Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bloggers Paradise or Bust!

It's that time of year again, time for Geek Fest 2007, otherwise known as YearlyKos 2007.

For those of you familiar with the largest lefty blog in the country, DailyKos, this might sound familiar. YKos is the national conference for progressive netroots activists just like yours truly. Needless to say, I can't wait!

While I'm there, I'll be taking part in various workshops, panels, and hobnobbing with some of the country's elite progressive politicians and netroots activists, including Gov. Howard Dean, DNC Chairman and all 8 of the Democratic Presidential Candidates.

Can't make it? Don't despair, CNN, C-Span, NPR, and the rest of the MSM will be there covering it all. Needless to say, in only it's second year, YearlyKos is becoming a place that's changing the face of Democratic politics in America.

I'm joining 10-15 other Michigan lefty bloggers that I know in the Windy City, and when all's said and done, I'm sure we'll be a part of the 2,000+ crowd.

That being said, don't think I won't be updating LLP while I'm there. There will be so much to share, so many opportunities awaiting everyone, that I'll be on the Tubes more often than not.

Despite all the frenzied chaos that's sure to be YKos, it's about keeping things in perspective. A good friend and fellow blogger Kid Oakland just posted this very touching piece over on DailyKos. That is what it's all about.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Local Talk Radio Moves Up and Left

Several months ago, I mentioned the emergence of a local self-labeled liberal AM talk radio show host, Jack Ebling and his show "Ebling and You" here in the Lansing area.

Since it's launch last November, Ebling's show on 1320 WILS has been moving along quite nicely. The station's owner, MacDonald Broadcasting is rumored to be a little more to the right of the political spectrum, and that's not a far stretch given that the majority of the show's programming is syndicated conservative talk radio, Laura Ingram, Neil Boortz, and other names that pain this liberal to utter.

Since the start of July, a new "lefty" talk radio host has been added to the line up, and it's a welcome addition.

Walt Sorg, who's been a part of this community for over 40 years, hosts AM Lansing on WILS from 6 - 9 a.m. Sorg's show has shown a surprisingly strong line-up these first four weeks of it's existence. I enjoy that Walt's show has a solid focus on the local issues that affect us.

Don't be fooled. Sorg's past experience in Communications with the Blanchard Administration hasn't left him too soft. I tuned in the other morning to hear Sorg go toe-to-toe with the Notorious Tim Walberg, supposed Congressman from the 7th District. For a full line-up, visit Sorg's blog each day.

Sorg doesn't preach his own opinions, rather he asks the tough questions and allows listeners to form their own views. It's nice switch to be treated like an intelligent listener, as opposed to most talk radio today that just preaches rhetoric.

With MacDonald Broadcasting undergoing a $1 Million + expansion with its towers making it one of the strongest AM stations in the state, Sorg and Ebling could make a huge dent on public airwaves. Best part is, there's an opportunity here for all of us to help out.

Broadcasting is only as good as it's hosts, and they can't stay on air without sponsorship. I imagine that advertising rates before the station's expansion will be quite competitive, after an inquiry directly to the station, I discovered that these reasonable rates will be grandfathered in as the station grows.

Let's face it, the Internet's not the only place to help shape the minds of millions. Just because the Conservatives have dominated the airwaves for so long doesn't mean that we can't be a part of the changing tide.

Whether it's listening, advertising, or both, consider investing in progressive radio here in Mid-Michigan. Don't you deserve your kind of radio?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Postcard from Paradise

Dear Friend,

Summer is going great, the weather is beautiful, the lakes deep and clean, and the sunsets to kill for.

Wish you were here.



Humor: The Best Medicine

Living in the middle of Politics Central, Michigan, I know that there are days when we could all use a little more humor in our lives. I think too many folks here in Lansing take themselves too seriously, and that it's a trait not necessarily reserved just to those in government and politics.

Why does humor exist but to help us through this crazy thing called Life?

Wouldn't life be a little more tolerable if we all laughed a little more?

