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NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

YDA Dallas Convention Day 5: Goodbye to Dallas
10:13 A.M. Whew, it's been a wild and wonderful weekend. Leaving is always the hardest part, and especially when you share the airport shuttle with the Mary Kay folks.





We had some good bonding last night, including some impromptu karaoke and music courtesy of Zach:



Classic, classic times :-)

12:01 P.M. Still hanging out at good old DFW. Jesus in a Cracker Jack box, the line at the AirTran counter was ridiculous...



A little barbecue for the road never hurt anyone, and cures hangovers :-)



Flight leaves (hopefully, didn't on the way out) leaves in 40, so this'll be the last dispatch. See y'all back in Atlanta, and thanks for the memories!
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posted by Ataru Atlanta at 7/22/2007 10:09:00 AM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 21, 2007

YDA Dallas Convention Day 4: The big finish
10:49 A.M. Well, it's certainly a joy to start the morning a little later than the last couple of mornings. It's not clear exactly what our immediate plans are - Gravel has been scratched from the agenda for this morning's session, and there are some rumors that Kucinich will be here instead. Us Geek Squad members are in the lobby mooching some wireless...



A small contingent of us is thinking of heading to the Grassy Knoll rather than subjecting ourselves to the mind-shattering ecstasy of considering credentials and platform in the session. A certain Zach is still alive...

12:23 P.M. I should have titled this day "Journey to the Grassy Knoll". We're hanging out at a barbecue joint a couple of blocks away from the site, and we got a very nice conspiracy theory tour from a Mike Jones who happened to be out in the area...





This guy was really cool actually - he was very knowledgeable (or so he seemed ;-)). Heck, how else would we have found out that an inconspicuous little scratch mark by a manhole cover is really a bullet mark?



Beat the hell out of session, if you ask me. If you ever come to the grassy knoll, look for this guy...



I suppose it was appropriate that on the walk over, we saw an interesting-looking building and took some photos, only to find out that it was not in the National Security Interest to take Photos of said Building. The guard was nice enough about telling us, but it was still a little bizarre - I mean, I USED to look like a terrorist, but those days are over ;-)

Incidentally, this Texas beer isn't bad at all. Oh, and it's hotter than hell out here... we don't seem to be on track to be back in time for the luncheon with Sheila Jackson Lee, but she's scheduled to speak at session anyway.

1:48 P.M. Back at the hotel (with other folks paying a visit to a certain Jack D.), waiting for session to start at 1:30. The Mary Kay cultists are still here, and the city seems to be embracing them...



Big Kev is walking Jason through the list of Georgia superlatives for our vote announcement. Yours truly could use a nap, espresso, or both. Interestingly, at the barbecue joint we were at (which was *stupendous*), a waiter came up and said "Hey, is there a breath of fresh air in here? I heard y'all were Democrats!".

2:06 P.M. Hm, am I wearing something that says "Potential LaRouche Cultist Recruit"? Why are they here? Does the world really need more looneytoons in it? An informal straw poll of those of us lying on the floor here finds some Edwards endorsements and Obama disses - apparently Senator Obama not only dissed this convention, he dissed the college affordability bill by missing the vote.



We're losing steam here :-)

2:38 P.M. We're hearing some rather silly state chants, to which Jason replied "Goooo LITERACY!" Supposedly we were already supposed to be started, but Democrat time has run slow this weekend...



Jason called this one - Page is gettin' her inner Wilma Flintstone on :-D (We <3 Page for a reason!)

3:03 P.M. Woohoo, only 30 minutes late! We're underway here and we're hearing from Steve Westley from California who is going to speak on behalf of the Obama campaign, to which I say "lame", or maybe "whoop de doo". I'm sorry, Obama shold have been here himself and I'm going to think twice before I support him. There's a little jeering section back here...



The guy just mentioned "Atlanta" and got probably the only cheers from this section he's going to get. Hope he enjoyed it. In other news, on the way in here, Oklahoma and New York chanted and bore up their banners and generally called undue attention to themselves. This blogger is settling in for a long afternoon...

3:10 P.M. "Once per generation, an individual can truly inspire that generation." Sorry, Howard Dean beat Senator Obama to the punch... I wish we had had a pen over here to play "buzzword bingo", we would have done pretty well in this one speech! At least Mr. Westly is finishing up here.

