Virginia Annals of Political Correctness, October 2019

Cancel culture comes to Virginia. Anna Grace Calhoun, a first-year engineering student at the University of Virginia, detests Dominion Energy. She regards Dominion as a predatory, monopolistic, rate-gouging and environmentally retrograde blight upon Virginia, and she has distilled her-left-wing critique into a letter published in the UVa student newspaper, the Cavalier Daily. She is entitled to her views, of course, and many people share them. What warrants mention in the Virginia Annals of Political Correctness is that she goes beyond criticizing the utility to calling for the university to disassociate itself from the company. “If the University and its associated organizations take seriously their espoused goal of producing positive leaders,” she writes, “they need to think harder about what careers and corporations they’re funneling students into.”

That’s how the so-called “cancel culture” works — define your enemy, stigmatize it, ostracize it, and and drive it from the public sphere.

Another hate hoax. It was a big story in the national media when a 12-year-old African-American student accused three white male students at Immanuel Christian School of holding her down in a school playground a week ago, covering her mouth, making racist comments about her “nappy” hair, and cutting her hair with scissors. Not only did the story feed the stereotypes of modern-day liberals and progressives — white, male Christian kids acting atrociously, like the MAGA hat-wearing kid smirking at the Native American drummer — it offered as a delicious bonus the fact that Vice President Pence’s wife Karen Pence was a part-time art teacher there. After a Fairfax County police investigation, however, the girl has recanted her story about the school-yard incident. Refreshingly, in this case the mainstream media was quick to update and correct the story.

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40 responses to “Virginia Annals of Political Correctness, October 2019

  1. First year E students clearly have more free time than when my son was there…..Personally I’m crushed she didn’t cite my reporting. 🙂

  2. So? I am i supposed to get upset?

  3. “Anna Grace Calhoun, a first-year engineering student at the University of Virginia, detests Dominion Energy. She regards Dominion as a predatory, monopolistic, rate-gouging and environmentally retrograde blight upon Virginia … ”

    Good for her. She’s right. DC may be a swamp but Richmond is a sewer.

  4. “What warrants mention in the Virginia Annals of Political Correctness is that she goes beyond criticizing the utility to calling for the university to disassociate itself from the company.”
    Not sure what you mean here. Where does facts and truth fit in to your definition her words as how the counter culture works. It’s she just calling for a boycott of Dominion’s product?

  5. geeze – we’re calling a thought leader a purveyor of political correctness!

    I actually think it’s healthy for her to speak – and to have others join in – including those who do not agree with her.

    I suspect she is not alone in her opinion and I’m betting many who support Democrats in Virginia are more aligned with her that the GOP is – and that’s going to have an effect at elections.

    The GOP has screwed the pooch these days on how the economy should work – they’re in bed with rent-seekers and crony capitalism – and when they legislate – their consultants are folks like ALEC and Dominion and supply-sider fools like Laffer and Stephen Moore who took Kansas to budget disaster!

    So yes… we need to have folks like this young lady speaking out – and my take is that apparently some folks are afraid of her words for fear they may actually get support!

    All along – Dominion could have done the “right thing” to be an upright Corporate citizen and partner to Virginia and it’s citizens and they have chosen to take the craven path to profits no matter what. They chose that path – now walk the walk.

  6. Anyone reading BV last 10 years knows Dominion is enormous hate object. How this came to be, I do not know. We are among the lower states on CO2, yet Dominion is hated.

    As Oscar Hammerstein once wrote the lyric, something like, hate does not just happen, you have to carefully taught. Our society’s parent’s are doing a heck of a lot of teaching about which Americans are those who should be hated.

  7. What is BV?

  8. Yep – what is BV – Blue Virginia .. that’s a clue as to the opinino, eh?

    And yes, there IS a reason for Dominion hate… they have refused to refund overcharges as well as excess taxes and have worked to keep these monies owed to ratepayers by claiming they will put them into renewables… all the while they work to prevent 3rd party competition for renewables.

    They fought the coal ash cleanup by hiring companies to do studies that “proved” the cleanup cost was far more than if that job was put out for bid by others.

