Saturday, August 30, 2008

A First for MSU Bobcat Football






Today's college football game between the beloved Montana State University Bobcats and the Adams State Grizzlies --that's right, we started the season with Cat-Griz, and we'll end the season with Cat-Griz-- had one of the strangest events happen: a lightning delay.

I've been on the MSU Football Stat Crew for 19 years (the only chick in the press box!), and never in that time (and longer, according to many, including Dean Alexander, who called the games for radio for years) had the stadium ever been evacuated.

Mandatory evacuation. Through bitter sub-zero games with vicious wind chills, to driving snowstorms when the teams would be playing on one end of the field while a snowplow cleared the five-yard-line markers on the other end, NEVER has the stadium been evacuated, but it was today.

There had been six or eight lightning strikes within an eight mile radius of the stadium, and the stands are metal, so the game was suspended until the weather cell passed and until there had been no lightning strike within 15 minutes of the last strike. MSU President Geoff Gamble told me that the trainers carry a 'lightning detector' on their belts during practice on the open fields. I had no idea there was such a thing. Better safe than sorry, though; averting tragedy is much better than regretting ignoring the signs later.

After 90 minutes or so, the game resumed. The Cats won handily over the Grizzlies, 59-3 (they led 38-0 at halftime, when the lightning delay started). A score like this against the hated Grizzlies is a precursor to November.

Anecdotes, swollen legs and feet, heat rash from Denver

The Democratic National Convention yielded lifelong memories for me, wonderful new friends, and swollen legs and feet from walking the greater downtown Denver area for 14-16 hours every day!


Some anecdotes: on Wednesday, during the Roll Call of the States, California passed when called upon for its delegate votes for Clinton and Obama. Illinois did the same, presumably to be the last to report its votes for Obama, its hometown hero. Something big was in the works, and convention staff told Montana that Hillary Clinton would be on the floor for when New York was called upon, but she was running late, and the convention staff needed Montana to stretch its speech and vote report! Dennis McDonald and Carol Williams spoke, and said that Montana is the home of distinguished US Senator Mike Mansfield; Carol mentioned that Montana was home to Norman MacLean, author of A River Runs Through It; she introduced herself as the first woman majority leader in the Montana Legislature. Basically, she and Dennis were brainstorming all the wonderful things to report about Montana while a convention staffer stood in front of them, out of camera view, indicating that they should keep talking!

When the staffer got word that Montana could give its vote total and the other states before New York would also stretch, Carol and Dennis reported Montana's vote total. Soon after, when New Mexico's vote came up, New Mexico yielded its votes to Illinois. Richard Daley, mayor of Chicago, accepted New Mexico's votes along with Illinois' 185. Then Daley yielded those votes to New York!

All of a sudden, Hillary Clinton, with many security personnel, strode down the aisle to the New York delegation and read for New York its 282 votes. She moved that the rules of the Roll Call proceedings be suspended, and that the delegates adopt by acclimation the nomination of Barack Obama for president! It was a very gracious thing to do, and by Obama's opponent in the primary. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, chair of the proceedings, asked for a voice vote, and the motion to adopt passed overwhelmingly.

Another anecdote: the Pepsi Center, presumably to counter all the body heat that thousands of delegates, guests, and press would generate, cranked up the air conditioning so high that sitting in the club level and higher was COLD! The first day, I discovered this and so bought a sweater the next day at Ann Taylor Loft (or, as I fondly refer to it, The Mother Ship). I was shivering so much that my camera shots were blurred the next day, with sleeves down and sweater on! The lady sitting next to me said, "Kinda cold in here, huh?" to which I responded, "You know, I brought a sweater today, and I keep all this extra body fat on for situations just such as this, but crikey, it's cold!"



Another anecdote: this was a "green" convention, and delegations could pay to offset their impact on the environment and be green (Montana and others did, and were recognized with green symbols on their vertical state signs.) But every night, thousands of campaign signs were handed out down every aisle, to every convention-goer, and not recycled!!! You'd think, wouldn't you, that there could be big cardboard boxes by the exits so that people could deposit signs as they left the venue, or staff could collect signs left behind, but no! Tree after tree sacrificed at the altar of the national convention! (I kept my signs as memorabilia, as did others, but wow, what a lot of printing and paper.)

