Tag Archives: Kerry Dougherty

Virginia: We’re Dead Last!

by Kerry Dougherty

How do you know your state’s vaccine rollout is a complete clusterfart?

When Catholic priests are Tweeting about it.

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It Shouldn’t Take Suicides to Reopen Schools

by Kerry Dougherty


Five days into Joe Biden’s presidency crack New York Times reporters finally discovered what the rest of us with common sense knew almost a year ago: That closing public schools would lead to a mental health crisis among kids that would far outweigh the dangers posed by COVID-19.

Of course The Times reporters knew this months ago. But publishing such heresy might have helped Trump’s re-election, since the president was also calling for schools to reopen. Better to let a few more kids fall into clinical depression than risk THAT.

The Times focused on Clark County, Nevada, the fifth largest school system in the country. The tragic consequences of shuttered schools is not confined to Nevada.

“When we started to see the uptick in children taking their lives, we knew it wasn’t just the Covid numbers we need to look at anymore,” said Jesus Jara, the Clark County superintendent. “We have to find a way to put our hands on our kids, to see them, to look at them. They’ve got to start seeing some movement, some hope.”

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Virginia’s Name Games

by Kerry Dougherty

The good people of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties will no longer have to suffer the indignity of being part of a health district named for a loathsome American who left no legacy worth honoring, established no university worth attending and contributed nothing to the cause of liberty in the United States.

I’m talking, of course, about that American scoundrel Thomas Jefferson. As of this month, the Thomas Jefferson Health District will be called the Blue Ridge Health District, sparing the population of the part of the commonwealth that Jefferson loved so well, the pain of hearing his name when they check COVID numbers or seek the vaccine.

I learned about the name change on the Virginia Department of Health website, which got me wondering, did folks in the TJ District complain about the moniker? Did anyone claim that TJ’s name was so offensive they could not bear to have any contact with the health department there?

Nope, came an emailed reply yesterday afternoon. No complaints that anyone there was aware of. Continue reading

Preston Midgett

by Kerry Dougherty

I didn’t learn about the death of Preston Midgett from the newspaper. The television. Or radio.

I learned the way many around here did: by the messages that appeared suddenly on Virginia Beach oceanfront marquees Tuesday.

The signs that for weeks had wished the Beach native and popular owner of the iconic Jungle Golf a speedy recovery, changed yesterday.

“Preston Will Be Missed,” “Thank You Preston” and “We Will Miss U Preston Midgett.”

Oh no, I thought, as I drove down Pacific Avenue yesterday afternoon. He didn’t make it. Continue reading

Hark! A COVID Miracle!

by Kerry Dougherty

I tend to be cynical, but still I dismissed the folks who predicted that once Joe Biden was elected, the lockdowns and shutdowns that had crushed the American economy would start to fall away.

“Just wait till after the election,” they warned.

You’re insane, I thought. I believed — still do — that the Biden administration would pressure governors to close it all down, then, as the vaccine was widely distributed and warmer weather arrived, the new president could claim victory over the pandemic.

Maybe I was wrong. Look at what’s happened in just the past week even as COVID infections grow in many places, including Virginia.

Gov. Ralph Northam, the man who once outlawed sitting on the beach or playing loud music in the sand as bizarre COVID-curbing measures, and the first governor in the country to shutter schools for the entire 2020 school year, now says it’s imperative schools reopen because our kids are turning into dunces. Continue reading

Virginia’s General Assembly Is Back

by Kerry Dougherty

They’re saving the good stuff. They have to be.

No way is Virginia’s General assembly going to spend the next 30 days passing happy resolutions designating November 12 as Uyghur-American Friendship Day or dedicating September as Gospel Music Heritage Month.

Sure, the Democratic majority is going to legalize marijuana and outlaw the death penalty. They’re probably going to pass a Virginia version of the Green New Deal, too.

But where are the major gun control bills? Heck, where are the crazy measures?

I miss the old days when the opening of the General Assembly session was eagerly awaited by late-night comics looking for fodder. Seems both Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly have lost their sense of fun. Continue reading

Calling All Teachers

by Kerry Dougherty

One of the first beats I ever covered for a newspaper was Fairfax County Public Schools for The Washington Post in the early 1980s.

I learned something almost immediately: Despite enjoying enviable job security, teachers are notoriously reticent about speaking to the press. They worry that if they’re critical of what’s going on in their schools they’ll be fired. Or reassigned. Or shunned in the faculty lounge.

So most teachers just keep their heads down and keep teaching their students regardless of the difficult situations in their buildings.

But even that hasn’t been easy since Gov. Ralph Northam closed the schools last March. Many teachers and students were unprepared for full-time virtual learning. They certainly weren’t prepared to reopen in the fall. Some schools are holding in-person classes, others reopened and are now closed, still others are struggling with the 10-month-long failed experiment in distance learning. Continue reading

Northam’s Pretty Good Presser

by Kerry Dougherty

Sitting down?

Here’s the attaboy to Gov. Ralph Northam that I meant to write for Thursday, until anarchy broke out in the U.S. Capitol.

Ever since they began in March, some of us have come to dread Northam’s COVID press conferences. The governor’s tone drips with condescension, he seems to blame people for getting sick and many of his emergency orders have been larded with restrictions that aren’t remotely grounded in science, but seem instead designed only to punish Virginians and make life miserable. No sitting on the beach comes to mind.

