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Ramping up for solar jobs

SVCC starts worker training program in anticipation of big demand for installer positions

Mecklenburg trustees take look at shorter school day

Proposal calls for shaving minutes off daily schedule

Brewery makes plans to move to lakefront

Clarksville’s hometown craft brewery is moving to a lakeside location, with a planned opening in summer 2019.


Post 8 scrappy, with solid offense, pitching

Defensive miscues prove costly, but team able to get over shortcomings





Pinch hitter / October 24, 2013
Have I pointed out lately what a swell bunch of folks you readers are? No? Well, you’re awesome. Thank you so much for your support, your kind words, your precious time spent wandering through this vast prairie of verbiage. We couldn’t do it without you.

If you’re wondering, “Hmm, what’s up with all the groveling?,” you may also sense that what you’ve just read is a prelude to an excuse. Alas, dear reader, there come times when your humble scribe is simply all ‘ritt out. We’re not talking writer’s block so much as anvil. So no column from me today. See everyone next week.

On the bright side, because readers truly are awesome — this goes for all of you, whether you find yourself agreeing with the ramblings in the space or you don’t — every once in a while a columnist will get lucky, and one of the faithful will come forth with an unexpected contribution. And so it is that over at our sister newspaper, The Mecklenburg Sun, a South Hill subscriber, Martha Lee, submitted a letter this week to the paper’s Viewpoint column. Her missive is reprinted below. It’s terrific (and I am so-o-o envious). At the risk of rendering my own position superfluous, here goes:

Dear Viewpoint,

As a 70 year-old “news junkie,” I study all news sources available to me: print, cable, network, Internet and yes, even biased news organizations, in order to get the full picture. I know that I am in the twilight of my life, but I worry about my children and grandchildren. I’ll tell you right now that I am disgusted with what is going on in the United States Congress. Billionaires “buying” candidates of both parties with large donations. The Tea Party, far right Republicans, Teapublicans I like to call them, not to be confused with moderate Republicans, who until recently had good sense and hopefully will find it again, are acting like children – start the fight and then try to turn it around on the other party. They have been the party of “no”, by design, ever since the day President Obama was elected.

The American people, you and me, have been put through the financial wringer on more than one occasion, now, of course, with the shutdown and budget crisis, which affects so many innocent people, some of whom are very ill and may die waiting for the National Institutes of Health to reopen new clinical trials which have shut down. They have taken us once again, by choice, to the brink of financial disaster, at the eleventh hour, caused our credit rating to be lowered, possibly for the second time, they have made us the laughing stock of the world, are playing Russian roulette with our financial system, started a true war on women, taking us back to days we fought hard to overcome, they are proudly open against gays, poor people and retirees (if you don’t believe me, just wait until you see what they have planned for Social Security and Medicare) – the list goes on and on!

What is the problem with these people? They are not in favor of abortion (that is a matter that only a woman can decide for herself), but are against birth control or assistance to the poor. They voted into law the Affordable Care Act (as I watched in real time on C-span), which was recently confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, but the party will go to the end of the earth to repeal it, based on what? Nobody in this country should be denied good healthcare. Congress and their family members already enjoy the very best healthcare and access to top-rated hospitals to boot! The new law gives everybody the opportunity to purchase healthcare and pay their share. My personal opinion is they don’t like it because it was not their idea! It is working very well in Massachusetts where it was Mitt Romney’s “baby.” Congress has healthcare for life, pensions, holidays, close to $200,000 a year in salary, weeks and weeks of holiday and vacation time every year; the list goes on and on! Many Teapublicans (Paul Ryan campaigned openly on this subject, saying there was no need for Social Security) want to raid or abolish Social Security and Medicare, which we have paid into our whole adult lives. I hate the word entitlement — we earned those retirement funds (my husband and I combined paid into the system for over 90 years). Social Security has a trust fund that should not be compromised. It is also my opinion that Romney and Ryan lost the previous election for a variety of reasons, but largely due to their stand on issues pertaining to women and retirees. It looks like they would have learned something by now.

Unless you are very wealthy, I think you will join me in saying, “Get your hands off of my Social Security!” The financial crisis of 2008 took away trillions of retirees’ pensions and personal investments due to actions by greedy banks and Wall Street. When you are retirement age or have already retired, you don’t have a chance to have a “do-over” or wait for the markets to improve.

All the Teapublicans really know how to do is to be the party of “no”, impede progress, cause gridlock, run for office and bash President Obama, who inherited the mess from yet another Republican, who was left the largest surplus in history and got us into this financial mess to begin with. I ask you to remember that it doesn’t take but a moment in polls to send them packing. We have had major problems in our country before, but were all in it together and our Congress worked together to correct them and unite our country. No so with this group. They haven’t for years and probably never will.

We can put a halt to some of this insanity in November. Cuccinelli, another Tea Party wonder right here in Virginia, wants to take money out of our public schools and put it into private schools, limit a woman’s access to divorce, birth control, free health screenings, just to name a few things. Then there is Obenshain, the candidate for Attorney General, who introduced a bill that said women would have to report a miscarriage to the authorities, even if it happened at home, within 24 hours, or face penalties. As a woman who suffered a miscarriage at home years ago, all I want to say to you is — who do you think you are, getting in our personal affairs at a time like that?

I say start with saying “no” to those Teapublicans who are running in Virginia and then the rest of them in 2014 and beyond. They are a catastrophe for our country. Don’t take my word for it, read up on these people and you will see for yourself! I am an Independent and former Republican of many years who campaigned for President Reagan and attended his inauguration, by invitation from said campaign. I remember well when the Republican Party stood for something honorable. This time around you certainly need to get involved, get informed, and VOTE the Democratic ticket, straight down the line. President Reagan must be doing flips in his grave at the antics of this crowd.

Martha Lee
South Hill

ADDENDUM: Ms. Lee’s letter warrants a couple of closing thoughts. One, she almost perfectly captures the recent ridiculousness out of Washington. And two, would anyone be up for drafting her to run for Congress?

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