Big Changes Coming to Bacon’s Rebellion

Dear Readers,

There has been considerable activity behind the scenes here at Bacon’s Rebellion as we work on elevating the blog to the next level. We see a tremendous market opportunity as newspaper newsrooms continue to shrink, skewing consistently leftward in their editorial coverage as they do so. We believe that there is a large audience for a publication with a moderately conservative center of gravity that delivers Virginia news and commentary while maintaining a diversity of perspectives and a civil exchange of views. And we believe that Bacon’s Rebellion is the logical candidate to fill that niche.

As believers in free-market capitalism, we are not seeking foundation grants to propel us forward. And we hate to rely upon your charity (although we will ask for your help). Instead, for the foreseeable future, we will generate revenue from advertising. That means you soon will be seeing ads on the blog for the first time. I promise that they will not be intrusive. I can’t predict exactly when the ads will first appear, but the day is not far off. So, don’t be shocked.

Our next initiative will be to publish a newsletter. Initially, as we get our bearings, we will publish only two or three times a week, but eventually we hope to blast it out daily. Besides highlighting blog posts on Bacon’s Rebellion, we plan to aggregate a wealth of content you can’t access by subscribing to VA News, The Virginia Mercury. Virginia Business or The Virginia Star. This, too, will be supported by advertising.

In the relatively near term, we plan a major re-design of the website to accommodate publication of more content. We’ll also be recruiting new contributors. In the long run, our aspiration is to support a full-time news team, although we’re still figuring out the business model. For now, our primary business goal is to boost readership, upon which all else depends. Every dollar we make will pay for IT support, upgrading the product, and finding new readers.

We don’t have deep pockets. We don’t have a sugar daddy. We’re bootstrapping this one step at a time. For those of you who have made donations to Bacon’s Rebellion, please know how much we appreciate your support. Your gifts have provided the seed money to get this initiative off the ground. At the appropriate time, I will call again for your assistance — but of a very different nature. I’ll be getting back in touch soon.


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99 responses to “Big Changes Coming to Bacon’s Rebellion

  1. Good luck Jim. You provide value added.

    • My intention when I started this as my lobbying career wound down was to do more news and less commentary. We had a deal worked out with VPAP, but the Cancel Culture Establishment behind David Poole wouldn’t let Jim or I write straight news and get it on that platform. Then along comes liberal biased Virginia Mercury and every story it does is redistributed and magnified by VPAP. We’ll see how this develops but I’d like to try that again, with enough of a readership that being part of the VPAP clips is not so relevant. I suffer no illusion that I’ll get past that locked gate anyway.

      Nothing personal, but I also want a forum without the comment string. The raucous fistfights and slander can continue on the blog, but if this works as I hope you won’t see me involved as much here. Frankly, reading those strings in the past 48 hours is all you need to do to see how close this country is to collapsing into full chaos. I repeat again, a plague on all our houses. Less finger pointing, more mirrors. Nobody is “winning.”

  2. Very good. Thank you. Please try to keep those ads that are insulting to my intelligence off your page. I realize clicks are money but most of that “click bait” is pure junk.

    Good luck and I hope you inspire others to follow. A mission statement to guide you in future troubled waters. You can start by being the opposite of Twitter, Facebook, and Washington Post.

  3. There’s a certain irony to newspapers – being pushed close to extinction for the loss of advertising which has gone elsewhere. It’s affected both Conservative and Liberal news papers. Even WSJ is bleeding now and few, in any truly objective Conservative papers have come to the fore IMHO.

    In terms of news versus commentary – I have to say in my view, very, very few of BR blog posts are truly “news” rather than commentary – and yes.. if you allow comments and it is commentary – you will indeed get other points of view – and those divergent views are actually representative of the country today.

    I thought VPAP also has a commentary edition and BR does appear there,no?

    I don’t think it is really possible to have a publication that is “mostly news and a “little commentary” – look at all the online “news” these days beyond the Mercury and Star (which many will say are biased also). There are dozens of right-leaning “news” websites that are IMHO, more doctrinaire than not – and the range leads to really far right stuff with obvious propaganda and outright misrepresentation of facts and you know this by their readership also… it’s mostly the hard right not a balanced left/right readership.

    If BR truly wants a balanced readership, you’ll need to add more writers like Dick and drop off some of the harder right types like Bader. Just my view if you truly want to attract a truly more middle moderate audience. Otherwise, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that a “little” right would lead further and further to harder and harder right. That seems to be what happens. Perhaps in this case it won’t. We’ll see.

    I actually think the success of BR is, at least in part, the comments to the commentary… If you stopped accepting comments, what would the readership be?

    Congrats and Good Luck – Jim is always looking to improve BR and to this point, committed to allowing comments trying to keep the Ad Homs down and allow opposite points of view.

  4. I love receiving the pieces from “BR.” It’s incredible how much info Jim Bacon puts out on a weekly basis. No, make that, amazing.

    What I would love to see if not daily (preferred), then at least once-a-week, is a live stream from Jim giving us an in-person delivery of an editorial. And yes, he could wear makeup.

