The term "visionary" is sometimes overused these days, but it can truly be applied to Al Neuharth, who transformed the newspaper business back in 1982 with the advent of USA Today. Born into hardscrabble circumstances in South Dakota, he rose to become chairman of Gannett, which became the most profitable company in newspaper history. He was flamboyant and had expensive tastes, always dressing in gray, black and white, which prompted one Washington Post writer to say he looked "like a Vegas pit boss dressed up for Wayne Newton's funeral."
President Obama is in many ways a gifted speaker; he handles himself well in front of large crowds, and he seems always ready with a nifty and memorable line. At the interfaith worship service in Boston only days after the horrid bombing, the president brought those in attendance to their feet when he said, "If they sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us," and then he paused for dramatic effect, almost in the rhythmic way some ministers do, before delivering the great line, "it should be pretty clear right now they picked the wrong city to do it."
• It's evident from public polling that becoming energy-independent is far more important to Americans and Canadians than reducing greenhouse emissions. Recent polls say nearly three-quarters of residents of the two countries support the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, which would bring oil from the Alberta province of Canada to the United States. The Obama administration and key Democrats have opposed the project.
We've commented before that one of the reasons for the political polarization in this country is because of all the different cable news networks, and the fact that they all seem to press their own agendas. They might call themselves news networks, but in many ways they're advocacy networks. People of particular persuasions have their favorites; you'll seldom see a deep conservative tuned in to MSNBC, just as you'll hardly ever see a dedicated liberal watching Fox News. The result is that people have their own beliefs re-affirmed over and over on a daily basis, seldom ...
Seeing the five living presidents together at the recent dedication of the George W. Bush Library in Houston produced more than a few memories, one of them being former President Clinton's move to the center after his wife's push for national health care ran against a roadblock among the public and among members of Congress. One of his signature achievements was signing into law in 1996 the so-called "workfare" bill, which required states to push welfare recipients into jobs after a certain period of time receiving federal and state assistance.
• Another U.S. senator who's been amenable to reaching across the aisle is leaving Washington, further curtailing the number of moderate lawmakers in that body. Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, will not seek another term after serving for many years in Washington. Moderates are becoming more and more of an endangered species, which is bad for the entire country.
Controversy continues at KershawHealth as Scott Ziemke, chairman of the hospital system's board of trustees, resigned his chairmanship earlier this week, saying he had become a distraction and that he didn't want that to affect the performance of KershawHealth and its board. We commend Ziemke on his years of service to the hospital board, a thankless job by almost any measure, and we offer the viewpoint that Ziemke has served skillfully and well, and if he has become a distraction, it's primarily because of Kershaw County Council member Jimmy Jones, whose intemperate -- some would say bombastic -- statements ...
If you'd like a specific example of a federal program run amok -- and there are too many to count -- you need look no further than Lifeline, which was begun during the Reagan administration to provide free phones to people. It was originally envisioned as a method of subsidizing landline phone service for low-income Americans. But in the way that federal programs seem to always do, it has ballooned beyond all reason, now providing free or reduced-price cell phones to millions of people. From its humble beginnings, the program's annual cost has swelled to $1.6 billion. It has ...
It was coincidental that the recent dedication of the Larry Doby and Bernard Baruch statues in Camden came just weeks before April 15, which was the day in 1947 that Jackie Robinson broke the color line in Major League Baseball when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Later that summer, Camden native Doby became the first African-American player in the American League when he joined the Cleveland Indians.
The irony of Tuesday's tragic bombing in Boston is readily evident, being staged at one of the nation's most revered sporting events, and being held on Patriots Day, a Massachusetts holiday which commemorates the opening battle of the Revolutionary War. And whether it was carried out by a lone, deranged person or by a group trying to make a misguided point, it reminds us that in the 21st century, we are never safe from madmen.
• Hailed only a quarter-century ago as one of the most amazing technological breakthroughs of all time, the personal computer has fallen on hard times, indicating just how rapidly things change in this world. Though PCs aren't extinct by any means, sales fell 14 percent during the first quarter as compared to a year ago, and that continued a trend of several quarters, as mobile devices of all kinds replace desktop and laptop computers. And Microsoft, which made Bill Gates and Paul Allen among the richest people in the world, has bombed with its new Windows 8 operating system. Indeed ...
Americans are a forgiving lot when it comes to politicians, and South Carolinians are obviously among the most forgiving of all, having handed former Gov. Mark Sanford a resounding victory in the Republican Congressional primary down in the Lowcountry last week. Sanford defeated a large team of GOP rivals to claim the nomination and will now face Elizabeth Colbert, sister of comedian/commentator Stephen Colbert, for the seat which was vacated when Tim Scott was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Jim DeMint. Whew, that's a mouthful.
• We have noted before our apprehension about Hollywood celebrities who confuse their entertaining ability with their political views, thinking voters will pay attention to their often-pompous pronouncements. We recently observed talented Hollywood artist Rob Reiner going on and on in a pontifical manner about what this country should do. We'd like to nominate him as Undersecretary of Silence, hoping he would pay attention to the title.
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.
The ever-present cable news shows are already fixated on the 2016 presidential campaign, with the Republican race a wide-open affair and the Democratic nomination said to be Hillary Clinton's for the asking. Of course, we'll point out Clinton was also the overwhelming favorite in 2008 until Barack Obama came along and stole her candy. But one thing's for sure, no matter whom the parties nominate: massive amounts of money will be spent.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who's never been accused of being circumspect, went over the top last week when he accused President Obama of not loving his country. Giuliani has refused to back down from his comments, and some in the GOP have defended him while others have said they wouldn't have made the same statement. Politics, of course, is involved, as both Democrats and Republicans are already jockeying for position for 2016.
• We're sad to learn of Joseph Bruce's pending retirement from KershawHealth and the KershawHealth Foundation (see our front page), but happy for him as he reaches that point in life where he can choose do what he appears to enjoy: namely traveling to the United Kingdom and other points abroad. Bruce had the difficult job of following foundation founder Vern Ketchem, who died just months before Bruce joined KershawHealth in late 2007. When we consider all the foundation has done since then, we believe Ketchem would be proud of Bruce's work. He and the foundation board launched ...
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