Category Archives: Uncategorized

Where Does the Buck Stop?

by Jon Baliles

The rise in crime across the region and especially the City is naturally a cause of concern. A rise in crimes against deputies and other inmates in the Richmond Jail is flat-out disturbing. The Free Press went to the City Council Public Safety Committee meeting — that was attended only by Councilwoman Reva Trammell — who discussed the issue with Sheriff Antoinette Irving.

“Just since last Friday, July 22, according to information provided to The Free Press, a female deputy was punched in the face, three inmates suffered serious stab wounds and two inmates had to be revived after overdosing on illegal drugs.”

That followed another “savage attack on a female deputy July 7 that had left the woman with a broken jaw and other injuries.” Continue reading

Chincoteague, Virginia: Annual Pony Swim

by Kerry Dougherty

When we began this website in December of 2017 we promised that there would be no days off. That didn’t mean we’d never leave town. It meant that when we did we’d take you with us.

So, get out your bug spray and boots and join us for the annual Chincoteague Pony Penning, held every year on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July.

It’s a bucket list thing. Every woman I know who read “Misty of Chincoteague” as a girl wants to see the pony swim before she dies.

This is the power of literature on annual display in rural Virginia. A celebration of literacy with wild ponies!

So here we are in Chincoteague, Virginia. Famous for its herd of wild ponies and mosquitoes the size of silver dollars. Continue reading

Bacon Meme of the Week

Blacks Don’t Always Think the Way White Cultural Elites Think They Do

by James A. Bacon

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s popularity in Virginia was the top-line story from a new Virginia Commonwealth University poll. The survey, published yesterday, found that 49% of Virginians polled approve of his job as governor compared to 38% who disapprove. It’s not surprising to see his popularity holding up so well. Virginians tend to be favorably disposed toward governors not caught up in scandal, and Youngkin is no exception.

The more interesting data from the poll was buried in the VCU press release. Two points stand out: attitudes of Blacks toward taxes, and attitudes of Whites toward Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Leaving the plantation on taxes. Youngkin’s tax cut on gas is more popular among African-Americans than the electorate as a whole. The three-month elimination of the motor vehicles fuel tax garnered a 58% approval rating from all Virginians but 76% from Blacks. (Elimination of the state portion of the grocery tax was broadly popular across the partisan divide, with seven out of ten Virginians in favor. VCU did not break out the results for Blacks on that question.) Continue reading

Patrick Michaels RIP

Patrick Michaels

by Bill Tracy

Nationally known climatologist Dr. Patrick Michaels has died, and there is certainly a huge Virginia connection.  Michaels considered himself to be a “lukewarmer,” denoting a belief that there is indeed a man-made (CO2) component to climate change. But, he said  “What I’m skeptical about is the glib notion that it means the end of the world as we know it.”

Many liberals, of course, feel that climate change  is in fact an immediate and dire emergency. They would label Michaels a “denier.” The Washington Post obituary seemingly took the high road and instead used the slightly less divisive word: “contrarian.”

I was personally well aware of Pat Michaels, but mainly from his Cato Institute days. As a transplant from New Jersey, only now do I realize he was a professor at the University of Virginia for 30-years.  He also served a stint as Virginia’s  state climatologist. Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant

VEA Wants Better Student Discipline – Dismisses Progressive “Reforms” as Unhelpful

by James C. Sherlock

Sometimes unions work for members.

They always back higher pay and benefits. I back that position of the Virginia Education Association (VEA).

On the other hand, I have opposed some things the VEA has backed in Virginia public schools — the list starts with excessively long denial of in-school education during COVID.

But the VEA knows what is going on in Virginia classrooms, and represents their members with consistency in insisting on the need for better student discipline.

Crucially, VEA offers a distinctly different view of the importance of student discipline than does the National Education Association or the American Federation of Teachers. The socially liberal views of the VEA stop short of ignoring chaos and fear in the halls and classrooms of the schools in which their members work.

NEA and the AFT do not even acknowledge a school discipline problem affecting teacher retention. Continue reading

Air Conditioning Is Not a Luxury

by Kerry Dougherty

I don’t know why more people don’t visit cemeteries when they’re on vacation. You can learn a lot by strolling among the old graves.

When my son went to school in Buffalo, New York I found my way to Forest Lawn Cemetery, a graveyard so beautiful that weddings are held there.

President Millard Fillmore’s final resting place is in the leafy park-like setting. So is Alfred Porter Smithwick’s, the dentist who invented the electric chair. But I walked up and down the rows of headstones looking for Willis Carrier’s. He invented the first electric air conditioner in 1902 and died in 1950.

God bless that man.

Every summer I try to scribble a little homage to Carrier. After all, without him summertime would barely be survivable in this tropical swamp of Southeastern Virginia. Continue reading

Where Does Virginia Most Need Charter Schools?

by James C. Sherlock

Discussing failing schools in Virginia, people tend to speak in generalities. When an example is needed, the City of Richmond Public Schools is chosen — an uncontested layup.

But failed schools are not a problem just in Richmond. And bad public schools in Richmond are not limited to RPS. They are a problem to which VDOE has paid lip service, hamstrung by Virginia law and constitution when trying to fulfill federal mandates with federal money.

I will be very specific about schools and school divisions and the potential to help those children with professionally-run charter schools. Currently not a single one of the six or so charter schools in Virginia is managed by a successful charter management organization (CMO).

The most useful public list that we have at the moment for this discussion is the 2020-21 VDOE list of “Schools Identified for Support and Improvement under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).”

