To the Contrary

Sanford fights ESC

Gov. Mark Sanford could decide soon whether Monday's document-drop from the Employment Security Commission is sufficient, or if he will fire commissioners for refusing to provide him with requested information.

He needs to take a deep breath, and proceed with extreme caution.

Our government has many problems. ...

But there's a crucial bit of logic that's being overlooked: You can't be expected to provide information you don't have. If the governor demanded the codes to U.S. nuclear missiles, or Kentucky Fried Chicken's secret formula, obviously he could not fire commissioners for failing to provide them. Nor can he fire them for failing to provide unemployment data that they never collected, which they say is all they did not provide.

Sanford already is on the wrong side on the unemployed, refusing to acknowledge the extent of our state's problem, suggesting that those without jobs are being coddled and threatening to cut off benefits over a bureaucratic turf war. If he petulantly overreaches with his authority over these commissioners, he will remind legislators (as if they needed reminding) why they are so set against giving more power to any governor.

Closing schools

What can you do to help keep USC-Union open? Write a letter -- or two -- or even 200.

Gov. Mark Sanford's proposed budget includes plans to close USC-Union, along with USC-Lancaster and USC-Salkehatchie to help reduce state expenses. He suggested that students who attend these branches drive to other USC campuses.

The impact these campuses have on their communities goes far beyond the funding each receives from the state. For example, USC-Union also has a branch in Laurens County and serves other surrounding communities. The Lancaster and Salkehatchie branches have similar impacts on their communities. ...

USC-Union Dean Dr. Hugh Rowland said it is critical for lawmakers in Columbia to know just what role the university plans in the lives of people in Union County and surrounding counties.

"Without educational opportunities, many of our people simply will not be able to drive 30 to 50 miles to go to college," he said. "Ten to 20 years from now, the economy of Union and other rural counties will be worse than it is now iof the university closes." ...

Let's show our lawmakers that we want to keep our university.

The (Orangeburg) Times and Democrat on new DUI law, Feb. 11:

Driving under the influence continues to be a problem on South Carolina's roads and highways, where overall traffic deaths showed declines in 2008 even as DUI-related fatalities increased. ...

On Tuesday at noon, new state laws on DUI went into effect. They should serve to make individuals think twice before getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink. As if protecting lives is not enough incentive to driver sober, there are new and potentially much larger problems for those caught by law enforcement while driving intoxicated.

"Drunk driving is something that people do out of arrogance, selfishness and recklessness," S.C. Department of Public Safety Director Mark Keel said. "Nowadays, people already know how dangerous it is to drive under the influence of alcohol; but they decide to do it anyway. So, what this new DUI law does is in effect say, 'If you choose to drink and drive, we'll give you plenty of time to think about your choice."' ...

Beyond punishment, there is the matter of responsibility. ...

Keel says, "Too many people are being killed by drunk drivers, and contrary to common belief, drunk drivers die in crashes, too South Carolinians should really get behind this DUI law by supporting the law enforcement community and feeling some responsibility toward others on the road. If we work together, we can effectively use the new DUI law, along with the primary safety belt law, to save lives."

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