Justice for All

Anne Martens


Last night was amazing, as Lew noted, the Clintons (both of 'em) are incredible speakers - animated and engaging. I'm limited by memory here as I was seated on stage and forbidden from taking notes (window dressing - democrats dig displays of diversity), but I remember more than a few times really feeling that warmth in your heart and your gut when you hear somebody say something profound and honest. I particularly thought that Glenn Close's speech about 9/11 was a very poetic, respectful and classy way of addressing a potentially touchy subject.

One of the neat things about being on stage was watching the teleprompter and seeing who ad libbed what where. The Clinton's are experts at it - they put in all the right flourishes at the right times, either jokes, or empathy, or Kerry plugs. All the scripted rheorical devices were also well done - cadence and repetition and crowd involvement. As a fan of wordsmithing, I was duly impressed.

A quick local interlude - after being herded out of the Fleet Center, we stopped by a whiskey bar that felt like dark wood and cigar smoke (even though you can't smoke, the feeling still pervades). The doorman, Walter, was a treat to talk to. The accent, of course. And that the first thing he said was, "Here for the Convention? You've ruined Boston."

Then he went on about where to get a cheap plate of steak tips and mashed potatos, where the best Italian place was, and the Bostonians method of respect for women and self-policing. That is, you always get beat twice (didja see that Sox-Yankees game?). You say some nasty comment to a girl on the street, and she'll beat you (or a neaby fellow will) and then your mom will beat you when you get home. You get in a fight with some guy and you get beat once there then your dad will beat you when you get home. Street fights happen all the time, but they'll stop and tip their hats to an old lady who's walking by, and resume when she's gone. He related a story about watching a man beat up on his girlfriend, he ran across the street, got the girl inside to a bathroom, and started beating up the guy to teach him a lesson. Cop comes by, asks what's going on, and leaves them alone to let that lesson be learned. No wishy-washy thoughts of exploring how the man feels about his mother, just a straight up fist to the jaw. I'm sure there was some elaboration for the sake of us tourists, but it was a great conversation anyway.

This morning, I went to a People for the American Way forum on the Supreme Court with James Carville, Alec Baldwin, a judge who's name I ought to know, and two Congress women who's names I don't know. It was sparsely attended, but this is a subject near and dear to me. Vote like your rights depended on it, because they do. A Bush win would mean at least one Justice retirement (they're old, sick, and long overdue), and all those decisions that we've won dissapear. The latest decisions, about not abusing power and protecting civil rights, gave me a some faith in our co-equal judiciary branch, but those, like all the other controversial decisions over the years involving civil rights, reproductive health care, access to justice, labor and environmental protections, were either 5-4 or 6-3 decisions. Carville put it best when he said, "there's a strain of stupidity in American liberalism," we thought we were done and could celebrate but really all those victories hang by one Justice's vote. Imagine a Court of Scalia clones, a shredding of the Constitution, and a regression of rights. Scares the hell out of me.

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    Re: ad libs. The text of Hillary's speech was out before she spoke, and many of us sitting here at home watching the events on TV or online tracked through the text as she went. We had the same general assesment of the, well, efficiency and effectiveness of going off-script. It only seemed to happen to make a particularly good point, sometimes with a relatively pointed line.

    And I say that as someone who can't stand the woman.

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    Great post: don't forget to visit the sites. Of course you must visit Havahd Yahd. Pizzaria Uno is pretty good if you get hungry (Harvard Square). John Harvard's is also another good choice. (pub fare) They have great chowder. There's a great Crate and Barrel in that location (if you need kitchen stuff). Quincy Market is also a must see. Great little eateries in that place. Legal Seafood is great for well, sea food (There's one in Copley).

    Yeah... Bush thinks Scalia is a model justice. Scary.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)


    Monday, on the Ed Schultz radio program, a syndicated product of the Jones Radio Network broadcast in the noon-to-three Portland slot wedged between programs from the menu of Air America Radio, Big Eddie gave an effusive and sincere praise break to "the Oregon delegation." Calling them 'great people, just a wonderful group' (paraphrased), Schultz singled out them (us) as the most wonderful contacts he'd connected with.

    If any delegates can find their way back this week to his broadcast location -- he said they are calling their camp the Fargo Group -- it sounded like Schultz would let Oregonians get a shout out to the homefires keepers.

    Holler. Holler back.


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    If I can steel up my courage, I'll try to do that. I grew up in North Dakota, and I introduced myself to Ed at the reception.

    Pictures of the reception and the Oregon delegation, the reception, Big Ed, and some BlueOregon bloggers.

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    J. Smith looks like he's got some kind of superpower eyes.

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