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.

79 thoughts on “Live Blogging the Tennessee Progressives

  1. That’s “your elitist use of proper english.” Ha, I tease. He used inexorable, not me. I think he means something like “inevitable.” But let me look. Hold on.

  2. Well, shit. I have no other tools in my rhetorical toolbox. Without teasing, I cannot speak. I can only pout. Look over here, I’m pouting.

  3. I can’t look over there, can’t you see I have twisted myself into a firm, brown Latino pretzel in an effort to keep a signal in this catacomb?

  4. Shoot, does that qualify as teasing? I really could use a guide to when a politically active firm brown man of Mexican descent is Chicano, Latino, or Hispanic. Do you, perhaps, have a brochure?

  5. I mean, who asks for people to live blog and then only provide two prong plugs in a rickety old auditorium? Why didn’t we have this at Opry Mills? That’s exactly where the Conservatives have their events.

  6. We do have nice windows here, though. There aren’t good views of the outside of Opry Mills. But dang, this chair is putting my butt to sleep.

  7. Damn. Thwarted by my English-only upbringing. This is exactly why hot Mexican men won’t make out with me. I’m all like, “Hey, there hottie. May I twirl your mustache with my nimble lips?” and they’re all “en Espanol.”

    Damn you, English-only! Damn you.

  8. Good God. What have I awakened to? This is much better than the Saturday morning cartoons!

    Hey, B…I e-mailed you…wanna do dinner tonight?

  9. It’s like we’re having a little contest to see who’s going to have to laugh out loud first. I must admit, Waldman is a Fall almost made me burst out.

  10. I’m pretty sure when I am in charge people are not allowed to tell me I suck.

    Oh, this guy might be asking a decent question. Let’s pay attention.

  11. ah, herein lies the rub…
    you only *think* you are in charge…which I would venture to say will become clear to you next weekend…hee!

    oooh rub…suck…
    er, sorry…

    Got distracted. Yes, Mack, you do indeed suck.

  12. This is one of the things I loathe about these gatherings….people flock to the microphone to pontificate on their particular pet peeve, and i guess i should be more patient, but it comes across as “look, I’m brilliant!”

    Ok, i gotta go talk about post modern agrarian principles now…is this thing on?

  13. May I interrupt this love fest for a bulletin: Hutch just called to inform me that The Gay N-word’s Association of America is following him on Twitter. I find that interesting and disturbing…and damn, funny.

    Is that considered Progressive-minded?

  14. Yeah, I think his stuff about language, about using words to shape the terms of the debate is incredibly important.

    Comment by Aunt B. — April 14, 2007 @ 10:28 am

    Yes, it is but i think Lakoff only took it halfway. But he sold a shitload of books.

  15. But that last question, calling us all on using conservative language like “pro-life” to describe a side that often advocates so much death, when really we just mean folks who have an anti-abortion opinion, is important, too, I think.

  16. Ginger, you get kicked out of Tennessee if you don’t at least pretend to know what agrarian means. Though, in all fairness, I’m sure the Agrarians, at least Lytle’s section, would die to see a man like Mack coopting the term and using it in its traditional sense.

  17. It is a lame new kind of minute-by-minute live blogging tool that is all the rage right now. People can “follow” you virtually to follow your posts.

    See, instead of using this forum to live blog, you could Twitter it. That sounds kinda dirty.

  18. A conversation I want to have in the near future w/ yous guys: How can a person who is pro-abortion yet anti-death penalty / like anti-abortionists are pro-death penalty? That has always confused me. No need to discuss now…but put that on my agenda.

  19. Twitter would have been good for this back and forth.
    Mack, we really need to just send you a handbook of these things. Like blogrolls and stuff.

  20. Nooo! You can’t take it to Twitter. Twitter is eeeevvvil. Kathy Sierra made a graph about it and everything!

    Mmm, firm brown men of Mexican descent, talking politics… wha? Oops. Got distracted for a bit. Carry on with the liveblogging!

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  22. Yes, but I gotta figure out how I’m getting there because my husband needs the car. (Hint to people passing by East Nashville)

  23. Is this like the Media Reform conference in Memphis but not the same thing exactly.
    Crap, that didn’t make sense.
    Once again I reiterate how I sometime hate living in the sticks because I would so be there.

