September 26, 2010

Things that you'd better not have on you if you want to walk through Library Mall on Tuesday afternoon.

"Laptop computers, sharp objects, metal or plastic drink bottles, backpacks and bags or purses larger than a standard sheet of paper, posters, and any food or drink."

President Obama will be speaking on the UW-Madison campus, and obviously, they expect a huge crowd, but I have watched students walk through the mall, the central crossroads of campus, for years, and I think they mostly have their computers, they surely have backpacks or big bags of one kind or another, and there's lots of food and drink. So anyone who wants to go to the event and is paying attention to the rules will need to plan ahead.

You can't just come over after class, because you'll have your backpack and laptop. And if you're just passing through and thinking of hanging out, because you're somewhat interested, you're going to be turned away because you have the stuff you normally have, and suddenly it's a national security threat. The screening process begins at 3:30 and the event goes on for several hours, and you're supposed to get by without anything to drink.

I'm sure they'll get a good crowd here anyway, but it's got to be a big irritation for many students to be rejected simply for having your normal gear. What if you come to campus by bus or a long walk?

Also, obviously, they don't want people with signs. No "posters." But I'm sure UW students know how to concoct signage without getting snagged by any of the restrictions. At the Class of 1995 law school reunion on Friday, I saw a video that included — among other things — the way some law students spelled out "UW Law" on the 50 yard line at the football stadium. With 4 willing souls, one being 2 letters wide, they accomplished the free expression. They can take away your posters, but they can't take away your underpants.

Ah, but you need to be respectful and hear out what the President says, which is — I assume — that you really need to vote for Democrats in November. That's the message. It's nothing loftier than that. It's a big political rally, snarling Madison traffic — on our narrow isthmus — blocking passage through the center of campus, and depriving us of our computers and our freedom of expression.

73 comments:

AllenS said...

Is Feingold going to be there?

ironrailsironweights said...

Panty piddling paranoia in action.

Peter

edutcher said...

How many of the restrictions are security necessities and how many are the little rules dreamed up by Norman Mineta and Big Sis to harass travelers, now in the Feds' canon as holy writ?

Ann Althouse said...

They can take away your posters, but they can't take away your underpants.

You just know there's a story from her wild, misspent youth there.

Big Mike said...

Does anybody know whether George W. Bush had such stringent restrictions on people attending his events? I know his father didn't.

It strikes me that Obama is fearing even the students of UW-Madison. Things must be pretty bad.

c3 said...

With all of my effort I attempt to muster even a little bit of sympathy....

Nope, can't do it.

Next item

Quaestor said...

No computers (ie no fact checking allowed)
No posters (ie no contrary opinions welcome)
No backpacks (ie backpacks may contain books by proscribed writers)
No sharp objects (ie no sharp objections)
No food or drink (ie the hungry and thirsty are more compliant)

And now I predict the gist of Obama's speech: Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

AllenS said...

Will The Althouse Woman be there? I'm going to say, no. No computer = no Althouse.

former law student said...

Rock Obama Hard place

Ever since the advent of the great Hydration Revolution, young people have been unable to survive without immediate access to drinking water. But evildoers may substitute other liquids for this vital fluid.

The only humane solution is for Obama to bring water with him, preferably in half liter bottles with the Presidential Seal so they become souvenirs instead of litter.

Regarding the necessary detritus o studying: In the absence of lockers, cars, etc., perhaps Campus Democrats could organize bag check stations, well away from the President's locations.

AllenS said...

How many times will Obama say the word folks?

former law student said...

It strikes me that Obama is fearing even the students of UW-Madison.

Only students allowed? That would mean, Meade must stay home that day, right? Or would faculty be allotted guest passes?

edutcher said...

Big Mike said...

Does anybody know whether George W. Bush had such stringent restrictions on people attending his events? I know his father didn't.

Bush 41 was pre-9/11, remember. Things were a good bit looser. I doubt Dubya forbade posters - that seems to be a Demo thing, starting with Willie - and the food and drink thing strikes me as inspired by the air travel restriction, as do the laptops.

Unless the Zero is afraid the students will throw rotten tomatoes because they know they won't have any jobs when they graduate.

Kevin said...

"Ah, but you need to be respectful and hear out what the President says."