    They have used the eminent domain power to force people to sell their property for a for-profit gas line venture.

    They brought a powerline across the James at Jamestown when they could have had it cross downstream out of sight of Jamestown and there are serious questions about the supposed need to replace Yorktown when there are active 3rd party companies building new gas plants on that penninsula.

    they have the Va GA pass legislation that benefits them including neutering the SCC so they cannot reject outrageous “proposals” – the GA has mandated that they be passed as is.

  9. Thanks’s larry i thought bv might have been br.

    • the funny thing is that they think Blue Virginia is a bigger threat than Dominion! 😉 It’s totally true BV is a partisan voice – and they do advocate for stuff that is to the left of the mainstream – but the GOP – they have become water-carriers for a monopolistic corporation who has perverted the Virginia general assembly with their influence and yet the fingers point towards BV! LORD!

      • Oh Larry … until the Dems can explain away Dick Saslaw I get to pin the Dominion tail on the Democratic donkey. He’s their chief legal money launderer. After Slippery Saslaw takes in the money it gets bundled, re-bundled and distributed to all the good little Democratic boys and girls.

        Tricky Dick has pocketed $102,500 from Dominion since his last unopposed (by a major party) campaign in 2015. He’s totally unopposed this year. Not even 2015’s Independent Green Candidate is on the ballot.

        Why does Dominion make six digit campaign contributions to a Democratic candidate running unopposed?

  10. Most of the hate and discontent is related to the pipelines now. I don’t hate Big D, quite the contrary. Great company. I recommend the stock. I don’t blame them for making outlandish requests for favorable treatment at the GA, or for seeking maximum profits when they go before the SCC. I do blame all the others who roll over like puppies and give them too high a percentage of what they ask….or sell out for something for themselves and ignore the overall impact on the state’s competitiveness.

    But I remain generally supportive of at least one natural gas pipeline connecting Virginia to those fields and of course my employer/client supported the James River crossing.

    Not sure the woman’s rant rises to the level of Big Deal. Pretty standard college level rant. Future blogger! I’m 100 percent sure nobody in the President’s Office or on the BOV gives a rat’s patootie about her thoughts.

    On the other one, I too was pleased to see that the MSM walked it back, but much damage is done, and a little more skepticism the next time will be in order. After Jessie Smollett they still took this at immediate face value? But of course the real reason was the Pence connection. Who knew that song in South Pacific was about the MSM’s overpowering hated for Trump? How prophetic.

  11. I think Dominion is a well run company that has succeeded in perverting the Virginia General Assembly and no I do not think those cretins in the GA are innocent puppies. They KNOW EXACTLY what they are doing! Portraying them as clueless innocent puppies.. ugh..

    They KNOW damn well what they are doing when they neuter the SCC and let Dominion skate on the overcharges and refunds… that’s irresponsible and a betrayal of basic governance to keep a level playing field between monopoly and rate payers.

    That’s a bigger issue than a pipeline – the pipeline is just one symptom of which there are others.

    There are other pipelines that already connect Virginia to the gas fields.

    The crossing of the James was a bad process – and now the courts are saying so also. When there is enough existing natural gas pipeline capacity for 3rd party companies to build gas plants to serve the peninsula then where is the real need to cross the James with new lines AND in no other crossing location except at Jamestown. This is basically Dominion getting their way – no matter the facts and logic. I’d not defend that even if I see Dominion as a good company – which I do.. they’re running amok to all of us harm!

    Then you run off from the primary focus of the UVA gal to impugn her with … the MSM and Jessie Smollett – that’s your response to the lady at UVA?

    Good Lord! talk about bizarre! The issues with Dominoin are countered with the Jessie Smollett spectacle?

    I hate to tell you this – but this illustrates something.. and you’re not going to like what it illustrates.

    no matter the issue – whether it’s about Dominion or Medicaid – it all goes back to the MSM and Jessie Smollett?

    cough. cough…. this is the face of the GOP these days?

