the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

February 9, 2006

How not to smear somebody.


In any scandal involving bribery or undue influence, especially involving a sitting member of Congress, there is one key standard to meet: were the donations of someone espousing a particular cause matched and related to the actions of the Congresscritter in question?

In the latest smear job on Ried, I will yield to the words of Josh Marshall :

I rung up Reid spokesman Jim Manley. He said Reid was a “cosponsor of Sen. Kennedy’s bill; he spoke in favor of the bill on the Senate; he was a strong supporter of the bill.” When I pressed Manley on whether Sen. Reid took any action adverse to the bill or made changes in timing that lead to the bill’s demise, he said, “No.”

Then I got hold of Ron Platt, the lobbyist referenced in the passage above, on his cell phone while he was down at a conference in Florida. I asked him whether, to the best of his recollection, Reid had taken any action against the Kennedy bill. “I’m sure he didn’t,” Platt told me.

According to Platt, the purpose of his contacts was to see what information he could get about the timing and status of the legislation. Reid’s position on the minimum wage issue was well known and there would have been no point trying to get his help blocking it. That’s what Platt says. “I didn’t ask Reid to intervene,” said Platt. “I wouldn’t have asked him to intervene. I don’t think anyone else would have asked. And I’m sure he didn’t.”

Now, obviously, both Reid’s office and Platt are interested parties on this question. If there were evidence to the contrary you wouldn’t necessarily want to take their statements at face value. But as far as I can tell there is no evidence to the contrary. And that’s after speaking with supporters of the legislation who would probably know. They don’t seem to think Reid had anything to do with tanking the minimum wage bill. Nothing.

In this case, despite the AP story’s narrative of lobbyist contacts, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence whatsoever that Reid ever took any action on behalf of Abramoff’s Marianas clients.

Wasn’t that worth a mention?

Not only is the Party of Bacon getting sloppy about even pretending to conceal their mendacious ways, they’re getting worse at their swift-boating.

And to the MSM: couldn’t y’all go after someone with real issues?

With thanks to C&L.

February 8, 2006

Webb Enters Virginia Senate Race


Today saw an event long awaited among a large segment of Virginia Democrats. James Webb, who was secretary of the Navy under Reagan, decided to run for the Senate as a Democrat, aiming to replace Republican George Allen. And DCDLer Lee Diamond played a part in persuading Webb to run:

Webb has been the subject of an aggressive political draft effort on the Internet at http://www.draftjameswebb.com/ , which claims more than 999 signatures on his behalf.

The Draft James Webb movement was a project of Lee, together with Josh Chernila and Lowell Feld of Raising Kaine, and they’ve met with Webb and promoted him as a possible candidate for weeks. Looks like their persistence has paid off. Congratulations, Lee!

There is another declared Democratic candidate, Harris Miller, so there will likely be a primary in June. As an outsider, I’ll leave the choice up to Virginians (including all of my immediate family), but I look forward to seeing a serious challenger to Allen emerge.

I do like this bit from the Associated Press story:

Webb said his campaign will also focus on ways to help middle- and low-income families and “restoring the traditional role of Congress” by checking the growth of presidential authority since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

For celebratory coverage of Webb’s announcement, see my favorite Virginia blogs, Raising Kaine and Waldo Jaquith.



I’ve been to two kinds of funerals. Some were for those who brought us stability.

Such a funeral is a stately progression of somber faces, each person contemplative of the world the survivors have found themselves in. Sometimes this contemplation is personal, sometimes it is political, but it is always private. It is a hallowed, neutral ground, on which a gathering convenes in the spirit of “there, but for the grace of God, go I.” It is a time for understanding and embracing continuity and balance, of considering the moments spent with the deceased, and the memories of them we carry forward. It is a celebration of tradition, of family, and of the culture in which we live. A quiet celebration, but one dedicated to continuity, and the hope that when our time comes, the voices that speak of us in remembrance are kind. It is fundamentally political; it is a monument to the status quo.

Then there are the funerals for those whose lives brought us change.

This is also a celebration of continuity, but on a much more personal scale. It is an expression of grief, but also of hope. Hope that the strength and power of the fallen may be borne with honor by the living. It is a time of reckoning; a time we ask what works have been accomplished, and what remains to be done. A time where we ask ourselves “what should we do,” and realize that she will not be there to help us answer; we must now confront this question for ourselves. A time where we look back to the life of the one who has passed for our answers. Even as we mourn the stillness that once was her living voice, we raise our own, and find our own strength in the expression of the passion that she raised in us. It is a funeral not to honor the continuity in which she lived, but the vision of hope that she moved us towards, despite tragedy and horrible loss. It is where we renew our faith in what the departed taught us. It is fundamentally personal; it is a monument to the human being.

