Democrats and independents who want to see President Obama win another term in office got a boost Tuesday when former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum won Republican primary contests in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, signaling that the GOP's efforts to coalesce behind Mitt Romney are not working, at least for the time being. Santorum will not receive any delegates from any of the three states, as all were non-binding straw polls -- so-called "beauty contests" in political parlance -- but his success indicates that the right wing of the Republican Party isn't warming up to Romney, whose conservative credentials they consider ...
Like voters across the United States, we in Kershaw County are in the midst of being pummeled by almost constant "poll news." It seems that nearly every day there is a new political poll proving that one candidate or the other is the strongest choice for the White House. During the entire Republican primary, various candidates have pointed to polls showing them as most likely to defeat President Obama in November. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are both touting themselves as the only member of the GOP who can unseat Obama in the fall.
• We note with regret the recent death of torch singer Etta James, whose rendition of "At Last" has never been equaled. The versatile singer had a dreamy voice, and the song, first made famous during the Big Band era by Glenn Miller, was perfect for her. James carved out an enviable career and will be long remembered.
We confess to be followers of big-time college athletics, but we acknowledge that it's out of hand in many ways. One of its sore points has been the practice of "oversigning" -- offering scholarships to more players than allowed by the NCAA, the governing body of college sports. In too many cases, schools over-offer grants-in-aid, which leaves them in the position of having to get rid of some players who have already been there for a year or two or three. Coaches are always able to rationalize this -- "bad attitude" is one reason they give -- but it's not an ...
When Gov. Nikki Haley delivered her State of the State address recently, she promised to try to create more jobs in South Carolina, block unions from expanding and a few other things. As you might expect, her speech was generally met with approval from fellow Republicans (though there's no love lost between Haley and many GOP legislators) and criticism from Democrats. But of all the things she mentioned, the one with the most potential for improving the climate in this state was her proposal for a "loser pays" system of civil lawsuits.
• The concept of youth and job shadowing has been around for years now, and its merits are as valuable as ever. Kershaw County middle-schoolers will be allowed to accompany a parent, relative or neighbor on the job Thursday to learn more about the workplace. The primary goal is to allow these seventh- and eighth-graders to find out about careers and jobs and the expectations that come with them. For students who are unable to participate, the Kershaw County School District provides virtual job shadowing activities in the classroom. The job shadowing experience can be an enriching one, and we hope ...
We'd ordinarily favor a proposal that would bring a couple of thousand news jobs to South Carolina as well as a healthy capital investment and the potential to lure more tourists to the Palmetto State. But in the instance of a proposed casino near Hardeeville in the Lowcountry, we have to say, "Thanks, but no thanks." That's apparently the same reception the idea is getting from Gov. Nikki Haley's office.
Voters here in Kershaw County and across South Carolina were subjected to an endless diatribe of political poison in the days and weeks leading up to Saturday's Republican presidential primary. This endless vitriol is nothing new, of course, as the entire process seems to have degenerated into an endless bout of mud wrestling. If you need evidence that not many people in Washington are concerned about the direction of politics and civility, we'll pass along an item that we discovered not long ago.
• We're glad to see that Alzheimer's Disease is finally getting the attention it deserves as far as efforts to combat it. Health experts met recently in Washington to make plans for the first national plan to fight the horrid disease. The top goal in the early draft of the National Alzheimer's Project Act is to prevent and effectively treat the malady by 2025. Finally, public funding and attention could rival that given to cancer and heart disease, and that, of course, is a good thing for the millions of families affected.
We're glad to see that another hurdle has been cleared in the city of Camden's efforts to get a truck bypass of the downtown area established. The Santee-Lynches Council of Governments recently voted unanimously to approve all three segments of the proposed truck route, and the vote also means about $17 million worth of state and federal funding will be released for the project. Obviously, that's a big step forward and puts the project into "when is this going to happen" status rather than "is this ever going to happen?" condition.
With the Republican primary on the near horizon here in Kershaw County and across South Carolina, there is a stereotype that still exists nowadays -- fueled in part by the national media, no doubt -- that the GOP is the organization of the wealthy and the Democratic Party is made up of the working class. But an analysis of voting trends in the recent New Hampshire primary and in the rest of the country, enumerated by a column in The Wall Street Journal, has helped shatter that image.
• Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich vowed that he would conduct a positive campaign for the presidency, and he did just that -- until his numbers started dropping. Gingrich, who polled well both in Iowa and New Hampshire at one time, unleashed a series of vitriolic ads against Mitt Romney as Gingrich's star began to fade. Other GOP candidates on the right have done the same as Romney has gained strength. These days, a positive message seems to last only as long as a candidate is doing well.
Now that the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary are over, the political focus of the nation is going to turn to South Carolina, where the Jan. 21 primary is the next major event in the presidential sweepstakes. The Palmetto State has a track record of predicting with its vote the eventual nominee, and it appears that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is on a roll heading into South Carolina.
Here in Kershaw County, we're like other Americans who live in a world in which we have to prove who we are. Before we are allowed to board airplanes, we must provide identification cards with our pictures on them. When we cash a check at the grocery store, the clerk usually asks for picture ID. When we pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy, we're often required to show similar proof of identification. Yet U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has blocked a South Carolina law requiring voters to show picture IDs when they go to the polls to ...
• South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier usually says what he thinks. We liked his comment regarding punter Joey Scribner-Howard following the Capitol One Bowl victory: "You never see me yell at our punter when he kicks one of those 25-yarders. He does it in practice, too." Of course, Spurrier could afford to be whimsical since the Gamecocks had won; his analysis might not have been so good-natured had they lost.
Thanksgiving generally marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, though commerce in this country is a continually changing animal. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when many stores have kicked off big sales and deep discounts, appears to be lessening in importance. Retail experts say there's more of a trend now in discounting that starts before Black Friday and extends well beyond it. Shoppers have become so accustomed to discounting among retailers that many are determined from the outset not to pay full price for anything.
On Sept. 28, 1789, according to a government website, the First Federal Congress passed a resolution asking President George Washington recommend to the nation a day of thanksgiving. The site goes on to describe what happened: a few days later, Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, Nov. 26, 1789, as a "day of public thanksgiving" -- the first time the holiday was celebrated by our fledgling country.
• Property rights vs. community pride is a conflict as old as civilization itself. In recent months, we've reported on two attempts to regulate the appearance of properties in an effort to clean up our communities. Back in October, Kershaw County Council rejected, 3-4, third reading of an ordinance which would have given the county authority to demolish uninhabitable dwellings deemed a nuisance to neighbors or the community at large. More recently, Bethune Town Councilman John Fulmer proposed an ordinance which, if passed in December, would fine owners of blighted properties if they don't clean them up after being ...
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