NN ’14

I’m going to Netroots Nation for Balloon Juice tomorrow. I went in 2011 and mistermix and DougJ went in 2012. Also, there was the famous John Cole and ABL Balloon Juice trip to the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

I will cover the keynotes: Vice President Biden, Senator Warren and Reverend Barber. I’m also going to the Ohio caucus and I hope to hit some other state caucuses. I will (of course) go to the public education privatization panel (my personal obsession) and anything I can find on voting rights. I’m also going to the Fight for Fifteen panel and lunch. I have corresponded with Angry Black Lady and when I figure out which panel she’s on I’ll go to that too.

Here’s the schedule of events. I’ll do my best to get posts up on events in a timely manner but as you probably have figured out by now I am not very good at speedy-quick “BREAKING NEWS” type dispatches, so just be your patient and kind selves and remember I am not (actually) a journalist.

This thing looks huge, just a jam-packed schedule. I am absolutely thrilled it’s in Detroit this year.

110 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    remember I am not (actually) a journalist.

    She said proudly.

  2. 2
    Botsplainer says:

    Watching “The Middle”. Hate all these characters.

  3. 3
    piratedan says:

    ty Kay, hope you make some solid networking connections and lasting friendships along the way. Just have to say that the blogging that you do regarding boots on the ground at the local and regional level is plainly awesome, incredibly relevant and bullshit free. hard combination to find when I tend to go all hyperbolic myself when I post (it’s hard to keep that latent stridency out of my posts while my teeth grind in outrage). Tell us what you can and share with us what you find, it’s all good imho.

  4. 4
    Kay says:


    Hah! I love newspapers. I pay for three. I read the WSJ for years until immediately after the financial crash when I could no longer stomach the editorial page.

  5. 5
    Lolis says:

    Yay Detroit! I hope NN has some events/fundraisers planned to help the people of Detroit fight all the bullshit happening there.

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    This is cool — Our own EJW:

    TWiBPrime w/ Elon James White: Biden Introduction

    TWiB Media Stage; Thu, 07/17/2014 – 03:00pm, Town Square
    Keynote featuring Vice President Joe Biden

    Keynote; Thu, 07/17/2014 – 03:30pm, Grand Ballroom

  7. 7
    AliceBlue says:

    Glad you’re going Kay. I’m looking forward to your posts.

  8. 8
    beltane says:

    Australia just became the first country in the world to outlaw a carbon tax http://www.theguardian.com/wor.....?CMP=fb_gu I don’t know how they managed to beat the United States but they did. The Koch brothers must be salivating.

  9. 9
    raven says:

    Go get em.

  10. 10
    Davis X. Machina says:

    It won’t be as good as the one President Howard Dean addressed early in his first term.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I’ve never been but the agenda actually seems constructive. Can’t say how it plays out in real time, however.

  12. 12
    Kay says:


    I saw that. It’s great. John got a media pass this time and I got this stern email about security at the Biden “event”. Also. They have plenty of cable capacity should I be doing live broadcasts. Just an FYI.

  13. 13
    Baud says:


    Cool. I’ll actually going to be able to watch tomorrow if it’s on cable.

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    Please live up (or down) to our reputation.

  15. 15
    Kay says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    It feels good to me this year. I was at the disgruntled, angry Netroots, you may recall. This has a different feel.

  16. 16
    beltane says:

    @Baud: It seems to vary from year to year. Enthusiasm is always a good thing, however.

    I wonder if Jane Whatshername still attends these things.

  17. 17
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    You want Kay to get arrested?

  18. 18
    Mike J says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Please live up (or down) to our reputation.

    She should get her liver checked in advance.

  19. 19
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Baud: I passed on a chance to go to the one in Pittsburgh in ’09 — it seemed like it was going to be somewhat…hermetic. (I was in town for a CMU move-in, so I had a free place to crash and everything.,,)

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Yeah, my guess is that ’09 would have been an awful year to go to NN.

    ETA: Actually, ’10 would have been even worse.

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Baud: It’s Detroit; she’ll be fine.

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    True. And if she does get in trouble, it’s a short hop, skip, and jump to Canada . . . and freedom!

  23. 23
    askew says:

    Have fun and encourage people to check out Balloon-Juice.

