I got to Redstate a tad late on the final day as I had crashed the night before quickly and needed to pack. The Hotel agreed to hold our bags as checkout time was noon and our flight wasn’t until 6:50 pacific. As soon as I was done I headed over to Redstate and the interviews began

I talked to Kevin Boyd who had also attended Amplify choice

And then managed to speak to Katie Pavlich

It was interesting to note the fame she had gained over the last few years didn’t keep her from manning the registration table greeting people as they came

Followed swiftly by Ed Morrissey who also talked a little Pope Francis with me

But the interviews were not confined to TV personalities and bloggers I talked to attendees such as Todd

and Joan

who had offered me & dawife a ride to the airport which would have been our backup emergency plan

In between interviews I also saw the presentation of Senator Cory Gardner

Sen Cory Gardner
Sen Cory Gardner

And Carly Fiorina, whose speech I was tweeting out as it happened

It’s my opinion that other things not withstanding the highlight of redstate was when Leon Wolf opened things up to the crowd, I wrote about that here.

And later interviewed Leon about it.

One of the most interesting interviews of the trip was with Kelly Maher who not only talked policy but carries a Wallaby in her purse

For those of you who skip the interview I wasn’t kidding

Welby the Wallaby at Redstate
Welby the Wallaby at Redstate

But in the end my flight time ruled the roost so I had to head out but I managed to catch Pundit Pete who had attended both Amplify choice and redstate on the way

I caught the springhill suite shuttle back to the hotel and after gathering our stuff waited a bit while they made one more run before taking us to union station. As Valery & I waited Amelia Hamilton showed up with Kimberlee Kaye and together they were my final interview of the trip

From there came the shuttle, the train the airport and the flight. Denver was behind us and the storms that had been hitting New England ahead but our oldest and his friend were there to pick us up and get us home and by 3:30 AM on Sunday I was able to put my head to pillow and sleep in my own bed.

As good as the week was, that was a real pleasure.

The bus from the Springhill suites hotel took us to the Grand Hyatt where Redstate was taking place on the 2nd floor:

Red state
Red state

I arrived in time to catch the tail end of Amb John Bolton’s presentation

Amb John Bolton at Redstate
Amb John Bolton at Redstate

Ken Cuccinelli

Ken Cuccinelli at Redstate
Ken Cuccinelli at Redstate

and colorado GOP Senate Candidate Darryl Glenn who impressed everyone who heard him

Darryl Glenn
Darryl Glenn

But since the full speeches of them all are available in better quality online I went straight to what I do, interviews

I started with Dave who I hadn’t seen in years.

And Diana

I also talked to Amanda of the Future female leaders who provided Ice Cream

and local write in candidate for state senate in district 21 Kara Palfy

Dave Weigel of the Washington Post was there

My primary camera died during the interview so I continued it with my emergency backup camera and spliced the two of them together.

There was a table for Bill Whittle.com and while Bill wasn’t there Carla was

and as promised Larry O’Connor

I love that he brought up the Breitbart table interview, it’s one of the highlights of what I do

Matthew Bellis of Liberty Healthshare also gave me a few minutes

I was invited to a reception that night put on by Liberty Healthsare and Valery who had been doing other things the last two days decided to join me.

As she arrived I managed two more interviews one with Casper Stockham candidate for Congress CO-1

and radio talk show host Steve Kelly who was broadcasting live during the presentation

But for all of the pleasures of seeing interesting events and learning new things, and the joys of meeting new people and seeing old friends the highlight of both Redstate and Amplify choice was the same, the chance to introduce these friends I’ve met from blogging to my wife Valery and vice versa.

Nothing tops that.


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Day Four in Denver and the last day of Amplify Choice started with a Bus Trip to a pair of charter Schools in the Denver area and me being me I took advantage of the time waiting for the bus after mass to interview bloggers Art Gallagher

and Mark Lerner

some bloggers during the wait for the bus

and then on the bus to interview Aaron Gardner

Once we got to STRIVE Prep the CEO Chris Gibbons gave us a presentation

Chris Gibbons of STRIVE Prep
Chris Gibbons of STRIVE Prep

He discussed STRIVE, how they operated, the various cost saving functions (for example the multiple schools shared a single administration, cafeteria and gym) The college acceptance rate (97%) and took multiple questions from the audience.

When the presentation was done I interviewed the community outreach manager for STRIVE

I was very impressed at the idea that even though there is a waiting list for all the grades for the school that they go door to door to recruit students so the whole community knows the possibilities.

We then headed or the next school when Will Franklin who I interviewed the day before produced a Drone with a camera on it from his backpack to take aerial photos of the schools.

