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"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wTuesday, November 18, 2003


HOW TO EXPENSE THOSE DRINKS: Went to the first Ban the Ban Pub Crawl last Friday and wrote something about it. I was annoyed that nobody else has linked to it yet, but then I noticed that I was included in the list. So here:


WASHINGTON -- It was 7:49 Friday night at Millie & Al's, a pub on 18th Street in the Adams Morgan district, and it looked like any other night. A hockey game flickered on the small television screen; elk antlers hung near the back wall next to a string of M&M Christmas lights; behind the bar, the light that signaled $1 jello shooters was not yet activated; working stiffs, tired from the week, unwound at the bar while friends laughed and chatted at tables. I had a bottle of Guinness in front of me and a pizza on the way, but I kept glancing toward the entrance, and back at the patrons.

Right about 7:50, the door swung open and at least a dozen twentysomethings shuffled through. The thing that caught the customers' eyes was not so much the size of this crowd, but that they were all wearing the same white T-shirt with [BAN] THE [BAN] bracketed and in bold. The camera crew from Channel 7 that followed them, with a spotlight illuminating the room, also managed to turn a few heads. "Bet you didn't know you were going to be on TV tonight," said my waiter.

True, but I had an inkling. Ban the Ban is that old cliché, a genuine grassroots effort, with all of the weirdness that entails. These inactivists aim to convince the D.C. City Council to refrain from passing the Smokefree Workplaces Act of 2003, which will prohibit, among other things, smoking in restaurants and bars -- thus the group's unusual venue for a protest. Millie & Al's was only the first stop of the night in the first Ban the Ban Pub Crawl, and nobody -- protesters and observers alike -- was sure quite what to make of it. [more]

posted by Jeremy at 7:51 PM