the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

August 30, 2006

Joe Lieberman Procures Sunset to Ride Off Into


I’m trying to avoid posting too often about the Connecticut Senate race, but sometimes Lieberman’s buffoonery (along with my interest in a state where I lived for a while) makes it impossible to resist. The Lieberman campaign has released a new ad that’s being ridiculed across the web (including some YouTube comments that were deleted).

The strangest thing about the ad, aside from its lack of content, is that it features a sunset — not be the best image for a politician who’s trying to convince people that he’s not in the twilight of his Senate career. When asked about the image, Dan Gerstein, Lieberman’s communications director, true to form, lies through his teeth:

In an interview, Gerstein took issue with the idea that the sun is setting. “It’s actually a sunrise,” Gerstein said. “It’s very much a sunrise.”

Judge for yourself. Here are two images, the first from 10 seconds into the ad, the second from 23 seconds:
Sun higher Sun lower
If the Lieberman campaign thinks the sun gets lower when it’s rising, it’s no wonder their campaign is in trouble.

For further confirmation that the image is a sunset, and far from Connecticut, commenter JeffW at MyDD discovered that the ad uses segments of two stock video clips from Getty Images. The first clip is described as “Wide shot sun setting over ocean / birds walking along water’s edge / Santa Barbara”, while the second is “Wide shot sun setting behind clouds with ocean in foreground / Santa Barbara, California”. So give it up, Dan — it’s a sunset.

Update (8:49 pm): Gerstein admits it’s a sunset.

August 28, 2006

More DC Endorsements: Tenants vs. Landlords


As long as I’m going through endorsements, I’ll cover one that I’ve seen evidence of around my neighborhood. The DC Tenants Advocacy Coalition (TENAC) has been posting flyers listing its endorsements for the September 12 primary on bus shelters and various other places. For the first time ever, TENAC has endorsed “none of the above” for mayor:

After listening to months of promises, promises, promises, almost none having to do with rent control, affordable housing, and tenants’ rights, issues of key importance to the two-thirds of the city’s population who are tenants, TENAC says, “thanks, but no thanks.”

On the other side of the eternal struggle between tenants and landlords, METPAC, the political action committee of the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington, has made its endorsements (which at-large council candidate A. Scott Bolden has included on his site).

So let’s compare the endorsements:

Mayor —— Linda Cropp
City Council, Chair Vincent Gray Vincent Gray
City Council, At Large Phil Mendelson A. Scott Bolden
City Council, Ward 1 Jim Graham ——
City Council, Ward 3 Bill Rice ——
City Council, Ward 5 Harry Thomas Jr. ——
City Council, Ward 6 Tommy Wells Tommy Wells
Delegate to the House Eleanor Holmes Norton ——
Shadow Senator Philip Pannell ——
Shadow Representative John Forster ——

So Gray and Wells managed to keep both sides happy, but this is one of several indications that Mendelson has more populist positions than Bolden. TENAC also endorsed at-large council candidate Antonio Dominguez, an independent, who won’t be on the ballot until the November general election.

Business Groups Endorse DC Primary Candidates


Whether you think business has too much influence in city politics here in DC or too little, it’s useful to know which candidates the business community is supporting in the election. The political action committees of the DC Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Washington Board of Trade have endorsed the same set of candidates:

The Board of Trade’s PAC also endorsed the reelection of At Large Councilmember David Catania, who is an independent and thus won’t be on the ballot until the November general election.

I’ve previously posted endorsement lists for DC for Democracy and the Sierra Club, as well as a complete list of Democratic primary candidates.

August 27, 2006

Joe Lieberman Asks Us to Believe Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast


Via Atrios, I see that Joe Lieberman has an op-ed in the Hartford Courant this morning. The overall theme of the piece — that Lieberman, the 18-year incumbent, is an agent of change, while Ned Lamont represents the status quo — is ridiculous enough, but the passage about Iraq is delusional:

I believe that the best way for us to win the war in Iraq is to come together — the administration, Congress, and Republicans and Democrats — to find a solution that will allow our troops to come home with Iraq united and free, with the Middle East stable and the terrorists denied a victory [and everyone getting a pony].

