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THIS FIRST — FLU AND YOU — As flu season approaches, South Carolinians are encouraged to get vaccinated against the pesky bug. Regular flu vaccine, which is touted by a local health department official as one of the best protective methods against the flu, particularly for high-risk populations, is now available statewide. DHEC has reported that approximately 700 people die from seasonal flu in the state each year, with more than 4,000 South Carolinians admitted to a hospital. Flu is listed as the leading cause of death for people ages 65 and older.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY — Cougar Pride: LaVell Edwards and Steve Young, and two stars with top TV shows and 2010 vows: Stephen Moyer and Emily Deschanel
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NATIONAL LENS — JUGGLING ACT — The jobs crisis has brought an unwelcome discovery for many unemployed Americans: Job openings in their old fields exist. Yet they no longer qualify for them. They’re running into a trend that took root during the recession. Companies became more productive by doing more with fewer workers. Some asked staffers to take on a broader array of duties – duties that used to be spread among multiple jobs. Now, someone who hopes to get those jobs must meet the new requirements.
NEWT-ANCES — In August, Newt Gingrich compared backers of a mosque near Ground Zero to Nazis putting up signs at the Holocaust museum. In September, there was his assertion that President Barack Obama is motivated by a “Kenyan anti-colonial” world view. And early October already has brought a declaration that Democrats are “the party of food stamps.” “He knows how to appeal to and arouse the conservative coalition,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). “But he also has a tendency to go one stop further than he should.” As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) put it of the Gingrich approach: “The good news is it gets people to listen to you but the bad news is your negatives go up.”
ON TOM — When the new chief of President Obama’s national security team needed Senate approval for a top diplomatic post nearly two decades ago, he did not have years in uniform or graduate degrees in foreign affairs to recommend him. But Thomas E. Donilon did have a bone-deep immersion in the combat of campaign politics at the highest level. Mr. Obama has “chosen wisely,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said in a release after the president announced that Donilon would replace Jones, the retired Marine general and former NATO commander who was his first national security adviser.
RAINMAKER — Nancy Pelosi isn’t acting like a Speaker in peril. The California Democrat hasn’t been calling her colleagues to ask them to pledge their loyalty to her, nor has she been making any other direct appeals to bolster her support for another two-year term as the Democratic leader. Instead, Pelosi is trusting that the power of her fundraising will keep her in charge. Majority Whip James Clyburn, a Pelosi ally, shot down the suggestion that Pelosi’s support among moderate Democrats is slipping. “Her strength in our Caucus is as strong as it’s ever been, I would say stronger than it’s ever been,” the South Carolina Democrat said. “I do not think for one moment that she has any reason to be concerned about anything said in the throes of a political campaign.”
2012 WATCH — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is quickly making his name known in the national political scene. Now it seems Mr. Christie may be a leading contender for 2012. The New Jersey governor topped a slew of potentential presidential candidates in a poll at the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Convention. Mr. Christie received 15 percent of the 1,560 votes cast. Mr. Christie beat out other possible contenders, including former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (13 percent), Ron Paul (12 percent), Newt Gingrich (8.5 percent), and Sen. Jim Demint (7 percent). It is the first indication that Mr. Christie may have the support of a majority of Republicans and Tea Party members, a group that has, at times, divided the conservative party.
FACT FINDER — If Democrat Rob Miller unseats Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, then he and fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. James Clyburn will have to do a better job of coordinating messages. Both sent out statements on last week’s jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor. That report said the economy created 65,000 private sector jobs. But the economy lost 95,000 jobs because of heavy losses from government employment. Miller used the numbers to pummel Wilson. And Clyburn used the same numbers to defend Democratic leadership, including President Obama.
ON THE AIR — Appearing Tuesday on MSNBC’s The Ed Show, openly gay Colorado Congressman Jared Polis attacked Senator Jim DeMint’s no-gay-teachers comment. On the program, Polis, a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, said the idea would destroy public education and suggested that that might be DeMint’s real agenda. “A school district should investigate the personal lives of all their teachers? Find out who their single women teachers are sleeping with?” Polis rhetorically asked host Ed Schultz. “This is contrary to our values as Americans.”
22 DAYS — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid remains in a dead heat with Republican challenger Sharron Angle in several polls, but he’s crushing her in the endorsement competition. If this were a boxing match, the referee would have stopped the fight as a bloody battering. Trouble for Reid is, this isn’t a boxing match. The effectiveness of his endorsements will only be known on Election Day.
IN THE STARS — Former President Bill Clinton will campaign in Colorado for Sen. Michael Bennet on Oct. 18, following first lady Michelle Obama and leaving open the question whether the popular Democrat is preceding President Barack Obama to Denver. Republicans are looking for star power of their own, with popular South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint already working for Ken Buck, and South Dakota Sen. John Thune joining Buck this coming week. Thune is a potential presidential candidate in 2012.
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2010 WATCH — CAMERA SHY — Voters won’t see a televised debate in South Carolina’s 6th Congressional District race, although four involving other congressional races are being presented. South Carolina Educational Television began airing taped debates Oct. 10 involving Republican and Democratic candidates vying for the U.S. House seat in Districts 3 and 4. Debates for candidates in District 5 and 2 will air Oct. 17 and Oct. 24, respectively.
GOOD LERNER — If Nikki Haley ends up in the South Carolina governor’s mansion, one of the people most responsible for her remarkable run will be someone you’ve almost certainly never heard of. That’s just the way Jon Lerner likes it. Working from his suburban Washington office in Bethesda, Md., at a safe remove from the political ruckus of Capitol Hill, Lerner is helping guide the Haley campaign in the same stealthy manner that the Republican consultant aided Gov. Mark Sanford’s two gubernatorial races.
