• In the wake of the Colorado movie theater incident last week that killed or wounded more than 60 people, we mused once again on just how common mass murders have become. Our memory fades to 1966 when a drifter named Richard Speck broke into a Chicago apartment and killed eight student nurses. It shocked the world. Nowadays, unfortunately, such incidents make headlines one day and are forgotten the next because they occur so often. It's a sad sign of the times, we suppose.
A proposal by S.C. Superintendent of Education Mick Zais to bundle failing public schools into a special statewide district deserves scrutiny. Some schools have remained on the list of under-performing institutions for years while leaders say they are trying to improve things but in actuality are producing little result. Zais says the purpose of a special district composed of such schools would be to implement new measures to make the schools more effective and accountable. Zais says similar programs in Tennessee and Louisiana have worked well.
Politics is often a curious creature, and few things have been "curiouser" than Kershaw County Council's decision to create a commission to explore alternatives for a penny sales tax to help the county's recreation program, and then do an abrupt about-face, terminating the measure. The citizens who served on the commission and worked hard to come up with a decent plan must be wondering why they expended all the effort.
• Ernest Borgnine, who died recently at the age of 95, was one of the great actors of Hollywood. Borgnine could adapt to almost any role, and unlike some celebrities in show business, he was a really good guy to boot. He was a true screen icon, and he will be missed.
More than five million Americans have Alzheimer's Disease, the tragic malady that robs people of their ability to function mentally. Countless others -- family members and friends -- are affected by the dread disease, and researchers have been unable to make significant progress in fighting Alzheimer's. It has long been suspected that a build-up in the brain of a sticky substance called beta amyloid plays a part in the disease, but such hypotheses haven't been proved and treatment and prevention options haven't improved much.
It should come as no surprise to Kershaw County voters that when it comes to November's presidential election, money is going to be the name of the game -- specifically, money to spend on advertising, much of it negative attack ads denigrating either Mitt Romney or President Obama, whichever the case may be. Ironically, voters here in South Carolina are being largely spared the endless spate of advertising drivel because the Palmetto State is considered firmly in Romney's camp, with Obama given little or no chance of winning here. Similarly, voters in states like Vermont and Oregon, where the ...
• Having watched and participated in July Fourth celebrations, we are struck by the same thought that hits us each year on Independence Day: that despite this country's problems, even with the bipartisan wrangling that threatens to upend our political process, considering the economy that is having a hard time gaining traction, the United States is still far and away the greatest country in the world. We join others across Kershaw County in celebrating the magnificent heritage and promising future of the good old U.S. of A.
Kershaw County Council's consideration of a noise ordinance is a positive thing that needs to move forward to a conclusion. It should set specific standards for what kind and level of noise is acceptable and what's not. Blaring music, loud equipment and yelping dogs might not bother some people at all, but it can keep their neighbors from sleeping or enjoying peaceful summer days and nights.
A significant number of people in Kershaw County probably believe -- incorrectly, of course -- that the Camden Archives is filled with musty, boring documents that only an historian could love. That's not the case, of course, and the current exhibit of Larry Doby memorabilia is a prime example. Now on display and running through the end of the year, the Doby exhibit tells the story of a man who came second behind the famed Jackie Robinson in breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier but found far less fame from doing so. The display kicks off here in Doby's ...
• With partisan bickering in Washington at an all-time high, we were glad to see Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah turn back a Republican Party primary challenge last week. Hatch is one of the few senators left in the capital who attempts to compromise and reach across party aisles to get things done. We're glad the voters of Utah put him over the top, for in that state, winning the GOP primary is usually tantamount to being elected.
Camden residents will have a chance to voice their opinions soon on two major transportation projects slated for the town -- a proposed "road diet" for Camden's Broad Street and an official truck route around the city. Both of them could have a major impact on the city for years to come, so we hope citizens who have a particular point of view will voice their feelings July 10 at Camden High School.
Recent polls show, unsurprisingly, that President Obama holds an overwhelming lead among Latino voters, outdistancing Republican Mitt Romney by almost a three-to-one margin. Part of this is because of Obama's political posturing towards Hispanics, but part is also due to the GOP's failure to offer programs that appeal to the country's fastest-growing group. It follows the same trend that holds with African-American voters, who favor Obama -- or any other Democrat, for that matter -- by almost 90 percent.
• Cycling legend Lance Armstrong has again been accused of cheating by using illegal performance-enhancing drugs, with accusations made by the U.S. Anti-Doping Association. Armstrong has been accused of the same offense multiple times in the past though nobody has ever offered concrete evidence that's been proven. If Armstrong is guilty, then he should be punished, but any new charges should be quickly proven or given up.
President Obama and Mitt Romney are criss-crossing the country on their campaigns, making all sorts of claims about what they've done and will do. What they're doing is playing fast and loose with the truth, which isn't unusual for politicians. In trying to enhance their records and cast doubt on each other, they're quoting statistics out of context, making misleading statements about their respective records and generally acting like people who aren't exactly under the influence of truth serum.
We've bemoaned on many occasions the incivility and partisan rancor of today's political scene, but we can't lay all the blame at the feet of the candidates and office-holders. If the electorate demanded more bipartisanship and more decency during campaigning, candidates would bend to those desires. But as we're seeing as the presidential race heats up, it's often members of the audience who ratchet up ill feelings.
• We are comforted when justice is served, and we believe that happened Thursday afternoon when a jury found 33-year-old Willie Thomas Starnes, of Bethune, guilty of armed robbery and murder. The jury found Starnes guilty of deliberately using his vehicle a year ago to knock Alan Thomas Robinson, 67, also of Bethune, off his moped, stealing and loading that moped onto his vehicle and then turning around and running Robinson over. Robinson died the next day. Starnes is then accused of selling the moped for money he used to buy drugs. In fact, Starnes was under the influence of drugs ...
Whenever the subject of guns is brought up, it engenders strong opinion on both sides -- from those who believe in absolute Second Amendment rights, and from those who believe that nobody should be allowed to own a gun in any circumstances. Like most people, we fall somewhere in the middle, solidly on the side of Americans to own firearms but a bit dubious about why it makes sense for people to own Uzis and other automatic weapons that are made with the express purpose of killing people.
We comment on sports issues in this space on a regular basis, because athletics are so ingrained into the culture of Kershaw County and South Carolina. This week marks the kick-off of college football season in the Palmetto State, and several developments highlight the changing culture of the pigskin pastime here.
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