the blog of DC Drinking Liberally
We’ve written before about the media’s desperate attempts to portray congressional corruption as being a problem affecting Republicans and Democrats equally. Nowadays you’d expect those seeking bipartisan scandals to be rejoicing over the recent troubles of Democrat William Jefferson. But focusing on Jefferson is just too obvious for some people, and it can be hard to pretend that one isolated corrupt Democratic congressman can balance a network of corruption at the center of the Republican Party.
John Solomon of the Associated Press continues to go the extra mile in smearing Senate minority leader Harry Reid, by suggesting yet again that he must be guilty of something, even though he didn’t break any laws or even vote the way his supposed bribers wanted. Paul Kiel of TPMmuckraker has the details.
Alt Hippo and I have talked frequently about the asymmetry in treatment and perception of the “angry right” and the “angry left”. In yet another example, Glenn Greenwald explains the lessons the right (and much of the media) want us to learn from the recent experiences of John McCain and other graduation speakers:
So, to re-cap the rules: (1) When a pro-war politician gives a pro-war speech as part of a graduation ceremony, and students in the audience heckle and boo him, that shows how Deranged the Angry Left is — because they heckled a pro-war speech. (2) When an anti-war politician gives an anti-war speech as part of a graduation ceremony, and students in the audience heckle, walk out and even riot, that also shows how Angry the Left is — because they “provoked a near riot” by pro-war students.
We are pleased and proud to host Ken Silverstein this Thursday, May 25, 6:30-9 (while the evening will go 6:30-9, Mr. Silverstein will be speaking from 7:30-8:15, and will need to leave promptly).
Mr. Silverstein is the Washington editor for Harper’s magazine. His bio, from the Harper’s website:
Ken Silverstein is the Washington Editor for Harper’s Magazine, and a regular contributor to both the print and web version of Harper’s. A former reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Silverstein has covered such topics as intelligence collaboration between the CIA and controversial foreign governments in Sudan and Libya, political corruption in Washington, and links between American oil companies and repressive foreign governments. His 2004 series “The Politics of Petroleum,” co-written with T. Christian Miller, won an Overseas Press Club Award. His stories on ties between the government of Equatorial Guinea and major U.S. companies—including Riggs Bank, ExxonMobil and Marathon Oil—led to the convening of a federal grand jury, and to investigations by the Senate and the Securities and Exchange Commission. His report, co-written with Chuck Neubauer, on a lobbying business opened by Karen Weldon, daughter of Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, led to the opening of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
Silverstein has been an outspoken gadfly in the newspaper business. In December of 2005, a memo he wrote to his editors at the Los Angeles Times expressing his dismay over their insistence on false “balance” was discussed in an article by Michael Massing in The New York Review of Books. While reporting on potential voter fraud in St. Louis in 2004, Silverstein was angered to learn that his findings were to be woven into a larger “balanced” piece on accusations being made nationwide, when it was clear that Republican charges of irregularities in St. Louis were insubstantial. “I am completely exasperated by this approach to the news,” Silverstein wrote. “The idea seems to be that we go out to report but when it comes time to write we turn off our brains and repeat the spin from both sides.”
Mr. Silverstein is also noted for starting the newsletter Counterpunch.
The Absurdist e-mailed me an alert about an important event tomorrow:
Come to Rayburn House Office Building room 2154 on Thursday, May 18 at 3:30 to show your support for legislation to give Washington, D.C. a vote in Congress.
The landscape has changed very suddenly on DC voting rights legislation. Tom Davis (R-VA) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) have introduced a new bill, the DC Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act of 2006 (H.R. 5388), which incorporates many of the elements of Tom Davis’ DC Fairness Act but corrects elements that many Democrats had objected to. This bill is scheduled for mark-up in the House Government Reform committee on the afternoon of Thursday, May 18. It is expected to be reported out of committee, however, it could languish from there without ever being scheduled for a floor vote. A strong, broadly bipartisan vote from the commitee would help to get this bill scheduled for a floor vote. Our goal is to pack the committee room to show popular support for this bill.
The act, also known as DC VRA, would give the District a real vote in the House of Representatives, so DC residents would actually have a person to write to when someone says “Write your congressperson.” There’s more information at DC Vote.
Over at the Corner, John Podhoretz is unhappy:
Suddenly, immigration restriction has become one of those issues about which one is not permitted to disagree, because to disagree is to join with the forces of Evil. Those who favor a less restrictive policy are said to be bought and paid for by Big Business, to want to oppress poor American minorities who can’t earn a decent wage, and to seek the cultural destruction of America. Chief among these villains, it appears, is the president of the United States, whose efforts on behalf of conservative causes — from faith-based policies to stem-cell research to a strict-constructionist judiciary to entitlement reform and massive tax cuts — have all fallen down the memory hole. He is not a conservative, my e-mailers tell me. He is Jorge Arbusto, an agent of the Mexican government. And neither, by the way, am I, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and someone who left mainstream journalism to toil in the fields of conservative media when conservative media weren’t cool, to put it mildly.
