Drinking Liberally Virginia Beach Chapter Blog

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).

https://pilotonline.com/

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.

July Meeting Reminder

We will be meeting on Thursday, July 12, at 6:00 p. m. at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, Virginia Beach, Virginia, one block east of the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map). I don't know about you, but I'm mentally exhausted and looking forward to relaxing with you all. I hope the weather is mild and we can relax on the outdoor patio once again.

I haven't had time to compile an extensive list of suggested reading, but there are a few items I would like to commend to your attention from today's reading.

The first is an editorial from The Roanoke Times discussing the attempts by Virginia's Byrd Machine to manipulate students by slanting history textbooks. These were the very texts I studied in elementary and high school and, yes indeedy do, they as slanted as the sides of Mt. Trashmore. Of course, if you pay attention to the news, you know that such efforts continue today.

I also point out this from my old Philly DL friend, The Booman.

And, finally, David Farmer muses on this nation's historical ambivalence towards immigrants and the sadistic conduct of our current Federal administration.

I look forward to seeing you Thursday.

June Meeting Reminder

We will be meeting on Thursday, June 14, at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, Virginia Beach, Virginia, one block east of the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map). I don't know about you, but I'm mentally exhausted and looking forward to relaxing with you all.

In the meantime, here are some articles that I've found particularly interesting in the last few weeks.

In The Roanoke Times, Nancy Liebrecht offers some thoughts on the "opioid" epidemic that keeps making the news. This leads me to a question: What is the difference among opioids, opiates, heroin, and smack? As near as I can tell, it's who consumes them. Think about it.

Also in The Roanoke Times, Betsy Biesenbach muses on what gives Facebook such a hold on persons, even as news of its porousness, perfidy, and absence of trustworthiness continues to grow.

Josh Marshall considers Donald Trump's pointless and stupid trade wars in the light of what "winning" means in Donald Trump's world.

The Tampa Bay Times's John Romano is dismayed by textbooks being used in some private and charter schools in Florida.

Writing at Psychology Today Blogs, Arash Emanzadah explores why a nation that has proudly bill itself as "a nation of immigrants" has decided to hate immigrants.

Brian Greenspun, publisher of the Las Vegas Sun, looks wistfully back at when there were "checks and balances" and yearns for their return.

In the "a picture is worth" department, Clay Bennett sums up the NRA's hold over its membership and loyalists.

In a delightful article, self-professed conservative Josh Edblow calls out conservative "snowflakes" (his word, not mine) for their clutching their pearls and collapsing in fits of the vapors over NFL players daring to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police violence against black people.

I'll close by offering a picture from the recently-concluded LanternAsia exhibit Norfolk's Gardens by the Sea. I reckon that, by now, you need a bit of cheering up!

Hope to see you Thursday.

May Meeting Reminder

I look forward to seeing you Thursday, May 10, at Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th Street, Virginia Beach, one block east of the Virginia Beach Convention Center (map). In the meantime, here are a few items which have piqued my interest in the last week or so:

The firehose of news continues to spew, as does the fire hose of "Fake News," which, when I was younger was called "propaganda." I suggest that returning to that term would benefit the discourse. Also, omitted from much of the discussion is the responsibility of persons to follow news thoughtfully and discerningly.

Paul Tash, Chairman and CEO of the Tampa Bay Times expressed this well in his commencement speech to graduates of Indiana University, his alma mater. I may have mentioned this before, but it has long confounded me that persons will believe stuff they read on a computer screen when they wouldn't believe the same stuff if they watched happen in their presence.

In the "this is old news" department, Rehka Basu, the marvelous columnist for the Des Moines Register considers what she considers the primary lesson to be drawn from the Stormy Daniels story.

Rudy Guiliani has been making the rounds lately, to great dismay. Both Elie Mystal and Mike Littwin offer compelling commentary on Rudy's rumba.

Sasha Abramsky draws an improbable but telling connection between Johnny Rotten and Donnie Rotten.

Steve Sack pictures the military parade that Trump should be having. (Note: The Star-Tribune sometimes shows a picture of a Minnesota scene before proceeding to the link. I find the pictures pleasant.)

Patrick Rael rails against the myth of the Old South, which has served to justify and excuse America's original sin of chattel slavery and the myth of racism that was created to justify it and taints our polity still.

Again, for sane and well-reasoned coverage of national politics, I recommended Talking Points Memo. Josh Marshall and his staff value significance and analysis over volume.

Hope to see you Thursday.