• 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:
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.
We offer our condolences to the family, friends and all of us who benefited from Sylvia Upton "Sibby" Wood's life. Wood, also known as "Sib," supported or was otherwise involved in so many things here in Kershaw County, they are almost too numerous to count. But count them we shall try as we mourn her death last week in Michigan at the age of 81.
Tomorrow is Independence Day, the Fourth of July, when this country celebrates its birthday. This year, July 4 marks the 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence -- the document which signaled to the world the original 13 British colonies were breaking away from Mother England.
During the last week, we have published two reports on KershawHealth. The first, growing out of the hospital's most recent board of trustees meeting, focused on its market share. It is relatively healthy, thanks to KershawHealth's being the only hospital in all of Kershaw County. More people living in the county turn to KershawHealth for emergency care than anywhere else. However, the report -- broadly speaking -- noted a decrease in market share in outpatient services and only slight increases for inpatient services.
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