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.
• In the wake of revelations that some NFL teams paid bonuses to defensive players for delivering such hard hits that offensive players were knocked out of games, it would be naïve for anyone to believe this is a new wrinkle. But league commissioner Roger Goodell needs to deal with this and put an end to it, especially in light of all the recent revelations about brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head.
If there were evidence of widespread crossover voting in South Carolina primaries -- if Democrats were voting in Republican primaries just to subvert the process, or vice versa -- then it might make sense to require people to register by party before casting ballots in primaries. But there's not, and so there's no real need for a bill that has been introduced in the House of Representatives to close primaries.
Lawmakers in Washington have long ignored the fact that the Social Security system in this country is broken. On the brink of insolvency, Social Security needs major revamping, whether it comes in the form of benefit reductions, tax increases or both. Congress has refused to consider benefit cuts decades out in the future, even for young adults who are just now starting to pay into the system. They are turning their backs on such simple fixes as delaying the age by a year or two at which people can start receiving their monthly allotments. Bear in mind, we aren't ...
The Republican presidential field is already getting crowded, and the South Carolina GOP primary is often viewed as a bellwether for White House hopefuls. Because this is a conservative state, candidates in past years have often moved to the right while campaigning here. But a new poll shows Republican voters in South Carolina might be moving away from some of the hard-line social issues they have embraced in the past. As a side note, many political observers believe the party "had better get out of people's bedrooms if it wants to broaden its appeal."
• Last week's seizure by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of Old Armory Steak & Seafood on Rutledge Street marks at least the temporary loss of one of Camden and Kershaw County's premier restaurants. It is an unfortunate blow to the downtown Camden economy. Each business provides potential traffic to another and the loss of any one diminishes such beneficial ripple effects. Locals cheered the Old Armory's opening in 2006 so soon after the closing of the previous tenant, The Paddock. Many people and businesses have celebrated the holidays, proms, anniversaries, engagements, weddings, birthdays and more at the Old ...
With Augusta being only a couple hours away from Kershaw County, the Masters golf tournament holds a great deal of allure for this area. The azaleas at Augusta National are famous for their popping colors and their beauty, but they're no prettier than those which are currently at their peak in Camden, we might add. But there's something magical about the Masters, which is ranked by many players as the one tournament they'd like to win more than any other.
There have been many great additions to the Camden landscape in recent years -- to name a few, the statues of Joseph Kershaw and King Haiglar at the Town Green; the Bernard Baruch and Larry Doby statuary at the Camden Archives; and the new pocket park where the former Maxway building stood. All these have added to the town's appearance and ambience.
• Congratulations to Johnny Deal and Richard Walkirch for receiving, respectively, the United Way of Kershaw County's Jake Watson and Ann Dallas awards. Deal, often known as "Mr. Camden" or "Mr. Facebook" around town, is one of many people's favorite personalities. That doesn't necessarily win you awards. What does is a commitment to community involvement, which Deal has in spades, working with the Camden Jaycees, Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce, Community Medical Clinic, Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, the United Way and more. As for volunteerism, we can't imagine a more worthy recipient for the Dallas ...
We're not too high on elected officials who hew to positions on the fringes. Like many, we believe adherence to strict political philosophies is one of the primary reasons for the polarization in American politics today. There just aren't many lawmakers in Washington today who are willing to sit down and work things out despite their political differences, as there were for decades.
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