Living Liberally Blog

Living Liberally Blog

Blogging Liberally: News to Ruin Your Day

1. Naomi Woolf on how Gitmo and Abu Ghraib became institutionalized sex crime rings.

2. Check out Open Left's piece about why Obama shouldn't be afraid of being called a flip-flopper. No, wait! Actually, don't!

3. Slate wonders if Al Franken's history of "racy" jokes will harm his Senate campaign; meanwhile, Sasha Baron Cohen inspires hope for the future, dread of his inevitable new catchphrase (Niiice!)

4. It seems that some Iraq vets have been drinking a little too...liberally? Sorry, we know that's kind of offensive but we just can't stop punning off of our own name...liberally!

5. Former President Bush is the best high school civics teacher ever! Except he's not functionally literate and is always trying to waterboard you during detention.

6. We Made This linked to this Flickr set of the new series of Penguin Great Ideas book covers.

Praying Liberally: Let's Get Together

Street Prophets is an awesome blog. It's great to see so many religious progressives getting together to talk about issues of religion and politics, organize around them and most importantly, build community.

This community building is at the heart of what Living Liberally does. We believe that our political identity should be part of our regular lives. Too often politics is restricted to one day every four years, or to long, uninviting meetings in fluorescent-lit, linoleum-floored rooms.

Through our social networks and events, we promote this kind of social/political engagement.. These networks include over 260 Drinking Liberally, Laughing Liberally, Screening Liberally, Reading Liberally, and Eating Liberally chapters in all 50 states.

Through these happy hours, comedy shows, film screenings, book clubs and meals, we fulfill our key mission of bringing politics into places where we gather, socialize, learn, love and live. One of these places to which we have yet to reach out is the liberal religious community, one that, unfortunately, has found few spaces to gather and organize in person, in public, loud and proud.

For this reason we are developing a brand new Living Liberally network: Praying Liberally!

Like our other chapters, Praying Liberally chapters will have weekly, semi-monthly or monthly meetings of local liberals from a wide range of faiths including, as pastordan so excellently phrases it, "those whose deepest faith is in the conviction that there is no God." At these meetings, faithfully-minded liberals could talk politics, say a collective prayer for "the least of these" in our community, our country and our world, and build community to organize around our common causes.

Also like our other chapters, Praying Liberally chapters will receive a web site, chapter blog, listserv and other online organizing tools and support features from the Living Liberally national network.

Hosting a chapter is fun and EASY! All you have to do is decide on a time and location, anywhere from a local religious space to the neighborhood cafe, and send out a quick e-mail reminder before you meet - that's it. Overall, it's no more difficult than meeting with your spiritually progressive friends to hang out and talk politics.

If you're interested in being one of the first to start a Praying Liberally chapter or know someone who might be interested, email [email protected].

It's time to find out what it means to Pray Liberally!

Blogging Liberally: How to recover from your patriotic hangover

1. Matt Yglesias shows what John McCain's economic proposals can do for you... if you are a big oil company. He also liked Hancock. We did too, more on that later.

2. Salon covers Sebelius's VP prospects. A female Mike Bloomberg?

3. The bible belt really eats liberally.

4. Conservatives "Ready to Battle" McCain thus proving that the enemy of your enemy is not always your friend.

5. Obama will accept the nomination in a 75,000 seat football stadium on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech". Chills. 'Twill be awesome.

6. Need another reason not to attack Iran?

7. Amy Goodman tackles Obama's centrism.

8. It seems that the Iraqi government may set a timetable for withdrawal.

9. Ever wondered why my.barackobama is so much like Facebook?

10. California and New York (in 2010) are requiring new cars to display a "Global Warming Score", showing how "green" the vehicle really is. Apparently this is so people can throw things at cars with low scores.

Blogging Liberally: Daily Round-Up

1. Speculating on Obama’s running mate, Republicans are calling former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt their ultimate VP nightmare. Meanwhile a new poll ranks Gephardt 2nd most favorable running mate. #1 is Colin Powell.

2. Big Brother update: The government is illegally holding certain public records as "state secrets." On the hopeful side, Chief Judge Vaughan Walker just issued an opinion that leaves the case for telecom immunity somewhat undermined.

3. "President Bush Boosts Porn Industry With Economic Stimulus Plan” Supposed to generate jobs, the stimulus plan instead has generated demand for erotica.

4. Living Limbaugh: $400 Million Contract, Gulfstream, Scented Candles, And The "Business" Of Hating Liberals

5. Box office superheroes are a disappointment, some say. superheros

6. According to latest polls, campaigning in Montana is paying off for Obama.

7. Netroots activist Darcy Burner needs help. She's getting some, plus many compliments on her t-shirt.

8. "That's the most stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life." Stephen Baldwin on Fox News – endorses McCain, then unendorses himself.

9. Faceless couple attends Wimbledon. Other faceless people have been spotted. It is still unclear whether this gig is part of a new ad campaign or a grassroots protest.

10. Oil is at $146 a barrel.

11. is now a t-shirt and more historical than you might guess. Paul Thomas Anderson took Plainsview's milkshake speech straight out of a transcript from a 1924 congressional hearing on the Teapot Dome Scandal.