    It doesn’t look like they attracted a whole lot of politicians this year. I wonder if that is because of the bad behavior at the 2010 event towards the WH spokesperson or if the netroots isn’t as influential any longer. Biden and Warren are great gets, but is that it? I would have expected Schweitzer to make an appearance as well Baldwin, Franken, Brown, Pelosi, etc.

    Please cheer a lot for Biden. I expect he’s going to get a cold reception compared to Warren.

  24. 24
    JoyfulA says:

    Thank you, Kay. I look forward to your reports.

  25. 25
    Baud says:


    Actually, the NN website says the events are streamed, so I can watch even if cable is covering a high-speed chase or something important like that.

  26. 26
    Lolis says:


    Have you seen Schweitzer’s recent comments? He should not be invited to any progressive gathering.

  27. 27
    Poopyman says:

    ’09 NN was fine. The Mrs and I decided that it was close enough that we should go. Besides, it was my hometown. Then we went to Vegas in ’10 and Mpls in ’11 – Breitbart’s last, IIRC. Also was the BJ meetup with Kay! Is there going to be another BJ meetup this year, Kay? I suspect you’ll get a full house again.

  28. 28
    kindness says:

    Thank you Kay for pulling Netroots duty for us.

  29. 29
    askew says:


    The guy is a jackass. I am just surprised he isn’t attending. He got a lot of help from the netroots in his election. kos loved him.

    I just remember when all the major politicians would show up at these events. It was our CPAC. Now, it seems much influential than that and I am wondering why.

  30. 30
    Anne Laurie says:

    SO glad you’re going to this, Kay (and not just cuz it’s not me). I look forward to your reports, during and afterwards.

    Keep in mind that the sf fans are holding a bash in the Marriott, too, so you can’t count on every disreputable individual festooned with badges to be a progressive!

    (Legal disclaimer to the general audience: I was an sf con-goer for many years myself — once or twice at that very hotel — and yes, many sf fans’ politics range from left-of-center to on-beyond-socialist. But there are also plenty of devout authoritarians roaming those corridors, and in my experience the speed at which they take offense would amaze even a self-professed firebagger.)

  31. 31
    Baud says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Keep in mind that the sf fans are holding a bash in the Marriott, too,

    I hope Biden doesn’t end up at the wrong event.

  32. 32
    nellcote says:

    If you’re wondering what to pack, Forbes has some advice. LOL.

    What To Wear: Netroots Nation ’14

  33. 33
    LookingForACanadian says:

    @Kay: I was very happy to make your acquaintance, however grumpy the event was! (it was my bar exam summer, if that rings a bell)

  34. 34
    kindness says:

    What microbrews do they have in Detroit?

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @kindness: Stroh’s?

  36. 36
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    I’m envious – I went in ’13, since it was in my neck of the woods, and greatly enjoyed putting faces on the usernames and checking out the events. Enjoy, and report back often!

  37. 37
    Anne Laurie says:


    I hope Biden doesn’t end up at the wrong event.

    So does his Secret Service detail, believe me!

    @nellcote: That fashion display is… so very Forbes. Does NN actually have a dress code?

  38. 38
    WaterGirl says:

    @Kay: So we think NN will be on cable? Like c-span?

  39. 39
    nellcote says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Does NN actually have a dress code?

    Not from any photos I’ve seen :) I’m just very amused that Forbes acknowledges the existence of NN.

  40. 40
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @kindness: Bell’s is in Kalamazoo.

  41. 41
    KS in MA says:

    Thank you, Kay, and have fun!

  42. 42
    nellcote says:


    So we think NN will be on cable? Like c-span?

    unless there’s a wingnut conference at the same time. they always get priority. but c-span.com is good at archiving their video.

  43. 43
    Mike in NC says:

    @Botsplainer: Assuming that you don’t know that Patricia Heaton is one of Hollywood’s most infamous extremist wingnuts. So much for the laughable “liberal” label. Rich pricks who are part of the top 1%.

  44. 44
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Mike J: Not necessary; she’ll be living up/down to her reputation, not ours.

  45. 45
    kindness says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):


    C’mon. Small brewery.

    @FlipYrWhig: Never had it. Is it good?