Lieberman is asking us, like the White Queen, to believe six impossible things before breakfast:


August 26, 2006

Statewide Candidates for 2006 Maryland Democratic Primary


Since the Maryland primary is also coming up on September 12, and since some DCDL folks live in Maryland, I thought I’d put together a list of candidates like the one I did for DC. But things in Maryland are a lot more complicated. This year Marylanders can vote for candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney general, state senators, state delegates (usually three of those for each legislative district), circuit court judges, county executives, county council members or commissioners, county treasurers, state’s attorneys, clerks of the circuit courts, registers of wills, judges of the orphans’ court, sheriffs, members of the board of education, members of the party central committees, city offices, US senator, and US representative, and your ballot depends on which of the overlapping counties, congressional districts, and state legislative districts you live in (mdelect.net can tell you if you’re not sure).

Given all that, I’m going to stick with a rundown of the candidates for statewide office that all registered Democrats in Maryland have the opportunity to vote for. I may post something later about candidates in some of the districts near DC (for now, see the Maryland State Board of Elections for more information).


August 24, 2006

DC Democratic Primary Candidates for 2006


I haven’t found an up-to-date list of DC candidates with links to their websites, so I’ve put one together. I’m only listing Democrats, since the Statehood Green and Republican primary candidates are all unopposed.

If you’re a registered Democrat in DC (and if you’re not already registered it’s too late for this primary), you can vote on September 12 for candidates for six citywide offices, plus a councilmember for your ward if you live in Ward 1, 3, 5, or 6. If you don’t know your ward, this form will tell you.

I’ve put the candidates in the order they appear on the ballot and marked the incumbents with an asterisk. (Warning: For many of these sites, you’ll want to turn off your speakers if you’re at work or somewhere else where noises aren’t welcome.)


August 23, 2006

No Grants for You, Evolutionary Biologists!


The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that evolutionary biology is mysteriously missing from the list of subjects the US Department of Education will provide “Smart Grants” for study in. Political Animal, the Carpetbagger Report, Shakespeare’s Sister, Hit and Run, and dozens of other blogs have mentioned the story, but so far none that I’ve seen has included a graphic like this (derived from the original PDF), which shows exactly how blatant the omission is:


August 21, 2006

Party With DC for Democracy and DC Candidates


Our friends at DC for Democracy are having a fundraiser Wednesday. It’s a great group of people, so come out and support them.

Mingle with candidates, have a few drinks, meet new people, and improve the political landscape at a fundraiser for the District’s largest unaligned progressive group of activists, community leaders, and everyday voters working for positive change in our local government and recognition in America’s legislature.

Join DC for Democracy and their endorsed candidates for the 2006 DC elections:

at a fundraiser to support their political activity in the upcoming elections.


August 18, 2006

Sierra Club Endorsements for DC Primary


In spreading the word about Drinking Liberally, one of the local groups that I try to do cross-fertilization with is the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club. The club has made its endorsements for the September 12 Democratic primary in DC, but they don’t seem to be on its website anywhere, so I thought I’d quote them here (I’ve added links to the candidates’ websites):

Council chair — Vincent Gray
Gray stands out for his forward-thinking approach to public transit and his commitment to cleaning up the Anacostia River and protecting our parkland. He has been a consensus-builder in his ward, and as chair he will push the council to advance the city’s environmental agenda.

At Large — Phil Mendelson
Mendelson has been an unwavering environmental supporter over the last eight years, shining as a leader on issues of renewable energy sources, restricting the transport of hazardous materials, promoting restoration of the District’s tree cover, and more. He is committed to protecting the District’s green space for generations to come.

Ward 1 — Jim Graham
Graham has been an outspoken leader on public transportation issues during his two terms, playing an instrumental role in improving and expanding Metro service and replacing dirty diesel buses with clean natural gas buses.

Ward 3 — Mary Cheh
Tops in an excellent field of candidates, Cheh will prove to be a knowledgeable and articulate advocate for parkland protection and transit-oriented development.

