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Friday
Nov062015

Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

President Obama rejected a presidential permit Friday for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, citing concerns about its impact on the climate.

"America’s now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change," Obama told reporters, standing in the Roosevelt Room beside Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John F. Kerry. "And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that's the biggest risk we face, not acting."

He said now was the time to act to “protect the one planet we’ve got while we still can.”

Full Story Here

Friday
Nov062015

Opinion: Who is Left Who Can Still Be President

By Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

I have been following and/or covering politics for more than 40 years and cannot recall any presidential candidates with thinner skin than Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Grown men answer questions with honest integrity. They do not attack those asking questions. We  need more adults who want to be president. Don't these guys realize difficult, probing questions are part of being the chief executive? 

On the other side of the aisle, Hillary is the most closed off, paranoid candidate perhaps ever. She makes Nixon seem downright open. She thinks she can build a wall that no one has the right to scale, and since she's had a secret service agent assigned to her for a quarter century, she thinks bodyguards and roping off media areas are just normal ways of life. While I don't think Carson or Trump will survive the process and get the nomination, I think Hillary likely will, and unless the GOP finds a less extreme, fragmented strategy, she's more than likely to get elected. 

I had greater hopes for the political process in this country until the polarization of the past couple of decades, where posturing and yelling up front have replaced working out what is best for the country behind closed doors. The GOP invokes the name of Reagan, but he would be unelectable today. His charisma would be overshadowed by stories of his days as president of a union, his divorce and whether or not he colored his hair. Reagan understood the idea of having a short list of priorities and spent much of his two terms working out deals out of the spotlight of the press, behind closed doors, with Speaker Tip O’Neil. Today’s GOP would brand him as too willing to compromise, too friendly with the Democrats.

The last GOP presidential candidate who seemed to understand this was Bob Dole and the party neutered his strengths with a horrible campaign.  

On the on side of the aisle, the Democrats have volleyed the angry extremist elements of the GOP back over the net with little more policy talk than “we’re not like the crazy Republicans.” This has given them the White House 16 of the last 24 years, while Congress has flipped and flopped on who held the majority. 

Sure, there are a few issues  - abortion, gun control, health care, taxation - which separate their rhetoric. But even on these issues, few seem able or willing to offer specific details or plans on how they would make progress toward solving these problems. There was a day not so long ago when every candidate would release hundreds of pages of position papers explaining where they stood on the issues of the day.

Today, these documents are replaced with yard signs, bumper stickers, and, if you we are fortunate, a two-sided panel card with bullet-pointed lists of why the candidate is a great American.

Has 2016 brought the worst group of presidential hopefuls ever? As a class, yes. There may not be a Henry Wallace, Strom Thurmond or Aaron Burr among the group, but as a lot this roster brings more “I don’t really like any of them, but…” than any in history.

Full Column Here

Friday
Nov062015

U.S. Unemployment Rate Drops to 5 Percent

The American economy added 271,000 jobs in October, a very strong showing that makes an interest-rate increase by the Federal Reserve much more likely when policy makers meet next month.

The report on hiring and unemployment, released Friday by the Labor Department, was eagerly anticipated on Wall Street, where traders and economists have been sifting each new bit of economic data for any augury of the central bank’s course.

The unemployment rate dipped to 5.0 percent, from 5.1 in September.

At this level, the unemployment rate is close to what would normally be considered the threshold for full employment by the Fed and many private economists.

While October rates for South Carolina will not be posted until later this month, Anderson County's unemployment rate fell in September, falling to 5.2 percent from 5.6 percent in August. The county's rate is also lower than the statewide figure of 5.7 percent, and is the sixth lowest rate among counties in South Carolina.

Friday
Nov062015

Democrat Hopefuls Square Off in Rock Hill Debate

Democratic presidential hopefuls will meet Friday evening for a forum at Winthrop University.

The "First in South Democratic Candidates Forum" will be moderated by NSNBC's Rachel Maddow. It will air live on MSNBC.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will all take questions at Friday night's event.

SC Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison said, "November 6 will be filled with informative discussions on the importance of the South."

