Thumbs up, thumbs down

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A thumbs up to the installation of a new traffic signal at the interchange of Burks Hill Road and U.S. 460. Travelers of that route were greeted with the new light this weekend, a welcome sight for those trying to cross onto Burks Hill Road (South on Va. 122) from the westbound turn lane off U.S. 460. That has been a dangerous intersection for some time and should help ease maneuvering through the heavy traffic in that area that includes traffic from the National D-Day Memorial, the Bedford Area Welcome Center, Bedford Elementary School and those traveling towards the Lake. The Virginia Department of Transportation is also considering a realignment of several Burks Hill Road intersections and those who have feedback on the changes can make public comments. Proposed changes will be made pubic during a meeting Nov. 18 at the Welcome Center.

A thumbs down to Congress for filling the bailout legislation of this nation's financial system with loads and loads of pork. Called “Extension of Business Tax Provisions," the bill includes dozens of tax breaks for companies and industries including "certain wooden arrows designed for use by children" as well as tax breaks for race-track owners, rum imported from Puerto Rico and Hollywood film and television production companies. The billions of dollars of pork were called “sweeteners” as an enticement to get those who opposed the bill previously to vote for it. This is Washington politics at its worst. And both presidential candidates should be ashamed for voting for it with that pork. John McCain touts himself as one opposed to ear-marks, but didn't sound a peep about this abuse. Barack Obama claims to be the candidate of change for Washington, but he voted for the same old song when it comes to the way Congress works. It's little wonder the stock market's reaction to the bill's passage has been less than enthusiastic.

A thumbs up to Greg Thompson, a senior at Jefferson Forest High School, who has been selected to be a member of the 97-member U.S. Army All-American High School Marching Band. As a member of the band, Thompson will be flown to San Antonio, Texas, in December for a rehearsal camp and will then participate in the halftime performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl football game on Jan. 3. Thompson is an All-American not just with musical skills, but also through his character, according to JFHS Band Director David Webb. And that's what makes the honor special. He's to be commended for his efforts.

A thumbs down to all the deadbeats going around stealing political signs out of yards. Reports have come in from both political parties about such shenanigans and it's disappointing. Surely Bedford area folks aren't involved in this — it must be infiltrators from our west or east. Everyone should have the right to display who they support without worrying about someone taking offense to it. Here's hoping the final four weeks of the campaign bring out the best, not the worst, of all of us.