A Killer Strategy

by James C. Sherlock

Democrats in Virginia and nationally plan to ride abortion to victory in elections as far as the eye can see.

The herald of this strategy was a piece in New York Magazine by Rebecca Traister.  It was titled, unsubtly, “Abortion Wins Elections.”

She is probably right, if her positions are presented in a softened way.

She is right if progressives can set the terms of the debate and avoid the hard questions which the press will try feverishly to help them bury.

But I hand it to her. She is straightforward. She advocates boundless abortions. In that she is probably making the wrong bet.

In the progressive vision:

  • There are no fathers, no husbands in the brave new world. Reproductive choice does not apply to men;
  • Babies don’t exist until the moment of birth. Some would like the opportunity to take a look after birth — about which Dr. Northam spoke — before deciding;
  • They insist on tax money — from everyone — paying the bills.

The far right counters the left’s list of demands with its own. No abortions ever, under any circumstances.

I suspect Virginians are unprepared to go to either extreme. But there are questions directly applicable to Virginia politics.

  • Will abortion drive education and parents rights from the front of Virginia voters’ minds?
  • Will killing — sorry — terminating babies prove more important to voters than how the survivors are raised and educated?

In either case, it will be about children.

Who don’t get a vote. Continue reading

If at First You Don’t Succeed….

We’ve been getting feedback from readers wishing to attend the April 25 George Will speech in Charlottesville who have been unable to register. They clicked on the link only to find that the event, accessible through EventBrite, has “sold out.”

Nothing sells out that fast, not even free tickets to hear George Will. Our informed speculation is that malign bots cruise the Internet for conservative speakers, scrape the names and email addresses of conservatives listed in national organizations, and then auto-register them to the event… which they know nothing about and have no plan to attend. The purpose of feeding fake names, of course, is to ensure that nobody shows up.

Reprehensible. But not unexpected. Such are the tactics of those who despise us and excuse any behavior.

If you tried unsuccessfully to register, please try again. EventBrite is working the problem. Meanwhile, we have cleared out some of the obviously fake registrations. Don’t let the bots beat you.


George Will to Dissect the Assault on Free Speech

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The Jefferson Council invites you to hear George Will on April 25th at the University of Virginia. The topic of his address could not be more timely: “The Bad Ideas Fueling Today’s Attack on The Best Idea — Free Speech.”

Will began writing national syndicated columns in 1976, making him one of the longest-running pundits of our time. He’s also one of the best, winning the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1977. Age has not in the least dimmed his way with words or the incisiveness of his critiques.

The assault on free speech has been a top-of-mind issue for the conservative columnist recently. Consider a recent column he wrote about campus radicals at Stanford who shut down the speech of federal Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan.

The noun “parent” has become a verb as many people embrace the belief that perfectibility can be approximated if parents are sufficiently diligent about child-rearing. So, “helicopter parents” hover over their offspring to spare them abrasive encounters with the world. And “participation trophies” are given to everyone on the soccer team, lest the excellence of a few dent others’ self-esteem — the fuel that supposedly propels upward social mobility.
Continue reading

Woke Liberalism Is a Dead End for African Americans

by James A. Bacon

Earlier this month the Isle of Wight School Board passed a resolution declaring, “There is no systemic racism or bigotry perpetuated by the United States or any governmental entity.”

Timothy Sullivan, a former president of William & Mary, James W. Dyke, a former state Secretary of Education, and Alvin J. Schexnider, president of Thomas Nelson Community College, took exception to the statement. In a column published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, they noted that Isle of Wight was a leader in the 1950s-era Massive Resistance to school desegregation, and proceeded to draw a straight line to Virginia schools that are “racially isolated and underserved” today.

Part of the remedy to segregation, the authors argue, is teaching about slavery, segregation, and racism in Virginia schools.

We believe the entirety of Virginia’s history must finally be addressed in our curriculum so that our children understand that intentional racism and discrimination have detrimentally affected all aspects of Virginia life, from opportunities for education, advancement and the concomitant accumulation of wealth resulting in the average Black family’s wealth being one-eighth the average white family’s, to the physical and mental health of generations of children, both Black and white.

A proper teaching of racism, they argue, will “[prepare] our students and our future workforce to function effectively in a global economy that is multiethnic and multicultural.”

The op-ed is dismaying in so many ways. Continue reading

Crime in Virginia — the Statistics of Race and their Causes

by James C. Sherlock

Crime, especially violent crime, is a constant topic in private conversations and in public politics, and thus here on Bacon’s Rebellion.

Comments on BR crime-related articles turn quickly to race, often without basis in fact.

I will offer below the actual crime statistics by race from 2021, the latest available year, in an attempt to cure that.

