Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dang: I missed the riot

VodkaPundit, Charlie Martin and I had been enjoying refreshments Monday afternoon on the patio outside the Capitol Bar at the Sheraton on 16th Street. I'd already filed for PJM, and Vodka and Charlie had covered some excitement at the Denver Mint. We'd had a long day, and I was eager to get somewhere to plug in the laptop and watch the primetime convention proceedings on TV. So we headed back to PJM HQ in a high-rise condo a few blocks away.

Bad decision. We were leaving the scene of what, in a little more than an hour, would be the scene of a semi-riot -- the closest thing to Chicago that "Recreate '68" has so far produced. Zombie filed an on-the-scene report.

But as we left the Sheraton, all was still calm. We noticed large groups of police in riot gear on street corners as we walked down 16th Street, but thought this was just a precaution. Apparently, the DPD had intelligence that trouble was brewing. There was some sort of protest at City Center, and it seems that some of those protesters had the idea to march on 16th Street. Police were not going to let that happen.

When we got to PJM HQ, I was surprised to find Michelle Malkin herself blogging there. Founding Bloggers videographer Andrew Marcus and his crew were editing footage from the day's excitement, when Truthers had swarmed Malkin.

After about an hour, my cell phone rang. It was Evie Brown, who had been visiting friends in Denver (not for the DNC) and was at the Capitol Bar when we were there. Gregarious as always, I'd given Ms. Brown my business card, and now she was calling with an urgent message: "They're rioting! The Sheraton is on lockdown!"

I was tired, and didn't feel like walking back for what might prove to be a false alarm. But Jim Hoft and Charlie Martin decided to take a video camera and go check it out.

No false alarm: Police had cordoned off a street and surrounded protesters who were trying to reach 16th Street. And the center of the action was right at the Sheraton. If we hadn't left the Capitol Bar, we'd have been right in the middle of it. Grrrrr.

Ah, well. Bad luck or bad choices. Either way, there's action all over town, and you can't be everywhere. I'm blogging this basically to give you an idea of how difficult it is for one person to cover the entire convention scene, and why collaborative reporting via the blogosphere provides the best panoptic approach to the experience. Just hanging out at the Capitol Bar, however, I made contact with a source who later tipped us to the action, and that Jim and Charlie were able to capitalize on that tip to provide coverage. Teamwork.

As Vodka says, exhaustion is setting in, and it would be nice to have more sleep. But the excitement overcomes the exhaustion, so I have to force myself to shut it down.

Tuesday: The Women's Caucus. Imagine me in a roomful of liberal women, some of them possibly heterosexual. Frightening. Oh ... yeah, met an ex-Edwards delegate. Heh.

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