• In the midst of all the presidential punditry and endless spin, we were struck recently by the simple concept of how much sense it would make to have a single six-year term for the presidency, with re-election not allowed. Chief executives then could accomplish things without always stopping to check the political winds. Perhaps best of all, we would only be subjected to the endless campaign tripe every six years instead of every four.
As South Carolina's oldest inland city, Camden has a proud historical heritage and, fortunately, a populace that embraces it and promotes it. The latest chapter in the historical tableau was unveiled yesterday afternoon when statues of Joseph Kershaw, one of the founders of the town, and King Hagler a Native American leader who assisted the people of this area during the French and Indian War, were unveiled on the Town Green.
When former Sen. George McGovern died last week at age 90, there were probably many Kershaw County residents who might have remembered him only as the presidential candidate who got crushed in one of the largest landslides in history, winning only one state plus the District of Columbia against President Richard Nixon in 1972. McGovern's campaign was somewhat dysfunctional -- he fired his vice presidential running mate, Thomas Eagleton, after revelations that Eagleton had been treated for mental disorders -- and never had a chance against a president who was popular at the time and hadn't yet been trapped by ...
• Founded in 1933 during the Great Depression, Newsweek became a journalistic force of the 20th century; its weekly wrap-up of the news events affecting the world was required reading for those who wanted to be in the know. When the print woes that have affected the entire magazine industry, and much of the newspaper industry, became too severe, it switched to a sort of combination print-online publication. But last week, facing mounting losses, Newsweek gave up the ghost and cancelled its print edition. It's a sad occurrence, but a sign of the times in the magazine business.
• A belated tip of the Chronicle-Independent hat to State Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk for being awarded the "Green Seal of Approval" from the Conservation Voters of South Carolina back in September during the organization's annual Green Tie Awards banquet. She earned the honor along with fellow State Rep. Paul Agnew and State Sen. Ray Cleary for their continued "championing (of) funding for the Conservation Bank and they have also promoted clean energy initiatives." The group said Funderburk and Agnew were "instrumental in upholding the Atlantic Compact that ended the nation's use of South Carolinas as its nuclear waste ...
Kershaw County Council made a reasonable decision earlier this week in limiting to 10 minutes the amount of time people have to speak when addressing issues during public hearings. Having the right to be heard is fundamental, and it's important that council didn't attempt to do away with that, but anyone who's ever attended hearings before -- or any type of public forum, for that matter -- knows that some people can get carried away with the sound of their own voices.
It's a fun time to be a college football fan in Kershaw County. While the high school teams in this area are going through a rough patch, the state's two flagship football programs -- South Carolina and Clemson -- are having banner seasons that could lead to the ultimate rivalry game Nov. 24 when the two teams will meet.
• We start with a tip of the Chronicle-Independent hat to Jim and Pat Watts for their giving ways in helping the Fine Arts Center (FAC) of Kershaw County construct and open a new performing arts wing at the center. The new 3,876-square foot-wing, dedicated in their name at the FAC's recent annual meeting, will allow the center to expand its theater arts education and performance programs. It's a great addition to the FAC campus for which we say, "Bravo!"
Nobody's really sure whether or not presidential debates actually influence voters' decisions, although the so-called experts say the small minority of undecided voters are indeed subject to what goes on when candidates stand behind lecterns and fire bombs at each other. If that's indeed true, then the contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney got a bit tighter Wednesday night, as even the staunchest liberals conceded that Romney got the best of the president in their first debate.
We doubt that many Kershaw County residents are waiting in breathless anticipation for the presidential debate tonight. After all, mirroring the normal path of politics over the last few years, this year's contest between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney has been more of a mud-wrestling contest than a serious forum over the many difficult issues facing the United States.
• Singer Andy Williams, who died last week at the age of 84, had one of those soothing voices that left people feeling better about everything. His signature song, "Moon River," came from the 1961 movie "Breakfast At Tiffany's" and carried him to stardom, though he had many other hits. He was one of the original acts in Branson, Mo., and performed until shortly before his death. He will be missed in the music world.
People here in Kershaw County and South Carolina take their football seriously. Though the Carolina Panthers are based in nearby Charlotte, the college game still reigns supreme here, but Sunday afternoons still attract plenty of fans who like to watch the National Football League games. Some of those contests have been thrown into disarray by substitute officials who have taken the place of the league's regular officials, who were locked out by team owners in a labor dispute.
In a day when Democrats and Republicans will argue about what color the sky is or whether the wind blows, the latest controversy comes along with South Carolina's new voter registration statutes, which have been challenged by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who says the move could disenfranchise black voters. The S.C. law would require voters to show at least one kind of proper identification, something that Palmetto voters did for years. But opponents say requiring such a measure would punish people who don't have ready access to such documents.
Few crimes have attracted the attention and fascination of the public like the gruesome 1970 murder of an Army wife and her two young daughters at Fort Bragg, N.C.; the husband and father, Capt. Jeffrey McDonald, a Green Beret physician, was subsequently convicted of the murders and has been in prison since 1979. For all these years he has maintained his innocence, claiming the murders were committed by four mysterious people who invaded his army post home, stabbed him and killed his family during a drug-induced rampage.
As President Obama and Mitt Romney batter each other and each other's parties ad nauseum, voters in Kershaw County and across the country continue to be subjected to the same bitter partisanship that keeps Congress and the White House from getting much achieved. In fact, we were struck by another newspaper's recent focus on a book entitled "The Parties Versus The People," by former U.S. Rep. Mickey Edwards, a Republican of Oklahoma. "We have to reclaim our democracy, not from an invading army but from the parasitic destruction waged in the name of partisan interest," Edwards wrote.
We wrote recently of a change in the way KershawHealth is managing its emergency department, sending seriously threatened patients to one area for immediate, vital care while directing others who are less ill to be treated in a non-emergency system. It's cost-effective, but also provides quality care for both types of patients.
One of the problems with the expense of health care is the fact that many people tend to use a hospital's emergency room as their primary care facility, going there with normal ailments such as flu and severe colds. Emergency room care is expensive -- too costly to be used in that way. KershawHealth is no different than other hospitals in that regard, and the decision to "split" the emergency department there is a sound one.
Today, the Chronicle-Independent begins a series of articles summarizing the candidates and issues that will be on the Nov. 4 ballot, one week from Tuesday. Perhaps the most contentious race isn't between candidates but between "yes" and "no" on two referenda offered by the Kershaw County School District.
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