Category Archives: Culture wars

Racism and COVID-19 in Virginia

By Peter Galuszka

“The Chinese Virus?” “Kung Flu?” Wuflu?”

These are some pejorative and racist names being bandied about for what is technically known as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2. The disease associated with the virus is COVID-19.

These distinctions are part of a column written by the Virginia Asian Advisory Board in today’s Virginia Mercury. They write: “In an already anti-immigrant environment, Asians, particularly Chinese, are reportedly facing increasing acts of racism.”

They report that businesses with Asian-sounding names are being shunned, Uber and Lyft drivers are not giving rides of people based on their names and the social media is filled with stories critical of Asians, which is nuts because Asia is even more diverse than Europe.

Donald Trump, our Incompetent in Chief, is leading the charge for demeaning Asians by insisting on calling the virus the “Chinese Flu.”

During the 2016 campaign, he constantly put down Mexicans and other Latinos. That summer I was taken aback when I was at my neighborhood swimming pool. A group of what looked like eighth-grade boys was splashing around shouting “Mexico sucks!” I stopped them and asked them why they were saying that. They said, “That’s what Donald Trump says.” Continue reading

A Look at Richmond and COVID-19

By Peter Galuszka

Here is a roundup story I wrote for Style Weekly that was published today that explains the effects of COVID-19 on the Richmond area. Hopefully, BR readers will find it of interest.

It was a tough piece to report. The impacts of the deadly virus are very complicated and multi-faceted. An especially hard part was trying to keep with the fast-changing news, notably the number of new cases and deaths. We were updating right up until the story closed Monday afternoon. It was hard to talk to people with social-distancing and closings.

The experience shows the delicate balancing act between taking tough measures to stem the contagion and keeping the economy going. My view is that tough measures are needed because without them, it will all be much worse, particularly more illness and death as the experience in Italy has shown.

Incredibly, our utterly incompetent president, Donald Trump, now wants to focus on the economy more than taking necessary containment steps. It’s far too soon for that. Regrettably, a number of Bacon’s Rebellion commenters are sounding the same irresponsible tune in keeping with their big business and anti-regulation laud of free market capitalism. Continue reading

Beatings, Drownings and Quarrels


by James A. Bacon

In September 0f 1810, a slave named Joe disobeyed an order given by his overseer, David Elmore, on the Henrico County plantation of Thomas H. Prosser. The overseer endeavored to “correct” Joe, and Joe responded by attacking him with a pole ax. A fight ensued. According to a coroner’s report filed after the incident, “the said Elmore did give the said Negro man Joe a mortal blow about the body.”

Joe did not die immediately, however. Prosser summoned a doctor, John H. Foushee, to give his slave medical attention. Foushee gave the following account of Joe’s final hours:

When I saw him he complained of great soreness in a part which seemed on inspection not materially injured.  After the Effect of medicine, he obtained quiet as I was informed by the attending servant. On Saturday I heard that Joe was much better, and did not think it necessary to visit him, as his general soreness appeared then to be his only complaint, until late in the afternoon I was hastily called to him, the messenger informing me that Joe was much worse. I walked immediately with Mr. Prosser and found he had expired.

Little is known of Joe’s life, but the circumstances of his demise were recorded in a Henrico County coroner’s report, which in turn was collected by the Library of Virginia and placed in its digital collections. Continue reading

From Diversity Training Sessions to Political Re-Education Camp

John Beatty — submit or be crushed

by James A. Bacon

Loudoun public school officials thought it would be a good idea to provide “cultural competency and sensitivity” training to teachers, administrators and school board members. As described by LoudounNow, the county rolled out a workshop series designed to “push participants outside their comfort zone” and “question their belief systems.” In particular, participants were “forced to grapple with the benefits afforded them from generations of white privilege, stretching back to America’s earlier days.”

