CommunityPam's House Blend

In Miami

I’m here.

The airport experience at RDU was uneventful. Breezed through, no Cinnabombers racing on the plane with hot coffee. The non-stop flight was fairly empty, and uneventful. Until we landed.

As we approached the gate, the pilot announced not to unbuckle when we came to a stop — the plane would be towed the rest of the way to the gate. I think this was because of the tight turn that had to be made to sidle up to the passageway. Anyway. We stop, there is a jerk and vibration. The towing truck had hooked on. We began to move, probably not 25 feet and then there is a big snap noise and vibration.

The pilot comes back on and says the tow hitch mechanism broke. So we have to sit and wait for them to get the broken hitch released from the plane. About 10 minutes go by and then the pilot announces

We have a cast of thousands standing outside, maybe one of them will put down a clipboard and figure out how to get the tow gear off the plane. If you need to use the “facilities”, you can go ahead; I’ll announce when it looks like we’re going to be moving again.

I actually start dozing off after laughing (I didn’t sleep well the night before). Several minutes go by and the pilot says “we only have one man with a clipboard now, something should start happening soon.” Lots of trucks and rubbernecking airport workers on electric carts, and luggage vehicles drive by, laughing and staring.

Yawn. FINALLY, about 40 minutes after we landed, some brain figured out how to get the hitch off and got a new one on. We pull into the gate. Miami’s weather today was about the same as NC; the humidity is about the same.

***

Got my checked bag, went out to get a shuttle (shared van ride) to the Loews Miami. Most shuttle drivers are pretty scary drivers, and this man was no exception. The rule of the day is strap yourself in and close your eyes.

I don’t remember much about the ride, it was a blur, aside from the fact that this driver has to get crap mileage in this van because he kept gunning it and braking the whole way, weaving in and out of traffic. In these larger vans, the suspension is ok, so your butt doesn’t break on bumps; the downside is that the bouncing and swaying may require some dramamine.

***

Finally got in around 7PM and the hotel had canceled my reservation, it was made long ago. Someone booked my check-in as yesterday (wrong), and since I “didn’t show up” my reservation was kaput. The manager had to get involved, typed feverishly on the keyboard, and he restored my reservation. Dropped my bags off and came down to check in for the NLGJA‘s conference and get my badge.

I was late so I missed the newcomer’s reception, but checked out the Caucus Open House. Ran into Sean Bugg of Metro Weekly, who recognized me (I hadn’t met him before). He did the wonderful interview with SLDN’s Brian Fricke. Introvert that I am, I did a quick surf of the various groups meeting then went out in the hall to speak to Ms. Julien (via phone), who had called to say she couldn’t make it to the conference. Sigh. Oh well, I don’t know anyone here. Went down to get something to drink and eat.

Anyhow. I’m beat, so I came up to the room and I’m typing this blog. The Loews is a beautiful hotel, but it gets big demerits for charging for high-speed access — and it isn’t even wireless — $9.95/day to surf in your room. Oh well, I’m sucking it up for the cause.

Tomorrow there are some interesting panels, I’ll be going to Lavender Press Politics: Too Blue for Red State Readers? and Covering the Uncovered: Reporting on the Poor & Powerless.

***

Porno Pete unhinged over NLGJA conference sponsors

Hahahahahahahahaha. Well, isn’t that special? He’s foaming at the mouth at the corporate sponsorship of this event, turning on the blasters full force over at Americans for Truth.

Fox News and Wal-mart are among the high-level ($10,000) sponsors of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association’s (NLGJA) 2006 Convention in Miami (Sept 7-10 at Loew’s Miami Beach Hotel). Every year, the NLGJA garners hundreds of thousands of dollars in Big Media sponsorships for its convention; this year it appears (based on the sponsorship list below) that the total is around half a milliion dollars in corporate support.

The NLGJA bills itself as merely a professional organization for journalists who “happen to be gay,” as the liberal cliche goes. But the organization advocates a pro-homosexual “spinning” of the news not unlike the activist group GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

…While it is true that the “mainstream” (read: dominant liberal) media is so pro-homosexuality these days that it is hard to discern between media activism and plain old homosexual-group activism, that does not make it right. The media should play it down the middle on homosexuality and other controversial issues, not serve as a cheerleader for the “gay rights” cause.

He holds special contempt for Wal-Mart, noting by the “Feature Level” sponsorship listing for the retailer, “that’s right, the same Wal-Mart that recently gave $25,000 to National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is also sponsoring NLGJA–Ed.” This passage in his screed is particularly interesting.

Yet over the years, NLGJA members have repeatedly suggested that covering “both sides” of homosexuality-related issues is like quoting the KKK on stories about African Americans–a preposterous analogy especially considering that Blacks and minorities poll stronger against “gay marriage” than whites.

Huh? What does one have to do with the other?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding