Category Archives: Culture wars

A Senseless Fight

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Sometimes I shake my head in dismay at the Democrats in the General Assembly.  They sometimes seem so eager to score points against Governor Youngkin that they end up shooting themselves in the foot.

Current case in point is Budget Amendment No. 9 sent down by the Governor.  Rather than summarize it, I will set in out in full:

  1.  As part of the biennial six-year financial plan required in the provisions of 23.1-306, Code of Virginia, each public four-year institution of higher education, Richard Bland College, and the Virginia Community College System shall include in its six-year plan and amendments to its plan submitted to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) an official commitment and set of policies and practices to support freedom of expression and inquiry, free speech, academic freedom, and diversity of thought.
  2. Each public four-year institution of higher education, Richard Bland College, and the Virginia Community College System shall also submit an annual report on freedom of expression and inquiry, free speech, academic freedom, and diversity of thought to the Secretary of Education, including related incidents and statistics from the prior academic year.

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Naming Rights, Wrongs, Multiple Choices and “Malicious Misgendering” in Fairfax County Schools

By James C. Sherlock

A recent meeting of the Fairfax County School Board

I believe that we can agree by acclamation that Ms. is the greatest English-language honorific devised since Agincourt.

The fact that it has its origins in its co-honorific “mistress” is beside the point.

“Ms.” has mitigated millions of social discomforts by letting people address a woman without knowledge of her marital status.

The pronouns “he” and “she” are more fraught of late.

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Sen. McClellan Charges Racism as Va. Health Commissioner works to Improve Health of Black Mothers and Babies

By James C. Sherlock

The left will not be swayed from invoking racism in every situation, everywhere.

They deploy that charge especially disgracefully when conservatives attempt to help poor people be healthier, better educated, safer and more successful.

Because those actually are not the objectives of the left.  They simply don’t care about such things.  They offer public policies that have the opposite effects.

They want poor people radicalized. Period.  Full stop.  When some die or have their lives ruined in the process they are considered collateral damage in a higher cause.

The Washington Post has published “Black lawmakers ‘outraged’ over Va. health commissioner demand action”, an utterly predictable screed.

Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) is quoted there as saying:

(Health Commissioner Dr. Colin) Greene’s views made her (McClellan) question work done to try to reverse the disparities, including the state’s April 2021 Maternal Health Strategic Plan, which says ‘structural racism is at the root of maternal health disparities just as it is for many other health disparities.’ (emphasis added)

As if that perfect embodiment of progressive virtue signaling will somehow improve the health outcomes of poor Black women and their babies.  For progressives, words are actions.  The tactic is called “truth by repeated assertion” used to frighten political opponents into silence.

Sen. McClellan and the entire General Assembly Black Caucus are complete hypocrites in this matter.

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After Getting Fined, Del Rio Deletes Twitter Account

Ron Rivera. No free speech for “hurtful” words

by James A. Bacon

Last week, Jack Del Rio, the defensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders (formerly known as the Redskins) created a mini-furor when he referred to the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol a “dust up.” His remark proved to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, effectively killing (for now) a legislative initiative to create a special taxing authority for a Commanders football stadium in Virginia.

While Del Rio screwed up by minimizing the significance of the riot, I expressed worry in a column last week that the Commanders organization would be punished for a comment made not by the CEO but by an employee tweeting in his private capacity.

Well, the assault on free speech and free expression just got worse. Calling the events of Jan. 6 an “act of domestic terrorism,” head coach Ron Rivera fined Del Rio $100,000. The next day Del Rio deleted his Twitter account. In a groveling pander to critics, Rivera also described Del Rio’s comments as “extremely hurtful to our great community here” in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area.

Nobody cares about “hurting” my feelings, and I don’t particularly care about the feelings of those who have filed and honed the exquisite delicacy of their own sensitivities into weaponized spear tips. But I’ll tell you what’s worrisome. It’s worrisome when you apply after-the-fact standards, never enforced before, to punish an employee for expressing his opinion in a private capacity. It’s worrisome when you describe the events of Jan. 6 — “an act of domestic terrorism” — that’s every bit as ill-considered as the comment you’re criticizing. “Domestic terrorism?” How many people did the Jan. 6 protesters kill?

I never had much respect for the Commanders organization to begin with. The football team has been a tax-sucking parasite for as long as I can remember. Now, in a desperate bid to revive his latest parasitic tax-sucking scheme, owner Dan Snyder has aligned himself ideologically with the Left and punished the expression of free speech. Reminder: the Washington Commanders football franchise is estimated to be worth $4 billion. 

Several points need to be made. Continue reading

Democracy Dies in Sophistry

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm

by James C. Sherlock

All should note the article, “Average U.S. gas prices top $5 a gallon, as surging energy costs squeeze economy,” in The Washington Post.

The same Washington Post that is the only newspaper for most Northern Virginians who get one.

That article shows again the depths to which the progressive press will descend to deny the effects of the conscious policies of the left on domestic energy production.

It displays end-to-end such a thorough misunderstanding of economics that it is hard to critique the details.

