How to Really Give a Speech That Brings Hope and Change

October 20, 2010

If you have to come to TLN to discover this video, you’re definitely not plugged-in, but this speech is so powerful, so heartfelt, and stands in such striking contrast to the insipid demagoguery of lesser figures, it deserves a post.


 


Cry Babies

October 14, 2010

That nebulous cloud of disaffected Democrat & liberal independent voters, commonly labeled “pumas,” deserves a new monicker: “cry babies.”

After a relentless, two-year campaign of whining to each other on blogs, accompanied by not a single act of political activism, our eternal outrage now compels pumas to protest, punish, or dispense penance in the 2010 midterm elections.

Protest:  At a seminal crossroads for the continued viability of our Nation, the likes of which has not been witnessed since 1860, many pumas feel that a protest vote — voting for a green candidate, say, or simply abstaining — will somehow compel the Dem leadership to prick up its ears and heed our puma roar.  Or at least it will assuage our aversion to voting for any but the ideal candidate;

Punish:  Other pumas, for dark reasons known only to them, liken their prior affiliation to the Dem party to a romantic relationship.  When their partner/party betrayed their fidelity by shacking up with obama, these furies vowed revenge.  This November, they intend on taking a Louisville Slugger to both headlights, so the Democratic Party will think next time before he cheats.  Not a few of these punishing pumas have undergone a total inversion, abandoning principles and ideals to become fanatic Republicans.  Which makes one wonder what this was all about for them.

Penance:  There’s a lot of pop psychology going about saying the Democratic Party needs to “hit rock bottom” before it can recover — to “learn its lesson” so to speak — so let’s expedite the process by helping them lose the midterms.

This thought process is flawed on at least two counts.  First, it accepts the meme that ‘hitting rock bottom’ is the sole and certain path to ‘recovery.’   In reality, many people with addictions, antisocial behavior, etc. straighten themselves out before hitting bottom, while many others hit bottom and just stay there, never ‘learning their lesson.’   Second, this theory envisions the entire Democratic party as a single person.  Which it is not.  The Democratic Party is an (especially loose) agglomerate of individuals.  Those capable of learning their lesson have already learned it; facilitating a GOP landslide will not scare straight any others.

A flawed anthropomorphizing of party dynamics, this tenuous strategy also ignores the reality that the TP juggernaut cares not one iota for the aims of liberals.  A minority that includes Blanche Lincoln but lacks Russ Feingold fixes what, exactly?  In short, there is no path to ‘recovery’, however you define that, which leads through a right-wing landslide in this election.

Puma Piss

On the whole, pumas are a pissy lot.  We whine, we foment, we take umbrage at every slight.  On each of our shoulders sits a chip wearing an orange pant suit.  This November, pumas seem eager to stage a massive pissing-into-the-wind protest.  That’ll show ’em!

Yet, in this year of the Tea Party, where were all the Puma rallies?  Who were the Puma candidates in the primaries?  Given, unlike the TP, no billionaire benefactor jump-started our movement, but it didn’t help that there was no real movement to jump-start in the first place.

Every two years, all on her lonesome, Cindy Sheehan gets herself on the ballot to run against Nancy Pelosi.  Not a single “big name” puma could be aroused from their torpor and pathetic self-pity to do likewise.

There’s no avoiding that we pumas pissed away the past two years.  Oh, some of us did try to do something constructive way back.  Known by the ill-chosen name “Just Say No Deal,” and despite assembling an impressive array of experience and talent, for various reasons — an incompetent narcissist as its organizer, for one — this nascent “Puma Party” never got off the ground.  Thereafter followed The Denver Group, a savvy, well-crafted, but ultimately quixotic, protest of the DNC convention, and then … nothing.

Could a Puma Party have arisen then, as did the Tea party a year later?  Sure, but it didn’t.  It still could, and should, happen, in future.  And, in an upcoming post I will be announcing the formation of a new party/movement/PAC.  But back to today.

