Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Subtitle: Not That I'm Saying We Are

Today marks in a once-in-a-lifetime event. No, it actually has nothing to do with Stellan. Today Sen. John McCain and Gov. (I know, it's still weird that it's not a punchline) Arnold Schwarzenegger came to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History to participate in an environmental panel discussion.
To be clear, I wasn't in the auditorium. In fact, there was quite a crowd waiting to get in (and quite a crowd outside protesting as well). My job was to piggyback the live audio and video feeds from our overflow auditorium (not the big one, but the other smaller one) to the planetarium. I was hoping we wouldn't need it for the general public so that staff could use the planetarium, but in the end we definitely needed the space for overflow.
It was quite an experience. The panel discussion was pretty punctual, and only went the predetermined hour. Other panelists included the dean of engineering from UCSB; the director of Land Trust for SB County; and the former director of the CIA. The land trust guy, Mike Feeney, was pretty bold in openly calling out McCain. McCain, for his part, outlined a plan to ensure that government facilities and vehicles adhere to more strict environmental and emissions guidelines, as well as a tax credit for people who buy hybrid/electric vehicles. He didn't address his recent announcement of support for lifting the federal ban on offshore drilling, however.
In the end, there was not much real dialogue; people came to say what they had to say, and I don't think anyone really changed his own opinion. But it was interesting to hear, and quite an operation to witness. The Museum was crawling with police as well as Secret Service, the media was in full force (just try a little Google search on the event!) and the McCain fans were very enthusiastic. It felt like a different world, and it pretty much was.
The Museum has taken a little heat for hosting such an event, but I think it's not inappropriate. We're trying to pose ourselves as a "safe place for dangerous ideas," or the neutral location for community forums, and we've recently hosted panels on drilling in the SB Channel. I just don't know how we're going to top a panel with a governor and presidential candidate on it.

P.S. As you may have inferred from the subtitle, neither Kevin or I are big McCain fans. But Kevin's not really on board with Obama either; he says that Obama's quick rise to prominence in the political world gives him a evil Manchurian Candidate vibe. I am not convinced that Obama is a mindless tool of the Communist regime inserted into our political system to make us slaves to the Russians. But the debate rages on in our home.


Martha said...

Kris and Kevin,

Sorry, I can't help myself; got to speak up....

You do know that McCain votes against banning torture, wants to repeal Roe v Wade, has a "worst" rating from the Children's Defense Fund and the League of Conservation Voters, is VERY rich, is ok with staying in Iraq long enough for Stellan to go, and has a hot temper, right?

Anonymous said...

Martha -

She piggybacked the audio and video feeds. She didn't make a donation to his campaign.