Author Archives: Bob Rayner

Violent Transgender Activists and Antifa Agitators Shut Down Pro-Life Event at VCU

by Michael Ippolito

Violent transgender activists and Antifa agitators interrupted the final Students for Life “Lies Pro-Choicers Believe” Tour at Virginia Commonwealth University on Wednesday and shut the event down.

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins’ and student ambassador Isabel Brown’s speaking tour concluded at the Richmond public university in violence as police arrested protesters and forced the speakers to leave.

“We were deeply disappointed in how campus and city police handled the incident as First Amendment rights were trampled upon and physical attacks were made due to inaction,” Students for Life press strategist and staff writer Caroline Wharton told The Daily Signal. “Pro-life speech is free speech and should have been firmly defended as such, especially at a public university.” 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

The Wild Thing — Will Glenn Youngkin Run for President?

by Chris Saxman

The most often asked question I get these days is whether or not Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin will run for president.

*Pro tip* — Until they’re out, they’re in.

If ever there was a next-generation Republican that checks enough boxes to get nominated and elected president, that Republican is Glenn Youngkin.

Do you know that reaction among women (especially girls) when a very attractive woman walks in a room? Sometimes it’s audible…

They can have NO idea who that woman actually is, but they instantly form this well-constructed opinion:


And after meeting the prejudged, some will admit — very rarely mind you — “Damn it. She’s actually really nice. Just don’t make me stand next to her in a picture!”

“Wait, are you calling the Governor of Virginia A BITCH?”

Of course not.

I will admit that it would have been a great clickbait headline and I did consider going viral; HOWEVER, the point is that Glenn is — now brace yourselves everyone — a good guy. Continue reading

Last Gasp for Masks

by Kerry Dougherty

A friend of mine went to the dermatologist yesterday. The medical office was in the Sentara Leigh medical complex in Norfolk and she was required to wear a face diaper.

Hey, there were a total of 5 cases of covid yesterday in Norfolk. That’s 2 cases for every 100,000 residents. There may have been more cases of TB. Of leprosy. But you can’t be too careful, am I right?

Of course if my pal had waited one more day to see the skin doctor she could have bared her pretty face. In a joint announcement from the region’s megalith health companies: Sentara, Bon Secours, Chesapeake Regional, Riverside and CHKD declared that beginning today face masks were no longer required in their facilities.

It’s about time. Continue reading

Arlington’s Monument to Peace and Reconciliation Slated for Demolition

Cherry trees bloom in Jackson Circle around the Confederate Monument in Section 16 of Arlington National Cemetery. The Confederate Monument was unveiled June 4, 1914, according to the ANC website. (Arlington National Cemetery photo by Rachel Larue)

by Robin Traywick Williams

It is dangerous these days to advocate for anything even tangentially associated with the words “Confederate,” but after almost three years of monument-bashing, it might be worth discussing where this is going. In addition to Lee, Stuart and nameless soldiers on courthouse lawns, Columbus, Lincoln, and Juniper Serra have all fallen. Will the country take a deep breath and consider whether significant works of art bear saving because of their historical and cultural value or will self-appointed arbiters of righteous thinking move on, unrestrained, to burning Monticello and imploding the slave-built White House?

The Naming Commission has submitted its final report, and not surprisingly, it recommends the renaming or removal from military installations of every item related to the Civil War, down to the last toenail clipping. The panel of eight political appointees was nothing if not thorough, finding offense even in the use of the color gray on military insignia as well as in the name of a Confederate horse.

Renaming bases and removing prints of Civil War battles is one thing—the hallowed ground of Ft. Benning will remain, and there are thousands of reproduction prints—but the Commission has taken the astonishing step of recommending the demolition of a culturally and historically important work of art by an internationally-renowned artist—in Arlington Cemetery, no less.

On the block is the Confederate Memorial to Reconciliation and Reunification, which is on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing part of the Arlington National Cemetery Historic District. Created by one of America’s most celebrated artists, Sir Moses Ezekiel, the monument was endorsed by four presidents and dedicated by Woodrow Wilson at an event attended by veterans of the North and South, who shook hands and embraced.

