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Jeanine’s Memes

From the Bull Elephant

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant.

Forgive and Forget The COVID Kooks? Nope.

by Kerry Dougherty

This is rich. The COVID extremists who closed schools, mandated masks and vaccines, laid down nutty curfews, dictated the number of guests we could have in our own homes for Thanksgiving, ordered the elderly to die alone and shuttered churches, now want amnesty.

Forgive and forget, they say, nervously. Let’s move on.

Two words: heck no.

Those of us who were right about almost everything concerning COVID want a reckoning. We want political leaders who supported these unconstitutional COVID measures booted from office and we want our former friends and neighbors who called us grandma killers when we refused to tie soggy bandanas on our faces to apologize.

Grovel, even. Continue reading

Blue on Blue: Richmond Progressive Attacks White Feminist Privilege

Photo credit: Reparations4slavery.com

by James A. Bacon

There’s big money in telling White people how racist they are. Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo have made millions of dollars doing it. Now Saira Rao, an Indian-American Richmond resident, has figured out how to cash in on the action.

Rao has written a book with Colorado co-author Regina Jackson, “White Women: Everything You Already Know About Your Own Racism and How to Do Better,” that berates White feminists. The title has been picked up by big-time publisher Penguin Random House. Peter Galuszka interviewed Rao for a friendly piece in Style Weekly

While the book is sure to rake in royalties, the author’s shtick generates loads of ancillary revenue. In a program called “Race2Dinner” Rao and Jackson direct two-hour cocktail-and-dinner sessions in which six to eight White women confront their racism. Based on one of those dinner conversations, Director Patty Ivins Specht produced a documentary, “Deconstructing Karen,” which highlights “the unwitting ways” in which White women uphold “everyday white supremacy.” A ticket to a Race2Lunch event in Toronto this summer set back attendees $495 each; a Race2Dinner event in Denver cost $625.

Rao takes no prisoners. As she and Jackson write in the book, “Privilege is power. By ignoring your white privilege, you ignore your white power. When you ignore your white power, you uphold white supremacy. This is white feminism. White feminism. Is. White Supremacy.” Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

A bumper crop of laugh-out-loud memes this week at The Bull Elephant.

Clarification and Additional Information

Jillian Balow, Superintendent of Public Instruction

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

In a recent article, I discussed the progress that the Department of Education (DOE) and the Board of Education have made toward fulfilling two of the top educational priorities of the administration—increasing the SOL “cut scores” and revamping the school accreditation process.

In my research for the article, I overlooked, and thus did not report, a presentation made at the Board’s October work session.  The presenter was a senior policy fellow at ExcelinED, a nonprofit organization based in Florida.  Using Florida as an example, she advocated the use of a school accountability system that ranks schools on a scale of A to F.  Only a few states use such a system and doing so in Virginia would entail a radical change from the approach the Commonwealth has used in the past.

It seems that Jillian Balow, Superintendent of Public Instruction, whom I assume has the most influence over what is presented at Board work sessions, is preparing the Board members, especially the new ones, for a major examination, and possible overhaul, of the school accreditation standards and process.  It will not be something that can be done quickly or easily.

The presentation and video of the work session can be found here.

(A Hat Tip to Charles Pyle of the Dept. of Education for bringing this omission to my attention.)

What does debt cost?

By James C. Sherlock

As part of its constant work to refinance the federal debt, the Treasury sold inflation-adjusted bonds today that earn a 9.62% interest rate.

Be very afraid.

The Youngkin Plan for Reversing Learning Loss

Aimee Guidera. Secretary of Education

by James A. Bacon

Now that the National Assessment for Educational Progress has provided irrefutable proof of the collapse in learning in Virginia schools over the past four years, the Youngkin administration can move on from the task of persuading Virginians that they have a problem to actually working the problem.

The initiatives that caught the eye of mainstream media reporters are those that have dollar figures attached. Governor Glenn Youngkin has challenged school districts to tap $2 billion in unspent federal COVID-relief funds to hire tutors to work with kids who need help reading. Media reports also took note of an initiative providing $30 million in state funds to help parents defray personal costs in finding assistance.

But there’s a lot more. At the core of the Youngkin learning-recovery program is sharing the wealth of state data with parents, teachers and school districts to drive decision making.

Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera detailed the thinking behind the administration’s seven main initiatives in a Zoom conference hosted by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy. Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

from The Bull Elephant

Bacon Meme of the Week

Cultural Death Wish

by James A. Bacon

In my previous post I gave a just-the-facts-ma’am account of the controversy over the appearance of gay- and fat-rights performance artist Kimberly Dark at the Virginia Military Institute. In this column, I’ll give my personal reaction.

There are three elements to the controversy (1) the incident is solid evidence that VMI is introducing a left-wing brand of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; (2) Dark’s message about military weight requirements, insofar as we can tell what it is, is just plain lunacy; and (3) while Dark’s right to appear at VMI must be respected, the administration has opened itself to justifiable criticism for inviting her to an official function.

