A New Form of Sexual Identity Enters the Lexicon: Gender Fluid

Scott Smith, whose daughter was raped in a Loudoun County school, is shown here being escorted out of a Loudoun County school board meeting. He was subsequently charged with two misdemeanors and sentenced to 10 days in jail, all suspended.

by James A. Bacon

Loudoun Now has confirmed key details of the Daily Wire expose describing the ordeal of plumber Scott Smith and his family after his daughter was sexually assaulted in a high school bathroom by a boy dressed in a skirt.

Yesterday I refrained from going ballistic on this story, which was based on the reporting of a single, conservative news outlet. The account of a girl being assaulted by a transgender student given admittance to the girls’ restroom fit the conservative anti-transgender narrative so perfectly — the incident is exactly what conservatives have predicted — that I wanted to see reporting from another source before passing judgment. Other conservative publications have jumped into the fray, but we now have confirmation from the home-town paper.

One telling detail in the Loudoun County account warrants greater attention. According to Smith, who professes to be largely apolitical and not part of the conservative protest crowd packing school board meetings, the youth who raped his daughter identified as “gender fluid.” Continue reading

Big Lessons from Government Data on Virginia’s 286 Nursing Facilities

by James C. Sherlock

Nursing facilities in Virginia offer an incredible mixed bag. There are heroes and villains. Much to see here.

This column will offer expansive  views of government data on each of the 286 nursing facilities in this state.  

I found out a lot things that really matter to the quality of a nursing facility in Virginia. And a lot of things about government oversight.  nd government insurance payments.

From the visualization aids I provide, so will you.

  • You will find absolutely outstanding facilities.  
  • You will find others that have fallen so short of government standards for so long that you will wonder why Virginia does not revoke their licenses.  
  • You will see the nursing homes in your region.  
  • You will see which chains deliver excellent facilities and which do not, apparently as business models in both cases. Many chains tend to be consistently good or consistently bad. They are color coded in the “Group Ownership” column based upon the overall performance of the chain.  
  • Take a look at the staffing star ratings. Those are based on quarterly filings of data that is linked to payrolls, so it is relatively up to date and relatively accurate. One- or two-star staffing is a very bad sign.
  • You will see the stunning outperformance of nursing facilities in continuing care facilities in Virginia, also as a function of business models.
  • Nursing home inputs — people — enter nursing homes in much different physical conditions and ages. You will see that where you live is a statistical predictor of health. And therefore of the nursing home challenges in areas of poor health. Which tracks with areas of poverty. And low government insurance payments.

Finally, take a look at the Inspection activity.  

It reflects the massive understaffing of the VDH inspectors. Look at the “Last standard (full) health inspection” column. You will see coded in red that 42 (15%) of Virginia’s nursing facilities have not been fully inspected since 2018.  The federal requirement is once a year.  

You will be convinced by the data that strict and timely government oversight is required to ensure, and ensure Virginians of, of nursing facility quality.  

The state must fix the statutory and budget issues that have resulted, purposely, in Office of Licensure and Inspection staffing shortfalls. Continue reading

Northam Plastics Order Will Backfire

Vassey

by Brett Vassey

Governor Northam recently issued Executive Order 77 (EO 77) mandating all state agencies (including colleges and universities) to ban purchasing or using certain plastics products (primarily foodservice and trash bags) by October 2021, ban plastic bottled water, phase out all single-use plastic items by 2025, source and use non-plastic alternatives, and compost or recycle alternative products.

EO 77 falsely assumes that alternatives to plastics will always be environmentally preferable — which is not the case. In fact, we can demonstrate that EO 77 will lead to increased landfilling, more greenhouse gas emissions, less food safety, fewer healthy food/beverage choices, accessibility barriers for the differently abled, and increased littering.

The mandate to use and procure only non-plastic alternatives does not require assessments of their environmental impacts, costs to taxpayers or consumers, recyclability, compostability, increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, small business impacts, accessibility impacts, or the unintended consequences because EO 77 bypassed public participation by sidestepping compliance with the Virginia Administrative Process Act.

We estimate that replacing 14.4 million metric tons of plastic packaging would result in more than 64 million tons of other material. This would result in a significant increase in total energy demand, water consumption, solid waste by weight and by volume, global warming potential, acidification, eutrophication, smog formation, and ozone depletion. Not exactly a net environmental benefit. Continue reading

VB School Board Shoots Down Resolution

by James A. Bacon

Last night the Virginia Beach School Board voted down 4-to-7 a proposal that would clarify school board policy regarding training and teaching about race and racism.