  5. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Good luck! Nathaniel Bacon always wanted to take it to the next level. But he ran out of the one thing you can’t buy at the store: time. I am certain you will be successful. One suggestion. A Bacon Jr. version to reach the 18-25 year old audience. Maybe one more suggestion. The real beauty of BR? Real people and the less is more formula. Don’t tinker with the ingredients too much.

  6. I’m interested in your professed vision for BR: “We believe that there is a large audience for a publication with a moderately conservative center of gravity that delivers Virginia news and commentary while maintaining a diversity of perspectives and a civil exchange of views. And we believe that Bacon’s Rebellion is the logical candidate to fill that niche.” The idea that the readership of this blog is currently “moderately conservative” and supports “a diversity of perspectives and a civil exchange of views” is belied by the vitriol routinely spewed in BR’s comment sections for those who don’t profess hard right positions, and the growing promotion of far right conspiracy theory-type commentary from some of your regular readers. I hope you understand that your vision is something that will need to be ardently worked towards to come to fruition. You’re nowhere close from where you’re starting now.

    • I hope that Jim and Steve answer you and that others do not attack you.

    • Ms. Martin, I would respond in three ways:

      First, as publisher I do not control reader comments, except to intervene when they get particularly acrimonious or descend into ad hominem attacks. In my observation, partisans on both sides have spewed “vitriol” upon the other. If you have not noticed that the vitriol spews both ways, then I would suggest that you read more carefully. I review every single comment posted to this blog, and I know of what I speak.

      Secondly, I am delighted that numerous readers of a liberal-left persuasion participate in the exchange of views with readers whose views are more to my liking. Bacon’s Rebellion is a rare media forum where such exchanges can take place — and they DO take place. In my experience, most blogs are ideological echo chambers. When people do express opposing views, they are rarely civil. If we don’t live up to your standards, I would appreciate it if you could point me to another forum that does. Perhaps I can learn from it.

      Thirdly, no one has said that the “readership” is “moderately conservative.” You misapprehend. I said that the center of gravity of the publication is moderately conservative, while allowing for a wide spectrum of views, which, in fact, we have. I make no apologies for our conservative orientation. The market in Virginia for conservative news and commentary is horrendously underserved.

      Thank you for your input.

      • You are correct that the vitriol spews both ways. However, my experience of the comments section is that 1) acrimonious and ad hominem attacks are routinely allowed to the detriment of a “civil exchange of views,” and 2) that such attacks come more frequently from those espousing what are typically considered more conservative or right-leaning viewpoints. I have not undertaken a quantitative analysis of the comments section of your blog, so I cannot in any way prove that my impressions are accurate. However, as a potential reader and commenter, I can tell you that I certainly do not feel like my views or opinions on matters are welcome to the majority of readers or contributors.

        Further, I would argue that BR is indeed a conservative echo chamber, with the few of the liberal-left persuasion who do routinely participate actually primarily serving in the role to rally the much larger, more conservative participants around a common “enemy” and to allow them to self-congratulate on their own openness by allowing such leftist contributions. That’s not to say that sincere discourse and exchanges of ideas does not occur, simply that it is overshadowed by what appears to basically be a mutual admiration society.

        In addition, I have not suggested that any apologies for a conservative orientation are warranted. Simply that the center of gravity of the readership – and the publication itself – is not moderately conservative. This is a blog, and the comments are part of the publication itself. Though you do allow left-leaning posts from time to time, they are in most cases thoroughly dismissed out of hand in the comments section. I would argue that, as I stated above, that the overall tenor of BR – a combination of posts and comments – is an increasingly far right echo chamber.

        Finally, I find it laughable that you suggest that BR currently has a “diversity of perspectives” represented when, as far as I can tell, the majority of contributors are well-educated, wealthy, white Boomers. There is little diversity in gender, race, education, age, or social class. Do you have any plans to increase the diversity of perspectives that comes from having contributors with diversity in age, race, gender, etc.?

        • “Finally, I find it laughable that you suggest that BR currently has a “diversity of perspectives” represented when, as far as I can tell, the majority of contributors are well-educated, wealthy, white Boomers. There is little diversity in gender, race, education, age, or social class. Do you have any plans to increase the diversity of perspectives that comes from having contributors with diversity in age, race, gender, etc.?”

          Ahhh yes, deplores vitriol yet using a hip slur. Can you spot the needle in your eye, and PS: I’m neither wealthy or middle aged.

          • Yep, right on schedule…

          • Virginia Martin

            Matt, the last time I checked, Boomer isn’t a slur; it’s simply a shortened version of the longer term, Baby Boomer. I’m happy to substitute Baby Boomer for Boomer in my earlier comment. Further, just because you are neither wealthy nor middle-aged does not mean that the majority of contributors also are not.

          • Virginia,

            Here’s your sign.


            No, you used it as a derogatory term, which negates your cries for civility.

