Thursday, July 31, 2008

Final arguments in DNC protest case

The Rocky:
Protesters have a constitutional right to be photographed with the Pepsi Center as a backdrop when they gather here later this month for the Democratic National Convention, an attorney for several protest groups argued in federal court Thursday.
"They're coming to Denver in order to be seen at the site of the DNC," lawyer Steven Zansberg said. "In real estate there's a well worn maxim, 'Location, location, location.' The same applies to protest demonstrations."

In his closing argument, Zansberg referenced Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to masses on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The speech would have had much less impact had it been given in front of a large white tent like the one that will separate the designated protest zone at the DNC from the Pepsi Center, he said.
Of course, MLK didn't repeatedly threaten violence before the "I Have a Dream" speech. (That was later, before his less-famous "Let's Kill All the Whiteys" speech.)
Lawyers for the government argued the restrictions, which keep the public at a distance, are necessary because of security concerns.

"This is not security as a slogan," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Traskos.

"This is not the Lincoln Memorial," he said. "This is a private building."

U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger, who will decide the case, noted that protesters could stand in a park at Speer Boulevard and Wewatta Street and have the Pepsi Center in the background.

Traskos and Jim Lyons, an attorney for the city, agreed.
Eagerly, no doubt.
"If the case comes down to photo opportunities, the court I think can readily see, the Pepsi Center ... is readily visible from a variety of places around it," Lyons said.

Krieger said she would issue a written ruling. She did not indicate when she will rule, but the case is being heard on an expedited basis and Krieger said she'll work "diligently."
More (1 August): Obamaniacs buy tickets to the wrong event:
Sharon Stewart couldn't believe her good fortune — two tickets to Sen. Barack Obama's historic night in Denver for $15 a piece.

She bought them on Ticketmaster for the "American Presidential Experience" at Invesco Field at Mile High and invited a friend to join her as Obama accepts the Democratic Party's presidential nomination Aug. 28.

But it turns out her tickets weren't for Obama's presidential experience but for a traveling museum of White House memorabilia. And even they are no good, because the museum won't be open to the general public Aug. 28, the day the Democratic National Convention moves to Invesco Field for Obama's acceptance speech.
They haven't even said how tickets for the coronation will be distributed yet, though they may today.

More: A Rocky editorial on Unconventional Denver's ludicrous offer to leave the city alone for $50 million mentions our friends Cat with Bat and Beaver with Cleaver:
[I]f our current system of government is so corrupt and illegitimate, why are anarchists recognizing its authority in the first place by offering to negotiate? Even in the rare likelihood that any city official perked an ear at this ludicrous bit of blackmail, there's no way the anarchists would miss their chance to mug for the cameras or wreak mischief during the last week of August.

Just ask "Beaver With Cleaver" and "Cat With Bat," two armed puppets advocating the "disruption, subversion and total destruction" of the DNC and its GOP counterpart in a video placed on YouTube a week ago and produced by some of the groups planning to protest here.
They don't mention that UA is about the only group still under the "umbrella" of Recreate-68.

More: I gotta remember to read Westword. Sleepy reporter Jared Jacang Maher attended the protest trial, and noted this interesting factoid:
The defense presented Cohen with an e-booklet pulled from the R-68 website called “Bodyhammer: Tactics and Self-defense for the Modern Protester” that explains how to create shields, improvised body armor and special techniques for charging police lines. Cohen testified that the website is run by R-68 members Glenn Spagnuolo and Tryworks blogger Benjamin Whitmer.
Benjie, of course, has always presented himself as only an interested potential protester, and has never mentioned his involvement with the website.

Love the lead

The Post:
For the first time ever, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and acclaimed actor Ben Affleck will appear in public together to discuss international relations at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. . . .

The DNC Host Committee plans to announce today details about the 2008 Rocky Mountain Roundtable, a first-ever format that will put a business slant on a traditionally political party. Members of the public can buy limited tickets for between $12 and $55. . . .

Other than Albright and Affleck, the speakers roster also includes former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, media mogul Ted Turner, former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer and NBC newsman Tom Brokaw.

Owens and Hart on the DNC: Protests? What protests?

In a Denver Post webcast with reporter Chuck Plunkett, former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and former Sen. Gary "Tickets please" Hart on prospects for the convention:

Hart: I think if newspapers and television stations want to focus on daisies and wind turbines that don't work and make that the story I suppose that will be a distraction. The broader issue is this is the first national convention to come to this city in a hundred years. It will bring not only economic benefits but the focus of not just the nation but world - 15,000 to 20,000 journalists coming here. What's on display here isn't just the Democratic Party. It's the city of Denver. It's the state of Colorado. It's also by the way, Colorado's media that will be scrutinized by the other media [he's lookin' at you, Chuck Plunkett!]. And I think it's going to be a huge event. If people want to pick at the edges and find faults, they can do so. But that's going to miss the big story.

Owens: (On protest groups like Re-create 68) There just isn't that much anger at the Democratic Party from the left. Because in my view, the Democratic Party has nominated a candidate of the left. I couldn't imagine. This isn't a Mayor Daley and the Chicago police versus an anti-war, pro-war Humphrey, McGovern, McCarthy I should say. Gosh, I mean, the Democratic Party is pretty united right now.

Hart: I don't know who the protesters are frankly. I've heard a lot of media coverage about them but no one asking, 'What is it you're protesting?' All the coverage has been about, 'There are going to be protests. They're going to be disruptive.' I want to know who these people are. They're certainly not - I mean, if Barack Obama is anywhere near as far left as Bill says, they have nothing to protest.

Oh, Gary.

More: Vince Carroll notes USA Today's cluelessness:
USA Today regally accused Denver the other day of treating would-be protesters at the Democratic National Convention "like a bunch of pests."

Never mind that the city will be turning a dozen parks over to an array of protests for nearly a week or that it will close lanes of Colfax and Speer - major thoroughfares in a city that still depends, after all, on commerce - every day for several hours so they can function as the "designated parade route" for marching protesters.

Never mind, for that matter, that Denver has set aside a large area about 700 feet from the Pepsi Center for demonstrators, who can use bullhorns or a city-provided loudspeaker to drive their points home. . . .

Oh, what a hellish time to be a dissident! As if George W. Bush's assaults on civil liberties weren't enough, now it's Mayor John Hickenlooper's turn to don the jackboots. Can mass roundups, deportations and the resurrection of A. Mitchell Palmer be far behind?
Read whole thing.

A group called Meditate '08 wants politicos to take some breaks from the hurly-burly of the Democratic National Convention to listen to their hearts instead of speeches.

More than 30 religious and secular meditation experts will lead 90- minute sessions between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. in meditation, yoga, stress reduction and something called "Dances for Universal Peace" at Fishback Landing. . . .

Meditate '08 is the brainchild of Denver psychiatrist David Nichol, a Buddhist and author of "The One- Minute Meditator." Nichol put his name into the lottery in April for use of the city park during the Democratic conclave. He won the spot for all six days.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Police blotter!

Boulder police took a report on June 18 of harassment, third-degree assault and bias-motivated crime from a 28-year-old man in connection with a series of incidents that occurred between December 2005 and December 2006. The victim, an Indian Sikh, told officer she [sic] has been targeted by a 31-year-old man who has pulled his beard repeatedly, referred to his facial hair as a "paintbrush," mumbled "something about being a Christian warrior," and told a group of women that the victim is gay. It is not clear from the report whether the victim is, in fact, gay.

Abstract of the Week!

"Fatwa on the Bunny"
News Language and the Creation of Meaning About the Middle East
Fred Vultee
University of Missouri, Columbia

How did fatwa, once an unambiguous, simple term for a ruling on a question of Islamic religious law, come to mean "death sentence" in U.S. news language and popular culture? This article uses content and discourse analyses to trace this newly created meaning through a series of gatekeeping failures to a position from which its more ominous meaning is easily inferred—not simply in references to political violence but in discussions of baseball and literature or in advertisements featuring the ubiquitous "Energizer bunny." The shared meanings it reflects are the underpinnings of the Orientalism that Said described in the 1970s and 1980s, a "pervasive Western discourse" built around a fundamental "ideology of difference."


The Examiner has a couple of things, including an interview with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. Quotons:
Q: How big is the DNC for Denver?

It’s beginning to sink in on people how big this will be. I talked to the head of the state utility in Utah recently. He was describing the Olympics six years ago, and he said that everyone he knows considers it the most important event in Salt Lake after statehood. I think it’s going to be similar here. That sense of history, that sense of moment is something that can have a lot to do with how your city is viewed in many, many ways. . . .

Q: What about the downside of the DNC? Is there a risk when you consider protesters?

I think 99 percent of the protesters want to express their opposition to the war, they want to express a viewpoint about some issue. I think there’s 1 percent that really want to cause trouble. And there is a risk. We have to accept that. [Hick details the extra training cops are getting]. . .

