Sunday, August 2, 2020

Your August 2 Sunday Summary ...

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Dear Friend of TJI,
He lived the American Dream. Son of a chauffeur, Herman Cain earned a B.A. from Morehouse College and an M.S. from Purdue University before starting at Pillsbury. By his 30s, he ran 400 restaurants at Burger King. By 40, he was put in charge of turning around the Godfather's Pizza chain and soon owned it. For many in the political world, he first rose to prominence as head of the National Restaurant Association, where he educated Bill Clinton on economics, and galvanized big business to block Hillary Clinton's government healthcare plan. In some respects, he was the original Donald Trump - a businessman whose simplified tax plan appealed to those tired of government programs only lawyers, lobbyists and accountants understood, and in 2012 briefly led the polls in the race for President. An Appreciation by David Von Drehle in The Washington Post said it best: Herman Cain "made his own way, on his own terms." RIP.
Meanwhile ...
1.)  Secrecy abounds: On June 22, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney told the Richmond City Council he wanted to take down all the Confederate statues to remove the epicenters of both civil and violent protests. Later that day, still-secret individuals created the firm NAH LLC. On June 29, Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency due to "civil unrest in Richmond," opening the door to taking action.  On July 1, Stoney awarded a noncompetitive $1.8 million contract to NAH LLC - a company that had not existed 18 days earlier - to remove the statues. A copy of the contract agreement provided under FOIA has no signatory for the company. The invoice address is a Post Office Box. And on July 27, after the statues were removed, the City Council rejected a resolution giving the Mayor the emergency power to do what he did. Jim Bacon, at Bacon's Rebellion broke the story here.
2.)  In his response to violence in Richmond, Mayor Stoney claimed that a white supremacist group called the "Boogaloo Bois" had orchestrated the pro-Black Lives Matter demonstrations. But the progressive Virginia Mercury  notes "Richmond officials have presented no direct evidence showing white supremacists organized the protest, encouraged violence or participated in any property damage."  Read the story here. The conservative Bacon's Rebellion comments further here.  In truth, it is entirely possible that violent actors on both the right and the left are purposely stirring the pot and inciting opponents. But to have the city's chief executive use it as a diversionary tactic, without evidence, serves no positive purpose.
4.)  Neither, according to the Virginian-Pilot editorial board, does whisking away in the dead of night Confederate statues and historical markers from what is described as "a time capsule of Virginia history" in the state Capitol building. Like all history, Virginia's is complicated and sometimes ugly.  Removing it doesn't make it less so (click here).
5.)  On the other hand, perhaps there is hope on the horizon (click here).
6.)  More secrecy: The state Inspector General has now released its report into allegations about how the Parole Board released prisoners on Ralph Northam's watch, and there is nothing there (click here). No ... really: There is nothing there except a conclusion that the allegations are substantiated and a lot of blacked out lines redacting everything else (get your laugh by looking here). Despite a law requiring the General Assembly's leaders to be given an unredacted report, no Republicans have received one (click here).  One might ask the former Parole Board chair, but she's now been chosen as a judge by this General Assembly which, if it is looking to create transparency in the criminal justice system now has a place to start.
7.)  "Coming on the heels of reports that the U.S. domestic gross product in the second quarter dropped to its lowest point since 1947, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that Virginia saw the second-highest increase in initial jobless claims in the nation last week," reports Virginia Business magazine (click here). The response of liberals in Congress is to extend the $600 per week supplement to unemployment insurance, raising compensation to as much as $1,000 a week. As restaurant owner Brian Moore discovered when five employees turned down opportunities to return to work (click here), that $600 supplement is aiding and abetting unemployment and the economic downturn. As John Stossel notes, Progressive Policies Wreck Everything, most of all for low-income neighborhoods (click here).
8.)  Instead, the policies offered tie businesses down. The Northam ban on evictions creates a downstream economic impact (click here), and new Hampton Roads restrictions are causing more economic worries (click here). One example: Busch Gardens, with a capacity of 24,000 guests each day, is limited to 1,000 - meaning it is economically unfeasible for them to open and the 5,000 people who work there remain without an income.
9.)  Among those hurt most are schoolchildren. As schools remain closed, low-income children - who need in-classroom instruction the most - will likely be without, putting them even further behind their higher-income peers whose parents can afford to create educational pods and hire tutors. Nearly 5,000 low-and-moderate income Virginia students won't have that problem, thanks to the Education Improvement Scholarship Program offering them scholarships to attend private schools. Educational choice is one effective way of offering alternatives, as a recent Black Minds Matter panel, including former Virginia Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson, pointed out (click here).
10.)                The media has underreported the violence that took place in American cities and the long-term damage done in black communities who "are almost uniformly condemnatory of riots and often harshly so." Those are not unusual conclusions for conservatives. But when they come from left-leaning journalist Michael Tracey, who made a cross-country road trip (with photos) to the riot-torn cities, it is a different matter. Read "What he saw at the Riots" in an interview here. Read his full reports here.  
Finally ... Governor Northam has clamped down on beachgoers in Hampton Roads, prohibiting on-site alcohol sales after 10 pm. We suppose it could be worse: It could be the same rules as beaches in the New York Hamptons (click here) have.

Happy Sunday, Everyone.


Chris Braunlich

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Saturday, August 1, 2020

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