Protest Music for the New Millenium

(Todd Smith already wrote this article) On stage, Steve Earle led the crowd in a sing-a-long of "Steve’s Hammer (for Pete)" – a song that picks up on that parenthetical Pete (Seeger)’s "If I Had a Hammer," from 1949. "I’m gonna say a line, and you’re gonna repeat it back to me," Earle said. "And […]

Yes We Can!

Bad design is all around us, but there’s no bad design like bad election year design. Let’s take a moment here to catalog some notable atrocities from recent election cycles, and then hang our heads in bipartisan shame. Offender number one is Bush/Cheney’s militantly mindless logo from 2004; you can almost hear the designer making […]


To be honest, I didn’t know who Hunter S. Thompson was until after he killed himself. It was a miserable year in college. Bush had slithered his way into the White House for the second time and winter at Carleton seemed even more bitter than usual. Our anger had given way to numb depression as […]

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

We deserve Barack Obama. That is tonight’s message. And Obama has arrived! The crowd roars — everyone on their feet, so many of them smiling, laughing, a few even silently crying. Is this the message of change? He can barely be heard above the din. For three whole minutes the crowd roars, only getting louder […]

Inside the Press Area

7:28Inside the press area Obamamania takes no prisoners. The bloggers, who never entertained the pretense of objectivity, are the first to fall. One writer for local blog MNpublius is pacing the press area looking for a way out. "We are quarantined here!" he tells me. "It is morning in America. I wanna be cheering," he […]

Not with a Bang, But a Whimper

This is the way the Democratic Primary season ends, not with a bang but a whimper. The presidential campaign that started with a listening tour designed to state the obvious — that people wanted Hillary Clinton to run — will end the same way, with people telling her it’s time to hang it up. Earlier […]

Turn It Down

Press access to the general public has now been cut off. The only way out of the press area is through the tunnel. According to Tim Russert, Obama’s people are negotiating Hillary’s withdrawal. Hillary insists she should be offered the VP position, so she can turn it down and withdraw with dignity. Obama’s people are […]

MSNBC — Reporting from the Twin Cities

The screams continue as the overhead screens show MSNBC reporting from right here, the Xcel Center. Ah… now I understand why news reports always show people cheering in the background. They’re just cheering themselves on. How quaint. Somehow, as a viewer, you always assume the cheers are for the politician. (I should have known better.) […]

Eye of the Storm

After the press is settled in, the doors open to the general public. It’s about 10 past six. The crowds file in, steadily, slowly, filling the arena. Is this an arena? I think it is. And right now, it feels like we’re the show — broken gladiators. I don’t see anyone turn to the crowd. […]

When I say "O", You Say "Bama!"

7:00 p.m. Out on the sidewalk, the lines of people snake around the block. A pack of Obama playing cards sells for $10. The Obama volunteers are warming up the crowd as they make their way into the venue. "When I say O," chants one Obama volunteer. "You say…" "BAMA!" the crowd yells back.