Then I will write about the causes.

I will almost certainly be called a racist. Continue reading

An Open Letter to Sen. Louise Lucas About Funding New Richmond Schools

Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth

Editor’s note: Paul Goldman, a Richmond attorney and former chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia, asked us to publish the letter below, which he sent last week to state Sen. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth, a fellow Democrat who serves as president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate. As of today, Sen. Lucas has not responded.

TO: State Senator Louise Lucas

RE: Why Richmond citizens, long concerned about the decrepit, shameful condition of the school facilities serving the city’s overwhelming black and brown public-school students, deserve to be allowed to have a Second Casino Referendum in 2023 as promised them by last year’s budget deal.

Dear Louise,

I write today not merely because you are the Pro Tempore of the State Senate. Not merely because you are the key to any new Senate action on the Casino issue. But I write today because you and I have long fought hard, against great odds, to remedy the many injustices suffered by the poor children of Virginia from the legacy of segregation. Especially the Black and Brown kids in cities like Portsmouth and Richmond. Continue reading

Flee Any Public School Resisting Parents’ Rights

Loudoun County parents pack a School Board meeting. Photo credit: Idiocracy News Media

by Kerry Dougherty

Four years ago no one was talking about parental rights.

Now everyone is.

It all began with the covid lockdowns. Once schools were closed parents got a look at what was and wasn’t being taught in public schools.

And the scales fell from their eyes.

Parents began to see school administrators and some teachers not as allies who were trying to educate their kids and fill them with a love of country, but as indoctrinators filling their heads with gender theories and a skewed view of American history through a modern prism of critical race theory.

The Founding Fathers were no longer taught as enlightened men of their times determined to create a country where individual liberties were protected from the heavy hand of the state, but they were made small, reduced to nothing more than slaveholders.

On top of that, parents found that some middle and even elementary school libraries contained graphic books that celebrated masturbation, sex, gay and trans lifestyles. They learned that some school administrators – in Loudoun, for instance – were not reporting cases of sexual assault but were covering the incidents up. Even from parents.

The outrage in Virginia was so widespread that voters in what had become a reliably blue state elected Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares, who ran on a GOP platform of restoring parents’ rights.

Democrats lost by doubling down on the exclusion of parents from schools. On the eve of the election Terry McAuliffe blundered by campaigning with the loathsome teachers’ union boss Randi Weingarten, who almost single-handedly was responsible for lengthy and damaging school closures during covid.

As public school enrollment plummets and more parents than ever are homeschooling, the parents rights movement has gone national and mainstream.

Last week the GOP-led House of Representatives passed a Parents Bill of Rights on a vote of 213-208, without the support of a single Democrat. Continue reading

Who Are the Real Fascists?

Bad things happen to fascists like Mussolini and… Matt Walsh?

by James A. Bacon

A familiar tactic of the left has come to Virginia: accuse your enemy of being fascist… while acting like a fascist yourself.

A movement has surfaced to disinvite conservative journalist Matt Walsh from Washington & Lee University on the grounds, according to a petition signed by more than 600 students and faculty members, that his words “represent a very real threat of physical violence against trans and nonbinary people specifically, but also to all women, queer people, and people of color.”

Walsh, who has billed himself “Transphobe of the Year,” has written extensively about the excesses of the transgender movement, focusing particular attention on the dangers of “gender-affirming” hormonal treatments and sex-change surgery. Following Walsh’s accusations that Boston Children’s Hospital was “mutilating” children through surgery, the petition charges, the hospital said its workers were harassed and faced threats of violence.

Adding fuel to the controversy, Blake Ramsey, a student and former vice president of the W&L Democratic Party, posted on Instagram an image of the hanging of Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini. The caption read, “Because Matt Walsh is now apparently speaking at this school, I thought I would post an important reminder of what happens to fascists.” Continue reading

Did Southern Poverty Law Center and James Madison Museum Team Up to Put ‘Anti-racist’ Curriculum in Virginia Schools?

by Brenda Hafera

The Albemarle County school district in Virginia has been subjected to two lawsuits related to its implementation of an “anti-racist” curriculum, which one parent said was “incubating a culture rooted in grievance, discord, and victimhood.” But parents in the school district near Charlottesville may be alarmed to discover that it is not just the school board that is working against them.

Powerful political organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and one of Virginia’s own beloved historic sites may be involved. The Albemarle County anti-racist curriculum appears to have originated at President James Madison’s home, Montpelier, an historic site that has ties to the SPLC.

