the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

September 19, 2007

First Freedom First at DC Drinking Liberally


We hope you can join us on Thursday September 20, 6:30-9, as we host Eric Shutt, director of First Freedom First, in the back room of Timberlake’s (1726 Connecticut Ave NW, Dupont Circle Metro).

First Freedom First is a partnership of two organizations — The Interfaith Alliance Foundation and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Their mission is to protect our religious liberty and separation of church and state.

Phil Donahue had this to say about First Freedom First: “The Founders were right. Never let the pompously pious politicians pretend they have God (and you don’t). First Freedom volunteers are today’s patriots, the ground troops in the fight against those who would make America a theocratic nation of one religion: Theirs.”

The evening will start off with happy hour from 6:30-7:30 followed by Eric’s talk and Q&A, 7:30-8:15. We’ll be hanging until 9 or so.

More about Eric Shutt:

August 31, 2007

Links From Thursday Night


We had a great turnout at DC Drinking Liberally last night, and I thought I’d post a few random links related to conversations I had there:

Hello again!


It was nice to see everyone yesterday evening, and it was a lot of fun. I got a lot done I didn’t intend to, mostly by talking about the concepts behind the book I’m writing - though I did learn one important lesson.

Trying to reasonably discuss the book you’re writing (and associated concepts) about the mechanisms behind emotion, group identity, and addiction that influence our political and social decisions is a lot harder when you’re going through nicotine withdrawal.

Back to the drawing board on the whole quitting smoking thing.

August 22, 2007

Chris Bowers at DC Drinking Liberally


This Thursday, August 23, DC Drinking Liberally is pleased to have as our special guest Chris Bowers of Open Left. Here’s his bio from that site:

Chris Bowers was a full-time editor at MyDD from May 2004 until June 2007. A compilation of his most influential writing on MyDD can be found here. Some of his projects have included the creation of the Liberal Blog Advertising Network, the first scientifically random poll of progressive netroots activists, the Use It Or Lose It campaign, the nation’s most accurate forecast of Democratic house pickups in 2006, and the 2006 Googlebomb the Elections campaign. He is also the treasurer of BlogPac, a fellow at the Commonweal Institute, on the advisory board of The Democratic Strategist, and has personally joined in “the silent revolution” by winning a seat on the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee. Bowers is 33, lives in Philadelphia, and occasionally works as a netroots consultant for progressive candidates and organizations including SEIU, Media Matters, and Congressman Brad Miller’s 2006 re-election campaign.

The evening starts with a happy hour from 6:30 7:30, followed by Chris’s talk and Q&A. As usual for our speaker nights, we’ll have free appetizers, and drink discounts last until 9.

It all goes down in the back room at Timberlake’s, 1726 Connecticut Ave NW (a couple of blocks north of the Dupont Circle Metro). Subscribe to our e-mail announcement list to keep up to date with our events.

Photo by Aaron G Stock.

August 6, 2007

Statistics, Schmatistics!


Two Brookings scholars, Ken Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon, seem to have revived the battle over success/the lack thereof in Iraq. O’Hanlon and Pollack, both supporters of the Iraq invasion, took it to a whole new level last week following their return from a trip to Iraq in which they argued in a NY Times op-ed, “We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq.” By now various observers have pointed out that the O’Hanlon-Pollack commentary seemed to be all but entirely based on anecdotal observations and conversations with decidedly optimistic figures in Iraq. But let’s focus on Michael O’Hanlon. Michael O’Hanlon is the author/editor of the Iraq Index, a nearly real-time statistical roundup of the violent goings-on in Iraq and an indispensable resource to those who are trying to judge the progress of Bush’s war. What might be the most appalling part of this is that O’Hanlon seemed to be rendering judgment without even considering his own Iraq Index.

So how about we take a look at the Iraq Index ourselves?


I just don’t understand it.


Been gone a while, but Webb’s action this weekend has rousted me out of my quiet seclusion. I think I’m at what emptypocket calls Stage Five of the political grieving process over Senator Webb’s vote on the FISA amendments this weekend.

Via Lowell at Raising Kaine, here is Webb’s statement justifying his vote to capitulate to Bush’s demands on FISA:

Yesterday I supported two measures to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. These measures were considered against the backdrop of heightened concerns from our nation’s intelligence community abut the threat of international terrorism. The ramifications of the two amendments before us last night were not political. Instead they related to the urgent demands of national security. I chose to heed those warnings. We now have six months to work in earnest to bring full accountability to the process.

This distinction and the threats to national security were stated clearly by Admiral McConnell as well as four of the eight Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. These members, Senators Feinstein, Mikulski, Bayh, and Bill Nelson, have extensive experience on intelligence matters and are respected champions of civil rights and liberties. They chose to give significant weight and deference to the intelligence community on FISA reform, and so did I.

There is near uniform, bipartisan agreement on the need to reform FISA to reflect modern telecommunications and information technology. We must do so in a way that safeguards basic civil and constitutional rights. But we must also remember that the terrorist threat to the nation is extremely serious. I remain fully committed to bringing accountability to this process, and to protecting the privacy rights of all Americans.