The monument recognizes an important moment in the evolution of the history of America, the spiritual and emotional reconciliation of two regions that had fought bitterly 50 years earlier. Although the country was technically reunified in 1865, the heavy hand of Reconstruction made reconciliation challenging, as Southerners struggled to rebuild their war-torn states under steep federal burdens. But in 1898, the sons and grandsons of Confederate soldiers joined the U.S. Army in large numbers to help fight the Spanish-American War. President McKinley, himself a Union veteran, saw an opportunity to bind up the nation’s wounds with a generous show of gratitude towards the South. Congress concurred, and provision was made for proper treatment of Confederate graves, including re-interment of hundreds in Section 16 of Arlington Cemetery. Continue reading

Breaking Virginia’s Energy Impasse

by Bill O’Keefe

With the two chambers of the General Assembly politically divided, there is no hope for a bipartisan compromise on changing the Virginia Clean Economy Act. Without change, we are stuck with a radical energy policy that will enrich Dominion and leave consumers holding the bag. VCEA will stand as a monument to hubris.

There is one course of action that the Democrat-controlled Senate might be willing to accept, and that is subjecting Dominion’s approach to a “Red Team” review. If the GA can’t agree to do that type of review, the SCC could undertake it on its own.

The “Red Team” concept was developed by the Department of Defense to provide a means to realistically validate the strength and quality of strategies or policies by employing an outside perspective. A Red Team’s review evaluates whether a proposal is robust and complete. The use of red teaming has expanded broadly within government and the private sector.

Dominion and the Democrat Senate are by now so deeply committed to the offshore wind farm and to the VCEA mandates that it is impossible for either to take a fresh, objective look at either.

There are a number of reasons why a “Red Team” analysis is needed. Continue reading

Is CPAC Shrinking?

by Bruce Majors

CPAC2023 was noticeably smaller than CPAC has been in previous years, with a half-empty ballroom at the Gaylord National Resort on the shores of the Potomac in Oxon Hill, Maryland. It’s CPACtrophy.

Although you could see the Masonic Temple in Old Town, Alexandria from the Gaylord, there were few Virginia politicians. Former Congressman Dave Bratt and Lt. Governor Winsome Sears made appearances. Like Florida Governor DeSantis, Governor Youngkin was not a speaker. (Lots of Virginians crossed the bridge to attend and vote in the CPAC straw poll however.) Richmond radio talk show host John Reid was spotted at an ancillary event on Capitol Hill where Trump’s Ambassador to Germany, Ric Grenell, spoke before appearing at CPAC on a panel with Democrat Jennifer Palmieri of Showtime’s The Circus.

In 2010, one of the last years CPAC was held in Washington, D.C., at the Woodley Park Marriott, 2,300 registrants voted in the CPAC presidential straw poll. CPAC’s registration kept growing, its stated reason for moving out to the Gaylord, where 3,000 registrants voted in the straw poll in 2015. After spending a few COVID lockdown years in Florida, CPAC is back at the Gaylord on the Potomac waterfront this year.

This year only 2,028 people took the straw poll. This is only a proxy for registration, as some people may not have voted. But it is only two-thirds the number who voted in 2015.

There are fewer workshops and panels outside the main hall, and the main Potomac Ballroom is noticeably half empty.

A reporter acquaintance asked me about the low attendance and whether I thought it was due to the “Schlapp scandal.” I did not see this, but according to a Washington Times article, CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp was chased through the halls Thursday morning by reporters asking him about a $9 million lawsuit against him for a sexual assault. Continue reading

At George Mason: Statement of Commitment to Academic Freedom and to Intellectual Merit

The undersigned members of the GMU Department of Economics express their commitment to academic freedom and to intellectual merit.

American universities have professed allegiance to two ideals. First, the ideal of academic freedom – the right of students and faculty to express any idea in speech or writing, without fear of university punishment, and secure in the knowledge that the university will protect dissenters from threats and violence on campus.

Second, the ideal of intellectual merit – the right and duty of academic departments to hire and promote the most brilliant, creative, and productive faculty in their fields, and admit the most intellectually promising students, without pressures from the administration.