          • Virginia Martin

            Matt, you linked to an article about the phrase “OK boomer,” which is indeed a dismissive meme. I didn’t use the phrase “OK boomer” or otherwise reference the meme. The dictionary definition of “Boomer” is literally a person born during the baby boom (, and that is how I was using the term. Just because the “OK boomer” meme exists doesn’t mean that I was referring to it in my comments. I think you’re trying to find something to criticize in my comments because you disagree with them. If you have anything substantive to say about the content of my comments, I welcome them. Otherwise, I would appreciate you dropping the disingenuous complaint about my use of the word “Boomer.”

        • “Do you have any plans to increase the diversity of perspectives that comes from having contributors with diversity in age, race, gender, etc.?”

          We could start with you. I’d be delighted for you to compose an op-ed for the blog on any topic relating to public policy in Virginia.

        • “…the last time I checked, Boomer isn’t a slur; it’s simply a shortened version of the longer term, Baby Boomer.”

          I thought that, too, until about 6 months ago when my teenaged son informed me that “Boomer”, especially when said in a certain way is indeed being use as a pejorative by many people of the younger generation. Example: A 20-somethings might say, “Okay, BOOMER” as a way of showing his disinterested disdain, after you have made a reference to a band, song, movie or TV show from before 1999.

          I guess anything can be an insult if it’s said in an insulting tome.

          • Which perhaps either rightly or wrongly how I perceived its usage. While previously it was used as an adjective, given our currently culture and word usage (it’s hip to repeat Dictators insults as long as it directed towards those who don’t agree with you).

            However, if that was not it’s “tome” or intent than mea cupla.

          • Virginia Martin

            Indeed, “OK Boomer” is a meme, but before the “OK Boomer” meme started, “Boomer” was just another word, which happens to be in my vocabulary. I’m not sure if you’re saying that my comment had an insulting tone, but that was not my intention. I will make sure to use the full term “baby boomer” going forward – if it’s ever necessary to use it again – to avoid accusations of incivility.

          • And if he said something like that to me, I’d reply “I’m gen-x, you millenial moron”.

          • I’m an old fart and I can’t keep up with what words and hand gestures are currently in disfavor. It’s overwhelming at times.

            For example, the things read about what the hand gesture for okay is supposed to mean have me completely at a loss.

        • Virginia,

          “…such attacks come more frequently from those espousing what are typically considered more conservative or right-leaning viewpoints.”

          That’s not my perception, but we all need to be mindful that perception doesn’t necessarily equate with reality.

          “However, as a potential reader and commenter, I can tell you that I certainly do not feel like my views or opinions on matters are welcome to the majority of readers or contributors.”

          That’s truly unfortunate. Your views should be welcomed, even if they aren’t shared. But to avoid being in your words a “mutual admiration society” all views should be subjected to scrutiny. That sometimes stings.

          “That’s not to say that sincere discourse and exchanges of ideas does not occur, simply that it is overshadowed by what appears to basically be a mutual admiration society.”

          I’ve taken issue with pretty much everyone here at some point, but I don’t have the time or inclination to comment on every comment. When I do counter a comment, I try to do so respectfully, but probably have need of improvement in that area.

          Not sure that I’ve ever taken on the chief honcho James Bacon, but to avoid that awful “mutual admiration society” of conservatives, I’ll be sure to do so in the future.

          Look out Mr. Bacon, I’m coming for you. 🙂

  7. I’ve wondered if Jim or for that matter, any publisher of content – knows or wants do know it’s demographic, and what I call the political demographic.

    And if you do know or want to know – do you really want a balanced readership or do you want to cater to a particular demographic and political?

    I have maybe never seen any publication do such a survey.

    Pew Research does such a query every time they do a poll – for obvious reasons – but BR could also and the question is if BR wants to promote itself as a middle, lean right publication – do they want to know if the readership actually is that?

    In other words, would you need more Dicks and less other?

  8. I agree with Virginia Martin, Jim. You have not stopped the over-the-top personal attacks from the likes of Matt Adams, Steve Gillispie, Reed Fawell and Steve Haner. You want to have it both ways — a veneer of “objectivity” and then increasingly radical right views. The conflict gets you clicks, often at my personal expense. I do not believe that BR can be a news outlet. You simply do not have the assets for that. Don’t expect me to start doing real reporting on a regular basis. You can’t afford me. I am not sure I want to be part of a “moderately conservative” answer to the supposedly “liberal” Virginia Mercury.
    Your earlier attempts to change the basic format failed. You got involved with the so-called Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy. It is not a conservative and scholarly “think tank.” It is a club of lobbyists and I have no respect for it. Then you got involved with a “sponsorship” with Dominion and it really hurt your credibility.
    In practical terms, I do not think you grasp what it would take to change BR from a blog with commentary to a true news platform. Whatever it is, it should be non partisan, but you are letting the lobbyists like Haner and the hard right radicals take over.
    I won’t be holding my breath.

    • Jim,

      Is there where you wanted this applied?

      “Peter Galuszka | January 6, 2021 at 7:14 pm | Reply
      This takes the puff piece to an entirely new level! And FERC never found an energy project it didn’t like. Thank you Steve. You can get off your knees now.”