3:19 P.M. We've just been introduced to Congresswoman Sheila Jackon-Lee to speak on behalf of the Clinton campaign, and even though Hillary gets the same jeers for not being here, the Congresswoman is already proving herself to be a much more entertaining speaker.



Republicans have been compared to grasshoppers in this speech; we've been asked not to step on them :-)

3:27 P.M. Quite frankly I'm more ready to vote for Congresswoman Jackson-Lee than I am for Senator Clinton at this point - great speech, but how much does it reflect Hillary's personal agenda? Hopefully more rather than less. The Congresswoman is reminding me of John Lewis! She's just mentioned Hurricane Katrina, so we can credit Senator Edwards for at least making that much of an impact on the campaign. Ridiculous that Obama's guy didn't mention it.

3:34 P.M. Well, this is a big improvement over what we got from the Obama campaign - a personal video message from Senator Clinton. What the hell is the Obama campaign's problem? I'm ready to forgive Senator Clinton for not personally being here, but the Obama effort strikes me as REALLY weak.

3:39 P.M. Sigh, now we're on to the b.o.r.i.n.g. part of this meeting, the elections. Laptop is going into hibernation for awhile, and this blogger is going to break out a book.

4:15 P.M.



We're on Ohio now, things are dragging on slowly. The only real remaining drama is whether Texas will cast two of its votes for Sisto Abeyta instead of their own David Hardt - pretty sad not to vote for your own candidate. We'll see how it turns out.

4:21 P.M. Texas just had three members abstain from the vote. Kirk Miller said it best - which river will their bodies end up in? At least Vermont is now up, so we are nearly done with the initial round of voting. None of the other officer positions are opposed so there's not a lot of excitement left here (or least not until the voting is done...). Trivia: The state factoid getting one of the heartiest rounds of applause was "Tennessee: Home of Jack Daniel". Lol! Washington just cast their votes for "David Hartman" (his name is David Hardt) - it takes real skill to screw that up when it's on countless signs around here, and after so many states before got it right. We're finishing up with West Virginia now...

4:34 P.M. The votes are in: Hardt 1,995, Abeyta 107, 45 abstentions. Sisto and David were both very gracious and put whatever differences they had aside for a few moments...



The internet is acting up so there's going to be a bit of a delay.

4:41 P.M. Yay! We're electing the other officers by acclamation; Chris Anderson is our new EVP. Here's one more of President Hardt giving his acceptance speech...



4:56 P.M. Meet some more of the new YDA officers: Chris Anderson, Executive Vice President...



Francisco Dominiche, Democratic National Committee Man...



and Crystal Strait, Democratic National Committee Woman...



5:10 P.M. More officers: Omar Khan, Vice President...



A'shanti-Fayshal Gholar, Vice President...



Josh Blevins, Vice President for Programs...



Stephanie Hausner, Secretary...



and Amy Lewis, Treasurer.



We're moments away from adjourning Sine Die, and all that's left is the awards banquet. Yay!

6:25 P.M. We've got some quiet time (and you know what we do then), and everyone's kicking back a bit and basking in the glow of victory. Chris Anderson (who's half a Georgia guy anyway) and some of our delegation (as well as Alexis Tameron, former EVP) took a little break...



And Timothy happened to choose a seat near Amy Lewis, both taking well-earned breaks...



I feel good about our new officers.

9:04 P.M. The awards banquet is now getting under way. Some of us headed over to the Tomorrow Club reception - the Tomorrow Club is YDA's continuing contribution program - before the real meal:



We saw a GREAT little documentary film produced by someone who had infiltrated a College Republicans meeting and was able to tape Tom Delay and other Evil Ones, as well as interview CR's about why they weren't enlisting in the war they thought was so great...



This is going to be a great wrap up to a great convention!

9:57 P.M. We're continuing with awards. The food has been FANTASTIC (a camera malfunction prevented me from getting a photograph of the scrumptious dessert before I ate it) and a good time is being had by all.



Chris Gallaway is doing a nice job of reprising his service as president...



Our own Timmeh has even made an appearance on stage as one of the five state Executive Directors!



Georgia has had a very good night and a very good convention - our delegation has had a lot of recognition! We're still recognizing contributors and have not yet proceeded to awards...