“First, Do No Harm”

Is the Democratic Party a total write-off?  Absolutely not.  To those who never got as close to politics as did I, it may come as a shock to discover that all politicians have an oily sheen about them.  But let’s not ignore that on 5/31/08, 12 of 27 RBC powerlords voted in favor of Hillary Clinton; that most democratic primary voters chose Clinton over obama; that the obamalonians were so worried by a straw poll of delegates, which indicated Clinton might win a floor vote, that they rigged the formal nomination.  Roughly, then, at least half of the Democratic rank & file membership is salvageable, as is nearly all of the Party platform.

Leave yesterday be; we’ll deal with that tomorrow.  Today, we must be pragmatic about what we can and cannot accomplish at this juncture.  Yes, ideally things would be better with true liberals in the Senate rather than the likes of Reid and Boxer.  But we blew our chance to improve those particular seats during this Spring’s primaries.  Our next opportunity to improve on Reid & Boxer, et al., comes around in 2016.  In 2010, we can only prevent those seats from getting FAR WORSE.  As political surgeons, we must all abide by the Hippocratic Oath.

It’s A Dirty Job

It’s 2010, and there’s no Puma Party around to throw our weight behind.  As disaffected dems and liberal independents, we’re stuck with making the best of a bad situation with what’s on hand.  What’s on hand are the existing Democrats and the TP-laden GOP.  The situation is too dire, the threats to our institutions, liberties and democracy too grave, for protests or statements.   For all intents and purposes, we have a Republican president in obama — handing him a GOP Congress would be disastrous.  This will be no small nudge to the right:  there will be an all-out assault on the institutions, principles, the very foundation of our American Liberty.

Our task today is simple, and it is narrow:  pick the lesser of two evils.  And the greater is very evil, indeed.  In 2008, this true liberal was prepared to vote for McCain, had the race in California proved close, simply to avert the pending obamalonian disaster.  I do not like John McCain, and share but few of his ideals.  So when a fellow puma tells me they cannot, in principle, vote for Barbara Boxer, who despite her many flaws, closely matches their political views, I have no sympathy.  It’s a dirty job, but we’ve got to hold our noses and cast a vote that matters.  No more crying: do your duty.  The welfare of our Nation demands it.


(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.



Bloggers’ Roundtable: The Future of Blogging

September 24, 2010

with Cyn, Fionnchú, John W. Smart, littleisis, and tamerlane

** The Bios **

Cyn

Blog: Double Jointed Fingers

Blogging since: 2000 and Bush v. Gore.  I totally didn’t see that coming and I was so outraged that I started looking around the internet to see if anyone else was as enraged as I.  I ended up at  Kicking Ass, the DNC blog and stayed there until 2008.  A lot of those wonderful Dem friends I had made were not only backing Obama, but vilifying Hillary.  I also blogged at Night Bird’s Fountain, but left in 2004 and started my own blog.

Real life profession: legal assistant to sole practitioner attorney

Reason I got into blogging: politics

Hours per week spent on my blog: Not that many.  I don’t feel the need to post every day or even every  week, although I did feel the need during the 2008 primary.  For me, blogging helps me let off steam, share information and gives me a creative outlet.

Hours per week on other blogs: Hard to say, as it varies.  I would guess approx. 10 hours per week.

Fionnchú

Blog:   Blogtrotter

Blogging since: 2007

Other published or posted works: academic journals; scholarly references; Lunch.com, Amazon US (Top 500 reviewer), New York Journal of Books, and PopMatters websites.

Real-life profession: Medievalist turned Humanities college instructor.

Reason I got into blogging: To share my passion for ideas and get my thoughts out of my mind and beyond the limits of a low-level teaching gig with few chances to find colleagues or students of a like-minded, inquiring, ornery, eclectic, and debatable bent.

Hours per week spent working on my blog: 6 (on average)

Hours per week spent reading other people’s blogs: 2 (I read fast)

John Smart

Blog: JohnWSmart

Blogging since: 2005

Real-life profession: Film Clearance Administration

Reason I got into blogging: Anger at Bush administration lies.

