The Score: Road Blasts, Summer Theatre, Atlantic Trade, Immigration Prospects, Racist Science
This week on The Score – How disruptive will a construction project on Route 29 be? Can the University of Virginia overcome its sordid history of promoting eugenics? Is there a free trade agreement in Britain’s post-Brexit future? What’s in store for summer theater patrons this year?
Traffic is like the weather: everybody complains about it but it seems nobody does anything about it.
This summer the Virginia Department of Transportation is trying to fix a traffic safety hazard in Fauquier County, where U.S. Route 29 intersects with Vint Hill Road. I attended a town hall meeting last Tuesday at Battlefield Baptist Church near Warrenton, where I asked VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter about the project and what alternatives exist for drivers traveling from central Virginia to northern Virginia during construction disruptions.
Perhaps the most important question is, what are the alternative routes available for drivers heading to Fairfax or Arlington counties from points south of Culpeper during the three weeks or so when the northbound lanes of Route 29 are going to be completely closed?
They need to take Route 17 on the north end of Warrenton, where 15, 29, and 17 split. They should take Route 17 North toward Marshall, get on Interstate 66 at Marshall and then head east from there… There’s going to be a lot of congestion in the area [and] we’ve got a good four-lane road on Route 17… so we really feel like the best route for people to take is going to be 17 to 66….
We’re suggesting for people to remember the biggest impact is going to be in the morning because it’s the northbound lanes that are being closed. We understand this is going to be a huge inconvenience for people, there is no question about that. We’re not going to sugarcoat that at all; we recognize that it’s going to cause delays and congestion. So what we’re saying is planning an additional 30 minutes for your trip, particularly during the morning. If it doesn’t take that long, maybe there’s time for a cup of coffee, but we would rather have people arrive early than arrive late.
Since the mid-1970s, the Heritage Theater Festival has brought professional productions of plays and musicals to Charlottesville, in cooperation with the University of Virginia. This year the summer stock company will present a rock-and-roll musical, a new take on a classic novel, a beloved three-hanky comedy, and a new play about human values.
I spoke with artistic director Jenny Wales about the theater festival’s upcoming summer season, after she made a formal announcement to a crowd of patrons and supporters in the lobby of the Culbreth and Caplin theaters on the Grounds of UVA.
The first show will be Million Dollar Quartet, based on a true event when Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley met at Sam Phillips’ Sun Records studios in Memphis, which resulted in a classic recording. It will be followed by Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, and the play that became the movie Steel Magnolias (which marks its 30th anniversary this year). The final show of the summer is The Niceties by Eleanor Burgess, described by Wells as “an incisive play that deals with race and power and academia.” Each performance of The Niceties will be followed by a talk-back session with the audience.
The Heritage Theatre Festival is on Twitter as @uvahtf.
Foreign policy has been in the news this month, with President Trump traveling overseas to meet leaders and enjoy Queen Elizabeth’s hospitality. In a conversation with two Young Voices, Sam Peak and Rachel Tripp, we talked about immigration, tariffs, Libya, and Trump in Europe. This is an excerpt from a longer chat we had in Arlington, Virginia, on June 6th – the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy.
Sam Peak writes about immigration policy and related issues. His recent articles include “‘Merit-based’ immigration will make America poor again” (Orange County Register); “Secret Weapon: Immigrants Help America Keep Its Technological Edge” (The National Interest, with Ryan Khurana); and “Voter fraud isn’t turning Texas blue, Trump’s immigration policies are” (Washington Examiner).
Rachel Tripp is a Republican strategist who writes about education, taxes and regulation, and religious liberty. Her recent media appearances include “Closing the border would be bad for Americans & Trump” (i24 News) and a joint appearance with Brad Polumbo on WJLA-TV’s Armstrong Williams Show. She wrote “Bill de Blasio is a terrible mayor. So how could he be a good president?” for Fox News.
Eugenics is a pseudoscience that seeks to justify racism. Physician and medical historian P. Preston Reynolds recently gave a lecture in which she revealed the sordid record of the University of Virginia, which promoted eugenics from the late nineteenth century right up into the 1950s.
Reynolds is the author of Durham’s Lincoln Hospital (2001). She is also co-author of a 2015 Journal of General Internal Medicine article, “The Patient-Centered Medical Home: Preparation of the Workforce, More Questions than Answers” and a contributor to the 2018 volume, Charlottesville 2017: The Legacy of Race and Inequity.
After her presentation, I asked Dr. Reynolds a few questions about her historical research.
While there is still no certainty that Britain will leave the European Union, Brexit is still on the table. One result may be a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom.
I went to the Cato Institute to talk to Ryan Bourne about the future of American-British trade relations. (He holds the R. Evan Scharf Chair for the Public Understanding of Economics at Cato.) Among other things, he told me
In terms of U.S. and the UK, the prospects for a deal… are quite strong for a number of reasons.
First of all, the UK is not a country that is taking U.S. manufacturing jobs, which Trump seems to be very fond of. [Also] the UK and the U.S. seem to have fairly balanced trade. There’s not a massive trade deficit… which seems to be something that occupies the president. And obviously, both countries have pretty strong political, defence, and strategic relations. And there’s a good deal of goodwill and trust between the two.
I think one of the more likely impediments to a trade deal between the US and the UK, is what the UK decides to do independently in regards to its food standards and agricultural policy. One of the things that the EU really doesn’t like about the way the U.S. regulates, in its internal market, is its approach to things like GMOs, [genetically modified] crops, and some of the standards around animal welfare, which are different and currently [are not] recognized by the U.S. So if the UK was to opt for a kind of U.S.-style regulatory regime, I think that’ll make it harder for UK to then agree to a trade deal with the EU, and vice versa.
Next week’s episode of The Score will feature an interview about tariffs with Simon Lester, associate director of the Cato Institute’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, as well as the rest of my conversation with Rachel Tripp and Sam Peak, along with more surprises.