A civil jury didn't take long this week to find in favor of Camden Military Academy officials who had been sued for allegedly fostering an atmosphere of bullying which the plaintiff claimed led to a sexual assault in 2008. Given the extended nature of the trial and the serious accusations, the quick verdict obviously proved that jurors gave little credence to the claims. The testimony was at times sordid and no doubt painful for the three CMA officials who had been named -- Col. Eric Boland, headmaster; Lt. Col. Pat Armstrong, commandant of cadets; and Command Sgt. Major Vertis Wilder.
There's a way government works, and a way the public thinks government works, and the two often don't resemble each other. For instance, many Americans naturally assume the State Department picks its best and brightest people as diplomats, performing the important function of acting as liaison between the United States and the countries to which they have been posted. That would make sense and would help ensure healthy relations with other countries around the world.
• With "Lake Wateree season" in full swing and the July 4 holiday approaching, the recent drowning deaths of two people at nearby Lake Murray and a close call at Camden's Kendall Lake serve as a stark reminder that swimming can end tragically. Safety procedures should always be used, and people should remember that alcohol and swimming don't make for a good combination.
Netroots Nation, the largest gathering of liberal activists in the country, was held recently in San Jose, Cal., and while Hillary Clinton was not there in body, she was apparently there in spirit. The uber-lefters booed Clinton back in 2006 when they decided they'd rather cast their lot with Barack Obama; they saw him as a true liberal, whereas they didn't like Clinton's support of the Iraq war and were still seething about her husband's move to the center during his presidency. That was a move, by the way, that was one of the most shrewd ...
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.
Historic Camden has received a generous and needed financial boost with a $250,000 grant from the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.
We join the city of Camden – and everyone in it – in a heartfelt thank you to Jack Brantley.
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