• Having watched and participated in July Fourth celebrations, we are struck by the same thought that hits us each year on Independence Day: that despite this country's problems, even with the bipartisan wrangling that threatens to upend our political process, considering the economy that is having a hard time gaining traction, the United States is still far and away the greatest country in the world. We join others across Kershaw County in celebrating the magnificent heritage and promising future of the good old U.S. of A.
Kershaw County Council's consideration of a noise ordinance is a positive thing that needs to move forward to a conclusion. It should set specific standards for what kind and level of noise is acceptable and what's not. Blaring music, loud equipment and yelping dogs might not bother some people at all, but it can keep their neighbors from sleeping or enjoying peaceful summer days and nights.
A significant number of people in Kershaw County probably believe -- incorrectly, of course -- that the Camden Archives is filled with musty, boring documents that only an historian could love. That's not the case, of course, and the current exhibit of Larry Doby memorabilia is a prime example. Now on display and running through the end of the year, the Doby exhibit tells the story of a man who came second behind the famed Jackie Robinson in breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier but found far less fame from doing so. The display kicks off here in Doby's ...
• With partisan bickering in Washington at an all-time high, we were glad to see Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah turn back a Republican Party primary challenge last week. Hatch is one of the few senators left in the capital who attempts to compromise and reach across party aisles to get things done. We're glad the voters of Utah put him over the top, for in that state, winning the GOP primary is usually tantamount to being elected.
Camden residents will have a chance to voice their opinions soon on two major transportation projects slated for the town -- a proposed "road diet" for Camden's Broad Street and an official truck route around the city. Both of them could have a major impact on the city for years to come, so we hope citizens who have a particular point of view will voice their feelings July 10 at Camden High School.
Recent polls show, unsurprisingly, that President Obama holds an overwhelming lead among Latino voters, outdistancing Republican Mitt Romney by almost a three-to-one margin. Part of this is because of Obama's political posturing towards Hispanics, but part is also due to the GOP's failure to offer programs that appeal to the country's fastest-growing group. It follows the same trend that holds with African-American voters, who favor Obama -- or any other Democrat, for that matter -- by almost 90 percent.
• Cycling legend Lance Armstrong has again been accused of cheating by using illegal performance-enhancing drugs, with accusations made by the U.S. Anti-Doping Association. Armstrong has been accused of the same offense multiple times in the past though nobody has ever offered concrete evidence that's been proven. If Armstrong is guilty, then he should be punished, but any new charges should be quickly proven or given up.
President Obama and Mitt Romney are criss-crossing the country on their campaigns, making all sorts of claims about what they've done and will do. What they're doing is playing fast and loose with the truth, which isn't unusual for politicians. In trying to enhance their records and cast doubt on each other, they're quoting statistics out of context, making misleading statements about their respective records and generally acting like people who aren't exactly under the influence of truth serum.
We've bemoaned on many occasions the incivility and partisan rancor of today's political scene, but we can't lay all the blame at the feet of the candidates and office-holders. If the electorate demanded more bipartisanship and more decency during campaigning, candidates would bend to those desires. But as we're seeing as the presidential race heats up, it's often members of the audience who ratchet up ill feelings.
• Federal officials made the right call last week in choosing not to attempt to re-prosecute former Sen. John Edwards, whose recent trail for campaign finance fraud ended with a hung jury on most counts. The case was terribly complicated, and many legal experts predicted from the outset that a conviction would be difficult. The decision not to re-try Edwards doesn't mean he's innocent; it just means Uncle Sam recognizes he probably couldn't be convicted.
Humorist Will Rogers once said he didn't belong to an organized political party; he was a Democrat. That appears particularly true now that the S. C. Democratic Party's primary for the new seventh Congressional District seat is mired in controversy over whether or not the votes for a candidate who had withdrawn should be counted. Complicating the situation is that the fate of the favored son of the party's hierarchy hangs in the balance as officials – and, later, probably lawyers – try to unravel the mess.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said earlier this week what many Republicans staunchly refuse to acknowledge: that their hero, Ronald Reagan, would be out of step with many in the GOP today, that the hard-line ideologists would find him too flexible, too willing to compromise, too amenable to recognizing members of the opposite party and working with them to create legislation that would benefit the country. Bush included his own father along with Reagan, too.
• Massive lawsuits have been filed against the National Football League by former players who claim the NFL hid evidence linking injuries to permanent brain damage. Because of medical evidence about shortened life spans and brain abnormalities, more and more people who used to scoff at such actions are now asking the question, legitimately, "Do I want my son to play football?"
Tuesday's recall election in Wisconsin, where backers of public unions failed to unseat Gov. Scott Walker after he cut collective bargaining rights, commanded much of the spotlight, but voters in San Jose and San Diego, Cal. also dealt major blows to public unions by voting to cut the pension benefits of public workers in those two cities. Many labor experts see a rising tide of such moves as cities and states are now facing the harsh economic realities of the rich deals they bestowed upon unions for so many years.
By the time you read this, the tale will have been told on the Wisconsin recall election of Gov. Scott Walker, who was elected two years ago on a promise of cutting the power of public unions' collective bargaining, which is exactly what he did after taking office. The resultant blowback from liberal groups was powerful, and a recall election was scheduled and held yesterday.
Lawyers, court officials and others who end up spending time in criminal courtrooms in Kershaw County and elsewhere have no doubt heard many defendants' attorneys try to burnish their image after they've been convicted of crimes. The purpose, of course, is to try to grab a bit of leniency from the judge or jury which is going to hand down a sentence. "He's a good boy" is one of the favorites, often portraying the convicted person as a high knight of society who just happened to make a mistake, perhaps murder or armed robbery. "I just snapped" is ...
In the last 42 years, Kershaw County has had a number of sheriffs, some of them who performed more efficiently than others. Over that entire period, nearby Lexington County had only one -- James Metts, who was sentenced to prison Monday after pleading guilty to taking money in return for letting two illegal immigrants out of jail. Though he had no direct connection to Kershaw County, many here were familiar with him through his long service in another Midlands county and a great deal of publicity he received.
In the most recent installment of our "Is Kershaw County being left behind?" series of articles on economic development, we looked at some non-industrial pieces of the puzzle. One highly visible sign of economic health in a community -- successful or poor -- is the number of active storefronts, whether individual buildings or as part of shopping centers.
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