Category Archives: Individual rights

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

Med Student Sues EVMS on Free Speech Grounds

by James A. Bacon

Edward Si, a student at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, has filed a lawsuit to stop the institution from blocking his effort to establish a local chapter of the Students for a National Health Program. The Student Government Association denied the club’s application for recognition on the grounds that it “does not want to create clubs based on opinions, political or otherwise” — despite recognizing other opinion-based groups such as Medical Students for Choice and the Christian Medical and Dental Association.

“I decided to sue in order to uncover the truth and to stand up for my basic constitutional and human rights,” said Si, who is backed by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). “Without freedom of expression, there can be no student activism and political advocacy.” Continue reading

Return to Autocracy in Virginia

Why is this man smiling?

by James C. Sherlock.
Updated Aug 13, 12:15 PM

It was so easy to predict that I can claim no special prescience. I wrote a week ago:

“The Governor’s 15-month emergency powers expired June 30, and, God, does he miss them…. (H)ow long (will the) governor put up with the lack of emergency powers?”

If you guessed a week, you win.

Today’s headline: Virginia Gov. Orders Mask Mandate for State’s K-12 Schools

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday announced a public health emergency order to require masks in all indoor settings for the state’s K-12 schools.

The Governor has a legal basis for the order, § 32.1-13 of the Code of Virginia. The State Health Commissioner, acting for the Board of Health when it is not in session (§ 32.1-20 of the Code of Virginia),

may make separate orders and regulations to meet any emergency, not provided for by general regulations, for the purpose of suppressing nuisances dangerous to the public health and communicable, contagious and infectious diseases and other dangers to the public life and health.

If you are wondering, the Board of Health meets four times a year for a couple of days each meeting. And there is no mention of a role for the General Assembly.

This is not the same law that Northam used for 15 months. New ball game. Continue reading

UVa Does Foster Free Expression, VP Advancement Says

Mark M. Luellen, vice president for advancement

by James A. Bacon

The upper echelons of the University of Virginia administration are keenly aware that many alumni are unhappy with the hostility toward viewpoints that don’t conform with the dominant leftist culture at the university. As Mark M. Luellen, vice president for advancement acknowledged in a recent dear-colleagues letter, “Many of us have engaged in conversations with constituents concerned about a perceived lack of ideological balance at the University.”

President Jim Ryan recognizes these concerns, Luellen continued, and he wants to ensure the university community that “diverse viewpoints and civil discourse are encouraged.” The letter went on to tout the Statement on Free Expression and Free Inquiry that was approved recently by the Board of Visitors.

As I have observed more than once, however, it’s one thing to propound abstract principles and quite another to put them into practice — especially when new faculty and staff hires are pushing the university’s ideological center of gravity ever further to the left.

Perhaps in expectation of continued skepticism, the President’s Office compiled a list of efforts, outlets and organizations promoting the civil exchange of ideas on the Grounds. Luellen thought it would helpful for the university community to see “the sheer volume of efforts in place to foster an environment where all ideological positions are discussed and evaluated openly.” Continue reading

More Clarity, Please, About Vaccinations for COVID Survivors

by James A. Bacon

Since late January, when COVID-19 vaccines became available to the general public in Virginia, 99.4% of the cases, 99% of hospitalizations, and 99.3% of deaths have occurred in people who have not been vaccinated, according to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA).

“The scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that the COVID-19 vaccines prevent people from becoming seriously ill, requiring hospitalization, or dying from the virus, as well as spreading it to others,” states the hospital lobby organization in a statement released this morning.

VHHA now supports hospitals and health systems amending their vaccine policies to require vaccinations for employees. Acknowledging that each hospital and health system is “unique,” VHHA leaves it up to each organization to determine the appropriate time to implement a requirement.

I have no doubts about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States. For many segments of the population (including 68-year-olds such as myself), it makes eminent sense to get vaccinated. My big question is whether it makes sense for people who have already survived the virus — at least 685,000 confirmed cases in Virginia — and who can demonstrate that they are protected by antibodies. Continue reading

Another Free Speech Fiasco at UVa

Charlottesville attorney Charles L. Weber Jr., represented University of Virginia student Morgan Bettinger in legal proceedings involving the University Judiciary Committee, which condemned her for words that allegedly constituted a “risk” to other students. This incident is a case study in how leftist, “anti-racist” students at UVa wield processes and procedures, with the complicity of the administration, to repress free speech and chastise those who offend them. I republish here a letter from Weber to UVa President Jim Ryan asking for redress. We’ll soon find out how sincere Ryan is in his commitment to free speech and expression. — JAB

Dear President Ryan,

I am writing to urge you to correct a grave injustice perpetrated by
the University of Virginia (the University) against a student during this
past academic year.

Morgan Bettinger was unfairly punished by the University
Judiciary Committee (UJC) for speaking words protected by the
Constitution. However, because UJC appeals are limited to process, not
substance, the Judicial Review Board (JRB) concluded that the UJC
decision whether erroneous or not was unreviewable. Continue reading

Larry Sabato Is Not the Problem at UVa

Larry Sabato

by James A. Bacon

Rich Anderson, Virginia GOP chairman, is unhappy with the partisan bias of University of Virginia political-science icon Larry Sabato, whose tweets have turned bitingly anti-Trump. Anderson contends that eight of Sabato’s tweets from the past year appear to violate the university’s mission statement and faculty code of ethics.

“A reasonable taxpaying citizen can readily conclude that Dr. Sabato is demonstrating the rankest form of bitter partisanship,” Anderson wrote in a letter to University of Virginia President Jim Ryan. “In order to have faith in our institutions, it is essential that Virginians hold accountable those public employees and officials who violate institutional values, codes of conduct, and other guidelines of professional behavior.”

Rich Anderson

Anderson is entitled to his opinions, of course, as is Sabato. The question is whether the answer to Sabato’s bias is suppression of his viewpoint. Are Republicans now endorsing cancel culture tactics — if the Left does it, it’s OK for GOP to do it, too? Fight fire with fire?  I understand the temptation but I think it’s a big mistake. Republicans and conservatives should stand for protecting everyone’s right to free speech and expression.

Continue reading