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Budget uncertainty is hurting American forces
Thursday, February 7, 2013
It is important for members of Congress to know they are risking our national security by failing to address, in a timely manner, the fiscal needs of our defense forces.
Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army's chief of staff, recently outlined steps the Army is taking to remain effective while dealing with the lack of funding: canceling combat training center rotations, delaying depot work, canceling maintenance for vehicles that are not bound immediately for the current fight, freezing civilian hiring and, potentially, furloughing existing employees and laying off temporary workers.
The bottom line is that training and therefore readiness will suffer.
Odierno stressed that what the Army needs most is budget predictability through several years so end-strength, modernization and readiness can be carefully balanced and a hollow force avoided.
The Association of the United States Army has been urging Congress to solve the sequestration issue quickly, and continues to highlight the significant danger of using continuing resolutions to fund the Department of Defense. The fiscal process must be put back in order so that our defense forces can maintain their readiness and their ability to defend this nation.
Stonewall Jackson Chapter
Association of the United States Army
Reasonable people need to join gun debate
Our republic is infamous for mass murders and rampant gun violence. There is now an ever-present fear that the unthinkable will happen to someone we love. What a tragic situation, and what a sad example.
Historically, our gun debate has been dominated by two extreme groups. One wants all guns banned and the other wants no further regulations. The time has come for the complacent majority to join the debate and ensure change.
Gun manufacturers and retailers have invested huge sums to protect their industry and sales from regulations. Now it is up to us to raise money to combat this. We must make certain that a Sandy Hook tragedy does not happen in our neighborhood.
Here are some ways to help:
Full acceptance should be the goal
Dan Casey's column "New life for Roanoke chapter of PFLAG" (Feb.3) has a significant message about achieving a "new life" for parents and their children who are gay, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered. With knowledge and understanding of the diversity of human sexuality, these families can enhance their sense of self-worth and self-respect.
Schoolteachers, counselors and health care providers - in fact, all people - should be aware of services such as PFLAG that help people, including youths, going through the throes of understanding the varieties of human sexuality. These people can participate in changing the negative views of society about gays and lesbians.
Though the article notes that gay people are more widely accepted now, bigotry and hatred still exist. Nothing short of full acceptance of gays and lesbians as normal human beings with equal rights, including repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, should be the goal of society.
An understanding of these rights can be enriched from reading the book "This We Believe: The Christian Case for Gay Civil Rights," by C.S. Pearce, who experienced a new way of living herself.
JOHN R. PHILLIPS
GOP shenanigans are part of a larger picture
Republicans just don't get it. They got their noses bloodied during the last presidential election, and still can't accept the fact that they lost. Now it's back to the Republican black cauldron of magic political potions. Republicans have now decided to change the rules and rig elections in favor of their brand of political weird science.
If you can't win fairly and constitutionally, change the rules.
Don't blame Washington for this one. It's our ultra-right-wing Republican state Senate that's up to no good.
Now if you look carefully, the idea of gerrymandering congressional districts has been around a long time. This radical redistricting plan is national strategy that comes from organizations like REDMAP and the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Their goal is to provide funding to Republican state legislators to redraw congressional districts with the intention of eliminating the possibility of independents and Democrats winning congressional and presidential elections.
It's the latest attempt by Republicans to suppress votes, rig the Electoral College and take absolute control of our democracy.
Who will you vote for in the next election, a Republican or a Republican?
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