Living Liberally Blog

Living Liberally Blog

Blogging Liberally: All Newspapers Suck

1. The HIV Travel and Immigration Ban was repealed last night, meaning that HIV positive residents like Andrew Sullivan can now become citizens. Thanks to Senators Kerry and Smith who introduced the bill, and Biden and Lugar who put it through Congress.

2. In a big F U to the Wall Street Journal, Obama raised over 52 MILLION DOLLARS this month with an average donation of $68. Marc Ambinder sums up what this means.

3. Composting is the key to everything.

4. The bodies of two Israeli soldiers kidnapped at the outset of the second Lebanon war were returned.

5. John McCain thinks rape is hilarious.

6. John McCain thinks attacking teenage girls is hilarious.

7. John McCain thinks genocide is hilarious.

8. John McCain threatens fellow senators with waterboarding when they don't obey his will.

9. 30 Rock, which actually is hilarious, leads all sitcoms in Emmy nods.

10. TOP STORY: Hillary Clinton's new do.

Lame? Duck!

The Iraqi Prime Minister calls for withdrawal,
joining the majority of US public opinion,
& yet our unpopular President stays the course
& manages to keep Congress tangled up too.

Despite unconstitutional domestic spying,
& amnesty for telecom's unlawful acts,
our disapproved Prez pushed for his FISA bill
...& Congress caved to his domestic agenda.

Though it's not a solution to our energy woes,
lowly-regarded W now wants off-shore drilling
...& Congress could get pressured to pump.

Bush just keeps throwing sucker punches...
& Congress is too lame to duck this lame duck.

You'd think Congress's 14% approval rating
would be low enough to duck this sucker...
let's hope they don't try to sink even lower.

Your spirits could drop, or come lift a glass
as you raise your ideas, frustrations & hopes
sharing a night, while you share a pitcher
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Balling Liberally

Jordan Farmar, the Los Angeles Lakers young point guard has decided to keep his Nikes on over the summer, but he's not playing the NBA Summer League, he's going overseas.

This summer, Farmar is going to Israel to run basketball camps for Israeli and Palestinian and in doing so trying to relieve some of the cultural tensions that divide them.

Farmar comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from an interesting perspective, both as a Jew and an African-American, like the Palestinians, an ethnic minority.

His belief in this project, working in accordance with Israeli President Shimon Peres's Peres Peace Center, is that the most viable way to achieve peace in Israel is to get both parties involved in unifying social activities, especially at a young age. In a game like basketball for example, Israeli and Palestinian youth on the same team would have to work together to be successful.

This connection between the social and the political is an important part of what Living Liberally believes in. Changing people's interpersonal attitudes is a key part reshaping the political tone. Or in the words Mr. Farmar: "If you can have a good time with someone you're supposed to be enemies with, and you guys can work together, things can be better for your future."

That's why we applaud actions like Farmar's and Peace Players International, another organization that puts together basketball camps in conflict zones from Israel to Ireland, in order to unite youth and give these nations more hope for the new generation. And so, Jordan Farmar, by the power vested in me by the Living Liberally Blog, I know pronounce you Balling Liberally.

Denver and the Future of Poverty

In Denver, it has become pretty apparent that the convention is coming to town. Official Pepsi Center prep has begun, staff have infiltrated the City, and an organization called the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is arranging to give Denver's homeless movie, zoo and museum tickets during the convention. They are also arranging for day shelters to expand their hours during convention time and starting a voter registration drive.

Some believe that the group is working as a tool of the DNC and the Denver municipality to "hide" the homeless from the convention-goers and make Denver seem like a more polished and problem-less City. The group responded that the services they are offering, are designed to aid the homeless from the disruption the convention and its accompanying protests will cause.

But these trips and gifts aren't going to solve the problem of homelessness in our cities. And organizations like the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless are doing important work like expanding mobile health care and creating transitional communities for people trying to escape poverty.

Anti-poverty measures are sure to be a key part of platform discussion as well as the numerous speeches that will be made at the convention between August 25th and 28th. Obama has many plans to fight poverty, such as establishing "Promise Neighborhoods," in high crime, high poverty, low academic achievement areas that will provide networks of services including "early childhood education, youth violence prevention efforts and after-school activities, to an entire neighborhood from birth to college."

These neighborhoods will be modeled after the Harlem Children's Zone, a New York City non-profit that, in my experience as a New York City youth organizer, trains the best young leaders in the entire City.

While CCH efforts for the convention won't make substantial change, I do hope the DNC is compensating them dearly so that they can continue in their efforts to fight poverty in one of America's growing metropolitan areas.

Daily Digest: Always Delicious

1) Why expensive gas is great

2) Iraq to Afganistan. Obama has got the troops, McCain has got the dreams.

3) Study proves Barack Obama has not ended racism. That's weird.

4)Barack won't forget your birthday. How the Obama campaign knows everything.

5)Knowing your friends on the campaign trail and booting the rest.

6) John Stewart settles The New Yorker issue once and for all.

