By Peter Galuszka
For more than a year, there has been a stream of criticism of government handling of the COVID vaccine.
On this blog, there has been a relentless pounding of Gov. Ralph Northam for his role in trying to navigate the pandemic that has so far killed more than 500,000 Americans. This is a far greater number than all of U.S. troops killed in World War II.
Now, two members of Congress, both moderate Democrats, are raising questions about the current system of providing vaccines. The private sector has a lot to answer for.
According to U.S. Rep. Abigail D. Spanberger (7th District) and Rep. Elaine G. Luria (2nd District), the current system is confusing, as large pharmacy companies CVS and Walgreen try to handle giving people protective shots.
Of special note is their concern that the current system favors the rich over the poor. In their letter to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers fort Disease Control and Protection, they wrote:
“Unfortunately, the complicated array of programs has caused significant confusion and frustration for public health officials and the general public. The varied eligibility requirements and appointment-making procedures favor the technologically savvy and well-resourced who can navigate the different systems. Retail pharmacy partners have been reluctant to coordinate their outreach and appointments with state public health officials’ priorities, meaning vulnerable individuals patiently waiting their turn according to health department guidelines could be passed over.’
By Peter Galuszka
Our esteemed Jim Bacon has been on a tear in recent months writing about media coverage of the problem of systemic racism at the Virginia Military Institute.
Of special interest to Jim is the reporting of Ian Shapira, a Washington Post reporter who has been digging into the VMI. After his stories were published, the superintendent of VMI retired and an inquiry was launched.
Jim doesn’t like what the Post and Shapira have done. Some of Jim’s headlines go right to the jugular including “VMI Update: The WaPo Makes Another Sleazy Insinuation” and “WaPo Ratchets Up Assault on VMI.”
At one point, Jim made this observation: “Polish up that Pulitzer. It looks like The Washington Post is vying again for the big prize in journalism”
Well, guess what happened? Shapira and the Post have won a George Polk award for their VMI coverage. The citation reads thusly: Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
It is deemed a great honor to be one of the 47 fourth-year students at the University of Virginia awarded a residence on the Lawn, Thomas Jefferson’s architectural masterpiece and World Heritage site. A committee of 60 students selects the residents from a pool of applicants, in theory based on their record of “unselfish service and achievement in their respective fields of activity and academics.”
But when the Cavalier Daily published an article yesterday providing the racial/ethnic background of the individuals who were offered a spot on the Lawn next year, it didn’t emphasize their accomplishments. Rather, drawing from data provided by Dean of Students Allen Groves, the article focused on the increased demographic “diversity” of the Lawn residents.
“Students of Color” received nearly 60% of the offers this year, compared to only 30% last year, reported the student-run newspaper.
The dramatic one-year shift in the racial/ethnic composition of Lawn residents raises the question of whether race and ethnicity has become an explicit but not-stated-publicly criteria for selection. Continue reading
by James C. Sherlock
It is tough to be a Democratic politician in Richmond or Washington. Now that they govern, they find it one big game of coalition whack-a-mole.
I have written today of the conflicts between the interests of teachers unions and those of parents playing out in the Virginia General Assembly. That vital Democratic suburban women demo is in play.
That is the tip of the iceberg for Democrats. They have assembled a coalition whose interests are fundamentally opposed. Those fissures are only fully exposed when they have unfettered governance, which they have now both in Richmond and Washington.
The only things they seem to agree on are big government, free money and government regulation and control of nearly everything except their own interests.
After that, it gets dicey. Continue reading
Posted in Culture wars, Education (higher ed), Education (K-12), General Assembly, Governance, Media, Money in politics, Political Influence, Race, Regulation, Unions
by James C. Sherlock
We have discussed here the failures of the City of Richmond Public Schools (RPS) in educating its economically disadvantaged children, as well as the abysmal performance of Black children in its schools.
I intend to help readers understand how it manages to fail repeatedly even with major federal funding as guardrails and state oversight officially in place.
Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) such as RPS and its schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet state academic standards.
It is useful to drill down into the details of that program so that readers can understand how every school district in Virginia is supposed to plan and execute the education of poor kids to improve their chances of success.
The question that will remain when I finish will be accountability.
