Justice For All

Color blindness is good.

by Michael D. Purzycki

I commend Dick Hall-Sizemore for his column of April 10. I agree with his outrage at the behavior of police in Windsor. There is no reason for an officer to point a gun at a person, or pepper-spray them, for anything to do with a license plate. And I agree that Army lieutenant Caron Nazario being black was a major factor in the officers behaving so egregiously.

To deeply reduce the risk of such terrible behavior happening again, we must take race out of the equation.

Diversity is not something to resist. While it can be difficult to navigate, it brings many benefits. But if a diverse society is going to be a free and democratic society whose members respect each other, emphasizing similarities helps. Atlantic journalist Peter Beinart explored this when writing about immigration; citing studies showing greater diversity makes people less charitable – not only toward people different from them, but people similar as well – he suggested that advocates of liberal immigration policies celebrate “America’s diversity less, and its unity more.” In an age when millions of Americans hate each other’s guts, highlighting difference (whatever the dividing line) is an incentive for dislike. Continue reading

What Does the VMI Board Have Planned?

by James A. Bacon

The Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors surprised the VMI community when it posted a notice Monday that it had scheduled a special meeting tomorrow, April 15, to notify the public of its intent “to vote on the selection of the next Superintendent of the Institute.”

The widespread expectation was that the board wouldn’t address that critical decision until the regularly scheduled board meeting April 30. Amidst a hyper-political environment in which Governor Ralph Northam and other leading Democrats have accused VMI of “appalling racism” and launched an “equity audit” that many fear will be rigged, some alumni are asking why the sudden schedule change? Does the board have something planned? Continue reading

VDOE Transgender Policies Dangerous to Both Children and School Personnel

by James C. Sherlock

Virginia’s Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools is a bigger mess the more I study it.

It is as far as I can tell unprecedented in scope. I checked parallel California, D.C. and Arlington County policies. None of them comes close to the dangerous nonsense in Virginia’s new Model Policies.

Even if we ignore the legal, medical, ethical and parental rights issues, which we won’t, Model Policies will prove untenable in any school that tries to comply.

We absolutely need to make transgender students feel safe at school and not discriminate against them in any way.  Arlington County has done it well in my view. But the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) (Department) new regulation fails every test of professionalism and common sense with its attempt to address those needs.

Be assured however that Model Policies meets key tests of radical progressivism.

  • Its prescriptions challenge the tenets of every major religion and the ethics of people who care about ethics;
  • It is unsupported by evidence or common sense, uncaring of consequences, unachievable by sentient adults; and
  • It is mandatory.

Continue reading

How to Rig the Redistricting Process with Nobody Noticing

Prison population. Source: Virginia Public Access Project

by James A. Bacon

While Virginia Democrats continue to batter Republicans with charges of “voter suppression,” they also continue to rig the electoral system to favor Democrats.

The national Census counts incarcerated persons at the correctional facilities where they are held. But a new Virginia law requires the state Redistricting Commission to assign prison inmates to their last known residential address, a move that will, in the words of the Virginia Public Access Project, “transfer political clout from rural to urban areas.” Unstated is the fact that it will also transfer political clout from Republican areas to Democratic areas.

The residence of an estimated 20,000 prisoners will be affected. Continue reading

Keydets Too Busy to Be Racist

Mark Reed

by Mark Reed

My wife and I, Lexington residents since 2016, adopt” VMI “Rats” through a local church. We’ve had the pleasure of serving these fine young people in our home every Sunday during the school year, and we’ve been fortunate to continue our relationship with them and their families as they pursue their degrees at the finest military school in America.

The VMI controversy — conceived, birthed, and raised up from a tiny sample size of anonymous “allegations” — has toppled the academic and personal lives of these young men and women during a time when America reels from a pandemic. I submit that I, a military veteran, accomplished investigator, and retired child welfare professional, have far more insight into the institution that is VMI than do Richmond politicians or The Washington Post.

I have spoken face-to-face with far more Keydets than had the Washington Post when it first alleged that VMI is a systemically racist institution. I have hosted Rats every Sunday at 11:00 a.m. from October to April. They studied (and some dozed off, wouldn’t you if you were them?) in my office and my guest room.  They ate at my dinner table (often in huge quantities), and they bared their souls to my wife and me during one of the most chaotic periods of their young lives. And at 20:00 I escorted them back to Post. Continue reading

AP StyleBook Beclowns Itself. Again.

by Kerry Dougherty

The AP Stylebook has long been the “bible” of American journalism. This guide attempts to standardize language and grammar in newspapers. It deals with everything from when to use “concrete” and when to use “cement” to the use of hyphens when describing Asian or African Americans. New rule: No hyphens.

