Category Archives: Individual liberties

Hallelujah! Greenbrier Christian Academy Defies Virginia’s Mask Mandate

by Kerry Dougherty

In a bold move, Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake announced this week that when students return from Thanksgiving break they can be mask-free. Unless their parents want them in masks, in which case the school will make sure parental wishes are carried out.

In a video sent to Greenbrier parents, Superintendent Ron White said it’s been five weeks since the school had its “last Covid contact” and that no students or parents are being tested right now for possible infection so this seems like the right time to return to normal.

Continue reading

Rehire Norfolk Police Lt. Kelly. Fire Chief Boone.

Lt. William K . Kelly III. Image credit: PizPacReview

by Kerry Dougherty

Justice prevailed in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Friday when a courageous jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty of murder in the shooting deaths of two rioters — both felons — who were threatening or attacking him and in the wounding of another criminal who was pointing a gun at his head.

Despite months of biased news reporting by the mainstream media, the 12 jurors learned the real story of what went down on August 23, 2020 as chaos reigned in Kenosha, businesses were set on fire and looted, and hooligans ran wild in the streets.

Anyone watching the trial knew this was a clear case of self-defense. Still, it took courage for the jury to find in Rittenhouse’s favor as demonstrators with megaphones outside the courthouse disrupted the quiet as they deliberated.

A clear attempt to intimidate the jurors. But they stood fast.

Now that the Rittenhouse case is over, it’s time for the Norfolk Police Department to admit it acted unfairly and in haste in firing Lt. William K. Kelly III last April after he was outed by left-wing hackers for a $25 donation he sent to Rittenhouse’s defense. Continue reading

In Defense of Intellectual Diversity

Larry Stimpert

Here follows the Founder’s Day message from Hampden-Sydney President Larry Stimpert to the Hampden-Sydney College community, Nov. 10, 2021. — JAB

Two hundred forty-six years ago today, Hampden-Sydney College held its first classes. Founded on the eve of the American Revolution “to form good men and good citizens” who would be the leaders of the new Republic, the College and its mission remain as important and relevant today as they were on November 10, 1775. This College has thrived for nearly two and a half centuries, in part, because of our commitment to freedom of expression and civil discourse.

The constitution of the Union-Philanthropic Literary Society, our College’s debating society — the second oldest in the United States — states that “freedom of discussion … was bought with precious blood.” We value freedom of expression not only because it is a central tenet of our Republic, one that our Founders fought and died for, but also because freedom of expression and open discussion make Hampden-Sydney a better and more vital college and our students better men and citizens.

Teaching students how, not what, to think has been our College’s North Star since 1775. Indoctrination, cancel culture, self-censoring, or anything that limits the widest possible intellectual exploration has no place on our campus, or any college or university campus. Faculty members, like all of us, have personal views on a host of topics and they may share those views with students in classroom discussions. But promulgating personal views or limiting the ability of others to challenge those views or to express their own views are unacceptable breaches of academic professionalism. Continue reading

Show Us Your Papers

by Kerry Dougherty

Well, what do you know.

In their eagerness to flex their authoritarian muscles, Virginia Beach Public School officials made fools of themselves this week.

On Tuesday evening, Human Resources fired off a stern email to all workers informing them that December 6th would be Show-Us-Your-Papers Day. By that date every school employee will be required to complete a “VBCPS Employee Vaccination Status Questionnaire” showing proof that they were vaccinated against COVID.

Unvaxxed employees will be forced to submit to a weekly test.

There is no mention of what happens to employees who refuse to cooperate. That will be interesting, given the huge staffing shortages. Stay tuned.

The reason for the urgency?

“On Nov. 5, 2021, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued an emergency temporary standard requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccination or provide proof of a weekly negative test. This mandate is currently under review in the federal court system therefore, the start date for compliance is unclear. Continue reading

Will Election Fallout Extend to Local Union Push?

By F. Vincent Vernuccio

Virginia’s new collective bargaining law is forcing local government officials to deal with a controversial issue fraught with potential errors and legal risks.

If the 2021 election showed anything, it was that Virginia voters felt the Commonwealth was going in the wrong direction. The sweep of Republicans for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and the House of Delegates sent a clear message: Voters wanted change.

Local governments should take heed, especially on controversial issues such as public sector collective bargaining. Elected officials should carefully consider not just voter sentiment, but what new executive authority means for interpretation and implementation of recent laws.

One law, passed in 2020 by a Democratic governor, House and Senate, was a radical change to decades-old precedent. The new law gave local elected officials the ability to pass ordinances allowing government unions to have a monopoly and represent all public employees (even those that do not want representation) and to bargain on almost any issue. However, now there may be stricter scrutiny on the interplay between these ordinance and state laws, not to mention the U.S. Constitution. Continue reading

Was UVa’s Vax Mandate Justified? We’ll Never Know.

