Category Archives: Culture wars

DEI Presentation at Tomorrow’s UVa Board of Visitors Meeting Attempts to Deflect the Discussion

by James C. Sherlock

Tomorrow, June 2, there will be a meeting of the Board of Visitors at the University of Virginia.

The University has published a preview of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion presentation to the Board.

That presentation is designed quite clearly to deflect the conversation from the true issues.  It attempts to:

  • center the discussions on issues the university president wishes to defend; and
  • define terms in ways he wishes to defend them.

I offer some questions and observations.

Slide: Racial and gender diversity at UVA are relatively new – and our DEI work is even newer.  The presentation is off to a weak start. Setting the stage for the DEI discussion with race and gender is a deflection.

For example, white students have been underrepresented in the undergraduate and graduate school populations at UVa since at least 2010 as compared to whites in the population as a whole in both the United States and Virginia. Females outnumber males in the UVa student population by roughly 60% to 40%.

Those are facts.  They raise the question of the true reason for the recent expansion of DEI bureaucracy.

Let’s see if we can find it. Continue reading

Virginia Democrats Have New Tourism Twist

by Olivia Gans Turner

Recently North Carolina passed a bill to prevent abortions after 12 weeks. This new law may save many lives in North Carolina, but most abortions actually happen earlier, in the first weeks of pregnancy.

Now Virginia Democrats are announcing their intention to make Virginia a destination state for abortions. In the upcoming 2023 elections they must hold the Senate and gain the House of Delegates in order to turn Virginia into a place where unlimited abortions are available and paid for with our taxes.

It is tragic that the Democrats in Virginia are prepared to make Virginia a destination state for abortions-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy. It is infuriating that they have opposed every rational bill that has come out of the House of Delegates during the past two General Assembly sessions. They have even announced their desire to enshrine a permanent, unrestricted “Right to Abortion” into the Virginia Constitution.

In polling done earlier this year by McLaughlin and Associates, 70 percent of respondents stated that abortion should only be legal under very limited circumstances, including the life of the mother or rape and incest, with reporting. Less than 5 percent of abortions are done in the U.S. for those reasons. Another 60 percent oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions.

Pro-life Republicans are committed to passing reasonable laws on abortion, including the bill to protect unborn babies who can feel pain and a bill to provide medical care to babies who survive an abortion. Radical pro-abortion members of the Virginia Senate, led by Sen Louise Lucas, blocked every rational pro-life bill that came out of the House of Delegates.

Virginia Democrats are way out of step with most Virginians and are only committed to the abortion groups that fund so many of them. Abortion with no limits does not help women and it kills their babies. It is not good medicine or real health care. Tragically, it is big business in Virginia now.

It is up to Virginia voters to stop this dangerous agenda.

Olivia Gans Turner directs American Victims of Abortion (AVA), an outreach project of the National Right to Life Committee. This column was originally posted in The Republican Standard. It is reprinted here with permission.

Equity: Equal Outcomes or Equal Opportunity?

Photo credit:

by James A. Bacon

University of Virginia President Jim Ryan begs to differ with critics of “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.” The term “equity” has become a lightning rod in the debate over DEI, he writes in an essay recently published in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Somehow, he muses, people got the idea that equity means “equal outcomes” as opposed to “equal opportunity.”

“I have no idea where this idea came from, but it ought to be rejected out of hand,” he says. “I know of no college that assures equal outcomes.”

Where, oh where, could critics of UVa’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion policies have gotten the idea that equity stands for equal outcomes?

Perhaps they got it from “Audacious Future: Commitment Required,” which summarized the 2020 findings of UVa’s Racial Equity Task Force, established by Ryan. The document was endorsed by the Board of Visitors, and never has Ryan, the Board, or anyone else in authority at UVa distanced themselves from its goals and objectives.

The task force report makes abundantly clear what “equity” means to its authors (my bold face): Continue reading

Ryan Calls for a Kinder, Gentler DEI

by James A. Bacon

As the University of Virginia Board of Visitors gears up for a discussion of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at its June board meeting, President Jim Ryan has made the case for a kinder, gentler DEI in an essay recently published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Forgoing the rhetoric of “anti-racism” theorists such as Ibram X. Kendi, Ryan argues that DEI is misunderstood. There is no talk in the essay about “white supremacy,” “white privilege,” “structural racism” or other leftist buzzwords.

