Good morning, RVA! It's 30 °F, and today’s highs should hit 50 °F—a bit warmer than yesterday. Weather over the weekend should stay pretty much the same until Sunday when—depending on whatever mysterious, arcane meteorological forces—there’s a nontrivial chance for snow
This, on WTVR, about last night’s shooting in Mosby Court is really awful. Police are reporting two 17-year-old kids were shot on Wednesday night, both in critical condition, one with life-threatening injuries. Reporter Melissa Hipolit talked to a friend of one of the victims who said, “I just can't focus in school knowing it happened to one of my classmates. [I'm] just sad." The impact of gun violence on a neighborhood is far-reaching and terrible.
I get that the General Assembly is weird and has an intense working environment, and sometimes it’s hard for folks unfamiliar or outside of that environment to really relate. That said, these tongue-in-cheek superlatives, via Robert Zullo in the RTD (scroll down), make me feel weird. Like, ha ha ha the liberal guy got a Russian-style ushanka hat because he’s a communist, and ha ha the guy pushing Dominion’s agenda got a gold trophy filled with cash. Ha ha. Ha. Sorry to be a buzzkill, y’all. Graham Moomaw has a jovial picture of said hat and trophy on Twitter.
In between hilarious jokes, the General Assembly failed to agree upon and pass a budget, and Michael Martz in the Richmond Times-Dispatch has the surprisingly complicated details. If you’ve been following the GA session at all, you can probably guess what’s holding things up, and, if not, spoiler, it’s Medicaid expansion. It sounds like legislators will decide today the parameters for further budget discussions, which, the sooner the better, because this definitely has a local impact! The House version of the Commonwealth’s budget, the one “awash with money for public education” as Martz puts it, will dump a couple additional million dollars into Richmond’s budget, and it would be nice to know whether or not that money exists heading into next week’s budget work sessions.
David Streever at RVA Mag rode along in memory of Corey Frazier who died crossing Main Street on his bicycle. I’m for this idea of locking up a white-painted, ghost bike as a visual reminder of people who’ve died in Richmond while riding their bikes. Until our streets are way, way safer for people, we (and our civic and elected leaders) need every reminder that there’s lots of work to be done.
Breaking news from RVAHub: You can now add beer and wine to your Kroger ClickList! Kroger ClickList is a life-giving thing that I love, and now I love it more.
Local amazing musician Natalie Prass was featured on a recent episode of the Song Exploder podcast. In it she talks about what went in to writing and recording “Short Court Style,” a new track off of her upcoming album The Future and the Past. Lots of shoutouts to Richmond’s music scene in here!
I guess Trump decided to meet with Kim Jong Un? There were lots of hot takes on Twitter, where everyone is a Foreign Policy Expert, but this one feels right to me (I am also clearly a Foreign Policy Expert).
- #8 Rams take on the #1 Rams (of Rhode Island) today at 12:00 PM on NBC Sports.
- #7 Spiders face #2 St. Bonaventure today at 6:00 PM, also on NBC Sports.
- #1 Wahoos battle #4 Clemson tonight at 7:00 PM on ESPN.
This morning's longread
Here’s a piece from a bit ago in the Economist about Oklahoma’s crumbling school system. This was before the West Virginia teacher strike, and you really need to read this piece in the WaPo to get caught up to the present moment.
The roots of the fiasco are not hard to determine. As in Oklahoma’s northern neighbour, Kansas, deep tax cuts have wrecked the state’s finances. During the shale boom, lawmakers gave a sweetheart deal to its oilmen, costing $470m in a single year, by slashing the gross production tax on horizontal drilling from 7% to 1%. North Dakota, by contrast, taxes production at 11.5%. The crash in global oil prices in 2014 did not help state coffers either. Oklahoma has also cut income taxes, first under Democrats desperate to maintain control over a state that was trending Republican, and then under Republicans, who swept to power anyway. Mary Fallin, the Republican governor, came to office pledging to eliminate the income tax altogether. Since 2008 general state funds for K-12 education in Oklahoma have been slashed by 28.2%—the biggest cut in the country. Property taxes, which might have made up the difference, are constitutionally limited.
If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.