The many thousands of Atlanta Braves fans here in Kershaw County are no doubt hanging their heads in despair after the team blew a 10-and-a-half game wild-card lead in little more than a month to end up missing the National League playoffs. Ironically, the Boston Red Sox had a similar run of futility, failing to hang on to a nine-game wild-card lead they held Sept. 4. The Braves and the Red Sox share one common thread: they're both regional franchises, with Atlanta commanding huge hoards of fans in the South and the Red Sox the favorite of nearly every ...
Gov. Nikki Haley says something needs to be done to alter a pension system that gives South Carolina legislators wider benefits than other state workers. The subject has become controversial following a report in USA Today last week detailing ways in which lawmakers' pensions are more advantageous than those afforded other state workers. The president of the S.C. Retirees Association has entered the fray, criticizing the practice and calling for reforms.
• There are no doubt many Netflix users in Kershaw County; the video mail service grew over the years at an astonishing rate with its wide choice of flicks and excellent customer service. Then came a price increase that resulted in the loss of millions of customers, a move that CEO Reed Hastings recently acknowledged was "arrogant." The landscape is littered with companies that made brilliant moves, then followed them up with dunderheaded strategies that spelled death for them. It's too early to tell for Netflix.
With the steady fade of Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, the Republican nomination for president appears to be narrowing into a two-way race between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. That doesn't mean, of course, that things couldn't turn suddenly; four years ago, John McCain appeared dead in the water but mounted a strong comeback to win the nomination. But in this instance, it looks like it might be hand-to-hand combat between Romney and Perry, with the rest of the candidates left on the outside, looking in.
South Carolina recently passed a law that requires voters to show a photo ID when they go to the polls, and we have said all along those who object to such a move are throwing a red herring into the equation. There's certainly nothing wrong with having people prove who they say they are when they go to exercise the basic right of democracy, and the photo ID law does nothing to prevent people from voting or making it more difficult for them to do so.
• The leaders of a bipartisan congressional committee charged with finding $1.2 trillion in savings apparently understand the importance of their mission, with Sen. Patty Murray saying, "I don't see this as a party issue. I see success as bringing some confidence back to the American people that despite our differences, we can find some ways to move forward." Indeed, about four in five Americans say they have no confidence in Congress. Committee members of both parties have an opportunity to make a difference; let's hope they will take their duties seriously rather than hewing to a rigid ...
When the modern food stamp program began as a pilot project in 1961 -- it was authorized as a permanent program three years later -- those in charge probably never envisioned a day when people might walk into fast-food restaurants, order up a huge container of French fries and then pull out their food stamps to pay. But that's what's happening in some places today, and restaurant owners are pushing for a bigger share of the pie.
Nearly a half-century after the death of President John F. Kennedy, there remains a fascination with him and his family. The young Massachusetts senator won a narrow victory over Richard Nixon in 1960, and his brief administration has become known to many as "Camelot," a reference to the verve, idealism and sense of idyllic happiness that surrounded his time in office and the mood of the country at that time.
• This month's award for poor taste goes to the Pima County (Arizona) Republican Party, which is planning to raffle off a gun like the one used to shoot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Our dim view of this has nothing to do with second amendment rights, but rather spotlights an exercise in poor judgment, given the tragedy that occurred in Rep. Giffords' district in January, in which a gunman killed six people and wounded 13 others.
The late comedian Lewis Grizzard, whose column appeared in this newspaper, was an oft-married guy who used to joke that there was a bumper sticker reading "Honk If You've Been Married To Lewis Grizzard." Taking a new tack on an old theme, we're going to start looking for stickers announcing, "Honk If You've Sued Sheriff Jim Matthews."
We're glad to see that work sessions of Camden City Council will be recorded from this point on; the change was made after council member Willard Polk requested clarification on the state's Freedom of Information Act. Jay Bender, the pre-eminent FOI expert in South Carolina, said work sessions, even though official votes aren't taken, constitute a meeting under the statute's provisions and that such sessions should be subject to the law. City Attorney Charles Cushman had earlier opined that work sessions didn't fall under the purview of the state's FOI Act because they were ...
• Actress Daryl Hannah and others were arrested last week in front of the White House during a sit-in to protest a new oil pipeline from Canada. The activists called for clean energy investments, instead. We doubt there's a single American who's not in favor of cleaner energy, but the clear reality is that the country can't meet its needs with high-tech energy. In fact, one recipient of a recent government loan guarantee of half a billion dollars, solar energy company Solyndra, declared bankruptcy last week. We can't object to the idealism of those who would like ...
At last there's a hint of hope from Washington -- a tiny but palpable sign that just maybe, lawmakers are getting the message that people are weary of the logjam which prevents decent legislation from being passed. Democratic and Republican members of the Joint Select Committee On Deficit Reduction have agreed to name a longtime Senate staffer to assume the job of running the panel. The man they've chosen is Mark Prater, chief counsel for Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee. We're glad to see him named not because he's a member of the GOP but because ...
With Hurricane Irene having come and gone, and with Kershaw County and South Carolina having been spared, the second-guessers in other parts of the country are coming out of the woodwork. When it comes to hindsight, there's perhaps no area more fertile than weather -- specifically, severe storms. It's easy to assess blame after the fact, whether it's for lack of preparedness or over-reaction, and there is no shortage of people who are willing to do so.
• We're glad to see Camden native Larry Doby honored with a postage stamp in his honor, one of four Major League baseball players to be so recognized; Joe DiMaggio, the Yankee Clipper, is another, and the final two have yet to be chosen. Doby was the first black player in the American League and carved out an enviable career record. He died in 2003.
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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