Justin Krebs's blog

Time to Inaugurate Liberally - Parties Across the Country

Last night, we announced that we're joining with terrific progressive partners to host over 3,500 Inaugural Parties around the country on Tuesday, January 20th.

With MoveOn.org Civic Action, True Majority, CREDO, Color of Change, YDA and others, these parties will be across the country in bars and homes, restaurants and theaters, and will range from dance parties to potlucks as we celebrate a new day in America.

So check out the Drinking Liberally Inauguration 2009 page to see where our chapters are hosting events; find your local chapter to see what they're up to; or visit the directory of national bashes to find -- or host -- one that fits you.

Last Call for George W. Bush

After 8 years of Bush & Cheney,
of Ashcroft-to-Gonzales-to-Mukasey,
of Rummy & Rove & Heckuva-Job-Brownie,
of Iraq, Katrina & cronies & incompetence,
after this week, we won't have
George Walker Bush to kick around anymore.

Through 8 State-of-DisUnion Addresses,
2 UnAugurals, Presidential debates & the RNC,
we've had to raise a glass together,
because it was better than drinking alone,
not to toast the President, but to roast him,
to forget him & to find each other.

After 295 Thursdays of Drinking Liberally,
this is the last call in the Bush Years.
We can all drink to that.

The liberal drinking isn't over,
& the work continues over Thursdays to come,
but finally we'll kick a keg marked W.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Small Town Values in "Crawford"

"Screening Liberally Big Picture
by Jen Johnson

"Small Town Values." It's big time politics' winning slogan. But what exactly does that mean? And is it even possible for the political machine, so desirous of this wholesome image, to actually value the small town itself?

"Crawford", David Modigliani's documentary about the Texas town of the same name, attempts to answer that question by examining the aftershocks of then-Governor George W. Bush's wholly artificial move to the small hamlet as he prepped for the 2000 election.

Crawford: a documentary from Crawford: The Movie on Vimeo.

Remember Crawford? The quaint Texas burg where Bush publicized his brush-cutting, ranch-walking "roots"? In this film, Modigliani introduces us to the real town and its full-time residents. "Crawford" begins by introducing the audience to the town and a sampling of its residents. Each tells us when they moved to Crawford and why they're there, revealing a bit about themselves and the town: 10 years, good school district. 24 years, loving community. 44 years, Crawford native with six generations buried in the graveyard.

Then we cut to the newest Crawford resident, George Bush. And I couldn't help but wonder, along with the town, "Why?"

Whatever his motives, many townspeople saw his arrival as an opportunity to revive their flailing local economy, long suffering since a severe drought in the 1950s. And as the administration continued, business did pick up as the town experienced tourists of all kinds: political, gawkers, and eventually thousands of protesters.

By focusing on the people of the town rather than pundits or visitors, "Crawford" offers a unique perspective on the Bush administration, media, protests, and political awareness. We find out just where that typical news image of Crawford – the hay bales and farm equipment – is located, and examine whether it misrepresents the town or George W. We hear from fervent Bush supporters, like Crawford's souvenir shop owner, and from his critics, like the school's supposedly "blasphemous" history teacher.

Modigliani's editing heightens the audience's understanding of the residents' emotional journeys, at one point layering protest audio with residents' faces, at another cutting from a packed street to an empty town. Through the film, I felt each character's convictions, confusions, frustrations - whether I agreed with their politics or not.

"Crawford" wisely unfolds from the vantage point of the townspeople, favoring no single view or group. What does become clear is how difficult – and important – it is to be politically aware and active in a community, especially when you have a minority opinion. How does Crawford's history teacher wake up each day, knowing that most of her student's parents do not support her? How should we rise to our own political challenges? "Crawford" will inspire you to consider this, long after the Bush years are but a bitter memory.

Senate Rules & Senate Fools

Democrats are busy changing their minds
on whether to seat Roland Burris
confirming their stereotype as uncertain.

Republicans are digging in to oppose seating
declared, confirmed winner Al Franken,
confirming their rep as anti-democratic.

