by Kerry Dougherty
Baby Boomers are fond of social media posts that glorify their raised-by-wolves childhoods.
They usually go something like this:
We drank out of garden hoses, rode in the back of pick-ups, didn’t have seat belts let alone car seats, came home when the street lights went on, thought Howard Johnson’s was fine dining, played with BB guns and knives and earned our immunization to chicken pox, mumps and measles the old fashioned way. The fat kid in our class would be considered skinny today.
The implication? We’re tough. Today’s youngsters are pampered.
It’s worth remembering that not everything was wonderful when Boomers were growing up.
Suitcases didn’t have wheels.
Telephones were tethered to the wall.
Televisions received only three channels.
I could go on.
But one thing I remember well from my childhood in a small New Jersey town was that by the time I was six my mother would routinely send me to a corner store to buy her Pall Malls. The shop was probably about half a mile from our house. Continue reading
By Peter Galuszka
I haven’t contributed much to BR lately since I am slammed with non-Virginia work. I did manage to help out on a Podcast about how the General Assembly has changed the state over the last two years as Democrats have gained power.
This Podcast is produced by WTJU, the University of Virginia radio station. I do a weekly talk show on state politics and economics and, on occasion, work on Podcasts.
Joining me is Sally Hudson, a delegate from the Charlottesville area. She is Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Education and Economics. Sally studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford and is one of the youngest members of the General Assembly.
I hope you enjoy it.
Posted in Agriculture & forestry, Blogs and blog administration, Budgets, Business and Economy, Consumer protection, Courts and law, Demographics, Economic development, Energy, Entrepreneurialism, Environment, Finance (government), General Assembly, Health Care, Housing, Immigration, Individual rights, Infrastructure, Labor & workforce, Land use & development, Politics, Poverty & income gap, Property rights, Public safety & health, Race
Corey A. Stewart, a conservative firebrand from Prince William County, is getting a last-minute going-away present from President Donald Trump.
As Trump’s administration comes to an end, Trump has created a position on trade at the U.S. Commerce Department that is just for him. In 2016, Stewart headed Trump’s Virginia election campaign before being fired. Stewart said that he was Trump before Trump was Trump.
Stewart is an international trade lawyer and is expected to strong arm Trump’s tough and confusing trade policies.
A special target is China, which Trump has castigated, with some justification, for cheating on business deals, fiddling with its currency exchange rates, growing its armed forces and trampling on human rights.
Stewart will toughen enforcement of Trump’s hostile trade relations, according to news reports.
Some trade experts wonder what the Stewart story is all about. According to Reuters, William Reinsch, a former Commerce undersecretary, said he viewed hiring as “peculiar” since he is filling a position that does not exist. Continue reading
Posted in Business and Economy, Culture wars, Defense, Economic development, Education (higher ed), Education (K-12), Federal, Finance (government), Government Oversight, Immigration, Individual rights, Infrastructure, Labor & workforce
By Peter Galuszka
In a remarkable display of incompetence, the Trump Administration this summer transferred dozens of undocumented aliens being held in detention centers in Arizona and Florida to a private prison in Farmville just so special federal tactical officers could beef up crowd control in Washington, D.C.
Consequently, some 300 inmates at the Farmville Detention Center operated by the privately held Richmond-based Immigration Centers of America contracted the COVID 19 virus and one died.
The action, reported this morning by The Washington Post, prompted U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to call for stricter oversight of the Farmville facility that operates under a contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to hold undocumented aliens while their cases are being reviewed or while they await deportation.
Jennifer Boysko, a Democratic state senator, called for changes in state law to allow greater regulation of private prisons.
According to the Post, the Trump Administration wanted more protection from generally peaceful protests that were being held near the White House that called attention to police slayings of African Americans while in custody. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser declined to call for federal help. Continue reading
By Peter Galuszka
A private prison for undocumented immigrants in Farmville is having its own COVID-19 crisis after 90% of its detainees tested positive for the virus.
