Category Archives: Uncategorized

Open Thread for Monday, November 23, 2015

"OK, I need y'all's John Hancocks on this ASAP, because I need to get busy on the Constitution..."

“OK, I need y’all’s John Hancocks on this ASAP, because I need to get busy on the Constitution…”

Slow news day so far — unless you’re in Brussels, or Paris — but let’s see if we can identify some topics to talk about:

  1. Locked Down for 3rd Day, Brussels Hunts Terror Suspects — The city is shut down, but the police have been busy — 20-something raids have produced 21 arrests, but the chief target has eluded authorities.
  2. Pfizer-Allergan Deal Shifts a U.S. Giant to Foreign Address — Yes, the deal brings with it “significant tax benefits.”

  3. Carson credits Thomas Jefferson with helping craft Constitution — Which would have been a neat trick, since he was in France at the time. He also alleged recently that none of the members of the Continental Congress had previously held elective office, which is also a complete fantasy.

  4. NPR is graying, and public radio is worried about it — That is to say, its audience is graying. Well, you know, it’s a very sober, responsible, thorough, grown-up sort of news source, and if you want your news Jon Stewart-style, it’s just not gonna be for you…
  5. Police: Man struck by dancer at MB club after he insulted her weight — She slapped him four times, according to the report, and then the bouncers tossed him out with extreme prejudice. You know what? I don’t want to sound cynical, but I’m beginning to doubt that all of the clientele at “gentlemen’s clubs” are actually gentlemen.

Please feel free to suggest your own topics.


‘Multiple attacks’ in Paris — AGAIN

It looks like there’s a significant and terrible development in the War on Terror breaking right now in Paris.

The BBC reports:

At least 18 people have been killed in several shootings in the French capital, Paris, as well as explosions at the Stade de France.

At least one man opened fire with an automatic gun at the Petit Cambodge restaurant in the 11th district.

Liberation newspaper reports four deaths. It also reports shootings near the Bataclan arts centre.

Three explosions are also reported outside a bar near the Stade de France, where France were hosting Germany.

Reports say French President Francois Hollande was watching the match and has been moved to safety….

This is the point at which no reports will be both coherent and accurate, perhaps not either.

As for drawing conclusions regarding the events — that’s pretty far off. Is this retaliation for our killing Jihadi John? Who knows? It may have nothing to do even with anything going on in that part of the world. If that is what it is, it makes little sense to strike in France, but since when did terrorism make sense? It doesn’t much matter why they do what they do; our aim must be to stop them from doing it.

To the extent that we can. This is another case in which the civilized world failed.


About those contracts Mia and John Scott have with the city…

As you’ll recall, we all looked askance, and with good reason, when a private firm paid then-Rep. Nikki Haley $40k and then couldn’t explain what they were paying her for, beyond the fact that she was “very connected.”

So how should we react when we see two lawmakers getting paid potentially more than that each by the taxpayers of Columbia?

Columbia has hired two state lawmakers to do consulting work for the city, agreeing to pay their businesses up to $49,500 each.

City Manager Teresa Wilson said the city was not trying to buy influence in the Legislature by retaining state Rep. Mia McLeod, who is running for the state Senate, and state Sen. John Scott, both Richland Democrats.

Instead, Wilson said she hired McLeod and Scott for their expertise. Scott’s work, for example, includes advising the city on its application for transportation money from a state agency, she said.

In addition, Wilson also said she decided to hire McLeod and Scott because their businesses – McLeod Butler Communications and C&S Consulting Group – are owned by minority women. Scott’s wife is the president of C&S Consulting.

“This is to the benefit of the city when we can work with minority, women-owned businesses,” Wilson said. “It just so happens that they happen to be legislators.”…

OK, um, I can see why, as a matter of policy, a public entity might choose to do business with “minority, women-owned,” even if they fit that description only technically. But, you know, I kind of want it to be for something the city needs, and I want to know that the contractor can provide the service.

For instance, I think I might have wanted to have an extended public discussion before I hired the author of such missives as this to do public relations work.

