• The suit filed by former Kershaw County Sheriff Steve McCaskill against present Sheriff Jim Matthews is a messy situation that will cost county taxpayers money. Libel laws are written so that people who hold themselves up to scrutiny -- in other words, almost all elected officials -- have very difficult tasks in winning such suits; they must usually prove there is malice involved, which is difficult to do. At the same time, Matthews has certainly made uncomplimentary comments about McCaskill. This matter could end up being expensive and unpleasant for lots of people.
Business leaders from across the United States -- ranging from Wall Street monarchs to small-town family business owners -- barraged Congress earlier this week with the same message that many Americans would like to send: quit arguing and get something done about the debt ceiling and then the long-term fiscal discipline of this country. News reports indicate that a concerted effort from business people across the spectrum was aimed at Washington -- ironically, much of it toward Republican lawmakers who have benefited from business contributions in the past.
Many Kershaw Countians who are past middle age undoubtedly recall with fondness former First Lady Betty Ford, who died last week at age 93. Her husband, Gerald Ford, became president upon Richard Nixon's resignation following the Watergate scandal; he had earlier been appointed to the vice presidency after Spiro Agnew resigned in disgrace.
• President Obama has started tweeting, and he might regret it. The president is now using the social-media Twitter to send out messages, but Republicans aren't letting him get off unscathed, sending in questions about the economy's performance during his administration. The city of Camden has recently undergone its own social media upheaval with its (former) Facebook account, and folks there might advise the president that tweeting might not end up all that it's cracked up to be.
Many Kershaw County residents are no doubt keeping in their minds the most-used cliché in legal circles: you can never predict what a jury's going to do. That certainly proved true again earlier this week, when 12 people found Casey Anthony not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter. It was a case that had captured public opinion perhaps as no other had since the murder trial of O.J. Simpson many years ago. Both defendants were acquitted despite circumstantial evidence that seemed overwhelming. Both cases also spotlighted Americans' fascination with the legal system and with high-profile crime cases.
Up until recently, someone who mentioned the words "woman" and "presidential candidate" in the same breath probably would have been met with the response, "Sarah Palin." But now, with Palin's star fading -- at least politically -- and with nobody having stepped forward to commandeer the frontrunner's role in the Republican field, Minnesota Congressman Michelle Bachmann is assuming a front-and-center position as a viable candidate to take the GOP nomination. Whether her early poll results will result in another shooting-star phenomenon is yet to be told, but Bachmann is proving herself a more adept campaigner than Palin was.
• Spin is a way of life in Washington, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi carried it to new heights last week. When George Bush was president and Democrats controlled the House, she blamed everything in the world, maybe even including bad weather, on Bush. Now that Barack Obama is president and the economy is still struggling, she blames all the world's woes on Republicans, who have a majority in the house. "They hold the power," Pelosi says. Right.
South Carolina baseball fans have plenty to crow about with the Gamecocks having won their second consecutive national championship, a feat that has been accomplished only a few times prior to this year. In the process, the team swept through the post-season playoffs without a loss, setting a record for consecutive playoff victories. The most exciting part was that USC was not a team that just lined up and mowed down the opposition without pausing; the Gamecocks got themselves into plenty of tight spots along the way and always managed to extricate themselves without major problems occurring. All championship teams ...
Officials at the Obama White House have been making calls to primary care doctors in this country, trying to make appointments in an effort to find out how difficult it is to do so if they're new patients. There's just one problem: those making the calls aren't identifying themselves and are basically "mystery shoppers" who are trying to ferret information from the doctors and trying to find out whether different answers are being given if they are paying privately or have public insurance such as Medicaid.
• Young people have great resiliency, and we enjoyed a quotation from pro golfer Rory McIlroy after he ran away with the U.S. Open recently. Asked if his last-round collapse in the Masters tournament last spring was weighing heavily on his mind as he approached the final round in the Open, he replied, "Honestly, I don't know what all the fuss is about, because at the end of the day it's just a golf tournament and I'm 21." That's what we call keeping your perspective.
So-called social media sites on the Internet have proliferated in recent years, and such venues as Facebook are hugely popular with the under-40 crowd as well as many who are over that age. But such sites have their risks, too, as the city of Camden found out recently when it shut down its Facebook page after a number of people had posted comments -- some of them inappropriate -- criticizing the city's efforts to reach a joint accord with the Columbia YMCA for a new facility in Camden.
NBC's coverage of last weekend's U.S. Open golf championship was notable for two reasons. First, it showcased the masterful performance of Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who established a new scoring record for the tournament and possibly signaled a "changing of the guard" from the Tiger Woods era (he didn't play because of an injury). Second, the network found itself with a controversy on its hands after it presented videos of American youngsters reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and either edited out or didn't include in the first place the words "under God" in the ...
• We're glad to see that Pee Dee native Cale Yarborough has been voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Yarborough and his hard-driving style helped popularize auto racing decades ago, and back in those days, when drivers were often former moonshine runners, he was also pretty good with his fists. His brouhaha with Bobby and Donnie Allison is still the stuff of legends. Yarborough, short in statue but tall in skill, is a deserving member of the Hall of Fame.
There's one presidential political fact that's abundantly clear: most voters today favor "none of the above." Fewer than half of all Americans believe President Obama is doing a good job, but the field of contenders for the Republican nomination isn't exactly drawing rave reviews. Those observers who enjoy a good political free-for-all are no doubt watching that GOP race with interest, as there's already a host of hopefuls, and others are eying the race.
Like many others across this country, we were surprised -- maybe "shocked" would be a better word -- when Sen. John McCain named then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. McCain was already facing headwinds in the general election, and the choice of Palin gave him a quick boost in the polls. But as people found out more about the chief executive of the frozen state, they decided she didn't have the qualifications to stand a heartbeat away from the presidency, as some like to refer to the vice presidency. We shared those views; while we found her an engaging ...
No couple in America stirs emotions like Bill and Hillary Clinton, so when she showed up at an Iowa political festival acting more and more like a presidential candidate, it caused quite a flap among those who have begun such movements as "Ready For Hillary," and also among those who'd rather see anybody than her become president. But it proved one thing: that even after decades in the spotlight of the political arena, she still commands attention.
It was another black eye for South Carolina last week when Rep. Bobby Harrell, speaker of the House of Representatives, was indicted by a Richland County grand jury on nine counts, including illegally using campaign money for personal expenses, filing false campaign disclosures and misconduct in office. Harrell suspended himself -- how's that for an oddity? -- and will now face his government accusers. South Carolina certainly doesn't have a monopoly on political malfeasance but the Palmetto State has had more than its share of governmental scandal. We say that fully recognizing that Harrell is innocent until proven guilty.
• What a boon the S.C. Equine Park has been for Camden and Kershaw County! And now, with word that a second, larger covered arena will be built -- possibly as soon as this winter -- the park should ultimately bring even more people to the area than it already does. Think on this: even with the arena already in place, the equine park has been booked an average of 30 weekends each year, with an economic impact of $4 million. Imagine if, with the second arena, the park could be booked 45 or even 50 weekends each year. How much would ...
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