Can’t Get Enough of Them Bacon Bits…

Wages of the teaching scandal. Every 5th-grade student at Richmond’s George W. Carver Elementary School passed the Standards of Learning (SOL) reading test in 2016. Next year, when they took the reading proficiency test at Albert Hill Elementary School, only 37% passed. Math scored plunged nearly as badly.

A state investigation has found that a five-teacher cheating ring at Carver had inflated SOL scores by giving pupils “inappropriate” assistance during the tests. The school and its principal had garnered recognition for the high achievements of its poor, inner-city pupil population.

Public education in Virginia is massively failing lower-income kids, especially in inner-city African-American communities. Meanwhile, the usual suspects continue to peddle the “racism” narrative for the abysmal educational achievement.

The rich (regions) get richer, the poor get poorer. One of the largest employers in Bristol, Bristol Compressors, is closing — and eliminating 470 jobs along with it. The Herald-Courier has the grim story here. Meanwhile, packaged food giant Nestle is relocating its American headquarters from California to Arlington, bringing 750 jobs. Read that story in Arlington Now. Both developments will have multiplier effects, negative for Bristol and positive for Arlington.

In a truly free market economy, workers in Southwest Virginia would move to Northern Virginia to take advantage of job opportunities there. Although laid-off Bristol Compressor employees don’t have the jobs skills required by Nestle, plenty of blue-collar jobs are going being in NoVa. Trouble is, blue-collar workers can’t afford the real estate. Zoning codes and comprehensive plans in NoVa are rigged in favor of incumbent homeowners and against anyone wanting to move into the region, be they inner-city blacks or Appalachian whites.

Immigrants seem not to have a problem finding places to live. My pet theory: They tolerate overcrowded living conditions — sometimes in violation of local codes — that native-born Americans would not.

Christmas banned from Metro buses. The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington wanted to run an ad on Metro buses depicting with three shepherds, sheep and a bright star, reports the Washington Times. The words “Find the Perfect Gift” were displayed on the ad, along with a website address and social media hashtag. The website promoted the Catholic Church with a link to “Parish Resources,” prayer cards and daily reflections.

The Metro refused to run the ad on the grounds that it was religious. The Archdiocese retorted that Metro runs ads for yoga, which has links to Buddhism and Hinduism. Metro didn’t buy the argument. And neither did the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Wrote Judge Judith W. Rogers: “City buses … enjoy no historical tradition like parks and sidewalks because transit was a private enterprise in most American cities until the second half of the twentieth century.”

And people wonder why cultural conservatives say there is a war against Christmas. I find the Metro policy incomprehensible. As far as I’m concerned, any faith — Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Wicca, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or, gasp, any of the dozens of offshoots of Christianity — should be allowed to advertise. Question: Does atheism (my personal belief) count as a religion?

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15 responses to “Can’t Get Enough of Them Bacon Bits…

  1. You forgot to mention that those people are still working there at the school system. Peake has the same zoning problems and the truly affordable housing problems. I’m not an atheist. I believe I would be considered by many as a fundamentalist conservative Christian. I am in agreement with you. No *establishment* of religion doesn’t mean one should not be able to put up a photo. These are personal problems, as I can walk past someone wearing hijab or a burka and don’t get offended, care or are bothered. If someone wanted to put up a notice for their religious buildings or services, enjoy! Pay for it, it makes my ride cheaper. I work with various religions. I like that. I can always ask someone who tells the truth or at least a much more accurate version of their religion than what is displayed in the paper.

  2. re: academic failure for the poor in public schools. I doubt seriously if a voucher/choice school had to enroll the same kids in Carver – that the results would be no better. And while the public schools are forced to be transparent for their academics… few, if any of the voucher/choice schools want that level of transparency – and accountability. So it’s basically a joke but it don’t keep some folks from cherry picking the issue… i.e. blame public schools ..promote non-public schools to “fix” it.

    re: the free market economy – and moving – to get a job. I agree, something has changed…but point out that many blacks moved from their southern roots to take manufacturing jobs in place like Detroit – and those jobs provided a salary that allowed them to buy a place, have a car, and send their kids to college. I think if you offered Southwestern unemployed – an urban job that provided enough income for a home, health care and money for college – they’d move also. But what is being offered is basically out of the frying pan and into the fire….

    Re: METRO and Religion… more dunderhead logic. Want to okay the Catholic Church? How about other religions… Scientology… Islam… etc… really want to do that? really?

  3. Uh, Larry, the situation you describe about people leaving SW for better jobs elsewhere is pretty much my whole family. My parents and their five siblings all grew up in Bluefield (VA and WVA) and one, just one out of the 14 in the next generation still lives west of Roanoke. (Well, unless you count Arizona and Alabama as west of Roanoke…)

    No idea what market forces did in that Bristol factory, but most of the things the state tries to do to counter those forces simply will not work.

    • Steve – like I said – it USED TO BE that if you left a rural area to go to an urban area for a job – that you could find affordable housing and live a decent middle-class life..own a home…have employer-provided benefits – health insurance and pension.

      That’s no longer true. If someone from SW Va goes to NoVa or even Richmond for a “job” – they’re not likely to find a good paying job and they almost surely will not be able to afford a decent place to live on whatever jobs they do find – likely a service-sector or basic labor job.

      Used to be manufacturers would train unskilled to do factory jobs and give them a decent wage and benefits. That’s not true now. There is almost no real “opportunity” for folks who would leave rural to come to urban for jobs.

