If you want an example of how the government wastes taxpayers' money through tax subsidies of all kinds, you need look no further than the hodgepodge of benefits offered in an attempt to curb climate change, none of which are very effective. That's the opinion issued by the non-partisan National Research Council, which says tax policy could be a positive way to effect climate change but that Uncle Sam has pretty much bungled things. That's not surprising.
• Actor James Gandolfini, who died unexpectedly last week at the age of 51, was one of the great artists of his time. His portrayal of mob boss Tony Soprano has been hailed as one of the best television acting performances ever. Gandolfini, a graduate of Rutgers University, was a true Jersey guy, and he was taken too soon.
The federal sequester has caused a great deal of controversy this year, with groups of all kinds protesting what they claim are inhumane spending cuts by Uncle Sam. Though the sequester has dictated cutting only a small percentage of total federal funds -- and in some cases, just reducing the rate of increase rather than actually cutting -- some have tried to make it the equivalent of a national disaster.
The S.C. Republican Party has withdrawn from a federal lawsuit that would close the GOP's primary only to members of the party. The state organization didn't do that because it opposes the suit but because it doesn't want to spend the money. But in reality, it should oppose the suit as a matter of sound policy; trying to accomplish closed primaries in a state in which voters don't even register by party makes no sense.
Officials of the United States Golf Association made a good decision in sending this week's U. S. Open, the most prestigious of its tournaments, to the fabled Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., a mere chip shot away from Philadelphia's prestigious Main Line. In an era in which players are much more muscular and powerful, and equipment is advanced, some would say Merion, at 6,996 yards, isn't long enough to host a major championship such as the Open. Nowadays, courses stretch out to 7,600 yards and longer as players routinely average 300 yards or more ...
Camden City Council was scheduled yesterday to take second reading on a proposal to purchase the former Maxway building in the downtown business district, with plans to raze the decaying structure and build a small park. The building, located at the corner of Broad and Rutledge Street, has stood unoccupied for years and has become an eyesore. It's presently owned by Redwood Homes LLC, which has agreed to sell it to the city for $65,000. It will take about twice that amount to demolish the structure and perform asbestos removal and abatement.
• We note with sadness the recent death of Leonard Price, who moved in his later years to Boonetown and became one of Kershaw County's most generous and involved philanthropists. Price gave to a variety of causes and was especially beneficent towards North Central High School. As Bobby Jones, a former school principal in the county said, "He not only talked the talk, he walked the walk." Price has left an indelible mark upon the county.
Recent revelations that the government is carrying out secret domestic surveillance programs on businesses, coming on the heels of other snooping incidents by the Justice Department, are chilling and go to the very basic tenets of freedom in this country. The serious nature of this surveillance is highlighted by the fact that many members of both parties -- and they seldom seem to agree on anything -- are aghast at some of the things that are happening.
People in this country -- no doubt many right here in Kershaw County -- are angry with the Internal Revenue Service and its heavy-handed methods. Of course, the IRS has never been popular, and probably wouldn't be if the agency did everything by the book. But its recent targeting of conservative groups has spotlighted the venom with which overzealous bureaucrats can operate. Adding to it are recent revelations about profligate spending on travel and "training" by IRS employees.
• We can't think of a better recipient of the Boy Scouts' Citizen of the Year award than Jack Brantley, the Camden caterer who's carved out friendships throughout South Carolina. Brantley's personal magnetism has helped him establish a thriving business and has also helped spread Camden's reputation. He's always been generous in helping local causes and in donating the use of his home, Aberdeen, for community affairs.
South Carolina Democrats were right in recently criticizing Gov. Nikki Haley for her refusal -- she later relented -- to oust a member of her re-election committee who had ties to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a far-right group with severe overtones of racial bias. That group believes, according to its own website, that "the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character." That's a fancy way of explaining racial purity.
We were glad to see the Kershaw County Sheriff's Department conduct a sting operation recently that resulted in five area businesses being cited for selling alcohol to minors. People under the age of 21 have many ways to get alcohol, and we don't delude ourselves into believing that such an effort will wipe out underage drinking, but it's one more step that will make it more difficult for people to buy alcoholic beverages illegally.
• We're happy to see that Camden native Michael Kohn is back in the Major Leagues as a relief pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels. Kohn is 1-0 during the young season, with 12 appearances at the time this was written. He's compiled a steady 2.45 earned run average. Like all Camdenites, we wish him success and a long career in "the show."
By now you have probably heard on more than one occasion some representative of the Obama administration -- perhaps Jay Carney, the press secretary; or maybe Eric Holder, the attorney general; or maybe the president himself -- repeat words that have become almost a mantra in responding to the multiple issues that are dogging the White House: "It wouldn't be appropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation."
The proposed "road diet" that the city of Camden is contemplating for its downtown area is intended to make the central business district more vibrant, pleasant and inviting. But not everyone agrees that will happen if the plan is effected, and city council is right to proceed slowly with this rather than rushing into something that's going to be met with resistance. The plan is complex but involves, among other things, moving trucks off Broad Street and then narrowing the area of Broad between DeKalb and York streets to one lane in each direction.
About an hour north of Camden, nine civil rights protestors from the 1960s are scheduled today to receive a measure of justice after being jailed for staging a lunch counter protest in Rock Hill more than a half-century ago. Known as the Friendship Nine because they attended the now-defunct Friendship Junior College, the men protested a segregated lunch counter at a McCrory's store in 1961; they had decided prior to their actions that after being arrested, they would refuse bail and instead serve jail sentences as a way to spotlight their actions and the injustice leading to the sit-in.
• We hope you had as much fun reading our recent front page story on the 2015 Junior Leadership Kershaw County's etiquette class as we did putting it together. The entire Junior Leadership program -- taking some of Kershaw County's brightest and most promising students and giving them the opportunity to interact with a variety of leaders from across the county -- is one we're lucky to have in our community. The etiquette class, held at Boykin's Mill Pond Steakhouse, taught these already well-mannered teens the finer points of moving through society, especially at a fancy restaurant. Parents often ...
Kershaw County residents who watched the State of the Union address Tuesday night might agree with us that perhaps it's time to call a halt to the entire production. That's not a slam at President Obama, for he did nothing more overtly political than his predecessors from both parties have been doing for years. It's just that the term "state of the union" bears little resemblance to what actually occurs at the annual event; it's become little more than a political circus.
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