I don’t buy it. It must have been one hell of a presentation to sway someone whose last big interaction with Bush went so very badly, but then I remember that Powell’s presentation to the UN was “convincing” to some as well, and wonder if the same lack of specificity and factual grounding might apply. Congress has not shown itself to be free from the Washington Groupthink mentality that got us into the war - far from it. Not only that, but there are very, very few people in Congress right now who can reasonably claim to be champions of Civil Liberties - and right now, I suspect that this is going to be (if it is not already) a greater problem than terrorism.

Every time Bush has been given more power, whether it be to fight a war, repair a disaster area, or give money to faith-based charities, he’s either made a mess of it, outright destroyed what he was expected to preserve, turned the new powers or tools to ends not mentioned in his original push for said expansion, or (best case) just sort of muddled along ineffectively. Exactly every time he’s claimed something will happen, it hasn’t happened that way. Seriously, every time Bush has succeeded at something, it’s been to the detriment of anyone who doesn’t support him, and more often than not also to the detriment of those who do! Why should he be trusted with anything?

Madgranny in the comments at DailyKos says it quite plainly:

why the hell haven’t they raised the level on their rainbow chart? Bush pushes “terror” and “kill your children” out of his ass every time he demands something. And the Dems are still so afraid of being called “weak on terror”, they let it cripple them every time. The American people are catching on to these “coincidential terror alerts”. When will Congressional Dems?

When, indeed?

July 17, 2007

Jared Bernstein at DCDL


We are pleased to announce that on Thursday, July 26, 6:30-9, our special guest will be Jared Bernstein. He’ll be discussing the new paperback edition of his book “All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy.”

The evening begins with Happy Hour 6:30-7:30 in the back room of Timberlake’s, 1726 Connecticut Ave NW (Dupont Circle Metro). The book discussion will run 7:30-8:15 with informal discussion and book signing until 9.

Books, supplied by Olsson’s Books, will be available for sale at the event. Light appetizers will be served.

You may have read Mr. Bernstein’s work at the American Prospect and TPMCafe. If not, you will certainly hear his ideas in the upcoming presidential race. Economic fairness, be it in the form of affordable health care, affordable college tuition, Social Security, or tax cuts for the wealthy, underlines a key difference between the two parties.

Mr. Bernstein describes the difference in terms of a conservative belief that Your On Your Own (YOYO) vs. a progressive belief that We’re In This Together (WITT). The difference is hardly theoretical. It means the difference between a society where the rich get richer, and one where society as a whole shares the risk and the benefits.

Barbara Ehrenreich, bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch writes:

“Jared Bernstein is to most economic writers what Red Bull is to a decaf latte. In All Together Now he makes such a rousing case for mutual responsibility and shared risk that you’ll leap out of your chair and into action. Everyone in the sub-billionaire class needs to read this book and send a gift copy to his or her elected officials.”


Jared Bernstein joined the Economic Policy Institute in 1992. He is the author of the new book, “All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy.” His areas of research include income inequality and mobility, trends in employment and earnings, low-wage labor markets and poverty, international comparisons, and the analysis of federal and state economic policies. Between 1995 and 1996, he held the post of deputy chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor. He is the co-author of eight editions of the book The State of Working America and has published extensively in popular and academic venues. He holds a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from Columbia University.

DC Drinking Liberally on Facebook


Sparked by a Crooked Timber post by Henry Farrell (who did show up at DCDL once), I joined Facebook and set up a group for DC Drinking Liberally. I’m not sure how useful it’ll actually be, but it’s an experiment. So far it’s resulted in reconnecting with a former regular who went to South Korea and has just returned to the United States.

If you’re on Facebook, join the group. If you’re not, the word in the blogosphere is that it’s reached a tipping point, everyone you know is there, and it’s not just for kids anymore, so come on in.

July 13, 2007

DCDL Footnotes


It happens every Thursday night at DCDL. I can half-recall an article I read somewhere, but not where I read it, or who wrote it. Here’s my effort to follow up on some of the conversations we had in the back room of Timberlake’s. Think of it as the foot notes for Thursday evening.

In this week’s Footnotes, Lynne Cheney Gets Medieval on China, A Not-So-Silent War Protest, and a Brief look at when Cindy Sheehan Jumped the Shark.

June 27, 2007

Watch the Democratic Presidential Candidates Thursday


The eight Democratic candidates (Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson) will be at Howard University on Thursday, June 28, for the All-American Presidential Forums on PBS, moderated by Tavis Smiley, from 9 to 10:30pm. We’ll be watching it in the back room at Timberlake’s (1726 Connecticut Ave NW, a few blocks north of Dupont Circle) after our usual Thursday DCDL get-together, and friends from DC for Democracy will be joining us. So stop by any time after 6:30 — for a few minutes to say hello or for the whole marathon session!

I’ll be interested to see whether at a forum in DC anyone raises the question of DC’s lack of congressional representation. If the questioners don’t, the candidates had better. Presumably Clinton and Obama are proud to be cosponsors of S. 1257, the bill to partially address the inequity.

You’ll be glad to know that you won’t have to bring a barf bag to handle your reaction to Republican pollster Frank Luntz’s post-forum analysis. After Jeffrey Feldman, Media Matters, and others called attention to PBS’s inappropriate choice of analyst, PBS clarified (or perhaps “clarified”) that Luntz would not be appearing to spew his propaganda until Friday. The legacy of Ken Tomlinson’s attempt to “balance” public broadcasting apparently continues.

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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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