The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week said it would lift its ban on cellphone conversations on airliners, but the ruling doesn't mean that non-stop jabbering will automatically be permitted; rather, it simply allows the airline companies to decide whether they want to sanction cellphone use or not. In doing so, the FCC finally acknowledged what most experts have preached for years: that the use of electronic devices doesn't actually interfere with a plane's communications and controls systems. There will no doubt be lots of passengers happy that they don't have to turn off their iPads ...
• If you're planning to visit family members in another area of the country and dread facing huge crowds in airports during Thanksgiving, consider this: within a decade, 24 of the busiest 30 airports in the nation will become as congested twice each week as they are on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. That's the prediction from a travel-industry study, and Charlotte's Douglas International Airport is among those included. So if you're flying next week, console yourself with the fact that soon, the bedlam you're facing will be an everyday affair.
If you don't believe that politics changes in a heartbeat, you need look back no further than the past few decades, when pundits and prognosticators predicted with certainty that one political party or the other had died, never again to be resurrected.
When it comes to football, most people in Kershaw County and across South Carolina get divided up into one of two camps -- either the University of South Carolina or Clemson. There's a pretty sizeable hump between the two, and fans tend to fall onto one side or the other. But since the Carolina Panthers started playing in the National Football League in 1995, it's given residents of the Palmetto State a team virtually everyone can cheer for. Of course, there are a few old diehard Washington Redskins fans left around Kershaw County from the days when that was ...
• One of the great talents of the modern musical world was Roy Orbison, who died in 1987 at age 52. Orbison's sons plan to soon release a host of previously unknown music which the multi-talented singer recorded in the years preceding his death. The sons vow these are not outtakes or junk songs, but tunes which will enhance the singer's stature rather than reduce it. Orbison, of "Oh, Pretty Woman" fame, left the earth too soon, and his fans will no doubt relish these new releases.
It remains to be seen whether Kershaw County travelers will benefit or suffer from the merger of USAirways and American Airlines, a move which was approved by the Justice Department earlier this week. Some consumer groups opposed the merger on grounds that it will reduce competition and ultimately lead to higher ticket prices. But at Charlotte's Douglas International Airport, which is used by many local travelers, USAirways already controls about 90 percent of the flights, so it's not going to make a huge competitive difference there.
The rollout of the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare, has become the most outrageous exercise in "I didn't know, don't blame me" that could be imagined. Meanwhile, the online registration system continues to fail, and now it's revealed that people trying to sign up for Medicaid are experiencing some of the same enrollment problems as those attempting to register for private insurance. Were it not so pathetic, the entire matter would be laughable, even as representatives of the administration continue to portray it as little more than minor glitches.
• When Blockbuster started its video rental stores in the 1980s, it was a marvel of technology -- movies available immediately, with a wide choice. Dish Network, which bought the company out of bankruptcy in 2011, announced last week it would close all remaining company-owned stores, finalizing a signal change in how people get their entertainment. Streaming video and other more modern technologies have made the video rental business obsolete. Indeed, we live in a changing world.
It's no secret that childhood obesity -- right here in Kershaw County and across the nation -- has reached epidemic proportions. And statistics indicate that obese kids become obese adults, complete with all the health complications that come with being overweight. At the same time, officials of national parks across the country are grappling with the fact that kids don't have the same enthusiasm for being outside that previous generations did. In fact, a movement called "Leave No Kid Inside" attempts to revive the spirit of adventure and exercise that is disappearing all too fast for all too many kids ...
It's been a turbulent year for the board of trustees at KershawHealth, with flowing red ink, major management changes and a transition in leadership of the board itself. Given all that, and with the future of the hospital as a locally owned institution at stake, it would make perfect sense for board members to ensure an open and transparent -- yes, that's an overused word, but it's appropriate -- process as they search for an interim CEO to fill the position of Donnie Weeks, who recently stepped down under pressure. After all, public trust in the hospital has never ...
• We're glad to see Catharine Ammons and James Watson of Kershaw County sentenced to long prison terms for their role in abusing Ammons' daughter (see today's front page). The couple battered her unmercifully, and the little girl's barely survived broken bones, damaged organs and malnutrition. They were given 20 years in prison, and we hope they'll ponder their misdeeds during their long years beyond bars, which is exactly where they belong.
Out in Iowa, a state whose early presidential caucuses have given it inordinate influence over the political process, Republicans are worried that the state is losing influence because far-right conservatives are dominating the process and causing some moderate GOP White House hopefuls to consider skipping the state. Actually, the country would probably be better off if Iowa's caucuses didn't carry such weight, because they allow a small percentage of the electorate there to play such a big role in presidential momentum.
The latest chapter in the city of Camden's now-defunct attempt to build a new YMCA facility was written last week when a circuit court judge ruled the city had been within its legal rights to attempt to use hospitality tax revenue to construct the facility. Ultimately, the city's controversial plan for a Y was defeated in a November 2012 referendum, and the furor surrounding the matter played a major role in Mayor Jeffrey Graham's defeat. So, Judge Alison Renee Lee's ruling was something of a Pyrrhic victory for the city. Yet it did vindicate some elected ...
• There's a bit of confusion and disagreement among Camden City Council members and officials about just how quickly the development process for the former Maxway building site should move, but one thing is clear: without any improvement at all, the site already looks better than it did when the rotting building stood there. It will be interesting to see what finally happens, but we'll offer a tip of the hat to council members for proceeding with the demolition.
The website rollout of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, is almost a parody of all that is wrong with government and the way it functions in too many cases. We're not referring here to the bill itself; certainly there are those in Kershaw County who think the concept of Obamacare is a wonderful thing and there are others who see it as a poorly conceived, overly expensive plan that the country can't afford.
We join the city of Camden – and everyone in it – in a heartfelt thank you to Jack Brantley.
It appears Kershaw County was spared any serious problems associated with winter weather.
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