Category Archives: Politics

Only Ghouls Use Tragedies To Score Political Points

Portsmouth state Senator Louise Lucas

by Kerry Dougherty

When news of the mass shooting in a Buffalo supermarket broke on Saturday, Americans recoiled in horror.

The fact that the “suspect” was an 18-year-old white man who traveled 200 miles from his home to a Tops market in a predominantly African-American section of Buffalo apparently so he could kill black people made it even more grotesque.

In fact, this psycho killed 10 people, shot 13. All but two were African-American.

Americans of all races reacted with revulsion to the killings. To think that ordinary people on everyday errands were cut down and murdered in cold blood is to contemplate pure evil.

Among those killed was retired police officer Aaron Salter who attempted to stop the suspect, Payton Gendron. Then there was 86-year-old Ruth Winfield who’d just visited her husband in a nursing home and was picking up groceries. This woman, the oldest victim, didn’t deserve to die in a hail of gunfire on the floor of a supermarket. Continue reading

What’s the Governor Waiting For?

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

At the reconvened session on April 27, Governor Youngkin returned 116 bills to the General Assembly with recommended amendments. Legislators accepted the Governor’s recommendations on 91 of those bills. The remaining 25 bills were returned to him as originally passed.

The Governor has three options for each of these remaining bills: sign it, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. The deadline for him to take action is midnight, May 27.

What is the Governor waiting for? Yes, he still has 11 days before the deadline, but it was only 25 bills and he has had 19 days to consider them. He already had a folder with notes on each bill. Actually, the batch sent back included several sets of duplicate bills; therefore he has fewer than 25 legislative proposals to act on. Furthermore, he probably knew before he returned the bills which ones he was not going to approve if his recommendations were not accepted. Continue reading

Talking Out of Both Sides of Their Mouths

Route of proposed Coalfields Expressway

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

While perusing today’s edition of the Roanoke Times, I ran across an article that astounded me.  It concerned a meeting recently in Southwest Virginia about the Coalfields Expressway.  I remembered hearing about this proposed highway many, many years ago and thought that it had been dismissed as a pipe dream.  It turns out that the idea (and hope) is still alive.

The Coalfields Expressway would be a 115-mile federal four-lane, divided highway running from the intersection of I-64 and I-77 near Beckley, West Virginia to U.S. Rt. 23 in Pound, in Wise County.  West Virginia has opened 15 miles of its 66-mile portion of the proposed highway and another 21 miles are in various stages of construction or planning.  Virginia has begun constructing 7 miles of its 50-mile portion.  That stretch overlaps with Rt. 460, linking Grundy to Kentucky.  The cost of the Virginia portion is estimated at over $3 billion. Continue reading

De Facto Secretary?

Andrew Wheeler, Senior Advisor to the Governor

On April 15, Governor Youngkin issued a press release announcing “additional key administration appointments”.  Several of those appointments were duly noted by various newspapers and other media outlets. Others were not, although they are interesting in their own right, raising some issues and shedding light on the administration.  Because different issues are raised with different appointments, I will discuss them in separate articles.

One of the most controversial early actions of Youngkin was the appointment of Andrew Wheeler as Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources.  Wheeler had been the director of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Trump administration.  Democrats in the General Assembly were incensed, and the Senate refused to confirm Wheeler’s appointment.  Wheeler stayed on as Acting Secretary until the legislative session ended, when state law prohibited his continuing in that position.  Youngkin then announced that Wheeler would remain in the administration as a senior advisor to the governor.  Travis Voyles, who had  earlier been appointed Deputy Secretary, was designated as Acting secretary. Continue reading

Virginia Partisanship in Congress

Rep. Abigail Spanberger
Photo credit: Richmond Times Dispatch

Virginia Congressmen have scored at the extremes on a national measure of bipartisanship in Congress.  As reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, has been ranked as the fifth most bipartisan member of the House of Representatives and Rep. Bob Good, R-5th, the fifth least bipartisan member.

Rep. Bob Good, Photo credit: Richmond Times Dispatch

The Lugar Center, founded by the late Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Indiana), and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, annually publishes the Bipartisan Index.  The Index “measures the frequency with which a member co-sponsors a bill introduced by the opposite party and the frequency with which a member’s own bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party.”  It is not a simple compilation of co-sponsorships.  The Index utilizes a 20-year baseline of data to standardize the data and there is a weighting factor to account for members who sponsor or co-sponsor lots of bills or just a few bills.  Not counted in the compilation were resolutions or private bills, such as those that name post offices. Continue reading

Virginia is the Queen Mother of Bellwethers

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn

by Chris Saxman

Honestly, where does one start in trying to explain Virginia politics?