Indeed, Ryan argues that the most contentious element of DEI — equity — does not mean striving for equal outcomes, as many conservatives say it does. Sounding very much like Virginia’s Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, Ryan contends that “equity” really means equal “opportunity.” Unlike Youngkin, who renamed the state’s office of DEI to the office of Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion, however, Ryan is satisfied to retain the equity label and redefine it in more benign terms.

The tone in Ryan’s essay is moderate and reasonable. Political conservatives and moderates would not find much to argue with. The problem is that the words are largely divorced from reality. One is driven to conclude either that UVa’s president, insulated by layer upon layer of management, does not know what is occurring at the institution he leads or, worse, he does know and he is doing his best to obscure it. Continue reading

FIVE QUESTIONS: Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares

by Shaun Kenney

Last week, TRS was able to sit down and talk with Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares (R-VA) about the challenges he is facing from opioid and fentanyl abuse to the FBI Richmond’s targeting of Catholics in the public square.

Miyares — a longstanding conservative in the tradition of Ronald Reagan and a leading thinker in his own right — shares his convictions, his hope for civility over violence, and some discussion on what he rightly calls the American Miracle.

So it seems as if some congratulations are in order. Russian President Vladimir Putin has put you on the Russian sanctions list. What did you do to earn such an esteemed award?

Yeah, I keep making lists!

I keep visiting with the Uigurs in Northern Virginia. I find it interesting but not surprising because we have such a different worldview. I detest autocracy and tyranny in all forms. When Putin said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the single greatest catastrophe of the 20th century, I view that as Ronald Reagan’s greatest victory.

Yet the reality of any autocratic regime is that ideology trumps the individual. C.S. Lewis said that of all the tyrannies in the world, the tyrannies that are for your benefit are the worst in the world. Solzhenitsyn writes about this in the Gulag Archipelago.
Continue reading

Appeals Court Upholds TJHSST Admissions Policy

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

For all the ink that has been used on this blog concerning the “illegal” and “unconstitutional” new admissions policy at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, here is a story that has strangely escaped comment here:  the federal appeals court has upheld the policy.

In a 2-1 decision, the appeals court panel found that the group challenging the new admissions policy as discriminatory toward Asian Americans “cannot satisfy its burden of proving that the Board’s adoption of the race-neutral challenged admissions policy was motivated by an invidious discriminatory intent, whether by way of “racial balancing,” “proxies,” or otherwise.”  Furthermore, the panel ruled that “expanding the array of student backgrounds in the classroom serves, at minimum, as a legitimate interest.”

It is expected that the decision will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  There is speculation in legal circles that the plaintiffs are “laying the groundwork for a much bigger legal transformation” that could ban any public policy effort to close racial gaps.


No One Does Memorials Like the Italians

by James A. Bacon

The Bacon family has just returned from vacation in Italy, which included two days in Rome. We saw the Colosseum, of course, toured the phenomenal Vatican Museum, and marveled at the Trevi Fountain, all of which are well known to American tourists. The big surprise to us was the Altar to the Fatherland, a massive memorial erected between 1885 and 1935 to honor Victor Emmanuel II, Italy’s first king after the nation’s unification.

Among the more prominent features of the Altar to the Fatherland is the Tomb to the Unknown Soldier, dedicated to Italian soldiers who fell in World War I. The tomb was evocative of America’s own Arlington National Cemetery: two soldiers stood at permanent guard and two flames marked eternal remembrance.  Continue reading

Time to Cancel Memorial Day?

For context, read Robin Beres’ uplifting tribute to the Arlington National Cemetery in the post below. Then, if you can stomach it, read Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Jeff Schapiro’s take on Memorial Day today. Memorial Day, he writes, “began as a commemoration by Southerners of husbands, fathers and sons who perished in the 19th-century Confederate revolt to preserve Black slavery. ”

“Time,” concludes Schapiro, “has obscured the Southern roots of Memorial Day and the paradox that a holiday that is supposed to be about national unity was born of regional revolt.”