Q. Have you studied Chicago and how Mayor Richard Daley handled, or mishandled, the protests which turned violent at the Democratic convention in 1968? Recreate 68 seems to be invoking that sort of protest again?

I was a kid back then, but certainly I have looked at what happened. Recreate 68 is talking. I’m not sure that many people are listening. Most of the protesters I’ve talked to don’t want anything to do with Recreate 68. They’re going to try and provoke violence. But most people we talked to, that’s the last thing they want to do.
And a column by "Miranda K. Bacon," the paper's "Denver Crime Examiner," who's skeptical of Glenn Spagnuolo and Recreate-68:
I don’t believe that being kept behind a chain-link fence – which last time I checked wasn’t opaque or sound proof – is oppression or overreaching restriction. And it’s not like the demonstration area is blocks away – it’s a couple of hundred yards.

Additionally, dignitaries, government leaders and celebrities will be in attendance. Those types attract all manners of whack-jobs, and who is to say one such nutter wouldn’t refocus his or her attention on some demonstrator, peaceful or otherwise?

My sentiments are on the contrary to Spagnuolo and his crew – and this is coming from a proud, albeit redistributed [huh?] member of the fourth estate.

I think these moves are all proof that Denver, the state and the federal government are doing all they can to ensure the safety of DNC attendees and of those who want to demonstrate and protest outside.

Spagnuolo and his crew are fighting a ridiculous battle, and I think it’s sullying a momentous occasion in American history.

Your sense of momentousness may vary.

Recreate-68 rival the Alliance for Real Democracy has published its schedule for the convention. Besides the usual marches and protests, events include the ongoing Resurrection City Free University ("a free university focused on praxis and theory"); "A Walk in their Shoes--Thousands of shoes will represent the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died"; nomination of a "Partyless Youth Ticket"; speeches by Cynthia McKinney and Cornel West; "Operation First Casualty--Street theater that demonstrates the reality of war"; and concerts, including one sponsored by CodePink that will spotlight "many powerful and talented women."

Dear Leader-in-training El Presidente has the whole bloody thing.

Finally, R!68's Mark Cohen said yesterday that the group will shun the "freedom cage":
"We plan to go in that zone once only to protest its existence," said Mark Cohen, co-founder and organizer of advocacy group Recreate 68. "When the media presents images of demonstrators in the demonstration zones in relationship to the Pepsi Center, the public will see what could look like prisoners."
Gee, where will they be for the rest of the time?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Denver, Secret Service: we really, really care that protesters are heard at the DNC. Really.

The Post:
Protesters will have ample opportunity to be heard during the Democratic National Convention, from a city-provided stage to a first-of-its-kind system to have information distributed inside the Pepsi Center, attorneys for Denver and the U.S. Secret Service said.

The city will provide two loud speakers outside the protest zone near the Pepsi Center, according to court documents. Protesters inside the fenced zone may use the amplification system, or bring their own bullhorns.

The Democratic National Convention Committee also will set up a table of leaflets and other information from protest groups "along the main thoroughfare" used by delegates and the media, the documents state.

The DNCC believes this will mark the first time in the history of any political party's convention that such an arrangement will be in place.
A table of leaflets and DVDs in the Pepsi Center lobby. Why, it's bigger than being the greenest convention ever.
The new details came as lawyers tried to defend the city of Denver and U.S. Secret Service against a lawsuit filed by more than a dozen protest groups.
Does that seem a little gratuitous?

NYT: Homeless population dropped 30% in two years

Don't know which is more surprising, the drop or the Times running with it:
The number of chronically homeless people living in the nation’s streets and shelters has dropped by about 30 percent — to 123,833 from 175,914 — between 2005 and 2007, Bush administration officials said Tuesday.

Housing officials say the statistics, which the Department of Housing and Urban Development collects each year from more than 3,800 cities and counties, may reflect better data collection and reporting and some variation in the number of communities reporting on an annual basis.

But the officials attribute much of the decline to the “housing first” strategy that has been promoted by the Bush administration and Congress and increasingly adopted across the country.
Of course, the Times finds some impartial "advocates" to bitch and whatever that other thing is they do--oh yeah, moan:
Advocates for the homeless criticized the Bush administration’s focus on the chronically homeless, saying that homeless families and those who live on the margins — in motels or doubled up with friends and family — are being left out.

“We should be focused on ending homelessness for everybody, not just a small segment of the homeless population,” said Michael Stoops, the acting director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, who argues that additional resources are needed to help homeless families. Mr. Stoops also said he and other advocates remained concerned that cities and states were undercounting the homeless.
(via Bros. Judd)

Recreate68 founder Spagnuolo subpoenaed to testify at protest trial

By the Secret Service. They'll try to impeach him out of his own big mouth. The Rocky's Convention-al Wisdom blog:

The US Secret Service has subpoenaed Glenn Spagnuolo, the oft-quoted organizer of Re-Create 68, as a witness in this afternoon's trial. Spagnuolo told me at the lunch break he thinks the government wants to vilify protesters.

The government could have a lot of ammunition to use against Spagnuolo.

He's been organizing protests during the DNC for more than a year, and you can hardly pick up a newspaper these days without reading his name. That's because he's a reporter's dream -- always accessible, and never disappoints with the quotes.

(For example: "If Denver needs to become Ground Zero in the fight to take back our rights, it will.")

That could be his undoing on the witness stand, though. The Secret Service and the city of Denver are arguing that limits on protesters -- such as a fenced in protest zone and a parade route that stops at Speer and Larimer -- are necessary for security reasons.

Spagnuolo insists he and the group are non-violent. But he talks often about the fact that if police get violent - and he expects they will - he and others will respond.

He told me he won't stay quiet on the witness stand this afternoon. "My politics don't stop inside the courtroom," he said.

Stout lad.

Update: Never mind. Convention-al Wisdom says Spagz' testification has been nayberted. "Dang, time's up":
The Secret Service won't get to call Glenn Spagnuolo after all. Judge Krieger gave each side three hours, and the city/Secret Service just used up all its time without getting to him.

The ACLU has five minutes left for rebuttal, then we'll be done for the day. Closings are scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Recreate-68 anarchists plan "freedom cage" breakout to harass DNC delegates

Missed Unconventional Denver's latest "call to action" last week. Oh, Judge Krieger:
The Queen City is heating up as anarchists, witches, clowns, Iraq vets, artists, SDSers, radical queers, immigrants, Earth First!ers, rebel Democrats, parents, precarious workers and others are making it known that, come August, the Democrats’ attempt at co-opting our energies and power will fall short as we make it clear that change will come from below not above, in the streets and not in their stadiums.

Late Afternoon: After the 10:00am Recreate 68 anti-war march and the early afternoon Alliance for Real Democracy Funk the War celebration, a raging party in resistance to the militarized occupation of Denver and the world will reclaim public space and spread the festivities onto the streets. Be ready to take the rowdy celebration to the doorsteps of delegate hotels etc.

monday the 25th { NO BUSINESS AS USUAL}
Evening: Meet at the Civic Center at 6pm to join the anticapitalist march or participate in organized and decentralized actions that will actively disrupt the capitalist corruption and cronyism of the two party system by targeting specific fundraisers, delegate parties and corporations backing the DNC. come ready for quick decentralized actions spanning the downtown area at a variety of risk levels.

tuesday the 26th { CONFRONT THE SPECTACLE}
Afternoon: As delegates are arriving at the Pepsi Center, snake marches will converge on the entrances through the fence of the no-protest zone in order to create spaces for different levels of delegate movement disruption. Flying squads will assist the disruption and create distractions as we bring their party to a halt.

wednesday the 27th { ECO ACTIONS AND ALTERNATIVES}
All day: direct action against ecological destruction. We will create solutions to global warming without the politicians by shutting down sources of greenhouse gas emissions and corporations who destroy the earth (and fund the Democrats). we will also engage in creative resistance outlining solutions and alternatives; bike bloc! car free zones! guerrilla gardening!

thursday the 28th { NO BORDERS. NO ONE IS ILLEGAL}
Morning: Join this national mobilization for immigrants rights and help us draw connections between the struggles of immigrant communities and the struggle against global capitalism. Meet at Rude Park at 10:30am. This will be a low-risk event safe for all people regardless of immigration status. so play nice.
E X A C T T I M E S A N D L O C AT I O N S T B A .
W E S H A L L.

Update: The world's cleanest dictator links to UA's handpuppet DNC press conference with Beaver with Cleaver and Cat with Bat:

"DNC protesters in court: No need to cage us."

Trial of DNC protest issues today

Warning: Both papers have pics of a duct-tape-mouthed Glenn Spagnuolo, the Post with the question-begging headline, "Protesters sue to be heard."