    • “Moderately conservative” and “civil exchange of views” made me laugh out loud. The only reason I still read this blog is to watch old country club republicans try and square a circle as to what’s become of the Right today. I wish this effort the best of luck, because I enjoy reading what I don’t always agree with. And somehow Bacon manages to do it with a minimum of baseless conspiracy theories that seem to be required baselines for most of the Right wing media reporting today (that’s right of Fox or WSJ). But I think you will have to right the ship some if you want to get back to the two goals I highlighted above.

      Oh, and quit reposting Kerry Dougherty by default.

      • Yes. It does have a certain vitriol toward all things left of Dracos, but they don’t make things up, and do keep it sophmoric when they dig at Northam and Herring.

        Of course, they may not have the answer but when all else fails, they simply wax nostalgic, usually for pre-CRA64, but more often for the way they remember things in 1861. Yes, remember is the right word.

    • Mr. Galuszka,

      I heartily agree that the personal attacks should stop. Like calling people “assholes.”

      Peter Galuszka | January 6, 2021 at 4:42 pm |
      “You conservative assholes on this blog have put me down for my warning. Now, you are in shock. And you are still assholes.”

      As a commenter, one would expect you to set a better example.

      I disagree with much of what you say, but value your contribution and comments for that very reason. To support your continued participation, I have even called out others when I believe they were making inappropriate comments to you.

      Bottom Line:
      If we want the environment here to be better, I suggest we all work toward that end.

      • Nathan,

        As you noted my exchanges with Peter are less than productive, that is something I will not dispute. I’m not without fault, but I don’t like bullies. The statement you highlighted above is exactly why.

        • As I recall , Peter DID NOT initiate attacks.. He was attacked more than a few times by Mr. “Clean” here who has done attacks on others with regularity and Peter struck back –

          That’s seems to be a strategy – personally attack someone then when they return the favor – point fingers.. and claim “logical fallacy” and other pejoratives..

          Even Haner does this but in a sneaky way..

          • You have a very poor memory.

            Ad Hom

          • Pointing out a logical fallacy is exactly what comments should do. That’s not an attack on the person, it’s an attempt to counter the argument.

            “Even Haner does this but in a sneaky way..”

            Who’s really being sneaky here? If you have a specific criticism, then make it.

          • I made it. Haner will sometimeswait until a later discussion or a different one then impugn you personally…. and no I do not like it.

          • Larry, you wrote: “Haner will sometimes wait until a later discussion or a different one then impugn you personally….”

            I’m being 100% serious, no joking no snark no sarcasm, when I say that I have not seen Mr. Haner do that in the time I have been paying attention to BR, which is admittedly nowhere near as long as you have been here. He and Peter Galuszka seem to share some ongoing animosity which I suspect “goes way back”, as they say, but it seems to me the two of them each gives as good as he gets in their conflicts.

            As far as everyone else is concerned, I have found Steve Haner to be pretty darned patient with people, while also being unafraid to “sting” when attacked or pushed too far. I have not noticed him “lying in wait” for people in later discussions – to me he seems pretty upfront when he disagrees with someone. I enjoy reading his stuff, even when I disagree with him, and he has always been a gentleman towards me.

            Can you provide an example of his “sneaky” behavior?

    • Mr. Galuszka wrote:

      “… I do not think you grasp what it would take to change BR from a blog with commentary to a true news platform. Whatever it is, it should be non partisan, but you are letting the lobbyists like Haner and the hard right radicals take over.”

      If BR were to exclude partisans, then you would be out as well. Being a journalist does not convey automatic objectivity.

      Additionally, Mr. Haner has a great deal of expertise that would be sorely missed. Someone’s background may indicate a bias, but that’s for the readers to decide. He’s made no secret of his resume.

      What might be helpful, however, would be for BR to clearly distinguish opinion articles from those that seek to just report, or make an objective analysis of an important topic.

  9. Good luck Jim and contributors, interesting thesis.

    I started 10 years ago participating here/elsewhere, thinking my consensus building skills and technical knowledge could help me start-up a blog to help solve energy and enviro problems. Came to find out there is no room or desire for consensus in this Country.

    Times, they are a changing? We shall see.

    Just got Fairfax Co. newsletter yesterday, saying the CONNECTION local newspapers needs contribs to stay afloat due to COVID reducing the local business ability to place ads.

    So you face an uphill climb, on two counts.

  10. Good luck Jim, especially after VM and the Star have a biased history.

  11. I don’t want to sound trite – but I LOVE Bacon’s Rebellion and fully support this – I want to encourage you to continue to allow disparate voices as you have in the past write articles – I would also support limiting public comments because they do tend to get so acrimonious. THANKS again for what you are trying to accomplish with well reasoned articles. By the way, I tried to increase my montly contribution -but it was not processed.

    • I’ve been begging for more than a year just to get rid of the anonymous comments and limit to those willing to sign their names. Nancy Naive and I have reached a kind of accommodation (fellow W&M grads), and the signed comments can be even nastier, but I just don’t think the anonymous mode is fair. Federalist Papers notwithstanding.

