With forecasts calling for temperatures in the low forties, driving wind and rain, Anderson has cancelled Sunday's scheduled Christmas Parade.
A decision will be made on Tuesday about the potential for rescheduling the event.
With forecasts calling for temperatures in the low forties, driving wind and rain, Anderson has cancelled Sunday's scheduled Christmas Parade.
A decision will be made on Tuesday about the potential for rescheduling the event.
A study reveals South Carolinians are among the most courteous people in the nation, and Ohioans among the least.
The study did not check to see if the phrase "Bless your heart," understood in its true meaning when used by SC residents, might negate the Palmetto State's ranking.
Marchex Inc. published the results awhile ago, in May during National Etiquette Week, but the study began attracting notice this week. Marchex specializes in mobile ad technology and conducted the study by examining 600,000 phone calls made to businesses and recorded over a 12-month period. They looked for curse words and polite phrases such as "please" and "thank you".
The results were broken into two spectrums: Most-to-least polite and most-to-least profane.
States most likely to use polite words were South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Louisiana and Georgia. Callers more likely to leave out polite terms came from Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Indiana, Tennessee and, claiming the dubious distinction of having both rude and profane callers, Ohio.
In the profanity spectrum, Washington State residents cursed the least, about once in every 300 conversations, according to Marchex. Ohioans cursed twice as much. Other profane-averse states were Massachusetts (they won't say thank you, but they won't swear at you, either), Arizona, Texas and Virginia.
Following Ohio as curse-heavy states were Maryland, New Jersey, Louisiana (profane, but polite about it) and Illinois.
Also from the study:
Men curse more than women (66% of curses were from men)
Longer calls resulted in more cursing
Morning calls produced more curses than afternoon or evening calls.
South Carolina stands to lose $807 million in federal funds in 2022 by not expanding its Medicaid program as allowed under the Affordable Care Act, a new Commonwealth Fund analysis shows.
“The Medicaid expansion presents an opportunity for states to bring in new federal dollars, in addition to providing critical health coverage for their low-income residents,” said Fund researcher Sherry Glied of New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
“No state that declines to expand the program is going to be fiscally better off because of it,” she added. “Their tax dollars will be used to support a program from which nobody in their state will benefit.”
But South Carolina officials said it would be irresponsible to fund permanent programs with temporary dollars, and that expanding Medicaid in the state was projected to cost an additional $613 million to $1.9 billion from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2020. They also said that Glied formerly worked for the Obama Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The federal money for state Medicaid programs is funded by taxpayers in all states, according to Fund researchers. So residents in states that don’t expand will help fund the cost in other states without benefitting, they said.
Under the ACA, most Americans must have health insurance by 2014. People making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level were to be covered by a Medicaid expansion.
South Carolina is leading the United States’ manufacturing renaissance but needs to reinvest in its network of technical colleges if it wants to remain in front. That was the conclusion of “An Action Plan for Strengthening Workforce Development,” a new paper that several state business leaders released Thursday in Spartanburg.
Mark Hartley, the study’s author and a business professor at the College of Charleston, said he hopes state lawmakers read the study as they consider funding levels for higher education, particularly technical colleges, next year.
“For these companies to come here, we’ve got to have people who can take the jobs, who can go in and fill these jobs right now, or these companies are going to locate somewhere else,” he said.
Since the recent recession, South Carolina has recruited more than $19 billion in capital investment —and more than 64,000 new jobs — in manufacturing, and the state has been one of the nation’s fastest growing areas for industry.
Hartley unveiled the paper in Spartanburg along with Mikee Johnson, president of Cox Industries; Otis Rawl of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce; and Lewis Gossett of the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance. They were in the Upstate also to honor Gov. Nikki Haley, who received the 2013 Roger Milliken Defender of Manufacturing Award Thursday night for her success in bringing manufacturers and jobs to the state.
In 2012, The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the nation’s manufacturing sector was defying naysayers and highlighted South Carolina’s position to capitalize on that, particularly given its low taxes and status as a right to work state. Manufacturing already represents more than one-fifth of South Carolina’s gross domestic product.
“But now, we stand on the precipice of potentially much more,” Hartley said.
That’s because of several trends: Wages between Chinese and U.S. workers have narrowed; the value of the U.S. dollar has dropped over the past decade; and rising oil prices make shipping products across the ocean more costly.
As a result, the manufacturing industry has begun returning jobs to the U.S. that had been moved to countries like China, a trend called “re-shoring.”
The study found:
Since January 2011, South Carolina has announced 233 manufacturing expansions, resulting in more than 26,000 new jobs and $9.5 billion in investment.
These expansions include 133 existing companies that enlarged their facilities and 100 new facilities built here.
