the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

January 27, 2006

Where Will You Be for the State of the Union?


Tuesday, January 31, we will once again experience the jumble of catchphrases, lies, and unreliable pledges that make up a Bush State of the Union address. This year there are many options for places to go to watch it with others who will provide moral support.


January 26, 2006

Curling for Voting Rights


Should DC have its own Olympic team, separate from the US team? Mike Panetta thinks so, and that’s why he’s set up the District of Columbia Olympic Committee. After all, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands all have Olympic teams, even though they, like DC, are parts of the United States and have nonvoting delegates in the House of Representatives (though their residents, unlike DC’s, pay no federal income tax).

And that’s the point. Panetta launched his committee to call attention to DC’s status as the only part of the United States where the residents pay federal taxes but have no vote in the Congress that decides how those taxes are spent. If the International Olympic Committee has to rule on the issue, then that will generate some publicity that will educate more people about the situation — a situation most Americans are still unaware of.

Panetta has chosen curling as his sport and put together a team. He’s eager for more volunteers, so if you’re interested in any of 39 Olympic sports, join up. Whether you’re an athlete or not, you can use the form on the front page to send a message to Olympic officials and do a bit for DC voting rights.

January 25, 2006

“Tell the Truth About Torture” Campaign


Of all the damage the Bush administration has done to our country, I think the worst is the stain of torture. Just a few years ago, representatives of the United States government could talk about human rights and condemn torture anywhere in the world. Sure, our reputation wasn’t perfect, and people might bring up the death penalty or the size of our prison population, but they weren’t snickering behind or backs, or to our faces. Today we no longer have any credibility on that subject. We have a Vice President for Torture, the president openly admits that he doesn’t intend to obey congressional prohibitions on prisoner abuse, and repeated instances of torture by members of the military are written off as unrelated incidents, with only the lowest-ranking people involved receiving any significant punishment (the latest example being an interrogator who got off with a reprimand for torturing a prisoner of war and then suffocating him). It will take a long, long time to remove the stain.

Amnesty International USA has launched a campaign called “Tell the Truth about Torture,
Mr. President”
. At the site you can sign a petition, find out more about torture and what Amnesty is doing about it, and donate toward putting a billboard truck with the message in DC for five days, in time for the State of the Union.

January 20, 2006

Democracy for America Weekend Events


Usually when a candidate’s bid for a party’s presidential nomination fails, the campaign organization goes away, or at least goes into hibernation for four years. In Howard Dean’s case, however, his organization, Dean for America, evolved into Democracy for America (DFA), a group “dedicated to supporting fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates at all levels of government — from school board to the presidency”. Though I wasn’t involved in the Dean campaign, I have been a member of DC for Democracy, our city DFA group, for a while (and there are other DFA groups in the area and around the country).

After Howard Dean became chair of the Democratic National Committee, his brother Jim took over the leadership of DFA. And this weekend Jim Dean is in DC to kick off the 2006 Plan for Victory. It starts tonight with a fundraiser:

Friday, January 20
Hawk and Dove
329 Pennsylvania Ave SE
(Capitol South Metro)
Suggested contribution: $20
To RSVP, please contact Dina Wolkoff:

Then tomorrow morning there’s the 3rd annual organizing summit in Adams Morgan:

Join Democracy for America Chairman (and Howard Dean’s brother) Jim Dean and DC for Democracy activists for our 3rd Annual Organizing Summit on Saturday, January 21st! Breakfast starts at 9:30 and we’ll have you out the door right after 1:00.

2006 promises to be a big year in the District and we need your help to chart the course for the new year - from DC’s Mayoral elections to our brand new “Out of Iraq” initiative. Bring your ideas and suggestions, and be prepared to roll up your shirt sleeves to make sure 2006 is even more successful than our last two years.

Saturday, January 21
9:30am to 1pm
Marie Reed School
2200 Champlain St NW
RSVP here
More info: dcfordemocracy{at}gmail.com

And finally, there are three house parties later on Saturday, in McLean, VA, Silver Spring, MD, and Severna Park, MD.

January 17, 2006

“Stop Corruption First” Protest


MoveOn is organizing a protest downtown tomorrow:

Washington is caught up in corruption scandals, but many lobbyists and Republican leaders think they can just go on as if nothing has happened. Little has changed since the scandals became public. We need to expose the corruption and press for reform — or a change in leaders. Can you help?

This Wednesday, tomorrow, a gathering of lobbyists, conservative activists and Republicans leaders from Congress and the White House meet to discuss their next moves. We’re joining with other reform groups to bring the public outcry to their doorstep. Will you attend?

What: “Stop Corruption First” Protest Outside K Street Project meeting
When: 9:45 AM Start Time, Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Where: Sidewalk outside offices of Americans for Tax Reform, 1920 L Street, NW (20th & L Streets) (Red Line/Farragut North, Blue-Orange Line/Farragut West)

Signs: We’ll provide signs.

Please RSVP at http://political.moveon.org/protest_rsvp/

Google Map it:

The plan is to show up, peacefully conduct a protest with signs and disperse after a half hour or so. We’re inviting the media and expect the protest to be widely reported on by the press. We’re co-sponsoring the protest with the Campaign for America’s Future and Public Campaign Action Fund.

