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RNC Glean, Day Two: Anarchist infiltration, ‘Daily Show’ celebration

By David BrauerWed., Sept. 3, 2008
In Wednesday’s locally focused RNC roundup, how authorities pentrated alleged anarchist cells; how Jon Stewart killed ’em at the History Theater, and how Michele Bachmann wowed delegates.

The PiPress’ Emily Gurnon and Mara Gottfried distill a search warrant laying out how three police spies infiltrated local anarchists. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s office claims the group fundraised and recruited in 67 cities, considered kidnappings and had a “video map” of downtown St. Paul targets. Also considered: giant hollowed-out puppets with convention-disrupting material. The Strib’s Pat Pfeifer says informants “accessed group emails, attended meetings [and] talked strategies.”

More infiltration: A judge refused to release seized protest materials, including literature and buttons; an ACLU attorney says a higher court will overturn the ruling, but of course, it’ll happen after the convention. (Police also seized a bucket of urine; the judge asks who she should release that to.) Legal observers question the allegations, noting the ratfinks aren’t identified. Alleged anarchists, unsurprisingly, sound unbowed.

The Strib’s InfoCenter has a terrific interactive list of Monday’s bookings. A Strib editorial praises Monday’s policing and notes lots of out-of-town addresses on booking rolls.

Related: A few days ago, I wrote that social-networking tool Twitter was a great way to follow raids and protest news. Now, MPR’s Bob Collins notes it was probably also used to coordinate monkey-wrenching “anarchists.” Pfeifer’s story notes anarchists divided the city into seven sectors, and Collins’ piece indicates each section had a Twitter feed.

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MPR’s Tim Nelson says a Day Two protest netted 1,000 people and only 10 arrests. The Strib puts the crowd, swelled by nearby concertgoers, at 2,000; Fox9 goes big and bold, saying 4,000 people “try to break down fences.” The Strib saw something completely different, writing that planned civil disobedience “fizzled” when Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights Campaign organizers decided not to scale the 8-foot security chain link barriers.

The protest’s point: Twin Cities Daily Planet’s Sheila Regan offers a nice mix of “Why marchers were there” and “Why they got tear-gassed.”

Protest visuals: Good PiPress video here. KARE lets you feel the flash-bang grenades here. City Pages’ Ben Westhoff has video of volunteer medics being arrested. WCCO’s Caroline Lowe and Dave Chaney got caught up in a clash by Mickey’s Diner, with vivid results. Lowe says it was something she and Cheney “had never seen in more than 30 years on the police beat.”

Rage Against the Permitting Process: City Pages’ Andrea Myers notes that authorities nixed an impromptu Capitol concert by rap-rock band Rage Against the Machine, but Nelson writes that band members “rushed the stage, grabbed a bullhorn and performed two songs, including ‘Bulls on Parade.’ ” Fox9’s Tom Lyden says concertgoers were angry. You can listen to a bit of the “concert” here.

MPR has an ultra-cool Google protest map with a 360-degree view of 15 demonstrations here.

If you’re trying to get into “The Daily Show” in the next the few days, blogger Aaron Landry offers an excellent guide on strategy. If you haven’t reserved a ticket, don’t bother. If you have, they’ve overbooked so get there early. KARE’s Jana Shortal prowls the Day One line, including one who paid for a seat and found out she was duped. (Tickets were free.)

More “Daily Show”: The Strib’s Neal Justin has a sweet piece on how rehearsed taped segments are and how standoffish correspondents can be. The PiPress’s Amy Carlson Gustafson notes that police locked down the hall after the taping because of demonstrations. Jon Stewart noted anarchists would stop rioting to ask for a picture with him.

The show itself? One of the more hilarious ones. Stewart ripped Minneapolis (with a wink), there was a beautiful segment about how Xcel delegates were “abandoned” a la the New Orleans Superdome poor, and during the interview segment, Stewart touched NBC anchor Brian Williams’ third nipple. The PiPress’ Amy Carlson Gustafson notes high-profile evening-news anchors have flocked back to St. Paul.

Norm Coleman and Michele Bachmann spoke to the convention. Coleman took credit for the Xcel Center, and turning St. Paul from a high-crime, low-employment place into a free-market paradise. (Norm governed between recessions.) The Strib’s Mark Brunswick writes that Coleman slagged ex-Mayor Jim Scheibel — and by extension, Barack Obama — as lily-livered non-deciders.

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Bachmann’s blasts: The 6th District congresswoman said Democrats want to run everything from Washington and take your money; the PiPress’s Dennis Lien quotes local experts marveling at Bachmann’s fast-rising star.

