Built on Facts

Obama comes to town.

Today Texas A&M was a bit of a madhouse. Huge crowds, hundreds of police, unseasonably-suited and grim-faced men with mirrored sunglasses, unmarked helicopters circling overhead, TV cameras circling below, and completely borked traffic.

Why? Not just one but two Presidents of the United States are making speeches this afternoon. Obviously most of the fuss is about President Obama, but George H.W. Bush is there as well since he’s the one putting on this particular shindig. It’s is a non-partisan service-oriented civic pride sort of thing. I’d like to see them it but it’s an invitation-only event and only a few hundred students and faculty were invited.

The vast majority of the crowd was of the interested bystander variety. Non-protesters outnumbered protesters at least 20:1 by my unscientific estimate, and the protesters themselves were not so unevenly split between pro and con with a few surrealist fauxtesters (“Toy Story 2 Was Ok!”, “I like turtles!”) thrown in for good measure. Everyone I saw was well-behaved on both sides. The uninformed reader might have suspected that A&M is overwhelmingly conservative (Hey, I’m a proud and unrepentant reactionary and I go there), but in fact it’s a very typical flagship state university with a wide and fairly representative variety of student politics. There was certainly no shortage of Obama fans.

News photos show a few crazies, but in my N>5000ish sample I didn’t see any. Presumably throngs of non-noteworthy people behind rope lines don’t sell papers.

As for Science, well, it marched on unimpeded. I went to class, analyzed some data, and did two presentations for my group about the progress of our new experiment. Then I went home. Not as exciting as our President’s day, but I like it that way.


  1. #1 Robert
    October 16, 2009

    The Associated Press says that several hundred protesters gathered outside the auditorium. There is no mention of any non-protesters in the crowd. So who’s right, you or the AP. 😀 😀 😀

  2. #2 UT alum
    October 16, 2009

    I expect you would see about the same in Austin – only with reversed polarity.

  3. #3 chris Schwedes
    October 16, 2009

    Yeah dudes right, just a bunch of people standing around not doing anything. I walked over to just see what was going on. From what I could tell people were just looking to maybe see a glimpse of something interesting. The city of College Station doesn’t have much going on usually.

    There were Obama supporters and some yahoos “protesting” just because they were too confused to actually protest something.

  4. #4 CCPhysicist
    October 18, 2009

    Unseasonably suited indeed. The better to slightly conceal weapons you can only dream about owning. (Remember the armament that appeared within moments after Reagan was shot?) I’ve only seen the Secret Service at work from a close distance once in the last decade or two, and it is really interesting to see the change in body language when the object of their attention is about to show up. The one I was watching went from relaxed to both hands holding his jacket slightly open with just a hint of tension. High noon. He was in a position to draw with either hand.

  5. #5 Jim C
    October 19, 2009

    Conservatives at a US university? Other then in ROTC and few beleaguered students who have to pretend to be liberal to get decent grades from their professors?

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