      • I always think of Franlin and Lincoln, myself.

        What’s in a name? Would not a Nancy by any other not be so… so… uh, I got nothing.

      • I prefer to post anonymously because expressing views may cause issues in work and other areas at this point. I’d like to think I haven’t abused the privilege of posting anonymously.

      • James Wyatt Whitehead V

        When I first commented I used the nickname John Randolph of Roanoke. But then I read Mr. Haner’s case for posting your real identity with your comments. I thought he was right and I promptly switched to my legal full name.

        • I was Breckinridge for a while…but I did catch myself writing things I wouldn’t under my real name, and didn’t like the feeling….Same issue as Izzo, I didn’t need the work hassle and it was anonymous or not at all…

      • You do realize that you cannot tell if it is an alias or a “real” person without using a verification system such as a credit card number or such, right?

        Besides, what’s the difference between listening to a concerto by Antonio Vivaldi or Tony Lively? Giuseppe Verdi and Joe Green?

        Do you think either of them would have sucked if they’d been Italian-Americans?

  12. Haner’s flackery of the FERC guy deserved to be called out. I thought of saying nothing.

    • “Peter Galuszka | January 8, 2021 at 11:10 am | Reply
      Haner’s flackery of the FERC guy deserved to be called out. I thought of saying nothing.”

      To wit drop the victim complex and pull up your big boy pants.

    • “FERC guy?” Haner’s story about his friend of 35+ years, since Roanoke Times days, who has served in Virginia state government since the Allen Administration, and is a former Marine and escapee from Welch, W.VA. He just joined FERC Monday….90% of the posting was his own words verbatim and was an essay on how the SCC should operate. It was worth reading.

      It is not that I cannot destroy you in these exchanges, and usually you embarrass yourself. I’m just sick of the game. You are a troll of the worst sort. You hate me, Christie, even Judge Agee (also an old friend) because we are (the horrors!) Republicans. I don’t sense hate from the others, but you have a darkness in your soul.

  13. Guys, guys, guys… we’re back into mutual recrimination mode. I’m deleting any more comments of this nature.

    As for those who offered constructive feedback about the future of the blog, both negative or positive, many thanks. I will bear them all in mind as we move forward.

  14. Reading these comments makes me reflect on living in Northern Virginia today as a NoVa lifer. So many “newbies” with good ideas. So little an appreciation for the history of things.

    BaconsRebellion started as an electronic newsletter and website in 2002. The blog was launched in 2005. I began reading the blog shortly after it launched and provided my first comments around 2006. I used the pseudonym “Groveton” as that was the FCPS high school I attended.

    I found blogging so interesting that I started my own blog – “Groveton’s Virginia” with my first article posted on Nov 15, 2008. You can see it here -

    Jim Bacon contacted me and asked if I would consider writing for his blog. That seemed like a great idea so I agreed and stopped updating Groveton’s Virginia. My last post to that blog was April 7, 2010.

    Since I posted under the pseudonym “Groveton” there was some speculation as to my identity on BaconsRebellion. Peter G penned a particularly funny article entitled “Outing Groveton”. The comments may have been even funnier. You can read it here …

    The bottom line to all this is that our blog used to be a lot more light-hearted. We still had conservatives (Bacon), liberals (Galuszka) and space aliens (Risse). Lol, Ed – just checking to se if you are still reading!

    In fairness, as I read the entries from my own blog, Groveton’s Virginia, I was much calmer and at least tried to be witty. Over the past few years my writing has become much more combative. I think that’s true for everybody writing and commenting on this blog. Even relative newcomers have hardened over time.

    While we can discuss liberal vs conservative vs libertarian and Virginia vs national I think some time should be spent on “culture”. I’d like to see this blog go back to the more light hearted days of yore. That doesn’t mean evasion of the real issues but more of a witty approach to those issues. William F Buckley, John McLaughlin, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan – these were people who could express their opinions with conviction and with a smile or a joke.

    As BaconsRebellion evolves I hope we can buck the trend of communication through anger and rancor – at least in the main articles. Yes, I am one of the guilty parties. Mea culpa.

    Why does Rice play Texas?

    • Because Rice is in Texas?

      Wait! You’re angry? About what?

      • John Kennedy gave his famous “To the Moon” speech at a Rice University graduation.

        First he said this …

        “There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. But why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?”

        At this point the assembled Rice people broke out in raucous laughter. Kennedy tried to restart his speech but had to stop due to the laughter. He tried again but people were still laughing. He restarted for a third time and said …

        “We choose to go to the Moon. We choose to go to the Moon…We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”

        Kennedy’s penchant for a good joke almost overtook one of the most famous statements ever made by an American president.

  15. Ripper. I really miss the old BR.

    • Me too. All the more so when I read the old columns. So, let’s get back to it. As a conservative I can close my eyes, click my heels and transport myself back to any time in the past. It’s the present and the future that’s hard for us. 2010 ought to be easy.

