the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

January 18, 2008

Shelby Steele on Obama


This has come up in a few DL conversations, so I wanted to pass along the link.

From last Friday’s Bill Moyers Journal, Shelby Steele gives some historical background on the race politics involved in the Obama campaign. He used two terms I hadn’t heard before in this context: bargainers and challengers. Here’s how he defines those terms: (transcript)

SHELBY STEELE: Well, the black American identity, certainly black American politics are grounded in what I call challenging. It’s basically, they look at white America and say we’re going to presume that you’re a racist until you prove otherwise. The whole concept is you keep whites on the hook. You keep the leverage. You keep the pressure. Here’s a guy who’s what I call a bargainer who’s giving whites the benefit of the doubt.

BILL MOYERS: Give me a simple definition of what you call a bargainer. And a simple definition of what you call a challenger.

SHELBY STEELE: A bargainer is a black who enters the American, the white American mainstream by saying to whites in effect, in some code form, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I’m not going to rub the shame of American history in your face if you will not hold my race against me. Whites then respond with enormous gratitude. And bargainers are usually extremely popular people. Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier back in the Sixties and so forth. Because they give whites this benefit of the doubt. That you can be with these people and not feel that you’re going to be charged with racism at any instant. And so they tend to be very successful, very popular.

Challengers on the other hand say, I presume that you, this institution, this society, is racist until it proves otherwise by giving me some concrete form of racial preference.

BILL MOYERS: Affirmative action.

SHELBY STEELE: Affirmative action. Diversity programs. Opportunities of one kind or another. And so, there is a much more concrete bargaining on the case of challengers. And you go into any American institution today and they’re all used to dealing with challengers. They all have a whole system of things that they can give to challengers, who then will offer absolution.

January 13, 2008

Registration Deadlines for Voting in Presidential Primary


I should have posted this last week, but for local residents not yet registered to vote, time is running out if you want to participate in the presidential primary. In both Virginia and DC, Monday, January 14, is the deadline for registering to vote in the February 12 presidential primary election. For information, see the Virginia State Board of Elections or the DC Board of Elections and Ethics.

Maryland residents have until Tuesday, January 22, to register for their primary, which is also February 12 (see the Maryland State Board of Elections). The Maryland primary covers other races in addition to president. For example, Democrats in the 4th Congressional District will be deciding whether the progressive Donna Edwards will unseat the more conservative Rep. Al Wynn, so if you live in that district make sure you’re registered even if you think the presidential nomination will already have been decided by the time you get a chance to vote.

January 11, 2008

Thursday Night Notes


As always, many good discussions from the back room of Timberlake’s. Before I forget there were a couple of links I wanted to pass on.

The first regards voter suppression. It’s ironic that while Republicans are trying to suppress votes among the elderly, handicapped, and students through voter ID laws, and through techniques such as caging, Jonah Goldberg of NRO writes a book called Liberal Fascism. Fortunately, the always delightful David Niewert, writing at the American Prospect gives us this thorough take-down of Goldberg’s “opus”:

Goldberg, who has no credentials beyond the right-wing nepotism that has enabled his career as a pundit, has drawn a kind of history in absurdly broad and comically wrongheaded strokes. It is not just history done badly, or mere revisionism. It’s a caricature of reality, like something from a comic-book alternative universe: Bizarro history.

Goldberg responds:

Neiwert, what with all of his credentials and seriousness might want to explain how a dogmatic individualist can be a totalitarian, since totalitarian in the academic literature he so esteems defines totalitarianism as anti-individualism. Totalitarianism is about trying to define the lives of others through state power. Individualists might be bad or wrong or selfish, but they aren’t any of those things because, again, they’re frick’n individualists!


January 10, 2008

“Shut Down Guantánamo” Demonstration Friday


Shut Down GuantánamoFriday, January 11, is the sixth anniversary of the transfer of the first prisoners to the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, and the ACLU, Amnesty International, Witness Against Torture, and many other groups are organizing a protest on the Mall.

George Bush’s embrace of torture, secret prisons, and denial of habeas corpus and other legal procedures to prisoners is one of the worst stains he’s going to be leaving on the country, and one of the legacies that will be hardest to clean up. If you’re able to take the time during the day, go participate. I plan to. If not, you can at least wear orange — if you can find any (not sure what I’ll do about that, but maybe they’ll have orange armbands to give out).

10:00 am - Gather at the National Mall for Orientation to Prisoner March (National Mall @ 12th street NW btwn Madison Dr NW & Jefferson Drive SW - near the Smithsonian Metro Stop)

11: 00 am - Permitted demonstration on the National Mall co-sponsored by Amnesty International and National Religious Campaign Against Torture

Noon - Guantanamo Prisoner Procession from the National Mall to the Supreme Court (2 plus miles)

1:30 pm - Funeral Ceremony at the Supreme Court remembering the four men who died in custody at Guantanamo and mourning the death of Habeas Corpus

The Presidential Race by Beverage Choice


Karl Rove (emphasis mine):

Sen. Hillary Clinton won working-class neighborhoods and less-affluent rural areas. Sen. Barack Obama won the college towns and the gentrified neighborhoods of more affluent communities. Put another way, Mrs. Clinton won the beer drinkers, Mr. Obama the white wine crowd. And there are more beer drinkers than wine swillers in the Democratic Party.

