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  • PIN THE TAIL/Daniel Rubin

    Observations from the 2004 Democratic National Convention

    Wednesday, July 21, 2004


    Touched down in Boston, and right away did the sort of reporting that bloggers are criticized for not doing: a little gumshoeing. As I was walking to Quincy Market for a slice of Regina's Pizza, I almost ran into a woman wearing an "Impeach Bush" sign around her neck. Hand-lettered. I called after her, but she kept walking. "Miss? Miss with the 'Impeach Bush' sign?" This got her turning and I approached, identifying myself as a newspaper reporter from Philadelphia.
    Her pace quickened. Then she started running, literally running. Down the street, away from me, saying, "I don't answer questions." So much for Vox Pop.

    Anyway, the talk at the airport was of clambakes and slow ferries to Nantucket. Not a donkey in sight. It's early, though. Most delegates arrive this weekend. A Boston humorist - I know, what kind of oxymoron is he? - was telling CNN that the only locals hanging around next week will be those who are broke, and those whose cars are broken down. The place looks pretty crowded to me, all those Ramirez and Garciaparra jerseys milling around The Market, tanned men in horned-rims and seersucker, adults wearing college T-shirts.

    You'd have to be reading the local papers to realize that Big Brother is watching: 75 cameras are in place to survey the crowds. The Globe had a piece the other day saying that State Police in helicopters will be buzzing around, with scopes like those in Northern Ireland that can read the license plate of a moving car. Law enforcement has been trained to identify suspicious people by behavior, not ethnicity, and they give the example of someone walking around with a too-heavy backpack. That would be me and most of the reporters who carry their laptops that way.

    There's also talk of major highway shut-downs which will turn nasty commutes ever more nightmarish. Vendors in the North End are already planning to sleep in their stores next week. The TV humorist said Boston is forever wary of being compared to New York, which holds the Republican Convention next month. Of yeah, the Yankees are coming to Fenway for a little weekend series. Tickets are easy to come by, I'm sure. ...   

    Daniel Rubin

    Daniel Rubin is a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He can be reached at


       •  July 2004

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