the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

October 17, 2005

Brownback Watch


Senate Appropriations Chair Sam Brownback has proposed and begun hearings for creating Marriage Development Accounts:

The marriage development account program would simply build on the concept of already existing individual development accounts—IDAs—which came out of welfare reform.

IDAs are basically savings accounts, with the federal government matching every dollar saved with a $3 contribution. The idea is for account holders to save money that they can invest in an “asset” they want to acquire—such as a first home, a degree or starting a small business.

Curiously, he isn’t proposing MDA’s for Kansas, where he was elected, but for here in DC. Brownback likes to think of our nation’s capital as a proving ground for new ideas. It’s only natural, then, that those of us that live here should be thought of as Republican test subjects, guiney pigs to get the bugs worked out before new programs are approved for, you know… regular people.

I can’t help but think of another recent episode involving Brownback, DC, and marriage.

October 15, 2005

Darkness and Light


Hello, y’all, this is my first posting here, so please be gentle. I promise not to swear too much like I do at home (so to speak), otherwise, there should be no surprises for anyone.

That having been said.

Murphy’s Law is an expression of frustration. Our memory tends to be inexact about what we’ve done right, and the ease with which we remember the very worst things about what has gone wrong is truly staggering. Murphy’s law is built on both this tendency, and on our very human need to find connections between everything. Keep that in mind through this little report, but I promise, it’s not going to be terribly difficult to spot the conflicts.

October 14, 2005

Out-of-Town Guests


Last night’s DCDL meeting drew unexpected guests: bloggers from New York, London, and, er, just around the corner:

A good time was had by all (as far as I could tell). Thanks to all of them for stopping by!

October 13, 2005

Help a Virginia Candidate Saturday


DC for DemocracyThe Virginia election will be upon us before you know it. Saturday our friends at DC for Democracy are giving you an opportunity to help the Democrats in Virginia by volunteering for Dave Marsden, a candidate for the House of Delegates.

Here’s the latest message from DC4D:


October 12, 2005

The Pro-Impeachment Platform


I was thinking about the following quote from today’s White House Briefing:

The question: “If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him.”

AfterDowningStreet.org reports on the results .

“By a margin of 50% to 44%, Americans say that President Bush should be impeached if he lied about the war in Iraq, according to a new poll. . . .

“The poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,001 U.S. adults on October 8-9.”

The Zogby poll in June found 42 percent of respondents agreed with a very similar statement.

If I was running for a US House seat in 2006, I would definitely consider running on a pro-impeachment platform. As far as I can tell, Healthcare, Social Security, the decline in median wages, are all critical pocket-book issues that voters ignore when they get into the voting booth. No, they just think about gay marriage and abortion, and this makes them pull the lever for a Republican. Of course, I know it’s not an actual lever, just as surely as I know that Diebold has probably pre-determined the 2006 electoral outcome anyway.

What I’m saying is that the Left needs a wedge issue that works just as well as these other issues work for the Right. And I believe that wedge issue is impeachment. Here’s my proposed slogan: Vote yes to impeach Bush in 2006, it’ll make America stronger.

I think it’s a winner.

October 9, 2005

Innocent Voices


Occasionally, you get an unexpected treat.

Tonight, for instance, I went to the Amnesty International Film Festival at the National Geographic Center, not expecting to see an important film based on Oscar Torres’s experience as a child evading the death squads of El Salvador.

I confess I was there for less auspicious reasons. First, I was there for what we called in my college years “face time.” I don’t know if the expression still exists in modern terms, but the basic idea is that if you fall, but if MSNBC, PBS and the major blogs aren’t there to see you fall, then you don’t exist. Second, I got a free pass.

Now, before talking about the film and the general experience of the evening, I wanted to emphasize how good the independent film scene is in DC. It’s good not just because the best stuff comes here, but because the artists also want to come here and talk about their work.

I was active on the independent film scene in Boston, from where I’m recently transplanted. A lot of that experience involved what I’ll call a kind of tribal warfare. You may be shocked to know that within very progressive organizations, nasty fights can break out, and while this might serve some kind of Social Darwinistic ends, careers and people get hurt in the process.

Some of my experiences might serve as a good yarn on a foul weather day, but right now, I’d rather not name names. Back to the film.

The principle action of Innocent Voices is set in the Regan years, when government-sponsored death squads terrorized small villages of El Salvador. They fight a guerilla movement, allegedly Communist, but more to the point of the film, rebelling against the military dictatorship. Explained during the discussion afterwards was that the guerilla movement was cast as Communist to attract funding and military assistance from the Regan administration.

The crucial plot point is that all males, as soon as they became 12, were inducted in the army. Since most sensible 12-year-olds don’t want to actually fight in actual combat, the problem is how can they hide from the “recruitment.” We watch the real-life story of Oscar Torres, who calls himself “Chava” in the screenplay, how he defies the military occupation, falls in love, and ultimately survives.

