Tag Archives: virginia

The Second Nat Turner Rebellion

Nat Turner was neither the first, or the last black man held in slavery to rebel. He was just the white slave owners worst nightmare come true. During the Revolutionary War entire counties didn’t supply troops to the American Army because of fear of local slave rebellions. Despite the Southern Myth of “happy” plantation life, slave owner knew they were on thin ice, and exercised extreme brutality as a means to keep the slaves cowed. Bacon’s Rebellion, a prelude to the Revolutionary War was fueled and fought by slaves and indentured servants. It is never listed as a slave revolt, because the leader Nathaniel Bacon was an Aristocrat.

Not sure I can see the benefit of what Kalifah, mentioned in the story below, is doing. Black History isn’t just black history…It is American History.

The Racial Politics of Nat Turner Tours

The subject of an acclaimed new movie, the 1831 slave revolt led by Turner is also the focus of two tours, one black and one white, in a region still divided over Turner’s legacy.

Nate Parker entered his film The Birth of a Nation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival with little publicity and no distribution deal. It emerged having garnered the festival’s Grand Jury Prize, Audience Award, and a deal with Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million—the largest deal in Sundance history. Parker both directed and plays the central role of Nat Turner, who planned and carried out the most violent slave insurrection in American history in Virginia in 1831 that left 55 white men, women, and children dead. …

The controversy surrounding Parker’s past has obscured a far more interesting story currently playing out in Southampton County, where for the first time efforts are underway to interpret the 1831 slave rebellion for the general public. It is a promising development that comes amidst reports of police brutality within the black community, an active Black Lives Matter campaign, and a presidential election that has bitterly divided the nation along racial lines on the eve of the conclusion of our nation’s first black presidency. It also points to an increased willingness on the part of museums, historic sites, and even Hollywood to confront the violence of America’s slave past, but it is not without controversy.

It is difficult to exaggerate the challenges involved in interpreting Nat Turner’s controversial life in the place where so much blood was shed. This history remains contested ground for the black and white residents of Jerusalem (now Courtland) and the surrounding county. Local debates about how to interpret and remember Nat Turner point to tightly embraced competing memories of the past that fall along racial lines and more specific disagreements about what kinds of historical sources ought to be given priority, and who has the right to tell these stories.

Such differences stretch all the way back to the event itself and its aftermath, which included the execution of free and enslaved blacks by a community that feared additional violence, the eventual capture of Turner, his trial, and subsequent execution.

Efforts to interpret Turner and his slave rebellion began in 2002, when the Southampton County Historical Society (SCHS) gained possession of the Vaughan House—the only extant building dating back to the 1831 insurrection. Rebecca Vaughan, along with her two sons, niece, and overseer, were killed by Turner’s followers. Once restored, the home will serve as the centerpiece of an exhibit that explores the violent deaths of its occupants as well as the story of slavery in the community and the events that led up to and followed the bloody uprising. Its centerpiece will be the sword that Turner used throughout much of the rebellion.

Much of the history will eventually be shared through roughly 40 wayside markers at 17 stops throughout the county that will be accessible by foot and by car. Early drafts of individual markers reveal a clear commitment to deal with the horrors of chattel slavery in Southampton County as well as its connection to broader events. Visitors will be able to read about obscure slave rebellions such as The Plant Cutter Revolt of 1663, George Boxley Rebellion in 1811, as well as better known moments such as Denmark Vesey’s Revolt in 1822 and Gabriel’s Rebellion of 1800.

Turner’s story is told alongside other notable local African Americans, including Dred Scott, whose unsuccessful legal plea for his freedom was decided by the Supreme Court just a few years before the start of the Civil War. John Brown—not to be confused with the famous abolitionist—escaped slavery and eventually made his way to Great Britain, where he published his autobiography with the help of The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. Finally, Anthony Gardiner traveled to Liberia with the help of the American Colonization Society and eventually became that nation’s ninth president. By highlighting the lives of these men, the SCHS hopes to frame the broader narrative around the quest for freedom and civil rights.

