Category Archives: Uncategorized

Marxist Critical Theory and Education

By James C. Sherlock

Perhaps my biggest concern for our society is that Marxist critical theory ideologues have taken over the Graduate Schools of Education.

From Jim Bacon’s post earlier:

“The new cultural elite is envious and would like to reappropriate much of that wealth for redistribution as it sees fit. Even more alarmingly, the cultural elite has a totalitarian instinct. Convinced of its righteousness, it is bent upon imposing its values and priorities upon the rest of the population.”

Critical theory was a primary creation of Karl Marx.

It rejects capitalism, property rights, individual freedom and democracy without as far as I have been able to find in my research offering an alternative.

Communism, socialism and fascism all attempted to achieve these goals. All three have proven practical and moral failures.

“Socialism” only works with a capitalist economy and the person freedom to innovate and public welfare programs to redistribute some of the profits of capitalism.  That was the successful concession of the post-Mao communist party leaders in China that is being eroded today by the restrictions on personal freedom.  The Chinese economic miracle was capitalist, not communist.

Communism and fascism have resulted in unprecedented human cruelty and suffering and ultimately societal destruction.

Critical theory, of which critical race theory is but an offshoot, demands redistribution without considering what happens the day after redistribution, when, if unfettered, talent and effort will instantly start reinstating unequal distribution of property.

Continue reading

Flying the Flag for a Friend

by Kerry Dougherty

On the morning of the Fourth of July, on a leafy side street in Trenton, N.J., a tall, gray-haired man with a mustache will open his front door, step outside and solemnly hang an American flag.

He’ll pause for a minute, ponder the Stars and Stripes, and then he’ll whisper, “This is for you, Tom.”

Unlike those of us who catch flag fever only around Independence and Memorial days, this 80-something gent will simply be doing what he does every day.

Ever since my dad died in 1998.

He was my father’s closest friend for half a century. A widower now, the man lives alone in a house that once echoed with the sounds of young children, his wife’s piano and the barking of a long-gone beagle named Lady.

He’s the last surviving member of a quartet of friends. Continue reading

Redskins Likely to Change Team Name

A new look for DC football?

by DJ Rippert

And so it goes. The Washington Redskins issued a somewhat surprising announcement today stating that the organization will “undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.” While the statement does not definitively say that the team name will be changed, it is almost guaranteed to change given today’s political climate. Even Dan Snyder wouldn’t undertake a review of the controversial name only to conclude that “everything is fine with the name.” Would he? Continue reading

“Equity” and the Performance of Virginia’s Black and White Students

by John Butcher

The estimable Jim Bacon suggests that the Northam administration’s emphasis on “equity” and “restorative-justice” is keeping disorderly students in the classroom to the detriment of the other students. As well, he posits that behavior problems are more common among black students so the effect should be larger in divisions with larger black populations.

VDOE has some data that might speak to those issues.

Elementary and middle school students mostly take the same tests at the same time. High school, not so much. So let’s look at the data for the elementary and middle school grades.

First, the disorder. The Safe Schools Information Resource goes back to 2015. For grades 3-8, the statewide counts there of individual offenders as a percentage of their ethnic population are:

Continue reading

Another Use and Abuse of Statistics…

Sources: Fairfax County Police Department, U.S. Census Bureau

by James A. Bacon

The Fairfax County Police Department publishes a statistical report every year on the police use of force in the county. There were 594 use-of-force incidents reported in 2019, up from 510 the previous year. The publication provides data with minimal commentary.

This is the headline from the Reston Now article summarizing the report: “Fairfax County Police Disproportionately Use Force on Black Individuals.” The headline was backed up by this paragraph:

Black residents were involved in roughly 31 percent of use-of-force incidents, even though they make up a little over 8 percent of the total population. Roughly 48 percent of all use-of-force incidents involved whites, who make up 67 percent of the total population.

