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Columns

  • Column: S.C. Research Authority pays PR firm $855K

    The South Carolina Research Authority, chartered by the state in 1983 to “foster and enrich South Carolina’s innovation economy,” has paid political consultant Bob McAlister at least $855,500 since 2011.
    The payments are all to McAlister’s firm, McAlister Communications, most in consistent monthly amounts invoiced for “public relations services.” Jessica Cokins, SCRA’s director of marketing and communications, said McAlister was paid as a communications consultant.

  • Column: 5th District candidates, what will you do about Alzheimer’s disease?

    There are a lot of controversial issues at stake in the upcoming special election for South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District. But I’d like to ask all of the candidates to address an issue that is truly purple.
    Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, and the only one among the top 10 killers that cannot be prevented, stopped or even slowed. It’s also the most expensive illness in the nation, with costs that exceed those for heart disease and cancer.

  • Column: Paper or plastic? The choice is crucial

    Over the 40 years that I have known her, I have come to have great respect for my wife’s political antenna. She’s not a political junkie in the traditional sense, but when she thinks an issue is important, I have learned to pay attention.
    This time it’s plastic bags.
    As she said the other day, “There is no good reason that they should not be banned. They are killing our oceans and it’s only the plastic bag industry that is keeping the ban from happening.”
    She is right.

  • Column: There’s a right way to pass a tax hike, and this isn’t it

    While the Senate was busy debating the gas-tax hike last week, the House decided to reinsert itself into the argument – but not in any normal way.
    Last Wednesday afternoon, House leaders placed their version of the gas-tax increase into the state budget as a budget provision, more commonly known as a budget proviso.

  • Column: This Tuesday, give where you live

    As part of a commitment to build and sustain a healthy community, we at the Lancaster County Community Foundation, Lancaster County Partners for Youth and the J. Marion Sims Foundation urge you to lift up and support our local nonprofit organizations this Tuesday through the second-annual Give Local Lancaster Campaign.

  • Column: As Senate debated gas tax, reason flew out the window

    The state Senate passed its version of the gas-tax hike late Wednesday night, after two days of debate. This version of the bill raises the tax by 12 cents a gallon gradually over six years. The House version was a 10-cent hike.
    Whenever large groups of politicians talk for long periods of time, you hear some real gems. Here are a few of this week’s Capitol highlights.
    ◆ House Speaker Jay Lucas: “A responsible plan does not raid the general fund to pay for roads.”

  • Column: Imagine Jesus as a candidate in 5th District GOP contest

    Hearing the comments from some 5th District candidates and others already in Congress makes me wonder what a 21st century Jesus might say if he were espousing the same policies.
    “I would like to thank all of you for being here today,” Jesus would tell his followers. “After spending time feeding, sheltering and healing the less fortunate in Africa, seeking peace in the Mideast, trying to placate the Russians and addressing other world crises, it is good to be back in the greatest country on the planet.

  • Column: The key to success: High expectations

    This column is about a teacher, a family and a state, and one simple but powerful idea – expectations.
    First the teacher. In 1804, in the S.C. backwoods of what is now McCormick County, at a crossroads called Willington, four Presbyterian men decided that the community needed a church and  a school.
    Presbyterians (then and now) place a high value on learning. Church rules require that ministers be “educated and trained,” and thus many Presbyterian ministers also taught school.

  • Column: I don’t believe marchers’ science

    This weekend over 600 rallies and marches happened around the world for science. I watched some of the speeches on CSPAN from the rally in D.C. Many science topics were spoken about, but the core subject was that man-made global warming is considered settled science.
    What they are proclaiming is that their science is real. Why do they need rally for science that is real? They are not supporting Newton’s laws of motion here.

  • Column: S.C. choice: Ideology or better roads

    For the last several years, plans to properly fund the maintenance and expansion of our state’s roads have been short-circuited in the S.C. Senate by road-plan opponents.
    Due to their stubbornness, only piecemeal solutions – the legislative equivalent of I-95’s stop-and-go traffic – have been advanced.