Sightings: IX

(cross posted from writemarsh!)

Jim Matthews (a/k/a King James the Turd) has left Montgomeryshire and is on his way to Minneapolis.

A reliable source (in first class) was enjoying a pre-flight libation (or two) when who should board and get seated in coach? None other than His highness…and former county commissioner Thomas Jay Ellis! (For the record, the two did not sit together)

Our friend in first class sent the two drinks.

The flight attendant came back and told our source that only one of the two took him up on the offer-and proceeded to order two scotches.

Hmmmmm. Wonder who?

As a public service, anybody wishing to report a sighting while in Minneapolis can do so anonymously…just click on the email link below!

August 31, 2008 at 10:15 pm Comments (0)

All Eyes on NOLA

Now is not the time for politics. For all of those in Louisiana, it’s a time to get ready for what could be another disaster on the level of Hurricane Katrina. For the rest of us in the nation, it’s a time for prayer.

Almighty God, I ask that you spare the people of New Orleans from further suffering. May those in the path of Hurricane Gustav be kept safe by your protection. May the destruction caused by the storm be as limited as possible. May all human lives at risk be preserved. I ask this in the name of God, who is blessed forever. Amen.

The Navy Hymn seems appropriate here:

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy Word,
Who walked on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our family shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect us wheresoever we go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

August 31, 2008 at 9:35 pm Comments (0)

RNC2008: Looking to Day 1

Tomorrow’s convention activities have been scaled back as a result of the landing of Hurricane Gustav in the Gulf States.

Monday’s convention meetings will only be a few hours long as a result. Tuesday through Thursday are being played by ear.

August 31, 2008 at 8:47 pm Comments (0)

RNC2008: Opening Show

The Minneapolis Convention Center was the scene for a big hob-nob fest today, before the actual convention kicks off.

Here a few pictures…

FDR’s Limo

White House model

Oval Office

August 31, 2008 at 8:38 pm Comments (0)

RNC2008: Media Credentials

Officially official.

As luck would have it, I ran into a pawatercooler reader (and a freelance writer) who promptly introduced me to KYW1060’s Brad Segall, who briefly interviewed me about the blogger program at the RNC, as well as the Sarah Palin VP pick.

Maybe I’ll be on.

August 31, 2008 at 8:32 pm Comments (0)

McCain/Palin Washington PA Rally Report, Part 2

This is the conclusion of McCain/Palin Washington PA Rally Report, Part 1

Once the musicians were done, the next person out on the stage was none other than Lynn Swann, the legendary Wide Receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Swann thanked those of us in the crowd who supported him in 2006 (anytime, Swannie!), and he also handed out some yellow towels, very similar to the world famous Terrible Towels of the Pittsburgh Steelers, except that they had “McCain” written on them instead.

Lynn Swann talks to the crowd, while holding a Terrible McCain Towel in his hand (click for larger image)

Swann told us that Myron Cope, creator of the Terrible Towel, used to say that waving those towels gave the Steelers a little bit more power to help them win. “I know you know what to do with these”, Swann said, as the people waved their Terrible McCain Towels in a symbolic effort to give the McCain campaign that last bit of strength it needs to win in November!

Unfortunately, Swann wasn’t able to stick around until McCain and Palin showed up. He had to go watch his son play in a football game! Swann told us that he knows it’s just kids’ football, but in a recent scrimmage, his son scored six touchdowns! Sounds like whatever Lynn Swann has runs in the family!

The next speaker was former PA Governor Tom Ridge. Here he is joining Lynn Swann on stage, complete with Terrible McCain Towel in hand (click for larger image):

Ridge made a fantastic speech, and I certainly hope he continues to campaign for McCain. He had the best line of the day which, unfortunately, I cannot find quoted anywhere word for word, so I’ll have to paraphrase it. Ridge was talking about how Obama was once again putting his foot in his mouth, since his campaign was mocking Sarah Palin for being from a small town. This is the same kind of elitism, Ridge reminded us, that we heard from Obama back when he was talking to San Francisco liberals, telling them about how we small town PA folk cling to our guns and our religion out of bitterness. And so, to paraphrase, Ridge said, Those of us in PA don’t cling to our guns and our religion out of bitterness; we exercise our right to bear arms and our right to worship because the g**damn Constitution has protected our right to do so since 1789!

