Category Archives: Individual rights

Major Impacts of Northam’s War against Teachers

Federal school funding threatened; Democrats and unions in a bind; Lawsuits coming

Timing is Everything

by James C. Sherlock

Ralph Northam declared on August 30 of this year that Virginia’s schools are systemically racist and that teachers are presumptively racist and must be treated and monitored.

In addition to threatening to create turmoil in the schools and damage to the very students he apparently meant to help, the Governor has potentially kicked over a hornets’ nest worse than he stirred up with his infamous infanticide interview that resulted in the release of his blackface yearbook photo. 

And he may have set Virginia up for federal demands for repayments of Department of Education funds and related fines. At stake is a breathtaking amount of money that includes CARES Act funding, all of which has been contingent on compliance with the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The documented facts may also have put Democrats and their allies (in that word’s traditional and critical race theory definitions) in a large political bind.

Continue reading

Trump’s ICE Scandal in Farmville

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

Elmer Gantry In Lynchburg

Jerry Falwell, Jr., and wife Becki

By Peter Galuszka

The resignation of Jerry Falwell Jr. amid a series of scandals may have a strong impact in Virginia where his late father built an extraordinary, ultra-conservative evangelical university in Lynchburg that later became highly politicized lightning rod supporting President Donald Trump.

Falwell has been caught up in a number of controversies including limiting speech on campus, going after The New York Times for trespassing when it reported he insisted that student ignore wearing anti-viral pandemic masks and so on.

What happened with Falwell Jr is as  an American story as apple pie topped with a Cross. It might have some straight out of the pages of Elmer Gantry.

After touting strict school policies that forbid students from drinking alcohol, watching “R”-rated movies or engaging in pre-marital sex, Falwell was pictured aboard a NASCAR mogul’s yacht half dressed with a semi-clad, pregnant woman who was said to be his wife Becki’s assistant. Falwell was holding a wine glass with a liquid in it but Falwell said it wasn’t wine.

Shortly afterwards, he gave an interview to the right-leaning Washington Examiner stating that his wife had been involved with a multi-year sexual affair with Giancarlo Granda, a former Miami Beach pool boy whom Falwell funded to set up a hostel business. Continue reading

It’s Way too Early to Discuss a Vaccine Mandate

by James A. Bacon

Four days ago State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said he planned to mandate a COVID-19 immunization once it’s safely released to the public. Yesterday Governor Ralph Northam said he’s not planning a mandate, despite what his top health official said.

When asked why the the Governor wasn’t embracing the stance of his top health official, Northam spokesperson Alena Yarmosky said in a statement, “We are focused on accessibility, affordability, and fair distribution of a vaccine—not on a mandate.”

“When a vaccine becomes available, we’re confident that Virginians will seek it out. That’s why we don’t have plans for a mandate,” Yarmosky continued in a separate email, reports WAVY TV.

I’m no expert on the subject of vaccines, to be sure, but it strikes me as way too premature to begin discussing a mandate. Many potential vaccine candidates are being tested, we don’t which one (or ones) will be approved, and we know nothing about the efficacy, side effects and trade-offs of each. Continue reading

Virginia Educational Reform – Place, Class, Race — Or All Three?

by James C. Sherlock

I am an optimist by nature. Optimism wins elections, and optimism can bring about democratic change.  

Governments at their most basic level are created by people to protect themselves from outsiders and to minimize conflicts within their own ranks. From a condo association to Congress, that is a core role.   

I believe that representative government is the only form of democracy that scales and the form most likely to protect the weak. I believe in the rule of law and in traditions and institutions as stabilizing forces. I defend the individual rights embedded in our constitution.

I believe our republic needs to help Americans ensure they and theirs are secure in the basic necessities of life and their are children educated. Call me a class theorist. People of good character can and do get in fierce arguments about what constitute the basic necessities of life and whether assistance should be couched as a helping hand or a new bill of rights.  

I believe that self reliance is a core value of America. So is compassion. I support a policy of writing checks to help the disadvantaged in a crisis, but long-term policies that help them pull themselves up. There is dignity in that. People need dignity.

