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Columns

  • Sports Talk: Mama’s your best friend

    Remember at one time when a camera panned a sideline during a college or pro football game, a wide-grinning player often greeted the shot with a warm “Hi Mom.”
    You recall that?
    You couldn’t watch a game without that memorable scene.
    I know why.
    My father, the late Jim Howey, once told me your mother is your “best friend.”
    She’s why you’re here today; no matter if she isn’t a part of your life now, and you wear a white rose to honor her memory today – Mother’s Day.

  • Commentary: FOI advocate: Gmail feature thwarts open public records

    The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) has contacted Google about Gmail’s new “self-destructing” email feature, which could allow government employees to delete public records subject to federal and state open government and freedom of information laws.

    In an open letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, NFOIC board President Mal Leary cited that most states have clear record-retention laws aimed at making sure public records, electronic and otherwise, such as official correspondence between public officials, are secured and maintained.

  • Column: A requiem for ‘The Other Story’

    It is customary in the news business to write the obituary after someone dies. 

    But in this case, why wait? It is time to write the obituary for “The Other Story” now. 

    What is The Other Story? 

    It is the story next to the story you intended to read. Often The Other Story has a catchy headline or an eye-grabbing photograph with it. 

    The Other Story informs you about something you did not know, or gives you a different perspective on something you did.

  • Column: ‘Content farms’ are undermining true journalism

    In one of my darkest moments, I considered entering the content-writing market.
    I even reached out to a company and they offered me an assignment. They said 1,500 words in 48 hours on a topic I knew nothing about, complete with multiple interviews over the weekend. I told them no.
    One, there was simply no way I could line up all the interviews. Two, I’m an extremely fast writer, but two days for a 1,500-word assignment is insane.

  • Column: 1st Amendment, too, is under assault

    I read with amusement John P. Baker’s satirical guest column in last Wednesday’s Lancaster News. (Mr. Baker, an NRA supporter, proposed that if discussing curtailment of Second Amendment rights is appropriate, why not restrict the First Amendment?)
    However, after thinking about it, I concluded that his satire may have exposed something more sinister than he intended.  

  • Column: Why aren’t cell signals blocked in prisons?

    For years, S.C. officials have repeatedly tried – and failed – to convince the federal government to allow jamming of signals in prisons from contraband cell phones routinely used by inmates.
    But officials haven’t worked nearly as hard to try to persuade wireless carriers to voluntarily block their own signals in prisons, which, according to corrections officials, the companies are permitted to do. It is against federal law for states or local governments to do it.

  • Column: The inherent risk of specialization in school sports

    One of the responsibilities that parents take most seriously is protecting their children from injury, whether it is buckling seat belts or strapping on a bike helmet.
     And when their kids become teenagers and want to participate in sports or other activities, parents do everything they can to keep their sons and daughters from getting hurt.

  • Column: Panhandle town proponents, just leave the rest of us alone

    Were you surprised with the outcome of the March 27 vote on Indian Land becoming a town – 1,853 yes votes and 9,086 no?
    Many of us who voted against incorporation could not believe over 1,800 voted for the proposed town.
    Why were many of us opposed? Well, it was more dealing with the unknown rather than knowing what to expect if it should pass.
    The big unknown was what the yearly tax bill would be. Those living in subdivisions such as Sun City did not wish to have another bill each year in the form of a city tax.

  • Column: Lots of costly consulting on nuclear fiasco

    Three out-of-state consulting businesses hired by the S.C. legislature to provide “advice” on the V.C. Summer fiasco have submitted bills totaling more than $230,000, though only one firm has produced a written report.
    To put the $232,379 public tab in some perspective, it could cover the failed nuclear project portion of about 8,600 monthly bills for typical South Carolina Electric & Gas residential customers, based on 1,000 kilowatt hours used in a month.

  • Column: Background, mental checks on 1st Amendment tools as well?

    In his April 25 guest column, Rudy Falkenberg suggests that we need to place limits on ammunition, since a firearm without ammunition is no more useful than a club.
    I suggest that we should accept the liberal position, first espoused by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” This being the case, should we not then apply to the tools of the First Amendment (i.e., pens, pencils and keyboards) the same constraints that the liberals seek to impose upon the tools of the Second Amendment (i.e., firearms and ammunition)?