I'm writing this from a hotel room in Springfield, Illinois. We've just returned from Obama's announcement of his decision to run for President. We weren't able to get that close to Obama (I could barely see him, although I did get a few pictures that might be decent, if small, once cropped) because you needed tickets (which apparently were not available to the general public or even to donators, which we are) to get closer than behind the crowd control barriers. Loren, at least, got to see him by virtue of sitting on my shoulders for much of the speech. Also, it was really quite cold, about 8 degrees when we left (it's 15 degrees now) and we were mostly in the shade. The speech was excellent; I won't try to detail relevant parts as I'm sure there will be a copy of it on Obama's campaign website before long anyway. There was such a sea of people; enough that the entire Old Capitol Building grounds were completely covered as well as the sidewalks and much of the adjoining streets.
The worst part was on the way back to the hotel. The antiwomen antichoice assholes were out with their disgusting signs, and passing them made Lee (who is six months pregnant) ill to the point of vomiting, and with the stress of the temperature and the walk this induced painful pre-term contractions. Fortunately, there was a group of people willing to form a human shield so we could get past these the disgusting signs, and we were able to get her back to the hotel where we are now resting. We'll gladly pay the $10 for a late checkout.
It's clear that Obama is not running for the Democratic nomination. He is running for the Presidency.
I'm positive that I saw some of the same people today that I saw at Navy Pier in 2003. The difference? There were at least 50 times as many people here today, and Dean's appearance at Navy Pier was on a nice warm summer afternoon, not a frigidly cold winter morning.
I took about 300 pictures, most of which are probably crap, but there might be one or two worth keeping. I'll post them here if there is anything worthwhile. We will be going to see Obama again on Sunday at UIC. We do have tickets to that; hopefully we won't be as badly screwed there as we were here in terms of access, and I hope to get better pictures then. Also, my camera seems to systematically underexpose most images by about one stop. At least it has the ability to bias that. I also got some pictures of the city from the hotel room (we are on the 15th floor of a building in the center of Springfield), which will hopefully be worth uploading.