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So here's how it works.

There are a few thousand delegates with credentials. But lots more people want to come in and partake in the festivities. Even if it is a "stage-managed event", it's a party for political junkies, and there are lots more of us than most people realize.

So a delegation gets in the building. One person collects all their credentials, walks out the Fleet Center, and returns with a whole new group. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

So suddenly, there are three times as many "delegates" walking around. And by the time the prime time speeches come around, it's freakin' packed. Last night, the blogger section was so packed with "delegates" that I gave up and went home to watch the Edwards speech from my hotel room.

It's gotten progressively worse every night, and I don't doubt tonight wiill be the craziest of all.

Now I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with this. The more, the merrier. It was just an observation. And tonight, of all nights, I'm not leaving early.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Jul 29, 2004 at 05:44 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  the fire marshall's gonna have a cow (none)
    good thing it's a Dem city.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Thu Jul 29, 2004 at 09:47:49 AM PDT

    •  Actually, he did. (none)
      A little before the Edwards speech the fire marshall called for a lockdown of the floor (3rd, 5th, and 6th levels) new people in, credentialed or not. I had been on the floor about 2 hours earlier and it had already been insanely and somewhat frighteningly packed then. There was a (real) delegate who couldn't get in, and I saw a runner who nearly broke into tears when she wasn't allowed in with the delivery she had been commanded to make.

      The ninth floor (which has some suites and radio people and the RF control guys) has a load limit of 600 people which meant that it was also shut down for a while, which I hear pissed off some VVVIPs.

  •  The real reason you left early Kos (none)
    If anyone been's keeping up with my reports from Boston, they know why you left early. Too much Highland Park will do that to you.

    "I voted for what I thought was best for the country...Did I expect George Bush to fuck it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did," John Kerry

    by kilgoretrout on Thu Jul 29, 2004 at 09:50:25 AM PDT

  •  lol (none)
    I bet Nader could get in this way if he tried.


    Since he hasn't I will henceforth condemn him entirely.  

    There is a heaven, but ill never get there... i keep respawning...

    by Sandals on Thu Jul 29, 2004 at 09:51:12 AM PDT

  •  One of the (none)
    "reporters" (I have a hard time keeping track) was reporting that the Fire Marshall had "locked the doors" (never mind that the fire marshall would throw your ass in jail for mentioning locking the doors in a packed hall) and I was wondering how more people got in than had credentials. So much for the much vaunted security. I love it when the control freaks lose one. Wave if the cameras come by and thanks for the info.

    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Thu Jul 29, 2004 at 09:51:46 AM PDT

  •  For political junkies (none)
    this is like Christmas in July.

    The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

    by mikepridmore on Thu Jul 29, 2004 at 09:57:48 AM PDT

  •  Credential checking (none)
    That shouldn't be possible- they check credentials at several places, because there are six different access levels- they check when you first go in, when you try to go upstairs, when you try to enter the hall or floor.  If you give away your credential and leave the floor to go to the bathroom, you might not get back in.  Of course, maybe they're being lax when there are three times the normal number of people trying to get in.
    •  Apparently (none)
      A lot of restrictions arn't working so well, the protest cage included.

      There is a heaven, but ill never get there... i keep respawning...

      by Sandals on Thu Jul 29, 2004 at 10:11:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not lax (none)
      The creds don't have a photo ID, and they only check to see if it's legit. You need to go to the bathroom, grab anyone's cred on the floor to make sure you can get back in.

      There are twenty people in a group. They get to the floor. One person collects 15 and heads back outside. There are still 5 creds in the hall in case anyone needs to step aside for whatever.

      And no one checks creds inside the hall.

      •  Hey, why didn't AQ think of that (none)
        Yes, I noticed the creds didn't have a photo attached. Millions for ninja suited cops, all kinds of security checks outside and the ONE, BASIC  security check isn't done.

        The inconvience they caused to hundred of thousands of Bostonians nearly shut down the city. But an AQ sleeper with risin or another chemical and no creds could walk in with a friend.

        You can't drive from Columbia Rd into the city because of the convention, a five minute drive. Yet, creds are being switched like trade show press passes. Great.

        That is, what I would suggest, unreal. Unfucking real.

        •  security (none)
          Credentials aside, the security is very tight- no one would be able to sneak anything deadly in, they have dogs, metal detectors, x-ray machines, and hand checks of all equipment at the entrances- turn on all cameras and laptops to make sure they're real, etc.  A sleeper might be able to get in, but he couldn't do anything except maybe punch someone.  The more likely scenario due to the lack of ID checks is that some of the protesters will get creds and disrupt the proceedings.
          •  Not if you plan (none)
            I won't go into the details, but believe me, not tying people to creds is a security gap. Sure, they check stuff, but Richard Reid wore a shoe bomb. With enough time and planning, anyone can do anything. It's basic security to have photo based id's

            And a disrupted convention is a security failure.

            But believe me, if people can smuggle heroin, they could do the same in any building. At least with a photo ID, you know the people vetted are vetted. And  also, why are people walking around without creds, period? Why aren't people forced to have creds in the building? You can't walk around a trade show without a pass.

