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The Hall is Packed

We just got back with our double strength espresso. We're wired and ready to go. This hall is packed to the gills. There are people sitting in the stairwells. Getting out now would be next to impossible. For the first time, we bloggers are all hunched over our computers and the gabbing has stopped. The delegates are listening to the speakers.

Joe Biden's speech is too long, but they don't care. They are standing and clapping. When we think Biden, we think Rave Act and how he snuck it into the Amber child alert bill. We wouldn't support him for dogcatcher. We can't even fathom that he was almost a contender for President. But, the people here seemed to really like him.

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Blogger Bash and Blogger Media

We just finished updating our post on our interview yesterday with Sen. Durbin. To switch to a lighter topic for a minute, we had a great time at last night's blogger bash. It was at an upscale resturant called Meze. Bloggers were the guest of honor. We got green wristbands which allowed us to get free drinks all night. There were a few hundred people at the party--the non-bloggers had to pay for drinks at the cash bar. We got goodie bags with USB memory sticks and blogger buttons and other stuff. There was a large buffet table filled with excellent Greek food.

We mostly hung out with our fellow bloggers, but we chatted a bit with Eric Alterman of Altercation and the Nation, Mickey Kaus of Slate, some guys that have started an environmental site called DefenderBear.com, a guy who runs a New York performance artist space called Tank. We said hello to Janeane Garafolo of AirAmericaRadio. We didn't know a lot of people there. When we left at 2 am, the party was still going strong.

By the way, it's getting hard to write here. The Daily Show is interviewing Jesse Taylor of Pandagon right next to us. The media has been swarming us. Bright lights, microphones, cameramen, all squeezing into our overcrowded row. It's hard to concentrate. Here's Jesse and the Comedy Central guy:

A blogfan just came up to Markos of Daily Kos just to say hello. Yesterday, people asked him for autographs. All that attention must be wearing, take a look at him now (we just snapped this, he's sitting next to us.)

Other people we got to say hello to while we were here (all of whom we had met before): Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Greta Van Susteren, Larry Elder, Gloria Allred (who is here as an "honored guest"--obviously, Amber Frey hasn't testified yet in the Scott Peterson case.)

Update: It's now 7:30 and the speeches have started but not any great speakers yet. We need some coffee--there's a lot of tired bloggers at this table.

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Tonight's Speakers

Among tonight's speakers are Wesley Clark, Madeleine Albright, Joe Lieberman, Joe Biden and Max Cleland. John Kerry will be the final speaker around 11 pm.

We just got handed excerpts of Kerry's speech tonight. We won't quote, but we can tell you to expect he will say he will reform our intelligence system. He will build a stronger military. He will implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. There will be lots of talk about jobs and family values.

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Republican Response

By e-mail we're told that in an attempt to limit John Kerry's message, the Republicans will release a 12 minute video to embarass Kerry tonight, and that it will be all over the news tomorrow and this weekend.

Anyone know if this is true? What's the appropriate response if it is true?

Update: Minipundit advises it's true and you can watch it here.

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Swat Team Comes Out to Play

Just as we arrived at the Fleet Center, the swat team came out in full riot gear. The protesters were burning flags and chanting. Here are some pictures --we were closer to the police than the protesters.

Update: Sullivan writes in to say there are some good protest photos here. We agree. We love the ones of the protesters dressed as detainees.

Update: Here's the news account of the "skirmish" between the protesters and police.

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Kerry Movie On Tap for Tonight

MSNBC is playing excerpts of the movie on John Kerry's life that will be played at the convention tonight. Kerry seems very relaxed in the clips we've seen. This is the first time we've been able to watch any tv during the day. Right now they are doing a segment on the history of the acceptance speech...talk about a time filler!

