With election day now in the rear-view mirror, all Kershaw County residents from the staunchest, most bleeding-heart Democrat to the most rabid, reactionary Republican probably agree on one matter: that campaigns at every level last too long, are too expensive and focus too much on negative advertising. It won't be more than a few days before national pundits will begin speculating on which candidates are so-called front-runners for the 2016 election, and we'll be subjected to endless political chatter once again.
• With election day upon us, there's one final sad fact to report: lawyers for both parties are mobilizing, ready to start flinging lawsuits. In Ohio alone, thousands of attorneys are standing by; we're reminded a bit of those ads for prescription drugs in which a somber announcer tells viewers there's a pretty good chance they have a disease they might not even know about. Actually, having a legal fight would be an appropriate though mournful way to end what has probably been the most down-and-dirty fight American voters have seen.
Hurricane Sandy proved once again that Mother Nature is always in charge. In fact, the number of natural tragedies in the last few years has been almost incalculable, emphasizing the point that man has little power when facing natural forces. Though nobody would have chosen it to happen because of a storm inflicting such cruel damage to so many people, it did focus publicity off the presidential race, and that was fortunate; the media coverage had become stifling.
No matter which candidate wins the presidency and no matter which party controls the House and the Senate, elected officials would do well to pay attention to level-head business leaders when it comes to the horrid budget deficits this country is facing. Democrats decry any kind of spending cuts, while Republicans want to close the door on tax increases, period.
• 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.
We wrote recently of the disturbing trend in the White House of spinning every issue through press spokesmen rather than engaging in open questioning about issues of interest to Americans. A lack of transparency isn't limited to the federal government, as the S.C. Supreme Court has recently issued two troubling rulings which limit public access in the Palmetto State.
• It looks like it's full steam ahead for KershawHealth and its strategic plan. In recent weeks, we have reported on the creation -- after several years of hard work -- of a general surgery division; the recruitment of a new orthopedic surgeon; the signing of an agreement with Orthopedic Advantage to create a top-level orthopedic center in Kershaw County; and an already established agreement with Team Health to transform KershawHealth's emergency department in order to fast-track non-emergent patients allowing staff to focus on those in true emergency situations. Dr. T. Chris Tran, the new orthopedic surgeon, joined Camden Bone & Joint ...
President Obama, who promised the most transparent administration in history, has delivered perhaps the least transparent. Following the trend of other recent presidents, Obama has kept a tight lid on the press, rarely interacting with reporters in a spontaneous fashion and instead relying on the spin of his White House press directors. And it has gotten worse the longer Obama has been in office; one report last week indicated that the administration was denying access on a variety of subjects with increasing regularity. The Associated Press reported, "In category after category -- except for reducing numbers of old requests and a ...
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