Tag Archives: James A. Bacon

Update: UVa Freezes Undergraduate Rates One Year

Jim Ryan

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia is freezing undergraduate tuition in the next school year, but increases in student fees, room, and board will total about $392, or about a 1.1% increase in the cost of attendance in the College of Arts & Sciences.

The board had considered boosting tuition as much as 3.1% this year, based on the national cost of providing a college education plus 1%, reports the Daily Progress. While the Board held steady on tuition this year, UVa President Jim Ryan warned, that the respite likely would last only one year.

“If there were ever a year to raise undergraduate tuition, it would be this year, given the large and unexpected costs and the loss of revenues because of COVID,” Ryan said. “At the same time, if there was ever a year to not raise undergraduate tuition, it would also be this year, given the pandemic and the financial hardship facing a lot of our students and their families.” Continue reading

Shoot-Yourself-in-the-Foot Economics

Virginia unemployment rate over past three years. Source: Ycharts.com

A sure sign of dysfunctional government policy: Thousands of Virginians remain unemployed, but small businesses are struggling to find employees. We’re not talking about highly specialized jobs like aerospace engineers or data analysts that require years of education. We’re talking about ordinary jobs.

“Virginia’s small businesses are working hard on their recovery but are struggling to find the right workers to fill open positions,” NFIB Virginia State Director Nicole Riley said in a Wednesday press release, as reported by The Virginia Star. “It is important that Virginia lawmakers keep small businesses a priority and focus on policies that will strengthen job growth and not hinder the small business recovery.”

“Small business owners are competing with the pandemic and increased unemployment benefits that are keeping some workers out of the labor force,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “However, owners remain determined to hire workers and grow their business.” Continue reading

Wins Appointed as 15th VMI Superintendent

Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins

by James A. Bacon

Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins will serve as the Virginia Military Institute’s 15th superintendent after a unanimous vote by the military academy’s Board of Visitors this morning. A 1985 VMI graduate and career military officer, Wins has served as interim superintendent since shortly after the November resignation of J.H. Binford Peay III under pressure from the Northam administration.

Wins, an African American, has led the academy during one of the most tumultuous periods in its modern history. After anecdotal reports of racial incidents in recent years, the Institute has been characterized as “relentlessly racist” by The Washington Post and criticized for its “appalling” racism by Governor Ralph Northam and Democratic Party leaders. VMI is currently being scrutinized in an “equity audit” ordered by Northam, in which investigators are poring through documents, conducting surveys on attitudes toward race, and  interviewing students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

The Superintendent Search Committee nominated Wins from what chairman Gene Scott called a “very strong” candidate pool. “Maj. Gen. Wins distinguished himself as a frontrunner through his experience as a military leader and innovator,” said Scott. “His ability to communicate a vision for the development of leaders of character and the future of the Institute set him apart from others.” Continue reading

New COVID Data Dump

Source: Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association

by James A. Bacon

New Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) data shows the impact of Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order banning elective surgeries last year. Hospital discharges across Virginia plunged from nearly 17,000 per week when the first COVID-19 cases were reported in the state to less than 12,000 — a drop of 31%. Then, after the ban was lifted, discharges rose to about 15,000 per week and stayed at that level — significantly lower than in previous years.

The discharge data, reported yesterday in a  VHHA report, “COVID Hospitalization & ED Visit Trends,” includes both elective and non-elective inpatient hospitalizations.

The freefall in elective procedures cannot be attributed entirely to Northam’s executive order, issued from a fear that the epidemic might overwhelm hospitals with COVID-19 patients. Many hospitals began restricting discretionary procedures before the governor issued the edict, and many patients chose voluntarily to delay procedures for fear of exposing themselves to the virus in a healthcare facility. Continue reading

Hate, Hostility and Harassment at UVa

Nick Cabrera tweeted this photo of himself posing maskless with Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green at the Conservative Political Action Conference. COVID scolds wanted to impeach him from student council.

by James A. Bacon

Last fall Nickolaus “Nick” Cabrera ran for election as a first-year representative to student council at the University of Virginia. His platform was anodyne — showing unity in confronting COVID-19, getting Class of 2024 t-shirts delivered, that sort of thing. He didn’t run on an ideological or partisan political platform, but he didn’t hide anything either. It wasn’t until he was actually elected to a spot on Student Council that people took notice. Horrors! He supported Donald Trump for president! The word went out on the social media tom-toms. Before long, he was a campus villain.