New COVID cases among faculty, staff, students and contract employees. Source: University of Virginia COVID tracker

by James A. Bacon

This academic year the University of Virginia mandated that all students get vaccinated. With few exceptions, all have done so, as have most of the university’s 30,000 faculty, staff and employees. According to the Daily Progress, only 173 are estimated to be out of compliance. They have until January 4 to get their shots. So, how is the University of Virginia’s COVID-fighting regime working out? Have the mandates made a difference?

One way to tell is by comparing the incidence of new COVID cases reported during this fall’s mini-surge with the mini-surge that occurred a year ago, when pre-vaccination measures such as remote learning, quarantining and mandated mask wearing were in place. As can be seen in the graph above, this year’s mini-surge was smaller than last year’s. Last year’s fall surge peaked at 29.6 new cases per day (seven-day running average) compared to 23,3 new cases per day. That clearly looks like an improvement. (Both were dwarfed by the February super-surge, which peaked at 112.6 new cases per day, but I’m trying to compare periods with like conditions.)

In that limited sense, the UVa experiment can be viewed as a success. But these statistics don’t tell the whole story, nor do they answer a question not susceptible to measurement: was the marginal gain worth the trammeling of individual liberties? Continue reading

Biden and McAuliffe to Complete the Roundup of Toddlers by the State

Terry McAuliffe. Photo credit: The Virginia Star

by James C. Sherlock

Updated 26 October 1:48 PM

The progressive dream of government control of children from birth is approaching reality in Virginia.

Terry McAuliffe shares that dream and wants to lead Virginia to that promised land.

Governor Ralph Northam and the Democratic General Assembly have established state control of our youngest children, but will struggle to fund it. And if a progressive government could pass those new laws in 2020, future state governments can repeal them.

McAuliffe wants to be Governor to opt in for Virginians to the early childhood education provisions of the federal “Build Back Better” program.

To complete the government control of children from birth with federal money. Under federal regulations and requirements. Wrench control of toddlers from their parents with two sets of laws.

Who says progressives don’t like walls.

Every parent in Virginia should pray he never gets the chance. And vote to prevent him from being in position to do so. Continue reading

The Loudoun Way — School Rapes by a Member of a Progressive Protected Class

Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj

by James C. Sherlock

Any time you think there is only one system of justice in America, consider these two stories I offer below, one a progressive dream and the other true.

The true story will show some progressives care more about their dogma than kids.

And any time you think only big city progressives don’t give a damn about child victims of crime, like in Chicago or New York, read the true one below.

It is underway in Loudoun County. Continue reading

Alumni of the World Unite!

The Free Speech Wall in downtown Charlottesville

This press release was issued today by the Alumni Free Speech Alliance, of which The Jefferson Council is a founding member. I serve as vice president-communications of the Council. — JAB

Millions of college and university alumni around the country are dismayed by the intolerance of unpopular viewpoints at their alma maters, and many have begun to fight back.

Alumni have organized groups at five of America’s most prestigious higher-ed institutions — Cornell University, Davidson College, Princeton University, the University of Virginia, and the Washington & Lee University – to defend free speech, academic freedom, and viewpoint diversity in college campuses. Today those groups are announcing that they have joined forces under the banner of the Alumni Free Speech Alliance to launch a national effort to mobilize alumni.

“Free speech and academic freedom are critical to the advancement of knowledge and to the success of our colleges and universities,” said Edward Yingling, a co-founder of the Princeton alumni group. “Yet these basic principles are under attack today at schools across the country.”

(See the column co-authored by Yingling that was published in today’s Wall Street Journal.) Continue reading

Harsh Rhetoric Does Not Justify FBI Intervention

Image credit: bravenewworldmedia.com

by Hans Bader

Speech doesn’t become a “threat” just because a government official calls it that. Yet the National School Boards Association got the Justice Department to open an investigation after labeling parents’ speech as “threats and acts of violence” when it occurred in controversies over “critical race theory” and “masking requirements” in the public schools.

As the Washington Examiner notes, “A few of the most outrageous examples of these ‘threats and acts of violence,’ according to the association, include a man filming himself while calling school administrators and another man labeling a school board as ‘Marxist.'” The NSBA’s letter lists as an example of such threats and violence, “A resident in Alabama, who proclaimed himself a ‘vaccine police,’ has called school administrators while filming himself on Facebook Live.” Continue reading

Desperate Dems Demand Medical Records

by Kerry Dougherty

Oh look. Desperate Virginia Democrats — along with their pals in the media — are trying to weaponize COVID-19 vaccines against what appears to be a resurgent Republican Party in the commonwealth.