Yeah, right - I'm sure that Bush would have been treated respectfully had he spoken at a rally in Madison.

Obama is a disaster - let him know it! Don't allow yourself to be used as a campaign prop! It's too bad Russ has a previous commitment in Hayward (or fill in the name of other small northeastern Wisconsin town) that day!

Synova said...

I lived in San Bernardino when Reagan came to Orange County. The roads were snarled for three days because they had to *practice*.

A person doesn't have to dislike a president to wish that he'd stay home.

Synova said...

"The only humane solution is for Obama to bring water with him, preferably in half liter bottles with the Presidential Seal so they become souvenirs instead of litter."

This is actually a very good idea. I was thinking something similar, that they ought to have drinking water there but I didn't think of having something like the Presidential Seal or other label that made them souvenirs. Smart.

deborah said...

"They can take away your posters, but they can't take away your underpants."

Come on, Althouse, make that your signature. If only for one day...

deborah said...

Inquiring minds want to know...will Two Feathers be there?

John Burgess said...

Synova: That's a good idea! The WH could bring uncountable supplies of bottled water with the symbol of the WH thereupon imprinted. Sell them for $5 a go and at least something will be done to start reducing the national debt!

WV: White House bottled water = tedger

Paul Zrimsek said...

Have backpacks gotten bigger, or has the scale of terrorist attack America is able to absorb gotten smaller?

Irene said...

I hope most students can bring an open mind.

Ann Althouse said...

"You just know there's a story from her wild, misspent youth there."

No, it's a story of UW law students "dropping trou"... their term, not mine.

Henry said...

President Bill Clinton spoke at my sister-in-law's graduation. The event was in the open-air football stadium. Clinton was 90 minutes late. It was raining. Umbrellas were not allowed.

Tom Spaulding said...

A slice of Rocky's Sausage and Pepperoni is transformational, historic and unprecedentedly delicious.



WV=cordocc: Milspeak for what they're doing to the Library Mall.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

"You just know there's a story from her wild, misspent youth there."

No, it's a story of UW law students "dropping trou"... their term, not mine.


I was inspired by the line, "but they can't take away your underpants". Interesting turn of phrase.

jeff said...

I lived in Columbus when Bush and Gore were running and they both came to town several times. Which means they would shut down the highway from downtown to the airport. At rush hour. When I was in high school I was in DC for a school trip and saw Carter leaving the white house in a two car convoy in traffic.

Michael Haz said...

Feingold may or may not be there, but Karelton Armstrong for damn sure won't be let near the spot in Library Mall where he usually sells juice to students and others.

geekWithA.45 said...

A president who fears to stand in the presence of honorable armed citizens isn't worthy of a vote.

A president who fears to stand in the presence of citizens with water bottles deserves only contempt.

A security apparatus that insist on either is out of control.

MB said...

Are they allowing small video cameras and smart cell phones?

Some can type so fast on these phones that they could live blog - and google fact checks with links.

Meade said...
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Meade said...

First they came for the posters,

and I didn't speak up because I wasn't carrying a poster.



Then they came for the water bottles and sandwiches,

and I didn't speak up because I was dieting.



Then they came for the backpacks and bags or purses larger than a standard sheet of paper,

and I didn't speak up because my backpack, bag or purse was exactly the size of a standard sheet of paper.



Then they came for my underpants.

deborah said...

LOL thanks, Althouse!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

That's the message. It's nothing loftier than that. It's a big political rally, snarling Madison traffic — on our narrow isthmus — blocking passage through the center of campus, and depriving us of our computers and our freedom of expression.

Ha ha ha.

Sounds like the shine is really off of that new penny.

Synova said...

"I lived in Columbus when Bush and Gore were running and they both came to town several times. Which means they would shut down the highway from downtown to the airport. At rush hour. When I was in high school I was in DC for a school trip and saw Carter leaving the white house in a two car convoy in traffic."

Carter was pre-Reagan getting shot.

It was an innocent time.

peter hoh said...

I'm fairly certain the the President wants to have one half of Congress controlled by the Republicans.

Tom said...

The thirstier you are the more likely you'll be to drink the Kool-Aid.

Synova said...

"Have backpacks gotten bigger, or has the scale of terrorist attack America is able to absorb gotten smaller?"

