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Happy 4th, Everyone!

4th of July fireworks over Fort McHenry.

And the rockets’ red glare
The bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there

I’ll be taking a day off from the culture wars to remember — and appreciate — what all Americans have in common.

Have a great 4th. Drink real American beer and eat real hamburgers, not that frou-frou pale ale and mealy, environmentalist-approved fake “meat”… whoops, slipped again! Enjoy the holiday any way you please!

— JAB

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant

The Stakes are High in Reform of Higher Education

by James C. Sherlock

I exposed in detail yesterday the ironclad control of the University of Virginia by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) bureaucracy at that school.

Maoist-like insistence on radical progressive ideological purity is overseen there by the Red Guards of DEI in every school in the university. To claim otherwise is to insult them and their publicly expressed cause.

The Washington Post yesterday ran a relatively balanced article on Florida’s plans to remake its state institutions of higher education to restore academic freedom and viewpoint diversity. It is The Washington Post — it led with the positions of the left — but got around to the positions of conservatives more quickly than usual.

DeSantis has said he wants to prevent the state’s colleges and universities … from developing “intellectually repressive environments.”

For a fully developed intellectually repressive environment he should see the University of Virginia.

In Florida and nationally, the screams and rending of garments from the left have been as predictable as the sunrise. Continue reading

A New Classic on Thomas Jefferson and Public Education in Virginia

Courtesy University of Virginia

by James C. Sherlock

On April 29, 1962, President John F. Kennedy addressed a group of Nobel Prize winners at a dinner in their honor at The White House.

Kennedy, raised patrician, classically educated and fired in war and politics graciously toasted another such man.

I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House — with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.

The polymath Jefferson saved the indulgence of a great passion, public education, and the creation of a new style of American university, until his last years.

Influenced early by the writings on education of Sir Francis Bacon and John Locke, he completely re-imagined higher education in America from what consisted in 1800 largely of a few colleges teaching religion and the classics under church leadership and funding.

Jefferson’s idea of the university was an institution publicly funded and teaching republican ideals for the preservation of the form of government he and the other founders had labored so hard and risked so much to bring about.

His idea emphasized education in history, languages, the principles of the Enlightenment and the sciences, with graduate schools in law and medicine. Of these disciplines, he thought history to be the most critical of all to the preservation of freedom.

He banned the teaching of religion in his university. The powerful evangelical Christian churches in Virginia were not amused. They and the Federalists fought him endlessly and nearly won.

Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy has written a vivid and lively account of those contests and Jefferson’s indomitable skill and endurance in facing and overcoming opposition to his vision. Continue reading

Beach Politicians Want Personal Assistants

by Kerry Dougherty

Keep an eye on Virginia Beach City Council. They have a habit of shoving aside controversial matters only to bring them back when they think no one’s looking.

This week, the conscience of the council, John Moss, embarrassed his colleagues by shaming them for wanting “personal assistants.”

They put off the vote on a plan to hire personal help until some vague point in the future. You know, when the public’s attention is elsewhere.

These self-important little potentates — who refused to reduce the real estate tax rate to help struggling residents this spring — now want to use tax dollars to hire personal aides to lighten their work loads.

Seriously? Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant

What China Tells Us About U.S. Educational Achievement Gaps

by James A. Bacon

Shaomin Li, a business school professor at Old Dominion University, specializes in studying China’s economy. His book, just published by the Cambridge University Press, “The Rise of China, Inc.,” is well worth reading for its description of how the Chinese political/economic system works. Li, whose job early in life was painting portraits of Chairman Mao, is an advocate of human rights and a determined foe of the Communist regime, but also a steely-eyed realist.

Among China’s greatest assets, Li argues, are traditional values that the Communist regime has been unable to extinguish. An under-appreciated factor contributing to its rise to economic superpower status has been the country’s spectacular gain in labor productivity, which he attributes in large measure to the high value the Chinese place upon educational achievement. In his international business classes, he tells students what they’re up against in a globally competitive economy by comparing two schools — Maury High School in Norfolk and Maotanchang Middle School in Anhui Province.

Li describes Norfolk as an “old, mid-sized city (population 244,000) in Southern Virginia with a lower income level and higher concentration of minorities than its neighbors.” Maury is the best high school in Norfolk and one of the best in the United States, ranking 3,139 out of 24,000 nationally, he writes. The school has good infrastructure, including an indoor swimming pool, a fine library, and an up-to-date computer lab. The teachers, he says, are dedicated. Many have advanced degrees from esteemed universities such as Duke and the University of Virginia. But the school’s academic performance is nothing to brag about. Continue reading

Let’s Get Out of Here

Petersburg Federal Correctional Institution

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that four prisoners escaped from the federal prison complex near Petersburg early Saturday morning.  No details were released on how they escaped.

