Joe Repya notes the big number from the RNC – or rather, the lack of number:

For months leading up to the Republican National Convention the anti-war crowd in the Twin Cities boasted that they would have 50,000 to 100,000 people protesting on the streets of Saint Paul during the RNC. Well, they didn’t even come close.

The major media and the St. Paul Police estimated that at the height of the protests on Monday, September 1st, that maybe 8,000 to 10,000 people were present. The protest organizers have unions who bused in marchers (the AFL/CIO, the Teachers Union and Service Employee International Union) to thank for what pathetic numbers they did muster.

The media gave much more coverage to some 400 to 500 anarchists that rioted in the streets by breaking store windows and destroying automobiles. Naturally the anti-war organizers whined about it to the media by complaining that they didn’t get the coverage they deserved. Frankly, they deserved nothing. You have freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean others have to listen to what you say.

And remember – your right to swing  your fist ends not only where my face begins, but your parade permit ends when it says it ends.

Just like ours did.

Attention, RNC Protesters

I’ve heard a number of you complaining that the mainstream media “ignored the story” of your protests.

Let me set you straight; the protests were “dog bites man”.  You were not, as a rule, newsworthy.  A gathering of BDS sufferers?  It happens every weekend in these parts.

Inside the building, a woman was selected for Vice President; she electrified the party; she may have turned the election inside-out.

Outside:  A bunch of petulant arrested adolescents stomped and screamed and occasionally threw things.  If you have children, it’s a daily thing.

Get over it.

Open Letter To A Teenage “Radical”

Dear Teenager,

It was fun meeting you out on the other day, out on Sixth at Saint Peter, and having the little discussion we had. Part if it is that you seem a lot like I was, almost thirty years ago. Passionate, smart, full of piddle and vinegar to change something – and also full of information you’ve gotten from your peers, your teachers and, I can only presume, your parents that is just plain wrong.

You said a few things during our conversation that I felt deserved some answers. And while I took a whack at it last Wednesday, I’m going to do a bit more thorough of a job this time around.

No, This Is Not A Police State: You were upset at the police response to the protests, especially the Monday (and, I presume, Thursday) events which involved a bit of violence. You said the police were “systematically violating the First Amendment”.

With all due respect, no – and it seems that you and a lot of people much older and who should be much wiser than you are just as confused as you are on this subject. Let me explain a few things:

  • The Law is what it says. Not what you want it to be. Not even what you really really want it to be. The law says that groups of over 25-odd people need a permit to demonstrate; permits have conditions, like time limits and routes. If your demonstration (of 25-or-so or more people) goes outside those limits, you’re breaking the law. At an event like the RNC, you need a permit because the police and city don’t want big crowds of completely different people bumping into each other and breaking into violence.
  • The demonstrations that got broken up violently were, as far as I’ve heard, operating outside their permit conditions; late, or on the wrong route, or something.
  • You may not have agreed with the police response – and for that matter, I’m still thinking about some of it – but the fact was (or seems to be) that the police followed the rules (see above; the rules as they are written down, not necessarily the way you want them to be); they left permitted demonstrations alone, and gave big, non-permitted demonstrations time to disperse after the orders to disperse were given.

“The Police Overreacted”: Look, I’ll keep an open mind, but so far what I’ve seen is this: the cops gave lawful orders to disperse several times. An order to disperse a crowd is like an order for an alleged drunk driver to get out of a car; if you disagree, you need to take it up with a judge, not a cop.

Furthermore, from what I’ve seen and heard from others, the police pretty much did everything they could to avoid trouble until the demonstrators flagrantly disregarded the law. At the first march on Thursday, when hundreds of protesters were bottled up on th John Ireland overpass, the police just stood there. They’d have been well within the law to have arrested everyone on that bridge. They didn’t (thus boring many of the demonstrators to death, so they didn’t stick around for the louder, more disruptive riot later in the evening).

It’s all “The People” vs. “The Rich”: I refute you thus: George Soros is a Democrat. I am a Republican. Keep your stereotypes – which in an older person are called “bigotry”, but you’re young, so we’ll just call it “ignorance” and “mindlessly parroting what other people have told you” – to yourself,thanks.
More as the opportunity arises.

They Doth Protest Too Much

Predictably, the local lefty “alternative” media (for those of you for whom the Strib, WCCO and MPR aren’t left enough) is up in a snit over the treatment journalists got at the convention…

…er, wait.  Look at the coverage the Sorosphere gives the convention; see how often the term “media professional” pops up.  Interesting turn of phrase.