These ideals are the cornerstones of liberal education. They protect faculty and students who hold views unpopular on university campuses. Academic freedom protects existing students and faculty who dissent from current dominant academic opinion and ideology. No matter how unpopular their views, they know the university will protect them. As stated in the University of Chicago Statement on freedom of expression and as quoted in GMU’s “Free Speech at Mason” Statement:

[We must hold a fundamental commitment to] the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed.

Intellectual merit protects prospective students and faculty who speak and write against current dominant viewpoints. No matter how unpopular their views, they know that university administration will not obstruct or prejudice their admission, hiring, or promotion.

Recently, both of these ideals have come under attack. Pressure for conformity has intensified and universities have increasingly interfered with departments’ personnel decisions. For example, at some universities, one of the more egregious new practices is the requiring of written “diversity” statements by prospective students, staff, or faculty, then used to discriminate among candidates, often by quarters of the university with interests other than those of the department or unit. Such methods recall arrogations of the past, such as The Levering Act of 1950, used against radicals. Continue reading

In Virginia Beach: Hang On to Your Wallets

by Kerry Dougherty

How to ruin an otherwise lovely early spring-like weekend, Virginia Beach-style:

Send out real estate assessments that show double-digit increase in the value of property (that’s a good thing, by the way) and a huge jump in taxes.

That’s not good.

Yep, many of us opened our mail on Saturday and wished we hadn’t.

While it’s nice that the city assessor believes property values are soaring, we all know what that means: the city council will quietly vote to “keep” the tax rate the same as last year and the year before, and then pat themselves on the back, crowing:


Ahem. Yes they did. They do it every year, just a little sleight of hand.

Let me explain: if your assessment rose 20% – as mine did – and the council votes to keep the rate at 99 cents per hundred dollars of assessed value rather than cutting it to a rate that would keep revenue about where it was last year – your taxes are going up.

A lot!

Look, rising assessments are a good thing. For most of us, our homes are our biggest assets. No one wants their asset to lose value.

If your stocks go up but you leave your money in the stock market, you aren’t taxed on unrealized gains. You’re taxed when you sell shares.

But when assessments skyrocket and you stay in your home, you’re being taxed on your “wealth.” In the parlance of the world of finance, you’re paying taxes on unrealized capital gains. Continue reading

Return to Chickahominy Swamp

by Jon Baliles 

Peter McElhinney at Style Weekly takes us on a retroactive visit through the Chickahominy Swamp and the voice and mind and sounds of the late Richmond music legend Page Wilson. The new online radio station, The Breeze, has begun airing old episodes of Wilson’s weekly visit to his porch in the swamp (which was actually recorded in a music/radio studio but sounded like you were out there.

The new edition, “The Swamp Sessions,” includes an eclectic mix of roots-influenced artists, including the Sun Rhythm Section, James McMurtry, the Irish-superstar Clancy Brothers, local hero Robbin Thompson, and more. Their relaxed conversations and playing were gingerly restored from reel-to-reel tapes.

The entertaining mix of talk and live songs was recorded between 1989 and 1992 for Wilson’s local public radio show, “The Out O’ the Blue Radio Revue,” which ran from the 1990s to the early 2000s on WCVE radio.

The original show was a slice of Americana already a bit retro in its day, a fashion-defying mix of Garrison Keillor’s similarly folksy “Prairie Home Companion” and Wolfman Jack’s midnight pirate station swagger. A lot of the artists who appeared on the shows, like legendary singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt and guitarist Tony Rice – are gone. Others, like Mary Chapin Carpenter, are still touring.

“It was interesting to see how many of them, to varying degrees, played along with the whole swamp thing,” says former local radio personality Tim Timberlake, who has been editing the raw tapes into coherent programs. The setup was theater, but the food and the fellowship was real. “It was the same thing every time,” Timberlake says. “But it was different from anything else.”

