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Opinion

  • “These negotiations will be on C-SPAN and so the public will be part of the conversation and will see the choices that are being made.”  That is how then-candidate Barrack Obama promised the American people the negotiations over the Democrats’ health care overhaul would occur.  Transparency was promised to be a key feature of the debate.  While it is true that it is appropriate for legislators to have private discussions about legislation, in this case the Democrats have not followed the normal conference committee process and they are going back on a promis

  • The 2010 legislative session has officially begun.  Before we get down to our most important issue this year, balancing our state budget, we must first say goodbye to one governor and welcome our Governor-elect.  Governor Kaine addressed the General Assembly on the opening day of session, giving his final state of the commonwealth address.  Normally, I would join my colleagues in the chamber to hear the Governor’s remarks.  This year I was not able to.

  • The holiday we recognized this week in honor of the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. is always an opportunity to reflect upon the state of race relations in America.

        Race, it seems, is a never ending subject in our country. We brought this upon ourselves when the first black slaves landed on the coast of Virginia in 1619 and we started down the road of slavery.

  •     A fellow came in to our office last week and wanted to talk to me. He didn’t call in advance to set up a meeting, and as a result, showed up at a very bad time. It was Tuesday, our production day and as putting the paper together requires all of us, I couldn’t just drop what I was doing.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

  • On Christmas Day, Umar Abdulmutallab boarded Northwest Flight 253 bound for Detroit and just before landing, attempted to blow up the plane and the 278 passengers aboard.  Thanks only to the malfunction of an explosive device and the quick thinking of civilian passengers and crew who subdued him, did this latest act of terrorism not tragically result in a massive loss of life. 

  •     The picture in Old Places, Old Faces on Nov. 18, 2009, of Bill and Mary Reid and the Melody Mountaineers brought back many wonderful memories to me of a well known band whose names were once a household word throughout central Virginia and the surrounding area.

  •     I have a few questions for you: Are you happy in your work? Put another way: Do you like your job? Or is it just an economic necessity that you tolerate?

        Apparently, these are questions that occupy the time of most Americans. According to the findings of the Conference Board research group - which issues a job satisfaction report every year - a record number of Americans are not happy with what they do for a living.

  •     One of the services the Bedford Bulletin offers the community is printing Rick Howell’s “The Liberal Agenda.” Readers can get a weekly example of liberals’ vacuous thinking, something we should all keep in mind when we go to the polls. Do we really want to elect people who believe this stuff, or who are endorsed by folks who believe this stuff?

  • Take this for irony:

        The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is holding a “PSA Challenge” for middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities asking youth to come up with creative videos to discourage underage or high-risk drinking.

        Should ABC really be a sponsoring agency for this interaction with youth? It thinks so.

  • A great success

        Bedford’s First Annual Festival of Trees was a great success.  We would like to thank everyone who came to enjoy it and for spreading the word.

  •     Poet Sam Walter Foss once wrote: “On the thirty-second day of the thirteenth month / on the eighth day of the week we will find the things we seek.” As 2010 leaps into high gear, let’s hope his thoughts are more sarcasm than truth. There is much to be done in this first year of the next decade. Such as...

  • One of the most important parts of my job is to assist constituents with any issues or problems they are facing when dealing with federal government agencies. The caseworkers in my offices in Charlottesville, Danville, Farmville, and Martinsville helped nearly 800 5th District residents in 2009 cut through government red tape and solve individual, sometime complex, problems with federal agencies. Here are the kinds of cases we helped with and some of the stories behind the numbers.

  • Four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in the now-notorious case of Kelo v. City of New London, which authorized the government to take private property from individuals for nearly any reason under the guise of eminent domain, even to give to other private individuals or entities.  The public outcry over this decision was so great that it forced states to enact laws to significantly rein in their own eminent domain powers.

  •     There are two programs that fall under this general heading.  First, I will address the Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payment (CRDP).  This program provides a 10-year phase-out of the offset to military retired pay due to receipt of VA disability compensation.  To qualify the veteran must be retired from active duty or age 60 retired reserves that have a combined VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater. 

  •     State Senator Steve Newman announced recently that the Division of Legislative Services has begun drafting legislation to ensure that a life cannot be legally taken after a child is born not withstanding its connection to the umbilical cord.

  • It did the trick

        I want to express my gratitude to the Bedford Bulletin for offering free ads when a pet is being given away. I had also listed Bandit, the cat who needed a loving inside home, with animal rescue organizations, and had done a personal emailing to quite a few people whom I’d hoped might know someone who’d want him.

  • Anyone who’s ever been a news reporter, or who follows what we call “news cycles” closely, knows that the slowest period for news on the entire calendar is the week between Christmas and New Years Day.

        There is, usually, nothing of much importance going on, as people and events are caught in a holiday lull.

  • If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,

    If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.

    If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat,

    If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

        So went some of the lyrics of the Beatles’ 60s tune “Taxman.” This song is the first thing that came to my mind as I read about the monstrosity that emerged from the Senate on Christmas Eve.

  • Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska, found a pot of gold at the end of the healthcare debate rainbow last week. And with his vote, the 60th and deciding secured in the Senate’s vote that was held Christmas Eve, Nelson brought an early Christmas present home to his state. Of course, taxpayers from the rest of the country will be the ones paying the bill. The healthcare vote showed just how low politicians will go.