Missed Coleman’s and Bachmann’s speeches? MPR has them here and here.

Via MPR’s Tom Scheck, the Washington Post’s Dan Balz says Gov. Tim Pawlenty lost the VP nod the day before the Sarah Palin announcement. Pawlenty was still being vetted the day before McCain’s Dayton, Ohio, rally. By the way, the story also notes McCain vetters did their first lengthy interview with Palin just two days before the announcement.

The Strib’s Mike Kaszuba writes that the silver lining of Pawlenty’s non-selection is that his “national profile has grown, his shortcomings have been minimized” and his fundraising network has “vastly expanded.” Running for a third term in 2010 could be the best opportunity for a 2012 presidential run if McCain loses. He’s not qualified for a major cabinet post and a lesser one wouldn’t help his ambition. A 35W report this fall is a major uncertainty.

Quoting local McCainiacs, the Strib’s Pat Doyle says campaign cash flooded in after the Palin announcement; of the $47 million McCain raised in August, $10 million came in during a three-day period following Palin’s unveiling. While white evangelicals were planning to vote for McCain in roughly the same number as for Bush four years ago, they were decidedly less enthusiastic.

It’s Big Tent Day at Katherine Kersten’s column. Continuing to buttress the GOP’s reformist message, Kersten breaks her personal mold and touts a GOP pro-choicer: Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle. Lingle is not a fan of offshore drilling but is hugely popular in her home state — like Sarah Palin. It’s a way of sanding down the social-policy implications of the Palin choice.

Through the opposite end of the ideological kaleidoscope, Mpls.St.Paul’s Brian Lambert has some fun asking GOP message-aholics a simple question: “When will Sarah Palin hold her first press conference?” The responses are masterpieces of evasion.

Locals nearly gagged when they heard RNC co-chair Jo Ann Davidson make what MPR’s Scheck calls a “major boo-boo”: Davidson referred to Sarah Palin as “Sarah Pawlenty.”

The Strib’s Jim Souhan ventures off the sports pages to profile a crusty 81-year-old South Dakota delegate who focuses on what Bob Dole once called “Democrat wars.” The man carries a business card with world leaders’ phone numbers and his own, remarking “I’m the only SOB who has to answer.” Umm, OK.

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The PiPress’ Dave Orrick says GOP delegates are mighty white.

Minnesota Independent, which has been strong on the streets since the weekend raids, gets a bonus: The foster mom of a 17-year-old in this iconic photo writes in to say police beat him after the image was captured. Aftermath photos and brief story here. Caveat: The police version of events is not represented.

Strib “Whistleblower” James Shiffer rips on police for sweeping up freelance videographers over the weekend. Their lefty bias doesn’t matter, Shiffer writes, and major media types who think this slippery slope won’t trip them up are kidding themselves. He notes 400 of 1,800 arrests at the 2004 RNC were dismissed, thanks to video evidence. Back then, the New York Times credited two of the video groups that were nailed in town this past weekend.

Somewhat incongruously, Puerto Rican hip-hop star Daddy Yankee perfomed a Myth concert for McCain, and the Strib’s Tom Horgen was there. Republicans are hopeful the star will swing young Hispanic voters their way; others cry sellout. Not mentioned: culture wags who note Daddy Yankee’s lyrics aren’t exactly family-values friendly — though, if culture influences behavior, was probably the soundtrack to a few unplanned teen pregnancies.

Ron Paul also spoke at a local rally Tuesday. Organizers claim they sold 10,000 Target Center seats, MPR’s Curtis Gilbert says; the Strib’s Chao Xiong agrees and so does AP, but Minnesota Independent’s Britt Robson says the 19,000-seat arena was between a third and half full. Paul claims a number of GOP delegates crossed the river to hear him speak; the ex-candidate says Republicans should tie together economic and personal freedom.

More Paul: Local GOP officials Pat Anderson and Ron Carey make nice noises in the Paul forces’ direction. Yes, Jesse Ventura was there and did his might-run-in-2012 shtick; KARE video here. Robson has a fun interview with incongruous-seeming rally speaker Tucker Carlson.

St. Paul restaurateurs continue to experience turgid business as delegates party privately or head to Minneapolis, MPR’s Laura Yuen and Annie Baxter report. Traffic restrictions and uber-security, as well as a lack of hipness, are blamed. Given who’s attending, it’s kind of ironic Baxter led with a GLBT club owner’s observations, though to be fair, he assesses the eatery scene’s general emptiness.