of California delegates could easily be achieved across the street from the Grand Hyatt Hotel surrounding well-patronized the fake Gucci, Coach and Armani couture accessories stall. Nearby, the La Boehme “gentlemen’s cabaret” is experiencing a boom of business, judging from the clumps of police that stand around the building.

Speaking of booming business, the lobby of our hotel has remarkably been transfigured into a mangled media crime scene, with photographers and slithering sloughs of cables holding the hotel’s Starbucks and Rialto Café hostage. The crunch for coffee, as Jane Austen said, “working on a weak mind produces every kind of mischief.”

The raised Formica table just steps away from the Rialto café has been mystically turned into a potpourri power scene, with Iowa delegates rapidly chatting with Nevada delegates, reporters, bloggers and the occasional DNC official so proudly wearing their orange “Podium” identification tags.

The only thing missing at this scene are brownies. You can hardly expect to play DNC backroom braggarts on an empty stomach.

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Getting down to politics

By Evan Anderson – If, as the hipster song goes, that you “can’t trust that day,” Monday provided the mindless entertainment for the Iowa delegation while Tuesday is looking more and more productive for politicking.

Sadly however, those within earshot of the appropriate people at the breakfast table learned that Senator Tom Harkin will be departing Denver early Thursday and may not be attending Senator Obama‘s acceptance speech at Invesco field. Of course many in Iowa’s delegation were eager to share their trying stories of what security measures are like in Denver at the moment. Such is the state that it would take until Thursday morning, if you left now, to pass through security just to get into the parking lot of Invesco.

Standing committee members who ventured out and about the LoDo area last night shared their adventures over unhealthy white flour muffins and eggs with so-called “spicy” sausage. Apparently the traveling situations are made worse when the bomb squads are out and about, as if characters from either Orwell’s “1984” or else the “Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.”

During the breakfast, delegates were “pleased beyond punch” to listen to Lt. Governor Patty Judge and Governor Culver punching the air with their passionate endorsements of Senator Obama’s record of experience serving Iowa’s unique renewable energy concerns.

Culver’s wife joking noted to several delegates that in future conventions it might be best to move all the celebratory gatherings from the evening to the morning so the delegation can get their eight hours of sleep. The breakfast concluded with a drawing for credentials to today’s convention. Delegates getting their name drawn for one of what can be described as “cherished” guest passes to Pepsi were suddenly the most popular persons in the room.

Latest updates on the hotel imbroglio: the Nevada delegation gets a coffee bar still smaller than ours, but the pastries served there looked far more heart-friendly. Delegates will need all the healthy foodstuffs they can lay their hands on as we prepare to ship out at O-Fourteen-Hundred hours for the Pepsi center to listen to several Iowans address the general assembly.

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