CDC Has Three Recommendations on the Masking of Children. None of Them Match.

And the Governor’s Executive Order will outlive the Virginia law that directs schools to adhere to CDC guidance, even if they think they can figure out what it is.

By James C. Sherlock

Many quote the “science” that favors their opinions.

Virginia law requires:

…each school board to provide such in-person instruction in a manner in which it adheres, to the maximum extent practicable, to any currently applicable mitigation strategies for early childhood care and education programs and elementary and secondary schools to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 that have been provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A little-noted provision of that law is that it expires on August 1 of this year.  It will not pass again.  The debate will continue after that date, but so will the executive order.

Regardless, I thought it would be useful to go to the source, CDC, and see if its science-based “currently applicable mitigation strategies” match its political guidance.

I cannot certify that they do.  The CDC offers at least three different recommendations for protecting children from COVID.

None of them match.

Continue reading

A Win! Va. Ed Dept Removes “Virginia Math Pathways Initiative”

by Asra Q. Nomani

Yes, Virginia, there is critical race theory in the state. Read our examples at Parents Defending Education. There were 20. Now, there are 19.

In their first week in office, Jillian Balow, the new Virginia superintendent of schools, and Elizabeth Schultz, the new Virginia assistant superintendent, have eliminated the Virginia Department of Education’s controversial “Virginia Math Pathways Initiative” that was set to eliminate accelerated math options for students.

The initiative outraged many parents for dumbing down math in the state and reducing advanced math courses for students prior to 11th grade, essentially blocking advanced learners from from moving forward in earlier grades. Continue reading

A Monumental Outrage

Charlottesville’s hasty—and possibly illegal—destruction of its Robert E. Lee equestrian statue establishes a toxic precedent.

by Catesby Leigh

The century-old equestrian statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been broken up, and, more likely than not, melted down into bronze ingots by now. But nobody involved in this officially sanctioned act of iconoclasm is saying whether that’s the case. Four weeks after the filing of a petition for injunction intended to prevent the statue’s destruction, the Charlottesville circuit court hasn’t even scheduled a hearing. Charlottesville’s woke excuse for a newspaper of record, the Daily Progress, has been notably incurious about the statue’s current whereabouts or condition.

The Lee equestrian was mainly the work of Henry Merwin Shrady, the sculptor who created the Grant Memorial at the foot of Capitol Hill in Washington. In a way, it was conceived as a peace monument. It showed the Confederate commander in dress uniform, hat at his side, back ramrod straight and with a facial expression of sober resolve. Traveler, his mount, walked with head bowed. Lee had surrendered but retained his dignity in defeat. The expression of resolve reflected a determination that the war be over.

After midnight on December 7, 2021, Charlottesville’s city council hastily—and possibly illegally—approved a resolution to donate the bronze statue, which had been removed from a downtown park in July, to a local African-American heritage center. The center proposed to melt the bronze down so that it could be recast in a “community”-inspired memorial celebrating wokedom’s new world of elevated racial consciousness. Continue reading

Times, Post Mangle the Heaphy Story

Square peg, round hole, mainstream media hammer.

by James A. Bacon

Here is what happens when The New York Times imposes its national narrative upon a Virginia story: we are afflicted with articles with headlines like this: “Top Jan. 6 Investigator Fired From Post at the University of Virginia.”

“Democrats in Virginia,” says the sub-head, denounced the action as “a partisan move aimed at helping former President Donald J. Trump undercut the investigation of the Capitol riot.”

The Times quotes Senator Scot Surovell, D-Fairfax, as saying, “This is purely payback for Jan. 6 — there is no other reason that makes any sense. In our state, we normally leave those decisions to the school’s board of visitors and president.” Surovell presented no concrete evidence to support his speculation.

At least reporter Michael S. Schmidt had the decency to quote Victoria LaCivita, a spokesperson for Attorney General Jason Miyares, who ordered the firing. Not that it changed the way the Times framed the story, but she  directly contradicted Surovell thesis. “The decision had nothing to do with the Jan. 6 committee or their investigations,” she said. Heaphy had been a “controversial hire,” she added, and the decision to fire him had been made “after reviewing the legal decisions made over the last couple of years. The attorney general wants the university counsel to return to giving legal advice based on law, and not the philosophy of a university.” Continue reading

Report From the School Mask Mandate Battlefield

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

My grandkids have been homeschooled since they were old enough to go to school (going on 16 years or so now). Therefore, I don’t have a dog in this fight over school mask mandates. Neither do most of the commenters on this blog, I suspect.