The group hosting the meeting — Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform — is at the center of the Republican power machine in Washington and has been implicated in the corruption scandals from lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But they still meet even after Abramoff took a guilty plea.

This meeting illustrates how nothing has changed — the Republicans in Congress work closely with business lobbyists who are funding their operations. We need to expose it and this protest will help do that. Please RSVP and attend.

Thanks for all you do.

—Tom, Eli, Marika, Micayla and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Tuesday, January 17th, 2006

P.S. Here is some background on Grover Norquist and his connections to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Happy Birthday, Ben!


Today is the 300th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin. One of his most quoted statements (at least it’s probably his) is particularly appropriate nowadays:

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Of course Bush supporters claim that the liberty we’re giving up isn’t all that essential, but the real reason Franklin’s caution doesn’t exactly apply is that we’re not even getting temporary safety. We’re trading liberty for the illusion of safety. For an example, see the latest New York Times article about the administration’s illegal eavesdropping:

In the anxious months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the National Security Agency began sending a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists. The stream soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month.

But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans. […]

“We’d chase a number, find it’s a schoolteacher with no indication they’ve ever been involved in international terrorism — case closed,” said one former F.B.I. official, who was aware of the program and the data it generated for the bureau. “After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration.”

The most important point about the eavesdropping program is that it’s illegal and an example of unchecked presidential power, since Congress prohibited such warrantless investigations. But it is worth noting that, as this story indicates, the program doesn’t even appear to have been effective in the goal of making us safer from terrorists.

January 16, 2006

Gore’s speech today.


[Update] Moved the text of the original post here. :)

Al Gore threw down a gauntlet today.

Not some little leather glove with a long cuff like you’d see at a Rennaissance festival.

A real gauntlet.One of the big ugly bastards that jousters wore on the off hand, a thick leather glove that only existed to protect your skin from the fully articulated steel fingers, thumb, and wrist. A heavy plate that covered the back of your hand, and the thick armor to protect your lower forearm. You know. The kind of gauntlet that if you got hit in the face with it, your dentist would have a religious experience.

Got the point across? Good. Now we’ll set the scene. But first, grab a cup of coffee… this is a long one, and well worth your undivided attention.


January 14, 2006

The Next Nuagmire?


Through a high-level administration source who wishes to remain anonymous because he doesn’t exist, I’ve received this text of an upcoming presidential speech:

Tonight I want to take a few minutes to discuss a grave threat to peace, and America’s determination to lead the world in confronting that threat. The threat comes from Iran. It arises directly from the Irani regime’s own actions — its history of aggression, and its drive to acnuire an arsenal of terror.

Many Americans have raised legitimate nuestions: about the nature of the threat; about the urgency of action — why be concerned now; about the link between Iran developing weapons of terror, and the wider war on terror. Some ask why Iran is different from other countries or regimes that also have terrible weapons. By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities, by the merciless nature of its regime, Iran is uninue.

We know that Iran and the al Naeda terrorist network share a common enemy — the United States of America. We know that Iran and al Naeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade, including one very senior al Naeda leader, Abu Musab al-Zarnawi, who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. Terror cells and outlaw regimes building weapons of mass destruction are different faces of the same evil. Our security renuires that we confront both enually.

The time for denying, deceiving, and delaying has come to an end. Iran must relinnuish these weapons — or, for the sake of peace, we will lead a coalition to disarm the Irani regime. We will not be snueamish or enuivocate. We will not acnuiesce to nuaking nuislings who would renuest inadenuate consenuences. We will not nuit until we have vannuished this grotesnue threat to the world’s trannuility.

(Inspired by Atrios)

January 12, 2006

This Is a Defense of Alito?


I admit I haven’t been following every twist and turn of the issue of Alito’s membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP), but I really don’t understand Arlen Specter’s point here:

“Judge Alito’s name never appeared in any document,” Specter said. It was not mentioned in any letters to or from the group’s founder or executive director, did not appear on any canceled checks for subscriptions, was nowhere to be found on any articles, lists of board members or contributors, and was not in any minutes or attendance records from CAP meetings,” Specter said.

He quoted CAP founder William Rusher as saying: “I have no recollection of Samuel Alito at all. He certainly was not very heavily involved in CAP, if at all.”

Is the Republican position now that Alito was never a member of CAP at all, but just lied about being a member when he was applying for a job in the Reagan Justice Department?

Feeling Safe


Tom Tomorrow thinks Bush is misremembering what things were like in his childhood. But perhaps the guy lost those memories somewhere along the way to the White House.

Even those of us who came after the baby boomers lived for decades under the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, and somehow we dealt with it. Fear wasn’t invented by al-Qaida, or by Dubya. But Bush seems to have taken a sentence from an earlier president in a time of trial,

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

and condensed it down to only the words that appear more than once:


That’s Bush’s formula for ruling, and it’s served him pretty well so far. But I’m hoping it’s finally beginning to wear thin.


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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