Category Archives: Uncategorized

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
CHARLESTON, SC.  MAY 13, 2015

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:

http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/50796/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13498&killorg=True

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

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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.

Experts Give Advice on How to “Fix” SC State Problems

Good thing we’ve got some “experts” on the S.C. State case, because it seems they’ve figured out the solution:

They say South Carolina’s only state-funded historically black public college needs:

•  Well-connected leaders capable of stabilizing the Orangeburg school

•  More financial support from alumni and the state, especially to escape its $17 million deficit

•  To find its financial bottom

•  To identify academic niches that create a demand among students

•  To be transparent about what it is doing

Oh, is that it? Just hire good leaders, raise more money, figure out how big the financial problem is, create more demand for students, and be open in business dealings. No problem. Good thing we’ve got these experts to help us out.
Yeah, S.C. State is doomed.

Virtual Front Page for Friday, March 13, 2015

Happy Friday the Thirteenth, everyone. By the way, I was reading a bedtime story to my son last night. The story was about pirates, and don’t all three year old boys like pirates?

Anyway, there was a little section at the end that was essentially “Fun Trivia About Pirates”. One interesting one was that pirates considered black cats to be good luck. Interesting, no? Just thought that might be something of note on this unlucky day. Anyway, I digress. Here’s your Virtual Front Page for today:

1. Despite Internal Dissent, ISIS Is Still on the Attack: Eventually, somebody is going to have to deal with those people. Also, they’ve joined forces with Boko Haram, or something. It’s like they’re trying to be the Axis of Barbarity.

2. The St. Pat’s Celebration in Five Points is Tomorrow: I haven’t been to this in eight years, and I’m not planning on going this year. I’m too old for all that nonsense.

3. Gov. Haley “calls out” Sen. Leatherman: Honestly, I haven’t been following this, so I’m not real sure what this is all about. Maybe someone can drop some knowledge here.

4. We’re about to hit the “Debt Ceiling” Again: This thing again? I feel like we do this couple of months. It’s like Groundhog Day, but Phil never gets any better.

5. South Carolina Gamecocks Baseball hosts Kentucky this weekend: Should be a good series if they can get the games in.

Enjoy the weekend.

Disney is going to make a sequel to “Frozen”

This is Olaf. He’s kind of a big deal around my house.

This is big news for anyone with children under 12.

“Frozen” made nearly $1.3 billion at the box office and inspired masses of toys, clothing and other merchandise as well as a devoted following of young girls.

Even boys are kind of into Frozen. My son is three, and he really likes singing the songs. Mostly he likes the snowman, Olaf.

To paraphrase some litigators enjoy who ending their letters with a certain line: If you have young children, govern yourselves accordingly.

Secret Service March Madness

Every March, college basketball fans across the country start looking at brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament and try to select which team will come out on top. As you can see, even our President gets in on the action. It’s a wonderful competition, where the options are “survive and advance” or “lose and go home”.

Accordingly, the Secret Service has decided to take part in this annual event by having their own friendly intramural competition  to see which agent (or team of agents) can commit the dumbest, most outrageous stunt that brings shame on the Secret Service. We’ll be breaking down the top seeds here:

Team Hookers and Blow: The first entry came in strong. They are the Secret Service agents who were partying with whores in Colombia. They showed good teamwork in organizing the party, demonstrated lack of foresight with possibly compromising classified information, and have strong lack of character. They were looking good.

Team No Defense: That is, Team Hookers and Blow were looking good until the entry from Team No Defense came in – allowing a guy to jump the fence at the White House and score an easy layup in the East Room. You really have to give this top-seed consideration, here. Not only did this team display lack of home court advantage, their perimeter defense was penetrated on a dribble-drive to the East Room, where the big men down low just watched the guy go right by them. There are some questions about their inability to have character problems, but they make up for it with their lack of professionalism. These guys looked like the top seed until this week.

How do you top the entry that allowed a security breach at the White House? Well, obviously, you try to breach security yourself, rather than letting someone else do all the work. I mean, if you’re gonna do something egregiously stupid, you’ve got to do it yourself.

Team Alcohol Fueled Car Crash: Just this week, with a late entry into the tournament, two secret service agents decided that instead of simply allowing some one else to breach security, they got drunk and crashed their car into one of the barricades at the White House. If you’re gonna have someone breach security, you might as well do it yourself, right? They get points for having an up-tempo offense, involving drinking and driving, and using their siren/lights as they came down to the White House barricade. Their teammates demonstrated wonderful unity in letting the drunk officers go without any questions, so we’ve got a strong spirit of corruption here.

How is your bracket looking?