What’s this obsession that Republicans have with beverage analogies (or for that matter the word “swillers”)? I’m sure you recall this golden oldie launched against the 2004 Dean campaign:

‘I think Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government expanding, latte-drinking, Volvo-driving, New York Times reading …’ at this stage his wife leaps into finish off the mantra ‘… body-piercing, Hollywood loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont where it belongs.’

Rove’s message, I gather, is that Dean and Obama are elitist, while Clinton is regular people. You can tell that by the beverage of choice of their supporters.

I for one, happen to be an elitist beer drinker. Take that, Karl Rove. I’m sure that on a given DL happy hour we have plenty of salt-of-the-earth latte swillers.

Maybe our next straw poll should try to correlate beer/wine/latte drinkers with Clinton/Obama/Edwards supporters?

December 7, 2007

Links from Thursday Night


I did this once before and thought it might be good to make a tradition of it. Here are some links from the discussion at DCDL last night:

If you want to share other links from last night’s discussions, leave a comment.

December 4, 2007

Art Brodsky at DC Drinking Liberally


This Thursday, December 6, DC Drinking Liberally is pleased to have as our final guest speaker of the year Art Brodsky, communications director of Public Knowledge. The event will be at the usual time and place: 6:30-9pm in the back room of Timberlake’s (1726 Connecticut Ave NW, Dupont Circle Metro). We’ll start off with happy hour from about 6:30 to 7, followed Art’s talk and Q&A from about 7 to 7:45, and then we’ll probably hang around until 9 or so.

You may have seen Art’s posts on TPMCafe or the Huffington Post on net neutrality, telecom policy, and copyright — for example, this post on Comcast and net neutrality or this post on Verizon and the FCC.


DC Democrats Holiday Party and Presidential Straw Poll


Support your local Democratic Party and vote for your preferred presidential candidate:


7:00 to 11:00 pm

613 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
(one block from the Eastern Market Metro station)

Karaoke, Buffet, Cash Bar

Admission: contribution of $10 and book for youth up to the age of 12.
Make checks payable to the DCDSC.

At 8 p.m. there will be brief presentations from representatives of the presidential campaigns.

A. Scott Bolden

Philip Pannell


The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
The Honorable Marion Barry
The Honorable Sharon Pratt
The Honorable Arrington Dixon
The Honorable Jack Evans
The Honorable Philip Mendelson
The Honorable Kwame Brown
The Honorable Harry Thomas
The Honorable Tommie Wells
The Honorable Yvette Alexander
The Honorable Sandy Allen
The Honorable Paul Strauss
The Honorable Michael D. Brown
The Honorable Robert Bobb
James Bubar
Marilyn Tyler Brown
Anita Bonds
Ward 2 Democratic Committee
Ward 3 Democratic Committee
Ward 4 Democrats
Ward 5 Democrats
Ward 6 Democrats
Wards 7 Democrats
Ward Eight Democrats
Gertrude Stein Democratic Club
DC Federation of Democratic Women
DC for Obama
Shelley Tomkins
Washington Teachers’ Union
The Fellas (Eugene, Juan, Kemry)
Fred Allen
Jan Eichhorn
Phinis Jones
Keshini Ladduwahetty
Linda Lingle
Jeffrey Norman
Jeffrey Richardson
Juan Thompson
Dan Wedderburn
Paige Wedderburn

October 19, 2007

Free Beer and Environmentalism


Our friends at the Sierra Club’s DC chapter are having one of their “Sierra Club and Beer” nights on Tuesday, October 23, from 7 to 9pm at Temperance Hall (3634 Georgia Avenue NW, Georgia Avenue–Petworth Metro):

Enjoy free beer. Meet new people. Protect the planet.

Join us for free beer and become part of Sierra Club’s mission to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet. Meet other folks who care about local and national conservation issues, win prizes, and find out how you can help make DC a leader in the fight against global warming.

October 18, 2007

Bush: Vetoing to Be Relevant


There’s some controversy about why Bush vetoed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) bill. Was it a previously dormant desire to hold down government spending that suddenly awakened in him? Was he determined to do what he can to slow the unstoppable juggernaut of socialist medicine? Does he simply hate poor and sick children? Bush gave an answer at a press conference yesterday:

Q I wanted to ask you about S-CHIP and why you even let that get to a situation where it had to be a veto? Isn’t there a responsibility by both the President and congressional leadership to work on this common ground before it gets to a veto?

THE PRESIDENT: Right, as I said, we weren’t dialed in. And I don’t know why. But they just ran the bill, and I made it clear we weren’t going to accept it. That happens sometimes. In the past, when I — I said, look, make sure we’re a part of the process, and we were. In this case, this bill started heading our way, and I recognize Republicans in the Senate supported it. We made it clear we didn’t agree. They passed it anyway. And so now, hopefully, we’ll be in the process. That’s why the President has a veto. Sometimes the legislative branch wants to go on without the President, pass pieces of legislation, and the President then can use the veto to make sure he’s a part of the process. And that’s — as you know, I fully intend to do. I want to make sure — and that’s why, when I tell you I’m going to sprint to the finish, and finish this job strong, that’s one way to ensure that I am relevant; that’s one way to sure that I am in the process. And I intend to use the veto.

So it’s not about any of that. He’s just trying to remain relevant and “sprint to the finish”. What if it happens to be a Defense appropriation bill that lands on his desk next time he’s feeling a bit irrelevant and winded?


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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