As a blogger, one of my more notable trademarks is my use of snark, or witty sarcastic humor. I find that the more frustrating moments of politics are usually best dealt with through snarkiness. I like to think of it as a healthy, humorous outlet for my frustration, and much physically safer than banging my head against a wall or shouting at the computer/TV/newspaper.

There's also plenty of well-documented health benefits to humor. For instance:

  • reduce stress
  • lower blood pressure
  • elevate mood
  • boost immune system
  • improve brain functioning
  • protect the heart
  • connect you to others
  • foster instant relaxation
  • make you feel good.
and this is just to name a few from this fantastic resource.

If it's humor sources you're looking for, here's a good list to start with.
  • Michigan native, nationally-known comedian, and my former neighbor, John Heffron
  • One of the funniest TV shows on two continents - The Office, and check out the dry British version
  • Michigan funny lady and long time snarky blogger - Jamelah
  • Two of my most favorite recent blog posts deserving high snark awards at Honest Errors and WizardKitten.
So do yourself, your friends, your co-workers, and your body a favor - laugh a little more and enjoy yourself, life's too short!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Elaine's Legacy

In April of 2004, I lost my hero to a tragic illness, ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Her name was Elaine, and despite being struck with a severe case of Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 16, she still went on to play field hockey, study biology at MSU, become one of the first female bacteriologists in Detroit, teach school, do homeless and prison ministry, help raise her sister's four boys, beat a nasty case of typhoid fever that left her hospitalized for an entire year, have three kids, eight grandkids, and one great-grandchild.

My grandmother was a self-described women's libber, and she met Grandpa when she tagged him out at third base on a family vacation in Canada. She didn't marry till she was in her 30's, and had her last child when she was 40.

My grandmother Elaine inspired so much in me. It probably won't surprise you to learn that it was because of her that I chose Rosie the Riveter as this blog's mascot. In my eyes, she is Rosie, fired up and ready to conquer it all.

She guessed she had ALS even before the doctors did. With her mind as sharp as a bell till the day she left us, she died a trapped prisoner in her own body at the age of 87.

When our family received the devastating news, I decided to write a tribute to her and give it to her before she died. Don't people deserve to hear how much we love them before they die instead?

Little did I know that I would have to have the most painful and excruciating surgery of all my 35 surgeries the day after she died. My only wish going into surgery was that while I was under the anesthetic, she'd be with me.

My family held off on her memorial service until the day after I'd been discharged, two weeks later. Despite having major abdominal surgery, still hooked up to tubes and devices and on major painkillers, I arrived at the memorial service in a wheelchair and a bright red dress, determined not to mourn, but to celebrate.

I gave that tribute that day at the memorial service to a packed sanctuary, hunched over in pain and anguish as I made my way to the pulpit and somehow fought back the tears as I proudly read off the memorial to a woman who I try to be like each and every day.

I'll never forget one of my last conversations with her while she still had the ability to talk. I told her she was my hero, that if I didn't have her in my life, I might not have made it through the last ten years of my life with such a debilitating case of Crohn's Disease. I knew that God put her in my life to be an example of what you can still do even with a crippling illness if you just put your mind to it. We both teared up, but nothing could have prepared me for what she said next.

You're my hero.

She said that I reminded her of the same things she reminded me of, and how important it was to die gracefully, still doing for others till the day she left this Earth.

That's precisely what she did, up until the day that she could no longer talk or move, and lay trapped in her bed, her eyes the only window to the person she was inside.

Even in her death, she did for others. She requested that her body be donated to science specifically so that scientists could study ALS and find a cure. A year or two later, we met some of the medical students at U of M who explained how important a gift this is to science and how much it means to them as doctors and researchers.

Throughout the entire journey, my family benefited greatly from the ALS of Michigan's services, from family counseling, to assistive devices that helped her breathe, or speak easier, to hospice planning, and bereavement counseling.

