If you want an example of how the government wastes taxpayers' money through tax subsidies of all kinds, you need look no further than the hodgepodge of benefits offered in an attempt to curb climate change, none of which are very effective. That's the opinion issued by the non-partisan National Research Council, which says tax policy could be a positive way to effect climate change but that Uncle Sam has pretty much bungled things. That's not surprising.
• Actor James Gandolfini, who died unexpectedly last week at the age of 51, was one of the great artists of his time. His portrayal of mob boss Tony Soprano has been hailed as one of the best television acting performances ever. Gandolfini, a graduate of Rutgers University, was a true Jersey guy, and he was taken too soon.
The federal sequester has caused a great deal of controversy this year, with groups of all kinds protesting what they claim are inhumane spending cuts by Uncle Sam. Though the sequester has dictated cutting only a small percentage of total federal funds -- and in some cases, just reducing the rate of increase rather than actually cutting -- some have tried to make it the equivalent of a national disaster.
The S.C. Republican Party has withdrawn from a federal lawsuit that would close the GOP's primary only to members of the party. The state organization didn't do that because it opposes the suit but because it doesn't want to spend the money. But in reality, it should oppose the suit as a matter of sound policy; trying to accomplish closed primaries in a state in which voters don't even register by party makes no sense.
Officials of the United States Golf Association made a good decision in sending this week's U. S. Open, the most prestigious of its tournaments, to the fabled Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., a mere chip shot away from Philadelphia's prestigious Main Line. In an era in which players are much more muscular and powerful, and equipment is advanced, some would say Merion, at 6,996 yards, isn't long enough to host a major championship such as the Open. Nowadays, courses stretch out to 7,600 yards and longer as players routinely average 300 yards or more ...
Camden City Council was scheduled yesterday to take second reading on a proposal to purchase the former Maxway building in the downtown business district, with plans to raze the decaying structure and build a small park. The building, located at the corner of Broad and Rutledge Street, has stood unoccupied for years and has become an eyesore. It's presently owned by Redwood Homes LLC, which has agreed to sell it to the city for $65,000. It will take about twice that amount to demolish the structure and perform asbestos removal and abatement.
• We note with sadness the recent death of Leonard Price, who moved in his later years to Boonetown and became one of Kershaw County's most generous and involved philanthropists. Price gave to a variety of causes and was especially beneficent towards North Central High School. As Bobby Jones, a former school principal in the county said, "He not only talked the talk, he walked the walk." Price has left an indelible mark upon the county.
Recent revelations that the government is carrying out secret domestic surveillance programs on businesses, coming on the heels of other snooping incidents by the Justice Department, are chilling and go to the very basic tenets of freedom in this country. The serious nature of this surveillance is highlighted by the fact that many members of both parties -- and they seldom seem to agree on anything -- are aghast at some of the things that are happening.
People in this country -- no doubt many right here in Kershaw County -- are angry with the Internal Revenue Service and its heavy-handed methods. Of course, the IRS has never been popular, and probably wouldn't be if the agency did everything by the book. But its recent targeting of conservative groups has spotlighted the venom with which overzealous bureaucrats can operate. Adding to it are recent revelations about profligate spending on travel and "training" by IRS employees.
• We can't think of a better recipient of the Boy Scouts' Citizen of the Year award than Jack Brantley, the Camden caterer who's carved out friendships throughout South Carolina. Brantley's personal magnetism has helped him establish a thriving business and has also helped spread Camden's reputation. He's always been generous in helping local causes and in donating the use of his home, Aberdeen, for community affairs.
South Carolina Democrats were right in recently criticizing Gov. Nikki Haley for her refusal -- she later relented -- to oust a member of her re-election committee who had ties to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a far-right group with severe overtones of racial bias. That group believes, according to its own website, that "the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character." That's a fancy way of explaining racial purity.
We were glad to see the Kershaw County Sheriff's Department conduct a sting operation recently that resulted in five area businesses being cited for selling alcohol to minors. People under the age of 21 have many ways to get alcohol, and we don't delude ourselves into believing that such an effort will wipe out underage drinking, but it's one more step that will make it more difficult for people to buy alcoholic beverages illegally.