Montpelier, which is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and operated by the Montpelier Foundation, has been reconstructed and converted into a museum. While some of Madison’s accomplishments are discussed during part of the main house tour and through a brief video in the visitor center, there are currently no exhibits focused on his importance as the Father of the Constitution, according to Montpelier’s website.

Staff members have also reportedly said that they have no interest in honoring a “dead white president and a dead white president’s Constitution.”
Continue reading

The Governor’s Tutoring and Special Ed Services Initiative

by James C. Sherlock

VDOE has provided me a concise and clear description of the Governor’s initiative to provide tutoring and special education services to struggling Virginia school kids.

The program seems both on point and appropriately careful.

The input describes the sources of the money, where it was originally targeted, where some of it is being re-targeted for tutoring and special ed services, how  soon it will be spent and the services made available to parents, who will receive vouchers variable by household income to purchase them.

The plan for this initiative spends $30 million out of a total of $68 million available.

That money is available because:

  • the schools to which it was originally targeted with Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools (EANS I & EANS II) funding were not able to use it all within guidelines; and
  • it reverted to a more broadly usable fund, Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER).

The supply of tutoring and special education service providers nationwide and in Virginia who are qualified under federal guidelines for expenditure of the money under GEER has fallen far short of demand.

This program is making a major attempt to organize supply at the state level.

If this attempt proves successful, and additional qualified suppliers become available, demand will exceed what $30 million will buy. If that happens,  I expect the allocation of funds to be quickly increased.

But it remains difficult to provide such services legally, efficiently and effectively. All of it is tax money, or borrowed money that taxpayers will have to repay.

We want value for the money and for the students. Continue reading

UVa Takes Steps to Protect Students from Increasing Crime in Charlottesville

University Police Department officer Wallace Goode patrols along the Corner district on March 14th. (Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

by James C. Sherlock

The University of Virginia has to be careful what its officials say because of the ongoing lawsuits over the November massacre. But the school is taking concrete steps to address the spike in violent crime in Charlottesville.

I congratulate them.

UVA Today ran an article on those initiatives on March 15th.

In the early morning hours of March 18, a UVa contractor was shot and killed across the street from the Rotunda.

More needs to be done, but carefully. Continue reading

Bacon Meme of the Week

Men Model Climate, God Laughs

by James C. Sherlock

This is an ode to modeling and the inevitable contretemps in the comment section that followed Steve Haner’s article yesterday.

1.Time Magazine, April 8,1977. Two great modeling stories:

  • “Why we can’t beat the Soviets;” and
  • “How to Survive the Coming Ice Age”.

Perhaps we did all 51.

2. Cover of Science News March 1. 1975 

  • ”Our Ice Age Cometh.”

Continue reading

Virginia’s Community Banks, Under Stress, are Crucial to the Economy, Small Business and Small Communities

Back of America locations in Virginia

by James C. Sherlock

In general, I do not write enough about Virginia small businesses.

Small business is both the heart and soul of the Virginia economy.

I have no personal financial interest in Virginia’s community banks, but all of us need them to be healthy.

Because community banks disproportionately fund small business.

The Federal Reserve reported in its 2023 Report on Employer Firms: Findings from the 2022 Small Business Credit Survey

As pandemic-related funding programs ended, the data show an accompanying rise in the share of firms that sought traditional financing in the form of loans, lines of credit, or merchant cash advances. The share of these applicants that were fully approved rose year-over-year but lags prepandemic levels.

But the banking industry, trying to reestablish itself as the economy’s primary funding agent after the COVID federal money tsunami receded, is under stress not seen in 2022.

The Fed’s rapid rise in interest rates to combat inflation, driven by federal spending, has lowered the value of banks’ fixed rate collateral.

Community banks, not the source of the problem, are bearing the brunt of the reaction.

Depositors need to understand how important Virginia’s 42 community banks are to Virginia’s economy — and many of their own jobs. Continue reading

Rebutting Climate Alarmism With Climate Alarmism

By Steve Haner

Nothing beats being able to expose the sleight of hand behind one climate alarmism claim by using the data from another climate alarmism claim, with both from the same source:  the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  It also provides a teaching moment about some of the advocates’ favorite ways to deceive.

Concerned you might not get the message that “climate change” is responsible for making you miserable with allergies, the newspaper offered up two stories on the same topic this month.  First, we had this, followed by a second story today.   The basic premise that an early spring means that allergies hit earlier is correct; and then the claim is early springs are getting, in a word, earlier.  Finally, predictions follow that worse is yet to come.

But two different charts are used t0 illustrate the issue, basically counting the number of days between the last spring and first fall frost.   One covers a long time period (more honest) and the second uses an intentionally short time period, resulting in a knowing exaggeration intended to deceive. Continue reading