Drinking Liberally, 2nd Annual Fundraiser, Chinatown

I did not go to the first one last year, but those who went said this year's was much bigger. The highlight was a personal video message from Howard Dean just for the event. He was Big Brother on big screen.

Howard Dean has had a 50 state strategy. Barack has a 45 state strategy: I Give John McCain Five States.

The place was 87 Lafayette in Chinatown. I really liked the venue. It was the exact opposite of a swanky bar, so you felt more relaxed. More important, it was spacious. I really like the idea of big space, empty, big space.

For some reason I thought I would go, and they would make me sit in a chair and watch stage action for a few hours. But this was not a cultural program. There were stalls, like there was this stall where you got your drinks, I got a few beers. There was this other stall where you got food. The whole thing was two levels, but not exactly two floors.

The place actually looked rundown, like an artist's studio. Where there was plaster it looked like the plaster was coming off.

I got to meet Justin Krebs' mother.

Liberal Guy Justin Krebs Is A Poet

And I met this young Indian woman: her mother had been the Indian ambassador to Poland. I asked her if she had been to Drinking Liberally. She said, "Yes, a friend of mine started it." She was of course referring to Justin. She made it sound like she was the only friend Justin had.

Aaron was a pleasure to meet. I like that guy.

A lot of people showed up. It was mostly a white male crowd though. I notice such things. And this is no small detail. I went to a Planned Parenthood event on February 7, and that was a mostly white female crowd. And the guys could feel it.

The second largest group was white women. Nonwhite men and women were few and far between.

I tried to make small talk with as many individuals as possible.

There were a lot of people who I had seen before. I got to touch base with them.

And there is always that occasional awkward moment.

It was great to see Brooke. She is half white, half Hispanic. I find her biracial background fascinating. This was only my third time seeing her: looks like she has been quite a regular at Drinking Liberally while I have been absent for months. I basically skipped winter. She is an attorney, a Miami transplant. She worked the crowd well. I guess she is quite a conversationalist.

Stephanie is a major fixture. The only person more permanent at Rudy's is Justin himself, and perhaps Katrina. Stephanie is always so relaxed.

I met a guy who was a full time blogger: Democrats.com. He claimed he got 10,000 page hits a day. He grew up in Jackson Heights when it was not the Jackson Heights of today, it was all white, kind of.

I met "the Russian wife" to a Justin friend: long time. She is still adjusting to her adopted country. There are so many little details you have to learn when you move.

A relative of mine just became Russia's Manger Of The Year: Mahato conferred Russia's 'Manager of the Year'.

Justin spoke well on stage. This guy can speak. Like they say back in Nepal, he speaks fluent English. Jang Bahadur (1816-1877) came back from his six month long visit to Britain. He was asked what was the most amazing this he saw there. He is like, even little children could speak English.

The usual suspects were there. Stringer, Schneiderman, Nadler and a few others. Schneiderman looked relaxed.

People paid $100 to $500. Even at $100 a piece, 500 people would net in 50K. That is a handsome sum. And I am sure DL does other fundraisers.

DL feels like a startup.

And it was not just a young crowd. There were people from a few different age groups.

The after party was at The Tank, not far from the venue. I went but did not stay. I was too tired to stick around.

I think I want to do some stand up comedy on the side. I also want to appear in movies. Being friends with Justin Krebs should get me into some comedy. And perhaps my Facebook friend Matt Damon will some day put me in for a few seconds. I don't even have to talk. I just want to be seen on screen.

On the walk to the Tank, I found myself talking to Melanie "from Ohio." She asked me where I was from. I said I was born in India, grew up in Nepal.

"But why would you do that? I was born in Ohio, and I grew up in Ohio," she said. I thought she was joking, but she looked serious. She made it sound like I was born and, just like Buddha, immediately started walking. I walked until I crossed the border.

She never heard of Berea.

I had questions. How did DL start? How has it grown? Do other chapters also raise and spend money?

I had fun, but at times I also felt like, what am I doing here? I should be spending more time on my startup. A startup, by definition, is high risk behavior. But then if I were not doing a startup, I would be doing something else that was high risk.

It was a good party. Justin Krebs is a good guy. If he keeps chugging along at this rate, in about a decade he might end up Time magazine's one of the most influential people in America.

I was also itching to get active with DL21C. DL does not have what DL21C has, that gravitas, that hard core political stuff, that aura, but DL21C is only in three cities, DL will soon be in all 50 states. The two organizations deserve to grow together into all 50 states.

