October 08, 2006

Carolina FreedomNet Wrap-up

I'm a bit under the weather now and intend to crawl back in bed momentarily, but I wanted to take a second to thank the John Locke Foundation for inviting me to participate on a panel at Carolina Freedomnet 2006.

While I've spent a lot of time with fellow bloggers via email and the occasional phone call, FreedomNet was the first time I actually got to meet some of my fellow bloggers in person, and I can't tell you how nice they all are.

I got in Friday night and caught up with Jon Ham of John Locke, Kay Ham (Jon's wife, Mary Katharine's mom, great lady), Abby Misemer and Missy Nurrenbrock, sisters who came up all the way from Florida for the conference, Kory Swanson of John Locke, and another blogger you might just have heard of, Scott Johnson of Powerline. We went dinner in one of the excellent Koury Convention Center restaurants, and I was amazed at just how well informed Abby and Missy were. I think they knew Powerline as well as Scott did, and he was visibly impressed.

After dinner we went back to a suite and I got to meet my fellow panelists, Sister Toldjah, Lorie Byrd of Wizbang!, Scott Elliott of Election Projection, and Josh Manchester of The Adventures of Chester. It was interesting that these folks, many of whom I've been reading for a long time, were quite a bit like I expected them to be.

Your personality really does come out in your blogging, I guess.

We had a delightful, wide-ranging discussion that was just, well, cool. I felt right at home. The fashionably late Ms. Ham joined us after 10:30-ish when her flight got in. We palled around a while, and I think we decided we needed to kidnap Allah and take him to a NASCAR race to expand his cultural horizons, but we need to work out the details.

This was my first conference panel since college and so I was a little nervous, but I finally managed to drop-off around 2:00 AM.

I awoke the next morning to a call from my brother (phin of phin's blog, Phineas G of Agent Bedhead, and half of the Apothegm Designs blog design masters) saying that he's gotten a wild hair and registered for the conference at 4:15 AM and had driven up and was standing in the lobby. I was touched, to put it mildly, that he took the time out of his insanely busy schedule to make the trip.

I was on the first panel with Lorie Byrd, Sister Toldjah and Sam Heib of Sam's Notes, who I unfortunately didn't get to spend any time with beforehand, but who was quite intelligent and well-spoken on the panel.

While we were going there was a minor disturbance as a very rude gentleman made a loud and obnoxious exit. I found out later that the scruffy Garrison Keillor look-alike was apparently attempting to drum up traffic for his own blog. Personally, I'd suggest compelling content instead of temper tantrums, but to each his own. I'd tell you more about what we said during our panel discussion, but it all went by in a blur.

Bonus: Bruce of GayPatriot was sitting in the front row, which was something we found out just before our panel ended. It was neat to get a chance to meet him.

Mary Katharine Ham was the only blogger whose work I was familiar with on the second panel prior to the conference, but that will change quickly. I was very impressed with Josh Manchester and Scott Elliott from talking with them some the night before, listening to them during the panel discussion, and talking with them after the conference was over. As they are all local, I'm going to try to make an effort to keep in touch. Jeff Taylor, who writes for Reason and Hit & Run in addition to the Meck Deck, was extremely bright as well.

Lunch was good (ever had a blue potato before? I hadn't, but it was good), and the Scot Johnson gave the keynote address, "The 61st Minute: Inside the Eye of Hurricane Dan," which of course was about the "September Surprise" orchestrated by CBS News in which they allowed themselves to be duped into using fake Texas Air National Guard records to support a story they wanted to be true.

I knew the story of Johnson's "The sixty-first minute" of course, as do almost all bloggers. It is without a doubt the most famous single blog post written so far, one that shredded the reputation of a a news network and their top reporters and producers as willing political partisans. Hearing Scott recount his feelings that morning and throughout the afternoon as experts began to help him build the case against CBS News was riveting, even though I knew the basics of the story before.

In short, Carolina Freedomnet 2006 was an excellent experience all the way around, and I cannot thank the staff of the John Locke Foundation enough for their hospitality. I can't wait to do it again next year.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 8, 2006 05:19 PM | TrackBack

Now that I've met you and found your blog, I feel like I've just gotten a new Christmas toy - I can't wait to play with it every day. I just hope I don't break it. I can't break your blog, can I?

Seriously, it was great meeting you, and I hope all the FreedomNetters can spend many more good times together in the future.

Posted by: Scott Elliott at October 10, 2006 01:17 AM