How to Enjoy a Dubiously Progressive Film

I should probably preface this post with an admission: I absolutely loved The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Despite the abysmally low expectations set by the first Narnia attempt, I sat through Caspian in a state of gleeful enthrallment. And from an entertainment perspective, it was a surprisingly great movie: the landscape was crafted with Peter-Jackson-level expertise, the Pevensie children have become less insufferably whiny, and the sexual tension between characters Susan Pevensie and Prince Caspian was cringe-inducingly hilarious.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the original story, Prince Caspian weaves the tale of the Pevensie children’s return to Narnia after The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Since their last visit, over a thousand years have passed in Narnia and things have gotten really rough: a neighboring land has taken over everything, and all Narnians have been killed or driven into hiding. Enter attractive yet bizarrely accented Prince Caspian, the exiled heir to the throne—and Narnia’s only hope. Essentially, magical hijinks and epic battles ensue as good battles evil for power over Narnia.

Overall, Caspian is a satisfying fantasy adventure--which is not to say that the film is even close to being flawless—there were many moments when it veered into being ridiculously overwrought, unintentionally inspiring several hearty guffaws. Like the first moment that Aslan appears, beams of light triumphantly shooting out of his mane, in a blatant "Thank God! It’s Jesus!" moment. (C.S. Lewis’s original Narnia stories were modeled after Christian parables, with Aslan the lion serving as an obvious Jesus figure).

The movie versions of the tales are produced by Walden Media, financed by notoriously conservative Christian billionaire Philip Anschutz. Which had me, a staunch athiest, pseudo-maliciously poised to pounce on any thinly-veiled attempts at conversion. Of which there were surprisingly few. Most of what could be associated with a religious purpose was ambiguous. For example, a scene in which a river swells into the shape of a giant man, who then swallows the enemy army, is simultaneously a reference to the parting of the red seas and a harmless demonstration of cool Narnian magic.

(click "Read More" to see the rest of this post)

Praying Liberally: Ring the Bells

As part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the issue of Global warming, many New England United Church of Christ congregations have begun ringing their bells.

In collaboration with 350.org, the churches are attempting to ring their church bells 350 times by December 15th, the 350th day of the year.

Now, what's so special about the number 350?

Well, right now the Carbon Dioxide concentration in our atmosphere is 383 parts per million (ppm). This high number is the result of carbon emissions from cars, factories and basically anything that burns stuff.

The goal of 350.org is to lower our atmosphere's CO2 concentration to, you guessed it, 350 ppm.

It's really great that progressive movement organizations like 350.org are reaching out to these religious communities. In true Living Liberally fashion, they are bringing politics into places where we gather, socialize, learn, love and live.

Declare Independence...from "Independents"

Conventional wisdom says that Obama
caved on FISA & talked up faith-based programs
because he's appealing to "Independents."

Who knew independents oppose the Constitution?

Obama HAD to disavow Wes Clark's comments --
though Clark only questioned his experience as leader
& specifically honored his courage and will --
since "dishonoring" McCain would turn off independents.

Who knew independents are so ill-informed?

And McCain keeps saying he's a "maverick"
as he continues his "Straight Talk Express"
because these words appeal to independents.

Who knew independents liked slogans so much?!

If "independent" voters read only the spin,
& don't read the Constitution or the news,
maybe we shouldn't ask them to decide elections.

Or maybe "independent" really means something else.

And maybe "independent" candidates
who shy away from principled stands
aren't what we're looking for either.

It's time we take strong positions,
stop listening to the media's darling tales,
and Declare our Independence...from "Independents."

Celebrate the holiday in the most American way:
sharing an evening of spirited discussion
as you share a few pitchers of liberal libations
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Happy 4th of July!

Blogging Liberally: Your Daily Dose of Scary and Sad

This is what the internet is saying today:

1. Gas is still really expensive; we are still slaves to the oil companies.

2. Christopher Hitchens agreed to be waterboarded for a Vanity Fair story, which is fun to check out right after reading this article in the New York Times about how the folks at Gitmo are totally ripping off their torture techniques from Mao Zedong.

3. In the wake of his statements that he will support federally-funded faith-based initiatives, Obama meets with a bunch of right-wing Evanglists who, in turn, ask him a bunch of offensive questions.

4. There's still lots of coverage of Wesley Clark's remarks that getting shot down in a fighter plane doesn't qualify you for the presidency. Good news (?): Clark is getting some support, from Moveon and from Robert G. Gard. Bad news: The McCain people are still running this thing into the ground.

5. Truthdig has a report on the actually-kind-of-shocking discrepancy between American and Dutch drug use.

6. Conservative radio host Michael Savage calls Nancy Pelosi "Mussolini in a skirt" about forty times, makes mistake of dissing Media Matters.

7. Alternet ranked the top ten most "awesomely bad" moments of the Bush presidency, with "Mission Accomplished" as his "Sargeant Pepper."

8. Also, bears are great, am I right? MSNBC has the dish on their secret lives.

City Leaders Begin Registering for the National Conference

The Charlotte, NC chapter of Living Liberally city leaders to the National Conference September 5-7.

(Dick Cheney will not be wearing his hunting vest to Charlotte in September, so the proverbial ducks should be safe.)

We booked a hotel that the telecoms haven't 'bugged' yet. We've reserved a meeting space that will double as the holding cell for Rove and his buddies from the White House come January. We found an airport shuttle that runs on a clean-burning 75/25 mix of organic beer and wine. And finally, we promise to count every single Living Liberally libation drunk, er, vote cast here in Charlotte!

It's about that time, City Leaders. Register for our National Conference today!

Rocking Liberally (or Liberalmente that is)

On recent US tours, Latino musicians including Juanes, from Colombia, Los Tigres del Norte and Mana from Mexico, and even Dominican merengue star Juan luis Guerra have been doing much more than playing some melodias calientes and rocking sus corazones out.

These superestrellas are urging their US fans to register to vote and help to put Barack Obama in the White House. That Rocks (liberally)!

Now for some classic Juanes: