By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Frank Owen
Anyone with an internet connection nowadays can go online and find a house party where like-minded political junkies are gathering to watch their favorite party luminaries in action. For example, Ann Calhoun and her husband, Roger, invited strangers to their Fort Lauderdale home to watch Barack Obama's acceptance speech. A week later, the Nova Students for McCain at Nova Southeastern University — led by a 22-year-old med student named James Berry — reserved a room on campus to watch John McCain's.
Tailpipe will leave it to talking heads to rate the candidates themselves. But the swingin' car part sure knows how to rate the parties. Here's the lowdown:
Venue: The Repubs showed McCain's speech via live webcast on the big screen in an, ugh, lecture room at NSU, while the Calhouns directed participants to park at Shooters, ride the water taxi to their waterfront pad (they paid the fare), and watch Obama on two big-screen TVs. Winner: Democrats.
Snacks: The Republican kids spared little expense, ordering in half a dozen pizzas, chicken fingers, and two huge plates of chocolate-chip cookies. The Calhouns, meanwhile, made homemade jerk chicken on the grill. Also, they offered booze. Winner: Dems.
Crowd: The buzz is that Obama has the youth vote, but McCain's party drew about 15 cool-looking kids, including one dude with a Mohawk. Although some of their logic was perplexing (one student favored sex education, a woman's right to choose, and health care for all — typically Democratic stances — but said he'd vote for McCain), some of the 40 or so mostly middle-aged Democrats, covered in Barack Obama buttons, likewise seemed unable to articulate their preference. Then again, their mouths were too full of jerk chicken to talk. Winner: Republicans.
Hosts, on the issues: Ann Calhoun: "For some reason, I can't even stand to hear the name Bush." Berry — who claims he was a biological weapons defense researcher for the Department of Defense at age 19 (didn't they make a movie about this guy?) and rattled off statistics. "Obama is such a good salesman, but no one's paying attention to what he is selling." Give Doogie props for ballsiness. But he loses points for spy-game creepiness. Tie.
Patriotism on display: The Calhouns looked really cute with their red, white, and blue party hats, but the Young Republicans stood up to say the Pledge of Allegiance. They also said a prayer that ended with the line, "In Jesus' name, amen." All right, give it to the Republicans.
Hospitality: While all of the Republicans were nice, friendly, eager, and accommodating, Roger Calhoun hit it out of the park. "If you start drinkin' too much," he said, "we've got three rooms upstairs!" Now you're talkin'. Winner: Dems. Hands down.
No Failin' Palin
As a member of the liberal media elite, rightly pilloried at last week's Republican National Convention, Tailpipe feels an obligation to atone for sins that newsgathering organizations have committed against comely vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Surely, there's no more media-battered fetus in America than the one growing inside of the veep nominee's 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, with husband-to-be Levi Johnston. In the spirit of altruism, Tailpipe humbly weighs in with a few suggestions for naming the little guy or gal, and the 'Pipe invites readers to write in a suggested name on their own ballots (keeping in mind that these names are already taken: Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, Trig):
Puck Johnston — Because sports have inspired Palin names before, right, Track?
Hugh Johnston — No pressure, kiddo.
Waylon Palin — If the wedding doesn't take, the tyke has a rhyming name.
Calc Johnston — Because after you pass trig, you've gotta take calc.
Trooper Johnston — Born to cleanse the sins of that other trooper
Ohio Johnston — A clever way to rally a crucial swing state
Bunk Johnston — Old Klondike camping term
Got a suggestion of your own? Send it to the Governor's Office in Juneau.
A golden heart beats somewhere in Hallandale Beach, but probably not at City Hall. You may remember the little development-minded beachside city as the place where politicians elected to move 85 residents of the Tower Mobile Home and RV Park — many of them elderly and disabled folks on modest fixed incomes — to expand an underused athletic facility.
Some of the residents had put $20,000 or more into their homes, but the city offered a "generous" compensation package of $5,000. Make that, $5,000, take it or leave it. The city plowed relentlessly ahead to vacate the land, which is across the street from Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino. A handful of residents is reportedly still holding out, despite the city's steamroller tactics.
Tailpipe is impressed by the man's earnestness. Relations between London, a former businessman and housing association activist, and his colleagues have been tense almost since he joined the governing body 18 months ago. London (who, incidentally, voted for the plan to buy out the mobile home park) says the contentiousness started with discussions about a trash transfer station planned for the predominantly black northwest section of the city. Who wants a trash transfer station in his neighborhood?