But I digress.  It’s interesting  the number of “Journalists” whose only “story” at the convention involved tramping around with a bunch of people whose primary mission (at a high level, not necessarily among any individual protester) was to “shut down the convention” and provoke a police overreaction.

Among “journalists” who seem institutionally incapable of recognizing, much less “reporting”, a couple of key facts; that…:

  1. …if you’re protesting in a group of over 25 or so, and you have no permit, you have an illegal assembly.  And no, that doesn’t chill free speech, because…
  2. …permits are issued pretty much for the asking in Saint Paul, except when EVERYONE wants one, in which case there’s a lottery. As there was, last spring.  Permits are issued so that groups of, say, klansmen don’t get to demonstrate at the same time and place as, say, Holocaust survivors.    And…
  3. …if your “demonstration” goes outside the time and place specified on the permit, your assembly is illegal.  And…
  4. …when you’re at an illegal assembly, the Police have every right to tell you to leave. And…
  5. … when the police tell you to leave, it’s called a “lawful order”.  You have no more business arguing with cop about an order to disperse than you do to try to try to talk your way out of showing one your drivers license when you’ve been pulled over.  It’s the law.  And…
  6. …if you resist, stall or dink around with lawful orders, you can be warned – and then force can be used to enforce the order.

Now – if any of you “media professionals can show me any stories where…:

  1. …the police regulated the content of any of the legal protests, or…
  2. …regulated the content of any “media professional”‘s coverage of any event, or…
  3. …broke up a legal, permitted protest where nobody was committing violence,

…then let’s talk.

And then we’ll talk about the double standard you “media professionals” practice; you condemn the police for treating “media professionals” (and dipsticks with video cameras who claimed to be “journalists”) who were standing around at illegal assemblies as what they were – poeple who are breaking the law.  And then you turn around and support the Obama campaign, an administration that will make the “Fairness” Doctrine a matter of policy, which will suppress genuine, legal speech with the full weight of the federal government.

We’re talking about a group of “media professionals” (and amateurs, not that a blogger is one to crab about that) whose only focus was the protests and whatever happened to them.  They cared not an iota about what happened in the Xcel Center (beyond the fact that the objects of their stereotypes and bigotry were going to be meeting there); they certainly didn’t cover the dark side of the protesters on whom they slathered endless, favorable, victim-mongering coverage (while the “demonstrators'” sandbag attacks on buses and the harassment of delegates on their way to the convention somehow never got covered.  Go figure!).  No, these “journalists” already had their stories written before they arrived in downtown Saint Paul. 

And that’s not really “journalism”.

So maybe if we conservatives peed in buckets, slept under  bridges and didn’t shower for a few weeks…?

Convention: Sublime To The Ridiculous

With all the talk about Sarah Palin’s sublime speech and the anarkids’ display of petulance, it seems we’ve pretty much missed talking about the dumbest display of the entire RNC; “True Blue Minnesota”‘s jumbotron.

Now, when TBM started talking about mounting “huge” jumbotrons high above downtown Saint Paul, on Cathedral Hill, to beam messages of goading and shame down upon the assembled delegates, I was thinking something like this:

But in fact, the effect was neither as sinister nor as grandiose.

Indeed, I can’t find a photo of it anywhere on the web (I didn’t bring a camera with me). Absent a picture, I need to come up with something to explain the overall effect.


That’s it.

Shaken, not detonated

A couple of our loyal commenters accused law enforcement of “overreaching” during the pre-RNC house raids that uncovered various and sundry household items; asserting that the items uncovered could be used for anything.

Does Freedom of Assembly Include the Right to Carry a Bucket of Urine?

And Now She’s A Weapons Expert

The Star Tribune listed an abbreviated list of said items; conveniently omitting those that tend to be less useful for domestic chores, some of those items included throwing knives, a gas mask and filter, homemade caltrops (everyone that reads this blog surely knows what they are by now), and empty plastic buckets cut and made into shields.

Despite hundreds of arrests and the generous use of mace and teargas, the event went on without making national news for the wrong reason. Clearly this was the result of a conspicuous show of force and a proactive approach on the part of law enforcement.

But it could have been en entirely different story if it weren’t for the aforementioned approach, and as it turns out a little luck.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Two Texas men are charged in federal court in Minneapolis with illegally possessing Molotov cocktails. Authorities say the men planned to target law enforcement during the Republican National Convention.

Twenty-two-year-old David Guy McKay and 23-year-old Bradley Neil Crowder are each charged with one count of possession of firearms that were not registered to them.

The two Austin men are in custody following an initial court appearance Friday.

