the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

January 11, 2006

Al Gore Speaking Monday in DC


Al Gore is speaking at noon Monday, January 16 (MLK Day), at DAR Constitution Hall, 1776 D Street NW, on “Unchecked Presidential Power”:

The speech will specifically point to domestic wiretapping and torture as examples of the Administration’s assertion of executive power in disregard of Congress and the courts.

The speech is sponsored by the Liberty Coalition and the American Constitution Society. See libertyspeeches.org for more information and to reserve free tickets (which will go fast).

January 10, 2006

Democratic Win in Virginia Tonight!


The Democrats took a seat away from the Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates today. Democrat Shannon Valentine defeated Republican Michael Harrington by 57.5 to 42.4 percent in a special election and will take her seat tomorrow, representing the 23rd District, which includes Lynchburg.

The election was held to fill the seat vacated by moderate Republican Preston Bryant, who was appointed by Gov. Tim Kaine to be secretary of natural resources. Valentine’s win brings the House composition to 57 Republicans, 40 Democrats, and 3 independents, so Democrats still have some work to do, but they’re continuing to move in the right direction after gaining in November.

See coverage at Raising Kaine, Waldo Jaquith, and Daily Kos.

January 9, 2006

Coming this Thursday to DCDL


DCDL is pleased to host Ezra Klein this Thursday, January 12, 6:30-9.

Ezra, a recently transplanted Californian, is the writing fellow for The American Prospect. In the past, he’s freelanced for the Washington Monthly, the LA Weekly, The LA Times, The Jewish Journal, and the Gadflyer.

During the 2004 election Ezra was selected along with a handful of other bloggers to cover the Democratic Convention.

As per tradition on speaker night, we’ll have free appetizers, and the Happy Hour drink special ($1 off all drinks) will be good until 9.

Events This Week


Here are some local events that you might be interested in. I’m still working on the event calendar (linked from the sidebar), which may be changing drastically before long. If you know of an event that should be included, let me know at keith@dcdl.org, or post a comment.

Monday, January 9

Tuesday, January 10

Wednesday, January 11

Thursday, January 12

Saturday, January 14

These announcements are not endorsements of the organizations mentioned.

January 8, 2006

No Justice for Dilawar


At the September 24 antiwar march I saw someone with a sign reading “Who Killed Mr. Dilawar?” Since I spend far too much time reading blogs, I knew who Dilawar was, but the other people with me didn’t. His is one of many stories that have been easy to miss in the news from the War on Terror.

Dilawar was a 22-year-old taxi driver and father of two who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time outside Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in 2002. He ended up being tortured to death in American custody, even though most of his captors believed he was innocent.

TalkLeft has the latest on the Dilawar case: charges have been dropped against the only officer charged in Dilawar’s death.

Abramoff-Allied Group Drops Him and Others From Its Board


Toward Tradition is a conservative Jewish group founded by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, and Jack Abramoff used to serve on its board of directors. The group is allied with conservative Christian groups, and as Josh Marshall pointed out yesterday, Lapin co-chaired the American Alliance of Jews and Christians, whose advisory board included James Dobson, Charles Colson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Michael Medved, and Jack Abramoff. (There’s more about Toward Tradition in this comment on TPMCafe.)

Marshall’s mention of Toward Tradition prompted me to check out its site, and particularly its board of directors. The board currently has a chairman, vice-chairman, and 20 members — with no mention of Jack Abramoff. But checking the Internet Archive, I find that the same page in July 2003 and March 2005 (the most recent archived copy) contained a longer list:


Time to Unsubscribe From Kerry’s List


If you’re like me, you’re probably subscribed to John Kerry’s e-mail announcement list. Maybe you made a donation during the 2004 campaign, or maybe you just signed up to keep up to date on events. But if you’re like me (or like John in DC at Americablog), you’re also not exactly excited by the prospect of Kerry’s running in 2008, and you’re irritated by news articles that describe the list as “an online army of 3 million supporters”.

Well, Jonathan Zasloff at the Reality-Based Community has an idea: If you’re on the list but you don’t want Kerry to run in 2008, then unsubscribe. It’s easy — I just did it. At the bottom of each message you get, there’s a little “Click here to unsubscribe” link. Use it. If the word spreads, maybe we can stop hearing about Kerry’s huge base of online supporters.

By the way, the Reality-Based Community, at samefacts.com, is the site formerly known as Mark A.R. Kleiman (markarkleiman.com). Mark has had several other academics blogging with him for a while now, so they’re finally making the site less Kleiman-focused. Looks like they’re still working a few bugs out of the new setup, but it remains a source of great posts and one of the blogs I visit daily.

January 3, 2006

Powerful Words.


Rep. Murtha has once again changed the nature of the discussion on Iraq:

A decorated Vietnam combat veteran who retired as a colonel after 37 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Murtha told ABC News’ “Nightline” program that Iraq “absolutely” was a wrong war for President George W. Bush to have launched.

“Would you join (the military) today?,” he was asked in an interview taped on Friday.

“No,” replied Murtha of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees defense spending and one of his party’s leading spokesmen on military issues.

“And I think you’re saying the average guy out there who’s considering recruitment is justified in saying ‘I don’t want to serve’,” the interviewer continued.

“Exactly right,” said Murtha, who drew White House ire in November after becoming the first ranking Democrat to push for a pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as it could be done safely.

Remember this when you hear people on the Left argue that he wants more of the same-old same-old in Iraq, just a different deployment.

Like his original resolution, this is a tremendous step forward in deconstructing the entire PNAC playbook.

January 2, 2006

More Inappropriate Humor From Bush


One fault George Bush has that isn’t directly dangerous to the country or the world at large is his knack for making callous jokes about other people’s losses. For example, at a March 2004 dinner for journalists he presented a slide show joking about his search for weapons of mass destruction in the Oval Office. When he was governor of Texas and starting to run for president, Bush ridiculed a woman who was asking to have her death sentence commuted.

When not joking, Bush manages to demonstrate insensitivity in a different way, by comparing relatively minor problems he’s having to other people’s life-and-death matters.

Via Olaf at Catch.com, I see that yesterday Bush managed to combine the insensitive joking and the trivializing comparison into a single remark, when he appeared at a military hospital to award Purple Hearts. He was sporting a scratch on his forehead, the result of a freak brush-clearing accident, so he decided this was an appropriate thing to say to the wounded soldiers:

As you can probably see I was injured myself, not here at the hospital but in combat with a cedar… I eventually won.

The reaction to his humor from patients in the Army Burn Center and the Amputee Care Center is not recorded.

January 1, 2006

From Daschle, With Love


While I was killing time last night before I had to leave to catch the bus, I found something y’all definitely need to see, if you haven’t already:

The Bush administration requested, and Congress rejected, war-making authority “in the United States” in negotiations over the joint resolution passed days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to an opinion article by former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) in today’s Washington Post.

Daschle’s disclosure challenges a central legal argument offered by the White House in defense of the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. It suggests that Congress refused explicitly to grant authority that the Bush administration now asserts is implicit in the resolution.

You don’t say!!

“Literally minutes before the Senate cast its vote, the administration sought to add the words ‘in the United States and’ after ‘appropriate force’ in the agreed-upon text,” Daschle wrote. “This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas — where we all understood he wanted authority to act — but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens. I could see no justification for Congress to accede to this extraordinary request for additional authority. I refused.”

Daschle wrote that Congress also rejected draft language from the White House that would have authorized the use of force to “deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States,” not only against those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.

I’m assuming that “suggests” is shorthand for “makes it glaringly obvious.”

Now what were you saying about that authorization, Mr. President?


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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