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Shopping local for the holidays
It’s almost Halloween and then around the corner is Thanksgiving and yes, next is Christmas. Don’t remind me!
But the other day I patronized a business that has been in our great little city, town of Bedford and it made me take a hard look at how I was going to approach this upcoming season. The business was D. Reynolds. I went in to pick up a shirt that Ms. Ruth was so kind to fix for me and the store has not changed since I was a little girl. The smell is still that clean, country smell of years ago. If anyone has had the pleasure to meet Ruth they know what a great person she is.
As I left I thought what a great place we live in. We all are tired of hearing about the failed stocks and banks and what this politician is going to do or what he or she is not going to do, and not to mention the gas prices. But all this is not going to ruin my celebration of our Savior's birth. Christmas is a time of showing our love and appreciation to our friends and family with a gift, sometimes with just a hug and a kiss. So I decided that with so much great resources we have in our great city of Bedford that I was not going to travel outside of our Bedford and everything I do purchase will be from all the great shops we have right under our nose. This will not only save in gas but it will show all these businesses that I appreciate them and what they stand for.
Have you thought about how you will approach this season? Give it some thought and come up with a plan that will help you fulfill this holiday season to it’s fullest.
A special person
We would like to take just a few minutes to let a light shine on a truly special person.
This week we received notice that Phillip Zimmerman our Mail carrier will be leaving our route. He is going to be sorely missed. The true meaning of a Mail Carrier belongs to him because through “Rain, Snow, Sleet or Shine” we got our mail. If we were outside he always would throw a hand up to say hello. He is a great asset to Bedford’s Post Office and I know we will miss him.
Our hat is off to you, Mr. Zimmerman, and our door will always be open to you.
Mr. And Mrs. Troy McCormick
Education’s effect on the economy
In today’s society education is a key element to success.
So that means that there should be a greater emphasis on education and how important it is in today’s society and economy. The higher level of education that you have will usually mean the higher your economic status is.
According to both candidates for the election the problem with today’s education system is the funding and the lack of parent interest. They are right we need to get the parent involved with there children’s school work if we don’t who knows what will happen. The dropout rates will most likely get higher because they won’t have the support that ever child needs especially the teenagers.
Every one has heard of the program No Child Left Behind. It is the current policy in effect to deal with the problem with the education system; but everyone knows that it has am major flaw in it. It sets the standards high for some and way to low for others. They first need to level the playing field by setting standards based on the student’s academic ability not based on the school.
In my opinion on the policy we seriously need to fund this program and get all of the flaws that we can out of it. People are complaining about how the economy is failing, well, if we paid attention to the youth of society and helped them reach their true potential than we can help the economy more efficiently. The youth of today is the future of this country and we need to pay more attention to them so that the country can succeed.
Senior at Liberty High School
Rep. Virgil Goode’s experience trumps challenger
If Virginia voters in the 5th District are to make an informed decision in the voting booth this November, they must take a good look at which of the candidates has the experience, knowledge, values, and work ethic necessary to best represent their interests.
Virgil Goode was elected and served for 23 years as the 20th District Senator in the Virginia General Assembly prior to being elected to the US House of Representatives in 1996, where he has since served continuously. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Interior and Environment, and the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development.
In rather stark contrast, Rep. Goode’s challenger has not held elected office at any level of government whatsoever. I really don’t understand how performing civilian service overseas qualifies one to represent southern tier Virginians in the US Congress. Furthermore, I see nothing in his background which would indicate that he possesses any legislative skills at all ee other than oratorial.
Though the challenger is Virginian by birth, he left to attend college in the north, and has only just returned in order to try to unseat one of the few remaining fiscal conservatives in the US Congress.
Paul F. Greier
The less of two evils
After our presidential candidates were chosen I wanted to get rid of all of them and start over. Knowing there’s no way to do that, I had to decide who was the less of the two evils.
As for Barack Obama I think, what kind of person would belong to a church for 20 years that had a pastor who hated America if that person was truly an American or loved America as he claims. Who would associate with William Ayers who said he hadn’t done enough after bombing America plus expressing his hate for America? What was the motive behind Obama serving as attorney for ACORN which cheats America? Does this really sound like a person who has the interest of the American people at heart. He was fathered by a Muslim and we all know what Muslims think of America. What better way to take over America than have one of their own in the White House.