Last anecdote: Every night after the convention, I was approached by a reporter asking for a reaction or comment of the night's speaker or convention happenings. After Hillary Clinton's speech, I was asked by a reporter if I'm a Clinton or Obama pledged delegate. Clinton, I replied. How did I feel about the night's speech? he asked. Proud, I said. Clinton hit all the right notes and said everything she needed to say; it was perfect. She strongly and enthusiastically endorsed Obama, and there was no tone of "it should have been me" anytime in her speech. She was gracious and committed to supporting Obama in the November election. The reporter asked if I was bitter that Hillary wasn't the nominee, or the VP choice. No, I said. Clinton was my choice in the primary election, but she didn't win that election. And that election's over. In the upcoming election, there are two candidates, and Obama is my choice of those two candidates. I don't think there's room for bitterness now; it's counterproductive. Too much to do to dwell on what might have been. And besides, Clinton is strong and serves well in the US Senate. I'm excited to see how she'll serve next.

After Obama's speech Thursday night, a reporter from Ireland asked what I thought. I'm inspired, and motivated, and heard more specifics tonight than before, I said. It's been a campaign about change, and about hope, both honorable goals, but the topics of discussion--jobs, health care, the economy, education, taxes--are what Americans and Montanans talk about and worry about. I was glad to hear some of the hot-button issues addressed head-on. But, I said, as inspired and motivated and proud as I am, I'm fearful for Obama. When this country has had inspiring and charismatic and progressive leaders, they've been assassinated. They're threatening to people who don't want those same things, or changes from those leaders. I'm hopeful, but concerned. We're a great nation; I hope we're brave enough to make the changes to improve ourselves and our standing in the world.

Obama's speech at Invesco Field, Thursday








Whew. What a marathon the Democratic National Convention was! I'm back home now, but I owe you an in-depth description of Barack Obama's acceptance speech the last day of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, at Mile High Stadium (Invesco Field).

First, let me say how humbled and honored I was to go to the national convention. It was an amazing experience to see the political convention process and players. Thursday's convention program had headliners of entertainment and politics, including Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder, along with Al Gore and Joe Biden.

One of the most amazing moments was the introduction of 23 US generals that oppose the war in Iraq. General Wesley Clark was among them, and with all the generals lined up on the stage, it was sobering to realize how many of us that completely support our military do not support the war in Iraq.

Barack Obama began his speech with, "With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States." It hearkened back to John F. Kennedy's words when he accepted the nomination in 1960, and I looked around at the delegation to see if anyone else made the connection. Dennis McDonald did, and said to his seatmate, "That's what Kennedy said when he accepted." It was an important and grounding moment.

Obama's campaign to date has promoted change and hope, both very worthy aims to be sure; but I was most pleased to hear some more specifics on issues in his speech. Now, that's not to say that we heard a plan of action--the event wasn't for lining out in-depth plans--but Obama did speak directly to a number of issues of importance to Montanans and Americans.

Obama described how it's harder to work for a living wage, afford life's necessities, and then said, "We are a better country than this." He also said something to the effect that none of us is better than anyone else, a solid belief that was instilled in me by hard-working grandparents. I also believe that no one is above anything; anyone can wait tables, dig ditches (or firelines, like I did), or sweep; the class system that's dividing the nation and making the middle class smaller and smaller while the very rich and very poor numbers grow must be corrected. Now, I believe that what you've earned is yours, but the ability of fewer and fewer people to better their situations is critical, and not at all American. Obama spoke well to the need to improve all our lots.

Obama honored John McCain and lauded his military and political service, but said, "The record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change."

He went on to say, "I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans?"

I hear a lot about taxes when I talk to voters, especially since Bozeman has grown so much that land values have skyrocketed, and so have property taxes. I voted for property tax relief, and to eliminate the business equipment tax. I pay taxes just like everybody else, and each school mill levy, police and fire ballot initiative, and state program that needs funds, I pay into that. I'm glad to do it, because a society runs on communal effort, which is why not every home has its own fire engine. But tax breaks to the uberwealthy and to corporations who leave our shores, that's got to change.