It wouldn’t be long before Cabrera received his baptism under fire as the sole conservative representative in a student council populated entirely by representatives on the blue end of the political spectrum.

UVa erupted in a furor when minority and woke-white students took umbrage at the use of language by a Commerce School professor. Student Council passed a resolution demanding implementation of a “strike” system — three strikes and you’re out — to hold professors accountable for the use of words deemed offensive. Cabrera was the only student to speak against a measure he saw as a threat to free speech and due process. His stand on principle earned him the animosity of other council members, who said in essence he had no standing as a white person to speak on the matter. (I have described that encounter in detail here.) 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

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

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

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

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

Kings Dominion Stays a Step Ahead of the Minimum Wage

Bridgett Bywater, the new GM at Kings Dominion.

by James A. Bacon

Virginia’s $9.50-per-hour minimum wage will go into effect May 1, but it won’t have much impact on King’s Dominion, which expects to hire more than 2,000 seasonal workers, mostly young people, this season. The Hanover County amusement park plans to boost its minimum wage to $13 per hour, reports Virginia Business. The enterprise also is hiring 80 new full-time positions with wages and benefits starting at $16 an hour in culinary and operations roles.

Hopefully, the flap over the minimum wage in Virginia will prove to be much ado about nothing, as market forces in a fast-recovering economy push up wages faster than the General Assembly can jack up the minimum. In 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70,000 of Virginia’s 1,978,000 workers were paid the $7.50 minimum wage. Presumably, a significant number more were paid less than $9.50 and will benefit from the wage increase. That’s the up-side of the mandated wage boost.

What we don’t know is how many workers will lose their jobs as employers decide they don’t add enough value to the enterprise to justify the higher wage, or, in the longer run, invest in automation. Bacon’s Rebellion will stay alert for signs of how the minimum is impacting “marginalized” employees, such as minorities, teenagers, and rural workers. Continue reading

Bacon Meme of the Week

Photo credit: Washington Post

The Washington Post has redeemed itself (if only ever-so-briefly). Writer Aaron Hutcherson describes the best way to cook crispy bacon. He truly gets what bacon is all about: “For me, the epitome of this cured pork product is audible crispiness. You might be a fan of some chew or tenderness, which is fine by me because that’s your business, but I want there to be a snap and a crunch each time a strip passes my lips.”

— JAB

When “Words Are Violence,” Only One Side Gets to Speak

If you’re not woke, you’re a fascist.

by James A. Bacon

Victoria Spiotto was brought up in a conservative, religious family of Italian descent in Loudoun County.  It was at the University of Virginia where she found her political identity as a conservative. One day in her third year, she was walking the grounds when she came across a Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) table displaying a 9/11 memorial. She found the club appealing, and started learning about thinkers to whom she’d never been exposed to before — the philosophers and thought leaders of conservatism. By her fourth year, she was leader of the club, determined to grow the organization.

Conservatives are mostly invisible at UVa, and they have few means of connecting. Spiotto wanted to let people know the group was out there, that YAF was a club where students of a conservative/libertarian stripe could find like-minded people and make friends. So, she began organizing a series of initiatives to get noticed. “It wasn’t a call to fight.” The idea, she says, was to “stand your ground. Don’t compromise on the truth you believe in.”

YAF now may be the most vilified student organization at UVa. The hostility is unrelenting. Spiotto and her buddies don’t worry for their physical safety. But left-wing students take down their signs and rain down vitriol on social media. Student Council leaders stifle dissent. Continue reading