the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

October 23, 2005

DL National


Yesterday afternoon, Keith and I participated on a conference call from Drinking Liberally chapters all over the country. We counted 30 cities, and multiple representatives from each city on this call. I wanted to give just a couple of quick impressions .

I know I/we tend to think of Drinking Liberally in terms of the local chapter, but it’s nice to know there’s a national organization with an eye towards the future. I know I’m excited, and hope you are, too.

October 20, 2005

Yes, Virginia, There is a Secret Cabal


Steve Clemons has a post up at TPMCafe that I’d have to rate as one of the most important things I’ve read recently. Steve is reporting on a talk that former State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson gave at the New America foundation yesterday.

Wilkerson is saying that the framer’s of US foreign policy in the era after WWII wanted to avoid another Roosevelt. Nothing against FDR, it’s just that the notion of power concentrated in the Executive branch could lead to the situation that Eisenhower warned us about: where the country is run by the military-industrial complex.

As Wilkerson puts it:

October 19, 2005

DCDL Thursdays


For those of you who are on the mailing list I wanted to add some clarifications about DCDL on Thursdays.

First, the time and the place are the same as they ever were. Second, Keith and I are also in the process of lining up speakers for Thursdays, optimally on a once-a-month basis. Between the two of us we’ll coordinate Thursday nights starting, well… now. Cory will be coordinating Wednesday nights at Mark&Orlando’s.

I also wanted to emphasize in case there was any confusion, we’re very happy with Timberlake’s. I understand that Cory wanted to try something different, thus the new location. Actually, if we ever want to do a screening on a Thursday, Mark&Orlando is an ideal place for it, so we may go there for an evening on occassion.

See you at Timberlake’s Thursday! (Oh, and don’t forget to sign up on the new mailing list)

October 18, 2005

The Colbert Report


I stayed up late tonight to watch the first Colbert Report, and thought things went very well. I don’t know how long Comedy Central can keep it up, but this appears to be the beginning of something promising.

Now, anyone who has been part of the theater scene knows this, but I can imagine that some were confused by the Stone Phillips headline of: “What a to-do to do today at a quarter or two to two…”

That line is a standard vocal warmup for actors, particularly in the New York area, where the t’s approximate the Dutch d’s.

I believe the point was that news is not distinct from theater, at least not the way it is now.

October 17, 2005

Brownback Watch


Senate Appropriations Chair Sam Brownback has proposed and begun hearings for creating Marriage Development Accounts:

The marriage development account program would simply build on the concept of already existing individual development accounts—IDAs—which came out of welfare reform.

IDAs are basically savings accounts, with the federal government matching every dollar saved with a $3 contribution. The idea is for account holders to save money that they can invest in an “asset” they want to acquire—such as a first home, a degree or starting a small business.

Curiously, he isn’t proposing MDA’s for Kansas, where he was elected, but for here in DC. Brownback likes to think of our nation’s capital as a proving ground for new ideas. It’s only natural, then, that those of us that live here should be thought of as Republican test subjects, guiney pigs to get the bugs worked out before new programs are approved for, you know… regular people.

I can’t help but think of another recent episode involving Brownback, DC, and marriage.

October 15, 2005

Darkness and Light


Hello, y’all, this is my first posting here, so please be gentle. I promise not to swear too much like I do at home (so to speak), otherwise, there should be no surprises for anyone.

That having been said.

Murphy’s Law is an expression of frustration. Our memory tends to be inexact about what we’ve done right, and the ease with which we remember the very worst things about what has gone wrong is truly staggering. Murphy’s law is built on both this tendency, and on our very human need to find connections between everything. Keep that in mind through this little report, but I promise, it’s not going to be terribly difficult to spot the conflicts.

October 14, 2005

Out-of-Town Guests


Last night’s DCDL meeting drew unexpected guests: bloggers from New York, London, and, er, just around the corner:

A good time was had by all (as far as I could tell). Thanks to all of them for stopping by!

October 12, 2005

The Pro-Impeachment Platform


I was thinking about the following quote from today’s White House Briefing:

The question: “If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him.”

AfterDowningStreet.org reports on the results .

“By a margin of 50% to 44%, Americans say that President Bush should be impeached if he lied about the war in Iraq, according to a new poll. . . .

“The poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,001 U.S. adults on October 8-9.”

The Zogby poll in June found 42 percent of respondents agreed with a very similar statement.