Court papers have shown that 267 inmates at the prison run by Richmond-based Immigration Centers of America have tested positive for the virus and another 80 were still awaiting results as of last week.
What seems to be an increasingly dire situation at the Farmville Detention Center on the outskirts of town has been highlighted by WRIC, the Daily Beast and HuffPost.
Officials at the prison are the target of a lawsuit by the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR) and the facility was the scene of a disturbance earlier this month when inmates refused to assemble one morning early this month and guards used pepper spray in the ensuing fracas.
Part of the problem started on June 2, when the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department sent along 74 immigrant detainees from Florida and Arizona. The Farmville facility could have refused, but the owners make profits on the per diem rates they are paid by the federal government. The City of Farmville gets a cut of the per diem as well.
According to WRIC, 90% of the inmates are infected. Continue reading
By Peter Galuszka
Early this past Wednesday morning, Mark Pettibone and Connor O’Shead were walking on their way home after a peaceful protest in Portland, Ore.
Suddenly an unmarked van pulled in front of them. Men wearing green uniforms, tactical gear and generic signs reading “POLICE” hustled them into the vehicle. They were not told why they were being detained. After 90 minutes, the badly shaken men were released without being charged.
The episode might sound like the activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his “little green men” who have shown up in places like Crimea and Eastern Ukraine to intimidate and detain people.
But this was Portland, a progressive city that has seen protests for weeks. President Donald Trump has urged federal authorities to move in on cities to restore his sense of order even though city officials in Portland do not want his help and are investigating what is going on.
And, guess who is playing a role in what could be a growing national trend of federal law enforcement performing “snatch and grabs” of innocent protestors?
That would be Kenneth Cuccinelli, the former hard right, state attorney general and failed gubernatorial candidate. He is now acting deputy secretary of the Trump’s Department of Homeland Security. Continue reading
Posted in Correction, Courts and law, Crime , corrections and law enforcement, Culture wars, Defense, Immigration, Individual rights, Media, Public corruption, Public safety & health, Race and race relations, Scandals
Tagged Peter Galuszka
By Peter Galuszka
It’s time for a pandemic reality check, especially at Bacon’s Rebellion.
The blog is flooded with post after post about how the coronavirus crisis is exaggerated and how Gov. Ralph Northam “King Ralph” is Public Enemy No. 1 and wields improper power by closing schools, bars, beaches, businesses and so on. I won’t mention names since you know who you are.
Add to backdrop the enforced parochialism at Bacon’s Rebellion, in which we aren’t supposed to think beyond the borders of the Old Dominion, despite the fact that Virginia has enormous ties with other countries and travel and contact are essential.
Among the most damning data about the lack of progress against the virus, led by the unspeakably incompetent leadership of Donald Trump and Virginia’s provincialism, can be found in a small story in today’s Washington Post.
As some readers may know, the European Union has finally loosened its travel rules, particularly for Canada, New Zealand and Japan. But not for the United States. Why? As of June 15, the E.U. had recorded only 15 new cases of COVID 19 infection per 100,000 for the previous two weeks. The U.S. recorded a whopping 145 cases per 100,000 for the same period. Continue reading
The day they drove old Dixie down. Removal of the Stonewall Jackson statue on Richmond’s Monument Ave. Photo credit: Associated Press
By Peter Galuszka
Confederate statues are finally coming down in Richmond and other Virginia cities, including one of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. There have been outcries by sentimental mythologists and apologists on this blog and elsewhere about how “mob rule” is forcing issues and so on.
Since some bloggers here have come up with their version of positive biographies about some of the figures, notably Matthew Fontaine Maury, an early oceanographer and Confederate Naval officer, I thought I’d weigh in on my own personal experience with Stonewall.
Jackson was born on Jan. 24 1824 in what was then Clarksburg, Va., and grew up about 20 miles south in Jackson’s Mill near Weston Va. Then in 1863, irritated about Richmond’s racial policies and economic favoritism, residents seceded and created West Virginia which supported the North in the Civil War.