And the media's focused on Caroline Kennedy
more than on some of the insane reasons
the 41-seat minority plans to filibuster progress,
confirming they are obsessed with celebrities.

In times of crisis, transition & opportunity,
everyone is really sticking to their script.

And we're just reminded once more that
Senate rules create room for Senate fools.

Try to laugh off their foolishness
& share your views while sharing some booze
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

The Nation Guide to the Nation

Do you know the Democracy Burlesque in Chicago? Or the best food co-op in Nebraska? What about the lefty cafe of Salt Lake City...or that same town's unique vegan S&M gear?

Chances are that unless you live in one of those town's, you don't (and even if you live there, you may not); fortunately, The Nation Magazine has found them for you.

In The Nation Guide to the Nation, you can find the cafes, film festivals, historical hotspots, a bleeding-heart romantic hide-aways that dot the "purple" landscape of America.

It's not a book you sit down and read straight through. But it's a thick volume that welcomes you to thumb to almost any page and smile with surprise. It's the kind of guide that may help settle a bet after a night of too much liberal drinking ("I told you that there were liberal oases in Idaho!").

And it's especially the book you'll turn to as you plan your travel around the country -- because you'll find new destinations in any state you plan to visit, sites that will amuse, educate, and generally make you feel like Liberal America is everywhere...and that you are part of it.

The book isn't complete -- it can't be. It doesn't list my favorite liberal dive...but that's part of the fun. If the book can start an conflict among friends as to which historical homes should really be included on a drive along Route 66, or which films should never have been left off a top-ten progressive movie buff's list, then the book will prove itself a true lefty institution: one that gets liberals arguing with each other.

As for my favorite listing: well, it has to be the New Belgian Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado. The maker of Fat Tire runs its brewery on wind-generated energy. That's Drinking Liberally...

For more from the Nation Guides themselves, check out the video below.

New Year's Resolutions for Progressives, 2009

Last year, Rachel Maddow, Lee Camp and others offered their resolutions for 2008. Below are a round-up of this year's progressive goals from friends in progressive media, progressive organizing, and...well...just friends.

Fred Gooltz, Advomatic:
A few days ago I saw Holiday Inn which reminded me how it takes an audience's protest to move hate from the mainstream. This armchair activist resolves to make a point of telling friends and family exactly why I refuse to watch movies riddled with cheap bigot jokes. For homophobia to go the way of blackface minstrel routines, the actors and producers responsible for the homophobia need to hear that we think they are shameful embarrassments who spread hate for money.

John Javna, 50 Ways To Fight The Right:
Number one on my list is to reuse stuff more instead of buying new things. Finding ways to reuse household consumer goods, for example, saves me money and also cuts back on the production/packaging/ transport etc of stuff. Freecycle is a great site for this. Another approach is just finding ways to reuse items for other purposes, e.g. an old shoebox helps me organize my closet. For me, this will also include shopping more at consignment and second hand shops to update my wardrobe. I've gotten addicted to online shopping, so this is gonna be a good challenge.

Negin Farsad, Laughing Liberally/Nerdcore Rising:
Mentor a young woman! If your field is anything like mine - standup comedy, film & tv production - you're surrounded by a veritable and exhausting sausage fest. Only 15% of directors, producers and editors are women which seems downright medieval. The figure among professional standup comics is equally abysmal. So if you're a VIP in whatever field, mentor a young woman. Yes we can... shift those numbers!

Sam Seder, Air America Radio:
Never let your friends, family or neighbors forget that it was conservative "governance" that dug this massive hole our country finds itself in.

Seth D. Michaels, Coordinator, Working Families Vote 2008:
Eat less meat, and remember that being a consumer is a political act - whether you intend it to be or not - so be an aware shopper.

