Author Archives: Bob Rayner

Every Day is Memorial Day in Normandy

by Kerry Dougherty

My most memorable Memorial Day did not take place on Memorial Day at all, but a few weeks earlier. In May of 1982.

But then again, every day is Memorial Day when you stand on those beaches at Normandy. It was a glorious spring morning on the coast of France. The sky was the deepest shade of blue. A gentle wind made the American flags flutter. And I was there with 52 Irish boys. Bad boys.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Forty-one years ago, I lived in Dublin, where I attempted to eke out a living as a freelance writer in the dingy offices of the now-defunct Irish Press. While back home, American newsrooms were swapping their IBM Selectrics for computers, this one was stuck in another era. Manual typewriters created a chattering cacophony, cigarette smoke turned the air blue, greasy chip wrappers littered the floors. Everyone was known by their last name.

Except me. I was The Yank.

I was toiling away on some forgettable story, dutifully reminding myself to spell gray as “grey” and harbor as “harbour,” when I overheard two of my editors talking.

“Ask the Yank,” Muldowney said. “She’ll go anywhere.”

“Hey, Yank,” O’Kane shouted. “How’d you like to go to France for the weekend?”

“Yes, please,” I begged.

I’d never been to France. I was weary of the endless Irish gloom. The unexpected offer of a weekend in sunny France was so seductive I never asked if there was a catch.

There was, of course. Continue reading

Retail Politics and the Social Compact

by Richard Tangard

While I waited in the grocery store checkout line, a scowling, angry-looking man walked in through the automatic door. As I placed my items on the conveyor, his purposeful stride took him into a nearby aisle. Moments later he emerged carrying two cases of beer, snarled at several employees, and stomped out without paying.

None of them said anything or lifted a finger to stop him, and I can’t really blame them. He telegraphed that interference would be met with violence. I don’t think anyone called the police, although that may have happened later.

Not long ago, a social compact was generally accepted in this country. Stealing is wrong. Initiating or threatening violence is wrong. Follow the rules and you will be treated fairly. Those who break the rules will be sought out, prosecuted and tried. If convicted, especially in the case of a repeat offender, the perpetrator will be removed from society both to teach a lesson and for public safety.

The social compact had value because nearly everyone followed it. That near-universality seems to be gone. I suspect it will take decades to re-establish.

Richard Tangard is an avid cyclist, three-time Ironman triathlete, and a mostly retired CPA. He says his wayward youth was spent in Connecticut but he has lived in the Richmond area for 28 years.

Martin Brown Is Absolutely Correct: To Achieve Real Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, “DEI” Must Die

by J. Kennerly Davis

Martin Brown, a senior aide to Governor Glenn Youngkin, created quite a stir when he told an audience at the Virginia Military Institute that “DEI is dead.” Democrats in politics and the media jumped on the remark, and the Governor’s support of Brown, to assert that the Youngkin administration is hostile to policies and programs that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion. The partisan criticism is baseless. Martin Brown is correct. For Virginia to effectively foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, DEI must die.  

Every system of government is based upon an idea, a fundamental concept for its organization and operation, a proposition. Most times, the idea has been small, shabby, uninspiring, and authoritarian. Ultimate authority has been held by a ruling class. The rights of individuals have been understood to be nothing more than malleable artifacts, with their scope and substance and tenure entirely dependent upon the changeable determinations and dispensations of the ruling class.

But sometimes, the idea for a system of government is a grand one, exceptional, inspiring, revolutionary. The idea of America is a grand idea: the revolutionary proposition that all persons are created equal, endowed by their Creator with inherent dignity and unalienable rights; the revolutionary proposition that the only rightful purpose of government, the legitimizing purpose, is to recognize, respect, and protect the shared sacred humanity, inherent dignity, and natural rights of the people;  the revolutionary proposition that the people shall rule, and each shall be able to think and speak and worship and associate freely; the revolutionary proposition that a richly diverse people can form a strongly united nation, e pluribus unum. That is a grand idea!

For more than a hundred years, the regressive authoritarians who wrongly style themselves “progressive” have worked to undermine the grand idea of America and replace it with their own very small idea: the counterrevolutionary proposition that an elitist ruling class of credentialed technocrats, infallible “experts,” should exercise unrestrained administrative power to define the rights, allocate the resources, and direct the affairs of the supposedly unenlightened masses under their paternalistic supervision. Continue reading

The Folly of Electrification

by Bill O’Keefe

Although Dominion Energy seems to be hedging on its 2040 goal, Virginia is still stuck with the Virginia Clean Economy Act net zero mandate and its participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which seeks to achieve an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050. However, neither the General Assembly nor Dominion appear to have done the comprehensive and realistic life-cycle analysis needed to determine the realism of those commitments and their consequences.