Wednesday’s leadership change by House Democrats should not be considered shocking. Democrats had very close contests for caucus control after they won the majority, so losing that majority would naturally jeopardize their leaders.

Suffice it to say, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn has never had a firm grip on her caucus having won close leadership elections and she barely lost the vote Wednesday.

Just one vote.

Was Wednesday about the younger, more aggressive progressives making a move? Like most things in politics, it’s complicated, but Democrats nationally are losing the enthusiasm of younger progressive voters.

See my 2024 Electoral College Preview on the Democrats problem with younger voters. (AH – yes – the possible move by Joe Biden to forgive student loan debt.)

There’s more to the leadership change than age demographics. This likely came down to the simple fact that Democrats lost control of the House in November and had no clear plan to win it back. In fact, they could possibly lose even more seats this year. Continue reading

Virginia Democrats in Disarray

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn

by Kerry Dougherty

Whoa. That was quick. Unprecedented in recent years, too.

Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, the much ballyhooed first female Speaker of Virginia’s House of Delegates, as well as the commonwealth’s first Jewish speaker, was tossed overboard Wednesday from her leadership role in the Democratic caucus by fellow party members.

Five months after Republicans regained the majority in the House of Delegates and swept the top three jobs in the commonwealth, Democratic delegates gave an unceremonious boot to the woman who had headed the party for the past two years.

Filler-Corn is expected to be replaced by a man.

Of course.

The mutiny was reportedly orchestrated by two-term Delegate Don Scott Jr., D-Portsmouth. He gained notoriety two weeks into the 2022 session by attacking Gov. Glenn Youngkin, saying, “So far what I’ve seen from his Day 1 activities he is not someone who is a man of faith, not a Christian.” Continue reading

A Different Tone

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

There have been some complaints lately about how the Richmond newspaper should be called the Richmond Times-Dominion, due to its biased coverage in favor of the utility. While I agree with a lot of the criticism about taking a Dominion news release, rewriting it and then publishing it as news, a sentence in a story in today’s RTD struck me because it is definitely not in the line of that narrative:

“Dominion has a history of being a top donor to Virginia politicians, who in turn write laws that help the utility earn extra profit at the expense of its customers.”

Of course, the reporter writing the story is Patrick Wilson, one of the newspaper’s best reporters.

General Assembly to Governor: Not So Fast

Virginia Senate Chambers. Photo credit:AP

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The page 1 lead story of Saturday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch announced what anybody who had been paying attention already knew: the General Assembly will not be taking up the biennial budget bill when it convenes on Wednesday. However, that does not mean the legislators will be able to leave early. They have a full docket to consider: 26 gubernatorial vetoes and over 100 bills returned with amendments recommended by the Governor.

I haven’t taken the time to go over all the bills sent back with recommendations, but there are at least a couple that should be of interest to Bacon’s Rebellion readers.

HB 158 (Byron, R-Lynchburg). This bill addressed an area of much complaint in Bacon’s Rebellion over the past two years: the Governor’s almost unlimited emergency powers. As finally enacted with bipartisan votes in both houses, the bill provides that no rule or order issued by the Governor during a declared state of emergency shall be effective beyond 45 days of its issuance, unless the General Assembly takes action. Continue reading

Honor: An Old-Fashioned Virtue?

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

There have been numerous articles recently on this blog about the honor codes at various Virginia colleges and universities. I remember a ceremony in which we incoming freshmen at the College of William and Mary signed our honor code pledges.

These codes set out the behavior that people expect of each other and themselves in a civil society. Regrettably, they seem old fashioned and perhaps out of date in light of the situation today in which a major party leader in Congress blatantly lies publicly about his reactions following a major political crisis and the members of his party do not seem to want to hold him accountable for those lies to the public.

Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes

Applause earned

by Kerry Dougherty

Look who’s crying now.

Virginia Democrats, who launched ugly attacks on Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s religious beliefs in his second week in office and who spent the entire session bragging about how they were a “brick wall” blocking most of his initiatives, are suddenly bawling because the governor vetoed 26 bills.

Never mind that Youngkin also signed 702 bills and amended 114.

These are the same partisan hacks who blocked Andrew Wheeler’s appointment to serve as Virginia’s Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources because he’d been Donald Trump’s EPA chief. On top of that, these are the Democrats who shamelessly approved the appointments of soft-on-crime “bleeding hearts” to the last parole board and then watched as they began setting killers free. These vindictive lefties torpedoed four of Youngkin’s Parole Board appointments.

