Drinking Liberally Virginia Beach Chapter Blog

Last Night at Croc's

As I approached Croc's last night on Cypress Avenue, I discovered that the intersection of Cypress and 19th Street was closed; the intersection was blocked in all four directions, and the closure blocked the Cypress Avenue entrance to Croc's parking lot.

I was able to wiggle around via Baltic Avenue and enter the Croc's parking lot from 19th Street, which was accessible just before "Road Closed" sign, but turnout was quite small. Dave and I theorized that a number of persons may have been deterred by the road closures, so I thought I'd let you know that Croc's was still accessible. Next month, I'll scout it out a few days before the meeting to see what the circumstances may be.

The construction, which has been going on for quite a while, is not just repairs; rather, it's part of an extensive project to upgrade 19th Street.

We also learned of another, kindred group that meets at Croc's on the third Thursday of every month: an eco-oriented group called Green Drinks. I'd not heard of it before, but I intend to check it out.

Best wishes.

January Meeting Reminder

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone on Thursday, January 10, at 6 p. m. at Croc's 19nth Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, one block from the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map). I hope that everyone was able to find some peace during the holidays.

The cavalcade of crazy continues in a cascading crecendo. Here are a few bits of reading I've found over the past few weeks that have helped me get through it.

Susan Estrich doubts that Donald Trump understands the concept of "the rule of law."

Trump states that the Obamas have a ten-foot wall around their Washington, D. C. home. They don't.

Peter Whoriskey explores how a hedge fund killed a business by milking it dry and ripping off employees' pension funds. As an aside, I will note that the notion that a business's first obligation is to return maximum revenue to shareholders, which is today oft repeated as revealed truth, is a relatively new one created by the "Chicago School" of economists, who in turn were heavily influenced by Ayn Rand's "Objectivism," which is little more than a high-sounding rationale for selfishness.

Jaunita Jean is taken aback at all the winning.

Neal Barnett mourns the end of truth.

Dave Barry looks back over 2018 and is not impressed.

Joe Phalon reminds us that these days we all always on candid camera.

Frank Harris, III, finds no joy in joyriding with Donald Trump.

Bobby Azarian attempts to understand the unwavering loyalty in the face of facts of Donald Trump's ardent supporters.

In closing, I'll make a bet with you. I got a dollar to a doughnut that, as I read the letters to the editor of our local rag, I can tell with 90% accuracy which letter writers get their news from Fox News. Takers?

December Meeting Reminder

I look forward to seeing everyone at our December gathering at 6:00 p. m. on Thursday, December 13, at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, Virginia Beach (map).

I have been occupying myself recently with completing collections of New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles and rereading books by my favorite mystery authors; that keeps me from wallowing in the distressing firehose of news. I'm not ignoring the news, not at all, as I have blog to feed and blogs are hungry beasts, but I find that taking a break from it is quite the restorative.

Nevertheless, I have a number of interesting bits to recommend to you:

Thom Hartmann reminds us that there is nothing new about "trickle-down" economics.

Donald Trump recently praised his "gut instincts." Carl Hiaasen takes inventory of those instincts.

The San Jose Mercury-News reports that crackpot conspiracy theorists have shifted into fifth gear with overdrive about California's wild fires. In a related piece, Mike Wood considers how "social" media facilitates the propagation of lies and misrepresentations.

Paul Krugman considers Donald Trump's stewardship (skewered-ship?) of the economy.

Shaun Mullen mulls the legacy of George H. W. Bush, arguably the last competent Republican president.

Susan Estrich comments on the Washington Redskins' decision to pick up a player with a history of domestic violence. (A long time ago, I was a Redskins fan. Now, I can no longer enjoy football because of the corruption and venality that pervades the game at the management level, both in the NCAA and the NFL. Nevertheless, I follow football enough to know that the only hope for the Redskins to regain their former glory is to trade for a new owner.)

And, finally, I guess it's official: We have achieved full pariah.

See you next week.

November Meeting and Be Sure To Vote Reminder

Our regular monthly gather will take place on Thursday, November 8, at 6:30 p. m. at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, Virginia Beach, Va. (map).

I'm sure we will have much to discuss, just as I am sure that everyone who receives this email will have remembered to vote in what may be the most important election of our time. This news item regarding racist robo-calls encapsulates what is at stake.

On the topic of voting, the Rude Pundit rudely castigates those who think not voting is somehow a positive statement of protest. (Warning: Language.) Methinks he has a point, nay, several points. You do not retain rights by abdicating them.

