Living Liberally Blog

Living Liberally Blog

New Reading Liberally Resources- And Continually Impressive RL Leaders

Never underestimate the help and guidance that can be gained from the obscure corners of your virtual netroots universe! Take, for example, an email that I recently received from John Karls, a Reading Liberally chapter leader from Salt Lake City.

As a Reading Liberally summer intern, I was contacting our existing chapter leaders in search of tips and advice to pass on to future RL enthusiasts. Among the few replies, one stood out so much in terms of the passion it exuded as well as the effort it must have commanded that it effectively restored my faith in the power of the email outreach.

The email was epic: a 4-browser-screen-long chronicle of John Karls' various triumphs and frustrations in his attempt to wrangle new readers for the Salt Lake City chapter. Snippets of wisdom to be extracted from the whole: That nearby universities, political organizations and community groups were surprisingly poor sources for progressive readers, that the majority of the current active members were recruited directly in person, and that to create any successful organization requires "a long, hard slog by someone... willing to spend a lot of time in a 'labor of love'!!!"

Leaders such as Mr. Karls who are willing to put such attention into any political organization should certainly be commended. And in case you don't happen to have a similarly effort-loving progressive at the ready, hopefully you will be inspired to become one! If you need help, never forget to contact others in your network! In the meantime, consult Living Liberally's newly completed resources for running a Reading Liberally Chapter-- made possible only with the combined input and time of our chapter heads.

Good Campaign Strategy

In what is possibly the best political advertising ideas I have ever heard of, Barack Obama is running energy ads above Florida gas pumps.

This sounds like a great way to reach people about energy policy. They see the Obama solution while feeling how the failed Bush/McCain policies have directly and negatively affected them.

Coupled with volunteers campaigning at local gas stations this could make for a very effective strategy. One of Living Liberally's goals has been to integrate politics into our everyday lives. We do this because the results of political policy, like gas prices, mortgage rates, and more, are already so present in our everyday lives. However, until more people understand how those factors result from government policy, and how politics affects those policies, we won't be able to do anything about it.

Good job Barack Obama. Keep showing America why politics is important.

Blogging Liberally: A Terrorist Fist-Jab To Your Brain.

1. Wal-Mart's attempts to sway the political attitudes of its employees go horribly awry.

2. n+1's Dark Knight review paints the film as Bush administration propaganda. Tell us, n+1...why so serious?

3. Proof that John McCain doesn't know what bad press looks like.

4. File this one under horrible-but-not-actually-that-surprising: Ron Suskind's revelation that the Bush administration forged a letter linking Iraq and Al-Quaeda.

5. Also, Grandpa got totally drunk at the Buffalo Chip competition and embarrassed New Grandma.


Republicans have always hated celebrity candidates, haven't they?

Joey Cheek, Living His Values

I met Joey Cheek last fall through an event sponsored by the American Democracy Institute (the folks who recently launched "I Vote, You Vote."

This tall, even-tempered, friendly guy seemed to have stature even greater than his height, and I soon learned why:

1. He's an Olympian (gold-medalist, in fact, in speedskating)

2. He's been using his window of celebrity to push for something greater than himself: awareness of Darfur.

Joey had started Team Darfur, an organization that enlisted other Olympians in promoting discussion of the atrocities in Darfur...and implicitly the responsibility of China, this year's host country.

He had donated his gold-medal bonus to the cause; but more impressively, he recognized that fame -- no matter how fleeting -- can be invested...and put to good use.

Well, Joey, you did well. If China is revoking your visa, it means you got to them -- which means you've raised awareness.

Sorry you won't be able to attend the games. But I'm proud to know there are members of the Olympic Team this year who are also members of Team Darfur.

Blogging Liberally: A Series of Unfortunate Coincidences?

1.) Think that global warming, high energy costs, and looming global food shortages are just really unfortunate coincidences? As John Feffer posits on Alternet, think again!

2.) And in case that didn't convince you of the potentially dire effects of our energy dependencies, Chris Hedge's article on how our petroleum-based society could soon grind to a drastic halt just might.

3.) Ron Suskind's new book, The Way of the World (to be published today) reveals that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a letter tying Iraq to al Qaeda. As Alex Koppelman says on, are we really surprised?