Any attempt to interpret a story like this for the general public, however, raises difficult questions of interpretation. Is it possible to tell a story that transcends racial divisions? How do you interpret the killing of women and children—a subject that even Nate Parker, who characterizes Turner as a hero, chose to avoid almost entirely in his movie? Most importantly, how should we understand Turner’s actions? Was he a freedom fighter, a murderer, or something else entirely? In short, what is his legacy?

These questions matter to Rick Francis, who is the Southampton County Circuit Court Clerk and belongs to the SCHS. Francis was born and raised in Southampton County and is descended from Nat Turner’s owner. From a very early age, he absorbed and re-told stories passed down by his father and others about members of his extended family, who ended up “on the business end of his ax” as well as others who were aided by local slaves and managed to survive.

While Francis fully supports the efforts of the SCHS to interpret Nat Turner’s rebellion, including its emphasis on white supremacy and the violence of slavery, he betrays a certain uneasiness when asked to evaluate Turner himself and the legacy of his actions. In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, Francis questioned whether emancipation is what motivated Turner and said that whether or not he was a freedom fighter “is not my call to make.”

Francis believes that it is possible for the SCHS—an organization that he admits is overwhelmingly white—to tell an “objective” history of Nat Turner through electronic maps, video, a driver app, artifacts, and primary sources such as The Confessions of Nat Turner penned by white Southampton lawyer Thomas Gray. Gray’s interview with Turner while in his jail cell during his trial was published shortly after his execution. It is an indispensible source for historians, but it remains a challenge to interpret. Francis’s goal from the beginning remains for the public interpretation to stay as far away from the “saint or sinner debate” and “let people come up with their own interpretation.”

But for H. Khalif Khalifah, this is neither satisfactory nor does it allay concerns that the story of Turner itself is being told by the wrong people. Born in Gosport, Alabama, and raised in New York City, Khalifah was introduced to Turner’s history during the height of the civil rights movement through publications distributed by radical black political organizations that referenced the slave as one among many “revolutionaries and militants who had waged a physical fight to Free Black People.” Trained as a master printer, Khalifah eventually started his own company that marketed books about black history to black communities.

In the mid ’80s, Khalifah and his wife moved to Southampton County, Virginia, on 123 acres of the “birth land” of Nat Turner, where he established the Nat Turner Library and Nat Turner Trail tours. He has had very little contact with the SCHS and is not involved in the organization of the new exhibits and trail tour. This distance reflects a deep skepticism that a largely white organization can accurately engage the general public about Turner’s story and the history of slavery.

Khalifah’s tours are geared specifically to African-American tourists and he rarely allows white visitors to join. When asked why, he suggested that “the pain that was visited upon black people is so brutal that emotions may become aroused against white people on the tour.” The language used along the tour adds to his concerns about how whites might respond. Stops along the tour are referred to as “battle sites,” while Turner and his men are referred to as the “Black Liberation Army of 1831.”…The Rest Here

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Posted by on October 22, 2016 in Black History


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Prince William County…Again. Black Teen Charged With Larceny over $.65 box of Milk at School

Prince William County has a deplorable racial history. It was the site of the longest running school desegregation effort in the country in the 60’s. They actually shut the public school system down for four years, building “Charter” Private Schools for the white kids so they didn’t have to integrate. More recently, they came up with the brilliant idea that illegal aliens shouldn’t be able to buy houses there and demanded to check everyone’s citizenship status. They yanked their real estate market for 6 years behind that one.

Teen Charged With Stealing 65-Cent Milk Carton To Go To Trial

Ryan Turk’s family says the 14-year-old was handcuffed, searched for drugs and suspended from school.

A 14-year-old Virginia boy will face trial after he was charged with stealing a 65-cent milk carton from his school cafeteria ― despite being enrolled in the free-lunch program.

Police arrested and charged Ryan Turk with two misdemeanors of disorderly conduct and petit larceny in May after a school resource officer claimed to have seen him “conceal” the drink at Graham Park Middle School, according to the Prince William County Police Department.