As we are flooded with falsehoods, I find this article timely in our present state of discourse. It concerns the panic that wasn't over the Mercury Theater's radio show dramatizing the War of the Worlds.

It led me to remember the first meeting of my first sociology class in college. The professor discussed that event and pointed out that, far from being nationwide, what little panic there was was limited to a small area in New Jersey near the site of fictional landing and to persons who listened to another radio show--I think it was Little Orphan Annie--and joined the Mercury Theater after the radio play had started. (Later on in the semester, we listened to a recording of the show and discussed how the legend of wide-spread panic--the panic that wasn't--took hold.)

At The Washington Monthly, Nancy LeTourneau reminds us that, when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Also at The Washington Monthly, David Atkins lists the beliefs that contemporary conservatives must hold; rounded up in one place, the list is evidence of, quite frankly, jaw-dropping suspension of disbelief.

Jeremy E. Sherman offers some timely suggestions for dealing with jerks. (In a related matter, who decided that strangers' sending me condescending unsolicited patronizing text messages was somehow an effective way to increase my participation in the polity?)

Political Science Professor Lane Crothers, who blogs as PoliticalProf, describes the cynical cycle of the conservative con. In a similar vein, Pearls before Swine describes today's news coverage in pictures.

I look forward to seeing you all on Thursday. After the stress of the campaign and of the election, I am certain that we will all benefit from the good fellowship.

Virginia Beach City Council Candidate Forum

My friend Andrew Jackson tells me that there will a Virginia Beach City Council candidate forum--likely the last one of this election season--on Thursday, October 25, at 6:30 p. m. at Morning Star Baptist Church, 4780 First Court Road, Virginia Beach.

There is no URL that I can point you to, but I plan to be there. You can too.

Finding Information on Local VB Candidates

Virginia Beach mayor and city council seats are up for election this year, but, sadly, finding information about candidates in the press and media is difficult; the Congressional races absorb the headlines.

Furthermore, what hints about a candidate's position might be given by party affiliation is also hard, as the city elections are by charter non-partisan. As a result, advertisements, websites, and ballots omit party affiliation.

The council includes both at large and district seats. Candidates for district seats must reside in that district, but every Virginia Beach voter is eligible to vote for every city council and school board seat.

This unusual practice goes back to the Virginia Beach's formation in the 1960s by merger of the Town of Virginia Beach (what we now loosely refer to as the "beachfront"--roughly the area east of First Landing State Park and Birdneck Road) and Princess Anne County, which, at the time was primarily farmland.

The concern was that council districts based on population would be concentrated in the Town of Virginia Beach, effectively disenfranchising residents of Princess Anne County. This hybrid system was devised to ensure a geographical balance on the council. (Whether this system's time is past is another issue.)

Thanks to an acquaintance of mine, Carolyn Rye, who is running for reelection to the school board, I have learned of two locations where you can learn more abou the local candidates.

One is WAVY's website, where there is a candidates' section. The other is VOTE411 Project of The League of Women Voters (at VOTE411, you will need to enter your address to view local candidate information).

If you know of other sources of information on local races, please let us know.

October Meeting Reminder and a Cavalcade of Kavanaugh

We will certainly have much to discuss at our October gathering in Thursday, October 11, at 6:00 p. m. at Croc's 19th Street Bistro near the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map). I am certain I am not the only one to have found last week's cavalcade of Kavanaugh to be stressful and depressing. Heck, I had trouble sleeping Friday night, and, aside from some blogging early in the day, I spent the better part of Friday aggressively unplugged.

Indeed, Above the Law's Elie Mystal was that so disturbed that he found himself reconsidering his opposition to President George W. Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. His reasons may take you aback.

Over at Kiko's House, Shaun Mullen performs a post mortem on the confirmation of Kavanaugh, which, in my view, supports Barney Franks's statement some years ago that "moderate Republicans are the ones who aren't there when you need them." Meanwhile, Leonard Pitts, Jr., reports on meeting Republicans who were also distressed by the spectacle. In a related article, Pitts reveals his secret for not getting accused of sexual harassment.

In other news of the Trumpling, Jay Bookman muses on the New York Times's story about Donald Trump's carefully-cultivated myth of business competence.

Elsewhere, NorthJersey.com documents a textbook case of psychological projection.

It seems much longer, but it was just two weeks ago that the big news was the rumored firing of Assistant Attorney-General Rob Rosenstein, with turned out the be a nothingburger. Will Bunch analyzes why the media took the bait.

I hope you can make it Thursday. I think we could all use some fellowship.

