One of the oldest political tricks in the book is for a candidate to make a statement that goes like this: "I'm running an honorable campaign and I will never repeat the accusations I've heard that my opponent is an embezzler." There are other variations: "Some refer to my opponent as a rotten scoundrel, but you'll never hear me say anything like that."
In a rapidly changing world, perhaps nothing has been altered more radically in the last decade than the way people in Kershaw County and across the country receive their information. A generation ago, many families here subscribed to two or three different newspapers -- a local one, a morning "national and world" newspaper and an afternoon one to update them. They tuned in to one of three network television stations that would deliver clear reception if the antenna was pointed in the right direction and the weather was clear.
• Misconduct among airport screeners employed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has risen dramatically during the last three years, including many incidents of theft, groping and other abnormal behavior. Also, some screeners are often late for work or don't show up at all, delaying the travel process for many passengers. Going through security is trying enough under perfect circumstances and can become nearly unbearable when screeners are unprofessional. The TSA needs to deal with this situation and get rid of the bad apples as soon as possible.
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.
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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