Denver Diaries: Do prairie dogs bite?

This entry will be updated through the day on Monday.


Political science

The MPR contingent that is housed in an out-of-the-way hotel has been thinking of moving it location. The light-rail line is two miles away if you take the way the hotel official says is the “closest” light rail station. But this morning I found a closer one. But here’s the problem: It requires a short cut through what appears to be a field of prairie dogs — very active prairie dogs. Not knowing the nature of the beast, I went around.

Meals on No Wheels

Wednesday is a service day at the Democratic National Convention, a day when delegates can get out of their hotel rooms and go into the community to assist in some sort of social endeavor. It’s a chance to meet some of the people of Denver and the organizations that serve them.

But the Minnesota delegation won’t be leaving its hotel to do so.

The group is preparing meals for Denver’s Meals on Wheels program. All of the food to be packaged is being delivered to the delegates’ hotel, where it will be packed and sent back out to seniors and others, according to a state party official.

Some delegates had hoped their social work would be more involved, and less of an obvious photo opportunity.

First impressions

Minneapolis-St. Paul, you can outdo these folks. A****** , from what I can tell, appears to be Denver’s way of saying, “Hi there, welcome to the Mile High City.” Drivers wait about 3 seconds when a red light turns green to honk.

And all we need in the Twin Cities is a clear day to show off all the smog we don’t have.


The volunteers who were in such abundance seem pretty much to have disappeared from the streets downtown, where much of the convention activity takes place. For the record, the nicest, most helpful people I’ve met so far, have been the cops.

The big tent

Most of the caucuses happen around the Convention Center, about a mile from Pepsi Center. It’s what a lot of delegates do during the day. During the evening, the Democrats will attempt to look like one big, happy family. But during the day, they splinter into all sorts of factions — unions, religious groups, ethnic groups etc. — and hold their meetings to, presumably, push their own interests.

It’s part of the “big tent” thing, and while on the one hand there’s strength in the diversity of the political party (at least that’s the convention wisdom), it also means that some faction is always upset about something, and a significant amount of time has to be spent soothing hurt feelings in order to keep the larger coalition together.

The other Big Tent

Via @jasonbarnett on Twitter (The Uptake), the “Big Tent,” which has garnered so much publicity for being the nuclear core of bloggers here in Denver, had no outlets for laptops this morning.

How do you like that Obama text-messaging gimmick now?

It seemed like a nifty idea at the time (to some people). But the Obama campaign has not been shy about using the e-mail and text message addresses it gathered through the gimmick of announcing the vice presidential pick. Over the last day — my anecdotal research says — Obamaspam has been coming in about once every four hours.

The ‘jerk ratio’

I talked to a young man working security in the Hyatt. He says he’s working 14-hour days this week and said Sunday was ‘crazy’ but the first day of the convention hasn’t been as busy as he thought. “What’s the jerk ratio?” I asked. “It’s not too bad, he said. Much better than when there’s a tech convention in town.”

It’s worth noting, I think, that people are getting to work fine, the light-rail is running, restaurants aren’t particularly crowded and while I’ve never been in Denver before, most every other political convention city has had the same experience — the reality doesn’t tend to match the pre-convention hype and panic about how things will grind to a halt.

Teresa’s story

I love the Internet. A few days ago I wrote about a volunteer I met at the media party on Saturday. Somehow, she found News Cut and added an interesting comment. News Cut will travel anywhere to sign up one new reader.