Author Archives: sherlockj

Renters Didn’t Make the Governor’s List

by James C. Sherlock

I just completed a survey of the 50 states to see how many of their legislatures were in regular session or special sessions called to deal with COVID issues between April 1 and August 15, 2020.

That 4.5-month period started when enough was known about COVID to start taking legislative action to back up Governors’ emergency decrees. It ends just before Virginia’s General Assembly will convene in special session to deal with COVID-related measures and other issues.

Thirty-eight of the 50 state legislatures have been either in regular session during that period or in special sessions called to deal with the COVID emergency.

Virginia is one of the 12 whose legislatures have not been in session. The others are Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and West Virginia. Continue reading

Fool Me Once

By James C. Sherlock

I want every tenant who cannot pay his rent because of COVID to be able to stay in his home. I want every landlord who supports them to be paid for their forbearance so they can pay their own bills.

This post starts with both of those goals in mind.

It is about a Governor and a Virginia Supreme Court who created horrible judicial precedents that never needed to happen.

Jim Bacon’s column this morning well summarized the issues with the Virginia Supreme Court’s August 7 order: IN RE: AMENDMENT OF EIGHTH ORDER EXTENDING DECLARATION OF JUDICIAL EMERGENCY IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 EMERGENCY.

That order reimposed until September 7 a previous Supreme Court denial of residential landlords’ access to the courts to gain adjudication of unlawful detainer actions by tenants accused of failure to pay rent and it banned eviction orders on that same basis.

The Governor and the General Assembly

Governor Northam has been hesitant to call the General Assembly into session because he cannot ultimately control what legislators do when they meet. Republicans and some Democrats appear poised to try to limit, especially in duration, some his virtually unlimited emergency authorities under Virginia law. When written, the drafters of that law simply did not imagine an emergency that would last for more than a month or two.

Continue reading

So It’s Not “About the Children” After All

by James C. Sherlock

The Chesterfield Education Association (CEA), a local unit affiliated with the National Education Association, is pushing back hard against a plan to have school employees report to their schools in order to use school facilities and support systems to professionalize remote instruction to their students. (According to the CEA president, the organization currently represents between 28% and 30% of the school system’s teachers, counselors and principals.)

The school district wants to ensure that the failed experiment with remote instruction in the spring is not replicated this fall. In-school platforms for remote instruction guarantee supervision and technical support.

From the Chesterfield Observer August 6, 2020:

“(Chesterfield School Superintendent) Daugherty assured the Board of Supervisors last month that all Chesterfield teachers would be required to work from their school buildings when they return from summer break – unlike last spring, when many teachers struggled to facilitate delivery of a hastily crafted virtual curriculum while working remotely following Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order closing all Virginia schools.

Since then, however, the School Board has received pushback from employees who don’t think they should have to work in school buildings if students aren’t present.

Last Friday, the Chesterfield Education Association recommended that all CCPS employees with documented health risks, those who have to provide supervision of their own children, and those who simply prefer to work remotely be given the option to do so.

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Run for your Local School Board

by James C. Sherlock

Bill O’Keefe published an essay here today, the title of which is “Revisionist History is a Fool’s Errand.”

Revisionist history is unfortunately not a fool’s errand, but rather a business, and a successful one, run by people that hate America and wish for its destruction. They despise and reject the civil rights movement as a weak bourgeois response to a situation that required revolution. Today’s woke revolutionaries quote Martin Luther King at their peril.

From a personal communication by a distinguished friend of mine:

“The source of the problem is 40 years of “education” in which the “educators” and the books they have used reviled America’s failures and refused to acknowledge its successes and virtues, especially the latter. The failure to educate Americans in their own history is a failure that mightily contributes to the current absence of common ground.”

We have spoken here before of neo-Marxist Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” a 1980 revisionist history that continues to be mandated for too many pupils. Designed as a middle-school and high-school textbook, it has sold over 2 million copies. Lesson plans with similar tripe are available for teacher download from links published by the National Education Association. Continue reading

Cancel One More Good Man

by James C. Sherlock. Updated Aug 3, 9:50 AM

Just another day in the neighborhood here in Virginia Beach.

The Virginian-Pilot, which used to be based in Norfolk, is a shadow of its former self.  It has combined with the peninsula-based Daily Press.

The paper announced on May 4, 2020:

The Virginian-Pilot has officially moved out of the downtown Norfolk building that it had occupied for more than 80 years.

The newspaper reported Sunday that its owners turned the keys over to a developer who plans to turn the building into apartments.

The Pilot will move to offices in Newport News that are already being used by its sister paper, the Daily Press.

Mostly these days it consists of a very thin mess of Associated Press articles, rehashes of local press releases, old sports stories, a crossword puzzle, paid obituary postings and short opinion pieces and letters.