According to the criminal complaint, law enforcement officers overheard a conversation in which McKay said the Molotov cocktails he and Crowder made would be thrown at vehicles parked in a lot in St. Paul.

The lot was used by law enforcement, and patrolled by U.S. Secret Service and the military.

Just for fun, I would entertain anyone’s offering as to other common household uses for the molotov cocktail. Thank you in advance for your creativity as a liberal to defend almost any behavior as a personal freedom or exercise of free speech.

Whilst Standing On The John Ireland Bridge

We – Kevin Ecker and I – were standing about fifty yards behind the police line with about eight other civilians, most of them with cameras.  Most of the other civilians had obvious signs of non-GOP sympathy; T-shirts, buttons, whatever.  I kept my own beliefs pretty quiet all afternoon while wandering among them; I certainly kept my AM1280 ID badge in my pocket.  I figured discretion is the better part of valor thrillseeking.

A couple of cops in military uniforms walked up from behind and asked us to move north off the bridge and back off the street.  The ten or so of us turned around and started trudging up the hill.

A lingerie-model hot woman with a digital SLR quipped “so it’s a police state!”

I’d been listening to this crap all day.  I couldn’t take any more.

“If this were a police state”, I said just loudly enough for everyone to hear, “the protesters would already be dead”. 

They didn’t really talk with me anymore.

What I Did All Day: 5PM

Kevin and I had no idea which way the crowd was going to turn; all I knew was I didn’t want to get cut off from the Excel and have to dash halfway around the metro to get on the air at 8PM.

The crowd turned right onto the frontage road, as Kevin and I raced up to John Ireland Boulevard.  We moved across the bridge as the protest turned left, led by a group of about 20 bike cops and a dozen or so mounted officers.

They strolled out onto the bridge…

…and then things changed.  The bike and horse cops formed a line.  A squad of motorcycle cops raced down from the Cathedral to join them.  They pulled out their Hats ‘n Bats and stopped the march in the middle of the bridge over I94.

Kevin and I stayed as close to the action as we could – but after a few minutes, a couple of Bureau of Criminal Apprehension cops in military battledress pointed us back to the north approach.   We grabbed some space on the fence overlooking the bridge, and waited.

A few moments later, I heard a footsteps.  I turned – and saw over 100 cops in riot gear moving down from the History Center, donning gas masks and moving to the front rank.  It almost looked like a medieval battlefield shaping up; several ranks of infantry with sticks and armor, backed up by the cavalry…

…with artillery – half a dozen cops with 37mm tear gas grenade launchers moved up behind the whole lot.

And we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And wondered where they were going.

Until I saw more riot cops at the north end of the bridge. They had the entire march bottled up on the John Ireland bridge; no  way to go to the east or west (they were 20 feet above the freeway), or forward or back.

So we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Someone quipped “I think they’re trying to bore them to death”.  The cop I was talking with didn’t disagree.

Eventually, after over an hour of standing around on the bridge, it appeared they were starting to disperse to the north.

Nothing happened, but it was fascinating to watch it happen.

I hiked down Kellogg to the Xcel, walking through a checkpoint and past a long row of National Guard to get to Five Corners and the X.

What I Did All Day: 3PM

I didn’t get much chance to blog my activities at and around the RNC yesterday – so I’m going to try to catch up now.

Around 2:15, my boss called us all into a meeting to tell us the City had told the company to send all employees home at 3PM, anticipating trouble with the 4PM “anti-war” rally.

Score“, I thought, despairing that I’d ever  get to cover a genuine protest at this convention.

I headed out on the street, and called Marty Owings, host of Radio Free Nation over on Blog Talk Radio and started chasing leads.

And chasing.

And chasing.

We started by running to Harriet Island – where Colleen Rowley’s party had pretty well broken up.

So it was down to Mears Park, where the anarkids had massed on a couple of previous nights.  Zilch.

I figured we should just hang around the entrance on 6th and Market, which had seen so much of the action earlier in the week.

As we were crossing Wabasha, we saw a couple of “street medics” – anarkids with red crosses taped on their clothes, carrying Holly Hobby Junior First Aid kits – walking toward the Capitol, chattering on their walkie-talkies.

Score“, again.  We followed them to the Capitol, where the 4PM “Anti-War” rally, the one we talked about in July, was about to get underway. A terrible rap/jazz band was trying to channel Rage Against The Machine, playing to a crowd that was (someone call Molly Priesmeyer) about 99.5% white.  No, I’m not kidding; I counted.  I saw exactly two Afro-Americans in the crowd, and two more later.

The “band” was trying to whip the crowd into a frenzy with their tributes to (I’m not making this up) Hugo Chavez and Eugene Debs.

