Good morning, RVA! It's 75 °F, and you can expect a cooler day with a chance of thunderstorms. Over the weekend we'll see temperatures in the 70s!
In the dead of night, when the best democracies happen obviously, the Senate's most-recent-and-possibly-final attempt to repeal Obamacare failed. Three Senate republicans—Collins, McCain, and Murkowski—voted no, ending the GOP's ludicrous campaign to take away health insurance from literally millions of people...for now. Of the 21 women serving in the Senate, 18 voted no. If you want to relive the drama-filled vote in reverse chronological order, you can scroll through FiveThirtyEight's live blog.
Katy Burnell Evans at the RTD has the details on the newly-updated MOU between the State and Richmond Public Schools. Again, education-related stuff is above my pay grade, but failing to meet the terms of this agreement (in ten years time) means the District would lose $30 million. This is serious stuff!
Hey, look at this apology letter from Mayor Stoney to the police and firefighters who've had their pay increases delayed. Here's a quote, "When it became apparent that the processing of more than 1,000 individual increases was taking longer than expected, we should have communicated that delay to you sooner." Apologizing is one of my favorite things. It's so easy, and people should do it more.
Max Hepp-Buchanan, the Director of Bike Walk RVA, writes about providing safe pedestrian and bike access through and around construction. I am super passionate about this! If you're going to close a sidewalk for construction you should be required to provide an alternative, safe way for pedestrians to get by—including those folks who may have mobility issues. Filling a sidewalk with a chain link fence, throwing up a couple of cones, and calling it a day is unacceptable and we can do better. There's a link at the bottom of Max's piece that'll let you easily contact your Councilfolk and tell them exactly that.
I stumbled across this expectation-recalibrating update (from July 24th) on GRTC's page about the Pulse: "At this point, the Project Partners recognize that meeting the early completion goals by the end of 2017 is a challenge, but remains the contractor’s goal. The project is budgeted with monetary incentives to encourage this early completion. The project team continues to work with the contractor and is pushing to get the work completed as early as possible. June 30, 2018 remains the contractual fixed completion date. The project is on time and on budget." That's certainly not the most optimistic set of sentences for folks—myself included—who were hoping to take advantage of the Pulse and the entire network redesign before the end of this year.
Ned Oliver has a charming piece about the national Putt-Putt tournament taking place at the Putt-Putt Fun Center out on Midlothian Turnpike this weekend. I had no idea that Putt-Putt is a "franchised, trademarked variation of miniature golf created in Fayettevilleville, N.C., in the 1950s."
There's a new episode of the Sam and Ross Like Things podcast for you to listen to. This episode I talk about a book I think about constantly, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and Sam speaks on his pair of "special treat" headphones. Plus, as always, we go through an enormous list of stuff other people like which makes me feel better about life.
- Squirrels fell to Erie, 3-5, and will try again tonight at 7:05 PM. Ticket are available online.
- Kickers host Saint Louis FC this Saturday at 7:00 PM. Tickets are also available online ($16 gets you admission and two drink tickets!).
- Nats dropped 15 on the Brewers in their win and move on to a series with the Rockies tonight at 7:05 PM.
This morning's longread
This is the most bananas thing I have read in a long time. The world we live in—where the White House communications director speaks on the record with a reporter like he is some sort of coked-up dude from The Wolf of Wall Street—is real weird. Here's about the only paragraph that does not contain the F-word or a gross sexual analogy.
“Who leaked that to you?” he asked. I said I couldn’t give him that information. He responded by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. “What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over,” he said. I laughed, not sure if he really believed that such a threat would convince a journalist to reveal a source. He continued to press me and complain about the staff he’s inherited in his new job. “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves,” he said. “You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”