We then walked to the nearly adjacent Denver School of Science and technology, Where we were given a brief introduction of their methods

As we were going upstairs for our final presentation I spoke to one of their graduates Shelia who was college bound.

once upstairs we had a second presentation where questions were taken. Here is a brief excerpt.

at the end Shelia and two other students who had graduated and had internships in companies also took questions.

The three wise young women
The three wise young women

All three where immigrants or children of immigrants and all had excelled. What impressed me the most was when I asked the responsibilities of a work environment was not unfamiliar thanks to the expectations from their time at the School of Science and Technology.

This officially concluded Amplify choice but there was still the bus trip back and there were still interviews to get one on the way back to the bus with Rich Eber:

And one on the bus with blogger and radio talk host Abdul Hakeem Shabazz

When we got back to the hotel those staying for the box lunch stayed. Others were heading to Union Station and their outgoing fights including Darvio Morrow who would be my last very brief interview of Amplify choice cut off by loud cleaning and the impending bus trip.

But there was no more time, the bus was leaving, Amplify choice was done, it was time for Redstate


There were a lot of expenses involved in a week in Denver not the least being missing a week’s pay from my job. If you’d like to help me cover them please consider hitting DaTipJar below

Also this is week 4 of our 6 week tryouts for Da Magnificent Prospects You can check out their work Monday evening, Tuesday at Noon, All Day Thursday and Saturday at noon. If you like what you see from them consider hitting DaTipjar in support of them (and please mention their name when you do) as both internet hits and tipjar hits will be part of scoring who stays & who goes.

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After a pleasant reception at the end of day 2 for attendees on Day three in Denver the Franklin Center event began in earnest with the speakers.

It started with a presentation from the Colorado League of Charter Schools which documented the improvements in Denver since the rise of Charter Schools.

The fact that if a Charter school doesn’t perform it closes makes a huge difference in terms of performance, the people involved know their jobs and business are on the line.

The Next speakers were State Rep Angela Williams & Dr John Evans who talked about the political struggle to get these things into law Rep Williams (who is running for state senate) noted the need to keep people at the table and Dr. Evans talks of the various struggles.

The compromises involved in getting bills passed is considerable. The way I see it the problem is less the local pols who either having children or friends with children in the system have an intrinsic interest in success but the national groups have an intrinsic interest in seeing it fail.

The independence institute came up next with three speakers Pam Benigno

Ross Izard

and Erick Valencia who I didn’t managed to get an interview with

The Blaine Amendment designed as an Anti-Catholic measure which failed on the national level but was pushed as a requirement for statehood by congress has been used as a club against the progress of charter schools. On the bright side it likely means that Islamic schools pushing sharia are not going to be funded either which is something that didn’t come up in any of the panels but which hit me right off. It also struck me that if, as the various presentations suggested that losing regulation was such a benefit for charter schools why not repeal these rules altogether for all schools?

There were many other presentations including the makers of Frack Nation

Education writers at Amplify Choice
Education writers at Amplify Choice
(who advised us to tell a story with clear heroes an villains) A talk on home schooling (which was due to a suggestion by one of the attendees, A strong talk on the constant legal battles on the state level (Since the federal win on Zelman vs Harris was 5-4 I expect to see the left go federal again) A presentation on what was done in Douglas County (where accountability is king and every single innovation involved long protracted legal fights) and some panels consisting of some of the writers who attended (those interviews will later) but from my conversation with the writers who attended the most popular speaker, bar none was Professor Ben Scafidi

His presentation was on statistics and the raw numbers and was DEVASTATING. It displayed that the schools systems were adding administration at a rate MUCH greater than the increase in students and teachers. His presentation was very tweetable

Even more devastating was the fact that even in states and districts like Louisiana and DC where the student population fell, the number of administrators still soared. It’s basically a jobs programs for bureaucrats.

At the end of the evening was dinner presentation by Ed Choice formerly the Freeman (as in Milton Freeman) foundation which talked about how this fight for school choice will makes all the difference for those who are trapped in bad schools and poor education.

Bottom line I learned that there is a lot going on in the fight for school choice that I had no idea about. I’m pleased to say that I came away much better informed.

A postscript. Just a few days later back home I would see a Wisconsin State legislator on CNN defending rioting and looting while talking about people who have no hope to get out of poverty. the presenters at Amplify Choice are fighting hard to give that hope through educational opportunities that are not defined by class or race lines.

I wonder how many of those office holders decrying such situations spend their time on the federal state and local levels fighting against groups like Ed choice and people like our presenters to maintain the status quo?


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During my stay in Denver I went to daily mass on a regular basis, you would often see the homeless congregated there.

Christopher approached me asking if I knew if there was a soup kitchen nearby. Not knowing denver I couldn’t answer that question but I did know there was a McDonald’s next door to the Basilica so we went there and he spoke to me over breakfast

There are in fact such places in Denver such as the Denver Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen and a list of such services avaialbe in the city can be found here.

