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Reading Liberally: Read of the Day

The one thing every liberal must read today is:

by Sen. Hillary Clinton, The Huffington Post

Senator Clinton discusses the Bush Administrations new plans to prevent women from gaining access to contraception, violating state laws and preventing the education of many of those who need it. This move, she says, is dangerous and unwarranted. She also lets us know what she and Senator Patty Murray are doing about it and how you can get involved.

Taking The Card-Carrying Liberal Challenge at Netroots Nation

When Living Liberally went to Netroots Nation this year, we had, admittedly a bit of an ulterior motive. Sure we were excited about our third NN in a row, but we had an additional goal in mind: in the process of launching our Liberal Card project, we wanted to see how many NN attendees we could get to declare themselves proud, card-carrying liberals.

We expected a few in the bag for sure - like Baratunde Thurston and Liberal Card-holder Markos Moulitsas - but we didn't expect figures like Larry Lessig, Howard Dean, and...well, just watch it for yourself. (Also note that Bob Barr was willing to call himself a liberal - kinda.)

A full list of proud, card-carrying liberals after the jump.

Gore Proves Global Warming by Sweating Profusely, and Nine Other Things I Learned at the Netroots Nation/KKK Gathering

(Written in satire. A literal trasnlation for the tonally impaired is available upon request.)

This weekend I went to Austin, Texas, to attend the third annual Netroots [Aryan] Nation, the convention formerly known as Yearly Kos and recently called a "Klan gathering" by Bill O'Reilly. I agree with O'Reilly that "including the Nazis and the Klan... there is not a more hateful group in the country than the Daily Kos People." I too hate this hateful conference, which encourages democracy, open politics, participatory democracy, grass roots organizing and other Nazi-ish thing. But I attend each year, under the guise of a Laughing Liberally comic and Living Liberally leader, in order to counter the lies of the liberal media, who receive their talking points and marching orders directly from Subcomandante Markos [Moulitsas]. I go because somebody needs to document the atrocities that are ignored by the appeasement era press and distorted by the Netroots deniers. I go to show the world the truth. I go to say Never Again.

So, here are some of the things you won't hear from the liberal media about the four-day gathering of over 2,000 progressive bloggers, journalists, politicians and activists.

1. The netroots are so vicious that Obama was forced to flee to the relative safety of Afghanistan.

2. The netroots are reconsidering their position on FISA. Although they were disappointed with Obama's vote and his absence from the conference, they have now realized that thanks to the new FISA law, Obama could hear everything they said.

3. The surprise guest was no surpirse. Everyone knew the surprise guest would be Al Gore. Duh! He is the inventor of the series of tubes known as the internets.

4. Al Gore proved global warming is real, beyond the shadow of a doubt. I'll admit it, I was a skeptic about global warming. But that was before I saw Al Gore speak live. Because what An Inconvenient Truth doesn't capture, is Gore's presence, energy, and sweat. After watching Gore sweat in an air-conditioned convention hall, it is impossible not to believe in global warming.

5. Al Gore is anti-American. During his speech, Gore mentioned wind turbines several times. Well, wind baseball caps are fine with me, Mr. Vice President. Love it or leave it!

6. The Socialist Party made a debut at the Convention. The convention has had Democrats and recovering Republicans. But this year for the first time, with Nancy Pelosi's attendance, the conference hosted a member of the Socialist Party.

7. Nancy Pelosi has sound judgment (for a Socialist). The Speaker of the House is a radical San Franciscan and a pusher of the Homosexual agenda, Yet when she spoke in Austin, Pelosi demonstrated sound judgment and astute reasoning through her vibrant mint green pants suit, a tasteful Clinton-Cleavage-free blouse, neutral but elegant tan heels, and warm honey highlights.

8. Donna Edwards does not belong in politics. If I learned anything from Representative Edwards' keynote speech, it's that she is too honest, hard-working, passionate, genuine, inspired, and inspiring to be in Congress. What is she thinking?