Friday
Nov062015

Misquitoes Plague S.C. After Floods

After rainfall and floods of almost biblical proportions, South Carolina is seeing a plague of mosquitoes. Now, lawmakers from both parties agree exterminating them must be a priority — even if it means spending actual money.

There's bipartisan support for killing the tiny bloodsuckers that have been tormenting residents following last month's historic rainfall that flooded several areas of the state. Lawmakers said Thursday they want the federal government to pay for the anti-mosquito campaign, but if it doesn't, the state should consider picking up the tab.

The total price tag for all counties that are part of the federal emergency declaration is estimated at $39 million, according to South Carolina's Emergency Management Division. But lawmakers said rural areas can't afford the hefty $1.5 million per-county estimate for aerial spraying. Yet they're concerned about possible health risks for people, pets and livestock.

Richland County, also home to the state capital Columbia, is paying to spray rural parts of the hard-hit county this week, where the "landing rate" has reached more than 60 per minute. That's far more than the four or five landings normal for this time of year, vector control director Tammy Brewer told The State newspaper.

Several days of record-setting downpours in early October claimed 19 storm-related deaths in the Carolinas, flooded hundreds of homes and businesses, and temporarily shut down hundreds of flooded roads and washed-out bridges. The storm also temporarily left stretches of several interstates impassable in South Carolina.

Lawmakers said it's not fair to leave residents of counties with smaller tax bases to suffer.

"I see this as a statewide problem, not a county problem. Rural counties can't do this," said state Rep. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, adding that mosquitoes are the No. 1 complaint he's getting now from constituents. If the federal government doesn't pay, "the state of South Carolina will have to bear this as an expense."

Thursday
Nov052015

Veterans Day Parade Sunday, Some Roads Closed

The annual Anderson County Veterans' Association Veterans Day Parade will be this Sunday at 3 p.m. in downtown Anderson. The parade route runs along Main Street from Greenville Street to River Street.

A ceremony on the courthouse steps will immediately follow the parade.

Traffic and Parking will be affected along Main Street from E. Highland Avenue to River Street on Sunday between 1-4 pm.

Thursday
Nov052015

George H.W. Bush: Cheney, Rumsfeld "Arrogant," "Hardline"

 

Former US president George HW Bush has hit out at Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, two of the most senior figures in his son’s administration, labelling them too “hardline” and “arrogant” in their handling of the September 11 attacks.
A new biography of the 41st president – Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey Of George Herbert Walker Bush – reveals that Bush Sr held Cheney and Rumsfeld responsible for the hawkish stance that “hurt” his son’s administration, Fox News reported on Wednesday.
The book, by Jon Meacham, is based on audio diaries that Bush recorded during his time in the White House, as well as interviews with the former president and his wife, Barbara.
Cheney served as defence secretary during George HW Bush’s 1989-1993 presidency and later as vice-president under President George W Bush. After 9/11, Bush Sr told his biographer: “I don’t know, he just became very hardline and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with.
“The reaction [to 9/11], what to do about the Middle East. Just iron-ass. His seeming knuckling under to the real hard-charging guys who want to fight about everything, use force to get our way in the Middle East,” Bush told Meacham in the book, which is due to be published next week.
Of his son’s role, Bush Sr told his biographer: “He’s my son, he did his best and I’m for him. It’s that simple an equation.”
But he criticised Bush Jr for allowing Cheney to build “kind of his own state department” and for the inflammatory language that infused the US response to the 9/11 attacks.
Analysis George Bush Sr book reveals a more dangerous Dick Cheney than anyone knew Destiny and Power shows a VP with more authority than almost all his predecessors, making plain Bush Jr’s administration could have been even worse
“I do worry about some of the rhetoric that was out there – some of it his [Bush Jr], maybe, and some of it the people around him. Hot rhetoric is pretty easy to get headlines, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the diplomatic problem.”

