Help! WJLA is reporting that the State of Virginia is using a 35-year-old computer system to process unemployment checks. The system has buckled, leaving 70,000 Virginians without their unemployment benefits. In a stunning admission, Bill Walker, Director of Unemployment Insurance with the Virginia Employment Commission says, “We are right at the first of July now” when asked how far behind the process stands.
It seems obvious that ineffective processing of unemployment claims disproportionately impacts less affluent and minority Virginians. Yet this issue has been missing from the Ralph Northam COVID-19 updates I have watched. Those press conferences have included discussions of the presidential election and a description of court cases involving Confederate statues but nothing about the real pain that the ineptitude of the Northam Administration is visiting on 70,000 Virginians, including many people of color. Continue reading
“Climate change is real but it’s not the end of the world. It is not even our most serious environmental problem.”
By Steve Haner
That statement opens the dust jacket summary for “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All” by Michael Shellenberger, once named “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine. It remains the number one best-seller in Amazon’s Climate or Environmental Policy category, competing with alarmist sermons such as “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells and “How To Avoid A Climate Disaster” by Bill Gates. Anybody interested in the topic should seek it out.
The themes of the book also align well with views previously featured from a 2019 newspaper column by retired University of Richmond biology professor, R. Dean Decker. Both are totally at odds with the wild predictions of Climate Armageddon that drive the Virginia Clean Economy Act, the upcoming Virginia debate over the Transportation and Climate Initiative carbon tax, and just about every Democratic political campaign in the Virginia and the U.S.
Shellenberger’s book is particularly important for the debate over carbon taxes such as the TCI compact, and the VCEA’s energy cost inflation, because with his worldwide experience and perspective he has seen the interrelationship of income poverty, energy poverty and damaging environmental exploitation. Saving the Earth and its flora and fauna require energy sufficiency – from more than just renewables – and energy-intensive modern agriculture. It requires wealth and economic growth. Continue reading
by DJ Rippert
The second (or third) time around. America’s polarized political situation has all eyes on the upcoming presidential election. Millions are voting early and millions more will vote by mail. There is a good chance that the final results will not be known on the morning after Election Day. If true, America’s attention will be riveted on the election through November and quite possibly into December. Meanwhile, COVID cases are surging in the U.S. and parts of Europe. Yesterday, the U.S. recorded 906 COVID-related deaths. That number had been averaging between 700 and 800 since early autumn. Virginia’s record in managing COVID has been mediocre to date. Not terrible but not great either. The state ranks 30th in per capita COVID-related deaths. Over the last seven days Virginia has recorded the 21st most cases of COVID among U.S. states. As evidence of a resurgence of COVID mounts, Virginians ought to wonder whether the state is ready to react to such a resurgence if it occurs.
I’m having a bad day. First I couldn’t figure out how to auto-post Bacon’s Rebellion posts to Facebook. OK, I’m technically challenged, so I’ll hire someone to do it. Then I updated WordPress, which I do know how to do, but all the comments disappeared. I didn’t know how to fix that but, thankfully, my Internet host provider did.
Now my iPhone battery has died.
It’s the old Can’t-fix-A-because-of-B, and Can’t-fix-B-because-of-C problem.
To get a new battery installed, I went online to set up an appointment at the Richmond Apple Store. To set up an Apple store appointment, I needed to schedule an appointment online. When I tried to schedule an appointment, Apple asked for my username and password. I provided those. Then Apple required a double authentication. It wanted to send me a verification code to my iPhone. My iPhone was dead, so I couldn’t get the code.
Apple offered these three alternatives: Continue reading
By Peter Galuszka
On Saturday, May 25, 1968, the Medical College of Virginia, now part of Virginia Commonwealth University, made medical history. A surgeon recruited from Stanford University a couple of years before successfully transplanted the heart from one middle-aged man to another.
MCV officials in Richmond officials were ecstatic. Organ transplants were a hot, fairly new surgical procedure. Once stuck in the junior varsity leagues of medical training and research, MCV was basking in glory from media coverage.
There was one peculiarity that no one seemed to notice. The name of the heart donor was missing. As it turned out, the donor was Bruce Tucker, a Richmond Tucker happened to be African-American.
