Drinking Liberally Virginia Beach Chapter Blog

October Meeting Announcement

I've had touch of a cold and look forward to toasting my recovery with you on Thursday, October 10, at 6 p. m. at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, one block from the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map). In the meantime, here's some interesting reading I've found:

Will Bunch describes how Donald Trump is lowering the Barr.

Lawyers, Guns, and Money is stunned that studies confirmed the obvious.

Professor of Law Joseph Kennedy points out a quid pro quo rrequires no magickal incantation to be a quid pro quo.

Brendan, who I used to chat with at the Philadelphia DL, explains that facts really are what people think.

At the Las Vegas Sun, Peter Wehner speculates as to how the Republican Party, which once styled itself as the party of rectitude, morphed into an association of acolytes of amorality.

Susan Estrich discusses what makes Donald Trump a not-Nixon.

At AL.com, Kyle Whitmore argues that "your civics teacher lied" to you about the rule of law. (Are there still such things as "civics teachers"?)

In an interview with Gary Marcus, Harry Shearer explores how AI might indeed be artificial, but is hardly intelligence. (The interview is about 50 minutes long; you may want to download it to your favorite podplayer and listen to it at your leisure. Since "social" media is all about the algorithm, this is well worth a listen, as is Shearer's regular weekly show.) On the same topic, Bobby Azarian discusses studies that indicate that AI reflects the prejudices of its designers.

Professor Lane Crothers, blogging as PoliticalProf, pictures the Disinformation Superhighway.

Gordon Weil argues that the Trump administration is the ultimate outcome "running the government like a business."

And, in closing, Rocky Mountain Mike offers a tune of the times.

Good-Bye Dorian, Hello September Meeting

I hope everyone got through the storm with minimal inconvenience and no damage, and I'm looking forward to sharing Dorian stories on Thursday, September 12, at 6 p. m. at Croc's 19nth Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, one block from the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map).

One of the things I found distressing about the coverage of the storm was the cluelessness of the coverage in not connecting the dot between the increase in severe weather and our changing climate. To paraphrase Thom Hartmann, the U. S. news leaned heavily to hurricane porn.

Here's some other pieces I've found interesting:

At Psychology Today Blogs, Noam Sphancer tries to figure out why Donald Trump is obsessed with President Obama. Also at Psychology Today Blogs, Pamela Paresky explores the language of dehumanization and how it fosters an "us vs. them" mentality.

David Atkins offers a theory as to the dilemma the press faces in trying to present "balanced" op-ed pages. In related news, Jeet Heer investigates the travails of a soreheaded snowflake.

Leonard Pitts, Jr., argues that a "return to normal" is the last thing we need.

NorthJersey.com reports that the police may be "Ringing" at your door.

At the Hartford Courant, Gary Yohe and Michael Mann discuss the other kind of climate change.

Ewan Morrison travels the Disinformation Superhighway.

And, finally, Tom Tomorrow reassures us that we can rest easy because Sherlock Trump is on the case.

August Meeting Announcement--Interesting Times

Join us on Thursday, August 8, at 6 p. m. at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, one block east of the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map).

My wish has become not to live in interesting times. Here are some interesting articles about our interesting times.

At AL.com, George Wallace's daughter sees disturbing echoes of her father's racist tactics in the actions of Donald Trump. In a related topic, Connie Schultz argues that Democrats who think they can ignore Donald Trump's racism are, as my old boss used to say, in error.

Dana Milbank sardonically argues that Baltimore must be deported because it has no place in Donald Trump's vision of America. Meanwhile, Solomon Jones marvels at the capacity some have for forgetting where they came from.

At Psychology Today Blogs, Steve Taylor discusses the characteristics of the form of government which he dubs "pathocracy."

Lalo Alcaraz envisions the re-institution of the Federal death penalty. Will Bunch delves into the motives for that action, as Susan Estrich struggles with the same topic.

Sue Carlton of the Tampa Bay Times explores Florida Republicans' persistent efforts to gut out the vote.