Full Story Here

 

Thursday
Nov052015

Meals on Wheels Needs Donations for Winter Shelf-Stable Meals

Meals on Wheels of Anderson is planning ahead for the icy weather of winter by beginning to put together meals that can be stored for use when drivers can't deliver.
Meals on Wheels is asking for donations to assemble these “bagged meals” which contain ready-to-eat soup (no water needed), a granola/nutrition bar, a pack of raisins, a can of fruit and a single serving can or box of juice packaged in a gallon-sized zippered plastic bag. 
The goal is to provide each recipient at least three of these “care packages” during the winter months. With nearly 500 recipients, the organization needs to receive at least 1,500 meals. 
Church groups, schools, clubs or service organizations are invited to collect and package these items for distribution this winter. Donations of packaged meals can be received at the Meals on Wheels office at 105 S. Fant Street in Anderson. 
Meals on Wheels of Anderson relies solely on donations received from the community for its day-to-day operations and receives no federal or state funding. For more information about how to package shelf stable meals or other volunteer opportunities, contactl Meg Jones at 864-225-6800 or info@acmow.org
Thursday
Nov052015

Historic Floods Uncover Ancient Artifacts in S.C.

The University of South Carolina is urging anyone who finds old animal fossils or artifacts after last month's flooding to contact the school so the sites can be investigated.
The university said people have already found the fossilized remains of a mammoth, old barges and a dugout canoe in sites that were exposed as floodwaters eroded riverbanks across the state in early October.
State Underwater Archaeologist James Spirek says he expects to find other sites and would not be surprised if people find pottery from Native Americans or the remains of shipwrecks from long ago.
Spirek says it is critical to find these sites undisturbed so archaeologists can do their work and fully examine the artifacts.
Thursday
Nov052015

March of Dimes Gives S.C. "D" on Premature Birth Report Card

South Carolina has received a "D" rating by the March of Dimes on their premature birth report card.
According to the March of Dimes, South Carolina' preterm birth rate (births before 37 weeks gestation) was 10.8% in 2014, based on numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics.  The goal for each state, according to the March of Dimes, should be for each state to have a preterm birth rate of 8.1% or less.
There are areas within the state that are trailing behind the state’s rate, and those including Richland, Lexington and Horry Counties.
“Our state is not doing as well as we should in preventing premature births and too many of our babies must fight to overcome the health challenges of an early birth” said Breana Lipscomb, Director of Program Services for the March of Dimes South Carolina Chapter.  “Premature birth is the number one killer of babies and many of our families still face that fear. There are large gaps in the preterm birth rate between communities in our state, and racial and ethnic disparities persist.”
South Carolina ranked 39 on the disparity index with a score of 32 to indicate the gaps between racial and ethnic groups in its preterm birth rate.

South Carolina has received a "D" rating by the March of Dimes on their premature birth report card.
According to the March of Dimes, South Carolina' preterm birth rate (births before 37 weeks gestation) was 10.8% in 2014, based on numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics.  The goal for each state, according to the March of Dimes, should be for each state to have a preterm birth rate of 8.1% or less.
There are areas within the state that are trailing behind the state’s rate, and those including Richland, Lexington and Horry Counties.


“Our state is not doing as well as we should in preventing premature births and too many of our babies must fight to overcome the health challenges of an early birth” said Breana Lipscomb, Director of Program Services for the March of Dimes South Carolina Chapter.  “Premature birth is the number one killer of babies and many of our families still face that fear. There are large gaps in the preterm birth rate between communities in our state, and racial and ethnic disparities persist.”


South Carolina ranked 39 on the disparity index with a score of 32 to indicate the gaps between racial and ethnic groups in its preterm birth rate.

Wednesday
Nov042015

S.C. Supreme Court Rejects Auto Dealer Closing Fee

The S.C. Supreme Court ruled 3-2 Wednesday that a Pickens County car dealership shouldn’t have charged a $299 “closing fee” when it sold a used car to a local woman.

The car dealership will have to pay $2.8 million actual damages to Julie Freeman and 5,314 other people who bought cars from Hendrick Honda of Easley from 2002 to 2006, according to the opinion and Columbia attorney Cam Lewis, one of the lawyers who sued Hendrick.

That computes to about a $525 refund for each of Hendrick Honda’s 5,315 car buyers over that period.

The lawsuit was not technically a “class action” suit. Under S.C. law, Freeman was allowed to file suit as a representative of the thousands of other Hendrick Honda customers during the four-year period in question.

