Open Thread: Minneapolis/St. Paul Area Meet-Up TODAY

Per commentors ImOnlyLurking and GBear:

Best kept secret on Balloon Juice is that there’s a Twin Cities meetup at Shamrocks Grille at 995 West 7th Street in St. Paul at 5:00pm. So far there are two of us confirmed to be there…

It’s been popping up in various threads for the last few days but it appears to be a sleeper. Be part of a select few and have one of the best burgers in town.

If anyone is coming over from Minneapolis, avoid taking 94 to Snelling or Lexington. State fair traffic and the bridge closure at Hamline will have those roads snarled up. Best to come in from the south (either via Fort Snelling or the Ford Bridge) instead.

Shamrocks is near the corner of Randolph Ave. and West 7th St.near the old Schmidt Brewery.


ETA: Sorry, Kay — I scheduled this post during the wee hours and didn’t get back to the blog until now!

65 replies
  1. 1
    piratedan says:

    hey, any truth to the rumor that there’s a BJ meetup in the Twin Cities area? I understand that both Ted and Helen and Glenn Greenwald will be there…..Ted Nugent said he might stop in too

  2. 2
    imonlylurking says:

    I made reservations under the name of Tunch. Look for helium balloons (possibly green) and a chick with blue hair.

  3. 3
    imonlylurking says:

    @piratedan: That would be one of those parties where we get them talking to each other and then sneak out the back.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    You guys are really pushing this meet-up. It’s really a scheme to sell time-shares, isn’t it?

  5. 5
    ruemara says:

    Possibly the only reason I’d be in Minn is a BJ meet-up. Otherwise, I’d freeze my tuckus off. Y’all have fun and live up to the proud BJ traditions of busting up the joint in a rousing fashion.

  6. 6
    imonlylurking says:

    @Baud: Amway. May I interest you in some sub-standard cleaning products?

  7. 7
    Rex Everything says:

    A quote I would like to share:

    For those arguing that the possession and transport of classified information is a crime: does that mean you believe that not only Daniel Ellsberg committed a felony, but also the New York Times reporters and editors did when they received, possessed, copied, transported and published the thousands of pages of top-secret documents known as the Pentagon Papers?

    Do you also believe the Washington Post committed felonies when receiving and then publishing top secret information that the Bush administration was maintaining a network for CIA black sites around the world, or when the New York Times revealed in 2005 the top secret program whereby the NSA had created a warrantlesss eavesdropping program aimed at US citizens?

  8. 8
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Baud: My mother got us stuck in a timeshare presentation once in exchange for a “free vacation.” She told them we had to step outside so she could have a smoke, and they directed us to a loading dock with an 8-foot drop to ground level. We jumped off and ran away.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Rex Everything: GREEN BALLOONS!

  10. 10
    gbear says:

    @Baud: I don’t think it’s getting pushed harder than any other BJ meetup, it’s just that there’s only the two of us talking about it so far (and I’m trying to figure out how many brochures I should bring). Thanks for the front page, AL.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I believe that is vacation theft, which is a felony in eight states.

  12. 12
    Baud says:


    I know. It was just the two posts back-to-back that was amusing. I hope you have a lovely meet-up.

  13. 13
    gbear says:

    @Rex Everything: This is a sample of the conversations that will not be happening at Shamrocks today.

  14. 14
    Baud says:


    Wait, are you saying there are other things to talk about?

  15. 15
    gogol's wife says:


    You wouldn’t freeze anything at this time of year!

  16. 16
    gbear says:

    @Baud: I didn’t even notice the post before this one until now. I haven’t had enough caffeine yet to be multi-tasking. Thanks Kay.

  17. 17
    the Conster says:

    BJ meet ups are so fun! One of the only places on Earth one can mention two wetsuits and a dildo and get a knowing laugh. Pics of all attendees mandatory also too.

  18. 18
    Another Holocene Human says:

    So, the last few years have taught me that the canons of fiscal conservatism are dead wrong. Like, useless.

    And it seems like others have gotten the message as well. I was perusing an old thread on an only vaguely political board that I frequent and, well, only a few years ago the fiscal conservatives were large and in charge.

    Now they don’t utter a peep or if they do they get shouted down … and yes, I recognized user names as still being around.

    And on another board for the same industry a conservative naysayer got told off by a mod and asked to leave if he had nothing else to contribute … four years ago liberal posters got shouted down by a chorus of old grumps. Said old grumps are very quiet now or don’t mention the budget. People my age or younger are posting a lot. It’s also a generational thing because it’s a topic millennials are more into than boomers, so that does bias the results.

