• We're glad to see that the Camden Police Department and Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk are both taking part in trying to get alcohol energy drinks outlawed in South Carolina. The beverages, which come in large cans, have high alcohol content along with a significant amount of caffeine, which can be a deadly combination, especially for young drinkers who have had little experience with alcohol. The dangers of these drinks are widely known, and Funderburk is one of several legislators who introduced a bill in the General Assembly. It is now wending its way through the legislative process.
Social Security has been a political football for more years than we care to remember, but there's another institution that will just as quickly engender "don't mess with mine" comments from voters: the post office. More times than we can remember we've watched the U.S. Postal Service (USPO) announce that a small, rural post office would be closed, only to have it kept open under intense political pressure.
First Lady Michelle Obama was in Columbia last week to highlight the problem of childhood obesity and the effect of decreased physical activity on military recruitment; the lack of physical fitness is making it more difficult for the Army and other service branches to fill their ranks at a time when the country needs good soldiers. Her visit was coincidental with a conversation this newspaper's primary editorial writer had with an Army veteran who recently received word that he'll soon be promoted to E-9, the highest enlisted rank in the service, only 18 years after joining.
• President Obama, despite his love of government spending, is making an attempt to drift toward the political center since his party got battered in last November's election, a pragmatic approach yet one some doubted the president would be able to do given his philosophy. His latest appeal to the middle came with his naming of General Electric chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt as chairman of Obama's outside panel of economic advisers. Immelt will give the administration an establishment figure that will signal more openness to business. We do, however, hope Immelt will do a better job of advising ...
There are lots of Kershaw County residents who no doubt are wondering exactly when "investing" became a synonym for "spending." Politicians -- especially free-spending ones -- no longer want to talk about increasing spending, couching it instead in the "investing" light. President Obama took that tack Tuesday night during his State of the Union speech, advocating a series of spending measures on education, research, transportation and technology.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is one of the few lawmakers in Washington who's willing to forge compromises, and that sometimes lands him in hot water with hard-right conservatives in the Palmetto State. Now, with Graham realistically saying that in order to stem the horrific budget deficits the country is running that we must look at the possibility of changing the Social Security retirement age, he's also catching heat from the left.
• We're glad to see Davis Love III picked as the captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team for the 2012 matches. Love, who grew up the son of a highly regarded teaching pro in Charlotte, is one of the best-liked players on the PGA tour and has won 20 tournaments, including the PGA Championship. The 2012 matches will be played at Medinah Country Club near Chicago, and Love will be trying to stem a tide that has resulted in the Americans losing six of the last eight matches to the Europeans, including last fall's defeat in Wales.
Professional athletes often seem to make as many headlines for their off-the-field shenanigans as they do for their skill in the playing arena. Sports fans have come to expect that extracurricular news about athletes generally is going to be bad rather than good. That's why it's so refreshing to watch Camden native Vonnie Holliday go about his good works. When you read about Holliday, it's not about a DUI arrest or a nightclub brawl or a dog-fighting incident, but rather about one of his charitable initiatives. All Kershaw County citizens can share in the good news that ...
While we don't believe the give-and-take of political campaigns is a major factor in tragedies such as the recent shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords -- it was the work of a deranged man -- we certainly concur with those who say that more political civility would be useful in this country. One small step in that direction will be taken during next week's State of the Union address when some members of opposing parties have decided they'll sit together.
• If you think the Kennedy family no longer has clout, consider: Caroline Kennedy is said to be the driving force behind the cancellation of the History Channel's series on the family, though the executive producer insists the script was meticulously researched and historically accurate. He said the aim was to produce a story that showed the family's difficulties as well as triumphs, and JFK's romantic trysts were included. Of course it's not only Democrats who can pull such rank; several years ago, a series on Ronald Reagan was cancelled after Nancy Reagan voiced objections.
While not surprising anyone with stupendous announcements or shocking proposals, Gov. Nikki Haley was solid in Wednesday's inaugural address, and she appears determined to avoid the contentious relationship that existed between the General Assembly and the governor's office for the last eight years. Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so that remains to be determined, but the governor has certainly laid down a carpet of cooperation that could lead to smoother relations in the future. She has gone out of her way to signal to legislators that she won't be following the ...
The tragic and senseless shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is just another in a long line of such incidents that occur with too much regularity. The Giffords shooting generated a great deal of publicity because she is a United States representative, but such mass violence has become so common that it's hardly shocking anymore. That's a shame and a sad commentary. When Richard Speck broke into a Chicago apartment in 1966 and murdered eight nurses, this country was shocked and incredulous, just as it was when Charles Whitman climbed a University of Texas tower that same year ...
• Sometimes we just have to wonder, "What were they thinking?" That's the case with Capt. Owen Honors, the highly regarded Navy officer who was recently relieve of his command after inappropriate videos turned up on the Internet. As commander of the USS Enterprise, Honors was popular among the sailors serving under him, and it's difficult to determine what could have motivated him to make videos that were considered lewd. The Navy had no choice but to relieve him because of poor judgment.
Hundreds of people filed into Camden's First Baptist Church earlier this week to witness the swearing-in of Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews, and it was good to see that it took Matthews only a few minutes to sign mutual assistance pacts with the sheriffs of five neighboring counties, signaling a new day of cooperation among the local department and those of surrounding areas. It was appropriate that a large number of law enforcement officials from other departments -- county, state and federal -- attended the ceremony to watch the former DEA agent take the oath and pledge to do "my very ...
Despite the great medical advances of the past half-century, cancer has proved an elusive enemy; for many strains of the disease, survival rates are scarcely better now than they were decades ago. So every new discovery is met with enthusiasm, and that's certainly the case for a new blood test announced earlier this week by Boston scientists, who are teaming with Johnson & Johnson to market a test that will help doctors determine what cancer cells are doing and how best to attack them.
• We are comforted when justice is served, and we believe that happened Thursday afternoon when a jury found 33-year-old Willie Thomas Starnes, of Bethune, guilty of armed robbery and murder. The jury found Starnes guilty of deliberately using his vehicle a year ago to knock Alan Thomas Robinson, 67, also of Bethune, off his moped, stealing and loading that moped onto his vehicle and then turning around and running Robinson over. Robinson died the next day. Starnes is then accused of selling the moped for money he used to buy drugs. In fact, Starnes was under the influence of drugs ...
Whenever the subject of guns is brought up, it engenders strong opinion on both sides -- from those who believe in absolute Second Amendment rights, and from those who believe that nobody should be allowed to own a gun in any circumstances. Like most people, we fall somewhere in the middle, solidly on the side of Americans to own firearms but a bit dubious about why it makes sense for people to own Uzis and other automatic weapons that are made with the express purpose of killing people.
We comment on sports issues in this space on a regular basis, because athletics are so ingrained into the culture of Kershaw County and South Carolina. This week marks the kick-off of college football season in the Palmetto State, and several developments highlight the changing culture of the pigskin pastime here.
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