  46. 46
    Heliopause says:

    I will cover the keynotes: Vice President Biden, Senator Warren and Reverend Barber.

    Why? OK, I don’t really know anything about Rev. Barber, but I already know exactly what Biden and Warren are going to say. So why don’t you not waste your time and go drinking somewhere instead. Just write a post with respective Biden-Warren boilerplate and nobody will remotely know the difference. Seriously. Go have some fun instead.

  47. 47
    askew says:

    I missed that ABL will be attending as well. You are definitely going to have a blast.

  48. 48
    WaterGirl says:

    @kindness: We couldn’t get Bell’s here in Illinois for awhile (some dispute with distributors, I think) and every time my sister visited from Kalamazoo she had to bring Bell’s for my friends.

    So, yeah, it’s good. (Happily, distribution issues resolved and we can get it again in Illinois.)

  49. 49
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @kindness: Dude, snark.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @WaterGirl: I once smuggled beer across the Iron Curtain (okay, it was defunct by that point, but it still was the German-Czech border).

  51. 51
    Jane2 says:

    @piratedan: I couldn’t have said it any better. Look forward to your reports, Kay!

  52. 52
    Hal says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Assuming that you don’t know that Patricia Heaton is one of Hollywood’s most infamous extremist wingnuts.

    She’s been in a ton of shows and movies, has made millions of dollars, and still complains about liberal Hollywood bias. Big opponent of stem cell research and for some reason decided piling on Sandra Fluke (then retracting) was smart.

  53. 53
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Yeah, bringing Bell’s across the border from Michigan was a lot like that. Hah.

    Seriously, though, that must have been kind of exciting. And brave. I would not have the nerve to do that.

  54. 54
    Yatsuno says:

    @askew: I heard tell Warren is going. That’s not a bad get by any means…

  55. 55
    Ash Can says:

    Don’t forget your pants. And if you like beer, keep an eye out for Bell’s, Founder’s, and Vivant on tap.

  56. 56
    Summer says:

    I look forward to your dispatches, Kay!

  57. 57
    exurbanmom says:

    Yes, please, report back on education privatization, and have fun in Detroit Rock City!!

  58. 58
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @WaterGirl: It was accidental. In the spring of 1990, the army gave soldiers permission to start going to Czechoslovakia as long as they got a security briefing from the unit intelligence officer. This directive came out on a Friday. Around 2am the following morning, a couple of frinds and I decided to go the next day. One of those friends was the roommate of the battalion intelligence officer, so we woke him up at 6am and asked for the security briefing. He said. “Don’t sell any secrets. Now get the fuck out of my room.” So we went. Awesome weekend. On the way back we stopped in Plsen and bought two cases of Pilsener Urquell each. At the border, our car was searched, and guards started a conversation with us. They didn’t speak English. We didn’t speak Czech. We used German. Ultimately, after several rounds of: that’s too much beer, its only two cases apiece, but it’s too much, could we pay more to take it, yes, how much, how much do you have, not much, that’s too much beer…, the border guard surprised us by saying, in English, “Go away.” So away we went. It was really good beer and oh so cheap.

  59. 59
    JoyfulA says:

    @Baud: My husband was a volunteer for the Kerry campaign’s second campaign stop and was assigned to handle luggage.* The campaign’s hotel was also hosting some sort of Wizard of Oz con, with everyone in costume. Must have been a nightmare for Secret Service.

    *Mostly, the volunteers struggled with MSM very heavy cameras and audio equipment, which to my mind the MSM should be paying for.

  60. 60
    Johnny Yuma says:

    “Thrilled to be in Detroit”?

    Yeah. Sure you are.

    Speaking as a Californian, I would favor an infrastructure Marshall Plan, one that that would certainly include Detroit.

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Johnny Yuma: IIRC, she is from the Toledo area. Just sayin’.

  62. 62
    ⚽️ Martin says:

    @Johnny Yuma: Perhaps Kay is looking to pick up a few houses or possibly a small neighborhood.

  63. 63
    Mike J says:

    @Johnny Yuma:

    “Thrilled to be in Detroit”?

    I grew up in Memphis. Northwest Airlines crews used to joke about their three hubs, Minneapolis, Detroit, Memphis: Snowtown, Motown, No-town.