Looks like these arrogant politicians, who believed they’d never have to work with another Republican governor, expected Youngkin to simply roll over and rubber stamp redundant and bad bills.

There’s a new sheriff in Richmond and while he may be mild-mannered, Youngkin demonstrated this week that he knows how to punch back at the bullies in the General Assembly. Continue reading

Was Virginia’s 2021 Election a Parental Pulse or a Silver Surge?

Walmart greeter Mikki in South Dakota is 99 years old.

Yes, education was a big deal but how about inflation’s impact on fixed income retirees?

by Chris Saxman

Results of a newly released study by TargetSmart, “a Democratic political data and data services firm,” suggest that we should rethink the conventional wisdom and push back on the social media/cable news narratives about the 2021 election.

NOW before everyone hits the reply button that because this is a Democratic firm and they are just trying to improperly turn the 2021 narrative to benefit Democrats in the upcoming midterms — just stop.

The news here is WORSE for Democrats for the midterms, but kudos to TargetSmart for following the data. As the old saying goes — in order to solve a problem, you first have to admit you have a problem.

Today’s Richmond Times Dispatch ran a Bloomberg editorial which provides context: “Piecemeal reform won’t solve U.S. retirement crisis.”

Yet many Americans face the prospect of great financial strain and even poverty in old age, because they lack the resources to support themselves after they stop working.

Continue reading

What Is It About Adam Ebbin?

Sen. Adam Ebbin
Photo credit: Washington Post

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Governor Youngkin seems to have it in for state Senator Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria.

Of the 26 bills from the 2022 Session that the Governor vetoed, nine (35 percent) were bills sponsored by Ebbin. (Midnight yesterday was the deadline for the Governor to take action on bills passed in the last session.) From another perspective, the Governor vetoed all of Ebbin’s bills that passed, with one exception, which he sent back with amendments.

It is not that Ebbin’s passed bills were highly controversial and the Governor’s vetoes are an expression of partisan disagreement. Of the nine bills vetoed, four passed both houses unanimously.    The most opposition that any of the nine bills encountered in the Republican-majority House of Delegates was 28 votes against one of them.

The reasons given by the Governor for these vetoes have not been posted yet on LIS.  Several were duplicates of other bills, which ordinarily might be a valid reason for a veto, especially if the patron of the other bill was a member of the party of the Governor. However, there were lots of bills which had duplicates and those of Ebbin seem to have been the only ones vetoed. In addition, the duplicate to one of Ebbin’s bills (SB 278) was HB 450, sponsored by a Democrat and which the Governor returned to the General Assembly for an amendment. Continue reading

Racist Rant Results in Resignation

by Kerry Dougherty

When a shockingly racist 2021 Facebook post from Hampton Electoral Board Chair David Dietrich surfaced late last week the reaction from his fellow Republicans — from Gov. Glenn Youngkin to the Hampton GOP chief — was swift and unequivocal.

Resign, they said, or we will remove you from the board.

“As governor, I serve all Virginians,” Tweeted Youngkin on Saturday. “I won’t accept racism in our Commonwealth or our party. The abhorrent words of a Hampton Roads official are beyond unacceptable and have no place in Virginia. It’s time to resign.”

Dietrich reportedly resigned within the hour.

13NewsNow reported that the Hampton GOP, “shared a screenshot of the post, in which Dietrich used racist language to criticize the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and retired Army Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré.” Continue reading

Such Words Have “No Place in Virginia”

by James A. Bacon

Governor Glenn Youngkin did the right thing by demanding the resignation of David Dietrich, a Hampton Republican Party official serving on the city electoral board, for making a racist Facebook post.

In accusing certain senior military officials of persecuting “conservative, freedom-loving Americans,” Dietrich referred to them as “nothing more than dirty, stinking N—–s.” If they want a Civil War, they’ll get one, he added. “Perhaps the best way to pull us back from the brink is a good public lynching.”

Republican Party officials, from Governor Youngkin on down, have condemned the remark. “We unequivocally condemn all forms of racism and bigotry,” said Hampton GOP Chairman Philip Siff.

“As governor, I serve all Virginians. I won’t accept racism in our Commonwealth or our party,” Youngkin tweeted yesterday. “The abhorrent words of a Hampton Roads official are beyond unacceptable and have no place in Virginia. It’s time to resign.” Continue reading