Last week, board member John Beatty made the mistake of actually participating in the conversation. He made the observation that in the Jim Crow era following Reconstruction former slaves were worse off than they had been during slavery because they lacked the patronage of a master. The comment was meant to be an indictment of Jim Crow, not an endorsement of slavery, but it ignited a firestorm.

Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee Chairwoman Katrece Nolen and Executive Board member Wande Oshode found his observation so heinous that they called for him to be removed from two school board committees and asked the full board to condemn his comments. Continue reading

Virginia Dems Shoot Down Assault Weapons Bill

I am pleased to announce an affiliation with KerryDougherty.com published by former Virginian-Pilot columnist Kerry Dougherty. Kerry writes on a wide range of topics pertaining to politics and popular culture from a conservative perspective, and she has given us permission to re-post her commentary regarding the follies and foibles of Virginia here on Bacon’s Rebellion. — JAB

by Kerry Dougherty

After I wrote a piece last week revealing where Rep. Elaine Luria hid during the State of the Union address, one reader – we’ll call her Joan – left a comment on my Facebook page.

“Why don’t you ever write anything positive about Democrats?” she lamented.

“Like what, Joan?” I replied.

Crickets.

Well, Joan, this one’s for you. Turns out there are some anti-gun measures that even Virginia Democrats can’t stomach. As a result, I have something very positive to say about Creigh Deeds, John Edwards, Chap Petersen and Scott Surovell, the four Senate Democrats who boldly broke ranks with the anti-gun zealots running their party to vote against the so-called “assault weapons” bill. Continue reading

Bacon Bits: Antifa Hoax, Goose Sauce, Selling Nova Bike Trails

Hate crime hoaxes not just for minorities anymore. According to Willfred Reilly, the expert on hate crime hoaxes, the fastest-rising category of hoaxes is perpetrated by whites, as white groups take a lesson from the Left’s grievance-and-victimhood playbook. The latest instance involves a Civil War reenactor by the name of Gerald Leonard Drake, reports the Washington Post. Two years ago an undetonated pipe bomb was discovered at the annual reenactment of the Battle at Cedar Creek, in which Drake, a 61-year-old Virginia man, participated. A series of threatening letters issued under the name of Antifa followed, and the 2018 event was canceled. “We will make Charlottesville look like a Sunday picnic!” said one letter. Now the FBI has issued a search warrant revealing investigators’ belief that Drake wrote the letters. Drake has not been charged with a crime.

Sauce for the goose… The Virginia Education Association has been fighting for the right to engage in collective bargaining for its members, and many members of the General Assembly think that’s a dandy idea. The VEA is, after all, a staunch supporter of the Democrats who now run the legislature. But writing in his blog Union Report, Mike Antonucci recounts a little history. The VEA does not have the most harmonious of relationships with its own employees. Employees of the union formed a picket line outside VEA headquarters in 2012, and management-employee relations have been simmering ever since. Employees have filed a lawsuit, petitioned the parent union, and in 2018 even filed an unfair labor practice complaint. Schools are chaotic enough. Do we need to add collective bargaining to the list of woes? (Hat tip: Chris Braunlich.)

Enticing creative-class Millennials. The labor market in Northern Virginia is exceedingly tight, and that’s before Amazon has ramped up its hiring of 25,000 employees. Economic developers are shifting some of their attention from recruiting corporate investment to… recruiting talent to fill jobs that are going begging. The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance and the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce are making it their top priority to lure bright young minds to the region, reports the Washington Post. Northern Virginia has a tough sell on a couple of quality-of-life indicators: traffic congestion and the cost of housing. The target audience, says Victor Hoskins with Fairfax County economic development, is “looking for a food culture, brew and distillery culture, bike paths, walking trails. How can we package this so they can easily navigate it and relate it to a job opportunity, too?”