A future President of the United States leads DL21C.

I really was enjoying my casual attire. My shirt was loud, primary color green. I had my jeans jacket on. My boots looked on the rough side. My Bruce Lee hair imitation had gone haywire.


After a very long time I also went to a DFNYC Linkup last Wednesday. I stayed half an hour. Abhishek Mistry was the convenor at Kettle O' Fish.

In The News

Barack Obama's West Virginia blues Los Angeles Times Obama in West Virginia, 60% to 24%. ........ a state that demographically is stacked against him.
China asks Nepal to punish Tibetans severely NDTV.com
McCain's 7 Steps to Beating Obama TIME calling out Obama as an unfulfilled prophet, built up on lofty rhetoric and personal charisma. ........ free media ...... the media has formed a 'protective barrier' around Obama. ...... the uncontrolled give and take with a crowd ....... McKinnon has suggested joint appearances by Obama and McCain with questions from the audience and limited moderation. Obama has said he is open to the idea. ...... McCain has not shown that he is willing to lay off hardball politics. He has repeatedly brought up the fact that a Hamas spokesman said positive things about Obama, even though Obama did not reciprocate the compliments. ...... McCain wants to be seen as a fighter who can float above the fray. ...... late night comics are foaming at the prospect of six more months worth of old man McCain jokes. ....... McCain attended 26 fundraisers in 24 cities, raising about $15 million. Obama, who was still engaged in a nomination fight, raised more than $40 million, and attended just six fundraisers. ....... God bless the Internet. Much of that Obama money will now be channeled into a major voter registration and get out the vote operation.
Is It Time to Invade Burma? the death toll will, within days, approach that of the entire number of civilians killed in the genocide in Darfur. ....... the U.S. has facilitated the delivery of humanitarian aid without the host government's consent in places like Bosnia and Sudan. ..... the Burmese government's xenophobia and insecurity make them prone to view U.S. troops — or worse, foreign relief workers — as hostile forces ....... As the response to the 2004 tsunami proved, the world's capacity for mercy is limitless. But we still haven't figured out when to give war a chance.
Obama: How He Learned to Win For a brief period that followed, Obama seemed a bit unsure about what to do with his life ........ come so far so fast ...... the lessons of his first thumping ..... He jettisoned his Harvard-tested speaking style for something more down-home. He learned how to cultivate those in power without being defined by them. And he learned how to be different things to different people: a reformer groomed by an old-fashioned machine boss, an African American heavily financed by white liberals, a Harvard lawyer whose bootstrapping life story gained traction with white ethnics. ..... figuring out "how to appeal to different constituencies without being inconsistent." ....... Bobby Rush co-founded the Illinois Black Panther Party before going mainstream as an alderman and ward committeeman. ....... Rush started off with 90% name recognition, vs. 9% for Obama ...... his delivery was stiff and professorial--"more Harvard than Chicago ....... an adviser who had watched Obama put a church audience to sleep. ....... a cultural outsider ...... "I confess to you," he told about 50 supporters on a chilly March evening, "winning is better than losing." ....... The campaign left him $60,000 in debt and unsure of his future. ...... At 38, he was a state legislator in a party out of power, a black politician trounced in the black heartland, an outsider in the tribal world of Chicago politics. His long absences from home had angered his wife. ........ When a nonprofit group dangled a high-paying job, as director, Obama was so nervous--for fear that he might get it--that his hands were shaking on the way to the interview ....... Obama learned the art of public speaking at the scores of black churches he visited in 2000, absorbing the rhythm and flourishes of pastors and watching how their congregations reacted ...... the candidate would "drop into a Southern drawl, pepper his prose with a neatly placed 'ya'll' and call up various black colloquialisms." ........ He wrote Bill Daley, a longtime Democratic wise man, saying that while it was only right for the Daleys to support a loyal friend, he hoped they would be for him if he won the primary. ...... Obama laid down a challenge to Marty Nesbitt, a top fund raiser, as he eyed the U.S. Senate. "If you raise $4 million, I have a 40% chance of winning," Nesbitt recalls him saying. "If you raise $6 million, I have a 60% chance of winning. You raise $10 million, I guarantee you I can win." ....... Chicago's biggest political donors, many of them Jewish professionals and business owners, known as lakeside liberals. ......... At his primary victory party in May 2004, he noted the improbable triumph of a "skinny guy from the South Side with a funny name like Barack Obama." And then he repeated a line that had capped his campaign commercials: "Yes, we can. Yes, we can."
