Good morning, RVA! It's 75 °F, and it’s good to be back in Richmond! Today we’ll see highs in the low 90s, plenty of sun in the sky, and every reason in the world to sweat through your shirt.
The Richmond Police Department is reporting two homicides that occurred Saturday night in the City’s East End. Around 11:00 PM officers were called to the 2400 block of Carmine Street in Whitcomb Court and found Justin B. Townsend, 24, shot to death. Just 15 minutes later, officers were called to the 1400 block of Coalter Street in Mosby Court and found Broderick F. Jones, 40, also shot to death. At this time, police do not believe the two incidents are related.
It’s eclipse day! At 1:18 PM the moon will begin to cross in front of the sun, and we’ll officially be in the Eclipse Zone™. Things will wrap up by 4:07 PM, so somewhere around 2:45 PM you’ll be able to catch the fullest eclipse visible from Richmond—which is pretty dang eclipsed. This is where I have to tell you to not look directly at the sun unless you have real-deal eclipse glasses. Otherwise, you will permanently damage your eyes and will have only yourself to blame for that. Enjoy!
Alright, here’s your monumental update for today. First, on Friday, Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order 67 which temporarily bars the state from issuing event/demonstration permits for the Lee Circle. The governor cites the lack of emergency processes for dealing with Nazis as well as the lack of crosswalks as reasons for the temporary ban. Next, NPR checks in with Mayor Stoney to talk about how his position on the scope of the Monument Avenue Commission has changed since Charlottesville. I like this piece because the Mayor rightly notes that both Baltimore and New Orleans had gone through a lonnnnng process before taking down their monuments. We’ve just now started that process here. Meanwhile, the folks at the Richmond Times-Dispatch have an oral history of the events in Charlottesville. I’m surprised at how many racists are willing to go on record with their real names and places of residence. Finally, a super long list of area pastors and ministry leaders have signed this statement of unity condemning white supremacy and will hold an event this morning at 10:00 AM at the Maggie Walker statue. It’s cool to see Maggie Walker Plaza used for gatherings like this.
Garet Prior at Richmond Forward ties our feelings about monuments and white supremacy to our crumbling and segregated schools. There’s a lot going on with Richmond Public Schools right now, and the aforelinked post does a good job at laying it all out. To summarize: We’ve got a School Board sub-committee looking at a plan (and funding) for school facilities, the related budget battle, Paul Goldman’s ballot referendum (for which I’ve still not heard a good reason why it needs to exist), progress on the Education Compact, and the search for a new superintendent. That’s a lot to keep tabs on, so I’m thankful for Garet.
If you would like to serve on the Richmond 300 advisory team your application is due today at 5:00 PM. Richmond 300 is what the City is calling the process to update the Master Plan. The advisory team will help that process by: “1) assisting in shaping and reviewing the content of the Master Plan; 2) helping build awareness of the Master Plan; and 3) encouraging the community at-large to participate in the Master Plan update process.” These are important and awesome tasks, and you should totally apply. You can find the (short) application here (PDF) and even submit it to the City by email—but before 5:00 PM today!
It’s kind of hard to believe, but Richmond’s bike share system is not a myth after all! The Department of Public Works has a couple photos of the freshly-installed station at City Hall and the RVABikes website has a map of the station locations. I haven’t seen an official announcement about this yet, so I’ve got no idea when the system will open—but probably maybe soonish hopefully?
- Squirrels head to Erie to kick off a new series tonight at 7:05 PM.
- Nats begin a new season against Houston tonight at 8:10 PM.
This morning's longread
While you’re out there staring at the sun and experiencing the natural world today, keep in mind that it’s trying to kill us at every turn.
The Earth has experienced five mass extinctions before the one we are living through now, each so complete a slate-wiping of the evolutionary record it functioned as a resetting of the planetary clock, and many climate scientists will tell you they are the best analog for the ecological future we are diving headlong into. Unless you are a teenager, you probably read in your high-school textbooks that these extinctions were the result of asteroids. In fact, all but the one that killed the dinosaurs were caused by climate change produced by greenhouse gas. The most notorious was 252 million years ago; it began when carbon warmed the planet by five degrees, accelerated when that warming triggered the release of methane in the Arctic, and ended with 97 percent of all life on Earth dead. We are currently adding carbon to the atmosphere at a considerably faster rate; by most estimates, at least ten times faster. The rate is accelerating. This is what Stephen Hawking had in mind when he said, this spring, that the species needs to colonize other planets in the next century to survive, and what drove Elon Musk, last month, to unveil his plans to build a Mars habitat in 40 to 100 years. These are nonspecialists, of course, and probably as inclined to irrational panic as you or I. But the many sober-minded scientists I interviewed over the past several months — the most credentialed and tenured in the field, few of them inclined to alarmism and many advisers to the IPCC who nevertheless criticize its conservatism — have quietly reached an apocalyptic conclusion, too: No plausible program of emissions reductions alone can prevent climate disaster.