These expansions represent investments from 21 foreign countries, and more than 60 percent of all manufacturing capital investment was done by foreign firms.
Federal labor figures show that South Carolina’s manufacturing growth since January 2011 was 7.07 percent, almost double that of North Carolina (3.96 percent) and Georgia (3.25 percent)
Inflation-adjusted manufacturing gross domestic product rose 6.8 percent in South Carolina between 2011 and 2012, compared to 5.1 percent in Georgia and 2.7 percent in North Carolina.
Nelson Mandela, the former political prisoner who became the first president of a post-apartheid South Africa and whose heroic life and towering moral stature made him one of history’s most influential statesmen, died Thursday, the government announced. He was 95.
The death was announced in a televised address by South African President Jacob Zuma, who added, “we’ve lost our greatest son.” No cause was provided.
To a country torn apart by racial divisions, Mr. Mandela became its most potent symbol of national unity, using the power of forgiveness and reconciliation to heal deep-rooted wounds and usher in a new era of peace after decades of conflict between blacks and whites. To a continent rife with leaders who cling to power for life, Mr. Mandela became a role model for democracy, stepping down from the presidency after one term and holding out the promise of a new Africa.
And to a world roiled by war, poverty and oppression, Mr. Mandela became its conscience, fighting to overcome some of its most vexing problems. He was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who spent 27 years in prison as part of his lifelong struggle against racial oppression.
Throughout this moral and political fight, Mr. Mandela evoked a steely resolve, discipline and quiet dignity, coupled with a trademark big, charismatic smile. He ultimately carried them into office as South Africa’s first black president.
His victory capped decades of epic struggle by the African National Congress and other liberation groups against South Africa’s brutal white rulers, first under British colonialism and then under a white-run system called “apartheid,” or racial separation.
On the day of his inauguration — May 10, 1994 — Mr. Mandela stood at the podium near South Africa’s last apartheid-era president, F.W. de Klerk. A year earlier, they shared the Nobel Prize for what the Nobel committee called “their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new, democratic South Africa.”
“We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation,” Mr. Mandela, then 75, declared. “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another . . . the sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement.”
Only a few years before, the 20th century’s most celebrated political prisoner had been dubbed a terrorist by the conservative governments in the United States and Britain under Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, respectively.
In the decades following Mr. Mandela’s release from prison in 1990, many South Africans of all races referred to him reverentially as Madiba, his Xhosa clan name. Countless others called him Tata, which means father in the Xhosa language.
For all his achievements, Mr. Mandela will also be remembered as slow to react to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that began sweeping South Africa on his watch. It was not until 1998, four years into his presidency, that he directly addressed the South African public about the disease. Later, he would acknowledge that he had not initially recognized the severity of the epidemic.
Hospice and home care - often used by seniors and those recovering at home - may be subject to the hardest hits from the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare." The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) estimated that by 2017, nearly three-quarters of these specialized care centers will be operating at a loss.
"Medicare payment rate cuts will make the industry unstable," Bill Dombi, vice president at the NAHC, told The Christian Post in an interview this week. "By 2017, 72.9 percent of all home health will be paid less than the cost of care," he predicted, based off of data from 2011 and 2012.
Due to Obamacare cuts in Medicare, hospice and home care providers will receive less reimbursement and fewer seniors will be able to use the program, Dombi explained. "We just basically got straight Medicare cuts," he explained, referring to the home health industry. "Home Health has a huge rate cut – the maximum cut that the law committed."
Dombi cited the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which admitted that 43 percent of providers will be paid less than cost. CMS estimated that many of the providers already operate at a loss and so can continue to do so. "That position is illogical," Dombi declared, arguing that "the longer a business is in the red, the more likely it will close."
According to the NAHC report, only three states will escape negative Medicare margins in the home health sector – Tennessee, Georgia, and Connecticut. Other states range from small losses, such as Rhode Island (0.2 percent) and Alabama (0.3 percent), to much more significant losses, like Alaska (48.3 percent), North Dakota (38.8 percent), and New York (36.3 percent).
"The factors that influence the cost per visit include staff productivity, staff travel time, and overhead costs," Dombi explained. "In a densely populated state, staff may have only short travel distances between patients while in states like North Dakota and Alaska it may take 1-2 hours to travel between patients."
Robert Moffit, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies, explained that Obamacare has long been predicted to cut hospice services by $17 billion. "This is the report delivered on July 24, 2012, by the Congressional Budget Office," Moffit explained. "There's no excuse for people being surprised by any of this."
"A lot of these savings are going to be used to pay for the Obamacare expansions through Medicaid and the subsidy program," Moffit said, pointing to a "shift of funding from Medicare to the entitlement expansions in Obamacare." In a report from May 2013, Moffit totaled the Medicare cuts due to ObamaCare – the number came to $716 billion.
