Sports events sometimes become metaphors for life, and there is no better showcase for that than the ongoing March Madness basketball tournament; a national champion will be crowned Monday night to culminate the annual event. In the round of 8 which was played March 31, number-one seeded Louisville was playing perennial power Duke when Cardinal forward Kevin Ware jumped to block a shock and broke his leg as he fell. It was a gruesome injury, and replays showed the leg projecting at a nasty angle – a horrid break – when he hit the floor. Coaches and teammates wept for him as ...
Last week's unveiling of the statues of Larry Doby and Bernard Baruch, and the attendant ceremonies which were held, amounted to a tripleheader: well-conceived, well-planned and well-executed. The hundreds of people who turned out Friday at the Camden Archives to witness the event were indeed buoyed by a ceremony that truly reflected the theme for the day: reconciliation.
• Actress Ashley Judd has been fooling around with the idea of running for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky against Mitch McConnell, the minority leader. Apparently she didn't like what she was seeing in polls, for she announced last week she would not run. Frankly, we're not disappointed that we won't be subjected to Judd's brand of Hollywood wisdom over the next couple of years.
Those of us who live in Kershaw County often tend to take for granted the Carolina Cup, which is known across South Carolina and the Southeast as one of the premier sporting and social events of each year. While many natives don't attend the race and might grumble good-naturedly about traffic tie-ups on Cup Saturday, thousands upon thousands of people flock here each year to attend the races, and that is an incalculable benefit for Camden.
Camden City Council is considering two projects that would utilize hospitality tax funding, one which would create a "pocket park" where the former Maxway building -- an eyesore by any measure -- is located in the downtown business district, and the other the creation of a tavern at the Historic Camden campus.
• U.S. airlines, which tout customer service but don't practice it very often, could take a cue from Lufthansa, the German line which flies many routes between the United States and international destinations. Lufthansa offers incentives for medical doctors to let the airline know when they're aboard, and they reserve a particular seat -- it happens to be 36G -- for the physician, so flight attendants always know where they can find help in an emergency. Now that's a nifty plan that serves everyone's interests.
The U.S. Postal Service is losing nearly $16 billion a year, and the attrition of traditional mail continues as people communicate, pay bills and make reservations on the Internet, along with a host of other tasks that used to involve mail. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announced recently that Saturday mail delivery would be eliminated; this, of course, isn't everybody's first preference, but it's necessary to try to help stem the flow of red ink. But the post office has always been a political football, and our representatives in Congress -- the same ones who agree on almost ...
A state Senate bill that would allow early voting in South Carolina makes perfect sense and will benefit thousands of Palmetto State voters if it becomes law. Many other states already allow people to cast their ballots several days before an election, but South Carolina voters haven't been allowed to do that unless they were able to provide one of 18 different reasons to cast an absentee ballot. In reality, those wishing to vote early haven't had a problem in doing so by designating one of the basketful of absentee-voting reasons, but it's a needless process. This ...
• There is something comforting about tradition, and the election of a new pope -- with the tell-tale white smoke billowing from a chimney atop the Sistine Chapel -- is about as traditional as it gets. With 1.2 billion members, the Catholic church is facing both challenges and opportunities as newly elected pontiff Pope Francis begins his tenure. He has won adherents from the beginning because of his humility, and it will be interesting to see how he takes on the challenges of the church.
Supporters of President Obama say the ratcheting up of a group called Organizing For Action is simply a way for the president to get his message out and pressure Congress to adopt his agenda. Critics say it's a way for big-money donors and special interest groups to buy access to the White House. As the controversy swirls, we are reminded of the Clinton presidency and the brouhaha around "the Lincoln bedroom," which was the practice of allowing large donors to have a sleepover in the White House.
There's an interesting situation working up in Charlotte, where the owners of the Carolina Panthers are asking the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina for more than $200 million to fund stadium renovations at 17-year-old Bank of America Stadium -- a facility, by the way, that was built not with the owners' investment but primarily through the sales of "permanent seat licenses" to those who bought season tickets, along with some funding from the city of Charlotte.
• We note with sadness the death of longtime Camden resident Ed Bracey, who was a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He was also a civil rights pioneer, helping pave the way for the integration of South Carolina's public universities, and he was a tireless advocate -- sometimes through his columns here in the Chronicle-Independent – for justice. He leaves the world a better place.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has been an outspoken critic of the ideological stalemate in Washington, and Graham, who's taken considerable political heat from the right fringes of his own party because of his willingness to reach across the aisle, played a key role in a Wednesday night Washington dinner in which President Obama sat down with GOP leaders to discuss the sequester and the ongoing fight over the budget.
South Carolina has a reasonable concealed weapons policy which allows law-abiding people to carry handguns after going through a relatively simple permitting process, which includes training in the proper way to safely carry firearms. A proposal to scrap that system in favor of one that would allow anyone to carry concealed weapons without any kind of permit has been introduced in the General Assembly. The bill, sponsored by two Republican lawmakers, would be a step backward for the state; present law doesn't infringe upon the constitutional right to bear arms.
• We note with sadness the recent death of Van Cliburn, pianist extraordinaire, who captured the world's attention at age 23 when he won the 1958 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, wowing judges and the public alike with his incredible keyboard talent. He was honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York -- back in the days when there really was ticker tape -- and sold countless records before burning out on a commercial career and retreating to a more solitary life.
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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