Think about Coretta Scott King; think about her acts, her beliefs, and her legacy. Put aside all else, save her.

Now tell me, which monument did she deserve?

February 7, 2006

Upcoming Events


Here’s your weekly helping of local events, also listed in the event calendar (linked from the sidebar). If you know of an event that should be included, let me know at keith@dcdl.org, or post a comment.

Wednesday, February 8

Thursday, February 9

Friday, February 10

Saturday, February 11

These announcements are not endorsements of the organizations or candidates mentioned — except that we’re very much in favor of Drinking Liberally.

February 6, 2006

New Post Blog Brings False Balance to Ward 3


The Washington Post launched a new blog today, DC Wire, which will focus on DC politics and this year’s city elections. I wish it luck, and so far it already has posts about the stadium deal and the school modernization bill, but I’m a little worried by the first post by Eric Weiss, which happens to be about the council race in my ward. It starts off like this:

Ward 3 council candidate Sam Brooks, who’s been involved in a low-key pie-tossing contest with fellow candidate Jonathan Rees, wants to engage in some multilateral disengagement.

Both have been saying mean things about each other for months. Rees questions when Brooks moved into the ward and Brooks says Rees may be behind negative web postings.

So Rees spreads messages accusing Brooks of fraud because of when he moved into the ward, even though the law doesn’t require candidates to reside in the ward until they are nominated, which would occur in September. And Rees spams Craigslist, DCist, DCpages.com, and loads of other websites and e-mail lists with messages promoting himself and attacking Brooks, often in juvenile ways. This week he apparently forged a message from the list admin to spam the Cleveland Park e-mail list, from which he’d been banned.

On the other side, Brooks complains about some of Rees’s attacks.

Clearly both sides are equally guilty — just as Jack Abramoff gave to both Democrats and Republicans, just as the Kerry and Bush campaigns were equally untruthful, just as experts differ on whether the moon landings were faked.

It’s not a “pie-tossing contest” if only one person is throwing pies, and so far I haven’t seen any pies thrown by Brooks. But maybe Weiss has learned the importance of “balance” from the same editor who slanted the scandal scorecard in Chris Cillizza’s Post blog a few months back.

February 4, 2006

Dinner and a Movie


As, DL’er Saba pointed out, there’s been a couple of great movies that have come out, that a few of us would like to see, but haven’t made it to for one reason or another.

For instance, Syriana (review here) and Good Night and Good Luck (review here).

There’s also some restaurants that we’ve been meaning to check out, for instance the Burma Restaurant in Chinatown (review here).

After considerable deliberation (okay, we emailed each other and it sounded like a good idea) we’ve come to the conclusion that Saturday, Feb 11 will be DCDL’s Dinner and a Movie Night.

We’ll put this out in the Tuesday email, but you, our readers (Keith, do we have readers?) can now go do the Democracy thing, and tell us your ideal pick of movie and restaurant.

February 1, 2006

What I Want.


Being out of touch with “mainstream America” is unpleasant in today’s United States, but I believe it’s better to walk on a path that both my mind and my heart have convinced me is correct, that to listen to voices that lie to me with every breath. It is better to look for the rocks in the path with my eyes, rather than with my nose stuck in any one of a number of books devoted to someone else’s dogma. I know from painful experience that it’s better to remember the past, than to pretend it never happened.

I want to be an American, in America.

What does that mean? I look to a few critical pieces of writing in our history, informed by the events that surrounded them to answer that question. The documents cited below are made by human beings, and therefore flawed - in some cases critically. But it gives me hope, because there is proof that mistakes can be corrected, which we’ll get to. To begin, the words of Jefferson are instructive.

Upcoming Events


Here are some local events that you might be interested in. Also see the event calendar (linked from the sidebar), which may be changing drastically at some point. If you know of an event that should be included, let me know at keith@dcdl.org, or post a comment.

Wednesday, February 1

Thursday, February 2

Saturday, February 4

These announcements are not endorsements of the organizations mentioned.

January 28, 2006

Yet Another 1984 Parallel


When I read in Talking Points Memo about the thorough deletion of Abramoff-Bush photos, I thought about writing another post comparing a passage in Orwell’s 1984 to current events (as I did about crimestop and creationism). I didn’t get around to it immediately, and now I see that thetalkingmoose has saved me the trouble.

January 27, 2006

Fun With Chinese Google


A fun-filled Friday afternoon time-waster, brought to you by your friends at Drinking Liberally.

Unless you’ve spent the last few days in your Montana cabin writing your manifesto, you’ve probably heard that the Google China site censors out internet sites featuring dissent, freedom of speech, and anything to do with the Tiananmen Square massacre.

After a few searches, I tried this one. Hmmm. What are the Chinese censors afraid of?

You can play, too! Go to the Chinese Google sight, and see if you can trip up Dear Leader’s henchmen.


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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