It is because of Elaine that my family participates in the ALS of Michigan's Walk n' Roll each year, a fundraiser to not only find a cure, but to provide assistance and support to families right here in Michigan who deal with this illness each and every day.

This year, I'm forming my own team to walk and roll in a 3 mile event right here in Lansing at Hawk Island Park on Saturday, September 29th.

It's a great event filled with friends, fun, food, good music, and of course, promoting a great cause and raising awareness and money to help those who also suffer.

Most of all, I'd be honored if you'd join my team.

Team Elaine's Legacy
will continue to pass on Elaine's legacy, one of passion, dedication to others, and making the world a better place, one person at a time.

Perhaps you know someone who had ALS or is suffering with it right now. It can strike people as young as 30, and if you've read Mitch Albom's Tuesday's with Morrie, you know it can strike the elderly, like my grandmother.

You can join the team, come walk with us, bring the kids, the dog, or both, or if you can't make it but still want to help out, you can donate. We've got a team goal of $10,000, and we can't do it without your help.

You don't have to move mountains or scale large buildings to make a difference. Create your own legacy, be a hero to someone, pass it on.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hijacked: MichLib Muggles Disappear at Midnight

By Rita Skeeter, reporter for the Daily Prophet

In an event that has left Michigan police stunned, many of the Michigan Liberal Muggles have suddenly disappeared into thin air immediately after receiving ownership of the 7th and final book in the Harry Potter series.

Reported disappearances include LiberalLucy and LPackard from a well-known progressive bookstore, Everybody Reads in Lansing, and an unnamed female from Shiawassee County. Numerous other disappearances across the state are also suspected and are currently under investigation.

Both LiberalLucy and LPackard were reported eating Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans shortly before they vanished into thin air. Authorities are analyzing the candy to make sure that they didn't hail from the Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, a magical joke shop known for it's pranks and hi-jinxes.

Witness and local resident Arabella Figg, spoke with reporters shortly after the mysterious event
"I'm not sure what happened, it was all very sudden. There were several boys named Dick and Saul running around making noise and causing trouble before the girls disappeared, but I really doubt they had anything to do with it. They just kept throwing powder laundry detergent at people trying to cast spells, and even with the Dark Mark that appeared on each of their arms, it was just a lot of soap and hope that kept fizzling out."

An anonymous source close to the investigation report the authorities now believe that the books were actually portkeys. If found to be true, it would tie in with sightings of the missing Muggles running towards Platform 9 3/4's at their local train station.

Regardless of these recent developments, police hope that the missing Muggle Bloggers will be safely returned back to their rightful spots in front of their computers by Monday at 8am.

If you spot LiberalLucy, LPackard, or the unnamed female Muggle from Shiawassee County, you are asked to contact authorities immediately.

(Rita Skeeter is a writer for the Daily Prophet and fashion correspondent for Witches Weekly)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Apathetically Silent

I had to write a memoriam last night for an 18 year-old.

I cried.
I felt sick to my stomach.
I got angry.

I told myself, there's nothing you can do, it's a war and you're only one person.

But I knew it wasn't true.

We must stop this war - but you've already heard that time and time again, haven't you?

I'm not the first person to write these words and feel these emotions, and I won't be the last.

The amount of apathy in this state and this country reeks from sea to shining sea. And so our men and women, our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters remain fighting in an unjust war, dying an honorable death caused by dishonorable leaders.

For a moment, we cluck our tongues, we silently grieve for the maimed, the missing, and the dead, we shake our heads, and yet, for the most part we remain silent.

Is it because we feel so powerless, so helpless? Or is it too far away, a land to which most of us have never been, nor will ever go? Is it because time has inflated our apathy, our willingness to stand silent?

We're not shocked anymore when the evening news begins with the latest death count, and most of us barely notice when we pass a tree with a tattered yellow ribbon.

It's a war, but it's not about WMDs, or oil, or money, or even partisan bullshit.

It's a war on our hearts and our minds and the justice that has been muffled within them.

So while you grieve and get angry and shake your head in frustration, ask yourself one question before you move on with the rest of the day.