Intolerance on the right? How shocking! I really feel for JPod. Who could have imagined that people who regularly denounce other Americans as traitors and terrorist lovers would be so nasty to people who disagree with them?
If you’re a Virginia resident who’s not yet registered to vote, there’s still time to get it done and participate in the primary election coming up on June 13. Download the form from the Virginia State Board of Elections site and get it postmarked by Monday, May 15.
Then, if you’re a Democrat, you can have a say in whether former Navy secretary Jim Webb (warning: site has background noise) or former IT lobbyist Harris Miller will get the nomination and go on to face fake cowboy and presidential aspirant Republican George Allen in the Senate race. Depending on where you live, there may be other primary contests as well.
Primaries are important. Participate in the process!
Three interesting book events this week, and I’m going to try to make it to all of them:
Tonight, Tuesday, May 9, our friends at The American Prospect magazine and the AFL-CIO are hosting a book launch party and panel discussion entitled, “Fighting the Hostile Takeover in America’s Red States” Speakers include Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D), author Thomas Frank, columnist Harold Meyerson, David Sirota and, ah…well me. I’ll be joining the panel to talk about how MoveOn members make a difference across the country.
You are invited. Here are the details.
What: “Fighting the Hostile Takeover in America’s Red States” panel discussion and book party.
Who: Special guests include Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D), author Thomas Frank, columnist Harold Meyerson, David Sirota and MoveOn’s Tom Matzzie.
When: Tonight: Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 7:00 PM.
Where: AFL-CIO Building, 815 16th Street N.W., Washington, D.C
(Metro: Red Line Farragut North or Blue/Orange Line McPherson Square)
Books will be made available for purchase at the event by Politics & Prose bookstore.
The book explores how corruption is supported in Congress and takes a critical look at the dealings of politicians in both parties. It is a useful reference book. For example, when you hear an issue discussed — like energy — you can look up all of the big ideas progressives have for dealing with energy issues. At the same time it provides the facts for de-bunking the right-wing spin. […]
6:30 - 8:00 PM (Langston Room) Two Authors/One Event! — Sasha Abramsky and Marc Mauer — In his revised edition of his seminal book on race, class, and the criminal justice system, Race to Incarcerate, Marc Mauer, executive director of one of the United States’ leading criminal justice reform organizations, offers the most up-to-date look available at three decades of prison expansion in America. The book tells the tragic story of runaway growth in the number of prisons and jails and the over reliance on imprisonment to stem problems of economic and social development. Race to Incarcerate documents the enormous financial and human toll of the “get tough” movement, and argues for more humane and productive alternatives.
In his new book Conned: How Millions Went to Prison, Lost the Vote, and Helped Send George W. Bush to the White House, Abramsky takes us on a journey through disenfranchised America, detailing the revival of antidemocratic laws that came of age in the post-Civil War segregationist South, and profiling Americans who are fighting to regain the right to vote. Sasha Abramsky is a freelance journalist. His work has appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, New York magazine, The Village Voice, and Rolling Stone. This event is free and open to the public.
Saturday, May 13, 1 p.m.
LAPDOGS (Free Press, $25)
Boehlert, a former Salon.com journalist, has written an extended indictment of the mainstream media in their coverage of the Bush administration. Rather than performing the role of watchdogs, such media giants as the New York Times, CNN, and CBS, he contends, have committed journalistic malpractice with their soft coverage and failure to challenge President Bush.
Take Back America 2006 will take place June 12-14 at the Washington Hilton:
The Take Back America conference brings together thousands of progressive activists, thinkers and leaders to discuss the ideas, hone the message, train the organizers, and build the infrastructure we need.
Speakers include Wesley Clark, John Murtha, David Sirota, Katrina Van den Heuvel, Robert Greenwald (and his new Tom DeLay movie), Matt Stoller, Jane Hamsher, Jerome Armstrong, Barney Frank, John Conyers, Russ Feingold, John Podesta, Sherrod Brown, Kevin Philips, Barack Obama, and Nancy Pelosi.
Sounds like something worth checking out, if you can spare the time and money. And if you register today (sorry for the late notice), you can still get the earlybird discount on the conference fee.
I’ve signed up, so no doubt you’ll be seeing some reports about it here next month.
At Drinking Liberally last night, I mentioned I’d run across some of Christopher Hitchens comments on Hugh Hewitt’s Hackfest. For your amusement, I’ve excerpted some of the more choice bits. He’s discussing Professor Juan Cole, probably the most visible scholar on Middle Eastern affairs, noted author, fluent in multiple languages, and a frequent subject matter expert on the News Hour with Jim Leher.
Hitchens, on the other hand, once a distinguished foreign correspondent, is known mostly for his ability to consume mass quantities, to put it euphemistically.
Of course, Hitchens also says during the interview: “The ad hominem is widely and rightly denounced, because it shows a collapse on the part of the person who uses it.”
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