• Evidence continues to mount that climate change caused by human activity is already affecting life in this country, with a prediction of more frequent and intense heat waves, heavy downpours and, in some places, floods and droughts. The National Climate Assessment, which is presented to the president and Congress every four years, does not paint a pretty picture. Hard scientific evidence is hard to argue with, and that's what this is.
President Obama is a gifted speaker -- quick on his feet, personable, ready with a quip. And we'll give him high marks for political courage in trying to establish new gun controls; it's a volatile issue, and he has little to gain politically by taking it on. But he's pushing forward with it, and whether you agree with him or not, he deserves credit for delving into a policy that can engender hard feelings on both sides and can cost him political capital.
When the city of Camden proposed using hospitality tax funds to help construct a new YMCA, the proposal met with a great deal of opposition from many who felt that wouldn't be an appropriate use of the funds. That controversy boiled over for quite awhile and Mayor Jeffrey Graham eventually lost his re-election bid to political newcomer Tony Scully. Now a new proposal for hospitality tax funding has been brought before council, and whether or not members decide to fund it, there can be no argument that it would be a proper use of such money.
• Political correctness run amok raised its head again recently when ESPN apologized for comments of broadcaster Brent Musberger, who was complimentary of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron's girlfriend during the national championship football game. The woman, Katherine Webb, was shown in the stands, and Musberger said, "What a beautiful woman. Wow!" We're still trying to figure out who was offended by that statement, but one thing is sure these days: you can't say anything without offending someone.
No matter how you feel about climate change -- whether you think global warming is caused by humans and is driving the planet towards ruin, or whether recent warmer temperatures are just a part of natural weather cycles -- it's hard to deny the enjoyment of a winter spell in which temperatures rise far above normal. That's what is forecast for the next few days in Camden, with highs in the mid-70s, which is more like late spring than the height of winter.
Looking ahead to 2013, this county, state and nation all face major issues and problems; that, of course, isn't peculiar to this year but occurs regularly. Here at the Chronicle-Independent, it's our responsibility to comment on these issues in editorials, and as we have in the past, we won't be hesitant to do so. We've noticed for a long time that many newspapers are like politicians in that they adhere to certain philosophies or dogmas and seldom swerve away from them. With many papers, it's possible to predict which side of an issue they'll ...
• The new Congress sworn in last week in Washington is the most diverse ever, with membership gains by women, minorities and gays. In addition, the House will have its first Hindu member, its first female combat veterans and its first openly bi-sexual member. The Senate will have its first Buddhist. And, of course, Tim Scott of South Carolina becomes the only African-American in the Senate. We hope all the new officials will do a better job of leading this country than those they join in Washington.
Though members of Congress avoided pushing the United States over a temporary fiscal cliff, they did virtually nothing to solve the long-term financial problems facing this nation. So when you see them on television talking about how much they accomplished over the New Year's holiday, you can dismiss that as just another blast of hot air. President Obama and members of Congress made no difficult decisions.
The recent death of Robert Bork no doubt brought memories for many Kershaw County residents who recall his 1987 nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court and the vicious attacks on him that led to a new word -- "borking" -- being added to the dictionary. As columnist Gordon Crovitz related in a recent piece, Bork's treatment by the U.S. Senate was the first in what has become a normal procedure, that of trying to demonize court appointees who don't meet a certain political standard. Up until that time, presidents enjoyed the power to appoint justices with a great ...
• If you plan to watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve, you'll probably catch a glimpse of One Times Square, an office building that is mostly vacant. But don't shed tears for the building's owners; according to The Wall Street Journal, the building will generate more than $23 million in revenue this year as a spot to hang billboards and other advertisements. Its clients include Anheuser-Busch, which will pony up $3.4 million to for beer signs, and Dunkin Donuts, which is paying $3.6 million to feature its goodies.
As the gun debate has mounted following the tragic school shootings in Connecticut, many who have strong opinions are speaking out -- some who favor a total ban on guns, others who prefer no controls whatsoever. But there's no easy solution to this problem, and the best one lies somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.
Almost any reasonable measure which makes government more open and accessible to South Carolinians is good, so we're glad to see Rep. Bill Taylor once again offering a bill that would prohibit tax-supported agencies from charging excessive fees for providing documents and would require them to respond more quickly to public requests for information.
• As you settle back to enjoy holiday football, we have a startling statistic for you regarding the size of college football players. A recent survey which focused on linemen over seven decades revealed the average lineman today weighs more than half again as much as his 1950 counterpart. Over that time, according to a recent news report, the average offensive and defensive lineman grew to just over 290 pounds from just above 190. We can't even predict how big they'll be in another 50 years.
Most of us here in Kershaw County are caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season -- shopping, family gatherings, baking and all the other traditions of Christmas. And there's nothing wrong with that. But as we observe a holy day of Christendom, let us pause to recall the true meaning of the season, as related in the second chapter of Luke, from the King James Version of the New Testament.
Rep. Tim Scott became the immediate front-runner to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina after DeMint announced he would resign to run the Heritage Foundation, perhaps the pre-eminent conservative think tank in the country. (As an aside, we've seen lots of philosophical mumbo-jumbo come out of think tanks, both conservative and liberal, but very little workable policy.) Other names were bandied about, the strangest one being Jenny Sanford, former wife of the Palmetto State's philandering ex-governor, Mark Sanford.
• We are comforted when justice is served, and we believe that happened Thursday afternoon when a jury found 33-year-old Willie Thomas Starnes, of Bethune, guilty of armed robbery and murder. The jury found Starnes guilty of deliberately using his vehicle a year ago to knock Alan Thomas Robinson, 67, also of Bethune, off his moped, stealing and loading that moped onto his vehicle and then turning around and running Robinson over. Robinson died the next day. Starnes is then accused of selling the moped for money he used to buy drugs. In fact, Starnes was under the influence of drugs ...
Whenever the subject of guns is brought up, it engenders strong opinion on both sides -- from those who believe in absolute Second Amendment rights, and from those who believe that nobody should be allowed to own a gun in any circumstances. Like most people, we fall somewhere in the middle, solidly on the side of Americans to own firearms but a bit dubious about why it makes sense for people to own Uzis and other automatic weapons that are made with the express purpose of killing people.
We comment on sports issues in this space on a regular basis, because athletics are so ingrained into the culture of Kershaw County and South Carolina. This week marks the kick-off of college football season in the Palmetto State, and several developments highlight the changing culture of the pigskin pastime here.
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