• USAirways, which has a major hub in Charlotte, is making a play for American Airlines, which is in bankruptcy, cutting a deal with American's unions that will give USAirways a step up in the merger it seeks. For Kershaw County travelers who choose to fly out of Charlotte rather than subject themselves to the restrictions of Columbia's limited flight schedules, that would be a great improvement, and we hope USAirways is able to pull its deal off.
After years of fan discontent over the lack of a playoff system in college football, it appears that progress is finally being made toward establishing some sort of playoff that will involve at least four teams and possibly more. Over many seasons, since the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was established, college football's power brokers steadfastly refused to admit that a controversial system of picking two teams to play for the national championship had any weaknesses. They wanted to protect the current bowl system and they displayed a blind eye to fans' calls for a playoff.
Members of the S. C. General Assembly appear poised to strike down the TERI program as the state's retirement system deficit continues to climb, recently hitting the $14 billion mark. The program was born out of good intentions but contained so many loopholes that it became the antithesis of what lawmakers intended when they started it.
• Political spin is a given these days, and President Obama is as good -- or bad, given your point of view -- at it as anyone. We were amused at his response to one reporter after Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen stuck her foot in her mouth with her comment about Ann Romney's never having "worked a day in her life." Obama referred to Rosen as "some woman on television," conveniently forgetting that she's a Democratic operative. We'll have to admit that goes beyond spin.
Pat Summit, the legendary coach of the women's basketball team at the University of Tennessee, has stepped down, months after revealing that she has early-onset dementia. Summit carved out one of the most incredible records of any coach in any sport, finishing her career after 38 years with 1,098 wins and only 208 losses and more championships than anyone can count. We are all left to ponder one inescapable fact: if dementia can strike someone as young (59) and as active as Pat Summit, is there anyone who's immune?
One of the great things about our political system is that citizens can openly and freely voice their opinions about elected officials and particular proposals that are under consideration. Such dialogue has been common in the controversy surrounding the proposed sports complex in Camden. Some critics have been vocal not only about the project itself but about the way Camden City Council has handled the matter. We understand many of those concerns; we've commented on prior occasions that council members could have done a better job of presenting their ideas and accepting public input. On the other hand, there ...
• We're glad to read that analysts say the surge in gasoline prices is nearing its end and that prices might actually subside a bit as we head toward summer. Here in the United States, fuel prices have never been a classic supply-and-demand item, and there are few who truly understand the system. But one thing is indeed clear: if prices are going down, we're all going to have more money in our pockets to spend on other things and to help stimulate the recovery, and that's indeed a good thing.
There's a long history in this country of major-party presidential candidates bending to the left (if they're Democrats) or to the right (Republicans) to win their parties' nominations, and then swinging back toward the center during the general election that determines who will occupy the White House for the next four years. That's probably what we're going to see now that Rick Santorum has given up his campaign, opening the door for Mitt Romney to become the Republican nominee.
Back in the early 1960s, the journalism surrounding politicians and famous figures was often adoring and non-controversial -- something a public relations expert might dream up. Movie stars and professional athletes were always pictured as happy and devoted to their families, although there was probably nearly as much fooling around back then as now. And political figures were smilingly looked upon as people who had nothing more than the good of the country in their hearts. President John F. Kennedy's multiple dalliances were well known but never reported.
• Everybody realizes that airline food isn't the best – even if you get anything at all to eat, which isn't often -- but a woman traveling on Qantas Airlines from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia, last week got the ultimate insult -- crawling maggots in a bag of trail mix distributed by a flight attendant. There's no word on whether she had to use her airline sickness bag after discovering the creatures mid-snack, but Qantas' offer to her -- $400 off her $1,600 ticket -- seems a bit chintzy.
Politicians are known to exaggerate from time to time, and U.S. Rep. James Clyburn followed that tradition earlier this week when he said a South Carolina law requiring voters to show a picture ID when going to the polls hearkens back to the Jim Crow era, when all sorts of measures prevented blacks from going to the polls. Those days are gone forever, though they remained in force for too long, and the new law -- it's being challenged by the Obama administration's Justice Department -- poses no threat to trying to disenfranchise people. Rather, it's a safeguard ...
There are many people in Kershaw County who are no doubt shocked by the recent lawsuit filed against Camden Military Academy, in which the parents of a former cadet say he was not only hazed and beaten but sodomized and raped. Those allegations are yet to play out in a courtroom, but we would caution against a rush to judgment in this case. CMA has not been proven guilty of anything, and in the American system of jurisprudence, lawsuits can be filed in a fast and furious manner, usually with no penalty -- monetary or otherwise -- against the plaintiffs who file ...
• Camden and Kershaw County and, indeed, the state are fortunate to count Sibby Wood among their citizens. Raised in a family which fostered the arts, Wood has pursued a mission to provide access to the arts to all, with a particular focus on integrating arts into education. In May, the S.C. Governor's School of the Arts and Humanities will recognize Wood, who was instrumental in plans for the Greenville-based state residential school, with the presentation of the J. Verne Smith Leadership Award. Wood's support of the arts is well-known in the Camden community; this well-deserved honor embraces ...
The three days of oral arguments that took place in the U.S. Supreme Court this week regarding President Obama's health care plan provide an interesting look into what has happened over past years in the political world and how that has affected the judiciary. Over the last few administrations, presidents have gone further and further in appointing justices who hue to a particular political philosophy. It has become easy to predict the outcome of many of the landmark decisions that come before the court because a certain segment often votes together, in opposition to another segment which habitually ...
Rick Santorum took the Louisiana Republican presidential primary last week, but Mitt Romney grinds inexorably on, increasing his delegate count and making it more and more difficult for anyone else to become the GOP standard bearer. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich refuses to face the reality of defeat and stubbornly hangs on, and while there is a mathematical chance someone other than Romney could win, the odds are long.
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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