Hours per week spent working on my blog: 20

Hours per week spent reading other people’s blogs: 5

littleisis

Blogs: You can find me at Liberal Rapture or the Confluence

Blogging since: I was seventeen.

Other published or posted works: I can’t disclose those, this is a family blog.

Real-life profession: Student

Reason I got into blogging: I started paying more attention to politics and entertainment towards the end of High School, after a string of suicides occurred in my graduating class. (Two of them were good friends of mine.) Blogging is the easiest way to shout my opinions at people.

Hours per week spent working on my blog: Depends on the week.

Hours per week spent reading other people’s blogs: Also depends on the week.

tamerlane

Blogs:

True Liberal Nexus

JohnWSmart (guest contributor)

Liberal Rapture (cross-posted hitchhiker)

Blogging since: 2009

Other published or posted works: Myriad client profiles, press releases, newsletter articles, print ads, & promotional brochures; Training Agreements, Helmet Release & Hold Harmless forms; a thesis on medieval knights; a published board game; a privately disseminated cookbook.

Real-life profession: Horse trainer; former jack of all trades

Reason I got into blogging: To protest the Sting of Hillary Clinton and to combat the destruction of Liberalism by the Obamalonian Horde.

Hours per week spent working on my blog: 3? 5? 0?

Hours per week spent at other people’s blogs: I have no fucking clue.

** Roundtable Questions  **

I The Future of Blogging

1. Can Blogging Save the World?

Cyn: I don’t think anything can save the world.  I’ve become somewhat jaded after the 2008 election.  I believe there is only so much that bloggers can do to make a difference.  However, I do see that the Tea Party (however much I disagree with them), are making a huge difference in the Republican party, but I don’t know that it is due to blogging.   I do believe that so long as we don’t lose our hope of being able to make the world a better place, blogging will continue to grow.

Fionnchu: No, given that our voices will be drowned out.

John W. Smart: No. Nor should it try.

littleisis: Anything that speaks truth to power can end up saving the world. Mainstream press seems more concerned with speaking power to truth these days.

tamerlane: No, but it can rescue a scrap of veracity and free, meaningful discourse — our samizdat in the face of Pravda Light censorship and Dancing with the Stars distraction.


2. Will Blogs replace Newspapers?

CYN: So long as newspapers need to turn a profit and remain beholden to corporate interests, yes.

F: No, as we lack the funds to afford to investigate issues on our own without the backing that media gain. We also lack credibility unless perhaps attached to a larger blog site sponsored by a corporation. We don’t get the press respect or the PR clout that enables us to garner review copies, either!

JWS: No.

LI: Eventually they will. I use the NYT to line my cat’s kitty litter.

TAM: They’ll meet somewhere in the middle.  Unlike 99% of bloggers, most newspapers still know how to write & edit, and do proper investigative reporting.  Most bloggers are hacks suffering from the mind-scours.


3. Should a successful blog: a) charge to read it? b) Accept Ads? c) Ask for donations? d) Stay free, free as the wind blows?

CYN: In a perfect world, stay free, free as the wind.  However, if the blogger needs to ask for donations or put ads on their blog to generate income, it doesn’t bother me.  Especially if it is a blog I follow on a regular basis.  I would rather donate than see it shut down.

F: Stay free. I don’t accept ads, I wish blogs were free of ads. I prefer a Net more resistant to consumerism and capitalism. I wish I’d started on WordPress, not Google’s E-Blogger. But, tech- challenged, as I began a few years ago, it’s too late now given the search engine tilts. And, I have a corporation giving me access gratis to make my blog. So, there’s a hidden charge, no free lunch.

JWS: a. no. b. yes. c. yes. d. no.

LI: I don’t know about charging readers, but I don’t see any problem with accepting ads or asking for donations. Regular blogging can take time.

TAM: Computers and the internet place us at the potential dawn of a new social order, with a truly “free” market where people give things away for self-actualization.  Kinda like Star Trek.


