If you pay attention to the news -- and if you're reading this community newspaper it's likely that you do -- you're probably aware that the federal government just rejected South Carolina's recently-passed "Voter ID" law, which would require voters to present photo identification before casting a ballot in an election.
When I was a little kid, I loved imagining what things would be like when I grew up. I've kept right on imagining through today, whether it be through fiction I've written or some of these columns of mine you've read in years past.
In response to a November 2011 column in which railroad artifacts were discussed and pictured, Eugene Carl Griggs of Lugoff called to say he enjoyed it very much. Gene is a retired former employee of the Seaboard Railway. Little did this columnist know our conversation would lead into some very interesting and little known areas of World War II history.
(Columnist Clarence Page is on vacation. In his absence, Robert Koehler, an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer, is featured today.)
Let's start with some good news:
Unless you've been holed up in a basement somewhere for the past few years -- if you seldom read a newspaper or watch a news broadcast on television -- you are aware of global warming and the catastrophic effects it could have upon our planet.
Even without knowing the intricate details of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), many have come across a teacher or two who says that their creativity and long-term effectiveness in the classroom has become limited since the implementation of NCLB. Consequently, it is honorable that the state of South Carolina has been motivated to submit a request for flexibility in NCLB requirements early next year and requests the input of the "community" of South Carolina.
Ah, a New Year.
(Columnist Kathleen Parker is on vacation. In her absence, Ruth Marcus, a columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group, is featured today.)
Only once since my foolish adolescence do I recall actually feeling fortunate to be a smoker, a truly insidious addiction that I have since kicked. It was the slightly chilly Washington evening on which I was joined during a smoke break at a friend's birthday party by Christopher Hitchens, one of the few people who can be called a journalist-intellectual without it sounding like a punch line.
Imagine a place where jobs are plentiful, and the housing market is thriving. A place where even low-playing service jobs come with signing bonuses and other benefits.
Last week, I named Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews as my 2011 Person of the Year. Inevitably, any thoughts of law enforcement bring me thoughts of crime. Sometimes reading crime reports can be the most enjoyable part of the day.
WASHINGTON -- The Republicans' final debate preceding the Iowa caucuses is suddenly uncompelling. There is nothing to do but write about Christopher Hitchens, whose death has made the world immeasurably less interesting.
Choosing a career in the media makes me a willing martyr. Although I am drawn to the glossy covers of magazines and daydream about seeing my 10-point byline in publications nationwide, making a living as a reporter means continuously living in my most vulnerable state.
A conservative Christian group has launched a boycott against "All-American Muslim." The TLC reality TV show about Muslim families in America fails to live down to the group's narrow-minded stereotypes. Their gripe, in my view, makes about as much sense as boycotting "The Cosby Show" because it doesn't mention black street gangs.
As the primary pundit at the "Harmony County Weekly Blister," I am frequently called upon to perform many tasks. So, besides winding up the cat and putting out the clock, I also write the advice to the lovelorn column entitled, "Ask the Stud Muffin."
I never played high school football. My glory days ended with the little league Lions and the gridiron of my youth is now a stand of depressingly mature pine trees across the old, worn foot bridge in Woodward Park. Like many, I now enjoy the pleasure of watching and cheering on younger generations and look forward to each new season as it plays out on our home field at Zemp Stadium. It is my opinion that we, as a community, should keep Zemp and prepare the old facility for the future.
WASHINGTON -- Lego's groundbreaking female-scientists set sold out almost immediately after it was released this month. But never fear, fans of feminist toys: A new Barbie doll, now in stock, is also shattering the plastic ceiling.
For the past couple of years, our district has designated one book for summer reading for secondary students. I've really liked this approach. It has generated a lot of enthusiasm and gotten entire families involved. This year's book, This I Believe II, is a collection of personal essays by a very diverse group of people, ranging from legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma to author Studs Terkel. The book got me to thinking; if I was to write an essay about what I believe about education, what would I say?
Let me begin with full disclosure: I was born in Greenville and even though my family moved away when I was 5 years old, I still consider Greenville my hometown. And, as with a first love, one's hometown will always be something special. So it is with me and Greenville.
Some missing something or the other required me to prowl through closets at Mama's house. That's when I found it. I pulled it out and smiled broadly, warmed by the memories it evoked.
I am man enough to admit that I have cried more than once since the news broke that Robin Williams had died by what local officials said was suicide.
WASHINGTON -- Grade deflation is dead. Long live grade inflation!
Since I have lived in this area for about eight months now, I have made a discovery about Camden. There's quite a bit of music talent here, especially for a town this size. I have to also say that my opinion comes from just the musicians I know and have heard perform personally. I'm sure there are countless others I don't know about -- yet.
I watched Rory McIlroy win the PGA title Sunday, his third straight golf tournament victory and his second major title within three weeks.
I jokingly call my backyard "the wilderness." My house, built in 1912, sits fairly close to my downtown street, as is the custom in the Historic District in Sumter. The Victorian cast iron fence and neat little patch of grass in my front yard belie what is happening behind my house. The deck at the back of my house overlooks a very deep backyard filled with towering oak and pecan trees. Just over the fence at the rear of the yard is a magnificent willow oak which is probably 100 years old. It rises majestically above all and makes a ...
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