Living Liberally Blog

Living Liberally Blog

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.

Presenting: This Week In Blackness

It's always really cool to get the chance to plug popular culture that aims, implicitly or explicitly, to promote progressive values, but it's particularly cool when said popular culture comes from one of our Laughing Liberally comics. Elon James White, the brilliant LL-associated mind behind the Black Comedy Experiment has started a new video-blog series: This Week In Blackness, a biting examination of the latest political news directly affecting black communities - it's more than worth checking out, and given the rate with which they've been produced in the past few days, it looks like 'weekly' will be a minimum level of regularity.

An Inconvenient Truth, Multiplied by 18? We're On Board.

We're unabashed huge fans of Particpant Media - and not just because the Director of Screening Liberally, Wendy Cohen, has found a wonderful home there promoting progressive media (though that certainly doesn't hurt.) It's just that, between An Inconvenient Truth on the climate crisis, The Visitor on post-9/11 xenophobia and Standard Operating Procedure on Abu Ghraib and the mindset that allowed it, they're doing such a great job fulfilling their mission statement as a production company with a conscience, spreading a progressive message with a spoonful of sugar when necessary.

Which is why we were so overjoyed to read this:

Los Angeles-based entertainment company Participant Media has partnered with imagenation abu dhabi to create a $250 million fund that will finance 15 - 18 narrative features over five years, Jim Berk, CEO of Participant and Edward Brogerding, CEO of Abu Dhabi Comany and imagenation announced Wednesday.

Leaked: McCain's Voicemail to the New York Times

Laughing Liberally To Keep From Crying

Over at 23/6, Lee Camp unearths a voicemail recording of McCain correcting a New York Times story.

It's a sort of ironic twist of fate that just as Obama's pushback seems to be getting flimsier and flimsier, the comedic takes on McCain we're seeing throughout the internets seem to be getting sharper and sharper - as we've written before, comedy can be a great way to reframe the debate and redefine the perceptions of candidates and issues. Now, if only the campaign proper and campaign improper could get on the same page.