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Friday YK: Wesley Clark and miscellany

I headed down to the main ballroom at 8AM to hear 2004 presidential candidate General Wesley Clark rip the administration a new one (politely, of course) regarding the mess in Iraq. The crowd went wild. Some video for you:

Watch the whole speech at the YK site.

It was an impressive keynote and he didn’t hold back with some real quotables:

“Mr. President, the failure in Iraq is not the troop strength, it is not the surge, it is not how good our men and women in uniform are, it is the failure of your leadership in the region.”


“We are not questioning the generals. Mr. President, we are questioning you! Stop hiding behind Dave Petraeus.”


“Bush always listens to the generals — when he gets tired of listening to them he replaces them.”


Also, Clinton campaign internet director Peter Daou announced today that she has decided to attend the breakout session. Organizers announced last night after Howard Dean’s speech that she wouldn’t be holding the individual candidate session (more here on the flap).


I meet Amanda of Pandagon and talk about religious hypocrites with Sam Seder after the jump.Amanda Marcotte brought me on as a contributor to Pandagon over a year ago, but we’ve not met until today. She was on a panel this morning, “Evolution and Integration in the Blogosphere,” which looked at the increasing professionalization of the blogs and bloggers. The mix on the panel showed how diverse the concept of what a blogger is (not demographically, mind you). Some examples: Amanda (a firebrand blogger who, let’s say, didn’t have the public welcome mat rolled out for her after being tapped by John Edwards to blog for the campaign) Matt Stoller (he consults and blogs), Atrios (Duncan Black, who blogs full time solo), Tracy Russo (current pro blogger for Edwards), Amanda Terkel (Think Progress), Chris Bowers (FT blogger), and Ali Savino, of the Center for Independent Media.

There was also an interesting discussion about the whole A-list matter and the real or perceived effect of the glass ceiling of the political blogosphere. I don’t think there’s any doubt that it’s hard to break in to the top tier, given the effect of being an early adopter (Atrios, Kos, etc.), the human nature to read and endorse voices that are in your cultural comfort zone (race, gender, sexual orientation). There was some expected handwringing acknowledging the problem of diversity and expanding the circle of influence and exposure to new voices, but I didn’t hear any concrete suggestions on how to resolve the issues. There really isn’t one answer, of course, but it’s clear change is slow — at least there are more women represented on the panel who are speaking out about the challenges.

On the flip side, there seemed to be some pooh-poohing of the influence of linking to new voices and blogrolls. I know for a fact that “link love” does still work, and I’ve been the beneficiary of click throughs when a blog with bigger traffic links up to one of my posts. I don’t see much gain from blogrolls, but linking does make a difference in two ways — it shows your readers who you are reading right now, and if those voices are diverse it may encourage readers to make those blogs regular stops on their net journey.

Amanda aptly noted that one way to make a difference is to invite diverse voices to blog on your site; invite others to guest post or contribute to the blog to give your readers a taste of something different. They may like what they read and surf over.

Anyway, I was then off to Sam Seder‘s hotel room, where he is doing a series of interviews with less well-known bloggers (yes, folks, you all just think I’m well known, lol.). We had a great time talking about the Blend, and that recent post about the intoxicated, skirt-wearing Baptist minister arrested for urinating in front of children at a car wash, and then offering to give blow job to the officers arresting him.

That led to a general discussion about these over-the-top homophobes and their seemingly twisted and sordid sense of self. You have to be disturbed to spend so many waking hours of the day thinking about what kind of sex someone else is having, who they are sleeping with — and trying to demonize and legislate against them, even as you troll around committing the most perverse acts.

The show should air tomorrow, I think. Check your listings.


And I did receive a call from Sarah in Chicago — we’re trying to see if she and Dan L. and other area Blenders can meet up for dinner, probably tomorrow.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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