  24. arrr, Kathy Sierra is blowing smoke (re twitter). I made lots of fun of Twitter at first because of the mundane nature of so many of the comments, but several people whose opinions I trust told me that it might just be useful. So, I started twittering, at first to myself just to see how the thing works, but then lo and behold, I’m in a community with several cool people. The idea that Twittering replaces meaningful conversation is true only so far as how one uses Twitter.

    People ALWAYS figure out a way to make community out of the latest technology (of course, they always figure out a way to deliver porn with the latest tech. as well). The first cave drawing was a guy showing off about the big hair mammoth beast he bagged, and I’m guessing the second drawing was his girlfriend’s boobs. The printing press cheesed lots of people, and for the love of God, IMing made it possible for teenagers incesseant chirping to continue 24/7. We figure it out and make it’s evolution. If it harms community we withdraw…we’re social like that.

    Not to say that Twitter is the greatest and only web tool, but in the short time I’ve used it I’ve had interesting convo in several parts of the world, not to mention Paul Chenowith coming up with great restaurants for his anniversary. We’re full service like that. Now if I can only get the ‘Gay N***ers Association of America’ to stop following me.

  25. I made as much fun of Twitter as John did. But, I’ve found is pretty useful and light hearted. It’s where I found out about Lynnster’s car wreck before she posted about it and I thought, Damn, maybe I need to take a look at this thing.
    It’s fun. It’s not rocket science but I’ve had conversations with at least four bloggers that I’ve never spoken to before but seen in the blogosphere for years, Paul being one of them.
    John hit it on the head. “It it harms community we withdraw.”
    I like finding new things. Sometimes they work for me, other times they don’t, but thus far the online stuff over there hasn’t been of the suck.

  26. We’re more progressive [communist] than we were twenty years ago, and in twenty years, we will be more progressive [communist] yet.”
    THAT’S the scary part. I love old school democrats, like Truman. It wasn’t until the commies took over that the party went to hell.

    “Why didn’t we have this at Opry Mills? That’s exactly where the Conservatives have their events.”
    That’s because God is on their side. Take a hint.

    “co-opt the direction our opponents want to take the argument.”
    Congratulations! Glad to have you on board to the central debate of the last six presidential elections.

    “people flock to the microphone to pontificate on their particular pet peeve”
    This is the greatest failing of the democratic party; it is controlled by dozens of specialty causes that refuse to concede importance.

    This post encourages me so much. The ‘progressives’ are running their usual cluster f*ck.

  27. Yeah, that’s where I found out about Lynnster’s accident, too!

    Twittering is fun.

    btw, just about right now, Mack should be doing his symposium on something to do with blogging…

    nc, I was gonna go to this shindig, but decided my time would be better spent wrapping up my taxes. Besides, we can get a play by play of Mack’s dissertation right tchere.

  28. “The ‘progressives’ are running their usual cluster f*ck.”

    hey..we’re just trying to compete with the Bush Administration.

  29. I kind of tend to use Twitter as a “mini-blog” more than a conversation tool – like when I was on my out of town trips, Twittering away about what was going on – but I think there are benefits to using it both ways.

    The mini-blogging aspect is definitely more beneficial for any interested blog readers. One of the problems there for WordPress users is you can only post Twittering in your sidebar via RSS feed because the made-for Twitter stuff is all Java and Flash. But a lot of WP users have been requesting Twitter widgets for WordPress so maybe that will happen. I hope so, ‘cos the scripted Twitter updaters are pretty neat, but I think they also definitely have some security issues that would need to be resolved if Twitter was ever adopted for WordPress like Flicker/Meebo/etc. have been. My MySpace account got hacked for the first time ever a couple of weeks ago and it was after I’d put the Twitter script on my MySpace profile, so I wondered if that was how my account got hacked. But yeah, I would LOVE to see a safe Twitter widget approved for WordPress use.

    I think if I were actually living in Nashville (where most of my Twitter friends are) I would probably use the conversational aspect more. I think one way Twitter could be lots more efficient than other communication means would be things like if I was in Nashville and going to lunch, I could Twitter “I’m at X restaurant, come join me” and any number of my Nashville buddies could show up. Or if, say, I had a flat tire on the interstate, chances are if I Twittered that, that would get faster response for help from friends than trying to track people down by phone or whatever. Just thinking out loud but I think things like that are definitely pros about Twitter use.