END OF THE MONTH — In 2006 legislation was passed which formally adopted the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, the only one of 49 national heritage areas that deals with the African-American experience in our American history. Michael Allen is the Coordinator for the Cultural Heritage Corridor and says the corridor is at a defining moment and is asking for input in pulling together a management plan.
EDIST-NO — The South Fork of the Edisto River has been listed as “impaired” because of an excess of fecal coliform found in the water. According to officials with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, samples from Zig Zag boat landing near Farrell Crossroads in Bamberg and Coleman Bridge Road in Aiken yielded levels of fecal coliform above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s water body compliance standards. Excess levels of fecal coliform pose a risk to anyone using the river for recreational purposes.
DIFFERENT FIX — Candidates for state superintendent of education agree that the graduation rate is too low, and that reforms are needed to improve the high school experience for all students. But Democrat Frank Holleman and Republican Mick Zais disagree on how best to turn around the state’s high schools. Both candidates agree that educational success long before students enter high school improves their performance in the upper grades, and improves the graduation rate. But they disagree on which early educational experiences and programs have the most impact.
BEHIND THE COVER — Nikki Haley doesn’t want you thinking about the historic nature of her bid for governor, the fact that she could break gender and racial boundaries in this Deep South state, when you step into the voting booth in three weeks. But what she wants voters to think about when they decide between her and Democrat Vincent Sheheen for governor is the future of job creation in South Carolina, government spending and how the state will handle federal mandates.
MIRROR IMAGE — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. Vincent Sheheen continued to question his opponent’s character during a campaign stop in Orangeburg. He said his opponent, Republican Rep. Nikki Haley, has proven time and again that her statements and her actions are contradictory. “I am shocked, frankly, not as a candidate, but as a citizen … with the sheer arrogance that we’re seeing, from (Gov.) Mark Sanford over the last few years and other leaders of this state, and Nikki Haley is acting just like the rest of them.”
DO TELL — With the Nov. 2 election approaching, reporter Robert Behre interviewed gubernatorial hopefuls Republican Nikki Haley and Democrat Vincent Sheheen on the biggest issues facing the state. This installment focuses on government reform.
READ MORE ROBERT — Here he interviews Green and United Citizens party candidate Morgan Bruce Reeves.
SOUND THE ALARM — As the country marks National Fire Prevention Week the American Red Cross of Aiken County is urging everyone to help save lives by making sure their home is protected by smoke alarms. “The largest percentage of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or alarms that don’t work,” said Joey Hutto emergency services coordinator, Aiken County Chapter. “Smoke alarms provide a few minutes of advance warning in the event of a home fire, and that extra time can save lives.” People who do not have smoke alarms in their homes should have them installed, and those with smoke alarms should make sure they have been properly maintained and updated.
COMING SOON — Former Columbia City Councilman E.W. Cromartie is expected to be sentenced in federal court Friday, and it could be the first time he speaks publicly about his failure to pay federal income and employment taxes. Cromartie pleaded guilty in April to one count of income tax evasion and two counts of structuring payments to avoid federal reporting requirements. In exchange for the guilty plea, Cromartie agreed to a prison sentence of 12 months plus one day and to paying the IRS $58,000 in back taxes and penalties.
SUMTER — Elation as 200 return to Shaw
AIKEN — Sheheen stumps in Aiken
ORANGEBURG — Hunter takes his art to Ohio State
SPARTANBURG — Spartanburg college students reach out with faith
COLUMBIA — Move to Whaley House approved
MANNING — Democrats open headquarters
VIEWPOINT — WHAT’S IN A WORD — Cynthia Tucker of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes how “last year, U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) shared a story from one of his town hall meetings. A constituent stood to demand that Congress keep “government out of my Medicare.” Inglis reminded the constituent that government created and runs Medicare, a truth-telling affront which may help explain why Inglis was defeated by a rightwing tea-party type in the Republican primary a few months ago.
VIEWPOINT II — FUND-ING — With official attendance put at 2,800, the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Convention in Richmond the weekend of October 8 and 9 was judged a success by its organizers. Wall Street Journal political commentator John Fund was one of the convention’s featured speakers, and his assessment of the Tea Party movement confirmed that judgment. The Tea Party movement, Fund told the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner in an interview following his speech on Friday, is the “essence of American individualism and American entrepreneurship. These are people who are disenfranchised by politics as usual.”
VIEWPOINT III — SPEAK UP — Gov. Mark Sanford writes, “higher education has never been more important than it is today, but unfortunately in many cases it has never been less affordable. Over the last decade, South Carolina’s in-state tuition has risen 172 percent — five times higher than personal income growth and more than six times higher than inflation. This means our in-state tuition now ranks first among Southeastern states and sixth nationally. Long story short, our administration hasn’t been able to make the changes we would like to have seen in higher education. That’s why it’s vital that taxpayers make their voices heard in anticipation of next year’s legislative session. Without the taxpayers’ perspective, higher education funding policy next year will be based on perceptions rather than realities.”
FINALLY THIS — HELPING HANDS — Ribald Farms Helping Hands will be assisting York County families in need this Christmas with food, clothing and toy needs. York County’s unemployment rate is 15.4 percent leaving many families in need of assistance. Each family sponsored will receive food, clothing items, shoes, toiletry items, wrapped toys for children, a Christmas tree and decorations. To nominate a family, send a story explaining the family situation, special needs that would help the family get back on its feet, the name and address of the family and a contact name and number for the person nominating the family.