Living Liberally Blog

Living Liberally Blog

Can Fuel Emission Standards Help With All This Political Hot Air?

Congress takes on meaningful credit card reform
& somehow the GOP turns it into a discussion
of allowing loaded guns in national parks.

The President declares healthcare is a priority
and insurance giants claim they want to help...
then the next day they began their opposition.

The Dems get elected on campaign promises
of restoring rule of law, ending Bush-era policies,
& now in power, they hedge on Guantanamo
& the President discusses "preventative detention."

At least Obama announced a meaningful move
to create a strong national fuel emissions policy...
with all the hot air out there, we need it.

Have a cool drink to temper the hot air
or a mixed drink for your mix of pride & dismay
as you share opinions & liberal libations
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

The Best Fundraiser Pettiness Can Buy

Who knew that Al Franken wasn't the Minnesota Senate candidate who'd get the biggest laughs?

Before Al was the perpetual-nearly-seated-Senator, he was most famous for Saturday Night Live and "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot." So we expected his campaign would be, well, funny.

Turns out Al ran a serious, focused campaign that upset an incumbent and will have placed him in the US Senate, once the shenanigans pass.

Not so funny.

His opponent, though, Norm Coleman, continues to deliver the he does in this video, brought to us by our friends at Norm Dollar:

Yes, that's Norm signing autographs as he's being told that progressives have pledged a dollar a day for each day he remains a sore loser. The campaign is up to $100,000...and Norm's pettiness remains the norm.

Thanks for the laughs, Norm...though in the end Al will have a big guffaw, because he who laughs last laughs loudest.

The Living Liberally Annual Celebration...& You

Celebrate a year of political progress and promise, support the work of Living Liberally around the country, and honor our allies Media Matters, Jack & Jill Politics and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Saturday, May 30th in NYC. If you can't come, you can still show your support. Learn more.

The GOP: Shooting Themselves in the Foot & Each Other in the Face

In pursuit of Souter's suitable successor,
the White House has signaled it may select
someone that'll turn Red-Staters red in the face.

The GOP bemoans loss of the nuclear option...
meanwhile Dems swing support for the public option
putting a hearty healthcare overhaul on the agenda.

While right-wingers reach for their next Harry & Louise,
the President's team announces original actions
to rein in the derivatives that ran wild & helped ruin us.

The Republicans just can't keep up with him...
Corporate Cons cry, Religious Right wails and flails,
isolationists are isolated, libertarians pack their bags,
Romney & Steele fight each other, the party attacks Crist
& undead Deadeye Dick pops up to defend torture.

Maybe the GOP is always one step behind
because they're always shooting themselves in the foot.
Or because the only targets they hit...are each other.
(Another lesson from Good Old Buckshot-In-The-Face Dick.)

And while they do, the President stays one step ahead.

Hey Progressives, here's your get to work!

Come out to share your ideas & your plans for action
as you share a few pitchers & a night on the town
with your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

The Country's Stress Tests & No-Drama Obama

We await results of the bank "stress tests,"
only one piece of a confused economy
where the auto industry reels, homeowners drown
& AIG bonuses were bigger than realized.

Afghanistan faces anger over civilian deaths
as 20,000 troops prepare a stress test for that country.

Specter the Defector stresses Dems in the Senate
by opposing the President's agenda,
while divisions on healthcare, energy, the Supreme Court
serve as a stress test for the party in power.

The only one who doesn't seem stressed?
No Drama Obama...ready to pass any stress test.
Good thing he's the President.

Then there's the GOP...crumbling under stress day by day...

Take a break from your stress and your tests
as you find relief, release & rejuvenation
in the company of like-minded libation-lifters
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Pat Toomey Shows Up at Drinking Liberally

Everyone's favorite right-wing Senate candidate, Pat Toomey, showed up to our Philadelphia Drinking Liberally last week...kinda. DL regular Rubber Hose has the full scoop.

Specter the Defector - Defected, or Defective?

A specter of death falls upon Republican dreams
as Specter of Pennsylvania joins the Dems,
now one Franken away from a filibuster-proof majority.

Specter the "Dem" - who, up until he'd made this switch,
had courted the Keystone State's right-wing
as his key to winning the next GOP primary.

Specter, welcomed & protected by Dem leaders,
though he still speaks against Employee Free Choice,
& cast his first "Democratic" vote against the Prez's budget.

Not elected as a Dem, not a loyal Dem, not voting Dem.
Is he really a defected Dem? Or a defective one?

With Democrats like he, we may not need a GOP.
And as things are going, maybe we won't have one.
Now, if only in Maine, a little Snowe would fall...

Whether you're giving old Arlen a cheer or jeer
come out and do it over a liberal beer
with your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Exploiting their Memory

by Yanqui Mike, Buenos Aires Drinking Liberally host

Poster from HaymarketDrinking Liberally Buenos Aires is celebrating our first birthday this Thursday. Yep, we were founded a year ago on May 1st. (Technically, it won't be May 1st unless we stay up past midnight ...usually that ain't a problem with Drinking Liberally!)

That first night, we had 5 people show up, Fred Badagnani, my wife, Caitlin Kelly, myself, and (hep me!) another fine soul whose name is lost. We grew into a tremendously vibrant group that advanced the cause of liberalism in Buenos Aires through the last dark days of the Bush administration and helped Democrats Abroad Argentina tremendously. People were ready for a local addition to that fine international drinking society Drinking Liberally ...and we were there!