Do we need another liberal judge in the Supreme Court? With Obama we are certain to get one and they are there for a life time. Obama keeps talking about change. Do we really want the change he has in mind? He can promise us anything to get what he wants.
Under political note book in a Roanoke paper said, “Democrat wildly popular in European nation.” Could this be because they have more to gain if a Democrat is president? We need a president that won’t be a push over and one with experience. I feel McCain will do a better job keeping America safe and if it comes to it to lead in defense of Israel. We keep hearing how McCain will be four more years of the same. Well McCain isn’t Bush.
If we want God to bless America we need to do what it says in II Chro. 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.” Do we really expect God to bless America if we keep on electing liberals and not taking a stand for what is right? Isaiah 5:20 speaks of judgment upon impiety, ungodliness. Has God’s wrath only just begun?
Don’t vote or not vote for a candidate because of skin color, gender, or age. Trust in the Lord God Almighty to supply your needs not a candidate (president). He takes care of the birds and lilies of the fields and He will take care of His own.
If you are considering just not voting remember if you don’t vote you are giving a vote to the other candidate. You vote really could make a difference.
Moderates decide this election
Next Tuesday two able men will be vying for the most powerful office in the world. One will be the President of the United States, the other will return to his seat in the Senate.
But who will be the new president?
Forty percent of the Democrats will vote for Obama while a like number of Republicans will vote for McCain. It’s the 20 percent of moderates in either party, however, who will determine whether the next president is McCain or Obama.
On the one hand, they will see Obama’s energy, concern for the middle class, and vision for a better America as pluses. On the other, they will see McCain’s age, war record, and penchant for risk-taking as not all that bad.
Ultimately, though, they will look at the past eight years and see our involvement in two wars, neither of which we are winning. They will see a failed economy, inadequate health insurance for millions, a manipulation of gas prices by a ruthless Corporate America, and ask: Can we do better?
And they will ask the most crucial question of all: Which vice president is most likely to end in the oval office?
The moderate will decide.
Rodney A. Franklin
Re: What is a liberal?
In a recent column, John Barnhart tries to define a “liberal”. Although I am not his “self-proclaimed liberal”, I should like to submit my definition of liberals and conservatives: a liberal is one who searches for answers to his/her questions; a conservative is one who searches for questions for his/her answers. That, I think, gets to the heart of today's difference. And, each of us has some of the liberal and some of the conservative in our soul.
Unfortunately, Barnhart confuses the political parties with liberalism and conservatism as he assumes that Bill, a liberal, must be a Democrat. Then he conflates the political parties with the attributes he mentions. The liberal believes in big government, the conservative does not: yet the Bush administration has been the biggest government in our lifetime. It has doubled the national debt, it has eroded personal liberties, it has assumed an imperial mandate for the presidency, it has spent the most money of any administration, and created the costliest and most underfunded entitlement – the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. The hugely intrusive education mandate, “no child left behind”, is a present from the Bush administration. By Barnhart's criteria, George W. Bush is most certainly a liberal. On the other hand ex- president Clinton, who balanced the budget, revised welfare, and pushed through NAFTA, all conservative agenda items, must be a conservative.
Barnhart believes a strong military is solely the prerogative of conservatives, but forgets that the two world wars were fought and won under “liberal” Democrat presidents. Further Korea and Vietnam were begun by liberal (Democrat) presidents but tied and lost respectively under conservative (i.e. Republican) presidents. Barnhart believes that the military is our “only real guarantee of American freedom” Certainly, a military is necessary, but it is not sufficient. The Great British Empire, to its chagrin, found that a single small meek man by the name of Gandhi was more than a match for its powerful army. Who was it Whom said, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”? And a man by the name of Osama bin Laden, working with a small number of men and spending less than one million dollars, brought down the twin towers, scourged the Pentagon, and caused us to spend close to one trillion dollars.
He mentions “pseudo- communist wolves” as being fringe liberals, but neglects to recall that Republican president Nixon (a conservative under Barnhart's political criteria) opened the door to communist China. Today we have more communist Chinese made goods in our stores than American, and we seem to furnish more jobs to Chinese than to Americans. Abraham Lincoln, the first and greatest Republican president, would not now make the cut in Barnhart's conservative ranks. He would be classified as a flaming liberal. Lincoln's phrase “of the people, by the people, for the people” is apparently nothing but liberal propaganda.
