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Five Takeaways from 2013 Elections

There were only a few elections Tuesday, but the results can say a few things about the current state of American politics. Here are five takeaways:

1) Politics is Local, Except When It Isn't

"All politics is local," Tip O'Neill, speaker of the House during the Reagan administration, was famous for saying. His point was that how an individual congressperson relates to the voters in their district is more important than what is going on nationally. Politicians are more important than political parties, in other words.

While O'Neill's maxim was likely more true in the 1980's than today, there are still cases where it applies. Tuesday's gubernatorial election in New Jersey is a good example. Chris Christie, a Republican, was able to easily win reelection in a strongly Democratic state even as his own party's brand is deeply diminished. New Jerseyites like their governor more than they dislike Republicans.

The Virginia governor's race, on the other hand, saw the opposite. The race swung back and forth depending upon the national fortunes of the Republican Party and President Barack Obama.

During the government shutdown in the first half of October, the Republican Party was taking a beating in the polls and so was its Virginia governor candidate, Ken Cuccinelli. After the shutdown ended, though, the press turned its attention to all the problems with the "Obamacare" rollout and Obama's misleading statements regarding his new health care law. When Obama's poll numbers took a dive, so did the poll numbers for the Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe.

2) Democrat's "War on Women" Strategy is Still Working, So They'll Keep Using It

McAuliffe used the Obama 2012 campaign playbook. Millions of dollars were spent by the McAuliffe campaign on ads claiming, or implying, that Cuccinelli is anti-woman, much like Obama's team did against Mitt Romney. Some of those ads claimed that Cuccinelli wants to make birth-control illegal. The ads worked. Cuccinelli's support among single women dropped after the ads began.

Expect the "war on women" strategy to continue as long as it works. Similar ads will be used in next year's midterm elections.

3) The Marriage/Gender Gap is (Still) Significant

The media loves to talk about the gender gap (Republicans do better among men and Democrats do better among women). "Women voters play starring role in Va. governor's race," USA Today reported Tuesday.

What is more significant than the gender gap, though, is the marriageand gender gap. Cuccinelli won among married women by nine percentage points, 51 to 42 percent. McAuliffe, on the other hand, won by a much greater margin, 42 percentage points, among single women (67 to 25 percent).

A similar, but less extreme, pattern exists among men. Cuccinelli won among married men, 50 to 44 percent, and McAuliffe won among single men, 58 to 33 percent.

4) Chris Christie is a Presidential Frontrunner

It is difficult to overstate how impressive Christie's victory was. Republicans rarely win statewide in New Jersey, yet Christie received 63 percent of the vote. He also performed well among demographic groups that Republicans usually struggle with.

He won 51 percent of the Latino vote; 55 percent of young voters; and 57 percent of women voters, even though he had a female opponent, Barbara Buono. Plus, among black voters, with whom most Republicans are lucky to get 10 percent, Christie got 21 percent of the vote.

These numbers are enough to make any Republican strategist drool when they look ahead to the 2016 presidential race.

5) Virginia is Still a Swing State

Obama won Virginia twice and Democrats just won the governor's and lt. governor's race. This may lead some to conclude that Virginia is now a blue, or Democratic, state. (At the time of publication, it appears that the Republican candidate barely won the attorney general race by a couple of hundred votes.)

While Virginia may be becoming a blue state, it is not there yet. Cuccinelli only lost by 2.5 percentage points, 45.5 to 48 percent, or about 55,000 votes.

Cuccinelli kept the race close despite his many weaknesses: a third party candidate, libertarian Robert Sarvis, drew more votes away from Cuccinelli than McAuliffe; he was outspent (there were 10 McAuliffe TV ads for every Cuccinelli ad); and, both Republican and Democratic pundits agree, Cuccinelli ran a poor campaign. Under better circumstances, Republicans can still win a statewide election in Virginia.


S.C. Charter Schools Suffer from Poor Financing

South Carolina charter schools don’t have equitable access to buildings and financing for capital projects, and that puts their subset of public school students at an educational disadvantage, according to a new report.

The Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina worked with the national alliance and a Colorado group of charter schools to analyze the charter school facility landscape in South Carolina.

