The recent union defeat at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant is yet another sign that the United Auto Workers, once an indomitable force in this country, is merely a shell of its former shelf. Where the American economy is concerned, that's a good thing. Employees at the Chattanooga plant turned thumbs down on the union despite a protracted lobbying effort by UAW officials; in fact, Volkswagen itself had been in favor of the union and had allowed organizers nearly unlimited access to its plant while denying that same right to opponents.
Last week's forecasts of an "epic winter storm" in the South had everyone in Kershaw County scurrying around trying to get prepared. Of course, it's an old joke that if a few flakes of snow are forecast, Southerners flood grocery stores to stock up with milk and bread -- we've never quite understood why milk and bread -- and supermarkets in this area were indeed beehives of activity early last week as people prepared for possible power outages and periods of being homebound.
• We note with sadness the recent death of Bill Few of Liberty Hill, one of the great high school football coaches in this state. Few, who attended Clemson on an athletic scholarship, was a no-nonsense coach who instilled discipline in his players and compiled, over his 26-year career, a 221-68-3 record, including three state championships. His last few years on the field were spent at North Central High School.
As a news organization, we at the Chronicle-Independent tend to pay more attention to First Amendment issues than most people, and a new proposal by the Federal Communications Commission threatens to let the government decide what news stories television stations can broadcast. We realize, of course, that many cable stations today lean one way or the other; you need look no further than the two most commonly cited ones, FOX News and MSNBC, both of which might purport to deliver straight-up news but seldom do. But the great thing is that people can tune in to whatever news outlet they ...
Convinced that hard-right policies won't help the party regain the U.S. Senate in this year's mid-term elections, mainstream Republicans are doing everything they can to help moderate candidates who are facing challenges from Tea Party hopefuls and others who hew to hard-right policies. Many say the core principles of the Tea Party -- smaller government and lower taxes -- have been hijacked by candidates who espouse a social agenda that's not acceptable to average Americans. And they want to stop those candidates.
• With the Wichita State Shockers headed into last weekend unbeaten, there are probably a significant number of people in the Palmetto State dismayed by the fact that the South Carolina Gamecocks didn't go after coach Gregg Marshall when he was at Winthrop. USC turned thumbs down on Marshall on a couple occasions, but it's looking now as if hiring him would have been a smart move.
A bill currently before the S.C. General Assembly would provide immunity from lawsuits to medical personnel who are treating people for free. It's an extension of the state's Good Samaritan statute, which protects doctors who stop to help accident victims, and it makes perfect sense. Good Samaritan laws have been passed all over the country, and they allow physicians to provide services at accident scenes without having to worry about being sued for malpractice.
Automakers across the United States and around the world have come up in recent years with innumerable new features -- "bells and whistles" is the popular name for them -- which entice buyers and make driving more pleasurable and convenient. Heated seats and steering wheels are great for those cold mornings; keyless remote entry devices make keys almost obsolete; and navigation systems take the guesswork out of getting to an unknown location.
** Pete Seeger, who died recently at 94, had a profound influence on the American musical scene; the folksinger-songwriter was a catalyst for the folk music revival of the 1960s and he penned some of the great songs of that genre, including If I Had A Hammer, Where Have All The Flowers Gone and Turn, Turn, Turn. He also helped champion social change and was a consistent anti-war voice. Few people in the music world accomplished as much as he did, and he will be missed.
Kershaw County received a significant snowfall Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, an event that doesn't happen very often. It gave local kids an opportunity they relished -- playing outside under conditions they don't normally see. And to the relief of adults, most roads in the county cleared quickly on Wednesday despite temperatures that didn't rise above freezing, coupled with a cloud cover that never dissipated.
President Obama's plan to expand early-childhood education on a massive scale sounds at first blush like a great idea. After all, who can argue with the fact of helping kids -- especially disadvantaged kids -- get a break early in life, thus helping them gain valuable skills and leading productive lives? The only problem is that the government itself -- the Department of Health and Human Services, in particular -- has found that programs such as Head Start don't work on a long-term basis.
• People here in Kershaw County are getting a bit tired of the cold weather, and with good reason. While South Carolina has a mild climate and certainly doesn't experience the extreme cold of New England and the Midwest, it's been much colder than normal this year, and those days when the temps don't rise out of the 30s or 40s have become too common. We find ourselves longing for the blooming of azaleas, and we imagine we're not alone in that.
An interesting and moving project is taking place from Virginia up into Pennsylvania, where 620,000 trees are being planted along roadways to honor those who gave up their lives in the War Between The States, the bloodiest military conflagration in this nation's history. Oaks, maples, cedars and dogwoods are being placed in the median and in groves along the historic highway that links Charlottesville, Va. and Gettysburg, Pa.
The change jangling around in your pocket might be looking different soon, as the U.S. Mint is exploring ways to change the composition of metals it uses to make quarters, dimes and nickels. It now costs almost a dime to make a nickel -- that's in metal costs alone -- and combined with the excessive cost of the penny, it's costing the mint more than $100 million each year. Changing the mix of metals has drawn protests from vending machine operators, who say the new coins could foul their machines, but mint officials are said to be working with ...
• The concept of balanced reporting in today's national media is pretty much a joke. Fox News isn't going to hide its favoritism of right-wing politicians, while MSNBC (and virtually all other national broadcast outlets, including the three major networks) cannot abide anyone who isn't a liberal. Pundits have had a field day with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the so-called Bridgegate affair. The general response from analysts on the left has been, "Well, he says he didn't know about it and we are going to take him at his word, but if he did know ...
The feeling of excitement at last week's Camden City Council meeting was palpable when architectural and engineering firms revealed their sketches for the renovation of Rhame Arena in the south end of town. The drawings were indeed startling -- perhaps because the aging structure has been deteriorating and decaying for decades now, and there has been doubt among some that a rehabilitation of the crumbling building was even possible. But possible it is, and not just to produce a humdrum building, but one that is attractive and will be a beckoning welcome to visitors driving into town from I-20 and ...
• Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Fine Arts Center's (FAC) "Dancing With the Stars" event. We think we can place it firmly in the "fun(d)raising" category, in that it not only raises money for the FAC, but raises the fun quotient with folks getting to see some of Kershaw County's notable residents doing their best to shimmy and shake or tango across the stage. Extra congratulations to Tyke Redfearn and Ginny Marshall for winning the technical award for best dance routine, and to Eric Boland and Amanda Smith for earning the People's Choice Award ...
The concept of term limits became popular a number of years ago, but has since waned. Limits were enacted in many states across the country and in many of those, were repealed either through legal challenges or political considerations. Of course, it's not a new idea; the 22nd amendment to the constitution, ratified in 1951, prescribes that no person can serve more than two terms as president. It was passed largely because Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected four times and much of this country felt such longevity wasn't good for the country -- too much power invested in one ...
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