DEI at VMI. There are many brands of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Benign versions train people to be sensitive to unconscious bias and strive to create an organizational culture in which all types of people feel a sense of belonging. The Robin DiAngelo “White Fragility” strain inculcates White guilt and shame for White privilege and requires Whites to engage in ritualistic self criticism. The Ibrahim Kendi “Anti-racism” strain views any racial disparity in outcomes as proof of racism, which can be countered only with reverse racism. As the DEI controversy at VMI has raged over many months, it has been unclear which, if any, of these strains would come to predominate.

From what I can glean, Dark falls into the DiAngelo camp. I can find no record of what she actually said last night, but one can infer her views from her website. Insofar as her word-salads are intelligible, she refers to herself as a “social justice” advocate and seems concerned primarily with gay rights and fat rights, although she also alludes to her “White privilege.” While such rhetoric may be routine fare at many universities, it’s new for VMI.  Continue reading

Bias-Based Traffic Stops — A Rejoinder

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The Department of Criminal Justice Services has published its annual report on traffic stop data. In a recent article on this blog, Jim Bacon rendered his verdict on whether the data shows police bias in traffic stops: Still No Proof.

The report shows that, in the period of July 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, Black drivers were stopped at a rate disproportionate to their estimated proportion of the Commonwealth’s total population. DCJS concluded there was, statewide, “moderate overrepresentation” of Black drivers in traffic stops.

Despite the finding of overrepresentation of Black drivers, the report is replete with caveats about the implications to be drawn from such finding. Specifically, the report says the finding of disparities “does not allow us to determine or measure specific reasons for these disparities. Most importantly for this study, this analysis does not allow us to determine the extent to which these disparities may or may not be due to bias-based profiling or to other factors that can vary depending on race or ethnicity.” The authors of the report go on to enumerate some of those other possible factors that could have influenced the disparities. It is upon this basis that Jim Bacon rests his verdict of “Still No Proof.”

Three high profile Democratic members of the General Assembly reacted angrily to the report’s conclusion that an analysis of the data did not, in and of itself, demonstrate that bias-based profiling was the reason for the disparities. “Obviously, bias is still a factor. It’s disingenuous not to arrive at that conclusion….It’s shameful but not surprising that Governor Youngkin continues to deny these truths,” fulminated Don Scott (Portsmouth), the House Minority Leader. He was joined in his indignation by Sen. Mamie Locke (Hampton) and Del. Jeff Bourne (Richmond). Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant

Safety and Accountability

by Jon Baliles

Richmond City Council approved plans earlier this week for a Civilian Review Board (CRB) for the Police Department that left  people on all sides a bit upset, which fulfills one of the telltale signs of good legislation — if everyone is a little bit upset, then it is probably done right. If one side gets everything they want, it usually means there were strong-armed lobbyists, scared politicians, and a relatively large chunk of upset residents who think their voices were ignored and won’t support whatever was approved.

The path to a CRB has been around for a while but took on more steam after the summer of 2020. It has been a hotl- debated issue that saw a CRB Task Force issue a report and the Mayor introduce an ordinance that some criticized as too soft; so he withdrew it and reintroduced it a few months ago and that is what was approved this week, much to the dismay of some of the CRB Task Force members, the Richmond City Democratic Committee, and other groups. It also did not sit well with those who think the police budget should be greatly reduced or eliminated entirely.

Just to cursorily touch on the original proposal: Mayor Levar Stoney had suggested a CRB comprised of seven members, with three chosen by the mayor, three by City Council, and one by the Police Chief. On the other side, the CRB Task Force required a certain make up of board members that could not include anyone who was an active or retired police officer. Continue reading

Stress, Fuzzy Symptoms, and Long COVID

by James A. Bacon

WHRO Public Media tells the story of Chesapeake nurse Megan Temple, who contracted COVID-19 in October and has dealt with “long COVID” ever since. She got over the initial illness quickly. But in the weeks and months that followed, during which she also recovered from abdominal surgery, she developed an array of mysterious, shifting symptoms.

She suffered severe chest pains, lost muscle coordination, experienced brain fog, lost hair, and experienced vision changes. At one point, she couldn’t sleep for 48 hours or sit for more than minutes at a time. “It sounds very strange, but I just felt like I was going to die,” she said, “like my body was going to shut down.”

Before I go any further, let me make it indisputably clear that I am NOT saying that the symptoms are imaginary. Something is occurring. But when symptoms are varied, vague, impossible to measure, and make their appearance after haphazard time intervals, I think we need to take a closer look.

Humans are cognitively disposed to attribute causation to events that occur in proximity to one another. When Event A occurs before Event B, people are inclined to say Event A caused Event B. If someone recovers from COVID and later experiences brain fog, they assume that COVID caused the brain fog. Perhaps there is an underlying medical connection between the two. But perhaps the brain fog has another cause, and the timing was a coincidence. I suspect that’s true in many cases, if not most of them. Continue reading