By placing the data in the context of the national uproar over the George Floyd killing and calls for police reform, as the story did, Reston Now feeds the standard media Oppression Narrative. But the story left a lot out, which seems to be the usual operating procedure. Cherry pick the facts that support the media narrative, and omit anything that might call it into question. Continue reading

Where Are the Other 52 Nursing Homes with Outbreaks?

by Carol J. Bova

The governor’s Long Term Care Facility Task Force list shows 179 nursing home and assisted living facilities with outbreaks of COVID-19. There are 52 more, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Outbreaks tab on the daily COVID-19 data, but no explanation why they’re missing from the Task Force list.

It took a little digging to narrow down where those facilities are located. The Task Force list can’t be downloaded or copied or sorted. But by adding its info to the CMS nursing home COVID-19 dataset and tagging each entry with the locality the Task Force used, I could compare the faciliity locations to the VDH Outbreaks Data Downloads and compile a list breaking down the number of missing outbreaks by Health District.

Alexandria – 4
Arlington – 3
Central Shenandoah – 3
Chesapeake – 1
Chesterfield – 2
Chickahominy – 2
Crater – 2
Eastern Shore – 2
Fairfax – 14 Continue reading

A New Look at COVID-19 Hospitalization Trends

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association has introduced a new data visualization graph at its COVID-19 dashboard. The chart shows the steady decline in hospital utilization by COVID-19 patients since early May.

The Coming K-12 Meltdown

by James A. Bacon

Educational achievement in Virginia schools is heading for a melt-down. The racial achievement gap will get worse, not better.  And Virginians will live with the consequences for decades to come.

Part of this looming disaster can be attributed to the COVID-19 epidemic, which compelled the Northam administration to make difficult decisions on the basis of incomplete and evolving information. But much of it will be entirely man-made. I will touch upon broad themes in this post, and follow up with more detailed blogging in the future. Here are the key elements converging to create a perfect storm.

The epidemic. Governor Ralph Northam, like governors across the country, made the decision to close Virginia schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The necessity of this move, made in an environment of media-stoked hysteria, is, to be generous, debatable: School children are far less vulnerable to contracting and spreading the virus than adults. However justified the school shutdown may or may not have been from an epidemiological perspective, the educational consequences are undeniable. Children lost two- to three months of schooling as many districts fumbled the switch to online learning. Moreover, kids from poor families, who are disproportionately African-American, were less likely to have access to home computers and broadband, and their parents were less likely to provide the necessary supervision to ensure they were doing their work. The disparity in lost learning likely has been exacerbated. Continue reading

Back to School?

by James C. Sherlock

Remote learning leaves behind the poorest children. Please check the map above for a state near you.

Virginia Democrats Gearing Up for Police Reforms

By Dick Hall-Sizemore

The upcoming special session of the General Assembly will be about budget cuts and police reform.   Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn announced last week that actions on police reform would be allowed to be taken up at the special session to be held on a to-be-announced date.

Whenever it is held, it apparently will not be soon enough for the Democrats. “There is an urgency to provide relief from what many have seen as a racist criminal justice system and its application,“ said Charniele Herring, the majority leader.

None of the proposals being talked about are radical and none will constitute an immediate fix. Some of the proposals will cost money. Furthermore, one limitation that seems to have been overlooked is that most policing is under the jurisdiction of localities, which means that there is just so much that the state can do. Finally, the General Assembly has grappled with some of these issues in the past and has not resolved some of their complexities, making it improbable that it will be able to do in a short special session. Continue reading

Smart Geese!


Laura and I were taking a walk along the Rocketts Landing segment of the Capital Trail this morning when we came across this sight — a gaggle of geese crossing the trail at the pedestrian crossing. So well behaved! Now, if only we could teach them where to poop!

