Living Liberally Blog

Living Liberally Blog

Liberal Lifecycle: Starting the School Year on the Left Foot

Are you concerned that your free-thinking tyke will forget his liberal roots this fall in the classroom? Why not equip her with all of the essential back to school items that a liberal pupil needs? When you're bombarded with ads telling you what type of parent you are if you don't shop at Walmart to buy your kid the newest Hannah Montana threads or what sugary fruit drink you should pack in their lunch it can be easy to get lost in the crowd.

Better World Shopper is a great resource for finding companies that are environmentally and socially responsible. They rank companies based on their involvement in human rights, the environment, animal protection, community involvement, and social justice. Their rankings are sure to help you find what you need for your kids' back to school needs and beyond.

For a new back to school wardrobe be sure to head to Patagonia, a leader in environmental responsibility and an outspoken ally for environmental policy. Patagonia also has backpacks which are designed for your student's busy schedule. Another clothing option that has more of a personal feel is Garden Kids Clothing, they offer organic options for kids.

For back to school kicks New Balance is committed to American assembled union made products free from child labor.

For you dorm dwellers out there you may want to consider bamboo sheets for your arrival on campus this fall, they not only come from a replenishable natural resource that doesn't require pesticides, they are hypoallergenic, antibacterial, wick away moisture, AND they're super soft! Bed Bath & Beyond offers a relatively cheap set of these sheets. Drawback: they don't come in that extra long twin size the dorms love to stick you with. There are some small online places to get the same sheets, these tend to cost a lot more and you can't feel the sheets before buying them.

If you're worried about what to pack for your child's lunch, it turns out that peanut butter and jelly, the classic mainstay, is pretty great for the environment, in addition to being delicious. Seth discusses the craze PB&J Campaign that is sweeping the nation in a previous post.

No matter whether your student is starting school for the first time or they're old hat, there are sustainable socially responsible companies out there that are providing quality products, to find out where just do your homework.

Consumerism aside, there are other ways you can help your little ones live liberally. If your school has a carpool set up try to take advantage of that if you don't already; if there isn't one set up, talk to some of the parents of your student's classmates and see if you can't start one. Try walking your child to school if it is in walking distance. See if a parent you trust already walks their kids to school and would be willing to take yours with them. Teach your children that sustainable living starts at the small tasks and that there is almost always a greener option if we rethink our day to day errands.

Even the youngest liberals can have a big impact on the environment and can spread their knowledge to the classroom and beyond.

Blogging Liberally: a break from McCain jokes

1. Michael Moore has come up with a blueprint on how we can screw things up for a third time.

2. For those of you who are members of your Homeowners Association, beware.

3. Lieberman turns the oldest anti-semitic trick in the world on the dirtiest A-rab of them all!

4. The Seattle Drinking Liberally chapter had a surprise guest at their last meeting.

5. Jared Polis, an openly gay nominee, has won in Colorado's 2nd primary.

6. Yglesias thinks the Golden Arches Theory has had its last McFlurry.

7. The Keynote Speaker has been named.

8. Kay Steiger over at pushback discusses the Democratic party's new platform on choice.

Corporate America Hates Poor Children

Another reason why fiscal conservatism doesn't work.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2005, Nicholas Negroponte, supreme prophet of digital connectivity, revealed a strange tent-like object. It was designed to change the world and to cost $100. It was a solar-powered laptop. Millions would be distributed to children in the developing world, bringing them connection, education, enlightenment and freedom of information.

And then some of them tried to kill it.

Microsoft, in logical self-interest that drives the free market, felt threatened by the prospect of a drastically cheaper laptop in the hands of millions of children, seriously undercutting their currently dominant product. As Bryan Appleyard points out in his Times Online piece, "Computers only cost as much as they do because the makers of the software – primarily Microsoft – go to enormous lengths to make their products necessary and expensive." Microsoft was also concerned because the new laptops would not use the Windows operating system but instead the free OS, Sugar.

Intel was upset because Negroponte's computer, the XO, uses an AMD chip, AMD being the second largest chip-maker in the world after Intel. This could cost Intel their status as the number one computer chip producer in the world, costing them their "market leadership."

So the two companies both set out to kill the XO. Intel created a cheap laptop called the Classmate and along with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, set about trashing the XO in the press.

Obviously it is in Microsoft and Intel's best interests to destroy the XO, this computer that could bring tons of new information, education and communication technologies to communities that are in dire need of it. The XO, and projects like it, should be aided by the US Government, they should be well funded and protected from these corporate madmen.

It would be a great thing for the world to further connect people and strengthen our global community, introducing a new generation to the intellectual, cultural and economic marketplace of the future. Getting all the information and ideas that one can find on the internet out to the developing world is important as a cure for extremism and push for democratic thinking.

