the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

July 29, 2006

House Passes Minimum Wage Hike With Estate Tax Cut


The estate tax repeal is back yet again. Actually this time it’s just a cut, not a repeal, but it remains a bad idea to help establish a hereditary plutocracy while adding even more to our already insanely large deficit.

When I first heard about the Republican plan to tie a minimum wage increase to an estate tax cut, I foolishly believed that Democrats wouldn’t swallow the poison pill. The Republican trick was so transparent that it would be easy to explain to the average voter, to defuse accusations that Democrats blocked a minimum wage increase — accusations that wouldn’t be very believable anyway.

Alas, at 1:30 this morning, 34 Democrats did swallow it, and the bill passed the House. Since 21 Republicans voted against the bill, it would have failed if the Democrats had stood together. What is wrong with these people?

The bill doesn’t even index the minimum wage for inflation (or tie future increases to congressional pay raises, as some Democrats have proposed). It just provides a one-time increase, which means we’ll be facing the same problem again in a few years. The accompanying estate tax cut, of course, is permanent.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where I’m still hoping the Democrats will have a little more spine. There is some reason to hope it can be defeated:

But the maneuvering by House and Senate GOP leaders to package the measures over the objection of some Senate chairmen caused severely bruised feelings. Lawmakers from both parties said last night that the legislation could easily collapse in the Senate, underscoring Democratic contentions that Congress has become dysfunctional. […]

Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) signaled he would try to scuttle the tax bill next week. “Republicans have made perfectly clear who they stand with and who they are willing to fight for: the privileged few,” he said.

Thomas Jefferson felt that limiting inheritance was the way to avoid an aristocracy, and that “the earth belongs in usufruct to the living” and “the dead have neither powers nor rights over it.” Let’s hope today’s Democrats maintain those beliefs.

July 28, 2006

Eleanor Holmes Norton on the Colbert Report


Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC’s nonvoting delegate to the House of Representatives, was on the Colbert Report last night. I thought she did pretty well, needling Stephen about his frenchified name and, more important, educating a few people about the disenfranchisement of the people of DC (for more about that, see DC Vote, including “10 Myths About the District of Columbia”).

Here’s the video, which someone named uluviel has kindly put on YouTube — and Comedy Central has kindly not shot down yet:

Incidentally, this year for the first time in her 16-year career Norton has a challenger in the Democratic primary (September 12). He’s Andy Miscuk, who has attended DC Drinking Liberally, both Wednesday and Thursday. So if you haven’t been impressed with the job Norton is doing, this time you have a choice.

July 22, 2006

DNC Disses DC, Rewards Nevada and South Carolina, in 2008 Schedule


This morning at the ungodly (for a Saturday) hour of 9:30, I showed up, along with more than a dozen other supporters of DC voting rights, at the Capital Hilton to lobby and observe the meeting of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. The purpose of the meeting was to vote on a historic change to the presidential election schedule: inserting an additional caucus between the traditional leadoff events of the presidential nominating process, the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, as well as inserting a new primary shortly after New Hampshire. Ten states plus the District were in the running, and we were there to support DC’s bid. Thanks to DC Vote, we all had T-shirts reading “Let DC Vote — Early Caucus 2008″. Unlike some of the other contenders, we didn’t think to bring bribes — South Carolina had a bag of peaches for each committee member, and Hawaii brought macadamia nuts.

Our message was that DC would provide an appropriate balance for the mostly white and rural Iowa and New Hampshire, bringing needed representation of urban and minority voters into the process. In addition, greater visibility for DC in the nomination process would bring more attention to the immoral disenfranchisement of DC residents, who despite paying federal taxes have no voting representation in the Congress that decides how those taxes are spent.

DC’s lobbying effort had been pretty minimal, so my expectations were low, but they were raised slightly when I heard that a member of the committee from New Hampshire, Kathleen Sullivan, had decided to vote for DC in the hope of avoiding a collision between New Hampshire state law and the DNC’s rules. The state law requires that the primary be moved if any other state tries to move ahead of New Hampshire, but since DC isn’t a state it wouldn’t trigger the law. It’s too bad that this possible compromise couldn’t have been noticed and earlier and publicized within the committee.

