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New health reform law

    The debate over a new healthcare reform plan that has been waged for over a year has finally resulted in a law.

    Unfortunately the end of this debate did not yield bi-partisan results, and the law currently going forward will not likely survive the Supreme Court. There are a few reasons I do not support this final law, which are, among others:

    The law is not restrictive enough on abortions — though it restricts federal funding in many aspects, there is at least one place that expands the ideas of abortion, in that it requires each person to ‘have access’ to a provider that both does and does not cover abortion, under the new “healthcare exchanges.” Rather than compromise, the Democrats passed a bill that harnessed only party support. Even though many of the Republicans showed a great unwillingness to truly compromise (in that yes, your side makes concessions to...), the Democrats still could have started over and refrained from political bickering, which both sides seemed intent on doing.

    The country is now in an extremely polarized state. Many on the political right feel their rights have been infringed upon. Many on the political left feel the public has been lied to. And while both are right to some extents, the middle is becoming more and more confused and disenfranchised with Washington.

    Many of the Republicans appear to be playing the same card the Democrats did in ‘06 and ‘08: take an unpopular policy of the current administration, and work your entire campaign as a referendum on that administration. Likewise, many Democrats are taking the position that the public will eventually like what they are doing, that they cannot possibly be in the wrong, that the Republicans have no good ideas whatsoever, and that the political opposition is doing nothing but obstructing what is they feel a good piece of legislation.

    The public can’t afford the violence being put into this debate by a few on both sides. Let us realize that we are as much of a danger to ourselves as any government policy. That if we allow the powers of extreme factionalism to overtake us, that our modified republican (federal system) form of government is doomed. This does not mean we stop debating, nor does it mean we need to treat everything as if it is ‘relativisticly’ true. But it does mean treating each other with respect, and realizing that some compromise is necessary to establish secure government, and that we can compromise politics without compromising values and truth (which should never be compromised).

    In the end, this law will likely be disrupted by the courts, largely due to the portion of the law that requires the individual to buy private health insurance if he/she doesn’t qualify for government aid of some sort. The system will hopefully shift back into balance. And let us hope that there will be a day that true bi-partisan health reform is accomplished in America.


Jacob Hart


Supports McKelvey

    Jim McKelvey for Congress: I met Jim over a year ago.  I have been impressed by his heart to serve his neighbors and his country.

    I asked him if he served in the military and he said he did not and felt it was time he did for his country a service that he should have earlier.  He said that he only recently considered serving his country and another friend told him that he should run for Congress.  He mentioned it to several of us and after thinking about it, we thought he was in one of the greatest positions to run. 

    This being that he loved his country and was appalled how our congressmen were taking such advantage of fellow tax paying citizens.

    Jim was not as concerned about himself as he was the rest of us.  He thought about what he could do and began to study the Constitution, Jim is not as a lawyer, but as an American citizen working hard to make a living, run his companies and make life better for his children as well as his neighbors and countrymen.

    My neighbors and family will be voting for Jim McKelvey on June 8 to help him win the Primary. God Himself knows the heart of this man and we feel that we do to.  Anyone, who wishes to know him better can check his Web site at www.mckelveyforcongress.com  it will impress you too.


Barb Strickland


An important milestone

    This past week marked an important milestone for the 1-116th.  We have completed our movement to our new duty station in Iraq, completed our “Relief in Place” with our left-seat/right-seat training and fully assumed responsibility for our mission with a Transfer of Authority ceremony attended by our Adjutant General.  Needless to say it’s been a very busy time. ...

    Our battalion made the move to Kuwait in stages with several different elements flying out on different days.  We all reunited again at Camp Buehring and spent a day or so getting accustomed to the time and temperature change.  Our plan was to complete some important final fine-tuning before moving to Iraq.  Because this is the Army, we all sat through several mandatory safety briefings before spending a day at the range to ensure that our weapons were still properly sighted.  One highlight of our bus ride out into the Kuwaiti desert was seeing large caravans of camels marching along in the distance.  This certainly confirmed that we were in a whole other hemisphere.

    In addition to our days at the range, soldiers in the battalion completed counter IED training and some terrific combat medical training that simulated the stress of combat.  I was pleased with our Soldiers efforts during this training.  All of our Soldiers are now more than capable of rendering aide to a buddy.

    After arriving in Iraq, our battalion was warmly received by the leadership of the 1-186th Infantry Battalion from Oregon.  They were excited to see their replacements from Virginia. Their soldiers took ours on missions to survey the routes and terrain and learn their tactics and procedures for conducting convoy security operations.

    This long process of training in Mississippi, and Kuwait, and “Relief in Place” operations in Iraq lasting more than three months in total, culminated with the Transfer of Authority ceremony held at the Adder Commons last Friday.  Command Sergeant Major Braziel and I uncased our colors and formally accepted responsibility for this effort.  I was honored that our TOA happened to coincide with a visit from our Adjutant General, Maj Gen Robert Newman, who was able to spend a couple of days visiting with our soldiers and learning more about the mission we inherited.  We showed off our new Mire Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and did a training escort mission to a local world heritage site (the Great Ziggurat at Ur).

    Thank you all very much for your letters and support along the way.  I know we are all so grateful for the love and care you have shown your Soldier and the organization. To our families, you have the tougher mission.  We pray for our loved ones back home daily and we thank the volunteers of our Family Readiness Group for making the effort to keep us all informed of the latest information both forward in Iraq and back on the home front.  I am honored to lead these men and I can report they are representing their country, their commonwealth, their communities, and their families with honor and dignity.

LTC E. Scott Smith

Battalion Commander

Task Force Overlord

COB Adder, Tallil Iraq

Howell gets an F

    Mr. Liberal Agenda scores an F for his anti-Confederate History Month tirade.

