Many Kershaw Countians who are past middle age undoubtedly recall with fondness former First Lady Betty Ford, who died last week at age 93. Her husband, Gerald Ford, became president upon Richard Nixon's resignation following the Watergate scandal; he had earlier been appointed to the vice presidency after Spiro Agnew resigned in disgrace.
• President Obama has started tweeting, and he might regret it. The president is now using the social-media Twitter to send out messages, but Republicans aren't letting him get off unscathed, sending in questions about the economy's performance during his administration. The city of Camden has recently undergone its own social media upheaval with its (former) Facebook account, and folks there might advise the president that tweeting might not end up all that it's cracked up to be.
Many Kershaw County residents are no doubt keeping in their minds the most-used cliché in legal circles: you can never predict what a jury's going to do. That certainly proved true again earlier this week, when 12 people found Casey Anthony not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter. It was a case that had captured public opinion perhaps as no other had since the murder trial of O.J. Simpson many years ago. Both defendants were acquitted despite circumstantial evidence that seemed overwhelming. Both cases also spotlighted Americans' fascination with the legal system and with high-profile crime cases.
Up until recently, someone who mentioned the words "woman" and "presidential candidate" in the same breath probably would have been met with the response, "Sarah Palin." But now, with Palin's star fading -- at least politically -- and with nobody having stepped forward to commandeer the frontrunner's role in the Republican field, Minnesota Congressman Michelle Bachmann is assuming a front-and-center position as a viable candidate to take the GOP nomination. Whether her early poll results will result in another shooting-star phenomenon is yet to be told, but Bachmann is proving herself a more adept campaigner than Palin was.
• Spin is a way of life in Washington, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi carried it to new heights last week. When George Bush was president and Democrats controlled the House, she blamed everything in the world, maybe even including bad weather, on Bush. Now that Barack Obama is president and the economy is still struggling, she blames all the world's woes on Republicans, who have a majority in the house. "They hold the power," Pelosi says. Right.
South Carolina baseball fans have plenty to crow about with the Gamecocks having won their second consecutive national championship, a feat that has been accomplished only a few times prior to this year. In the process, the team swept through the post-season playoffs without a loss, setting a record for consecutive playoff victories. The most exciting part was that USC was not a team that just lined up and mowed down the opposition without pausing; the Gamecocks got themselves into plenty of tight spots along the way and always managed to extricate themselves without major problems occurring. All championship teams ...
Officials at the Obama White House have been making calls to primary care doctors in this country, trying to make appointments in an effort to find out how difficult it is to do so if they're new patients. There's just one problem: those making the calls aren't identifying themselves and are basically "mystery shoppers" who are trying to ferret information from the doctors and trying to find out whether different answers are being given if they are paying privately or have public insurance such as Medicaid.
• Young people have great resiliency, and we enjoyed a quotation from pro golfer Rory McIlroy after he ran away with the U.S. Open recently. Asked if his last-round collapse in the Masters tournament last spring was weighing heavily on his mind as he approached the final round in the Open, he replied, "Honestly, I don't know what all the fuss is about, because at the end of the day it's just a golf tournament and I'm 21." That's what we call keeping your perspective.
So-called social media sites on the Internet have proliferated in recent years, and such venues as Facebook are hugely popular with the under-40 crowd as well as many who are over that age. But such sites have their risks, too, as the city of Camden found out recently when it shut down its Facebook page after a number of people had posted comments -- some of them inappropriate -- criticizing the city's efforts to reach a joint accord with the Columbia YMCA for a new facility in Camden.
NBC's coverage of last weekend's U.S. Open golf championship was notable for two reasons. First, it showcased the masterful performance of Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who established a new scoring record for the tournament and possibly signaled a "changing of the guard" from the Tiger Woods era (he didn't play because of an injury). Second, the network found itself with a controversy on its hands after it presented videos of American youngsters reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and either edited out or didn't include in the first place the words "under God" in the ...
• We're glad to see that Pee Dee native Cale Yarborough has been voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Yarborough and his hard-driving style helped popularize auto racing decades ago, and back in those days, when drivers were often former moonshine runners, he was also pretty good with his fists. His brouhaha with Bobby and Donnie Allison is still the stuff of legends. Yarborough, short in statue but tall in skill, is a deserving member of the Hall of Fame.
There's one presidential political fact that's abundantly clear: most voters today favor "none of the above." Fewer than half of all Americans believe President Obama is doing a good job, but the field of contenders for the Republican nomination isn't exactly drawing rave reviews. Those observers who enjoy a good political free-for-all are no doubt watching that GOP race with interest, as there's already a host of hopefuls, and others are eying the race.
Like many others across this country, we were surprised -- maybe "shocked" would be a better word -- when Sen. John McCain named then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. McCain was already facing headwinds in the general election, and the choice of Palin gave him a quick boost in the polls. But as people found out more about the chief executive of the frozen state, they decided she didn't have the qualifications to stand a heartbeat away from the presidency, as some like to refer to the vice presidency. We shared those views; while we found her an engaging ...
* Rightly or wrongly, presidents generally get the credit or the blame for economic conditions in the country, as most voters place responsibility on the chief executive rather than Congress. In that regard, President Obama faces headwinds in his re-election efforts. He also is up against an historical precedent that's surprising: if he wins another term in the White House in November of next year, it will be only the second time in history that three consecutive presidents have won back-to-back terms. The last time it occurred was in 1801-1825, when Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe all were ...
As we mentioned earlier this week, Gov. Nikki Haley has several solid proposals in her package to streamline state government. The S. C. Supreme Court has ruled that she doesn't have the authority -- it was hardly a clear-cut decision, coming in at 3-2 -- to call the Senate back into session, as she attempted to do, and it now appears that South Carolinians might be in for four more years of contention between the governor and the legislature.
Thanksgiving generally marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, though commerce in this country is a continually changing animal. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when many stores have kicked off big sales and deep discounts, appears to be lessening in importance. Retail experts say there's more of a trend now in discounting that starts before Black Friday and extends well beyond it. Shoppers have become so accustomed to discounting among retailers that many are determined from the outset not to pay full price for anything.
On Sept. 28, 1789, according to a government website, the First Federal Congress passed a resolution asking President George Washington recommend to the nation a day of thanksgiving. The site goes on to describe what happened: a few days later, Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, Nov. 26, 1789, as a "day of public thanksgiving" -- the first time the holiday was celebrated by our fledgling country.
• 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 ...
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