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

Good morning, RVA: Teacher of the Year, redistricting, and happy hour specifics

Good morning, RVA! It's 59 °F, what the heck! It’ll stay warm and rainy throughout most of the day, and temperatures will drop into the low 30s tonight.

Water cooler

Richmond’s own Rodney Robinson is now one of four finalists for the 2019 National Teacher of the Year! The Governor was on hand at the Virgie Binford Education Center yesterday to announce the news. We’ll learn later this spring if Robinson wins the whole shebang, but if he does, he’d be just the third Virginian—joining Mary V. Bicouvaris (1989) and B. Philip Bigler (1998)—to take home the national recognition.

Graham Moomaw at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says the work to finalize a new district map for Virginia’s House of Delegates continues to creep forward. VPAP has a really nice and straightforward look at which seats are impacted by the new map and which incumbents will now face a challenge in defending those seats as a result of redistricting. They’ve also, of course, got all of this information in map form, too. It’d be dumb to include all of these links about gerrymandering and redistricting and not link to One Virginia 2021’s update on the existing legislation making its way through the General Assembly that would create a Citizens’ Redistricting Commission. Sounds like a mixed bag for redistricting reform this year but with some positive steps forward.

Did you know it was against the law for a restaurant to post the specifics of their happy hour specials on Twitter? It’s true! And ridiculous! And possibly runs contrary to the 1st Amendment! Mechelle Hankerson at the Virginia Mercury says that thanks to SB 1726 and HB 2073 (and a free-speech lawsuit), restaurants may soon be able to advertise the specifics of their happy hour specials without running afoul of the ABC. Almost every single thing about the way Virginia handles its liquor laws makes no sense to me. I thought we were for rugged individualism and responsibility or whatever?

Remember when Virginian Republicans did that gross thing where they let a $15 minimum wage bill out of committee because they thought it’d be a fun way to threaten big business interests in NOVA ahead of this year’s elections? Was that earlier this week or last week? Honestly, time has become a flat circle. Anyway, Robert Zullo, also at the Mercury, says that’s becoming a go-to strategy, deployed now on clean energy: “Republicans seem to think that holding onto their slim majority requires letting bills that terrify big business get to the floor, all evidently to send a message about who corporate donors need to back in the coming elections this year, when every House and Senate seat is up.” Personally, I think this is a shortsighted strategy (for Republicans) that just shifts the Overton Window toward more progressive policies, which, sounds great to me. Now we’ve got a bipartisan committee vote on a bill that would require Dominion to “generate at least 80 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2028.” I’ll say that sentence out loud to whomever will listen.

This morning's longread

Learning China’s Forbidden History, So They Can Censor It

After reading _The Three-Body Problem_, I continue to be fascinated by Chinese history.

The workers are almost all college graduates in their 20s. They are often unaware of, or indifferent to, politics. In China, many parents and teachers tell the young that caring about politics leads only to trouble. To overcome that, Mr. Yang and his colleagues developed a sophisticated training system. New hires start with weeklong “theory” training, during which senior employees teach them the sensitive information that they didn’t know before. “My office is next to the big training room,” Mr. Yang said. “I often hear the surprised sounds of ‘Ah, ah, ah.’” “They didn’t know things like June 4,” he added, referring to the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. “They really didn’t know.”

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Good morning, RVA: Mayorathon returns, as does The Boring Show, and a portal in the park

Good morning, RVA: Brook Road bike lane, the ERA, and LGBT housing discrimination