Basically, the belief that Obama echoed is one that I've held, and you've held, for a long time. "Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work. That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper."

America, and Montana, don't work if each of us is selfish, and Montanans are the most generous, hard-working, gracious, selfless people I know. I think we accomplish more than most because we will work hard without need for flattery or affectation.

Obama spoke about improving tax laws, harnessing alternative energy, funding education, changing bankruptcy laws, providing health care for all Americans, and working toward equal pay for equal work. He gave more ideas and more specifics tonight than in the past campaign speeches, and I was glad to hear it.

The most to-the-point and on-target language for me was this: "We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort."

These issues are the hot-button topics that CAN divide, but we shouldn't let them. There are points of agreement on each of these issues, no matter how disparate the pro and con positions. We've spent too much time tearing each other down over single issues; now we need to find the common ground, improve what we can, and work on the hard stuff.

Obama, near the end of his speech, said, "This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores. Instead, it is that American spirit - that American promise - that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend."

Stand strong, everybody. There's a new day coming, if we decide there is.

Photos of the night are here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2006367&l=b95d9&id=1002190929
and here:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2006309&l=a6324&id=1002190929

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Presidential Nominee, Barack Obama

Tonight at Invesco Field (formerly Mile High Stadium), home of the Denver Broncos, Barack Obama accepted the nomination for President for the Democratic Party. The festivities began at 3 with Yonder Mountain String Band; throughout the evening, other great musicians played: Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, and Michael McDonald. Turned out that the rumors that Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen were wrong, but the artists who performed were great.

There were great speakers throughout the day, and some very memorable moments. Before Barack Obama took the stage, some citizens took the podium and told their stories. One was Barney Smith, from the heartland, who'd lost a union job in a factory, as had many of his friends. He was most powerful at the end of his statement, when he said that we need a president who'll put the interests of Barney Smith ahead of Smith Barney.

Barack hit many points in his speech, and included issues of great importance to Montanans: taxes, health care, the economy.

I have hundreds and hundred of photos which I'll upload tomorrow. I'm punchy now and can't give you the whole lowdown; I'm running on about three hours of sleep nightly all this past week. Much more to tell you in the morning.

The acceptance of the presidential nomination is filled with pageantry and is beautiful to see, but it was also substantive tonight because of Barack Obama. His campaign, identified with the words "Hope" and "Change", offered some specifics about foreign policy, tax relief, and education funding, and resonated with the crowd assembled and the crowd watching off-site.

More Friday, after I've slept and recharged the batteries!

Friday, August 29, Last Day at the Democratic National Convention





This morning, Governor Brian Schweitzer talked to the delegation at the morning meeting, and the good Senator Jon Tester did, too. Yesterday, Senator Tester was with Barack Obama in Billings, MT, during Obama's fifth visit to the state. Later, the Testers flew with Obama to Denver. Tester spoke about the economic state of the nation, and about energy--we need to develop, and can develop, alternative forms of energy, and we need to conserve--and about foreign relations, health care, and veterans services at the national level.

Later, Tester spoke with the women's caucus; we expressed our gratitude for the mileage reimbursement increase for veterans traveling for medical care, and told him that a CHIP initiative on the ballot this November has wide support, and should relate support from the Montana electorate for better and more health care from the Congressional delegation.

I'm headed to the convention center soon for a panel discussion on the Supreme Court, recent court rulings, cases to be heard, and opinions on the shape of the court in the near future; then it's over to Invesco Field for the last day of business, including Obama's acceptance of the Democratic nomination for president. It's been an incredible week, and all the delegates are tired but so excited. What we lose in sleep we gain in experiences! I think they run the convention for four days because if it went any longer, people would start dropping!

Much more later, from Invesco Field and the last day of proceedings from the Democratic National Convention in Denver! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vice Presidential nominee, Joe Biden, at the Democratic National Convention






Wow! What an incredible day it's been in Denver. The national convention is amazing to experience. It's grand, well-choreographed, and touching; we get to know each speaker well. Some pretty exciting stuff happened today!