Further, he sees separation of church and state as a nefarious liberal thing. Accordingly, our founding fathers belonged to an extreme fringe group. He seems to be unaware that the churches themselves saw the wisdom of separation. Baptists of Virginia didn't want to pay taxes to the government supported Anglican Church, nor did they take kindly to being beaten and jailed for unauthorized preaching. Nor did the Catholics of Maryland want the Baptists controlling their worship; and no one, except Puritans, wanted the Puritans dictating to them. And so wisdom prevailed, and today we have separation of church and state. Each church group can worship God without interference. Each denomination can baptize their congregates at whatever age they see fit. They can use whichever version of the bible they see fit. They can worship on Saturday or Sunday whichever they see fit. No one from the much dreaded government will come down dictating to them how and when they must worship. No one from the government will collect taxes to support worship they disagree with. No “Taliban” can tell them they must cover their heads and faces. What could be better? Separation of church and state is a principal that both liberals and conservatives can delight in.
When I first read the phrase, political correctness, I searched for what it might mean. The best example I found was Kennedy's run for the presidency. At that time it was “politically correct” to believe that a vote for Kennedy was a vote for the pope. The pope would soon be in the White House telling us all what our religious beliefs should be. Of course that didn't happen. I can't say that separation of church and state was responsible, but if we discard that separation we may well be at the mercy of a future president's religion, especially as the Imperial Presidency gains ground. Change our president, change our religion! Is that what we want?
Shakespeare was dead-on when he had Hamlet say: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”. This holds true not only for Horatio's philosophy, but for John's - and for mine. Both liberals and conservatives: ya gotta love 'em! Then you don't need to know the difference.
Principle votereeee As a principle voter I will not be voting for Obama/Biden. It means absolutely nothing to me which party nominates, what the candidate looks like, or whether he/she is a smooth, eloquent orator or not. The principles of our Founding Fathers, a Constitutionally small federal government, state's rights, liberty under the law, non-interference by a nannie government in our lives and businesses, a strict constructionist judiciary, capitalist free enterprise--these are my principles and they determine who I vote for. Obama/Biden do not make the grade.ee I'm not a great fan of the honorable John McCain nor George Bush. But John McCain is an authentic American hero and has fought for us [the only candidate who has]. And those vicious, insane Bush-haters who claim Bush is the worse president ever are nuts! I lived under the presidency of Jimmy Carter and I know what a bad president looks like. As for the loonies saying Dick Chaney is the most dangerous vice-president ever, have they heard of Aaron Burr who had pistol practice every morning? I'm not voting so much for McCain, I'm voting against Obama because of his dangerous ideas.ee How can Virginians, heirs of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Henry, etc., vote for Obama, a marxist-socialist? Washington owned over 80,000 acres of land but when word was brought that squatters were living on his land near Pittsburgh he rode his horse from Mount Vernon to western Pennsylvania and threw them off his land. He believed in private property, the opposite of socialism. Real American political thinking has always rejected this European poison of socialism and rightly so. Obama's "answer" to Joe the plumber in Ohio about taxes revealed to everyone clearly his socialistic "spread the wealth" and "fairness" ideology. Using the power of the government through taxation to take wealth from some and give it to others is socialism punishing success. Robin Hood did not rob the rich on behalf of the poor, he robbed the government [Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham]! Newt Gingrich has aptly called Biden "a good English socialist." Hitler and Mussolini as well as the Soviets were also socialists [Nazi=National Socialist German Workers party]. If our schools and colleges were actually educating our people regarding these terms the number of Obama signs would be drastically diminished. Supporting a socialist upstart says a lot about a person's education unless they actually prefer socialism. ee Socialists always have to lie to get elected and Obama has been lying for two years now about practically everything. He has lied about his relations to various scoundrels and traitors and has always been super friendly with communist professors and marxist activists [Saul Alinsky who wrote "Handbook for Radicals," communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis, etc.] and parrots their garbage today. Are we to just ignore all Obama's communist friends? This country has lost the blood of thousands of it's bravest in wars defending us against the communist threat over the decades and now this "candidate" comes tripping along whistling the communist/marxist message of class envy and warfare. Pathetic.ee Take a look at Obama's other wonderful friend William Ayers the terrorist. Initially when queried Obama said he was a child when Ayers was bombing police and