By Peter Galuszka

An alternative blogger is listing five ways Virginia may be the worst state in the union, a.k.a. “Bob Land.”

Tara Lohan of AlterNet notes that generally, watching the news these days is like going through a time warp when it comes to debates about birth control or teaching science in the classroom. States such as Georgia and Missouri come to mind in this regard, but Virginia, she says, is the worst.

Here are five reasons why:

  • Despite the horrific Virginia Tech shootings and public polling wishing otherwise, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell has successfully pushed through a measure to repeal the one handgun a month purchase limit in the state. He apparently doesn’t care that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that “Virginia is the No. 1 out-of-state source” of handguns in the country.
  • Virginia may have 1,600 children up for adoption. But not if you are gay or lesbian. Virginia allows adoption agencies to deny placements” to people who conflict with their religious beliefs.
  • Hard right Atty. Gen. Kenneth Cuccinelli has waged a vigorous and expensive campaign in his witch hunt against former University of Virginia climatologist Michael Mann.
  •  Virginia’s powers have been backing a new coal-fired electricity plant just upwind of Colonial Williamsburg. According to The Virginian-Pilot, the plant would emit 2,000 pounds of arsenic, up to 7,000 pounds of benzene, 1,390 pounds of chromium and 118 points of mercury into the air every year.
  • McDonnell launched a “War on Women” with his backing of a law requiring women considering abortion to have an ultrasound test. He backed away from a more invasive way of doing the test which is not deemed a medical necessity.

In general, Lohan hits the highlights, although she misses a little context. One is that since he is elected separately, Cuccinnelli doesn’t report to McDonnell. The Old Dominion Electric Cooperative coal plant has been put on hold mostly because of financing issues. The flood of natural gas, much from hydraulic fracking, has put a serious dent in the viability of new coal-fired electricity.

But she hits most of the notes. Interesting to read something other than what a dandy state Virginia is for business.

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9 responses to “Five Ways Virginia Sucks”

  1. Mr. Positive must have gotten out of the wrong side of his bed this morning!

  2. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Not at all. I feel very good today. Won my season-opener USTA tennis match yesterday in two-hour-long battle.

  3. larryg Avatar

    I too am embarrassed to live in a Neanderthal-like state. I’m proud of their fiscal conservative principles in general but when you got folks like George Allen and the Cooch in danger of actually “promoting” more, better (sic) dysfunctionality…. it’s truly a scary thought.

    We’re ending up with Two Virginias. Blue and Reactionary RIGHT! RINOs have been hunted to extinction and now only come out at night.

  4. DJRippert Avatar

    Virginia doesn’t suck. Virginia’s state government sucks. Or, more specifically, Virginia’s governance process sucks.

    That governance process is an outgrowth of “the Richmond attitude”. The Richmond attitude holds that a small group of elites should run everything from behind the scenes. The attitude holds that power should he highly concentrated and wielded in a very opaque manner. In part, there is a certain paternalism whereby the Descendants of Pocahontas actually believe they are genetically superior and we’ll all be better off if we just leave the “deep thinking” to them. In part, control of the state government allows them to enrich themselves in ways tht would be impossible without a centralized, opaque governance structure.

    Blaming McDonnell is a case in point. As a one term governor, McDonnell essentially loses control over his own political party the day he is elected. Even if he vetoes the dumb assed bills that his own party puts forth, they can just wait a couple of years and he’s gone. Meanwhile, the fact that the General Assembly is the least competitive state legislature in the country all but guarantees that the delegates and senators will be around for the next governor. We have the most competitive gubernatorial elections in the country and the least competitive state legislature elections in the country.

    Blaming the governor for the actions of the entrenched state legislature is a non-sequitur while blaming the entrenched state legislature makes perfect sense.

