The second day at TBA was a whirlwind. I couldn't sleep well-- woke up at 3:15, was waiting for the gym to open at 5:30 AM, and spent a little under 45 minutes running and walking 4.2 miles on the treadmill, watching, outside of the commercials, 90% of the time, the news about the nine firemen.
But it wasn't the press talking, it was the liberal members of congress and presidential candidates-- Gravel, Richardson, Obama, Edwards (in the order they spoke.)
Richardson seemed to go even further than any of the other candidates, calling for COMPLETE removal of the troops, and soon.
There was a buzz of energy as the crowd of over 3000 liberals waited for Obama. The excitement was very palpable. As one colleague, Bob Fertik, of democrats.com commented, "He's a rock star."
Mike Gravel, introduced by Ralph Nader, gave his standard stump speech, which I agree with, that the way to get out of Iraq is to keep introducing, every day, the bill to get out. Let the Right wingers reject it every day. It was good to get to speak with Ralph Nader a bit. I asked him about one of our big issues-- voting-- and he replied that we need to go to hand counted paper ballots. I worked it out with his communications director so we'll be getting more of his articles on OpEdNews.
At the gala dinner, I took our Voting Integrity editor Joan Brunwasser, opednews writer Diane Pearlstein, and one of Patrick Murphy's interns (having a pass from a cancellation by one of our other reporters.) Jason Alexander did a great job weaving a story about "who took America" since the meeting was about taking it back. The message-- no-one, we gave it away, by allowing our rights to erode. Either he wrote a great talk or had a great writer. Either way, he delivered it VERY well, so we couldn't tell.
Then, Roger Wilkins was honered with America's Future Lifetime leadership award. This is a man who the word Class, is not good enough. In any world, he would be among the nobility.
Next, Ned Lamont gave the Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership Award to the Progressive Bloggers. About 50 of us got up on the stage. I knew about eight or ten of them, but, once the dinner was over, got to know about eight or ten more. The thing is, about 80% of them don't know about OpEdNEws, even though our traffic sees more page views than all but three or four of the biggest blogs. And speaking of that, I mentioned that someone didn't know who Thom Hartmann was yesterday. So, of course, Thom, probably through google alerts, read it. Now, I mentioned it because Thom is one of, if not the top talk show hosts in the progressive world. Most people do know him. Matter of fact, when he and I went up, after a panel, to see Bernie Sanders, who has been on Thom's show every friday for over three years, one woman, waiting to talk to Bernie, commented, "Omigod, I was going to tell Bernie I listen to him every friday on the Thom Hartmann show. She was more excitd to see Thom. Now, of course, I'll get in trouble with Bernie. NOT!! Bernie is an amazing guy who is also a real rock star. I was not the only one thinking that I wished he'd run for president.
The crowd's heating up this morning. Hillary will be here in a few minutes. Last year, a few old hippies (I'm another one, I guess, but, they had a lot more hair) booed her. I spoke with one of her media people a few minutes ago. She said she thought we'd be pleased with what she has to say. Time to sign off and make sure the front row seats I grabbed are still untaken.