Day two in denver began, after daily mass, and the interview I posted with Fr. Scott yesterday with a trip to the zoo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Alas the shuttle from the hotel doesn’t make it to the zoo but does make it to the city park where we can walk to the zoo from.

The park is beautiful but the problem is there are a ton of geese

Which makes for a fun game of dodge the geese droppings, but if you finish the game you eventually get to the zoo and meet with some delightful volunteers like this one

and of course interesting animals like the Komodo Dragon

After a hot walk back to our starting point we headed back to the hotel where Valery headed up to the room while I set up in the lobby to begin interviewing the people coming for Amplify School choice hosted by the Franklin Center and I spoke to and finally met Josh Kalb who invited me

and then we began interviews with my fellow attendees Steve Frank now with California political review: and facebook is here

He’s been doing this before there was a net to do it with

And Tom Balek whose site is Rockin’ on the right side

and yes he has a band to go with it.

After the reception I spoke with some old friends like Galts Girl Michelle Ray:

And new friends like Shelby Blakely whose blog is PolitiCulture Upstream

When I meet an intelligent young lady like Shelby I regret DaSons weren’t here along with DaWife.

And finally Sonja Harris who blogs all over Texas including at Texas GOP votes, Conservaties in action where she’s known as Red Sonja, and fights for the cause of life.

I have three cameras with me here but one look at her camera makes me jealous.

Several of them also sat for audio podcast interviews that you’ll have to listen to future podcasts to hear

I also ran into many old friends from Rob Eno to Bridget Fey and former Magnificent Seven writer AP Dillon and also Kira Davis who to my shock & hers has family in Fitchburg and would occasionally visit.

It was a great pleasure to see them and meet others and I really enjoyed having the chance to finally introduce DaWife to some of my net friends.

All were anxious to see what the Franklin Center had in store for us the next day, they would not be disappointed.


There will be a lot of expenses involved in a week in Denver not the least being missing a week’s pay from my job. If you’d like to help me cover them please consider hitting DaTipJar below

Also today week 3 of our 6 week tryouts for Da Magnificent Prospects, You can check out their work Monday evening, Tuesday at Noon, All Day Thursday and Saturday at noon. If you like what you see from them consider hitting DaTipjar in support of them (and please mention their name when you do) as both internet hits and tipjar hits will be part of scoring who stays & who goes.

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After mass today the celebrant Fr. Scott sat for a quick interview

A Catholic priest never knows what kind of parish or situation he will end up with.

Here is the Stained Glass window I mentioned in the interview

Genesis 14:18-20
Genesis 14:18-20

Here is the passage it refers to in Genesis Chapter 14 verses 14-20:

When Abram heard that his nephew had been captured, he mustered three hundred and eighteen of his retainers, born in his house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He and his party deployed against them at night, defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. He recovered all the possessions, besides bringing back his kinsman Lot and his possessions, along with the women and the other captives. When Abram returned from his victory over Chedorlaomer and the kings who were allied with him, the king of Sodom went out to greet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).

Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words:

Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth;

And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your foes into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

and if you’re interested (and even if you’re not) here are some photos from the Sacristy of the cathedral

Today I’m off to Denver to prepare for an event on School Choice for watchdog.org to be followed by a day covering RedState which starts at the very minute that the school choice event ends.

I’m hoping to pick up some interviews with bloggers, visitors to red state, key players and people involved in school choice. I doubt that I’ll end up in the middle of a confrontation between the police & occupods or have the occupods try bum rush our conference, twice or experience odd confrontations with “independent” Catholic schools and their students like the last time I was there (and if they do I doubt they will telegraph it) but you never know.

So if you are in Denver this week and see a portly fellow in a Fedora with a 12 ft long multi colored scarf who is NOT in any way high, it’s likely me, particularly if he has a woman with him talking about fabric to wit.

Don’t be surprised if you see a few quilt shop photos too.

If you spot me, come and say hello. I’ll likely be at the Rockies Rangers game on Tuesday as well.

See you there.


There will be a lot of expenses involved in a week in Denver not the least being missing a week’s pay from my job. If you like what you see please consider hitting DaTipJar below

Also today week 3 of our 6 week tryouts for Da Magnificent Prospects, You can check out their work Monday evening, Tuesday at Noon, All Day Thursday and Saturday at noon. If you like what you see from them consider hitting DaTipjar in support of them (and please mention their name when you do) as both internet hits and tipjar hits will be part of scoring who stays & who goes.