So, naturally, I turned on his Wednesday presser with trepidation, wondering what fresh hell awaited us. After all, Virginia’s infection rates are up sharply and even though we have thousands of empty hospital beds, no hospitals in the commonwealth are reporting a shortage of PPE and ICUs still have plenty of capacity, we seemed ripe for some kind of ugly California-style measures.

The urge to do something even if they know it won’t work, seems to be strong in most governors.

I was stunned and pleasantly surprised that this once the governor didn’t follow the lead of idiots like Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo. Neither did Northam berate Virginians who are doing their best to stay healthy during a pandemic.

Instead, he spread hope. Continue reading

About-Face by Virginia Beach School Chief

Aaron Spence

by Kerry Dougherty

Aaron Spence, superintendent of Virginia Beach Public Schools, has seen the light.


After months of kowtowing to the local teachers’ union — er education association — which is doing its best to keep classrooms closed, he belatedly joined the common sense get-the-kids-back-in-class crowd.

Better late than never.

Spence was persuaded, it seems, by medical experts who told him what many have known since last spring: That youngsters are not being infected by COVID-19 at significant rates, they tend to have very mild symptoms if they do test positive, and they’re terrible vectors of COVID-19. In other words, they don’t spread the virus. Continue reading

Hedge Fund Moves on Virginian-Pilot Parent Company

by Kerry Dougherty

If you think The Virginian-Pilot is just a shadow of what it once was, just wait.

It may get worse.

A lot worse.

Perhaps you heard, Alden Global Capital – a hedge fund that Vanity Fair once described as “the grim reaper of American newspapers” – is poised to buy The Tribune Publishing company, the parent of The Pilot, The Daily Press and 75 other newspapers.

Terrible news for Southeastern Virginia, which could find itself essentially newspaper-less in the future.

This move has been in the works for more than a year. The New York Times reported the alarming news this way: Continue reading

Words Matter

by Kerry Dougherty

It started Wednesday morning with an innocent phone call to the “Kerry and Mike Show.”

A caller was talking guns – what else? – with Mike Imprevento and mentioned that someone had wanted to GIFT him a gun.

What’s wrong with GIVE, I thought, gritting my teeth.

Mike responded with something about GIFTING firearms and I couldn’t control myself. I was in such a state that I could no longer focus on the firearm issue.

“Stop!” I begged. “Gift is a noun. Give is a verb. You give a gun, you give a gift. You do not GIFT!” Continue reading

Where Has the ACLU Been?

by Kerry Dougherty

Gosh, I’m getting old. I’m old enough to remember when the ACLU — the American Civil Liberties Union — cared about constitutional rights. You know, the civil liberties of ordinary decent people.

No more.

As best I can tell, this far-left organization has been largely indifferent over the past 10 months as government officials, using COVID-19 as an excuse, merrily stomped all over our civil liberties.

In some places — Virginia, for instance — law-abiding, healthy Americans are told they can’t leave their homes during certain hours. The government dictates how many people can gather in private homes. Children are not permitted to attend public school, including kids with disabilities who are entitled by law to an education tailored to meet their needs.

Until the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in, many Americans were told they couldn’t attend worship services. On top of that, dozens of autocratic governors are extending emergency orders for months on end without legislative oversight.

Does the ACLU care? Continue reading

Shopping Mall Melee

by Kerry Dougherty

As a rule, I pay scant attention to social media rumors. But a video clip circulating Sunday on Facebook showing a nasty altercation at Lynnhaven Mall appears to be authentic. The rampage was bad enough that the mall was reportedly forced to close early Saturday night.

Not good.

The footage shows a fight involving a throng of teenaged girls and mall security. In the short clip, it appears that a guard is on the ground being pummeled by at least one of the punks. It seems this took place inside near the main entrance. (You can see a “Verizon” sign reflected in the glass near the ruckus).

Calls to the Virginia Beach Police on Sunday for details were mostly fruitless. They confirmed that police were called to the mall at about 7:30 Saturday, but other than that they would release no details because — get this — “It isn’t breaking news.”

Of course, it was breaking news on Saturday, but because we didn’t phone while the event was unfolding, the officer I spoke with Sunday said we’d have to wait until Monday to call for details. Continue reading

The Year Santa Went Soft

by Kerry Dougherty

Far be it from me to say anything bad about Santa Claus, especially on Christmas Eve. But there was a Christmas, ages ago, when I was a tad disappointed in the old boy. In fact, I thought Mr. Claus — Father Christmas, Ole St. Nick — was getting lazy.

You see, back when Eisenhower was president, when TV shows were in black and white and movies weren’t rated because they didn’t need to be, Santa not only brought toys. He brought the family Christmas tree.

At least to our house. Maybe we were special, although at the time I assumed he did the same for every family in the world.

That’s right, Santa dragged a 7-foot fir down the chimney along with the toys. Then he set it up, tossed on the lights, hung every ball and draped every icicle. And he still found time to eat a plate of cookies.

What an industrious guy. Continue reading

Snow Days for Remote Learners?

by Kerry Dougherty

Just when you thought this pandemic couldn’t get any zanier, there’s this: At least one school district in Virginia decided to give kids a snow day this week. Even though schools were already closed and not a single bus had to navigate icy roads.

Let’s back up. Remote learning has been such an unmitigated disaster that it’s hard to come up with a single positive aspect to it.

Wait. Here’s one: Virtual learning is unaffected by inclement weather, thereby relieving school officials of those early morning calls about school closures due to flooding. Or snow.

But if you thought that remote learning could go on no matter the weather, you were wrong. Turns out, Loudoun County Public Schools shut down virtual learning for two days this week due to heavy snowfall. Continue reading