the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

August 5, 2005

Speaking of Intelligent Design


At the Thursday Happy Hour the subject of intelligent design came up.

Just thought I’d mention that the American Fascist Association has a new poll:

Should students be exposed to different ideas, or should they be shielded from information about intelligent design? Give us your opinion.

Yeah, I really want the Christian Right to decide which “new ideas” I should get exposed to.

At this time 54575 mouth breathers were in favor of teaching ID, while 2692 round-earth theorists were against it.

August 4, 2005

Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan


Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan, Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan (Reagan) Reagan Reagan. Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan? Oh, sorry, I lapsed into what will be the US official language before long — Reagan, in which every word has been changed to honor the Supreme President Before Whom All Others Are as Nothing (Except for Dubya).

This post is occasioned by the latest outrage on the naming-everything-after-Reagan front (thanks to DCist for alerting me). On July 28, just before leaving town for the recess, Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX) introduced a bill that would rename 16th Street NW to Ronald Reagan Boulevard. Never mind that no other president has a huge boulevard named after him. Never mind that it would destroy the logical letter-number grid of L’Enfant’s design for the city. Never mind that we already have named an airport and the largest federal building other than the Pentagon after the guy. And certainly never mind that the citizens of the District have no interest in such a renaming or in paying the $1 million it would cost. Republicans must carry their Reaganolatry beyond all reasonable limits (the Reagan Legacy Project’s blog of course rejoices in the idea).

Fortunately, one of our local Republicans, Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), is in charge of the relevant committee and has the right attitude, according to WTOP:

Davis tells WTOP the bill is “ridiculous” and he plans to put it in the “appropriate file.”

“We have named Ronald Reagan Airport, we have the Ronald Reagan building downtown, but I think if Congressman Bonilla wants to name anything else he has to look at his own district in San Antonio.”

I have complaints about Davis, but on this issue all I can say is “bravo, Tom!”

Somerby Meltdown


Last week Keith wondered what was going on at the Daily Howler.

I’d like to suggest that Bob Somerby may have been bitten by a rabid dog.

Take for instance this post, where he goes through several right-wing talking points on l’Affaire de Rove, and then rants:

If you don’t want to read what we have to say, don’t! But we hope readers will abandon their feeble impulse to search for our “motives” in presenting this material—to search for reasons why we’d say things like this. We’ve worked much longer and harder—much longer and harder—than you have done on matters like this, and by the way, who was right in March 1999 and every day for twenty months after that, while your fiery heroes stared off into space, putting the current prez in the White House? Given the track record of the past seven years, you don’t have to agree with anything we say, but you might put your “motive” theoretics away. We’ll explain our “motives”—and they’re very high-minded, just as they were when they produced pleasing stories, stories you liked, and you praised us for our fine, lofty values.

Keith, any other possible explanations? If not a rabid dog, maybe he was bitten by Michelle Malkin?

Pentagon Propaganda and Bad Headlines


Several times I’ve been on the verge of writing about this story, and now Jesse has nudged me over the edge by adding another wrinkle. On July 24, CNN reported evidence that the Pentagon is making up quotes for its news releases. Compare these passages from releases describing two separate attacks:

July 13 July 24
“The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,” said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. “They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists.” “The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists,” said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified.

The Pentagon claims the fake quotes resulted from “an administrative error”. On the Media ridiculed the story last weekend in its interview with Unidentified Iraqi.

The Washington Post, as far as I can tell, ignored the story until Tuesday’s edition, when it reported on a Pentagon memo about the quotes, and that’s where Jesse noticed it and called it to my attention as “a good example of bad news reporting”. More from Jesse:

Now, should this story have been called “Pentagon Rejects Use of Anonymous Quotes; Its News Releases Cited Nameless Iraqi”? — Or should it have been called “War Propaganda?; Pentagon Uses Same Iraq Quote 2 Different Weeks”. By essentially using the Pentagon’s press release as their story, the AP and the Washington Post are letting the Pentagon do preemptive damage control on a story few if any of us were aware of before (it’s also worth noting that the title of the article used in the Washington Post is probably not the original title used in the AP story, since papers routinely rename AP stories). Bottom line: the issue isn’t that the Pentagon used anonymous quotes — it’s that they fabricated anonymous quotes.

Jesse’s exactly right. I found that a slightly earlier version of the story on the Post’s site, but the headline, “Pentagon Says Anonymous Quote Use an Error”, also avoids mentioning the main point of the story. As Brad DeLong might say, why oh why can’t we have better newspapers?

August 3, 2005

America Coming Together to Dissolve


Washington Post:

The dream was that ACT — heavily funded by billionaire George Soros — would play a decisive role in getting Democratic nominee John F. Kerry elected president and then remain in business as a permanent force in liberal politics.

