Click a program icon to find a chapter
Click here for other Liberally programs

The GOP's Still Partying Like It's 2006

Jack Abramoff's name returns to the headlines
as John McCain is questioned on secret emails
suggesting that "Straight Talk" may be all-talk.

Karl Rove re-emerges on the frontpages
in a story of political manipulation & abuse,
as Newsweek's guy makes news rather than observes it.

Harriet Miers steps back into the spotlight
as Congress was forced to hold in contempt
Bush's one-time pick for the Supreme Court.

You'd think they'd learn, but basically...
the GOP's still partying like it's 2006.

McCain already promises four more years
of Bush's war & Bush's economy...
do we get Bush's cronies & corruption as well?

Raise a glass to scandals gone by,
and another to the ones that keep coming back,
as you share your views & a little booze
at your local progressive social club.

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

A Conversation with Chris Metzler, Director of "Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea"

Screening Liberally Big Picture
By Josh Bolotsky

We recently had the opportunity to have a conversation with Chris Metzler, director of Screening Liberally NYC's February selection, the critically acclaimed Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea. We talked about Sonny Bono, John Waters and where his film fits (or doesn't fit) into the recent spate of eco-documentaries.

How did you come to this project?

Like a lot of things in life, it was purely coincidence. I grew up in the Midwest - I didn't even know that the Salton Sea existed when I moved out to Los Angeles for school - and one day, decided to take an exploratory road trip, camping with a friend and maybe checking out other parts of the dessert - you take a few wrong turns here and there, and you wind up upon this huge body of water, the Salton Sea, and just kind of quickly fall in love with it, just based on water being out in the desert in such huge amounts, but secondly, the kind of apocalyptic landscape, which was my own fascination. That's got things started. Congressman Sonny Bono had been interested in restoring the Salton Sea, seeing it as both an environmental wetland, and also a place for resorts and boating and fishing…as a result of this discussion about making Sonny’s dream come true, we wanted to explore how those attempts at restoring the Salton Sea were going to go.

It seems like the residents of the Salon area have become used to extravagant promises laid at their feet every couple years, whether it be through Sonny Bono, or the [longstanding] hope it will become a large retirement community - in making the film, was that something you had to consciously overcome in gaining their trust, that you weren’t going to be someone coming in with promises as happens every few years.

That was one of the difficult things that Jeff [Springer, co-director] and I anticipated from the beginning – we knew that the Salton Sea had this long history of nothing ever being done, and that most of the film and news coverage of the Salton Sea had been very negative. Given how just complicated a place this was, [we figured] it deserved some unbiased, entertaining journalism. Once we started meeting people in the community, there was something that drew them to us - we didn't have to overcome any inherent skepticism… and most embraced us from the get-go. Maybe it’s just because so much of the other coverage of the Salton Sea often dealt with politicians and scientists and they really just appreciated that we were going straight ot the people who had lived in, thrived and struggled in the community for so many years.

One unique aspect of the film is that you're talking about an potential ecological crisis which, unlike a lot of the eco-documentaries that came out in the last several years, is not directly related to climate change..Have you had difficulty explaining to people this is a separate issue?
The Salton sea being such an obscure issue…drawing attention to it and explaining why it's an important film in addition to being entertaining does present a problem. That's one of the reasons why when we market the film and present it to people, we [emphasize] the carnivalesque factor. 'Come and watch this movie about what these unique people have created in this place you’ve never heard of.' In a lot of discussions we try to have with people after the screening, [we tend to present it as] a microcosm of these larger environmental issues that are going on in other parts of the US and the world…Some of the things you see going on down there could, through climate change, happen elsewhere. It’s a great example of the environment run amok, whether you discuss the flooding that happened in the 1970’s, and how that relates to Hurricane Katrina, or the rapid evaporation of the water of the Salton Sea, and the dust storms that might be affected, that relates to climate change, [similar to those in] other parts of the world, where, if temperatures continue to rise, you’ll have more exposed dried lake-beds…In a way the Salton Sea is a parable to other things that the larger part of society might have to deal with in upcoming years.

How did you get John Waters? His voice is so perfect for the film.

At first we didn’t really want a narrator, because we wanted to let the people of the Salton Sea to speak for themselves. But given some of the larger issues which were difficult to condense and explain in interviews, we decided we needed to rely on a narrator, and we thought, if we needed to use as narrator, we needed some a little unorthodox and untraditional, and John Waters came to mind given his unique voice, but also his own deep affection for people who live on the fringe…As we started doing a little bit more research on John Waters, and watching his films from a different perspective we also recognized that while we often associate his films with comedy, with a camp value, all of them deal with these undercurrents of larger social issues…Coincidentally, he was friends with Sonny Bono from his film Hairspray, and kind of liked the idea of doing this as a payback to Sonny, who had done something really important for him.

What are your next projects after Plagues?

Both Jeff and I are drawn to projects about outsiders – we think those are the ones who are the real risk-takers in society because they've decided to live life in the way they want to. We have some projects going on [in this vein,] one about evangelical backpackers Christians following the path of the Apostle Paul, a documentary on gay truck drivers, another on outsider artists in the south – the documentary coming out later this year is one on the black punk band Fishbone…We try to disguise our films as entertainment, with a lot of information in there.

Mocking Fox News...While On Fox News

Laughing Liberally To Keep From Crying

One of our beloved Laughing Liberally regulars, Lee Camp, had the golden opportunity this weekend to tell us what he thinks about Fox News...while on Fox News.

After having performed for both Yearly Kos's and for the Young Democrats of America, it's nice to know that Fox News got to meet the same gentlemen us liberals know and love - as did Dan Abrams. Congrats, Lee!

