Justin Krebs's blog

Grumpy Old Men

So honestly: are they more Waldorf and Statler, or Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon?

McCain: Because People Like Obama

While Obama's international tour showed America
that the world may have goodwill towards us yet,
McCain runs ads criticizing Obama's popularity.

While McCain's media buddies give him a pass
-- overlooking Mideast confusions & profanities --
he complains of Obama's coverage that he's left out.

And because artists, scientists & scholars
support Obama, McCain calls him "elitist"...
while McCain wears $500 loafers.

On one hand, a candidate liked by colleagues,
praised by his students, welcomed by the world.

On the other, a man who has run ads
reviving his 1960s war...against Woodstock.

Now...who is out of touch?

Come out tonight for a drink & a think,
share a pint and a pontification
with your local progressive social club.

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

The Barack-Man vs. The Joker

The Joker, out-of-touch & irrational,
brings further fear to a suffering society.

Dealing dread, finding power through force,
his ploy plays on the worst in people.

He is known for his aggressive temper,
...& for telling truly terrible jokes.

But a Dark Knight, imperfect-yet-inspiring,
swoops into a scene of greed & corruption
appealing to citizens' hope & better angels,
declining to kill, familiar with computers...
& raising record revenue from an energized public.

I mean, who would you rather have:
Joker McCain...or The Barack-Man?

Now...who will play Robin this time around?

Raise a glass to the citizens of our Gotham,
the fight ahead & the light in the distance
as you share a beer, cheer & idea
at your local progressive social club.

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

Lame? Duck!

The Iraqi Prime Minister calls for withdrawal,
joining the majority of US public opinion,
& yet our unpopular President stays the course
& manages to keep Congress tangled up too.

Despite unconstitutional domestic spying,
& amnesty for telecom's unlawful acts,
our disapproved Prez pushed for his FISA bill
...& Congress caved to his domestic agenda.

Though it's not a solution to our energy woes,
lowly-regarded W now wants off-shore drilling
...& Congress could get pressured to pump.

Bush just keeps throwing sucker punches...
& Congress is too lame to duck this lame duck.

You'd think Congress's 14% approval rating
would be low enough to duck this sucker...
let's hope they don't try to sink even lower.

Your spirits could drop, or come lift a glass
as you raise your ideas, frustrations & hopes
sharing a night, while you share a pitcher
at your local progressive social club.

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

Cavemen vs. Cave-ins

Senate Dems caved to a deeply unpopular Prez
by granting immunity to spying phone companies.
But it's the backward-thinking President
who made this plan his domestic legacy.

Congressional Dems consider off-shore drilling,
caving to pressures over gas prices...
but McCain's scrapping all environmental plans
& the Right denies climate change completely.

And Dems have still not changed course in Iraq.
But it's McCain's war-mongering sensibilities
that jokes about killing Iranians with cigarettes.

On one hand, anti-progress, war-like thugs.
On the other, a party that hasn't stopped them.

We definitely don't want to be ruled by Cavemen
...now let's figure how to stop these Cave-Ins.

Whether you're venting, ranting, escaping
or ready to push for a better America,
come share your thoughts & a pitcher or two
at your local progressive social club.

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

Declare Independence...from "Independents"

Conventional wisdom says that Obama
caved on FISA & talked up faith-based programs
because he's appealing to "Independents."

Who knew independents oppose the Constitution?

Obama HAD to disavow Wes Clark's comments --
though Clark only questioned his experience as leader
& specifically honored his courage and will --
since "dishonoring" McCain would turn off independents.

Who knew independents are so ill-informed?

And McCain keeps saying he's a "maverick"
as he continues his "Straight Talk Express"
because these words appeal to independents.

Who knew independents liked slogans so much?!

If "independent" voters read only the spin,
& don't read the Constitution or the news,
maybe we shouldn't ask them to decide elections.

Or maybe "independent" really means something else.

And maybe "independent" candidates
who shy away from principled stands
aren't what we're looking for either.

It's time we take strong positions,
stop listening to the media's darling tales,
and Declare our Independence...from "Independents."

Celebrate the holiday in the most American way:
sharing an evening of spirited discussion
as you share a few pitchers of liberal libations
at your local progressive social club.

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

Happy 4th of July!

From Pro-Bama to "No, Bama!"

Progressives are excited what a President Obama
could do with a Democratic majority in Congress...
while the Dem Senate pushes phone company immunity
& Obama joins in the capitulation.

The Left argues McCain's bad for the Courts,
but when the Justices limit the death penalty,
Obama's among the first to criticize the ruling.

And while we're excited that Obama's candidacy
could energize down-ticket victories,
Obama endorses a pro-war Dem in a primary.

There's an incredible mood that's Pro-Bama...
but moves like this make us groan "No, 'Bama!"
Maybe he's just starting off Slow-Bama
-- here's to hoping he'll Grow-Bama.

In many ways, he's so right.
Now we have to make sure he's so Left as well.

Share frustrations, ideas & a pitcher to two
with like-minded liberals over a libation
at your local progressive social club.

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

Why Do You Need a "Progressive" Book Club?

Reading Liberally Page Turner
by Justin Krebs, Living Liberally

Hooray! The Progressive Book Club is here! And in the next few days, I will receive three books -- including Cliff Schecter's "The Real McCain" -- for $1 each!

What might sound like a scheme on par with the treasure of deposed African dictators or a "Buy Now!" infomercial is actually a welcome and much-anticipated new cog in the growing progressive infrastructure: an organization that supports liberal authors and publishers, serves left-leaning literates, and rivals one of the right-wing's important tools.