Thus, a recent conversation with a friend who does have kids in public school (two K-5 boys) was most enlightening. I freely admit that this is one conversation and may not be representative. But this friend is smart, savvy, and observant and I trust his/her general observations.

When I mentioned that Monday would be the test of the governor’s Executive Order on school mask mandate, he sort-of rolled his eyes and lamented that policy was being based on the loudest voices. Most of the parents in our Henrico neighborhood school that her sons attended supported the mask mandate, she said. It was the few who did not that showed up at the school yelling at the principal and yelling at the teachers. Continue reading

Poll: Most Democrats Dislike RGGI Carbon Tax

The states currently in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative tax compact.

by Steve Haner

First published today by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.

The high consumer cost of Virginia’s forced conversion to a fossil fuel-free economy remains unpopular with Republican and Independent voters, but is supported by many Democrats, a recent poll revealed. Even Democrats, however, dislike a new carbon tax that is now targeted for repeal.

Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy asked Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy to include four energy policy-related questions on a recent survey of 625 registered Virginia voters. All touch on issues pending at the 2022 General Assembly or facing the new Glenn Youngkin Administration.

Only 22% percent of overall respondents supported, and 73% opposed, the new carbon tax that now appears on Dominion Energy Virginia monthly bills. It was imposed in September to recover from customers the dominant electricity provider’s costs under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Governor Youngkin has made removing Virginia from the RGGI compact an early priority. Even self-identified Democrats in the sample opposed it by 59% to 36%, with 91% of Republicans and 73% of Independents expressing opposition.

You can read the four questions and see the response breakdowns in this report from the polling organization, which has a long history of sampling Virginians on campaign and policy questions without any partisan leaning by the firm. Continue reading

Suddenly, Democrats Don’t Like Executive Orders

by Kerry Dougherty

Good grief, they have no self-awareness, do they?

I’m watching hysterical Virginia Democrats lose their minds because the new Republican governor issued an executive order that actually RESTORES civil liberties to Virginians.

Yet, back when Ralph Northam was issuing one useless executive order after another, the left was silent. In fact, many of them cheered as the governor stomped all over the civil rights of Virginians.

They thought it was fine when the governor ordered every person over the age of 10 to wear masks in indoor settings.

They didn’t object when he lowered the mask requirement to five.

They didn’t care when he forbade sitting on the beach. Or when, in March 2020, he became the first governor in the nation to close schools — public and private — through the end of the school year. Continue reading

Cages in the Senate of Virginia

Virginia State Senators in Cages

by James C. Sherlock

Once again, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Many of us are hoping that the General Assembly will consider serious legislation this term.

And consider it seriously.

We need to discount those hopes as we take into account the cages into which Senators have been put. They were erected at the insistence of the Democratic majority in that chamber and against the protests of their Republican colleagues. Continue reading

Begun, the College Wars Have

Tim Heaphy, pictured in 2017. Photo credit: The Cavalier Daily.

by James A. Bacon

Attorney General Jason S. Miyares has fired the university counsels of the University of Virginia and George Mason University: Tim Heaphy at UVa and Brian Walther at GMU.

I have no inside knowledge about why Miyares took these actions, but they are, I believe, best understood as the opening salvos in what will be a long-term effort by Miyares and Governor Glenn Youngkin to change the increasingly totalitarian culture of Virginia’s higher-ed system that stifles free speech and free expression.

In Virginia the governor appoints members of the boards of visitors, but the attorney general appoints the university counsels. BoV members serve on a rotating basis, with only a few seats expiring June 30 at the end of every fiscal year. But university counsels serve at the pleasure of the attorney general, as I understand it, and can be replaced at any time. Miyares has lost no time in acting.

AG spokesperson Victoria LaCivita said in a statement to The Washington Post that Heaphy had been a “controversial” hire and that Miyares’ predecessor Mark Herring had “excluded many qualified internal candidates when he brought in this particular university counsel.” Continue reading

Child Masking – Where is the Offramp?

