Drinking Liberally Virginia Beach Chapter Blog

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.

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.