# Shawn Johnson

Open thread: Al Gore and Barack Obama at Invesco Field

Chatter away about tonight’s big events.

I love the Republican whining about Shawn Johnson reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic convention. She’s not giving a political speech, she’s saying the pledge! Anyway, the more they complain, the more people will tune in to watch 75,000 Democrats go crazy over the Pledge of Allegiance.

Good for Shawn for taking this step, even though it could very well cost her some endorsements.

UPDATE: Democracy for America is phone-banking tonight (I got a call shortly after 7 pm). Smart move–a whole lot of Democrats are going to be at home in front of their television sets.

Bill Richardson: John McCain may pay hundreds of dollars for his shoes, but we’re the ones who will pay for his flip-flops.

SECOND UPDATE: Switched to C-SPAN an hour ago because I couldn’t take the inane punditry. Whose idea was it to have a parade of retired generals and ordinary people speak after Al Gore? Gore should have been the last speaker before Obama.

THIRD UPDATE: I was distracted by my kids and didn’t realize that Wesley Clark was one of the retired generals who stood on stage, but he was not allowed to say a word. That is atrocious. He is a good speaker, and the Obama campaign is running scared. That’s why the right-wing noise machine went after Clark last month–they wanted to make Obama afraid to use him.

FOURTH UPDATE: I only caught the last 15 minutes or so of Obama’s speech. I like this excerpt I read from earlier:

And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”

Great visuals at the end with a packed stadium going wild. I have no idea what that country song was they played after Obama spoke, though.

Some commenters at Open Left pointed out that the Republicans picked a terrible week to have their convention. Monday is Labor Day, and a lot of Americans will have other things to do besides watch the RNC. Next Thursday is the opening night for the NFL, so McCain will deliver his acceptance speech opposite two nationally televised football games. I look forward to comparing the ratings for the GOP convention to our convention.

FIFTH UPDATE: The full text of Obama’s speech (as prepared) is after the jump.

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Congratulations to Shawn Johnson

For her incredible performance during the Olympics, which culminated in a gold medal for balance beam.

I have friends whose kids take gymnastics at Chow’s in West Des Moines, and apparently Shawn is so kind and gracious with the kids who look up to her there. She did us all proud.

She was fantastic on the days she earned silver medals in the team exercises, all-around competition and floor exercises. I suspect she would have taken the gold in the floor exercises if she hadn’t been scheduled to perform first in the final. She had a flawless routine, but the judges often leave themselves room to go higher later when they are scoring the first competitor (at least that’s what some of the commentators were saying during other individual competitions). I wouldn’t have blamed her for being very angry, but she was smiling and sportsmanlike in her comments to the media after the competition.

Nastia Liukin, the all-around gold medalist, was amazing as well, even though she may have been robbed of the gold in uneven bars. The Chinese gymnast who won gold in that event through a controversial tiebreaking procedure was reported by the official Chinese agency Xinhua to be 13 years old last year. Gymnasts are required to be at least 16 years old to compete in the Olympics.

There needs to be an investigation of some of the scoring in the gymnastics competitions. Alicia Sacramone (who had to go first in the final for the individual vault competition) ended up finishing fourth by hundredths of a point, even though she landed on her feet, and the Chinese gymnast who won bronze fell to her knees on one landing.

Use this thread for any chatter related to the Olympics. Des Moines native and Roosevelt High School graduate Lolo Jones looked dominating in her semifinal in the hurdles.

UDPATE: Lolo Jones was leading the 100-meter hurdles race until she hit the second to last hurdle. She finished out of the medals, which must have been crushing after she posted a personal best time in the semifinal. Elite-level sports can be a heartbreaking business.

Olympics open thread

What sports are you watching? I am tired of them showing only the sports Americans can win medals in.

It seems the gymnastics judges are being a little more generous with the girls from China. I didn’t stay up late enough to see if Shawn Johnson won a medal in the individual competition.

One of my friends thinks after the Olympics they will strip China of that team gold medal on the grounds that some of the girls are under 16. I seriously doubt that will happen.

Use this thread to discuss anything related to the Olympics past or present.