government buildings and that Ayers was just a fellow who lived in his neighborhood. Now we know Obama was chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge foundation and Ayers was a board member. They worked together as the foundation sought to radicalize Chicago school children and poured $100 million into the project [guess who paid most of that]. Not mentioning the foundation association with Ayers makes Obama a liar. And here is the only real executive experience Obama has in his past but he says nothing about it because he doesn't want you to know about his association with Ayres the marxist terrorist. What does Obama and Osama Bin Laden have in common? Both have been affiliated with people who have bombed the Pentagon [Rush Limbaugh]!ee And as Janet Robey so ably noted, how about all those other great people who have acted as "mentors" for Obama, "Rev." Jeremiah "God Damn America" Wright, the Acorn voter fraud lunatics, the corrupt Chicago political machine, renegrade priest Michael Pfleger, Nation of Islam's "loopy" Louis Farrakhan, convicted felon Tony Rezko, Khalid al-Mansour, Kwame Kilpatrick, Rashid Khalidi, etc. They look great on any resume. The Communist Party has endorsed Obama as well as Hugo Chavez, Castro, and the PLO. These Obama/Biden friends tell a principle voter a world of information about the candidate.ee To Obama/Biden it's not "fair" for you to prosper while others do not, it's the old wealth redistribution scheme and it comes straight out of the Communist Manifesto of 1848. It is illustrated vividly in the movie "Dr. Zhivago" in the scene depicting how the communists immediately following the revolution in Russia  took possession of private homes and moved strangers into Zhivago's home to share rooms. This entire financial debacle was caused by the same mindset in which the federal government under the Community Reenvestment Act [enacted under Carter and put on steroids under Clinton] forced Banks and mortgage companies to lend money subprime to people who were not worthy of credit. You could not say "no" to Janet Reno after she burned the chidren at Waco. Obama lies when he tells us he foresaw the financial crises. The two politicians who blocked any attempt to restrain this mad policy were Democrats Chris Dodd [Banking Committee chairman in the Senate] and Barney Frank [Financial Committee chairman in the House]. The leftist notion that everyone has a "right" to a house regardless of fiscal ability worked it's poison and now guess who pays?ee As for Mark Warner, he was born in Indiana, grew up in Illinois and Connecticut and worked on Chris Dodd's staff. We have a true Virginian, Gilmore, opposing him. And don't tell me Warner knows business and how to "read a balance sheet." Remember his stupid decision to axe the DMV offices in Bedford and Franklin counties. You save no money by axing an institution that is self-supporting.ee As for Perriello, he is simply a liberal lawyer from the leftist spawning ground of Charlottesville. His ads reveal his distortion of the financial mess when he ties the crises to deregulation-liberals love regulation and government interference in people's lives, less liberty and more chains. He even tells us that "Bush and the gang" want to give 700 billion to the bankers knowing that this bailout fiasco was approved by both parties in congress, the Democrats control both houses! No dishonest politician gets my vote. Perriello is adored on all the marxist/leftwing blogs ["Council for a Livable World," etc.] while Goode is hated. That tells me how to vote in that contest. Just vote your principles.eeeeBoyd W. HubbardeeBedford
Poverty: The difference one person can make
Poverty in America is a raging issue that never seems to be eliminated. Last year, poverty rose to 37 million in America. In the majority of the cities across the United States, people can be found sitting on the side of the roads wearing raggedy clothing and holding up cardboard signs wanting help. The real question is which presidential candidate will have the potential to actually put this problem to an end.
Both Senator John McCain and Barack Obama have plans that they think will solve the problem, but whose ideas seem to be the best? McCain believes that in order to receive housing assistance, welfare recipients will have to work a minimum of forty hours a week. This will make those who have nothing have a chance of living a normal life. On the other hand, Obama believes in just creating 20 "Promise Neighborhoods" to support those who cannot afford to live on their own. He will focus on the areas where poverty rates seem to be the highest. But unlike McCain, Obama is basically giving rather than making the poor work for what they need.
The 20 "Promise Neighborhoods" that Obama plans to create will not reach to the whole United States but rather only a small percentage. What will happen to the less populates states that also have poverty just not as much? Will nothing be done about those areas? Obama's plan doesn't reach out to the American population as a whole but rather just the few states that seem to be overpopulated such as New York and California. Not only does he only affect a very few, but those who are being affected do not benefit but so much. The people that will be able to live in these so called "houses" will never truly benefit because they will believe the government will always be there for them and they will never have to do anything on their own. Therefore, McCain's plan seems to be more realistic because he is making them work for what they get.
