Remembering Donald McEachin

by Chris Saxman

Virginia lost a good man this week when Congressman Don McEachin passed away at age 61 due to cancer. Having served with McEachin in the Virginia House, I can attest to his fine nature and dedication to his principles. While I didn’t have the fortune to work with him directly on legislation, he was, without fail, a kind and thoughtful man who had deep respect for and from his colleagues. It was an honor to know him and I will remember him very fondly.

Don McEachin was a good, gentle, and kind man. Please keep his soul and his family in your prayers.

While it is still a tad early for candidates to publicly begin the process to replace McEachin, the private conversations will turn quickly to whether or not his wife, Colette, Richmond’s Commonwealth Attorney, decides to run for his seat in a special election.

Other candidates who have been mentioned but have not said, “No, thank you.” include Delegate Lamont Bagby and Senator Jennifer McClellan. The 4th Congressional District was won just a month ago by McEachin with 65% of the vote. It will again be represented by a Democrat.

Possibly a January 10th special election date could be held since that’s when the special election will be for Congresswoman-elect Jen Kiggans’ state Senate seat.

By the numbers, 30% of the 4th is Richmond, 24% is Chesterfield, and 18% comes from Henrico.

From Chris Saxman’s The Intersection. Used with permission.

Richmond Community Hospital: Poster Child for Reforming 340B

By Dr. William S. Smith
and Chris Braunlich

Nonprofit hospitals in low-income neighborhoods should be the backbone of the American safety net system for low-income people who lack insurance. Instead, thanks to a federal program called 340B, many nonprofit hospitals have made maximizing revenue their primary goal, not providing charity care. Thanks to a New York Times investigation, Richmond Community Hospital has become the starkest example of a nonprofit hospital that exploits the 340B program while reducing medical services available to the distressed community surrounding the hospital.

The 340B program was created by Congress in 1992 and was intended to allow about 500 hospitals in low-income areas to purchase drugs at substantial discounts. It was thought that, with these discounts, nonprofit hospitals could provide more free care to the distressed communities where they were located.

However, the law was poorly written, and hospitals soon discovered that they could “arbitrage” these drug discounts into a profit center. How could they do this? In short, buy low and sell high. As The New York Times story explained, Richmond Community can buy a vial of the cancer drug Keytruda at a discounted price of $3,444, yet can bill the local Blue Cross health plan $25,425 for that same vial, for a profit of $22,000 on one patient’s prescription. Continue reading

Fork Union Has Produced 117 Pro Football Players

by James Wyatt Whitehead V  

One of my favorite times of the year is after Thanksgiving. That is when the playoffs for the Virginia High School League football championship thunders into overdrive. For fifteen years I had one of the best seats for high school football as the public address announcer for Briar Woods High School in Loudoun County. The Falcons were always ready to tackle the very best teams from across the Commonwealth. From 2010 to 2013 Briar Woods had four appearances and three victories in state championship finals. Briar Woods sent many student athletes on to play collegiate football and two went on to play professionally. This led me to wonder which high school or prep school in Virginia has produced the most professional football players.

The answer can be found in the rolling countryside of Fluvanna County: Fork Union Military Academy. Since 1899, the all-male military school has produced a staggering 117 professional football players. It all started when FUMA graduate John Lascari moved on to play college ball at Georgetown and then pressed on to play ten games for the New York Giants in 1924. Lascari caught three passes and one touchdown.  

Since then, the Blue Devils have produced some of the very best professional players of the past forty years. Back in 1980, Al Testaverde drove from New York to Fork Union with his son Vinny to explore the possibilities of a post graduate prep year. After a tour of campus and meeting with coaches Al turned to his son and said:

“Son you are going there.”

The highly talented quarterback was in need of  preparation for life, improved grades, and a chastening for personal conduct in order to pursue the dream of a college football career.  

Years later, Vinny Testaverde said, “It was the best decision my father ever made for me.”  Continue reading

Are Virginians Putting the State’s Economy on Their Credit Cards?

by James C. Sherlock

Royalty-free stock photo Courtesy Dreamstime.com

I wrote the other day about efforts to increase housing in Virginia. That story is very complicated at the levels of the federal, state and local governments.

But at the end of that pipeline is the economy.

We have read in many places that consumers are spending the savings they built up during COVID, keeping the economy out of recession.

Perhaps.

But it turns out that consumers have been putting the economy on their credit cards as well. Continue reading

Whiplash on Virginia’s Economy

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

“Our beloved Commonwealth is in a ditch.” Glenn Youngkin, May 7, 2021.also see here.

“The commonwealth has never been in a stronger financial condition.” Glenn Youngkin, Nov. 21, 2022

Profoundly Unethical: UVa Children’s Hospital Hides Child Gender Transition Information from Public Scrutiny

UVa Children’s Hospital courtesy UVa

by James C. Sherlock

I published a series of articles earlier this year that criticized the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital on its approach to gender transition in minors as young as 11.

As a result, the hospital made at least some movement towards change by announcing it was assigning pediatric clinical psychologists to join that program, previously dominated by endocrinologists.

