With the country on the brink of a debt default, and with elected officials in Washington locked in combat, it has never been more apparent how fragile the art of compromise is in the nation's capital. Most believe the reason is that for years, members of the Republican and Democratic parties have become more and more polarized, Republicans hewing to the hard right and Democrats to the hard left. There's lots of space to meet in the middle, but Washington pols don't appear interested. This is frustrating to many centrists who believe government shouldn't exist on ...
• Actress Jane Fonda says she's "deeply disappointed that (shopping channel) QVC caved in to insane pressure" and cancelled her recent television appearance. Fonda, as you might recall, straddled a Viet Cong anti-aircraft gun during the Vietnam war; she later charged she'd been tricked into the stunt. But people have long memories. Fonda's conduct went far beyond activism and protest, amounting instead to consorting with the enemy, and she must live with the consequences. If QVC made the decision to cancel her appearance because the company thought she would ultimately hurt business, the network had every right to ...
Author Chris Crutcher says he's shocked -- shocked! -- that his book "Angry Management" has been removed from Kershaw County School District libraries and from the district's summer reading list. Imagine that.
Kershaw County resident Reggie Lloyd has had an impressive -- some would say meteoric -- career run in his public life. After practicing law for a prestigious Columbia law firm, he was elected a circuit court judge, and then he became U.S. Attorney for South Carolina, the first African-American to serve in that post since Reconstruction. In 2008 he was appointed by then-Gov. Mark Sanford to head the State Law Enforcement Division.
• 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.
• It looks like it's full steam ahead for KershawHealth and its strategic plan. In recent weeks, we have reported on the creation -- after several years of hard work -- of a general surgery division; the recruitment of a new orthopedic surgeon; the signing of an agreement with Orthopedic Advantage to create a top-level orthopedic center in Kershaw County; and an already established agreement with Team Health to transform KershawHealth's emergency department in order to fast-track non-emergent patients allowing staff to focus on those in true emergency situations. Dr. T. Chris Tran, the new orthopedic surgeon, joined Camden Bone & Joint ...
President Obama, who promised the most transparent administration in history, has delivered perhaps the least transparent. Following the trend of other recent presidents, Obama has kept a tight lid on the press, rarely interacting with reporters in a spontaneous fashion and instead relying on the spin of his White House press directors. And it has gotten worse the longer Obama has been in office; one report last week indicated that the administration was denying access on a variety of subjects with increasing regularity. The Associated Press reported, "In category after category -- except for reducing numbers of old requests and a ...
Attorney General Eric Holder's recent statement that race plays a part in some Americans' opposition to President Obama's policies has stirred strong reaction from both liberals and conservatives, and reaction has highlighted the fact -- no surprise here -- that blacks and whites often look at issues of race differently. We suspect that Kershaw County would mirror the national opinions of a recent Gallup poll in which people were asked whether this country's criminal justice system is biased against blacks. More than two-thirds of whites said no, while about the same percentage of blacks said yes.
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