So with these ideas in mind, do you think poverty will be cut down? Or will it continue to rise? This problem should be considered with sitting at the polls getting ready to cast your critical vote that could possibly help change the poverty rate in America. The US cannot afford for this problem to rise even more.
Kelsie Davenport & Katie Wood
Liberty High School
Obamanationee or America’s Miracle?
Initially people believed we were right to invade Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a vile threat to America and the rest of the free world.
He not only abused his power he also abused his fellow Iraqis. Saddam tortured and murdered thousands of his own countrymen, and gave a new meaning to mass murderer. With each new discovery of a mass grave, which contained thousands of Iraqi citizens the American public became more outraged. But the questions still stands today; were we right to invade Iraq in the first place? Was it really our right to involve ourselves in another country when their government sought no outside help? Yes. Most Americans believe that Saddam Hussein was a threat to America, especially with the possibility of weapons of mass destructions. Regardless of your views on whether the war should have happened or not, the question is now; should we remain for an indefinite period of time or should we withdraw our troops in a timely manner?
Barack Obama believes that there is no more we can achieve with the war in Iraq, other than losing more of our countrymen, and for what? We’ve invaded Iraq, gotten Saddam Hussein, established a democracy within the Iraqi government, and even birthed their police force by training them with our own soldiers. Obama was in essence opposed to the war from the start and claimed according to his Web site, we would occupy Iraq for an undeterminable amount of time, resources, and consequences.
Obama proposes to withdraw our troops in a 16 month period of time, safely removing one or two brigades a month. John McCain on the other hand was a supporter of the war from the start and evidently has no concrete plan or desire for withdrawing from Iraq. In a January 2008 town hall meeting, John McCain stated, He would be comfortable with us in Iraq for 100 years when responding to a statement that George Bush talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years.
John McCain believes we are winning in Iraq, but what he has failed to understand is that in War there are no winners. H.G. Wells said, "If we don't end war, war will end us." Haven't we seen enough bloodshed? Can't our troops come home?
America has always tried to mend affairs and rebuild nations in need but we are all blinded that our own nation has started to wither away. We are the nation in need. The Iraq war has ravaged our wallets of billions and billions of dollars, how much more of a beating can we take? Consumed by a country in crisis, Americans are in a panic to make everything better, but there is no quick and simple solution. There is no easy solution to fix the problems this country now faces and getting America back on its feet will take time, patience, and change. When are we as Americans as one nation, undivided, going to stand as one and take responsibility? George Bush has carelessly used our money for the past eight years and it's gone on long enough. Obama will remove those taxes we all face and help lead this country in a better direction. We need change. Obama will end the war, hardship, and pain that America is now experiencing, and make me proud to be an American once again.
Jared Fogus and Taylor Overstreet
Liberty High School seniors
The economic crisis is certainly a great opportunity for Democrats to blame everything on President Bush and then to tie John McCain to President Bush. But the real question is whether the economic crisis was caused by President Bush and Republican policies or by the Community Reinvestment Act, a piece of Democratic legislation.
Republicans support Capitalism which has been adopted by most major economies as being the best economic system. The Community Reinvestment Act was Socialistic legislation by Democrats that forced banks to lend to people that could not afford mortgages (sub prime). This pushed up housing prices that were paid by the general population. When the sub prime loans began to default, the value of all housing dropped.
This is a major issue, because electing Democrats will result in more Socialistic (distributing the wealth) programs and electing Republicans will result in the continuation of Capitalism. Health care/welfare are Socialist programs where the costs cannot be controlled. Socialism has never worked and the Communism/Socialism of Russia was proven to fail. Socialism sounds good, but never works because poor people are just as greedy as rich people.
The preacher Olive Green said that he never wanted to be rich or poor. The rich get rich by selling immoral things to the poor and the poor stay poor because they buy immoral things from the rich. Buying something you cannot afford is immoral.
Capitalism leads to unequal prosperity, but Socialism leads to equal poverty. Stay the course and vote Republican. President Bush won the war in Iraq by staying the course and the Democrats were wrong. Republicans will be better able to deal with the Economic Crisis than Democrats, especially a charismatic actor that has had a history of selecting hate America friends.