At the discussion after the film tonight was Oscar Torres, director Luis Mandoki, and one of the stars of the film (not in the notes, so I’ll update as soon as I get her name). Now, I’ve been to a lot of after-screening discussions. People, tonight, were on the edge of their seat wanting to know more. Why were we in El Salvador? Apparently, because the threat of Communism, made a lot of people fat, happy and rich. How could they allow recuitment of 12-year-olds? For the same reason that we allow 14-year-olds to be courted by army recruiters. Why does this remind me of Iraq? Because while the film was about one’s persons experience, the problem of state-sponsored military intervention is a universal one.

Innocent Voices will open at the Landmark Theaters, E Street and Bethesda, as well as Loewe’s Georgetown over the next week.

October 6, 2005

More Hackery at the Post


I don’t want this blog to turn into all Post criticism all the time, and I realize that there are many different viewpoints among Post contributors, but I really don’t know what to make of the recent example of gratuituous Howard Dean bashing by Chris Cillizza in his blog, The Fix, on the Washington Post site. The article is called “Dean Pops Off”.

It’s perfectly understandable for Cillizza to snicker at Dean’s mistaken use of the phrase “hide the salami”, which was bizarre and humorous. The incomprehensible bit comes next:

Dean went on to suggest that he did not find it “very credible” that Vice President Dick Cheney was totally unaware of the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity to the media in 2003, adding: “The M.O. of the Bush administration is to discredit your opponents and attack them personally rather than attack them for their position.”

Don’t take my word for it. Click here to watch Dean yourself or read the transcript. And if the Republican National Committee has anything to do with it, you can expect to hear a lot more about these comments in the days to come.

It seems to me that we don’t need to wait for the RNC if commentators like Cillizza are willing to do the RNC’s work for them by portraying perfectly normal remarks for a party chair as somehow beyond the pale.

Can anyone explain to me what’s supposed to be outrageous about Dean’s comments on Cheney and the administration’s MO? Would Cillizza have blinked if Ken Mehlman as RNC chair had similarly criticized Democrats?

This Sounds Promising


From WFAA:

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors have accepted an offer from presidential adviser Karl Rove to give 11th hour testimony in the case of a CIA officer’s leaked identity but have warned they cannot guarantee he won’t be indicted, according to people directly familiar with the investigation.

The persons, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, said Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has not made any decision yet on whether to file criminal charges against the longtime confidant of President Bush or others.

Popcorn anyone?

Separated at Birth?


Is it just me, or when you see Judith Miller smiling and talking on TV, are you reminded of Bebe Glazer, the evil agent on Frasier?

(I couldn’t find a photo of Harriet Sansom Harris with the right hairstyle.)

October 5, 2005

A Kamp Krusty Moment?


It’s been amusing the past two days to watch the shrieking meltdown occurring on the right over the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. We’re seeing harsh criticism of Bush from people who have previously blindly supported his every action and statement (and painted people who didn’t as traitors). I still imagine that they’ll soon be putting this unfortunate episode behind them and returning to their faith in Our Leader, but for the time being I think the best strategy for the left is to sit back and pass the popcorn, and certainly not to make the conservatives more comfortable by criticizing Miers too strongly ourselves right now.

It’s been particularly funny to see the outcry on confirmthem.com. The site’s whole reason for being is to support the idea that all of Bush’s appointees must be rubber-stamped by the Senate, so it’s hard to see how they can justify the sort of posts that appeared starting on Monday. Perhaps they just need to change their domain name — Orin Kerr on the Volokh Conspiracy has a few suggestions.

Another great site for hilarious outrage recently has been the Corner on National Review Online, and it’s there that I found my personal favorite post on the subject, by Rod Dreher:

There is no event that cannot be related to an episode of “The Simpsons.” The freak-out among social conservatives about the Miers nomination reminds me of the “Kamp Krusty” episode, truly one of the all-time greats. You’ll recall that Bart and Lisa spend a summer at Kamp Krusty, which is gruesome, ghastly and horrible in about a million different ways.

But Bart refuses to believe it, because to have done so would mean having to question his faith in his hero, Krusty the Klown. But when the camp leaders try to pass Barney the Drunk off as Krusty, Bart cracks. He spouts: “I’ve been scorched by Krusty before. I got a rapid heartbeat from his Krusty brand vitamins, my Krusty Kalculator didn’t have a seven or an eight, and Krusty’s autobiography was self-serving with many glaring omissions. But this time, he’s gone too far!”

If this analogy holds true, Cheney and Rove will soon be heard to say, “To the hydrofoil!” Bwahahahahahaha!


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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