Undoubtedly, it is important for federal officials to discover how the prisoners escaped and take steps to tighten security.  However, there is another question that is almost as important:  how did it come about that these particular prisoners were housed in that particular facility?

Three of the four had long sentences resulting from their convictions on drug distribution charges (fentanyl, cocaine, or heroin). Also included among the charges were possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, possession of a stolen firearm, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Their sentences ranged from 10 to 16 years.  In summary, these were serious offenders who had shown a tendency toward firearm violence. Continue reading

How Many Pieces Did You Say It Will Take To Build This Plant?

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

There is more good news for the Commonwealth.  As reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Governor Youngkin announced on Wednesday that the Lego Group will invest at least $1 billion to build a new manufacturing facility in Chesterfield County.  It would be Lego’s only manufacturing facility in the United States.

The company projected that the 1.7 million square foot plant would create more than 1,700 new jobs over a period of ten years.

The company currently has a manufacturing plant in Mexico, but, because the United States is a key market, the company wants to shorten its supply chain issues and reduce its overall carbon footprint.  Along these lines, the plant will be designed to be “carbon neutral”.  To accomplish this, it will use some offsets.  According to the news report, “The factory will also be paired with a solar park, which will be built by 2025 and generate the energy needed for the plant to run.”  From the news report, it is not clear whether the electricity produced by the solar farm will be used directly by the factory or whether that is one of the offsets. Continue reading

Looking in the Rearview While the Economy Crashes

by Kerry Dougherty

Want to see an out-of-touch congressperson in action? Take a gander at Rep. Elaine Luria’s Twitter feed over the past 24 hours:

Continue reading

Hey Grads, I’ve Got Your Commencement Address Right Here.

by  Kerry Dougherty

Every May and June it’s the same humbling story. Thousands of colleges and high schools hold graduation ceremonies. Almost every one features a commencement speaker.

Once again, no one has invited me to the lectern. Yes, I know, I’ve mentioned this before. I’m sure they’d rather the graduates — all those Emilys, Madisons, Aidans and Ethans — be lulled to sleep by some pompous politician, wheezy academic or well-known celebrity than by me.

I’m a writer of opinions. The fact that no one wants to hear what I have to say never stops me from saying it. So here’s the 13-minute speech — that’s the optimal length for a commencement address, according to the experts — I would have given had anyone asked. I’ve written these pilot commencement addresses many times before. And still, no takers.

I’d begin with a familiar request of the graduates and their loved ones:

Turn off your cellphones. No, don’t set ’em to silent. Power them down. Put them away.

No one wants to read your live tweets of the ceremony. No one on a stage wants to speak to hundreds of people staring at their phones. Take pictures later. Continue reading

Remember

June 6, 78 years ago

Jeanine’s Memes

from The Bull Elephant

Shoplifting for Fun and Profit

by James A. Bacon

The Arlington County police digital police blotter contains a report of a shoplifting arrest made on March 28. At 6:02 p.m. police were dispatched to a store on Hayes Street where an employee had confronted a man for concealing merchandise in a bag. During the course of the police investigation, the suspect provided false identifying information, acted in a disorderly manner, made threatening statements, and spit on an officer. The police arrested him and charged him on multiple counts.

It turns out that the individual in question, 24-year-old Ronald Thomas of Brandywine, Md., had been served with outstanding warrants in a previous incident in the City of Fairfax. Thomas and another suspect had entered the Ulta Beauty store there with duffle bags and filled them with merchandise before fleeing in a car.

Perhaps incidents like these have been occurring for years, decades, without anyone paying attention. It’s not as if Thomas shot or stabbed anyone. Perhaps these incidents are absolutely nothing to get exercised about. Or… perhaps the incidents are indicative of a troubling trend of California-style social “justice” — and attendant social disorder — coming to Virginia. Continue reading

Every Day Is Memorial Day in Normandy

by Kerry Dougherty

My most memorable Memorial Day did not take place on Memorial Day at all, but a few weeks earlier. In May of 1982.

But then again, every day is Memorial Day when you stand on those beaches at Normandy. It was a glorious spring morning on the coast of France. The sky was the deepest shade of blue. A gentle wind made the American flags flutter. And I was there with 52 Irish boys. Bad boys.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Twenty-one years ago, I lived in Dublin, where I attempted to eke out a living as a freelance writer in the dingy offices of the now-defunct Irish Press. While back home, American newsrooms were swapping their IBM Selectrics for computers, this one was stuck in another era. Manual typewriters created a chattering cacophony, cigarette smoke turned the air blue, greasy chip wrappers littered the floors. Everyone was known by their last name.

Except me. I was The Yank. Continue reading