      • Good start to bringing back some levity! I was also around in the early days. Can you find me on this post from 2002?:

        • Hi Ginny.

        • Oh, my, Virginia Martin has been outed as my daughter.

          Sassy, isn’t she?

          No kow-towing to the patriarchy in the Bacon household!

          • That’s your mistake; thinking that the guy who carries the luggage is called a patriarch.

          • Virginia Martin

            It’s true, I take an interest in my father’s work and enjoy engaging with him in friendly intellectual debate. That being the case, I’ve been dismayed at (what I perceive to be) the divisive and acrimonious tone of BR of late. I thought I’d take the plunge, risk the disapprobation of the comment section, and throw in my own two cents

            Dad – by the way, I’m willing to overlook you calling me “sassy” just this once!

          • Bill O'Keefe

            This is a WSJ opinion piece by Fr. James Joyce, President of Notre Dame. Given today’s focus on the vitriol and personal attacks that are increasing in readers’ comments, I suggest that we all give some thought to persuading instead of attacking.

            Persuasion as the Cure for Incivility
            What if, instead of demonizing opponents, we took steps to persuade them?

            Several decades ago, my predecessor as the president of the University of Notre Dame, the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, was presented with a dilemma. A Jewish student, after repeated hazing by some kids in his dorm, had left campus and gone home. After thinking it over, Father Hesburgh summoned the perpetrators. “Pack your bags,” he told them. “Go find your friend. Either you persuade him to come back to Notre Dame, or you don’t come back.”
            The approach worked for everyone concerned, and it may offer an idea for easing the incivility that marks much public discourse and leads to political stalemate. We need to try harder to persuade one another—to try to get people to change their minds.
            There isn’t nearly enough persuasion going on in America today, and there was too little, in the view of many citizens, in the past presidential campaign. A postelection Pew poll found that the 2012 campaign was a “frustrating experience” for many voters: 68% said there was more “negative campaigning and mudslinging,” with less discussion of issues.
            The recent fiscal-cliff negotiations might have ended in a budget deal, but the rhetoric during the wrangling was hardly of the persuasive variety.

            That is likely because much of the election campaigning and much of the budget discussion wasn’t designed to change anyone’s mind, but instead to encourage people to believe more deeply what they already believed—not about policies, for the most part, but about the villainy of the other side.
            In the presidential campaign, the negative ads and speeches may have been unfortunately effective. A Washington Post-ABC News poll from last summer reported that 70% of Republicans saw President Obama in a strongly unfavorable light, and 57% of Democrats had a very unfavorable view of Gov. Romney. These were historically very high numbers for two presidential contenders.
            As a country, we seem to have become the factions James Madison warned against in 1787, when he wrote: “A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points . . . have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good.” A more earnest effort to persuade one another could help remedy many of the problems we face.
            I confess that I am deeply biased. I am a university president with a strong belief in the power and importance of a liberal arts education. I believe that deep and candid dialogue, marked by many acts of courtesy and gestures of respect, is a discipline that brings us nearer the truth about ourselves, about our opponents, about human nature, and about the subject under debate. To shut down this source of wisdom because we are too angry to hear the other side is a tragic setback in our quest for knowledge and our hope for a healthy society.
            What if, instead of dealing with opponents by demonizing them and distorting their views, we were to take some steps to persuade them? I don’t mean to suggest that one could persuade a stalwart partisan to switch parties, but perhaps one could persuade another that a particular policy or a position is “not as bad as you think.”
            If I am trying to persuade others, I first have to understand their position, which means I have to listen to them. I have to appeal to their values, which means I have to show them respect. I have to find the best arguments for my position, which means I have to think about my values in the context of their concerns. I have to answer their objections, which means I have to work honestly with their ideas. I have to ask them to listen to me, which means I can’t insult them.
            If we earnestly try to persuade, civility takes care of itself.
            Civility is sometimes derided in the modern world, where bluntness and even coarseness have somehow come to be celebrated in many quarters. But civility is not a minor virtue. It is not an attempt to impose someone’s notion of courtesy, and it is certainly not an attempt to suppress speech. Civility is what allows speech to be heard. It is an appeal to citizens never to express or incite hatred, which is more dangerous to the country than any external enemy.
            A more sincere effort to persuade one another would remind us why the Founders believed this country could improve on history: We were the first society in many centuries with the chance to use free speech and sound argument to debate our way toward a better future.
            That path is still open, and as promising as ever.

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            An excellent comment. In the spirit of that comment, a good place to start being civil is to parse out the relative few thugs who stormed into the US Capital wreaking havoc and destruction from the tens of thousands of protesters who attended the Trump rally on the mall a few days back in front of the Capital.

            If the Democrats can make that distinction and leap into generosity, then healing can begin in the Nation, a bitterness extending back to least 2017. If they cannot make this leap, and rather intend instead to neuter politically the 75 million Trump voters in 2020, then we are all very surely headed for very troubled times. At the moment, the power to heal lays in the hands of the Democrats, given they are party in power. (Think Grant and Lee at Appomattox).

