We live in troubled times. The United States is mired in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, which has left thousands of Kershaw County residents with dire immediate circumstances and uncertain prospects for the future. Our military is fighting terrorism on many fronts, and the world in general has in many ways lost its respect -- and certainly its reverence -- for our country. Our federal government is strangled by political gridlock, and an overwhelming percentage of Americans say our elected officials aren't doing the job they were sent to Washington to do. Some people feel the moral and ...
• NBC is hiring former First Child Chelsea Clinton to do news projects. She will join Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of ex-President George W. Bush, in doing work for the network, including the "Today" show. Looking at the kids of a former Democratic and Republican president, it strikes us that the duo might comprise the only semblance of political neutrality that left-leaning NBC has ever shown.
As much as we would all like to believe that judges are not influenced in any way by politics, the real world just doesn't work that way. Those who sit on the bench can't help but be influenced by the philosophies they have developed over their entire lives. So with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear arguments about the fate of President Obama's health care plan, we can all brace ourselves for a firestorm of rhetoric from pundits, commentators and strategists, many of whom will see a sinister plot in the entire episode. Compounding ...
• We note with sadness the death of South Carolina native Joe Frazier, who was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world during the 1970s and fought memorable bouts with Muhammad Ali. "Smoking Joe" beat Ali and then lost to him in Manila in one of the epic fights of all times. He struggled thereafter with being Ali's whipping post but finally assumed forgiveness for the cruel taunts that Ali rained down on him. Frazier was, by all accounts, a thoroughly decent man, and he earned a spot in boxing history.
South Carolina voters have gained a reputation over the past few years of being able to accurately pick the Republican presidential candidate who will end up with the party's nomination. Candidates have recognized that, crisscrossing the Palmetto State in an effort to woo voters here. But with only a couple of months left before the state's first-in-the-South primary, voters in South Carolina haven't locked in on a particular candidate, which probably is a powerful statement about how ambivalent people are about the GOP field.
The conviction earlier this week of Michael Jackson's physician on a charge of involuntary manslaughter brings to an end one of the most spectacular-yet-bizarre careers ever witnessed in the glitzy world of show business. Jackson was an immensely talented individual whose life became increasingly eccentric as time went on, with well-publicized incidents which highlighted his abnormal behavior as an entertainer and in his private life.
• We're glad to see that President Obama has finally kicked the cigarette habit. Obama, once a regular smoker, has been struggling with cigarettes for years, but his doctor said recently that the president is now tobacco-free. That's a good thing.
Kershaw County has all sorts of unique things that make it a good place to live. One of those is the series of lakeside worship services that's held each summer on the shores of Lake Wateree. The project was begun more than 30 years ago as an outreach of Liberty Hill Presbyterian Church; Gene Rollins was not yet the pastor there, but he came to the church shortly afterward and helped spur phenomenal growth not only at the church itself but at the lakeside services.
There is little pressure that can rival the heat of a presidential campaign, and Herman Cain isn't doing the greatest job of dealing with the scrutiny aimed at White House hopefuls. Cain has great appeal -- he's a plain-spoken guy who doesn't apologize for his positions, he has a concept that would radically change the country's impossibly complicated tax system and he retains a certain populist position that is playing well with many voters during these turbulent economic times. Cain, a virtual unknown only a few months ago, is running neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney in Republican polls.
• "It ain't brilliant, but at least it's heading in the right direction," was the comment of one leading economist after the latest figures on the U.S. economy were released. Ian Shepherdson was commenting on a growth rate of 2.5 percent, as opposed to the 4-percent growth many would like to see. We'll share his optimism and hope the latest figures are proof that the country isn't heading into a double-dip recession. We'll also give him credit for being darned original in his manner of speaking, a trait not often seen in the dry ...
It will come as no surprise to most Kershaw Countians that the so-called Washington "super committee" which is charged with coming up with a plan to rein in runaway deficits is not only failing to make progress but now has been witnessing back-and-forth sniping between its members. It's just the latest chapter in a rancorous debate between Republicans and Democrats in Washington, with the loser, of course, being the American taxpayer.
Most Kershaw County residents will no doubt recall the dot-com bubble of about 15 years ago, when a host of new Internet-based businesses saw their stock prices soar to stratospheric levels, only to come crashing violently to earth a short time later. Many of these companies had dizzyingly fast ascents on the stock market even though they produced no profits; some were barely more than concepts. The investing world declared that such a thing would never happen again, that investors had wised up to such pie-in-the-sky behavior.
• We're glad to see that the U.S. Marine Corps has lifted its ban on bracelets which honor U.S. troops killed in combat. Top officials announced last week that Marines in uniform are now authorized to wear killed-in-action bracelets recognizing friends who have died in combat or from battlefield wounds. The change was made after an uproar from Marines when top officers recently began enforcing a ban on the bracelets. Marine brass widely decided the former rule was an outdated one and changed it.
South Carolina is now one of 16 states which don't ban sending text messages while driving. In recent years, more and more states have prohibited the dangerous practice -- 13 since the beginning of last year. It's time for the Palmetto State to step forward and join what is a common-sense practice by banning texting while behind the wheel. Republicans who control the General Assembly will sometimes say they don't want to add any more government regulations, but a ban on texting makes just as much sense as a speed limit or a law to prevent passing on ...
As most Kershaw County residents realize, there's a huge fight going on in Washington over how to solve the immense budget deficits that are plaguing the country. Those on the far left seek large tax hikes -- that's no surprise -- while those on the far right want nothing but spending cuts. Lawmakers in the middle, who are more and more scarce these days, realize that there has to be some compromise if the country is going to thrive economically.
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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