Thursday, June 16, 2011

Netroots Nation 2011: Day Two

Started the day with the "Big Steaming News Dump" with Lizz Winstead and friends. The Netroots Nation alternative to “Morning Joe” on MSNBC.

Panelists were pundit and author of the John McCain biography Cliff Schecter, lesbian blogger Pam Spaulding, Leftie media maven Shannyn Moore from Alaska, pundit Sam Seder and Jon Sinton, a co-founder of the late Air America.

Many snarky comments about the news that Pakistan had arrested five men who allegedly helped the CIA spy on Osama bin-Laden's million-dollar hideaway. Conclusion: This was a Casablanca-like "round up the usual suspects" moment.

Next topic: Tea Party-sponsored summer camp for kids in Tampa, Fla. Also known as (unofficially the Ayn Rand Camp for Kids. Motto: "Tea Party Camp -- when you're too f-ing crazy for Jesus Camp." Lizz proposed this course for the little Tea Partiers: "Timothy McVeigh's Gentle Side." And so on.

Sam Seder talked about the Politico story that Right Wing slush funds from Americans for Prosperity  finance Right Wing talk radio. Progressive bloggers have known (or at least suspected this) for years. This news also brings into question the old marketplace theory of radio talk. Left Wing talk can't survive in the marketplace so it must be no good. Well, Wingnut Radio couldn't compete in the marketplace if it wasn't for these slush funds.

"Right Wing Radio has been subsidized from Day One," said Seder. "Those reporters dump stories and the subsidies roll in."

Very difficult for indie bloggers to compete in this cash-rich environment. Right Wing Radio has all of the beachfront property and not nearly enough Leftie Richie Rich's (Lizz's term)  to keep them afloat. Cable TV is too expensive. However, there are some smartphone and tablet apps coming along that will help to even the media playing field. One is the Progressive Voices app that, according to Jon Sinton, will serve as a "one-stop-shop for everything progressive in audio, print and video." Maybe you'll even see hummingbirdminds on there some day.

"There are over 100 million users of smartphones and tablets," said John. "In 2013, it will be a billion."

That's reaching out directly to a lot of people.

He envisions the smartphone becoming as ubiquitous as the transistor radios of the 1950s and 1960s. I remember those -- every kid had one at his/her ear or next to the pillow at night. My transistor radio brought me pop and early rock from exotic locales such as Chicago.

"This app can help cut the strings to mainstream media," John said.

Pam Spaulding of pamshouseblend talked about the emergence of "fake lesbians" in the blogosphere. Two were recently unmasked -- one in Syria and one in the U.S. Several panelists agreed that this was a strange and alarming trend.

The next item to be discussed was the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, Shannyn Moore said that the mine will have a tailings' pond 20 miles long and will be perched at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the continent's largest salmon fishery. It's located -- as is most of Alaska -- along the Ring of Fire volcanic and earthquake zone. She noted that the state's biggest quake in recent history (1964) liquefied the soil -- and the shit will hit the fan when the earthen dam that holds back the waters of the tailings' pond turns to ooze. She brought lots of "No Pebble Mine" stickers to the conference. She also had a bunch of wild salmon shipped in for a party and fund-raiser tonight that I'm too tired to attend.

Lizz rounded up her show with a short interview of the mayor (the guy's everywhere, and he's not running for anything). He wanted us to know about the severe tornado that hit the city's most vulnerable neighborhoods on the side side of town. It didn't get much attention because it happened on the same day as the Joplin, Mo. twister. He said that 5,000 homes were affected. Most housed renters with no insurance and many of the homeowners lacked enough insurance coverage. He urged us to come out Saturday for a big repair and building effort hosted by Habitat for Humanity and Urban Homeworks. Hizzoner told us to go to his Twitter page at rtrybak to get more info. He does his own social media posting. "I don't think that any politician should have someone else doing his Twitter and Facebook.

NOTE: I was at this all day today. Many sessions, many notes. Not a fan of live-blogging because I miss too much. More posting tomorrow....

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