• 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:
With the U.S. budget deficit still spiraling amid partisan stagnation and deadlock in Washington, two lawmakers, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, have finally come together to advance a proposal that would revamp the runaway costs of Medicare. Though solons in the nation's capital have refused thus far to address entitlement spending -- there's no way to bring the budget under control without changes to both Medicare and Social Security -- perhaps this is a ray of hope that there are some people in Washington who are willing to work together to salvage the fiscal integrity of ...
• We observed last week that Republican candidates for president had no reason to subject themselves to a debate moderated by Donald Trump, who has continually threatened to run for the White House himself. They all apparently decided the same thing, and the debate has now been cancelled. Trump, meanwhile, says he's keeping his options open to mount a third-party presidential bid. If he does, we predict it will be met with the same lack of enthusiasm as his proposed debate.
Public pensions have been much in the news since the economic downturn began, especially during the last year. The battle in Wisconsin over public employees' collective bargaining rights and pension plans has been the most publicized, but the same arguments have been occurring across the country. The South Carolina General Assembly has now taken the first step to deal with a $13-billion deficit in the state retirement pension fund, and though it involved difficult decisions on the part of a House subcommittee, it was the right thing to do. The recommendations still must go to the House Ways and Means ...
Of all the presidential candidates, nobody was more a "dead man walking" than Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House Speaker whose staff deserted him early in the campaign and who was left for dead by voters and the media. But he has been revived in the turbulent Republican race for the White House nomination and polls now show him leading his rivals in Iowa and South Carolina, and even in New Hampshire, where Mitt Romney is almost a neighbor. Ironically, it is Gingrich's ability to stand up and take the heat for his past conduct that is helping ...
• No matter how you feel about Tiger Woods -- it's a bit hard for us to pull for him given all the revelations about him -- one thing is clear: golf is more exciting with him. His win last Sunday at the Chevron Challenge, in which he birdied the final two holes to claim victory by a shot, was his first in two years. It'll be interesting to see how he does next year, and whether he can resume his chase of Jack Nicklaus' record number of victories in major championships, but as long as he's competitive there will ...
The term "flip-flop" has come to be one of the most caustic charges that can be thrown at a political candidate, and rightly so. It's hard to like a candidate who appears to bend his views to suit whichever audience he's addressing, and candidates who insist on taking one position one day and another the next day don't appear to be serious. But sometimes we as voters and political observers take this position to an extreme, pushing people into never changing their positions lest they be termed flip-floppers.
Decades ago, comedian/storyteller Will Rogers said of politics, "I don't belong to any organized party. I'm a Democrat." That same philosophy could be used to describe the decision of the Republican Party to let Donald Trump moderate a Dec. 27 debate among GOP White House hopefuls. Trump, who still says he's pondering a presidential run should none of the current crop of candidates exhibit the ability to defeat President Obama next November, has no business injecting himself in such a debate, but more importantly, the Republican Party has no business allowing him to do so.
• Rep. Barney Frank has been one of the most unabashed liberals in Congress for more than 30 years, advocating all things left and marking business -- nearly any kind of business -- as the enemy of the people. Frank now says he won't run for another term, saying redistricting will put him at a disadvantage. The Massachusetts Democrat is well-known for his irascible nature, and during campaigns, his aides often tried to keep him away from voters, knowing he would offend them with his personality. The New York Times reported, "Those who admire him say Mr. Frank served up his sourness ...
Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who was one of 12 members of the so-called Super Committee which recently failed to reach an agreement on deficit reduction, says he opposes the automatic spending cuts which are scheduled to occur because of the committee's failure. The automatic decreases in spending were intended as a sword over the committee's head to make sure the dozen members came together in compromise to do what was best for the country. They -- six Republicans and six Democrats -- didn't do that, and now Clyburn wants to change the rules.
Voters in this country are notoriously fickle -- even more so than football fans, and evidence of that can be found in the up-and-down nature of regular polls conducted to see which Republican presidential candidate is doing best. Each week it seems another contender has either caught the fancy of voters and surged to the top of polls or committed some blunder and plummeted like a rock falling off a cliff.
Kudos to our various law enforcement agencies for working together to get some folks off our streets who needed to be stopped. At the top of our list are Bethune Police Chief Joey Cobb, Kershaw County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) and U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for arresting two people (and there may be more to come) for the June 23 armed robbery of Sandhills Bank in Bethune.
Well, the S.C. General Assembly certainly took its time. Finally, a state budget's been hammered out and sent on to Gov. Nikki Haley for her signature.
Nearly eight years ago, nine heroic Charleston firefighters lost their lives in a tragic accident fighting the Super Sofa store fire. Last week, nine wonderful Charlestonians' lives were snuffed out, this time in the Emanuel AME Church shooting. However, this time the tragedy was no accident.
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