the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

October 15, 2006

Frank Wolf, Human Rights Hero? I Don’t Think So!


Yesterday the Washington Post endorsed Frank Wolf, the Republican Congressman representing Virginia’s 10th District (which encompasses McLean and Manassas and areas to the west). I didn’t get a chance to respond immediately, since I was out most of the day volunteering for Wolf’s opponent, Judy Feder, but today I sent this letter to the editor:

I was disappointed to see the Post endorse Rep. Frank Wolf for reelection [”Mr. Wolf’s Diligence,” Oct. 14], especially since the editorial described him as someone who is “more than a party-line Republican” and has a “zeal for human rights.”

Rep. Wolf’s political independence and concern for human rights were nowhere in evidence on Sept. 29 when he voted for the Military Commissions Act, which gives the president free rein to define “torture” however he wishes; allows use of evidence obtained through cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; and immunizes senior U.S. officials from prosecution for war crimes committed before passage of the act. In addition, any prohibitions of prisoner abuse contained in the act are made meaningless by its elimination of habeas corpus rights for detainees. If detainees are unable to bring their cases to court, then even innocent prisoners can be held indefinitely and subjected to outrageous treatment with no means of bringing the abuses to light or remedying them.

Seven House Republicans chose to break with the president and their party and oppose this shameful legislation because they cared about human rights and the principles the United States stands for. Rep. Wolf was not among them. What does that say about his commitment to human rights?

If you share my feelings about the Post’s endorsement, please write your own letter to the editor right away (e-mail to letters@washpost.com and include your name, home address, and home and work phone). The more letters (different letters, not copies of mine) they get on the subject, the more likely it is they’ll publish one. Letters from people in the 10th District would be especially good. If you need some ideas, try the New York Times editorial on the Military Commissions Act, which calls it “a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts”, or Amnesty International’s analysis.

Update (17 Oct): Not that it matters much, but the Washington Times joins in with an endorsement titled “Frank Wolf, defender of human rights”.

October 13, 2006



Just found this over at BlogActive:

This is what happens when you hire an internet consultant who used his website to dupe people into investing in stock he artificially pumped up the price on:

     Political Radar: “Two Democratic sources confirm to ABC News
     that former Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) will announce today
     that he will not be a candidate for president in 2008.”

From the comments:

AmberCat — It’s a reference to Jerome Armstrong of MyDD who co-wrote “Crashing the Gates” with Markos, was a consultant for Warner and in the relatively distant past during the dot.com boom earned his money by hawking questionable stocks in an early version of “blogs-for-hire”.

Now it’s a GOP strategy.

Somehow I don’t think Armstrong’s past has anything major to do with Warner’s decision, but it definitely helps clear the picture up a touch. Funny, I thought Armstrong was mostly involved with the Big Creamsicle. Shows what I know(?).

September 25, 2006

Local Libertarian Blogger Is Voting for Cardin


Jim Henley of Unqualified Offerings (one of several nonliberal blogs I read frequently) lives in Silver Spring and got himself quoted in the Baltimore Sun endorsing the Democratic Senate candidate in Maryland:

Silver Spring resident James Henley, 45, is a Libertarian who said he planned to vote for Cardin to balance power in Washington. It’s nothing personal against Steele, he said.

“At the national level, the Republican Party has become such a repugnant institution that I would like to take as much of the control of Congress away from the Republicans as possible,” said Henley, who works in finance for a telecommunications company.

The Bush administration is having unusual effects on political alliances. Maybe Henley will be showing up at DC Drinking Liberally some Thursday next. After all, David Weigel did show up once, but that may just have been an anthropological investigation.

I think Henley may actually be a libertarian, though, not a Libertarian.

“Bring Down the House” With NEXT PAC


Our friends at NEXT PAC are holding a “Bring Down the House” Bash on Friday to raise money for four Democratic congressional candidates. Sounds like a worthwhile endeavor. I’ll be there.

This event is a fundraiser with a twist. Your $50 donation allows you to vote for the candidates who will receive the proceeds from the night. With our partner, New Democratic Action, we’ve selected four of the candidates most likely to help turn the House from Red to Blue. These races are amongst the closest in the country, your contribution will make an impact, and you’ll have a great time.

Our candidates are:

Please join us next Friday and help make a difference.

September 29, 2006
Eye Bar — 1716 Eye Street NW
2nd Floor
8 pm
Cash and Check ONLY at the door. Credit Card donations must be made online — RSVP HERE.

September 22, 2006

Well lookie here!


From MyDD, via the comments at the Brad Blog:

I just got this email from the Donna Edwards campaign.


By now you are aware of the multiple layers of problems that occurred in the Tuesday, September 12, election in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District. Whether these flaws are attributable to incompetence, inefficiency, or fraud — we may never know. Votes are still being tabulated in Maryland’s 4th District — provisional ballots arriving as late as Tuesday, September 19, a truckload of machines and memory cards arriving 21 hours after the polls closed on September 12, changing estimates of absentee ballots to be counted, etc.

