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

Good morning, RVA: Continued violence, the Police Chief, and Paul Goldman returns

Good morning, RVA! It's 32 °F, and today's high is just a couple degrees warmer. Expect a cloudy sky and then temperatures to drop even further this evening.

Water cooler

Yesterday morning, at 5:01 AM, police officers arrived at the 3200 block of Stockton Street and found Antoine L. Smith Jr., 24, shot to death.

Ali Rockett at the RTD has quotes from the Mayor, the Police Chief, and the Commonwealth's Attorney and a look at the total number of murders in the City this year.

Sarah King has a long, humanizing profile of Police Chief Alfred Durham in Richmond Magazine that you should read. Ultimately, Durham will likely be judged by the rise or fall of the City's murder number—which I think is mostly a mistake. But, at the same time, as violent crime increases across the country (from historical lows), cities are looking for police chiefs with innovative and effective responses to those increases. There's definitely work to be done in Richmond.

Paul Goldman, who you may remember from Paul Goldman's Ballot Referendum earlier this year, is back, and this time he's forming a committee. Justin Mattingly at the RTD has the word on the "Referendum Committee Finance Group", a collection of humans rounded up by Goldman himself to find the money in the City's budget to pay for school facility upgrades. I don't mind regular folks drawing up and suggesting policy to government officials—you better believe I'm always spouting off about buses and sidewalks whenever I happen to bump into an elected official. But, so far, all of Goldman's efforts seem in direct opposition to the—in my opinion—good faith efforts of our current set of leaders to find a solution to school facilities.

Oh, snap! Michael Paul Williams has some thoughts about Council voting down the resolution to ask the State to transfer monument removal authority to the City: "But frankly, this council wouldn't accept the authority over these monuments if you handed it to them on a platter garnished with parsley." Dang!

General Assembly update! The 40th District has a winner: Republican Tim Hugo. After a recount, Hugo defeated Donte Tanner by 99 votes. Recounts remain in the 28th, 68th, and 94th.

Vox has a good FAQ about what the Net Neutrality repeal means and if there's any way back to a free and open internet.

P.S. Open enrollment for Obamacare ends today.


  • Rams host Bucknell at 6:00 PM on Saturday.
  • Hokies battle Kentucky at 2:00 PM on Saturday.
  • Wahoos welcome Davidson to Charlottesville also on Saturday at 2:00 PM.
  • Dukes and South Dakota State kick off in the semifinals of the FCS Playoff on Saturday at 4:30 PM.
  • Washington faces the Cardinals at 1:00 PM on Sunday.

This morning's longread

Trixie Mattel Is for Men (and Women and Kids)

Great and charming writing here about drag sensation Trixie Mattel.

Brian Firkus—Trixie Mattel during his working hours—has met me in a borderline-too-French French restaurant in Brooklyn to elucidate the logistics of life as a workaday celebrity drag queen in 2017. Despite the stifling political climate, we are living in a Jazz Age of drag, and Firkus's sudden success is a product of the boom: In the span of two years, he has gone from lip-synching for tips in Midwestern gay bars to co-hosting, in drag, a national TV show that airs its third episode on Viceland tonight. To put that career leap in perspective, it's akin to you doing whatever it is you do and then, two years from now, co-hosting a national TV show that airs its third episode on Viceland tonight.

If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.

Good morning, RVA: An explainer, Sally Tompkins, and bulk & brush

Good morning, RVA: Violence, Shockoe Valley, and glue