Protestors, traffic and security

By Evan Anderson – Who are the real protestors? Denver police certainly believe the Clinton supporters are, despite the fact that the majority of those Clinton supporters walking boisterously along the ped-mall so close to the Iowa delegation’s hotel were women merely trying to voice their justified concerns over the primary process.

Yelling “No secret ballots! No secret war!” These protestors trudged the length of the shopping district as the smug DNC delegates laughed and took pictures, almost goading them on in their smiles.

The opening of the DNC convention is less than half an hour away and yet the bedlam around the hotels will likely continue until well until the evening. Police in black riot gear cling to the sides of their SUVs and Escalades as they roam alongside the protestors, making no more noise than the occasional grunt or yell to watch the traffic lights.

The pro-life protestors just huddle together like a swarm of twirling butterflies around a Butterfly Bush, chanting and occasionally yelling at the Obama delegates, “You were human before you were Christian!”

The Denver police watch these protestors with an appraiser’s carefully honed stare but make no move to corral them. The traffic situation is horrid beyond the scope of surely what Denver had anticipated.

Due to the protestors, as well as police ringing the hotels with cars and dogs, buses have all but been reduce to charging the gauntlet at a snail’s pace. The gaveling in of the convention at three is the first misstep of the convention, most of the Iowa delegation is still crawling through traffic.

The security is so tight around the Hyatt that bomb-sniffing dogs, mirrors to look under cars, magnet wanding and the like reduce any plans to infiltrate the hotel in the noble quest of autographs and candid photos of the DNC elite to vaporous empty sighs.

As the convention begins, we hope that the calm tenor of Obama’s voice eventually brings a little solace back to the agitated boiling on the streets in Denver.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Iowa delegation off and running

By Evan Anderson – Although herds of Denver police dressed in riot gear have been zimmering past the convention center whenever the furtive anti-war or pro-lifers press against the fences some blocks away, the Colorado Convention Center is host to the most dignified events thus far associated with the DNC.

Sunday night, many in the Iowa delegation attended the “Preconvention Reception” in the Korbel ballroom. Preconvention Reception is just another phrase to describe a fund-raiser and informational gathering wherein much food and good music just happen to be serendipitously wandering about nearby.

The reception had Mardi Grass-themed Cajun snacks and brass bands swirling around the delegates. This particular Iowa delegation member was fortunate to sit with several Florida delegates, an Oregon huddle and a few Wisconsin delegates.

All of these DNC attendees were at once quick to ask what being an Iowan was like, in reference to the caucus, and whether or not we would consider a calendar change in the primary season. The Florida delegates were from the central part of the state but still had much to tell as far as Tropical Storm Fay’s vendetta against their state goes. Apparently alligators, Burmese pythons and stray cats were rendered homeless by the floodwaters on the outskirts of the Everglades and have sought refuge in any number of surprising locales, including school aquatic centers.

Other notable scenes from Sunday night: The Limelight cafe is being turned into the sort of press clup Algonquin Kid’s Table, the only media moguls and talking heads missing are Donald Kaul or Michael Moore.

The Denver Performing Arts complex, where the Limelight is located- as well as the Buell Theatre and many other diverting diversions- is most similar to the centuries old plaza in Milan, the glass-covered enclosed promenade so familiar to people that read all about Italy but never go there, including me.

This is the perfect place to eavesdrop on some of the CNN reporters that are attempting their “man-on-the-street” interviews in between the cacophonous rounds of police cars squealing down 16th St. Nearby this poignant corner is The Curtis Hotel. Note to any and all Hunter S. Thompson devotees out there, this and the nearby Hyatt Hotel, is where many in the upper racks of the DNC come for seemingly casual cocktails while trying to discuss far more deceptively detailed plans for speakers at the convention.

Today, Monday, the Iowa delegation is off and running, literally. We are off to see the museums, which are open to the public today, in between several parties, and then of course the convening convention which gavels in around 3 p.m.

If you could put this particular time in a bottle, the hectic pace of the DNC convention would simmer and bubble away as if in a crucible. Just wait until 3 p.m. when all the delegations descend on the Pepsi Center trying to see whether or not Sen. Ted Kennedy will speak to the general assembly. (And I thought day-after Thanksgiving Day rope-drop shopping was taking one’s life into one’s hands.)

Last note of interest: The Nevada Delegation has officially begun to check into our hotel, intriguingly their coffee bar is half the size of the one set up for the Iowa delegation.