No Way Bush Makes the Hall of Fame

A scandal of deception & hubris
shook Americans faith in their institutions
& Congress rushed in to take action.

Hearings came quick, with bold questioning,
& people were held accountable for misdeeds
as the public tuned it to watch.

A proud Texan stuck to his guns,
even as his story frayed, opinion turned,
humiliating him & threatening his legacy.

Now...if Congress can do it to Clemens,
why on Earth can't they stand up to Bush?

Treat the pumped-up case for illegitimate war
like pumped-up, illegitimate athletes...
& there's no way Bush makes the Hall of Fame.

If only Congress had some way
to punish the President more seriously...

You'll never strike out sharing your views
as you share some booze with left-leaners
at your local progressive social club.

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

No Way Bush Makes the Hall of Fame

A scandal of deception & hubris
shook Americans faith in their institutions
& Congress rushed in to take action.

Hearings came quick, with bold questioning,
& people were held accountable for misdeeds
as the public tuned it to watch.

A proud Texan stuck to his guns,
even as his story frayed, opinion turned,
humiliating him & threatening his legacy.

Now...if Congress can do it to Clemens,
why on Earth can't they stand up to Bush?

Treat the pumped-up case for illegitimate war
like pumped-up, illegitimate athletes...
& there's no way Bush makes the Hall of Fame.

If only Congress had some way
to punish the President more seriously...

You'll never strike out sharing your views
as you share some booze with left-leaners
at your local progressive social club.

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

Shooting Liberally Takes Aim Today

Drinking Liberally Shot of Truth
by Justin Krebs

I admit that I was skeptical when local liberal drinkers in New York suggested Shooting Liberally. "We have some groups that call billiards nights Shooting Liberally...isn't that enough?"

Personally, I am not enthusiastic about guns -- even in safe, legal, regulated, recreational settings -- so I didn't really get it. Fortunately, it wasn't up to me. As these grassroots ideas tend to grow on their own, this one took root -- and tonight, in three cities, Shooting Liberally begins.

Billed as a program "for the First Amendment enthusiast ready to move on to the Second," Shooting Liberally is arming progressives with a new hobby...or rather, recognizing a hobby many of us already have. While the New York outing will bring mostly newcomers to Manhattan's only gun range, the gatherings in Charleston, South Carolina, and Denver, Colorado, will feature a mix of gun-owners, experienced hunters and relative rookies. (Contact info for all the local organizers is on the temporary Shooting Liberally site -- if tonight goes well, these events will become more frequent.)

The more I tell people about the idea, the more surprised I am by the energetic and positive responses. "We've been meaning to go to a gun range," was the reply of one liberal millennial friend living in DC. Another: "My uncle is a big Dem and runs a gun club -- he'll love this."

The experience around the country may vary -- in NYC, you would need to bring your gun in a locked case if you possess your own, and you need to plan ahead to reserve the range; in Charleston, it can be far more spontaneous as permissible areas and gun ownership are far more prevalent -- but the bond is common...many Liberals like to shoot.

And being Liberals, they want to shoot smartly, safely, and in the company of a community - and most of all, want to prove that being a responsible sportsman and supporting sensible gun control isn't an oxymoron.

Don't worry, we won't start Drinking Liberally until afterward.

Shooting Liberally Takes Aim Today

Drinking Liberally Shot of Truth
by Justin Krebs

I admit that I was skeptical when local liberal drinkers in New York suggested Shooting Liberally. "We have some groups that call billiards nights Shooting Liberally...isn't that enough?"

Personally, I am not enthusiastic about guns -- even in safe, legal, regulated, recreational settings -- so I didn't really get it. Fortunately, it wasn't up to me. As these grassroots ideas tend to grow on their own, this one took root -- and tonight, in three cities, Shooting Liberally begins.

Billed as a program "for the First Amendment enthusiast ready to move on to the Second," Shooting Liberally is arming progressives with a new hobby...or rather, recognizing a hobby many of us already have. While the New York outing will bring mostly newcomers to Manhattan's only gun range, the gatherings in Charleston, South Carolina, and Denver, Colorado, will feature a mix of gun-owners, experienced hunters and relative rookies. (Contact info for all the local organizers is on the temporary Shooting Liberally site -- if tonight goes well, these events will become more frequent.)

The more I tell people about the idea, the more surprised I am by the energetic and positive responses. "We've been meaning to go to a gun range," was the reply of one liberal millennial friend living in DC. Another: "My uncle is a big Dem and runs a gun club -- he'll love this."

The experience around the country may vary -- in NYC, you would need to bring your gun in a locked case if you possess your own, and you need to plan ahead to reserve the range; in Charleston, it can be far more spontaneous as permissible areas and gun ownership are far more prevalent -- but the bond is common...many Liberals like to shoot.

And being Liberals, they want to shoot smartly, safely, and in the company of a community - and most of all, want to prove that being a responsible sportsman and supporting sensible gun control isn't an oxymoron.

Don't worry, we won't start Drinking Liberally until afterward.

A Bleeding-Heart...and a Broken-Heart?

We elected a new House & Senate
believing they could end the disaster in Iraq
...yet now the war hardly makes the headlines.

We cheered candidates who stood strong
on poverty, Habeas Corpus & universal healthcare
...but now seem to accept compromise & moderation.

Obama's soaring trans-partisan rhetoric won our hearts
...while that same "bi-partisan spirit" in the Senate
passed immunity for companies that spied on Americans.

Candidates, Senators, Representatives, I beg you!
On this Valentine's Day, live up to liberal ideals!

I'm already a bleeding-heart.
Don't leave me a broken-heart.

Share Valentine's dreams & political themes
while sharing a pitcher & night with new friends
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY:
Valentine's Day for the Bleeding Hearts
Find - or start - a chapter near you