Live Blogging the Tennessee Progressives

Mack has hauled me out to something and I have already forgotten the name of it. The wireless connection here is spotty, but I’ll keep typing as long as they keep talking (and, please, we’re all lefties, there will be plenty of talking) and I’ll try to publish as I can.

Mary Mancini just came over and introduced herself. I tried to be all cool and non-fan-wanky, but good lord, her brother has talked to Stephen Colbert, regularly, on the air where I have seen it! What an awesome family!

Ooo. Paul Waldman is just about to speak. (I need to check on the spelling of that.) He sometimes writes for Salon. He’s here today “mostly because some folks at TAP read his book.” That was funny.

He feels that things are looking up for Progressives, because of the gains made by Democrats. I’m not sure that I buy that, but he just got started. “Centrist Guardians of Conventional Wisdom.” God, this man is funny. So, he’s talking about how the media is biased towards this narrative of America being conservative and Democrats winning because Democrats are moving right. Which, he says, is not true if you look at the actual facts of these Democratic candidates.

He says that the media shapes this idea that most of America is conservatives and that progressives are a distinct minority. And most progressives have accepted this as true. Especially because they assume that the “heartland” is mostly conservative.

Okay, dude works for MediaMatters and he is a hoot.

What conservatives have done well over the last 40 years.

–Stayed on message. Given people a core set of values that are easy to related to and articulate.

–Progressives need to talk about a just society and how we’re all in this together and how we all benefit from everyone doing well.

–Conservatives have done a great job of defining who they want people to believe who we are. We don’t tend to articulate what we think is wrong with the conservative tradition.

Our adversary is a competing ideological system. And we need to articulate that, continually.

He says that it’s important to remind folks that people who voted Bush into office got exactly what they wanted–more spending on military, conservative social policies, etc.–and it’s been a dismal failure.

You know, listening to him talk it occurs to me that what the left lacks is a good rabble rouser (since Mack appears to be on the verge of falling asleep, I vote for him).

Anyway this dude is going on about how we have a lot to be optimistic about. He says “Do not fear the culture war. When it comes to the culture war, we win. We’re more progressive than we were twenty years ago, and in twenty years, we will be more progressive yet.”

So, how will we get Mack a public platform to rabble-rouse?

Ha, Mack just told me that, even though he cannot get a signal, he wants it noted that he remains calm. Oh, he’s “calm.” My mistake. I thought he was nodding off.

Oooh, Waldman says that we are too damn wishy washy about being willing to be identified as liberals or progressives. We need to show people that we’re proud of what we believe. Don’t just believe that we’re a progressive country, say it.

As activists, we need to pick battles that make clear who we are.

Politics is not about issues, it’s about identity. Hmm. I think I believe that on the one hand and yet, I want to think about that some more.

What can we do? Ah, now he’s trying to motivate us to do more. He says just standing up for what we believe makes a difference. Ha, that’s what I do all day, lounging around the internet.

Slow, steady, inexerable progressive triumph.

Ha I hope that’s true.

We can’t just say that we’re all in it together, we have to act like it, too.

Hey, Professor, I forgot until just now. Your ex-crazy-party-throwing friend is here.

Media Reform

No wireless in here. Sadly.

Mary Mancini said that we could stay at this workshop because we’re not “real media.” Ha ha.

Ginny Welsh and Elliot Mitchell are our speakers.

Ginny Welsh works on Radio Free Nashville and ran against Cooper.

Started at Lighting 100 and helped flip it to the cool thing it is now.

As news director at a radio station here in town, her job was to piss off listeners by using Republican talking points. What’s going on in radio that folks think it’s fine to shape the news to meet a bias?

She started Radio Free Nashville as an antidote to the corportization of the airwaves.

Elliot Mitchell–Metropolitan Education Corporation–called in at the last minute to replace Don Imus. Ha, funny.