Noted e historian and analyst Daniel Yergin has written about the challenges of meeting the demand for the essential materials needed for electrification — lithium, copper, and other minerals. As time moves on, it is becoming more clear how difficult it will be to obtain these minerals and also constrain the emissions  associated with their production. The IMF has concluded that pursuing net zero will “spur an unprecedented demand for some of the most crucial metals, leading to price spikes that could derail or delay the energy transition.”

Electrification of vehicles, charging stations, wind power, solar panels, and battery storage could lead to a doubling of demand for copper within a decade. This conclusion comes from a study of copper by S&P Global. Since copper is the “metal of electrification,” the implications are staggering.  

For decades, the world worried about the concentration of oil in the Middle East. Are any of the electrification proponents worried about the greater concentration of copper supplies — 40% from Peru and Chile? And, what about the concentration of other essential minerals like cobalt and lithium for electric car batteries — 70% in the Congo and 60% in China? Diversifying the sources of these minerals is not an easy task. Negotiating with host governments and developing a new mine can take 15 to 20 years and cost several billions of dollars. How many new mines will be needed and how accommodating will host governments be? Continue reading

Oh Look! It’s Mock Jesus Night at the Ballpark.

by Kerry Dougherty

During a freak heat wave in April of 2022 I went to a Tides game. To our surprise, it was also “bark in the park” or bring-your-dog-to-the ballpark day.

The experience was Gothic.

It was so hot and blindingly bright that all of the dogs and their owners huddled in the shade on the concourse. The dogless had to weave their way through a herd of panting, miserable mutts just to get a hotdog.

Have you ever been in a ballpark, your feet resting on the seat in front of you, your scorecard on your lap and found yourself thinking that the only way the experience could be more sublime would be if you had your dog with you?

Me neither.

Dogs and baseball don’t go together.

Neither do drag queen nuns and baseball. But that’s what fans of the Dodgers are going to get if they’re foolish enough to buy tickets to the annual Pride game on June 16th.

A week ago the management of the Los Angeles team disinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of drag queens who dress up like nuns and then mock Catholicism and Christianity to the game. Part of their show includes a “hunky Jesus” a guy in a loincloth who prances around parodying our Lord.

After the LGBTQ+ community howled in protest Dodger management backtracked. They issued an abject apology to the “sisters” this week and reinvited them.

Appparently, they were more worried about offending the drag community than the legions of Catholics who buy tickets or who suit up for the team. I went through the 40-man roster and found about 10 players with Hispanic surnames who were born in Mexico and Venezuela. I’d be willing to bet they’re all Catholics. Probably practicing. Does management care about offending them?

Nope. They’re on their knees offering mea culpas and begging for the forgiveness of drag queens. Continue reading

Hey Norfolk: Do Kids Really Need Classes In Masturbation?

by Kerry Dougherty

You might think that a mediocre school system where barely half of all schools are fully accredited would put all of its energy and money into academics.

Oh, Bambi, you have no idea how public schools work, do you?

Norfolk School Board – which oversees a division where just 57.1% of the schools are fully accredited – voted 6-1 last night to begin teaching gender ideology, masturbation, sexual identity, homosexuality, abortion and lesbianism in middle and high schools.

Oh, and there will be a fun condom demonstration for all of the kiddies, too!


The curriculum is called “Get Real: Comprehensive Sex Education That Works” and will be directed at kids in grades 6 through 10. It’s published by Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts so you know it won’t contain a whiff of Judeo-Christian values.

According to WTKR, most of the speakers at last night’s meeting were opposed to the expanded sex ed program:

The vast majority of speakers were critical of the curriculum for Norfolk middle and high school students, and believe the focus should be on other areas in schools.

“Get on the academics! Get off the sex,” one resident said before school board members.

Like so many who have pushed back against having an LGBTQ+ agenda foisted on their children by the government, concerned Norfolk parents were ignored by the wokes on the board. Continue reading

Mother’s Day: Meandering Through Virginia

A bridge of Madison County. (Virginia).

Regular readers of this space know that I am still seething over the actions America’s fascists embraced during Covid.

The fact that they haven’t apologized and admitted that stomping on Constitutional rights over a virus was a colossal mistake is infuriating. That said, Covid brought two very good things.

First: my daughter met the love of her life, a soldier who was stationed in Monterey in 2020.

He was invited to join an online game her old pals played almost nightly during the early days of the lockdowns. These two strangers on separate coasts quickly developed a bond through their shared life experiences, offbeat senses of humor and quick wits.

By the time they met in person, they were already in love. They married, had a baby a year ago and this weekend my son-in-law surprised his wife with a Mother’s Day “golden doodle” puppy to replace her beloved husky who died recently at 16.