How many more memorials must be written for you to finally read between the lines?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Crash and Burn

Fido Immortalized
Originally uploaded by wizardkitten
I like to pretend that I'm superhuman.

Actually, I just like to pretend that I'm healthy and that I really don't live with a chronic illness. But all it takes is a couple weeks of spinning my wheels in 14 different directions without a whole lot of rest for reality to smack me in the face.

Case in point: Now.

Between my trip to NY for the bike ride, and an intense week in D.C. where we were going from 8am to midnight nearly everyday (that doesn't account for social time, by the way), my birthday, and all the hustle and bustle that happens in between them, I've once again run myself ragged.

Logically, I understand that I generally need a solid 8 hours of sleep, and when it's particularly hot and humid, I need to stay low and drink plenty of fluids, and that too many days and nights without sleep and rest can only lead to one thing - crash and burn.

I've spoken before of the drive within me. It's a passionate, intense drive that I battle with day after day. In the fight of body vs. mind, the mind usually wins. As a result, my body suffers, and there's usually a day or two where I'm good for nothing more than lots of sleep and resting. This would be one of those days.

I realize that everyday I'm here is an added bonus, and that I should be taking care of myself. I may be pushing 30, but my body often feels twice that.

I also realize that everyday I'm here is an added bonus, and one more opportunity to do something worthwhile that needs to be done, to make an impact, to influence change. What's a little ache and pain when the results benefit many?

Somewhere, there's a balance between the two. Each day, I get a little better about dancing around it a little closer, and the periods of crash and burn lie farther and farther apart.

I measure my life not by ordinary standards, but by the change that I affect. I honestly account that for the sole reason I'm still alive when by all other standards, I should have been dead years ago.

So if one day my body wins over my mind, which at this rate it is sure to do, and that passionate drive within me is extinguished, does that mean my job is done?

It's a scary thought, one that my youth isn't quite prepared to deal with. So for now, I'll just go on pretending I'm superhuman, that is, until the next time I crash and burn.

Many thanks to an extraordinary blogger/photojournalist and good friend, Wizardkitten, for this photo.

Friday, July 13, 2007

You can change the world today

You have the opportunity to help bring our soldiers home now.
Will you take it?

On Thursday night, the United States House of Representatives voted to end the war in Iraq responsibly and bring our troops home. Michigan Congressmen Ehlers, Upton, McCotter, Knollenberg, and Rogers all voted to continue the failed policy in Iraq and keep our nation on a path of endless war.

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq plans to hold those Congressmen accountable for their votes on Friday with a Press Conference and Rally as part of their Iraq Summer campaign.

The event will be held from 12:30-1:30 at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing. Speakers will include Kevin Kelley and our own Bruce Fealk.

This event is yet another opportunity to help change how Michigan's Congresscritters treat the war in Iraq. You have a real opportunity to be a part of the force that changes the tide.

This campaign is effective. Eight Republican US Senators have recently changed their position on the war in Iraq. Five of them were targets of the Iraq Summer campaign.

Please do whatever it takes to make this rally.

Our troops are depending on us.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Guest post from Honest Errors

A special thanks to a wonderful friend and a talented writer, Rich from the political/lit blog based right here in the Mid-Michigan area, Honest Errors.

How I Became Involved in Michigan Politics

My wife, son, and I moved here to Mid-Michigan at the end of July last year, 2006. Among the many great things we discovered about the area, we stumbled upon the wonderful Everybody Reads bookstore. On our first visit we went up to the counter to buy the books we had chosen. We noticed they had Impeach Bush yard signs available for a donation to the store. Being election season, we bought one and put it in our front yard.

Mind you, lest you think we were intentionally trying to provoke our neighbors, we had been living in the house well over a month before we put the Impeach Bush sign in our front yard. In that time, only one family in our immediate vicinity introduced themselves to us. (Welcome to suburban living.) So we thought who's going to care what sign we put out front? We don't know any of them or what they think. Besides, we were not the only people in Okemos with this sentiment; several other homes in the town displayed similar signs in their yards.

