You don't see a lot of standing ovations at the Javits Center, particularly before the star has spoken her first words. But the house was rocking for national hero Valerie Plame Wilson. Her heroic act? Suing the CIA earlier in the month, with co-plaintiff Simon & Schuster, for trying to interfere with Fair Game, her book about her years as a spook (though it was hardly top-secret information, as you'll recall).
"This makes a memoir somewhat problematic," said Wilson, dressed in sneaky-super-spy black. Instead of divulging details, Plame made a stump speech lambasting arch-nemesis Dick Cheney. "The way I have been treated, I will tell you, is absurd," she said. "I am entitled to write my story."
Wilson even outshone the man she was subbing for, Muhammad Yunus — who explained by teleconference how his microloan programs are helping lift millions out of poverty. So what chance did co-panelists Alan Alda, Paul Krugman, and Russell Simmons have against such righteous indignation? Self-help and a rehash of old columns certainly didn't cut it. Wilson said she isn't sure what she'll do for a second act. Might we suggest politics? —Boris Kachka