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Columns

  • 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)?

  • Column: 24 hours of making a difference

    As part of our dedication to making a positive difference in our community, we at the J. Marion Sims Foundation, Lancaster County Community Foundation, and Lancaster County Partners for Youth Foundation encourage you to support the network of local nonprofit organizations who work hard every day for the betterment of our citizens.
    This can be accomplished by logging in to www.GiveLocalLancaster.org on Tuesday, May 1, at your convenience from midnight to 11:59 p.m., selecting the nonprofit(s) close to your heart, and donating!

  • Column: SCANA puts shareholders’ interests ahead of ratepayers’

    A few weeks back, I asked a stock analyst how it made sense that SCANA had issued $87.5 million in quarterly dividends on the same day it reported a quarterly loss of $445 million, as a result of its decision to abandon construction of two nuclear reactors.
    Oh, that $445 million was a one-time cost, he explained, and SCANA is still a very healthy company, so there would be no justification for reducing or refusing to pay dividends. He was very patient, but he simply could not understand why I could not understand his point.

  • Column: How about controlling ammunition?

    The Second Amendment and gun control. These two topics make big headlines every time there is a mass shooting.
    Murder, rape, abuse and robbery involving guns and other weapons are the staple of our daily local news broadcasts. After the massacre in a Florida school, I could no longer resist expressing my feelings.
    I know what it feels like to lose a loved one. I lost my wife to cancer. The loss of a child must be even more devastating.