There was no need to caricature them.  And given the amount of pot smoke I smelled, I don’t think there was much chance of “Frenzy”, at least not yet.

I moved up on the hill next to the stage, and watched the crowd – and the little knots of cops massing down on Ireland and Cedar.

Suddenly – around 4;30 – a group of a dozen Saint Paul bike cops rolled up the Mall through the middle of the crowd.  Thirty yards from the stage, they veered stage-right into the crowd, and apparently grabbed a couple of protesters (sources say they’d been followed after committing some act of vandalism or criminality downtown).  The entire crowd – probably 4-500 at this point – raced over around the dozen cops, who formed a circle around their quarry.

I turned around; two groups of riot cops (20-30 each) poured out of the capitol in full gear, and raced down the steps, pushing a path through the crowd and formed another circle around the bike cops.  Off to stage left, a group of mounted cops charged across the grounds, leading another group of riot cops on foot.  They formed a double cordon around the bike cops – one facing in, the other facing out, and escorted them over toward John Ireland, where a couple of Saint Paul black and whites came to take the suspects away.

I went down on the capitol grounds as the crowd went back to “enjoying” the shrill, hectoring speeches.  The cops disenagaged with a lot of synchronize shouting and banging of gear, in an almost-tribal display of macho that, I won’t lie, made me proud to be an American.  They pulled back to the top of the capitols steps, behind the stage.

I met Kevin Ecker and Leo Pusateri, about the time word came to us that their permit to use the capitol grounds was going to expire at 5PM.

As a loudspeaker truck went onto the capitol grounds to inform the crowd, the whole mass started moving south toward Constitution Avenue with almost terrifying (at the moment) speed.

Breaking News

The City of Saint Paul has asked downtown businesses to send workers home in advance of the 4PM protest march.

This is the protest dealt with in the meeting I personally covered about six weeks ago:

“We worked very hard to make the Day 1 march on the Xcel something that you can bring your family to and you can all come out for the war. And we believe Day 4 is for the truly committed and for the people who really want to see change and expect that to be a little harder to come to than just showing up with the kids and the balloons.”

Other rumors are flying.

I’ll be on the air tonight from 8 til 10 on AM1280.

What If A Bunch Of El-Flopola Self-Styled “Radicals” Took Their Masks Off And Nobody Cared?

Last weekend’s raids in Minneapolis drew a fair share of controversy; many commentators posited that, based on the list of materials captured in the raids, it appeared that Ramsey County sheriff Bob Fletcher overreached in carrying out the raids (although I personally will wait to hear more about the evidence against the various arrestees).

I suspect that the Ramco Sheriff and the other Law Enforcement agencies involved in the raids did a little quick calculating (Warning!  Pure Conjecture Follows!) and figured that weathering a few lawsuits from the ACLU’s legal jackals would be better than dealing with the kinds of violence and mayhem the subjects were planning.

I think it worked.

The first day’s protests were a complete flop.  The anarkids’ planned mayhem was largely anticipated and controlled.  Traffic was never blocked. And outside of a few spasms of impotent violence, things pretty much just worked.

So the anarkids are back to going “They hit us first!”  They’ll be “unmasking” and “answering questions” at a presser at one of the raided houses later today.

Almost wish I could be there.

Let The Festivities Begin

Seen down the street, in a duplex usually clogged with Hamline University kids whose yard has been slathered with hand-drawn “STOP THE RNC” placards for the past week; five mohawked, black-in-head-to-toe clad college kids with black and red “Anarchist” flags staggering out into the street, milling about…

…and climbing into a late-model minivan.

More Than Meets The Eye?

The local leftysphere is running itself ragged trying to spin the “anarchist” raids over the weekend.

Charlie Quimby echoes the complaints of many leftybloggers in reaction to the left’s lawyers’ spin about, among other things, the buckets of urine:

But then, sometimes a bucket of urine is just a bucket of urine.

Not everyone in America lives with two-and-half baths or maintains their houses to Martha Stewart standards. That may make them a civil nuisance, but it doesn’t make them criminals.

In an atypical house, such as one being used as a crash pad for large numbers of youngsters who lean toward the permacultural persuasion, there’s a better explanation than stockpiling material for urine bombs.

The practice might appear far fetched to average suburbanites…

…as well as to this Saint Paul guy, who’s managed to find a way to dispose of urine – pretty much always in a toilet.

