"We are correct in our belief that we can win by telling the truth."
There's nothing like starting the day feeling like you have a hangover. I hadn't been drinking, but my blood sugar's been wonky, and I was feeling pretty hard-boiled this morning. I got enough sleep, but Sharon and I watched Soprano's reruns, and I dreamed about my 25th year class reunion, which was crashed by La Cosa Nostra. I left with my kneecaps in tact, but things were definitely tense for a while. For some reason, we had a lot of cash on hand. I've got a lot of ambivalence about big public events, but I thought I owed it to you gentle readers to see what's up. So I after dozing and listening to Weekend Edition, I showered, shaved, and took off for Amherst.
10:05 a.m. Stopped at Hess in South Amherst. Bought a double-sized diet Red Bull and a sausage dog. Not a recommended way to start the day. My tank was almost on empty. Decided to live on the edge. Drove to UMass and parked behind the GRC. I'm wearing the aviator shades I bought last month in Paris.
10:20 a.m. Outside the Mullins Center some guys from the O'Reilly campaign try to give me information. I confused them with the LaRouche people, and said "No thanks, dude," to the literature.
10: 30 a.m. I'm in the Mullins Center. Someone is speaking, but I don't know who it is. I scope the arena looking for our Hampshire/Hampden district. I finally see it.
10:35--11:05 a.m. I find the rest of the Granby delegates: the always genial Raging Granny Peggy Anderson, Democratic diehard Eva Sartori, and my friends Nancy Evren, and Emre Evren. Trevor Augustino shows up a little later. I'm looking around trying to spot anyone else I know. No luck. No Gale Candaras either. In fact, I haven't seen any politicians except on stage.
Convention speakers follow like Russian dolls in reverse. You generally start out with the less important people and end up with the keynote speaker. Governor Deval Patrick is supposed to be the keynote speaker, but he canceled to attend the funeral of an American soldier killed in Iraq.
Instead we get Senator Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). I wanted to talk to Stan today to see if he could fill me in on what the hell is going on with the UMass system. I've known Stan politically since 1980 or so when he worked as then state senator, now congressman, John Olver, and I was a sophomore in high school. Stan gives good speech. He's standing the podium on the stage erected on the floor of the Mullins Center. Behind him is a giant American flag. (Yes, Rush, Democrats are Americans too.) Behind the backdrop you can see Dr. J's retired number. Stan gives a good, rousing speech. He gets plenty of applause at the right time. The typical political speech contains a riff, a repeated phrase. Stan's riff begins with "Let's" like
"Let's keep discrimination out of the Constitution." John Walsh, the Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party (not the America's Most Wanted cheese bag) riffs on "What if..." Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray speaks. He receives a standing ovation. "We've done more in 4 months than the previous administration did in 4 years." Everyone applauds. He talks about having kept Evergreen Solar in Marlboro. Talks about a Lowell Connector. A special advisory committee on veterans returning from combat. 11:07 a.m. Bill (Not My Favorite Democrat) Galvin speaks. Time for coffee. 11:20--11:35 a.m. I drink my black coffee, start to feel like a human being, and return to the convention floor. Some guy from the AFL-CIO starts to speak. He's loud with an Eastern Mass accent. He really kicks butt. I join in the standing ovation. They start to introduce some kids who received some sort of scholarship. 11:36 a.m. I'm in the wind. 11:45 a.m. I'm walking toward the campus center. Some guy from Cambridge has stopped his Volvo station wagon in the middle of the road. He wants to get to the Campus Center. He's talking to a random student and refusing to believe he can't drive to there. I ask if I can help. I've been at UMass for one degree or another since 1984. I have to tell him that fact before he believes you can't really drive to the Campus Center. I tell him to go to the bottom floor of the parking garage, and he can get there. He asks me if I'll help them unload. He's from the Draft Gore movement. I figure it's the least I can do. 11:50 a.m. He's unloading when I get there. Niki Tsongas's campaign manager (a pleasant fellow and fellow UMass grad) is helping. There really wasn't that much to carry in my opinion. They gave me a button for helping though. 12: 05 p.m. I tour the tables in the bottom floor of Campus Center. The folks are nice. I talk to a nurse who works at the Soldiers' Home. She tells me that they have never had air-conditioning. Never! But they're scheduled to get it this summer. I told her my mother was a trustee there during the Jimmy Kelly era. The nurse loved Jimmy Kelly when he was the superintendent. They have a Romney guy now. 'Nuff said. I walk around. Sign a bunch of different postcards to be sent to my Gale Candaras (D-Wilbraham), my state senator. My state representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst) doesn't need to be told what page to be on. 12: 30 p.m I go to the Blue Wall and eat a pesto and chicken salad sandwich. It has an astonishing amount of bread on it. Part of the roll is stale, but it beats the box lunch the DSC is selling for ten bucks. 12:45 p.m. The rest of the Granby crew show up. We have a really nice conversation. Eva asks me about my trip to Paris. I tell her what I saw. She corrects my impression that Paris is larger and less tidy than London. She grew up there, I believe. I still don't agree with her about the Metro being simpler than the London Underground. Peggy asks about my doctoral research, and we talk about high school in the 1950's, which is an academic interest of mine. 1:20 p.m. We head off to hear John Walsh speak. Mark