by William L. Respess
“A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.”
— Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965), former governor of Illinois and twice unsuccessful democratic candidate for president against Dwight Eisenhower.
I assume most persons aware of the turbulent year that the Virginia Military Institute just transited have also informed themselves of the content of Governor Northam’s speech delivered on the evening of November 15 just past. As an alumnus (class 0f 1961), I expected it likely to be as memorable as his now famous (perhaps “notorious is a better descriptor) letter of October 19, 2020, in which he and a cohort of other Virginia Democrat politicians flayed VMI, his alma mater, with the accusation of “our deep concern about the clear and appalling culture of ongoing structural racism” at the Institute. Burdened with that expectation, I thought reading it would propel me into a state of high dudgeon. It didn’t. Instead, I found the speech to be flaccid and unmemorable. Continue reading
by Tyler Ohta
Once again, the Fairfax County School Board has put its ideological priorities ahead of the educational needs of the children. Yes, the 12 Democrats sitting on the school board have sent out another youth sex survey, just like it does each year.
The survey delivered during academic time to children in grades 8-12 reads like a rap song instead of a questionnaire to children as young as 11 years old. With a whopping 173 questions, the most pressing question judging by the fact that it is first, is — wait for it — “Are you transgender?”
Other questions include:
- “How old you were when you first had sex?”
- “How many people have you had sex with in the last 3 months?” (with an answer option of 6+ people!)
- Have you ever tried heroin, cocaine, and cabbies? (multiple questions)
There are also plenty of other questions asking about children’s smoking, vaping, huffing, and drinking habits, as well as marijuana usage. Other questions delve deeply into the private lives of these kids, asking intimate and inappropriate
questions about family – the eerie thrust of which seems to lead children to doubt their families’ love and care for them. For example, “How many times a month do your parents bully, ridicule, or tease you?” Continue reading
by Carter Melton
Ladies and gentlemen of The Corps, greetings. My name is Carter Melton, a history major from Salem who graduated in 1967. For 30 years I was the president and CEO of one of the largest hospitals in Virginia and served two terms on the Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors.
I know exactly what you’re thinking: “Oh, no… a liberal-arts relic from The Old Corps.”
Please, just hear me out.
Last Monday evening you heard from the Governor of Virginia.
He stood before you and presented himself as a man who had been on the road to Damascus, met Jesus, and had an epiphany of the heart. In fact, he is a politician who got caught with his political pants down and, given the nature of his dilemma, pivoted to a strategy of racial redemption to save his political skin.
As for the Governor’s deep love and affection for VMI, you might want to consider the following: Continue reading
By F. Vincent Vernuccio
Virginia’s new collective bargaining law is forcing local government officials to deal with a controversial issue fraught with potential errors and legal risks.
If the 2021 election showed anything, it was that Virginia voters felt the Commonwealth was going in the wrong direction. The sweep of Republicans for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and the House of Delegates sent a clear message: Voters wanted change.
Local governments should take heed, especially on controversial issues such as public sector collective bargaining. Elected officials should carefully consider not just voter sentiment, but what new executive authority means for interpretation and implementation of recent laws.
One law, passed in 2020 by a Democratic governor, House and Senate, was a radical change to decades-old precedent. The new law gave local elected officials the ability to pass ordinances allowing government unions to have a monopoly and represent all public employees (even those that do not want representation) and to bargain on almost any issue. However, now there may be stricter scrutiny on the interplay between these ordinance and state laws, not to mention the U.S. Constitution. Continue reading
by Susan Lang
Shelly Fularon Wood is running for Commonwealth Attorney in Chesapeake. She has handled more than 2,700 criminal cases in Virginia. She has experience working in the Norfolk Prosecutor’s office and was appointed by Chesapeake Circuit Court Judges to serve as a Substitute Judge. Despite these tremendous credentials, or maybe because of them, someone has been removing her campaign signs.
Wood has a system for recording where and when her signs are placed. She has determined that more than 200 have been stolen — so far.
A Facebook post claiming to be part of the City Sign Sweeper program shows what happened to many of the stolen Shelly Wood signs. The Sign Sweeper program does not cover removal of political signs. It is furthermore an incorrect application of the program to take signs of one candidate for an office but not the other’s signs. This individual was contacted; he said the signs had been destroyed. Continue reading
J.H. Binford Peay III. Official portrait as vice chief of staff.
