Some quick notes:
1. Steve Holden is a marvelous speaker and a great wit. Even if you don't do Python and aren't a geek its worth listen to him talk. Leaving the DC area means I won't get the chance to sit at his feet and absorb his magnificent wisdom.
2. In certain ways, I believe Python needs these kinds of certification programs. The lack of certification or any paper validation of python skills means that a number of large and conservative organizations are often hesitant to use Python. And one way to make those organizations more open to using Python is certifications. Its not the only answer, and its an answer that comes with its own set of problems, but I think that Steve and O'Reilly are a really good choice for overcoming these problems.
3. I helped Steve write the Python 1: Beginning Python. So by attending you will be supporting my work too. :)