    Peter’s issues with hand gun control are a case in point. Even the majority in the Heller case allowed considerable latitude for government to regulate fire arms. Limiting the number of handguns a person can buy per month seems easily within the discretion of the government. However, the excess concentration of power in the General Assembly prevents common sense regulation at the locality level. Many localities in Virginia would vote to limit the number of handguns bought per month within their locality. Urban and suburban areas with gang problems might be well advised to put a limit on the number of handguns bought per month. Rural and small town areas might not need such legislation. But our “one size fits all” governance process lets gun shops in Arlington County (within eyesight of DC) sell MS-13 members as many guns as they care to buy. Is this really the right way to govern a state as diverse as Virginia?

    1. nextbillgates Avatar

      > But our “one size fits all” governance process lets gun shops in Arlington County (within eyesight of DC) sell MS-13 members as many guns as they care to buy.

      Why would an MS-13 member (or any other criminal, for that matter) show identification, complete an ATF Form 4473 the dealer must retain forever, complete a form for the Virginia State Police and undergo a background check to purchase a firearm? There’s no paper trail when criminals buy firearms on the street or steal firearms.

  5. larryg Avatar

    I think the Virginia “way” goes way back…to when gentry ruled Va… The mindset still prevails.

    We could fix this overnight if citizens had the right to initiate recall and referenda.

    the folks in Richmond have us citizens by the proverbial short hairs and they’re not inclined to let go.

  6. larryg Avatar

    you know the funny thing here? The Tea Party and the Agenda 21 folks are up in arms about “bad” govt… but nary a whimper from either of them on recall and referenda…

  7. truesoutherner Avatar

    To me the worst parts are as follows:
    1. The average wages earned at most jobs in Virginia do not at all match the cost of living. Thanks to government greed, without going to several years of college, you will most likely not earn a wage that will allow you to support yourself without government assistance. The reason I say that government greed has to do with it is because they make money off of taxing the schools, and honestly school is not something I’ve ever been very good at.
    2.The presumptuous, prejudgmental, and oftentimes audacious attitude exhibited by a lot of people I have come across here. They think that if you aren’t doing things their way according to their standards, then you are doing it wrong. They act like they know more than you do about everything, even if you have experience on the topic at hand and they don’t.
    3. If you don’t dress or act the way they do, they think there is something wrong with you. If you aren’t able to work as quickly on the job as they are, there’s something wrong with you.
    4. A conformist attitude. Originality and a personality that is not in line with the status quo , conformist mindset way of doing things is not highly respected here.Over here, people like to compartmentalize everyone, and most people arent friends with someone who is too different than them. Basically I live in a state where button up shirts, top 40 radio, and chain restaurants reign supreme, and people actually think that Papa Johns is the best pizza out there and that Plaza Azteca is the best Mexican food, just to give you an idea.
    5. A very provincial attitude for the most part. They actually think that living in Virginia is just like living in any other state and don’t realize that people act differently in different regions. Ive actually had people tell me that living in Texas is just the same as living in Virginia, in spite of the fact that I lived in Texas almost 2 years and they have never lived off the east coast in their entire life.
    6. Virginia is an East Coast state. The East coast can be visually beautiful, but unless you’re well paid( $10 dollars an hour is considered good in southern va where I live, despite the fact that the average apt rent is $600/mo give or take plus water, lights and sanitation), enjoy being around rude,condescending know it all kinda people, you aint gonna like it here. Don’t get me wrong. There are nice people here, but I would not live here if I had it my way.
    7. There is a big time government presence, with D.C. just 3 hrs away and the fact that congress meets in D.C. It just adds to the surface “prim and proper” bullcrap that a lot of people like to portray here.
    8. There is a lot of stuff to go do around here, but unless you’re extremely well paid, or don’t mind getting into 1,000’s of dollars worth of debt, you won’t be able to afford it anyway so you might as well not even be around it.
    9.Virginia is absolutely 100% lacking in culture.
    10.They tax everything. The state taxes your money before you get it, and when you spend it (even on uncooked food). They tax your car even if it is paid off. They tax gas. They even have toll roads in certain parts, even after the road has been paid for.
    11. They have some of the dumbest drivers I have seen. I saw a guy put his car in reverse at a stop light and back into me, in spite of the fact that I was blasting the horn at him as he was backing up.
    12. A lot of people here are very two faced. People will be your best friend in front of you but then talk trash behind your back. Bosses will tell you you’re doing a good job,or you’re doing ok, and then fire you the next day. They will buddy buddy with you and talk trash behind your back. This attitude seems much more prevalent in Virginia than it was in Texas.
    13. Giving specific instruction on how to do things is not a quality that is often come across here. People practically expect you to be mind readers and most of the teachers in schools here are terrible at teaching.
    I could go on but I think I’ll stop here.