Here follows a letter from Salvatore J. Vitale, class agent of the Virginia Military Institute class of 1961. — JAB
I am a graduate, and proud to be one, of the Virginia Military Institute’s Class of 1961. Since last summer, I and others of the VMI alumni have been pleased to note that Bacon’s Rebellion has published a substantial number of articles concerning the events at VMI climaxing with the publication and fallout from the now infamous Barnes & Thornburg report commissioned by the administration of Governor Ralph Northam. The articles you published have done a great service to VMI and its alumni by, among other things, pushing back against the findings of that report and the libel of VMI in public media, principally in the “news “section of the Washington Post. That libel is that VMI is a systemically racist and sexist institution. …
The attack directed at VMI has no doubt caused injury to many. The reputations of alumni in general have been impugned because of being branded as the product of a systemically racist and sexist institution. The attack certainly raises the question whether young women and minorities in uniform will, rightly or wrongly, fear that VMI officers of higher rank lack respect for them and, perhaps equally unfortunate, transmit that fear into lack of respect for the superior
officer. There is also rightful fear that in this current political environment that VMI’s sullied reputation could harm their opportunities for advancement, particularly for young officers? If this false narrative diminishes the ranks of women and minorities who seek admission to VMI, it will be unfortunate for VMI and for those who are deterred from applying due to this distorted
Some may say that the foregoing is merely speculative. There has, however, been one injury that is beyond dispute to VMI alumni — the reputational damage to former superintendent General J. H. Binford Peay III, VMI class of 1962, following his resignation after receiving public rebuke from Governor Northam through a “lost confidence” communication. Continue reading
Loudoun County parents pack a School Board meeting. Photo credit: Idiocracy News Media
Allowing collective bargaining will put yet another special interest ahead of the parents who simply want a say in what is best for their children.
by F. Vincent Vernuccio
First published by Virginia Works and reprinted with the author’s permission.
Virginia parents soon could lose even more control over their children’s education.
Parents frustrated with school curriculum and other education issues throughout the state have earned national attention. But as that frustration boils over into school board recall petitions and the race for governor, one policy change that could limit parental and voter choice is being overlooked: public sector collective bargaining.
A new law in Virginia gives local governments and school boards the power to permit government unions to have a monopoly on representing public employees. If school boards pass the law, they will be forced to negotiate with these union officials.
This will put an extra, unaccountable unelected layer of bureaucracy between parents, teachers and schools. Continue reading
by Michael Fruitman and Jim McCarthy
Emily P. Newman is a member of the Virginia State Bar (VSB), admitted, i.e., licensed to practice, in 2012.
Publicly available information reveals that Ms. Newman was a staffer in Congress and in the administration of Donald Trump up to the time of the election of Joe Biden. It is unclear precisely when Newman separated from federal employment. However, on November 25, 2021, she signed onto a federal lawsuit in Michigan, listing her participation as “of counsel” along with eight other attorneys and identifying the Texas office address of Sidney Powell (of Kraken fame) as hers. The Michigan proceeding was one of four federal actions in which Newman participated. The complaint sought to invalidate Michigan’s vote for presidential electors committed to Biden. It was later amended to request emergency injunctive relief and signed by the identical group of attorneys.
The group of nine attorneys in the Michigan legal action were members of the bar in eight state jurisdictions (DC, GA, MD, MI, NJ, NV, NY, and VA). Federal Judge Linda Parker’s decision opened with a clear statement of attorney responsibility. Read the full decision, entered August 25, 2021, here.
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
by Deborah Hommer
Parents all across the United States parents are discovering shocking reading materials in their school libraries and classrooms. We’re not talking about “Lady Chatterly’s Lover.” To give one particularly horrendous example, we’re talking graphic novels depicting fellatio and pedophilia. Many parents are asking, How can this be?
The U.S. federal government and every state has strict laws against obscenity and child pornography. In Reno v. ACLU (1997), the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that “transmitting obscenity and child pornography, whether via the Internet or other means, is… illegal under federal law for both adults and juveniles.” Continue reading
The Tide light rail in downtown Norfolk. Photo by Dean Covey, Virginia Department of Transportation.
by Randal O’Toole
The Tide, Norfolk’s light-rail line, has been open to the public for ten years. As noted in this article in The Virginian-Pilot, it opened 18 months late after a 60% cost overrun.
The article claims the light-rail line carried its first million rides “five months ahead of original projections,” but that’s a transit agency lie. The original projections estimated that the rail line would carry 10,400 riders per weekday in its opening year. That would be about 1 million riders in less than four months. In fact, it carried less than half that, just 4,900 riders per weekday in its first year, and took eight months to reach 1 million riders.
In a typical transit-agency lie, Hampton Roads Transit later reduced that projection to 2,900 trips per weekday, and then claimed that was the “original” projection. This made it appear to anyone who didn’t look closely at the numbers that the line was doing well.
In fact, not only did it do poorly in its first year, it only went downhill from there. By 2019, seven years after it opened, ridership was down to 4,641 trips per weekday. Continue reading
by Marilyn Rainville
As a retired teacher and mother of two raising a school-aged grandson, I am concerned about what is being taught in the Virginia’s public schools. Two weeks ago, I spoke at a Mathews County School Board meeting to voice my concerns about Critical Race Theory.