The biggest facility issue facing the state’s charter schools is a lack of dedicated funding for buildings, said Mary Carmichael, executive director of the state charter school alliance. Charter schools don’t get any state money earmarked for facilities, and that means schools must pay for buildings with general operating money that could be going to classrooms.

More than 70 percent of the state’s charter schools put money toward facilities that could be paying for iPads or extra teachers.

“There’s less money available to go into classroom resources,” Carmichael said. “It’s having to make really tough decisions on how to allocate resources that the schools within the district are not having to do without.”

The disparity is significant, especially given the projected growth of the state’s charter schools, she said. About 95 percent of the state’s charter schools are looking to grow their enrollment during the next five years, and 15 new charter schools are slated to open in the state in 2014.

Some of the study’s other key findings include: the state’s charter school buildings are smaller than prescribed standards; physical education and recreational options are limited for the state’s charter school students; and 60 percent don’t have federally compliant kitchens where they can prepare hot meals for students.


Scientists Discover New Body Part in Knee

In an age filled with advanced medical techniques like MRIs, artificial hearts, and laser eye surgery, one could be forgiven for believing doctors are also at least vaguely familiar with every one of your body parts. However, a new discovery by Belgian physicians has proved this assumption wrong.

As Science Daily reports, two surgeons at University Hospitals Leuven have located a new ligament in the human knee, and their findings may mean a revolution in how we treat ACL injuries. Dr. Steven Claes and Professor Dr. Johan Bellemans have spent four years trying to solve a modern medical mystery: in certain cases, patients who have had their ACL repaired still experience “pivot shifts” in their knee, where the joint “gives way” during physical activity.

In order to find their answer, the scientists turned to the past. In an 1879 article, a French surgeon theorized that there may exist an extra ligament in the anterior of the human knee. Using macroscopic dissection techniques on a wide range of cadavers, the Belgian duo confirmed this hypothesis. According to their findings, 97 percent of humans have something called an anterolateral ligament (ALL) in additional to their ACL, and pivot shift stem from an injury to this previously unknown body part.

This discovery could mean a breakthrough in treating ACL injuries, which are common in sports like basketball, football, and soccer, where pivoting is common — but don’t hold your breath for a better fix. Claes and Bellemans are hard at work figuring out surgical to techniques to repair the ALL, but Science Daily cautions that those results will only be ready in “several years.”

Read more: ACL Injury: New Body Part Found in Knee Called Anterolateral Ligament | TIME.com http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/11/06/your-knee-bones-connected-to-your-what-scientists-discover-new-body-part/#ixzz2ju5eZDCK


Holiday Trees, Trimmings Sale to Benefit Foothills Alliance

A communitywide holiday event featuring beautifully designed Christmas trees, wreaths and centerpieces created by talented individuals and organizations will be offered for sale at the Anderson Civic Center Nov. 20-25.

Community Giving Tree - Adorned with cards naming donors, this tree is symbolic of our community working together for a worthy cause. It is a great way to honor someone special or lovingly remember a deceased loved one who holds a special place in your heart.

All proceeds benefit Foothills Alliance in providing interviews with children who are suspected victims of sexual abuse, child abuse prevention programs, as well as support and therapy to help survivors heal.

Community Giving Tree - Adorned with cards naming donors, this tree is symbolic of our community working together for a worthy cause. It is a great way to honor someone special or lovingly remember a deceased loved one who holds a special place in your heart.

A Nov. 20 Preview Brunch is scheduled for Nov. 20 at 10 a.m. Tickets are $30/person for this event. Brunch attendees will enjoy a fun "how-to" session on accessorizing to make the most of a simple dress, and will have the first opportunity to view and purchase the many beautiful items donated by local merchants and individuals. 

Free picture with Santa are set for Nov. 23, 12 to 4 p.m.

For more information, call 864.231.7273


New VA Facility to Be Built Next to T.L. Hanna

Construction of a new Veterans Administration facility on S.C. 81 North next to T.L. Hanna High School could be under way by the beginning of 2014.

Medical and administrative staff are already being lined up for the facility which will give veterans in the county another option for a full VA facility.

More on this story as it develops.