The debacle ended with Turk being handcuffed, suspended and allegedly searched for drugs in the school principal’s office, his mother alleged in an interview with WTVR shortly after his arrest.

The boy’s family has since accused the officer and school of unfairly targeting him because he’s African-American. They declined to handle his arrest non-judicially, police said, leading to a trial date being set for November, The Washington Post reports.

The acting officer, who is with the Prince William County Police Department, reported seeing Turk take the beverage after cutting in his school’s lunch line on May 10, police said.

Turk told WTVR after his arrest that he had forgotten to pick up the drink during his first pass through the line. He put it back and explained himself after being the officer confronted him, the teen added.

When he was ordered to go to the principal’s office, however, things apparently got hostile.

Police said in a statement, which The Huffington Post obtained, that the boy “refused and became disorderly.”

“When the officer attempted to escort him to the office, the student leaned back and pushed against the office,” the statement read. “As they were approaching the principal, the student attempted to push past the officer to get away. The student was subsequently handcuffed and taken to the office without further incident.”

Turk admitted that he did pull away from the officer and told him to get off of him. He said the officer grabbed his neck in response.

The family’s attorney, Emmitt Robinson, argued that it was merely a case of someone not wanting to go along with someone who was being unfair. But he also alleges that Ryan was targeted and accused of stealing because of his race.

The 14-year-old boy was enrolled in his school’s free lunch program, so he was entitled to the milk without paying, his family has said.

“No one needs to be punished for stealing a 65-cent carton of milk,” Robinson told The Washington Post last week. “This officer treats kids like they’re criminals, and guess what happens — they’re going to become criminals.”

The boy’s mother, Shamise Turk, said her son’s ordeal left her “angry” and “frustrated.”

“It just went too far,” she told WTVR. “They are charging him with larceny, which I don’t have no understanding as to why he is being charged with larceny when he was entitled to that milk from the beginning.”

She said that her family’s decision to go to trial is over wanting to set the record straight.

“My son is not going to admit to something he did not do,” she told The Washington Post.

A spokesman for Prince William Public Schools said in a statement Monday that it had no role in how the situation was handled, beyond academic discipline. Local authorities brought the legal charges and police action, he said.

The school suspended Turk because his actions broke its code of conduct, school spokesman Philip B. Kavits wrote.

“As every parent and student knows, principals must look at how a student behaved, and how that behavior affects both the student and others at the school. Following that determination, principals act in the best interest of all concerned,” he added.

Addressing allegations of racism, Kavits  noted that both the school’s principal and the police officer that handled his arrest are African-American.

“These individuals are well known in our highly diverse community for their dedication and caring approach to ALL students,” he wrote.

Requests for comment from Robinson and Shamise Turk were not immediately returned.


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Posted by on October 5, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter


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How the Second Black Wall Street Died

Tulsa, Oklahoma was considered by many black historians to be the first black Wall Street. It had black owned banks, homes, businesses, and homes. It was destroyed in an act of white genocide when white rioters attacked and burned the town, killed hundreds of black residents, and destroyed the town beyond any hope of recovery.

The second Black Wall Street was Richmond, Virginia. Home of the first black millionaire, Maggie Walker. It met a far different fate – being a victim of the end of Segregation.

The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond was one of the first black-owned banks in the United States.

The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street

Richmond was once the epicenter of black finance. What happened there explains the decline of black-owned banks across the country.

On April, 3rd, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech in Memphis. In it, he urged African Americans to put their money in black-owned banks. It wasn’t his most famous line, but the message was clear: “We’ve got to strengthen black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in the Tri-State Bank. We want a ‘bank-in’ movement in Memphis … We begin the process of building a greater economic base.”

The next day, King was assassinated, and his hope of harnessing black wealth remains unfulfilled. Before integration, African Americans in cities like Richmond, Chicago, and Atlanta relied on black community banks, which were largely responsible for providing loans and boosting black businesses, churches, and neighborhoods. After desegregation, black wealth started to hemorrhage from these communities: White-owned banks were forced to open their doors to African Americans and the money that once flowed into black banks and back out to black communities ended up on Wall Street and other banks farther away.

