Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Dave Camp, a Republican who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, are trying to overcome partisan rancor to begin structuring a long-needed new platform for the U.S. tax code. As it is, the code is impossibly complex and cumbersome.
Largely ignored by the mainstream media has been the comment made last week by President Obama that former Vietnamese dictator and mass murderer Ho Chi Minh was inspired by Thomas Jefferson and the ideals of independence as espoused by the Founding Fathers of the United States in the Declaration of Independence. While it is true that back in 1945, Ho did frame the Vietnamese constitution on some of the same principles -- or claimed to -- that concept was left by the wayside as he killed hundreds of thousands of people in his successful quest for power.
• When it comes to professional golf, there's probably not a more popular player than Phil Mickelson, who's always nice to people and is incredibly conscientious about signing autographs and making himself available to his fans. So it was a popular victory he achieved recently at the British Open, when he shot 66 in the final round to come from behind and win. Tiger Woods once again got to the weekend in contention but his putter failed him, as it seems to do in every major championship.
George H. W. Bush just might be the best ex-president this country has ever seen.
We're glad to see law enforcement officers, especially state troopers, blanketing Kershaw County roadways this week in an effort to help stem a disturbing trend in traffic-related deaths this year. From today through Saturday, troopers will saturate the area, and they will be assisted by cooperating officers from the Camden Police Department, Kershaw County Sheriff's Office and Elgin Police Department.
• Just last week we were patting Sen. Lindsey Graham on the back for his efforts to forge compromise in Washington, but his idea to boycott the winter Olympics in Russia if that country grants asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is unwise. The last American of power to use the Olympic games as a political tool was President Jimmy Carter back in 1980, and that didn't work out too well -- like many of Carter's other initiatives. Graham's idea is a lousy one, which was noted by House Speaker John Boehner.
We're aware, of course, that in an age of terrorism and violence, law enforcement officials need all the help they can get in dealing with potential incidents. The recent bombing at the Boston Marathon is yet another piece of evidence that people with ill intent can strike at any time. And one of the factors that led to that crime being solved was the presence of security cameras in the area.
We often bemoan the lack of bipartisan effort in Washington these days, a sad set of circumstances that leads to gridlock. Partisanship is at an all-time high now, and there are only a few people in Washington who are willing to reach across the aisle to help forge compromise. Now, because Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is one of those people, some in the Palmetto State's Republican Party want to mount a primary challenge to him. Some in the right wing of the party want to see no compromise whatsoever, which is basically like saying, "We really like ...
• With all the hoopla over online retailing, it's surprising to see figures indicating that of all 2013 first-quarter sales, only 5.5 percent of them involved e-commerce; further, many companies which started selling products on-line are now starting to build brick-and-mortar stores. The predictions of the death of traditional retailing have obviously been overblown.
So-called "stand your ground" laws have been a matter of controversy around the country in the last couple years, but no case involving such a law is more puzzling than the S.C. Supreme Court's agreeing to hear a matter in which a confessed murderer who kicked in a door and then killed his robbery victim claimed he should have immunity because he was fearful for his life, thinking the victim he was robbing was about to kill him.
Amid recent reports from the National Council on Teacher Quality that finds "an industry of mediocrity" and asserts the country's teacher training system is badly broken, there is good news in the Kershaw County School District, and we don't blame Superintendent Frank Morgan for tooting the district's own horn in a recent column in this newspaper.
• The automobile business in the United States has had its ups and downs over the past few decades, suffering through recessions and profiting mightily during good times. But over the last 60 years, one thing's been constant: the allure of the Corvette, which began in a humdrum fashion but became a "hot" car when it was redesigned into the Stingray in the 1960s. The Corvette, recast for 2014, is still a head-turner.
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.
This country has, in many instances, gone overboard in enforcing the first amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The founding fathers never intended to remove all semblances of religion from public life, yet we have moved in that direction. But a recent attempt by one South Carolina lawmaker to question potential judges about religious matters went far beyond reason and was properly squelched by state agency staffers.
About an hour north of Camden, nine civil rights protestors from the 1960s are scheduled today to receive a measure of justice after being jailed for staging a lunch counter protest in Rock Hill more than a half-century ago. Known as the Friendship Nine because they attended the now-defunct Friendship Junior College, the men protested a segregated lunch counter at a McCrory's store in 1961; they had decided prior to their actions that after being arrested, they would refuse bail and instead serve jail sentences as a way to spotlight their actions and the injustice leading to the sit-in.
• We hope you had as much fun reading our recent front page story on the 2015 Junior Leadership Kershaw County's etiquette class as we did putting it together. The entire Junior Leadership program -- taking some of Kershaw County's brightest and most promising students and giving them the opportunity to interact with a variety of leaders from across the county -- is one we're lucky to have in our community. The etiquette class, held at Boykin's Mill Pond Steakhouse, taught these already well-mannered teens the finer points of moving through society, especially at a fancy restaurant. Parents often ...
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