Among other guidelines, the resolution would have prohibited teachers from training, teaching or promoting, among other propositions, the ideas (a) that any individual by virtue of his or her race or skin color is inherently racist, privileged or oppressive, (b) that any individual bears responsibility for the actions committed by other members of his or her race, skin color or religion, and (c) that the United States is an inherently racist country. (Read the full document here.) Continue reading

No Need to Call in Feds, Says Virginia School Board Association

Protest at a Loudoun County school board meeting. Photo credit: Loudoun Now.

by James A. Bacon

It became national news when the National School Board Association (NASB) asked the Biden administration to investigate threats and violence against school board members around the country. The Justice Department announced it would collaborate with the FBI and local law enforcement to prosecute criminal behavior. The views of the national association did not reflect the views of at least 13 state organizations, including Virginia’s, reports National Review

The Virginia School Boards Association made clear in a letter published last week that it provided no information to the national organization and was never informed that a letter would be sent. The NASB was not the first decision with which the Virginia association disagrees, the Virginia group wrote, and it “probably will not be the last.” Continue reading

Bacon Bits: The Political Class in Action

Is Charlottesville governable? Charlottesville City Manager Chip Boyles has announced his resignation, making him the fifth interim or full-time city manager to leave the city since 2018, reports the Daily Progress. “The public disparagement shown by several community members and Mayor [Nikuyah] Walker has begun to negatively effect [sic] my personal health and well-being,” he wrote to City Council. Walker responded by saying Boyles should have been fired. “You shouldn’t have been able to sleep at night because you are a liar,” she said in a Facebook video. Walker, who gained notoriety for penning a poem likening Charlottesville to rape, has herself said she will not run for re-election. Boyle and Walker butted heads over many issues, including his firing of the city’s female, African-American police chief. One councilman told the Daily Progress that in the opinion of an executive search firm contacted last year, “we were not likely to be able to hire anybody with council as dysfunctional as it is.”

It was an innocent mistake, yer honor. Chesapeake Board Chair Victoria Proffitt, who had been laid off from her adjunct math teaching job at Tidewater Community College, has returned $984 in unemployment benefits she was overpaid by the Virginia Employment Commission. She attributed the error to a VEC oversight, but a special prosecutor had contended she was “either being intentionally dishonest or was just exceedingly careless,” says the Virginian-Pilot. Meanwhile… Continue reading

Did Loudoun School Officials Cover up a Rape?

by Kerry Dougherty

In the winter of 2020 I had several heated arguments about HB257, which was introduced by Newport News Democrat Mike Mullen, approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam.

Here’s a news story where Mullen proudly touted his soft-on-crime bills.

One of those abolished the requirement that all criminal activity on school property had to be reported to the police.

Proponents of the measure claimed that principals were calling the cops to break up fistfights and as a result, minor skirmishes were escalating into criminal matters.

On March 12, 2020 Ralph Northam signed the bill into law, over the objections of many, including Virginia Beach’s Victoria Manning, according to WAVY-TV 10.

Virginia Beach School Board member Vicky Manning feels the law doesn’t help the lack of trust in the disciplinary process. Continue reading

Descent into Madness: Loudoun County Edition

by James A. Bacon

Two weeks ago the National School Boards Association (NASB) appealed in a highly publicized letter to President Biden to do something to stop the “threats and acts of violence against public school children, public school board members, and other public school district officials.” Attorney General Merrick Garland said the FBI would respond to the challenge. “Threats against public servants are not only illegal,” he said, “they run counter to our nation’s core values.”

What heinous events prompted the intervention of the FBI into local law enforcement matters? The NASB spelled out numerous “acts of malice, violence and threats” by parents irate about the rise of race demogoguery, transgender politics, masking policies, and pornography in libraries.

One individual in Illinois was arrested for aggravated battery. In Michigan an individual yelled a Nazi salute (undoubtedly in the same sarcastic spirit of the Nazi salute that set off a Twitter Outrage Mob in the Netflix series “The Chair”), and another “prompted the board to call a recess.” In Virginia, elaborated the NASB letter, “an individual was arrested, another man was ticketed for trespassing, and a third person was hurt during a school board meeting discussion.”

According to the news story the NASB linked to, the individual in Virginia who “was arrested” was a certain Scott T. Smith. The video clip below shows what kind of threat he posed to Loudoun County School Board members.

Continue reading

Another Straw in the Wind…

With all due recognition that fund-raising emails are calculated to stir emotions (either positive or negative) for the purpose of inspiring donations, I find this appeal from the McAuliffe campaign to contain a remarkable confession.

