• 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.
• We notice that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has, as some used to say with regularity, "done gone to quoting the Bible" in his attempt to win the White House. Gingrich told a recent audience that Proverbs warns that "without vision, people will perish." Time has proven that people often try hard to prove things by using statistics and the Bible, both of which can be manipulated. We'd prefer he stay away from the scriptures when it comes to touting his own candidacy.
If you've been sniffling and sneezing and wondering when the giant clouds of yellow pollen will finally subside, take heart: the worst of it is over, and those yellow cars you see driving around Kershaw County will soon be back to their natural colors. That will no doubt be a relief to many allergy sufferers here, and it will mean that everyone can finally celebrate, without reservation, the glory that is spring in South Carolina.
South Carolinians shouldn't be surprised to see the state rank poorly in yet another survey. It seems the Palmetto State is forever being relegated to the bottom tier in all kinds of indicators. Some of them, of course, don't have much validity. But the latest one, in which only five states are ranked lower than South Carolina in susceptibility to political corruption, is particularly unnerving because it's one that could be avoided with a modicum of care from legislators.
• One more sign of a changing digital world is the demise of the print edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, which will no longer publish a paper-and-ink version after 224 years. The World Wide Web, including online encyclopedia Wikipedia, made the Brittanica obsolete. It was considered the granddaddy of all American reference volumes, though its livelier cousin World Book, outsold it. Time waits for no man, and certainly not for Brittanica.
It's good to see that Gov. Nikki Haley, who hasn't won a reputation for openness in her administration, has agreed to a plan which will result in better retention of records in the governor's office. Haley and the S. C. Department of Archives and History agreed to the plan, which is partly a result of The State newspaper's discovery a few months ago that e-mails and other records were being routinely destroyed.
One of the things that makes community newspapering difficult is covering painful stories. Reporters and editors who report on controversial events for metro newspapers located in large urban areas seldom know the people they're reporting on -- or their friends and family members. Conversely, in a tight-knit community like Camden, such stories take on a much more personal impact, because so many of the participants know each other.
• We hope the community will join us in cheering on five Camden Military Academy (CMA) cadets who will travel in June to the University of Maryland to enter their National History Day performance piece into competition. The play is based on events from the 1950s and '60s surrounding the Civil Rights movement in Summerton, just an hour south of Camden. It's not just a matter of grabbing a few quotes off the internet and slapping together a script. The cadets, lead by CMA Dean of Students John Heflin, extensively researched the events leading to the landmark Briggs v. Elliott ...
Ernest Kinard, who died earlier this week, was made for the law. Possessed of a keen intellect and a probing curiosity, Kinard practiced law for 24 years in Camden before being elected a circuit court judge in 1988. He remained on the bench until his retirement in 2010, and in a "keep working" program for retired judges, he continued until recently. In all his years as a judge, he never missed a day of holding court, establishing a remarkable record of consistency and longevity. Kinard mentored a number of young attorneys who practiced with him or clerked for him over ...
As we noted Monday, the Camden Planning and Zoning Commission was scheduled to hear a proposal Tuesday night for a rezoning request for the Beechwood property on Knights Hill Road, a move which could lead to a retirement community being built there which would be a tasteful and feasible addition to the Camden community. We hope the project moves forward.
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