Living Liberally Blog

Living Liberally Blog

How Choke Chokes

Screening Liberally Big Picture
by Josh Bolotsky

If you went to a public high school, then you've met this kid before. It's that simple.

You know the one - trying so hard to sell himself as the pervy class clown with a secret heart of gold. The routine is simple enough: he makes a few unsavory wisecracks cracks about gonorrhea during health class, but, when lunchtime rolls around, he can be found sitting alone at the table towards the back of the cafeteria, writing feverishly in a mead composition journal, trying so hard to look pained and, well, sensitive, earnest, quietly perceptive and bittersweetly melancholic without seeming too lugubrious.

In other words, hoping against hope that someone will ask him what, exactly, he's writing, so he can half-smile, blush as he looks at the floor and stage-mutters, "just some poem, it's not, I mean, it's nothing special." Hoping against hope that the inquisitor will let out a wide-eyed and wide-grinned non-ironic "Really...?" and beg to read it. And when, after much further faux-protestation, he gives in and does read a verse, the whole school, nay, the whole town will see what a vibrant, insightful heart he really has, will see that he's not just this joker in an 80s metal t-shirt - it just takes one poem read out loud in a cafeteria and they'll all overlook his awful remarks about his female classmates' bodies, all the gym class "joking" that really constituted a minor reign of terror, and just, somehow, write all of it off as a self-defense mechanism, will just know that he means well and is so inconceivably lonely.

McCain: Bailing, Ailing, Wailing, Flailing, Derailing

The Bush team wants to bail out its cronies
with a massive, unregulated, give-away
supervised by the guys that got us into this mess.

The GOP wants to bail on the American people,
fighting measures to support the middle class
while putting bailout burdens on taxpayer shoulders.

Meanwhile, McCain wants to bail out of the debates.
And if the economy's still rough on November 4th,
maybe he'll want to bail on the election as well.

But now that Palin's flailing, the GOP's wailing
& their desperate lies are derailing,
who's going to be bailing out John McCain?

At least we'll soon take back our ship of state
...then we can really start bailing out our America.

Share your thoughts as your share a a few beers,
(& sharing a pitcher saves in these tough times)
at your local, progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

...and check out
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This Week In Blackness Episode 6

You gotta give it to Laughing Liberally regular and Tank comedy programmer Elon James White -- when he gets rolling, he makes the most of his momentum.

He's up to episode 6 already of his new series "This Week in Blackness." In this episode, he reveals to all of us what a new scientific poll has discovered: race "matters" in this election.


Debate Prep

Drinking Liberally loves debates. They are great excuses for special events, bringing together our members, bringing out new attendees, and sometimes breaking out drinking games, bingo cards and other group games.

But looking at Media Matters Action Network's latest video, one wonders whether our love of debates is misplaced:

I'd forgotten how frustratingly irrelevant so much of the questioning was -- how much we found ourselves booing the moderators (sometimes more than cheering our favorite candidates). And as the video reminds us, this was a feeling shared by partisans on both sides of the aisle.

So, while we're prepping the rules for the drinking game (sip at "change"...chug at "bailout"), we're happy other organizations are doing the prep to set expectations, shame the networks and hopefully push the debate organizers into making the discussions relevant.

God Bless Americana: Singing Political Victory

Rocking Liberally Sound of Change
by Glenn W. Smith, Rockridge Institute

Sitting in an old oak pew in Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium, "the Mother Church of Country Music," I'm waiting for American roots music apparitions to rise from the dark pine floors and whisper to me the secret key to a rebirth of a progressive nation. A guy can dream.

You may think my hope grandiose and based on idle superstition, but you would be wrong. The occasion is this week's 2008 Americana Music Festival, and I'm giving witness that the spirits rose, and they told me their secret. More on that in a minute.

The Right Way To Work a Room

I'm impressed with Scott Kleeb. This Nebraskan Senate candidate takes progressive stances, isn't afraid of offering intelligent answers and is giving a real run in a red state. He also likes to drink liberally.

Scott joined us in New York last night, and demonstrated pitch perfect how a politician can connect with a Drinking Liberally crowd...which also says something about how to connect with people in general.

He didn't give a long speech. He didn't ask everyone to stop what they were doing to listen to him. Instead, after a brief introduction, he hung out for 2 hours having real conversations.

This form of retail politics works. Everyone there felt they got to know Scott, and got far more excited than if they had just heard him stump. The crowd got a clearer sense of why he'd be a good Senator. And he's likable -- people enjoyed talking to him.

We often get requests from politicians who want to speak at Drinking Liberally, and we tell them that what they really want to do is just come drink liberally. Stepping off the stage and into conversation is important for every candidate -- and it's how we most authentically engage in politics.

So invite your local candidates to come by for a drink. Or check out Scott's site -- they host "Boots and Beers" get-togethers all over the country...maybe you'll have a chance to toast him in person.

(Video by Joe Felice)

When's the Last Time Obama Mentioned "White Privilege" in this Race?

You'd think we'd be talking about race a lot. It's incredible that an African American is in the lead for the presidency, and a sad commentary that it's such an unlikelihood in this country. Obama's candidacy could be sparking thoughtful conversations about race in every corner of America.

Ok, ok...the Presidential race too rarely sparks thoughtful conversations on anything -- why should race be any different?

And I think we'd collectively fall out of our seats if Senator Obama started an earnest dialogue unpacking white privilege.

But since he won't (or can't), other surrogates have to:

This video is the 5th installment of "This Week in Blackness," a new project from Laughing Liberally regular and Brooklyn Comedy Company founder Elon James White.

It's more upfront about race than most mainstream commentary (just because it's funny doesn't mean it isn't honest). And Elon can say things that Senator Obama and those around him could never say -- both because Elon's not connected to the campaign, and because he has the Shakespearean fool's privilege granted to comedians to speak truths and taboos.

It's a reminder of the importance of outside surrogates who can inject ideas into the discourse that the campaigns may not touch. And one more example of comedians talking about topics far more interesting than much of the "top-tier" coverage.

I have no idea if it's good or bad political strategy to be as subdued about race as the Obama campaign is...but in the long term it's better for our country to talk, debate, learn, argue -- and laugh, when we can -- about it.

"Fundamentals Are Strong?"...Fundamentally Wrong!

While major banking institutions fail,
John McCain fails as well, saying
"the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

Because McCain and other deranged deregulators
prevented government supervision of these industries,
the Fed was forced from the role of prevention
& now has to try to become the cure.

And while in the past McCain has opposed
programs to help working families in need,
we've fallen to a point that tax-payer dollars
are bailing big business out of free market failure.

Are the fundamentals of our economy that strong?
The fundamentals of John McCain's economy are wrong.

Share your ideas, your fears & a couple of beers
with other like-minded left-leaners
at your local progressive social club.

Drinking Liberally
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

The Palin Doctrine: You Pay for Your Rape Kit, I'll Pay for My Tanning Bed

Laughing Liberally To Keep From Crying
by Katie Halper

Sarah Palin was ambushed by Charlie Gibson with a gotcha question about the Bush Doctrine. Well, maybe Palin isn't an expert on the current president's doctrine, but, as her hero Virginia Woolf would have it, the governator has a doctrine of one's own, the Palin Doctrine, which strikes a balance between governmental largess and governmental neglect.