But that’s me, and since I’m in that business now, I’m hardly a disinterested observer, am I? So what do y’all think?

The Saluda River is still rising at Quail Hollow

The Quail Hollow pool, which is right next to the Saluda River, at 5:18 p.m.

The Quail Hollow pool, which is right next to the Saluda River, at 5:18 p.m.

Remember this picture (shown below) from earlier in the day?

Well, the Saluda has continued to rise steadily through the day. At 5:20 (above), it only needed to rise another couple of inches before it would get into the neighborhood pool, which is right next to the river.

The same view at 1:09 p.m.

The same view at 1:09 p.m.

Open Thread for Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I had almost completed this post several hours ago, but got sidetracked and haven’t gotten back to it. Sorry. Here ya go:

  1. Richland County prevails in Green Diamond lawsuit — Talk about a blast from the past.
  2. Quidditch Cup coming to Columbia in 2016 — Yeahhh. A bunch of people running around on the ground with brooms between their legs, pretending to be flying wizards. Yeahhhh…
  3. NFL ‘Deflategate’ Saga Continues With Both Sides Back In Federal Court — Speaking of people playing silly games, this is an actual federal case, in real, grownup court, about whether someone adequately inflated a ball.
  4. How the Brat Pack got its name — and spoiled celebrity journalism forever — As silly as this topic may seem, it’s actually a fairly interesting pop culture piece. Reading it helped me catch up a bit on trends, since at the time we had three kids and our fourth on the way, I was starting a new job as news editor in Wichita, and I was a little too busy to concern myself with the existence of something called a “Brat Pack.”

The new SPECTRE trailer looks awesome.

Brad’s busy doing work (allegedly), so I thought I would toss a fresh post up here at the top to keep y’all entertained. Right now, everything political just seems like crazy-town right now, so here’s something that is a break from the antics of the fever-swamp on the Potomac. Just pretend that your regular teacher is out sick, and the substitute teacher shows up and has a movie for the class.

The new James Bond movie, SPECTRE, has a new trailer out, and it looks awesome.

There are four categories of movies for me. First, there are movies that I will definitely pay to see in the theater. Second, there are movies that I will rent once they hit the PPV market. Third, there are movies that I’ll watch on TV if I happen to be in the right mood. Lastly, there are movies that I just have no interest in watching.

Although it’s early, I think I’m leaning toward seeing SPECTRE in the theaters. By way of comparison, the last movie I saw in theaters was American SniperI was disappointed with the last Bond film, Skyfall. It was okay, but not great. I rented it, and I was glad that I didn’t go pay to see it in theaters.

SC rises in Kids Count ranking — to No. 42

This just in today from Children’s Trust of SC:

South Carolina Improves in Annual KIDS COUNT Rankings of Child Well-Being
Despite Jump, Persistent Poverty Remains Barrier to Child and Family Success

(Columbia, S.C.) – South Carolina was one of five states to show improvement in the annual KIDS COUNT® Data Bookranking, moving from 45 to 42 in the nation for child well-being. South Carolina has not achieved a ranking higher than 42 since the beginning of the KIDS COUNT project in 1990. The Data Book and South Carolina state profile are available.childrens trust

This year, improvements in child health, including the reduction in child and teen deaths and increased access to health insurance, contributed to the improved ranking.

Children’s Trust Chief Executive Officer Sue Williams says, “We hope this is the beginning of sustained improvement for children. Investments in maternal health, access to health care and substance abuse prevention are paying off.”

Despite improvements, the sustained well-being of children and families in South Carolina is fragile, especially when it comes to economy and education. Since 2008, there are more children living in poverty, in single-parent families and in homes where a disproportionate amount of family income is spent simply keeping a roof over their heads. Economic pressures, such as low-wage jobs and lack of secure employment, are significant obstacles for opportunity and upward mobility.

South Carolina has experienced mixed results in educational outcomes. While South Carolina has made recent advances in the Read to Succeed Act, it will be several years of sustained investment before the impacts are seen within this data.

