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.
• As the teachers' strike unfolded in Chicago and protesting educators swarmed city streets, we watched with interest as one teacher explained, with a straight face, why they were going out on strike. "We want to make sure all the children in Chicago get the kind of education they deserve," he said. We've noticed that whatever the location, teachers who shut down schools always mouth the party line that they are doing it for the kids and not for themselves. We hope nobody actually believes that.
College athletics has become too big and too important, a behemoth that sometimes seems to control the academic process rather than the other way around. But that is what it has come to, and with the huge amounts of money being tossed around for TV rights to college football and basketball games, it's hard to see it going the other way.
Don't be surprised if some member of the S.C. General Assembly reads of the new 85-mile-an-hour speed limit in Texas and decides that would be a good idea for the Palmetto State. We hope that won't happen, but we'll never be flabbergasted at any proposal that includes a higher driving speed, which to some lawmakers equates with motherhood and apple pie.
• Penn State pedophile Jerry Sandusky says he regrets not testifying at his child sex-abuse trial earlier this year. Sandusky, who's awaiting sentencing after being convicted of multiple counts of abusing young boys, still maintains his innocence despite crushing evidence against him and the testimony of several of his victims. Sandusky isn't likely to convince anyone that he's innocent.
Democrats in South Carolina have every right to criticize Gov. Nikki Haley. Even from many in her own party, she gets low marks for her governing style, which has tended to alienate many. Of course, some of that alienation has come among members of the Republican-controlled General Assembly who are loathe to cede any additional power to a governor -- any governor -- because it might lessen their authority.
Kershaw County residents with long political memories might recall the 1980 Democratic presidential campaign, when Sen. Ted Kennedy challenged incumbent President Jimmy Carter for the party's nomination. On a television interview, Kennedy was asked why he wanted to be president, which should have been a political softball for him. Instead, he stumbled and bumbled, never really delivering a decent answer, and it was the beginning of the end for his campaign.
• Bad news seems to arrive in clumps when it comes to climate change, and the latest findings about sea ice in the Arctic are bleak; the ice level there has shrunk to its lowest level on record. A diminishing ice sheet has all sorts of unpleasant implications for the future, including exacerbating the warming of the atmosphere. Few people have answers, but no longer is there much question about whether global warming is taking place.
A KershawHealth accreditation survey that reflects "the most favorable results I have seen in my many years as a healthcare CEO," according to chief executive Donnie Weeks, is a positive sign for KershawHealth during a period of financial turmoil. The hospital's financial struggles (as have those of many hospitals) have been well documented over the last couple years as the economy has taken a toll on elective surgeries and other procedures, so KershawHealth was in need of some good news.
Community organizations come and go, often beginning vigorously and then sliding steadily downhill as the enthusiasm of members wanes. In many instances, they're formed for a specific purpose -- to advocate a cause or to oppose a particular proposal, or to generate community support for something viewed as especially beneficial. The Lake Wateree Association (LWA), in contrast, has not only survived but thrived for decades, driven by those who live on the lake or enjoy the many benefits it offers. Founded as the Lake Wateree Homeowners Association, the LWA continues to offer not only a way for lake lovers to ...
• We were intrigued by a recent study showing that baby boomer and older women generally earn less, have less money in retirement and are expected to live longer than men, yet they are much more likely to donate to charity and to give more generously then males. When factors such as education, income, race and other factors are figured in, boomer and older women give 89 percent more of their income to charity than their male counterparts. That figure rises as women's income goes up. That says something good about women's charitable inclinations and not so good about ...
By now, everyone is accustomed to being bombarded by different presidential polls that purport to indicate how the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney is going. Many of these focus on the so-called swing states -- those that are still up in the air and will probably decide the election. But political analyst Nate Silver, who's been extremely accurate in predicting political goings-on in the past, has a new measure, and South Carolina ranks at the very top.
Republican leaders from Mitt Romney on down are urging Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri to withdraw from his U. S. Senate race against Claire McCaskill; it's a seat the GOP hopes to win in its effort to control the Senate. Akin, of course, is the one who made ridiculous statements about rape during a campaign appearance. He's being urged by nearly every Republican bigwig from Romney to Karl Rove to Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the Senate Campaign Committee, to step down.
• The Kershaw County School District has made a good move in establishing a dress code for teachers; that's a subject that has been on the minds of school officials across the country. Teachers must be presentable, and in an age of increasing informality, it's important that students be able to look up to the person running the classroom. Inappropriate appearance detracts from the effectiveness of teachers.
Recent settlements of lawsuits filed against Sheriff Jim Matthews resulted in a payment by the county's insurance company of $110,000 to three different plaintiffs. There are a few observations to be made:
The unemployment rate here in Kershaw County and across South Carolina, as well as the rest of the United States, remains disappointingly high. The economy is still mired in slow growth, and too many people are out of work. Yet a recent study by a national newspaper shows how ineffective government jobs programs can be and points out that many people who have tried to take advantage of them end up worse off than they were before starting them.
• Here in Kershaw County, we don't think about bridges much, unless it's the spans crossing the Lynches and Wateree rivers on U.S. 1, I-20 and other roads. Many bridges in our county are small, made of wood or pipes used as culverts. They cross streams and branches of creeks and -- according to our recent two-part story -- not in the greatest shape. Some state-owned bridges are in the process of being repaired or replaced with state and/or federal funds. But many others are owned by the county. All but two currently open bridges that cross bodies of ...
Two horrific diseases have been brought into the spotlight recently -- ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, which has caught the public eye through an "ice bucket challenge," and depression, brought into further consciousness through the tragic suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams. Attention in such matters is always beneficial, both in terms of raising money to fight the diseases and in making Americans more aware of the challenges of such maladies.
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