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Opinion

  • Have you ever used the excuse you are too busy to exercise?  During the winter holidays we often eat more and are stressed.  Both of these can be helped with exercise.  The New Year is the perfect time to get in the exercise habit, so you will see its benefits before Spring. 

  •     I, for one, will not mourn the passing of 2009. That’s the thing about the New Year; we can always begin it hoping that it will be better than the last one.

        I would submit 2009 as a poster child for that approach. Unfortunately, I can’t think of more positive and memorable events than events and realities that are better off forgotten.

  •     The recession ended in the United States in the third quarter of this year. Locally, the city of Bedford noted that its sales tax revenue began to turn around in the fourth quarter, in November.

        That doesn’t mean we are out of the woods. Unemployment has continued to rise and, not being an economist, I wouldn’t hazard a guess when that will stop, although the rate at which jobless figures have been rising began decelerating before the middle of the year.

  •     Joseph Howard “Joe” Hensley, 79, of Big Island, died Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009, at Lynchburg General Hospital.  He was born in Bedford County on April 17, 1930, a son of the late Ryland Lee Hensley and Rena Gillespie Hensley. 

        In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by two sons, Warren Dale Hensley, Douglas Dwayne Hensley, six brothers and one sister. 

  • And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

        (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

        And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

        And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

  • About the parade

        I am writing to express my opinion on the cancellation of the Christmas Parade. As how good or bad the parade would have been, I have been going as long as I can recall as I am almost 61 years young.

        I know that there is a lot of work put into the floats and etc. and to just cancel altogether is a joke.

        What in the world would have been wrong with the next day or next week? You can have a parade any night or day, can’t you?

  • As this year winds to a close, I continue to focus on economic recovery and the fiscal discipline to bring our deficit under control.

    First, I have once again signed on as co-sponsor of a measure to block members of Congress from receiving automatic pay increases, this time for the 2011 fiscal year. On January 7, 2009 — the day after being sworn into office — I co-sponsored H.R. 156, which blocked the automatic pay increase for FY2010. The measure was successfully adopted by congressional leaders over the summer.

  • This is a blessed season marked by the company of family and friends, a child-like anticipation of presents under the tree, and perhaps even the hope of a midnight snowfall.   It is a season rooted in traditions and celebrations of all kinds. 

  • Like all of my colleagues in the Democratic Party, I voted in favor of proceeding to debate the proposed health- care reform legislation. I have yet to decide whether I will support final passage of the bill.

     

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has advised claims for reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred during 2009 will be accepted beginning January 1, 2010. 

  •     There are only days now before we all find out what’s under the Christmas tree for us. I thought it might be fun to speculate about what gifts certain politicians - if this were a just world - should receive for Christmas.

        For U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, there is one gift that would certainly warm his heart: Large, gold-framed photos of all the CEOs of the major insurance companies that run his state of Connecticut, and run him.

  •     Apparently some colleges and universities seem to think that students leave their First Amendment rights at the gate when they enroll.

        According to a report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, seven out of 10 American colleges and universities censor students’ speech. The report was cited in a story posted on WorldNetDaily earlier this month.

  •     Robert “Bob” Latane Forgie, Jr., 42, of Montvale, died Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009.  Bob was born in Montvale on Oct. 16, 1967.  He was the son of the late Robert Latane Forgie, Sr. and Hattie S. Forgie. 

        He was a member of Walnut Grove Baptist Church. Bob was a graduate of Liberty High School and VMI class of 1990. 

  • It’s always nice when Republicans and Democrats can come together to pursue legislation that really benefits local citizens. Such is the case with the  Strengthening the Ownership of Private Property (STOPP) Act.

  • Sustainability

        There is an organization once called, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, now called Local Governments for Sustainability, ICLEI. They are paid dues with public money in several places in Virginia. In fact, Roanoke is on their listing. As a Bedford resident I would like to know if ICLEI has offered to help Bedford to have sustainability over unsustainability items?

  • Last week, I held a conference call with Chambers of Commerce and other business leaders from across the 5th District to gain their ideas on job creation and how to create new competitive advantage in Central and Southern Virginia. Supporting small businesses is one of the best ways we can turn our economy around. Here are some of the ideas and issues they raised:

  • Currently, government officials from around the globe, including President Obama and top U.S. officials, are gathering in Copenhagen, Denmark for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.  These officials are hoping to create a new treaty containing stringent and enforceable requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  While specifics of the treaty are still being worked out, there is reason to believe that the treaty will call for dramatic emission reductions that will cause serious economic harm to our already fragile economy. 

  • With 2009 nearly behind us it’s appropriate to critically assess the first year of Barack Obama’s historic presidency.

        It didn’t take long for the promise of his inauguration to give way to the reality of the crushing problems we all knew he’d face. The financial bailouts - controversial and expensive - had actually begun under the previous administration because, once again, it became necessary to save capitalism from itself.

  •     President Barack Obama made the right decision when he opted to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.

        It wasn’t perfect. I’m concerned that he’s sending in fewer troops than General Stanley McChrystal, the commander on the ground, asked for. General McChrystal is the general that the Obama administration chose to implement a new military strategy. Second guessing your commander on the scene is risky.

  • Government should always strive for openness, even when the law might allow discussion on an issue to be held behind closed doors. The presumption should always be, "let’s talk about this in the open if we can."

        But government often doesn’t work that way.