  64. 64
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @⚽️ Martin: I just picture this.

  65. 65
    Johnny Yuma says:

    @Mike J: If you expect me to commiserate, you got the wrong guy.

    But I’ll take it further- I would favor Detroit being declared ground zero of my proposed domestic Marshall plan.

  66. 66
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Mike J: Hey, I am a Stax over Motown guy. Sorry about Otis and all. Our bad.

  67. 67
    Mike E says:

    Punchline of Letterman joke: “When they replaced his heart they must’ve removed his sense of irony, also.”

    Guess the joke.

  68. 68
    Mike J says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    ey, I am a Stax over Motown guy.

    There was a music thread where you and I both said that, almost word for word.

    I’d guess that if you mashed your, mine, and Cleek’s itunes against each other there would be a 75% overlap.

  69. 69
    trollhattan says:

    Oh fvck me. That’s just great, coming from the world’s #2 coal exporter. If AussieGirl is around, would love to hear her take. Abbott and his Canadian doppelganger must be celebrating, yo.


  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Mike J: I have some weird Romanian shit due to the ex. Like the Romanian version of Black 47 – a mix of traditional music and hip-hop. But yeah, you are probably right. I also like the stuff from Hi.

  71. 71
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Mike J: Sign at Metro Airport: Welcome to Detroit, where the weak are killed and eaten.

    Also: Welcome to Detroit-now go home.

    (I’m so tough, I vacation in Detroit.)

    Vernors FTW!

  72. 72
    Mary G says:

    Have a great time and don’t worry about instant updates. I enjoy your thoughtful pieces. I think all we heard from Cole was the forgetting of pants at the start.

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Mary G: On a serious note, this.

  74. 74
    Mike J says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I have some pygmy tunes, recorded by anthropologists in Africa. Drove my roommates nuts during a blizzard when I insisted pygmy chants summoned snowplows. A mere 72 hours of continuous play proved me right.

  75. 75
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Mike J: Awesome and evil. Well done.

    ETA: The Stax/Motown mentions combined with my predilections mean that I am now listening to “Get Happy.” EC at his most fun.

  76. 76
    Jane2 says:

    @Mary G: Hah! Yes, Kay, pack pants.

  77. 77
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @kindness: Atwater is pretty awesome. Motor City Brewing Company is great.

  78. 78
    Mike J says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Damn near any album as chock full of Leslie speakers as that one is a favorite of mine.

  79. 79
    beltane says:

    @trollhattan: This has been one of those weeks where I feel humanity is swirling the bowl.

  80. 80
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Mike J: I don’t think it is EC’s best, My Aim is True, King of America, and Blood and Chocolate are my top three. Get Happy is just fun. Dark lyrics and unbelievably upbeat tunes.

  81. 81
    some guy says:

    The problem with moving to Detroit is that there is no skiing of note within driving distance.

  82. 82
    ⚽️ Martin says:

    Prepare for wingnut explosion: the new Captain America will be black.

    I blame Obama.

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @some guy: Holy fuck. We agree on something. It is a nine hour drive to get to Indianhead or Granite Peak.

  84. 84
    Mike J says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I love Imperial Bedroom too, but My Aim is True is almost unbeatable. When Mary (of the kissing under the columns) and I got arrested at the Blue Note, she had me play Watching the Detectives at my next show on KCOU.

  85. 85
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Mike J: It sounds like there is a story in that.

  86. 86
    Mike J says:

    @⚽️ Martin:

    Prepare for wingnut explosion: the new Captain America will be black.

    They’re already pissed about Thor being a woman even though the bit about nobody being able to lift the hammer unless they are worthy was baked into the myth [decades|centuries|millennia] ago.

  87. 87
    ⚽️ Martin says:

    @Mike J: Apparently none of them were paying attention when Thor was an alien.

    But I think it’s clear now that Marvel is full-out trolling the wingnuts. I’m going to predict the new Iron Man is transgender.

  88. 88

    @⚽️ Martin: I know this is the comics and not the MCU, but I’d adore seeing Anthony Mackie get a turn as Cap in the movies. He was so great in Winter Soldier.