Appleyard comes to an interesting and accurate conclusion:

Computers are like drugs, literally. If the drug companies wanted to do the most good in the world, they would divert all investment from the illnesses of the rich – cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes – to the much more catastrophic ailments of the poor, primarily malaria, but also Aids. But they don’t; they sit comfortably on their high-margin drugs. Equally, if the technocrats really believed in the human value of universal connectivity – and all of them say they do – they would find ways of wiring southeast Asia and Africa. But they don’t; they sit comfortably on their high-margin laptops.

For all these reasons, we can see the that the best interests of a few corporations can often disregard or even seriously oppose the health and livelihood of individuals, the economic success of a large part of a world, and the moral welfare of our Nation.

cross-posted at Future Majority

Not-Rocking Liberally: This is Just Bad

If you thought that China's human rights and environmental violations were bad, check this out:

A 7-year-old Chinese girl was not good-looking enough for the Olympics opening ceremony, so another little girl with a pixie smile lip-synched "Ode to the Motherland," a ceremony official said _ the latest example of the lengths Beijing took for a perfect start to the Summer Games.


"The audience will understand that it's in the national interest," Chen said in a video of the interview posted online Sunday night.

Lin Miaoke's performance Friday night, like the ceremony itself, was an immediate hit. "Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke becomes instant star with patriotic song," the China Daily newspaper headline said Tuesday.

But the real voice behind the tiny, pigtailed girl in the red dress who wowed 91,000 spectators at the National Stadium on opening night really belonged to 7-year-old Yang Peiyi. Her looks apparently failed the cuteness test with officials organizing the ceremony, but Chen said her voice was judged the most beautiful.

That's just really upsetting. For real. Imagine how the little 7 year old girl who didn't get to perform feels. It's like Singing in the Rain with little Chinese girls.

There's something very un-liberal about that. Free Wang Peiyi!

Blogging Liberally: John McCain and a lolcat walk into a bar...

1. Only ten??

2. Here is how Bush intends on ruining any chance your progeny had for a bright future.

3. You know that ridiculous lolcat craze that you pretend to not enjoy? Well now there's a versionwe can all get on board with!

4. Speculation is out on whether the common theme of Obama's VP day at the convention and Wes Clark's slogan has anything to do with Obama's imminent announcement of his running mate.

5. The reason we will never get rid of the courts as well as why bad boys have such an appeal, every once in awhile they finally come through for you.

6. After this its safe to say no one knows what they're talking about anymore, or ever did.

Blogging Liberally: Olympic Edition


1. This weekend, fighting picked up between Russian and Georgia. So far, there appear to be over two thousand casualties. The US has begun airlifting troops out of Iraq and back home to assist in the conflict, a move that Prime Minister Putin has condemned. Both candidates have called for an end to the fighting. Though Cheney and McCain seem to want to punish Russia for their actions.

2. The Iraqi government payroll is sustaining their economy even though the private sector hasn't really developed. Could this be a good idea for the West Bank and Gaza?

3. Tropic Thunder, the new war comedy featuring actor Robert Downey Jr. in blackface, is drawing criticism, but not from who you'd think.

4. Be the first to know when Barack Obama picks his VP.

5. Cenk Uygur asks how John McCain's affair is different from John Edwards.

6. Oh, by the way, John Edwards admitted to his affair. The National Enquirer was right. Sam Stein has it all.

7. Maliki demands that the US establish a timelone for withdrawal.

Negative Ads

Nice comprehensive discussion of the tone of the race. Really good music.

Best Non-Required Watch of the Day

MC Rove

Many thanks to for making a Top Ten 10 Videos of Politicians Dancing webpage.


Coolest thing I've heard all day, courtesy of Jill Tubman:

Meanwhile, a day after Beijing revoked a visa for Darfur activist and former Olympian Joey Cheek, the U.S. Olympic team selected a Sudanese refugee to be the American delegation’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremonies, a move that will further highlight China’s role in the war-scarred region.

This kind of cultural/political exercise is important. Yesterday, Justin talked about athlete turned activist Joey Cheek, whose visa was revoked by China yesterday after he organized a and organization called Team Darfur to get olympians to talk about the atrocities that are going on in Darfur, atrocities that China, through its oil money, has implicitly supported.

Now the US, our Country whose core values are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, is standing up to defend those rights of people abroad...well at least they are symbolically.

Problem is that because of the quagmire in Iraq and the US's loss of many strategic military allies, we just don't have the manpower to take serious action in Sudan. This is especially problematic because, as Jill points out, Sudan has much closer ties to Osama Bin Laden than Iraq ever did.

That's why it is important that under our next President, we can take more than symbolic action. We need leaders who will engage other countries to stop genocide (like Wesley Clark did in the 90's) and forge a US foreign policy that responds to real threats to national security, instead of imaginary ones.

Screening Liberally Watch of the Day

The truth behind the decreased violence in Iraq. Twenty miles of concrete have turned Baghdad into "A City of Walls"