The second marvelous thing that happened during covid was that we began a tradition of celebrating Mother’s Day by traveling with extended family to different parts of Virginia.

In fact, I’m writing this from a rustic table in a sprawling old farmhouse in Madison, Va., where 12 of us and our four dogs spent the weekend.

Back in the spring of 2020 we were already weary of hysterics screaming about masks and telling us not to gather with friends and family. Continue reading

The Naming Commission’s Declaration of Intent

by Donald Smith

I’ve written a lot about the Congressional Naming Commission (CNC). In my opinion, the CNC has expressed contempt, and even disgust, for the legacy of people who served for the Confederacy. I base that assessment largely on the opinions and judgments the CNC declared in the Preamble to its Final Report. That Preamble is reprinted, in its entirety and without editing, below:

“There is much the United States should commemorate about the American Civil War

The Civil War turned a slaveholding republic into a champion of liberty, equality and freedom, and our nation has continually expanded its definition and defense of those values ever since – both between its shores and throughout the world. Through the courageous service and sacrifice of more than two million United States Soldiers from 1861 to 1865, what could have been our nation’s end became, instead, our second American Revolution. It made our Union more perfect. The American Civil War was, as Abraham Lincoln immortalized at Gettysburg, “a new birth of freedom.” 

Yet this rebirth and revolution came at a terrible price. Between those fighting for the United States and those fighting against them, an estimated 620,000 Americans died in the conflict, and the war’s total casualties numbered around 1.5 million. The conflict was deadly, devastating, and destructive: on a per capita basis, the Civil War was eight times more lethal for Soldiers and 10 times deadlier for all Americans than World War II. In absolute numbers, the Civil War killed more Americans than the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and all other conflicts before the Vietnam War combined.  Continue reading

Europe’s Complex Rebuttal to American Wokesters

by Donald Smith

On the periphery of Rome, not far from the Vatican, stands a towering obelisk named for Benito Mussolini, Italy’s fascist dictator and ally of Adolf Hitler. On a recent visit to the city, my taxi driver knew exactly where it was and found nothing remarkable about a request to go there.

The Mussolini Obelisk, standing watch over the Foro Italico sports complex, served as the starting point for my atypical tour of the Eternal City’s ‘fascist architecture.’ At the very outset, our tour group asked our guide: Why has the Mussolini Obelisk not been removed from what appears to be a place of honor?

For an American visitor, it was the obvious question. We have become accustomed to the removal of the likenesses of Confederate generals and even Christopher Columbus from public places. But it was not a difficult question for our guide to answer: ‘In Italy, we view it as history.’ Efforts to remove it had fizzled.

The loss that comes from laundering the past was made clear to us in the historical lesson our tour group received that day — a lesson that would have been impossible if cancel culture, American-style, had prevailed.

This is the beginning of “Italy’s Non-Cancel Culture,” an article by Howard Husock, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.  Husock’s article appeared in early April.  In late April, Elon Musk went on Real Time With Bill Maher and discussed the “woke mind virus” that’s infecting nearly everything nowadays.  Musk talked about his own experience with “cancel-culture, American style.”   Continue reading

VHHA to Sunset COVID-19 Hospitalization Data Dashboard

by Shaun Kenney

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) is getting ready to turn the lights off on its COVID-19 Dashboard this week, as the federal emergency for the pandemic officially ends in May 2023.

VHHA noted the unprecedented scale of co-operation between Virginia’s hospitals and health care apparatus in creating the dashboard, one which millions of Virginians relied upon for accurate information in the very early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Overall, the dashboard has been viewed more than 7.7 million times and has been an invaluable resource to help health care providers, state and federal government partners, the public, and the news media gain a clearer picture of the impact of the pandemic on hospitals and the health care delivery system. Now, with the federal COVID-19 public health emergency slated to end May 11 and statewide coronavirus hospitalizations at relatively low levels, VHHA will discontinue publication of the data dashboard as of Thursday, April 27, 2023. Continue reading

Why They Fought — and Deserve to be Remembered

Units descended from both Confederate and Union forces are now part of the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 138th Field Artillery Brigade. These campaign streamers, from the brigade’s colors, commemorate that service. Streamers with a gray top commemorate Confederate service, blue tops honor Union service.

by Donald Smith 

Soldiers go to war for many reasons — home, country, duty, glory, personal adventure. But, in the midst of battle, soldiers fight for their comrades — “the man to the left of me, the man to the right of me,” as the saying goes. Good soldiers are driven by an intense desire to not let their comrades down. That drive is one of the main reasons why Americans have always honored combat soldiers. Now, the United States Congress has arguably left out one segment of America’s past fighting force — Confederate soldiers — and indicated that those men don’t deserve the same level of respect from today’s military. Continue reading

Snow Day in April: Something in the Water

by Kerry Dougherty

When the first Something in the Water Festival came to Virginia Beach in 2019, some lemon-sucking locals balked at allowing school buses to be used to transport revelers  from satellite parking to the resort area.