The school Superintendent declared that our county does not teach CRT. However, she told me that Virginia does require faculty professional development in the area of “Culturally Responsive Teaching” and “Equitable Practices,” which it links to teacher licensing and annual evaluations. Culturally Responsive Teaching is derived from Critical Race Theory!
A February teacher-training workshop on Equity and Culturally Responsive Teaching in Virginia Beach was leaked to the internet on rumble.com. Several Black presenters were indoctrinating White teachers about racism. Each one repeatedly told the White teachers that they were racist and that all White people are racist. One woman continually tried to persuade the audience to admit they were racist. “One of the most freeing things that White people can do,” she said, “is say ‘of course I’m racist.'” Continue reading
The Darden School architecture was an homage to Thomas Jefferson’s academical village. Photo credit: UVA Today
A dustup over classical architecture at the University of Virginia prefigured the controversy over Donald Trump’s architecture executive order.
by Catesby Leigh
When Donald Trump ordered a traditionally oriented reform of federal architectural patronage in his final days as president, its life expectancy was exceedingly short. Sure enough, his successor soon revoked the order and subsequently defenestrated most of the members Trump appointed to a little-known but noteworthy design review board. To understand the affair, it’s worth reviewing what transpired in Charlottesville after the turn of the millennium, when the architecture wars heated up at the University of Virginia. On one side was the university’s architecture faculty, reflecting the arcane sensibilities of fashionable latter-day designers and academics and their fellow travelers in the legacy media. On the other side was common sense.
In 1996, UVA completed a new business school campus designed by Robert A. M. Stern, who emulated Thomas Jefferson’s beloved “academical village”—the original ensemble of Rotunda, pavilions, and connecting colonnades girding a long, terraced greensward known as the Lawn. Jefferson famously modeled his crowning Rotunda on Rome’s Pantheon. Stern’s ensemble, which shares UVA’s traditional palette of red brick with details in white wood and limestone, has been a hit with students. Other new buildings adhered to the architectural tradition that Jefferson inaugurated: a handsome pavilion designed by veteran classicist Allan Greenberg for a public-policy institute and a building by Washington’s Hartman-Cox Architects adjacent to the main university library that houses special collections.
So when it came time, in 2005, for the university’s Board of Visitors to consider alternative architectural approaches for a $105 million arts and sciences complex just south of Jefferson’s Lawn, more than half the faculty of the university’s monolithically modernist architecture school tried to head it off at the pass by denouncing traditionally oriented architectural patronage, in a broadside published in the student newspaper, as a matter of converting the university campus into “a theme park of nostalgia” — a Jeffersonian Disneyland. Continue reading
Click for larger view.
by A. Fletcher Mangum
A. Fletcher Mangum
Virginia’s employment growth has been underperforming the national economy for quite some time. As shown in Figure 1, soon after the recovery from the Great Recession began in earnest in 2011 Virginia’s year-over-year growth in total employment uncharacteristically fell behind the national economy and even briefly went negative in 2014.
Then in early 2020, just as in the rest of the country, economic conditions in Virginia changed drastically when the governors’ lockdowns of economic activity were imposed in response to the pandemic. Between March and April of that year nearly 20 million jobs were lost nationally (or approximately one out of every eight jobs in the country), while in Virginia the employment loss was 428,000 jobs (or approximately one out of every nine jobs in the state). Virginia was not as badly hit as the nation as a whole because of its heavy dependence on federal employment and contracting (which were not significantly impacted by the lockdowns) and disproportionate employment in the Professional and Business Services sector (where people were better able to work remotely).
However, history is now repeating itself as Virginia once again falls behind the nation in the recovery and that trend is getting worse. In April of this year, when year-over-year employment growth turned the corner and moved into positive territory nationally, Virginia trailed the pack and continues to do so. In April Virginia ranked 41st among the states in year-over-year total employment growth, gained ground to hit 32nd in May and 30th in June , and then fell back to 39th in July and all the way to 47th in August. Continue reading
Hudson, Ohio, Mayor Craig Shubert
by Deborah Hommer
In Hudson, Ohio, several days ago, Mayor Craig Shubert addressed the School Board. “It has come to my attention that your educators are distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom,” he said. “I’ve spoken to a judge this evening, she’s already confirmed that, so I’m going to give you a simple choice. You either choose to resign from this board of education or you will be charged. Thank you.”
Schubert then walked away to riotous cheers from a crowd of outraged parents. Some of the writing that upset parents included violent scenarios like “choose how you will die” and “write a scene that begins. ‘It was the first time I killed a man,'” to weird sexual suggestions like “write a sex scene you wouldn’t show your mom,” and “write an X-rated Disney scenario.”
I am here to tell you that the English-required reading materials that outraged Hudson parents were were mild compared to what’s found in Fairfax County Public Schools. Mayor Shubert, hold my beer. Continue reading