    Certainly, for me, I was still kinda “ehhhh” about Twitter until my mother said how glad she was to be able to see my Twittering when I was on the Chicago trip and know I’d gotten there and everything was okay and etc., etc. So that was a big turning point for me towards the pro-Twitter side.

  30. I still think it’s kind of a goofy program, but especially for someone like me that got burned out on IM and chat a long time ago, I like it and it’s useful enough.

    /start off topic

    (glancing at Aunt B’s spam filter total) – That can’t be right. I’m going in. With flares to send up if I start drowning in spam.

    /off topic

  31. Man. She only had 31 spam comments sitting there waiting.

    How in the world can it be that she is on the WP Top 100 daily and has less than 500 spam comments caught, and I am getting like hundreds a day.

    That’s just weird.

    Though I don’t care since Akismet catches ’em just fine.

  32. Yeah, that was a great update, B.
    Shit, I wish you guys could have been with us at the Media Reform Conference in Memphis.
    Wonderful. Just wonderful.

  33. Lynnster…that *is* weird. I was talking to Mack last night about something with WordPress, and I asked him how much spam he gets, and he said like only 5-10 in one week. I get, like, over 100 in one day!

  34. AT&T wants to get into the video business without having to shell out a lot of money. So they are asking the state to tilt the playing field to their advantage.

  35. 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.

    Is that all he said? Yikes. What else?

    …what kind of snazzy suit should he wear?

    I’m thinking something along the lines of this for the Padre.

    And who should be his speech writer?

    Why, Slarti, of course…because we all know he is never misunderstood. ;)

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  37. Since Auntie can’t seem to remember the name of the event she was at, I thought I should let y’all know, (as the hardworking organizer of the event) that it was the Compass IV Conference: A Statewide Progressive Gathering sponsored by Tennessee Alliance for Progress ( Sorry there was no wireless hookup at the Cohn School. You can thank Metro Schools for that. Also, if TAP had more financial resources perhaps we would be able to hold our events in a venue that had wireless. So if you want to see that happen, we encourage you to support the work that we are doing.

  38. Since Auntie can’t seem to remember the name of the event she was at, I thought I should let y’all know, (as the hardworking organizer of the event) that it was the Compass IV Conference: A Statewide Progressive Gathering sponsored by Tennessee Alliance for Progress ( Sorry there was no wireless hookup at the Cohn School. You can thank Metro Schools for that. Also, if TAP had more financial resources perhaps we would be able to hold our events in a venue that had wireless. So if you want to see that happen, we encourage you to support the work that we are doing.

  39. I’m not a Progressive. And maybe I’m burdened under a case of the mondays. But comments such as the one from Mr. Levin don’t make Progressivism look very inviting.

    f TAP had more financial resources perhaps we would be able to hold our events in a venue that had wireless.

    I’m waiting for a confirmation call from Georgia Varble, but I believe you can get wireless access in the meeting rooms at the Nashville Public Library. And those rooms don’t cost a lot. In fact, I don’t think they cost anything. You just have to go through the approval process.

    I thought I should let y’all know, (as the hardworking organizer of the event) that it was the Compass IV Conference: A Statewide Progressive Gathering sponsored by Tennessee Alliance for Progress

    As the organiser for the event, I would think you would want people to know the name BEFOREHAND. But that’s just me.

    And again, I’m not a progressive. So feel free to take everything I saw with a grain of salt or two.

  40. Awww, Kat. You can be a progressive if you want to! You totally joined in at the orgy thread. *grins*

    Heh, I had a teacher in high school who actually said that all the world’s problems would be solved by a hundred-year orgy. In the end, everyone would be brown.

    (He was later fired for sexual harassment of a student, but that was a different matter altogether)

  41. You can be a progressive if you want to!

    Key phrase: If you WANT to.

    I’m not cut out for progressivism. I’m far too individualistic and paranoid to subsume to the politics of social gospel.

    No doubt dude’s 100 year orgy would solve the world’s problems. Do you know how TIRED everyone would be? Who can mount a war after mounting everybody else?

  42. *snickers* That’s more or less what he was planning on. That, and I’d imagine it’d be pretty difficult to figure out who belonged to whom after a while. Can you imagine DNA testing the whole world to sort things out?

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