Living Liberally Blog

Living Liberally Blog

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.

Grumpy Old Men

So honestly: are they more Waldorf and Statler, or Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon?

Blogging Liberally: More Than Enough Blame to Go Around

1. Wal-Mart tells their employees to vote McCain or face a pay cut. They also warned of the dangers of those commie union organizers who'll destroy America and make everyone smoke reefers.

2. Unemployment hits four year high, proving once again that conservative economic policies cause people to lose their jobs.

3. Republicans sell out our troops for more and more oil money. (John McCain knows what I'm talking about.)

4. First Nomar, then Manny. The Dodgers are beginning to look like the place where Red Sox stars go to die.

5. Another reason why sometimes you need a little big government. There are so many reasons why Minneapolis, St. Paul represents everything hypocritical about the Republican party. (See: Bridge Collapse, Larry Craig.)

6. Why is Barack Obama so cool?

7. FLASHBACK: The McCain campaign used to refer to their candidate as the celebrity.


The Race Card

Race CardThe McCain Campaign today uncovered the shocking and unexpected information That Barack Obama is in fact a black man. Senator John McCain discovered this after a comment Senator Obama made on Thursday that “Republicans would try to scare voters by pointing out he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

Further investigation revealed that the democratic presidential hopeful does not only look different, but is a different race than any other president in American history.

In response to the Senators comment, Rick Davis, McCain’s campaign manager has said that Mr. Obama has, "played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck." It appears that for many years the race card has been kept safely out of site at the bottom of the deck, and only through some cheap slight of hand has the Illinois senator been able to pull it out. Fears are mounting in the McCain camp that in addition to being a savvy statesman Mr. Obama might also be a skilled Magician.

Davis further said that Obama’s remarks are "divisive, negative, shameful and wrong." It is shocking that the Obama campaign is trying to inform the American People about the senator’s history of being a black man. We should be sticking to the issues and not side tracking with things as irrelevant to the American people as race.

Without these sort of card tricks and evasion, the American public might have never even noticed Barack Obama’s alleged Blackness. McCain on the other hand has been committed to an unbiased policy-based campaign, being himself entirely unaware that there are other races or that he him self has a race. Shame on you Mr. Obama and shame on all of those who might dare to call this a historic moment in American history.

Talking Liberally Progressive Parley: Jessica Valenti of

Do you remember how you first became involved with progressive politics? For me, it was through feminism. Taking women's studies classes (not to mention fielding all those catcalling pervs on the street!) alerted me to the overwhelmingly pervasive lack of equality that women still experience, which only opened my eyes to the many social injustices going on around me. But feminism and progressivism aren't seamlessly united-- what certainly surprised me is how matters of women's rights seem to get pushed to the periphery of liberal thought. Which is why when it came time to choose a progressive leader to interview, there choice was simple: Jessica Valenti! Jessica is the executive editor of, a blog devoted to connecting young feminists and pointing out misogyny in everyday media and culture, as well as the author of the books Full Frontal Feminism and He's a Stud, She's a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know. We met for lunch, where we not only explored the ties connecting feminism and progressivism, but shitty first jobs, the never-ending influence of activism, and those dang feminizing conservatives. Enjoy!

Claire Finch: So tell me about

Jessica Valenti: Feministing basically started 4 years ago. I was working at a feminist organization, it was the first job I had out of grad school and I was super-excited to be working for a national organization. I thought it was going to be amazing, and it wasn’t amazing at all, it was kind of horrible-- I felt like they were giving a lot of lip service to younger women but not necessarily putting us in decision-making positions or asking our opinions, or even inviting us to the cool meetings. But whenever it was time for a conference, or there was a photo opportunity, it was like, "Young women front and center, women of color front and center, look at how diverse our organization is!" But then of course, when we got back to the office, it was like, "Go make coffee."

So I think that I became a little bit jaded working at this organization, and around the same time there was a lot of the Girls Gone Wild media stuff happening where it was like, "Girls are having sex! They’re going crazy, they’re going wild! And isn’t it awful!" And I noticed that in a lot of the articles, they were talking about young women but they would never quote young women. It seemed like the mainstream media was very invested in presenting this picture of the young American woman as vapid and politically apathetic and socially unengaged, and it just didn’t match up with the women that I knew in my life…So I think that to a certain extent, when we started the blog…we kind of filled a gap. People were probably looking for young feminist stuff online and they found feministing.

So our readership grew super-fast. We wanted to present feminism in a fun, accessible, funny way…And we also wanted a site that would hold the mainstream media accountable in the way that they represented women’s issues, and the way they talked about young women, and something that would hold the mainstream feminist movement accountable for the way they don’t include younger women and women of color and low-income women in their organizational processes.

More scintillating discussion after the break!

Daily Digest: Join the Club

Rule 1) You will not eat fast food.

Rule 2) Everyone will be Tasered whether alive or not. (3 stories)

Rule 3) You do not talk about Fight Club.

Rule 4) Exxon Mobile will keep making record profits as Americans suffer from oil prices.

