Day 2 came and went in a moment. Seriously, it seemed like it was just a couple of hours ago when I ran into Horace Boothroyd III and we ate breakfast together before starting our hectic day. Guess we're both early risers and it was just good happenstance that we ran into each other. Unfortunately, Kevin the Socialist Duck doesn't wake up early.
First order of business after breakfast was a Board Meeting for NFTT - always great to touch base with TexDem and the rest of the board. It meant missing the KeyNote but that's the way Netroots seems to work. A single person just can't do everything. If you decide to attend next year in Detroit, remember that. You'll drive yourself crazy otherwise.
Second order of business was the DailyKos Caucus. It was great to hear updates from Markos, in the flesh, but afterwards I heard that the Parents Caucus, which took place at the same time, was poorly attended. I wish I would have went there to network. Parents are an important voice in education, one that I think is sorely missing in many communities. Markos will be giving us all the same update here in the virtual world next week so I'll let you hear it all straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. And I'll plan a little more strategically the next time. Remember that too, just in case. You can always run into fellow Kossacks... you don't always get to meet non-Kossacks so easily.
The DailyKos Caucus
Adam holding court at lunch.
A highlight of the day was lunch of all things. The California Democratic Party hosted the best Food Truck Party ever! They handed out 2 food tickets per person and we got to spend them at a multitude of restaurants on wheels. I went with a Vietnamese main - noodles with pork and veggies that was spicy and flavorful - and fresh fruit for dessert. The fruit truck was really rather amazing - two women were slicing and dicing a selection of papayas, mangos, pineapples, watermelon, cucumbers, jicama, coconut and a couple of others I'm sure I have forgotten. You could add a little spice mix for a truly Mexican treat or just take your fruit plain. It was yummy! All the while, we listened to great speakers talk about American workers and the movement to obtain a living wage as we sat on upturned red buckets. The entire event was inspired... it got bloggers, traditionally tied indoors to their electronic equipment that needs constant charging, outdoors in the real world. People were talking and chatting very differently at this venue and I highly recommend that events like this be repeated at future Netroots Nations. And I have to shout out to Laughing Planet! He and I spent most of lunch chatting away about travel and writing and stuff. That's what I love about meeting fellow bloggers - they may be people I have never met before but they are not strangers. They're friends. And I love it.
Netroot Nations 2013 Food Truck Party
On the way back to the convention center, I started a conversation with another NN'13 attendee while waiting to cross the street. That's the great thing about wearing distinctive name tags; we can identify each other pretty easily. I found another travel aficionado and we'll be talking future ideas for websites/blogs/action at breakfast today.
And finally, panels... I hit two during the afternoon. The first was Community Colleges: The Best Kept Secret in America. Unfortunately, I did not leave feeling that Community Colleges were a positive despite the great finish by speaker Mary Ann Pareda. Instead, I was left feeling dispondent about our community college systems, especially in New Jersey where tuition rates remind me off my own tuition fees at UC Berkeley back in the 1980s. The panelists explained all the problems facing community colleges and made me doubt our ability to overcome the problems when they hit me with the a commonly used phrase at Netroots Nations panels:
We need to organize.
Really? You think so?
Weak Dems/Strong Progressives Panel
At the last panel of the day, it was with great relief that I found that I didn't need to organize anything. I just needed to learn what was working for the progressive community. Digby led an impressive panel that discussed Weak Dems vs. Strong Progressives: Lessons from the SS Fight
. She had invited Becky Bond from Credo, Adam Green from the Progressive Change Committee, and two great representatives - Rep. Mark Takano and Rep. Alan Grayson. In a really short and concise recap of this great event - progressive organizations worked from outside the Democratic Party to force change within the Democratic Ranks. They took the example of the Tea Party and realized that progressives need to disagree with the party leadership when necessary, that progressives need to withhold support when progressive values are not being met, and that we need to force progressive members of congress to live up to their promises by making them sign pledges that are not only on the progressive agenda but are strongly supported by polling of the American public. I'm convinced. Although the battle to keep social security whole and entire was not really a victory (remember, Tea Party opposition helped squash the Grand Bargain), the methods honed during the fight were proven to be effective. We need to use them again.
I ended the night with the Chairman's Pub Quiz - my team, a hodgepodge of fellow Kossacks and a few others that joined our table performed great in the first round... and we bombed from there! But we had a good time. Although I would never study for this event (I don't think you can), I will remember to listen better when Adam speaks. I guess he has a habit of dropping answers in speeches from the night before... Maureen Dowd, anyone?
Leading the way into the Chairman's Pub Quiz
Read about my first day at Early Thoughts From a MilSpouse on NN13