Update: The Rocky misspells Spagz's name in its photo captions. He's probably used to it by now.

More: The Rocky yetitorializes:
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper affirmed Friday what city officials have said for weeks: No one will be camping overnight in City Park during the Democratic National Convention - or any other time, for that matter. . . .

Still, Hickenlooper and other city officials are giving off the impression that they expect Tent State to happen, even though Tent State is not yet close to satisfying the conditions attached to the assembly permit issued to the group last month. The Parks and Recreation Department clearly stated "the permit can be revoked if the conditions are not met." We only hope that officials mean it.
Update: The Rocky, bizarrely, has the headline, "Secret Service trying to avoid DNC 'catastrophe'" over the same old story, with no explanation of the headline.

Update II: Okay, the text showed up:

Protesters and other members of the public must be kept at a distance from the Pepsi Center during the Democratic National Convention for fear of something "catastrophic," such as a bomb or chemical attack, a U.S. Secret Service official testified today.

"We like to consider all potential hazards," said Steven Hughes, a special agent who is in charge of security planning for the DNC.

The Secret Service and Denver police plan to put up a fence around the Pepsi Center, creating a security perimeter. That area will be accessible only to people with credentials to enter, such as delegates and members of the media.

Anyone entering must go through security screening, including metal detectors.

Hughes wouldn't disclose the exact perimeter, but he said Chopper Circle — where protesters hoped to march during the convention — would be inside it, and therefore off limits.

He also said Auraria Parkway must be closed to the public so it can be used to transport delegates or to evacuate the Pepsi Center in case of an emergency.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A new definition of chutzpah

The News:
A group of anarchists that plans to disrupt the Democratic National Convention is promising to go away if the $50 million federal grant that Denver received to pay for convention security is invested in the community instead. . . .

"Spending $50 million dollars on weaponry to attack people voicing their opinion and flooding the streets with riot police while schools close down, children go without health care and people lose their homes is exactly the problem with the corrupt two-party system we're opposing this August," [spokesanarchist Clayton Dewey] said.

Unconventional Denver is the local organizing body of a national network of anarchists who are mobilizing against the DNC, said Tim Simons, another organizer.

Simons said the group's offer to sit out the convention if the city, the federal government and the DNC all agree to "redirect" the $50 million to things like health care is not a publicity stunt.

"We understand that it's farfetched, but it's a sincere offer, and the goal of doing this is to really show what our priorities are," said Simons, who grew up in Boulder and recently returned to the metro area, where he has family, to help plan the group's efforts.

"Again and again, we're asked, 'Why are you protesting?' We're protesting because the priorities of this country are so perfectly exemplified by the DNC," he said. "It's about militarizing our communities and protecting big business. We're about health care, schools, basically meeting people's basic needs."

Should the group's offer be accepted, "they will call off all protests which include street parties, rallies, marches, protesting fundraisers and nonviolent direct action aimed at disrupting what they're calling the 'spectacle of a sham democracy,'" the group said in a statement.

Simons said the group doesn't do demonstrations, which he called a symbolic act to get media attention.

"We're going to physically stand in the way of what's going to happen," he said.

"The anarchists who are interested in confronting the Democratic National Convention are interested in doing more than just marching. We're interested in disrupting the spectacle of the DNC," he said.

Freedom cagers won't be searched

The Post:
People who enter the public-demonstration zone outside the Pepsi Center during the Democratic National Convention won't be searched by police unless there is probable cause to do so, attorneys said in U.S. District Court in Denver today.

The disclosure came during a pretrial hearing in a case filed against the U.S. Secret Service and the city and county of Denver by the American Civil Liberties Union and several advocacy groups who plan to demonstrate during the convention. . . .

A trial in the case is expected to begin Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. in Judge Marcia Krieger's courtroom.

Witnesses expected to be called include Glenn Spagnuolo and Mark Cohen of the Re-create 68 Alliance; Katherine Archuleta, senior adviser to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper; Deputy Police Chief Michael Battista; Secret Service agent Stephen Hughes; and members of the Denver Host Committee.
Also disclosed:
Denver's attorney, Jim Lyons, announced today that the Secret Service had selected a parade route to Invesco Field at Mile High for the last day of the DNC, when Barack Obama is expected to give his acceptance speech.

Lyons said the staging area for the parades that day will begin at Mariposa Street between 11th and 12th avenues, and paraders will head to West Colfax Avenue before proceeding to Federal Boulevard and north onto 20th Avenue. At 20th Avenue, parades will head east to Invesco Field.

DNC: Sowelled out!

Random observations on the passing fiends:

  • I admit, I thought the city would cave on letting Tent State sleep over at City Park. Wonder if the Stock Show grounds are still available?

  • Reasonable conservatives should have no issue, he said prescriptively, with Tent State protesting during the DNC. The problem is with the assumption (held by Tent State, Recreate68!, and almost every other protest group that's going to be here) that their concerns are so self-evidently valid and important that they deserve special deference from society, not to mention the law.

  • They don't.

  • If Tent State is allowed to camp overnight in City Park, what do we say to Stormfront when they want to hold Nazipalooza there? Sure, the Spagnuoloids will say it's a hate crime and therefore illegal under international law, but to that I say: move to Canada; we have the First Amendment here.

  • Some commenter on the no-camping story pointed out that there are tons of places to camp legally around Denver, some of which you can get to by light rail. You can also get to campsites via Denver's bike paths. There are maps online.

  • Nothing more on the Fall of the House of Urine, so the story was probably punk. But how do you get a story like that, believe it enough to run it, and have it be wrong? Maybe I'll call the station, do a little "journalism" (I believe it's called).

  • We're urinater-friendly: Just heard on KOA that the "Minuteman" anti-immigration group will hold a rally in Congress Park on the first day of the convention. The head Minuteperson said he hoped for 30,000 attendees.

  • Running across this question more and more as the convention approaches: "What do the protesters want?"
  • Hickenlooper: No overnighters in City Park during DNC

    The News:
    A college-age protest group that wants to camp overnight in City Park during the Democratic National Convention next month is going to have to find another place to sleep.

    Mayor John Hickenlooper told radio host Mike Rosen, who writes a column for the Rocky, that Tent State University's plans for a sleepover for as many as 50,000 protesters are out of the question.

    The mayor also told Rosen that the city might turn on the sprinklers if the protesters don't abide by Denver's 11 p.m. curfew.
    Whoa. Tin soldiers and Chickenpooper coming . . .
    [City Councilwoman Carla] Madison, who lives across the street from the park, said one of her concerns is that an influx of people will descend on Denver to participate in a big sleepover.

    "We could just get a lot of people just showing up to camp," she said. "People from out of state, if they found out that we were going to open up free camping in the park, would say, 'Hey, we can actually go to the DNC and stay for free. We don't have to pay $500 a night.' "

    Madison said other protest groups could make similar requests if Tent State were given permission.

    "My concern is all the Re-create '68 folks who've been wanting to sleep in Civic Center Park," she said, referring to the group that promised to make the bloody 1968 Democratic convention "look like a small get-together."

    "If we say yes in City Park, I'm not sure how we could say no in Civic Center Park," she said.
    If the Democratic National Convention leads to large numbers of arrests, some prisoners could do their time in a tent.

    But it's far from certain that will happen.

    Still, Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, a senior adviser to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, acknowledged that the tent, which was last used during a rash of overcrowding at the county jail in 2005, would be an option for housing prisoners.

    Denver first used the giant tent in the jail recreation yard to house roughly 70 low-security inmates.

    Whether it will be used during the convention, which could draw thousands of protesters to Denver, won't be known until the four-day political gathering begins Aug. 25.

    Eichenbaum Lent said that even if there are large numbers of arrests, it is likely that most of those hauled in would post bond or be released after a court hearing.

    She acknowledged, however, that if convention-related arrests swell the jail population, the tent would be one of the options considered to handle the overflow.

    Another in James B. Meadows' hard-hitting RMN series on Civic Center Park: "Mommy, it smells like pee-pee":
    [I]t would be a mistake to assume there are but two restrooms in The Park. Actually, there are only two sanctioned restrooms. Take the doorway just off the Greek Amphitheater. It apparently makes a very handy urinal. So handy, that on one recent sunny day, one guy found it irresistible. What the two people who were eating lunch on some steps about 10 feet away thought about the whole thing remains to be seen.

    Also seen - and smelled - on frequent occasions is the popularity of the two lion fountains flanking the Amphitheater. By the way, in this case popularity means urinater-friendly.
    Isn't that good? Shouldn't the Denver Visitors Bureau be talking up our urinater-friendliness? Anyway, Meadows has a "scoop":
    Sometimes, however, it's not just bodily fluids you have to worry about. Two weeks ago, we encountered a large piece of excrement. It was clearly of human origin - unless Big Foot lives in The Park. FYI, it was located near the shuffleboard courts on the west side of the Amphitheater.