In recent years it’s also become the bible of political correctness. For instance, the editors scold writers who cling to the term “illegal alien” to describe, well, illegal aliens. The AP prefers euphemisms such as, “migrants” or “undocumented immigrants.”

Last fall, the Stylebook cautioned against using the incendiary word “riot” for mobs of people tossing incendiary devices in the streets of American cities. Those were “protesters” and “protests.” No matter how many buildings burned or people were killed.

Recently the AP declared that when writing about blacks the B should be capitalized, but the w should remain lower case for whites.

Now this.

The AP is deeply worried about offending women who sleep with married men. Continue reading

Voter Suppression? Who? Us?

Click for more legible image.

Here’s what’s happening in Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial fund-raising fever dreams:

Republican candidate Pete [Snyder] announced his campaign is launching a Trump-style voter suppression operation. … And they’re hiring Trump-lackey Ken Cuccinelli to run it. … Pete Snyder is tapping Ken to run the same kind of racist, anti-democratic voter suppression operation Donald Trump ran.

And here’s what’s actually happening in the real world. From The Washington Free Beacon:

Virginia’s Department of Elections shut down its voter information portal for “scheduled maintenance” during the final day Republican voters in the commonwealth’s largest county were able to register for the party’s upcoming convention.

Continue reading

Woke Privilege at the University of Richmond

Thomas Hall, a UR dorm building upgraded five years ago for $7.9 million.

by James A. Bacon

Faculty and students are up in arms at the University of Richmond,  demanding the renaming of buildings that are named after a president and long-time rector the segregationist era. Faculty have voted to approve a statement of “no confidence” in Rector Paul Queally and have called for him to resign. Meanwhile, the Black Student Coalition organized a march across campus recently, chanting, “No justice, no peace, no racist trustees.”

Read the list of demands in this Richmond Times-Dispatch article. Decide for yourself how self-indulgent they are. Just remember, this is an institution that costs rich families $74,600 a year for tuition, room, board, and other charges but provides an average need-based aid package of $53,900 to 39% of the student body.

I have have zero sympathy for anyone at UR complaining about anything. By virtue of attending this cloistered academic oasis, they’re all “privileged.” And that especially includes people getting steep tuition discounts, whatever their race or ethnicity. Continue reading

The Roanoke Times Downsizes… Again

The Roanoke Times building went up for sale in January.

by James A. Bacon

The Roanoke Times is laying off nine newsroom employees, resulting in a 20% decrease in staffing, reports Virginia Business. Both Henri Gendreau, who covered the Virginia Tech beat, and Claire Mitzel, who covered K-12 schools, were informed that April 23 will be their last day. The two reporters broke the story about several racial episodes at Virginia Military Institute (and did a far more creditable job, incidentally, than The Washington Post.)

The newspaper also is laying off a digital editor, a copy editor, and three editorial assistants who contributed to local sports coverage. Including previous cuts, the Roanoke Times has lost more than 25% of its newsroom employees since early 2020 when the paper was purchased by Iowa-based Lee Enterprises. The newspaper is the dominant provider of news coverage in western Virginia.

I keep hoping that the long-term decline in newspaper readership and advertising revenue will bottom out, that newspaper publishers will find a sustainable business model based on paid subscriptions and digital advertising that strips out the costs associated with printing, newspaper distribution and print ads. No one seems to have found the formula yet. Continue reading

TCI Model Rule Ready for Study, Comment

by Steve Haner
First published this morning by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.  (Happy birthday, Mr. President.)

Read the governing document for the Transportation and Climate Initiative and it becomes clear there is more going on than just an effort to reduce motor fuel use with a combination of taxes and shrinking caps. That may really be a secondary goal.

How would TCI regulate and change the motor fuel business in Virginia, should the state decide to join in 2022? What are the initial carbon taxes likely to be? Some details can be found in a draft model rule published March 1 and now subject to an open comment period through May 7.

You can find the 153-page model rule here. There is an open portal for any public comments you wish to provide, and you can also find summaries of the comments filed to date. Certainly, all fuel wholesalers and retailers and businesses dependent on transportation need to study this document and the regulatory structure it creates.