“Education is critically important for future success and family stability,” Williams said. “With education, families have more opportunity to succeed and contribute to reducing the stressors that can lead to child abuse and neglect. We applaud and encourage the continued discussion around children’s access to affordable, high quality early care and education.”

South Carolina’s children continue to struggle in key areas of education and economic well-being. For example:

  • 59 percent are not attending preschool;
  • 72 percent of fourth graders are not proficient in reading;
  • 69 percent of eighth graders are not proficient in math; and
  • 27 percent of children live in poverty.

For children of color, the numbers are even more disparate. Only 13 percent of African-American children are reading proficiently by fourth grade and have math proficiency by eighth grade.

Children’s Trust is the KIDS COUNT grantee for South Carolina. The KIDS COUNT Data Book features the latest data on child well-being for every state, the District of Columbia and the nation. This information is available in the KIDS COUNT Data Center, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of measures of child well-being. Data Center users can create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and view real-time information on mobile devices.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book and South Carolina state profile is available on the Casey Foundation website at and on the Children’s Trust website

Rep. Jenny Horne’s magnificent, passionate, tearful, raging, truth-telling soliloquoy – Columbia, South Carolina

If you haven’t seen Rep. Jenny Horne‘s speech lecturing her neoConfederate colleagues for their day-long effort to obstruct South Carolina from doing the right thing, you need to stop whatever you are doing and watch it.


I have nothing else to say, because this Charleston Republican says it ALL.

Now it’s McConnell HIMSELF saying ‘remove the… flag’

Yesterday, Glenn McConnell chose to be the messenger for the College of Charleston’s board of trustees’ call for the flag to come down, rather than delegating it to a flack.

Today, it’s McConnell saying it himself.

This just in:

Statement from College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell:

I served with Senator Clementa Pinckney in the South Carolina Senate since he joined that body in 2001. He was a friend of mine and many other senators. His big smile lifted our spirits and his powerfully mellow voice conveyed great intelligence as well as a kind and loving heart.

During this period of grief, before Reverend Pinckney and the eight other Christian martyrs killed by a hateful terrorist have yet to be buried, I had hoped to avoid commenting on political issues. However, the rising tide of emotion over Governor Nikki Haley’s call to remove the Confederate soldier’s flag from State House grounds and numerous requests for me to comment have made a respectful period of silence on political issues impossible.

So here is where I stand: About 15 years ago, when I was a state senator, my colleagues and I forged a bipartisan and biracial compromise. We removed the Confederate soldier’s flag from atop the State House dome and relocated it behind the Confederate soldier’s monument, a place of historic – not political – context. We also erected an impressive monument celebrating the many African American contributions throughout our state’s history. And we passed the Heritage Act, to protect both Civil War and Civil Rights monuments, street names and building names all across the state. Our plan was designed to end acrimony and move our state forward with a spirit of good will and mutual respect. As imperfect as all compromises are, it lasted for 15 years.

Today is a different time. In the aftermath of the horrific tragedy that spilled the blood of nine souls within the hallowed halls of Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church, the time has come to revisit the issue of the Confederate soldier’s flag, which a number of our citizens regard as offensive.

Many other citizens regard the old soldier’s banner as a fitting memorial to the Confederate dead. However, on State House grounds, we should seek to respect the views of all citizens as best we reasonably can.

Therefore, I support Governor Haley’s call to remove the Confederate soldier’s flag from State House grounds as a visible statement of courtesy and good will to all those who may be offended by it. At the same time, I also urge all public officials and activists who are focusing on this issue to come together, the way the good people of Charleston joined hands following the terrible tragedy we suffered, and agree not to transfer the fight to other physical vestiges and memorials of our state’s past. In a spirit of good will and mutual respect, let us all agree that the monuments, cemeteries, historic street and building names shall be preserved and protected. How sad it would be to end one controversy only to trigger a thousand more.

The people of South Carolina are entitled to their complete history, the parts that give us pride as well as sadness. We learn from our past and we grow from exploring our shared history.

