I've been to many conferences, and this was definitely one of the best - great speakers, friendly participants, amazing surprise guests - and Austin, TX is definitely a cool city to visit. Since I was sent there on a DFA scholarship, thanks in no small part to the help of New Jersey voters - I tried to keep the New Jersey-bound in the loop as much as possible, with a series of Netroots Nation diaries during the conference.
Now, I took a bunch of pictures, but I'm certainly no photographer. Still, flip on over to the other side to see some of them. It will definitely help me fill in some of the blanks left out in the earlier diaries, and recap some of the highlights of the conference.
[Cross-posted from Blue Jersey starting with gratuitous Arshad and Markos photo]:
This is Markos Moulitsas of dKos, and Arshad Hasan of DFA just before the panel with Markos and Rep. Harold Ford (now of the DLC) that Arshad moderated. Moments later, Ford arrived and they all took the stage for a discussion on the direction of the Democratic party. Memorable, to say the least.
DFA came up with a really great plan to connect its members to its endorsed candidates with intimate meet and greet chats in its hospitality suite. Darcy Burner (left) and Donna Edwards (right) each came by, as well as Miami, FL's Annette Taddeo (who I can't seem to find a photo for, which sucks, because I really liked her too).
The DFA Hospitality suite also played host to Night School with the incredible Professor George Lakoff, of framing and non-elephant-thinking fame, talking about the lessons in his new book, The Political Mind.
Sitting in on the lecture by Lakoff (left, center of photo with DFA Chair Jim Dean and Training Director Matt Blizek) live felt a little like attending a college lecture given by one of the most brilliant minds in academia (something I felt again when listening to a later presentation by Lawrence Lessig on the corrupting influence of money in politics). These weren't political speeches, but true political scholarship that was an honor to join in.
Professor Lakoff signed one of his new books for me, as did Paul Krugman the following day (I did not think to snap a photo of that). But, on the subject of book signings, that is something there is a lot of - David Sirota, Richard Clarke, and a bunch of others were there hawking books for sale, freshly signed, at just under the cover price - not a bad deal.
If you read the Netroots Nation diaries of the last few days, then you've already seen and heard about my fun run-ins with Pam Spaulding, Howard Dean, and Obama Girl. So, I don't need to bore you with pictures of me doing the Me and Vinnie show on Sirius Satellite Radio's indie_talk. But I'm pretty sure some things slipped through the cracks as the days went by, like this shot of General Wesley Clark, with Rick Noriega, candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas.
Bumping into Noriega meant running into Holly Shulman, who helped make one of our daily Blue Jersey Radio shows extra special, when she was "reunited" - if only by phone - with her dad, Dennis Shulman. You can listen to that show here. But, in the end, the experience of Netroots Nation boils down to more than just the obvious.
For all the amazing panels (did I mention the one with Joe Trippi and Zephyr Teachout?!), celebrity sightings (Dean, Clark, Pelosi), DFA staff and scholar socializing (left and right, w/Charlie Brown), and networking opportunities (you can't underestimate the power of a good poker game), it really is the feel good spirit that comes with being surrounded by 3000 of the most hardworking progressives in the nation, knowing we're fighting to take our country back, and making it a better place for everyone, that I'll remember most.
Well - that and, of course, Al Gore:
Did somebody say Pittsburgh?