“We started to lose a lot of our businesses and support for our businesses,” says Michael Grant, president of the National Bankers Association, a trade group representing nearly 200 minority and women-owned banks across the United States. “That was the toxic side of integration.” The financial meltdown of 2007 wiped out 40 percent of African American wealth in the United States, killing off many of these already-struggling community banks (they were not part of the big Wall Street bailout). Tri-State Bank in Memphis still exists, but it’s among the few that survived. Only 25 black-owned banks remain in the United States, according to the latest data from the FDIC, compared to 45 a decade ago. At their height, there were more than 100, says Grant.

The decline raises the question of whether these niche banks still have a place in modern America. I visited the Jackson Ward neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia, once dubbed America’s “Black Wall Street” and “the birthplace of black capitalism.” At the turn of the 20th century, it was one of the most prosperous black communities in the United States, with thriving theaters, stores, and medical practices. Richmond is where the first black banks opened, including one chartered to a former schoolteacher named Maggie Walker—the daughter of a freed slave. The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, which Walker opened in 1903, made loans to qualified borrowers who were shunned by traditional banks, such as black doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs. St. Luke’s would eventually merge with other black banks and become Consolidated Bank and Trust. By the end of the 20th century, the bank was the last black-owned bank in Richmond and was struggling to compete with much bigger banks downtown. It had several troubled loans on its books and couldn’t raise enough capital to stay afloat. In 2005, a Washington, D.C.-based bank bought it, then a West Virginia-based bank took over in 2011 and renamed it Premier Bank. The last bank of “Black Wall Street” was gone.

Premier’s president, Darryl “Rick” Winston, says he too wonders what role black banks will play in the future. He once reviewed loans at Premier Bank when it was still the black-owned Consolidated Bank and Trust. At one point, he says, the bank had $111 million in assets and seven branches. Winston, who is African American, left for a consulting job in 2000, and returned last year to take over as regional president after the buyout. Winston drove me around Jackson Ward, pointing out the shuttered businesses that once made Richmond a bastion of black wealth and culture. “Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong stayed there,” he said, pointing to the former site of the Eggleston Hotel, one of the few upscale lodgings for blacks in the Jim Crow south. As we drove by, a construction crew was busy building a mixed-used complex that will house 31 apartments, 10 townhomes, several stores, and restaurants.

Two blocks away, Premier Bank remains in the same brick building as its predecessor. Much of the bank’s staff is the same. Winston says it’s important to make sure his employees reflect the community they serve, even if it’s no longer a black-owned institution. That’s in part because African American borrowers still face immense bias in the banking and lending industry, he says. “It’s more subtle. A black person goes into a mainstream bank and the loan officer might think of rejecting their application before it’s even complete,” he says.

Racial bias in the lending industry remains all too common, despite legislation aimed at preventing it. In 1992, a landmark study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston examined 4,500 mortgage-loan applications and discovered that black borrowers were twice as likely to get rejected for loans than white borrowers with similar credit histories. More recently, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts found that banks in Boston and across the state of Massachusetts continue to reject black and Latino borrowers for home mortgages at a much higher rate than whites….Read the Rest Here

The author is partially correct. The partial end of segregation did lead to black folks putting their money into white banks. White owned banks offered services, and capabilities the smaller black owned banks couldn’t. But the real destruction of community banking started under Raygun with “deregulation”. the destruction of “brick and mortar laws”, and the changes in the interstate banking laws which allowed the big banks to spread like wildfire across the country, buying out of shuttering small banks.

Now we have banks which are “too big to fail”, and a credit system which segregates by other means.

“deregulation” and “privatization” are nothing more than another means of domestic terrorism and financial genocide against minorities.