  12. Larry, read Jim’s post. He also brought up the story out of Northern Virginia about the student accusation of racial bullying, now retracted … a la Smollett….It had nothing to do with the UVA letter….Sorry you can’t keep two balls in the air at once 🙂

  13. “That’s how the so-called “cancel culture” works — define your enemy, stigmatize it, ostracize it, and and drive it from the public sphere.”

    Uh, yeah, like a college freshman is going to do this…..

    Jeez, Jim, don’t you have bigger targets to shoot at?

    • Calhoun is just a college kid, so I didn’t think her attack on Dominion warranted full-fledged treatment. Trust me, if she’d been older, I would have been a lot harder on her. But I do believe her thinking is indicative of a lot of the thinking on college campuses today — their foes are not just wrong, or misguided, or motivated by different values, they’re corrupt, nefarious and evil.

      • Jim,
        I took the trouble to go to the Cavalier Daily and read the post. If I was her teacher I would find the Op-Ed well researched and well said. She says that Dominion is not living up to the bargain of its monopoly power compact. I would say that several of us on this Blog have said the same … hoping that the Legislature will work with the SCC to rewrite those rules written for a different electricity utility era. We are among the 20 states that are still running with the old monopoly contract that is no longer relevant.

        To quote the student …
        “Dominion’s profits have been deemed higher than what regulators see as reasonable, although Virginia’s energy usage has leveled off and reviews of utility bill rates were frozen until 2020.”
        “The 2018 Grid Transformation and Security Act halted the biennial reviews of their rates, thus blocking the SCC from lowering rates or enforcing ratepayer refunds in clearly existing cases of overcharging. Rather than refunding exploited consumers, Dominion can now divert this illegally reaped profit into “new capital investments.”

        I have a hard time seeing how that is calling Dominion a … ” corrupt, nefarious and evil” foe. Most of what she said just looks like facts to me.

        • Well, as I said in the story, “She is entitled to her views, of course, and many people share them.”

          As you observed, that’s pretty much par for the course. The point I objected to is that she regards Dominion’s behavior as so far beyond the pale that she says UVA officials should reconsider about “funneling” students into internships and careers at Dominion.

          • UVA should generate and store as much of its own power needs as it can – even if it is uneconomical at the present time. Why? First, universities are supposed to work at the cutting edge of technology even if it requires outside funding. Second, it would demonstrate that Virginia doesn’t need Dominion, at least not in its current predatory monopolistic form.

  14. Jim says, “a first-year engineering student at the University of Virginia, detests Dominion Energy … regard it as a predatory, monopolistic, rate-gouging and environmentally retrograde blight upon Virginia, and she has distilled her-left-wing critique into a letter published in the UVa student newspaper, the Cavalier Daily. She is entitled to her views, of course, and many people share them. What warrants mention in (Va.) Annals of Political Correctness is that she goes beyond criticizing the utility to calling for the university to disassociate itself from the company.”

    Question: why should anyone be surprised given UVA’s chronic record of intolerance, hysteria, prejudice, and rush to judgement episodes, over the past decade, starting around 2011?

    This is a very important subject. It’s called emotional instability and reversion to childhood temper tantrums in college students by reason of toxic education at UVA.

    • This tactic is version of the hecklers veto of screaming children (UVA students) who invaded and shut down Board of Visitors and Jewish Center meetings and the cops hauling a Jew off the steps of the Rotunda for reading his Torah few years back, as well as the students and faculty mob that marched on and trashed a UVA Fraternity house in the middle of the night, and the demonizing of white frat boys over Jackies false charges that festered for years at UVA, and it also cooked off UVa.’s undeniable roll in the 2017 spring /summer riots at Charlottesville, all these affairs are woven from what is taught at UVA.

  15. Steve, you said:

    “But I remain generally supportive of at least one natural gas pipeline connecting Virginia to those fields and of course my employer/client supported the James River crossing.”