"One thing is certain: Under the Obama agenda, seniors will pay more – much more – and they will pay this steep price in many different ways, including a loss of access to care resulting from demoralized doctors and other medical professionals cutting back on Medicare practice," Moffit wrote.
The NSA collects nearly 5 billion records a day on the locations of cell phones overseas to create a huge database that stores information from hundreds of millions of devices, including those belonging to some Americans abroad, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Documents provided to the Post by NSA leaker Edward Snowden detail how this database is able to track people worldwide and map out their relationships with others.
The NSA inadvertently gathers U.S. location records, along with the billions of other records it collects by tapping into worldwide mobile network cables, the Post reported.
The database and projects designed to analyze it have created a mass surveillance tool for the NSA, allowing it to monitor individuals in a way never seen before.
NSA analysts can look at the data and track an individual’s movements throughout the world. They can then map out the person's relationships with others and expose previously unknown correspondence.
The agency collects the large amount of cell phone data in order to find out who is interacting with targets the agency is already tracking, even though most of the records collected are not relevant to national security.
The number of Americans who are tracked as part of the data collection overseas is unclear from the Snowden documents, and a senior intelligence official told the Post it is “awkward for us to try to provide any specific numbers.”
U.S. officials told the Post the programs that collect cell phone data are strictly geared towards tracking foreign intelligence targets, and are not against the law
WASHINGTON — The 20 states choosing not to expand Medicaid will lose billions of dollars in federal funds, according to a new study released Thursday.
By 2022, Texas could lose $9.2 billion by not expanding Medicaid as allowed under the Affordable Care Act, while Florida could lose $5 billion over that period, the study conducted by The Commonwealth Fund shows. Commonwealth was founded in 1918 to improve health services for Americans.
Also during that period, the study showed, Georgia could lose $2.9 billion, while Virginia could lose $2.8 billion.
"There are no states where the taxpayers would actually gain by not expanding Medicaid," said Sherry Glied, lead author on the study. "Nobody wins."
Under the Affordable Care Act, states may expand their Medicaid programs to include anyone who falls beneath 138% of the federal poverty level, or about $32,500 for a family of four. But the 2012 Supreme Court decision that upheld the law also said states could choose not to expand Medicaid and not lose federal funding for their existing programs.
All 20 of the states choosing not to expand Medicaid have Republican governors. Many have said increasing Medicaid could add to the federal deficit. Others have long opposed the law since its passage in 2010.
Medicaid, however, is a federal program, Glied said, and residents of states that have not expanded the program are still paying taxes to support it. They're just not getting the extra benefits in their states.
"When you hear the states talk about it, they talk about raising state taxes for it," she said. "But that's not the case."
The extra federal money spent on Medicaid goes directly to local health care providers, such as hospitals or physicians, and helps the overall state economy, Glied said.
"There's new money flowing into the states," she said. "It's sort of like why states are eager to get defense contracts: It can be used to create jobs."
How will red state Democrats handle Obamacare as a hot-button campaign issue in 2014?
Here's a small clue.
In South Carolina, Democratic state Rep. Bakari Sellers, who is running for lieutenant governor next year, filed a bill Wednesday to "lessen the burden" of the medical device tax on South Carolina businesses. The bill was "pre-filed," meaning it will be taken up next year when the legislative session begins in Columbia.
Sellers' bill would provide a tax credit to companies in the state developing or manufacturing medical devices, essentially reimbursing them for the tax, a vital source of funding for the Affordable Care Act.
"The federal government has created far too many impediments for businesses to grow and prosper," Sellers said in a statement announcing the legislation. "It is time to lessen the regulatory burden on companies not increase it."
In a follow-up interview, Sellers chuckled when asked if he supports the Affordable Care Act in its entirely. "That's a loaded question," he said.
But Sellers, whose mother was recently diagnosed with cancer, said he agreed with elements of the legislation, specifically its effort to expand access to health insurance and cover people with pre-existing conditions, a serious problem in his small town district. Sellers said he is also pleased to see improvements to the HealthCare.gov web site.
But as a Democrat running statewide in South Carolina-a state that voted for Mitt Romney last year by 10 points-talking about Obamacare "is not really a debate we want to have, to be honest with you," he said.
"On the whole, I can tell you there are certain aspects of Obamacare which give me trepidation, and I can't tell you everything that's in it, because I'm not certain anyone can, outside of Kathleen Sebelius or someone at HHS," Sellers said. "But I think the medical device tax is a burden, and if we do something like this, it can give us an economic edge."