Rule 5) Israel will move the wall, and Prime Minister Olmert will announces his resignation.

Rule 6) Science fanatics must stop antagonizing Religious Fanatics

Rule 7) Iraq tours of duty will be 3 months shorter (says Bush).

Rule 8) The economy will keep growing, a little.

McCain: Because People Like Obama

While Obama's international tour showed America
that the world may have goodwill towards us yet,
McCain runs ads criticizing Obama's popularity.

While McCain's media buddies give him a pass
-- overlooking Mideast confusions & profanities --
he complains of Obama's coverage that he's left out.

And because artists, scientists & scholars
support Obama, McCain calls him "elitist"...
while McCain wears $500 loafers.

On one hand, a candidate liked by colleagues,
praised by his students, welcomed by the world.

On the other, a man who has run ads
reviving his 1960s war...against Woodstock.

Now...who is out of touch?

Come out tonight for a drink & a think,
share a pint and a pontification
with your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

The Darkest Knight Before the Dawn

With all the Hype Hubbub and $450 million in worldwide sales, I can't help but wonder; is Osama Bin Laden allowed to see movies? My gut instinct says he can't, especially not the cinematic triumphs of the "Great Satan". But more to the point, I wonder if he is aware of the shifts that are taking place in American culture and the messages it is sending. Certainly George Bush must have taken a few hours out of his busy agenda to grab some popcorn and check out Gotham's Caped Crusader. How could he not with every reviewer linking the Bush administration to the Batman?

The question might then be, does he get it. Does George Bush feel the turning tides of the superhero genre, which emerged out of the American public clamoring for a world delineated into right and wrong, transforming into a complicated global awareness of cause and effect, sovereignty, pride, and hubris? Or does he simply salivate over the idea of complete SONAR surveillance of every citizen and the idea of an in flight pickup out of the top story of a Hong Kong Skyscraper.

Chances are everyone's favorite cowboy is more into gadgets and grenades than geo-political philosophy, but it seems that Hollywood is beginning to love both. There is no doubt that the media landscape has changed with the minds of Americans over the last 7 years.

As two wars rage on in the Middle East, people are starting to realize that American heroism (also known as colonialism) may be creating the very monsters that it is trying to fight. No doubt Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" is analogous to the situation we face with the Bush administration and its crusading in a nebulous War on Terror, but to call George Bush Batman is desperately short sided. If the emergence of Bruce Wayne's vigilantly alter ego is to be accredited to the emergence of the fanatical terrorist The Joker, we have to point out that Osama Bin Laden was bombing America long before George Bush was elected president in November 2000. We were bombing Saddam Hussain while Bush’s dad was in office, and funneling guns into Iraq to take down the Islamic Republic in the Iran-Iraq war under Regan.

In Christopher Nolan's first film in the series, Batman is told that the only way he can take on the corruption he sees, is to become more than a man. Henri Ducard tells him "If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely… A legend". Batman is Neo-Liberalism driving its jet-black super-tank through the side of your building. In the first movie, multi-billionaire hero Bruce Wayne takes the law into his own hands after seeing the murder of his father, a man who worked to save Gotham on the back of the shiny silver commercialism of Wayne enterprises.

By the second movie we learn that the lawless fight for truth and justice in the name of citizens trying to make a good honest buck, has manifested into a criminal world of ever increasing violence. The mob ruthlessly defends its sovereignty from the crusades of an idealist who speaks of freedom while defending a still equally corrupt system.

Terrorism is bread when force rather than law is brought down upon the lawless, and in the end of the movie the fight for justice fails because the men of the law are still unwilling to purge them selves of the corruption in their own ranks. George Bush is only one more masked incarnation of the Neo-Liberal fanaticism, which feeds the madness of The Joker. The relatively sane corruption of the mob turns toward lunacy when confronted with the armored Batman. For us the legend which drives our enemies to extremes is an idea of a "The West" as the opposition, willing to root out both corruption and sovereignty with tanks. Where colonial Neo-Liberal policies have imposed them selves upon the Middle-East states, we have seen those people turn to fanaticism with increased vigilance.

Watching George Bush pack his suitcases at the end of this year will not be the same as watching Batman depart from Gotham. It is the idea of the masked avenger, which must take to the night, leaving us to respect the law even towards those we may disagree with.

Hanging upside down out of a building the joker tells us, "You just couldn't let me go could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object…I think you and I are destined to do this forever."

What is left to be seen is whether the release of the dark night is really a change in direction. Are people really looking to loose the Neo-Liberal ideals which have created Batman and the Joker? Or is Hollywood just responding to people looking out at a war they do not want and the heroic rhetoric of a commander and chief with an approval rating of 28%. Is public consciousness truly ready to turn towards the source of the issue?

I can only hope that viewers of The Dark Knight are perceiving an allegory a little more sophisticated than Bush Vs. Terror. Still with $450 million dollars and counting, the sequel seems to be an unstoppable force as well. I guess we will have to check back in with our favorite Dark Knight to see how we are doing in a couple of year.