• We're happy to see that Camden native Michael Kohn is back in the Major Leagues as a relief pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels. Kohn is 1-0 during the young season, with 12 appearances at the time this was written. He's compiled a steady 2.45 earned run average. Like all Camdenites, we wish him success and a long career in "the show."
By now you have probably heard on more than one occasion some representative of the Obama administration -- perhaps Jay Carney, the press secretary; or maybe Eric Holder, the attorney general; or maybe the president himself -- repeat words that have become almost a mantra in responding to the multiple issues that are dogging the White House: "It wouldn't be appropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation."
The proposed "road diet" that the city of Camden is contemplating for its downtown area is intended to make the central business district more vibrant, pleasant and inviting. But not everyone agrees that will happen if the plan is effected, and city council is right to proceed slowly with this rather than rushing into something that's going to be met with resistance. The plan is complex but involves, among other things, moving trucks off Broad Street and then narrowing the area of Broad between DeKalb and York streets to one lane in each direction.
In the most recent installment of our "Is Kershaw County being left behind?" series of articles on economic development, we looked at some non-industrial pieces of the puzzle. One highly visible sign of economic health in a community -- successful or poor -- is the number of active storefronts, whether individual buildings or as part of shopping centers.
Lawmakers in Washington have long ignored the fact that the Social Security system in this country is broken. On the brink of insolvency, Social Security needs major revamping, whether it comes in the form of benefit reductions, tax increases or both. Congress has refused to consider benefit cuts decades out in the future, even for young adults who are just now starting to pay into the system. They are turning their backs on such simple fixes as delaying the age by a year or two at which people can start receiving their monthly allotments. Bear in mind, we aren't ...
The Republican presidential field is already getting crowded, and the South Carolina GOP primary is often viewed as a bellwether for White House hopefuls. Because this is a conservative state, candidates in past years have often moved to the right while campaigning here. But a new poll shows Republican voters in South Carolina might be moving away from some of the hard-line social issues they have embraced in the past. As a side note, many political observers believe the party "had better get out of people's bedrooms if it wants to broaden its appeal."
• Last week's seizure by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of Old Armory Steak & Seafood on Rutledge Street marks at least the temporary loss of one of Camden and Kershaw County's premier restaurants. It is an unfortunate blow to the downtown Camden economy. Each business provides potential traffic to another and the loss of any one diminishes such beneficial ripple effects. Locals cheered the Old Armory's opening in 2006 so soon after the closing of the previous tenant, The Paddock. Many people and businesses have celebrated the holidays, proms, anniversaries, engagements, weddings, birthdays and more at the Old ...
With Augusta being only a couple hours away from Kershaw County, the Masters golf tournament holds a great deal of allure for this area. The azaleas at Augusta National are famous for their popping colors and their beauty, but they're no prettier than those which are currently at their peak in Camden, we might add. But there's something magical about the Masters, which is ranked by many players as the one tournament they'd like to win more than any other.
There have been many great additions to the Camden landscape in recent years -- to name a few, the statues of Joseph Kershaw and King Haiglar at the Town Green; the Bernard Baruch and Larry Doby statuary at the Camden Archives; and the new pocket park where the former Maxway building stood. All these have added to the town's appearance and ambience.
• Congratulations to Johnny Deal and Richard Walkirch for receiving, respectively, the United Way of Kershaw County's Jake Watson and Ann Dallas awards. Deal, often known as "Mr. Camden" or "Mr. Facebook" around town, is one of many people's favorite personalities. That doesn't necessarily win you awards. What does is a commitment to community involvement, which Deal has in spades, working with the Camden Jaycees, Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce, Community Medical Clinic, Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, the United Way and more. As for volunteerism, we can't imagine a more worthy recipient for the Dallas ...
We're not too high on elected officials who hew to positions on the fringes. Like many, we believe adherence to strict political philosophies is one of the primary reasons for the polarization in American politics today. There just aren't many lawmakers in Washington today who are willing to sit down and work things out despite their political differences, as there were for decades.
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