            Today, I see little probability that the Democrats are capable of this political grace. That matter instead most likely have now spun out of our control. And that the center cannot hold. In that regard, think Nancy Pilosi on live TV tearing up Trumps State of Union Speech in the US Congress, after Democrats year Russia collusion witch hunt.

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            Correction to last paragraph above:

            Today, I see little probability that the Democrats are capable of this act of political grace. That instead matters most likely have now spun out of our control. And that the center now cannot hold. In that regard, think seriously about Nancy Pilosi on live TV tearing up Trump’s State of Union Speech in the US Congress before tens of millions of viewers world wide, after her Democrats had failed in their 3 year long year Russia collusion witch hunt. Just think about that one single act of mendacity by the sitting Speaker of the House of Representatives before tens of millions of people. And what that act means today, and for America’s future in these perilous times. We need far more that superficial talk about peace and mutual respect. But today instead of generosity and moral courage, I see America’s leaders across the board failing American citizens miserably. And now, those leaders look to be doubling down on their despicable behavior, fighting for a one party state rule.

          • Bill O'Keefe

            Yes, it is leaders across the board. Was Pelosi any worse that McConnell. Remember the comment about making Obama a one term president. His job is to help govern.
            As for the Russian collusion “witch hunt”, what do you think that the Mueller Report and the Senate Intelligence Committee report said. And, what do you think Paul Manafort was doing in sharing polling data with the Russians?

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            In my view here is where America now is headed without the breaks or effective control of the US Constitution:

            In these circumstances of toxic group dynamics (race and identity hatred whipped up and weaponized for political advantage). This is where we find ourselves today, our republic crashing into a pure democracy ruled by a one party state who’s leaders are feeding, empowering, and magnifying these awful group dynamics that far too often lead to collapse of cultures and nations. Think ancient Greece. Think French Revolution. Think Russian Revolution. Think Germany between 1919 and 1939.

            Here the middle classes, losing their power, morale, independence and confidence, will typically collapse into lower classes. Then society’s anchor of stability and wisdom is gone.

            Hence demagogues then rise unrestrained, whether they be left or right, but elite in most cases. If we are lucky, then our stable democracy that is already morphing into a tyranny by majority will not fall into a rabble majority, but will be controlled by a selfless well meaning Oligarchy.

            If we are not so lucky, then our nation will instead descend into mob rule that will require an absolute tyrant in the form of a self serving oligarchy, or single tyrant, to restore order by force and maintain it by constant coercion. Likely that is where America is today at this very moment, or where its rapidly headed and will soon arrive. Likely a single tyrant will soon follow. And was a few days back foreshadowed in subliminal way at least.

            It took nearly two thousand three hundred years for Greek democracy to recover, and they were lucky. China now is waiting hungerly in the wings, while American factions eat one another alive.

          • Dick Hall-Sizemore

            The dinner table discussions in the Bacon household must be interesting!

        • VirginiaGal later, by chance?

  16. I’m not quite sure when I started reading BR. I read it for a while before I ever posted comments. But I’ve seen it (largely through the comments) follow the general pattern in the U.S. toward greater incivility and polarization. I’ve seen the commentary drop below its usual standards a few time (e.g. comments about Ian Shapira, the Post writer on VMI).

    However, on BR the sides are still generally engaging and finding some common ground for discussion and occasionally seem to find a few areas of agreement (perhaps on Dominion?). One thing that has not change is that Jim appears open to having different points of view in the opinion (although the core contributors I’d generally characterize as center right). Much of the media has headed to the extremes, and it is helping to pull the country apart. I hope BR can at least keep some sliver of Virginia society engaged in fact-based discussions. I’ve commented several times that I have not seen the depth of real discussion on energy (Dominion), healthcare, money in politics, and education elsewhere.

    I’d suggest reinforcing an expected code of conduct for both contributors and commenters somewhere prominently on the website: No ad hominem comments. Try to keep comments to the specific facts and arguments in the blog post. Try to avoid use of logical fallacies (review your own arguments before posting as if you disagree with the conclusions; stick to logical points and supporting facts).

    Let’s see if we can keep this a place where actual discourse happens. Who knows, if money loosens its grip on the Virginia government, perhaps some valuable bi-partisan changes will gain momentum from these pages.

    • Jim and I have it on excellent authority that the Third Floor (Governor’s Office for the rest of you) does pay attention. I get enough feedback from time to time to believe it. One reason I’ve stuck it out, no question.

      • I am frequently surprised when people, some with wide contacts in Virginia politics and government, comment to me about something they have seen in BR. These are people who do not show up in the comments section, but they are paying attention.

        • I frequently will quote BR, and yes recommend it out. Cranky’s info and Steve Haners’ stuff, just a few examples, are worth it. Cranky’s stuff gets some really indepth checks.

      • Yes, careful, Jim, don’t try to fix what is not broke. Don’t repeat your mistake of trying to join the Richmond Times Dispatch, on the mistaken belief that we can all get along by being nice and reasonable. That is not how the world works. Because, right now, the reality is that we cannot save this nation by being nice. We are in very troubled times, with very powerful forces at work where those trying to get along will be eaten alive. Virginia proves that.