It isn’t enough that gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin has said REPEATEDLY that he’s vaccinated, that he believes Virginians should be vaccinated and has even recorded a public service announcement urging his fellow Virginians to take the vaccine so the commonwealth can be open and prosper.

Nope. That isn’t good enough for the lockdown-loving authoritarians on the far left.

Terry McAuliffe maliciously refers to Youngkin as an “anti-vaxxer” because the GOP candidate doesn’t believe the government should be forcing people to be vaccinated. Continue reading

Fairfax Schools Are “Data Mining” Students

Graphic credit: Asra Investigates

by James A. Bacon

Disturbed by a “spike” in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members across the country, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has called on the FBI to use its “authority and resources” to discourage and prosecute “the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel,” reports The Daily Caller.

Meanwhile, in the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up department, it turns out that Garland’s daughter Rebecca is married to entrepreneur Xan Tanner, cofounder of Panorama Education, which has built a booming national business with school boards collecting data on students. So reports Asra Q. Nomani, vice president of strategy and investigations for Parents Defending Education, in her Substack column, “Asra Investigates.”

Not just any old kind of data. Panorama Education surveys students on such questions as, “How confident are you that students at your school can have honest conversations with each other about race?” Or “Do you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, aromantic / asexual, or questioning?”

It is precisely this kind of highlighting of “woke” issues regarding race and gender that has parents up in arms in the first place.

Garland, contends Nomani, has a conflict of interest. She writes: “Panorama Education will profit from Garland’s outrageous silencing of parents who are challenging its data mining of K-12 students.” Continue reading

UVa, COVID, and Jim Ryan’s $200,000 Bonus

Source: University of Virginia COVID Tracker

by James A. Bacon

Like many other University of Virginia alumni, I was taken aback to hear that the Board of Visitors had granted President Jim Ryan a $200,000 bonus for the great job UVa had done in addressing the COVID-19 epidemic.

Rector Whittington Clement put it this way: “When the situation this year became clearer and we had a highly successful handling of COVID-19, we think the University did as well as, if not better, than any institution of higher learning in making the adjustments necessary to COVID-19, we thought that it was appropriate to give him a bonus.”

I don’t want to prejudge whether Team Ryan has done a great job of addressing COVID-19 or not. To be sure, UVa has resumed in-person learning, but it also has instituted a draconian lockdown, including mandated vaccination for students, the unenrollment of those who did not comply, mask wearing required both indoors and outdoors, and mandated isolation and quarantine for those who test positive and/or been exposed. UVa is a laboratory testbed for the individual-liberties-be-damned approach to public health that some would like to see for the entire country. Continue reading

It’s Baaaack!

Photo credit: The Schilling Show

Hira Azher, the fourth-year student who posted a large “FUCK UVA” sign on the door of her Lawn residence last year, may have graduated, and the University of Virginia may have implemented measures to ensure that messages and displays on Lawn doors comported with the dignity of the Lawn and Rotunda as a World Heritage site, but the “FUCK UVA” sentiment is alive and well. Hector Terrazas Valencia, resident of room 49, has painted the words, “FUCK UVA !!! (respectfully)” on a panel of his door.

To prevent the ugly proliferation of leaflets and profanely expressed political sentiments in an architectural gem that attracts many visitors, UVa officials are requiring Lawn residents to confine their verbiage to message boards fitting in the door panels.

Hat tip: The Schilling Show.

Let Me Get This Straight…

COVID ID cards

by Paula Harkins

Let me get this straight. I’ve got to show a valid ID to dine out or take a spin class… but not to vote?

A growing number of Virginia businesses, restaurants, and venues are requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination and a photo ID to enter. Richmond was the first Virginia locality to mandate vaccination of its state employees, including those who telework. Private organizations across the state are requiring their employees to be vaccinated or provide a negative COVID-19 test regularly, often at the cost of the employee. D.C. venues like Kennedy Center and Lincoln Theater require vaccination proof or a negative COVID-19 test along with a matching photo ID to attend live shows. Gyms such as Equinox and SoulCycle are requiring proof of vaccination to enter and workout at their facilities. The SoulCycle Standard states, “When it came down to putting new safety measures in place, we went above and beyond the guidelines.”

Fairfax County’s “COVID-19 for Businesses, Organizations and Employees” webpage states, “Vaccines are good for SALES: As people begin to return to a new normal way of life and revisit their favorite places, knowing that the people who work at the establishments they frequent is reassuring.” Continue reading