Category Archives: Uncategorized

Supreme Court Refuses to Block Vaccination Mandate; Judicial Review Generally

Justice Amy Coney Barrett
Photo credit: Politico

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The U.S. Supreme Court has flatly turned down a request for an injunction against the enforcement by Indiana University that all students and staff be vaccinated against COVID-19. This request was an appeal of a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denying the request.

The order was issued by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who is assigned to review petitions from the circuit in which the university is located. She did not give any reasons in her order. According to Adam Liptak, a long-time New York Times reporter covering the Supreme Court, “She acted on her own, without referring the application to the full court, and she did not ask the university for a response, Both of those moves were indications that the application was not on solid legal footing.” So much for the issue of the constitutionality of vaccination mandates.

Regarding the recent discussion on this blog about the “waiver” of constitutional rights, that notion is nonsensical. It presumes that constitutional rights are clearly spelled out and are absolute and therefore cannot be waived. First of all, the Supreme Court has never ruled that any right is absolute. Even freedom of speech has some limitations. Second, many provisions of the Constitution are less than crystal clear. The prime example would be the guarantee of “due process of law.” Continue reading

My Advice to Glenn Youngkin – WAKE UP!!

Image by cmfg804 from Pixabay

May I call you Glenn? Glenn, we are neighbors. We’re roughly the same age. If you object to me calling you Glenn I suggest you stop reading this article now. It’s only going to go downhill from here. Dude, you need to wake up! Belay that  You need to wake the hell up. And I use “hell” only because Jim Bacon won’t let me use the word I really want to use on his blog. I was watching the Washington Football Team play last night from my usual perch at Mookie’s BBQ in Great Falls. I saw endless commercials from your campaign. Ineffective would be the polite term. Sucks out loud is my term. Seriously, buddy … you think small business is good? That’s your point? Really? I happen to own a small business in Virginia. I don’t know what the hell you are talking about. Small business is good? Now what? And I’m on your side. I voted for McAuliffe when he ran against Cuccinelli because the Cooch was too radical even for me. I won’t be voting for the Macker this fall. I saw his efforts as governor. Never again. You’ve got my vote unless some kind of Northam blackface incident comes up. Now, let’s talk about how you get more votes than just mine. Continue reading

Not All COVID-Fighting Masks Are Created Equal

The three main types of face mask.

by James A. Bacon

So, society is back to wearing masks. Governor Ralph Northam has mandated mask usage in public schools, while many universities and employers in Virginia are doing the same.

The K-12 mandate does make accommodations for people who are eating, drinking, sleeping, exercising, playing a music instrument, and/or is in  state of unconsciousness. (I’m not making that up). Clearly, mandating masks represents an advance over closing the schools for another year. But Northam’s latest executive order provides no guidance on one important question. What kind of masks should children wear? Continue reading

Seizing and Freezing with COVID

by Paula Harkins

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from my employer requiring me to report my vaccine status. Ummmm… what?!?

Let’s back up a moment. Since March 2019, I have been working from my home in Northern Virginia for a D.C. government contractor. I have limited my visits with friends, family, and the public. I had turned off the news. I had reduced my exposure to social media.

I am a fitness fan, so shortly after my employer went to a mass telework environment, I decided to stand up and lead a #INTHISTOGETHER program to encourage employees to keep moving in a pandemic environment, whether that was on a treadmill or on a hiking trail and to share experiences and pictures. We had over 800 participants! Folks stayed active, safely. This was my way of turning a lemon into lemonade. I was able to do something positive in a world that was struggling to feel and be “normal.”

Let’s fast forward to March 2020. Vaccines became available. I wasn’t sure about someone injecting me with a vaccine that had not gone through full trials, but I considered the odds and how it might affect me and the ones I love and decided to get vaccinated. My choice. Continue reading

Northam Orders Masks on Faces of Virginia Students

by Kerry Dougherty

They say an advertisement is successful if you can recall the name of the product long after you’ve seen the ad.

If that’s true, the 2013 Staples Back-To-School spot has to be one of the greats. I thought it was hilarious when I saw it eight years ago and I think of it every year around this time.

See for yourself:

Unfortunately, after yesterday’s edict by Gov. Ralph Northam, there will be lots of long faces on students in the coming weeks – although we won’t be able to see them – as Virginia’s school children trudge back to class wearing face masks.