Update: We spoke too soon. Doris Kearns Goodwin was the analyst for the speech segment and she was great. She fit so many historical stories into her five minutes--and brought out that every speech is submitteed to focus groups. Several of FDR's greatest lines wouldn't have made it into his speeches if they had focus groups then---makes you wonder whether the riskless approach to politics itoday is progress or a loss for all of us. To us, it's the latter. We'd rather see a candidate go out on a limb, bring us some spontaneous passion, even flub a line once in a while, rather than the canned, over-vetted rhetoric we get these days.

We just moved hotels again. A record for us--4 hotels in 5 nights. Atrios sure gets this right:

Sorry for light posting, but just getting from place to place is taking forever right now and I have to go to lots of places...

Back soon, we're now headed over to the Fleet Center to settle in on Blogger Alley.

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Military Role at Convention

We expect there will be a lot of military support on display for John Kerry tonight. As one of the network anchors we were listening to last night after the Blogger Bash, which we'll write4 about later, asked, how will it play with a predominantly anti-war crowd?

We suspect that this crowd is so anxious to get John Kerry elected, they will realize the display is not for them, but for the undecided voters out in the heartland.

On the other hand, there have been no promises to bring our troops home. There will be none from Kerry and Edwards. The view seems to be, the U.S. made this mess, we'll clean it up.

We'd like to see an exit strategy. A date for a pullout. Sure, we have some obligation to fix the mess we created. But we also have an obligation to our sons an daughters to bring them home safe and as soon as possible.

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Dennis Kucinich are the liberal conscience of the party. We know the public hears them--we know they have more support than that portrayed in the media. We want them to know we are listening--and so are millions of others. This year is for John Kerry and John Edwards; eight years from now, we hope the party and country is ready for a greater shift to the left.

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Interviewing Senators

Updated to include more details of interview: Wednesday night, just before John Edwards spoke, a group of bloggers were invited to interview Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). We jumped at the chance since we think Durbin has introduced some of the best legislation in the past year and opposed some of the worst.

He has been a strong critic of the Patriot Act. He introduced an anti-torture amendmant. He co-sponsored the Civil Liberties Restoration Act. He fought for (and lost) proposed amendments to Sen. Feinstein and Hatch's terrible Anti-Gang bill.

Durbin has been in the forefront of the fight to protect our civil liberties. The interview took place at the press office in the Fleet Center. He had ten minutes and there were 8 of us, so we each took turns asking a question.

Here were the questions I wanted to ask him:

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Edwards Shines

It's deafening in the hall. John Edwards is here. The house is packed. Everyone is yelling and waving red. Here's a picture we just took from our seat.

Update: AP coverage of speech is here.

He's gone and everyone is still cheering --now he's back, an encore, just like a rock star--we got some great pix, now we're off to the Blogger Bash the DNC is throwing for us and then we'll be watching the reruns on tv and blogging some more.

Love this rap group--the Motown was getting a little old.

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Mellencamp, Durbin and Harkin

We're back up after our server had an overload and had to be rebooted by our hosting company.

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We just finished interviewing Senators Richard Durbin, one of our heroes in the Senate, and Sen. Tom Harkin, another favorite liberal. As we were getting back to our seats, John Mellencamp started singing. We ran all the way down the hall and up to our seats to catch the last minute of his song. The crowd was on its feet--

Betwen the time we left to go down to the DNC press office to do our interviews and the time we left to return, the atmosphere had radicallty changed. The buzz in the hall is unbelievable. Everyone is so energized, so psyched. This is just the greatest experience. The unity, the solidarity, the resolve to win.

Bill Richardson is speaking now. We'll be posting our interviews with Sens. Harkin and Durbin early tomorrow morning. There's too much happening right now. Here's a picture we just took of Sen. Harkin as we were interviewing him:

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Wednesday: It Just Got Better

It's Wednesday, we've been on Blogger's Alley since 3 and this is the first time our wi-fi connection has lasted long enough to get a post up. The DNCC has been very responsive and Adam, a tech guru, just took our computer and worked his magic and we're back up.

