by James A. Bacon
Now it’s time for some clickbait — a ranking of the Best Cities for Cat Lovers based on a methodology of dubious merit from Lawnstarter. The compilers derived their ranking from eleven metrics ranging from the number of pet-friendly hotels, animal shelters, pet stores, and veterinarians per 100,000 residents to the median per-visit cat sitter rate.
The best city for cats in the United States is Orlando, Fla. The worst, among 200 cities surveyed, was New York.
If you want to how Virginia cities scored, you’re just going to have to click to finish reading this post! Continue reading
Photo credit: WTKR televison
by James A. Bacon
How many children have to be killed, wounded and traumatized before people wake up?
Headline from today’s Virginian-Pilot: “Nearly a dozen children have been shot this month in Norfolk. Communities are hurting…”
And then it adds this kicker: “and activists want change.”
The Virginian-Pilot spoke with elected officials, community organizers, the city’s police chief, and nearly two dozen families impacted by the violence. There are lots of ideas out there — more funding for recreation centers, expanded peer mentorship, getting guns off the street. The usual suspects… all of which have been tried and all found lacking.
The story does extract the beginnings of insight from one person. Councilman Paul Riddick cuts to the quick: “We have no one but ourselves to blame,” he says, referring to city leaders “We have lost control of our youngsters.”
But then he says the city needs to redistribute money from wealthy areas to poor areas to build more libraries and recreation centers. Libraries? Are you kidding me? The City of Norfolk needs to build more libraries to reduce the number of random shootings? Continue reading
The Lee statue being removed from the U.S. Capitol building.
by James A. Bacon
Let us all praise Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources. The department may be part of the culture-cleansing machine taking down historical statues and moving them to locales where they don’t offend people, but at least it is looking out for the taxpayer.
The Northam administration, acting through DHR, made national news last December when a statue of Robert E. Lee was removed from the National Statuary Hall Collection of the U.S., Capitol and relocated to a Richmond storage facility. But news accounts, such as this Associated Press piece, didn’t tell the story behind the story.
DHR arranged for the removal and transport of the statue to Richmond for $11,700. Let that serve as a benchmark for appraising the procurement policies of governments and universities carrying out their purges. (For background, see Carol Bova’s recent article, “Making Money from Cultural Cleansing.”) Continue reading
Despite rising incidence of mental illness and substance abuse, admissions to hospitals in Virginia has trended lower in recent years. Something is broken. Source: Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
by James A. Bacon
The story made big headlines earlier this month when the Northam administration announced that five of the Commonwealth’s eight mental health institutions have stopped taking new patients. Two things are happening to make a chronically bad situation worse. First, the number of patients referred to state hospitals through Temporary Detention Orders (TDOs) has soared — from 3.7 patients per day in FY 2013 to 18 per day currently, or a 392% increase. Second, the hospitals are suffering staff shortages, in part due to the COVID-19 epidemic but also because “the level of dangerousness is unprecedented,” according to a letter from the Virginia Department of Behaviorial Health and Development Services to partners and providers.
“There have been 63 serious injuries of staff and patients since July 1 and we are currently experiencing 4.5 incidents/injuries per day across the state facilities,” the letter stated. Employees are quitting. One facility, the Commonwealth Center for Children & Adolescents, can safely operate only 18 of its 48 beds.
Similar supply-and-demand issues are spilling into the private hospital sector. Private psychiatric hospitals, which provide acute short-term care, are experiencing a similar imbalance between demand for psychiatric facilities and a labor shortage. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
Once upon a time in a galaxy far far way, it was considered a great honor among 4th-year University of Virginia students to be selected for residence on the Lawn — the architectural heart of the university designed by Thomas Jefferson and now designated a world heritage site. The accommodations were less than luxurious — most memorably, the 47 rooms were not equipped with their own bathrooms. There were offsetting advantages. The rooms had fireplaces, and the University provided a plentiful supply of wood. But living on the Lawn was mainly about status. It conferred recognition of a student’s accomplishments in his or her first three years.
Something is happening at UVa, and I don’t fully understand it. The prestige of a Lawn residency is declining. The trend was made visible last year when a 4th-year woman posted a prominent sign on her door emblazoned with the words “F— UVA” and in subsequent statements dismissing founder Thomas Jefferson as a slave-holder and a rapist. As evidenced by supporting signage on other doors, other Lawn residents shared her sentiments.
But the decline in prestige long precedes that particular expression of animus toward the university granting the honor, and it precedes even the reign of wokeness under current President Jim Ryan. As shown in the table above, submitted by UVa in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by UVa alumnus and Bacon’s Rebellion contributor Walter Smith, applications to live on the Lawn have fallen steadily and precipitously — 37% — over the past five years. Continue reading
by Jim Kindig
My 3rd great grandfather came to Augusta County in the 1820s, cleared land and established crops on land that is still in our family. Several of my neighbors could tell similar stories. We love farming, but it’s a hard life. Incredible increases in productivity have kept agricultural commodity prices depressed for 80 years. To keep up with the latest and greatest agricultural machinery and technology, farmers have borrowed heavily, using their ancestral lands as collateral. One or two bad years, and they go broke. Many see no way out of their cycle of indebtedness.