    On another topic, the hip hop channel was playing a ballad in praise of marriage equality last night with lyrics about how preaching hate in church is not anointed. I think I like the kids today!

  19. 19
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @piratedan: No, that’s the private JO party.

  20. 20
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Rex Everything: Isn’t it possible to think that the UK’s “anti-terrorism” laws go too far and yet strangely enough feel not at all sorry for someone who agreed to smuggle state secrets for a clown whose first reaction is to threaten to reveal info on their international spying, always damaging even if everyone indeed does it, and put his own employer in serious hot water with their national government? Not just a bit?

    Miranda is not in prison or did I miss something? That’s what “felony” means on my planet.

  21. 21
    gbear says:

    @the Conster:

    One of the only places on Earth one can mention two wetsuits and a dildo and get a knowing laugh

    I used to go to a Wednesday coffee group of gay men (bears) that had grown from about four of us when it started to evenings when there’d be two dozen of us taking over the small Starbucks that used to be at Victoria Crossing (people used to wonder who we were and someone once guessed we were all cops).

    One day a couple of the guys brought up the topic of fisting. That conversation didn’t last long, but I learned more than I ever wanted to know about it in a few endless minutes.

    That is another conversation that we will not be happening at Shamrocks this evening.

  22. 22
    imonlylurking says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Really glad to hear this. I have a friend who left the country in 2000 (yes, because of GWB) and he still thinks Republicans are reasonable creatures. He is one-grew up in Massachusetts so he’s got that non-crazy bit going-and he doesn’t believe me when I tell him that he would get violently drummed out of a primary these days.

  23. 23
    ruemara says:

    @Rex Everything: You know what? Yes. It is a crime. You take the risk of committing a crime, because there is a greater crime to be revealed. That is the peril of the whistleblower. Of the activist. It’s why you do it and often, that is why you’re not given jail time. Everyone who keeps treating this as if the media is a sainted protector of freedom needs to recall William Randolph Hearst. There’s a balance, nothing is an absolute in this. What is so hard about that?

  24. 24
    NotMax says:

    Everyone bringing a bottle of mustard?


    Dunno about this year, but last time I was in Minnesota while the State Fair was going on, temp reached 110 degrees.

  25. 25
    gbear says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    On another topic, the hip hop channel was playing a ballad in praise of marriage equality last night with lyrics about how preaching hate in church is not anointed. I think I like the kids today!

    Here’s the song: One Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. The video is wonderful.

  26. 26
    Cacti says:

    I hear Anne Laurie will be on hand to discuss how Obama droned her tomatoes.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    RaflW says:

    I don’t know if I can make the meetup today. Maybe I can sneak over.

    The BF has us going to a music salon at someone’s house at 2pm today. He’s got work to do after that, hence the possible sneaking out…

    I adore the friend who’s putting this salon on, but it has the potential to be either pretentious or a snooze. Ah, well, culture! Art! Maybe snacks, too!

  29. 29
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Rex Everything:

    What’s legal in the US might not be legal in the UK, and vice versa. Our Constitution isn’t universally applied.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    imonlylurking says:

    @RaflW: Snacks are always good. And a music salon sounds like fun.

  32. 32
    Schlemizel says:

    I’ll be there with the woman stupid enough to marry me. JMN told me he would try to get there but might not make it till 6. I know there are more of us but maybe not as many as I suspected

  33. 33
    TG Chicago says:


    I have a friend who left the country in 2000 (yes, because of GWB) and he still thinks Republicans are reasonable creatures.

    I find this very confusing. Your friend left the country because of GWB, but thinks Republicans are reasonable?

    And he left in 2000 because of GWB even though GWB only became president-elect on 12/12/00? That’s some quick work if he was able to move to a new country in only three weeks.

    I don’t mean to be hostile. Just can’t make sense of how that all works.

  34. 34
    TG Chicago says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Why must you make it all about Obama? I don’t think anybody believes that the NSA abuses would be different if the president was McCain, Hillary, and Romney (or Bush or Bill Clinton). They might be a bit different if Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich had won, but… they were never close to winning, so it’s a moot point.

  35. 35
    gbear says:

    @Schlemizel: imonlylurking made reservations for 10 people. I don’t think we’ll have quite that many but it’s could be just about right.

