• We congratulate Kershaw County's 2012 graduates – both those who have already stepped across the stage and those who will receive their diplomas Saturday. As indicated in today's Chronicle-Independent graduation section, we have many young people with bright futures ahead of them. We wish them the very best on their journey.
There are countless reasons that our system of government in Washington is broken so badly, but there's one concept -- it's in effect in many states, already – that would effect immediate change and would help solve our crisis in government: term limits. Of course it's not a new concept, but limiting people to a particular number of terms, whether in the House of Representatives or the Senate -- would help free many elected officials to make decisions based on what's best for the country rather than on getting re-elected.
We're glad to see that automakers in the United States are getting serious about producing vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG), a fuel that is readily available in this country and much cheaper than gasoline. It's estimated that the U.S. has more than a 100-year supply of natural gas presently on hand, and prices have been falling, as opposed to the costs of gasoline. And, of course, running vehicles with a native fuel lessens dependence on the Middle East and its volatile politics. As we pointed out recently, we're enthusiastic about the fuel-efficient diesel-powered ...
• It's satisfying to see a future generation of leaders in training. Junior Leadership Kershaw County recently graduated its 24th class of youth, who completed a year-long program of team-building and leadership development activities. We congratulate the graduates of this year's Junior Leadership academy, which represents Camden, North Central and Lugoff-Elgin high schools and Camden Military Academy, and commend the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce, Kershaw County School District and Camden Military Academy for their joint sponsorship of this program.
When Charles Colson, White House legal counsel under President Richard Nixon, went to prison in 1974 for obstruction of justice related to the Watergate scandal, few people could have predicted the path his life would take. Colson, in the vernacular of the day, got "jailhouse religion" and said he would dedicate his life to helping those behind bars. His conversion was met with a great deal of suspicion. Colson ended up surprising his critics by founding Prison Fellowship, an international evangelical Christian ministry, and spending the next 36 years working to spread his message in an attempt to help inmates ...
We have noted before with a degree of perplexity that diesel automobiles that get great fuel mileage and are wildly popular in Europe have never been promoted here in the United States by automakers. Finally, we're glad to see that is changing, and the public is responding in a big way. Volkswagen is now aggressively pushing its Passat TDI diesel model, which can deliver up to 50 miles per gallon in highway driving. Auto industry analysts have said for more than three decades that Americans wouldn't latch onto diesels, partly because of the disastrous results back in the ...
• With the Major League Baseball season in its infancy, we're struck by one fact about the New York Yankees: the team must have the biggest -- we're talking in terms of physical size here -- pitching staff in the history of the league. Excluding Hiroki Kuroda, at 6-1 and 190 pounds the dwarf of the group, New York's starting rotation averages nearly 6-6 in height and 257 pounds. Hurler C. C. Sabathia is the biggest of the group at 6-7, 290. We don't know how well they'll pitch this year, but we doubt you'll see many ...
We don't know whether Kershaw County voters will face a referendum this fall on whether to organize a new county police department -- in the process taking virtually all authority away from the sheriff's office -- but the fact that county council is even considering it is a bit unsettling for both entities. Discord between sheriffs and county council members is nothing new, of course. In the past, going back decades, some sheriffs have been quick to remind council members that they are independent elected officials, and councils have been no less reticent to let sheriffs know they are dependent ...
• There's a controversy over federal subsidies granted to college students, and that's a valid subject for debate, but lost in the shuffle is the fact that college costs are out of control. The expense charged to students from colleges and universities has skyrocketed in the two decades at a rate far exceeding the increase in the cost of living. Colleges need to get a handle on that before criticizing the government for not allowing large subsidies.
It appears that claims of $5-a-gallon gasoline in South Carolina that were made a few months ago were nothing more than speculation, as the price of fuel is now coming down and is actually lower than it was a year ago. That's good news, of course, and experts say one reason is that people are driving less, using more fuel-efficient cars, making fewer trips and carpooling. There's another option we'd like to suggest, one that can save money while at the same time improving health. It's walking. What could be simpler than that?
The relationship between Gov. Nikki Haley and members of the General Assembly hasn't been exactly lovey-dovey, and there's probably some blame to be placed on both sides. But it does look a bit churlish for the Senate to finally pass a bill that will allow gubernatorial candidates to pick their own running mates, but to postpone the effective date of the bill until after Haley runs for re-election -- as she is presumed to want to do -- two years from now.
• USAirways, which has a major hub in Charlotte, is making a play for American Airlines, which is in bankruptcy, cutting a deal with American's unions that will give USAirways a step up in the merger it seeks. For Kershaw County travelers who choose to fly out of Charlotte rather than subject themselves to the restrictions of Columbia's limited flight schedules, that would be a great improvement, and we hope USAirways is able to pull its deal off.
After years of fan discontent over the lack of a playoff system in college football, it appears that progress is finally being made toward establishing some sort of playoff that will involve at least four teams and possibly more. Over many seasons, since the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was established, college football's power brokers steadfastly refused to admit that a controversial system of picking two teams to play for the national championship had any weaknesses. They wanted to protect the current bowl system and they displayed a blind eye to fans' calls for a playoff.
Members of the S. C. General Assembly appear poised to strike down the TERI program as the state's retirement system deficit continues to climb, recently hitting the $14 billion mark. The program was born out of good intentions but contained so many loopholes that it became the antithesis of what lawmakers intended when they started it.
• Political spin is a given these days, and President Obama is as good -- or bad, given your point of view -- at it as anyone. We were amused at his response to one reporter after Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen stuck her foot in her mouth with her comment about Ann Romney's never having "worked a day in her life." Obama referred to Rosen as "some woman on television," conveniently forgetting that she's a Democratic operative. We'll have to admit that goes beyond spin.
Allegations that Rep. Bobby Harrell, speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives, illegally funneled campaign contributions to his own use should be examined in the brightest possible light, and that means letting a grand jury decide what happened rather than turning the matter over to the House Ethics Committee, which isn't experienced in such investigations and doesn't have the power to take effective action.
No city is more inextricably linked to this country's quest for freedom than Boston. From an early age students learn about the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre and all the other historic events that helped set the colonies on the road to freedom. So it was especially fitting Monday that the city showed that it's indeed "Boston Strong" by completing its famous marathon. Of course, the race came a year after bombers killed three and wounded hundreds during the running of this country's most storied 26.2-mile race.
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