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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Roanoke's conductor pulls in the talent
I am a season ticket holder to the Roanoke pops concerts. I was one of those fortunate enough to see Bernadette Peters render a terrific performance Friday night. I was stunned that the Salem Civic Center was not sold out for the show.
In December, I saw Kenny G perform with the Piedmont Wind Orchestra in Winston-Salem. It is attempting to do something very similar to our pops series, bringing in artists to perform with the orchestra. I could not help but notice the value added that Maestro David Wiley brings to our community.
He is such an asset to the Roanoke Valley. His reputation in the world of music and the networks he has developed over the years have brought the likes of Art Garfunkel, Peters, KC & the Sunshine Band, Billy Ocean and many others to our valley.
If you aren't supporting the Roanoke Symphony, you are missing out on one of the Roanoke Valley's brightest stars.
W.L. "LEFTY" McLAWHORN
Chained CPI would hurt women the most
Some in Washington are proposing to reduce the Social Security cost-of-living allowance for current and future recipients. The chained CPI (Consumer Price Index) is a terrible idea that's especially harmful to women, who rely more on Social Security to meet basic needs.
The chained CPI assumes that when the cost of something goes up, consumers will simply choose an item that costs less. But seniors spend much of their income on fixed-cost necessities like health care, home upkeep, rent, heat and utilities. The burden of health care spending is nearly 19 percent of women's income compared to just over 14 percent for men.
Women typically live longer than men. Because the cuts grow over time, women will see benefits dwindle with each passing year. They also often receive less than men because they earn less and are more likely to work part-time and have gaps in employment. Retired women rely on Social Security for nearly all of their income more than men do.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the chained CPI would cut benefits by $127 billion over 10 years. There are other ways to ensure Social Security for future generations.
Tell Washington to reject the chained CPI.
AARP 6th District Congressional Distrist Lead
A broad responsibility to vulnerable babies
I read Dianne Roberson's commentary, "More than two positions on abortion (commentary, Feb. 27)," with interest and commend her for the attempt to get beyond the usual venting by pro-choice and pro-life advocates talking past each other.
However, there is a logic problem in her article. The three positions she presents (pro-choice, pro-birth and pro-life) are not a complete set. If, as she states, the pro-choice position is that the woman is the only person with a right to make an abortion decision, then people holding a pro-choice position are obligated not only to support the woman choosing an abortion but also the woman choosing to give birth to her child.
Thus, pro-choice advocates are equally responsible with pro-life advocates to come together in a community to offer assistance and enrichment programs for vulnerable women and babies.
Otherwise, pro-choice advocates are merely pro-abortion apologists, something consistently, even vehemently, denied.
The more complete set of categories are therefore: pro-choice (abortion), pro-choice (birth), pro-birth and pro-life.
Government shrank under Obama
For several weeks, letters in this forum have derided President Obama's leadership of the economy. As the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts." It may be useful to interject facts into this debate.
When George W. Bush became president in 2001, the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. When he left office in 2009, it was at 7.9 percent. Today, unemployment stands at 7.7 percent.
In January 2001, the New York Stock Exchange was trading at a volume of 10,400. When Bush left office, the stock market had fallen to 7,949. Today, it is trading at a record high above 14,000.
When Bush came into office, the national debt was $6 trillion. When he left, it was $10 trillion. Today, it is $16 trillion.
Of the $6 trillion added since Barack Obama was sworn in, $2 trillion is war debt not counted by Bush and $1.5 trillion is the unfunded mandate of Medicare Part D, pushed by Bush. The percent of government spending to GDP has fallen sharply under Obama.
Yes, tea party folks, government has been shrinking in the four years of Obama's presidency. Look it up.
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