    Sunday, July 27, 2008

    Sunday Night at the Radio!

    The Great Gildersleeve: "Dinner for Eve's Mother" (11 June 1944).

    Another "The Six-Shooter" with Jimmy Stewart: "Escape from Smoke Falls" (15 November 1953).

    Vic and Sade: "Grandpa Snyder's Christmas Cards" (1 June 1939); and "Vic Fakes the Cornet" (27 March 1940).

    Quote of the Duh!

    The Recreate 64 alliance's name alludes to the violent and chaotic demonstrations outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
    --NEWSAHEAD WorldNewsForecast ("World news before it happens. Foresight and insight for professionals who bank on the future.")

    Greenest convention ever

    The Rocky yesterday on the Wray (CO) windmill, one of the projects touted to provide offsets for the Democratic National Convention's carbon-offset program:
    Thanks to a windmill that toils day and night producing clean electricity, the tiny eastern plains outpost of Wray has landed in the center of the fast-moving carbon-offset world, a place described by some as a new-age, environmental Wild, Wild West.

    Wray's windmill, and three other clean-energy projects, are at the heart of the Democratic National Convention's Green Delegate Challenge, a program that asks delegates from all 50 states to purchase green credits so that the carbon dioxide generated from their participation in the Denver convention can be offset.
    Just one leeeeetle problem. As a Face The State report reveals:
    [Wray's] turbine has never produced marketable energy due to massive equipment malfunctions.

    The school district held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the wind turbine February 15th. Officials soon discovered, however, that the turbine was incapable of producing its intended output. "We flipped it back off and on about 10 times since then," said Superintendent Ron Howard. "It has run, it will run, but it won't ramp itself up to full capacity.". . .

    Howard says the turbine requires replacement equipment, which is scheduled to be installed this month. "It's a new technology, so they don't have the bugs out of it," he said. "Since there's so many people watching [the turbine], they might be better served to go to a more reliable model.". . .

    Despite the fact the wind turbine does not produce energy, that hasn't stopped the district from cashing in on the project. In addition to the carbon credits sold to the DNC and others through NativeEnergy, Howard says the district receives downtime compensation from Americas Wind Energy, Inc., the firm that built the apparatus. "The money that we're making isn't necessarily coming from production," he said.
    Update: With less than a month to go, here's where the states stand in the DNC's carbon-credit challenge:

    Still just five states with 100% participation. And it's only $7.50 a credit. A high school kid bought credits for Vermont's whole delegation for $200. We Are The World (Unless It Costs Us Anything).

    Saturday, July 26, 2008

    Kosnik: What is this Recreate-68?

    And for the love of God, what do they want, asks diarist "Dash Riprock":

    Fox News is "reporting" (always have to put that in quotes) that there will be between 20 and 50 thousand activists protesting at the Democratic National Convention.

    One of the groups is Recreate 68. According to their website, they are part of a group called All Nations Alliance. There are other websites of fringe groups that are talking about disruptions and protests at the Democratic National Convention. The question I'm asking is "who are they really?" Perhaps there are some in this community who know more than I do.

    It would be good to get a handle on who is thinking about trying to make the convention into something that hurts progressive causes.

    Are they Republicans? Are they simply nuts? What? Another website is

    What's their beef? Why disrupt the convention? What good does it do?

    Just a read of some of these websites is that they seem to be interesting in protesting [sic] more than they are interested in the actual issues they are protesting. Perhaps it gives them a sense of community and purpose. That's the charitable view.

    The other view is that is there any evidence that these groups could be funded and encouraged by the right? Anything is possible there. Rush Limbaugh called for riots at the convention.

    Now do I think anything will happen? Probably not. And don't get me wrong, I think the right of protest is fundamental. But when you can't really articulate what you are protesting or what you want to change, it's like masturbation at best -- or at worst it's a tactic by Obama's political opponent.

    Any ideas. I'll update as I learn more. I'm asking you for information.

    Many commenters agree that Recreate-68 must be a Limbaughian plot:
    From what I heard, they're dittoheads sent by Limbaugh.... I heard it (I think) on the Randi Rhodes show.
    Unimpeachable. The comment gets this response:
    Truly? Fuck.
    One person thinks Recreate-68 might even want, well--
    Sounds more like them trying to say, god forbid, "assassinate" senator Obama.
    To which another helpfully adds:
    1968 is when MLK was assassinated.
    Did you know that? Anyway, another vote for R!6!8 being a Limbaugh joint:

    I think what they want to "Recreate" about "68" is the riots that occurred at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Nantional Convention. They sound like part of Rush Limbaugh's "Opperation Chaos" to me.
    The evil wrought by Opperation Chaos will last for centuries. A couple of commenters think someone even more horrible than Rush Limbaugh is behind the Recreateers:

    exactly - pat buchanan is up to his old "dirty tricks" too.

    Buchanan and the dirty tricks campaign

    The old anti-semite would fit right in, have to admit that. One plaintive-sounding commenter just wants clarification:

    are anarchists the same as lefties?

    Whatever they are, they apparently don't like blacks, either:

    Obama will be the next President of the United States of America. Those f*cks should just get used to the idea of a black man as president. Barack won fair and square. Those people need to get over their racists views.
    Finally, though, somebody shows up who claims to know what he's talking about:
    I have been following Recreate 68 since last year starting with this story I posted at . . .

    They are more bark than bite, and "they" are in large part their spokesman, Glenn Spaguolo [yes, Spaguolo]. He has been involved in actions like this since the real '68 and he is less suited this decade to really get into it with the cops. I expect some mild civil disobedience from them, but for the most part it is theater.
    Spaguolo, of course, wasn't even born until 1970 or so. No, the last commenter (so far) comes closest:
    I'm pretty sure they are just protesting for the hell of it

    Friday, July 25, 2008

    Quote of the Day!

    You knew ex-New York Times reporter Chris Hedges was an hysterical dimbulb, but it's way worse than that. From the introduction to his 2001 book, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning:
    When I finally did leave [El Salvador during the civil war--he didn't have that good a time] my last act was, in a frenzy of rage and anguish, to leap over the KLM counter in the airport in Costa Rica because of a perceived slight by a hapless airline clerk. I beat him to the floor as his bewildered colleagues locked themselves in the room behind the counter. Blood streamed down his face and mine. I refused to wipe the dried stains off my cheeks on the flight to Madrid, and I carry a scar on my face from where he thrust his pen into my cheek. War's sickness had become mine.
    Yeah, that was the problem. Note also that Hedges was apparently neither arrested nor kept from boarding his flight. The power of the New York Times.

    Update: Make that, "the once-powerful New York Times."

    Krecken sie Deutsch?

    No idea what that title means, but at least it's not "Dumb and dumber." Librarian, ex-Denver Post reporter and 4' 6" Stander-Upper To The Impending Fascist State Carol Kreck was back protesting today, despite the brutal crushing of her dissent two weeks ago:
    Carol Kreck, the 60-year-old librarian who received a trespassing ticket for protesting outside a John McCain event two weeks ago, was back Friday to express her opposition to McCain's presidential bid.

    The Arizona senator is speaking to the American GI Forum later today at the Grand Hyatt.

    Holding the sign that sparked controversy at the earlier event, Kreck said she would continue to protest McCain's candidacy.

    "I don't want eight more years of the same policies," said Kreck, standing on a public sidewalk in front of Denver's Grand Hyatt and flanked by about 15 other people holding identical signs and one that wore a shirt saying "one nation....under surveillance."

    As she spoke, other protestors chanted her name.
    "Carol! Carol! Carol!" or "Kreck! Kreck! Kreck!"? Lazy reporting.
    Kreck also joked about the criminal charges facing her and her court date next week.

    "I'm not paying a fine," she said. "And I have no interest in rehabilitation or diversion."
    She still hangs out with bad companions, too:
    Although some urged Kreck to try and go into the event, she said she didn't want to make any trouble.
    Update: Maybe it was "Carol Kreck! Carol Kreck! Carol Kreck!" Speaking of names, if the reporter who wrote this story married fellow Post reporter Chuck Plunkett, she'd be Karen Crummy-Plunkett.

    Update II: The story's been grafted onto the story on McCain's speech, so just scroll down.

