Greetings once again from Rhode Island!
On the first full day of Netroots Nation, things were interesting to say the least. As part of my deal to get here, I had to watch the LGBT Connect Table in the booth area of the conference. This is simply an observation based on a fuzzy memory of the event in 2010 in Las Vegas and the even here in Rhode Island.
The vendors and booths were significantly skewed to four different areas. First were the unions. The International Firefighters Union was there, The Machinists, American Federation of Teachers and more. Second was the very clear presence of women’s organizations such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL. There were also traditional progressive groups there — from consultants to policy analysts. And finally there was an entire row dedicated to news media. Free Speech Television and The David Pakman Show were well represented.
But the surprising appearance was Google. Google had put up a giant display with touch screens and delightful young men demonstrating the latest in Google technology. I admit I did not stop in and listen, but I find it interesting the Google is putting the screws to identify and attract the progressive movement, and the presumptive cash said progressives have.
As for an observation of key interest: Occupy.
There are a couple of things that stand out with the Occupy movement.
First, the movement was and is well represented in workshops and panels. There are many discussions about the movement and it’s impact on foreclosure and such.
A contingent of Occupy Providence arrived late yesterday afternoon and set up in front of the Rhode Island Convention Center. They replaced the guy from a 9-11 “truther” group that was upset they were not allowed to rent a space in the convention to promote the idea that 9-11 was an inside job, committed by the American government…. Anyway, Occupy Providence was setting itself up to protest the appearance of Eric Schneiderman, the New York State Attorney General. Occupy protested him because he had not thrown half (or more) of Wall Street executives in prison over the financial meltdown.
I am staying at the Westin Hotel, which is located directly across the street from the RICC, and while outside smoking I made a couple of odd observations. First was the some very richly appointed folks awaiting their car from the valet after a meal at the steak place in the hotel here.
“Cash is king,” the older man declared to the younger man in the group. “Always remember that.”
“Oh yes, cash is perfection and gets you anything you want,” said an older woman in the group. “It’s quite lovely, cash.”
And there within 200 yards of them were the folks from Occupy. It was quite a juxtaposition.
The second observation is similar, but was later in the evening. It also dealt with folks waiting for their cars after eating at the steakhouse. In this instance, the young men joked about how they owned the various Audis lined up for other drivers. One young man called one of these cars “my weekend car.”
Once again, conspicuous consumption.
Time to head over to the RICC more tomorrow!