9. Contrary to popular belief, bloggers do have a sense of humor. The Netroots Nation gift bags included condoms.

10. John McCain should not be misunderestimated by the netroots. After all, McCain is already "aware of the internet." By next year's convention in Pittsburgh, the maverick may know how to get online.

PB&J: Good for You. Good for the World.

How many people out there like a good old fashioned Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich. I know I do and I think quite a bit of our population would agree with me. However, like many PB&J loving Americans, I haven't eaten one of those delicious brown'n'purple delights in a while.

Well, a new organization say that that's got to change. The PB&J Campaign is on a mission to save our environment one Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich at a time.

Every time you eat a plant-based lunch, like PB&J, you reduce your carbon footprint by 2.5 pounds of carbon emissions. If you want some comparison thats almost half the about of carbon emissions you would cut by driving a hybrid for a day.

The PB&J campaign also points out that eating a plant-based meal conserves about 133 gallons of water, meaning that "five PB&Js or other plant-based lunches per month would save more water than switching to a low-flow showerhead." You'd also be saving approximately 24 square feet of land that could be deforested, overgrazed or subject to pesticide and fertilizer.

So how does this all work?

Well, according the PB&J campaign, when you eat an animal-based lunch, anything that contains meat or dairy, you are being extremely energy inefficient. In effect, all food comes from plants because even if the food isn't a plant itself, it took plants to give the animals energy to grow and make meat or produce dairy. And as anyone who takes a basic course on Environmental science knows, energy is always lost to heat as you move up the food chain. So, when you eat equal proportions of meat and plant, you are getting about 10x more energy with the plant.

There are also many destructive factors that go into meat and dairy production such as the fossil fuels needed to power machinery, irrigation and transportation, and the vast amount of plants that need to be grown (taking up lots of farmland) to produce small amounts of meat.

When you eat a PB&J sandwich you are reducing the vast amount of resources put into meat and dairy production, which means cutting carbon emissions, and water and land usage.

So as they say, "Eat a PB&J, Save the world today!" Sounds delicious.

From Upward Escalator to Flat Moving Walkway: Our Current Economic Prospects

My first introduction to the public-policy research institution The Century Foundation was indispensably informative-- I attended a lunchtime panel discussion, during which I was informed that my generation was in a startlingly dire economic situation.

Evidently, our generation (I'm 20, so a "millennial") is the first generation that is not expected to do better financially than our parents. What's more, we will face even more difficulty moving beyond class, race, and gender barriers-- despite the progressive action of more recent decades. Dismally shocking, and definitely action-inspiring!

Check out this video that The Century Foundation made covering the highlights of the panel discussion:

(the real highlight of which is obviously the brief clip of yours truly-- I'm the one in the purple dress proclaiming my newfound motivation to "do something")

The Century Foundation has more awesome youth discussions planned, so if you live in the New York area, make sure to try and catch one!

Daily Round-Up: You Provide the Blog Entries, We Provide the War.

1. Chris Hedges bemoans the decline of traditional media, hates the internets.

2. Feud Watch! Michael Savage has some strong words for "homosexual mafia group" Media Matters.

3. Doctors in South Dakota who preform abortions must now stick to a script claiming the abortion will "will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being." Like the other famous pro-life script, Juno, it also features original songs by Kimya Dawson.

4. Here's the latest report on the mass Starbucks' closings. Looks as though some of these franchises will be caffeinating a little less...liberally?

5. Salon on how not to read.

Top Ten Film's That Make Me Want To Live Liberally

Brooke's List:

1. JFK
2. American Beauty
3. Pan’s Labyrinth
4. There Will Be Blood
5. Wall-E
6. American History X
7. Full Metal Jacket
8. The Outlaw Josie Wales
9. Hearts and Minds
10. The Matrix

MaZhira’s List:

1. Amistad
2. Bambi
3. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
4. Wall-E
5. Brave New World
6. Jesus Camp
7. Independence Day
8. Desperado
9. The Patriot*
10. A Day Without Mexicans

*Z’s reasoning is “Mel Gibson is a wacko, if he can star in a movie based on freedom it restores my faith in a nation that allows everyone to voice their opinions no matter how hate-filled they are.”