10:21 P.M. The awards are done - President Emeritus Gallaway is giving the closing remarks. We had one especially meaningful and heartwarming award - our own Mama Page was given the "Outstanding Young Democrat" (edit: it was actually "Democrat of the Year") award and it could NOT have gone to anyone better!



We are winding down a HUGELY successful convention and I'm looking forward to all the work that is ahead for all of us.

10:37 P.M. I thought the night was over, but we're not done yet...



President Hardt is giving a very emotional and moving acceptance speech, and I feel sure that our national organization is in trustworthy and capable hands. What a great night it's been!
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posted by Ataru Atlanta at 7/21/2007 10:46:00 AM 1 comments links to this post

Friday, July 20, 2007

YDA Dallas Convention Day 3: Waiting for John Edwards
11:13 A.M. Another night of festivities has come and gone, and WOW were there a lot of folks at the party of states with paid Executive Directors. Nothing like playing beer pong in a room that is otherwise PACKED with people! The breakfast meeting of the regional officers this morning offered a nice view of the Dallas skyline from the 38th floor:



President Gallaway was kind enough to attend, and it was good to meet the president of the West Virginia chapter. Oh, and the bacon was GREAT ;-) I'm back in Platform now and we're discussing some anti-sourcing language. Nicolette is upholding the banner for capitalism, heh.

11:35 A.M. Damn, reading the comments, apparently the sound isn't working on the video clips. It must be this laptop, but I still don't understand it. The sound plays on the camera when I play them back... I'll try to upload these videos again when I get home to something that ISN'T "New Vistas of Software that Doesn't Work". Sucktastic!

1:20 P.M. Volunteering is fun! We're teaming up with Democats Work to stuff backpacks for the children of servicemembers, and there are a good number of people hard at work in here. Photos of that in a minute, here's a few minutes ago:



We heard from some leaders of Democrats work just as we were getting started. Wes Clark is going to be here at some point...



1:54 P.M. Woohoo, Wes Clark is here and speaking to us, the main topic is Iraq and how SICK we are of how things are going. He just said that Afghanistan is in a "downward spiral toward failure" - PREACH IT.



"We have a real risk of war with Iran." As long as we have the current Bad Bush and Bad Dick working together... yup. "How crazy is it to want to bomb some country when you won't even speak to them?"



Stop the Iran War

More photos of the backpack stuffing soon...

2:00 P.M. General Clark has just finished speaking, it's really quite insane how many cameras and such have been going off the whole time. Here's some photos of the backpack stuffing for Operation Homefront. (soon!)

2:11 P.M. Whew, that was an exciting hour and a half, need to get these photos posted before Resolutions (yup, another job for Platforms...). Nikema is famous now!



Here are some more action shots...









2:44 P.M. Edging closer to platform, here's one last "aww, cute!" picture of the backpack distribution...



2:56 P.M. Shout out to Nicolette, who seems to be willing to carry on awhile longer! Yay :-)

3:00 P.M. Been trying to upload these photos for forever, finally worked. Here are some of the booths set up here...







3:17 P.M. Continuing on without lunch yet, I'm hanging with Spicy and Just Zach in the lobbing and advocacy training. Proving yet again that Zach rocks, he's busy taking notes...



Only in Texas do you have presenters at a convention wearing cowboy hats...



Actually, this guy is giving a pretty interesting presentation. He's going through the legislative process as a case study, analyzing which committees where shaped which ways on a particular bill, and how professional lobbyists (like Super Betsy) end up testifying before committees since so much happens there.

4:59 P.M. Had a little bit of a lull there, needed to take a nap after some fried rice. The GLBT caucus elections will be occurring very shortly and apparently this is going to have some drama - there's a certain candidate for caucus chair who has had some run-ins with some of our friends in the southeast region, and if he doesn't win that race he'll probably oppose Kyle Bailey for the vice chair position. So hopefully things will turn out right here.

5:18 P.M.



After some last minute working by Kyle and Rachel...



...nominations for chair are about to begin - drum roll please.

5:24 P.M. The credentials check is complete and Rachel Kau-Taylor has just been nominated. Raoul A. (it's Spanish, I can't quite get a handle on it) has now also been nominated and the speeches are beginning.