And no, Cliff Schecter's not upset his book is being sent to me for a buck. Because if PBC takes off, there will be thousands of members exerting buying power together, giving authors dedicated audiences, and turning back the corrupting influence of right-wing groups that have helped push wingnuts into national notoriety.

But, when the reporter for this New York Times piece on PBC spoke to me (Living Liberally is a partner helping launch face-to-face Reading Liberally book clubs), she was skeptical.

"Why do you need a 'progressive' book club?" she asked. "Isn't it fair to say that like Hollywood, publishing already has a liberal bias?"

And that all-too-prevalent assumption is exactly why we need PBC. I suggested that the success of folks like Ann Coulter shows the power of collective book-buying to create successes, and thus give someone of thin resume and thinner morals a stepping stone to punditry prominence.

"So Coulter sells books -- when Al Gore writes a book that sells too. Are liberals really having a hard time being heard?"

Yes...she equated Ann Coulter and Al Gore.

For every Gore -- you know, your run-of-the-mill author with VP experience and a Nobel price -- there are dozens of talented progressive voices that never get heard. Some notable bloggers like Jeffrey Feldman and Michael Connery can thank independent publishers like Ig for having faith in them; but then those companies need help expanding their audience.

And that's where PBC fits in.

My father doesn't read blogs. He probably won't read this post. But he reads books -- and he reads the Times. The Times told him about PBC, and he just ordered books written by netroots notables for the first time.

I always remember as we started Drinking Liberally how people asked, "You live in New York...why do you need a liberal drinking club? Isn't everyone liberal?" The fact was those liberals needed an organizing structure which gathered and empowered them. And that's the same answer I'd give to PBC skeptics: yes, there are liberal voices, books, authors, publishers, readers...now, let's actually introduce them to one another.

And get 3 books for a dollar each in the process.

The GOP's 3 Deadly G's: Gays, Gas & Gore

As Americans feel pain at the pump,
they're open to new energy solutions,
but conservatives give the old answer: "Drill More!"

As couples in California express their love,
Americans increasingly recognize marriage equality,
but the right-wing still shouts: "Gays are Scary!"

And as the Republicans' old punching bag Al Gore,
endorses Obama, helping boost him in the polls,
the GOP just sputters: "But Gore's a loser!"
...as McCain tries to dodge the President himself.

It's been said in the past that the Dems
have problems with Gays, Guns & God...

But as Americans views have evolved with the times,
the Right has its own 3-g problem: Gays, Gas & Gore.

And 1 more "G" -- the "GOP" --
may be McCain's biggest problem of all

Raise a glass to same-sex marriage and Al Gore
as you raise your voice, ideas & questions
with like-minded left-leaning libation-lifters
at your local progressive social club.

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

Stopping War In A Sleepy Little Town in Idaho

Drinking Liberally Shot of Truth
by Dan Henry, Drinking Liberally Idaho Falls

stopwar.jpg
We've gotten a bit of national press recently here in the sleepy little town of Idaho Falls.

First, a little background: four boys were arrested last October for vandalizing stop signs. The photo above shows some of their handiwork. Two were minors, and the details of their cases are not public. Alex and Craig, the 18-year-olds, pled guilty and were sentenced harshly – two days in jail, thousands of dollars in fines, and restitution based on the number of stop signs each admitted to stenciling.

This story has been covered a couple of times in the Post Register, our local paper (all its articles are behind a firewall, but some have been posted here.)

After paying restitution, the boys were able to take possession of the stop signs. I know that Alex got 20 signs, but I don't know about Craig. At least one of the minors got a lesser number of signs.

Last week, a local reporter picked up the story of the boys selling their stop signs. Two were sold to the Bonneville County Democrats to auction at their annual Truman Banquet fundraising dinner in May. (I bought one of the signs – we're going to use it on our Drinking Liberally Fourth of July float.)

A local discussion board posted about it. The original poster was outraged that the boys were allowed to sell their signs. I've been posting there as 'idahogie.'

But the big news is that AP picked up the local story, and Fox News ran it! So now I can say that I've been quoted by Fox News. But I still won't go on The Factor.

From the start, the case has spurred some real anti-war activism in our town. Many of us felt ashamed and embarrassed that we weren't doing enough to bring about an end to Bush's War. And it took the civil disobedience of these four boys to wake us up. My friend Debbie Troester-Solbrig said it best in our local editorial page:

"I wish I had painted 'war' on the stop signs. I wish I could say I moved people to think the way those stop signs moved me. How can these young people be criminals when they caused anyone who saw a 'stop war' sign to think about our brave soldiers, our dead, their dead and the world's loss? Every time I came upon a stop sign marked with the word 'war' in my everyday life, that one word brought the war closer to home – where it should be. Those three letters (w-a-r) caused me to stop, realize, think and contemplate: Our country is at war. Yet we go on living our normal daily lives, not thinking of the sacrifices being made each minute, each second, thousands of miles away."

The boys' action caused us to form a new group, the Snake River Freedom Coalition. We've held several peace rallies in downtown Idaho Falls. The first one drew about 140 people for two hours on a balmy 5-degree day in January. We spent Mother's Day on our local greenbelt, chalking names of casualties in Bush's War (this is a great activity to do any time, with no publicity or explanation – just start writing and be open to interaction with pedestrians). We've had lectures and movie events. We've also helped some local students to form a peace group in the local high school. And with the sale of t-shirts, we've raised over $2000 to help the boys pay their legal bills.

Our DL chapter recently sponsored the First Annual Loving Day Celebration and Progressive Awards Banquet here in Idaho Falls. It was my great honor to award Alex, Craig, and the other two boys with framed certificates that commemorate the gift they gave to us.

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