Category Archives: Politics

Budget Earmarks for Nonstate Entities

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

For many years, the most interesting and fun portion of the state Appropriation Act was a section near the end entitled, “State Grants to Nonstate Entities-Nonstate Agencies.” The 2000 Appropriation Act, appropriating almost $36 million for these nonstate entities, is a good example. It included funding for historic courthouses, local museums and historical societies, and the houses of Founding Fathers, as well as for larger, statewide museums and organizations.

Most of the amounts provided were small, especially in the context of the overall Appropriation Act. However, they were important to the local recipients and served to add to the political capital of the local legislators who sponsored the appropriations.

In 2011, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli threw what seemed to be a monkey wrench into this process. In an official opinion, he declared that such appropriations, although they may “serve noble purposes,” were in violation of the state constitution. Article IV, Section 16, of the Virginia Constitution plainly prohibits “any appropriation of public funds, personal property, or real estate…to any charitable institution which is not owned or controlled by the Commonwealth.” For years the legislature had operated under the legal fiction that such appropriations were not to “charitable” organizations, but for “historical” or “cultural” ones. Indeed the title of the budget program used for these appropriations is “Financial Assistance for Cultural and Artistic Affairs.” The Attorney General’s opinion ended that charade. Continue reading

Stop Comparing January 6th To September 11th

by Kerry Dougherty

Stop. Just stop. Stop with the hyperbole. Stop exaggerating. Stop minimizing horror in a craven pursuit of politics.

It happens all the time.

For example, I’ve always cringed whenever I hear comparisons between Hitler and any contemporary political figure.

There was only one Adolph Hitler. He was vile and he killed six million Jews.

No one in modern history is anywhere near as evil as that man. When people casually disparage their political opponents by comparing them to Hitler or his Nazis it is a sign that they’ve run out of rational arguments and want to devolve into hyperbole.

Ignore them. They are stupid.

Likewise, nothing in my lifetime can compare to the horror of September 11, 2001.

NOTHING. Continue reading

Imaginary Protection Against Imaginary Threats

Jason Miyares, Attorney General of Virginia

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Attorney General Jason Miyares has taken another step to politicize his office and the enforcement of election laws. As reported by the Virginia Mercury, Miyares has announced the formation of a 20-member “Election Integrity Unit.” The purpose of the unit is to ensure the “legality and purity” of elections.

There has been no evidence, or even credible allegations, of serious fraud in Virginia elections. However, the Attorney General seems to feel that there is a need to have 20 members of his staff working on prosecuting election fraud.

In truth, this is just a political stunt. This “unit” will not have its own budget. The members of the “unit” will not be dedicated to investigating and prosecuting fraud. Rather, the unit will consist of staff members who work on other issues, in addition to election issues. In other words, election fraud will be an incidental part of their jobs. Continue reading

More Assistance for Veterans

Sen. Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) speaking at opening of new community center for veterans Photo credit: Virginian Pilot

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

A new community center for veterans in Virginia Beach just opened.

If you are thinking the new Jones & Cabacoy Veterans Care Center, built and operated by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, will provide nursing home care to veterans, you would be mistaken. Or, perhaps you were thinking of the Virginia Beach Vet Center, operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to offer counseling for needs such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the psychological effects of military sexual trauma (MST). Again, you would be mistaken.

No, this is the RNC Veterans Community Center, operated by the Republican National Committee. Savannah Viar, the committee’s regional communications director, told The Virginian Pilot that the purpose of the center is to train veterans who want to campaign for Republican candidates. “It basically teaches them the best practices for door knocking, phone banking, poll watching and poll working,” she said. “They come in and go through that training class and then they can use what they learn to go out and participate in GOTV (get out the vote) efforts.” Continue reading

John Reid Says What Everyone Is Thinking

John Reid

The WRVA talk show host calls out the men without chests. Good on him for doing so.

by Shaun Kenney

Salvation for the Mountain Valley Pipeline?

MVP route map. Click for larger view. Source: MVP

by Steve Haner

And now, from our “I’ll believe it when I see it” department, comes the expectation that passage of President Joe Biden’s new corporate tax hike and green energy incentives package will be followed by a smooth path to completion for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) for natural gas.