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Posted by on September 4, 2016 in Black History, Domestic terrorism


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Va Gov Restores Voting Rights to Felons

Republicans hate this, especially sine the vast majority of people incarcerated at the state level under “Get tough on…” knee jerk laws have been black. Incarcerating black folks was a key to Jim Crow in eliminating the possibility of blacks voting. No different than under the New Jim Crow Voter ID Laws.

Va Governor McAuliffe is a close Clinton ally, so this may presage a larger effort should Hillary Clinton win the Presidency.

If it is true that 1 in 5 black men in Virginia is disenfranchised, and will ultimately allowed to vote…It is the death of the Republican Party in statewide and federal Senate elections in the state, as the difference in the last few elections has only been less than 100,000 votes.

Virginia Governor Restores Voting Rights to Felons

Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia used his executive power on Friday to restore voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons, circumventing the Republican-run legislature. The action overturns a Civil War-era provision in the state’s Constitution aimed, he said, at disenfranchising African-Americans.

The sweeping order, in a swing state that could play a role in deciding the November presidential election, will enable all felons who have served their prison time and finished parole or probation to register to vote. Most are African-Americans, a core constituency of Democrats, Mr. McAuliffe’s political party.

Amid intensifying national attention over harsh sentencing policies that have disproportionately affected African-Americans, governors and legislatures around the nation have been debating — and often fighting over — moves to restore voting rights for convicted felons.

In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin, a newly elected Republican, recently overturned an order enacted by his Democratic predecessor that was similar to the one Mr. McAuliffe signed Friday. In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, vetoed a measure to restore voting rights to convicted felons, but Democrats in the state legislature overrode him in February and an estimated 44,000 former prisoners who are on probation are now eligible to register for voting.

“There’s no question that we’ve had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to African-Americans — we should remedy it,” Mr. McAuliffe said in an interview Thursday, previewing the announcement he made on the steps of Virginia’s Capitol, just yards from where President Abraham Lincoln once addressed freed slaves. “We should do it as soon as we possibly can.”

The action, which Mr. McAuliffe said was justified under an expansive legal interpretation of his executive clemency authority, provoked an immediate backlash from Virginia Republicans. They issued a statement Friday accusing the governor of “political opportunism” and “a transparent effort to win votes.”

“Those who have paid their debts to society should be allowed full participation in society,” said the statement from the party chairman, John Whitbeck. “But there are limits.” He said Mr. McAuliffe was wrong to issue a blanket restoration of rights, even to those who “committed heinous acts of violence.”

Friday’s shift in Virginia is part of a national trend toward restoring voter rights to felons, based in part on the hope that it will aid former prisoners’ re-entry into society. Over the last two decades about 20 states have acted to ease their restrictions, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

Only two states — Maine and Vermont — have no voting restrictions on felons. On the other side, 12 states disenfranchise felons after they have completed probation or parole, said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a Washington policy organization that advocates restoring felons’ voting rights.

Virginia has been one of four states — the others are Kentucky, Florida and Iowa — that impose the harshest restrictions, a lifetime ban on voting for felons. The Sentencing Project says one in five African-Americans in Virginia cannot vote….The Rest Here


Posted by on April 22, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter


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Federal Appeals Court Overturns Anti-LGBT Law in Virginia

And because it is the 4th Federal Appeals Court the ruling also sets legal precedent for North Carolina.

Court overturns Va. school’s transgender bathroom rule

A federal appeals court has overturned a policy barring a transgender student from using the boys’ restrooms at his Virginia high school.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the Gloucester County School Board policy is discriminatory. A federal judge had rejected Gloucester High School student Gavin Grimm’s sex discrimination claim.

The appeals court’s ruling establishes legal precedent in the five states in the 4th Circuit, including North Carolina, which faces a lawsuit challenging a new state law requiring transgender public school students to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate.

“I feel so relieved and vindicated by the court’s ruling,” Grimm said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents him. “Today’s decision gives me hope that my fight will help other kids avoid discriminatory treatment at school.”

Grimm was born female but identifies as male. After complaints, the school board adopted a policy requiring students to use public restrooms corresponding with their biological gender.