Quimby’s point – that many homeowners might have some of the shopping list of “weird” items in their homes. Yesterday, I took a sarcastic stab at the list. Today, let’s do a real comparative inventory:

  • materials to creating “sleeping dragons” – yes, I have chain link fence and plumbing.
  • large amounts of urine – this fits more in the “fungible asset” than in the “permanent acquisition” category.
  • wrist rockets – there’s probably a cheap one that my stepson left here years ago, somewhere.
  • machete, hatchet and several throwing knives – Yes on the machete and hatchet. Throwing knives are for wannabee ninjas who haven’t figured out that guns are better.
  • a gas mask and filter – not yet.
  • Glass bottles, rags, flammable liquids, pipes, axes – Yes, indeed.
  • Caltrops – think “big metal jumping jacks”; if they’re not RenFest craftspeople, these are a little odd, but whatever.
  • Bolt cutters, sledgehammers, etc – no, but not unreasonable.
  • A years long record of planning mayhem at the RNC that’s been documented most likely by law-enforcement infiltrators and elsewhere, which likely was not included in the “bill of materials” seized at the various residences, and without which any prosecution would be very dicey, but which likely exists but is more useful for things like “arraignments” and “trials” than for “stories about raids picking up buckets of urine – Nope. I don’t have that.

Let’s establish this; I know nothing about the specifics of this case. I would never rule out “law enforcement overreach” for something like this.

But I highly doubt that the raids were carried out because of buckets of urine or caltrops. I’m going to go out on a limb, and say the cops likely have something else; some sort of paper trail linking at least some of those arrested to at least some kind of organized plan for mayhem.
Still – I’m not completely unsympathetic with the “anarchists”. More – probably much more – on that later.

And Now She’s A Weapons Expert

Molly “Is It White In Here” Priesmeyer on the cops’ haul in yesterday’s anarchist/protester raids:

A look over the inventory receipt for the raid at 3240 17th Avenue (hat tip TC Indy Media) reveals that most of the items the police seized out of the the home this morning as “evidence to riot” are things that could be found in nearly any home: They confiscated a pack of staples, laptop computers, bike locks, cell phones, a storage device, a computer hard drive, curtain rods, a checkbook.

Priesmeyer doesn’t see fit to mention the things found in various raids that are less likely to be found in the “typical” home, according to my colleague JRoosh and the Pioneer Press (or, for that matter, to tell us who “Nestor” is and what he or she’s significance to the story is; “Nestor” is a disembodied last name Priesmeyer’s piece; perhaps it’s really a secret government program?:

  • materials to creating “sleeping dragons” (PVC pipe, chicken wire, duct tape), which is when protesters lock themselves together
  • large amounts of urine, including three to five gallon buckets of urine
  • wrist rockets
  • machete, hatchet and several throwing knives
  • a gas mask and filter
  • empty glass bottles
  • rags
  • flammable liquids
  • homemade caltrops (devises used to disable buses in roads)
  • metal pipes
  • axes
  • bolt cutters
  • sledge hammers
  • repelling equipment
  • Kryptonite locks
  • empty plastic buckets cut and made into shields
  • material for protective padding
  • an Army helmet.
  • A typical house? Perhaps; other than the buckets of urine and the caltrops (medieval stop strips – think jumping jacks designed to blow out tires), who doesn’t have all the above?

    I mean, really?

    The 37 caltrops found in the garage of the home, tiny nail-like devices used to stop traffic or puncture wheels, are also not evidence or conspiracy to commit a riot, Nestor says. For one thing, there were only 37 of them, hardly enough to stop much.


    It takes ONE to stop a bus.

    It takes half a dozen, maybe ten, to make a street fairly impassable, and to tie up traffic pretty badly even at a best case.

    “Did they have some devices to try to block traffic? Maybe so,” Nestor assert. “But does that mean they should be arrested on conspiracy charges? Not at all. This was intended to halt the protests.”

    Intended to halt protests intended to douse people with urine and shred their tires?

    This free speech absolutist is having a hard time ginning up much sympathy.

    Does Freedom of Assembly Include the Right to Carry a Bucket of Urine?

    Police raid RNC protest sites in Twin Cities

    First of all, protesting is a loser’s game. It has no lasting impact on policy or public opinion. If you want to affect policy, you have to be organized, respectful, and these days demonstrate that you have at least one hundred thousand voters of the same consensus, whatever your cause or complaint.

    Otherwise you are a non-starter politically. You may find that unfair, nonetheless it is how the game is played. The internet, the great equalizer of this day and age makes the dissemination of information and the gathering unto oneself of like-minders easier than ever.

    As a blogger, I don’t begrudge anyone that would oppose the policies of their government. Open, unfettered debate is a right and a responsibility for every citizen. However, protesting and the disruption of a legitimate political process is an ineffective, wasteful, and frankly lazy way to express one’s opinion.

