First thing in the morning as always – shake off that veil of weary, find food and settle in for a morning conversation between Baratunde Thurston and President Obama’s Senior Adviser – Valerie Jarret:
Just as with Howard Dean the morning before, they took questions via Twitter and also via the audience’s written questions on note cards. My takeaway from the session? The country is in way better hands with a President with THIS Special Adviser than we were with the last one (Karl *gack* Rove…sorry…reference to him always makes me gag). Sharp on her feet and a very worthy representative for the White House to send. However, now a week later I have to admit that I don’t remember a lot of what was said! Mostly because she wisely did not make news. Also because she spoke with us *before* Obama and some others started to walk away from a firm support of a Public Option in health care reform which is a HUGE issue with Progressives. She dodged a bullet with her timing for sure!
I moved on from there to a panel on Citizen Funded elections which have been successfully implemented at a few local levels. One of my favorite speakers from NN08 was on the panel – Professor Lawrence Lessig. His organization is called Change Congress and he is really trying to get the special interest money out of the election process. Realistically I see this as an uphill battle, but as a practical matter it is certainly (IMHO) the right way to go and he has some vocal and wealthy supporters from both sides of the aisle in his movement.
Then on to lunch with included a conversation on the Economy which included Gov Corzine from New Jersey, BUT, I was finally sitting with two of my buddies who I had yet to talk to and well, we talked! So I truly have no idea what was said in the panel (oops!).
From there I went to the panel on DOJ scandals which featured former Alabama Gov Don Seigleman who we at DailyKos grew quite attached to as we watched in horror at his arrest and subsequent jailing in a maximum security prison (even doing time in solitary) over a charge of appointing a donor to his campaign to a symbolic post. Umm…doesn’t that sound rather vaguely like something that EVERY Mayor/Gov/President does?? Anyway, no matter how you slice his case, it had politicization and Karl (gack) Rove’s fingerprints all over the case. The Free Don! campaign was huge on DK in 2007-08 and we were thrilled to have him with us in Austin for NN08 and we continue to watch his saga unfold. Now, of course, the tables are turned and while it has since been made QUITE evident that the entire DOJ was used for political gain under Bush, it remains quite a travesty that so many Bush appointees are still serving despite their obvious bias in their posts.
And before anyone starts to cry out “oh, that’s just a zany left wing loony conspiracy theory!” just remember how MANY of those supposedly zany accusations during the Bush years have ended up being TRUE. Shoot, another just was revealed this week when former Homeland Security head Tom Ridge confirmed that the threat level was raised just before the 2004 election for purely political reasons. Something Keith Olbermann alluded to at the time it happened and of course, he was vilified. Trust me – I *wish* the tin foilers on my side were wrong!! I really do! But damn, after so many cards fall, how can I not take some of what they suspect seriously? At least when it comes to the Bush admin and Rove (gack) and Cheney and Rumsfield, I don’t take ANY accusations against them lightly. Chances are, they did it.
So after that I was supposed to join the Packing of The Boxes with the Netroots For the Troops gang. An awesome tradition born last year where we pack and send care packages to our troops in combat. However, they were done when I got there! It was so well organized this year that their 2 hour window of packing was not needed – they were done in less than an hour. So I was just around to photograph the aftermath – sorry for the quite crappy photo, but the iPhone has no flash, however, you can get idea of the group effort and see the finished pallets of boxes:
Now comes a fun little bit 🙂 In the run up to NN09, funds needed to be raised in order to gather the supplies put into the boxes and of course for postage and packaging and customs forms. So the group you see up there took turns writing diaries to inspire folks to make donations. People would pledge based on the number of recommendations a diary would get or pledge a 1$ per comment (that got expensive let me tell you!), and then one fine day Bill got the brilliant idea to promise to dance if a certain amount was raised during one of his diaries. The promise was that he would dance on command anytime, anywhere during NN09 if he was asked. Well, some folks who had donated but couldn’t be at NN09 were clamoring for video of the dance. Hmmm…who just got the new iPhone with a video function?? So I waited for just the right moment – which I thought was right there in the middle of the exhibit hall with all of the NNFT crew around. So, I told Bill to dance:
Bill is such a good sport!
Meanwhile I just realized that this has gone too long already and I have more to post about the evening! I’ll pair that with the sad goodbyes of Sunday and some more pics of my dear dear friends.