Grimm, 16, said he started refusing to wear girls’ clothes by age 6 and told his parents he was transgender in April 2014.

Grimm’s parents helped him legally change his name and a psychologist diagnosed him with gender dysphoria, characterized by stress stemming from conflict between one’s gender identity and assigned sex at birth. Grimm began hormone treatment to deepen his voice and give him a more masculine appearance.

School officials told CBS affiliate WTVR they received complaints from dozens of parents in regards to the bathroom issue.

“It shall be the practice of the (Gloucester County Public Schools) to provide male and female restroom and locker room facilities in its schools, and the use of said facilities shall be limited to the corresponding biological genders, and students with gender identity issues shall be provided an alternative private facility,” the school board said in its ruling on the issue.

At that time, the school also built several unisex private restrooms for all students to use.

Grimm said for him, this battle is about much more than just using a certain restroom.

“I’m banned from a gender specific place and it is a big issue for me, this is one way the school is saying, we do not believe you are legitimate, and that is a big deal to me,” he said.

The case of Grimm has been especially closely watched since North Carolina enacted a law last month that bans transgender people from using public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity. That law also bans cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances, a response to an ordinance recently passed in Charlotte.

In the Virginia case, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — which also covers North Carolina — ruled 2-1 to overturn the Gloucester County School Board’s policy, saying it violated Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination in schools. A federal judge had previously rejected Grimm’s sex discrimination claim, but the court said that judge ignored a U.S. Department of Education regulation that transgender students in public schools must be allowed to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

“We agree that it has indeed been commonplace and widely accepted to separate public restrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities on the basis of sex,” the court wrote in its opinion. “It is not apparent to us, however, that the truth of these propositions undermines the conclusion we reach regarding the level of deference due to the department’s interpretation of its own regulations.”

Maxine Eichner, a University of North Carolina law professor who is an expert on sexual orientation and the law, said the ruling — the first of its kind by a federal appeals court — means the provision of North Carolina’s law pertaining to restroom use by transgender students in schools that receive federal funds also is invalid.

“The effects of this decision on North Carolina are clear,” she said, adding that a judge in that state will have no choice but to apply the appeals court’s ruling.

Other states in the 4th Circuit are Maryland, West Virginia and South Carolina. While those states are directly affected by the appeals court’s ruling, Eichner said the impact will be broader.

“It is a long and well-considered opinion that sets out the issues,” she said. “It will be influential in other circuits.”


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Toni Morrison…A Pornographer?

More on conservatives getting stupid. The Republican majority house and senate in Virginia has passed a law banning Morrison’s books because there are sexual scenes in the books.

The right wing christian Taliban is at it again.

Virginia’s Governor is trying to decide whether Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison is a pornographer

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is currently deciding whether Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison is a pornographer.

Last month, both houses of the Virginia Legislature passed a bill requiring schools to warn parents if teachers are planning to read books with explicit content. The bill was prompted by a concerned parent, Laura Murphy, who learned that one of her sons was reading Morrison’s novel “Beloved,” which includes graphic depictions of rape and infanticide. Murphy and sympathetic lawmakers cited similarly explicit material in books such as “The Bluest Eye,” also by Morrison, “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison and “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy.

“I don’t shelter my kids, but I have to be a responsible parent. I want to make sure every kid in the county is protected,” Murphy told the Washington Post.

McAuliffe has not yet said whether he will support the bill. As a teacher, parent and avid book reader, I believe he should not. This bill simply doesn’t go far enough. In fact, New Jersey lawmakers should go further than their Virginia counterparts and draft a law that takes us back to the days of banned books. After all, this may be the last chance we have to actually make books interesting to students.

It is true, as critics have charged, that the Virginia proposal puts the state on a slippery slope to censorship. It also makes the good folks of Virginia look a tad provincial.

“Toni Morrison has won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and she’s the last American author to win the Nobel Prize for literature,” noted state Sen. Janet D. Howell, who opposed the Virginia bill. “So let’s just make ourselves look ridiculous.”

