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State of Embarrassment — Virginia

How gun laws, Confederate History Month and a statue of Stalin contribute to the citizen embarrassment level in Virginia.

You Probably Heard About: The gun laws. This spring, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed legislation allowing “concealed carry permit holders to bring loaded handguns” into bars — as long as the holders don’t drink. But the gun lobby wants the law to go further, so folks can carry and drink. Also, lawmakers proclaimed April Confederate History Month without mentioning, uh, slavery. McDonnell apologized for the “major omission” and cited the Assembly’s 2007 statement of “profound regret” for slavery. Which should fix everything.

But Did You Know: There’s now a Stalin bust at the National D-Day Memorial! That’s right, boys and girls, while most of Europe has been tearing down monuments to the genocidal dictator for decades, the tiny town of Bedford, Va., is just getting around to putting one up. And why not? Stalin signed a pact with Hitler before he joined the Allies; Russians didn’t participate in D-Day; and he killed an estimated 20 million people during his reign. Na Zdorov’ye!


They Said It: “Having Stalin in our backyard, people are really upset about that.” — Karl Altau, managing director at the Joint Baltic American National Committee, which has protested the Stalin bust.

The Silver Lining: During the 2008 presidential campaign, the brother of Republican nominee John McCain, Joe McCain, dismissed Northern Virginia as “Communist Country.” With the Stalin bust now up in Bedford, near the border with West Virginia, Communist Country just got a whole lot bigger …

Citizen Embarrassment Level: Red with shame. Just who the hell is this Stalin character, anyway? There are several Civil War generals who would have looked just fine up there.