I’m flabbergasted, Jim …

We’ve been sending you email after email about just how important this race is, but it’s October, and it’s looking like a tossup right now.

I thought folks would be fired up to get out the vote, but at this point, it seems like enthusiasm is at an all time low.

The default mode of candidates is to feign optimism even if they don’t feel it. They maintain the pretense of enthusiasm in the electorate, even if it doesn’t exist. If the McAuliffe campaign admits openly that enthusiasm seems to be at “an all time low,” it might well be.

— JAB

Nursing Home Ads Pose As Official State Advice

by James C. Sherlock

The Virginia state government has a Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. 

Who wouldn’t want one of those?  

But in the case of recommending nursing homes, it would be better if it would either stop or fix its broken system. Which it pays a nonprofit, VirginiaNavigator, to run.

It is offering nothing more than free, self-written advertisements for good and bad nursing homes alike under the guise of a state recommendation to seniors. Continue reading

Resolution to Clarify Equity Training and Teaching

The Virginia Beach School Board will discuss the following resolution at a meeting tonight.

WHEREAS, the School Board of the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia values diversity, promotes inclusiveness and is committed to providing a learning environment whereby ALL students have access and opportunities to benefit from the high standards, support and resources required for a high quality education; and

WHEREAS, the School Board values the uniqueness of each member of its staff, student population and community and encourages individual and multiple perspectives; and

WHEREAS, the School Board must provide a clear and transparent understanding of the School Division’s positions and expectations regarding equity training, teaching and learning; and Continue reading

Mama Bears Vs. the Feds

by Asra Q. Nomani

Last Thursday night, October 7, local grandma Orene Blum stood graceful and dignified, draped in red, white and blue here at Luther Jackson Middle School, moments before a meeting of the Fairfax County School Board, holding a hand-painted sign: “FBI vs. Moms??”

Hours later, as the crowd of 100 people spoke their truth to power, the verdict was in: Moms win. Continue reading

Bedlam at Southwest Airlines

by Kerry Dougherty

At the risk of sounding like a paid Southwest Airlines P.R. person, I can truthfully say it’s my favorite airline.

No change fees. Two bags fly free. Decent fares if you book early enough.

Best of all, Southwest flies out of our sad little airport.

Those perks are nice, but what impressed me most was the time I was in the Norfolk boarding area, peered out the window and saw the pilot on the tarmac, helping the baggage handlers load the plane.

I asked another SWA pilot about the incident and he assured me it wasn’t uncommon. The goal is to get the aircraft turned around quickly. Everyone pitches in.

I’m a sports fan. I like teamwork wherever I find it. Continue reading

Beating a Zombie Horse: Yes, Virginia, CRT Is Real

Image credit: PMSing Tiger at www.deviantart.com

by James A. Bacon

If these were normal times I could file this post under the “beating a dead horse” tab. Jim Sherlock and I have blogged repeated on the topic of Critical Race Theory in Virginia schools, providing abundant documentation along the way. But various parties — from the McAuliffe campaign to the Washington Post to commenters on this blog — insist upon revivifying the expired equine.

Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I’m beating a zombie horse — a dead horse that refuses to go down.

Hilariously, we are led to believe that Critical Race Theory is an arcane academic theory popular among legal scholars but is not, repeat not, taught in Virginia. Watch Terry McAuliffe dodge the question from a reporter about how he defines CRT. He doesn’t need to define it, he says. “It’s racist. It’s a dog whistle. It’s not taught here.”

The only interesting question here is whether McAuliffe is deliberately and knowingly deceiving the electorate, or if be actually believes his foolishness.

Two days ago legal blogger Scott Greenfield tweeted the following document in which Equity Leadership Coaching invoiced Loudoun County Public Schools $34,000 for coaching support, for developing a “culturally responsive teaching framework,” and for “equity committee planning,” all of which are ubiquitous buzz words in the educational establishment today. Continue reading

What If They Threw A Party And No One Got COVID?

Photo credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports, by way of National Review

by James A. Bacon

It has been a month since Hokie fans packed the stands of the Virginia Tech-University of North Carolina football game in Tech’s Lane Stadium, sparking social-media fears of a massive spread. Despite the spectacle of thousands of screaming, expectorating fans in close quarters, there has been no meaningful outbreak.

Not only has there been no surge within the university community, Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski told National Review, but “seven day positivity rates in the Tech community have declined.”  Continue reading