• We haven't been very impressed with the "Occupy" protestors at different sites across the United States -- most don't appear to have much of an idea of what they're protesting -- but unless there is something that doesn't meet the eye, police officers at the University of California-Davis used poor judgment in directing pepper spray at students who appear to be passively sitting on the ground. Further examination might provide new evidence warranting the officers' actions, but at first blush it appeared inexcusable.
Of all the nauseating things about the Super Committee's inability to reach a deficit-cutting deal, perhaps the worst is that the leaders of both parties have apparently spent months anticipating such an impasse and trying to lay groundwork to use the committee's failure to advance their own causes in the 2012 election. It proves once more -- how many times does this make? -- that most of the elected officials in Washington are interested not in advancing common-sense proposals but in trying to get re-elected and trying to make sure their own party dominates.
We live in troubled times. The United States is mired in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, which has left thousands of Kershaw County residents with dire immediate circumstances and uncertain prospects for the future. Our military is fighting terrorism on many fronts, and the world in general has in many ways lost its respect -- and certainly its reverence -- for our country. Our federal government is strangled by political gridlock, and an overwhelming percentage of Americans say our elected officials aren't doing the job they were sent to Washington to do. Some people feel the moral and ...
• NBC is hiring former First Child Chelsea Clinton to do news projects. She will join Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of ex-President George W. Bush, in doing work for the network, including the "Today" show. Looking at the kids of a former Democratic and Republican president, it strikes us that the duo might comprise the only semblance of political neutrality that left-leaning NBC has ever shown.
As much as we would all like to believe that judges are not influenced in any way by politics, the real world just doesn't work that way. Those who sit on the bench can't help but be influenced by the philosophies they have developed over their entire lives. So with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear arguments about the fate of President Obama's health care plan, we can all brace ourselves for a firestorm of rhetoric from pundits, commentators and strategists, many of whom will see a sinister plot in the entire episode. Compounding ...
• We note with sadness the death of South Carolina native Joe Frazier, who was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world during the 1970s and fought memorable bouts with Muhammad Ali. "Smoking Joe" beat Ali and then lost to him in Manila in one of the epic fights of all times. He struggled thereafter with being Ali's whipping post but finally assumed forgiveness for the cruel taunts that Ali rained down on him. Frazier was, by all accounts, a thoroughly decent man, and he earned a spot in boxing history.
South Carolina voters have gained a reputation over the past few years of being able to accurately pick the Republican presidential candidate who will end up with the party's nomination. Candidates have recognized that, crisscrossing the Palmetto State in an effort to woo voters here. But with only a couple of months left before the state's first-in-the-South primary, voters in South Carolina haven't locked in on a particular candidate, which probably is a powerful statement about how ambivalent people are about the GOP field.
The conviction earlier this week of Michael Jackson's physician on a charge of involuntary manslaughter brings to an end one of the most spectacular-yet-bizarre careers ever witnessed in the glitzy world of show business. Jackson was an immensely talented individual whose life became increasingly eccentric as time went on, with well-publicized incidents which highlighted his abnormal behavior as an entertainer and in his private life.
• We're glad to see that President Obama has finally kicked the cigarette habit. Obama, once a regular smoker, has been struggling with cigarettes for years, but his doctor said recently that the president is now tobacco-free. That's a good thing.
Kershaw County has all sorts of unique things that make it a good place to live. One of those is the series of lakeside worship services that's held each summer on the shores of Lake Wateree. The project was begun more than 30 years ago as an outreach of Liberty Hill Presbyterian Church; Gene Rollins was not yet the pastor there, but he came to the church shortly afterward and helped spur phenomenal growth not only at the church itself but at the lakeside services.
There is little pressure that can rival the heat of a presidential campaign, and Herman Cain isn't doing the greatest job of dealing with the scrutiny aimed at White House hopefuls. Cain has great appeal -- he's a plain-spoken guy who doesn't apologize for his positions, he has a concept that would radically change the country's impossibly complicated tax system and he retains a certain populist position that is playing well with many voters during these turbulent economic times. Cain, a virtual unknown only a few months ago, is running neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney in Republican polls.
• "It ain't brilliant, but at least it's heading in the right direction," was the comment of one leading economist after the latest figures on the U.S. economy were released. Ian Shepherdson was commenting on a growth rate of 2.5 percent, as opposed to the 4-percent growth many would like to see. We'll share his optimism and hope the latest figures are proof that the country isn't heading into a double-dip recession. We'll also give him credit for being darned original in his manner of speaking, a trait not often seen in the dry ...
It will come as no surprise to most Kershaw Countians that the so-called Washington "super committee" which is charged with coming up with a plan to rein in runaway deficits is not only failing to make progress but now has been witnessing back-and-forth sniping between its members. It's just the latest chapter in a rancorous debate between Republicans and Democrats in Washington, with the loser, of course, being the American taxpayer.
Most Kershaw County residents will no doubt recall the dot-com bubble of about 15 years ago, when a host of new Internet-based businesses saw their stock prices soar to stratospheric levels, only to come crashing violently to earth a short time later. Many of these companies had dizzyingly fast ascents on the stock market even though they produced no profits; some were barely more than concepts. The investing world declared that such a thing would never happen again, that investors had wised up to such pie-in-the-sky behavior.
• We're glad to see that the U.S. Marine Corps has lifted its ban on bracelets which honor U.S. troops killed in combat. Top officials announced last week that Marines in uniform are now authorized to wear killed-in-action bracelets recognizing friends who have died in combat or from battlefield wounds. The change was made after an uproar from Marines when top officers recently began enforcing a ban on the bracelets. Marine brass widely decided the former rule was an outdated one and changed it.
• Property rights vs. community pride is a conflict as old as civilization itself. In recent months, we've reported on two attempts to regulate the appearance of properties in an effort to clean up our communities. Back in October, Kershaw County Council rejected, 3-4, third reading of an ordinance which would have given the county authority to demolish uninhabitable dwellings deemed a nuisance to neighbors or the community at large. More recently, Bethune Town Councilman John Fulmer proposed an ordinance which, if passed in December, would fine owners of blighted properties if they don't clean them up after being ...
Lawyers of every political persuasion are lining up in Washington to have their say on the legality or illegality of the plan President Obama intends to implement regarding amnesty for illegal aliens who are in the United States without proper authorization, with one major network saying the president's plan to take the immigration system into his own hands "is a daring test of the limits of presidential power."
Operating under the simple premise that citizens have a right to know as much as they can about how their government officials operate, and how that affects governmental agencies as a whole, we almost always favor laws and regulations which require transparency in government. Transparency, of course, is an overused word, but it basically means that government agencies must operate in a way that allows citizens to observe what's happening, and even to have input about what's taking place.
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