  36. 36
    Cacti says:

    Also, too, with today beginning the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and MLK’s “I have a dream” speech…

    Which white people problems will our esteemed front pagers be nattering about today?

  37. 37
    Cacti says:

    @TG Chicago:

    I don’t think anybody believes that the NSA abuses would be different if the president was McCain, Hillary, and Romney (or Bush or Bill Clinton).

    More than a few of us believe that the actions of Griftwald, Assbandage, Snowden, et al would be very different with an R-POTUS in charge.

  38. 38
    J R in WV says:

    If there’s ay truth to this story: [ ] then Larry Summers shouldn’t be Fed Reserve Chairman, he should be in jail.

    Give it a read, pass it around. Maybe we can keep him from the job he so richly doesn’t deserve.

    My take is that if he understood the consequences of these actions, he should resign from public life because he’s a thief, and if he didn’t understand the consequences, he isn’t qualified for the job.

  39. 39

    @Rex Everything: In both of those cases, the information that was published revealed a crime and lies to the American people.

    The Snowden releases are starting to reveal a little bit of that, but just a little. Really it’s applied some pressure for the government to reveal the wrongdoing – Snowden’s information isn’t showing any direct illegal actions or wrongdoing.

    You can’t take an absolutist attitude toward secret information – some of it should be secret and some of it not because it’s hiding wrongdoing behind the national secrecy act. I don’t see that Snowden’s information has yet shown any wrongdoing to warrant its release. Just about everything that’s come out so far could have been uncovered through good investigative journalism with some winks and nods from guys like Snowden that were inside the system, without releasing any classified information. Now, that may change as more info comes out, but so far I don’t see how he rises to the standard for a whistleblower.

    Unfortunately for us there are more investigative journalists focused on Obama birth certificate and Lindsay Lohan than on stuff like this.

  40. 40
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Got this via LGF link from last night:

    Libertarian Bum Fights

    Lots of Greenwald palling around with the Southern Avenger, and Snowden’s dad’s links to the warmongering “pro-Israel” lobby. I think I gained two pounds in one go from all the delicious schadenfreude.

  41. 41
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @TG Chicago:

    I don’t think anybody believes that the NSA abuses would be different if the president was McCain, Hillary, and Romney (or Bush or Bill Clinton).

    I don’t know if it would count as an abuse, but one set of these listed would probably do more with intercepts involving money laundering through offshore banks than the other. Calling patterns in the metadata could reveal offshore payments to Central Asian dictators and acts of strikebreaking through murder in oilfields and whatnot. Kneecap the NSA and it makes it less likely that American oligarchs’ instigating such acts would be found out.

  42. 42
    TG Chicago says:


    More than a few of us believe that the actions of Griftwald, Assbandage, Snowden, et al would be very different with an R-POTUS in charge.

    What’s your basis for believing this?

    I’m not familiar with Assange and Snowden’s work pre-Obama, but Greenwald was all over Bush for his civil liberties record. Heck, GG made his name on the left for how hard he hit Bush on these issues. He’s been quite consistent in his critiques regardless of whether the POTUS is an R or a D.

  43. 43
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:


    Doctrine of prior restraint. Official Secrets Act.

  44. 44
    imonlylurking says:

    @TG Chicago: It was quick-my best friend got a Christmas card from him right after the Supreme Court decided the election saying he was looking for a job that had nothing whatsoever to do with politics-this right after spending a decade being a good little Republican cog in the machine – and just a few months later was teaching English overseas. He has only come back for visits.

    ETA: And I may be counting his time overseas from the date of the Christmas card my friend got. He’s my former boyfriend-he comes from a family with money so it was very easy for him to get everything into place.

  45. 45
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @J R in WV: Summers is a meathead who takes credit for the work of others, a narcissistic who is as shallow as they come, an authoritarian who thinks bullying female academics is just being realistic, amirite?

    He introduced a talk at Harvard I attended and mispronounced words in the intro he had “written”. This is shortly after his sexist comments. Remember, they were directed at academics.

    Says everything about him, really.

  46. 46
    Cacti says:

    @TG Chicago:

    What’s your basis for believing this?

    Greenwald – disgruntled Bush voter

    Assange – admirer of the Pauls, Matt Drudge, and recent ally of the neo-fascist Australia First Party

    Snowden – Paultard

  47. 47
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @TG Chicago: Why must you deny reality? Obama put an end to the illegal practices of the Bush admin. The revelations about NSA mistakes are just that… mistakes… and a very small percentage of mistakes at that. Now, they could be lying about their own internal controls (or just wrong), but that’s not what’s being alleged. No, what’s being alleged is that “roaming” and keystroke errors are Obama reading your emails.