Instead, the group this week began sending e-mails to most of the 28 people who make up the remaining ACT staff warning that their paychecks would stop at the end of August. All the state offices have been, or are soon to be, closed.

Alex, I’m going with What happens when progressive organizations suck at fundraising for $500.

Paul Hackett Fights the Good Fight


Suppose you’re a political novice running for Congress in a special election. And suppose you’re a Democrat running in a district where only nine months ago the Republican candidate won by 72 to 28 percent, and the Republicans have had similar margins for at least the three elections before that. Now suppose you called Bush’s “bring ’em on” challenge “the most incredibly stupid comment I’ve ever heard a president of the United States make”, referred to the president himself as a “chicken hawk”, and said “I don’t like the son-of-a-bitch that lives in the White House” — causing the Republican National Congressional Committee to pour advertising dollars into your opponent’s campaign, promising to “bury” you. What percentage of the vote would you expect to get?

Well, if you’re Paul Hackett, in Ohio’s second district Tuesday, the answer is 48 percent. Not enough to win, alas, but an amazing total. Look at that again: he took the Democratic share from 28 percent up to 48, when the RNCC was going all out to bury him. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he’s a veteran just back from Iraq and that he got lots of publicity and funds from liberal blogs throughout the country. But there are a lot of districts where Democrats don’t need to gain 20 points to win — 5, 10, or 15 will do.

Maybe Howard Dean isn’t so crazy:

As I’ve said all along, our strategy for victory is a simple one. Show up. Not just in a battleground state. Not just in 18 of 50 states. Not just show up in blue areas, and not just show up around election time. Show up in every state, in every election, in every community….

August 2, 2005

Bolton Delay Saved UN Reform?


During the long battle over John Bolton’s nomination as UN ambassador, we’ve heard a lot from the Washington Note and other sources about how Bolton is sort of an anti-diplomat, able to sabotage any negotiation he touches — especially those on nuclear proliferation and loose nukes. Well, now people involved another negotiation are thankful that the Senate’s diligence (and the White House’s stonewalling) kept Bolton away from it long enough that they were able to succeed in their job. The negotiation in question is reform of the UN, the supposed reason for Bolton’s appointment in the first place:

“Most of the reforms sought by the United States are well on their way to completion,” said a senior administration official, speaking anonymously to avoid undercutting the rationale for the Bolton appointment. Another said that because so much had been achieved, there was little concern that Mr. Bolton’s combative personality would jeopardize the agenda.

Of course things aren’t finalized yet, so it’s not too late for Bolton to charge in and screw things up.

July 31, 2005

Endless Campaigns Reach the Local Level


We’re used to having presidential campaigns that start years before the election and go on forever, but city elections haven’t been that way — until now. I was out getting groceries this afternoon and found that the area around the Cleveland Park Metro has been plastered with signs for a DC council candidate. I wondered for a second whether I had missed the announcement of some sort of special election, but no, Jonathan Rees is just getting a head start on the primary election that’s coming up on September 12. That’s September 12, 2006. I know that several mayoral candidates have already declared, but putting up signs 13 months ahead for a council race, especially one that’s not even citywide, is going a bit far. Rees has been spamming the Craigslist personals (including a “test question” about arranging a threesome) and other web boards for several weeks now, but this is the first actual sign I’ve seen.

Then there’s the content of the sign. The biggest words other than the candidate’s name are “and I will vote no”, part of Rees’s version of Bush the Elder’s “no new taxes” pledge. In fact, the sign is entirely about his antitax positions (complete with a depiction of a taxpayer in handcuffs) and gives no hint what other positions he might have. Is this guy really a Democrat, or is he just running as one because the Democratic primaries are the real elections in this city?


July 29, 2005

Saturday Road Trip to Virginia Beach to Help a Democratic Candidate


At tonight’s DCDL meeting Rene, a regular, told us all about a road trip he’s taking Saturday to help turn a small part of Virginia blue, and he wants to invite anyone who’s interested to go along! He and some friends are leaving at 8:30 Saturday morning to head down to Virginia Beach to volunteer for a candidate and have a beach party.

Supriya Christopher is running as a Democrat for the open House of Delegates seat for District 84, in Virginia Beach. She’s the first Indian American — in fact, the first Asian American of any kind — to run for a seat in the Virginia legislature. She’s been an officer in the US Army Signal Corps, and her husband is a Navy pilot serving in Iraq.

If you’re interested in going (or want more information), contact Gautam Dutta (e-mail gautam{at}aya.yale.edu) right away, to reserve your place with Rene and the gang!

July 28, 2005

DC Wins!


By “wins” in this case I mean we beat out NYC. Overall DC actually came in 5th.

I’m speaking of course about Forbes poll of the best cities for singles. Not only is DC 5th overall, it’s also the 5th coolest.

Sounds about right to me. ‘Cause if anything is at the intersection of Cool and Singles, it’s gotta be Forbes.


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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