The Rhode Island and Connecticut legislatures are currently considering legislation on TCI. Massachusetts intends to join with its governor claiming he already has authority to sign the interstate compact.  If Virginia joins in 2022, that is still in time for it to be in on the first carbon dioxide emissions allowance auction in 2023.  Continue reading

Two Police Officers Made Windsor Famous

by Kerry Dougherty

Looks like Windsor, Virginia, is finally on the map.

For all the wrong reasons.

The tiny incorporated town in Isle of Wight County, just west of Suffolk, is home to about 2,758 people.

It’s not a place that makes much news and the folks there probably like it that way.

But a traffic-stop-gone-bad catapulted the town into the national spotlight this weekend. From the Drudge Report to The New York Times, the media zeroed in on the behavior of two gun-pointing small-town police officers caught on body cam footage yelling at an African-American Army officer who was being detained over a missing license plate.

At the request of the Windsor Police Department, Gov. Ralph Northam called for a state police investigation into the incident. Continue reading

Good News for Virginia in Best-Places-to-Work Rankings

by James C. Sherlock

The new Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For has been released.

Good news

Four Virginia-headquartered companies made the list.

  • Hilton, McLean #3
  • Capital One Financial, McLean #9
  • CarMax, Richmond #36
  • Navy Federal Credit Union, Vienna #59

Other News

There are nine health systems on the list. Not only are none of them headquartered in Virginia; none of them have facilities in Virginia.

Ad Promoting Free-Speech Post Squelched

Screen grab from Facebook ad administration page

Thanks to the financial support of our generous readers, Bacon’s Rebellion has begun promoting popular posts on Facebook with the goal of driving traffic to the website. Faceless Facebook minions review each ad before it can be published. Not surprisingly, any text with “COVID” appears to be automatically rejected, even when we’re not opining on the efficacy of official state and federal guidelines. More surprising was the recent rejection of an ad promoting a recent post, When “Words Are Violence,” Only One Side Gets to Speak, about free speech and expression at the University of Virginia.

At the risk of provoking Facebook, our most promising marketing vehicle, I am posting an image of the rejection notice, which appeared with no explanation. I feel fortunate that Facebook has not nixed any of posts on the Bacon’s Rebellion Facebook page — only the ads. I’m hoping that doesn’t change. We’ll see. The situation is fluid. Continue reading

Richmond’s Rage of the Woke

The bronze equestrian statue (1890) of Robert E. Lee covered in graffiti, September 2020 (Photo courtesy of author)

by Catesby Leigh

Beautifully landscaped with ample medians and harmoniously lined with gracious houses in various historic styles, Richmond, Virginia’s block-paved Monument Avenue and its several statuary tributes to Confederate leaders were once recognized as a triumph of American urban design. The residential frontages served admirably as a variegated frame for the monuments, creating a superb urban tableau that it made no sense to eradicate—especially as the monuments lost ideological currency with the passage of time, as monuments often do.

But after the mayhem triggered by George Floyd’s fatal arrest in Minneapolis in May 2020, the 14 blocks of the avenue comprising a National Historic Landmark District present a sorry spectacle. Bare pedestals, with the vandals’ graffiti not entirely washed away, stand on the avenue’s median. Statues of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, the cavalry commander J. E. B. Stuart, Confederate president Jefferson Davis, and the world-renowned oceanographer Matthew Fontaine Maury, who played an inconspicuous role in the Confederate war effort, are gone—victims of fanaticism fueled by Twitter slogans drawing, in turn, on national-guilt and systemic-racism narratives in which Americans have been increasingly indoctrinated. Continue reading

Where’s the Vaccine Outreach to Southwest Virginia?

by James A. Bacon

It turns out that blacks and Hispanics are not the only population sub-groups in Virginia who are resisting the idea of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. So are rural, non-college-educated whites in Appalachia, reports the Roanoke Times.

Hesitancy has dropped among blacks and Hispanics, but concerns among rural whites have increased that the vaccine was rushed to market and has widespread side effects. The problem has gotten so pronounced that a team of Virginia Tech researchers is working to determine if social media-driven misinformation fuels the resistance.

The Northam administration moved aggressively to address vaccine hesitancy among blacks and Hispanics by hiring marketing firms to push the pro-vaccine message in minority communities and setting up mobile and pop-up clinics in minority communities were vaccination rates were low. In Danville, the administration went so far as to ban out-of-towners from utilizing a pop-up clinic that was meant to serve local minorities even though it was administering only a fraction of the number of vaccines it had the capacity for.

So far, Southwest Virginia has seen no comparable demographically targeted initiatives from the Virginia Department of Health. Continue reading