While President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner continue negotiations in an attempt to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, Americans across the country -- including, of course, many right here in Kershaw County -- are voicing their concerns about the irresponsibility of the federal government. But surveys of voters show a curious trend, and if we Americans want to look at one cause of the huge national debt and the dysfunction of Uncle Sam, we need look no further than ourselves.
The U.S. government has never been known for efficiency, as indicated by the staggering amount of red ink under which Uncle Sam is struggling. And there's no easy way to reconcile changes that will bring the deficit under control. But there's one action that's extremely simple and effective: changing the way the government measures inflation, which affects how fast government payments rise under a variety of programs.
• Little noticed last week among all the "fiscal cliff" talk was the death of former Rep. Congressman Jack Brooks of Texas, who spent 42 years in Washington and is perhaps best remembered as the man standing behind Jacqueline Kennedy as Lyndon Johnson took the presidential oath of office aboard Air Force One following the assassination of President Kennedy. Brooks was one of a kind -- described in one news story as an "irascible, cigar-chomping … swashbuckling Texas character" and by one Johnson aide as one of the only men LBJ was ever afraid of." Brooks came from a different era, but he ...
Nobody here in Kershaw County or anywhere else in the country would rationally assert that President Obama's victory last month transformed the United States into a one-party country. After all, Obama won by a skinny percentage (though by a wider margin in the antiquated Electoral College), and the U.S. House of Representatives is still controlled by the GOP, as are a majority of governorships. However, the protocols of presidential politics are creating a more difficult path for Republicans to win the White House unless the party steps back and takes a fresh look at itself.
There's an old saying that a cat has nine lives, but in politics, there's probably nobody who has more lives than Hillary Rodham Clinton. It's a measure of her resilience that as she completes four years as secretary of state in the Obama administration and prepares to step down from that post, her popularity is high, even among many who considered her almost the devil incarnate for a long while.
• There's a legitimate reason many Republican lawmakers in Washington oppose the potential nomination of Susan Rice as secretary of state. There are too many unanswered questions about her statements following the attack on the U. S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Many in the GOP say they'd be more comfortable with Sen. John Kerry, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004. Kerry has long years of experience and significant expertise in foreign affairs. Unless President Obama simply enjoys picking fights, he'd do well to go with Kerry.
We've been whacking national Republicans pretty hard lately. They lost the presidential election by appearing to be completely out of touch with the majority of voters. They have been the image of obstinacy, acting as if they are still operating in a cloakroom of darkness. Even Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has said the party is running out of angry old white men and had better change its ways.
There's a lot not to like about college athletics these days. In many ways, it has become a giant money grab, with schools giving up longtime allegiances and rivalries to jump from conference to conference, wherever the dollar signs are highest. Academic and recruiting scandals such as the recent one at the University of North Carolina are common. Coaches are paid millions of dollars while schools raise ticket prices for their fans, many of whom swear until their dying breaths that the coaches are "worth every penny of it." It's not a pretty world.
• One of the frankest explanations we've heard from Republicans on what the party needs to do to revitalize itself nationally came from Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi and former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Said the folksy Barbour, "We've got to give our political organization a very serious proctology exam. We need to look everywhere."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the plain-spoken chief executive of the Garden State, found out following Hurricane Sandy just how deep partisan feelings can run. Christie, who praised President Obama for his response to New Jersey's being battered by the hurricane, came under severe criticism from many within his own party for being too complimentary of the president's actions; in fact, some laid the defeat of Mitt Romney at Christie's feet, which is a specious position to take. We'll acknowledge that Christie, who plays by his own rule book, might have been more effusive in his ...
The folks at the Carolina Cup Racing Association did their usual fine job in putting on last Saturday's Colonial Cup steeplechase program, and those who attended saw fine weather and a great racing program that featured two Camden connections in the winner's circle. The Colonial Cup, of course, has never been as well attended or as well known as its older cousin, the Carolina Cup, and the annual November outing has sometimes battled iffy weather as well as all the competition -- football being the primary one -- that comes with a fall date.
• Every year seems to find a new "over-used" expression -- something that is uttered by one person and then is heard everywhere you turn. For this year's we've-heard-it-too-much saying, we're nominating "kicking the can down the road," which Washington politicians are using to describe a quick fix to the nation's deficit problems rather than a solid, long-term solution. We hope that in the future they resort less to catchy phrases and more to solving our problems.
Every once in awhile we take to jousting at windmills, posing situations that we know will never become reality but advocating for them, nevertheless. This year's elections, and the massive amount of money spent on them, spur us to do a bit of windmill tilting today. We all know, of course, that President Obama and Mitt Romney spent billions of dollars during their presidential campaign, but over the years, other races have gotten more and more expensive. Those filter all the way down to the local level.
Tip O'Neill, the Massachusetts pol who was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for many years, once said that all politics is local. That maxim was never more evident than in last Tuesday's election for mayor in which political newcomer Tony Scully unseated incumbent Jeffrey Graham. It was concrete proof that if voters believe their elected officials aren't listening to them, they'll turn them out of office. Scully was a reluctant candidate but turned out to be an effective one, and voters responded to that.
• Former Camdenite and equine enthusiast Sally Brown is now living in Hilton Head with her husband, Austin, but her many friends here are happy that she has had a race horse named after her, just as Austin did a couple years ago. Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard and his wife Cathy named a filly for her earlier this year, and that horse is now in training. We don't know of any other "couples horses" which have been named for people, and it's a fitting tribute to both of the Browns.
We're glad to see that the city of Camden is exploring alternatives for aging Rhame Arena. The building is becoming more dilapidated with each passing year, and something needs to be done, whether it's razing it or restoring it. Of course, money is a factor, just as it is in all government decisions these days. We will say that city officials have overworked the bureaucratic jargon in their appraisal of the situation, saying an "adaptive reuse" could be a possible alternative. We are assuming "adaptive reuse" means repairing the building and making it feasible for some type of ...
We wrote recently of the disturbing trend in the White House of spinning every issue through press spokesmen rather than engaging in open questioning about issues of interest to Americans. A lack of transparency isn't limited to the federal government, as the S.C. Supreme Court has recently issued two troubling rulings which limit public access in the Palmetto State.
• It looks like it's full steam ahead for KershawHealth and its strategic plan. In recent weeks, we have reported on the creation -- after several years of hard work -- of a general surgery division; the recruitment of a new orthopedic surgeon; the signing of an agreement with Orthopedic Advantage to create a top-level orthopedic center in Kershaw County; and an already established agreement with Team Health to transform KershawHealth's emergency department in order to fast-track non-emergent patients allowing staff to focus on those in true emergency situations. Dr. T. Chris Tran, the new orthopedic surgeon, joined Camden Bone & Joint ...
Page 1 of 1