Dems, Day 2: Good Speeches and Lame Jokes
Posted 3 Days Ago
Unlike the RNC delegates, who used the roll call nomination process to tout their states' sports teams and sillier industries, the Dems brag on their civil rights leaders, point out their natural features that are threatened by global warming, and politically aware stuff like that. They let a 102-year-old woman announce her state's tally - when this woman was born, *women could not vote*. Wow. (I love a living history lesson.)
There's actually a delegation from 'Democrats Abroad', amazing. (They even have a website to help you vote as an expat now, I wish...) And Larry Sanders, Bernie's big brother, got to make the announcement of how many votes they cast for Bernie. That was classy.
The Guardian keeps blogging:
I'm not sure they quite knew what to do with all this energy. But that's what conventions are *supposed* to be like: a combination of vigorous debate and shameless boosterism. The Progressives of the 1890s would be proud of them.
Stephen Colbert is punchy by now - he's not getting enough sleep.
This was one of his funnier ideas, annotating Bill Clinton's speech:
But the jokes point up one problem the media people have with covering two totally different conventions.
It's like I told Elektra this morning:
- Look suppose two candidates were running for borough council. One gets up and says, 'I've got some ideas for rezoning Main Street. [Pulls out map.]' Candidate goes on for about 15 minutes, explaining how the zoning plan would improve commerce and keep the school areas safer, and how to pay for it. Sits down. Some people are yawning.
The next candidate gets up there, and he's wearing a tinfoil hat. 'Friends,' he says, 'I'm going to tell you how we're going to oppose the coming alien invasion and zombie apocalypse.' And he starts handing out tinfoil hats.
Now, you can't just act like these two candidates represent two variations of the same thing, and argue the finer points. Not if you want to remain sane. You've got to say, 'We can argue about the zoning plan, but that nut in the tinfoil hat needs to go somewhere else. Probably the cartoon section of the h2g2 Post.'
See what I mean? My advice: avoid false dichotomies, and you'll live longer.
We'll let them keep talking in Philadelphia. I'm off to the pool. Which is something I think Ben Franklin, that champion swimmer, would have approved of. Did you know he invented swim fins? (I'm becoming a Ben Franklin pest, kind of like a Certain Party and the IoW.)
The Founders Get an Earful: Dems, Day 1
Posted 4 Days Ago
Stephen Colbert had fun sneaking onto the Democrats' stage in Philly with his stuffed ferret. He also had some funny bits on his live show:
It's sort of a shame. Mr Colbert feels obligated to insult both sides, which is laudable. But it means he can't do what I'm about to do.
Which is explain how impressed I was. And I only cheer for them a little more than I detest whatever that was in Cleveland. Though I do approve Bernie Sanders. Eugene V Debs would be proud of you, Mr Sanders.
First, it was hot as blazes. Except when lightning storms were threatening to rip up the media tent. (Kite, key, guys, get it? Make some Ben Franklin references.)
Then, they were all shouting so loud for the first two hours, you thought their sound system would go out. Instead, their internet went out a couple of times. The speakers kept yelling, and one told them,'You people are ridiculous.'
Another Dem official put it better: 'This is what democracy looks like, people.'
And then it hit me: it *is* what real democracy looks like. They yelled. They fussed. They made jokes. They had great music - Paul Simon showed up and sang 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', and there was a bit of 'We've All Gone to Look for America' behind Bernie's entrance.
And I had to imagine what the Founders would have thought if you could have shown them this, 240 years ago, when they were mulling over whether it was worth risking being hanged (and possibly drawn and quartered) for signing that paper...
I figured that once those guys in kneebritches had gotten over all the women speaking in public (the Quakers in the crowd wouldn't have batted an eye), absorbed the idea that black Americans were equal to everybody at this shindig (wouldn't have bothered Ben, he was in the first antislavery society), marveled at all the Spanish instead of German, and then...once you'd explained what LGBTQ stood for...and scraped them up off the floor and fanned them back into consciousness...
...they'd probably conclude that it had all been worth it. This was what they'd dreamed of, only better. And, er, louder. But hey, it was that thing they'd been talking about, like, forever...democracy. At work.