Again. Continue reading

Oyez, Oyez. The Virginia Court of Appeals is Changing.

The newly elected judges to the Virginia Court of Appeals.Top row: Dominique Callans, Doris Henderson Causey, Vernida Chaney, Frank Friedman
Bottom row: Judge Junius Fulton, Lisa Lorish, Judge Daniel Ortiz, Stuart Raphael
Photo credit: Virginia Mercury

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

One of the General Assembly’s most cherished prerogatives is the election of judges. When one party controls both houses of the legislature, that power is particularly relished. The Democrats had the opportunity in this special session to exercise its prerogative in a big way by electing eight judges to the Virginia Court of Appeals.

The recent expansion of the jurisdiction and size of the Court of Appeals accounted for most of the unusually large number of available judgeships. The 2021 General Assembly provided for an appeal of right to the Court of Appeals in every civil case. Because that policy decision will result in an increase in the workload of the Court of Appeals, the legislation also increased the number of judges on that court from 11 to 17. Two vacancies on the existing court accounted for the other available judgeships. Continue reading

Virginia’s Continuing Mental Health Crisis

Credit: Adobe clipart

by James C. Sherlock

I like government at every level to address only things it must. Then I want it to be world class in efficiency and effectiveness. It has been clear since the ’60’s that I am destined to be repeatedly frustrated on both counts.

We come to an old issue in Virginia, the shortage of appropriate treatment options for the mentally ill. The COVID-driven increase in mental illness has brought this issue back front and center.

Why is the Commonwealth so reliably awful when it comes to strategy, management and funding of state health programs? Even under federal court orders in the case of mental health?

Some of that is incompetence, but some is lack of interest — investigations and funding — by our governors and General Assemblies of both parties.

Most of us discovered the shortage in severe mental illness capacity in 2013 when Sen. Creigh Deeds’ son killed himself and injured his father. That incident that was preventable if there had been a psychiatric bed available.

That was not the first time the Commonwealth knew about it. There was that pesky federal investigation and court order. Continue reading

Could Solar “Sink Under the Weight of Its Own Trash”?

by James A. Bacon

Solar energy is widely regarded as the most cost-effective source of electricity available today. According to financial advisory firm Lazard, the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) for solar, about $30 per MWh, is nearly half that of the most cost-effective fossil fuel, combined-cycle natural gas. The great economic advantage of solar, of course, is that is has no fuel cost. The sun is free.

Now an article in the Harvard Business Review, “The Dark Side of Solar Power,” suggests that the LCOE for solar could be four times greater when the full life-cycle cost, including recycling, is taken into account.

The problem is that solar panels contain small quantities of potentially toxic chemicals, primarily cadmium and lead. These are the very same heavy metals that caused massive freak-outs when they were found in the coal-ash waste of power plant ponds. Worried that leachate from coal ash could contaminate the water supply, environmentalists insisted that the material had to be buried in double-lined landfills at the cost of billions of dollars. Continue reading

America Is Tired of Elitism

by Kerry Dougherty

There is nothing that members of the corporate media hate more than being told they’re elites.

Thing is, they’re so elite they don’t even realize it.

Take The New York Times White House correspondent, Annie Karni, for instance.

It isn’t simply her job to report what’s going on in Washington, she’s also the self-appointed  defender of former presidents not named Trump.

On Sunday, CNN’s Jim Acosta took time out from attacking Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — apparently it’s the anchor’s job to try to damage a likely GOP frontrunner for president in 2024 — to give Karni a chance to blow kisses to the Obamas.

Acosta pointed out that there was criticism of the party Barack Obama threw for himself at his Martha’s Vineyard $12 million estate Saturday night. Leaked photos showed a crowd of unmasked revelers, including Obama, dancing inside a crowded large tent.

Criticism of the party was “overblown” according to the NYT reporter. Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

Jeanine’s Memes from the Bull Elephant

Women, Stop Blaming Men If You Can’t Have It All

By Paula Harkins

Yesterday I was invited to join an advisory panel for a Women in Leadership course hosted by a university in Washington, D.C. Excited to learn about the possibilities, I read up on the course only to find the words, “From the ongoing battle for equal rights to the breaking of barriers on the workplace, women face complex issues in a dynamic environment that has been dominated by men for centuries.”