One week later the sign was missing. My wife and I thought, this is new. We'd never had this problem in Los Angeles or in Chicago. Especially the latter, where if you're a business owner and have a sign in your window for the "wrong" candidate, don't be surprised if you get a visit from a city inspector...

Anyway, I went back to Everybody Reads and bought another sign, telling the clerk that our other sign had been stolen. He said the Impeach Bush signs were rather popular that way. I put the new sign up in our yard.

Less than a week later, that sign was stolen. It was also at this time my wife and I noticed that signs bearing similar sentiments were defaced with spray paint. Okemos (like the rest of the country) was definitely a place with strong feelings both for and against Bush. But we also couldn't help but notice that signs for candidates, like Granholm, Devos, Rogers, were always untouched.

So, stubborn ass that I am, I went back to Everybody Reads and bought two signs. I figured I would save myself a trip when the third sign was eventually stolen.

I should note that I have never thought that a Bush Impeachment was a realistic expectation to have. Just? Yes. Likely to happen? Never. Why do I think so? Go read this book.

Not even three days later the third sign was stolen from our front yard overnight and replaced with a yard ornament featuring a cow with wings. Whoever was stealing our signs had a sense of humor.

At this point I was pissed. I had fantasies of jamming the fourth sign full of razor blades or attaching the metal frame to some wire and attach that to an outlet. The latter would reveal who the thief was when we saw his body splayed out on our lawn.

Instead, I decided that when I went out in the morning to get the paper, I would put the sign in the ground and in the evening I would take the sign up and put it in our garage. I repeated this for a number of weeks. At the same time, I decided that I had to take more direct action towards bringing about the change in government that I wanted. Michigan has a lot of problems, solvable ones. I also believe in put up or shut up. You have to act, not just complain.

I looked up who my Representative to Congress was and found out it was Mike Rogers, a Republican. This was new to me. I had never lived in a Republican-represented congressional district before.

(Wait, there was that one term that Republican Mike Flanagan served in Illinois' 5th district, but that was because Democrat Rostenkowski had been taken down for corruption. Flanagan was voted out the next term in favor of Democrat Rod Blagojevich, who is now Governor of Illinois. His House seat is now filled by Rahm Emmanuel.)

What to do about this? Sign up for the Marcinkowski campaign! Which is what I did and met some great people in both the campaign itself and the Democratic party. I took down the Impeach Bush sign and put up a Marcinkowski sign. No one stole the Marcinkowski sign. Unfortunately, Rogers won another term.

The day after the election, I took down the Marcinkowski sign and put up the Impeach Bush sign, just for the day to gloat a little at the Democrats take-back of the House.

A few weeks later I started blogging. I was inspired by the litblogs and political blogs I had read (and continue to read). I believe artists are no different than other citizens, and should be engaged with the world around them, including the political forces that shape so much of our daily lives: from the placement of roads, the quality of our schools, to the critical services provided by firemen and police officers, to the rights we constantly have to fight for in order to keep them. Through blogging I have become much more (happily) involved in progressive politics in Michigan, my new adopted home.

To the person(s) who repeatedly stole our Impeach Bush sign: It was extremely stupid and short-sighted of you. If you had just left us that first sign, I never would have continued giving money to support the cause of Impeaching President Bush, thereby strengthening that cause. And I probably never would have volunteered for the Marcinkowski campaign, which got me involved in the local Democratic party, too, which got me fired up to start a blog, which I continue to write to this day.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The 4th as seen from D.C.

Nothing quite does it like fireworks on the Mall next to the Washington Monument.

Here's hoping your day was special as well.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Other Female Candidate for President

She hasn't officially registered yet, but it sounds like there's a good chance she might.

She's smart, well-rounded, deeply passionate about the environment, involved in women's issues, speaks 4 or 5 languages and I think she'd make an excellent president.

Did I mention she's only 8?