How does a system like the Richmond Public Schools continue to submit similar paperwork every year and every year fail to meet its stated goals? Where is the accountability? Why do the people of Richmond put up with it? Continue reading
Posted in Children and families, Consumer protection, Education (K-12), Entitlements, Federal, General Assembly, Governance, Government Oversight, Open Government, Poverty & income gap, Race, Scandals
Tagged James Sherlock
Question: Which comes closest to your view regarding the COVID-19 vaccinations recently approved by the FDA?
by James A. Bacon
One out of five Virginians (19%) say they will never get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a poll of 1,039 people conducted by the Wason Center at Christopher Newport University. The demographic groups most resistant to the vaccine are Republicans, 24% of whom responded that they would “never” get the vaccine, and African Americans, 26% of whom said the same.
In contrast to the Wason Center poll I criticized yesterday, this one seems to be well constructed and yields significant insight into Virginians’ attitudes toward the COVID epidemic.
Among other findings: Continue reading
An apparent exception to the rule: a nursing home worker in New York gets a vaccination. Credit: Yuki Iwamura/AP and the Washington Post.
by James A. Bacon
A large percentage of nursing home workers in Northern Virginia and the Washington metropolitan area have declined to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Their wariness, reports The Washington Post, arises from “online misinformation about the vaccine” and “historical mistrust of the medical system of which they are a part.”
Forty-eight percent of all COVID-19 related fatalities in Virginia have occurred in long-term care facilities. Despite strict lockdown protocols, the disease enters facilities by piggybacking on employees. Vaccinating nurses and other employees at long-term facilities is critical to stemming the infection of vulnerable elderly residents.
WaPo cites the example of Trio Healthcare, which operates 11 nursing homes in Virginia. Chief Clinical Officer Melissa Green said employees initially bought into various myths about the vaccine, which included rumors that they had serious side effects and conspiracy theories about government plans to implant microchip in residents.
Then, of course, there’s America’s long history of racism. Writes the Post: Continue reading
Virginia Education Secretary Qarni – Why is this man smiling?
by James C. Sherlock
President Biden yesterday signed a couple of executive orders on race.
“We must change now,” the president said. “I know it’s going to take time, but I know we can do it. And I firmly believe the nation is ready to change. But government has to change as well.”
From the Associated Press:
The orders “disavow discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community over the coronavirus pandemic.”
“The memorandum highlighting xenophobia against Asian Americans is in large part a reaction” to Donald Trump.
“Large part” indeed. Effectively the AP is saying “nothing else to see here.”
But the AP’s D.C.-based reporters need look no farther than Richmond and Fairfax County to find direct assaults on Asians — by Democrats. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
The House Rules Committee has passed a resolution that recognizes racism as a “public health crisis” in Virginia. To remedy alleged systemic racism, HJ 537, submitted by Del. Lacshrecse Aird, D-Petersburg, would expand the charge of the Virginia’s Office of Health Equity to ensure that state health policy is analyzed “through an intersectional race equity lens” and offer funding recommendations based on that analysis.
The bill also calls for training for Virginia elected officials, staff members, and state employees on “how to recognize and combat implicit biases.”
The resolution passed in a 13-to-5 vote, which suggests it stands a strong chance of being adopted by the full House of Delegates.
The sad irony is that if this doctrinaire framework for approaching healthcare policy is adopted, it will do almost nothing to help African Americans become healthier. Implementation of its proposals might even make racial health disparities worse. One thing can be said for certain: By distracting from the real flaws of Virginia’s healthcare system the bill would work to protect the status quo. Continue reading
Del. Jerrauld C. Jones. Credit: Washington Post
by James C. Sherlock.
This is a follow up to Jim Bacon’s story about Levar Stoney, his contributor and city statue removal contractor, credible accusations of corruption and Attorney General Herring.
From the Washington Washington Post:
“In what may become a heated Democratic primary contest for Virginia attorney general, state Del. Jerrauld C. “Jay” Jones Friday attacked Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) Friday for authorizing an investigation into allegations of impropriety surrounding Richmond’s mayor — a standard move in an ongoing court case that Jones called a Trump-like abuse of power. “Using the office of the Attorney General to investigate your political opponents is the same tactic employed by Donald Trump,” Jones (D-Norfolk) said in a statement, referring to the fact that Richmond Mayor Levar A. Stoney has endorsed him, and not Herring, for the Democratic nomination for attorney general this year.”
Welcome to the quicksand of the left, General Herring.
You are now officially accused of abuse of public office for “authorizing an investigation” into allegations of corruption on Stoney’s part. Not indicting, investigating. As is your job. Continue reading