— JAB

No, Northam Does Not Support Police Defunding

by James A. Bacon

The idea of defunding the police in Virginia comes close to being clinically insane. Only someone suffering from mental psychosis would seriously propound it. Whatever police abuses may occur in Virginia — and they are relatively few — they are trivial to compared what would occur in a state of lawlessness and anarchy. So, the question arises, did Governor Ralph Northam literally call for defunding the police yesterday?

The Republican Party of Virginia blasted out a press release accusing Northam of endorsing the “Defund the Police” movement that “has become a mainstream Democrat litmus test.” The statement then cited the following quote:

When we talk about defunding, I wouldn’t look at it as defunding. I would look at it as how do we best prioritize the funding that we have.

I would not consider the statement a model of cogent expression of thought. But it’s clear, if not from the statement itself then from the context of what else he said, that the Governor does not support defunding in the same sense as, say, Washington state anarchists who have declared a police-free autonomous zone in downtown Seattle. Rather, the Governor supports reallocating law-enforcement dollars in support of the latest trendy Democratic Party talking point. Continue reading

Who Was Williams Carter Wickham?

The christening of the U.S.S. New Mexico at Newport News Shipbuilding. Why is this illustrating a post about Williams C. Wickham? (And BTW, I’m in the photo sitting next to Ralph Northam on the front row.  My Dad, too. Look closely for his brown rain coat.)

By Steve Haner

Willams C. Wickham had his memorial in Richmond’s Monroe Park torn down a few nights ago. It was an Edward Valentine statue (will we burn the Valentine next?).  Like many, I had walked by it in ignorance. As he passes from sight, a few facts about his life if you are interested.

Williams C. Wickham, b.1820, d. 1888

Without Wickham, there might not be that mighty naval shipyard on the James River in Newport News, where I worked 12 years with 20,000 others. That shipyard has probably been the most powerful engine for growing the black middle class on the Peninsula, with generations of families earning good livings and financing college educations. Maybe Wickham would have been proud of that, maybe not.

It came about because Wickham, according to this, enticed Collis P. Huntington to start investing in Virginia railroads – which led to the founding of the shipyard by Huntington at the Newport News coal terminus. Wickham served as vice president and then president of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Huntington, of course, was one of the Big Four who built the Central Pacific Railroad and linked the continent at Promontory, Utah. Continue reading

They Are Coming For Your Family, Your Strip Malls

Sen. Amanda Chase with sidearm

By Peter Galuszka

State Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield County, has always played the clown.

The conservative politician grabbed attention a year or so back when she addressed a meeting at the General Assembly wearing a revolver in a holster on her hip. She’s also feuded with the county Republican Party and was defrocked.

Now Chase is striking again by spreading fears of ANTIFA attacks on mostly white and middle class suburban areas. She says the loosely organized far left group is targeting strip malls at Meadowdale and Hancock Village in Chesterfield County and in Hanover County at Mechanicsville.

She said that members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a pro-gun lobby, would be patrolling some of these areas.

A few problems here:

Chase said her source for source for the ANTIFA tip was Chesterfield Police Chief Jeffrey Katz. Contacted by the Chesterfield Observer, Katz said he was not her source. “At no time did I share any active criminal intelligence with her,” Katz told the Observer. Continue reading

Why Do 58 Nursing Homes Lack PPE?

by Carol J. Bova

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) publishes COVID-19 data reported by nursing homes as of May 31. Only five Virginia facilities reported not having enough essential supplies for current use, but that still put the safety of 554 residents plus an unknown number of staff members at risk for COVID-19 or other infections.

Glenburnie Rehab and Manorcare–Imperial, both in Richmond, reported no current supplies of hand sanitizer, gloves, N-95 masks, surgical masks, eye protection or gowns.

Woodbine Rehabilitation in Alexandria reported no N-95 or surgical masks and no gowns.

Albemarle Health and Rehab in Charlottesville and The Springs Nursing Center in Hot Springs didn’t have any N-95 masks.

Looking ahead, CMS had also asked if nursing homes had a week’s supply of the five PPE items and hand sanitizer. Continue reading