I'm hoping that you'll help me draft Lisa Simpson for President.

Just in case you're really wondering what's going on, I'm down in D.C. for the week as a fellow in the New Organizing Institutes Summer Campaign Boot Camp. There's 60 of us here from all over the country who are learning all about the online side of progressive political campaigns. We're being by taught by the masters from MoveOn, Blue State Digital, MyDD, the Clinton, Edwards and Obama Campaigns, and that's just to name a few.

After 8-9 hours a day learning, we've been instructed to design a presidential campaign for a Simpsons Show character. Doing all this from scratch, the group that receives the most people to enter their email accounts on our campaign website win. We're up against 7 other groups, and it's going to be a fierce battle.

She might be a little too young to run, but Lisa Simpson is my ticket to the top!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Guest Post by Mike at Republic of M

A very humble thanks to Mike for his guest post and his accolades. If you haven't already made Republic of M part of your daily read, now's the time to fix that. Without further adieu...

If I was straight I would date Julielyn

A guest post by Mike at Republic of M

I am very much honored to have been asked to do this by uber blogger, and my friend, aka the www goddess, Liberal Lucy. Everyone should bow at this point. I know, I know, she hates accolades, but she so deserves it.

I hate to dwell, well not really, I actually thrive on it, but my boy friend always brings me to task on it, so I try not to. But I still can't help but go back to her guest post at Republic of M. If you didn't read it – then where the hell have you been? Well the link is above, so go read it, but make sure your ass comes back to read what I have to say. If you decide otherwise, then let me recap. Liberal Lucy: Allies of LGBTQ are very important. Our best friends are not only the ones who tell us that they stand beside us, but tell the world.

So, having said that, my partner and I attended the First Annual Michigan Blogger Picnic. We were both extremely apprehensive. He and I both were a little cautious because we didn't really know what to expect, or how we would be received. But everyone was extremely nice. We could not have anticipated a warmer welcome.

You might be thinking: Mike, why would you and your partner ever think that we, progressive thinking people would ever act in such a way?

Well progressive thinking people – some of your kind, or at least some who proclaim to be such, have let me and my people down. We support them with not only our donations, but our votes, only to see on one of the many cable news networks that we don't matter. You allow the opposing side to set the stage, with your LGBT allies the pie that's thrown in the progressive face. You allow them to set the tone of discussion, making us the bad guys, making us the issue. We both know there are far bigger issues. Issues that even their base put at the fore front, yet we always seem to be that punching bag in the religious right fitness center. We never seem to waver from you, yet we are the first "dead weight" to be cast over board when the religious right starts swinging. I know, I know, it sounds like a bad Sylvester Stallone Movie.

I realize that not all progressives are like this. And thank GOD, they aren't. And thank GOD for people like Liberal Lucy, and the rest of the Michigan Liberal crew.

Yes, a forward thinking progressive person would think that way. But many, who proclaim to be so, really are not. Its one of the problems we here in the LGBTQ community face all the time. People who say they are our friends and allies, yet when it comes down to standing their ground in our defense, run with their tail between their legs.

Liberal Lucy reminded me of how important allies are. And how she and the others from Michigan Liberal are not those back room friends. They are the best resource the LGBTQ community has. And I thank GOD, every day, for a friend like her, and the allies at Michigan Liberal.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Help keep the Lights on!

Blogging is a true labor of love. Every once in a while I sell a BlogAd (scroll down and look to your right) which helps keep the lights on and me entertaining and informing you.

If you'd like to advertise, that's great! But there is a free way you can help us out too. All it costs is a few minutes of your time.

Take my Blog Reader Project survey.

This survey of the readership will provide the demographics to help BlogAds sell more ads for LLP. So if you have ten minutes free and can lend a hand for snarky but sweet Liberal Lucy :bats eyelashes: I'd be very grateful.

If I get enough responses over the next couple weeks, I'll post what I'm guessing will be an interesting peek at the demographics of the good folks like you who take my survey.