the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

June 27, 2005

Rally Anyone?


I got out to the DC for Democracy barbecue yesterday. Great group, and my crystal ball sees a joint event with Drinking Liberally sometime in the not-too-distant future.

One of the speakers mentioned a rally this Friday, July 1, that I’d like to draw attention to. From the DC for Democracy site:

On July 1st, 300 parliamentarians from the 55 member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will meet at the Marriott in Washington. We had been assured that they would consider DC’s lack of equal voting rights and pass a resolution deploring it. Some delegates, however, have asked whether DC residents really care about voting rights, for they’ve not seen people in the streets.

We’re going to join our DC voting rights colleagues and rally at the OSCE meeting site to convince them that we do care. And that’s how you can help, by appearing at one of two demonstrations at the Marriott on 14th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW on Friday, July 1. One at 7:30-9:00AM is on the 14th Street side at Pennsylvania; the second at 12:00-1:00PM is in Freedom Park on Pennsylvania at 14th. Take your lunch break for democracy!

I’m so there. And you know, the fact that we have no representation really is deplorable. Why aren’t we marching in the streets?

June 25, 2005

Public Broadcasting, Older Sister of the Internet


This weekend’s broadcast of On the Media had another segment on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The segment included parts of the speech Lyndon Johnson gave when he signed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, which created the CPB. It’s interesting to see what Johnson was thinking at the time:

In 1862, the Morrill Act set aside lands in every State — lands which belonged to the people — and it set them aside in order to build the land-grant colleges of the Nation.

So today we rededicate a part of the airwaves — which belong to all the people — and we dedicate them for the enlightenment of all the people.

I believe the time has come to stake another claim in the name of all the people, stake a claim based upon the combined resources of communications. I believe the time has come to enlist the computer and the satellite, as well as television and radio, and to enlist them in the cause of education.

If we are up to the obligations of the next century and if we are to be proud of the next century as we are of the past two centuries, we have got to quit talking so much about what has happened in the past two centuries and start talking about what is going to happen in the next century beginning in 1976.

So I think we must consider new ways to build a great network for knowledge — not just a broadcast system, but one that employs every means of sending and storing information that the individual can use.

Think of the lives that this would change:

  • the student in a small college could tap the resources of a great university. […]
  • The country doctor getting help from a distant laboratory or a teaching hospital;
  • a scholar in Atlanta might draw instantly on a library in New York;
  • a famous teacher could reach with ideas and inspirations into some far-off classroom, so that no child need be neglected.

Eventually, I think this electronic knowledge bank could be as valuable as the Federal Reserve Bank.

And such a system could involve other nations, too — it could involve them in a partnership to share knowledge and to thus enrich all mankind.

A wild and visionary idea? Not at all. Yesterday’s strangest dreams are today’s headlines and change is getting swifter every moment.

Who knew LBJ was a member of the digerati?

June 24, 2005

Karl Rove Round-Up


Thoughts around the web about our ole Uncle Karl:

June 23, 2005

BBQ for Democracy


DC for Democracy is a grassroots group that grew out of DC for Dean. Nowadays the group works to get progressive candidates elected and progressive policies enacted at all levels of government. Last September, DC for Democracy folks were among the slate of candidates calling themselves “Running Against Bush” who unseated almost all the incumbents on the local Democratic State Committee. Members also volunteered in battleground states during the presidential campaign.

This year the group has worked to elect Howard Dean as DNC chair, preserve Social Security, and improve DC public schools. They’re also turning their attention to the 2005 Virginia elections, supporting progressive candidates for the House of Delegates.

This Sunday, June 26, DC for Democracy is having its 2nd annual Founders BBQ Picnic in Rock Creek Park from 1 to 5. If the group sounds like something you’d like to get involved in, the BBQ is an excellent opportunity to meet people and find out more. There’ll be food, live entertainment, and games. So RSVP today!

(And if you’re available this Saturday to help a different group in Virginia, don’t forget NEXT’s kickoff canvass in Vienna.)

June 22, 2005

(Re)Publican Broadcasting Service


Growing up in Rockville, MD, I wasn’t exactly starved for cultural influences, but it’s fair to say I had to work a little harder. Thank goodness that WETA existed.

This of course was in the days before the Moonie Times could advertise on WETA, when Robin McNeill ruled the News Hour, before Fox News invented Fair and Balanced Propaganda, and certainly before Republican control of CPB.

