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

Good morning, RVA: A single vote, school names, and public art

Good morning, RVA! It's 54 °F, and that's pretty much the high. Expect temperatures to stay right where they are and the sky to stay overcast until this evening.

Water cooler

An incredible General Assembly update: 94th District Democrat Shelly Simonds has defeated her republican opponent in a recount by a single vote. This officially brings the balance of power in the House of Delegates to a 50-50 tie. A SINGLE VOTE. A panel of judges will certify the results today. Fascinatingly, the House has no mechanism for breaking ties so any legislation needs 51 votes to pass—plus leadership of committees and the position of Speaker will all have to be negotiated. Who knows how it'll all work out, but I like where Simonds's head is at. The Washington Post has more details and a thrilling description of the yesterday's recount .

Oh snap, this column by the RTD's Jeff Schaprio pulls no punches about Paul Goldman's Ballot Referendum and hangs the shameful support of it around outgoing delegate Manoli Loupassi's neck. Check this sentence: "[The referendum] is an effort at motivation by humiliation, one that oversimplifies the fiscal demands that accompany the larger challenge of righting Richmond’s schools." I realize that I continue to be trolled by Goldman and that a constant focus on him is exactly his goal. I promise, at some point, that I'm going to start to ignore whatever shenanigans he cooks up, and I'll focus on the real elected officials doing the real work to improve our school facilities. Just give me another couple of weeks!

A few of days ago I talked about the ongoing, student- and alumni-led work to rename Lee-Davis High School in Hanover County. John Adams at the Petersburg Progress-Index says that city's school board will consider renaming Robert E. Lee Elementary, A.P. Hill Elementary, and J.E.B. Stuart Elementary (hey, we've got one of the latter in Richmond). Listen, naming schools after Confederate generals was/is part of promoting the Lost Cause narrative, and this piece points that out precisely: "All three of the schools were built in the early twentieth century: Robert E. Lee in 1911, A.P Hill in 1915, and J.E.B Stuart in 1924. All three schools retained their names when buildings moved to their current locations in the 1960s. The schools were built when segregation was still legal in the United States. All three of the schools were white-only..." If we can change the name of a school named after Harry Byrd, we can and should change schools named after Confederates.

Ned Oliver's got the word on the newly approved piece of public art for the Hull Street public library. The Public Art Commission awarded the $50,000 commission to local artist Mickael Broth, who you may remember from such murals as the Bernie Sanders one and the really rad one on the side of the new Triple Crossing. Take two minutes and look through his PDF proposal for some cool details—like how the sculpture will be "built to withstand attack by 'the unarmed man'."

Whoa, Style Weekly reports that WCVE will pick up some other FM stations so it can convert 88.9 to all news, all the time.

Also in Style Weekly, by Annie Tobey, is this piece about Center of the Universe's brew for Governor-elect Ralph Northam. A Belgian blonde is certainly not what I'd ask to be made in my honor, but I do love that it's made with all local ingredients.

Under the cover of darkness, the Senate passed the Republicans' Tax Cuts for Rich People Plan. It'll head over to the house for another quick vote before heading to Trump to sign into law.


  • Rams won against Winthrop, 69-55.
  • Spiders buckled to Bucknell, 78-86.
  • Hokies prevented Presbyterian, 63-55.
  • Wahoos stopped Savannah State, 78-47.

This morning's longread

AIM Was Perfect, and Now It Will Die


“Those status messages,” you say. “What were they like?” As thunderous piano-accompanied art songs were to the sad young men of Romantic Germany, so were status messages to us. They might have a succinct description of our emotional state. Often they consisted of the quotation of vitally important song lyrics: from The Postal Service, from Dashboard Confessional, from blink-182, from Green Day, from The Beatles (only after Across the Universe came out), from RENT and Spring Awakening and The Last Five Years. (We didn’t have Hamilton back then—I shudder to imagine what 2008 would’ve been like if we had.) From Brand New or Taking Back Sunday if you were pissed at your crush.

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Good morning, RVA: An election JK, a chicken expansion, and a clever monument removal

Good morning, RVA: Violence, the state's budget, and a train derailment