The topic is everywhere today because Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., included it as a deal point on a summary of what he sees as agreed outcomes from his decision to support the package. But the massive bill does not (and could not) include blanket approval of the pipeline among its provisions. Continue reading

Social Theory vs. Science in K-12 Discipline in Virginia – Fraud or Just Wrong?

Both fraudulent and wrong?

by James C. Sherlock

American school children have in my lifetime been the subject of widespread experiments in theory disguised as breakthroughs in education.

Consider the “new math” and the “reading wars” as prominent examples.

Now we have social theory on school discipline created by federal civil rights lawyers piggybacking on what may or may not prove to be successful academic practices for children with disabilities. That social theory has been promulgated as state policy guidance in Virginia.

A Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) has been used successfully in some instances to help teach academics to the learning-disabled.

This system was extended by lawyers from the aspirational left to school discipline and social-emotional learning without evidence. Now it has been published by the Virginia Board of Education for use by every school division in Virginia as a potential cure for “systemic racism” in discipline.

The 2021 Model Guidance for Positive, Preventative Code of Student Conduct Policy and Alternatives to Suspension (Virginia Model Guidance) may be fraudulently referenced. It is certainly incompletely referenced. Continue reading

Bad News for Governor Youngkin

Glenn Youngkin addressing the Nebraska Republican Party convention. Photo credit: Nebraska Republican Party by way of the Nebraska Examiner.

by James C. Sherlock

The New York Post has a story by Dana Kennedy that has put Governor Youngkin in a tough spot.

It recounts nasty business transactions by Carlyle Group Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chairman David Rubenstein.

The story links Mr. Rubenstein to the trashing of two founding fathers by tour guides at Monticello and Montpelier, the Virginia homes of presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

The Governor’s service at Carlyle was not mentioned in the article, but that won’t help.

It is a story linked to Virginia monuments that will need to be dealt with. Continue reading

Virginia Republican Congressmen Do It Again

Rep. Bob Good (5th District)

Rep Morgan Griffith (9th District)

Rep. Ben Cline (6th District)

Virginia’s Republican representatives in Congress have again embarrassed the Commonwealth.

The House of Representatives recently approved a resolution supporting the applications of Sweden and Finland to join NATO.  The vote was 394-18.  Three of those 18 “no” votes were from Virginia Republicans:  Morgan Griffith (9th District), Ben Cline (6th District); and Bob Good (5th District).  The other Republican member of the delegation, Robb Wittman (1st District), supported the resolution.

Virginia had more members opposing the resolution than any other state.  Griffith, Cline, and Good joined such luminaries as Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), and Lauren Boebert (Colo.) in what Charlottesville’s The Daily Progress has dubbed “the crackpot caucus”.

Good explained that his “no” vote was “a ‘no-confidence’ vote in the Biden Administration’s failed foreign policy.”  It is hard to see how strengthening NATO in the face of Russian aggression is a failure in foreign policy.  Griffith said that he was not opposed to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, but he thought the House of Representatives was “overstepping its bounds.”

Even 176 of their fellow Republicans in Congress disagreed with them.

Luria’s Curious Campaign Slogan

Congresswoman Elaine Luria

by Kerry Dougherty

I’ve seen some wacky political slogans in the past: “Be Best” was inane, “Build Back Better” was worse, especially considering the mess Joe Biden’s created in just 17 months.

But the most laughable? Elaine Luria’s unofficial campaign mantra as she runs for re-election to Congress:

“I don’t care if I lose.”

Here’s how The Washington Post reported her curious stand in one of its typical Democrat-valentines last week:

…the former Navy commander has said she is unconcerned about any potential political consequences that her role in unspooling the former president’s inaction on Jan. 6 could have in her own political future — a message that, rather than whispered to confidants, she has put front and center in her campaign. Continue reading

The Great Realignment, Best-State-for-Business Reprise, Housing Drags, and Youngkin Popularity

by Chris Saxman

If you read one article this week make it this one from Axios – The Democratic electorate’s seismic shift. Just about every presentation I have given over the last 6 or 7 years begins with a statement or slide that says we are living in a historic political realignment and it’s global. From the article:

Democrats now have a bigger advantage among white college graduates than they do with nonwhite voters, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll.