And then they might have settled in with the rest of the delegates for the seven-hour show. They'd have experienced:
- The mayor of Baltimore open the meeting, leave, realise she'd forgotten to hit the gavel, run back (in high heels) strike the gavel dramatically, then run off again. (Why does Bal'mer get the nice-looking mayor? What did they do right?)
- The invocation being interrupted with applause and shouting. (Dems let God know what they're thinking.)
- Films mocking a certain enemy politician. Mostly by quoting him verbatim. (These were good bits.)
- People telling fascinating stories.
- Actually good speeches that you could actually relate to. And that didn't require you to check your brain at the door. (John Adams would have enjoyed them.)
- A sneaky sort of educational speechwriting that slyly introduced the themes, ideas, and catchphrases for the upcoming 100-day campaign. (Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine would have appreciated this, they were good at it, too.)
So, no, I didn't watch any 'X-Files' reruns last night. And I didn't get to bed early. And the hall was full the whole time.
Dems: A+ for Day 1.
Where Do All the Picketers Meet? South Street...
Posted 5 Days Ago
Let's get this over with:
Yes, Mr Adams, it gets hot in Philadelphia in July. And the Democrats are finding this out. There's a heat advisory. They have 'misting tents' and are passing out water.
Heat does not prevent Americans from shouting. They've been yelling. A lot. Something confused about 'emails' and 'locking somebody up' and 'feeling the Bern' and suchlike.
They won't all fit into Independence Hall these days, so they'll have to go down to the Wells Fargo Center. Unfortunately, Ben Franklin's sedan chair is in a museum, so they'll have to queue for the busses.
The Guardian blog has pics:
Personally, I was hoping for Mrs Sanders as the next First Lady. Not only is she a genuine human being who looks like she wouldn't know a fashion designer from the guy behind the deli counter, she's a really smart cookie who has personally helped write 50 pieces of legislation. Which is 50 more than the Republican presidential candidate ever wrote. Mrs Sanders has a PhD. She is an educator. She has government experience. Explain to me why SHE isn't running for something?
It's going to be a week, and I wish I were back in Philly for it. It makes me nostalgic. They'll be partying on South Street till the wee hours - the bars in town are staying open until 4 am.
Bandstand shows were broadcast from 4548 Market Street, near the El station. There's a marker there now. It's near the Aldi.
South Street's a few blocks from Center City, and features interesting shops, great ambience, and some not overpriced restaurants. It's the only street in town that could possibly be mistaken for somewhere in Europe.
Posted 6 Days Ago
Brethren, Sistren, and Fellow Sentients of the Milky Way:
We Hitchhikers have heads full of arcane ideas. That's just the way we think. For example, in the middle of church service this morning, just as the congregation were singing,
'Who has held the oceans in His hands?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?'
An angel was singing in *my* head,
'Who solves Banach-Tarski's paradox?
Who can locate all the unpaired socks?
Personally, I feel people would have these sorts of spiritual insights more often if they'd keep in mind that worship is singing *to* the Divine, and ask themselves,
'What would Jesus like to hear this morning?'
RNC Followup and the Threat of Things to Come
Posted Last Week
The RNC is over, thank the Lord.
Stephen Colbert did a brilliant summary of the 'Hungry for Power Games' last night:
Fans of the stuffed ferret are grateful. And let's face it, those are good jokes.
Alas, Mr Colbert will have to keep working next week: the DEMOCRATS are having their convention starting 25 July. Groan. That means another week of balloons, waffling, and jokes about politicians.
I can't wait to see where the Late Show sticks its cameras. For the Republican do, they posted spy cams next to the condiment table, a garbage bin, and a tip jar. (Republican delegates were poor tippers, to the dismay of the wait staff.)
We are already suffering from too much information about the Democrats, thanks to WikiLeaks:
I'm disappointed in those people. Suggesting that you attack Bernie Sanders on his religion, or lack thereof, is way lame. His real polical vulnerability is his passionate love of Eugene V Debs. (Which I share. A87835116 )
If only US high school graduates could remember who Eugene V Debs was, they'd be totally outraged...
Remember, foreigners: the Republicans are the ones with the elephant and the Boris Johnson clone.
The Democrats are those with the donkey and the angry lady in the trouser suit.