    1. Ryan Parr Avatar
      Ryan Parr

      truesoutherner – Very apt summary of what I interpreted of southern Virginia. I’ve lived in Texas all of my life and I specifically was traveling to Virginia, and planned my trip around genealogical research and historical study. I can’t not think that perhaps my composure at having driven that distance in a 24 hour period structured around visiting various sights had something to do with it (though I did sleep during the drive) however it seemed apparent that even with decent rest over the days and dressing well (perhaps it was slightly outlandish, as some of what I was wearing could have been interpreted as historical artifacts such as a blue sport coat that looked “old world”. . .) my experience lead me to believe that the entire state was very opposed to people that appeared to be “out of town,” or if being someone walking alone by themself; could be seen as unsure of “which side of the fence” I was on. I got the impression that women also felt they needed to be constantly at the behest of a “White Knight” male, simply because I might come across as blunt and not one to partake of the tourism trap that existed around the coastal area. Very little industry seemed to exist, and when driving through the Richmond area I noticed how depressing it seemed; further along the coast it was evident that people didn’t give a crap about social injustice. Areas of Richmond where the black people were living were clearly lost in time (I was completely shocked though in awe, that brick paved streets and an unusual layout across the main center of the city, seemed to have been relatively untouched from the time of horse and carriages.) Areas where wealth could be centralized and exploited off the backs of people seemed evident. I found it interesting when people look back on Thomas Jefferson, that perhaps he sexually abused/exploited Sally Hemmings; that historically people knew that these 1% slave owners were often getting it on with their slaves, but preferred to not address it; it was a “known fact” that slave owners often selected their slaves for their sexual desirability, and which even a majority white slave could be still considered to be black, and treated as such. People were marginalized and everything seemed to be looked at through rose tinted glasses. Though slavery was wrong, I can’t help but think that people were selective in their discrimination of others, especially when it would somehow vindicate some ego-identity issues, caused by a society that was suffering from insecurities with the past? Initially when I reached Virginia I was going to continue on to the north towards Boston and return around through Pennsylvania (and possibly head toward Illinois) as I had an extra week to make that happen, however for whatever reason the experience kind of made me want to simply head back without stopping. On the way down the interstate a detour caused me to drive through an old town with evident Civil War roots, and for whatever reason the gas station pump wasn’t accepting my credit card, and upon my finishing paying with exact change, within no more than 2-3 minutes, as I head back down the road a large truck started accelerating next to me as the road was getting narrow and causing me to accelerate, and as I was driving into the main center of town another truck turns on it’s headlights and starts rushing towards me (mind that their were no lights at all in this area and it was nearly pitch black with a similar road layout to what I spotted of Richmond; similar to a large open circle.) My car is distinct in that I hadn’t spotted a modern Camaro anywhere, though I suspect some of these people might of had a hobby of trying to “play chicken” with the outsiders they know wouldn’t (or should not?) pass through their town? Though I’m white, I can hardly imagine what black people must have continued to experience in that state, and if people suspect they can “get by” with doing something and can resort to their parasitic peers for protection, they will likely do so. It’s a culture of insecurity and repression, no doubt. To try and compare my experience to Texas as a whole, I can only say that I’ve lived primarily in parts of Dallas, where the stereotypical cowboy hat is fairly remote and as alien to me as the idea of slavery and the civil war seems to reverberate only from textbooks. It was a learning experience and I kind of spotted a very stark presence of gentry lifestyle (I accidentally drove through a very expensive and isolated private prep school that made me think I was on a set of Harry Potter, and they were still using old trails that hadn’t been changed out for a century.) Virginia is kind of a mysterious place for the unprepared, though it does have history that clearly dates from the origins of modern “America.”

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