Bruce Lowry abhors a tweet storm of hate from New Jersey's Sussex County Republican Party (despite its name, Sussex County in New Jersey's northernmost county).

Glen Geher explores the downside staying glued to your screen.

Ravi Chandra suggests that the psychological underpinnings of white nationalism include narcissism and tribalism.

Again, I'd rather live in much less interesting times.

A Tankard, Not a Tank: July Meeting Announcement

Join us on Thursday, July 11, at 6 p. m. at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, one block east of the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map).

Here some interesting reads I've encountered since last we met:

Eugene Robinson is bemused by the "Never-Trumpers," who seem to think that Democrats are obligated to nominate a Republican who meets their approval. An old friend from my Philly DL days is more blunt. In a similar vein, Lane Crothers is bemused by the double-standard in coverage of the two parties.

Joyce Vance argues that there is indeed a crisis at the border: a humanitarian crisis. The Sacramento Bee's Gil Duran remembers a Holocaust survivor he used to know and reminds us that a concentration camp by any other name is a concentration camp and that quibbling over what to call Donald Trump's concentration camps for kiddies is nothing more than a misdirection play. Tangentially, the subhead (superhead?) on this story from Der Spiegel takes two cakes and a side of ice cream.

Robert Klose fears that facts will fail to faze Trump's supporters. On a somewhat related theme, Matthew Hutson investigates how and why persons clearly remember stuff that never happened.

Elie Mystal reminds us (and Joe Biden, but he's not listening) that the past is not even past.

In an issue that's striking close to home, a Seattle trauma doctor comes out firmly against the proliferation of rental scooters because they are dangerous. On a personal note, I got buzzed by two bros weaving down the sidewalk on them at last year's sand sculpture exhibit; I personally believe them to be a plague and a menace that should be banned from public streets and walkways.

The New York Times explains how Big Data is using your "smart" phone's Bluetooth to follow you around as you shop. (Me, I keep the Bluetooth and GPS turned off unless I am actively using them and even then I'm dubious.)

And, to close on a positive note, Shaun Mullen sees a bit of hope.

June Meeting Reminder and Suggested Reading List

Join us on Thursday, June 13, at 6 p. m. at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, one block east of the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map).

Here some interesting reads I've encountered since last we met:

Lane Crothers explains Trump's Trade War Kabuki. He also offers an-only-slightly-tongue-in-cheek explanation of what went wrong with the "information superhighway."

In the Hartford Courant, Richard Brown and Ron Formisano argue forcefully that the term "American Heartland" as it is currently used is woefully out-of-date.

In a decade-old clip from an interview with Keith Olbermann, George Carlin predicts the present.

Connie Estrich, who went to law school with Attorney-General William Barr, wonders what happened to the William Barr she knew.

At Psychology Today Blogs, Paul Ekman offers a list of traits which he believes characterize effective U. S. Presidents; I submit that you will find the list interesting in the light of the behavior of the current incumbent. At that same site, Adrian Picoctic explores the psychology of political personality cults and Bryna Siegel examines the effects of the internet--particularly the effects of "social" media--on public acceptance of objective fact.

Speaking of "social" media, Ed over at Gin and Tacos tells the tale of a person who followed the Facebook algorithm into the right-wing rabid hole. If you are heavily invested in "social" media, I commend this article to your particular attention.

The recent spate of harsh anti-abortion laws passed in Southern and Midwestern states has garnered much publicity. At AL.com, Dr. Alan D. Blotcky questions Alabama Republicans' claims that these laws are all about the sanctity of life.

At The Roanoke Times, Terron Sims bluntly protests the glorification of traitors.

The Virginian-Pilot remembers the Norfolk 17. I can say that they had it rougher than the first black kids to integrate my own school, just 40 miles north of Norfolk. Honest to Betsy, some white teachers wore gloves so as not to have to touch their papers . . . .

Tuesday is primary day in Virginia. Remember that the one vote that is certain not to count is the vote not cast.

May Meeting Reminder

Join us on Thursday, May 9, at 6 p. m. at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, one block east the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map).