Dianne Feinstein just finished. We missed her speech but don't mind because we think she is the least liberal Democrat in the Senate. She co-sponsored the ill-advised gang bill. She co-sponsored the unnecessary federal Victim's Rights Amendment. She loves joining up with that paragon of democracy,Orrin Hatch. Spare us. If we were watching on tv, we'd mute her. The audience was restless. It's a restless crowd tonight, impatient for John Edwards and other luminaries.

No one is listening to the current speaker either. It must be horrible to be scheduled for the dinner hour when the delegates are just arriving and more interested in their seats and saying hello than listening to the speakers.

The hall is about 60% full. Tonight after John Edwards speech, the DNCC is throwing a blogger bash. We'll stop by for a while and report later. The main event for us, tonight, is John Edwards speech. We believe he will get a stronger reaction than anyone we've heard to date. The crowd will be pumped by then.

There's a recess now until 6:50. We're going to go down to TalkRadio Row to do an interview and then we'll be back.

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Random Bag Searches to Continue in Boston

A federal judge today upheld the random bag searches Boston authorities are conducting of public transit passengers.

U.S. District Judge George O'Toole said the searches were a response to a genuine security concern, the intrusion on passengers is limited, and that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has adequately prepared riders to expect the searches. At a hearing Tuesday, the National Lawyers Guild and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee argued that the inspections were unconstitutionally intrusive and violated personal privacy rights.

Since we've been in Boston, we've undergone at least two such searches a day. Of course, we know if advance we are going to be subjected to the searches, so we're careful about what we put in our bags. What about if we weren't on our way to the convention but just going about our daily business in our home city and every time we wanted to board a bus or train, the cops got to see what we were carrying? We'd resent it and wonder how we got to be living in such a police state.

So, to the citizens of Boston, whom the media has reported as being "fine" with the searches, remember that what you don't object to now, may stick around a lot longer than you think. Once we give the Government new powers, it rarely gives them back. The Bush Administration tells us the war on terror is here to stay. How long before these Fourth Amendment "emergency" exceptions become the rule rather than the exception? How many are you willing to tolerate? We're all accustomed to airport searches. Metal detectors have become no big deal. Now public transit searcghes are becoming acceptable. What's next? The grocery store? The movie theater? Outdoor concerts?

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Daily DNC Analysis

Check out the Democratic National Convention Report, a collaborative effort by Biz360 and LexisNexis, providing media analysis of the people and topics making news at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

As voters turn to press outlets for information and perspective on the election, leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties will be keeping a close eye on how the media portrays the candidates and campaign issues.

The war in Iraq and the economy, jobs in particular, have dominated election year coverage to date. Standard election year topics, such as healthcare and taxes, are competing for coverage against divisive issues such as gay marriage. Interestingly, Vietnam has become a prominent topic as the media examines the military records of Kerry and Bush and to a lesser degree because of comparisons between the wars of Iraq and Vietnam. Former President Clinton has remained a prominent topic in political coverage, both for his new book and the 9/11 investigations into the failures that led to the terrorist attack.

The report has readable graphs with figures and analysis.

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Name That Blogger

Eight bloggers left the DNC Tuesday night and headed into Cambridge for drinks and conversation. This photo was taken after last call at 1:30 a.m.

The first person (who's not in the picture) to correctly name each of them and their blogs, wins $25 from our paypal account.

A larger version of the photo is available here.
[Copyright ©2004, All Rights Reserved, TalkLeft.com]

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Open Thread: Who Had the Best Speech Tonight?

Ron Reagan is on now. Obama just finished and the crowd loved him. Howard Dean also spoke tonight--as did Dick Gephardt. Who did you like the most? The least? Who was the most sincere--and the least? We're asking you because we're up here in the bleachers and while we can see and hear and feel the crowd, and while we have press copies of the text of the speeches, it's hard for us to make out the words and see their facesas they are speaking.

Update: Electablog and Matthew Gross talk agbout Obama.

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