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(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter written by Anne Cockrell of Pittsylvania County was sent to state legislators to consider before they convene in the 2013 General Assembly session in January. It is reprinted here upon request and with permission.)



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‘Christmas’ forever

For the first time in a very long time, a “Christmas” Forever stamp is available for purchase this holiday season.

word Christmas is actually on the stamp along with a beautiful picture
of the Holy Family, and several variations of the “Christmas” Forever stamp are for sale.

When you purchase your Christmas card stamps this year, ask to see the special “Christmas” Forever stamps and help keep Christ in Christmas.

Stamps are going up a penny in January, so remember to stock up on “Christmas” Forever stamps this year, and they’ll be good for many Christmases to come.



Nick Thomas, whose features and columns have appeared in more than 250 magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor, penned the following Christmas, Fiscal Cliff humor piece entitled “’Twas the Night Before Fiscal Cliff” which we print here with his permission.


‘Twas the Night Before Fiscal Cliff

By Nick Thomas


‘Twas the night before Fiscal Cliff, and throughout the land,

Democrats, Republicans were taking a stand.

Their positions unwavering, intractably firm,

With donkey-like stubbornness or entrenched pachyderm.


But the public were hopeful all snug in their beds,

With visions of compromise alive in their heads.

“Come on!” said the people in frustrated dismay.

“Abandon this meaningless partisan fray.”


When Obama and Boehner finally met,

Their first thoughts were not of a country in debt.

And Obama, the chief, said to Boehner “Oh crap!

I’d rather depart for a nice winter’s nap.”


“I know,” sighed Boehner “I’ve plenty to do,

Was planning to take a vacation or two.”

“Never mind,” said the Prez, “we’ll just keep delaying,

Who cares what the grumbling public are saying.”


But out in the blogosphere there arose such a clatter,

The people revolted, resolving this matter:

“There’s only one way to deal with such fools

Obama and Boehner must settle by duel.”


“No way!” said Obama, “I’m renowned for my peace.

“With a medal of proof on my lounge mantlepiece.”

“I agree” cried Boehner, not eager to battle,

And caught the first plane heading out to Seattle.


“Come back,” yelled the people, “we demand this by right,

You’ve had chances to talk, now you settle this fight.”

But the pair, reunited, were far from impressed, 

As the thought of a duel made them rather depressed.


As he pondered alternative White House residents,

Obama now saw why we have the vice presidents.

Quick thinking, as always, to Biden he beckoned,

“Get over here Joe, and I’ll make you my second.”


“Now Joe I expect you’ll appear around dawn,

To face off with Boehner on the White House’s lawn.”

“Yeah right!” smiled old Joe, “Would love to assist,

I ain’t packing no pistol – what if I missed?”


And then, in a twinkling, Obama’s next step,

Was to call up more buddies, to be his next rep. 

“Now Pelosi! Now Clinton! Now Durbin and Reid! 

But all vanished from Washington with notable speed.


“Oh dear,” mused Obama, “now what shall I do?”

So he phoned up Boehner for a quick rendezvous.

“My friend, we are beaten, let’s abandon aggression.”

“Agreed,” said the Speaker, “it’s time for concession.”


So they sprang into action, both recommending,

Adding some taxes and cutting some spending.

Then I heard them exclaim, “We’ve reached a consensus!

Good-bye Fiscal Cliff, we’ve come to our senses.”

Christmas toys

The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys, an old axiom says, and that’s never more true than today.


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Ensuring a vote for Obama: A lesson for the black ‘old guard’

The Presidential Election of 2008 was the first time I participated in the voting process, and in that election, I voted on my convictions of personal beliefs. Socially and economically, then-candidate Barack Obama’s platform, contradicted the convictions and beliefs I held firm; as a result, I decided to vote for his opponent, John McCain. 

A striking resemblance

I’ve always heard that somewhere in this big old world, everyone has a twin.

The rush is on

One of my father’s favorite expressions back in the day when his sons were caught window-shopping still rings in my ears today.


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Random thoughts

No more Hostess Twinkies

Hostess Brands has upset a lot of locals with the announcement it will be closing the bread store on Hamilton Boulevard in South Boston.