The weekend before the DNC: The 16th Street Mall
An interesting mix of people roamed the 16th Street Mall late afternoon on Saturday. The folks who usually hang out there weren't entirely absent, but they seemed changed somehow, spiffed up. For instance, I saw what has to be the cleanest homeless man I think I've ever encountered. In addition, plenty of tourist types were in view, actually seeing the sights of Denver as the staffers at the Convention & Visitors Bureau have long dreamed. We'll see how long that lasts. And cops were everywhere, moving in large gaggles either on foot, on bicycle or even on several specially outfitted crotch rockets, in a show of force that was clearly meant to make anyone interested in starting trouble think twice. When I was there, such mayhem seemed very unlikely. A group passing out information about an anti-war rally on Sunday couldn't have been more well-behaved and several groups of drummers pounding their instruments in an attempt to secure a different kind of change than Barack Obama is always going on about seldom dropped a beat. On the debit side, the souvenirs to be found at traffic-island stands or various stores were disappointing in the extreme. Indeed, the funniest T-shirt I saw was worn by a random pedestrian. It read "I'm Embarrassed. I'm Ashamed. I'm Republican." -- Michael Roberts
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