Why it matters: We’re seeing a political realignment in real time.

Democrats are becoming the party of upscale voters concerned more about issues like gun control and abortion rights.

Republicans are quietly building a multiracial coalition of working-class voters, with inflation as an accelerant.

Continue reading

Keep Your Eye on Virginia, Mr. Youngkin

Glenn Youngkin addressing the Nebraska Republican Party convention. Photo credit: Nebraska Republican Party by way of the Nebraska Examiner.

by James A. Bacon

The buzz in the national media about Governor Glenn Youngkin’s national political aspirations is reaching a cicada-like crescendo. Over the weekend, Virginia’s Governor spoke to the Nebraska Republican Party at the invitation of Cornhusker Governor Pete Rickets. As the Nebraska Examiner put it, “Many conservatives see Youngkin’s win in Virginia as a model for harnessing the energy of base voters who love former President Donald Trump, without turning off suburban voters, who do not. ”

Youngkin has been coy about his intentions. “I think that there’s a lot of speculation around presidential stuff, and therefore my head’s down, I’m paying attention to Virginia,” he told the Examiner. “I’m helping out other governors.”

Youngkin may have a winning political formula that could play well across the country. I don’t know. But I do know there’s something he does not have: a proven track record at governing. Continue reading

What About That Price of Gas?!!

Gas station on Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Richmond, 7/7/2022

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

There was much wailing — on this blog, in Virginia, and in the nation — as gas prices approached and then exceeded $5 per gallon recently. Governor Youngkin and President Biden used those price levels to call for suspension of gas taxes.

And what was the reaction of the general populace to those high prices, except complaining? Did folks decide to drive less? Nope. AAA projected that road travel this summer would approach the levels of 2019, when gas was much cheaper. Are they driving slower? After all, gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds over 50 mph. Anyone who tries to travel on I-95 between Richmond and Northern Virginia driving about 65 mph, as I did a couple of weeks ago, knows the answer to that question.

But wait! As shown in the photo above, gas can be readily found in the Richmond area for $4.39, or less, per gallon. That’s 60 cents per gallon less than it was the last time I filled the tank on my car. That includes the inflation-adjusted increase in the gas tax that Steve Haner recently warned us about. That price decrease and price level are better than they would have been under Governor Youngkin’s proposal at the time he put it forward.

Funny, but I haven’t seen anything on these pages about this decrease. Of course, it is more fun to complain about price increases than celebrate their decreases.

The Abortion Hypocrisy of Glenn Youngkin

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Governor Youngkin recently told a forum organized by The Family Foundation that life begins at conception. I agree with that statement.

He went on to say that he wanted to “protect life.” However, he said that he would be willing to settle for a bill that prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

According to the CDC, there were 15,582 abortions in Virginia in 2019, the latest year for which there is data. (If the abortion data is included on the Virginia Department of Health website, it is well hidden.) Of that number, only 90 (less than one percent) were performed after the 20th week of pregnancy. If life begins at conception, as the Governor says he believes, why aren’t those almost 15,500 lives that were aborted (killed) before the 21st week of pregnancy as valuable as the 90 lives that would have been spared under the Governor’s policy? Continue reading

A Mean-Spirited Amendment

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The 2021 General Assembly passed legislation that made students who fall into the “DACA” category (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), sometimes called the “Dreamers,” eligible for in-state tuition at Virginia institutions of higher education.

To be eligible for in-state tuition regardless of citizenship or immigration status, an applying student must have:

  1. Attended high school in Virginia for at least two years;
  2. Graduated from high school on or after July 1, 2008; and
  3. Filed Virginia income tax returns ( by the student or parents) for at least two years prior to the college application date.

Out of the funding provided for financial aid to students in higher education institutions in the budget bill it adopted, the General Assembly earmarked $5 million each year for DACA students.

Governor Youngkin submitted a budget amendment that “redirected” that funding to financial assistance for students attending Virginia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Those institutions would be Virginia State in Petersburg and Norfolk State in Norfolk. Continue reading