America’s Greatest Source Of Renewable Energy: Whine Power?

Lou Dobbs has got his presumably made-in-the-USA knickers in a twist over Al Gore’s “truly absurd proposal” for Americans to ditch the fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy in the next decade. Dobbs, inexplicably deluded that stepped-up domestic drilling would offer some kind of immediate relief from high gas prices, is furious at the folks who oppose lifting the offshore ban:

“There is an environmental orthodoxy in this country that is losing its grip; it’s time now for Al Gore and his left wing orthodox friends in Congress such as Senator Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to start lifting, trying to ease the pain and the burden of working men and women and their families in this country, this is not some abstract discussion about environmental issues or conservation…”

So I guess I’d be going off on an abstract tangent, here, to note that while drilling in ANWR or offshore won’t make a dime of difference to our current energy crisis, there’s something Americans could do to save 30 cents a gallon now, starting today. According to Thursday’s New York Times, the Energy Department has determined that “fuel efficiency deteriorates radically at speeds above 60 miles per hour. Every 5 miles over that threshold is estimated to cost drivers…essentially an additional 30 cents per gallon in fuel costs.”

So, the fastest way to “ease the pain and the burden” would be to simply slow down. But many Americans vehemently reject the very notion, regardless of the potential savings:

…slowing down from 65 or 70 miles per hour to 55 or 60 might seem a no-brainer — free money! — for drivers reeling from high gas prices. But though the rational brain might say yes, the reptile brain, the metabolic modern brain, the highway-driver brain, seems to say, let’s look for savings another way.

…maybe Phil Gramm wasn’t entirely wrong. Maybe we are happier whining about problems rather than coming up with solutions that entail any sort of inconvenience.

Why ease up on the gas pedal when we could wring every last drop of oil out of our soil and seas instead? Three-quarters of Americans reportedly share Dobb’s support for offshore drilling despite the fact that it would do little or nothing--even in the long term-- to offset rising fuel costs, as the New York Times noted recently:

In any event, added drilling is unlikely to generate sharply lower prices. A recent study by the federal government’s Energy Information Administration estimated that under the best-case scenario opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would reduce prices by $1.44 a barrel by 2027. Drilling in broader swaths off the continental United States wouldn’t affect prices until 2030.

Did you get that? The best case scenario in ANWR would lower prices by $1.44 a barrel in, like, two decades. And, as Senator Diane Feinstein noted in Thursday’s Los Angeles Times, promoting offshore drilling as any kind of meaningful solution to our energy crisis is a total sham, too.

We’re so screwed that there’s no way we can drill ourselves out of this mess. What will it take for people to accept the fact that the era of livin’ large is over? The signs are everywhere, from Wal-Mart’s procuring its produce more locally to cut fuel costs to pilots accusing U.S. Airways of sending them up with an insufficient fuel supply in a desperate bid to lighten their load.

And yet, as angry and frustrated as folks are with the high cost of gas, they’re apparently not ready to do something so drastic as conserve by reducing their speed, which puts them right in step with our President, who wouldn’t dream of asking them to. That, he insisted at a press conference the other day, would be “presumptuous…They're smart enough to figure out whether they're going to drive less or not."

But aren’t these the same people who are too slow-witted to stop driving so fast? And what about the millions of Americans who haven’t got the option of scaling back on their driving because we’ve never bothered to invest in the infrastructure to support alternative forms of transportation like mass transit, biking, and walking? We haven’t committed serious resources to developing renewable sources of energy, either, and all because we’ve been too busy bowing at the altar of the automobile.

Is Gore’s admittedly ambitious challenge “truly absurd,” as Dobbs huffed? What’s truly absurd is the idea that anyone would look to a former Texas oilman to do anything other than shill for the drillers.