Buy from locally-owned stores. Not only does this shift income (slightly) lower on the income distribution, it also has the potential to be a huge stimulus, given that the owners of these stores are more likely to patronize other stores in your area--and if you go to a store like Fleet Feet, where Phil Fenty is going to spend his profits at other locally-owned stores, the multiplier is just huge. Also, get off Verizon. AT&T, or even better, CREDO, does not spend its energy attempting to destroy the American workforce. Verizon does.

Amanda Mittlestadt, The Liberal Card:
Become a card-carrying liberal. It'll give you a chance to show your liberal pride, help support Living Liberally, and support and sustain liberal businesses with the
liberal discounts you'll receive.

Matt Browner-Hamlin, SEIU:
The power of the liberal blogosphere is only as great as the willingness of bloggers, commenters, and readers to take action when called upon by our peers. When we work together, we can compel Congress to hear us. In my experience this is best done with direct phone calls and visits to the offices of our Congressional representatives. So here's my resolution: when I see the bloggers I read and trust make a call to action, asking me to pick up the phone, I'll do it. Not just on the issues I care the most about, but on the ones that you all care about. Solidarity means we can get more done and solidarity ensures that our movement can bring more change to our country every day. So I'll stand in solidarity with all of you in the New Year...I hope you'll join me.

Matt Filiopwicz, HeadzUp:
Make your local Democratic Party more liberal by showing up. Go to local meetings of the party and speak that sweet progressive mind of yours. Especially if you live in a conservative area. You can help steer your Democrats in the right direction. Which is the left direction.

Mike Connery, Future Majority:
The Obama Presidency - through wireside chats on YouTube, calls for ideas on Change.Gov, and house parties across the country - offers us the first real chance to be more than spectators in our democracy, grading politicians at the polls once every four years. My resolution is to take full advantage of these new opportunities - to contribute ideas when I have them, support Obama when he advances progressive causes, and raise a ruckus when I think he's making the wrong decisions.

Jamie Kilstein, Laughing Liberally:
- Not to become complacent after electing the cool black guy. Racism is not over. American imperialism is not over. We have a lot of work to do. There are corporate lobbyists working everyday to move Obama to the right. That is their job. If we are not there to counter, if we don't make countering our job, it doesn't matter how good a guy Obama is, we will lose.

Erin Hofteig, Media Matters For America:
Changing the world happens in small, personal steps and large institutional (or revolutionary) leaps. Something as small as bringing your own bags to the grocery store ensures less trees are cut down and less petroleum is needed to make new plastic bags. Not buying products manufactured in countries that use child labor, don't abide by environmental standards or health standards helps everyone. These small steps make a real difference. Support the organizations that are fighting for the values you hold dear. Take actions and let those in power know what you think, and give money. The flagging economy is going to make it extremely difficult for these groups to operate effectively and ten dollars from you will help them remain relevant. Most importantly, stay informed. The policy debates coming on energy, health care and other important issues are going to be twisted with half truths and spin. Only an informed and engaged electorate will give legislators the backing, or the push, they need to stand up against the special interests.

Josh Bolotsky:
I want to say the same thing I said last year.

Our Friends in Pasadena

Drinking Liberally has good friends in Pasadena, California.

It's a chapter that was started by Asa Hopkins several years ago. Asa was a Convention delegate in '04, he was active in YDA, and I met him first at the 2020 Democrats launch conference in late '03.

But what makes the Pasadena strong is not that it was started by a good leader; it's that it has remained vibrant even after Asa moved on.

You see, chapter leaders come and go. Sometimes, a chapter doesn't fare so well when a host has to move. But Pasadena regular has attendance in the teens, on Election Night had over 50, and was featured (with photographs) in a great article.

Patrick Burns, Lauri Fiedler and Mike Anderson -- the current hosts -- deserve a great amount of credit. They also deserve our thanks -- for gathering tips from chapter members and Tipping Liberally, sending funds to support the national network.

So next time you're out in southern California, stop by and toast them in person, every Tuesday night at Madeleine's Wine Bistro.

A New Year's Resolution for a Year of New Revolutions

Violence explodes between Israel & Hamas,
repeating an old story stuck in old thinking
that needs a new approach to create the peace.

