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Tapping the Progressive Energy and Inspiration at the Take Back America Conference

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I'm writing from the Take Back America conference in Wash. D.C.-- my fourth year attending.
The attendance this year is way up, a record, exceeding 3000. As usual, it does not disappoint. Everywhere you turn there are smart, passionate, energized activists, dynamically engaged in making a difference. Most of the people's badges list organizations, but even the folks without badges, when you get their story, are deeply involved in and committed to making a difference.

This year, more than previous years, I see at least half a dozen people I've talked into coming to the meeting, locals, who I go to protests and work on local activism projects with. They tell me how energizing and inspiring it is. That hits the nail on the head. I come to this conference to meet people and my first day, do pretty well, getting a chance to talk with three new senators-- Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Sherrod Brown, congressman Keith Ellison, head of DFA Jim Dean, publishers of In These Times, Commondreams, The Progressive, Wayne Madsen, had breakfast with Thom Hartmann, talked with a whole lot of bloggers, "made face" with a number of our writers I'd never seen before... met people from at least a dozen different advocacy organizations... and retired to my room with at least 40 business cards representing great conversations and connections. And that doesn't include re-connecting with all the old friends

At our booth, we have a digital projector showing our front page and the new directory and cloud tag with cloud tag control panel--- which our readers will have access to any day now.
I meet up with our Voting Integrity Editor, Joan Brunwasser, who has been an AMAZING volunteer, making a huge difference, and she's having a great time. She reports that she's been making great contact, recruiting new writers for the site. That's one of our big goals here-- getting people to know about us, getting writers to write for us, to cross post to

It's kind of funny, after four years of coming to the meeting, after growing to where we have over 400,000 people visiting the site each month, there are an awful lot of people who have never heard of us. That's to be expected though, and I'm grateful that there are plenty who do know of us, when a few years ago, No-one knew of Then, I'm sitting at dinner with Thom Hartmann, an old friend, and the other people at the table have no idea of who he is, and he's the number one progressive talk show host in America. What can I say. There's lots of waking up to do. That's what the people here do.

After getting our booth set up in media row, I drop in to hear the opening plenary, catching Eli Pariser of Moveon, the Keith Ellison, the new, first Muslim ever in elected to congress.

Elison, from Minnesota, is an out of the closet progressive, liberal activist. He's great. Best line-- "politicians have to feel the heat to see the light."

Rep Jan Schakowsky, from IL, is another great liberal, progressive who tells us that it is our support and energy that energizes them, that it is the people who end wars, that we can't depend on congress to do it alone.

At lunch, over 2000 people listen to reports on the progress of the Appollo energy alliance. A few years ago, the announced the project-- to move the country towards renewable energy sources and off its dependence on fossil fuels. And the news is that there has been a lot of progress. Phil Angelides is one of several speakers

In the evening, Katrina Van Den Heuvel moderates a panel of new populist senators- Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Sherrod Brown. She points out that these are real progressive politicians-- new blood who can make a real difference. They tell us about their interests and issues, then answer questions. They are SO inspiring, so impressive. We need more of this kind of politician. It shows we don't have to settle for machine democrats who go along to get along. We deserve leaders who represent our true progressive interests.

Hartmann says, as I type. "We don't elect leaders. We elect representatives. We have to be the parade. We are the parade." The idea is not to let politicians jump in front of parades we create. We are the parade. We get them to be a part of the parade we're directing, envisioning and making happen.

Thom Hartmann says, "The difference between southern slave owners and us is that they had to look at the faces of their slaves. We have exported it. It is promoted almost exclusively by transnational corporations and the WTO."

Bev Smith, radio talk show host, says, "Conserve means to keep as is, liberal means to spread it around."

Bev Smith asks, "How may of you have called the manager of a radio station and said "I don't like what you are playing on your station. Tell them, You don't have fair and balanced programming on your station. Tell them you'll stop buying products they advertise. "

Hartmann reinforces, "It's amazing how rarely the radio station hears from people."

Two more days to go-- today, I'll hear Mike Gravel, Gov. Bill Richardson, then on to a a blogger panel, then Barack Obama, then John Edwards. The evening will be a dinner honoring Barbara Boxer, with Seinfeld's Jason Alexander as MC.

Now, back to the conference.


Rob Kall is editor-in-chief, publisher and site architect of, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He hosts the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, aired in the Metro Philly area on AM 1360, WNJC. Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Rob is, with the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

See more Rob Kall articles here and, older ones, here. To learn more about Rob and, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. 

To watch Rob having a lively conversation with John Conyers, then Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click hereWatch Rob speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

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. . . reporting back for those of who can't be... by Russ Wellen on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 11:33:52 AM
Rob,Please pay particular attention to Mike Gravel... by Kenneth Briggs on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 1:01:30 PM
I read your article on Take Back America & many ot... by Mitch LaRoche on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 1:18:44 PM
much hope up in leaders you should listen to what ... by Blue Pilgrim on Wednesday, Jun 20, 2007 at 2:07:11 AM
A lot of the elected officials who spoke at TBA sa... by Rob Kall on Wednesday, Jun 20, 2007 at 10:20:21 PM