    I just wanted to remind everyone that three existing pipelines that serve Virginia (Columbia Gas, Transco, and East Tennessee) do connect to the Appalachian Basin either in West Virginia or Pennsylvania or both. These pipelines have already expanded by an amount greater than the ACP and MVP combined. There is no need for new pipelines in order for us to have the gas we need. They will only increase our cost and cause a great deal of damage.

    I am concerned that our first impulse is either to criticize Dominion or defend them. All of the stakeholders in Virginia need to come together and reconsider how we manage our energy system in Virginia.

    Currently, Dominion Energy is doing everything it can to use (and stretch) our regulatory scheme to increase profits. Customers will pay more but the shareholders will be delighted. Since most of the top executives’ pay is based on what they do for shareholders, it is likely they will continue this behavior until someone tells them to change it.

    The utility compact that has been in place for over 100 years says that utilities get a fair return and monopoly power in exchange for fair rates to their customers. We have diverged from that path in Virginia. Doing so provides a short-term advantage for Dominion but it increases energy costs for families and businesses and puts Virginia at a competitive disadvantage compared to other states. Having a monopoly does not grant unlimited power to extract profits without providing a benefit in return.

    Other states have wrestled with the complexities of dealing with flat load growth while still creating a fair system, so can we. But we need to stop the name calling and get on with the tough job of deciding how to do this a way that works for Virginia and its energy companies.

    Our current path causes the customers to lose now and well into the future. Eventually, the utilities will pay the price for their over-recovery today. Our policy makers and regulators are expected to be the grown-ups that establish the mechanism for sorting this out. So far, money and political influence has kept that from happening. Virginia needs a different “way”.

    • Tom, you know I agree the system is broken and needs to be fixed, but I remain worried the General Assembly process itself needs fixing first. Do what you’ve always done, get what you’ve always gotten. Transparency, full disclosure of lobbying efforts, caps on campaign dollars (it is not progress to prohibit utility donations but allow unlimited donations from their critics.) I don’t want either Tom Farrell or Micheal Bills calling the shots from a position of control.

  16. Right now – today – companies like Amazon, Facebook and others have to “go around” Dominion to locate here. How many other companies just find it easier to go elsewhere?

    Give credit to Dominion as exceptionally well run and more than able to extract more and more profit out of it’s monopoly – something that does make it an appealing investment for most.

    But she is right about the facts and I do not see a problem with what she is proposing – that’s one way to get Dominion to change to realize that even if they are successful at getting what they want – it does have consequences. In some respects, they are going rogue – and deserve to be left out there by themselves.

  17. Dominion certainly is not all bad. There are many in Dominion serving our Commonwealth with care and professional service.
    But just as companies and people earn our trust through their witnessed, documented and measured behavior, Dominion has earned much of the informed public’s distrust by their predatory monopolist behavior. In addition to the many reports of overreaching by Dominion posted here by many of the participants, many of us who have followed the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (from initial Draft Environmental Impact Statement submission to the current situation with Dominion facing 7 legal suits against the ACP in various courts) have witnessed, studied, analyzed and concluded that Dominion is a serious threat to the democratic process, to the regulatory process, to the rights of property owners and businesses, to the ratepayers, to the health and safety of residents along the proposed ACP, and to the beautiful environment in Virginia. No one had to smear Dominion in these matters…it was their actions, their inaccurate and bogus data, their poor documentation, and their lack of concern of those communities impacted by their unnecessary and hazardous industrial infrastructure that resulted in many of us reasonably and rationally concluding that, on this project and a number of other monopolistic actions, Dominion needed to be outed as the bad actor and predatory corporate partner that they have been. This student, like many UVA and other college students, has witnessed much of Dominion’s behavior and called them out. In fact, other scholars, students, and rational people have reviewed the facts and reached similar conclusions. Investors have questioned the stability of Dominion’s management of the ACP project, some $2 billion over budget and over 2 years over schedule and now with D desperately appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to bypass clear lower court’s decisions. In 2019 alone, The Stocks Recorder report noted that 43 major investors sold D shares while 280 reduced holdings. I suggest to you that this student’s point is based on clear realities that some may wish to characterize as biased or extreme views. While I acknowledge the good work that Dominion accomplishes every day in keeping our power flowing and lights on, I must also conclude that Dominion has misjudged the PR impact of their handling of the ACP project and has violated the public’s trust. It’s high time to face the facts, even if Dominion will not.

