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 ...
* Rightly or wrongly, presidents generally get the credit or the blame for economic conditions in the country, as most voters place responsibility on the chief executive rather than Congress. In that regard, President Obama faces headwinds in his re-election efforts. He also is up against an historical precedent that's surprising: if he wins another term in the White House in November of next year, it will be only the second time in history that three consecutive presidents have won back-to-back terms. The last time it occurred was in 1801-1825, when Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe all were ...
As we mentioned earlier this week, Gov. Nikki Haley has several solid proposals in her package to streamline state government. The S. C. Supreme Court has ruled that she doesn't have the authority -- it was hardly a clear-cut decision, coming in at 3-2 -- to call the Senate back into session, as she attempted to do, and it now appears that South Carolinians might be in for four more years of contention between the governor and the legislature.
We don't want to make it seem as if we're piling on someone when he's down, but frankly, we always thought John Edwards was a bit sleazy -- and we've said that before. Even prior to revelations about his affair and child with videographer Rielle Hunter, Edwards always seemed just a little too slick, a tad too holier-than-thou. He was, to sum it up in a word, smarmy.
• The attempt by Walt Disney Co. to trademark the term "Seal Team 6" following the killing of Osama bin Laden by a team of Navy Seals was a shameless money grab. Critics and comedians ridiculed Disney for its attempt and the company later said it was abandoning its effort "out of deference to the Navy." Whichever Disney executive advanced that bungled idea should be shown the door.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the ultra-left Ohio Congressman who has a penchant for running for president and not getting anywhere, is in danger of losing his congressional seat, which is based in the Cleveland area but might disappear when redistricting takes place later this year. So Kucinich is exploring the idea of running for Congress from Washington state, where his political views would align with many in that west-coast bastion of liberalism. Kucinich certainly wouldn't be the first person to go seeking a place from which to run and serve. Bobby Kennedy did it way back in the 1960s, running ...
South Carolina Republican officials don't like a ruling made by U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs allowing open voting in primaries, the system that's used in the state now and has been for decades. Under that plan, voters can choose which party's primary they want to participate in from year to year. But lawyers for the GOP are asking Childs to examine whether that might be unconstitutional. Childs, in her earlier ruling, had said that if Republicans want to exclude people from their process, they could choose a new method such as conventions or petitions.
• We welcome newly hired Kershaw County Administrator Victor Carpenter, who comes to this area from Abbeville County; we hope Carpenter can lend some stability to a position that's had too much turnover in recent years. And while we're at it, let us offer a tip of the hat to Frank Broom, former Camden city manager, who served as interim county administrator and was able to "straight shoot" with council members, partly because he didn't have to worry about their becoming angry and siding against him, a concern that "regular" administrators naturally must harbor.
With spending deficits that can't be sustained without driving this country to financial ruin, lawmakers in Washington have lots of choices before them. So far they seem to be ignoring them. But their job isn't easy, and this week's New York House of Representatives race, in which a Democrat captured a seat in a traditionally Republican district, became a referendum on cutting Medicare benefits, and voters said they didn't like that.
• We are comforted when justice is served, and we believe that happened Thursday afternoon when a jury found 33-year-old Willie Thomas Starnes, of Bethune, guilty of armed robbery and murder. The jury found Starnes guilty of deliberately using his vehicle a year ago to knock Alan Thomas Robinson, 67, also of Bethune, off his moped, stealing and loading that moped onto his vehicle and then turning around and running Robinson over. Robinson died the next day. Starnes is then accused of selling the moped for money he used to buy drugs. In fact, Starnes was under the influence of drugs ...
Whenever the subject of guns is brought up, it engenders strong opinion on both sides -- from those who believe in absolute Second Amendment rights, and from those who believe that nobody should be allowed to own a gun in any circumstances. Like most people, we fall somewhere in the middle, solidly on the side of Americans to own firearms but a bit dubious about why it makes sense for people to own Uzis and other automatic weapons that are made with the express purpose of killing people.
We comment on sports issues in this space on a regular basis, because athletics are so ingrained into the culture of Kershaw County and South Carolina. This week marks the kick-off of college football season in the Palmetto State, and several developments highlight the changing culture of the pigskin pastime here.
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