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Today's Opinions

  • Reasons for the Electoral College

    Every four years, American news is dominated by the presidential election. Pundits and analysts play up the drama, predict the outcome of the Electoral College, and endlessly analyze the results. Since the Republican candidate won the election, yet lost the popular vote by less than one percent, speculation has started on the purpose of the Electoral College.

  • Amercans' top job: bring country together again

    The well-worn conventional wisdom in America right now goes something like this: We’ve never been this politically divided.

    Nihilists and pundits will tell us that we’re so set in our rightish or leftish ways that Congress’s dysfunction is a result of the people’s philosophical rigidity. It’s a neat way of blaming citizens for the faults of their leaders.

    It’s all nonsense, of course.

  • Questions about real estate taxes in Grayson

    I have been a landowner and taxpayer in Grayson for some 40 years.
    Initially, real estate tax was paid once a year. As assessments skyrocketed, so did the real tax. After a lot of complaining to the supervisors, Grayson tax payments were changed to twice a year.
    Glory Be!  How responsive were our appointed officials.
    But it didn’t last long because the county ran out of money (poor fiscal management!) the second half of the year and had to borrow and pay interest to get by.

  • Handwriting important for cognitive skills

    Thank you for your Oct. 24 news item on the value of written communication.
    I notice The Gazette photo showed a student using a pencil and paper, as well as a computer tablet. Does this mean, I hope, that Galax schools are teaching cursive handwriting?
    If not, here’s a plug for the process: Learning cursive is great for developing cognitive and motor skills.

  • Confront bullies when they appear

    Donald Trump has denigrated Mexicans, Muslims, disabled and overweight people.
    Since April, teachers across America have reported a rise in bullying, and today, we see white supremacists and racists bullying some segments of the above-mentioned groups.
    This is frightening for those of us who will feel the need to protect these individuals, for it will mean confronting the bully.
    So what’s the solution? We dry our tears, sooth our sick stomachs, release our heartache and confront the bullies when they appear.

  • Holidays a time to heal after stressful year

    By the time you read this, the giant, pulsing dark cloud of this year’s election will have finally passed over us… and I, for one, am looking forward to remembering what conversations were like before it happened.

    As usual, I am writing this column on a Sunday night, the eve of my Monday deadline for this paper — before the election — and when future me reads this in print later in the week, I just want to say to her: “At least it’s over.”

  • The meat industry is scary

    I have no fear of all the goblins, the witches, or even the evil clowns lurking on Halloween. What really scares me are the latest reports about the meat industry.

    Like news of pig farms dumping millions of gallons of pig feces into North Carolina’s water supplies during Hurricane Matthew.

    Or of saturating their neighborhoods with windborne fecal waste spray. Or of animal farming accounting for more greenhouse gases than transportation.

  • Kitts has dedicated life to service

    I watched the Ninth District debate between our incumbent, Morgan Griffith, and his challenger Derek Kitts. I have read their pitches to voters in the Roanoke Times.
    Nothing I see or hear makes a strong case for retaining Mr. Griffith. His focus is purely on blocking Democratic proposals, with no positive plans to help the voters of Southwest Virginia. In six years, he has done almost nothing for our area.