  89. 89
    Violet says:

    Have a great time, Kay! Can’t wait for your updates. Always appreciate your posts.

  90. 90
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mike E: Let me guess…Dick Cheney talking about how “stable” Iraq was when he left office.

    I’m sure the joke was something about how Obama has messed up US policy in the Middle East.

  91. 91
    amk says:

    Blogospheric Navel-Gazing


  92. 92
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Howard Beale IV: True story: Back in the early 80s, the motto for Jackson, home of the state prison, was “Welcome to Jackson – You May Never Leave!”

    Eventually it was changed to “Welcome to Jackson – We Like lt Here.”

    Didn’t stop the sniggers.

  93. 93
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Baud: I’ll take Kay in. But since I’m not a full citizen I might have to hide her in the basement.

  94. 94
    some guy says:

    “The IDF’s activity is systematic and its objective is to hit the Hamas in such way that its leaders will notice the level of destruction that we have brought on them and will understand that it was a mistake to attack the State of Israel.”

    your taxpayer dollars at work.
    apartheid: it’s what’s for breakfast

  95. 95
    some guy says:

    11:20 P.M. Palestinian internal security forces are preventing a group of some 200 Palestinian demonstrators from marching on the settlement of Beit El in support of the people of Gaza.

  96. 96
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):
    @Mike J:

    I am currently trying to talk my spouse into going to see EC in September. My only hesitation is that the opening act is Ben freakin’ Folds (though apparently sans Five).

    (He’s not the EC fan that I am and has never seen him live, but I think he’ll have a great time.)

    ETA: Also, too, I have an unreasoning fondness for Mighty Like A Rose, especially “All Grown Up,” which is really fun to belt out in the car.

  97. 97
    Cpl Cam says:

    @Heliopause: You must have missed the “not an (actual) journalist” caveat/disclaimer.

  98. 98
    some guy says:


    good on you

    soccer kids, should they be shelled by gunboats?

  99. 99
    J R in WV says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Black 47, what a great rock band – “Screw the Fuckin’ Bosses!” a fabulous marxist rock band from Ireland. Mrs J R got turned on to them by an Irish union activist in NYC who specialized in hard-to-get rock tickets.

    Those boyos really have their hearts in the workers’ rights to not be smashed by the bosses!

    Thanks for the memories that brings back!

  100. 100
    askew says:


    @askew: I heard tell Warren is going. That’s not a bad get by any means…

    As I mentioned that was a great get. However, NN used to be crawling with politicians wanting to hobnob with bloggers. If you look at the line-up from 2008-2010, compared to this years it is a very small list of politicians. I am just surprised no one from the House Leadership is there and that they didn’t get any other big name progressive politicians to show up. And I wonder what that means.

  101. 101
    another Holocene human says:

    @beltane: at least America anyway but Israel and Australia aren’t helping

  102. 102
    another Holocene human says:

    @⚽️ Martin: YES! ! Hope they are using some of the comics canon but if not at least it’s in the same spirit. That first CA movie was terrible, it bowdlerized history and Cap.

  103. 103
    another Holocene human says:

    @TooManyJens: dammit I thought he meant the movies, there was already a black captain America storyline


  104. 104
    ellie says:

    Hey Kay! While you are in Detroit, rent a car and have dinner at Red Coat in Royal Oak on Woodward. I still dream of those burgers. Sigh.

  105. 105
    shelley says:

    Whatever happened to ABL?

  106. 106
    Linnaeus says:


    What microbrews do they have in Detroit?

    There’s the Detroit Beer Company. I think one of the NN14 social events is going to be held there. Good place.

  107. 107
    Mnemosyne says:

    @some guy:

    Dude, you’ve started echoing my “apartheid” and “Bantustan” comments about Israel, so what do you think?

  108. 108
    Mike E says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: “Dick Cheney said Barack Obama is the worst president in his lifetime.”

  109. 109
    Linnaeus says:

    I am absolutely thrilled it’s in Detroit this year.

    I am too. I was hoping to be able to coordinate going to NN14 with my yearly summer visit to the area, but it unfortunately didn’t work out. So I’ll just have to see everyone’s photos.

  110. 110
    rikyrah says:

    Can’t wait for your reports, Kay!

Comments are closed.