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

Good morning, RVA: Executive branch crisis, Slave Trail improvements, and saws

Good morning, RVA! It's 58 °F, and the warm weather continues wonderfully. You can expect highs in the upper 60s from now, until, like, tomorrow night—the temperature graph is bizarrely flat. Things cool off on Saturday, so you’ve still got a few more days to drink coffee outside at a sidewalk cafe.

Water cooler

The crisis in the executive branch of Virginia’s government continues. I cannot believe this all happened yesterday, but: Attorney General Mark Herring self-reported that he wore blackface in college, Dr. Vanessa Tyson released a statement on her allegations that Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2004 (warning: this is graphic, crushing, and very hard to read), and the Lt. Governor released another (much more tempered) statement and had hired Brett Kavanaugh’s lawyers. This leaves us...where exactly? Honestly, I have no idea. Herring’s apology is miles better than anything out of Northam’s camp. He explains how blackface is hurtful to people of color, and, I’ll just quote this part, says “Forgiveness in instances like these is a complicated process, one that necessarily cannot and should not be decided by anyone but those directly affected by the transgressor, should forgiveness be possible or appropriate at all.” That is a good sentence. But, still, way back on Saturday, which seems ages ago, Herring said “It is no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down.” That’s tough to hear knowing what we know now about the Attorney General. For the Lawful Good among us, Virginia’s Constitution says that if all three members of the executive branch step down then the Speaker of the House, (Republican) Kirk Cox who was basically anointed at random by The Bowl, becomes the Governor. I’ve got lots of thoughts on that, of course. For the Neutral/Chaotic leaning among us, you can imagine various scenarios where some dude or collection of dudes resign, other dudes quickly appoint women, and then those dudes resign, too, leaving the women in charge. For the Nihilists, maybe it’s all just too complicated and everyone keeps their jobs? It’s a lot to weigh and consider, so, for now, I will just keep refreshing the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus’s Twitter for guidance.

Michael Paul Williams (ft. Tiffany Jana!) has a good article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch today 💸 (unfortunately paywalled) about why it’s important for White people to call out other White people’s racism. “Blackface persists because people make themselves bystanders. ‘You just have to speak up and say something, note some disapproval,’ she said. ‘You become an ally when you use your voice. And in this case, it’s the voice of privilege.’”

Today, the Urban Design Committee will meet with a short agenda, but one that includes important improvements to the Richmond Slave Trail (PDF). I’m excited for the improved and safer pedestrian access to the trailhead, and the planned amphitheater has the potential to activate Ancarrow’s Landing in a thoughtful and respectful way. In its current state, the grassy field directly across the river from the Capital Trail, the new Pulse station, and the future site of Stone Brewing’s restaurant doesn’t feel like enough to me.

I love weirdly specific articles, and here’s one from Sarah Lockwood at Richmond Magazine: Three power saws that every homeowner should have. As listeners of the Sam and Ross Like Things podcast know, I definitely already am familiar with the names of all the tools, so I totally knew that there were multiple different kinds of saws and that they did different things.

Yesterday, I mentioned the hands-free bills floating around the General Assembly and may have gotten a little ahead of where we are in the actual process by saying something was on the way to the Governor’s desk. So, I reached out to Brantley Tyndall at Bike Walk RVA to set me straight on what’s in store for the bills and what our stress levels should be. He said: “The bills will have to be approved by both houses after crossover. Likely a formality and no foul play expected, but they are not 100% approved yet. The bills prohibit holding the phone while driving, specifically, so hands free use is still permitted including hands-free accessories and apps, GPS, and dash-mounting.” Got it? Get yourself a dash mount, and stop holding your phone while driving—which you shouldn’t be doing now! It’s dangerous!

This morning's longread

230 New Emojis in Final List for 2019

This is not so much of a longread, as a silent video showing all of the new emojis coming to devices later this year. At this moment particular moment in time, staring at a slowly changing carousel of emojis—most of which are focused on inclusion and diversity—was exactly what I needed.

The final emoji list for 2019 has now been approved by the Unicode Consortium and includes a total of 230 new emojis coming to major platforms this year. Additions include previously drafted candidates such as a Flamingo, Otter, and Guide Dog, as well as a Waffle, Hindu Temple, Sari, Sloth, and Mate. Circles and squares gain new colors in this release and a much requested white heart emoji is now available for the first time.

If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.

Good morning, RVA: One week later, Brookland Park Boulevard, and the Green New Deal

Good morning, RVA: Hands-free driving, State of the Schools, and #govwatch day...5? 6? idk