September Meeting Postponed One Week

Because of Hurricane Florence, I am postponing the September meeting until September 20. All other meeting details remain the same.

I recommend that you follow hurricane developments at the Virginian-Pilot, as television weather coverage is in full "foment panic" mode (their favorite mode, especially at the Weather Channel).


Hunker down, evacuate if directed to, and stay safe.

September Meeting Reminder

I look forward to seeing you at our September meeting on Thursday, September 13, at 6 p. m. at Croc's 19nth Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, one block from the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map).

The cavalcade of crazy continues. For thoughtful coverage and analysis of the Trumpling, I highly recommend Shaun Mullen's blog. Shaun is a retired newspaper reporter and editor who knows how to report and edit.

Here are some other items you might find interesting.

In the Non Sequitur comic, Wiley pictures the history of Labor Day. In a similar vein, Don Langrehr comments on the irony of celebrating "Labor Day" in a society that does not honor labor.

For some fool reason, the Raleigh News and Observer published a column that rounds up in one place all the rationales that unreconstructed white Southerners use to convince themselves and others that the Civil War was not about slavery, even though every state that seceded referenced slavery in its secession documents. It is, of course, horribly wrong and sounds oh so civilized. I mention it because it is a primer in propaganda and misdirection play. I'm not going to provide a direct link, but you can go to the newspaper's opinion section and look for an article by Dennis Cuddy, Ph. D., you can read it; it illustrates why some persons argue that "Ph. D." stands for pile it higher and deeper.

For a contrasting (and historically much more accurate) view, see Jon Broadway's column at AL.com.

Steven M. at No More Mister Nice Guy suggests that, as far as establishment Republicans are concerned, Trump's work is done. It's an interesting read, but I'm not sure I buy it. For one thing, who are these "establishment Republicans" of whom he speaks? I don't see any old school "establishment Republicans" persons left in the party.

Tony Norman hears the dog whistles.

The Tampa Bay Times's Bill Maxwell goes for a road trip and finds himself reliving his youth; it's not pretty.

In local news, the campaign for Virginia's Second House District seat has taken some unusual twists in the past two weeks. By the by, in Virginia Beach, city council and school board races are also under way, but the news coverage is not very good. If you want to learn about the candidates, your best bet is try to find a "candidates forum" near you. Many civic groups, churches, and the like host them, but they are often not well publicized. I was lucky enough to attend one; I'll bring my notes, such as they are, to the meeting Thursday.

After all this, I need a drink, so I'm looking forward to Thursday.

August Meeting Reminder

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone on Thursday, August 9, at 6 p. m. at Croc's 19nth Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, one block from the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map).

I've run across a number of items that I think are worth your while during the past few weeks. Here's on that I found particularly enlightening: Robert Epstein, former Editor-in-Chief at Psychology Today among many other accomplishments, offers a construct for understanding why Donald Trump does and says what he does and says. I frankly think he is spot on in his reasoning.

In a somewhat similar but less theoretical vein, Professor Robert Strong suggests that Donald Trump has mastered what he calls a tabloid intelligence, getting keeping attention in much the same way as tabloid headlines do in the supermarket checkout aisles, with the same adherence to facts . . . .

Meanwhile, Rufus Edmisten, who served on the staff of the Watergate Committee, sees echoes of his past in our present.

If you are paying attention local news, you are seeing unquestionable evidence that seas are rising and climates are changing. Will Bunch wonders why that's not getting the media coverage it deserves.

In the "don't believe what you see on television cop shows department," the California ACLU has tested Amazon's facial recognition system and found it more farcical than facial. Plus it is significantly less reliable with non-white faces than with white ones.

At Psychology Today Blogs, Jeremy Sherman wonders whether the Republican Party has become a Trumpist cult awash in Kool-Aid.

David Treadwell muses on the Great Groveling of Helsinki, while Brian Greenspun reminds of the origin of the term, "Quisling."

Badtux cuts through the hypocritical rhetoric of those who would end "birthright citizenship." Jen Sorenson does the same in pictures.

The next time you have errands to run, pop Bob Cesca's interview with Malcolm Nance into your podplayer and give it a listen. It will not cheer you up, but it is worth a listen.

In the Foxy Shady Department, David Pakman recently appeared on Fox News. Later, on his own YouTube channel, he analyzed the techniques that the Fox interviewers used to keep him from making his point. Watch and learn how to do the twist.

In closing, I offer a bit of very cautious optimism from my friend and fellow blogger, Shaun Mullen.

See you next week.