    Dumb and dumber

    Great idiocy from the egregious Mickey Z (who's running for president, by the way) and longtime moonbat Rosemarie Jackowski, in a "dialogue" engagingly titled "One little, two little, three little Eichmanns." Mickey Z:
    No, this is not a rehash of the Ward Churchill/Little Eichmann witch-hunt. But I have been contemplating the sentiment behind Churchill's original essay. In Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt wrote, "The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal." She wrote of a "new type of criminal," who "commits his crimes under circumstances that make it well-nigh impossible for him to know or to feel that he is doing wrong." Raise your hand if this sounds frighteningly familiar. The time is long overdue for all of us to be actively and relentlessly reminding the criminals that they are criminals. Until we do, they have the freedom to live in denial.
    Actually it's not so much the idiocy of the sentiments that's remarkable, as the self-regarding solemnity with which they're uttered.
    RMJ: All over the United States people are working at jobs that result in the deaths of innocent people. There are military contracts and sub-contracts in small towns and villages, big cities, etc. Any job that supports the war machine is a real problem. I understand why people take jobs like that, but it would be a much better world if everyone just made the decision to do no harm.
    No, maybe it's the idiocy all by itself.
    MZ: You know what that line will provoke...the inevitable "so what can we do?" question.
    Yep, that's just what it provoked in me.
    RMJ: I am not sure what we can do. Sometimes I feel that it is hopeless. A big part of the problem is 'the system'.
    "The system." What is this, the 50s?

    Ever since the Black Budget was created by Congress in the 40s, we have had a secret government operating. Individual citizens can try to do as little harm as possible. As I say often, even buying a pair of socks does some harm because it supports the war economy. Think of it as a moral continuum. The shopper
    who buys the socks is doing a slight harm. The voter who votes for a member of Congress who votes to finance the war, well that voter might be closer to the maximum on the scale of evil.
    The military sharpshooter who kills a civilian and the guard who tortures a prisoner are enabled by irresponsible,
    uninformed voters. Are we becoming a culture that is totally devoid of compassion and empathy?

    MZ: Becoming? Our culture views compassion and empathy as nothing more than masks, disguises to hide the harm we're all guilty of.

    RMJ: Yes, it would be a big help if the average US citizen had an accurate understanding of history. Teachers could play an important role. Too many teach that the pursuit of war is an honorable career option. All students should see the Fisk War photos before they graduate from high school.

    Fisk War? Does she mean our Fisk? Sounds like one of William Shatner's sci-fi books: FiskWar!
    The sanitized view of history that is taught leads to a culture of entitlement - 'it is our oil under their sand.' The perfect formula for creating a killer is to teach him that the US never does anything wrong, expose him to a lot of violence in the media, video games, etc., and then apply peer pressure. After that, it only takes a few weeks of basic training.
    That's deep.

    MZ: So we agree [wow!--ed.]: Little Eichmanns do exist. But I'll bet if Ward Churchill had used a different term, he would have remained as obscure as ever. The way I usually phrase it in articles or talks is that with few exceptions, there are no innocent bystanders in America. Any closing thoughts?

    RMj: Well, I disagree that Ward Churchill was obscure before [oh, please--ed.], but the "E-word" did bring a lot of additional attention. I knew about him because he is a fellow member of Veterans for Peace. Churchill's use of the "E-word" and the controversy that resulted was a valuable national learning opportunity that was missed. The media attention was misdirected from the facts of history and what Churchill really said. Instead the media focus was directed toward ad hominem attacks on Churchill. It just happened again when Rev. Jeremiah Wright made his comments about US history. Instead of having a national discussion on the merits or flaws in what Wright said, the media was consumed with ad hominem attacks on him. Basically it boils down to this - in the US if you speak the truth you will pay a high price. Mickey, you make an important point. There are no innocent bystanders in the US. We are all complicit - every one of us.

    MZ: And that goes double for anyone who has fallen for the Obama hype.

    Update: The Tippy-Toe Pirate entertainingly marks the one-year anniversary of Churchill's ejection from the academic "community."

    Recreate68 meeting with cops, feds

    Despite allegations of stonewalling and secrecy surrounding their security plans for the streets during the Democratic National Convention, police have quietly been meeting with groups planning protests, including an anti-Iraq war group whose leaders' commitment to nonviolence has been questioned. . . .

    "It's just smart business to make sure everybody is on the same page to clear up any misunderstandings and rumors that are out there," said Sonny Jackson, spokesman for Denver police, which along with the Secret Service is in charge of security during the Aug. 25-28 event. "Instead of a bullhorn (on the streets) you're having a conversation across the table."

    Glenn Spagnuolo, head of Recreate68 and a veteran of several Columbus Day Parade protests in Denver where hundreds have been arrested since 2000, said the meetings have allowed the group to talk civilly with police.

    "There are certain issues that we both feel comfortable with and we can drop our guard and talk through the issues," Spagnuolo said. "We can't do that on everything, but there are things were we can." . . .

    Spagnuolo said Recreate68 also is working with the Department of Justice's Community Relations Service to ease tensions. The service was created as part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to mediate conflicts between racial groups.

    Spagnuolo said the service told him there will be nine "facilitators" in the streets of Denver during the convention to help diffuse any confrontation between protesters and police.

    "Our experience has been that police can quickly overreact to situations where it could take five minutes to negotiate and help calm the street," Spagnuolo said.
    Yes, that's always the problem.

    The service was involved in negotiations between the American Indian Movement and an Italian-American group that revived Denver's Columbus Day Parade in 2000. The annual event had been canceled in 1992 after threats of violence. Some Native Americans said Christopher Columbus was a killer and slave trader whose discovery of America shouldn't be celebrated. . . .

    Bryan Breitenbach, a spokesman for the Community Relations Service, said the service is not permitted to talk about its involvement but that its training includes making sure protest march routes are clear of cars and newspaper racks and other objects that can be thrown through windows.
    Now that's community relations. (Incidentally, protesters must really be in shape to be able to throw cars through windows.)

    "We work to help law enforcement understand the march, understand the dynamics of the march," Breitenbach said, adding that confidentiality is important to ensure those working with the department speak freely.

    Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., police this week announced that they were working with the Justice Department to open communication lines with activist leaders at the Republican National Convention, which will be Sept. 1-4 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. About 10 so-called "dialogue officers" or "free speech liaison officers" are trying to open dialogue and exchange cell phone numbers with demonstrators at the RNC. . . .
    Dialogue officers.

    More: Colorado Independent (via Huffpo): Guard to rent 500 Denver hotel rooms:
    The U.S. Army and Colorado National Guard have announced intentions to reserve more than 500 hotel rooms for lodging during the Democratic National Convention, hinting at the number of military personnel that may be in Denver for the high-profile event that is expected to draw an estimated 50,000 protesters.

    While the Democratic convention is being held on Aug 25-28, officials with the Colorado National Guard are seeking to reserve 438 rooms for Aug. 22-30 and 78 rooms for Aug. 18-30 according to award announcements published Friday on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site, a page run by the federal government for business contract solicitations.

    The documents show that majority of guard personnel staying from Aug. 22-30 are set to lodge at Johnson & Wales University, located on 7150 Montview Blvd in far east Denver, while 32 rooms will be rented out for an unknown Extended Stay America location in Denver.
    (h/t: knox)

    Update II: It's a Huffypoo day as the megasite reprints Judah Freed's report (which the D-blog noted a couple of days ago) on the failure of a Recreate68/Alliance for Democracy summit last Sunday.

    Update III: Gathering of Eagles has a release announcing the formation of a Colorado chapter of Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission. The release also notes that the organization will be protesting the protesters at the anti-war march before the start of the Democratic National Convention on August 24. They'll be with the group Colorado Support the Troops, which received one of the protest permits that R68 got so hoggish about, this one for Pioneer Park, "'just across from the Recreate 68 crowd." (It's actually across eight or ten lanes of Colfax Avenue, so there may not be much, if any, interaction.)

    Weird Bird Friday

    WBF Makes Good on Promise!

    I know it was cruel to entice you so mercilessly last week with with a promise of bird diapers in this week's WBF. But I'm sure you'll agree that the wait was worth it when you see:

    Not only a bird diaper, but a patriotic bird diaper with a matching hat to boot!

    Some prefer to call them "flightsuits," making it sound like they're training to be test pilots or perhaps astronauts. I personally like the term "Poopy Pouches." This name does not seem to have caught on in the industry, however.

    Here are some more:

    Aaaaaawwwww! Aren't they cute?

    There's even bird diaper video! See for example, this.

    Don't know if I can top this next week. Might just be another boring old weird bird.


    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    Dems: Obama's Invesco speech to be recruiting tool

    The Post:
    The crowd enveloping Barack Obama when he accepts the Democratic nomination for president at Invesco Field at Mile High will be asked to get to work for the privilege of witnessing the historic event live.

    In a half-hour interview Wednesday with The Denver Post, Obama's deputy campaign manager, Steve Hildebrand, said he wants to use the ticketing process as a massive recruitment tool meant to bring in supporters from all 50 states and energize them to carry the campaign into the final 60 days of the general election.

    "We're going to ask those 80,000 people in that stadium [I'm so immature] to march out of there and go with very specific instructions and goals to register millions of new voters," Hildebrand said. . . .