Former Gov. Ridge giving his speech (click for larger image)

Once Ridge was done speaking, it was just about time for the Straight Talk Express to roll in. And it did roll in, literally. The Straight Talk Express McCain bus actually drove out onto the field, via a blocked off section directly past the bleachers.

The sun begins to set as the Straight Talk Express drives out onto the field and toward home plate, which was where the stage was set up (click for larger image)

The bus stopped at the stage, and its passengers left the bus and walked up onto the stage. Soon afterward, McCain and Palin, along with some of their family members, were up on stage along with Tom Ridge (click for larger images):

After Tom Ridge welcomed them to PA, John McCain introduced Sarah Palin, in almost exactly the same way as he did the previous day in Ohio. Then Palin gave her speech, virtually the same as the one given the day before, with a handful of touches here and there. For example, she commented on the warm weather we were having in Southwestern PA that day, and told us that she’s not used to temperatures like that back in Alaska.

So, if you know what they said in Ohio, you know what they said in PA. Still, if you want to watch the speeches, they’re up on YouTube:

John McCain Introduces Sarah Palin in Washington, PA

Sarah Palin Speaks in Washington, PA – Part 1

Sarah Palin Speaks in Washington, PA – Part 2

The media is attempting to make a big deal out of the fact that the people at the rally booed when Palin praised Hillary Clinton for advancing the cause of women. I think that’s a mistake, since in attempting to discredit Palin, the media are telling everyone that Palin did indeed praise Hillary for pushing against that glass ceiling and putting “18 million cracks” in it, and that Palin asked the women of the nation to help her shatter that glass ceiling once and for all. My point is that I can just see this as backfiring on the media if it brings more women over to McCain/Palin.

When Palin’s speech was over, the event was pretty much at an end. Some of the people who were right in front of the stage got to shake hands with some of the folks who had been up on stage, but I really couldn’t tell who was there to shake hands, because of the huge mass of humanity crowding up close to the stage.

The people in the bleachers were able to go back to their cars at this point, but those of us on the field had to wait until the Straight Talk Express was clear and all security concerns were taken care of until we could go. I think the large number of people who showed up – as I said, 8,000 people in a 5,000 seat capacity baseball field – caused a great deal of confusion for the local security and police officers. And the people who were out on the field were very antsy to leave, since many of them had been out of that field, standing in the oppressive heat for five hours. But, in the end, we were able to get out without too much trouble. I just hope that the McCain/Palin events planned for after the RNC are going to be in larger venues!

So that’s pretty much how it all went down. It was the first time I ever attended a campaign rally to see a presidential candidate, and it was a lot of fun! I’d absolutely recommend it to anyone who might be thinking about going to an event like this.

To close this report out, here are several photos I took of the field and of the crowd during the event. Click them for larger images:

Left field bleachers. Note the homemade faux Obama campaign sign, with the flag crossed out, and “Obama bin Biden” written on it. Ha!

Panoramic view of Lynn Swann’s speech

Wave those Terrible McCain Towels!

Women for McCain!

A view of the infield and the left field bleachers, taken from the right field bleachers before the rally began

The wall at the edge of the park in center field

John McCain – Country First

Sarah Palin – Country First

The end of the rally. Farewell, Straight Talk Express!

August 31, 2008 at 8:28 pm Comments (0)

RNC2008: The Welcome Wagon

August 31, 2008 at 5:20 pm Comments (0)

RNC2008: Schwag begins

At the airport in Minneapolis, and the goodies begin.

August 31, 2008 at 4:29 pm Comments (0)

McCain/Palin Washington PA Rally Report, Part 1

I arrived at Consol Energy Park in Washington, PA at about 2:30PM yesterday, and it was already very crowded. The parking lot at the baseball park of the Washington Wild Things was nearly full, as the stands at the park only hold about 5,000 people. Many more than 5,000 people came, however, and an estimated 8,000 were in the park – about 5,000 in the stands and 3,000 on the field – when McCain and Palin arrived hours later.

You might be thinking, where did those other people park once the lot filled? Most of them actually parked at Washington Crown Center Mall down the street and down a hill from the park.

Aside from a few Tom Corbett and Tim Murphy campaign signs, the first thing I saw on my way to the rally was some counter-protesters. There were two groups of them – first, about two or three dozen folks from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). How do I know they were from the SEIU? They were wearing SEIU T-Shirts. They didn’t really have any organized message; they were just there to be anti-McCain in general and to heckle McCain supporters on their way to see him. Great use of Union dues, there.