No, Nigel, Vexit Is Not a Good Idea

Nigel Farage (center) speaks at Liberty University with Jerry Falwell Jr. (left) and David Nasser (right).

by James A. Bacon

I’ve been a Nigel Farage fan since I first viewed him on YouTube years ago. I cackled as the obscure British representative to the European Parliament hilariously skewered the bureaucratic officiousness of EU executives. Farage went on to become an international phenomenon, championing the Brexit movement, building the conservative UK Independence Party (UKIP) into a major political force, and challenging the sanctimony of British elites. His populist politics are similar to those of President Trump, although his personality, unlike the president’s, is tempered by amiability and wit. In other words, his demeanor is an asset, not a liability. I’ve often thought, if only Farage were American, we might have elected a different president. As it is, he makes periodic forays into England’s former colonies, including, most recently, Virginia, and shares his thinking in his own inimitable way.

Appearing at Liberty University yesterday, Farage made the case for “Vexit” — or the right of citizens of Virginia counties discontented with the direction of state government to break away and join West Virginia. “When local people want to make changes and change their structure of government, they should be able to do so,” he said at Liberty’s convocation, as reported by the News & Advance,

Farage’s comments followed the headline-grabbing offer by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice for Virginia localities to switch states. Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. became the first prominent Virginian to endorse the idea. I initially thought Falwell was just engaging in political theater, but after Farage’s comments, I’m not so sure. Continue reading

How Politically Skewed is Virginia’s Professoriat?

by James A. Bacon

How thoroughly dominated are America’s institutions of higher education by faculty and staff hewing to the left side of the political spectrum? In a survey of 12,372 professors, finds a new National Association of Scholars study, 48.4% are registered Democrats and 5.7% are registered Republicans. The ratio of Democratic to Republican donors was even more one-sided, about 95 to one.

The study breaks down the ratios for individual universities. Unfortunately, none are Virginia institutions because the Old Dominion is not one of the states that requires voters to register with a political party. So, I did a quick-and-dirty search on the Virginia Public Access Project database to list all public and private university employees who have donated $10,000 or more to either Republicans and/or Democrats over the past 20 years. (If someone wants to plow through the full universe of donors, not just the biggest donors, be my guest. I’ll be happy to publish what you find.)

The results suggest that Virginia higher-ed faculty and staff, though heavily skewed to Democrats, are less lopsided than the colleges and universities covered in the NAS study – a Dem/GOP ratio of only 3.5-to-one by dollars donated, and less than 3 to one in the number of donors. Continue reading

“Virginia Values Act” Devalues Virginia

by Hans Bader

The so-called “Virginia Values Act” has been approved by key committees of the Virginia legislature, aided by blatantly inaccurate claims. The VVA will revolutionize Virginia discrimination law, turning what once was a pro-business state into an anti-business state in key areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations law. The media is not reporting this. It has reported only on the fact that the VVA will add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to state discrimination laws.

But the legislation changes Virginia’s discrimination law as a whole, for discrimination cases of all kinds — not just discrimination against gay and transgender people. For example, it provides for unlimited punitive and compensatory damage awards against companies that lose any type of discrimination lawsuit. It also expands state employees’ ability to sue the state of Virginia for money, which will come at a cost to taxpayers.

Yet, the Senate bill containing the Virginia Values Act, SB 868, claimed it has no cost. That’s blatantly false. The bill’s Impact statement describes its “Fiscal Impact” as “None” and says the VVA “presents no fiscal impact to Executive branch agencies.” Continue reading

West Virginia Offers to Incorporate Disaffected Virginia Counties

By DJ Rippert

Almost heaven. West Virginia state legislator Gary Howell is spearheading an effort to allow Virginia jurisdictions frustrated by Richmond a chance to join West Virginia. While this might seem like gimmickry, Howell claims that “43 out of 100 West Virginia house members are sponsoring a resolution that would let West Virginia accept some of the largely rural Virginia counties unhappy with how things are being run in Richmond.” More specifically, West Virginia State Senator Charles Trump (no relation, I don’t think) has invited Frederick County, Va., to cross over to the Mountain State. An editorial in the Roanoke Times says Sen. Trump is on “firm legal ground.” A good summary of the matter written by Hoppy Kercheval, dean of West Virginia talk radio, can be found here.