5:29 P.M. Well that was interesting, Raoul A. has withdrawn his name from consideration to work on the presidential race - so much for the drama. Rachel is chair by acclamation. Kyle is the only nominee for vice chair so he too is elected by acclamation.

5:35 P.M. The elections are done, and we're still 144 minutes from kicking off with John Edwards. Happy hour anyone? (Oh, I forgot to mention the best part - right before my nap, platform FINISHED! Big thanks to Lindsey from Tennessee for running a tight ship, and to Nicolette for handling as much of the voting duties as I did, and of course Tim and everyone else that helped out.)

5:56 P.M. The Southeast Region meeting is minutes (hopefully) away from beginning. I could use a double espresso...

8:06 P.M. They're just now letting us into the session hall, we're very close now to seeing Senator Edwards. Photos from the intervening time are uploading as I type...

8:14 P.M. I've just been informed that Gabriel Pressman was elected treasurer of the Jewish Caucus! They've told us that the event will begin in 5.\\

8:17 P.M. Couple of photos from the regional meeting - director Robert Hooks and deputy director "Nikema!"...



Presumed next YDA President David Hardt took some time to speak to us and gave the region a major shout out. I'm looking forward to the Hardt administration...



Angela is still pimping out the oh-so-pimpable Campaign Window and D&E!



(Spicy contributed to this post.)

The Hillary folks are outside, I suppose they feel that they still have the opportunity to get some traction even though *cough* their candidate couldn't be troubled to come speak to us...



8:25 P.M. The session has just been called back to order. It looks a little different tonight with all the David Hardt signs...



We're being introduced to Senator Edwards now!

8:32 P.M. "I hope you enjoyed my wife's little dustup with Anne Coulter" - OH YEAH we <3 Elizabeth! Senator Edwards is getting a VERY warm reception.

8:38 P.M.



Senator Edwards is giving a lot of the same speech we heard at the state Jefferson-Jackson dinner, and why not? It's a great speech and it's exactly what we want to hear. Stop Iraq, stop Guantanamo, stop coal-fired power plants, stop Darfur. Yum!

8:41 P.M. Oh yeah, this can make you forget all about 2004. I don't understand why Edwards can't catch up to Obama and Clinton when he gives these great speeches.



Edwards is telling a story about a man with a cleft palate, who didn't get the condition fixed until he was fifty years old. Gotta say, that's *insane*. The Edwards signs are out...

8:46 P.M. "Who cares whether [fighting poverty] is a good political strategy?" Well, apparently the other candidates do care, we don't get these kinds of speeches from them. He just said he wants the minimum wage ought to be $9.50 an hour (heh, nice!) and he's shouting out to unions again.

8:56 P.M. Edwards has just wrapped up, and I have two words for everything he said - "fuck" and "yeah". To say that Senator Edwards was well-received here would be a huge understatement. He put out the call to action to young people - he didn't just give the stock stump speech, he knew his audience and he spoke right to them. After that speech, and coupled with the fact that Senators Obama and Clinton are apparently too high and mighty to grace us with their exalted presences (they still have time to change their minds), I'd be very surprised if Edwards didn't come out of here with a lot of converts. We're hearing from an Iraq war veteran now, and this should be a nice followup to what Edwards had to say.

9:05 P.M. "There is no worse commander in chief in the history of this country than George W. Bush". Coming from us, that's one thing - coming from a soldier, that's another. At least some people are finding that being a "good soldier" has limits - are you listening, Colin Powell?



9:10 P.M. Ohhh snap, we're seeing some ads from www.votevets.org - "Senator McCain: Protect America, not George Bush." This guy was real. Just real.

9:24 P.M. OMG they have the BEST speakers at this event! We just heard from Chuck Rocha, political field director for the United Steel Workers, and he gets the award for using the word "bullshit" more in a serious speech than I've heard in a long time. "We don't believe that you're the future of the Democratic Party, we believe you're the BACKBONE of the damn party!" Got some of him on video too, for posterity.



9:28 P.M. We're hearing a comedian from Laughing Liberally... "It's not 'If you see someone who looks Middle Eastern, punch them in the face', it's 'The Patriot Act'". Not bad at all :-)

9:37 P.M. O-k, we're on to YDA candidate nominations and speeches. *yawn*
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posted by Ataru Atlanta at 7/20/2007 11:12:00 AM 3 comments links to this post

 

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