Well, Memorial Day was a holiday about national unity — celebrated no less in the South than anywhere else in the country. But don’t be surprised if the holiday becomes collateral damage in the culture wars. Continue reading

Retail Politics and the Social Compact

by Richard Tangard

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

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

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

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

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

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

by J. Kennerly Davis

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

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

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

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

Reagan Republican AG Miyares Put on Russia’s List of ‘Banned Americans’

by Shaun Kenney

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares was included in an elite list of American leaders and political figures as being sanctioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a press release from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Miyares, who had recently completed visits to Poland and Israel, is the sole Virginia statewide political figure targeted by the Russian government, outpacing both Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), who serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
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The Subversive Power of Doughnuts

Clever Republicans have found a new tool for destroying our schools.

by Steve Haner

Let me get this straight. An elected member of the General Assembly comes to school buildings to give doughnuts to teachers in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week and the leftist Democrat agitators of the teachers’ union are “triggered”? They whine about her generosity to the gutless school management, which then caves to the weak-minded and bans any future acts of kindness?

In Virginia?

Apparently true, and get this, it wasn’t Fox News telling the story, but Virginia’s new media outlet of record, the lefty online Virginia Mercury. Graham Moomaw reported it, in a fairly straight article yesterday. I waited for someone else to post and comment here, but then recalled our namesake host (this is his kind of story) is otherwise engaged. I won’t mention where but be jealous.

Del. Amanda Batten

Amanda Batten, who worked in the Capitol as a legislative aide before winning the seat when her boss retired, is just nice. I’ve known her for years.  She’s nice. She brought a pile of doughnut boxes to schools in her district, yes with her name on the boxes, and yes, she used campaign dollars to pay for them. Plenty of legislators across the state have made small charitable donations out of those accounts, and that should be allowed. Yes, it is partly a name ID gimmick. So what?

That of course became a focus for Virginia Mercury, what reporters call the hook, the campaign dollar issue. It has to keep up its lefty, Pecksniffian credentials. But the real story is that licensed, educated, professional teachers, presumably adults, actually went into spasms of fear and loathing because a (gasp) Republican legislator entered the building and provided a treat. That is what “triggered” means, right? Perhaps her being a parent made it worse?

From Moomaw’s story: Continue reading

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

by Kerry Dougherty

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

The experience was Gothic.

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

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

Me neither.

Dogs and baseball don’t go together.

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

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

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

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

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

The Virginia NAACP Has Proven Itself an Obstacle to Improving the Educations of Black Children in Virginia Public Schools

Courtesy Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce

by James C. Sherlock

I just read that the NAACP has issued a warning against traveling to Florida.

Which must have come as a surprise to the 3.5 million Black citizens of that state.

It did not surprise the NAACP board of directors chairman Leon W. Russell, who lives in the Tampa area. His defense: “We haven’t told anybody to leave.”

I decided to check the Virginia NAACP agenda for education.

I checked to see what they advocate to change the lives of the tens of thousands of Virginia Black public school students who can neither read nor perform math at grade level. Some of these public schools in inner cities have not provided a basic education to Black students for generations.

Certainly the NAACP must be pushing hard for basic changes. Not just pressing for more funding, but also for measures to ensure that children go to school and giving parents alternatives to schools that have failed them and their children.


Wrong. Continue reading

The Lost Art of a Newspaper Hit Piece

by Kerry Dougherty

Looks like newspapers have lost more than just their senior editors and writers. They’ve also lost the ability to craft a good old-fashioned hit piece.

There was an art to that particular form of journalism. It had to be an expertly crafted story written with so much elegance that the subject sometimes didn’t realize he or she’d been skewered until days later.

Those required writers with skill and knowledge and the ability to deliver words like a perfectly placed stiletto.

What we get instead today are clunky, biased blobs of verbiage.

Oh look. Here’s an example:

On the front page of the local newspaper — on a Sunday — which once was the day to showcase the best staff writing — was a “news” story headlined “How Far Right Does Youngkin Lean?”
Continue reading