I saw that move as an indication that the minors who came to the clinic would be treated first for anxiety, depression and ongoing emotional issues before being considered for insertion into the hormone-to-surgery pipeline.

That now may be the case, though there is no case flow diagram published. But nothing else has apparently changed except for the elimination of the public information on which I based my criticisms.

There is growing concern among many doctors and other healthcare professionals as to whether medical transition is the best way to proceed for those under aged 18. I have written extensively that several countries have pulled back from medical treatment and instead are emphasizing psychotherapy first.

UVa Children’s is a state hospital. Hiding information from the public to avoid scrutiny cannot be an option.

I call on the Board of Visitors to direct the hospital to improve transparency in the UVa Children’s Hospital web presentations on gender transitions in minors.

Without this, the hospital is guilty of misleading the public.  The removal of previously-available public information shows they are doing this on purpose. Continue reading

Don’t Look Now But the ACLU is Back

by Kerry Dougherty

Anyone remember how active Virginia’s ACLU — that’s the American Civil Liberties Union — was during Gov. Ralph Northam’s dictatorial Covid reign?

Did this organization sprint into court seeking injunctions when the governor ordered churches and synagogues closed? When he arbitrarily closed businesses? When he told Virginians how many guests they could have in their own homes?

Can anyone recall these crack lawyers who supposedly care deeply about the civil liberties of Americans saying a word of protest when the Democrat governor merrily stomped all over the civil liberties of law-abiding citizens from Virginia Beach to Bristol?

The answer is a resounding NO.

This once bold organization that in 1978 famously defended the right of repulsive neo-Nazis to march through a predominately Jewish neighborhood in Skokie, Illinois to exercise their First Amendment rights, because dammit, the ACLU believed in the U.S. Constitution, sucked its thumb through the most egregious infringements on civil liberties in recent memory.

Have no fear, the ACLU is back! This sleepy organization has crawled out of its bunker and is now fighting to get violent criminals out of Virginia prisons. Continue reading

No Climate Crisis. Very Little Climate Change.

NOAA data, and NOAA notes that pre-1900 data is probably missing some storms. Click for larger view.

by Steve Haner

Wednesday’s climate propaganda sermon in the Richmond Times-Dispatch focused on the most recent failure of alarmist media messaging concerning the now-completed Atlantic hurricane season, which turned out to be average. It was predicted to be far more active than average, so once again the prophets of doom were wrong.

Folks in Florida certainly had a bad year, with two of the eight U.S. hurricanes hitting vulnerable and heavily populated beaches and barrier islands. But in the Atlantic region overall, looking at decades of records, it was a typical year. There is no sign in long-range data of any increase in storm activity or intensity over time.

Predicting increased extreme weather is now the go-to move for the alarmist media. Just about every local or wire story about flood or drought or fire, extended hot days or record snows, includes a claim that climate change will bring more extreme weather. In every case, the long-term trends do not agree.  Sometimes the trend lines are down, as is the case with wildfires.

You will never read that admission about wildfires. The fact that the Times-Dispatch revisited and sought to explain away the failed hurricane prediction displayed more honesty than is usual in the media. But, then, it used an illustration that shamelessly started the storm count in the 1980s, intending to mislead readers by ignoring the whole data set you see above. Continue reading

New VPAP Modelling Shows Why Virginia Republicans Are Losing Elections

by Shaun Kenney

There’s a common theme among Virginia Republican number crunchers that Fairfax County is the snake that swallowed the bowling ball.

More accurately, that no matter how well Republicans might seem to do across the Commonwealth, when 1.3 million Fairfax County residents make their voices heard, that’s a massive fraction of the nearly 9 million Virginians who live here.

Which leads us to point #2 that Republican number crunchers make all the time, namely that the western part of Virginia from Roanoke to Lee County is our Fairfax County.

So how do we do in a place which the locals affectionately call “real Virginia” (in response to the feeling in Southwest Virginia that many in Richmond believe Virginia stops at Roanoke)?

It looks like this:

Former Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins made it his life’s mission to make sure Southwest Virginia was the focal point of all our efforts. There was a good reason for it.

Not only was Mullins a native of Southwest Virginia, but he lived in Northern Virginia most of his career and knew firsthand that the only way to counterbalance the “come-heres” from points north was to encourage the “been-heres” in Southwest Virginia who share Republican values yet receive none of the love showered upon places such as Loudoun or Prince William.

Continue reading

Ed Department Office of Civil Rights Rules Against Fairfax County

by Asra Q. Nomani

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Tears of joy came to the eyes of special education advocates Callie Oettinger and Debra Tisler as they read a much-anticipated decision by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

For years, they have been advocating — to deaf ears in Fairfax County Public Schools and the entire state of Virginia — on behalf of students denied educational services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Today, the U.S. Department of Education ruled that they were indeed correct.

“This is a victory for every parent,” said Oettinger. “In 2020, we knew that the actions that FCPS was taking were in noncompliance with IDEA. We are now vindicated, and every parent should contact FCPS to make sure that every child receives COMPENSATORY EDUCATION and other services that meet their needs.”