Needless to say, the system is deeply flawed — leaving voters with little reason to be confident. In the midst of all of this system failure and uncertainty, I wanted to share with you the transcript of an exchange that took place on Tuesday, September 19, between my opponent, Albert Wynn, and his colleague on the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee:

BARTON: Down in Texas, we had a Democratic primary about 50 years ago that Lyndon Johnson won by 54 votes. And he got the nickname “Landslide Lyndon.” We have Mr. Wynn next. He had a little bit of a tussle last week, but he did win. And so, I want to recognize “Landslide Wynn” for any opening statement that he wishes…
WYNN: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. In fact, they’re still counting, but we’re quite optimistic. And I did take a couple pages out of Lyndon’s book, so if I win, it can be attributed to Texas know-how.
(UNKNOWN): Did you (inaudible)?
BARTON: I hope not. I hope you win fair and square.
WYNN: A win is a win.

P.S. Just within the last couple of hours, the Board of Elections in Prince George’s County opened up a machine with no tamper tape (so much for security), and at least one other machine that recorded votes for other offices but none for U.S. Congress.

And from the comments:

Re: Al Wynn Brags of Stealing the Election (3.00 / 1)

I can’t stream audio presently but I think this is the hearing where this exchange occured. Can anyone listen to the webcast & verify this?

by pragmatic adjustable hed on Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 02:27:41 PM EST

Re: Al Wynn Brags of Stealing the Election (3.00 / 1)

Yep that’s it. The comment start at 27:36.

by miguel on Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 03:39:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]

One bright spot: the more the gloves come off and politicians are publically seen discussing how the government actually works, the more likely it is to be changed.

Note to K&K - WordPress’ editor doesn’t like nested blockquotes. :D

September 21, 2006

Gov. Ehrlich Calls for Abandoning Electronic Voting, Returning to Paper


I don’t normally say much good about Republicans, but I’m having trouble seeing this move by Maryland’s Gov. Bob Ehrlich as a bad thing:

A week after the primary election was plagued by human error and technical glitches, Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) called yesterday for the state to scrap its $106 million electronic voting apparatus and revert to a paper ballot system for the November election.

“When in doubt, go paper, go low-tech,” he said.

Ehrlich is most interested in abandoning the Diebold electronic poll books used to check in voters, which featured prominently in e-voting critic Avi Rubin’s account of chaos at one Maryland polling place. The idea would be to go back to a paper-based system of printouts of voters that are manually checked off, like what we use in DC. But Ehrlich also wants to get rid of the electronic voting machines, if possible by November. He’s willing to call a special session of the Maryland General Assembly if necessary.

Unfortunately, Democratic leaders in the General Assembly want to keep the electronic system and throw good money after bad:

But [Senate President Mike] Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) dismissed the idea of a special session, saying elections officials should focus instead on fixing the current system.

“We paid millions. These are state-of-the-art machines,” said Miller, who called Ehrlich’s announcement a political ploy to energize his Republican supporters.

I don’t care how much money has been spent already. When you’ve instituted a poorly designed system that disenfranchises votes and undermines people’s faith that votes are counted correctly, you need to recognize that you’ve made a mistake and move immediately to fix the problem.

September 19, 2006

Scott Bolden Still Campaigning


One week after being unexpectedly clobbered 63 to 36 percent by liberal incumbent Phil Mendelson in the Democratic primary for at-large councilmember, A. Scott Bolden is still paying for Google ads. I saw one yesterday on DCist, and you can still see them today on Google itself if you search for “Bolden” or “Phil Mendelson”. I know from experience that you do enter an ending date when setting up a Google AdWords campaign, but I guess if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign donations from the business community to outspend your opponent 3 to 1, a few extra web ads here or there don’t make much difference.

Help Take Back Congress: Fundraisers and Rally


If you want to see the Democrats take back Congress and you have some money you can devote to that cause, there are several opportunities coming up (plus one rally that asks only for your enthusiasm):

September 17, 2006

“Count the Votes” Rally for Donna Edwards


Via the Maryland blog Crablaw, I see that supporters of Maryland 4th District congressional candidate Donna Edwards will hold a rally Monday morning, September 18, at 9:30 at the Montgomery County Board of Elections (751 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville) “to coincide with the counting of the large number of uncounted Montgomery County ballots of all sorts for Edwards and all candidates running within that county.”

I don’t want to compare the rally to the Brooks Brothers Riot of 2000, but it’s time progressives started standing up for themselves. The events of September 12 in Montgomery County may very well have resulted only from incompetence (and the unnecessary complication of introducing electronic voting machines into the process), but regardless of the cause, people were disenfranchised, and that must not be allowed to recur in November. I’m distressed that the election-day chaos in Maryland hasn’t gotten much coverage in the national media.

Who Were the Most Powerful (or Luckiest) Endorsers in the DC Primary?


I’ve already mentioned that the Washington Post had all seven of its endorsed candidates win in Tuesday’s DC primary, but I thought I’d see how well other groups and publications did with their endorsements. My simple scoring system awards 1 point for each endorsed candidate who won and subtracts 1 point for each endorsed candidate who lost.

Here are the scores:



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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