I already posted pics, but never really wrote up the YearlyKos experience, so...
We went to a few good panels, and one not-so-great roundtable.
The Championing Science panel was interesting, with opening remarks and Q/A from Wes Clark, who apparently was on a physics and engineering track before he decided to go into the military. I wasn't a big Clark fan in '04, though I know somebody who was. I thought he seemed very green, in terms of his presentation of himself, speaking style, and ability to think on his feet and respond well to unexpected questions. His style, and his breadth of policy knowledge, seem to have improved dramatically in the intervening years. Very, very impressive. I could seriously dig a Warner/Clark ticket. (Both of the major candidates I support, currently, are highly focused on getting America back on track in terms of investment and education in science and technology. One of Warner's big successes is investing in broadband deployment and technical education, and bringing tech jobs to rural areas of Virginia, that otherwise would've likely been outsourced to India, China, or Russia. And of course Phil has the California Tomorrow Fellowship plan, and his success with GreenWave as Treasurer.)
The panel about Energize America, an energy policy plan developed through open collaboration, was good too. Bill Richardson was there to talk about his work in New Mexico (the only state to embrace the Kyoto Protocol, thus far). He mentioned the Apollo Alliance, and pushed the idea of adding a biofuels section to the EA plan... I asked a question about whether there were any efforts in the works to try to get some kind of convergence from the various plans floating around, so everybody can work from the same playbook this summer and fall. We Dems have a tendency to argue with each other over details, instead of compromising on our differences and then going after our actual opponents on their lack of meaningful policy (they are, after all, perfectly happy to let their industry lobbyist buddies write the full text of their legislation). The GOP gets away with accusing us of not having any ideas, when in fact the problem is that we have too many, and each of us cares too much about our own specific variant. In any case, the question apparently appealed to one of Gov Richardson's staffers enough that he offered me a card. I passed the contact on to Phil's campaign manager; I'm sure Phil would be interested in hearing what's worked well in NM, and, more immediately, if Gov Richardson is willing to come do a day or two of campaigning in SoCal, to try to encourage Hispanic registration and turnout, at a time when the GOP is in full-on xenophobe mode, it wouldn't hurt our chances... Maybe we could even get Busby those last few percentage points she missed.
The moderator never showed up for the environmental roundtable, so we tried to start off with introductions. There were a bunch of people who seemed interesting, but a few thought that "introduction" meant "lecture", so we never actually got past the intros. I'm always sorta peeved by the variety of environmentalist who advocates the Buddhist "wanting things is bad" idea. Offer people the things they want in a more efficient, more compact, less resource-intensive way, and a) you may well get rich, because you now produce a desirable product using a lower amount of variable-cost inputs; and b) even if you can't make it cost less, people are willing to pay a little more for a more environmentally-friendly product. Don't tell people they can't or shouldn't have that product at all; they'll tune you out. (Liberals seem, by and large, to understand that shaming people is an ineffective way to encourage safe/sane sexual behavior. So why don't more of us understand this principle when it comes to other behaviors?) This is why I latched onto the Viridian Design movement -- it's environmentalism that proceeds from the understanding that until green consumption is seen as both desirable and accessible, we're not going to make any headway in solving global warming, unless it gets so bad that we suddenly have to impose draconian regulation -- the "khaki green" solution. (This, btw, is part of what I like about An Inconvenient Truth, and about the invest-in-green-tech policies of Phil Angelides, Mark Warner, and Bill Richardson. The world's going to need non-polluting, efficient tech Real Soon Now™. If we have any sense, we'll be the ones to invent it, and get rich selling it to the emerging Chinese and Indian and African markets. Thus far, though, we're letting Exxon-Mobil stifle innovation here, so even the South Africans are ahead of us.)
We made the error of getting food-court dinner before Governor Warner's party at the Stratosphere. It turned out he was providing real food, there. I had some fruit and chocolate fondue for dessert.
The Warner keynote, at lunch Saturday, was good, though it was pretty similar in content to the NH Dem Convention speech I'd already heard. (I still have that on my ReplayTV, if anyone's ever interested in seeing it.)
The Dean keynote in the morning was pretty cool. Dean promoted the fact that the DNC has a team of people reading the blogs to keep up with analysis of issues and the collaborative research done in the blogosphere.
Harry Reid, in the evening, was even better, though there were some interruptions with people calling for him to shut down the Senate again. (Also, again, we'd had dinner and then found out there was food. And again, I just had some fruit, this time with yogurt sauce, for dessert.)
We had to get up at 3-something on Sunday to catch a shuttle to the airport. The shuttle people insisted that we should take the 3:55am shuttle, for a 7am flight. Idiots; we sat at the gate for two hours.
I've been catching up on work, and on the news. Earlier this evening I went down to Morgan Hill to meet some of the activist Dems in the southern part of Santa Clara County, and Jerry McNerney, who'll be running against Pombo, one of the most blatantly corrupt, and most vulnerable, House Republicans. Jerry is currently trying to get people who are willing to put in grassroots efforts in the area to contact the DCCC and encourage them to back up the grassroots by kicking in some money and full-time staff. I'm hoping we can arrange some kind of coordination between his campaign and the Angelides campaign, so we can, at the very least, avoid having GOTV calls made by volunteers from both groups to the same people.
ETA: What were the producers of this video thinking?! (It's a short, PG-13 video about Carnival in Rio, with a Very Special Host.)