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

Good morning, RVA: Bike lanes, the best album, and pig poop

Good morning, RVA! It's 32 °F, and, with highs barely in the mid 40s, today it feels like the end of fall out there. Highs will shoot way up over the weekend, though, so maybe not quite yet.

Water cooler

The 1st and 2nd (and now 3rd?) street bike lane is back! Kind of! Today, you can give your input (again) on these planned and paid-for bike lanes at the Main Library from 5:00–7:00 PM. As a Northsider, I’m super familiar with the lack of safe ways to get from my part of town to Downtown, and, because I’m an obnoxious bike person, I obviously support these bike lanes. But I want to be super clear about the benefit and purpose of these specific bike lanes: They begin to safely connect low-income, majority-Black residential neighborhoods on the City’s Northside to jobs Downtown. That’s what they’re for, that’s what they do. Today, a ton of folks already take that trip on bike, and we should make it safer for them to do so.

Blerg, Mark Robinson reports, in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, that the Richmond Sheriff’s Office has way overrun their budget 💸. Sounds like most of the problem is overtime pay due to vacancies, which can be a tough problem to solve. Is the agency so underfunded and salaries so low that no one wants to take these jobs? Would fully funding the Sheriff actually bring overall costs down (I have no clue what that looks like, but this is one of the things we should listen for during next year’s budget season)? Or does the Sheriff just need to do a better dang job and make hiring staff a top priority? Tough to know, but it’s definitely a blerg, because now the City needs to find a few million dollars in the municipal couch to cover the overrun.

Unsurprising, but the RTD’s Justin Mattingly says Carver Elementary has lost its Blue Ribbon status.

Whoa, Paste Magazine ranks Richmonder Lucy Dacus’s album Historian as the best album of 2018—and there were some pretty excellent albums released this past year. You can and should stream to the album over on Apple Music.

Katie O’Connor at the Virginia Mercury says Smithfield and Dominion have partnered to turn pig poop into a renewable source of natural gas. Keeping methane out of the atmosphere seems good, and I like the reduce-reuse-recycle vibe of this initiative. I am disturbed by the fact, though, that there is enough pig poop on a pig farm to fill a “hog farm lagoon.”

In some media news, the RTD has hired conservative / libertarian blogger Jim Bacon to join their editorial team. Adding another conservative, white, male voice to an already oppressively conservative and white editorial board is not the move I would have made in 2018, but that’s just me. He started on Monday, and I wonder if he’s the author behind the ill-informed, anti-transit editorial I linked to earlier this week.

This morning's longread

On November 26th, a mole will land on Mars

Thanks to Reader Sean for sending me this Oatmeal comic about the probe that landed on Mars this week. I feel much more informed now!

Right now, as you’re reading this, a spacecraft is traveling toward Mars. Packed within that spacecraft is a mole. It’s not a real mole, though. It’s a robotic mole. It doesn’t look like a robot, though. It looks more like a jackhammer attached to a long cable. And the purpose of this robotic Martian mole is to DIG

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Good morning, RVA: Rules is rules, chicken ordinances, and Boots Riley

Good morning, RVA: Share your ideas, mayoral support, and pictures from Mars