    Should the laws be changed? Obama certainly seems to think so. For someone so interested in this subject you seem shaky on basic facts.

  48. 48
    Cacti says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    From one of Greenwald’s fellow panelists on the Southern Avenger glibertarian lecture circuit:

    Despite slavery and other infringements of individual freedom, Americans in the 1800s lived in the freest society in history.

    You can pretty much tell it’s a discussion on white people problems when it starts out with “despite slavery”.

  49. 49
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Cacti: We’re gonna need a bigger hard drive.

    Also, they have keywords set so they only read steamy sexts and skip all the emails about getting those receipts to accounts payable.

  50. 50
    My Truth Hurts says:

    I’ll be there in spirit. I’d love to meet up but I will be down the street working at MPR to give the world A Prairie Home Companion at 5 pm.

  51. 51
    J R in WV says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    AHH, if Clinton actually abused the IRS politically, don’t you think that just maybe it would have been mentioned during his real-life Impeachment hearings?

    It wasn’t, and so I believe it to be an urban legend, just like the midnight cocaine smuggling flights into Arkansas, alleged but never even mentioned in the Impeachment.

    Clinton was many things, some of them admirable, and some not. But he wasn’t a thief, a drug-smuggler, or a crooked pol. He didn’t need to be crooked to get elected, just being himself worked out OK for him.

  52. 52
    Baud says:


    When they say “Despite”, they mean “Because of.”

  53. 53
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @ruemara: well said, ruemara.

    It’s like many things in life, you must weigh competing ethical, moral, and personal values…

    Sometimes you must cause pain to someone in the course of doing what is right.

    To never cause pain is to slip into cronyism, hiding problems and hurting others while shrouding oneself in a veil of denial.

  54. 54
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Cacti: I love how engaging in shady unregulated mafia-style business arrangements is FRREEEEDUMB!

    Those runaway slaves, aka freepersons whose papers were burned so they could be sold down the river, were free. Free like the wind!

  55. 55
    Betty Cracker says:


    Which white people problems will our esteemed front pagers be nattering about today?

    Really? Jeebus.

  56. 56
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @J R in WV: Hmm, plausible deniability. They knew what the White House wanted done and not a word was spoken?

    Clinton’s 2nd term was pure sleeze from top to bottom–Robert Rubin and Glass-Steagel to State strong-arming foreign governments to allow tobacco advertizing illegal in the States to South American trade policy (ciggies again). But, you know, Obama is Black.

  57. 57
    Yatsuno says:

    @gbear: I’m yelling at wifey to go, but she’s resisting. You might need to go kidnap her or something.

  58. 58
    imonlylurking says:

    @Yatsuno: That could be arranged.

  59. 59
    Nick says:

    I’d like to show up, but I can’t afford to leave my computer, lest someone on the internet says something that needs correcting.

  60. 60
  61. 61
    newdealfarmgrrrlll says:

    Mostly a lurker, but i can’t resist a meetup so i’m gonna leave work a little early. So pleased the reservation is in Tunch’s name!

    I will be sporting a cat scratch across my nose as Meeko lost his balance parading across my face to lick my ear when the alarm went off. Seems fitting for a balloon juice meetup.

  62. 62
    Dave L says:

    I grew up in Minneapolis, I’d have loved to go to this. Went to school in Madison, and would have loved to be in town for any of the meetups there.

    But I don’t live anywhere near either place now, so my question (for John C) is this:

    – Would it be so hard to have a meetup in Pittsburgh, right in your own back yard, someday?!!

  63. 63
    Amir Khalid says:

    This sad news from the music world might be worth a thread: music legend Linda Ronstadt has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and can no longer sing.

  64. 64
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @imonlylurking: You guy should have held this 2 1/2 weeks ago. I was visiting my MSP sis then and would have come, if only to find out what a Balloon Juice meet up is like. I fear I will never attend one as the chances of one being held in Sullivan, MO are somewhere between null and zero.

    If I still lived in STL I got the perfect place for one (Venice Cafe, funkiest bar on the banks of the Mississippi*)

    * not really the banks of the MS, but it is in the shadows of the Gods (Anheiser Busch) and they serve Stag.

  65. 65
    Mike D. says:

    @ruemara: Good luck freezing your tuchus off to everyone in St. Paul today. ;)

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