With Republicans in control I expect the Economic Crisis will be over by 2020. With Democrats in control for the next 4 years, I expect the Economic Crisis will be over by 2040.
Clifford D. Russell
Not so bad
This is just a letter to reassure Mr Barnhart that liberalism isn't so bad except as it has been highjacked about 45 years ago. As one who grew up in Jim Crow Norfolk in the '30s-'40s I can, first of all, assure him that not all southerners of that time were bigots. In fact this child of the depression learned, even in an, by law all white school, was taught by all of my first six teachers about the error of stereotyping. We learned about the contributions of "blacks" to this country and we learned that the civil rights movement had begun well before the War Between the States.
My point is that a liberal was once simply one who believed in the equality of all and respect for the humanity all. It wasn't until the '60s that socialists didn't want to be recognized by their true colors. A true liberal wants true improvement in a society. Not mere change for change's sake.
Rick Howell wrote, this past week, that those who helped prompt the current crisis can't be trusted with the answers to it. One might surmise that he plans to switch political parties. He speaks of realtors and bankers who "made home loans to people they should have known couldn't pay their mortgages." Is he aware or does he hope we aren't aware of who passed the Community Reinvestment Act in 1976? Which party has blocked efforts to restore the requirements for fiscal responsibility we used to have to prove? And to which Party does Barney Frank belong?
For those not old enough or not historically informed Jimmy Carter, the Democrat who never met a dictator he didn't admire, was in the oval office in 1976 and Barney Frank has led all efforts to keep the pressure on to keep pushing money to "people they should have known couldn't pay their mortgages."
But one thing I've noticed during my three-quarters of a century among this species. Too many of us prefer to first choose what we want to believe. Then we choose which information to accept depending on whether it supports that belief.
Where is the controversy?
Let us not revert to coat-hangers. Mass concern over the rights of the mother as it relates to the rights of the unborn are highly unfounded. As it stands, the matter is left to the state and the woman's right to her own body. So what is the problem? Where is the controversy?
The largest portion of debate material comes from those who want the current view on the matter altered, or seem to have a compelling interest to eliminate the business of abortion in its entirety. The majority of critics view this from either a moral or necessitative perspective, claiming that it isn't, in fact, necessary and reserving their prejudice only for the most unavoidable and somewhat unrealistic situations.
However the truth of the matter is that one must step into unfamiliar shoes to realize the necessity of abortion. It is a fallout plan, a backup for the unthinkable, and in most cases the only realistic option for the unsuspecting and underprepared mother-to-be. Many of those who disagree with the moral ramifications of abortion have never entered a clinic with no other option and nowhere left to turn, or felt the stress of circumstance that often spurs the need for an abortion. So is it too much to ask that we leave this issue out of the media and Congress, and place it firmly back into the hands to which the decision belongs, the mothers?
CVCC Early College Program students
Healthcare in this country has been going down the toilet. The main problems being, it is too expensive and has limited availability to all citizens.
Our government's obsession with inflation has led to a rise in premiums. The healthcare prices have risen four times faster than wages over the past six years. We cannot expect the average American to be able to afford any necessary healthcare for themselves or their children. The people who are unable to afford healthcare are ultimately putting a burden on those of us who do have healthcare. We are forced to pay extra for the services we receive because of the almost 47 million people who are unable to pay for themselves.
Both John McCain and Barack Obama have some desirable qualities in each of their very different healthcare reform plans, but neither of them seem to completely grasp the need for total reform of our healthcare system. Healthcare costs are rising so rapidly that the employers are forced to increase prices and decrease benefits for workers. For example, a local college will have to increase tuition prices in order to secure the minimum health benefit requirements for it's employees.
The solution to this problem would be the Government offering Universal Healthcare even if it has to come in the form of a slight increase in taxes. The benefits of this tax increase would greatly outweigh the extra money we are paying everyday for the uninsured.
Devon Abrell and Meredith Phillips
Election 2008: Peering into the Abyss
Senator Obama and his party seem poised to impose the most left-wing agenda the country has ever known, and the country seems ready to swallow it. The only question being will they have the courage of their orations.