        • What happened to Jim on RTD, is he walked into a hornets nest of folks on that one issue where they demonstrated a fierce defense of what they consider THEIR rights.

          No left wing cabal took Jim down – nope – last time I checked – all political stripes are involved in that issue and Jim stepped into it!

        • To prove my point before Larry interrupted. Here is reality, the next phase of America’s Banana Republic, something out of Russian playbook: this issued a few hours ago from the New Yorker article Trump Must Be Punished.

          Impunity has defined Trump’s Presidency. If he remains unpunished, his antidemocratic movement will persist in mainstream American culture.

          The massive leftist effort of cancelling, and stamping out, an entire political movement in America, representing half the nation and its people has begun. And its the New Yorker no less leading the charge toward political genicide of that political movement that got 75 million votes .

    • Excellent comment, Izzo. I think it is quite odd that lovers of the Washington Post and New York Times are finding such great lack diversity on Bacon’s Rebellion, and now want to preach to us on subject.

  17. Jim, as an expat having lived 88 of my 92 years in VA BR helps to keep up with goings on from home … including but not limited to Kerry D. Please … do not banish her. Hey, bet I’m your oldest participant!

    You’d be surprised, or maybe not, at the parallels I see between having lived in NOVA/Richmond/The Beach and Palm Beach County.

    I hope you will allow me to stay with you from 900 miles away.

    Good luck with your changes, Jim but please don’t change too much too soon. Ads are fine in moderation and content, and I recognize their need and value, but please don’t let them post loudly over content with raucous videos like Drudge unfortunately has.

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      My home in Warrenton is 93 years old Mr. Harvie. Like you that old house has good bones. You can’t drive a nail into that lumber anywhere. The nails just bend over.

      • Ah yes, Virginia’s Napa Valley. Back in my NOVA days (’50s thru ’70s) went through Warrenton frequently going back and forth to visit wife’s relatives in Culpeper. Regret not being able to afford to dine at the Inn in Little Washington in those days. Spent a delightful week in Culpeper about five years ago and was amazed at its cosmopolitan atmosphere and shopping now. Who would have thought Amtrak commuters to DC?

        Bet your house has some history … if only the walls could talk.

        OABTW, please just use John, not the Mr. Harvie.

        • John Harvie, can I ask if you have gotten vaccinated yet?

          • No. Haven’t even gone on our new PB County web site to apply but hope to next day or so. Read that it is a mess anyway. Crazy site since you send an email (!!!) with your contact info, birthdate, etc. and supposedly the order in which your email arrives is how you are put into the queue. Maybe I just recently closed down my IT business few months ago too soon…

            In their infinite wisdom Palm Beach County with 1.5 million population had initially set up a phone system that could only handle 150 calls at a time; yes you read that right…150 at a time.

            Guess what. Wealthy folks from NY, NJ, etc. who donate to charities and/or belong to exclusive orgs/clubs are flying in to get shots IRRESPECTIVE of age and are then going home. At least Gov. has started an investigation into who/what/how/why.

            Hope the Old Dominion has a better handle on your distribution plan…

          • Thanks. Was just curious because I heard that Florida prioritized the seniors… doesn’t sound encouraging!

  18. Izzo. A basic problem is that ad him assaults are just fine for the right wingers and not for others.

  19. Here anyone one can post a response. Try getting a letter to the editor or a full op-ed in the Post when it contradicts an editorial.

    • talking about the comments on the articles. You probably don’t see them if you don’t subscribe but you’d like a lot of them! Gotta pay to see them or make your own! Maybe you should?


      • Larry, I’m talking of more than 15 years experience with the Post. That includes time when I read the paper daily. It’s not like I’ve not been accommodating. Several times I rearranged my schedule for an interview. Indeed, once I answered questions from two Post reporters and one news editor for 2 and 1/2 hours. And I’m just a resident who works to better the community. I doubt there is an elected official in Virginia who has done that.

        • TMT – you’re sorta like with WaPo the way TJ is with Northam!

          WaPo is, without question, sometimes biased in it’s reporting and also has had episodes of corrupt reporting. But they are not alone. The NYT as well as WSJ, Rolling Stone, and many other publications have had their bad moments. It’s the nature of institutions that are operated by humans.

          I take all reporting with a grain of salt until or unless I see concurence from several and ideally from publications of opposing views.

          At other times, some articles are truly purely factuall and on the mark and actually reverberate throughout society as a result.

          You just take the good with the bad and keep going.

          Ann Landers once advised a lady torn on whether to leave her husband and she said something to the effect – you have to decide if you are better off with or without him.

          That’s the way I feel about WaPo and other media. Even the most wretched media will once in a while, have a good reporter and hit the marks.

  20. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Well so far I am not buying any of the items advertised here. I was wondering if I could request an ad. Big fan of RC Cola. A BR ad of RC would remind me to restock.

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