Children wearing gas masks 1941

by James C. Sherlock

I have two important questions for my friends who insist on mandates for masks for children in schools.

Is the child mask mandate permanent? If not, where is the offramp? 

I will cede for purposes of this inquiry that you are sincere in your concern for the vulnerability to COVID of teachers and children in schools and of the kids’ parents and grandparents when the little devils get home.

So, I am about to concede a lot more in an attempt to get your answers. Continue reading

The Battle of the Eye Doctors

Photo credit: American Optometric Association

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

One of the constants over the many years that I have been around or following the Virginia General Assembly has been the fight between optometrists and ophthalmologists.

The legislative battles between these two groups provide a good lesson in two aspects of the legislative process: the politics of regulation of professions and the role of campaign money. This article will discuss the first aspect and a subsequent article will examine the role of campaign donations.

The ongoing battle of the optometrists and the ophthalmologists has been over treatment of conditions of the eye beyond vision defects. Ophthalmologists have been to medical school and specialize in diseases of the eye. Although they have the title of “doctor,” optometrists have not been to medical school, but have undergone training that enables them to examine patients for vision problems and prescribe corrective lenses. During their vision examinations, if they detect any medical problems, they are supposed to refer the patient to an ophthalmologist. Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant

Belligerence as Leadership

Image credit: MyVaccineUpdate.com

by Joe Fitzgerald

About one in 16 American adults suffer with chronic pulmonary disease. Serious health guidelines say they’re the primary ones who should not wear masks. Some of them still can, but a figure of 6% is about the maximum of adults who shouldn’t wear them.

The governor of Virginia, elected to eradicate a subject that isn’t being taught, has decided that removing masks from public schools is the hill he wants to die on.

The two possibilities are that he truly believes life-saving mask mandates in public schools threaten personal freedom, or that he wants to pick a fight early on to exhibit his strength as governor.

The latter seems more likely. And while even some people are his side of the aisle are smart enough to see what he’s doing, a lot of the people who voted for him aren’t. They elected a reality TV star as president and now a financial speculator as governor. Somehow the image of a private equity manager struck them as more John Wayne than Jacob Marley. Continue reading

Dean Wormer Lives

by James C. Sherlock

On Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand auditioned successfully for the role of Dean Wormer in an unannounced remake of Animal House.

He has ordered the out-of-school suspension of any student intentionally removing or refusing to wear a face covering indoors on school property or transportation.

As you undoubtedly know, but as Dean Braband has reminded his principals, such behavior is a violation of the famous FCPS Regulation 2613 (Student Dress Code). Continue reading

Youngkin, Northam Tax Cuts Combine to $5 Billion

by Steve Haner

In his final budget bill, departing Governor Ralph Northam (D) proposed a one-time rebate of just over $1 billion to Virginia income-tax payers, and additional policy proposals that would cut another $1.1 billion in state revenue for the remainder of this fiscal year and the next two.

New Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) has now seen and raised Northam’s stakes, proposing an additional $2.9 billion in rebates or tax cuts for the first half of his term.  The vast majority of his proposal, $2.1 billion, represents the tax break created by doubling the individual standard deduction.

The figures come from a review of the introduced Northam budget prepared by the legislative money committee staffs, and Youngkin’s recently-released summary of his high priority legislative agenda. That list from the new governor includes the tax bills and related budget amendments, which track and now put price tags on the various promises he made during his campaign.

The General Assembly now in session could approve both tax cut lists, a total of $5 billion in tax relief, most of it (because of the one-time rebates) in fiscal year 2023, which begins July 1. In four weeks, on February 20, the House and Senate money committees will reveal their versions of the budget and which of these proposals made the cut.

Youngkin’s amendments are made to the Northam budget document, and he is assuming that many of the Northam proposals are adopted. Northam’s major proposal was the one-time rebate of $250 per taxpayer from state surplus revenue, which he estimated would return a total of $1.05 billion. Youngkin’s campaign promise was for $300 ($600 per couple), so he adds another $202.8 million for a total rebate of about $1.25 billion. Continue reading