Thursday, December 28, 2006

Drinking Liberally - A Year in Review at Our Temporary Home

The people have spoken, and as of 10:00 p.m. last night it looks like this week's very special episode of Asheville Drinking Liberally will take place at the Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company on beautiful Merrimon Avenue (otherwise known to many long-time Ashevillians as the "Brew & View" - or is that "Brew N' View"? I haven't been able to get a straight answer to this...).

Apart from the different location, and the fact that this is going to be the last DL meeting of 2006, what makes this one special?

Well, I'm sure you've all heard by now about the passing of President Gerald R. Ford. A lot of people really don't remember him too well, other than the fact that he was the "guy who pardoned Nixon" and the butt of many jokes. Well, he certainly was all of that... but believe it or not, he had a pretty rich legacy. Ford was a man of many contradictions. On one hand, he was one of the men responsible for whitewashing the JFK assassination (as a member of the Warren Commission), and he did play a minor but significant role in the rise of the Neo-Conservative movement. On the other hand, a lot of people forget that he was the one who nominated Justice John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court, and in 2001 he became a member of the Republican Unity Coalition (an organization dedicated to making homosexuality a "non-issue" within the GOP). He was also a vocal supporter of gay rights issues. On top of all this, in a 2004 interview with Bob Woodward that was subject to a press embargo until after Ford's passing (excerpts of which have been published in this morning's Washington Post), he disagreed with Bush over the invasion of Iraq, and criticized Vice President Cheney (who happened to be Ford's Chief of Staff) and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld (who also served in that same position at the pleasure of Ford) for pushing WMDs as justification for the invasion. Pretty progressive for a man who many feel was nothing but a GOP hack for his entire political career, huh?

Me? Whenever I think of Gerald Ford, I think of a scene from a documentary about political cartoonists I saw quite a few years ago, where Mike Peters demonstrated how easy it was to draw him. He just drew a caricature of Karloff's Frankenstein monster without the bolts on his neck.

Whether you love him, hate him, or feel kind of "ehhh?" about him, let's raise a glass and either toast his small contributions to progressivism or curse his role in the mess we're in now...

Also, because this is the last meeting of the year, what better time to review the events of the past year? The big news and the stories that got away. Our victories, our failures, and everything in between. What should be done differently next time? What are we going to do in 2007? This is wide open, folks. Plenty of stuff to talk about here.

The Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company is located @ 675 Merrimon Ave., across the street from that big ugly office building that used to be a Burger King. They have the same beer selection, as well as a full menu with item names derived from movie puns. I'm a big fan of their "Fingers of Fire" myself. Look for us in the back room.

We'll be back to our regular place and time next week (1/4), and we hope to see you tonight! If we don't see you, we here @ ADL want to wish you all a happy, safe and prosperous 2007.

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