    Our law enforcement is charged with protecting those that gather for the legitimate process as well as the protestors, putting them in a veritable squeeze play. Add the fact that an outbreak of violence at an event of the magnitude of the Republican Convention in Saint Paul is not out the realm of possibility.

    If the protesters are obtuse enough to make their plans to exercise anarchy and disruption known, a preemptive strike by law enforcement should not be a surprise and in fact serves to dissuade those that would break the law by bringing harm to persons or property.

    Ramsey County authorities raided several Minneapolis homes and a St. Paul building on Friday and Saturday as a pre-emptive strike against disruptive protests of the Republican National Convention.

    Three people were arrested and more than 100 were handcuffed, questioned and released by scores of deputies and police officers, according to police and elected officials familiar with the raids.

    In a statement Saturday morning, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said the St. Paul raid targeted the RNC Welcoming Committee, a group he described as “a criminal enterprise made up of 35 self-described anarchists…intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention.”

    But that can’t be right. How could a group with such an innocuous name intend to bring harm to persons or property?

    “These acts include tactics to blockade and disable delegate buses, breaching venue security and injuring police officers,” Fletcher said.

    But the raids drew immediate condemnation from activists and St. Paul City Councilman Dave Thune, whose district includes the former theater at 627 Smith Avenue South, which was rented by activists as a gathering space.

    “This is not the way to start things off,” Thune said Saturday morning. “This is sending the wrong message. Regardless of how you feel about these people…they had a right to be there.”

    Not if they are breaking the law – any law. Even the RNC Welcoming Committee should be smart enough to know that.

    At a news conference Saturday, Cheri Honkala of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, one of the protest groups, described the Friday raid and an earlier one Thursday that evicted a demonstrators’ camp on Harriet Island as “terrorism” intended to divert attention from issues the protest groups are raising and cast the news as police versus protestors.

    Terrorism. Don’t insult our intelligence.

    You are not raising any issues. No one cares about you because you have marginalized yourself by the means you have chosen to publicize your cause.

    “We will not be intimidated,” Honkala said.

    Big words. Not smart.

    Thune was especially critical of Fletcher for taking action within St. Paul city limits and because the raid apparently did not yield any dangerous materials, such as Molotov cocktails, bombs or other devices.

    “I’m really ticked off…the city is perfectly capable of taking care of things,” Thune said. “If they had found anything that could have been used to commit a crime they would have arrested somebody.”

    Sounds like the cops cut the protesters some slack. Law Enforcement had a Warrant. Hey Thune, mind explaining what these items might be used for then?

    Pioneer Press/Twin Cities.com (HT “Chuck”):

    • materials to creating “sleeping dragons” (PVC pipe, chicken wire, duct tape), which is when protesters lock themselves together 
    • large amounts of urine, including three to five gallon buckets of urine 
    • wrist rockets 
    • a machete, hatchet and several throwing knives 
    • a gas mask and filter 
    • empty glass bottles 
    • rags 
    • flammable liquids 
    • homemade caltrops (devises used to disable buses in roads) 
    • metal pipes 
    • axes 
    • bolt cutters 
    • sledge hammers 
    • repelling equipment 
    • Kryptonite locks 
    • empty plastic buckets cut and made into shields 
    • material for protective padding 
    • an Army helmet. 

    The RNC Welcoming Committee denied criminal intent and described the police actions as “violence” that is a sign of more extreme police measures to come.

    “The police may claim that the raid was executed according to protocol – however, the violence inherent in this action may only be a hint of the violence to be expected on Monday and beyond, and is only a hint at the violence perpetrated daily by the police,” the group’s statement read.

    Violence? Reports (from a newspaper more likely to be sympathetic to the protestors than anyone else by the way) cited no violence save busting down a door. Being asked to lie down and keep still is hardly an act of violence.

    …and what the hell do you plan on doing with a bucket of urine any way? Idiots.

    This action on the part of law enforcement is a small price to pay in what will surely be a rarified environment. The people that have gathered lawfully have as much right to be there, and to be kept safe, as the protesters have to excrete their rage.

    Four of these things belong together

    Four of these things belong together
    Four of these things are kind of the same
    Can you guess which one of these doesn’t belong here?
    Now it’s time to play our game (time to play our game).

    Joe   Barack   Gustav   Sarah   John  

    “That’s right boys and girls. If you guessed  Gustav, you’re right!

    Gustav has become a real S.O.B. kids, and we want him to go away!

    Yes, kids, I know that makes Gustav a little like Joe.