    • Oh I love that. The opponents send an army of lawyers, file reams of lawsuits, tie up every regulatory review — and then complain the project is late and over budget! Come on….

      • Steve – that happened because Dominion did not conduct a genuine process – they tried to barge the project through.. Reminds me of VDOT in the past. The pipeline is a “for-profit” venture that should require willing-seller/willing-buyer and instead Dominion CHOSE a path with more regulatory hoops to justify eminent domain.

        This is PRECISELY an example of their arrogant behavior that resulted in blowback.

        • I have been watching this since this beginning and I think Jeeva has given a pretty accurate view. Dominion did indeed violate the public trust. And Larry makes the good point that the project was set to ‘barged through’. My own belief is that the project was designed for export gas, which was selling at twice the US price 5 years ago. Using in house contracts to justify a Virginia need checked the box for imminent domain, but the Gas Act rules allow those contracts to be easily canceled and the gas sent to new buyers offshore.

          Today there aren’t many bulls on the price of natural gas. The Wall Street hype that built false expectations for WVA gas is in trouble. Drillers, who have yet to operate in the black, are going bankrupt and the “rapidly falling costs of renewables and batteries … systematically out-compete gas-fired generation on a cost basis.” Finally, electricity demand has remained flat, and methane is being recognized as the low hanging fruit of Climate Change.

          The irony is that all this ‘protest’ delay may end up saving Dominion and Duke from spending billions on a pipeline that will certainly not return the kind of profit they expected, and stands a good chance of becoming a stranded asset in 10 years.

          Dominion manipulated the political process to build the pipeline and to block the changes that will give Virginia a clean energy economy and create a new business model for the future. Their unwillingness to address climate change, and the air pollution that has allowed the downwind states to our north to sue us is clear. Where is the schedule to close those coal plants that are all losing money? The promise to at last build out that 2013 offshore lease is only a first step.

  18. Let me also AGREE that Dominion – the electric company – does well – what we all expect in terms of reliable electric service to include both operations and maintenance and planning and clearly they are paying attention to what their investors want but somewhere along the line they jumped the shark.

    There is little dispute that in Virginia they are the tail wagging the dog and it’s not just one thing – it’s a clear pattern ranging from their influence in legislation to their conduct in the ACP, the coal ash cleanup, the refunds and tax rebates, and more.

    It’s just outrageous behavior with a heavy flavor of arrogance and apparently a belief that their PR can paper it over.

    So when a mere student – lays out the facts in plain language – and advocates consequential actions against Dominion – it’s like heresy for those who consistently enable and defend them – to include much of the Virginia GOP and even some here in BR!

    Steve tickles me – he seems to pretty much agree with the criticisms, but he can’t quite bring himself to blame it on the Va GOP to the point where it will affect his vote!

    The Dems have heard that message from both blue and some red voters. The GOP who have enabled and encouraged this behavior are to this point, dismissive of it as an election issue.

    That’s gonna cost at least some of them at the polls as more and more folks like that student are going to bring that issue to the fore and yes it’s time for some hand-wringing for those who know there is a problem but not willing to deal with it. Change is coming.

  19. Larry, I reflect on 40 years of Virginia politics personally witnessed, 35 with a front-row seat and several with a seat in the closed room. The GOP has controlled the process for very few of those 40 years. There was a long run of GOP House control, but not in the Less Numerous Body. The Third Floor has always traded back and forth. The truly horrible bills we are dealing with were signed by Kaine (2007), McAuliffe (2015) and Northam (2018). You can blame the 2013 bad bill on the Republicans, but that’s about it, and it had some (some) pro-consumer elements. If Ken had let me and some other into the room, instead of grandstanding, it might have been better.

    So you can be tickled, but you are also badly uninformed. If this were only one party, the other would have blown the whistle long ago. Take off your partisan blinders. This year, suddenly, the Dem’s are trying to deflect blame. Can’t do it, not honestly.