Ward 6 — Tommy Wells
Wells understands how to improve the quality of our urban environment by improving transit, cycling and walking opportunities.

The club has not made endorsements in the mayoral and Ward 5 contests at this time.

There are no conflicts between these endorsements and those by DC for Democracy, though there are some races where one group made an endorsement and the other didn’t.

August 17, 2006

The hidden GOP challenge: voter suppression


It’s more than just balky voting machines that may threaten Democrats this November. Check out this article on Salon.com’s Shameful Six states that have passed measures such as photo I.D. laws, criminalizing voter registration or widespread purging of voter rolls aimed at thwarting Democratic constituencies. Here’s the opening section of the article:

Aug. 15, 2006 | Eva Steele has a son in the military who is supposed to be fighting for freedom in Iraq, but sitting in a wheelchair in her room in a Mesa, Ariz., assisted-living facility, she wonders why it’s so hard for her to realize a basic freedom back here in America: the right to vote.

Arriving in Arizona in January from Kansas City, weakened by four heart attacks and degenerative disk disease, Steele, 57, discovered that without a birth certificate she can’t register to vote. Under a draconian new Arizona law that supposedly targets illegal immigrants, she needs proof of citizenship and a state-issued driver’s license or photo I.D. to register. But her van and purse were stolen in the first few weeks after she moved to Mesa, and with her disability checks going to rent and medicine, she can’t afford the $15 needed to get her birth certificate from Missouri. Her wheelchair makes it hard for her to navigate the bus routes or the bureaucratic maze required to argue with state bureaucrats. She’s unable to overcome the hurdles thrown in her way — and in the way of as many as 500,000 other Arizona residents — by the state’s Republican politicians.

“I think everybody should have the right to vote, no matter if you’ve got two nickels or you’re a millionaire,” Steele says. “I think it’s a shame you have to jump through so many hoops to prove that you’re the person who you say you are.”

But Steele’s plight has gotten relatively little notice from pundits and progressive activists confidently predicting a sweeping Democratic victory in November. Opinion polls show that a majority of the public wants a Democratic Congress, but whether potential voters — black and Latino voters in particular — will be able to make their voices heard on Election Day is not assured. Across the country, they will have to contend with Republican-sponsored schemes to limit voting. In a series of laws passed since the 2004 elections, Republican legislators and officials have come up with measures to suppress the turnout of traditional Democratic voting blocs. This fall the favored GOP techniques are new photo I.D. laws, the criminalizing of voter registration drives, and database purges that have disqualified up to 40 percent of newly registered voters from voting in such jurisdictions as Los Angeles County.

“States that are hostile to voting rights have — intentionally or unintentionally — created laws or regulations that prevent people from registering, staying on the rolls, or casting a ballot that counts,” observes Michael Slater, the election administration specialist for Project Vote, a leading voter registration and voting rights group. And with roughly a quarter of the country’s election districts having adopted new voting equipment in the past two years alone, there’s a growing prospect that ill-informed election officials, balky machines and restrictive new voting rules could produce a “perfect storm” of fiascos in states such as Ohio, Florida, Arizona and others that have a legacy of voting rights restrictions or chaotic elections. “People with malicious intent can gum up the works and cause an Election Day meltdown,” Steele says.

There is rarely hard proof of the Republicans’ real agenda. One of the few public declarations of their intent came in 2004, when then state Rep. John Pappageorge of Michigan, who’s now running for a state Senate seat, was quoted by the Detroit Free Press: “If we do not suppress the Detroit [read: black ] vote, we’re going to have a tough time in this election cycle.”

For the 2006 elections, with the control of the House and the Senate in the balance, Salon has selected six states with the most serious potential for vote suppression and the greatest potential for affecting the outcome of key races.

The six states are Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, California and Missouri. Ohio 2004 wasn’t just a Democratic nightmare, it’s the GOP’s playbook.


DCDL is a blog by Washington, DC-area members of Drinking Liberally. Opinions expressed are the writers’, not those of Drinking Liberally, which provides no funding or other support for this blog.

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