This, mind you, is coming from a leading member of Obama's campaign during the 2008 South Carolina primary fight. Sellers, a 29-year-old African-American attorney and one of the state's rising political stars, is certain to be a key player in South Carolina's 2016 Democratic primary.
"I have to get people to understand that my name is Bakari and not Barack," he said.
The big business that is trash has become a hot-button item in South Carolina.
DontDumpOnSC.org is running television ads with “Anthony,” a New York City boy, thanking us for taking their garbage. “We can have mountains of garbage stinking up Staten Island – and we can unload it on youse cheap, since you don’t mind making your state a dump.”
DontDumpOnSC.org is a coalition “committed to protecting the beauty of our state from Big Trash, who want to turn us into the nation’s dumping ground.”
The coalition includes the Coastal Conservation League, the Sierra Club, the SC Wildlife Federation, the SC Association of Counties, the League of Women Voters, Conservative Voices of SC and Audubon South Carolina.
Laurens County Council Chairman Jim Coleman warned his fellow council members in February that a law passed by the S.C. House and sent to the Senate would change the way counties can deal with solid waste.
Laurens County Public Works Director Scott Holland said the law takes away from counties the right to say all solid waste generated in a county has to be disposed of in the landfill run by, or designated by, a county.
Coleman said the waste companies – the big boys is how he referred to them – operate mega-landfills and they want to be able to accept solid waste from anywhere.
Hence, the televised “thank you” from The Big Apple’s Anthony.
Laurens County state Sen. Danny Verdin chairs one of the committees that will consider the House-passed legislation when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.
If the bill is signed into law by Gov. Haley, opponents warn, landfills financed by taxpayers will be at risk financially. The money borrowed to build these landfills is expected to be repaid by money from tipping fees. If less trash is taken to public landfills, there will be less revenue generated and the taxpayers could be left on the hook.
If public landfills become unsustainable, the only alternative would be private landfills.
“The private business model for landfills is to fill them as fast as possible and to mound the landfill as high as physically possible,” says DontDumponSC.org. “Out of state waste generators pay higher fees than South Carolina residents to dispose of waste destined for South Carolina, even after transportation costs are taken into consideration. The result is that out of state waste customers are highly desirable for a private landfill operator.”
And this is not a fight for your kitchen trash. Waste Management, the industry leader, has annual revenue in excess of $15 billion. The annual revenue of Allied Waste Industries is approaching $10 billion.
Waste Management, which has 22,000 collection and transfer trucks, is the largest environmental solutions provider in North America.
Opening our state to more out-of-state waste will negatively impact us all, DontDumponSC.org warns.
The big waste companies are writing the law, Council Chairman Coleman said in February. “Those companies donate to a lot of campaigns. That’s where this comes from.”
Imagine being alone, without loved ones during the holiday season. Hundreds of homeless animals will knowthat fate unless you help them find a forever-home. In order to remedy this situation, the Anderson County Pets Are Worth Saving (P.A.W.S.) is offering $4 adoptions for all dogs and cats beginning tomorrow at noon through Dec. 21.
Adopt, don't shop! Anderson County P.A.W.S. is open Monday– Friday: noon-6pm; Saturday: noon-4pm; and is closed on Sunday. For more information, call 864-260-4151 or visit www.petango.com/andersoncountypaws
State lawmakers are busy working on next year's legislative agenda. On Monday, the House prefiled 53 bills to be considered when the General Assembly convenes in January.
Tuesday was the deadline for lawmakers to submit their bills to be tentatively assigned to various committees for consideration. It's also a chance for the Legislature to inform taxpayers about the areas on which they want to focus.
Some House members want to move forward with plans to penalize drivers who text while driving. State Rep. Don Bowen, of Anderson County, is proposing that drivers get fined who are caught texting behind the wheel. He wants reckless driving charges to be filed if someone is hurt in an accident because of texting.
Also, Rep. Wendell Gilliard, of Charleston, is introducing a bill that would make it a hate crime to beat up a homeless person. The bill provides a two-step penalty for the offender. Domestic violence was also a topic for lawmakers. One bill wanted to strengthen the penalties for those convicted of criminal domestic violence. State Attorney General Alan Wilson says domestic violence is the No. 1 crime problem in the state.
The new bill increases the penalty for first-time offenders. Rep. Bakari Sellers, of Orangeburg, wants to punish offenders by making them spend 180 days in jail and take part in a domestic violence intervention program. The offender would also be restricted from carrying a gun as a condition of his or her bond.
These are only a few of the 53 bills filed Monday. They will be officially introduced on Jan. 14 when the General Assembly convenes.
Today, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department will be working with Robert Anderson Middle School to conduct a live intruder drill at 12:30 p.m. Please be aware that this is only a drill. For more information contact the Anderson County School District Five office at 864-260-5000.