I will use that list to offer specificity to a Governor who wants to help. Continue reading

K-12 Debacle Update: Richmond Teacher Shortage

Richmond Superintendent Jason Kamras in happier days. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

by James A. Bacon

The Richmond Public School System is facing a teacher shortage after 25% of the system’s teaching staff resigned at the end of the 2021-22 school year. RPS is trying to fill 176 positions before the school year starts in August, reports WRIC television.

RPS has formed a teacher retention task force and is partnering with teacher residency programs at Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University, Superintendent Jason Kamras told the School Board Monday.

Kamras proposed offering incentives worth up to $10,000 for new teachers, including $6,000 for relocation expenses and another $4,000 for teachers filling critical shortage fields. The money for incentives and recruiting would come from the federal stimulus fund. If the shortage is not resolved when the school year starts in August, said WRIC, the school will hire substitutes, deploy staff not currently assigned classrooms and adjust class sizes.

“We need to create incentives to keep and track experienced teachers,” Kamras said Monday night. “We are in a moment that requires extraordinary steps to meet extraordinary circumstances. That’s why I am moving forward with these incentives to help close the gaps over these next few weeks.” Continue reading

Seven Years for Shooting a Guy Eight Times. Sounds Like a Pretty Good Deal.

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

For all those folks on this blog who are concerned about “woke” prosecutors, leniency toward murderers, and enforcement of gun laws, here is a case to consider.

A 17-year-old Black kid goes to a house to purchase four ounces of marijuana for $400. While meeting with the 19-year-old seller, the kid pulls up his shirt to reveal a handgun tucked in his waistband. He then grabs the bag of pot and runs. At the bottom of the stairs, according to the seller, the kid turns and looks up at the seller standing at the top of the stairs. The seller then shoots the kid at least eight times with a Glock 23 handgun as he ran out the front door, hitting him in the head, neck, back, pelvis and shoulder. The kid dies at the scene.

Upon being questioned by police, the killer initially lies and claims that he was out of town on the day of the shooting. After his mother confirms that he was in town at the time, he then admits taking part in the incident, claiming self-defense. Continue reading

About Those 30 Police Shootings in Virginia Last Year…

Donovon Lynch, the shooting victim you heard of. Photo credit: Pharrell Williams/Instagram

by James A. Bacon

Police shootings generate an inordinate amount of attention in the media, but the number of incidents is remarkably rare. Of the millions of interactions in 2021 between police and citizens here in Virginia, including 187,000 arrests, there were 30 police shootings resulting in injury or death, according to the Crime in Virginia 2021 report/. Of those incidents, 19 resulted in fatalities, and 12 in injuries. (One incident resulted in two injuries.)

One shooting for every 6,300 arrests. That’s not the impression you’d get from watching Hollywood-produced television and movies… or paying attention to the media, for that matter.

Richard F. Thomas, the unarmed shooting victim you never heard of.

If you found that figure surprising, brace yourself for the real shocker — the racial identity of the shooting victims.

A Skeptic Research Center poll asked the question, “how many unarmed Black men were killed by police in 2019?” Twenty percent of respondents identifying as “very liberal” guessed the number to be about 10,000 or more. Even small percentages of self-identified conservatives gave the same response.

As the Skeptic Research Center noted, the media-fed popular impression was wildly off. Nationally, only 13 unarmed Black men were fatally shot by police in 2019. Last year, here in Virginia, that widespread perception is even more divorced from reality. Here follows a list of Virginia shooting victims in 2021 culled from The Washington Post police fatal shooting database: Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant.

Richmond Cops Say a Mass Shooting Was Foiled By a Concerned Citizen

by Kerry Dougherty

In the wake of the horrific mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, it’s clear that the massacre might have been avoided if the suspect’s parents had done their part to keep weapons out of the hands of their clearly deranged son.

The suspect, Robert Crimo III, has reportedly confessed to the atrocities that left seven dead and dozens injured at an Independence Day parade. One toddler was orphaned by the shootings..

In an interview in Thursday’s New York Post Crimo’s father said he felt no guilt even though he sponsored his son to buy a firearm three months after he was declared a “clear and present danger” by local police for threats to kill his entire family.

“They make me like I groomed him to do all this,” Crimo’s father said of critics. “I’ve been here my whole life, and I’m gonna stay here, hold my head up high, because I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Oh, please.

Contrast that with what happened in Richmond where police say a concerned citizen overheard a conversation about a planned mass shooting for the 4th of July at the Dogwood Dell celebration and notified the police. Continue reading

What About That Price of Gas?!!

Gas station on Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Richmond, 7/7/2022

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

There was much wailing — on this blog, in Virginia, and in the nation — as gas prices approached and then exceeded $5 per gallon recently. Governor Youngkin and President Biden used those price levels to call for suspension of gas taxes.

And what was the reaction of the general populace to those high prices, except complaining? Did folks decide to drive less? Nope. AAA projected that road travel this summer would approach the levels of 2019, when gas was much cheaper. Are they driving slower? After all, gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds over 50 mph. Anyone who tries to travel on I-95 between Richmond and Northern Virginia driving about 65 mph, as I did a couple of weeks ago, knows the answer to that question.

But wait! As shown in the photo above, gas can be readily found in the Richmond area for $4.39, or less, per gallon. That’s 60 cents per gallon less than it was the last time I filled the tank on my car. That includes the inflation-adjusted increase in the gas tax that Steve Haner recently warned us about. That price decrease and price level are better than they would have been under Governor Youngkin’s proposal at the time he put it forward.

Funny, but I haven’t seen anything on these pages about this decrease. Of course, it is more fun to complain about price increases than celebrate their decreases.