Not exactly Paul Bunyan, but pretty good for me

In addition to lawyering, shooting things, and running Brad’s blog while he’s off gallivanting, I try to do a little manual labor every once in awhile. Sitting at a desk all day is not good for me, and I enjoy work that produces a tangible product at the end of the task. Lawyering, while a noble profession does not produce tangible work product in the sense of something you can sit back and say “I did that”.

A few months ago, our own Kathryn Fenner was kind enough to provide me with the scrap wood from a massive oak tree that she had to take down. Since she didn’t need the wood, she was kind enough to let me have it. Accordingly, a giant dump truck dropped off the wood in my driveway and drove off – leaving a lot of wood. I mean just look at it:

Logs

Accordingly, I donned the protective gear (eye protection, ear protection, and protective clothing) fired up my chainsaw, and cut the logs into appropriate sized rounds for splitting, which look like this:

Rounds

At this point, I could carry the rounds (or roll the heavy ones) in to my backyard were I could really go to work on them. For the actual splitting, the sole tool used was my trusty eight-pound splitting maul, which is pictured in the foreground of the picture below. The resulting firewood makes a lovely background, I think.

Firewood

What you’re looking at is roughly three feet wide (it’s two pieces of wood deep) by about four feet high, by about twenty feet long. That will season up nicely over the summer and by next winter, it will be nice and dry for use in my wood-burning fireplace.

It’s also had an unexpected rebirth- as a bird feeder. The reason that Kathryn had to take down the tree (I think) is because it was starting to rot a little bit, so there were some creepy crawlies inside some of the more rotten pieces. Splitting the pieces open exposed all the bugs to the world, and the birds in my backyard have been feasting all over and around the woodpile. There was even a time when they would be fairly close to me while splitting, just waiting for me to toss the wood on the pile…kind of like how you see seagulls trailing shrimp boats, just not to that extent.

In any event, thanks to Kathryn for her generosity in allowing me to recycle her tree into a bird-feeder, allow me to get some exercise, and eventually heat my home for a long time to come.

Unable to Implement Actual Gun Control Legislation; Executive Branch Decides to, Get This, Start Making Things Up

I’ll preface this with the disclaimer that if Brad were running this blog, you wouldn’t see this story. He’s not a gun person (and chances are that you aren’t either) so this story wouldn’t really even be on his radar. However, Brad’s not home. So I’m going to talk about the ATF’s illegal ban on M855 ammo. But let’s start at the beginning. What is M855 ammo, you ask?

M855 ammunition is a 5.56 x 45mm cartridge, which is the round originally chambered in the M-16, and the civilian variant – the ubiquitous AR-15.

When the M-16 was originally designed, the 5.56 ammo for it was all-lead, or what is commonly referred to as “ball” ammunition. After the Vietnam war, soldiers reported some issues with the all-lead design, and wanted a round that would have more energy at longer ranges. Essentially, they wanted a heavier round.

In response, the M855 round was developed. The difference in the M855 round is that it has a steel-core, just at the tip. The steel doesn’t deform as much as the lead, so there’s better accuracy over long distances, and better stability when the round hits clothing or glass. Now, this cartridge isn’t designed to be “armor piercing”. It’s just a more effective rifle round at range than an all-lead round.

Nowadays, the US Army has since moved on to a newer round, but there’s a ton of surplus M855 ammo that is popular with target shooters because it’s accurate over long distances compared to “ball” ammo…and it’s relatively cheap because it’s military surplus.

So, along comes the ATF and now they say that because this round has “armor piercing” capability, it can be banned under the existing law. The New York Times, loves the idea. Except, get this, the New York Times doesn’t know anything at all about the M855 round. They just know that they don’t like guns or the things that go inside guns. And they really don’t like the scary looking guns.

The fact is, almost all rifle cartridges can pierce standard body armor. Even the original all-lead 5.56x45mm cartridge easily penetrates standard body armor. That’s because standard body armor isn’t intended to stop shots from rifles – it’s intended to handgun rounds, which are comparatively lower powered. To take the ATF’s reasoning to it’s logical conclusion, you’d have to ban most center-fire rifle ammo. The ATF knows this, but it’s doing it anyway, using the helpful idiots at the New York Times to promote this myth of police officers needing this ban for safety. There’s only one factual little problem with this reason: the Fraternal Order of Police says that an M855 cartridge ban is not necessary to protect police officers.

To say that the M855 round should be banned because it’s “armor piercing” is dumb, because almost all the other rifle rounds out there, available at every Wal-Mart are also “armor piercing” under this silly definition. Banning M855 ammo would do next to nothing to lower crime rates or police fatalities, because it’s hardly ever used in crimes.

But hey, actual facts don’t matter to gun control advocates, the ATF or this White House. They want to use every excuse possible to get what they want, and when they got stopped with the legislative path, they just decided to use administrative action to accomplish their policy objectives – and stretching beyond the bounds of the law to do it.

See, I told you Brad wouldn’t have posted this. :)