Greetings from Pittsburgh! Let us begin by saying that Netroots Nation, as always, is an excellent convention, and if our Friday and Saturday are anything like Thursday, then we're in for a non-stop great weekend! Also, we want to thank our regular reader and commenter Randy Bear (follow at Twitter: @RBearSAT) for treating us to an awesome lunch on Thursday — it was quite good.
We also should make mention of some of our friends we've hung out with a lot, including Ramey Ko, Sarah McDonald, and Rick Cofer. It's been great to have our own Texas group together a lot! While we're a little biased about last year's Netroots convention (held in Austin), this year's has certainly gotten off to a great start. Here's just a snippet of the highlights:
- Polling Panel — We enjoyed an excellent panel from Nate Silver (538.com), Charlie Cook (Cook Political Report) and Charles Franklin and Mark Blumenthal (pollster.com) in the morning about polling. They emphasized the importance of studying trendlines, and how blogs should always focus on the context of a poll — no matter how good or bad it may be for our side. Both Charlie Cook and Nate Silver had dire prognostications for the 2010 congressional midterm elections (predicting at least 20 losses for Democrats), but the sobering news is simply a reminder of how vigilant we all must be in our fight to support Democrats and Democratic causes.
- Redistricting Panel — Our very own Matt Glazer helped lead a redistricting panel in the afternoon, talking a little about the history of Texas, but more on the importance of the upcoming election. We'll write more about this panel next week — because of its extreme importance for Texas — but suffice to say that bloggers and political professionals across the country will be looking to our State House races to see how the balance of power, nationally, could be affected. Also, we learned of a new website — www.redistrictingfacts.com — that launched Thursday morning, run by the DLCC, which will be used as a public forum just on redistricting.
- President Bill Clinton — President Clinton spoke at the conclusion of Friday, and he had us all on the edge of our seats. His communications skills are still remarkable, whether that involves planned remarks or spontaneous discussions (as happened in response to a convention attendee interrupting his remarks with some shouts). He is such an incredible leader, and it was an honor — as it always is — to hear him speak.
Those are just some of the highlights. Next week, we will write about more, and also share some very, very exciting press coverage we received while here in Pittsburgh (from Pennsylvania reporters!). In the mean time, we will prepare for a busy Friday, where we will hear Dr. Howard Dean speak about health care in the morning, attend a lunch that Bill White is hosting for Texas and select national bloggers, and try to make decisions about more incredible panels throughout the day.
We'll try to update throughout the day — and follow us on Twitter if you want to know more. In the mean time, our thanks to Michael and Todd for holding down the fort for us while we're gone (and for David for somehow finding time to post as we're at the convention).