4.) Bush prepares to visit China for the Olympics, and can't really decide how he feels about the country. He says it's "really hard to tell" whether human rights violations in China have improved, but no matter-- it's still "important to engage" China.

5.) An excuse to finally get Netflix: It's a greener option than Blockbuster.

6.) Media buzz about a potential Obama-Bayh ticket grows.

Ed Fallon Endorses the Liberal Card

Ed Fallon, the challenger who lost a heartbreaking primary to Bush-Dog Leonard Boswell, endorses the Liberal Card for his own personal reasons.

Tell the world that you are a card-carrying liberal, and get awesome discounts while you're at it!

Get your Liberal Card today at

One Way to Solve the Energy Crisis: Living Liberally

Bill Scher has a great post up today at Blog for OurFuture about the latest offshore drilling/tire inflating madness.

On Thursday, conservative radio host Sean Hannity claimed Obama said, "All you need to do is inflate your tires. That's all you need to do. If every American would join in this effort, of inflating one's tires, then it's all going to be fine. And we can still import 70% of our oil from Saudi Arabia. Just keep those tires inflated."

Conservatives -- lovers of childish mockery over substantive ideas -- later today are apparently planning to distribute tire gauges at an Obama energy event.

However, as it turns out inflating your tires will actually save you more money in the next year than offshore drilling will save you in the next twenty. How much more? DOUBLE! Bill continues:

Where did he get that crazy idea? From George Bush's Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency. (hat tip: Get Energy Smart! Now!)

Their joint site is loaded with fuel-saving, money-saving tips. Keep your tires properly inflated, for example, can save you up to 12 cents a gallon.

Compare that immediate savings from that single tip, with what coastal and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling combined would get you two decades from now: 6 cents a gallon.

And that's being generous, because Bush's Energy Department says we can't expect any impact on prices from coastal drilling until the year 2030.

So yes, McCain's energy plan is so ridiculously dumb that you'll save more money on gas by just inflating your tires, than you would from the core of his energy policy! And you won't even save any money more McCain's plan for another 20 years!

Ben Smith also notes that "As Republicans mock Obama for saying you can save gas by inflating your tires, the noted environmental activists at NASCAR back him up." These people know cars. They know how to make them run efficiently and they advocate the same solutions that Obama is proposing.

Add to that all of the other energy proposals Obama has put forward and you've got a pretty clear distinction on the energy issue. One candidate has plans to help you save at the pump. One doesn't.

But there is another aspect of this story that has largely been missed. And that is that by asking Americans to inflate their tires, Obama is giving more and more people responsibility for protecting and strengthening our Country and our planet and bringing more people into the political process. He's asking them to take some personal responsibility, to make a small (but very important) change in their regular lives for the good of them and their fellow man. In short, Obama is asking America to live liberally.

Blogging Liberally: Temperatures Rising

1. Is it time for Obama to get tough? Cenk Uygur thinks so.

2. Barack is registering voters left and right. According to AlterNet, "Thousands of grassroots organizers will lead an effort to register millions of new voters and build momentum for political reform."

3. It's been really hot in Dallas.

4. Both Obama and McCain are compromising on drilling.

5. Looks like Michigan and Florida will be fully seated. Obama asked for it yesterday.

6. Does he need a fighter for VP? And who would be the best for that role? Joe "Rip Out Your Adam's Apple" Biden? Wesley "McCain says he knows how to win wars. I've actually won them." Clark? Or could it be Chris "Kick Ass " Dodd? What do you think?

7. You wouldn't like Kathy Hilton when she's angry. John McCain sure-as-hell doesn't.

8.Happy Birthday Barack!

How Will You Celebrate the 47th Birthday of our Would-Be 44th President?

Cake? Sing-a-longs? Champagne?

How do you mark the birthday of a man who would be President?

It's Senator Obama's birthday today. 47. That makes him younger than a lot of things. Most notably John McCain.

And in New York City, we'll be celebrating at The Tank (at its new home -- DCTV -- 87 Lafayette Street between Walker and White) -- with a comedy show in his honor.

Check it out -- join the fun -- and wish him a happy birthday.