            •  we do the same thing (none)
              when we work at convention centers (i work for an ad agency) getting ready for a trade show. can't get in without creds, you throw anyone's on when you have to go outside. when we need another person in, we have once credentialled guy stay in and the other one goes out with two passes.
              then you get a little neck-hanger deal and leave it hanging out of your pocket, like you put the ID in your pocket. worked for two days at this year's CES in Vegas. I was chatting with security guards while I took a smoke break.
    •  even more (none)
      It's definitely going to be more packed tonight, because the people who are credential swapping are using old credentials to prevent anyone from noticing that they have no badges (The credentials look the same except for the date).  So today, there will be the maximum number of old credentials to switch out.

      The reason this is bad is that there are only enough seats for the delegates themselves.  Everybody else on the floor has to stand.  The floor completely crowds over with the non-credentialed people, and last night, when someone felt dizzy from the body heat on the floor, the paramedics were having trouble getting through the aisles.

  •  What do you Mean Nothing Particularly Wrong? (none)
    Now I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with this.

    For starters, it is a safety risk.  Overcrowded buildings are great stages for disaster.  Then, you've got the security aspects of handing out credentials to third, fourth and fifth parties.  So, to say that nothing is particularly wrong with this is, well, wrong. Finally, it's just a plain annoyance to find you can't get to your seat because its filled with three rubberneckers who didn't go through the motions or qualify ahead of time for credentials.

    If such breaches occur at the rnc, I'm sure that the blogging world will construe them in all possible nefarious ways.

  •  Hey, we used to do that at Dead shows... (none) get our friends into the seats up close. We called it "stubbing them down" or "go forth and multiply."
  •  Don't say you weren't warned... (none)
    Don't say you weren't warned!

    The convention floor smuggling operations are an honored tradition in many state delegations. Alternate delegates and guests actually get access to the center with their credentials, but do not have floor access - hence the "swap".

    On the first night in 2000 the Missouri delegation (92 delegates with floor access) held approximately 130 people. There is a shared sense of fun, celebration and comraderie in pulling this off.

    It should be pointed out that all individuals entering the hall have gone through a comprehensive security check. Metal detectors and bag searches are standard operating procedure for everyone.

    A delegates we knew that we would participate in this type of operation - no one gets left out in the cold because of overcrowding unless they arrive to the hall late.

    Toward the end of the convention many of the super delegates tend to not come out on the floor or remain in the city, especially if there is an upcoming primary in the state (as is the case in Missouri on August 3rd). Most of these office holders, if they've left Boston by now, have passed their floor credentials to alternates or guests who are part of the extended state delegation.

    This transfer of floor access is also a nice way to say thank you for the large number of logistic and support people who are part of the extended state delegation. Many times they get a chance to come out on the floor with the rest of the delegation to listen to few speakers and soak up the atmosphere. In these instances people float in and out of the floor.      

  •  moles (none)
    How many of the smuggled people are GOP moles?  I hope the people passing out credentials know who they are giving them to.
  •  This is SOP .... (none)
    ... at all professional and technical conventions I've ever attended.  I assume it's this way at all conventions.
  •  Scamming Seats (none)
    The Fool knows from lots of experence that the same technique is also very effective for getting good seats at rock and roll concerts.
  •  Easy Solution: Electronic Checkout (none)
    We had this problem years ago (1), so it's funny the Democratic Party never solved the problem. It's got a pretty easy solution. The Washington (D.C.) Metro does it. It's called per-person electronic checkout. One person per badge admitted, one person per badge on exit. No badge on exit? You can leave, but the badge that belongs to you is no longer valid for admission that day (because it's already recorded as having someone on the floor). There are other permutations, but that's the basic idea.

    Of course, nobody really wants to solve the problem. It's one of the perks of being a delegate, that you can "promote" alternates (if they're seated separately) and also bestow attendance favors on friends. Everybody has to go through the metal detectors, and it looks better on TV, so no harm, no foul. Well, except for the fire marshall.

    (1) I was in charge of alternate-to-delegate "upgrade" credentialing at a state convention several years ago. We didn't do too badly keeping the floors "reasonable," and that was with a paper system.

    Support our troops. Let's not repeat Vietnam in every detail.

    by sipples on Thu Jul 29, 2004 at 04:04:34 PM PDT

  •  Really??? (none)
    Hold on Hold on HOLD ON....

    Kos, are they just pickin up people off the street, or it's their friends that they get in?

    I mean, could I just stand around outside the Fleet with a big intense "pick me! pick me!" smile on my face and suddenly be graced with a one time enterance to help fill the stadium and see Kerry give his acceptance live???

    Because that'd be wrong, y'know...Wrong

    Would it work? ... Just a T ride away from here.

  •  Ha! (none)
    That's how I got into an inaugural ball in '93!

    This is a cowboy. Bush is a goat roper.

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Jul 29, 2004 at 08:32:23 PM PDT

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