He’s instrumental for getting channel 9 and channel 10 on our cable. Educational access channels. Different from public access and government access. Hmm. Did not know that.

Educational access are the least developed nationwide.

We got some interesting sway as well, which makes me even more determined to get Mack various brochures to pass out.

We’re in an old school and there’s a map on the wall. Greenland is so enormous–larger than South America, almost as big as Africa. I wonder if Greenlanders are tickled by that.

Part of the problem with media reform seems to be that, if you want to have your own media outlet, you have to be as self-sufficiant as possible.

AT&T wants a single franchise with the entire state, not to have to negotiate with individual entities. No offense to Comcast, but listening to this dude talk about AT&T’s legislation makes me think it’s a bad idea. None of cable’s commercials asking me to stand against this has made me even understand what the stakes are. This bill would take control of the franchises away from local towns and counties and put it in the hands of the state. Easy message. One that would appeal to Tennesseans. What the fuck, cable? What the fuck?

Ginny Welsh is talking about how we have to have access to the airwaves.

Hmm. The importance of thinking of the things we jointly own–like the national parks and the airwaves–as actual things we own, that we’re stakeholders in. In other words, I think, the kinds of passionate feelings we have about the internet and how we want it to work, we need to feel that about the airwaves.

Mancini is so awesome. Reagan’s name comes up and she just clenches her fists.

After February 16, 2009, if you don’t have a digital television, you will not be able to watch TV, which means that the Butcher and I have two years to save up to replace our 20 year old television. Dang. I love that TV.

Gosh, Ginny Welsh is just inspiring the shit out of me, but it’s hard to be inspired and blog at the same time. I guess some people can. Not me. I have to be inspired and then have time to think before I blog.

Big 8
Time Warner–17.9% of all cable subscribers get cable from them
Vivendi Universal
News Corp (Fox)

Oops. I only have seven. Well, you know, count on me for opinion, not fact.

Now we’re talking about scary media consolodation.

Donate to Radio Free Nashville by using You tell them who you search (I think like ‘in honor of’) like “Radio Free Nashville,” (or other charaties, I guess) and then, when I do any kind of search, it donates money to Radio Free Nashville.

Very cool.

Radio Free Nashville will make press passes available to bloggers. Good god. Could they be any cooler?

Blogging about Progressive Bloggers Talking about Blogging

Oh, you right wingers, I’m in the same room as Egalia from Tennessee Guerilla Women and she is not the monster you imagine. Very smart, but quiet and thoughtful and gentle. Well, and baby-eating. Oh the babies she’s eaten just in the time I’ve been here! Tragedy, I tell you, just tragedy. Who will stop these feminists and their crazy baby eating ways?

Ha, I tease because I love.

Egalia is talking a lot about the importance of thinking about how you name your posts and what kinds of information you put in your opening paragraph in order to get the search engines’ attention.

She takes this very, very seriously and does a lot of strategizing.

Mack is checking to see if we have any right-wing plants by saying “Ronald Reagan” and seeing if anyone stands up. So far nothing.

Now he’s talking about how some lefties so much love the sound of their own voice it’s just about like the joy a man takes in stroking his own pecker.

Mack is going to have to save the Tennessee progressive movement from itself. I’m going to help.

Final Thoughts

Oh, y’all, that was good fun.  I feel invigorated and I have a ton of stuff to mull over not the least of which is, if Mack were going to become El Papa of the Left Wing here in Tennessee, what kind of snazzy suit should he wear?

And who should be his speech writer?

I mean, of course, other than me.

Let’s dream about Mack’s first speech:

Beautiful Brown People of Tennesee, here is my friend B. Smooch her.  For luck.  Yes, it is lucky to smooch Aunt B.  You, there in front, with the handlebar mustache, you first.

See?  How awesome would that be?  Not progressive, maybe, but awesome.

Also, if you are the chick who runs Drinking Liberally, I met your relative and so am giving you a shout-out.

Ha, I tickle me.