Tucker had suffered a serious brain injury from a fall the day before. He was taken to MCV. Hospital officials made a perfunctory search for his relatives. Tucker’s brother was desperately looking for him and his business card was in Bruce’s pocket. No one found it.
So, after Bruce was pronounced dead, his heart was removed and placed in the chest of Richard G. Klett, a white business executive from Orange. This shocking story is well documented in a highly readable book by Richmond author and journalist Chip Jones that has been just published by an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Tucker’s brother finally located hospital officials who started talking about an autopsy and that he needed to find a funeral director. Continue reading
by Kerry Dougherty
After months of being next to last nationally – in COVID-19 testing – Virginia is finally first in something:
A brand new contact tracing app.
“Virginia officials on Wednesday launched a smartphone app that uses Bluetooth technology to alert people when they have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19,” reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
“The app, COVIDWISE, is the result of a collaborative project between Google and Apple, which have been in talks with Virginia and other states to develop and roll out the app for months.
“Virginia on Wednesday became the first state to fully launch an app with this particular platform.”
The governor unveiled the app along with a public relations campaign: “Add Your Phone To The COVID Fight” to persuade Virginians to download the free software that will alert them when they’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, even if that contact was weeks earlier. Continue reading
Musical chairs goes viral
By DJ Rippert
The Bromage Broadcast. Erin Bromage is a professor of biology and a blogger. She will tell you that she’s not an expert epidemiologist but she recently wrote a blog entry that proves she is an eloquent writer when it comes to explaining the physics of Coronavirus to the layman. As Virginia reopens after the lockdown people will have to make personal decisions about what activities to undertake and what activities to avoid. Ms. Bromage’s plain English explanations make a good starting point for making such decisions.
By Peter Galuszka
Veteran photographer Karen Kasmauski, who grew up in Norfolk, has a brilliant online project that shows the human and environmental impacts of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
She is a senior fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers, a non-profit group that funded her project that centers mostly in rural Nelson and Buckingham Counties that would be dissected by the natural gas pipeline.
She combines spectacular aerial photos with deep close ups of people.
One of her subjects is Ella Rose, a retiree who lives in a small house in Union Hill. She was living a quiet happy life in her natural setting until she got a letter from Dominion Energy stating that they would be routing the ACP about 150-feet from her house.
Union Hill is a touchpoint for pipeline controversy since it is largely African-American community that ACP officials have selected for a compressor station. It is one of similar localities that seem to be targeted with other loud and disruptive equipment along the pipeline route. Continue reading
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Tagged Peter Galuszka
By Peter Galuszka
Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, a pioneering and brilliant African-American mathematician whose on-the-money calculations kept early astronauts alive, died Monday at the age 101. She spent most of her life in Hampton and worked for NASA there until she retired in 1986.
Her life and that of two other female African-American mathematicians from NASA, were portrayed in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures. Last year, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
Ms. Johnson was born in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va, where she was able to develop her talents despite the restrictions of the Jim Crow era. In the Mountain State at one point, public education was not provided to black people from high school on. So, her Father moved the family to the town of Institute where a high school was available. She graduated summa cum laude From West Virginia State, a historically black school, in 1937 when she was 18 with degrees in math and French.
For years she moved in and out of education, teaching at a school In Marion. Va. and continuing her studies. She moved permanently when her husband found work in Hampton. Continue reading
By Dick Hall-Sizemore
Each session there are bills that are introduced probably with the best of intentions and approved for those reasons, but are basically bad policy and are likely to have unintended consequences. They are not “big” bills and do not generate headlines, but skate under the radar. I want to highlight three that have come to my attention and are in an area with which I am familiar.
Inmate medical copay. (HB 281—Hope.) This legislation would repeal the authority of the Department of Corrections to charge inmates a co-pay for medical services. Inmates now are subject to a $5 co-pay for offender-initiated medical visits. No inmate is denied medical services due to a lack of funds in his account. The revenue generated by the co-pay is used to support the agency’s telemedicine program. The House amendments to the budget bill include $405,000 from the general fund each to replace the revenue lost. Continue reading