One of the offshoots of our politically divided nation is a similarly divided Supreme Court. We would all like to think that justices ponder every case on its own merits without letting political philosophy jaundice their thinking, but that is not the case. And most justices appointed in recent years can be reliably predicted to come down on a particular side of an issue; that often revolves around so-called liberal or conservative doctrine. The "swing vote" justice is becoming a rare breed, indeed.
Most people here in Kershaw County -- and across the country, for that matter -- would have a ready answer if they were asked where most of the tax breaks in the United States go. They'd probably answer that large corporations get them, at the expense of individuals. But a recent study compiled by a national publication reveals that more than 90 percent of all tax breaks go to individuals, and that personal tax breaks have risen seven times faster than corporate breaks, to the point that such tax "payments" now amount to nearly $1.2 trillion a year.
• Betty White is one of the funniest women in the entertainment business, and at 91 she has set a record for having the longest television career of any woman. Starting in 1939, when TV was still a novelty, White has starred in a number of shows and never fails to bring laughs to her audience. She's been at it for 74 years, and we wish her many more.
In a business landscape that changes in the blink of an eye, it's not unusual to see companies come and go. Some that have been around for decades can't keep up with the new marketplace, and they die. Start-ups come wheeling into existence and in a matter of a few months become worth billions of dollars in market capitalization. Few people are surprised when long-standing corporations become "buggy whip companies," the original term given to companies that were overtaken by time and technology.
Kershaw County Council was scheduled last night to hear presentations from 18 different candidates who wish to serve on the board of directors of KershawHealth, and then to question those candidates. What just a few years ago was a fairly humdrum appointment -- important, of course, but without a lot of fanfare -- has morphed into a visible process because of recent controversy at the hospital.
• We voters here in Kershaw County and across the country can get ready for another debt-limit controversy in October. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is already warning of rattled financial markets if the vote to call the government to borrow more money doesn't pass smoothly, and there will be Republicans who say they won't go along. This is becoming a tiresome exercise and it would be nice if Congress would adopt reasonable fiscal policies that would help avoid this kind of mess.
For years we've bemoaned on these pages the lack of initiative of automobile manufacturers in bringing the same diesel-engine efficiency to the United States that exists in Europe, where mid-size cars often get close to 50 miles to the gallon while getting more than adequate power and a lack of the bothersome noise that the first generation of American auto diesels produced.
Of course we're not naive enough to believe that the United States is still caught in a 1950s time warp when it comes to the entertainment business -- or anything else, for that matter. Times change, and so do values and mores. It's been a long time since married couples on television were forced to sleep in twin beds lest an audience get the idea that they actually might be intimate. The innocence of Leave It To Beaver and Ozzie and Harriett are long gone. Yet the continual pushing of the limits of good taste troubles some people, and ...
• The U.S. Congress is a picture of inefficiency, and as we all know, members seem to bear little inclination to compromise. But lawmakers in Washington look like the model of decorum when compared to the Thai Parliament, which descended into chaos last week, with a brawl erupting between police and some members of that body after Parliament debated controversial proposals to amend the country's constitution. Perhaps an old-fashioned fistfight is what we need on Capitol Hill; our elected officials could perhaps beat some sense into each other.
Chris Paul, the former Wake Forest basketball star who is now regarded by many as the best point guard in the NBA, has taken over the presidency of the troubled NBA Players' Association. Many people have more than a little trouble understanding why athletes who are paid millions of dollars a year for playing a game even need a union. We won't open a debate on that, but one issue on which Paul could have a positive influence is the ridiculous "one and done" rule which affects college basketball.
• Within a month, Camdenites will no longer have to look at the rotting Maxway building at the corner of Broad and Rutledge streets, as the city plans to tear it down soon. The city purchased the building, which has been vacant for about a decade, earlier this year, and there's some chance a small park will be built on the site. But even vacant, it will look better without the old building, and everybody will be glad to see it go.
The KershawHealth Board of Trustees' decision authorizing Chairman Paul Napper to negotiate a contract with Mike Bunch to become the healthcare organization's new CEO is the right call.
Kershaw County residents were no doubt surprised when the U.S. Justice Department earlier this week threw a giant roadblock in the all-but-completed merger between US Airways and American Airlines. The feds hadn't thrown up similar obstacles in previous airline mergers, and this one looked as if it was ready to be finalized. Joined by attorneys general from six states, the Justice Department said the merger would lessen competition and raise fares for passengers. The two airlines say the merger would give passengers more options and better service. Many Kershaw County travelers who use the Charlotte airport rather than ...
As baby boomers move towards their latter years -- here in Kershaw County and across the country -- many are concerned with end-of-life issues and the fact that they want to be able to leave the world with dignity. Living wills, which were created decades ago, have served a useful purpose in letting people lay out their wishes for their last years and moments, but many people today are looking at a more specific document called The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Paradigm. It goes beyond previous instruments by creating medical orders signed by a doctor, based on a patient's ...
• Former president George W. Bush, one of the most active chief executives the country's ever had, was diagnosed recently with a blocked artery and had a stent inserted to correct the problem. We've stated before that Bush might not have been a great president but is a fine man, and he has never said critical things about President Obama despite Obama's constant blaming of Bush for the country's ongoing economic problems. We found it interesting that when a reporter asked Obama spokesman Jay Carney if the president had contacted Bush to wish him well after his ...
Tomorrow is Independence Day, the Fourth of July, when this country celebrates its birthday. This year, July 4 marks the 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence -- the document which signaled to the world the original 13 British colonies were breaking away from Mother England.
During the last week, we have published two reports on KershawHealth. The first, growing out of the hospital's most recent board of trustees meeting, focused on its market share. It is relatively healthy, thanks to KershawHealth's being the only hospital in all of Kershaw County. More people living in the county turn to KershawHealth for emergency care than anywhere else. However, the report -- broadly speaking -- noted a decrease in market share in outpatient services and only slight increases for inpatient services.
Kudos to our various law enforcement agencies for working together to get some folks off our streets who needed to be stopped. At the top of our list are Bethune Police Chief Joey Cobb, Kershaw County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) and U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for arresting two people (and there may be more to come) for the June 23 armed robbery of Sandhills Bank in Bethune.
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