But the Virginian-Pilot crossed the water on Sunday to headline on the front page two articles “Discussions about RACISM.”  The paper’s capitalization, not mine.  The word racism, and that word alone, was in an enormous font. Continue reading

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Necessity and the FERC

by James C. Sherlock

Peter Galuszka’s piece earlier today in this space made two claims the greens offer endlessly trying to achieve what I call truth by repeated assertion:

  1. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) either did not review or did not review properly (he inferred both) the wisdom and necessity for natural gas pipeline projects in general and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) in particular.
  2. That if it had done so, the FERC would have discovered that there is no market for additional natural gas in the markets to which the pipelines would have brought it.

These claims appear from the usual sources every time any discussion of the ACP is had on this blog. They are both false. I hope this is the last time we will need to read about them.

Mr. Galuszka clearly did not understand the facts.

He wrote:

“So Dominion and its partners could make billions of dollars, some of it paid for by electricity ratepayers, for a project whose public need was always in doubt

and Continue reading

Attorney General Herring’s Legislative Package

by James C. Sherlock

The Virginia Constitution (Article V, Section 5) assigns the Governor legislative duties. He is the only member of the Executive Department assigned such duties. The Attorney General has, well … none.

Of the duties of the Attorney General (Article V, Section 15), the Virginia Constitutions says only: “He shall perform such duties … as may be prescribed by law.”

The Attorney General heads the Office of the Attorney General, also referred to as the Department of Law. Under the laws of Virginia, primary duties of the Attorney General include:

  • Provide legal advice and representation in court for the Governor and the state in general and to members of the Virginia General Assembly and local government officials;
  • Defend the state in cases or criminal appeals and suits filed against the state;
  • Prosecute significant crimes; and
  • Defend the constitutionality of state laws.

Those duties illustrate why the Attorney General was not given legislative responsibilities in the Constitution.

It is impossible for him to both advocate for or against laws and be seen to be faithfully executing his duties. Virginians will always wonder whether such an advocate will fairly execute the laws or fairly advise the Governor and General Assembly. Continue reading

Public Employee Collective Bargaining – Questions for Attorney General Herring

by James C. Sherlock

As a consequence of the successful teacher revolt in Fairfax County, there are major legal questions which must be answered concerning the initiation of public employee collective bargaining in Virginia next spring.

In accordance with Virginia Code § 2.2-505, members of the General Assembly can request official opinions of the Attorney General. Private citizens cannot. I urge General Assembly members of both parties to submit the questions posed below.

Teachers associations in Fairfax County Virginia successfully employed threats not to return to work that resulted in a change to Fairfax County Schools policy.

From the Washington Post, “Teachers in Fairfax revolt against fall plans, refusing to teach in-person,” June 26, 2020:

“A day after one of the nation’s largest school systems announced its proposal for fall learning, teachers within Fairfax County Public Schools rose in revolt and refused to teach in-person, as the (previously announced by the school board) plan demands, until officials revise their strategy.”

Those actions force Virginians to confront the consequences under Virginia law of collective bargaining with public employees that will be legal starting in May of 2021. Some but not all of the possible issues are addressed here.

Continue reading

Welcome to Illinois

by James C. Sherlock

The illegal but successful threats not to return to work by teachers associations in Fairfax County Virginia have forced Virginians to confront the issue of public employees’ willful refusals to perform the duties of their employment.

From the Washington Post, “Teachers in Fairfax revolt against fall plans, refusing to teach in-person,” June 26, 2020:

A day after one of the nation’s largest school systems announced its proposal for fall learning, teachers within Fairfax County Public Schools rose in revolt and refused to teach in-person, as the (previously announced by the school board) plan demands, until officials revise their strategy.

Though you would not know it from their actions, Fairfax County school teachers currently are not permitted to bargain collectively. Even when the laws change next year to permit bargaining at local option, such tactics will be illegal.

Code of Virginia, § 40.1-55, both now and in 2021, is titled “Employee striking terminates, and becomes temporarily ineligible for, public employment’.”   Continue reading

Civil War within the Northam Administration on School Reopening Guidelines?

by James Sherlock

Steve Haner wrote a very important essay today about the new workplace guidelines about to be published by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry(DOLI).

In a similar vein, the progressive warriors in the lower levels of the Northam administration are trying to offer stricter school reopening guidelines than the Governor. States this Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) document:

Public school divisions and private schools that submit their plans to the Virginia Department of Education to move to Phase II and Phase III that are aligned with CDC guidance (6 feet social distancing) for reopening of schools that provide equivalent or greater levels of employee protection than a provision of this standard and who operate in compliance with the public school division’s or private school’s submitted plans shall be considered in compliance with this standard.

An institution’s actual compliance with recommendations contained in CDC guidelines or the Virginia Department of Education guidance (now includes 3 ft. option), whether mandatory or non-mandatory, to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 related hazards or job tasks addressed by this standard shall be considered evidence of good faith in any enforcement proceeding related to this standard.

