Voters here in Kershaw County and across South Carolina were subjected to an endless diatribe of political poison in the days and weeks leading up to Saturday's Republican presidential primary. This endless vitriol is nothing new, of course, as the entire process seems to have degenerated into an endless bout of mud wrestling. If you need evidence that not many people in Washington are concerned about the direction of politics and civility, we'll pass along an item that we discovered not long ago.
• We're glad to see that Alzheimer's Disease is finally getting the attention it deserves as far as efforts to combat it. Health experts met recently in Washington to make plans for the first national plan to fight the horrid disease. The top goal in the early draft of the National Alzheimer's Project Act is to prevent and effectively treat the malady by 2025. Finally, public funding and attention could rival that given to cancer and heart disease, and that, of course, is a good thing for the millions of families affected.
We're glad to see that another hurdle has been cleared in the city of Camden's efforts to get a truck bypass of the downtown area established. The Santee-Lynches Council of Governments recently voted unanimously to approve all three segments of the proposed truck route, and the vote also means about $17 million worth of state and federal funding will be released for the project. Obviously, that's a big step forward and puts the project into "when is this going to happen" status rather than "is this ever going to happen?" condition.
With the Republican primary on the near horizon here in Kershaw County and across South Carolina, there is a stereotype that still exists nowadays -- fueled in part by the national media, no doubt -- that the GOP is the organization of the wealthy and the Democratic Party is made up of the working class. But an analysis of voting trends in the recent New Hampshire primary and in the rest of the country, enumerated by a column in The Wall Street Journal, has helped shatter that image.
• Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich vowed that he would conduct a positive campaign for the presidency, and he did just that -- until his numbers started dropping. Gingrich, who polled well both in Iowa and New Hampshire at one time, unleashed a series of vitriolic ads against Mitt Romney as Gingrich's star began to fade. Other GOP candidates on the right have done the same as Romney has gained strength. These days, a positive message seems to last only as long as a candidate is doing well.
Now that the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary are over, the political focus of the nation is going to turn to South Carolina, where the Jan. 21 primary is the next major event in the presidential sweepstakes. The Palmetto State has a track record of predicting with its vote the eventual nominee, and it appears that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is on a roll heading into South Carolina.
Here in Kershaw County, we're like other Americans who live in a world in which we have to prove who we are. Before we are allowed to board airplanes, we must provide identification cards with our pictures on them. When we cash a check at the grocery store, the clerk usually asks for picture ID. When we pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy, we're often required to show similar proof of identification. Yet U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has blocked a South Carolina law requiring voters to show picture IDs when they go to the polls to ...
• South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier usually says what he thinks. We liked his comment regarding punter Joey Scribner-Howard following the Capitol One Bowl victory: "You never see me yell at our punter when he kicks one of those 25-yarders. He does it in practice, too." Of course, Spurrier could afford to be whimsical since the Gamecocks had won; his analysis might not have been so good-natured had they lost.
During the Christmas season over the past three decades, presidents of the United States have shown admirable fiscal restraint as well as concern for their staffs when they've chosen their holiday schedules. Most have spent their Christmases either at the White House or nearby Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains just outside the District of Columbia. That has avoided expensive travel to faraway places and has allowed countless government staffers to spend time with their families rather than having to be on the road. Then along came President Obama, who has chosen to pack up -- at ...
There certainly are University of South Carolina football fans here in Kershaw County who probably thought the so-called "chicken curse" would never die. There were decades of gridiron mediocrity, a 21-game losing streak back in 1998 and 1999, and even many moments of doubt after USC hired Steve Spurrier, one of the great college coaches of all time. But the curse was laid to rest Monday when the Gamecocks won a resounding victory over Nebraska in the Capitol One Bowl.
• News reports of the funeral of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il -- filmed by that country's government-controlled media, of course -- featured common citizens wailing in grief over the death of their beloved leader. Problem is, there didn't seem to be any genuine tears, just lots of contorted facial expressions. Think there's any chance that was all staged?
One of the most significant sociological trends of the past couple decades has been the increasing percentage of women who make up college student bodies. At many institutions of higher learning, 60 percent or more of the students are females, reversing the percentages of a generation ago. That, of course, is leading to better opportunities for women here in Kershaw County and across the country. In fact, women make up roughly half of all medical, law and accounting students, three professions that lead to high-paying and influential careers.
Less than four weeks remain before Kershaw County Republicans will join their counterparts across the state in casting their ballots to help determine which of the GOP candidates will advance to challenge President Obama in November. While national publicity concerning South Carolina too often centers on unpleasant things, the state takes center stage in the political circus that used to come once every four years but now seems to be with us nearly all the time.
• We've watched with interest the controversy over the city of Camden's proposed YMCA, and the attendant give and take on both sides. City officials certainly could have been more receptive to those disagreeing with their positions, and some of the opponents could have been more circumspect with their jeers and boos at meetings. But the ongoing debate has been a healthy exercise in democracy and the right of both governing and dissenting. However, we were disappointed to see Y opponent Herb Farber characterize Mayor Jeffrey Graham in a recent news story as a "29-year-old boy." The statement came ...
As we celebrate Christendom's holiest day on Sunday, let us pause to wish a peaceful season to all in Kershaw County -- those who share Christianity, those who subscribe to other faiths and those who have no faith at all. And to the family of believers, we print once again the words from the second chapter of Luke that have come to be the basis of faith for so many millions of people across the United States and the world:
There are many things we like about Gov. Nikki Haley, chief among them being her determined focus on economic development. Haley has been a tireless campaigner for South Carolina when it comes to attracting business to the Palmetto State, and it's paid off in lots of jobs and significant tax revenue. We also like the fact she's a female of Indian descent who helps the diversity picture in South Carolina.
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