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Opinion

  • If it wasn’t clear to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last week, it should be now: Virginia vehemently opposes the transfer of convicted Bedford County double-murderer Jens Soering back to Germany.

        When questioned about the issue by Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte during a congressional committee hearing last week, Holder said he was waiting to see “what the state’s position is going to be.”

  • Bravo for the Community Orchestra

        Bravo! Bravo! Bravo for the Bedford Community Orchestra and its May 15 spring concert.

         Saturday was the first time we’ve attended one of the orchestra’s concerts, and we discovered how remiss we’ve been. We’re going to correct that in the future.

        The concert was marvelous—music from a Harry Potter movie, Copeland’s Rodeo, Abreu’s Tico-Tico, Ravel’s Bolero, and Celtic music from Lord of the Dance.

  • In the early days of our republic, President Andrew Jackson established an important principle of American-style democracy – that we should measure the health of our society not at its apex, but at its base.  That focus has been lost, as many on Wall Street have accumulated vast wealth while the middle class falls steadily behind.  When regions of Virginia are experiencing more than 21% unemployment and so many working Americans continue to struggle in this economy, it is only just that our leaders protect the interests of America’s working people.

  • Last week, we received some encouraging news as the Department of Labor announced that the economy added 290,000 jobs in the month of April – 231,000 of them in the private sector. This is the largest number of new jobs in four years and the fourth consecutive month of job growth.

  • One of my top priorities in Congress has been reducing financial burden on middle- and working-class families during these tough economic times. Last week, USA TODAY reported that Americans paid their lowest level of taxes in 2009 since Harry Truman’s presidency. The news story reported: “Federal, state and local taxes — including income, property, sales and other taxes — consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports.

  • Traditionally, Congress is expected to agree on a budget for the upcoming fiscal year by April 15th.  It is this budget process at the beginning of each year where the decision is made regarding total federal spending for the year.  It is the budget that sets the stage for how fiscally responsible government spending will be.  Since the passage of the Budget Act of 1974, the House of Representatives has never failed to pass an initial budget to set the spending priorities for the following fiscal year.

  • Ted Kennedy‘s “True Compass” would be poignant for one fact alone if there wasn’t so much else to recommend it. This Kennedy brother, after all, was the only one who lived long enough to write a memoir.

        Pathos and tragedy accompanied every step of success his family ever recorded. For the prominent role they achieved in American history, they paid a very bloody and very sad price.

  •     The oil spill in the Gulf has been consuming the news, and possibly Congress’ attention, so I haven’t seen much lately on the Senate’s efforts on a financial reform bill. Prior to that, a lot of news consisted of “Democrats” accusing Republicans of being in Wall Street’s pocket. Of course, “Democrats” are in Wall Street’s pocket, so maybe they know who their neighbors are.

  • The fact that President Obama selected Solicitor General Elena Kagan — a liberal reflecting his political stance — to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens should come as no surprise. For all the handwringing over legislation that has been introduced over the past 18 months, the President’s opportunity to appoint SC justices provides the opportunity for him to leave his greatest legacy.

  • Trail should be handicap

    accessible

        This year at Liberty High School the Agriculture Department developed a nature trail. I believe that the nature trail is a good idea because it allows students to learn outside the  classroom. However, when building the trail they did not take into consideration that individuals with physical disabilities cannot access the nature trail.

  • I am committed to increased accountability and transparency in government, and pleased to report that we took two important steps forward in this direction last week in Congress.

  • Over the weekend a man with ties to the Taliban drove an SUV loaded with home-made bombs into Times Square in the heart of New York City.  Thanks in large part to two very observant street vendors, the local authorities rushed to the scene where they found the smoking car that contained two five-gallon containers of gasoline, three twenty-gallon propane tanks, 152 M-88 fireworks, two alarm clocks connected to wires and a metal gun locker filled with 250 pounds of fertilizer.  Authorities were able to dismantle the contents of the SUV, preventing what had the potential to be a very

  • Since the enactment of the health care reform law, there has been considerable confusion surrounding its effects on military health care programs. I am pleased to share with you that on April 26, 2010 the President signed into law legislation that I introduced to fully protect TRICARE and other military health care programs for service members, veterans, and their families under the newly enacted health care reform law. 

     

  • Saturday May 15, I will be at the Moneta Library from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. for my quarterly Town Meeting. 

        The FY 10/11 budget has been adopted.  All tax rates will remain the same.  The Board of Supervisors is turning its attention to the new Zoning Ordinance.  Real Estate reassessment is under way.  The VDOT 6-year road plan is being reviewed. 

  •     Political observers of all stripes agree that politics in America today is bitterly divided. Many see this as a danger to the health of our republic.

        But is it, really? Or are today’s partisan fights simply the natural split between two parties and two very different philosophies?

  •     I noticed that Rick Howell was at it again in last week’s “The Liberal Agenda” column, portraying conservatives as a bunch of well-heeled folks motivated by a desire to protect their bottom line. He characterized TEA party activists as “a lot of people with six-figure salaries who have done well in this country and who ought to have the decency to pay their taxes without whining about it.”

  • A lot of folks are upset about the governor’s doings down in Arizona.

        Columnist Eugene Robinson described Arizona’s new immigration law as “an abomination - racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust” and Colorado Congressman Jared Polis compared the law to the "second-class status of Jews in Germany prior to World War II.”

        As for President Obama, he said the law seeks “to undermine basic notions of fairness.”

  • More than expected

        In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week I wanted to share our family’s experience.

  • Just days ago President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform met for the first time.  At that meeting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke expressed extreme concern over the effect of out-of-control government spending on the future of our nation’s struggling economy.  Bernanke warned that “even after economic and financial conditions have returned to normal, in the absence of further policy actions, the federal budget appears set to remain on an unsustainable path.”  This same message was previously delivered by Peter Orsza