Around 1936, when U.S. citizens were first issued their Social Security numbers, public and congressional debate raged — “identity cards” were “un-American,” reminiscent of “zee papers” immigrants from the Old Country were forced to carry day and night to travel sometimes from neighborhood to neighborhood.

If voters in Halifax County had a chance to shuck their personal income taxes, in other words, pay zero, get out from under, take home some real money Richmond has been spending, and not on us, for too many years—would you go for it?

Susan Rice, if you don’t remember, is the Obama staffer (actually, the president’s national security advisor which means she had no power except to mouth off about information often too classified for her to access), who told the world the savage attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi had been triggered by an anti-Muslim video some yahoo in the U.S. lobbed on to the internet.

“Wear a short enough skirt, and the party will come to you”—one of my favorite Dorothy Parker quotes.

Halifax County is racing against the clock, the day down the line that is the next four to six years, when constructing a new multi-million dollar high school and replacing a 911 emergency system that must go from analog to digital means digging up money from the thing Halifax has the most of—real estate, 818 square miles of it, presently taxed at 48 cents per $100 in value.

Community hospitals in Virginia — one of 19 states which did not expand Medicaid when it had the opportunity to do so under Obamacare — are worried about Trump’s changes to the federal Medicaid financing system, which would reduce spending on the government’s health insurance program for the poor by $880 billion over the next 10 years.

Pollsters at National Public Radio are already calling the 2017 Virginia gubernatorial election for Ralph Northam, Terry McAuliffe’s Democratic successor-in-waiting and a pediatric neurosurgeon.

Millions of Americans abhor what they call Trump’s “crudeness,” his “insensitivity,” “impulsivity,” and most damaging, his “lack of control.”

Fact: One billion Valentine’s cards will be sent this year – 85 percent of them will be sent by women.

We’ve all had them, usually in the dead of winter or when we’re away from the house on vacation and, at least in my case, what might be a minor emergency for a handy homeowner with a treasure chest of tools becomes a tachycardia-triggering event to a plumber willing to push himself into a 36” by 36” crawlspace at the very back of my 1830’s “frontier cottage,” slide over a drenched field of mud and ice and grunt, complain and express varying levels of disbelief that someone has been sufficiently incompetent, crazy or stupid enough to let the pipe in question deteriorate and burst.

HB1900 is a controversial bill — opposed by Del. James Edmunds — that aims to protect homeowners from a sudden invasion of one or more hunting dogs who have escaped the control of their owners who say they are using these same dogs to hunt on property owned by consenting landowners and neighbors.

“What can we do to create an economic development foundation in Halifax County?” asked ED-1 Supervisor J. T. Davis during last week’s finance committee meeting. Finally.

A newcomer to the county, I had not, until recently, bumped into what I’ve learned is called the “prosperity Gospel,” which New York Times writer Kate Bowler defines as the idea that “God grants health and wealth to those with the right kind of faith.”

Just got back. One day to get to Madrid, Spain, two days there—Christmas Eve and Christmas Day—and one day involving four separate plans to return to Halifax County.

Years ago, I remember listening to a radio interview, probably on NPR, about a well-educated, upper-middle class woman who wanted to “give back,” and thus, after obtaining her M.A. in sociology and human services, she went to work in a community that sounded a lot like Halifax County.

Christmas reflections trade on platitudes: it is a religious holiday, after all, and editorialists as eager as anyone else to get out of the office and on the road to family and friends frequently opt for a gentle litany of all we have to be grateful for and an admonition to cherish the folks we’ll hold close over the next two weeks.

You don’t have to pick a winner to make millions—betting that someone, something or somewhere will fail is also a money-maker, the stuff of hedge funds, junk bonds and realty corporations who zero in on commercial properties and low-income housing in depressed, rural areas.

Wow…talk about an about-face. Democrats are blaming almost everything and everybody for Billery’s defeat, and now the onus falls on what the campaign pros are calling “identity politics” — a strategy that winnows out specific populations (women, millennials, African-Americans, Hispanics, members of the LGBT community) and targets these single-issue constituencies with promises tailored to address their specific wishes and dreams.

It’s Thanksgiving week — stores, television, social media and anyone in the process of defrosting a Butterball — ready to hold forth on “thankfulness.”

They say Clinton’s staff was already apportioning West Wing office space on the night of the election, sparring for windows and square footage as they popped the Moet and Chandon and pulled up their Wonder Woman tights.

The truth is it’s a tight race, meaning the popular vote nation-wide might, in the end, run almost parallel, each candidate scoring in the mid-40s.

I was shocked the other evening when a bright, highly educated woman told me she could never vote for Trump because he was … rude.

The state of Virginia, says Gov. Terry McAuliffe, has money troubles—a shortfall of at least $1.5 billion over the next two years. After that, the former Clinton fundraiser says the news may get worse.

I don’t care who wins the election. But I do care about the economy and national security. Forget about Hillary loving animals or being nice to single mothers. Forget about Trump’s insensitivity or misogyny.

I once met an older “been-there, done-that” woman in a small Virginia town whose life had been a patchwork of money-schemes and multiple marriage scenarios—the kind of lady whose worn features stand out in stark contrast to her high-priced duds, red-red fingernails and flashy jewelry.

Long-term planning pays off. Especially when you’re Hillary Clinton, the prize just within grasp. Is this a surprise?

Well, you know this already: one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in Centerville now accommodates…what? The appearance, finally, of Whole Foods, Starbucks, Target or even (sigh) one of those new “upscale” Dollar Generals stocked to the gills with really good meat and fresh produce?

Let’s face it. The 2016 presidential race is no beauty contest. Neither The Donald nor Hillary come trailing clouds of Camelot or the genial humanity history assigns to FDR and, yes, even to Ronald Reagan whose love story with the publicly off-putting Nancy (a letter every day) and respectfu…

Brexit. The media, desperate to make a big story relevant to an American audience, continue to bang on about “the parallel” between what they call “a populist uprising“ in the UK and blue-collar working class support for The Donald here at home.

The great myth in 2016, perpetrated by the Clinton campaign, is that Hillary is for the “little guy,” women, African-Americans, Hispanics and the LGBT community.

The debate about transgender bathrooms isn’t about bias, unisex toilets or even civil rights.

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are deal-makers. The difference is that Trump seems able to recognize a bad deal when he sees one, while any deal is a good one for Hillary as long as it fattens the Clintons’ personal account.

If you believe elections are about ideology, I’m betting you also believe Valentine’s Day is about love — as opposed to the $18.9 billion Americans spend in the days prior to Feb. 14 on cards, candy, flowers and balloons.

South Boston is a three, maybe four-hour drive to D.C., but many of us might as well be living on the moon, especially the true believers who like to tell you Democrats are the “nice party” and Republicans “the mean.”

I’ve been hard on Halifax County and what seems to me a slightly-too-slow pace of development. But I’ve been doing my homework — attending meetings of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors, the Halifax County Service Authority and the county IDA.

Last Thursday, a group of advanced literature students piled into two vans and made a two and one-half hour trek to Staunton, home of the renowned American Shakespeare Center and the Blackfriars Theater, a $37 million recreation of the theater in which Shakespeare first unveiled his play, “The Tempest.”

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