Unsurprisingly, I'm not a fan of the measures being taken against protesters at the convention. But, having said that, I really think that protesting conventions is rather silly (either the RNC or the DNC). Note I'm of course not questioning anyone's right to do so. But, both in terms of what protesters hope to achieve and what the message of protesting itself I really don't understand why the conventions are appropriate targets.
Shame on you, Atrios. You're usually pretty good on these kinds of issues, but here you sound like Harry Knowles trying to convince himself he liked the latest Star Wars movie. If we are not unequivocally enthusiastic about not just the right but the intrinsic value of protest - pro or con our own personal causes - then we might as well just throw in the towel on the great American experiment in participatory democracy right now.
The barbed-wired protest pen that has been constructed to accomodate the Democratic National Convention's "Free Speech Zone" would have left our Founding Fathers (well, maybe with the exception of ol' John "Alien and Sedition Act" Adams) apoplectic. That State and municipal governments - and even sovereign nations, for the love of god - regularly kowtow to these Federal demands for "security" is outrageous.
Whatever happened to the tree of liberty needing to be watered with the blood of patriots, anyway? Most of us won't even break a sweat for that tree these days. By the way, here's a bunch of people who show how thoughtful and creative dissent can and should be: Zeitgeist Gallery, who will be out and about in the Greater Metro Boston area doing their thing while the conventioneers do theirs.