  4. Dear Jim,

    It amazes me how rationalists seem to actually enjoy the defeat of human communities by what they lovingly describe as omnipotent “forces”, somewhat like the Martians in H.G. Wells’ _War of the Worlds_. And indeed, coldness is what is precisely beloved here:

    “No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. …Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.”

    Is it any wonder that ordinary people detest said ideologies so? Will it be any wonder when they decide they will not allow their lives to be put at the mercy of the same? To the rationalists, of course, it will be a source of immense wonder. The Twentieth Century labored under the delusion that there was a fundamental difference between Capitalism and Communism as ideologies. Both are heartless and place ordinary people at the mercy of supposedly “enlightened” elites who pretend to be deterministic “forces of nature” or mere functionary-like, “enactors of history,” yet but they are made of the same clay as the rest of us. Governments that embrace such ideologies as their “philosophy” (“love of wisdom”?) will not last. An antidote are the principles of those like the Swiss-German philosopher and economist, Wilhelm Roepke. Neo-Liberalism is being rejected around the world. It is not ideas and “forces” but men themselves who make things happen, by God’s permission, of course.



    • My grandmother grew up in Bristol and my mother went to school there, so I don’t enjoy the news that a major employer has been brought low. “Forces” was not meant as a metaphysical excuse but short hand for competitive forces that might include cheaper labor overseas, lack of innovation, changing customer needs, bad management and now we have to add possible tariff cross currents. But if you don’t see a basic difference between capitalism and communism, those are really small potatoes in your strange universe.

      • Dear Steve,

        As ideologies, they are similar. Both are materialist and view people as soulless. I do not oppose private property, just the ideology that justifies its exercise as “omnicompetent” or beyond reproach. The “market” is not a god, and neither is the state, nor any created or man-made thing. Both are composed of people who make choices, some good and some bad. While money is necessary, the love of it we are told in the Scriptures, “is the root of all evil.” Judging our betterment as individuals or a society as being solely based on an increase in wealth is a false standard. It has to be examined in relation to other goods as well.



  5. The thing we should all recognize – is the realities of the 21st century. That’s NOT a “left” or “right” view of the world, it’s simply seeing facts and realities and not living in one’s own little world of what they want to believe.

    People who deal with realities don’t need to attribute to others their political or philosophical views as the problem.

    And more important – those who refuse to deal with realities – play almost no role in solutions… in improving the human condition… it’s just ” I got mine, screw you”. People who deal with realities and care about others – work to address problems whether it’s pollution or education or anything that affects fellow humans…

    In places where that actually does happen – the citizens of such countries tend to have a 99% literacy rate, economic security and long life expectancies… intact families… freedom of religion… opportunity…

    • Despite all the billowing smoke from the left, the median (not average but median) income in the United States (using the PPP method) is still much higher than the vast majority of countries in Europe. And guess what those European countries higher on the list than the US have. Homogeneity. Many, such as Sweden, started down the broader immigration path a few years ago only to pull back hard of late. Today, we are near the all-time peak of foreign born people living in the United States ( as a percentage of the population). Larry – don’t you see the folly of your thinking? You want a 90% (presumably English) literacy rate but you want to allow almost unfettered immigration of poorly educated people from other countries. How does that work? You want massive social safety net provisions while allowing armies of people to come into the United States who will (for a while at least) stress those safety nets to the breaking point. Ask Sweden how that works.

      Median income –

      • Swedish immigration debate -

        • Percentage of US foreign born population vs time -

          • Wow, is that chart fascinating. It shows us approaching the old peak from the late 19th century, and arguably the economic successes of the 20th century were fed by that infusion. I’m rereading a book about the Danish immigrant who became FDR’s war production czar, Knudsen. Also fascinating that despite the upheavals of WWI and II, immigration was choked off and declined. There is a very interesting graduate seminar in that one chart, and I think an indication we have been here before and it worked out well. Thanks.

  6. Dear Larry,

    The present has been engineered with malice aforethought. Trump is “de-engineering” it. THAT is his “crime.”



  7. You scare me sometimes Jim …

    “Although laid-off Bristol Compressor employees don’t have the jobs skills required by Nestle, plenty of blue-collar jobs are going being in NoVa. Trouble is, blue-collar workers can’t afford the real estate.”

    So, there are plenty of blue collar jobs in NoVa but blue collar employees can’t afford the real estate? Do they commute from Bristol to NoVa every day? Seriously Jim – if there are a lot of blue collar jobs in NoVa then the blue collar workers must have found a way to afford the real estate. They may not be able to afford the bucolic lifestyle of an experienced machinist in Bristol but they’re doing fine. Steve Haner is right. My grandfather moved from the coal mines of Kentucky to the auto plants of Detroit. In his eighties he explained to me that he didn’t think he’d live through his fifties if he kept mining coal in Kentucky. So he moved. I guess he’s lucky that there wasn’t a BaconsRebellion blog back then telling him that he couldn’t afford the high costs of Detroit’s urban real estate vs the low cost of ramshackle rural housing in Kentucky.

    • “I guess he’s lucky that there wasn’t a BaconsRebellion blog back then telling him that he couldn’t afford the high costs of Detroit’s urban real estate vs the low cost of ramshackle rural housing in Kentucky.”

      C’mon, Don, you know better than this. Here’s the question to ask: What percentage of blue collar income did blue collar housing consume back then versus now? Did your grandfather pay 25% of his income or 40%? That percentage has a huge impact on mobility from one region to another.

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