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:
Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate will turn the presidential campaign into one centered around economic policy, though Democrats will certainly try to make it about social issues. We hope it will stimulate serious discussion about this country's spiraling deficit and the unsustainability of the economy if the United States doesn't get a handle on its debt. Of course, how to reduce that debt is framed in different ways by the two parties, and so far there has been little effort by either to try to come to compromise. Democrats insist that taxing ...
• It's a bit difficult to believe that President Obama believes he's not gotten a fair shake from the national media. The New York Times reports that Obama is critical of the press because he thinks news media have hindered his ability to advance his political and social agenda. In reality, national newspapers and television networks -- Fox excluded, of course -- have fawned over the president for years. It's hard to figure how Obama believes he's getting a raw deal.
It comes as no surprise to sweltering Kershaw County residents that July was the hottest month ever in the lower 48 states. Weather figures indicate, too, that the first seven months of 2012 have also set a record for heat. Compounding the situation is what weather scientists call "extremes" -- events such as radical high and low temperatures, droughts, downpours, vicious storms and the like. They are on the upswing, and they're no fun for the people involved where they occur.
If we tried to count the politicians who have played fast and loose with the truth, it would be an impossible task. The art of embellishment rises to high levels when some candidates and office-holders assess their own abilities and accomplishments. But Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader, has sunk to new levels with his completely unsubstantiated charges against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
• It's a bit absurd that the U.S. government taxes the medals that this country's Olympic athletes win. For those who take the top prize, the gold medal, they are expected to add $675 to their taxable income and fork federal taxes over on that amount. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will introduce a plan to abolish that tax, and it will be a miserly lawmaker, indeed, who doesn't support such legislation.
South Carolina Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell isn't accustomed to being a figurehead. For many years, in his position as president pro tem of the Senate, he was one of the state's most powerful men. His knowledge of Senate rules and the respect he commanded in the Senate lent him unusual clout, which he was not timid about using. Then, through an unusual set of circumstances, McConnell became lieutenant governor after the former person who held that post, Kenneth Ard, ran afoul of ethics legislation and resigned. McConnell believes voters will approve a measure in November that will allow ...
Kershaw County Council Chairman Gene Wise is right in recommending to council members that they thoroughly vet people before placing them on the board of directors of KershawHealth. In the past, recommendations have primarily been rubber-stamped by the council; that doesn't mean highly qualified people weren't placed on the board, because there have been. Many county citizens have served faithfully and skillfully as the local hospital has navigated its way through a rapidly changing marketplace. But having competent board members is more necessary now than ever before because of a variety of changing federal mandates as well as ...
• We offer a tip of the Chronicle-Independent hat to the Rev. Bruce Hancock and the members of Camden's First Baptist Church, who are celebrating Hancock's 20th anniversary as pastor. It is rare that a minister remains at one church that long, and Hancock has carved out an enviable record at the county's largest church, with a great deal of growth (and spiritual nutrition) taking place.
The 2012 Olympic games begin today in London, and while there's always a touch of politics involved, the event still is inspirational as an example of international goodwill among all those who participate. The opening ceremonies have become an extravaganza over the years, but the best part is still the entrance into the stadium of the athletes from around the world, all there to compete against each other in the best tradition of sportsmanship.
We've said on prior occasions that governmental entities sometimes tend to go overboard on paying taxpayer money to hire consultants, but Camden City Council might do well to follow through on its idea to use a firm that will help conduct citizen surveys. Mayor Jeffrey Graham and council members have been bold in undertaking major initiatives but there is a perception among some that they have been unwilling to listen to those who disagree with them. Of course, we've also said that there's a difference in being unwilling to listen and in listening but not agreeing. In ...
• 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.
There are many things we like about Gov. Nikki Haley, chief among them being her determined focus on economic development. Haley has been a tireless campaigner for South Carolina when it comes to attracting business to the Palmetto State, and it's paid off in lots of jobs and significant tax revenue. We also like the fact she's a female of Indian descent who helps the diversity picture in South Carolina.
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