The problem with Public Broadcasting is not an excessively liberal influence. The problem is that Corporation for Public Broadcasting chairman, Ken Tomlinson, and chief executive Ken Ferree are total partisan hacks.

Another Messenger Shot


The right-wing smear job (aided by the expected Democratic spinelessness) has had its predictable effect:

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) yesterday offered a tearful apology on the Senate floor for comparing the alleged abuse of prisoners by American troops to techniques used by the Nazis, the Soviets and the Khmer Rouge, as he sought to quell a frenzy of Republican-led criticism. […]

McCain said the lesson is “Watch your words.”

At least the Post’s description of Durbin’s speech bears some resemblance to reality, unlike the blatant lying in the Washington Times. The speech was actually very good, and it’s sad to see someone reduced to groveling for giving it. Now that we’ve made sure no one’s going to talk about that pesky torture problem, we can go back to pretending it doesn’t exist.

Durbin is just the latest in a line of critics — the Red Cross, Newsweek, Amnesty International — neutralized when the Republicans latch on to something they can characterize as a mistake in the criticism, which they can then use to dismiss any discussion of prisoner mistreatment. Expect to see the pattern repeated, and it happens on other issues as well (remember CBS News and the Texas Air National Guard story).


The Pentagon announced that a Halliburton subsidiary was awarded the contract to build a state-of-the-art $30 million prison for 220 terrorism suspects at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

June 20, 2005

Bolton Has Made America Less Safe (Also, Free Film)


Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings (who’s always worth reading) draws attention to an article in today’s Post about John Bolton, Bush’s nominee for UN ambassador, and how much better efforts to control nuclear materials are going since he’s left the State Department. If you’re worried about terrorists getting a nuclear weapon, you should be thankful that he’s been moved out but worried about having him anywhere near any negotations or policy creation in the future.

A group called the Nuclear Threat Initiative (whose members and supporters include Ted Turner, Sam Nunn, Richard Lugar, and Warren Buffett) has produced a docudrama, Last Best Chance, starring Fred Thompson as a US president dealing with terrorists and nukes. As the film’s site says,

This film is based on facts. Some events depicted may have already happened. Some may be happening now. All may happen in the near future if we don’t act now to prevent them.

The Washington Science Policy Alliance is sponsoring a free screening of Last Best Chance in DC on Thursday, June 30. See their site for details.

For the latest word on the Bolton nomination, Steve Clemons at the Washington Note is the go-to guy.

June 19, 2005

Speaking Truth to Power


When I first saw the effort to “swiftboat” the Downing Street Memos (reported here by Washington Monthly), my first reaction was: it’s a shame that some folks feel they need to play games like this.

Thinking about this during the day I realized that this episode serves to illustrate a core Liberal belief: things like freedom of the press exist to speak truth to power. To hold the government accountable for their actions. To act as the balancing force between the ruling party, and the tendency for power to corrupt absolutely.

What Captain’s Quarters, NRO, etc., seem to be doing here is making clever, legalistic arguments to obfuscate the truth. What core belief does that illustrate? Trying to put myself in the shoes of the Bush supporters (like OJ’s glove, the shoes simply don’t fit), the best I can come up with is this: The right and the left are in an ideological war for political control. And, in war and love, all is fair game.

But isn’t this the same kind of moral relativism that the right accuses the left of? I’d be grateful if anyone can help sort this out.

Pub Crawl Success


A good time was had by all at last night’s pub crawl. If you missed it, there’ll be another in a month or so. We’re thinking about having one in Virginia, possibly in the Courthouse/Clarendon area or in Old Town. Post your suggestions for pub crawl locations in the comments.

June 17, 2005

Tortured Logic


Today the House passed Henry Hyde’s bill withholding half of US dues payments to the United Nations unless the UN shapes up. Fortunately, the bill is not likely to get anywhere in the Senate and is opposed by the White House (perhaps Rumsfeld has been talking to Bush about his lack of diplomatic skill).

The bill includes this text (in §201):

(b) Human Rights Reforms at the United Nations — The President shall direct the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations to ensure that the following human rights reforms have been adopted by the United Nations:

(1) A Member State that fails to uphold the values embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights shall be ineligible for membership on any United Nations human rights body.



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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