Ouch!

:-)

SoccerPlayingMom said...

This post brought to mind a question that I had last basketball season. Several times last year Obama was seen with front row seats at an NBA or NCAA basketball game. I often wondered what inconveniences that caused the fans. So are fans forbidden their food and drinks? How about larger purses or backpacks? If the answer is no, then why those restrictions in Madison? If the answer is yes.........hmmm I'll be charitable here and not ask the question I have in mind. At least in Madison folks will be there to see Obama.

DADvocate said...

No food or drink (ie the hungry and thirsty are more compliant)

I predict we'll see a new feeding of the masses. With two bottles of Aquafina and gluten free Honey Oat Bread, Obama will be able to fill the stomachs and quench the first of the masses who come to hear him.

Nathan said...

Actually, I can imagine legitimate security reasons for all these restrictions, except for the one on posters. That one is a bald-faced, un-American effort to silence dissent. And it makes me think the rest of the restrictions, while plausibly necessary, probably aren't.

Milwaukee said...

The Mall after the Restoring Honor Rally was spotless. Trash was neatly piled in bags at designated locations. The Mall after President Barack Hussein Obama's inauguration looked like there had recently been a riot, or a trash collectors strike. No food, no water, and no backpacks is to prevent people from bringing and leaving trash. They know what kind of people these are. They will scream bloody murder about sacrifices we need to make to save the planet, but will trash any space they occupy.

The "No signs" is because the Pres can not help himself and respond to hecklers and critics in the crowd. His handlers figure if there are no critical signs to distract him, he will have an easier time reading the teleprompter. It is amazing that he would respond to hecklers from the left when he is with what should be a friendly audience.

Have the "they" also prohibited truth or fun?

Alex said...

So tell me Althouse - why is this President deserving of any respect?

Almost Ali said...

The only humane solution is for Obama to bring water with him

No, he should make it out of thin air. Then I'll believe.

dada said...

This White House have consideration for the little people.
Think you have it bad, a couple of weeks ago Obummer shut down the West Side of Los Angeles at rush hour. Normally 30 minute jaunts balloned to a couple of hours. No
mention from the White House on the carbon footprint that bit of elitism left,a few thousand cars left idling while he raised some cash.

Almost Ali said...

Milwaukee said...
No food, no water, and no backpacks is to prevent people from bringing and leaving trash. They know what kind of people these are.

Bingo.

Almost Ali said...

they can't take away your underpants.

I'm not sure coeds will get the connection. Like, who wears underpants?

ak4mc said...

"President Obama will be speaking on the UW-Madison campus, and obviously, they expect a huge crowd..."

That'd be a switch from his recent campaign appearances.

Debbie said...

LOL@ Meade 12:07 and Dadvocate @12:47.

Greg Hlatky said...

"We can absorb a terrorist attack... even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger."

But God forbid anything should happen to the Rt. Hon. Abraham Delano Fitzgerald Mahatma Obama

k*thy said...

The security restrictions sound exactly the same as the ones for getting into Camp Randall for a football game (down to the 8.5x11 backpacks). It smells like a Homeland Security recommendation to the University, kind of thing.

I've also read that food will be sold with the secured area. As for the traffic concern, relax. What's the difference between this event and any other that regularly happens in this town (football, hs championship tournaments, Ironman, marathons and such)? Nothing, actually. Anyway, you could walk to work, right?

We had thought of going, after work, but may just hang ouside on the periphary.

workhorse said...

Looks like the same kind of restrictive list Fidel Castro uses for his speeches. Must have faxed it over, from one commie to another.

T J Sawyer said...

No "laptop" computers.

Netbooks OK? IPADs?

Just where does the Obama Administration draw the line? Apparently, size matters!

MadisonMan said...

There's an interesting story in the local paper today about the visit, comparing it to the last time a sitting President visited Madison.

Link.

info said...

Bubble boy comes to Bubble town...who cares...

Bruce Hayden said...

As pointed out above, just be glad that you don't live in LA. When they shut down traffic and airspace, a lot more were inconvenienced, and for likely a lot longer. All for a fund raiser that few if any of the commuters who were inconvenienced for hours could have afforded attending. This time, at least, it is for a rally that a lot of people will be able to attend. In other words, if you divide the number attending by the number inconvenienced, this doesn't look so bad, in comparison with LA.