    Hildebrand said that to ensure that the campaign fills the stadium, the application process becomes in and of itself a recruiting tool.

    "Every single person is going to be a level of seriousness," Hildebrand said. "You know, 'Tell us how you're going to get there from Maine. Tell us how you're going to get there from Florida. Give us a sense of whether or not you're really serious about this. If you're not, we're going to provide someone else with this.'"
    I am a level of seriousness! I am going to ride a unicycle from Maine! I am going to push a peanut with my nose from Florida! I am really serious!
    Those who want a seat will begin the process at their local Democratic Party office. While demonstrating their ability to attend, they also will be encouraged to sign on to the campaign as volunteers.

    "They fill out a form; there's a conversation," Hildebrand said. "We ask them and encourage them to register voters and to get out the vote and those activities that are important to us. It's not a requirement, but it's going to be an encouragement."

    Another use of the Aug. 28 speech meant to leverage public support is to use a technique popular with the campaign to hand out names and phone numbers during its events and ask participants to use their cellphones to make get-out-the-vote calls.

    Though it is often said that the U.S. Secret Service jams calls during nominee speeches, Hildebrand said he didn't expect any problems, as the agency hasn't prevented the use of the mass-phone-bank approach in prior settings.
    The story, by the way, is accompanied by yet another photo in the ever-growing "Obamessiah" genre:

    Can you hear the angelic (all-Colorado) choir?

    Update: Now, don't trample each other, but the News is running live updates of DNC chair Howard Y. Dean's tour of the Pepsi Center! (No updates yet, but just you wait!)

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    Unmask! Unmask!

    Speaking of Benjie Whitmer, owner and operator of the filthy Try-Works blog, he's posted Unconventional Achtung's DNC "primer," which the D-blog had over a month ago but which is definitely worth another look.

    Benjie also, however, has a UA map showing Denver spots of particular interest to anarchists, including C2HM Hill, "National developers; contracted out in New Orleans for a $100 millions dolar contact [sic, of course]"; Dyncorp, "The world's most permier Global mercenary corporation; recently playing a very large part in Iraq and Plan Pueblo Panema"; and "Niketown" (no explanation, apparently, needed). The icon for Dem gathering spots is a cute little pig wearing a tie.

    He also had a couple anarchoid posters I hadn't seen before:

    (h/t: General fucking Sherman--hey, I can stop any time I want to. You fuckers.)

    No more cow college

    The News:

    Colorado State University is banking that the green movement is here to stay, announcing plans Tuesday for a unique school to train green collar workers.

    The school, at CSU's Fort Collins campus, will be called the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. It will cater to students from various disciplines keen to hone their skills for the nation's growing green industry. . . .

    CSU Provost Tony Frank said a detailed curricula for the new school has not been determined, but it would span issues such as water, environmental entrepreneurship and public policy. The school will begin offering certificates to students from other disciplines within the first year. Graduate and undergraduate programs would be offered in 2010.

    Denver firefighters "learn" of house being used to store urine to throw at police during DNC

    As the Denver City Council today heard the chief of police and public safety manager urge that they enact an ordinance barring DNC protesters from carrying "certain objects," KJCT-TV in Grand Junction warned:

    Denver firefighters have learned of a house full of urine being stored to throw at police. An internal memo is warning first responders that disgusting acts are a significant concern. . . .

    An internal memo from Denver Health and Human Resources is warning first responders about the risks of being exposed to certain bodily fluids.

    No other details. As CBS4 notes, the proposed ordinance would ban:
    Any tool, object, or instrument that could block doors, entrances or streets . . . That includes chains, padlocks, handcuffs and other devices. Possessing any substance like human waste would also be illegal in protesters hands.

    "I'm in touch with pretty much every group that is coming here," Glenn Spagnuolo, spokesperson for Recreate 68 said. "I don't represent every group that is coming here, but nobody is planning anything remotely close to that."
    More: Denver says it won't use sound or "goo" weapons against protesters:
    Denver officials expect to spend more than $18 million on police equipment for the Democratic National Convention — but the purchases apparently won't include high-tech weapons that use sonic waves to incapacitate protesters or goo guns to immobilize them.

    That information, provided by the city to the American Civil Liberties Union as part of an agreement to delay a public records lawsuit, marks one of the most detailed looks yet at the super-secret efforts to provide security for the convention, scheduled Aug. 25 to 28.Denver police officials have been extremely circumspect in answering questions about either their security plans for the convention or their equipment purchases. . . .

    "I'm purchasing equipment that's going to protect my officers," [police muckety-muck Michael] Battista said.

    [The equipment] will not include non-lethal weapons that use "slime" or "goo" to immobilize protesters or that use microwaves or sonic waves to induce pain or other discomfort. Some convention watchers had alleged that the city might purchase a weapon that would cause people to defecate.
    Crap, no crap cannon.

    Update II: So if the urine depot story pans out (big if, that one), I hope they reveal in whose house the rancid pee was cached. Can you imagine that agenda item being discussed at an R68 meeting?

    Scene: Gypsy House Cafe. Glenn Spagnuolo stands at one end of the room, speaking. He's wearing a gypsy dress, arm bangles and giant hoop earrings (what the hell, it's my scene). Ten or 12 people, almost all young, male, and white, are scattered around the room, listening apathetically. It's against the law, but everybody's smoking.

    Glenn: Okay, item seven. We gotta start getting our piss together. Crimethinc says urine has to age at least a month before it's ready to throw. That means we need to start saving it up right now.

    Anarchist 1: Fuck!

    Anarchist 2: Yeah, fuck!

    Glenn: Okay, simmer down. Now, what we'll do is store it in--

    Anarchist 3: Milk bottles!

    Glenn: Hardly anybody puts milk in bo--

    Anarchist 2: Used oil cans!

    Glenn: Used oil c--

    Anarchist 3: A thermos! Fuck, this is hard!

    Glenn: No, dude, I'm telling you what we'll use. Costco sells flats of a dozen Mason jars for $11.45. I figure ten flats, 120 jars--that should be enough for convention week.

    Anarchist 1: Fuck! That's a lot of piss!

    Anarchist 2: Yeah, fuck! A lot of piss!

    Glenn (patiently): Yeah, a lot of piss. Okay. Now, we're gonna need a place to store the full jars. Who wants to volunteer!


    Glenn: How 'bout you, Benjie?

    Benjie (a defeated-looking 40-year-old wearing a threadbare t-shirt that reads, "If you can read this, thank a teacher, and by the way, you should be anally raped with a crowbar while everyone you love is shotgunned to death in front of you"): Well, I'd like to, Glenn, you know I fucking would, but see, it's the fucking wife. Brookie's already fucking bitching all the time because the boss makes me fucking work so much and I come home too fucking tired to help with the fucking kids. She'll fucking shit if she's stuck 12 hours a day by herself with the brats and dozens of fucking jars full of p--

    Glenn: I get it, Benjie. (To Anarchist 1): How 'bout you, Seth?

    Seth: Fuck, man, I'd really like to, but my moms is all over me already. "Why don't you get off your ass and get a job," every fucking day, the same fucking sh--hey, Glenn. Why don't we store it at your place? You know, that $335,000 house in Highlands Ranch [scroll down to update] you acquired through dark and mysterious benefactors to, you know, further the fucking revolution? Why don't we store it there?

    Glenn: Meeting adjourned!

    Update III: Hey ma, look at me, I'm Arthur fucking Miller!

    Update IV: 9News has the text of the proposed Denver ordinance, as well as yet another quote from G. Spagnuolo:
    A representative from the group Recreate '68, which plans to demonstrate during the Democratic National Convention, thinks that the most of the [sic] up to 20,000 protestors will abide the [sic] law. He questioned, though, the merits behind the ordinance.
    "This is spin. This is propaganda. Plain and simple," said Glen [sic] Spagnuolo.
    That's questioning the merits, all right.
    Proponents of the ordinances have cited stories of protestors using human waste to deter police. Referring to conversations in regarding a similar ordinance which passed the first stage in Centennial Monday night, Spagnuolo added: "This traveling sideshow is going around to all these communities trying to scare people into thinking that what's going to happen here is so vile and so disgusting that you shouldn't be a part of it."
    Many people have thought that all along, Glenn.

    Update V: Bet I used the word "fuck" more times in this one post than in all the 2700-odd posts before it.

    Update VI: Don't tell me they're just figuring this out. The News:

    The Internet is giving Denver police a glimpse into the lengths that protesters will go to wreak havoc during the Democratic National Convention next month.

    The disruptive and even dangerous tactics being advertised online are making it necessary for the city to enact a new law banning people from carrying certain items, Police Chief Gerry Whitman told City Council members Wednesday while lobbying for the proposed ordinance.