But what’s really ridiculous is that we are bypassing a golden opportunity to remind kids that great books contain sex, love, comedy, sex, drama, violence and — finally — sex. You know, all the stuff they think the Internet invented.

Indeed, supporters of the Virginia book bill are right about one thing: We are facing a crisis. But it has nothing to do with books. The prevalence of visual media in the lives of both adults and children is so overwhelming that it threatens basic things that make us human: contemplation, solitude, sustained thought. One doesn’t have to spend much time on Vine or YouTube to realize that if young minds are being damaged, it ain’t a poetic 300-page Toni Morrison novel we have to worry about.

Obviously, there are distinctions to be made here between third-graders and high school seniors. Nevertheless, the fact that anyone believes more harm than good can come out of reading a book with challenging ideas and language is ignorance in its purest form: a sad yet disturbing lack of knowledge.

On the other hand, if word gets out that classics written by the likes of James Joyce, Philip Roth or Morrison have naughty bits, maybe kids will be tempted to put down their phones for a minute or two. Or maybe they’ll pick their phones up and spread the word that literature actually pulses with stuff that’s interesting and important.

Plus, the Virginia bill, as currently written, might not even work. Notify parents that Jane or Johnny is reading smutty books? That would require Mom to remove her steamed-up glasses and stop reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” for the 50th time. And that would require Dad to … pause the video game he is playing. Because, as is well-known, adult men have pretty much given up on reading.

And by the way: Shouldn’t parents already know what their kids are reading in class? Aren’t they supposed to speak to their children about school from time to time? I know most kids offer grunts in lieu of coherent responses. But if you can’t get the title of a book out of your child — and perhaps read and judge the entire book for yourself — then you just might have bigger parental problems.

It’s worth mentioning here that there’s a tendency to sneer at the conservative Republican leanings of those who support the Virginia book bill. But overly sensitive liberal types have their own problems in this area. Some believe college professors should stay away from books with racist or sexist elements, which might traumatize fragile minds.

If the good Virginia legislators are so worried about kids seeing pornography…

Then they better ban the Internet…Where they can see the naked Women for Trump.


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Virginia Ends Reciprocal Handgun Permits

In a move that has already toasted the Republicans and associated gun crazies, the AG of Virginia has ended agreements with states who allow people with mental disorders, convicted felons, are fugitives of state or federal justice, and/or convicted stalkers to conceal carry guns.

Good Move!

Virginia revokes handgun permit agreement with 25 states

Concealed handgun permits held by residents of 25 states will no longer be valid in Virginia, the state’s attorney general said Tuesday, drawing swift criticism from GOP lawmakers.

Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, said the state will revoke its reciprocity agreement with the states because their concealed weapon laws don’t meet Virginia’s standards. Those states hand out permits to people who are barred under the Virginia law, like fugitives, convicted stalkers and drug dealers, which undermines the state’s law and puts residents at risk, he said.

“Evenly, consistently and fairly enforcing Virginia’s concealed handgun permit law, as we are now doing, means that it will be more difficult for potentially dangerous individuals to conceal their handguns here in Virginia and that will make Virginians safer, especially Virginian law enforcement,” Herring said.

The move means that Virginians will no longer be able to use their concealed handgun permits in six states that require a mutual reciprocity agreement: Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wyoming.

John Whitbeck, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, said Herring’s announcement was further proof that Democrats have “declared war on the Second Amendment.”

The top Republican in the GOP-controlled House of Delegates said that Herring is “damaging the integrity of the office he holds.”

“Despite promising to take politics out of the attorney general’s office, Mark Herring consistently seeks to interpret and apply the law of the Commonwealth through the lens of his own personal, political opinions,” House Speaker William Howell said.

Lars Dalseide, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, said concealed handgun reciprocity agreements between states have ended before, but his organization is unaware of another state ever implementing a change of this magnitude.


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Posted by on December 22, 2015 in Domestic terrorism


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