The Five Mistakes Clinton Made never-say-die Clintons ..... Clinton picked people for her team primarily for their loyalty to her, instead of their mastery of the game. ....... something had happened to fund raising that Team Clinton didn't fully grasp: the Internet. ...... Clinton's strategy had been premised on delivering a knockout blow early. If she could win Iowa, she believed, the race would be over. Clinton spent lavishly there yet finished a disappointing third. What surprised the Obama forces was how long it took her campaign to retool. ...... As the first woman to have come this far, Clinton has told those close to her, she wants people who invested their hopes in her to see that she has given it her best.
Klein on Obama Why wasn't the Federal Reserve accused of pandering when it bailed out the Bear Stearns investment bank to the tune of $30 billion? ......... She seemed energized by her irresponsibility, sprung from her lifelong, eat-your-peas policy straitjacket. ..... Clinton's slim margin of victory in Indiana was provided, appropriately enough, by Republicans, who were 10% of the Democratic-primary electorate and whose votes she carried 54% to 46% — some, perhaps, at the behest of the merry prankster Rush Limbaugh, who had counseled his ditto heads to bring "chaos" to the Democratic electoral process by voting for their favorite whipping girl. ........ newfound stump proficiency ....... Clinton was spiky and histrionic in her simultaneous duel with George Stephanopoulos. She made alpha-dog power moves, standing up to talk to the live audience while Stephanopoulos remained seated, forcing him to stand uncomfortably beside her and then, later, embarrassing her host by reminiscing about his liberal, anti-NAFTA, Clinton-staffer past. ........ our prejudice toward performance values over policy ........ Obama's legion of young supporters, who were the real game changers in this year of extraordinary turnouts ....... "Yes, we know what's coming. I'm not naive. We've already seen it, the same names and labels they always pin on everyone who doesn't agree with all their ideas, the same efforts to distract us from the issues that affect our lives, by pouncing on every gaffe and association and fake controversy, in the hopes that the media will play along." .......... a robust series of debates.
Obama Takes Superdelegate Lead nine endorsements Friday. ...... "The trickle is going to become an avalanche." ..... Many of the superdelegates who endorsed Obama in the past week said it is time for the party to unite behind him. ...... Obama has added 21 superdelegates since and Clinton has had a net increase of two. ...... Kevin Rodriquez of the Virgin Islands said in a statement that he switched from Clinton to Obama because he thinks Obama has brought energy and excitement to the party. ....... From Super Tuesday on Feb. 5 to the March 4 primaries in Ohio and Texas, Obama picked up 51 superdelegates while Clinton had a net loss of one. ......... A little more than 200 superdelegates remain undecided ...... Obama is just 160.5 delegates shy of the 2,025 needed
In Burma, Fear Trumps Grief But instead of grief she seemed terrified at both her urgent need to tell her story and her decision to tell it to a foreign journalist. Burma's ruling military junta could do terrible things to her for such disregard. ........ the dominant emotional themes are fear and resignation ....... a remarkable accomplishment by the junta to have set the bar so low for competence that weariness reigns; few people express any frustration at all at the prospect of slow starvation. ........ The major turned to my driver and continued to rant: how could he bring foreigners to this disaster area? Doing so showed his utter disregard of patriotic duty. ......... He asks me whether in my country people can 'say government bad.' I say, yes, we can. He looks at me and shakes his head.
Google Wants to Facebook Friend You soon any Website can be its own Facebook. ...... the "social plumbing" business — giving every website a way to add a limitless number of applications and a means for those sites' users to communicate among themselves. ...... in a few months Google will open up Friend Connect to any website or blog ....... 2008 is shaping up to be a pivotal year in the Web's development
Clinton Compares her Plight to JFK CBS News poised to beat Obama here by as much as 30 points.
Obama takes the lead in superdelegate countCNN
Obama outpolling Clinton:Gallup
Baltimore Sun
Obama’s General Election Travel Plans New York Times
Obama camp: Clinton not looking for a deal CNN
Clinton, Obama promise unity against GOP Louisiana Weekly
Don't push her! Clinton's campaign chair warns fellow Democrats Los Angeles Times Even when the situation is clearly hopeless to everyone else -- dead, gone, deceased, buried, cold -- quitting doesn't seem to be a page in their playbook. They cling to an almost mystical belief in something unexpected happening to save their bacon. And with serial justification. ....... When he was the committee chairman, McAuliffe took a hard line on stripping delegates from states that refused to follow DNC rules.
Obama turns his fire on Republicans as Clinton's bid falters Scotsman