The meeting started off with praise for the recently renewed Voting Rights Acts, which was followed by an attempt to reopen a question decided earlier: whether to add four new states in the early period rather than only two. That was quickly shot down, and then committee member Harold Ickes proposed that the committee consider choosing the caucus state from the West and the primary state from the South. His proposal was passed, although he and the committee co-chairs claimed that it didn’t exclude other states from consideration, so I’m not clear what its real purpose was.

Things moved on to a confused description of what seemed to be an instant-runoff vote to determine the order in which contenders would be voted on. Ickes headed that off by proposing a simpler vote in which each member would write down only his or her first choices for the caucus and the primary states. Members then spoke in favor of various contenders, describing how their favorites fit the DNC’s criteria of diversity (racial, ethnic, and economic), labor representation, and suitability for “retail politics” — all qualities DC has plenty of. Speaking for the District were Sullivan and DC resident Donna Brazile. Finally the committee completed their ballots and adjourned for lunch.

After lunch the results were announced:

Caucus        Primary
Nevada 20 South Carolina 22
Arizona 5 Alabama 5
DC 2 Michigan 1
Michigan 1

Unfortunately no one joined Sullivan and Brazile in supporting the District. Still, it will be interesting to see whether incorporating states from the West and the South will improve the presidential nomination process.

Reid Wilson from the Hotline on Call blogged the meeting live (see this post and the ones around it).

July 21, 2006

Who Killed the Electric Car?


The DC chapter of Drinking Liberally hopes you can make it for Dinner & a Movie this Saturday featuring the DC premiere of “Who Killed the Electric Car?”

We’re meeting at 7 at the E Street Cinema, 555 11th Street NW (Metro Center station) for seating at 7:15. Dinner afterwards (9:30) is at the British-style pub Elephant & Castle, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave NW.

For background on the movie, and an interview with the director, Chris Paine, check out this episode of NOW.

For GM’s response to “Who Killed the Electric Car?” see this post on the GM blog.

July 19, 2006

The Grand Oxymoron Party


Heh. Gotta love the 1% culture of life. Here are the rules:

1. If there’s even a fraction of a 1% chance that something will result in Republican voters having a baby, then it must be protected, and all contrary efforts are anathema.

2. Once a fetus hits puberty:

a. If it’s a boy (unless it’s brown, then see 2c, unless already directed here from another rule), give it a gun and point it at brown people. Or give it a keyboard and point it at Democrats or other undesirables. Otherwise, to hell with it; throw it in jail.
b. If it’s a girl (unless it’s brown, then see 2c, unless already directed here from that rule), administer under rule #1. Unless it objects, in which case see 2a.
c. If it’s brown, and it won’t talk like Anne Coulter or worse *cough* better, then see 2a.

Did I miss anything?

Couldn’t resist the opportunity to throw y’all some snark.

See y’all tomorrow at Timberlake’s.

July 17, 2006

The Big Iraq Candy Mountain


Inspired by BroD’s comment on Brad DeLong’s post on Bush’s latest delusional statement about Iraq being a model democracy — with apologies to Burl Ives, Haywire Mac, hoboes, and anyone else involved with “The Big Rock Candy Mountain”

In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain, it’s a land that’s fair and bright,
No one’s ever heard of IEDs, and the streets are safe at night.
Kidnappers all have rubber knives, and the car bombs don’t go off.
There’s a nice cool breeze, and no disease,
And we finally found those WMDs,
In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain.

Oh, the flowers and sweets from the crowds in the streets
By the Coca-Cola fountain,
The eagles soar, and there’s no civil war,
In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain.

In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain, the terrorists always lose,
And the folks have purple fingers, and they vote for who they choose.
The women wear just what they want, and the men can shave their beards.
The people are free, there’s democracy,
And Sunni, Kurd, and Shi’a are a family
In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain.

In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain, not a single child is hurtin’,
And billions of dollars are all well spent, thanks to friends at Halliburton.
The schools are freshly painted, ’lectricity runs all day.
They get HBO, and there ain’t no snow,
And the people never, ever want our troops to go,
In the Big Iraq Candy Mountain.

July 14, 2006

McNerney Fundraiser Followup


On a muggy, occasionally rainy DC night, about 70 people gathered in an upstairs room at Così coffee shop and bar to show their support for Jerry McNerney, the Democrat who’s running against Richard Pombo, the House’s foremost enemy of the environment (I announced the event earlier). Among the crowd were

Jerry was introduced by Congressman George Miller and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (I got a bad photo — should have used a flash). He then spoke about his how he got into alternative energy and eventually ended up running for Congress.