    On one Web site, Whitman said, a local protest group is urging "anarchists and anti-authoritarians" to engage in a broad range of tactics to disrupt fund raising events and stop delegates from getting to the Pepsi Center to vote.

    Their targets include hotels, streets intersections and transportation systems, he said. "All tactics are and would be encouraged," the chief said, reading material that was found online.
    Sounds like he's talking about this from way back in March.

    DNC me!

  • DNC exaggerated "greening director" Andrea Robinson's experience:
    The link between greening and Hollywood has never been far apart. So it's not a huge surprise that the Democratic National Convention's first director of greening has a link to Tinseltown.

    Andrea Robinson carries a lengthy list of acting credits to her name. Last year, she had a small role on the hit show CSI: Miami.

    She also had roles in Doc, The West Wing and Melrose Place, among other roles, from 1995 to 2007.

    But the Democratic National Convention Committee never highlighted any of that when she was named director of its green effort.

    When initially asked about her acting career, the DNCC said it wasn't relevant. When asked to provide a resume for Robinson, it took the DNCC a month. There was no mention of her acting background - just how she developed recycling programs on the sets of Doc and Sue Thomas F.B.Eye.
    Never heard of 'em.
    None of which might have been a problem except when a conservative blog,, noted that on the DNCC's biography page for Robinson, it touted her 25 years of environmental experience.

    That would mean the DNCC was counting experience from when she was 13. . . .
    But she does have a degree in environmental science.

  • The Rocky has part 3 of its series on Civic Center Park: "Even the bums hate it."

  • John Edwards was in town yesterday to talk about his fight against poverty, in a visit sponsored in part by ACORN. Nobody asked him about his mistress and love child, but a commenter notes, "Two families for the two Americas!"
  • DNCC will no longer get tax-free city gas. Everybody screamed bloody murder.

  • America's handshake: The fist bump. Mildly amusing:

  • Yeeeeeeargh! Howard Dean in town to "check" on "progress" of DNC:
    Howard Dean met with construction workers and praised them for the work that they are doing. He said he's confident the work will get done in the 32 days remaining before the convention begins.

    About 600 workers are preparing the Pepsi Center, and they are working two shifts a day.
  • Larimer Square flaggin':
    If you're in Larimer Square at the beginning of August, make sure you look up.

    The square will be flying $5,000 worth of flags in honor of the Democratic National Convention.

    "We're putting up every state plus the territories in the order in which they have come into the union," said spokeswoman Margaret Ebeling. "And in keeping with the spirit of the DNC, we chose a locally based supplier that's a union shop and a veteran-owned company (Show Your Colors flag company)."
  • Recreate-68, Alliance for Democracy meet, fail to resolve differences over nonviolence

    From a book-flogging blog modestly titled "Global Sense" (the blog and the book):
    Representatives for many of the citizen groups planning events during the Democratic National Convention met together in Denver last Sunday morning, July 20, with the dual purpose of sharing information about their plans and trying to heal a rift among the activists.

    There was only token representation from the Alliance for Real Democracy (ARD), which is the group that split off from Recreate 68 because R68 has refused to publicly renounce any and all use of violence at the DNC. . . .

    Unconventional Denver has not openly declared their action plans beyond saying they want to “disrupt” the convention. An affiliate of the Unconventional Action coalition, this group opposes “electoral politics” with an upraised black fist as its symbol. They remind me of the radical socialist groups in the Vietnam War era.

    The Alliance for Real Democracy, in contrast, plans to build “Resurrection City” with an art and music festival as their nonviolent way of protesting the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as calling attention to global climate change.

    Some of the groups that actually were represented at the consulta included Code Pink (playfully creative nonviolent street theater protests), Food Not Bombs (feeding those in “tent city” and other protester encampments), The People Call For Change (PC4C - evening programs during the DNC to build a positive vision of the future), The World is Listening (a thousand compassionate listeners at the DNC so people can speak out rather than act out), and the Network for Spiritual Progressives (NSP - holding a two day interfaith conference at the start of the DC with Rabbi Michael Lerner and others supporting the Global Marshall Plan).
    Perhaps half of the consulta was devoted to talking about the schism between R68 and ARD. For some there, this dispute was philosophical. For others the dispute was emotional, as if those who left R68 to start ARD had committed a personal betrayal. . . .

    Seeking clarity during the consulta, I asked overtly for a show of hands by those who believe violence is acceptable at the DNC. Only a few hands went into the air. The comments in the discussion that followed my question, however, told me that many in the meeting hold a belief that the police plan to get violent, and many of the activists there belive they’d be justified responding in kind. I felt my heart sink.
    He's just now figuring out the "self-defense" ploy?
    Because the ARD members and others who do not sanction violence (even if called “self defence”) sent only token representation to the consulta — or else stayed away entirely — the rift between Recreate68 and its Alliance for Real Democracy offshoot, in my view, may be too deep to bridge, given the rifts of philosophy and ego.

    However, the consulta attendees agreed the next three-hour meeting in August will include an hour devoted to reconciliation between the factions. This will be facilitated by The World is Listening and one of my ministerial colleagues in the Network of Spiritual Progressives.

    With the convention only weeks away by then, a reconciliation at the next consulta may or may not produce tangible results during the DNC, such as one massive coordinated march that fills the streets with peaceful people before the world media. Instead, I belive there will be a series of separate protests, mostly peaceful and some not so.
    Sounds about right.
    Yet the attempt at mediation and reconciliation may have some long-term benefits. Can those calling for the end of war learn to practice peace in their own community? I hope so. As Gandhi advocated, we must be the change we wish to see in the world.
    Update: Notice that though Glenn Spagnuolo still claims R!68 represents over 40 groups, it appears now to be only them and Unconventional Achtung. Some grassroots organization.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    What do you want to be when you grow up, Johnny?

    The Denver Daily News:
    A “rash” of proposed city ordinances that would limit equipment allowed at protests is designed to “demonize” free speech advocates, say activists planning protests around the Democratic National Convention.

    Colorado cities, including Centennial and Denver, have recently given consideration to ordinances that would restrict items protesters might use to obstruct roadways, sidewalks and buildings. The Denver ordinance, which will be considered by the Safety Committee on Wednesday, would restrict items “designed or intended to be used for obstructing the public’s ability to freely move about.”

    The ordinance would also prevent protesters from bringing any “noxious substance, or dangerous or deadly weapon … with the intent to use the noxious substance or dangerous or deadly weapon for defeating crowd dispersal measures,” states a draft of the ordinance. . . .

    [Arapahoe County Sheriff] Robinson said he wants an ordinance that will protect his deputies from “a variety of projectiles” that could be launched at them. He added that the ordinance is also about protecting citizens in the area from similar hazards. . . .

    “It’s pure propaganda. The rush to pass these so-called ‘dangerous weapons’ ordinances have the sole purpose of manipulating the public into thinking that those conducting free speech during the DNC are going to beat cops with sticks and squirt them with urine,” said Tom Mestnik, street puppet coordinator for Re-create 68.
    Street Puppet Coordinator. I've already had some cards printed up. (In Hollywood, by the way, they're called "puppet wranglers.")
    Re-create 68 spokesman Glenn Spagnuolo agreed with his colleague.

    “(Sheriff) Robinson knows full well no one has ever been arrested for using a Super Soaker to squirt urine on a police officer,” he said. “It it weren’t such an affront to our right to free speech these ordinances would be laughable.”
    Ha. And again: Ha. Funny also that though the Daily puts "demonize' in quotes in their lead, nobody in the story uses the word.

    More: Stars fall on Colorado:

    It's getting hard to keep track of all the bold-face names emerging as possible attendees to the Democratic National Convention next month.

    Here's the list so far: Tim Daly, Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, Susan Sarandon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Neil Patrick Harris, Dana Delany, Barry Levinson, Matthew Modine, Alan Cumming, Cheryl Hines, Rachael Leigh Cook, Wendie Malick, Kerry Washington, Forrest Whitaker, Ed Norton, TV writer Tom Fontana and director/writer/ producer Sue Kramer, who will all be part of the nonpartisan Creative Coalition's team of Hollywood types coming here to witness history in the making when the first African-American gets the presidential nomination. . . .

    Remember, that's the nonpartisan Creative Coalition!
    Hot on the heels of Washington Post blogger Mary Ann Aker (who broke celeb news last week), The New York Daily News reported Sunday that Kanye West, N.E.R.D., Wyclef Jean and Usher "are in serious talks" to perform during the convention, and that Warren Beatty will accompany his wife, Bening, to Denver.
    But wait! There's more!
    "Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons is flying out to Denver for the Yoga Health Foundation's festival, which kicks off the night before the convention. He plans to stick around for the Democratic powwow," according to the Daily News. And big Barack Obama backers Ben Affleck and Scarlett Johansson are expected.
    Remember, that's Obama policy advisor Scarlett Johansson (who's not nearly as good looking as Ben Affleck).