If I was running for a US House seat in 2006, I would definitely consider running on a pro-impeachment platform. As far as I can tell, Healthcare, Social Security, the decline in median wages, are all critical pocket-book issues that voters ignore when they get into the voting booth. No, they just think about gay marriage and abortion, and this makes them pull the lever for a Republican. Of course, I know it’s not an actual lever, just as surely as I know that Diebold has probably pre-determined the 2006 electoral outcome anyway.

What I’m saying is that the Left needs a wedge issue that works just as well as these other issues work for the Right. And I believe that wedge issue is impeachment. Here’s my proposed slogan: Vote yes to impeach Bush in 2006, it’ll make America stronger.

I think it’s a winner.

October 9, 2005

Innocent Voices


Occasionally, you get an unexpected treat.

Tonight, for instance, I went to the Amnesty International Film Festival at the National Geographic Center, not expecting to see an important film based on Oscar Torres’s experience as a child evading the death squads of El Salvador.

I confess I was there for less auspicious reasons. First, I was there for what we called in my college years “face time.” I don’t know if the expression still exists in modern terms, but the basic idea is that if you fall, but if MSNBC, PBS and the major blogs aren’t there to see you fall, then you don’t exist. Second, I got a free pass.

Now, before talking about the film and the general experience of the evening, I wanted to emphasize how good the independent film scene is in DC. It’s good not just because the best stuff comes here, but because the artists also want to come here and talk about their work.

I was active on the independent film scene in Boston, from where I’m recently transplanted. A lot of that experience involved what I’ll call a kind of tribal warfare. You may be shocked to know that within very progressive organizations, nasty fights can break out, and while this might serve some kind of Social Darwinistic ends, careers and people get hurt in the process.

Some of my experiences might serve as a good yarn on a foul weather day, but right now, I’d rather not name names. Back to the film.

The principle action of Innocent Voices is set in the Regan years, when government-sponsored death squads terrorized small villages of El Salvador. They fight a guerilla movement, allegedly Communist, but more to the point of the film, rebelling against the military dictatorship. Explained during the discussion afterwards was that the guerilla movement was cast as Communist to attract funding and military assistance from the Regan administration.

The crucial plot point is that all males, as soon as they became 12, were inducted in the army. Since most sensible 12-year-olds don’t want to actually fight in actual combat, the problem is how can they hide from the “recruitment.” We watch the real-life story of Oscar Torres, who calls himself “Chava” in the screenplay, how he defies the military occupation, falls in love, and ultimately survives.

At the discussion after the film tonight was Oscar Torres, director Luis Mandoki, and one of the stars of the film (not in the notes, so I’ll update as soon as I get her name). Now, I’ve been to a lot of after-screening discussions. People, tonight, were on the edge of their seat wanting to know more. Why were we in El Salvador? Apparently, because the threat of Communism, made a lot of people fat, happy and rich. How could they allow recuitment of 12-year-olds? For the same reason that we allow 14-year-olds to be courted by army recruiters. Why does this remind me of Iraq? Because while the film was about one’s persons experience, the problem of state-sponsored military intervention is a universal one.

Innocent Voices will open at the Landmark Theaters, E Street and Bethesda, as well as Loewe’s Georgetown over the next week.

September 19, 2005

Arctic Action Day


As some of you may know, tomorrow is Arctic Action Day here in the nation’s capitol. More info at the Alaska Wilderness League if you’re interested.

A good article here covering the latest developments, from which I’ll grab a few bullets:

As someone who has followed this issue for a while, I’ll say that the amount of disinformation on this topic is huge. The chief beneficiary will be Exxon-Mobil, the remaining supporter of Arctic Power, the pro-drilling lobbying group.

What’s interesting is that Senator Stevens (R-Alaska) appears to have abandoned the Energy Independence baloney that others have used to justify drilling. Instead, his argument is drilling in ANWR is necessary to keep from busting the budget:

“If you look at it, ANWR’s dollar sign is $2.4 billion,” he said. “That’s needed to keep this budget balanced now, as far as the routine budget. There’s no question about that now. I think they’ve looked for other areas but the budget itself can’t be approved unless somewhere the Energy Committee can raise $2.4 billion. I don’t see any other place in the economy they can do it other than ANWR.”

Let’s see if I get this: we’ve spent $200 billion on Iraq and plan to spend another $200 billion on New Orleans. And ANWR is supposed to save us from fiscal disaster?


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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