At that point my excitement ended. Let me explain.

Obviously, I am a w0man. I advocate for women in leadership roles, and I mentor young women. I urge my mentees to lean in, know their value, and to speak up about their value. What I don’t understand is why women feel it necessary to include rhetoric on male domination in the workplace and leadership. Let’s look at some stats. Continue reading

The Craziness Chronicles: Woke Kindergarten, Marijuana Candy and the Therapeutic State

Documenting Virginia’s steady descent into madness…

Woke Kintergarten. Asra Nomani and her buddies at Parents Defending Education have caught the Fairfax County Public School system with its figurative pants down. A summer learning guide at Bailey’s Elementary school for the Arts and Sciences in Falls Church suggested readers follow Web links to “Woke Kindergarten,” “No White Saviors,” other contents informed by Critical Race Theory, and photographs including nudity and semi-nudity, reports The Fairfax Times. After an outcry, the schools removed the material, declaring that the postings were made “in error.” Translation: “We don’t disavow the material, we made a mistake posting it online where parents could see it.”

The wrong kind of munchies. The Virginia Poison Center is recording a surge in calls relating to individuals ingesting marijuana edibles. Seventy-six percent were children, half of whom were under six, reports WTVR News. Fifteen children have been rushed to the hospital, and five required treatment in critical care units. Apparently, young children are drawn to the edibles, which look like candy, cookies or brownies. Virginia, which has decriminalized marijuana, is following the same path as states that legalized weed. Several of those states ban packaging that imitates popular snacks and the use of cartoons, animal shapes, or anything that might be attractive to children. Virginia should consider doing the same.

Defunding school resource officers. Back in May, the Alexandria City Council defunded SROs (School Resource Officers) in city schools and reallocated $790,000 to hire a “mentoring partnership coordinator,” a public health nurse, a therapist supervisor, three senior therapists, and a human services specialist. Guess who’s not happy? Alexandria school officials. According to The Alexandria Times, the school board wants the SROs back. Continue reading

Make “Contextualization” Open, Vibrant, Dogma-Free

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia has taken down the statue of Indian fighter George Rogers Clark and is expunging other monuments and tributes to individuals who fall short of lofty, progressive 21st-century ideals. President Jim Ryan has promised that the statue to Thomas Jefferson, the university’s founder, will stay. But it will be “contextualized.”

What that contextualization will look like is anybody’s guess. The project has been handed to the “Naming and Memorials Committee” for elaboration. Will Jefferson be portrayed as a founding father and progenitor of principles that guide the United States today… or a slave-holding rapist? It is too early to say.

What we do know is that considerable thought has been given to the machinery of contextualization. Whatever the message may be, it will be delivered digitally. Envision standing near the Jefferson statue, or the Rotunda, or the Lawn, or other spots deemed worth of recognition, such as the Black Bus Stop, the Ginger Scott Case, or the Coat and Tie Rebellion. You can take out your smart phone, scan a QR code, and access text and audio descriptions.

But there are warning flags galore as to where this initiative is heading. Continue reading

UVa Does Foster Free Expression, VP Advancement Says

Mark M. Luellen, vice president for advancement

by James A. Bacon

The upper echelons of the University of Virginia administration are keenly aware that many alumni are unhappy with the hostility toward viewpoints that don’t conform with the dominant leftist culture at the university. As Mark M. Luellen, vice president for advancement acknowledged in a recent dear-colleagues letter, “Many of us have engaged in conversations with constituents concerned about a perceived lack of ideological balance at the University.”

President Jim Ryan recognizes these concerns, Luellen continued, and he wants to ensure the university community that “diverse viewpoints and civil discourse are encouraged.” The letter went on to tout the Statement on Free Expression and Free Inquiry that was approved recently by the Board of Visitors.

As I have observed more than once, however, it’s one thing to propound abstract principles and quite another to put them into practice — especially when new faculty and staff hires are pushing the university’s ideological center of gravity ever further to the left.

Perhaps in expectation of continued skepticism, the President’s Office compiled a list of efforts, outlets and organizations promoting the civil exchange of ideas on the Grounds. Luellen thought it would helpful for the university community to see “the sheer volume of efforts in place to foster an environment where all ideological positions are discussed and evaluated openly.” Continue reading

The Best Cities for Cat Lovers

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