    Update: This time you don't have to wait if you don't want to, but there's still more!
    The Dems are coming! The Dems are coming! But where are they going to stay?

    Barack Obama likes the gated Englewood manse of Level 3 CEO James Crowe. So we hear that's Obama-ville during the DNC - together with hotel suites for making deals and spinning wheels. Hillary and Bill Clinton are booked into the Brown Palace. That's where Oprah is trying to stay. I had heard that she was renting a house in Country Club - but she was sniffing around the Brown last week.
    Okra Windbag at the Brown, huh? (That's what friend once called her. I told him he was a racist. Okay, I laughed.)

    More more: DNC host committee filling up at city pumps to avoid gas taxes:
    The committee hosting the Democratic National Convention is using the city's gas pumps to fill up on fuel, avoiding state and federal highway taxes, officials said today.

    "There's something there that just doesn't seem right to me because, in a sense, you're saying then that the officials who pass the laws are not willing to live by them, and that concerns me," Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz said. . . .

    "By doing it this way, by running it through our Fleet Maintenance, that means that that fuel does not pay state or federal highway taxes," Faatz said. . . .

    "The DNC is not government. The RNC is not government," Faatz added. "They are political parties and they are putting on a huge party, and that is not providing services to each and every citizen each day."
    The comedy services are pretty consistent, though.

    More more more: The Rocky is running a series on Civic Center Park, prospective site of much dementia during the DNC. Let's just say it's not very complimentary. Yesterday: Part 1, "What a Shithole." Today: Part 2, "I Think I'm Going to be Sick."

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Huffpo writer touts public "art" about 1968

    Nato (yes, Nato) Thompson:
    On Saturday, August 2 artist Mark Tribe will organize a reenactment of an Angela Davis speech from 1969 connecting the liberation of domestic political prisoners from the civil rights movement with the war in Vietnam. A performer portraying Davis will stand at a podium and deliver the speech at its original site of deFremery Park in Oakland, CA. Like all the public art I work on, I have to close my eyes and imagine who is in the audience, how does it resonate, what social inspiration does it provide? [see, it's really all about Nato's own wonderful artistic sensibility.] Last Saturday, June 19, Tribe produced another reenactment, this one of a speech by César Chávez. After a broad organizing effort, a cross-section of about 200 [heh] Los Angelinos [sic] whose lives found resonance in the eloquence of César Chávez attended the event. For the speech, given at the height of the Vietnam War, places the social justice fights of farm workers in relationship to a global war being promulgated by the United States.
    "If we provide alternatives for our young out of the way we use the energies and resources of our own lives, perhaps fewer and fewer of them will seek their manhood in affluence and war. Perhaps we can bring the day when children will learn from their earliest days that being fully man and fully woman means to give one's life to the liberation of the brother who suffers."
    Aw, blow me, César (if you'll pardon my Sanskrit). Nato smarms on:

    Much and nothing has changed since this speech was given. That is, of course, the power of reenacting speeches like these, in what Tribe calls The Port Huron Project (taken from the Students for a Democratic Society declaration in 1962). In September Tribe will continue the project by reenacting a 1968 Stokely Carmichael speech near United Nations Plaza. The context of the Vietnam [sic] and the radicalism of the '68 New Left haunt these speeches. Surely, these forces haunt us as well [ed., whistling happy tune]. Even the main protest organized at this year's DNC is entitled Recreate 68 -- there is more than a palpable feeling that the specter of '68 stays with us today, as either inspiration or nostalgia. It is hard to say which.

    Reenactment is quite popular in contemporary art today, but in essence, art is simply a reflection of larger social currents operating in our daily lives. Barack Obama's famed oratory skills and charisma has led to enthusiastic comparisons with John F. Kennedy. In fact, I already own a pin with Obama's face with the ghostly of visage of [sic] JFK in the background [now that's creepy]. Contemporary politics, as well as art, seems to be in the grasp of the past. . . .

    And blah, blah, blah. Read whole thing for your daily dose of dumb.

    Bousquet: American Association of University Professors should defend Chutch

    But as with all the other AAUPers who've voiced support for Churchill, he's speaking only for himself:
    Sometime in early 2009, the Denver District Court will begin to hear testimony in Ward Churchill’s lawsuit against the University of Colorado.

    It will be a very different national political climate than the one in which Churchill’s reference to Hannah Arendt’s classic study of the banality of evil*, Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963) set in motion events that led to his termination on charges of “plagiarism” and “research misconduct.”
    Good scare quotes. here comes the left-wing hack with the high-sounding title:
    My own views** are consistent with those of the national American Civil Liberties Union, and Eric Cheyfitz, Cornell’s Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters.

    Cheyfitz, who examined the investigating committee’s report and testified about it before a UC panel, concluded that the charges were “fabricated” and “fundamentally baseless,” and flow from “problems in the investigating committee’s own flawed

    The “research misconduct” charge is that Churchill didn’t provide enough evidence relating to his account of the origins of a 19th-century smallpox epidemic. Whether or not one agrees with Churchill’s account, I found in reading the investigators’
    report that I had to share Cheyfitz’s opinion that “what is properly an academic debate about the relationship of Native peoples to United States history was turned into an indictment…. The research misconduct charges disappear when you start looking at them closely.”
    Oh, please. That "didn't provide enough evidence" is particularly risible, given the real problem was that Chutch supplied "evidence" (yay scare quotes) enough for a half-dozen different stories.
    The use of the “research misconduct” charges to discredit Churchill should be particularly troubling to all of us — as Churchill supporters made clear by promptly filing “research misconduct” charges against the investigating committee, using the same standards for “misconduct” that they employed against him (and which future observers may well find more convincing!).
    (I don't think so!)
    What I like about Cheyfitz’s analysis, as reported by Daniel Aloi for the Cornell Chronicle, is that it connects the elements of political retaliation in the case to the climate of intellectual fear produced by the larger attack on tenure and faculty self-governance under corporatization:
    No idea why there's a colon there.
    Cheyfitz said the case against Churchill is “linked up to other witch hunts, like that in the Columbia University Middle East studies department,” where scholars were accused of anti-Semitism because of their critical view of Israel, though they were ultimately exonerated of those charges.
    Yeah, exonerated.
    “When you couple this with the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, the whole atmosphere of the war on Iraq and the war on terror, and the actions of the Bush administration … to undermine the Constitution, [it can] lead to an atmosphere here people can feel threatened,” said Cheyfitz, noting that the case is not just about Churchill and limiting free speech. . . .
    Is it just me, or do arguments like this sound incredibly dated, as if Bill Moyers had risen from the dead to moderate just one more panel on Pimpy McBitlerHurton's stifling of our freedoms?
    In any case, Bousquet wants to kill the AAUP:
    As the case goes to trial, the question will be: what should organizations like the AAUP and disciplinary organizations like the American Historical Association do?

    Whether or not Churchill has asked them for help or not, can they afford to sit on the sidelines?

    My personal view is that the AAUP must weigh in on this case.

    What do you think?
    Update: In comments, Churchill exposer Thomas Brown says what he thinks:

    Churchill’s defenses all crumble to dust under close examination. Have a look at the four scholarly articles that accuse Churchill of research misconduct: two by John LaVelle in Wicazo Sa Review, and two by me in Plagiary. All four are readable online.

    Neither Churchill nor any of his defenders have published a response to these accusations. Why? Because LaVelle and I have already eviscerated the various excuses, including the ones that Bousquet has advanced in this blog.

    I challenge any of Churchill’s defenders to debate either in person or in the pages of Plagiary, but I doubt any will take me up on this offer. The more you learn about Churchill, the more obvious it is that he is guilty of serious misconduct.

    Bousquet makes significant errors of fact in this blog. For example, the truth is that the majority of CU’s Standing Committee on Research Misconduct voted to fire Churchill. Of the three faculty committees that heard Churchill’s case at Colorado, every single faculty member on all three unanimously agreed that Churchill was guilty of research misconduct.

    Another canard that Bousquet replicates is that Churchill only copy-edited one of the plagiarized articles, and that some unknown person must have committed the actual plagiary. However, Churchill took authorship credit for this article in his annual evaluation at CU, and did not advance the copyediting defense until after he was accused of plagiarism. All of his other defenses are just as easily dismisssed, for those willing to investigate the facts of the matter. None of Churchill’s CU colleagues on any of the committees bought his excuses.

    Here are the URLs for the four Brown and LaVelle articles:

    — Thomas Brown · Jul 21, 02:12 PM · #

    That's going to be tough for Bousquet to ignore.

    Update II: The gimpy bastard with the blow-up parrot had it decades ago.