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Submitted by Richard Rozzelle on Thu, 06/26/2008 - 3:37pm.
Remember that hubbub a couple months back surrounding Michelle Obama's statement, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."? Of course you do. Cindy McCain won't let you forget it.
Well, this week I am ready to say that for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of America ... the band. You remember America ... folk rock band from the '70s. They hit their stride with songs like "Tin Man" and "Sister Golden Hair," then really went down hill in the '80s with "You Can Do Magic."
I've never been a huge fan of America. They made some crucial mistakes here and there along the way. Questionable leadership at times. Periods of misguided facial hair. Forays into Western wear.
But then last week, as I was walking through the Death Valley desert, sweating, not really sure where I was heading physically or mentally, I got America's first and greatest hit stuck deep inside my head.
I latched onto that song. Repeated it over and over. Made up new lyrics for the parts I didn't know, and essentially let it set my outlook.
It was at that point when I realized that for all its flaws, America can be great. It can speak truth. And if you go back the early works, you'll find something remarkable.
Submitted by Seth Pearce on Thu, 06/26/2008 - 2:28pm.
Reading Liberally Page Turner
To say that Matthew Yglesias's new book, Heads in the Sand will single-bookedly save the Democratic party is a slight overstatement. It does, however, provide what may be one the most important tools democrats can use to win in 2008 and govern in the years to come: a coherent, intelligent and aggressive liberal policy on National Security.
HITS is a book that, for starters, takes the issue of National Security seriously. Unlike many liberal thinkers and politicians of the past decade, Yglesias argues that National Security is an issue of prime importance to the Democratic Party and to America. It cannot be sidestepped in favor of domestic issues, that democrats are traditionally more comfortable with. The few democrats who do address National Security, Yglesias's "Liberal Hawks," only do so in a way that reinforces the failed Bush doctrine of militaristic nationalism, even if they disagree with his specific policies.
Yglesias asserts that since Bush took office, a National Security/ Foreign Policy ideal of using American military force to unilaterally rid the world of its evils had . Since 9/11, the face of this evil has been terrorism. Bush's War on Terror operates on the wrong assumption that you can combat a transnational villain, such as Al-Qaeda, by attacking national entities, like Iraq, and can do so through the pure might of American power. Bush's view was also faulty because it saw terrorism as an expression of "Freedom-Haters," who abhorred the American way of life, instead of as a specific reaction to specific actions taken by the United States and other countries, an idea espoused by many well-established intelligence and military organizations.
Democrats, Yglesias adds, have recently been holding more consistently anti-war positions, but have yet to attack the flawed ideological underpinnings of the Bush foreign policy nor have the provided an affirmative alternative policy. Matthew Yglesias to the rescue!
The key thesis of HITS is that instead of treating organizations like the UN as a shackle that confines and restricts American interests, the United States should focus on aggressively strengthening these kinds of organizations to create a "liberal world order", governed by laws, that could in part act as an international police force, more able to effectively confront transnational criminals than a single national army could. Thus, instead of America being the world's police department, America would become the Commissioner of a larger international police force, that would protect human lives and human rights.
Submitted by Travis Craw on Thu, 06/26/2008 - 1:21pm.
Reading Liberally Page Turner
It was a beautiful summers day when I sat down in my backyard with my dear old grandfather, a die-hard Texan who is ready to drive George Bush out of town in tar and feathers for being the slimiest most no good varmint ever to disgrace the name of America. So you might have been as surprised as I was when he sat me down to instruct me in the virtues of John McCain.
It was explained to me that, despite his intension to make permanent the Bush Tax Cuts, indefinitely maintain the military presence of Bush’s war, and kiss the boots of the evangelical leaders who got Bush elected, John McCain is "His Own Man". I was confused, but I recalled faintly a time when John McCain called out the injustices of tax cuts for the rich, and denounced intolerant bigoted comments by Pat Robertson and John Hagee. I even felt a slight pang of nostalgia for a man who championed campaign finance reform, normalized diplomatic relations with Viet Nam, and held the promise of leading the Republican Party in a different direction than Reagan. There once was a time when people truly believed he was a reformer, but then again at that time people also though Milli Vanilli sang their own songs.
If only I had already read Cliff Schecter’s "The Real McCain" as I was sitting there with Gramps, I would have been fully armed to set him straight on McCain’s "Straight Shooting". Schecter simply and thoroughly takes on the real McCain issue by issue, illuminating a man, once known for progressive nonpartisan reform, who has turned his back on all of his beliefs in his ceaseless political pandering and scraping for power. To say McCain has any beliefs at all is a stretch, as when asked if contraception helps to stop the spread of HIV, McCain said, "I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception."