(If you can’t see DaTipJar button below on their posts use the one on the 2nd column on the right)




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One of the things I’ve said for years is “the internet is forever”. If you’re going to say or do something on the internet, it is wise to remember your mother, your children or even more importantly a future potential employer may see it long after you regret your actions.

This is a lesson that is being learned the hard way by students at the St. Mary’s Academy and their teacher Ceiia Bard.

Saint Mary’s Academy is an Independent Catholic School” (That’s how the school was described to me, the assistant to the president a new hire was unable to tell me if they were in full communion with Rome) in greater Denver. Last Friday Ms. Bard thought it would be a good idea to take her class to the Occupy Denver encampment and furthermore join a group of the occupods as they attempted to storm Blogcon 11.

The story of the attempts of the occupods to disrupt the conference has been told more than once, however I have yet to touch upon Ms. Bard and her charges.

Personally I gave very little attention to Ms. Bard and her students when I saw them at the hotel, believing they were merely bystanders who happened to be present when the Occupods made their move. However other people at the event thought differently and confronted Ms. Bard directly

Ms. Bard’s attempt to keep herself and her student anonymous at a conference populated by 100’s of people who either as a hobby or for a living produce and disseminate information on the internet was laughable but as you can see by the video although her judgement might be suspect, there is no evidence that she cross any lines of decorum.

That unfortunately can’t be said for the young ladies she teaches (Language Warning)

Now this certainly doesn’t come up to the level of lets say Misfit politics in terms of vulgarity, but one would think that if you are attending a $14k a year “Independent Catholic School” you would know enough to act in a way that doesn’t reflect on said school or yourselves. Their “Independent Catholic School” must not have the nuns mine normal parish school did.

Since getting home I’ve called the school twice for comment, the first time I was given to the voice mail of the president, the 2nd time I spoke to the president’s assistant who informed me she was not authorized to speak on such matters. As I plan on talking about this on the show tomorrow I gave her an e-mail address to reach me with any kind of statement that the school might want to give concerning it. (Still no sign of one so far).

I have a sneaking suspicion that the young ladies although apparently not well-educated on decorum, economics or political reality are getting a crash course on physics, specifically cause and effect:

Apparently with a week to think about it and calls coming into the school inquiring about the event someone has decided that this might not be the image the school or the students want to project, so they apparently have launched a complaint to youtube thus

And now, YouTube has given me 48 hours to address vague privacy concerns — in a video taken when Occupy Denver protesters crashed a private event and were filmed (by me and others) doing so.

That I happened to catch several students whose school and teacher have argued were there merely to “observe” actually joining in with the protesters is not a “privacy issue.” It’s a “yes, you should be embarrassed, because your official statements to the local Denver media don’t jibe with the actual real-time evidence” issue — one that, as good little leftists, the school, or the students, or the students’ representatives, etc., are hoping to airbrush out of existence.

Or at least, to make it harder for people to find.

And here we’ve been told that this class was but an idealistic group of young truthseekers, led by a principled and courageous teacher whose goal it was to introduce this eager young minds to the workings of a democratic republic.

Funny how the search for Truth is so conveniently dismissed as banal tripe when the Truth just so happens to paint the self-described truth seekers as the little wannabe-tyrants that they so willingly and publicly presented themselves to be.

As this was a news story covered by the Denver Press the whole privacy issues should be totally moot, what won’t be moot is that people who recognize these students will likely be mentioning it on facebook and linking to said videos thus associating their names with them, furthermore said names once linked will start turning up on google searches etc in the future when these young deluded ladies decide to seek employment.

Perhaps at their expensive school they can be taught this poem that dates from a 1936 book The Best Loved Poems of the American People called: Judged by the company one keeps:

One night in late October,
when I was far from sober,
Returning with my load, with manly pride;
My feet began to stutter,
So I lay down in the gutter,
And a pig came up an’ lay down by my side;
A lady passing by was heard to say:
‘You can tell a man who “boozes”
by the company he chooses’
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.

I hope the young ladies learn the right lesson from this experience, ignorance might be bliss, but in the internet age stupidity is forever.

There were two things great about Blogcon 11 for me:

The first of course was seeing my friends from the new media

Captain Ed Morrissey & Warner Todd Huston

and meeting new friends

The second great thing is Blogcon 11 has been the source of a lot of stories and adventures so it is fitting that after posting one last item…


…blogcon ended for me with one last adventure

that slowly turned into footrace …

and finally a dead tired run

With two blocks to go I started saying the guardian Angel prayer “Angel of God my Guardian dear, To whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard and rule and guide.” until I noticed my volume was disturbing the people sleeping in the streets around me, so I silently mouthed it as I ran.

I got in sight of the stop, the outside clock said 6:20 the stairs clock said 6:21 and dashed down hoping the bus would be there…

.

…and the moment I was on, it left.