Justin Krebs Likes to Dance Liberally

Justin talks some Dance Dance Revolution over at Future Majority:

New York City has outlawed dancing-without-a-license since 1926. Seriously. Bars and restaurants require cabaret licenses -- originally a measure to crack-down on interracial couples -- if people want to shake a leg. And, in some cases, proprietors have been fined for failure to stop dancers.

All that may soon change, as Mayor Bloomberg is said to be planning a repeal of these arcane laws.

As ridiculous as it was that these laws have existed -- putting NYC in the lonely anti-dance camp only otherwise occupied by religious extremists -- it's more ridiculous that it took so long to tackle them. Despite efforts from advocates like Scott Jeffrey of Legalize, there has never been a really strong, public, dynamic, effective movement to make this change...despite being in a strong, dynamic entertainment-fueled city of conscious, creative-class warriors.

It's a reminder that battles are everywhere. But progress is everywhere too. As small as "right-to-dance" victories may seem in light of larger challenges, it does represent a step forward for creative expression, a step away from senseless authoritarianism, and a recognition that culture, celebration and joy should not be restricted.

It shouldn't be restricted by law...and it shouldn't be left out of activism. Joy is one of our strongest forces to motivate and unite, and ultimately to make change.

Daily Round-Up: Get Along, Little Lemmings!

1. Salon and Slate both weigh in on why they don't think the New Yorker cover is a big deal ; meanwhile, the New York Times reports on why no one wants to joke about Obama.

2. Huffington Post blogger (and Brandeis University sophomore) Nathan Robinson agreed to watch FOX News for 24 hours straight.

3.Free Ride author Paul Waldman linked to this complete list of McCain flip-flops in his article about McCain and the media.

4. Alternet ranked the top ten worst things McCain has done...this week.

5. Elsewhere, the feud between comedian and VH1 "fundit" Michael Ian Black and Tucker Max (the I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell guy) stretches on.

Ending the HIV Travel Ban

Most of the time, if you're a liberal, you probably find yourself in disagreement with Andrew Sullivan. He's a loud and proud conservative pundit, (even if he does support Barack Obama). But now, many liberals are supporting Sullivan in the fight to end the HIV travel and immigration ban.

This ban, which prevents people who are HIV positive from entering or immigrating to the United States, was instituted in 1987 by Jesse Helms. Andrew Sullivan, came to the US in 1984 before the ban was enacted but, because of the ban, he hasn't been allowed to become a citizen of the country he loves.

Now, Senators John Kerry and Gordon Smith in the Senate and Congresswoman Barbara Lee in the House have introduced a bill called the HIV Nondiscrimination in Travel and Immigration Act of 2007 to remove HIV from the list of diseases that exclude people from entering and becoming a citizen of the US.

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that the HIV travel and immigration ban is an effective way to prevent the spread of HIV or that it provides any economic benefit by reducing costs to the public health care system.

Today a group of Faith organizations such as the Presbyterian Church, Washington Office, the United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced their support for ending the ban on the grounds that because of their "commitment to the well-being of all God's people," they must support a bill that could "reduce stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive persons, enhance U.S. leadership in the global fight against AIDS and allow our ministries to more effectively partner with those most severely affected by HIV and AIDS in the world.

This is a political issue that directly affects the lives of many would-be Americans like Andrew Sullivan and prevents them from truly becoming a part of our American community. This bill will come to a vote any day now, maybe even any minute. If you want, you can write your Senator or Representative to tell them how you feel about the ban.

Blogging Liberally: Happy Bastille Day!

1. Obama will visit the West Bank during his European trip in two weeks, and finally make peace in the Middle East.

2. Sacre Bleu! It's Bastille Day! More on that later.

3. Obama op-eded the New York Times like it was nobody's bizness.

4. The President is lifting the executive ban on offshore drilling. Is this a Bush-McCain policy or a McCain-Bush policy?

5. Could the New Yorker be dumbest magazine ever? Si se puede! Don Hazen with the take down.

6. Jeffrey Wright got arrested in a bar fight. He's such a good actor. Can't wait to his Colin Powell.

7. Mark Sanford on the TV and not much better than Phil Gramm.


The Daily Digest

1. Along with some journalists, attorneys and other organizations, the ACLU is suing the government.

Check out this video of a conversation with ACLU's Jameel Jaffer, The Nation's Chris Hedges and Human Rights Watch's Dinah PoKempner

2. John McCain’s top economic advisor Phil Gramm weighs in: "We’ve never been more dominant. We never had more natural advantages than we have today. We’ve sort of become a nation of whiners."

3. Journalists report Obama raised $30 Million in June; McCain raised $22 million. Some are underwhelmed, some are questioning the numbers.

4. Josh Bolotsky calls it "Obamadodd"

5. Democratic Campaign for the Congressional Committee releases its blueprint for ad marketing.

6. The Horror, the Horror, Iraq was for Oil, a Bill Moyers essay

8. Iran shows a missle test on TV. Washington reacts by preparing to deploy part of its antiballistic missile shield.

9. Lawrence Lessig: Obama’s vote on FISA is not surprising, but he did self-swiftboat

10. Veteran Affairs bans voter registration drives, making it difficult for veterans to vote

11. Psychedelics are again being considered a good medical alternative. The new scientific theory: take whatever makes you feel good.