During his strikingly somber--and somewhat discursive--remarks about the global dangers facing America, Joe Biden quoted Seamus Heaney's line about moments when "hope and history rhyme." Afterwards Nancy Pelosi, who is emceeing the event, took the stage and heartily recommended Heaney's new translation of Beowulf

Update: The proceedings have paused for an auction. Now up for bid is a silky-looking a scarf signed by Nancy Pelosi, who is actually modeling the garment onstage as the auctioneer does his thing. It's like QVC for Huffington Post readers. (The scarf just sold for $6,000.)

--Michael Crowley