    No, despite my disappointment and even anger over some of this, I will not happily turn over the reins to your socialists. Since you and Peter and others have brought out the partisan clubs, I may show you how it’s really done for a few weeks…

    • Steve – I’ll grant you that in the past – both Dems and GOP were complacent with Dominion but all the bad stuff we are seeing today is approved of and enabled by the GOP. You sit in the SCC and watch that they are handcuffed and unable to rein in Dominion and who was responsible – AND who wants to change it now?

      Not the GOP! they are hiding!

      Same thing on campaign finance.. they’re not exactly in the lead trying to tighten it – nope.. .they’re part and parcel of the problem. No leadership there either.

      What do they LEAD on? Oh they call the Dems socialists, they opposed the Medicaid expansion, they call the Dems baby-killers… etc.. what exactly does the GOP really do in Virginia except try to hold on to their rural base? This is why the GOP does not govern a single urban city in Virginia and why the majority of urban voters – vote Dem!

    • Steve – let me ask – do you expect the Va GOP to restore the SCC role?

      easier question – If the Dems were in charge – would you expect them to do so?

  20. Her article makes some valid points about Dominion’s operations, etc. I agree factually with some of her statements.

    But I shudder at the thought of having a state institution make decisions about working with potential employers of its students based on what is essentially a political opinion. The state should not make decisions that affect its students’ future careers based on who the potential employer is. One more bit of evidence that, with the exceptions of abortion and gender preference, the left is extremely anti-choice.

    • Oh, does anyone think that UVA and others should send interns to ANY company or ANY industry no matter what?

      I think there probably is some “discretion”.

      What would you want instead – some sort of State level office that decides?

      • Larry, the problem is that the op-ed is encouraging the University to make decisions based on the perceived political views of Dominion. That scares the hell out of me. A subdivision of the State does not have that discretion.

        I have no problem with UVA deciding not to send interns to businesses that won’t except black or female or Jewish interns. or to businesses that have a track record of not providing meaningful work to interns. But, as much as I dislike Dominion, its environmental policies or even its over-the-top lobbying at the GA are not proper factors for any governmental agency to consider. What’s next? A company that cannot show that its PAC funds went exclusively to Hillary Clinton? The Op-Ed seeks to push UVA on a slippery slope to unconstitutional behavior.

  21. Larry, note my earlier comment was I want neither Tom Farrell nor Michael Bills calling the shots. With a Democratic majority in both chambers, given his level of support, we’ll have Michael Bills and his friends calling the shots. Ultimately I do not expect them to restore SCC autonomy, either. In fact, I fear they will expand (pack) the SCC to five seats to increase compliance.

    They will dump Judge Patricia West, I suspect, since the GOP rammed her appointment through with more partisan fervor than needed…..which is too bad, because she’ll do well. But she’ll be up for reappointment quickly and will be in jeopardy. Larry, over the past year I’ve laid out the case against the whole Assembly, I’ve linked to roll calls, whatever. Called balls and strikes on both teams. If I honestly thought a Democratic majority would restore the SCC’s proper role, I’d say so. Is anybody campaigning on that theme? Hmmm? Did Saslaw lose his primary? No.

  22. re: ” which is too bad, because she’ll do well.”

    Steve – how would she do “well” if the SCC is neutered?

    Basically you’re choosing the GOPs preferred operation of the SCC than Bills… right?

    you really don’t even know what they’d do but you so fear it that you’ll stick with the corrupted GOP way of dealing with Dominion?

    Sticking with the GOP is going to go nowhere.. just more of the same. They DESERVE to be tossed even if Bills and company do stuff you’d not like; the GOP status quo is unacceptable – period!

    Unlike the GOP – the Dems do have moderation. The moderate Dems – and the GOP are not going to go with a far left vision! It will get considered, some of it passed and MAYBE Dominion will get reined in a bit – but don’t bet on it. I just find that prospect more optimistic that the GOP who are not remorseful at all.. more defiant – toss them OUT!

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