Plantation elite. Before West Virginia’s offer is pushed aside as nonsense, it makes sense to examine some of the history behind such a proposition. After all, as Kercheval points out, western Virginians getting fed up with Richmond-based rule is not exactly a new or unique thought. In my mind, Virginia has long been under the yoke of a minority of Virginians from the plantations of central and southeast Virginia. This “plantation elite” are led by families who claim to be descended from Pocahontas and who further self-define themselves as “the first families of Virginia.” Continue reading

Guns for Teen Killers?

by Hans Bader

Virginia’s legislature may make it easier for people who killed or raped as teens to later possess or transport a gun. Ironically, this is being proposed at the same time that the legislature is restricting gun possession by law-abiding adults.

Legislation sponsored by senior Democratic legislators would raise the age for trying many juveniles as adults from 14 to 16. It would also change the law to allow certain 14- or 15-year-olds who commit “murder,” “rape,” or “kidnapping,” to later “possess or transport” a gun.

The bill, HB 274, would limit the reach of the Virginia law restricting “Possession or transportation of firearms, firearms ammunition, stun weapons, explosives or concealed weapons by convicted felons,” by crossing out the word “14” and replacing it with “16.” As revised, that law, § 18.2-308.2(A), would read: “It shall be unlawful for…(ii) any person adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile 14 16 years of age or older at the time of the offense of murder in violation of § 18.2-31 or 18.2-32, kidnapping in violation of § 18.2-47, robbery…in violation of § 18.2-58, or rape in violation of § 18.2-61….to knowingly and intentionally possess or transport any firearm.” Continue reading

Bacon Bits: Wild and Crazy Edition

First the wild… The Virginia state Senate passed a bill, SB 657, earlier this week that would allow a person who changed his or her sex to have a new birth certificate issued, reports the Associated Press. Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, who sponsored the bill, says transgendered constituents have reported issues when leasing apartments, applying for jobs, and opening bank accounts. Permitting people to amend their birth certificates would help eliminate confusion when the a person’s legal identification doesn’t match his/her newly adopted sex. I confess that I can’t keep up with the evolving sex/gender controversies. How many sexes can people pick from these days? Wikipedia lists five sexes: male, female, hermaphrodite, female pseudohermaphrodite, and male pseudohermaphrodite. Will someone be able to pick between the five? Another question: Does the freedom to select one’s sex include one’s “gender”? In 2014 ABC news identified 58 genders — starting with agender, androgyne, androgynous, bigender, cis, cisgender, and on down the list. What logic prevents people from listing their gender (how they self identify) instead of their sex (what their sex organs look like)? By what logic does this bill not simply perpetuate the gisgendered patriarchy?

Now the crazy… A pair of bills under consideration in the House and Senate would amend current law and prohibit motorists from using smart phones while they drive. Unlike previous attempts to tighten the law, reports WTOP, this version would take steps to ensure that “people of color” aren’t disproportionately targeted. Language added by Del. Jeff Bourne, D-Richmond, requires authorities to collect data “to make sure these laws are not disparately impacting communities of color and certain people.” What? I can’t find that language in the bill, HB 874. But assuming I’m overlooking something, I have a few questions: (1) Does Bourne have any evidence to suspect that the law banning smart phone use would be enforced more rigorously against “people of color” than whites? (2) Does “people of color” include Asians and white Hispanics, and does he have grounds to think that they might be targeted on the basis of race? (3) Let’s say for purposes of argument, that statistics show that African-Americans are ticketed more frequently than whites — is racism presumed? What would Bourne do about a ticketing disparity? Cap the number of African-Americans who can be ticketed?

