Justin Krebs's blog

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.

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.

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.

Ill & Annoyed in Illinois

At a time when our nation needs to focus
on the economy's impact on regular Americas,
Blagojevich's get-rich-quick scheme
now dominates our headlines & our attention.

This crisis could cost millions of jobs,
if American automakers go bankrupt,
but Blago's bankrupt morals now consume us.

At a moment when the election results
enriched our national spirit,
Blago sought only to enrich himself.

His venal corruption makes us ill --
& his timing, in crisis, just annoys.
I guess, Ill + Annoys = Illinois.

But hey, at least it brought
Patrick Fitzgerald back into the news.

Share your thoughts as your share a pitcher
with like-minded lefties over a liberal libation
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Marriage Equality - Activism Beyond an Election

I've been asked many times since November 4th what Drinking Liberally does now...as though a Democratic President would negate the need for a national network of progressive social gatherings. I respond that political communities -- and the activism and ideas that flow from them -- don't come and go with campaigns...they are needed between elections just as much.

But it's one thing to say that -- it's another to actually live it. And honestly, many of our chapters are in a little bit of a post-election hangover / holiday daze. We continue to meet, enjoy holidays and plan for the Inauguration, but it feels a little bit like we're waiting for our next moment.

However, one movement that isn't waiting is the marriage equality movement. Obviously Prop 8 served as a jolt that required the movement not to rest -- but at a time when I don't witness as much direct activism taking place, folks like Join the Impact are delivering creative, social, passionate opportunities -- from national rallies to vigils to guerilla activism.

In New York, we're hosting a screening tonight of the Oscar-winning documentary Freeheld. Its story -- about a dying police officer whose same-sex partner is denied pension rights -- resonates with the the chilling results of Prop 8. We're using it to prompt a conversation about how New Yorkers can promote the marriage equality fight in our state, which has a chance of passing it legislatively.

We don't want, in this transition time, to lose the activism momentum of the election. Hopefully clever ad campaigns like "This Is Reality" will take Join the Impact's lead and invest in local organizing opportunities that keep our troops active.

That is, after this tryptophan wears off...

75th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition

Tomorrow is the 75th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition.

It's kind of remarkable to realize that our country outlawed booze Constitutionally; then, 15 years later, Constitutionally fixed that mistake. We really do have the power to form a more perfect union.

There's a special side consequence of this day: it means that tomorrow is the 75th birthday of many beloved dive bars that started as illicit speak-easy establishments during the 20s, then came into the light on this day 75 years ago.

So places like Rudy's -- the home of the original Drinking Liberally, and home of one of the greatest Liberal Card benefits (free drinks!) -- turns 75 tomorrow. And this New York institution will be celebrating with $7 pitchers at night and $5 pitchers during the day (7 and 5 for the 75th).

Plus, at tonight's DL gathering, we'll lift our glasses to Rudy's...and to a Constitution that can correct our country's errors.

The Right: Still Wrong. The Left: Still Left Behind?

Obama crafts a cabinet crossing aisles & ideologies,
while Senate Republicans revel in their Georgia win
as they intend to tyrannize from a 41-seat minority.

Dems step up to bailout the GOP's banking buddies,
while the GOP balks at loans to the Big Three,
& spreads lies about how much auto workers make.

The new Prez pledges to first push legislation
with bipartisan consensus like children's healthcare,
& hedges on oil windfall tax & Bush taxcut rollback,
while the Right calls him a radical socialist.

And in it all, Dems let Lieberman keep his gavel.

When Dems offer conservatives compromise & comity,
& the GOP digs in to defy progressive promise,
the debate wrongly shifts Rightward
& Liberals are left standing to the side.

Even after an Election, the Right is still wrong
...the real question: will the Left be left behind?

Share your hopes as your share a few pitchers,
& raise your concerns as you raise your glass
and toast this momentous month of transition
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

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