    Stop laughing.

    No kids, I don’t know how many times federal dollars will be used to half-rebuild a community that was built below sea level.

    Stay focused kids.

    We want Gustav to stay away from the Gulf Coast so that all the nice activists here in town don’t have to extend their stay and won’t get fired from their jobs at, well, actually they don’t have jobs – we call them parasites – I mean professional protesters.

    Here’s the update from forecaster Knapp kids!”

    WTNT62 KNHC 291915
    315 PM EDT FRI AUG 29 2008

    MPH…120 KM/HR.


    Welcome To My City, Delegates

    Welcome to Saint Paul, all you delegates. This is my town.

    Perhaps you’ve heard – we have a city council president who has an interesting opinion aobut Republicans and everything about us…:

    …except maybe the tax money you bring in (because Dave Thune’s been known to raise a tax or two).

    Oh, he originally said he was talking about “lobbyists” – but then, he clarified:

    Finally, I may have unfairly sullied the reputation of lobbyists. My friend
    [redacted, a lobbyist] pointed out that lobbyists don’t puke, they’re professionals who have experience holding their liquor. Its the amateurs who spew.

    He may be right, but the particular lobbyists we’ll have in town that week
    are the ones who have initiated this whole discussion.

    And of course these are the lobbyists who brought us an illegal and tragic war, a recession, polluted water, expensive drugs, and even the moralists who preach family values but play “outside the box” themselves. They are enough to make me queasy without a snootful…


    Anyway – welcome to town, delegates!

    Getting To The 7th Street Counterprotest Site

    You wanna make it to downtown Saint Paul for the big counteprotest.

    I’m here to help.

    Here are some simple directions and recommendations from a Saint Paul guy. They should get you into the city – close by the West 7th Street counterprotest site – and back home again. Best of all – they’re fairly cheap.

    Getting To Triangle Park

    • Southwest/Southern Subs – I recommend parking at the 28th Avenue Park and Ride (it’s a big, free ramp) or at the Mall of America (or, if they’re full, the Fort Snelling Park and Ride), and taking the 54 bus to downtown Saint Paul (it leaves 4-5 times an hour from both the Mall and the 28th Avenue Park and Ride), or taking the Hiawatha Light Rail train north to the 46th Street Station, and taking the 74 bus to Saint Paul (it comes every 10-15 minutes). Both buses run up West Seventh Street; they’re rerouted around the Excel Center, but both should drop you in easy walking distance of the counterprotest location.
    • West/Northwest Subs – if it were me, I’d park at one of the Target Center ramps (right off 394 and 94 in downtown Minneapolis), hiking down to the Fifth Street Bus Garage, and taking either the 94 Express, the limited-stop 50 bus (during rush hour only) or as a last resort the 16 bus to downtown Saint Paul. I recommend getting off at 7th and Cedar – it’s a 2-3 block walk to the west (to your right) to get to the counterprotest site. If you’re in a hurry, you can also take the Hiawatha Light Rail south to Lake Street Station and, again, take the 21 bus east to Saint Paul. It’ll be about a half-hour bus ride, but it’ll take you to within easy walking distance of the counterprotest site. Again – , plus parking at the Target (or wherever).
    • North/Northeast Suburbs – Seriously – park at Rosedale and take the 65 bus. It’s about a 20 minute ride to Cathedral Hill, and drops you right at Triangle Park (Summit/John Ireland and Marshall).
    • East Suburbs – I’d go to the Sunray Transit Center (I94 at McKnight, just west of 3M), park, and take the 63 Bus. It actually runs down Seventh Street (during the convention to Jackson, I think) and should drop you within a block or so of the counterprotest site.
    • Southeast Suburbs – Honestly, I’d drive to Signal Hills shopping center on South Robert and take the 67 bus. It’ll drop you at 7th and Wabasha Robert, right by the counterprotest.

    If you insist on driving – good luck. You’re on your own. Saint Paulites know a few secret hideaways for parking; sometimes if you get to an event early enough, you can find free parking on Cathedral Hill, on or about Summit Avenue south/west of the Cathedral. If it’s a big event, that can mean the far reaches of Cathedral Hill – like, Summit and Dale. No kidding. Patience is a virtue, unless you’re there very early in the day. As to parking ramps downtown – vaya con Dios.

    Bus And Train Fares: Buses are $1.50 – $2.00 during rush hour (5-9, 3-7). Trains are always $2. Express buses (the 94 Express) are $2.75. Get and save your transfers.

    CORRECTION: I was in error, and confused “Vets for Freedom” wtih Joe Repya. They are completely different. Vets for Freedom is in no way affiliated with this action.

