REPORTING LIVE FROM THE CHARLOTTE BOBCATS PRACTICE COURT/ TEMPORARY DNC PRESS CENTER, CHARLOTTE, NC—Welcome to the 2012 Democratic National Convention, gentle reader! Your correspondents have arrived, soaked by a freak rainstorm but unbowed, for three about two and a quarter days of solid "on the scene" coverage of the Most Important Political Nomination Convention of 2012, Democratic Edition. Come along on our harrowing journey through artifice, won't you?

We were very close to never making it into the Time Warner Cable Arena at all today; the press office only issues media credential from 10 a.m. to noon, because... they hate out of town reporters, is all I can figure. But we made it through thanks to a kindly press aide, grabbed our free media bag from amidst the giant untended piles of them (pictured) drifting about the Charlotte Convention Center like so much sand in the desert, and went to work, drinking coffee. Immediately noticeable points of difference between the DNC and the Republican Convention in Tampa last week:

  • Fewer cowboy hats.
  • More black people. Corollary: More black people who do not appear to have been hired from central casting's "Affluent African-American Businessman Who Thinks That Playing the Race Card Is a Bunch of Crap" office.
  • On-site Starbucks.

Because Democrats and their LATTES, haha. Trite, cheap, stereotypical journalism of the most superficial sort? Perhaps. But I got up early this morning, and Gawker Media did not put us up in a nice hotel.

The convention kicks off formally at 5 p.m. today with a few hours of super boring crapola, followed by a night of speakers including: Harry Reid, Ken Salazar, Lincoln Chafee, and a live performance by the singer/ songwriter Ledisi. Not exactly rolling out the big guns, on day one.

Then comes the keynote speech by HOT HOT UP AND COMER future trending Twitter topic Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio, and then Michelle Obama. The pretty lady from the White House. So we have much to look forward to—together.

Also Kal Penn is speaking from the stage tonight. This shit is serious business.