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

Good morning, RVA: Commission frustration, trains, and brisket

Good morning, RVA! It's 69 °F, and there's a chance of thunderstorms all day long. Stay vigilant; stay dry.

Water cooler

Monument journalism continues this morning. First, we've got Michael Paul Williams's piece in the RTD, and, second, there's this piece by Marc Cheatham over on The Cheats Movement. Both point to the narrow scope of the Monument Avenue Commission's charge as a source of some of the frustration with this past Wednesday's event. If the Commission can't consider taking down the Monuments, is what we're doing even a conversation? Obviously y'all know I'd agree with expanding the Commission's charge, but I'm also still noodling on how changing the format of the event—away from 2-minute speeches directed at a mostly silent panel—could address some of the concerns. But, ultimately, it's about what we're trying to get out of this process. If that's markedly different than what the Mayor and the Commission are after, we're all going to be really frustrated moving forward. I think you can see that in the quotes from Co-Chair Gregg Kimball in this piece by Melissa Hipolit—that is if you can get past all the of the racist blah blah blahs of fragile white men with hurt feelings. Oh! Also! I hear tell that there is video of the public meeting? If anyone stumbles across it, please let me know!

Unfortunately related, I guess, is the white supremacy rally, Unite the Right, this coming weekend in Charlottesville. Follow the Daily Progress for up-to-the-minute news on whatever terrible things happen when a bunch of dumb racists get together in a small Virginian town.

Over on the RVA subreddit is this super-fascinating thread about the challenges and details we face with bringing high-speed rail into and through Richmond. I can't vouch for the expertise of reddit user Totallamer, but they speak with authority and I learned like 600 things. This is definitely recommended reading if you've ever wondered why it takes longer to train from Main Street Station to the Staples Mill Station than it does to drive.

A reminder! Richmond Public Schools is officially on the hunt for their new superintendent. You can fill out the online survey here and take a look at the intimidatingly long list of focus group meetings here. I think all of those focus groups meetings are open to the public, but it's unclear from the webpage. Regardless, it's a bunch of meetings with a decently diverse set of topics.

Karri Peifer at the RTD has the bittersweet news that ZZQ will host its last pop up at Ardent this coming Saturday. Don't get too upset, though, you'll only be without the best brisket in town for a couple of months as they focus on opening a restaurant.

Behold! There's a new episode of the Sam and Ross Like Things podcast for you to listen to. This episode features special guest, Susan Howson who likes...historical reenactors!

A bit of business before we move into the weekend: I am heading out of town for an entire week of vacation. This means Good Morning, RVA will go into a stasis pod until I return. Should we all survive the week, we'll speak again on August 21st!


  • Squirrels were swept by Portland, losing 0-4. A new series begins in the Diamond tonight at 7:05 PM. Tickets are available online.
  • Kickers will host Orlando City B on Saturday at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available online.
  • Nats managed the Marlins, 3-2, and now begin a new series against San Francisco tonight at 7:05 PM.

This morning's longread

The Loyal Engineers Steering NASA’s Voyager Probes Across the Universe

Aw man, this was unexpectedly depressing.

Today the Voyagers are 10 billion and 13 billion miles away, the farthest man-made objects from Earth. The 40th anniversary of their launch will be celebrated next month. We tend to think of space as vacant, but it is actually matter, created, as everything in the universe is, by the explosions of ancient stars. Within our planetary neighborhood, this ‘‘space’’ is made up of different particles than the space outside is, because of supersonic wind that blows out from the surface of our sun at a million miles per hour. The wind generates a bubble around our solar system called the heliosphere. Five years ago, Voyager 1 reached the boundary where the heliosphere gives way to interstellar space, a region as novel to us — and potentially relevant — as the Pacific was to Europeans 500 years ago. The data the probes are collecting are challenging fundamental physics and will provide clues to the biggest of questions: Why did our sun give birth to life only here? Where else, within our solar system or others, are we most likely to find evidence that we are not alone.

Good morning, RVA: Reflections on a painful weekend

Good morning, RVA: Unsolicited monument suggestions, trains, and Vision Zero (again)