If we all insist on it, this experience can mark the beginning of a new era. Let us all pledge to respect each other and stand together in firm opposition to any efforts to sanitize, rewrite or bulldoze our history.

Here in South Carolina, there has never been a time when our nation’s motto was more needed than it is today: e pluribus unum: “out of many, one.” If those of us alive today can find a way to understand and respect and forgive each other, only then can we truly pay honor to the martyrs who were slain last week while they prayed together in a house of worship.

Wow. Sure, it’s full of words expressing McConnell’s own obsession with things Confederate, but that only underlines the fact that for him to say “remove the flag” is the most miraculous thing we’ve seen this week.

Mitt Romney says take down the flag. How about it, Lindsey Graham?

Check it out:

Now, there’s an example of somebody we need speaking at a State House rally!

So, the last GOP nominee for president has taken the leap. Where are you, Lindsey Graham? It’s time to lead, not to mouth excuses that you know are all about dodging the truth!

Bat Signal For Brad

                                                          Putting up the Bat Signal

Ok, it’s now been 24 hours without a post. I’m officially putting up the bat-signal. Anyone seen Brad? Doesn’t he know that we need something new here everyday?

Doug Pardue gets plaudits from AAUW

I was glad to see this well-deserved plaudit for my old colleague Doug Pardue:

SC AAUW Recognizes Douglas Pardue for his contribution to increasing awareness of Domestic Abuse

For the past few months, the SC American Association of University Women in collaboration with other interested groups have mounted a campaign to get a domestic violence bill passed through the house and senate for the governor to sign this year.

SC American Association is proud to honor Douglas Pardue for his award winning series of articles that has raised awareness throughout our state on the seriousness of domestic violence in the Post and Courier, “Till Death Do Us Part”.  The Pullitzer prize recognizes the quality of the reporting and we want to commend meaningfulness of this work for our state.

We are donating a $500 gift to AAUW Funds in his name.  The money will be used to fund graduate fellowships for women.

We appreciate the work of Mr. Pardue and other reporters at the Post and Courier who write wrote about the disgraceful level of domestic violence in South Carolina. Over the past few years our State has become the spouse murder capital of the country.

We have high hopes that legislation will be passed that will reduce these appalling statistics. In fact our organization has circulated an action letter for several weeks yielding over 500 legislator-specific emails along with letters and postcards to reach every legislator. The domestic violence bills are stalled in SC legislature. We are continuing to encourage citizens for justice on the issue of domestic violence to write a letter to the editor and contact their legislator through an action letter:

Since the study and series in the Post and Courier on domestic violence began last August, 18 women and 12 men have been murdered due to domestic violence.

We challenge Mr. Pardue to continue to report on this situation until the legislature responds to the people.  If the legislature fails, we want you to publish the names of those who obstructed this effort!

I had the sense that, in the coverage of Charleston’s Pulitzer, Doug’s role was perhaps downplayed a bit. He was mentioned as one of those responsible, and listed first. But I suspected he led the effort that led to the prize, since that’s a role he has so often played — he used to be the investigative editor at The State. Doug is next-to-last on the left-hand side of the table (next to Mike Fitts) in this photo from after Lee Bandy’s funeral.

Maybe he didn’t play that key a role, but the AAUW seems to think so.

Way to go, Doug!

Open Thread for Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A few topics to chew on:

  1. Midlands Gives — First, a reminder that today is a great day to give to local charities. If you can’t think of one, try this one. For many, the gifts will be matched by donors who have committed in advance. Learn more here.
  2. Milliken endorses free trade — OK, so maybe this isn’t a big deal to you. But that’s because you haven’t sat through lengthy editorial meetings in which the late Roger Milliken extolled the virtues of protectionism. This is kind of a big deal, which is why it made The Wall Street Journal‘s front page.
  3. ICYMI: Texas governor assigns State Guard to keep eye on U.S. military — Once, Southern states welcomed military operations. Now that paranoid, anti-government, nullification-loving lunatics frequently hold public office, we get this kind of nonsense. And yeah, this story’s been out there for several days, but I just saw it this morning.
  4. Report: Islamic State claims credit for Texas attack — Deliberately provocative foolishness on one side, dependable evil on the other. We’ll have another round of “Je suis Charlie” in response, but this stuff is inexcusable. You’re just not going to convince me that the right and true and “courageous” way to stand up to terrorism is to go out of your way to offend hundreds of millions of Muslims who are NOT terrorists, and mean you no harm.