Slow Christmas buying echoed the weak economy,
but a $500 rebate isn't going to fix it,
as we need to be innovative in our stimulus.

Bush pardons cronies, then revokes one,
& Blagojevich appoints a replacement Senator --
the corrupt keep finding new ways to be corrupt,
so we need fresh approaches to stop them.

From Wall St to Detroit to Senate obstruction,
problems have come from a failure to evolve;
but in this new year, does a new Administration
finally have the resoluteness to resolve?

May Obama make a New Year's Resolution
to a Year of New Revolutions...
revolutionary ideas, actions & progress.

That's a New Year wish we can toast to.

Sing out the old & ring in the new
as you start 2009 off on the Left foot
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

A Visit from St. Barack

A Visit from St. Barack
(with thanks to Clement Clark Moore)

'Twas the night before Elections, when through the US
Americas were nervous...we're in such a mess.
Our dreams we had hung on an election with care,
In hopes a new President soon would be there.

The bankers were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of bailouts danced in the heads;
But for most of the country, it's not quite a snap
Surviving the economy's long winter's nap.

When slowly all over, there arose such a clatter,
We sprang up & realized our vote really did matter.
Into campaigning, we flew like a flash,
And one night in November, we made a big splash.

Now through the darkness, the war & the woe,
We see new directions our country can go.
And what to our wondering eyes should appear?
A sleigh pulled by Change, that soars over the fear.

With a lean & young driver, & smart - what a shock!
I knew in a moment, must be St. Barack!
With speed & with purpose, his Cabinet came,
His strong Team of Rivals, he called the by name:

"Now Daschle! now, Geithner! Now, Holder, Richardson!
On Solis! Napolitano! And of course Hillary Clinton!
Stimulus! Reform! Accountability! All!
Fast out of the gate, no time to stall!"

As tax revenue in the Bush years did fly,
into CEO pockets, far from public eye,
So fast into action the Cabinet flew,
With 8 years of madness to work to undo.

Then, on TV, we heard the applause,
And entered a man who, despite flaws,
Helps us believe we'll turn it around --
On stage, St. Barack leaped with a bound.

With a serious look he breaks every while,
With a quick little joke, & infections bright smile,
He looks Presidential, what can we say?
...As long as he puts that Blackberry away.

At one side his family, beautiful, hopeful,
Warms all our souls, to the most mopeful.
On the other a helper we all take such pride in;
Who doesn't feel good about VP Joe Biden?

Things aren't great, that's plain to see
And in this transition, we don't always agree,
But when he grins like a kindly & generous elf,
We laugh & we hope, in spite of ourself.

With his personal story & charisma unending,
He helps set us back on course to be mending
Rips here at home & our ties abroad --
That he inspires, we happily laud.

He's ready to dig in and get straight to work,
And we can be done with that other jerk...
While we may be a bit down & times are tough,
as one nation we say, Enough is Enough.

He won't fix it all -- there just isn't a way --
It will take ALL of us pulling this sleigh.
But at least now with courage, exclaim we might:
"Happy Christmas to all, let's set America right!"

Share the holidays, your hopes & a drink or two
with your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Our Stocking's Full of Coal, Can We Turn It Into Diamonds?

While we may be facing the worst economy in decades,
it's also the chance to push a massive investment
in public infrastructure & green jobs.

While a teetering auto industry puts us in peril,
a loan to stabilize it is an opportunity
to create reforms & promote fuel efficiency.

While Grinches like Madoff & banking execs
threaten Americans' holiday cheer,
we also now have the impetus to re-regulate
the excesses of the financial sector.

And while the last 8 years hurt our country,
maybe that era revealed the Conservative con
& will give us a shot at a progressive future.

Bush's buddies filled our stocking with coal
...can new leadership turn it into diamonds?

That would be a Christmas miracle.

Raise your revelry, raise a ruckus,
raise hopes, fears & a glass or two
with your local progressive social club.

Drinking Liberally -
Find or start a chapter near you.

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