Civil War Battle Explains 2013 Elections

With Gov. Chris Christie's massive reelection victory in the blue territory of New Jersey and Ken Cuccinelli's embarrassing defeat to Terry McAuliffe in the governor's race in often-red (in the off-years) Virginia, reasonable Republicans scored points against the party's renegades in the GOP's ongoing civil war. This internal battle has intensified since the government shutdown, as diehards led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have insisted the Republican Party's fortunes are tied to no-compromise conservatism and ideological confrontation, and establishment Rs have decried their party's Kamikaze Club and contended the GOP must maintain a lifeline to the center and political reality.

Yet in the two big statewide races of Election Day 2013, the results favored those who don't fancy hostage-taking. (In Alabama, a tea party birther was defeated by a Chamber of Commerce-backed candidate in a Republican primary for a vacant House seat.) Christie, who drew the ire of hardcore conservatives by refusing to treat President Barack Obama as the devil incarnate, coasted to an easy triumph and earned the right to declare this message: Republican success in the real world comes when GOP candidates emphasize pragmatic governing not ideological crusades. And Cuccinelli, a fierce social conservative with plenty of name recognition as the current state attorney general, was the poster boy for those right-wingers who assert that their party must stick to the far right lane to win elections and transform the nation. His defeat at the hands of a Democrat tainted by assorted money-and-politics scandals—in an election shaped by the government shutdown and Cuccinelli's hard-right views on abortion, birth control, and divorce—will be joyously cited by those who cry bunk in the face of Cruzism. But the non-Cruzers ought to resist the urge to celebrate too much, for the Republican Party may have just experienced its own version of the Battle of Chancellorsville.

This critical Civil War engagement transpired in the spring of 1863 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. General Robert E. Lee led a Southern force against Major General Joseph Hooker's Army of the Potomac, which had twice as many soldiers as Lee's army. Lee mounted a bold attack and pulled off a decisive win for the South. It was perhaps his greatest feat of the war. But there was a downside (in addition to the friendly-fire battlefield death of Stonewall Jackson): Lee saw his army's success at Chancellorsville as proof his army could do almost anything. He moved his troops north to mount an offensive campaign in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Full Story Here


County Council Oks Tax Breaks for 4 Economic Projects

Anderson County Council gave the go ahead to allow fee-in-lieu-of-taxes for four economic development projects, which could eventually generate an annual new payroll of more than $11 million dollars for citizens of Anderson County.

Each of the four is identified by code names, until the final agreements are signed.

“Project Opportunity” represents the expansion of an existing company, bringing 45 new jobs with an average wage of $17.50 per hour and a capital investment of $11 million.

“Project Courtney” will be a new business in Anderson County, bringing 150 jobs with an average salary of $9.50 per hour and a $9.55 million capital investment.

“Project Rack” represents the expansion of an existing local business and plans to add 41 jobs with an average salary of $13 per hour and a $13 million investment.

“Project Gamma,” a Germany-based company could invest nearly $38 million for a new business in the county creating 30 jobs with an average salary of $18 per hour and a $19 million investment. The company makes fuel from shredded tires. 

Anderson County Council members also ordered their lists of buildings in each district needing demolition. Holt Hopkins, transportation director for Anderson County, said that demolition of the 15-20 buildings topping the list should be completed this winter. After that, Hopkins said the other buildings will be demolished as funds are available.

 Early in the evening, residents of the Prescott Subdivision opposed the rezoning of Old Towne Development II which would allow for smaller homes of different construction materials to be added to the subdivision, which it shares. A representative for the developer said that the up to ten proposed homes would be single-story, quality construction built as 75 percent brick or hardie board, and argued that no one could tell the difference between a 1,500 and 1,600 square foot house. Council rejected the zoning change request.

Also on Tuesday night, council approved:

Renewing the Federal Flight Administrations lease at the Anderson County Airport.

Third reading of two ordinances giving the go ahead to rezoning of six parcels of land along Clemson Boulevard in the Denver-Sandy Springs community from commercial to residential agricultural. 

Second reading the expansion of the Joint County Industrial and Business Park of Anderson and Greenville Counties. 

First reading a fee-in-lieu-of-tax agreement with Plastic Omnium Auto Exteriors LLC for expansion of the business. 

Rezoning of 5.75 acres on 3031 S.C. 81 North, belonging to Dr. Terry Holdredge from residential to commercial. The property is bordered by commercial on both sides and by Holdredge’s residence and property on the back. 

