There are jokes aplenty about the Internal Revenue Service, but the latest revelations about that agency's conduct in targeting conservative groups is no laughing matter. In reality, it's not about conservative groups or liberal groups or apolitical groups. It's about the abhorrent idea that the IRS would single out any kind of organization or individual to harass -- and indeed it is harassment.
• An amazing sight Friday morning: the final two-section, 75-foot portion of the spire atop One World Trade Center in New York City was lifted up and carefully put in to place. With the spire, 1 WTC -- as some are calling it -- became the tallest building in the western hemisphere, topping out at a very symbolic 1,776 feet. While it was an odd bit of showmanship, it was also nonetheless thrilling to watch as NBC Today Show host Matt Lauer had the honor of signaling the workmen to complete their task. New York/New Jersey Port Authority Vice Chair Scott ...
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.
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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