The lawsuit is one of many similar lawsuits brought against S.C. car dealerships across the state, some of whom have settled their cases and others that were on hold pending the resolution of this case, according to the Supreme Court’s opinion.

Winning lawyer Lewis estimate there are currently more than 200 such lawsuits against other state car dealerships.

“All of them were waiting to see what the Supreme Court did in this case,” Lewis said.

At issue in Freeman’s lawsuit was whether Hendrick Honda had a factual basis for tacking on a closing fee for each car it sold. Its closing fees ranged from $249 to $399 per car, according to the opinion.

Under a law called the Dealers Act, a car dealer must satisfy certain requirements such as only including actual costs when it charges a closing fee, the opinion said. Freeman had charged in her lawsuit that Hendrick’s closing fee “bore no relation to the actual expenses incurred by Hendrick.”

“Hendrick failed to offer any evidence that it calculated the costs that comprised the closing fee,” the opinion said. During the trial, Hendrick’s general manager testified he didn’t know how closing fees were computed, the opinion said.

“Any costs sought to be recovered by a dealer under a closing fee charge must be directly related to the services rendered and expenses incurred in closing the purchase of a vehicle,” the opinion said.

Lewis said, “These fees are little but they add up to a lot if you are a car dealer. It’s a big win for consumers because it will make cars cheaper.”

Sims Floyd, executive director of the S.C. Automobile Dealers Association, was not available for comment Wednesday.

Other lawyers on the winning side were Terry Richardson of Barnwell, Gedney Howe of Charleston and Michael Spears of Spartanburg.

Hendrick Honda lawyers included James Becker, Mary Caskey and John Lay of Columbia, Sarah Spruill of Greenville and Marvin Infinger of Charleston.

The court’s majority opinion was written by Associate Justice Donald Beatty and joined by Chief Justice Jean Toal and Kaye Hearn.

Dissenting were Associate Justice John Kittredge and Acting Justice James Moore.


Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article42950274.html#storylink=cpy
Wednesday
Nov042015

S.C. 5th Fattest State in U.S.

In a study recently released by the personal finance website WalletHub, South Carolina was ranked as the 5th fattest state in America.

With hearty-eating holidays approaching and November being National Diabetes Awareness Month, the study set out to find where weight issues were the most prevalent and to attempt to encourage Americans to re-evaluate lifestyles, WalletHub analysts said.

Analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 12 metrics including the percentage of adults and children who are overweight and obese to the amount of sugary drinks consumed by adolescents.

On a scale of one being the worst and 25 being average, South Carolina ranked:

▪  10th in percentage of adults who are obese.

▪  8th in percentage of children who are overweight.

▪  2nd in percentage of children who are obese.

▪  18th in percentage of residents who are physically active.

▪  4th in percentage of residents with high cholesterol.

▪  5th in percentage of adults eating less than one serving of fruits and vegetables per day.

▪  7th in percentage of residents with diabetes.

▪  3rd in percentage of residents with hypertension.


Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article42921486.html#storylink=cpy
Wednesday
Nov042015

Poll: 71% of S.C. Democrats Favor Clinton

According to the latest Winthrop Poll, likely Democratic voters in South Carolina overwhelmingly support Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee to become the 45th president,

Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said they were leaning toward voting for the former Secretary of State. Of the African-Americans contacted, she had even higher numbers, at 80%. The other two candidates running in the primary received significantly lower support - U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, 15%, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, 2%.

South Carolina is important in the presidential process because it is the first primary in the South and because it is the first time presidential candidates can be vetted by large numbers of African-American voters.

Winthrop Poll Director Scott Huffmon noted, "African Americans are one of the most important constituencies for the Democratic Party. African Americans can make up over 50% of the Democratic Presidential Primary vote in South Carolina, which is a much larger portion than you'll see in the Iowa Caucus or New Hampshire primary."

 

Of the Clinton supporters polled, 72% said she is a solid choice. A little more than a third of all respondents said they might change their mind. Sanders comes up as a second choice by 37% of respondents, but a fourth of respondents said they are undecided.