Continue reading

Poof! 21 Retirements and 363 Years of Combined Service. So Far.

by Chris Saxman

Here’s a General Assembly Retirement Tracker with estimated years of service:

Retirements thus far – 7 Senators and 14 Delegates. Combined years of service? 363. I’m putting the Over/Under at 30 members of the General Assembly and 480 years of service that will not return next year. So far not returning:

Senator Dick Saslaw – 48
Senator Janet Howell – 32
Senator Tommy Norment – 32
Senator John Edwards – 28
Senator Jennifer McClellan – 18 (Congress start date March 7)
Senator Jill Vogel – 16
Senator John Bell – 8
Delegate Ken Plum – 44
Delegate Kathy Byron – 26
Delegate Rob Bell – 22
Delegate James Edmunds – 14
Delegate Margaret Ransone – 14
Delegate Roxann Robinson – 13
Delegate Kathleen Murphy – 9
Delegate Mike Mullin – 8
Delegate Jeff Bourne – 7
Delegate Dawn Adams – 6
Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler – 6
Delegate Wendy Gooditis – 6
Delegate John Avoli – 4
Delegate Tim Anderson – 2

Not included in this list are the nomination battles between sitting incumbents or the incumbents who face challenges in their new districts. Sixteen incumbents face off which will add another eight to the list of non returners and there are five House members plus eleven Senators facing nomination battles. Possibly 24 could be added to the current 21.

So. Far.

Chris Saxman is a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates. This column first appeared on his blog, The Intersection, and is republished with permission.

Taxpayers Fund Biden’s Disruptive Campaign Stop in Va Beach

by Kerry Dougherty

As usual, some local news outlets missed the real story.

They were so starstruck by President Biden’s taxpayer-funded, Republican-bashing campaign stop in Virginia Beach on Tuesday that they didn’t notice that the city ground to a halt for hours Tuesday afternoon.

It was a giant clusterfart.

From one end of Virginia’s largest city to the other, traffic was gridlocked. Businesses lost money, appointments were missed and untold gallons of gas were wasted as fuming motorists stewed in traffic, unsure of what was going on.

A nuclear attack? A massive 100-car-pile-up? Fugitives on the loose?

Nope, just the president on a last-minute trip to Virginia Beach to rant about how the GOP wants to slash spending on health care.

Several television stations reported on the bumper-to-bumper traffic caused by rolling closures along the interestate. The print media? Nah. Not that I could find, anyway.

Biden flew into Oceana NAS around 2 p.m. and his motorcade headed to the Kempville Rec Center on Monmouth Road, 10.4 miles away, where he made a speech. Secret Service and various law enforcement agencies whose task it is to protect the life of the president, ordered parts of the interstate closed. Continue reading

Grrrrrrrr… Pit Bulls. AGAIN.

by Kerry Dougherty

As soon as I saw the headline in Sunday’s New York Post I knew the breed of the culprit:

“Girl, 6, Needs 1,000 Stitches, ”Won’t be able to smile again’ After Vicious Dog Attack.”

Was this a case of a poodle gone wild? A dachshund? A beagle?

Of course not. Only one breed is responsible for most of the maulings and deaths-by-dog-bite year in and year out: pit bulls.

It was a safe bet that it was one of these muscular, thick-jawed curs — bred for fighting — that grabbed the little girl by the face while she was playing cards at a friend’s house.

Pit bulls represent just 6% of the American dog population, but account for 66% of all dog bite fatalities according to a data-driven organization that collects information on dog bites.

I’ve written about this breed so many times that I know exactly what’s coming: my mailbox will fill with photos of toddlers cuddling with pit bulls, there will be threats of violence against me, and accusations of racism — as if saying some dog breeds have more of a propensity for fighting and biting than others is the same as being prejudiced against PEOPLE of a different race.

Look, there was a reason Michael Vick was training pit bulls for fighting out in Surry County in 2007, and not Labrador retrievers. Continue reading

The Amazing Shrinking Times-Dispatch

by Jon Baliles

You might recall a story from last summer in Style Weekly entitled The Incredibly Shrinking Times-Dispatch about the decline of our local newspaper and the print news business in general. It has been a precipitous and rapid descent.

Now, according to Axios, it seems that shrinking is not only ongoing but might be accelerating: Lee Enterprises is telling some employees that they will need to take a two-week, unpaid furlough or accept a salary reduction, according to an internal memo obtained by Axios.

The larger drama is that Lee was looked at for a takeover by Alden Global Capital last year and Lee laid off numerous employees company-wide and has continued to struggle (along with most legacy print media). The details of the saga can be read about here and are basically portrayed as two sides of the same bad coin. Continue reading