And now the curious… It turns out that there are laws on the books that prohibit “transporting an alien” and “conspiring to harbor an alien” — “alien” referring of course to illegal immigrants. We don’t read about those laws very often; I have no idea how often they are applied. But they sure proved useful when federal prosecutors were throwing the book at the three white supremacists who were accused of plotting to attack the Richmond gun-rights rally in the hope of triggering a race war. Continue reading

Legislators, Don’t Forget: Virginia Has 4th Lowest Violent Crime Rate in Country

by James A. Bacon

In General Assembly action yesterday, Democrats spiked a slew of Republican bills to relax gun laws and debated a so-called “red flag” law that would allow authorities to remove firearms from persons deemed “a substantial risk of injury to himself or others.”

The operating supposition behind Democratic gun-control initiatives is that gun violence is a huge problem in Virginia. Given the mass shooting at the Virginia Beach municipal center last year, plus ongoing chronic violence in inner-city jurisdictions such as Richmond, Petersburg, and Portsmouth, it is understandable that people would harbor that perception.

But the reality is that Virginia is one of the least violent states in the country. To be specific, according to data published in USA Today, the violent crime rate in Virginia is 4th lowest of the 50 states. Only in three small, predominantly rural states in New England is the crime rate lower. Compared to other states with comparable demographics — racial/ethnic mix, concentrations of urban poverty, Southern culture, and the like — Virginia’s violent crime rate is startlingly low. Continue reading

Richmond During the Rally: The Safest City in Virginia

Wait? What? Where were all the white supremacists?

by James A. Bacon

Twenty-two thousand armed citizens packed the streets of downtown Richmond yesterday, and not one shot was fired. No one was killed. No one was injured. There was only one arrest — of a 21-year-old woman who refused, in violation of a prohibition against masks, to remove a bandana from her face. And she, most likely, was of the leftist persuasion. As the Virginia Mercury quotes her male companion, “Way to keep our city safe, guys, while there’s fuckin’ Nazis and terrorists around here.”

After hyping fears that far-right extremists might create mayhem, the mainstream media heaved a collective sigh of relief. Some headlines:

Richmond Times-Dispatch: “Gun-Rights Rally Draws 22,000 to Capitol; No Violence.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch: “No Violence as Thousands with Firearms Gathered

Washington Post: Weapons, Flags, No Violence: Massive Pro-Gun Rally in Virginia Capitol.”

Associated Press: “Pro-Gun Rally by Thousands in Richmond Ends Peacefully.”

Urban journalists and other progressives never cease to be amazed when law-abiding rural rustics with guns are, well… law-abiding. The media — especially the Washington Post — had fanned fears that the event would be disrupted by armed militias, Neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Continue reading

Thoughts on the Big Pro Gun Rally

By Peter Galuszka

 I was tempted to go the large anti gun-control rally but I had other work to do for customers and I didn’t want to get caught in a traffic jam. I have been to a few of these things before – some violent, some not.

There seems to be a certain amount of self congratulation now that the demonstration is over with no violence and one arrest. A few takeaways:

(1) Gov. Ralph Northam and his team deserve credit for taking smart precautions such as requiring no guns and metal detectors even though I didn’t quite see the point with having thousands of guys tricked out in military garb carrying assault style rifles just outside the fences at Capitol Grounds. This is what should have been done in Charlottesville in 2017.

(2) This was the approach taken at Klan rallies I covered in the late 1990s in Cleveland and Clarksburg,W.Va. The police tolerated nothing. I also was at a two-day riot in Moscow on Oct. 3 and 4 1993 where order completely broke down in a coup against Boris Yeltsin. Hundreds were killed including some people standing close to me. I also was almost caught in a machine gun cross fire on a highway. Among the dead were seven journalists.

(3)  This being Bacon’s Rebellion, one has to ask the most important question. How much is this costing the city, state and federal government? Why hasn’t anyone asked this question before? We’re supposed to shell out public dough so a bunch of guys opposing fairly moderate gun regulations can feel good about themselves?

(4) Lastly, there’s the moral aspect to this. I can’t say it any better than Ross Catrow in Good Morning RVA. Here’s what he wrote this morning: Continue reading