Once upon a time I ran a news site, now I just have opinions on the news. 

Good morning, RVA: Meta media news, Dillon Rule requests, and GWAR

Good morning, RVA! It's 48 °F, and today looks like a great Thursday. Expect highs in the mid-70s, so maybe leave your fun fall jacket at home.

Water cooler

Earlier this week, the Richmond Times-Dispatch syndicated a column from Walter Williams called "White privilege and other fables." As you can probably guess from the title, it was...not a great column. No, it was an astoundingly terrible and offensive column, which meandered its way from condemning communism, to denying race-based privilege, to suggesting that women who "get stoned, use foul language and dance suggestively" are at fault if men raped them. As you can also probably guess, readers were pissed off and let the paper know. The opinion section first issued this non-apology/editor's note stating that they "strenuously disagree" with the opinions in the column but that they print many things with which they disagree. Eventually, they pulled the column, issued a real apology, and published a handful of reader reactions. Note in the apology the emphasis on the separation between the newsroom and the editorial staff. This is a real separation, but it's not one that readers spend a lot of time thinking about. When the editorial staff decides to run a piece of trash like this it reflects poorly on the paper as a whole—and that includes the hardworking, overburdened newsroom staff. It's not fair, but it's reality. This is something—maybe the something—the RTD has got to figure out moving forward. Will it embrace a younger, more progressive audience? Or will it continue to cater to the audience it built during the previous century with these editorial choices that feel straight out of Massive Resistance? You can read a PDF of the original garbagey column here.

I enjoy the mayor's comments on the recent Jefferson Davis monument vandalism, as reported by Mark Robinson. As far as I can tell, no one has spray-painted "racist" on that monument today.

Also by Mark Robinson is this piece about the City's proposed package of state-level legislative changes. Since Virginia is a Dillion Rule state, we rely on the General Assembly to pass a lot of laws for us. Basically the State holds all power not specifically given to the City, and the City must come hat-in-hand each year with its legislative priorities. I see both a gun violence request (which, good luck) and a tax/funding request (which, interesting). As with literally everything in life, to get the things we want out of the General Assembly, the first step is to ask!

The Front Porch Cafe, a collaboration between Bon Secours and CHAT, will open today at 3:30 PM on the 2600 block of Nine Mile Road. I'll always celebrate a new place to drink coffee, but the Front Porch Cafe is more than just a new neighborhood coffee spot. It'll serve as job training for neighborhood youth, which sounds excellent. P.S. The #7 bus will take you directly to their front door.

Style Weekly's Brent Baldwin interviewed Blöthar, the lead singer of GWAR, about staying relevant in a world turned upside-down. The interview is half in-character (Blöthar) and half out-of-character (Michael Bishop), and all worth reading. You can listen to the pre-release of GWAR's new album, The Blood of Gods, on Apple Music.

Quick reminder: Obama will campaign for Ralph Northam at the Convention Center today around 5:00 PM. If you've got business in that part of town, expect your travels to probably be weird in some way.

This morning's longread

The drug industry’s triumph over the DEA

Well, this seems like not the best.

A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” The DEA had opposed the effort for years. The law was the crowning achievement of a multifaceted campaign by the drug industry to weaken aggressive DEA enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies that were supplying corrupt doctors and pharmacists who peddled narcotics to the black market. The industry worked behind the scenes with lobbyists and key members of Congress, pouring more than a million dollars into their election campaigns.

Good morning, RVA: Students, mobile gardens, and yelling at the monuments

Good morning, RVA: Obama!, the ICA, and balloons