The key words here are to ask for COMPENSATORY EDUCATION.  Many parents with special needs children paid out of pocket and took on second jobs to pay for tutors and other services to meet educational needs that Fairfax County failed to provide. And many other parents couldn’t afford these extra services, and their children were left behind.

Continue reading

Housing in Virginia – Context for Debates

Courtesy Housing Forward Virginia

by James C. Sherlock

Dick Hall-Sizemore did a nice job earlier today describing the phenomenon in which people are specifically against in a particular iteration public policies that they support in the abstract.

The subject was middle income housing in Arlington County.

The problem with short articles by anyone (including me) about housing issues is they cannot begin to account for all of the government interventions in housing at the federal, state and local levels as well as forces like inflation in the general economy that disrupt the housing market before forces in that single market take effect.

We see this week articles and op-eds flood the press that take a stand on — mostly to criticize — Governor Youngkin’s announced goal to increase the housing stock.

They tend to be at best misleading — inflating his potential effect on housing in order to say he is not doing enough.

No governor, by design of the Code of Virginia and the vastness of the market, can have anything but a very minor effect on housing. Continue reading

The “Missing Middle”: Is it an Answer to the Affordable Housing Problem?

Older houses in the Lyon Park neighborhood in Arlington. When these houses come on the market, they will likely be replaced with a much larger house like the one below.  Whether other types of housing should be allowed is being hotly contested in Arlington.  Photo credits: top: Advon Group; bottom: DC Metro Neighborhoods

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Three years ago, in one of his periodic pleas for more flexibility in zoning laws to enable more affordable housing, Jim Bacon discussed “missing middle” housing and noted that Arlington County was beginning to consider how to address that idea. Arlington released its study late last year and the concept and recommendations have been a major source of controversy this year.

I ran across the term “missing middle” and the controversy in Arlington recently in an article in the Washington Monthly. The author, Gabby Birenbaum, is a native of Arlington. She describes her childhood growing up in the Lyon Park neighborhood in the early 2000’s with great fondness. “I absolutely loved the place.” It was a place “that everything I could desire was a walk or a short bike ride away.” She then describes significant changes in the last few years in which “growth has gone completely gangbusters.” The result has been, as the title of the article laments, “I can’t afford to live where I grew up.” Continue reading

Passing the Baton

The Big Bacon is pleased to announce that Bob Rayner and Robin Beres will make taking over primary editing duties at Bacon’s Rebellion. They will take on tasks that I will no longer be able to fulfill as executive director of The Jefferson Council.

Bob and Robin have been working as a team for years. They put out the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial page back when it was independent from the newsroom operation. After they retired, they edited the Bacon’s Rebellion-affiliated newsletter, The Blunderbuss.

From here on, if you wish to submit a column for publication in the Rebellion, you can contact them at info@baconsrebellion.com. Readers are welcome to continue communicating with me directly at my Bacon’s Rebellion email address. Just be forewarned that I have delegated most editorial decisions to Bob and Robin.

The good news (for me) is that this new arrangement will free up time for me to continue posting to the blog. You’ll be hearing a lot about the University of Virginia and Virginia higher education generally.

Comments. On a related matter, I have provisionally decided to continue allowing readers to post comments. I have heard from enough of you that the comments are part of the (ahem, shall we say) unique Bacon’s Rebellion experience that I will make one more effort at bringing them under control. Bob, Robin and I are still working out the details. More to come.

The Progressive Left Has Only One Story. It is on Endless Loop in the Press

Norway lemming. Courtesy Wikipedia

by James C. Sherlock

It is called defining the terms of the debate.

Sort of like naming a climate bill the “Inflation Reduction Act.”

The war to define the ground in a headline debate in Virginia is between supporters of either:

  • Virginia DOE’s draft “2022 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools;”  or
  • the last administration’s “Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools” that has been cancelled.

The draft VDOE document commits four secular sins at once:

  • It acknowledges the rights of parents;
  • It acknowledges that children are the responsibilities of their parents first and then the schools;
  • It provides measures to protect all students; and, most egregiously
  • It does not single out a victim class.  

Mortal sins against progressivism. Every one. The horror on the left is palpable.

Only one narrative is permitted in WokeWorld — Victims and Oppressors Sorted by Identity Group.

It is projected onto everything. Continue reading

COVID Accounted for Half of Excess Deaths in 2020, 2021

Source: Virginia Department of Health

by James A. Bacon

The number of deaths in Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020 and 2021) was roughly 15,000 higher, or 22.5%, than would have been predicted from pre-COVID trends, according to a new report published by the Virginia Department of Health. However, COVID accounted for a bit less than half (47%) of the excess deaths.

Deaths attributable to accidents, homicides, liver disease, diabetes, hypertension and renal disease all increased more than 20% as well. On the other hand, the pandemic saw a decline in fatalities due to influenza and pneumonia, sepsis, and chronic respiratory disease.

Major conclusions from the study:

COVID-19 drove excess mortality in Virginia, but mortality for other causes of death was also higher than expected. The top five leading causes of death contributed to 70.4% of all excess deaths observed between the two time periods. COVID-19 contributed to 47.0% of all excess deaths. Continue reading