    Calling the war of 1861-5 a “Civil War” is enough to get him kicked off the high school debate team. The War for Southern Independence is a far more accurate title. The Confederates seceded from Washington, It was not their intention to take over Washington. Maybe he confused it with the Wars of the Roses, a real civil war.

    In a “civil war” two factions fight to take over the same government. In the war of 1861-5 the initial Southern government [seven deep South states] duly constituted by an act of secession by its sovereign people merely wanted to be left alone in peace to pursue its place among the nations. Lincoln’s call for troops to invade these sovereign states drove the upper South [Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas] into secession as they would not supply troops to invade their sister states. That the war was over slavery only, states’ rights was a smokescreen, and Gen. Lee fought for a “loathsome cause” are the sentiments of a scalawag, not a Southerner.

    That the war was caused by slavery alone is ludicrous, one has to go to college to be brainwashed by biased professors or blinded by politics to accept such an asinine idea. Economic disputes over tariffs and taxes [the South paid the majority of the tax burden] played a huge part. The continuous agitation against the South by radical elements situated mainly in New England was another contributing factor. Lincoln was against the extension of slavery into the West, not for freeing the slaves in the southern states. Let’s be honest here, Rick Howell is really forthright at using the race card and uses it all the time. That’s why he’s always harping on slavery and race issues, always describing in simplistic terms an incredibly complex problem that existed in our early Republic. He’s a statist and an overwhelming federal central government is his joy. That’s why he hates the tea party people. He’s also a progressive which means he ignores the Constitution. It’s his politics and he knows how to demagogue.

    That Gen. Robert E. Lee who despised slavery and freed his own inherited slaves [unlike Gen. Grant] would have led Confederate armies for four years to defend slavery is obviously false. The simplistic black-and-white world of Mr. Liberal Agenda doesn’t stack up against reality. This country never “embarked upon slavery,” it existed here before we were a country while we were a colony of Great Britain.

    Governor McDonnell was merely attempting to promote the tourism industry on this 150th anniversary of the war, not get into a debate over slavery. But as usual, “pee cee” wins instead of common sense, but who needs a governor’s proclamation to observe April as Confederate History/Heritage Month in Virginia?

    Speaking of secession, whatever happened to the principle of “consent of the governed” and self-determination? As a “free people” do we not hold these truths dear? How will a free man prevent his own government from becoming a tyranny without honoring these great principles? War proves nothing, might does not make right. Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence had this to say about an earlier secession: “ [W]henever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    I am not ashamed to glorify the Confederacy and its brave defenders because the Confederacy was not dedicated to slavery but to the Constitution. Our Confederate ancestors were honorable, God-fearing people who bravely resisted a tyrannical central government that employed overwhelming odds against them. Speaking from such a heritage the present-day political correctness means nothing to me. Today we need leaders with the fortitude of real men such as Virginia’s governor Letcher who replied to Lincoln that not one soldier from Virginia would be supplied for the evil design of invading her sister states.

     H. L. Mencken was known as a sharp critic, journalist, and editor of the Baltimore Sun. Here’s his summary of the war in his critique of the Gettysburg Address: “...The Gettysburg speech is at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history. Put beside it, all the whoopings of the Websters, Sumners and Everetts seem gaudy and silly It is eloquence brought to a pellucid and almost gem-like perfection—the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Nothing else precisely like it is to be found in the whole range of oratory. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous.

    But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination—”that government of the people, by the people, for the people,” should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. What was the practical effect of the battle of Gettysburg? What else than the destruction of the old sovereignty of the States, i.e., of the people of the States? The Confederates went into battle free; they came out with their freedom subject to the supervision and veto of the rest of the country—and for nearly 20 years that veto was so effective that they enjoyed scarcely more liberty, in the political sense, than so many convicts in the penitentiary.”

Boyd Hubbard


Heartfelt thanks

    The board, staff, and Shoe Sale Committee of CASA of Central Virginia would like to say a heartfelt “Thank You” to everyone involved in CASA’s 11th Annual Heart and Sole Shoe Market, which was held on April 17 and April 18 in the Lynchburg Armory.  The success of the shoe sale reflects our caring community.  Generous sponsors, dedicated volunteers and the faithful shoppers made this year’s shoe sale so successful!  

    Without the over 250 volunteers who worked for three days, the shoe sale would not have been possible. CASA also would like to thank the sponsors for providing the underwriting for the event.  We are truly grateful to our Title Sponsor, Wachovia, and to our other sponsors:  Consolidated Shoes, Old Dominion Footwear, Beacon Credit Union, Flips Shoe Store, Sakina’s, Genworth Financial, Sonny Merryman, Inc.; Kroger, C.S. Hutter Company, Belvac Production Machinery, Inc.; Bentley Commons at Lynchburg, Brooks Food Group, Clear Channel Radio, Hurt and Proffitt, Inc.; Retail Merchants Association, Capps Shoe Company, Centra Health, Real Estate 2000, Inc., and Schewel Furniture Co., Inc. 

    However, the shoe sale is about more than shoes!  All of the customers, the volunteers, and the many sponsors give hope for a better future to the abused and neglected children of Central Virginia.  With the continued success of this fundraiser, CASA of Central Virginia is able to ensure that abused and neglected children have a voice in our court system through the assignment of a Court Appointed Special Advocate - or CASA volunteer - to their cases. The CASA volunteers help these children find safe and permanent homes.   On behalf of our children, thanks again for another successful year!  For more information about CASA of Central Virginia and how you can become a CASA volunteer, contact us at (434) 528-2552, staff@cvcasa.org or go to our website, www.cvcasa.org. 


Jane Francis

Executive Director