II The Blogosphere

4. Person you’d like to see blogging who doesn’t?

CYN: Madeleine Albright.  She fascinates me.

F: Some of my egghead but populist friends in Ireland and here, who prefer anonymity due to their fears of surveillance.

JWS: Edie Falco.

LI: Seriously. She’s brilliant, funny and a great writer. I just have to nab her before TC does.

TAM: John Mellencamp.


5. Does Perez Hilton hurt or help blogs being taken seriously?

CYN: I have no idea as I never knew she had a blog.  However, sight unseen, I don’t think it would make a difference.

F: I could care less. TMZ and C-Span both serve as entertainment in the media we’re dished out. Any arena will attract the strutters and ballhogs as well as us waterboys and peanut vendors. Bloggers are caricatured as kooks by the mainstream, but the MSM funds and uses them too. I think FB or whatever future medium rises will erode blogs more, as people read less. Scanning and Twitter and instant updates also substitute for what a few years ago blogs provided as a method to share tidbits and finds on and off the Net. E-mail dwindles as people don’t use that to share information as links or photos or articles among a list of friends, and as with discussion lists in the late 90s, blogs may fade more in this respect.

JWS: He has no affect.

LI: Not for me to say. Not all blogs should be taken seriously to begin with. Similarly, not all newspapers should be taken seriously. The National Enquirer or the NYT, for example.

TAM: Who’s Perez Hilton?


6. Is the Huffington Post a blog, a newspaper, or something else?

CYN: A blog, and all blogs are not alike.

F: It replaces Time Magazine as a compendium of a safe political slant– combined with pop culture and stupid photos & videos that I admit being surprised to find. I don’t read it but I get links to it via FB posts by friends now and then. This is what the MSM is evolving towards.

JWS: Something else.

LI: A newspaper, because it repeats talking points.

TAM: It’s the air-sickness bag of the proglydite Weltanschauung.


7. Are Kos and Drudge journalists, politicos, or something else?

CYN: In my opinion, politicos.

F: They began as pioneer investigators, but as celebrity bloggers, they’ve capitulated to MSM corporate approval.

JWS: Something else.

LI: Tough question. I’m not even sure if they’re human.

TAM: They’re two little hitlers who’ll fight it out until one little hitler does the other one’s will.


III The Art of Blogging

8. Worst sin(s) a blogger can make?

CYN: Knowingly posting lies or advancing an opinion on behalf of someone who pays you to do so.

F: Not revealing sponsorship or perks.

JWS: Thinking they matter more than they do.

LI: Banning people for financial or business reasons.

TAM: Writing when they have nothing to say; Cut & paste; Blogging Under the Influence.


9. The perfect blog post would …

CYN: Inform me, charm me and make me laugh.

F: Distinguish between cut & paste blather and original insights that the author labored over rather than plagiarized or paraphrased.

JWS: Link to my blog.

LI: Make people think, and laugh.

TAM: Put something in a new light for me.


10. Ideal length of a blog post?

CYN: Personally, so long as it keeps my attention, it doesn’t matter.

F: Less than most of mine. 750-1000 words max?

JWS: Depends on the topic.

LI: It would depend on the subject of the post and whether it’s an open thread.

TAM: I’ve retained the self-editing habits from writing for print materials with physical size constraints:

  • Daily comment on news: <= 500 words
  • Weekly observation/rant: 750 – 1,000 words
  • Monthly philosophizing: 1,500 – 2,000 words.
  • If you have anything longer, send it to the New Yorker.


11. Ideal format: Minimalist or Glitzy?

CYN: What ever floats your boat or reflects the personality of the blog.

F: Minimal. I hate distractions. But I do like decorating the margins with artworks and piddling with colors. Google is not as generous as I’d have anticipated with how you can customize your templates.

JWS: Minimal.

LI: I prefer glitzy, but I’m a girl.

TAM: Minimalist.


12. Real-life human activity blogging most emulates?

CYN: Dear diary.

F: Chatting with friends about ideas, issues, and trends. Or talking to yourself. Some may say masturbation in public, but haven’t writers, actors, and creative types been long accused by puritans and prudes?