By coincidence, I moved to the Clarksburg area in 1962 from the D.C. area when I was nine years old and resided there until 1969.
It wasn’t exactly the “Southern” experience others seem to recall. For one thing, the homeland of “Stonewall” did not have many slaves or African-Americans. The area of Harrison County, however, held fairly mixed views about slavery and allegiance. While Jackson, a West Point graduate went with the South, his sister was loyal to the North. (For more details about Jackson’s life, read James L. Robertson Jr.’s excellent 1997 biography.) Continue reading
By Peter Galuszka
The Virginia Republican Party had a big shock Saturday.
Far-right candidate Bob Good snatched the party’s nomination in the fifth congressional district from incumbent Denver Riggleman, who was backed by President Donald Trump and Jerry Falwell Jr., the head of Liberty University.
The remarkable twist could presage an arch-conservative backlash against Trump’s populism in the run up to elections this November.
University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato tweeted early Sunday morning that “the Virginia GOP has gone so far to the right that a congressman backed by (Trump and Falwell) isn’t conservative enough to renominate.”
The 5th District includes the cities of Lynchburg and Charlottesville and covers broad swaths of highly socially conservative rural areas. Riggleman’s problem was that he had Libertarian tendencies and had officiated at a gay wedding. Continue reading
Posted in Business and Economy, Courts and law, Culture wars, Elections, Electoral process, Immigration, Individual rights, LGBQT rights, Media, Money in politics, Politics
By Peter Galuszka
Get ready. The names of all kinds of leftist organizations are going to be kicked around as the masterminds behind violent, cop-beating looters, especially the so-called ANTIFA movement in Virginia and across the country..
But what is reality? I don’t have clear answers but I have some ideas to share since I have been dealing with activist groups since I was in high school in the late 1960s. I hope they help this blog’s discussion.
First, there’s plenty of research available about ANTIFA and there are already plenty of reports about it. It is not a single group but a very loose collection of autonomous activist groups, most of which do not advocate violence. For reference, see yesterday’s Daily Beast piece with the blunt headline, “Trump’s ‘ANTIFA Threat Is Total Bullshit – And Totally Dangerous.”
That article and plenty of others note that ANTIFA, or whatever it is, has no clear chain of command and uses ultra-fast social media to alert other activists about rallies and protests but has no control over them. If you are thinking about the tightly-controlled and secretive Communist cells of the past century, you are not getting it. Continue reading
Posted in Bacon and pigs, Business and Economy, Correction, Courts and law, Crime , corrections and law enforcement, Culture wars, Demographics, Disaster planning, Economic development, Electoral process, Federal, Government Oversight, Gun rights, Immigration, Individual rights, Labor & workforce, LGBQT rights, Libertarians, Media, Money in politics, Politics, Poverty & income gap, Public corruption, Race and race relations, Transparency
By Peter Galuszka
As you know, people like me have been described by a B.R. commenter as those who submit “scorch and burn, mock and smear writings encased in scornful, supercilious, opinionated, and shallow rhetoric.”
I freely admit this and am damned proud of it.
But instead of dishing out the usual sarcastic bile, I have another idea today. I don’t know about you, but with me self-quaranting as much as possible, I am running out of things to read or watch. I still have for-pay work but who knows how much that might last? So, why don’t we exchange ideas of new stuff to occupy our minds with. Here’s a list of recommended movies, TV series and books:
- On Netflix, I am a huge fan of the German TV series “Bablyon Berlin,” which imagines a very dark, brooding German capital after the Great War and before Hitler. The chief characters are Georeon Rath, a shattered war veteran and police detective who gets into the seamy side of life. His heart throb is Charlotte Ritter, an office worker and part-time prostitute. The series has everything, shady characters, mysterious train shipments from the Soviet Union, fascists, communists, early porn studios. The acting, story line and photography are excellent. It’s like a grown up version of “Cabaret.”
Posted in Blogs and blog administration, Culture wars, Defense, Energy, Environment, Immigration, Media, Mental illness, Money in politics, Politics, Public safety & health
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