Accepted Graystone, Palmetto Valley and Lexington Point roads into the county system.


Billy Graham Library to Celebrate Evangelists' Birthday

In honor of evangelist Billy Graham's 95th birthday celebration on Thursday, the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina will give visitors a chance to join in on the celebration by signing a banner that will later be presented to Graham, while each guest will receive a copy of God's Ambassador, a book that celebrates his life and ministry.

The library which was built on the same grounds as Graham's childhood home in 2007, is a ministry that offers hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, who may have never attended one of his crusades, the opportunity to experience Graham's message of hope through the Journey of Faith Tour.

Initially, Graham was not in favor of the library bearing his name because he thought it would deter from the purpose of the gospel message he has preached for over 60 years.

"When it was presented as an ongoing ministry and that people would have the opportunity to be won to Christ, I changed my mind," said Graham, according to the library's account of its history.

Graham will also mark his birthday with his last message, 'The Cross' which will air on television on November 7 after months of preparation at his home. The video will also include the testimonies of Christian rapper Lecrae and former lead singer of "Flyleaf" Lacey Strum.

"With all my heart, I want to remind Americans of God's amazing love and, as simply and clearly as I can, call people to a repentance that leads to salvation," said Graham in statement. "The program shows moving stories of real individuals, young Americans, whose lives have been completely transformed by the power of the Gospel. Woven around those stories is a message I believe God has given me for people in our nation today." 

According to his son, Franklin Graham, "the Lord had put it in his heart that if he ever was physically able to share a message again, he would speak about the cross" which became evident after his wife, Ruth, passed away in 2007 when he began posting cross-focused scriptures throughout his house.

The message is part of the "My Hope America" campaign, a nationwide effort in which over 24,000 churches have united to invite people into their homes and congregations to learn about beginning their walk of faith through a series of video messages.


Humane Society's Furball Thursday Night

Cough it up for the animals at the Anderson County Humane Society's 2013 Furball, tomorrow night from 5:30-10 p.m. at the Bleckley Inn downtown. Furball is a night of fun, food and festivities, as well as the night of the 'Humane-itarian' of the Year Award!

Tickets are $30 per person or $50 per couple, which includes food, dancing, live and silent auctions. All proceeds from Furball 2013 benefit the Anderson County Humane Society and its low cost spay and neuter clinic.

For more information contact Stepanie at 864.933.5347


Some Face Obamacare Marriage Penalty

Some couples will pay more for health insurance if they are married under the Affordable Care Act's, or "Obamacare's," new health care insurance exchanges.

The exchanges were designed by the ACA to provide health insurance options for those who do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare and do not get health insurance from their employer. Some of those who purchase insurance on the exchanges will receive a subsidy from the federal government.

In order to receive a subsidy, one's household income must be below 400 percent of the poverty level, or about $62,000. Household income for a married couple who both work is the sum of both of their incomes. This means that a dual-income couple could lose their subsidies if they get married.

Imagine, for instance, a couple who each earn $40,000. While single, they both get a subsidy to purchase insurance on the exchange. If they get married, though, their household income rises to $80,000 and they are no longer eligible.

Writing for The Atlantic, Garance Franke-Ruta profiles a couple faced with that decision. Nona Willis Aronowitz and her husband, Aaron Cassara, are contemplating getting divorced so they can afford health insurance.

Their combined 2012 income, slightly higher than $62,000, is not much to live on in New York City, which has one of the highest costs-of-living in the nation, but it is above the cutoff to receive subsidies for insurance. Their premiums would be over $9,000 per year on the exchange. But if they get a divorce, they could get about $4,000 in subsidies.

Full Story Here


Sheriff's Association Seeks Honorary Members 

Responding to the increasing number of people wanting to assist law enforcement officials and build a stronger partnership in the fight against crime,  Sheriff Skipper today announced that Anderson County citizens are being invited to become Honorary Members of the South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association.

Membership appeals will go out November 11th to December 3rd, 2013.  Individuals choosing to join the voluntary program can do so for as little as $25, while businesses can show their support for a $50 contribution. The funding provides critically important technical resources, training and legislative support on key criminal justice issues. Contributions are tax deductible.