JWS: Walking.

LI: Telling your children you’d like to do what you can to make the world a better place for them.

TAM: Singing in the shower.


IV Your Blogging Goals

13. Head-in-the-clouds goal for your blog:

CYN: I really don’t take my blog that seriously.

F: To gain a patron & recognition for my brilliant acumen so I never have to work again. I keep expecting a MacArthur Grant in my inbox. Acclaim from the academy so I land instant tenure and I can get time to write books rather than entries every other day. I stopped daily blogging when I realized how few people cared about it. But that led to a backlog of dozens of entries, ironically enough!

JWS: Huge profits.

LI: Loyal regulars.

TAM: To have both Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olbermann on the same day mention with disgust the same TLN post.


14. Feet-on-the-ground goal:

CYN: Possibly transfer my blog from Blogger to Wordpad.

F: To keep it up until I die or until some other medium evolves that I can afford to replace it. I feel it’s like a term paper that’s always near due, and it keeps me locked into a self-imposed schedule. It keeps my mind fresher and my thoughts more ordered, as I pretend I have an audience that gets me out of my own self-glorification and makes me aware of the fact someone may take me to account. I have made friends whom I’ve gone on to meet in the “real world,” and that pleases me no end, as such contacts in my daily life are non-existent regarding such comradeship.

JWS: Keep going.

LI: Loyal regulars

TAM: I get lots of hits, but want more comments.


15. Any changes, improvements. additions you’d like to make to your blog?

CYN: I pretty much change my blog design when I get bored with how it looks.

F: I’d like the Google E-Blogger templates to allow more alterations for a tech-challenged type. But now that they have started charging $10 for template changes of some sorts, I wonder. WordPress seems the only competition, but it’s as I mentioned a bit too late to migrate. The Google formats constrict you even as they make it dumbbell-accessible, an inevitable compromise to put such html intricacies in the hands of the huddled masses.

JWS: Yes. There are.

LI: I wish it looked more glamorous, but there’s only so many things you can do with wordpress.

TAM: Tags and shit.


16. If you were paid full-time to blog, would you do it?

CYN: No.  I would feel stifled.

F: Yes, but I’d prefer a MacArthur grant renewed in perpetuity. I might hate blogging if it was my job. As a hobby, it’s fine.

JWS: Yes.

LI: Absolutely.

TAM: Twist my arm.



How to Save America in 250 Words or Less

April 7, 2010

– an essay contest

Let’s not pull punches: America is in peril.  The America we know — the one we envision when we see “USA”, see the flag — is moribund, on the verge of no return.

True liberals are the only hope of salvation for America.  Only we possess the strength, the ethics, and the clear understanding required to rescue the dream first conceived 250 years ago by the original American Liberals.

But what to do?

In the absence of any real leadership from the traditional sources, True Liberal Nexus will mount up and bravely lead the charge.  Hence this essay contest.  In no more than 250 words, tell us how to save America.  Give a broad outline of a plan, set a theme, or focus on one vital aspect of our salvation.

This is how it starts. Defining goals. Then realizing the imagined.  So submit your essay.  What, 250 words too few?  If you can’t express your vision in less, then it is not a true vision.

The best submissions will be posted here, and the best author of all will receive a really cheap prize. Submit to mailto:trueliberalnexus@yahoo.com

Jump!


Killing Ourselves Softly

March 9, 2010

The CDC has a stunning and ominous slideshow depicting the spread of obesity across America over the past 25 years.

Childhood obesity in the US has more than tripled in the past thirty years, becoming a veritable epidemic leading to a litany of diseases and ailments.  Blame it on video games, junk food, or minivan limousine service, but we are steadily killing ourselves softly with soft-serve ice cream.

It’s ironic that a culture which deifies anorexia in our actresses and models churns out masses of corpulent citizens.  We need to eat more sensibly, embrace the slow food ethos, and achieve a “happy middle.”