Jerry spoke about having a job interview for an oil company at a site where he could taste the oil in the air. He knew he didn’t want to be contributing to that sort of pollution, and he had to decide whether to take the money or do the right thing (and, as Jerry said, we know what Richard Pombo would do in that situation). So he went into wind energy.

Years later, Jerry said, his son Michael felt called to join the military after 9/11, and then in 2004 Michael noticed there was no Democrat running in the 11th District and suggested that his father do his part for the country by running. Jerry jumped in at the last minute, ran as a write-in in the primary, and got onto the ballot to run against Pombo. Unfortunately he didn’t win that time, but now he’s back with the experience he’s gained from his first campaign, and judging by the polls and the number of supporters, he’s doing a lot better this time.

If you missed the fundraiser and still want to do your part by donating what you can afford, you can give through the ActBlue netroots candidates page.

Update (July 18): It’s possible it was Pete McCloskey’s daughter, not his wife, who was there. Sorry for the inept reporting.

July 9, 2006

Dump Anti-Environmentalist Pombo! Jerry McNerney Fundraiser


Are you worried about what’s happening to the environment under Republican rule? Then show up at an affordable fundraiser for Jerry McNerney, the Democrat running for Congress in California’s 11th District. Join Jerry, Democratic members of Congress, and DC netroots activists on Wednesday, July 12, 5:30-7:30pm, at Così, 301 Pennsylvania Ave SE (Capitol South Metro). Suggested donation is $25 per person, but please give more if you can afford it. RSVPs to Kenneth Christensen at 202-543-8191 (or ken{at}caiassociates.com) are appreciated.

McNerney’s opponent is the Republican incumbent, Rep. Richard Pombo, who we’ve written about several times before, mainly in connection with his proposal to sell off Roosevelt Island. The way he’s used his chairmanship of the House Resources Committee to do the bidding of oil and mining companies has made Pombo the foremost enemy of the environment in the House. He’s also one of the 13 most corrupt members of Congress, according to the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Here’s Pombo having his head adjusted by the Personal Space Invader-in-Chief (from Pombo’s own photo gallery):

Bush checking out Pombo's shave

Jerry McNerney, on the other hand, is a windpower engineer who ran against Pombo in 2004. This time around he has great support from the netroots, who have helped him win endorsements (and donations) from Russ Feingold’s Progressive Patriots Fund and Democracy for America, and have put him among the Map Changers finalists for Mark Warner’s Forward Together PAC. There’s an interview with him on the DNC blog.

A poll in May by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research showed McNerney actually winning over Pombo 46 to 42 percent (PDF), so this seat is a real pickup possibility for Democrats — if McNerney can get the money to fight back against Pombo’s polluter-backed and corruption-funded campaign. So come meet Jerry and give generously!

Update (July 14): Followup.

DC Vote Happy Hour and Short Film “Un-Natural State”


DC Vote, the people trying to bring true democracy to DC residents (that is, voting representation in Congress like that of other American citizens), will be having a Summer Drink, Dish, and Dash Happy Hour Monday, July 10, at Busboys and Poets (Langston Room), 2021 14th St NW, from 5 to 6:45pm. Meet new people and find out how to get involved in the fight for voting rights.

At 6:30 sharp they’ll have a free screening of the short film Un-Natural State:

A talented film production team, the Worthy Foes, chose DC voting rights as the topic of an 8-minute documentary submitted for the International Documentary Challenge. Washingtonians Kirk ‘Mango’ Mangels and Brad Mendelsohn approached DC Vote to assist in creating a documentary that would highlight the absurdity of denying democracy in the nation’s capital. The team was given the genre of ‘nature’ and had five days to complete production on the film.

And since YouTube videos are all the rage on the blogs nowadays, here’s a teaser for the film:

July 7, 2006

Schumer and Bush Agree: Lieberman’s Sheer Animal Magnetism Could Lure Them Away From Their Own Parties’ Candidates


You’d think that someone occupying a prominent position within a political party — say, chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or president of the United States — wouldn’t have to think very long about whether to support that party’s candidate in an election (barring criminality, terminal kookiness, or something equally disastrous). But within the past week both Senator Chuck Schumer and President George Bush have danced around answering the question of whether they’d support their own parties’ candidates if Joe Lieberman decided to run as an independent in the Connecticut Senate Race.



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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