But I'm leaping ahead to the end, because, well, it's the end of the day, but let's start at the beginning. We began with the early morning delegation meeting, and Carol Williams handed out small fabric stickers of the Montana flag for the delegation to wear. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania spoke to the delegation (he spoke at the convention yesterday). Casey is a freshman senator, and began serving at the same time as our senator, Jon Tester. Casey talked about health care, and said that the SCHIP bill of earlier this year would provide six well-child visits within the first year of life. Early well-child care is very effective preventive health care, and the CHIP initiative to cover more kids is on the Montana ballot this year.

We (some of the Montana delegation) went downtown at 11, to the convention center to hear Hillary Clinton speak at 1:15. I bought a pin with Sox, the Clintons' cat, and a caption that says, "Send Sox back to the White House". It's great.

Hillary Clinton thanked her supporters, and released her delegates for the convention's Roll Call of the States today. She said, "I'm here to release you." She said to her supporters and delegates that they might feel an obligation to the voters in their states, and to their own loyalties as pledged delegates, and said, "Today, I cast my ballot for Barack Obama." She then left some wiggle-room for delegates, stating, "but I can't tell you what to do." After her speech last night in which she spoke so eloquently about being united as a party and supporting the Democratic candidate in the November election, Barack Obama, she spent a bit more time thanking her delegates today.

From the convention center, we left for the Pepsi Center and convention hall to be on the floor by 3 for the Roll Call of the States, in which each state reports its votes for the presidential candidates. On the walk into the Pepsi Center, I passed James Carville, then Al Sharpton. It's lousy with politicos and celebrities around here!

I joined Bob Ream, former Montana Democratic Party chairman, in section 234, directly below the NBC News suite and with an excellent unobstructed view of the stage. When I went out to buy a hot dog for lunch, the server talked with me a bit while I ate at a standing table. He was very gracious and gave me a button that read, "Sheboygan, WI, "Brat City" supports "BRAT" OBAMA! Nice! I think I'll start serving brat[wurst] obamas from the grill!

The Roll Call of the States was wonderful--it's our pomp and circumstance, and our official vote tallying--and Montana's delegates performed beautifully! Carol Williams, the first woman to serve as majority leader in the state senate, and Dennis McDonald, Montana Democratic Party chairman, reported the delegation's votes to the secretary. The order in which states are called upon to report is alphabetical, and during the course of the roll call, California passed; so did Illinois (to reserve its votes to push the total for Obama over). US Senator Daniel Inouye reported the Hawaii votes, and it was great to see him. When New Jersey's turn came up, it cast its votes (127) uanimously for Obama, and the entire convention hall started the "Yes, We Can" chant.

Then it got interesting and so exciting! (Just for background, many US Senators and Representatives are delegates, but not many spend much time on the floor.) When New Mexico's vote came up, New Mexico yielded its votes to Illinois. Richard Daley, mayor of Chicago, spoke on behalf of Illinois, and accepted New Mexico's votes along with Illinois' 185. Then Daley yielded those votes to New York! All of a sudden, Hillary Clinton, with many security personnel, strode down the aisle to the New York delegation and read for New York its 282 votes. She moved that the rules of the Roll Call proceedings be suspended, and that the delegates adopt by acclimation the nomination of Barack Obama for president! It was a very gracious thing to do, and by Obama's opponent in the primary. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, chair of the proceedings, asked for a voice vote, and the motion to adopt passed overwhelmingly. It was amazing to experience.



A number of speakers followed the Roll Call of the States, including all of the women US Representatives in attendance. For the first time in history, the majority of delegates at the convention are women!

Michelle Obama sat down in a suite directly below me before the 'big speakers' of the evening, and people were leaning over the railing to take pictures of her. I got some great shots of her from directly overhead. After I'd taken a photo and sat back in my chair, the guy sitting next to me said, "You realize you have a bunch of Secret Service watching you right now." Mmm, yup. So I was careful not to drop anything over the railing onto Mrs. Obama's head!

