Some thoughts on identity theft, golf and cabbies. Oh, and Texas is huge. – The Virginian

Thoughts from Mister Roger’s neighborhood…

Federal criminal charges against Katecha R. Thomas, a former student employee at Virginia Wesleyan College, gave me heartburn. Thomas is accused of accessing a school database of hundreds of thousands of students and alumni, stealing identities and opening credit card accounts. She faces trial in December.

We know databases have all sorts of personal information about us, and many repositories claim they’re “secure.” That’s why we’re willing to turn over our data, albeit reluctantly.

The safety of that info, however, also depends on the ethics and honesty of the people who tap into those systems.

Methinks local cab drivers doth protest too much. That’s one conclusion from Dave Forster’s weekend article about the ongoing battle pitting smartphone-using companies Uber and Lyft against traditional taxi firms.

Sure, all similar businesses should play by the same rules (and sometimes costly) regulations.

Fears of the cabbies’ imminent demise, however, have been trotted out repeatedly as an excuse not to open up competition. For example, Forster wrote, the president of a Norfolk cab company once lamented possible inroads by the region’s transit provider: “It’s just a matter of time before the public transit company runs taxis out of business.”

The year? 1979.

Sticking with transportation, everybody knows Texas is a mammoth state – in size and image.

That point becomes even clearer when you drive its highways, as I did last week with one of the Chesley Trio; Christine now works in the Lone Star State.

Entering westbound from Louisiana along Interstate 10, the first exit in Texas was No. 878 – meaning the interstate is almost 900 miles. My knees are still screaming.

Virginia’s longest interstate is a mere inchworm by comparison: Interstate 81 runs 325 miles.

Isabel Wilkerson, a journalist, author and Pulitzer Prize winner, will be at Norfolk State University to discuss her epic book, “The Warmth of Other Suns.” She appears at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Wilder Performing Arts Center. Admission is free and open to the public.

I’ve read her masterpiece, and it’s mesmerizing. Wilkerson spent 15 years researching and writing – and interviewed more than 1,200 people – to chronicle the 6 million African Americans who fled the South during the Great Migration. (Full disclosure: I’ve known Isabel since we studied journalism together at Howard University in the late 1970s and early ’80s.)

The book is required reading for all NSU first-year and incoming transfer students.

It’s been almost two weeks, but it’s still worth mentioning the $212,500 settlement a University of Virginia student accepted from the state for a botched arrest over her purchase of sparkling water. The overzealous undercover agents from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control thought Elizabeth Daly had bought beer, and they needlessly escalated the nighttime incident.

Daly originally had sought $40 million in the federal lawsuit.

A civil trial would’ve embarrassed ABC officials even further.

Golfer Rory McIlroy has won two straight major tournaments with his victory Sunday in the PGA Championship. At age 25, he’s won four majors. He’s fast becoming the face of professional golf, the man to beat on the big stage.

Tiger who?

Roger Chesley, 757-446-2329,,,



Posted to: Opinion Roger Chesley

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