Trouble in Paradise

February 19, 2010

– from ‘tamerlane’

The recent arrest in Haiti of christian missionaries for child trafficking has alerted the world to the largely hidden but widespread practice of fringe religious groups adopting children — often through suspect channels — who are then subjected to forced conversion.

Now comes this shocking news from the quiet town of Paradise, CA.  Last Saturday, CPS removed eight children from the home of fundamentalist christians Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, after their seven year-old sister, Lydia, suffered a fatal cardiac arrest following a severe beating.  Eleven year-old Zariah, who had also stopped breathing, was revived, but remains in critical condition with extensive injuries, including renal failure.

The Schatz’, held on $2 million bail, face charges of murder and torture.

Lydia and Zariah, who were adopted by the Schatz’ from an African orphanage, had allegedly been flogged with a 1/4-inch rubber hose for hours last Thursday and Friday.  The DA is investigating a possible link to a fundamentalist christian web site which gives instructions on using rubber tubing to train children “to be more obedient to God and their parents.”

Police allege that Lydia was punished for for mis-pronouncing a word during a home-schooling lesson.  “The two young girls reportedly sustained deep bruising and multiple ‘whip-like’ marks on their back, buttocks and legs, which authorities believe resulted in significant muscle tissue breakdown that impaired their kidneys and possibly other vital organs….”

Through their attorney, Kevin & Elizabeth Schatz have asked the community to pray for the reunion of their family.

Sources:

http://www.paradisepost.com/ci_14378467?source=rss_viewed

http://www.chicoer.com/advertise/ci_14388171?IADID=Search-www.chicoer.com-www.chicoer.com

http://www.paradisepost.com/news/ci_14427370

Placed in the public domain by ‘tamerlane’ to encourage people to spread the word.


Trash Talk

February 4, 2010

Democrats are slowly waking up to the fact that the dope in the White House is not their ally, much less their leader.

AP reports today that House Dems publicly and wisely “trashed” Obama’s proposal to give businesses a $5,000 tax credit for each job they create, noting that:

1) businesses can’t hire people if there’s no work for them to do;

2) the credit will reward companies that laid off workers and can now rehire,while stiffing employers who struggled to keep their workers.

They could have also mentioned that:

3) companies flush enough to hire now don’t need the $5,000;

4) $5,000 is not enough to induce a new hire when times are tough.

What nobody seems willing to say out loud is:

5) Not only is this particular idea dumb, it’s not even part of a bigger plan, because

6) There is no plan.

The hiring credit is yet another example of Timmy Geithner sticking his thumb in his ass, pulling out a plum and saying ‘what a clever boy am I!’   And the cacophony to rid Obama of Geithner and his other terrible advisors and handlers has risen another few decibels.

But don’t we elect a president to lead, not to be led?   The Hopeless One has zero leadership qualities.  Nor does he have any concept of the big picture, no comprehensive strategy, no inspiration.  Obama’s no leader; he just plays one on television.

Talking trash is a good start, but Democrats will be sorely disappointed if they expect Obama to heed their chiding.   From now on, they need to treat him as the opposition.  Or they could replace him.

(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane’.  All rights reserved.


Get Smart

February 3, 2010

John Smart (aka John South of Melrose), the brilliant creative force behind the political blog Liberal Rapture, has relocated his blogging endeavors to:

http://johnwsmart.com/

Seems John didn’t get his renewal notice for the URL, and either a malevolent entity or a speculator scooped it up.  Yet another instance of the Invisible Hand of Capitalism giving you the finger!

JSOM hasn’t missed a beat, so stop by his new blog to catch all the latest and greatest!


The Definition of a Liberal

January 24, 2010

What about Liberals make them liberal?

How do we differ from non-liberals?

Are Liberal, Progressive and Left distinct entities, or is there overlap?

Is Liberalism just a political alignment, or a broader philosophical outlook?

Share your thoughts!


The Junk Drawer

January 20, 2010

The Junk Drawer will be a regular feature at True Liberal Nexus.  A blank post, where readers can comment with whatever is on their mind.