The second counter-protest group was a bit larger – maybe thirty people. It was the pro-abortion protesters, most if not all of them women, who were outraged that a pro-life (or as their signs said, “anti-choice”) woman was on the Republican ticket. And they call me a single-issue voter?

The next thing I saw was a huge line of people waiting to get into the park, since we all had to get through security. As you can imagine, security was tight. This was the first time I ever had to actually have my wallet looked at by security, but they did have a big sign saying that you were consenting to be searched by entering the event, and considering that both McCain and Palin were going to be there, you can understand why they have to do that kind of thing.

After waiting in line for at least half an hour, I finally got inside. The event started with the Pledge of Allegiance, led by a local Boy Scout troop. The first speaker, if I recall correctly, was actually one of my favorite politicians, Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey, who attempted to defeat John Murtha in 2006. Irey told us that she thought the McCain/Palin ticket was a very good, strong ticket. Her enthusiasm was reinforced by Westmoreland County Commissioner Kim Ward.

Diana Irey (left) and Kim Ward

State Representative Mike Turzai also spoke, asking us several questions about who was more qualified to be president – McCain or Obama? That’s an easy one!

Next it was time for the National Anthem, and it was sung by someone who familiar to many Pittsburgh sports fans – rising country music star Sarah Marince of Moon Township. Marince often sings the National Anthem at Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins games.

Sarah Marince singing

Marince told us that she just recently turned 18-years-old, and that she is very excited about being able to vote for a woman for VP. In honor of Gov. Palin, she sang “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar”. I hope Hillary wasn’t watching.

Then it was time for country music star John Rich to sing some songs, so he took the stage. Rich sang a great song he wrote about his grandfather’s military service in World War II called “The Man”. The best line in the song is:

“‘Cause we’d all be speaking German, living under the flag of the Japan, if it wasn’t for the Good Lord and the Man.'”

John Rich singing

Rich informed us that he wrote a song specifically for Sen. McCain, called “Raisin’ McCain”. He sang the song for us and then asked us to download it and spread the word about it. Can do!

Download an mp3 of “Raisin’ McCain” from

Here’s a YouTube video of Rich singing the song:

I’ll finish my report later, and I’ll talk about former Pittsburgh Steeler, legendary football player, and our last candidate for governor of PA, Lynn Swann with his Terrible McCain Towels! Plus I’ll have details on former Gov. Tom Ridge’s speech which included the greatest line of the entire event, and then of course the arrival of McCain and Palin!

For more pictures, here is a great photo gallery I found from someone else who attended the event and was closer to the stage than I was:

2008 McCain/Palin Rally at Consol Field

August 31, 2008 at 11:11 am Comments (0)

Opinion From Across the Pond

The British press seems to like Sarah Palin. In this article from the Sunday Times, they appear to be absolutely gushing at the prospect:

When Sarah Palin stepped into the spotlight as John McCain’s running mate in Dayton, Ohio, and promised that women could “shatter that glass ceiling once and for all”, it was an electrifying moment in a presidential election that had already produced its share of upsets and surprises.

History was on the march again the morning after Barack Obama became the first African-American to accept his party’s White House nomination. After the fireworks, the 80,000-strong crowd who had cheered Obama to the skies at the Mile High stadium in Denver woke up with a hangover.

“We may be seeing the first woman president. As a Democrat, I am reeling,” said Camille Paglia, the cultural critic. “That was the best political speech I have ever seen delivered by an American woman politician. Palin is as tough as nails.”

They go on to comment about the Clinton camp’s take on McCain’s pick:

“In fact, even though the Clinton aides could barely conceal their satisfaction when she was chosen, the woman who Palin upstages most of all is Hillary. If Obama wins the election, Hillary will have to wait until 2016 to stand again. And if he loses, Palin will be first in line to become America’s first woman president.”

I’m still riding high on the news…I’ve only slept about 8 hours since Thursday.

Life is good…it looks like the Brits think so, too. Click on the link below to read the entire article. It’s quite good.

Sarah Palin: Conservatives Find the Girl of Their Dreams

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August 31, 2008 at 9:55 am Comments (0)

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