It is hard to miss, however, that this lengthy report consciously avoids the point that the Biden administration came into office declaring a war on domestic energy that continues to this day. Continue reading

Fairfax County and Protection of Supreme Court Justices Revisited

Courtesy of Fairfax County

by James C. Sherlock

In response to the adjacent exhortation by Fairfax County from its home page, I am speaking up.

Defend the homes of the Supreme Court Justices who live in your county.

I offer breaking news to many who only read and watch progressive media, including the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Justice Kavanaugh and his family were the targets of an assassination attempt at their home in Montgomery County early Wednesday morning.

Going out on a limb, that may portend a “gun tragedy” in Fairfax County. Though not solicited in the banner request, I also report that there may prove to be a person or persons holding such weapons.

I hope I have not gone too far.

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A Proposal to Mitigate Gun Violence

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

In an interesting development, one of the so-called “progressive” Virginia prosecutors has identified a direct link between someone committing misdemeanor offenses and later committing violent felony offenses.

The misdemeanor offenses that are predictors are gun offenses. After tracking  violent case histories, Ramin Fatehi, the commonwealth’s attorney for Norfolk, as reported by WAVY TV, “found it was often a pretty straight shot between low-level gun misdemeanors and violent gun felonies.” This applied both to folks pulling the trigger and those being shot.

Fatehi mentioned a number of gun misdemeanors, but said that a leading predictor was carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. In the several examples of violent crimes involving guns that he cited, all the perpetrators or victims had prior gun misdemeanor charges. Some of these charges had been dismissed or set aside. Continue reading

Bacon Bits: It’s Come to This

As long as you’re here, would you like to check out a book? With public libraries struggling for relevance in a world in which  anyone can buy a book online, the Arlington Public Library has found a new role to play in the community: dispensing Naloxone (Narcan), a nasal spray that counters opioid overdoes. Deaths from drug overdoses have topped 100,000 annually, and, apparently, Arlington County is not exempt from the scourge. Arlington official Deborah Warren tells WTOP News: “Getting NARCAN into Arlington libraries means that lifesaving resources are more readily available in the event that someone is experiencing an overdose.”

I wonder what Martin Luther King would say about that. A local Republican in Abingdon has opened a store called Mountain Patriots. According to WCYB News, the store will sell pro-Trump, pro-military, and Christian-themed merchandise — and double as the Republican Party headquarters for Washington County. Local Democrats have protested the store opening. “When you conflate religion with politics, there is never a moment that our democracy is more vulnerable than at that point,” Washington County, Virginia Democratic Committee Chair Susan Stancill said. “That’s what our Founding Fathers understood. That’s what is enshrined in the First Amendment.” Er… perhaps someone should remind Stancill that MLK was a Baptist pastor and that the Civil Rights movement in the South was one big conflation of religion and politics. The First Amendment protects people from the state, not the state from the people. Continue reading

The VMI Alumni Association as Self-Perpetuating Oligarchy

By Larry Repress and Sal Vitale
Virginia Military Institute Class of 1961

NOTE: This OPEN Letter was originally Sent to Mr. Thom Brashears, VMI Alumni Association COO with a request it be provided to all VMI Alumni in advance of the Special Meeting of the Association scheduled for 11 June 2022. On June 6, 2022 Mr. Sam Stocks, President of the Association Board, refused to distribute this to alumni stating, in part: “There is nothing to be gained at this point by any further back and forth over the contents and many of the assertions made in your letter…. Your complaints have been numerous and have been widely spread. From my perspective, they, like other similar efforts, have been a grave disservice to the alumni body at large, the cadets and to the Institute… You have a right to make them by whatever alternative means are available to you.”

“Nous Accusons”
An Open Letter to the Membership of the VMI Alumni Association

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, oligarchy is defined as: “a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.” We invite the reader to keep this definition in mind when reading further.

History buffs among VMI alumni/ae may recall the infamous chapter in French history when its army brass and civil government, the so called Third Republic, collaborated to falsely accuse, frame and convict a Jewish army captain, Alfred Dreyfus, of treason. This conviction led to his imprisonment at the infamous Caribbean penal colony on Devil’s Island. The conviction was later shown to have been the product of rampant anti-Semitism in the French army, a sentiment widely shared in the broader French society. The vindication of Dreyfus was catalyzed by an open letter penned by the French author and journalist Emile Zola accusing the army of framing Dreyfus. Its effect was to eventually turn public sentiment against the government resulting in an investigation that led to Dreyfus’ exoneration by the Government that had convicted him. Zola’s letter, published in a prominent Parisian newspaper, opens with the declaration “J’accuse…. (I accuse)”

In the tradition of Zola, we accuse (“nous accusons)” the Board of Directors of the VMI Alumni Association of cynically depriving the membership of its right to meaningfully participate in the affairs of the Association. It succeeded in this effort by effectively disenfranchising the membership and working to rig elections to the Board of only those of its own selection. How was this effect achieved by such a small number of persons? It was astonishingly easy. Here’s how. Continue reading

The Defense Production Act as a Political Tool to Boost Solar Farms

Courtesy Dominion Energy

by James C. Sherlock

We have had multiple discussions, good ones, on the issues surrounding solar farms in Virginia.