I oppose a distorted rationalism that seeks to put every responsibility on government and a rationalist government that inevitably settles on picking favorites and attacking religion. 

I regret the cascading failure of the regional newspapers as perhaps the biggest internal threat to representative government in my lifetime.

On June 17, 2020 in Areo magazine , Gabriel Scorgie wrote: Continue reading

Will “Racial Healing” at GMU Foster More Racial Division?

by James A. Bacon

The progressives’ imposition of identity politics on Virginia’s public universities continues apace. Hans Bader has already called attention to a July announcement by George Mason University’s new president, Gregory Washington, of a “Task Force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence.”

None of Virginia’s media outlets seem to have paid attention. Your humble correspondent decided to take a closer look at what is going on at GMU.

As Washington acknowledged in announcing the task force, GMU “enters this national conversation with an admirable track record as a pace-setter of action for racial justice and truth-telling about our own past.” He cited the establishment of the Trust, Racial Healing and Transformation campus center, the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution (“one of the nation’s very few schools dedicated to social justice and peace”) and the Enslaved People project to “fell the full truth of our university’s namesake.” He also noted that GMU hosts “Virginia’s largest and most diverse university student body.”

But that’s not enough. The new task force will dig deeper, addressing: Continue reading

Masks Outdoors? That’s a Hard NO.

by Kerry Dougherty

Every writer has a favorite place to sit and create.

Mine is my screened porch. Most days I grab my laptop and coffee to head outside for most of the day. I’m there now, in fact, enjoying a drizzly, warm and quiet Sunday afternoon. There are no high-spirited beachgoers walking by with kids and beach chairs today. Just unseen birds singing in the trees and the occasional dog walker sloshing by in squishy boots.

I like to watch the world while I write.

Lately, working on my porch has provided me with a new distraction: I find myself pausing numerous times a day to watch the construction of a new house just across the street. The old place that stood there for at least 75 years was charmless and dilapidated. It was razed several years ago.

In its place, a gabled, three-story home is rising. I’m in awe of the skill it takes to build such a structure. Continue reading

Run for your Local School Board

by James C. Sherlock

Bill O’Keefe published an essay here today, the title of which is “Revisionist History is a Fool’s Errand.”

Revisionist history is unfortunately not a fool’s errand, but rather a business, and a successful one, run by people that hate America and wish for its destruction. They despise and reject the civil rights movement as a weak bourgeois response to a situation that required revolution. Today’s woke revolutionaries quote Martin Luther King at their peril.

From a personal communication by a distinguished friend of mine:

“The source of the problem is 40 years of “education” in which the “educators” and the books they have used reviled America’s failures and refused to acknowledge its successes and virtues, especially the latter. The failure to educate Americans in their own history is a failure that mightily contributes to the current absence of common ground.”

We have spoken here before of neo-Marxist Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” a 1980 revisionist history that continues to be mandated for too many pupils. Designed as a middle-school and high-school textbook, it has sold over 2 million copies. Lesson plans with similar tripe are available for teacher download from links published by the National Education Association. Continue reading

What Needs To Be Done After the ACP

By Peter Galuszka

For six long years, Dominion Energy and its partners in the $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline have waged war against Virginians as they have pushed their way forward with the 600-mile-long natural gas project.

Their strong-armed methods have created untold misery and expense  for land-owners, members of lower income minority communities, nature lovers, bird watchers, fishermen, and many others.

When some declined to let the ACP to trespass on their property for survey work, they ended up in lengthy and expensive lawsuits. Others spent hundreds of hours on their own time and dime fighting Virginia regulatory agencies who all but seemed to be in the pocket of the ACP.

And so it goes. For what? So Dominion and its partners could make billions of dollars, some of it paid for by electricity ratepayers, for a project whose public need was always in doubt. On July 5, the ACP threw in the towel.

I put together this commentary in The Washington Post suggesting what might be done to prevent this from happening again: Continue reading

Brace Yourselves: Another Northam Presser Today

by Kerry Dougherty

Get ready, Virginia. Gov. Ralph Northam, the man who can’t stop the rioting in Richmond but thinks he can stop the spread of COVID-19, is holding a press conference.

