Archive for August, 2008

Setting the Scene

August 31st, 2008
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The Honolulu Star-Bulletin’s St. Paul Bureau is now open for business! Picked up the credentials, took a quick tour of the Xcel Energy Center and was thankful to see power strips and a strong Wi-Fi signal. I may not even have to leave the main convention area to write.

Some protesters were out on this Sunday, but it was very low-key, especially with the news that events could be delayed or postponed due to the severity of Gustav. As it is, tomorrow’s session will be short, and to-the-point, with no rhetoric and all business.

After that, events will be day-by-day (like the rest of us).

A few shots from the St. Paul venue for the RNC:

Outside Xcel

^^A behind-the scenes view (literally) of the MSNBC staging area just outside convention site.

SB Seat

^^Here’s the view of the convention from the Star-Bulletin St. Paul Bureau, also known as seat 112F10 inside the Xcel Energy Center, home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.

HI seats

^^The view of the convention podium from where the Hawaii delegation is sitting.

HI seats 2

^^A view looking at the Hawaii delegation seats, with the CNN broadcast booth set up almost directly behind them.

Convention business starts tomorrow. The session was supposed to go from 2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., but instead will be cut to about two hours starting around 3 p.m., out of respect to the potential disaster that could be caused by Hurricane Gustav.

Braggin’ Rights

August 30th, 2008
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Minneapolis was the site of the GOP convention media reception Saturday night. Starting tomorrow the convention action moves across the Mississippi River to St. Paul.

Having been to the areas on several occasions (my sister got married in Minneapolis 10 years ago) it’s hard to say which has more panache.

Minneapolis counts Prince, Rachel Leigh Cook, Vince Vaughn and MacGyver himself, Ricahrd Dean Anderson, among the celebrities born there. And of course there is the Mary Tyler Moore statue in downtown. St. Paul claims Loni Anderson and Josh Hartnett as celebrities born there. Peanuts creator Charles Schulz was born in Minneapolis but grew up in St. Paul.

The Vikings (NFL), Twins (MLB) and Timberwolves (NBA) all make their home in Minneapolis, while the NHL’s Wild skates at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, where the GOP will hold its convention. St. Paul also features the Saints, of the minor league American Association.

St. Paul also is the state capital and has adopted the motto of “Most Livable City in America” on its Web site.

This debate won’t be settled by the Republicans meeting here, but it has prompted both cities to put on their best faces for the national media coming to town this week.

Some pics from the media reception event, held on the riverfront by the Guthrie Theater.

The Guthrie Theater

Guthrie Theater

The blogger and St. Paul Mayor Christopher Coleman

The author and St. Paul Mayor Christopher Coleman

View looking west from the fourth floor of the Guthrie Theater

View One

View looking east down the Mississippi River (the bright white construction on the right side is that of the new bridge to replace the I-35 bridge that collapsed Aug. 1, 2007)

View Two

GOPers or Gators?

August 29th, 2008
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En route to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., I ran into one Hawaii Democrat who had no plans to catch the connecting flight from Chicago to Minneapolis.

Rep. Glenn Wakai (D, Moanalua Valley-Salt Lake) was heading south, forsaking the home of the Gophers for the swamp of the Gators.

Notice how he at first refers to the game as a “hotly contested race.” Always thinking like a politician, eh Glenn? We’ll chalk that up to the 8-hour flight.

Hawaii stars for Obama

August 28th, 2008
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Movie stars with Hawaii connections were with the Hawaii delegation at breakfast today.

Here’s what Kelly Hu, a homegrown star and Daniel Dae Kim, from “Lost” had to say to get the delegates ready for tonight’s acceptance speech by Sen. Barack Obama.

Hawaii’s big moment

August 27th, 2008
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Clinton delegate and Hawaii’s senior Sen. Dan Inouye and Obama delegate Kari Luna cast Hawaii’s votes on the convention floor. Although Hawaii is the birthplace of Sen. Barack Obama, one vote went to Sen. Hillary Clinton, with the remaining votes going to Obama.

The vote was actually 26 for Obama and 1 for Clinton. Hawaii delegates, Rep. Neil Abercrombie and Sen. Dan Akaka were held up in traffic and didn’t make it on the floor in time.

Shortly after that the nomination roll call was cut short by pre-arrangement when Sen. Clinton called for the convention to nominate Obama by acclamation.

Big Al’s moment

August 27th, 2008
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Al LewisHawaii delegate Al Lewis had his 15 minutes of fame in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. He was featured on CNN wearing his grass skirt, coconut hat, and green and white Waimanalo palaka vest.

Lewis said his feelings were hurt when commentators noted that the skirt was actual cellophane, not grass and not authentic.

So this year, Lewis returned to the convention with a real grass skirt, which he wore to a convention reception.

But, he reports, it was too heavy.

This morning Lewis announced he had “deboned” the skirt and turned it into little good luck leis, which he distributed to all the delegates

Waihee looking for unity

August 26th, 2008
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Former Gov. John Waihee, an early supporter and friend of former President Bill Clinton and a Clinton delegate at the Democrat’s convention in Denver, is watching Hillary Clinton.

Waihee says in this video interview that he expect Clinton to make a strong pitch for Barack Obama.

Hanabusa cracks the whip

August 26th, 2008
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Hanabusa

Hawaii Senate President Colleen Hanabusa is one of 40 floor whips named by the Clinton organization.

Hanabusa says the whips are supposed to help make sure the Clinton delegates understand that Sen. Hillary Clinton endorses Barack Obama.

“We are to go back home and explain this to all of the Clinton supporters,” Hanabusa said. The little-used position of convention whip is also supposed to maintain discipline among delegates. It is not known if Hanabusa gets to take the whip back to Hawaii and if it will be allowed on a commercial aircraft.

So far Hanabusa, who was the Clinton spokeswoman during February’s Hawaii caucus, has been to two meeting with the national Clinton organization and snagged one of the invitations to today’s Emily’s List soirée.

Here’s what the national women’s organization said about today’s event: More than 2,500 guests are expected to be in attendance when Emily’s List hosts a special reception at the Democratic National Convention with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator
Hillary Rodham Clinton, and special guest
Michelle Obama. In addition, the gala will feature appearances by Governor
Jennifer Granholm (MI), Rep.
Gwen Moore (WI) and Rep.
Hilda Solis (CA).

Hawaii meets Denver

August 25th, 2008
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Jonathan StarrFor Hawaii it is location, location, location.

Maui delegate Jonathan Starr, chairman of the Maui Planning Commission, was the first Hawaii Democrat on the floor when the Democratic National Convention opened for business Monday. The delegation has a prime spot next to the floor, just behind a camera podium and was swamped with photographers looking for “convention color.”

The bright floral decorations, leis and aloha wear caught the eye of photographers from across the nation and in Japan and Europe, Starr reports.

Smearing ink on dead trees!

August 25th, 2008
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Free Press

This morning, outside the door to the Hawaii delegation’s rooms at the Marriott hotel were five free papers and three magazines. Downstairs, the Wall Street Journal and the National Journal were pressed on you.

With more than 15,000 reporters, editors, photographers and television crews at the Democratic Convention, it is obvious that the folks at the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post, The Hill, Roll Call and USA Today figure someone still knows how to and cares to read.

Good for them.