It's raining buckets on us today; though I've previously lived in Orange County for over four years...it seems like I can count on one hand how many times I've actually had to walk around in the rain. That's either because (according to Albert Hammond) "It Never Rains in Southern California" or because (a song I should write) "You Never Have to Walk in Southern California."
Yesterday was a pretty phenomenal day at the conference, though I must take issue with the organization of the sessions which are structured something like one of those torture scenes in movies (or likely real life somewhere in Guantanamo) where they lock your eye lids open and force you to watch hours of information. The speaker list has included everyone from Senator Hillary Clinton (I was all prepared to live blog her speech yesterday and then couldn't take my computer into the session) to UN Undersecretary General Peter Piot to Her Excellency Mrs. Maureen Mwanawasa, First Lady of Zambia and Her Excellency Mrs. Jeanette Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda. Saddleback, though in their zeal to educate us, have neglected to put enough interactive elements in place in order to allow more conversation and input from the many church leaders who are here and are not famous for publishing books. In spite of this though, I believe this to be the most important conference I have ever been to.
Senator Clinton's speech yesterday detailed a comprehensive and ambitious plan to fund further AIDS research and treatment and to end Malaria permanently by the end of a possible second term in office. I continue to be impressed by Governor Huckabee, as he seems to be a genuinely compassionate conservative, both on immigration and AIDS. Certainly, this conference is impacting our national policy agenda this week at least and I think that is amazing.
I briefly met David Miller yesterday, who is one of the funniest, bluntest people I've ever heard speak. He is a board member of The AIDS Institute and is involved in some very radical activism and civil disobedience. Check out the AIDS Institute website.