“With government funding becoming increasingly difficult to secure, the membership drive has taken on greater importance than ever before, said Sheriff Skipper. “The funding is vital to helping us carry out our mission of making our communities safer places to live, work and play.”

The South Carolina Sheriffs' Association provides aggressive advocacy using the strong unified voice of our 46 Sheriffs.  The Association is a key player in shaping state policy on public safety and crime prevention, as well as providing critical training to Sheriffs' teams and education to member citizens/businesses. It is a valuable investment in the future. 

Individuals that do not receive a membership appeal and would like more information can do so by contacting the South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association at 112 Westpark Blvd., Columbia, SC 29210; phone 803-772-1101.  Information is also available online at www.sheriffsc.com.  


Expert: 129 Million to Lose Current Coverage Under Obamacare 

A healthcare expert has estimated that more than two-thirds of Americans who have private health insurance coverage will not be able to keep their previous plan due to President Obama's Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

"Bottom line: of the 189 million Americans with private health insurance coverage, I estimate that if Obamacare is fully implemented, at least 129 million (68 percent) will not be able to keep their previous health care plan either because they already have lost or will lose that coverage by the end of 2014," Christopher Conover, a Duke University scholar and adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), told the Daily Caller in an email. Conover added that most of these would not lose their plans entirely, but have to pay higher rates for "Obamacare-mandated bells and whistles."

"Most people are going to have some level of change in their policy," Edmund Haislmaier, Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies, told The Christian Post in an interview on Monday. "You can debate how much of that is a violation of Obama's pledge," Haislmaier added, referring to the President's promise that "if you like your coverage, you can keep it" under the new health reform.

Conover argued that Obama knew this was not the case, even while he promised it. "The problem is that he said it at least 24 times, most of which occurred after his own rule-writers had estimated that 49-80 percent of small employer plans would have lost their grandfather status by 2013, along with 34-64 percent of large employer plans," the AEI scholar said.

"Given how extensively presidential statements – especially to a joint session of Congress – are vetted and fact-checked, it is pretty inconceivable that President Obama was not aware that he was engaged in some degree of truth-twisting," Conover concluded.

Haislmaier agreed with Conover's analysis. "I don't see anything in the way he'd calculated it that struck me as being off-base," the Heritage scholar said. He claimed that individual health plans will change the most, while group plans will alter more slowly.

The Heritage Foundation scholar distinguished between self-insured and fully-insured plans. "In a self-insured arrangement, the employer retains the risk and simply pays the claims," the scholar explained. Under "fully-insured" plans, however, the insurance company foots the bill and takes the risk of having to pay for a doctor.

Most people are not aware of their own coverage, the scholar explained, because even if your employer is self-insured, the health insurance card still bears the name of an insurance company which organizes the system.


Loved Ones of Crime Victims Share Stories at Vigil

Loved ones of victims who lost their lives to violent crimes came together Monday night in Anderson.  The stories are all different, but the pain is the same.

Dozens came together at New Life Christian Center, each clutching a picture of their loved one whose life was senselessly taken.  Some killers have been caught, others are still on the loose.

Debbie Hyde hoped sharing her story would give others strength.  Hyde lost her 22-year-old pregnant daughter three years ago.  The father of the unborn child is behind bars for strangling the mother to be.

Hyde's message to others who lost loved ones to violence is simple -- keep going.

“What do we do?  We continue what we are doing.  We stand and we fight for what is right.  We never lay down and give up,” said Hyde.

Hyde said the pain and anger at times have been too much to bear, but little by little she has been able to let it go.

“I believe evil has struck us with enough bad taking Casey and Angel away from us and I refuse to give it anymore,” said Hyde.

After joining in prayer and song each family got to light a candle in memory of their loved ones and share their story.

“You see other people and you hate that they are hurting like you are, but somehow when you come together it gives you peace,” said Vickie Brucke who lost her brother five years ago.

Monday night was the 14th annual Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Crime.  It was sponsored by the Greater Anderson Area Victim Advocate Association.

Read more: http://www.wyff4.com/news/local-news/anderson-news/vigil-for-victims-of-violent-crime/-/9654706/22804752/-/142osx8/-/index.html#ixzz2jlUXMGhS