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Less is Moore

When USA Today debuted in 1982, it ushered in the modern newspaper era with its full-color page designs, easily digestible charts and graphics and a snappy writing style that owed more than a little to the superficiality of TV news.

Frozen out

Gov. Bob McDonnell, seemingly in violation of the cardinal rule of his young administration, finally weighed in on a pressing budget matter Monday. The Governor's Office announced that McDonnell would reverse the plan by his predecessor, Tim Kaine, to freeze the local composite index used to apportion funding for Virginia's 134 school divisions. McDonnell's decision has the practical effect of helping northern Virginia, whose schools stood to lose about $138 million under the index freeze, while cutting funds for 97 school systems in mostly poorer rural and urban communities.

Intervention time

From the Department of This Can’t Be Right comes the headline: “Virginia legislators might double cuts in effort to balance state budget.” (From the Bristol Herald-Courier, Jan. 31 edition; a hat tip to virginiatomorrow.com — the blog run by former VCU professor and political pundit Bob Holsworth — for bringing the article to the attention of readers east.)

The candyman can?

I know it's considered bad form to jump on the new guy before he's even had a chance to settle into the job, but is anyone else struck by how reluctant our new governor is to face up to reality?

Scorched earth

Monday night took me to South Hill for the annual Mecklenburg County NAACP Freedom Fund banquet honoring the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The keynote speaker was King Salim Khalfani, executive director of the Virginia State Conference NAACP. I’ve probably covered the Freedom Fund banquet a dozen times over the years, and it’s always a well-attended event with good speakers (Halifax County’s own Rev. Roger Ford was the keynoter last year). But Khalfani was a revelation: he gave a scorching talk that was funny, raw and truthful almost to a fault. Few escaped his wrath, from Barack Obama to Tim Kaine to the Virginia General Assembly (“that bunch of thugs”) to a host of politicians and celebrities on down the line. Mostly, Khalfani took the wood to his audience, telling them if it’s change they want, they had better work for it. In light of other events this week, his message couldn’t have been more perfectly timed.

Epic fail

There’s no ceiling on the epic wrongness of the Richmond Times-Dispatch opinion page, but even so a line from Sunday’s editorial on Virginia’s broken finances stands out. Read this, then someone please explain to me what it’s supposed to mean:

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