Jim Bacon wrote an excellent column about it in February of 2021 titled “The Political Economy of Solar Farms.” It was good then and prescient as of yesterday.

He wrote another one two days earlier.  From that piece:

With the enactment of the (Virginia Clean Economy Act) VCEA, Freitas wrote in the press release, Virginia is experiencing extensive land leasing and acquisition by solar developers. More than 180 solar projects accounting for 140 million solar panels are in various stages of approval or construction. Full implementation of the ACT would consume 490 square miles of Virginia’s forests and farmland, an area twenty times the size of Manhattan.

Thanks to President Biden’s new political/industrial policy, those solar farms just got cheaper. And Chinese solar stocks just got more expensive.

Both of which were made to happen because the President removed the tariffs on Chinese solar panels. Readers rationally can be for that action or against it. But the left has settled on the Defense Production Act as a favored service animal.

So, the President, in addition to removing the tariffs, invoked that act as a national emergency response to mandate additional domestic production of solar panels.

Let’s try to pin down the nature of the emergency and the unintended consequences. Continue reading

“Toxic” Parents in Harrisonburg

Harrisonburg City Public Schools

by James C. Sherlock

Harrisonburg City Public Schools (HCPS) have a tough row to hoe.

April Howard, HCPS chief officer for student support, noted in a presentation to the school board on October 19 of 2021:

Fall 2021 Student Trends
➔ Observations of increased anxiety
➔ Increased school refusal
➔ Increased reports of suicidal ideation—utilization of SPG protocol
➔ Increased needs for emotional regulation support
➔ Increased behavioral issues in pre K-12
➔ Concerns related to loss of social skills due to pandemic-related isolation

That is a common list of the monumental issues brought about by the COVID closures.

So, HCPS somehow thought it a good time to pick a fight over protecting “transgender and gender questioning” kids from their teachers and parents.

They got one. Continue reading

Instant Background Checks for Gun Purchases – What is Checked and Who Populates the Databases?

by James C. Sherlock

The FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is much discussed and little understood by the general public.

In an effort to help, this article will inform readers about the NICS Indices, what information is kept there and how it gets there. The information here about the NICS is quoted or adapted from the FBI descriptions of the system it runs.

Then we will look at Virginia background checks specifically.

You will find that the utility of the data used for such checks, and thus who is sold or is not sold a gun by a licensed dealer, varies a lot.

It depends to a great degree upon the prosecutorial philosophy and policies of the Commonwealth’s Attorney where the buyer was raised and has lived since reaching adulthood. Continue reading

Red Flags in Fairfax County

by James C. Sherlock

Restorative justice (RJ) in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and Commonwealth Attorney Steve Descano’s progressive “reforms” of the criminal justice system had better work.

Because they virtually eliminate the very records of criminal and mentally disturbed misconduct by juveniles needed to support gun-purchase background checks.

FCPS asserts that their RJ system results in better-behaved students.

Here is that county’s paradigm comparison. What other choice do we have, it blares, than RJ? Continue reading

“Frequent Flyers” Are Not Harbingers of Anarchy

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

In a recent article on this blog, Jim Bacon cited the case of Ronald Thomas as a possible harbinger of a “descent into anarchy.”  One commenter cited 13 prior charges, many of which were “nol prossed”.

Just looking at a list of charges and their results can be misleading. It is necessary to look at the context.  It is common for law enforcement to charge a defendant with several separate offenses connected with the same incident.  It is also common, during the process, for prosecutors to reduce some of these charges and recommend an adjudication of nolle prosequi (“nol pros”) if the defendant pleads guilty to one or more charges.

A summary of the appearances of Thomas in Fairfax County and Arlington County district courts is set out below.  It is apparent that Thomas has been a busy man lately.  It is also obvious that he is an example of a long-time bane of law enforcement, sheriffs, and courts—a nonviolent offender who is in and out of jail frequently.  These are often referred to as “frequent flyers”. Continue reading

Secular Authoritarian Religions Disgrace Virginia’s Left and Right

Russian crowd control

by James C. Sherlock

America’s freedoms, guaranteed by its Bill of Rights and its three-branch government, have been the keys to America’s success since its founding.

Individual freedoms, protected, unleashed the creativity of hundreds of millions of citizens to make America the most dominant nation in the history of the world.

Broadly common moral standards have sustained support for that government. As moral standards evolved, with new concepts of morality emerging from the churches, America’s constitution and laws changed with them.

America has defined evil within Judeo-Christian traditions. As other religions began to be represented in America, they brought with them many of the same understandings of right and wrong.

We have struck democratic agreements that are lasting because they have attained sufficiently balanced support. Our violent rupture, the Civil War, was fought to extend freedom and succeeded in doing so.

Our laws have not always been just, but opposition to unjust laws generally began in the churches and attained majority approval. The great civil rights movement in the 1950’s and 60’s marched out of churches into history.

All of this is changing with the precipitous decline of traditional religion in American life. This decline has created a vacuum into which extremists, both left and right, have stepped with new secular religions of their own design. Continue reading