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Thu, 06/26/2008 - 8:15am.
Progressives are excited what a President Obama
The Left argues McCain's bad for the Courts,
And while we're excited that Obama's candidacy
There's an incredible mood that's Pro-Bama...
In many ways, he's so right.
Share frustrations, ideas & a pitcher to two
Submitted by Mazhira Black on Wed, 06/25/2008 - 3:08pm.
Laughing Liberally to Keep From Crying
I think George Carlin would be amused that even following his death the mainstream media can't bring itself to cover the truth about what he had to say. In the majority of the coverage about Carlin I've seen, the talking heads simply speak about his "seven words you can't say on television" or his desire to "push the limits." They don't want to discuss the dirty details of the truth and social commentary Carlin brilliantly vocalized. That's what made Carlin a legend, not merely his desire to say "Fuck" on the radio.
Carlin said the media was a joke, and in remembering him, they've proven him right. How many networks have shown some of his most groundbreaking social commentary such as the following:
These thoughts are a pathetically small portion of the hundreds of hours of exceptional commentary Carlin created and performed. Yet have you seen mention of these on your nightly news? Very little, if any.
Carlin dared us to get the joke. He pushed us. That's what made him a legend and an inspiration to those of us drawn to the art of comedy. I, myself, was offended by a lot of his stuff when I was a teenager and didn't get the deeper meaning (and didn't yet know that he was usually right). But as I grew and began to understand the world around me, I came to truly admire his courage and his talent. It's his ability to pinpoint the hypocrisies and flaws of our society that should be talked about most when remembering him. But I guess there still aren't things we as a society and those in the media are able or allowed to discuss...at least not until we grow up.
One more thing about George Carlin, completely unrelated to the media. The other thing I admired most about him was his desire to keep performing stand-up comedy. In a time when every performer seems to eventually run off to do movies or write God awful TV shows, Carlin kept walking out onto the stage. Night after night. Year after year. He truly, absolutely loved the craft of comedy because he had something meaningful to say. Listening to an interview in which he talks about crafting a joke is like listening to a sculptor speak about chiseling into stone. He lived, ate, and drank comedy. I hope I too have the motivation and desire to never stop performing and never stop speaking my mind. For me and millions of others, George Carlin truly is the definition of a comedian.
Submitted by Mazhira Black on Wed, 06/25/2008 - 11:25am.
Laughing Liberally to Keep From Crying
I know, I know, everyone loves to give John McCain a hard time, seeing as it is the twenty first century and the man is merely aware of the internet.
But really this isn't about making fun, this is about being supportive of our elderly and helping Mr. McCain just like you would your grandfather, take him by the hand and reassure him that the internet is not scary at all.
In celebration of tonight's John McCain Comedy Jaunt at The Tank in New York, featuring Cliff Schecter and Paul Waldman, the authors of The Real McCain and Free Ride, we at Laughing Liberally would like to Present Mr. McCain with a gift.
So here you are Mr. McCain:
So, whether its looking for the friendly neighborhood medicare provider or just receiving pictures via electronic-mail from the grandkids, you too can be as interweb savvy as the young whippersnappers.
Have fun! (But not too much fun, hips are expensive to replace)
Submitted by KAT on Tue, 06/24/2008 - 4:50pm.
So now that we’re looking at some four million acres of washed out crops, the New York Times reports that Senator Charles Grassley (R, Iowa) is calling on the USDA “to release tens of thousands of farmers from contracts under which they had promised to set aside huge tracts as natural habitat,” so that they can plant more corn.
This sounds like a really bad idea if the loss of water-absorbing habitat is what made the floods so severe in the first place. But what do I know? I’m not an Iowa farmer. Happily, though, I know someone who is—Denise O’Brien, the organic farmer who ran for Secretary of Agriculture in Iowa in 2006 and nearly won, with 49% of the vote. So I asked Denise for her thoughts on what role industrial agriculture might have played in this disaster.
As luck would have it, Denise just had a letter to the editor published in Sunday’s Des Moines Register addressing this very subject, so she forwarded it to me and I’m reprinting it here, in the hopes that more people will consider the possibility that these floods were as much an act of man as an act of God:
Submitted by Seth Pearce on Tue, 06/24/2008 - 3:10pm.
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