President Bill Clinton's speech was gracious and inspiring, and he echoed Hillary Clinton's support for Obama. He spoke about more people losing their homes to foreclosure, more people without health insurance, and the US force in Iraq. He said, "People around the world have always been more impressed with the power of our example rather than the example of our power."

John Kerry spoke after President Clinton, and then Beau Biden, Delaware Attorney General, introduced his dad, Joe Biden, nominee for Vice President! Biden is such a natural and easy speaker; he just seems so real. His working class upbringing is deeply ingrained, and he has some scrappiness in him that I don't think will ever go away. Biden introduced his mom in the crowd, as well as Jill, his wife. He said about hardship that "failure, failure in life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgiveable." He also said that the promise of America is that our tomorrows will be better than our todays, a sentiment to which our generations have always subscribed; that the future will be better for our kids than it was for our parents or for us.

The surprise of the night was Senator Barack Obama joining Joe Biden on stage. One of my favorite comments of his was that we could understand why he picked Joe Biden, and Jill Biden, and Beau Biden, and mama Biden, to join him!

There is such enthusiasm! The convention is a spectacle to be sure, but it's also the rally for change and for the election season, and I'm so humbled and honored and touched to be here to experience it. As I described to someone, it's my SuperBowl. Something big you'd like to get to, but don't think you'll ever manage. I can't believe it's almost over! One more day, and a big night tomorrow. I'll post more as we go!

Highlights of Monday at the Convention

There's a good collection of video bits from the Democratic National Convention here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sst0u0S_8ng&feature=related

Day 3, Tuesday, Democratic National Convention

We started the morning with our delegation meeting, where we received our credentials for the day; after breakfast, the Montana legislative women's caucus met with Senator Max Baucus.

For about half an hour, we each expressed what Montanans in our districts and statewide are saying, and what state and federal elected officials should be working to change. Health care, health care insurance coverage, unavailability of health care providers in rural areas, a lack of mental health services (no psychologist east of Billings!) were top priorities for many of us. Baucus said that the effectiveness of Montana health care is superior to that of other states, and we get twice the result of care for the cost that other states do. I made the point that the most effective care is done when a situation becomes so bad that someone must seek care, and that care probably does make a dramatic difference, but usually treats one main injury or illness. In other states, perhaps preventive care and ongoing care flattens the curve a bit with statistical success. For the care we provide, there are still vast numbers of Montanans that cannot afford to get sick. Another problem is the distinction to be made between "health care" and "health coverage": health care, to me, means that if you're sick or injured, you'll be treated. Health coverage is insurance, and companies can deny coverage, terminate policies, ignore pre-existing conditions, etc. Next, I asked the senator about tax relief, but Baucus said that the Congress is down to 17 or 18 more working days this year, and the bills that will be passed from now on will not be the large idea, big change bills but rather housekeeping and appropriation bills. Others in the women's caucus expressed the dire situation of families filing bankruptcy due to monstrous medical bills, and I asked about payday lending for medical bills. The Montana legislative women's caucus has priorities for next legislative session, and we continually work hard at policy and legislation that will improve health care and health coverage for all.

Next, we took the bus downtown to the convention center. The Montana delegation lunched at Rioja together, then we attended convention events. Michele Reinhart and I visited the Google tent and listened to Eli Pariser, founder of MoveOn.org, and Arianna Huffington, who talked about press doing more investigative journalism. The topics at the convention, and those invited to speak on them, are the hot topics of all of us: economy, jobs, health care, home ownership, etc.

After attending a number of events downtown, we walked over to the Pepsi Center. The Montana floor delegation had wonderful seats to hear our governor's speech! Governor Schweitzer spoke primarily on the resources that America and Montana offer, and that we can use alternative energy sources much better. Montana has wonderful opportunities to develop alternative energy from wind, solar, and clean technologies for coal production. After a full afternoon and evening of speeches, Governor Schweitzer put a spark in the crowd and engaged the whole convention hall when he spoke.

Hillary Clinton took the stage as the last speaker of the night, and she hit the mark beautifully in her remarks. Many devoted Hillary Clinton supporters would rather have Hillary giving the acceptance speech on Thursday night; tonight, Hillary's speech was a unifying message. I've said for a long time that all the reasons for which people were excited about the primary still apply. The work that has been done for a candidate can translate to another who will promote the same ideas. Hillary asked the crowd if people were in the campaign because of her, or because we believe in good jobs and a strong economy? Hillary gave her resounding support to Barack Obama for president, and was respectful, strong, and motivational. She will of course continue her service as US Senator, so a champion for health care, pay equity, and many social justice and economic, health, and job-related issues is still working. It was an amazing night.

I was interviewed by Montana Public Radio on the convention floor, and by a European paper for a reaction after Hillary's speech, and I said that electing a president is like throwing a stone in a pond: the center is the presidential candidates, who always make a big splash, but the ripples from that selection--the policy and focus of an administration--reach far and wide. We elect a president, but there are also Supreme Court Justice appointments, foreign policy decisions, cabinet positions, etc. appointed by that president. The election in November is very important.

After the convention, we walked over to Big Sky Night, a party of Montana expatriates. Drive By Truckers were the main band; they should play the convention!

Watch for a new photo album later today!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day 2, Monday, Democratic National Convention, Denver




We started bright and early at 7 am with a delegation breakfast and credential meeting, which will be a daily occurrence. All of us get our floor credentials, reminders about key convention happenings, and updates about convention logistics at the morning meeting. Dennis McDonald, chairman of the Montana Democratic Party, spoke, and then we all organized and departed for downtown.

Julie and I took the bus to the convention center, then a cab to the Denver Aquarium, where the Democratic National Committee was hosting a lunch. See more photos here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2006247&l=8a22e&id=1002190929

From the luncheon, we worked our way back downtown, then to a reception for elected officials at the Oxford Hotel. The Oxford is on 15th and Wazee, and Wazee goes west directly to the Pepsi Center, where the convention action takes place.

It's amazing to see the convention floor! The most memorable events of the night were the speech by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a tribute to the humanitarian work of President Jimmy Carter, and a tribute to Ted Kennedy introduced by Caroline Kennedy; Ted Kennedy took the stage afterward, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Here's part of Caroline Kennedy's introduction to the tribute video to Ted Kennedy, before Ted Kennedy took the floor to speak.


A link to a video, much smoother than mine, of Caroline's introduction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnbHZhy87IY

Here's a link to a YouTube video of the tribute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTysI_72J-M

Celebrities in the crowd included filmmaker Spike Lee, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, and Chevy Chase, and Joe Biden, VP nominee was in the house, too.

Michelle Obama gave the keynote speech and was very warmly received. Her background is that of many Americans', and she speaks easily about the experiences most of us have, and have had.

I'll blog more, but for the day's pictures (with captions, for more info), visit
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2006247&l=8a22e&id=1002190929

After the convention, I was interviewed by a journalist from southern China. I told her that Michelle Obama had spoken well, and that she knows Barack Obama best; Michelle's descriptions of her upbringing, and the way the Obamas are raising their daughters, speak to the values we wish to instill in all our kids, and the futures we hope for them, too.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bon Jovi and The Boss!

Just found out that Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen are playing here at Invesco Field Thursday night! Governor Howard Dean starts the program Thursday at 4pm, then there will be other illustrious speakers. Bon Jovi will play before Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for President, and Bruce Springsteen plays after that! What a fine Democratic celebration!

I'm very excited about tonight at the convention; President Jimmy Carter speaks. His humanitarian efforts have been so groundbreaking, such a model for people to follow, and so successful in changing people's lives that I'm humbled to hear him tonight.

More news as I know it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Day 1, Sunday, Democratic National Convention, Denver


Whew! It's just Day One of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and I already have so much to report!

I flew into Denver this morning. On my flight was Laura McGee, candidate for House District 18 in Great Falls. We met my fellow representative Julie French in the airport and all took the shuttle to our hotel. We found a number of our fellow delegates there, and drove into downtown Denver, where all the convention events are taking place.