    I regret any confusion.

    Getting To Triangle Park

    Saint Paul; it’s not a city for the faint of heart. It defeated Jesse Ventura. It could beat you. Seriously, I suspect that Minneapolis will see plenty of protest activity from “demonstrators” who are afraid to look for Saint Paul.

    But you love your country, so you want to be at the Vets for Freedom counterprotest on Monday, 9/1. You’re worried (justifiably) about parking.

    I’ve had quite a number of people ask “how do I get to the counterprotest?”

    Here are some simple directions and recommendations from a Saint Paul guy. They should get you into the city and back home again. Best of all – they’re fairly cheap.

    Getting To Triangle Park

    • Southwest/Southern Subs – I recommend parking at the 28th Avenue Park and Ride (it’s a big, free ramp) or at the Mall of America (or, if they’re full, the Fort Snelling Park and Ride), taking the Hiawatha Light Rail train north to the Lake Street Station, and taking the 21 bus east to Saint Paul (it comes every 10-15 minutes). Triangle Park is across the street from the Cathedral, overlooking downtown! Hang onto your transfers – they’re good for three hours.
    • West/Northwest Subs – if it were me, I’d park at one of the Target Center ramps (right off 394 and 94 in downtown Minneapolis) and take the Hiawatha Light Rail south to Lake Street Station and, again, take the 21 bus east to Saint Paul. It’ll be about a half-hour bus ride, but it’ll drop you right at Triangle Park. The Target Center ramps cost money, but they’re cheaper than most decent ramps in Minneapolis.
    • North/Northeast Suburbs – Seriously – park at Rosedale and take the 65 bus. It’s about a 20 minute ride to Cathedral Hill, and drops you right at Triangle Park (Summit/John Ireland and Marshall).
    • East Suburbs – I’d go to the Sunray Transit Center (I94 at McKnight, just west of 3M), park, and take the 63 Bus. It actually runs down Seventh Street, and doesn’t actually go up Cathedral Hill to Triangle Park. Best option; jump off the 63 on Sixth Street (in downtown Saint Paul) at Jackson, Robert or Minnesota streets and transfer to a 21 Westbound (at the same stop) which will take you straight up the hill to Triangle Park, which’ll be on your left across from the Cathedral.

    If you insist on driving – good luck. You’re on your own. Saint Paulites know a few secret hideaways for parking; sometimes if you get to an event early enough, you can find free parking on Cathedral Hill, on or about Summit Avenue south/west of the Cathedral. If it’s a big event, that can mean the far reaches of Cathedral Hill – like, Summit and Dale. No kidding. Patience is a virtue, unless you’re there very early in the day. As to parking ramps downtown – vaya con Dios.

    Bus And Train Fares: Buses are $1.50 – $2.00 during rush hour (5-9AM, 3-7PM). Express buses (the 94 Express) are $2.75. Trains are always $2. Get and save your transfers.

    Methinks Thou Dost Protest Too Much

    I’m not entirely sure what to make of this story, about the Minneapolis Police and a bunch of “journalist” from a “new media collective” in New York…:

    Three New York media professionals in town to cover the Republican National Convention were detained by Minneapolis police officers in Northeast Minneapolis early Tuesday morning. Police confiscated their equipment, which the trio calls a deliberate attack on their right to free speech.

    Vlad Teichberg, Olivia Katz and Anita Braithwaite are from the New York-based Glass Bead Collective, a new media arts group. Among the equipment taken: video cameras, still cameras, laptops, notebooks, money and other personal belongings.

    …because while I am a First Amendment absolutist (like any libertarian-conservative), I also notice that whenever the local lefty “alternative” media covers these people, they sow the word “journalist” like mines along the Korean border.  Almost to the point of caricature.
    They are, of course – like the Minnesoros “Independent” and, for that matter, AM1280 and this very blog, flogging agendas.  Which is not the “journalism” I was taught when I did it for a (small, crummy) living.

    Time Machine?

    MPR’s Tom Scheck is in Denver, and he says the trouble started bright and early yesterday:

    Several protesters shut down the LRT and bus lines in downtown Denver for about thirty minutes this afternoon. How do I know? Well, I was waiting to get on the LRT and saw several dozen cops marching up the road. So I followed them and found out why my wait at the transit stop was so long.


    The good news?

    Dozens of police in full riot gear were ready to roll when the incident started. The police eventually got the protesters, the onlookers and the media to stay on the sidewalks. The only disruption came from this one protester who rode her bike around the police barricades.

    Photo of egregiously hideous Code Pinko omitted due to it being breakfast time.