Or… whatever y’all want to talk about…

Sometimes you just gotta sleep

My three year old son, Henry, was really excited about flying back home today. He loves airplanes, so actually riding on one is a big thrill. I mean, seriously. AIrplanes are a big deal to him.

Unfortunately for him, our flight back departed at 6:00AM, which meant we had to wake up substantially earlier to get dressed, get to the airport, and go through all the hoopla before boarding.

Despite the early morning, he was fired up. He actually didn’t mind going through TSA because there was the payoff of getting to ride in an airplane waiting for him afterwards.

Getting on the plane was fun, and he’s very compliant when I tell him that buckling up and sitting still is an order from the pilot. He was really excited about just getting on the plane. Taking off was the highlight, but as soon as we took off, he was fast asleep.

Henry Asleep

I didn’t have the heart to wake him. Sometimes you just gotta sleep.

Virtual Front Page: Monday, March 23, 2015


                        Last Rays of Sunlight, Early Spring in San Antonio – Onderdonk

I’m still in Texarkana, TX visiting with my wife’s grandfather who is very ill. He is in his mid 90s and has congestive heart failure and lung cancer. He’s just had in-home hospice set up, so we wanted to come out and see him with our children (his great-grandchildren) while there was still time.

I’ve finally gotten a few moments to catch up on things, so here’s your Virtual Front Page for today:

1. Ted Cruz announces his Presidential candidacy: He’s making an already crowded field even more crowded. I doubt he’ll get much traction, but this doesn’t really surprise me. The odds of him winning the nomination are pretty low and he’d probably be a disaster in the general if it ever came to that. Personally, I’m looking forward to liberals suddenly discovering freshmen Senators aren’t experienced enough to be President and conservatives discovering they are.

2. SCOTUS upholds Wisconsin’s Voter-ID law: The law will be fully in effect for the 2016 election, and in general, this is a big blow the Obama administration’s efforts to fight voter-ID laws in other states.

3. The USC women’s basketball team advanced to the Sweet 16: They are looking like the team to beat right now. Could Columbia see another National Champion?

4. Columbia Police Chief is not in a rush to re-open the drug lab: I guess SLED will continue doing it for the foreseeable future.

5. William Shatner is 84: He turned 84 yesterday, but I thought this merited a position in our VPF today. Here’s a video of him “singing” Rocket Man in 1978. Enjoy.

Saturday Open Thread

Well folks, it’s been fun to be the guest blogger here for a few weeks while Mr. Globe-Trotter has been out seeing the world. I’ve actually had to take a last minute to Texarkana for a family emergency.

Accordingly, I may or may not have another post for you today. I apologize for not having one yesterday, but I was shlepping suitcases and two kids through the Charlotte airport yesterday.

Since I don’t even really know what’s going on in the news, I’ll just leave you with this for now. I may have some more time later.

Looking Down Yosemite Valley (1865) – Albert Bierstadt

Starbucks encourages its baristas to chat with customers about race relations

Hi, welcome to Starbucks! Would you like your coffee black, or privileged?

Beginning on Monday, Starbucks baristas will have the option as they serve customers to hand cups on which they’ve handwritten the words “Race Together” and start a discussion about race.

You’ve got to be kidding me. People don’t come to Starbucks to chat it up with the person making them coffee. They come to…wait for it…get coffee. That’s it. These people have become masters of the absurd. Do they realize how utterly ridiculous they appear to normal people?

Just serve the coffee.