We walked the 16th Street Mall, a wonderful walking mall two blocks from the convention center, and found many Democrats, along with peaceful anti-war protesters and a strong police presence, just to keep everyone in line. I saw a delegate there, with his Democratic dog:



There are many images from the kick-off to the convention; check out my photos from day one at my facebook page, here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2006187&l=8422c&id=1002190929

From the 16th Street Mall, we proceeded over to the Denver Convention Center and listened in to a labor rally, then attended a discussion on civil rights between US Rep John Conyers, House Judiciary Chairman and the longest-serving African-American Congressman, and John Nichols, a writer for the Nation, the oldest weekly mag in the US. The event began with a musical performance by Steven Taylor, vocalist,
who sang operatic pieces of speeches by President John F Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Attorney General Robert F Kennedy. The pieces were written for and performed originally at the 1968 convention. That was followed by three pieces by the Colorado Children's Chorale, including a piece that used a traditional Lakota round dance melody. Very nice!

Congressman Conyers spoke about how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would appreciate the involvement of people in this year's election, and how civil rights must always be actively protected.

Next, to the Friends of New Orleans event at the Korbel Ballroom in the convention center, a reception for Katrina relief in the gulf and in New Orleans. The band was great, and the spirit of recovery for Louisiana and The Big Easy was, too.



Then the inimitable Randy Newman! Randy Newman, I couldn't believe it! Newman sang "Louisiana", which was so touching, especially with appeals earlier in the evening for help rebuilding New Orleans, the gulf coast, and Louisiana from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.



After Randy Newman, Democratic National Chairman Gov. Howard Dean took the stage for a brief address and welcome to the delegates.



Following Dean's welcome, the Friends of New Orleans ended the evening with a rousing round of "When the Saints Go Marching In".

And that was just the first day! Visit my blog, get the YouTube videos, and be sure to visit the photo albums on my facebook page (link above) to get the latest and greatest from the convention. I have to hurry up and sleep now so that I can be up and ready at 7 a.m. for the delegation meeting, where we get the schedule for the day, our credentials, security updates, etc.

More to come from the Democratic National Convention in Denver--stay tuned!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ireland votes Pomnichowski




A family friend, Chris Stevens, sent photos today of support for Pomnichowski in Ireland. I'm international!

Here I am on a road sign, helping guide your way. Just follow me; I won't lead you astray.

The spiritual are Pomnichowski faithful, too, in church, and out.

A bright and shiny Pomnichowski bumper sticker on a car, with the Head of Howth in the background. That's one side of Dublin Bay, and where the final chapter of James Joyce's Ulysses is set. (The book covers the course of the day, starting on one side of the bay and ending at the other.)

The signature blue and gold of the Pomnichowski campaign complement the blue on a Bank of Ireland door. The colors of Montana State University (Go, Bobcats!) translate nicely to Eire, eh?

Many thanks, Chris. The Emerald Isle is good to me.

If you'd like to sport a Pomnichowski bumper sticker, email me and I'll get one to you.

07 Campaign Season Accelerates!

Since I last blogged, I've served a legislative session, become a full-time legislator (working on issues all the time, and loving the work), and am a candidate for re-election! Everyone, there is much to report daily, so watch for frequent updates now that the 07 campaign season is rolling hard.

First, I'm going to the Democratic National Convention next week in Denver! I am so excited to go--this is one of those events that I never imagined I'd attend, just because it's the SuperBowl for politicos, and what are the chances of getting SuperBowl tickets? But at the State Democratic Convention in Helena, MT in June, I was elected an alternate to go to the national convention. I'm deeply honored, and so excited! Watch for updates from me from Denver.

Next, the Re-elect JP Pomnichowski campaign is going full steam! This past weekend, I was in the Manhattan Potato Festival parade with supporters giving out balloons and candy all along the parade route. The Potato Fest is a great small-town festival, and the parade is a high point. Here's a brief video of us before hitting the parade route:



More to come! Many thanks for your support; I love the work of the legislature, and of public policy, and really want to continue. I'll blog frequently. Talk to you soon!

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