We have been stupefied by the sudden events which have swept away many certainties and shaken confidence. It always happens this way and warning signs are always ignored. To expect politicians of all people to try halting the party while everyone is still having a good time is to expect that which has never been.
Now, in unison, they cry, “where were the regulators?” and “we need more regulation.” It would be nice to know how many “regulators” (and their cost to taxpayers) are employed by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which was supposed to supervise Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and which vouched for their soundness just before the takeover.
Of course, reigning in Fannie and Freddie was always a non-starter. Those who tried, including Sen. McCain, soon heard plenty from voters with skin in the game: homebuilders, realtors, mortgage brokers and lenders — all with well-organized associations, political action committees and scores of lobbyists.
Few can be found today to defend the economic record of the Bush Administration, but reports recently published by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund show that in the past eight years our economy has done better than almost all the industrial countries. And with good reason, which also bears upon the present turmoil.
Having the dollar as the world's chief reserve currency has allowed American to buy far more abroad than it sold and to finance vast public and private debt by importing foreign capital. In the past 25 years our collective debt had grown a third faster than the growth in our underlying economy.
It is wonderful to hear Obama talk of giving more to education, health, veterans, seniors, etc. In those 25 years federal spending has increased 300 percent, from under $800 billion a year to more than $3 trillion, which now works out to spending $10,000 for every citizen. In Virginia the state budget has brown even more, from $13 billion in 1982-84 to more than $75 billion for 2008-2010, or almost 500 percent.
Engraved upon the public mind has been Obama's endlessly repeated pledge to cut taxes for 95 percent of the people. Few will remember Clinton's oft-stated promise in 1992 of a tax cut for the middle class, which disappeared upon inauguration, though he did get around to raising the maximum income tax rate to 39.6 percent. In the face of the current panic and trillions in new federal commitments, with more standing in line all the time, a President Obama is more likely than not to follow the Clinton path.
It's hard to understand why Republicans from Bush and McCain on down have let Democrats get away with the constant refrain “the rich aren't paying their fair share” without telling people what the “rich” actually pay. Most would be surprised.
For example, a married couple in New York City or California is on the hook for a federal income tax of 35 percent and a state/local income tax of 10 percent. They also pay Social Security taxes, real-estate taxes, sales taxes, personal-property taxes, motor-vehicle taxes and excise taxes. If they have a taxable income of at least $500,000 they now pay close to 40 percent of what they earn in taxes. Under Obama's plan they will edge closer to 50 percent.
The non-rich might ponder a few inconvenient truths. Once Congress has soaked the rich, who's next? More than a third of all Americans now pay no federal income tax. As non-payers rise under the Obama plan there will be less opposition to raising rates on those who do pay. If you're not paying, why care? While the rich can emulate the poor in cutting expenses, they will pay for most tax increases by reducing savings and investment that fuel growth. You might remember the 1970s and the old pre-Reagan tax rates which went as high as 70 percent and the stagflation we had then.
On the Virginia scene, the fate of former Gov. James Gilmore shows considerable ingratitude. Mark Warner had loads of money to frame the debate early: “Gilmore left a mess and being bipartisan I cleaned it up.” First, Gilmore did not leave a mess, fiscal or otherwise. Second, with strong Republican majorities in the legislature, Warner had to reach out to them. That, apparently, won't be required in the new Congress.
Because it was a local tax variously applied, the car tax would not have been my choice for tax relief. But it was strongly endorsed by voters in Gilmore's 1997 election as governor and the legislature had not choice but to respect that mandate.
While Mark Warner's tax increases have cost Virginians more than $4 billion since being enacted, most will be surprised to learn that through the current budget, Gilmore's car-tax relief will save them $7.2 billion. That's $1,000 in real money for every man, woman and child. Had the state spent it instead, would anybody notice?
You hear it said that $7.2 billion put the state in a hole. Well, in just eight years under Govs. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine state spending still went up 100 percent!
Prophecy is a fool's game but let me go there. For years the country has consumed more than it was willing to produce. The massive write-downs now seen are truly frightening. Even more ominous are the massive unfunded liabilities of the future, such as Social Security, for which not a brass farthing in real assets exists to back it up. The young people now cheering Obama can look forward to a heavy burden.
Ray L. Garland
Former Republican State Senator and syndicated columnist
Update on Big Otter Mill
You may have been seeing some changes around that beautiful red building on Big Island Highway, Big Otter (Forbes) Mill. We have finally finished our new entrance to the Mill. We have a great new driveway that enters into the larger parking and event area.