Since last we met, the torrent of news has been unrelenting. There have been several mass (or attempted mass) shootings, leading Dick Polman to muse on the right-wing's reluctance? refusal? to give creedance to an alarm sounded ten years ago about the danger of lone wolf white supremacist terrorists.

In a scathing piece in The Roanoke Times, Jeff Thomas calls out the myths that white Southerners, particularly Virginians, have told themselves to put a pretty face on slavery, secession, and the Civil War.

Paul Krugman explains why "Republican expert" is an oxymoron.

Llewellyn King makes a persuasive case that Donald Trump is the logical outcome of the notion government should be run "like a business," pointing out that Donald Trump is running the government just as he ran his businesses.

Greg Kesich examines Russian efforts to divide Americans and offers a reason why Republicans seemingly have no objection to them. In a related piece, Eric Hazeltine suggests that the success of those efforts demonstrate a deep understanding of the exploitation of psychology and tribalism.

Regarding another item in the news, the North Jersey Record takes a deep, insightful look into how vaccines and vaccinations became controversial, noting, almost in passing, that Russian trolls used this issue as another vector for fomenting divisiveness.

Steve M. tries to make sense of right-wing logic.

Loren Soeiro inadvertently offers a field guide to the Trump administration.

On the "social" media front, Ira Hyman wonders whether we can save ourselves from the flood of falsehoods on "social" media. Martin Longman looks at the dilemna Twitter faces in trying to deal with racist twits. And Jim Wright puzzles over why he got put in Facebook jail for some unspecified thing he "may have" (to quote the notice he received) done.

And, to close on a lighter note, Non Sequitur memorializes the first corporate board meeting. (By the by, the Pilot has not printed my letter to editor about its dropping Non Sequitur, in which I wrote, "I understand why you dropped Non Sequiter; I disagree, but I understand. But could you please replace it with something at least mildly amusing?")

See you next week.

April Meeting Reminder--No Foolin'

Celebrate April's Fools by Drinking Liberally with us on Thursday, April 11, at 6 p. m. at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, one block east the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map).

I must admit to feeling somewhat nostalgic lately. The horde of persons declaring that they want the Democratic presidential nomination now, almost a year and half before the election, makes me long for the days of the smoke-filled rooms . . . .

Here are some interesting articles I've seen in the past few weeks.

At the Bangor Daily News, Gene Nichol points out that the reporting over the Senate's vote on the "green new deal" has pretty much overlooked that the Senate vote was little more than Republican kabuki theatre.

Paul Krugman suggests that Donald Trump is ready to sacrifice your health on the altar of mammon.

Dick Polman takes a rather unholy glee in the video deposition of hate-monger Alex Jones.

Will Bunch points out that, in the face of rising sea levels and unprecedented floods, Republicans are building levees--against admitting the reality of climate change.

Molly Baker wonders whether, if it happens on Facebook and no one sees it, did it really happen? I submit that this is a real problem; it seems to me that far too many persons limit their contacts to the Facebook playground. On similar topics, Phil Reed considers "social" (my quotation marks, not his) media bubbles and Elizabeth A. Segal explores the evolutionary origins and contemporary implications of tribalism.

David Atkins looks behind Donald Trump's "nationalism" and sees America's original sin.

The Des Moines Register explores the "school choice" con.

And, in closing, the Philadelphia Inquirer makes a vital point: Russia and others would not have succeeded in meddling in American politics were is not for the culpable gullible in out polity.

March Meeting Reminder: Prepare the Ides of March

Prepare for the Ides of March by Drinking Liberally with us on Thursday, March 14, at 6 p. m. at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, one block from the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map).

Because of the tennis ball machine of news, it seems like forever since our last gathering. To borrow a phrase from Elie Mystal, every week feels like it lasts 47 months.

Here are a few items of interest I've stumbled over during the past few weeks.

One positive note is that more public attention is being given to the actions of Fox News; here are two examples from Margaret Sullivan and Dick Polman (though, admittedly, Polman has been criticizing Fox News for some time). Meanwhile, Thom Hartmann wonders what is this center of which the pundits speak.