No, he won’t be announcing strong measures to end the violence and lawlessness roiling the streets of the Capitol. Like most Democrats, the governor appears indifferent to anarchy.

Instead, he’s laser-focused on Tidewater, saying we’re a COVID-19 hot spot.

One thing you can count on: By this afternoon the Ruler of the Commonwealth will issue another decree restricting the rights of Virginians.

He’s been making little threats on Twitter about what’s coming:

He’s been making little threats on Twitter about what’s coming:

Continue reading

The Bravest Woman in Richmond

Kim Gray. Photo credit: Style Weekly.

by James A. Bacon

Kimberly Gray, a Richmond City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate, espouses a philosophy that some people in the era of Black Lives Matter find offensive. “I’ve been verbal about protecting all citizens,” she tells Bacon’s Rebellion. “This is my city. I love my city. I want it to be a place where everybody feels safe in their own homes, from Gilpin Court to Monument Avenue.”

That outlook has put her at odds with the social-justice protests sweeping the city that erupt episodically in looting, arson, vandalism, and confrontations with police. As an African-American, Gray is sympathetic with some of the protest movement’s aims, such as removing the Confederate statues from Monument Avenue. She also supports peoples’ Constitutional right to peaceful protest. But she has a problem with demonstrators toting semi-automatic weapons on her doorstep. And she is one of the few public figures in Richmond to forthrightly criticize the systemic use of low-level violence to intimidate and silence opponents.

Gray’s willingness to stand up to the mob has put her in the cross-hairs of the anarchic left-wing movement that has kept the City of Richmond on edge for more than two months. She was subjected to low-level harassment for weeks even before a crowd of roughly 200 descended upon her house in Jackson Ward last week, banged pots and pans, blew air horns, hurled insults, brandished guns, and shouted threats. That incident generated brief media attention when she complained that the Richmond Department of Police never dispatched officers to her residence.

In the Richmond mayoral race this year, Gray has been thrust into the position of defending law and order. Continue reading

Gerald Smith: Richmond’s New Top Cop

By Peter Galuszka

FYI, here’s a piece I did for Style Weekly about Richmond’s new p0lice chief, the third in about a month, and his interpretation on the problems of law enforcement in this period of defunding.

The Return of the “Cooch”

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

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

By Peter Galuszka

Back in the winter of 2015, Craig Vanderhoef, a former Navy captain, got a disturbing surprise in his mailbox at his retirement home near Afton in Nelson County. A letter from Dominion Resources noted that it wanted to survey his land for a new 600-mile-long natural gas pipeline.

On two occasions, he wrote the utility telling them no. Then he got another surprise. A sheriff’s deputy knocked on his door to serve him with papers notifying him that Dominion was suing him to get access to his property.

In short order, about 240 Virginia landowners were on notice that they too might be sued for Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The county sheriff was notified that he, too, was being sued, although it was an error.

Thus, the stage was set for one of the nastiest environmental and property rights battles in Old Dominion history.

It centered around the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that would run from Harrison County, W.Va. across the rugged Appalachians, down through some of the most peacefully bucolic land in the Virginia., to Union Hill, a mostly African-American community in Buckingham county and on into North Carolina, running through the Tar Heel state’s mostly African-American concentration along its northeastern border with Virginia. Continue reading

Virginia Sets up a Snitch Line

by Kerry Dougherty

Here’s something that will warm the hearts of every Karen in the commonwealth: Virginia’s Department of Health has opened an anonymous snitch line.

That’s right, no longer will these suburban tattletales have to give the side-eye to the unmasked or publicly berate people who disobey the governor’s arbitrary executive orders.

They can now loose government goons on the disobedient.

What fun!

Hey, with a little luck they’ll be able to get those with uncovered faces booted from supermarkets and small shops. Eventually ABC licenses could be yanked and businesses that just reopened could be shut down again. The possibilities for adding to the general misery are endless. Continue reading