Thanks to the following businesses and individuals who donated products, time, equipment to make this possible: Boxley Quarries, Boone Tractor, Oscar Padgett, Don Fortney - Pentatuck Excavating, Jimmy Andrews, Richard Burnett, Carlton Toms and Kerry Creasey Hauling.
I hope you will say thank you and support our local businesses who give much to our community.
Our upcoming event at the Mill will be the Charlie Parker Memorial Big Otter Mill Brunswick Stew. Mark your calendar for Nov. 15, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mill. We will be open for tours on that day.
Title Sponsor is Master Engineers and Designs in Lynchburg. Charlie Parker was an engineer with their firm and a member of our Big Otter Mill Foundation Board of Directors. He was a vital part of our organization, and he died unexpectedly following heart surgery. It is fitting that our first major fundraising project will be sponsored by his company and named after him.
Other sponsors for this event include: Bank of the James; K & K signs; Wal Mart; Bedford Memorial Hospital; Scott & Bond, Inc.; Becky Wuergler, Scott & Bond, Inc.; Kandy Shackelford, Farm Bureau; George Cooper, State Farm Insurance; Fredericks Flowers; Commercial Glass & Plastics, Lynchburg; Mountain Fruit & Produce; A. J. Gross & Son Orchards; Roger Henderson; Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory; Mark Jenkins, Axa Advisors.; George Cooper, State Farm Insurance, Stellar One Bank.
As always, please thank those who sponsor our community projects and support their businesses. We non-profits could not survive without them.
So now, please mark your calendars for Nov. 15 and come visit the Mill. You can have great food. There are locally produced items and one-of-a-kind art works for sale. All proceeds go for the preservation and restoration of Big Otter Mill.
Hope to see you there.
President, Board of Directors
Big Otter Mill Foundation
Ad smears New York lawyers
In a recent one-half page ad in area newspapers, paid for and authorized by Goode for Congress, it said “you just can't trust some New York Lawyers.” The ad was referring to congressional candidate Tom Periello.
It is my opinion that this is also a broad smear against all New York lawyers. Derogatory labeling of one's opponent and the use of shameful name calling is certainly not behavior befitting a U. S. congressman. Running that kind of campaign gives us insight into a candidate's true character.
Many new residents have moved into the 5th Congressional District and a significant number have moved here from New York. Virgil Goode's ad said Tom Periello is “New York slick.” What does “new York slick” mean? I'm from New York, born on Manhattan Island and I grew up near the Yankee Stadium. I've owned land in Bedford County for 20 years and I am a registered voter in the 5th District of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Would I be considered slick? Is there something wrong with being from New York? Are former New York residents unwelcome in this part of the United States of America?
It is my opinion that saying you can't trust people from New York and calling them slick is biased, insular, provincial, parochial an mean spirited. I certainly don't want that kind of thinking to represent me in Congress. I'm a former northerner who has found Virginia to be a great state with wonderful warm people and I want it to be represented in Congress by Tom Periello (who, by the way, grew up in Virginia). He values ALL people and I believe he will work tirelessly to serve ALL the citizens of our great nation.
Henry J. Boschen
I read your paper every week, have been for a long time. Being born and raised in Bedford. It's my way of staying in touch with home. But, I must say that the Oct. 22, 2008 issue troubled me. There were two particular articles that made me downright angry.
Barak Obama: Why is it so hard to accept the fact that he may become president? Being an African-American myself, I try to be optimistic. But, that's extremely hard when every day you get a slap in the face with reality. “What if” ... what if the man can actually do a good job considering the issues he'll have to face? The two articles I'm referring to simply condemn the man. Everything from bits and pieces of his past performances to Christian aspects. Yes, I'll admit that I really hadn't heard of Barack Obama before this race. But, then again I hadn't read anything about President Clinton either and up until his human mistake. He was a great president. Where do great people come from? Is there a category that they must be in? We all have made mistakes or wrong decisions. Does that condemn us for life? Can you not overcome the hand life deals?
What if we overlooked what he is or what we think he's about? Think about it. Can he be so bad? Look at what we're facing now. What if we overlooked thways of the old and looked forward to a world made for everybody?
Mecklenburg Correctional Center