Democratic Convention from Taipei

This is hot topic here. People are starting to get into the thick of the action. I catch snippets of it on CNN Worldwide. Getting the European or HK flavor to American political coverage.

I regularly hangout with some guys on Friday and last night was no exception. We did a fair amount of Bush bashing and critiquing the DNC. On a Taiwan expat community forum, there’s a lot of hopes and fears attached to the DNC and Dems chances this year. A straw poll of the community has more than 85% people saying they’d vote for Kerry-Edwards. Most people think Bush is a boob.

Have a nice weekend all.


It’s the weekend…

NY Times reported on the recent passing of Francis Crick, the Nobel Prize DNA person (who would have preferred to not have been typecasted as the DNA person).

Some final thoughts on the Democratic convention? Well, I’d like to read the upcoming Time magazine issue for any other comments (haven’t gotten to be on Time’s website to see what’s there). But, I do like to refer to’s William Saletan blogging on the convention – good stuff. Loved that Saletan thought the same way I did about Kerry and the Hamster story from Alexandra Kerry – that really says something curious about the man (Saletan says its courage; I think it’s about life affirmation or good dad being too good), putting aside what we think about the politician (whether we should accept that story as gospel truth or political spin, I don’t know).’s Dana Stevens, the “surfer girl” (blogging on tv) – had this interesting take on Ted Koppel’s interview of Jon Stewart on “Nightline” the other night. She thought it was about Koppel resenting the erosion of Network News Idealism and that his picking on Stewart was curiously harsh. When I had watched this interview, I didn’t sense that Koppel was that mean-spirited toward Stewart (and yet Stewart tried so hard to be respectful to Koppel). And, even if he was, I kind of got the sense that he just felt confused why people tune in to Comedy Central and its satirical news so much (well, Ted, I personally don’t have cable, so I would tune in to you – sometimes – so don’t feel so bad).

Tavis Smiley on PBS had a great interview with Peter Jennings (or, at least, I thought it was great because I got to see that casual side of Jennings that doesn’t happen too much). Jennings, appeared just as bewildered as Koppel as to why the networks are so turned off by the conventions (he made a point on one of the World News that I managed to catch on Tuesday night that he liked conventions for being opportunities to observe politics at the ground level (my paraphrasing entirely; he said it in a nicer way). But, Jennings seemed hopeful that ABC still carried some weight with its experimental all-news cable and Internet venture for 2004 elections. Whether this works remains to be seen – I read some editorial (I forget where just now) that the news these days covers too much on the trivial by spending hours on trying to cover everything (including those media stories about the media – NY Daily News tv critic David Bianculli and others have referred to this as “journalistic incest” (his words in Thursday’s column, not mine).

Enjoy the weekend.

And, so the Dems march on.

Wednesday night was John Edwards night in Boston. Thought that Elizabeth Edwards seemed authentic. She’s a bankruptcy lawyer, so it wasn’t like I’d expect her to be a hugely polished speaker, but she was fine. Edwards seemed lessy sparky than I have seen him in previous instances (I do wonder if I’m on a political news binge exhaustion), but he stayed nicely positive in his speech. His “One America” lines echoed (if not parroted) Barak Obama’s speech about “One America.”

If you want more commentary on Edwards’ speech, I do recommend Chris Suellentrop’s article on – and I agree with Suellentrop’s assessment – Edwards had poignant moments in his speech (particularly about his family) and the whole positiveness was nice, but the speech was ultimately just okay – not spectacular, but “does the job,” as Suellentrop said.

I liked that ABC’s “Nightline” and PBS captured some coverage of the roll call. I liked how Tavis Smiley on PBS interviewed interesting people (last night, Smiley spoke with the mayor of Detroit, who just happened to be a youngish black man who is yet another ambitious youngish Democrat; the mayor highlighted the young as an electorate – who are not only interested in education and health care, but also becoming entrepenuers and looking for a brighter future). Heck, even Howard Dean seemed interesting on Smiley’s show, talking about stuff other than just about us Dems going to every state in the union and his usual refraining from screeching…

Thursday was The Real Kerry night. Ooh. (cannot comment on the other Thursday night speeches, which I missed; will have to catch up somehow). The stepsons Heinzes and the daughters Kerry were interesting. I liked how Alexandra and Vanessa Kerry told a few stories that humanized their father. Kerry saved the life of the Kerry pet hamster? Well, as Alexandra Kerry noted, her father apparently takes such life affirming things seriously.

And, Kerry himself stayed positive in his speech. If he seemed incredibly idealistic (to the point that I wondered if this was too much to swallow – I mean, I’d still like some more specifics on what he has in mind to be a good president), Kerry at least seemed confident and more enthused than I’ve seen him previously. The pundits seem to think that this is good for the Democrats. I don’t know (I’m not a pundit, not really anyway), but I liked that Kerry seems to be on a roll. He seemed genuine and, well, happy (all that smiling – good grief, did something from Edwards rubbed off on Kerry?). Whether the speech’s substance was that persuasive is another story.

It will be interesting to see the Republican Party response to all the positiveness that the Dems’ have pushed. Not looking forward to the possible congestion in NYC, but I don’t work in midtown, so it’d be regular work days. I’ll be sticking with PBS for wall-to-wall coverage, especially if the networks continue putting on these one-hour a night coverages that they’ve been doing…

(sidenote rant: if Al-Jazeera in the Middle East is showing 12 hours of the American party conventions, why are the American networks doing so much less? Well, yes, I know that they’re doing that because they’re trying to maintain the whole pursuit of ratings, but they’ve got to do better – the networks’ coverage of news events unites a nation – like they did with the Reagan state funeral – or at least gives us some cultural commonality that we can point to – or else they’re making self-fulfilling prophecies that Americans won’t watch the conventions by being the ones not showing the conventions, as Ted Koppel noted on “Nightline” last night; silly me actually expects the networks to not be businesses and be idealistic in pursuing journalism – then again, the conventions are scripted but then again – even the scripted stuff says something about us as a people…).

Ok, take a breath now. Rant over.

Is it already football season? Good grief, the Giants and the Jets are at it in their respective summer camps. Umm, baseball season isn’t over, last I checked. But, cute moment on the sports segment on the local news – Chad Pennington, the Jets quarterback, discussed what favorite item he brought with him to summer camp – his dvd’s of the 1st season of… Dukes of Hazzard? Funny, Chad. Very funny. 😉 (umm, then again, I’m the one who still sees Tom Wopat and John Schneider as Luke and Bo Duke)…

Summery weather in NYC. Enjoy…