Today there is light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, and that light comes from the sun. Large-scale solar farms offer landowners a low-risk means to keep their farm land. They can lease acreage to a solar developer for a guaranteed income over 25 years. At the end of the lease, they can easily convert the land back to agricultural production with no degradation of soil quality or health. Continue reading
by James C. Sherlock
Barton Swain explores a topic in the Wall Street Journal that bears examination in Virginia. He makes a profound observation:
“The sheer illogic of (the Texas election laws) controversy captures something essential about culture-war progressives. They are able to embrace a cause, condemn dissenters and doubters as monsters, and experience no cognitive dissonance despite having themselves held the contrary view a short time ago.”
It is evidence of a rejection by many of their own personal and political histories — of positions they once claimed on moral grounds. They dismiss citizens as beneath contempt for beliefs that until recently they held themselves.
Sackcloth and ashes are not often in evidence, unless you count black face. Continue reading
Becky Pringle, NEA President
by James C. Sherlock
The left has designed Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL) in no small part to drive current K-12 teachers with traditional values out of the profession.
Leftists hope to have set in motion a five-step process:
- It will be clear in a couple of years that the plan has worked. With Virginia already facing a teacher shortage, VDOE continues to push CRT, SEL and other progressive ideals such as the colossal overreach of a transgender child policy that converts appropriate accommodations into recruitment.
- Working conditions will continue to worsen for those:
- who want to teach kids reading, writing, mathematics, science and the other academic disciplines without being forced into service in loco parentis to train social justice warriors in violation of their personal standards and those of most parents;
- who wish to protect their personal values and dignity in their chosen profession.
- The state will be shocked — shocked — that there are not nearly enough teachers to staff the schools.
- Virginia will continue its ongoing reductions in the qualifications for licensure. (Example: For the Middle School Science Praxis test, the Educational Testing Service, after exhaustive research, recommended a cut score of 152 corresponding to a raw score of 61 out of 100. The Virginia Board of Education recently authorized a cut score of 147, corresponding to a raw score of 57 out of 100.)
- Nothing will stem the tide. President Biden will be asked to declare a national emergency and ask for a trillion dollars to increase the numbers of teachers without, this time, looking for root causes.
This is an easy assessment of what the left wants, not the least because they admit it. Most radical progressives are not stupid, just wrong. Those five steps are exactly what they seek.
Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane
by James C. Sherlock
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is absolutely relentless.
Defenders in a zone defense in football are responsible for areas of the field, rather than following a specific receiver. Offenses often attack these defenses by flooding a zone — sending three receivers into an area covered by two defenders.
But at least there are 11 players on both sides of the ball.
VDOE is trying to flood defenders of traditional K-12 education, not with strategy, but with superior numbers of players.
The enormous staff of VDOE, backed by state-funded University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University ed school professors, attacks traditional roles of parents and teachers on so many fronts simultaneously that they are very hard to defend.
I just read the VDOE Teacher Direct Newsletter published July 14, 2021.
Below are a few of the headlines along with some of the VDOE guidance for teachers.
by James C. Sherlock
Last updated Just 15 at 4:16 PM
I have long taken a personal interest in the City of Richmond Public Schools (RPS). Its students have a right under the Virginia constitution to a quality education that they are systematically denied. RPS has utterly failed to educate the children under its care. The proof is in the Virginia Department of Education’s School Quality Report.
The Board of Education dutifully reports that fact every year to the Governor and the General Assembly — another constitutional requirement. Neither takes effective action.
Now most of RPS school personnel have failed to get vaccinated. School starts next month.
Action is warranted. None appears in the offing. Continue reading
As Bacon’s Rebellion readers know, Facebook has begun rejecting the most anodyne of ads promoting our website on the grounds that they address “social” or electoral issues. But the social media giant does have a mechanism for people to prove they are not bots. I am in the process of jumping through the necessary hoops, and I will keep you posted on my success — or failure.
I am not a bot. But how about these “friend” requests I keep getting from beautiful young Chinese women? Are they bots?
I have accepted none of these friend requests, so it’s not likely that I have unwittingly put myself on some list of dupes. The young woman above lists a Hong Kong residence and goes by a name rendered in Chinese characters, which I cannot read. Her Facebook page shows photos of her dining out, playing golf, and posing in gardens. We have no mutual friends. Continue reading
by Kerry Dougherty
As I was walking my dog yesterday morning a neighbor who was climbing into his car greeted me with this weather warning:
“It’s going to be 96 today!”
Yep, it’s hot around here. Humid, too.
We’re withering in the heat. Sizzling in the sun.
Smothering in the humidity.
How bad is it? Well, when I ventured outside last Friday when the mercury was climbing into the mid-90s I had to wipe the fog off my Ray-Bans.
Next, I started my car and it took almost a full minute for the AC to kick in. I thought I was going to pass out.
As I drove around town I could see heat waves shimmering off the pavement. The sight made me so thirsty that I stopped at a 7-Eleven only to find a line by the Slurpee machine.
How much more must we suffer?
Honestly. What is it about us and the weather? Let the mercury stray a few degrees outside the normal range and we become mildly deranged. Continue reading