What you might not know is that May 1st was chosen intentionally as an auspicious fecha. The date starts from Chicago, as did I, and left its mark on Buenos Aires and the world long before any of us was born. If you've heard of the 8 hour day (even if it sounds like a distant memory to many of you!), you know about May 1st.

On May 1st, 2008, Drinking Liberally Buenos Aires was formed. On May 1, 1886, the 8 hour day was born; it was a difficult birth.

US labor unions called for a general strike that day in support of "8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, and 8 hours for the pursuit of happiness."

On that Saturday, there were 10,000 demonstrators in New York, 11,000 in Detroit, and 10,000 in Milwaukee. The big place that day, however, was Chicago with 40,000 workers on strike to put an end to what amounted to wage slavery.

80,000 people marched down Chicago's Michigan Avenue; in the lumberyards, another 10,000. In the US, there may have been a half a million people on strike that day.

In 1886, there were maybe 56 million people in all of the US. In 2009, there are more than 304 million. Imagine 2,700,000 people on strike in the US today. It isn't hard to do. Try to remember, as well, that labor unions then were even weaker than today.

Long story short, rallies and demonstrations and strikes were not enough to bring what we now consider "rather" standard into being.

On May 4th, another gathering took place to protest the inevitable repression of the Chicago strikers. Somebody threw a bomb. To this day nobody knows who. The police reacted, shot a lot of their own and people in the crowd. Eight people were arrested.

There was a trial. All 8 were found guilty, 7 sentenced to death. One committed suicide by biting an explosive. Two were later committed to life inprisonment. The other 4 were hanged on my birthday. From wikipedia:

"The trial has been characterized as one of the most serious miscarriages of justice in United States history. Most working people believed Pinkerton agents had provoked the incident. On June 26, 1893, Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld signed pardons for Fielden, Neebe and Schwab after having concluded all eight defendants were innocent. The governor said the real reason for the bombing was the city of Chicago's failure to hold Pinkerton guards responsible for shooting workers. The pardons ended his political career. The police commander who ordered the dispersal was later convicted of corruption. The bomb thrower was never identified."

The event radicalized individuals around the world for many years, most notably my hero Emma Goldman ...and later, myself. If you happen to hear of a local soccer team, Nuevo Chicago, here in Buenos Aires ...their name comes from the stockyards barrio that was informally named after "los mártires de Chicago."

The Soviet Union tried to co-opt "May Day" as pertaining to their ugly Stalinist effort. The United States tried to co-opt the date as "Loyalty Day" in an effort to counter that. The "Labor Day" that we yanquis celebrate in September was enacted by the US Congress 2 months after the Chicago riots.

As part of an international drinking society, Drinking Liberally and Drinking Liberally Buenos Aires are sometimes not immediately taken seriously. I'd like to tell you, however, that for all the frothy fun that can be found EVERY Thursday ...there is something much deeper that can be found in all of our liberalism.

From Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago:
Los Mártires de Chicago

If you show up on Thursday... you're prolly gonna find a bunch of people that just love to drink beer and love to talk to people that love to hear what they can't hear on the radio, TV, or newspapers. Great folks... believe me, we're not terribly serious types! But lemme tell ya, being liberal is serious business. (Unlike some people, if you wanna corner one of us... and talk some serious politics... you won't be disappointed.)

Changing the Channel

We're familiar with the repeated metaphors pundits use to describe America. The tide is turning," "the tables have turned, "America is turning a new page." It's enough turning to make one dizzy.

As a kindle-phobic book-hugger, I love "turning pages" as much as anyone...but I am going to offer another metaphor: America is changing the channel.

No, we shouldn't replace book imagery with TV imagery...but this metaphor is more than rhetoric -- more and more Americans are changing our country by changing one particular channel...and tuning out Fox "News."

From Norman in Florida, Living Liberally recently received this request:

Jennifer and I are sick of going to our FOX channel Dentist. Each exam room has a TV set to FOX. I would like to know how to find a progressive Dentist in south Tampa. Can you help. I would rather spend my health dollars supporting a progressive Dentist!

Norman, you're not alone. More people are recognizing that Fox is far from a new outlet; it's a propaganda arm for the right-wing (as its recent "tea party" obsession confirmed). There are great groups like Brave New Films that have documented Fox's role as an attack dog. There have been successful campaigns to pressure Democratic leaders to deny Fox the legitimacy of hosting. presidential debates.

But you don't need to launch campaigns or cancel programs to make a can just pick up the remote.

Change the channel.

We'll try to help you find your liberal dentist; but in the meantime, just ask them to switch to a real news outlet. Fox's bright and fast graphics often make them the most visually appealing (which is why it's often on in senior centers), but the power to change that is a click away.

We've asked our local bar to change the channel. It's worked. Now when we're drinking liberally, we're no longer watching conservatively.

That's change we can believe in.

Rush Limbaugh On The Progressive Magazine Conference

by Matt Filipovicz, Chicago Laughing and Drinking Liberally

What would you do if you had the chance to meet an all-star line up of liberals including Robert Redford, Amy Goodman, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, Russ Feingold, Tammy Baldwin, Dennis Kucinich, Cindy Sheehan, Jim Hightower, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Katrina vanden Heuvel and many, many more?

What if you had the chance to meet them all in one place and all in one weekend?

And what if that weekend also happened to be celebrating the 100 year anniversary of one of the finest liberal publications in the country, the Progressive?

Well, if you're anything like me, you'd head to Madison, Wisconsin May 1st and 2nd for the Progressive Magazine Conference.

If you're like Rush Limbaugh, however, you'd probably advise your ditto-heads to avoid Madison at all costs.