Convention Diary

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The Independent US

* No, we do not expect Mr Obama magically to be hoisted to the sky to run around the roof of Invesco Field after his acceptance speech tonight. And though there will be lots of fireworks, we doubt that the Democrats will outdo the opening and closing ceremonies in Beijing. But dull it will not be – cue Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) doing the national anthem and Jon Bon Jovi to serenade the stadium with two hits. And word has it that Bruce Springsteen will wrap things up once the main man has spoken. Meanwhile, debate rages about the parade of faux-marble columns behind the stage where Mr Obama will speak. Some see an ersatz Greek temple, others the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, where Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech 45 years ago today.

* For the thousands who have come here to grind political and civic axes, the challenge is to snag the attention outside the arena. There it is a cacophony of chants against abortion, against the war, against whatever you like, including birdwatching. Yes, Aneida Krok has parked herself on the 16th Street pedestrian mall to distribute leaflets calling for a ban on this "sexual voyeurism". Honestly. "Adults, disguised as birdwatchers, mask their debauchery by taking trips in groups," her flier warns. "They can then achieve climax in the safety of the woods. Particularly disturbing is the high number of senior citizens using binoculars to observe birds mating. These horny Peeping Toms satisfy their craving for sex by focusing their debasement on birds. This perversion must be halted, otherwise the entire moral fibre of our nation is going to hell."

* The desolate area of asphalt behind one of the media tents designated by Denver police as the approved spot for protest groups – officially called the Free Speech Zone but widely derided as The Cage – has been more or less empty all week. With or without permits, protesters – mostly angry at the war and torture – have taken to Denver's downtown instead. A march on Tuesday night ended in confrontation outside the Sheraton with violent scuffles and 106 people being marched off to jail in plastic cuffs. Some of those not under arrest were invited yesterday to let off steam at a free concert by Rage Against the Machine.

* Light lilac. Ocean blue. Cherry red. Tangerine. Yes, Hillary flew into Denver with four pantsuits to wear for her big speech on Tuesday. She selected the tangerine after aides told her that the blues and reds, though patriotic, just didn't cut it under the auditorium's bright lights. For those in pantsuit withdrawal, fear not: Glamour magazine is promising a spread this month recalling the whole "rainbow" of the ex-first lady's outfits on the trail.

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