Facebook has promised to clean up its act. Some are skeptical. Based on Facebook's record of keeping its promises to act-clean, I think the skepticism is justified.

Speaking of unclean acts, Snopes reports that the newest strategy of right-wing plutocrats is not fake news, but fake newspapers. In a related topic, Gina Barreca marvels at the cavalcade of lies and remembers lying liars she has known.

In a most disturbing column, John Freivalds sees dark reminders of the past in today's news. Shaun Mullen shares a similarly distressing view.

Thomas Hills dissects why Trump's vaunted (and mythical) skill as a dealmaker doesn't work in foreign relations.

Leon Anderson contemplates the cost of America's endless wars.

In climate news, salinization caused by sea level rise caused by climate change is threatening the health of soil in New Jersey and North Carolina.

I'll close on a lighter note: I read a good book, Conan Doyle for the Defense by Margalit Fox. The book tells of Arthur Conan Doyle's efforts to free a man who was railroaded for a crime that it was obvious to any unbiased observer he did not commit. In the narrative, Fox blends elements of Doyle's upbringing and life with the cultural and social history of the times–Great Britain during the end of the Victorian Era and the early 20th Century–and finds eerie parallels between that time and this. We stumbled over it a our favorite bookshop.

February Meeting Reminder

Start your Valentine's evening by Drinking Liberally with us on Thursday, February 14, at 6 p. m. at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, one block from the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map).

I drove by Croc's this afternoon. There is still construction at 19th and Cypress and 19th was down to two lanes--one each way--but the intersection was not blocked. Of course, during the work week, the situation may be different, but signs on Cypress Avenue going north from Virginia Beach Boulevard announced that the businesses were open. The Croc's parking lot should be accessible from either Cypress or 19th, though you may have to go a block east to Mediterranean and double-back to approach it from 19th if the intersection is blocked on Thursday.

I also wish to mention that anyone who has feedback, questions, or comments for me should contact me via email. An email to the "from" address of this email will be forwarded to me. Do not attempt to contact me via Facebook; I became fed up with the Zuckerborg a long time ago and go to Facebook only if I must (as when I post a link to this) and then only in a private browser window.

The chaos of the Trumpling continues apace. I reckon the event that got the most publicity (while having the least meaning) in the past month was the State of the Union address. I did not watch it; a long time ago, I gave up spending hours watching political theatre on television when I can read about it in ten minutes the next morning. I did read about it and I commend this piece by Mike Littwinn to your attention.

I have been following with great disappointment the stories about local white Virginia politicians, both Democratic and Republican, who somehow rationalized to themselves that donning blackface was a fun way to frolic. Since its first appearance in the early 1830s, blackface has been a way to demean black persons. As Donna Edwards points out, no rationalization for this conduct holds water.

It's especially disappointing to see such behavior in the history of persons whose public careers have been generally respectable. I thought that our local rag's editorial on this was excellent, though I have decidedly mixed emotions about the reflexive calls for resignations of persons whose public careers have not reflected their collegiate stupidity.

In other news, Howard Schultz's trial balloon for a presidential run seems to be rapidly and deservedly deflating, but it inspired an excellent article by Paul Krugman on the "fanatical centrists." If you are ever tempted to fail into what Driftglass calls "bothsiderism," give it a read.

The other big event of the past month was the Super Bowl (I didn't watch that, either; I'm fed up with big time football), which led Joe Patrice to look for similarities between Donald Trump and the New England Patriots.

And now a few odds and ends:

Dick Polman suggests that Chris Cristie is our own modern day Ozymandias.

Peter Certo points out that it wasn't the left who politicized football.

Leonard Pitts, Jr., is fed up with "tell all" books from persons who have left or been cast out of the Trump White House.

The Las Vegas Sun looks for evidence that supports Sarah Huckabee Sanders's statement that God wanted Donald Trump to be president and finds it in surprising places.

See you Thursday.

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.