How will bus drivers be able to drive festival goers until 11 p.m. on Sunday and be rested enough by Monday morning to safely transport kids, they fretted.

As if bus drivers were toddlers who need 10 hours of sleep.

What if the festival goers leave their drugs or guns on the buses and the kids find them on Monday morning? whispered others.

Puh-leez. Continue reading

It’s a Cemetery, for Crying Out Loud!

Arlington National Cemetery. photo by Rachel Larue.

by Donald Smith

Apparently, it is the will of the United States Congress that, in the interests of sensitivity and inclusiveness, we go into our cemeteries, and then search for and remove items that might offend someone who’s not related by blood or heritage to anyone buried there. The Congressional Naming Commission (CNC) has recommended that the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery be removed, and the Secretary of Defense has concurred. The Congress, at least according to the CNC’s final report — which has mysteriously gone offline  — has given its blessing to the CNC’s recommendations.

The Confederate Memorial, sculpted by Moses Ezekiel, does not sit on the Washington Mall. It’s not on Capitol Hill, in the Rose Garden or Dupont Circle, or leering over Interstate 95. It’s in a cemetery. In order to see it, you have to go to non-public places — the cemetery itself, or a parking lot at Fort Myer, an Army base adjacent to Arlington’s western border.  

If you do go to Arlington to see the memorial … you really have to want to see it.   It’s on the other side of the cemetery from the welcome center and visitor’s parking. The shuttle tour through Arlington does not stop at the Confederate section, Section 16. Two friends have visited the memorial on four separate occasions over the past two years, and the shuttle drivers never mentioned the existence of the Confederate cemetery, much less how to find it. Don’t use the official Arlington Cemetery map as a guide: it doesn’t label the Confederate section. (Much like the Richmond city tourism maps that didn’t label the Lee, Jackson and Stuart statues on Monument Avenue).  

Once you get to the Confederate cemetery, you’ll see the memorial. It stands in the center of more than 400 Confederate graves, radiating out from the memorial in six concentric rings. If you look outside the Confederate section, you’ll notice some differences between the Confederate graves and the others in Arlington. The “regular government headstones” on most Arlington graves have curved tops, but the tops of Confederate gravestones are pointed. Graves in most of Arlington are arrayed in rows, but the Confederates are buried in a circle around the Ezekiel sculpture. This should allay the fears progressives and hypersensitive people might have that visitors might confuse Confederate graves with those of other Arlington dead. Continue reading

Incarceration Should Not Mean Humiliation

by Kerry Dougherty

Hang onto your wallets, Portsmouth. A lawsuit filed Friday in Circuit Court is seeking $1 million in damages due to alleged misconduct by a sheriff’s deputy. Oh, and another $350,000 in punitive damages.

The conduct – if it happened – was atrocious.

According to court papers filed by a former inmate, Danaesha Martin, a sheriff’s deputy on May 2, 2022 forced her to disrobe to prove she was actually having her menstrual period when she requested sanitary products.

If true, this is sick. Sadistic, too.

No matter the crime, incarceration should not be accompanied by humiliation. Treating inmates like animals should not be part of the criminal justice system. Jailers are supposed to behave better than the people behind bars. Continue reading

Move Over Covid: Sharks Are Back

by Kerry Dougherty

Great news!

Sharks are swarming off the coast of the Outer Banks. Nine great whites so far. One, named Breton, is a 13-foot adult male weighing over 1,400 pounds according to a story in Saturday’s Virginian-Pilot.

Why is this good news?

Because it’s a sign that Covid is truly over. The general public may not be aware of this, but shark stories are a staple of digital news outlets because they generate thousands of clicks. Anyone else remember the summer of 2001? The news media were full of shark attack and Chandra Levy stories.

Until the terrorist attacks of September 11 bumped the clickbait off the front pages, that is.

We haven’t been reading a great deal about sharks for the past three years because the news media found something better to scare the bejabbers out of the public: “scary-new-variants-are-coming” and “Covid-isn’t-over” stories.

Think about it: since 2020, anything with “Covid” in the headline — especially stories stoking the fear factor — were hot tickets for news outlets. The fact that newspapers, including the all-Covid-all-the-time New York Times, have finally ditched their tedious daily Covid tracking charts is a sign that the public long ago lost interest.

In fact, Congress finally acted last week to terminate the executive emergency powers that the pandemic gave to Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

The U.S. Senate voted 68-23 to officially end the Covid emergency, even though Biden planned to “wind it down” beginning May 11. Only 23 Senate knobturners voted against the measure, including the usual far-left suspects: Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker. Continue reading