Besides, most of those who will be inconvenienced voted for the President anyway, and so are irrelevant to the calculations.

Lynne said...

Big Mike said:

Does anybody know whether George W. Bush had such stringent restrictions on people attending his events? I know his father didn't.

I was working at Wake Forest during the time the debate was held there, and it was insane. They blocked out the windows in the bell tower with plywood and even posted armed men in the trees along the quad.
We were informed one month beforehand that all our identities would be checked, and we all had to wear special ID tags to work. No one could park on campus that day- even hours before the event- and if you tried to take a shortcut to get onto campus, Secret Service nabbed you and demanded ID, etc. Dorms near the debate space were cleared; in some cases students were locked out without warning. It was crazy and I was just glad to put in my time and go home that day.

PD Quig said...

For what he has done to the country in less than two years, Obambi ought to live in fear for the rest of his sneering, whining, existence. God, I cannot wait until the real dirt on this loser starts to get published.

orbicularioculi said...

Why would students want to listen to this man's blah, blah, blah droning on and on? These are college students, ostensibly the best of the best.

Is there a psychological "disconnect" occurring in the mind's of these young people?

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm dreaming of a wide isthmus,
Just like the kind I used to know.

David said...

Ah, but you need to be respectful and hear out what the President says, which is — I assume — that you really need to vote for Democrats in November. That's the message. It's nothing loftier than that.

The comparisons to Lincoln ended rather quickly and any resurrection would be laughable.

The Man of Change, He Who Had Been Waiting for Himself, is just another third rate early 21st century politician.

We've had other Presidents like that: Tyler, Fillmore, Buchanan. The aftermath was very ugly.

AllenS said...

"I'll give you my underpants when you take it from my cold, dead ass crack!"

Belkys said...

So the constitutional scholar at ChU does not know the first amendment

jaed said...

Is anyone else hearing Mel Gibson's voice?

MEL: They may take our posters... but they cannot take away... our UNDERPANTS!!!!

MEN WEARING WOAD: (wild cheering)

Ralph L said...

Then they came for my underpants.
But I was going commando, so they brought out the hair clippers and Peter screamed.

The Secret Service would have every president (and candidate) do nothing but video-conference. It would be appropriate for Obama to speak as a hologram.

WV - pedishe - the late Jon Benet

Quaestor said...
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Quaestor said...

Charlton Heston turns his back on his ecstatic audience, slowly drops trou, exposing his BVD brand boxers to wild applause and flashing speedlights "From my cold, dead ass crack..."

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skipper50 said...

Show him. Vote Republican.

Palladian said...

"Does anybody know whether George W. Bush had such stringent restrictions on people attending his events? I know his father didn't."

When I graduated from Yale in 2001, newly-minted President George W. Bush spoke briefly at the main commencement ceremony in the Old Campus. Everyone was herded through metal detectors and wanded, and bags were searched, but there were no restrictions about food or drink or anything else that I can recall. Of course there was the obligatory "protest" from some of the students, i.e. people holding up various little signs printed on neon-colored Xerox paper and turning their backs to the stage when Dubya spoke. There was probably an extensive Secret Service sweep of the whole area, and I remember seeing government snipers in Harkness Tower. I also noted that there were several duplicate Presidential limousines at the different gates leading from Old Campus, and that when they left they left fast, flying down Elm Street at top speed. But all in all, it wasn't anything particularly onerous, at least for the gowned.

Of course, this was 4 months before September 11th, 2001...

former law student said...

Is anyone else hearing Mel Gibson's voice?

Actually, Whitney Houston's:

I believe that children are our future.
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be

Everybody searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone to fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me

I decided long ago
Always to give myself one more chance
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I am free to sing and dance
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my underpants

Chorus:
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all
Even if Christine O'Donnell
Opposes it

Claude Hopper said...

Obama's speech is about JOBS, the acronym for Just Obama's Bull Shit.

Nate said...

Great thoughts guys. Nice to see you all thinking real hard about this one.

Swen said...

"They can take away your posters, but they can't take away your underpants."

What? Even the underpants gnomes have quit their White House jobs?