CHICAGO -- This is the final year that the biggest yearly convention of netrooters will be named after Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, or Kos. Mr. Moulitsas enjoyed the attention and adulation befitting a political pioneer, but he now has many other projects to attend to, and he recognizes that the liberal/progressive blogosphere has outgrown any one personality. So next year, the conference will be called something different. Maybe -- StormCon -- for Storming The Gates. Or "Storming The Gates '08." Or something.*
YearlyKos has, in two years, outgrown its bonding session phase, it's "Let's Make Fun Of The Press Stage," and even its focus on national activism About a fifth of the conference will focus on the 2008 presidential race, and only half of it seems to be devoted to politics. At this point, no presidential candidate is planning to throw a gilded reception for the bloggers, a la Mark Warner in Vegas circa last year. Community organizing is a main theme this year. The convention tagline is "Building A Netroots Nation."
Highlights include a presidential forum -- the candidates didn't show up at last week's DLC convention. Also: an "Ask The Leaders" forum featuring both Sen. Maj. Leader Harry Reid and the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
There are even signs of gentrification: Time Magazine is throwing a Saturday night party for bloggers and their frenemies in the press. There's a YearlyKos Screening Series, with a "new Friday night line-up featuring "two full length, first run, Hollywood feature films."
Brags the YearlyKos website:
And as an attendee of the convention you'll get to see these films before they hit the theaters, and before anyone else on the planet other than people in the "industry" get to see them! If that isn't enough they will feature a Q&A session with the filmmakers afterwards.
Warner Independent Pictures is a major corporate sponsor, along with major labor unions, major Democracy Alliance-funded groups like Media Matters for America, PFAW, HuffPost and others.
** = Netroots folks have a PhD in "elite tone detection," so less there be any question about my tone, this column is impressed with what YearlyKos has built. That doesn't mean it can't have some fun at your expense, though, right? By the way: feel free to come up and say hi. The name's Ben Smith.