They directly contradict school reopening guidelines updated July 1 by the Department of Education and published by the Governor on July 6.
Continue reading

School Opening Variances Are a Civil Rights Issue

by James C. Sherlock

I want to offer my thanks to those that have written here that they don’t want any Virginia schools to open this fall. (The terms open and closed in this essay will refer to in-person instruction.)

That provides clarity.

All will agree that in-person instruction is superior to remote instruction for primary and secondary students  I know of no study that contends otherwise.

Now comes the debate.

I am joined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in contending it is unwise and unfair that some schools will remain closed.

Others contend that it is unwise and unfair that some of them will open. They cite statistics that they apparently think the AAP missed.

A very polarized disagreement.

Continue reading

State Board of Health Regulations are Fundamentally Flawed

by James C. Sherlock

The Northam administration has a robust program for regulation review. It is time to use it to totally overhaul Virginia’s healthcare regulations.

Healthcare facilities and providers in Virginia are subject to dueling regulations — one set for state licensure and another for Medicare/Medicaid certification.

Virginia’s regulations in these cases are not just a waste of time on the government side. The administrative burden on healthcare providers is heavy and entirely unnecessar,y and the regulations violate both Virginia law and the Governor’s executive order on regulations.

It is expensive, counterproductive and in some cases illegal under Virginia law for Virginia to have different regulations for the same facilities and providers, yet we do.

Code of Virginia § 32.1-127.

Virginia regulations must be changed to conform to federal Medicare and Medicaid regulations for long-term-care facilities to comply with the clear direction of Code of Virginia § 32.1-127. That law requires that Virginia regulations for hospitals and nursing homes “conform” to “health and safety standards established under provisions of Title XVIII (Medicare) and Title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act.” Continue reading

How to Think or What to Think? The Culture Wars Come to K-12

by James C. Sherlock

I was challenged after my last posting to give examples of the capture of the most prominent educational schools by critical theory activism.  

Critical theories of education posit that educational systems are either complicit in oppression or that these systems are a powerful mechanism for ensuring that social inequality persists. Under either interpretation, there must be a plan for emancipatory action (what they deem “praxis,” the practical application of a theory) through education.  

I took 61 pages of notes of examples among the “top 15” education schools before I realized that I was working to defend myself against the charge of “accusing” them of something of which it turns out they are profoundly proud.  

It is clear from pressing past the home pages of those schools and drilling down into the course descriptions, the writings of the instructors of those courses and the course reading assigned that many are deeply committed to critical theory. 

In this essay, I will demonstrate how critical theory has left the campuses of the education schools and made its way into America’s largest teachers union and many American K-12 classrooms.  

Continue reading

Marxist Critical Theory and Education

By James C. Sherlock

Perhaps my biggest concern for our society is that Marxist critical theory ideologues have taken over the Graduate Schools of Education.

From Jim Bacon’s post earlier:

“The new cultural elite is envious and would like to reappropriate much of that wealth for redistribution as it sees fit. Even more alarmingly, the cultural elite has a totalitarian instinct. Convinced of its righteousness, it is bent upon imposing its values and priorities upon the rest of the population.”

Critical theory was a primary creation of Karl Marx.

It rejects capitalism, property rights, individual freedom and democracy without as far as I have been able to find in my research offering an alternative.

Communism, socialism and fascism all attempted to achieve these goals. All three have proven practical and moral failures.

“Socialism” only works with a capitalist economy and the person freedom to innovate and public welfare programs to redistribute some of the profits of capitalism.  That was the successful concession of the post-Mao communist party leaders in China that is being eroded today by the restrictions on personal freedom.  The Chinese economic miracle was capitalist, not communist.

Communism and fascism have resulted in unprecedented human cruelty and suffering and ultimately societal destruction.

Critical theory, of which critical race theory is but an offshoot, demands redistribution without considering what happens the day after redistribution, when, if unfettered, talent and effort will instantly start reinstating unequal distribution of property.

Continue reading

(Almost) Free Money

By James C. Sherlock

Steve Haner’s superb column on the state budget turned attention to federal aid to state and local governments. It is worthwhile to review where the feds get that money.

James T. Agresti, CEO of Just Facts (chart above), has written recently hat U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio is four times the historical average and climbing:

“The US national debt has just reached 120.5 percent of the nation’s annual economic output, breaking a record set in 1946 for the highest debt level in the history of the United States. The previous extreme of 118.4 percent stemmed from World War II, the deadliest and most widespread conflict in world history.”

The Federal Reserve

The Fed’s dual mandate from Congress is to maximize employment and stabilize prices. The Fed floods the economy with money in times like this and is supposed to sop it up with higher rates when the economy appears to overheat and prices rise too fast. Continue reading