Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Higher education officials push action plan, funding

[caption id="attachment_894" align="alignleft" width="109" caption=" Ken Wingate"][/caption]

By Andy Brack

For South Carolina to get out of the cellar on several generational problems – low education levels, poverty, high unemployment and more – its leaders need to make a sustained commitment to improving higher education dramatically, two state higher education leaders say.

“You’re really rolling the ball uphill if you have to convince the public about the value of higher education,” said Columbia lawyer Ken Wingate, chair of the state Commission on Higher Education.

Wingate and the CHE’s executive director, Dr. Garrison Walter, have been speaking to civic clubs and the media across the state to highlight an “action plan” that seeks to push South Carolina forward economically.  (See the plan online:  http://www.che.sc.gov/HigherEd_ActionPlan.htm)

Walter said the Palmetto State needs to focus more on the growing knowledge economy, which means an increased emphasis on higher education.  If more South Carolinians have college degrees, they’ll earn more money.

“We have a lack of public priority focus and a lack of public focus on higher education.” he said.  “Our state is far behind economically and we’re not catching up.”

For example, per capita income and the state’s rank in the number of people with bachelor’s degrees is about the same in 2006 as it was in 1990.  Additionally, South Carolina’s public colleges and universities rank 15th out of 16 Southern states in the per student average in money that comes from state sources.  In the current state budget, funding is down $203 million from two years earlier to $555 million.

Wingate said CHE has a strategy to make higher education a public priority for South Carolina.  Three goals include:

·         Raise education levels. About 22 percent of S.C. adults have at least a bachelor’s degree.  The goal is to have 30 percent by 2030 – a so-called 30-by-30 goal.

·         Increase research and innovation. By creating new pathways to learning and technology, the state will create more of a culture of discovery, which should increase personal income.

·         Improve workforce training and educational services. Such a goal would align educational programs with important state clusters and connect adults with higher education in more flexible ways.

Wingate said several of the priority recommendations would cost little or no money.  Examples:  Enacting “regulatory relief” to allow colleges and universities to cut red tape from hiring, procurement and facility enhancement; strengthening ties between technical colleges and universities; strengthening services to give more value; and creating a cost reduction committee to promote and share best practices among institutions.

Other measures would cost more, particularly increasing state funding and borrowing through the state’s bonding power.  Other ideas:  compulsory high school attendance through age 18; improving library funding; better marketing of college opportunities; and predictable capital funding streams.

At this point, it’s unclear how much an increased financial commitment to higher education will cost, Walter said.   The Commission is working with college presidents to develop a funding plan.

But he said it likely will have two characteristics:  restoring past budget cuts to increase higher education’s share of state funding and phasing in restorations due to the state’s economic situation.

“We appreciate that the state has many needs and that many have suffered as a result of the current recession,” Walter said.  “On the other hand, if the state doesn't invest in higher education soon, it will fall further behind the rest of the nation and be ever more vulnerable to economic downturns.”

Wingate said that instead of declining state financial support, colleges and universities “have got to find the political mettle to make higher education not only an add-on to the state budget but the key to economic prosperity,” Wingate said.

If higher education can become a state priority, studies show individuals will earn twice as much over their lifetimes, the state will add billions to its gross state product and South Carolina will generate almost 45,000 permanent jobs, Wingate added.

“If people don’t believe education, including higher education, is important, we can’t possibly make the progress we need.”

So what will it be, Legislature?  More of the same on the bottom or a cupful of courage to take a new path that invests in South Carolina’s people?  The choice is obvious.  Now it’s time to get to work.

Andy Brack, publisher of Statehouse Report, can be reached at: brack@statehousereport.com.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Book Review: Calling Out Liberty



Calling Out Liberty: The Stono Slave Rebellion and the Universal Struggle for Human Rights by Jack Shuler, University of Mississippi Press. 217 pages. $50.00.

Review by Will Moredock

Most of the important ideas spawned on South Carolina soil have been discredited by history: nullification of federal laws, as espoused by John C. Calhoun; romanticism of plantation culture, created by novelist William Gilmore Simms; celebration of the “Lost Cause,” first proclaimed by Charleston clergyman John L. Girardeau.

Yet, another idea, one which is coming to shape the course of national and international relations, one which may provide a framework for future world order, had an early and forceful shout out right here in the Lowcountry. That, at least, is the argument of of Denison University scholar and Orangeburg native Jack Shuler.

On September 9, 1739, a group of slaves broke into a storehouse 15 miles south of Charleston, killing two storekeepers and arming themselves with guns and powder. This was the opening act of the Stono Rebellion, a brief and violent uprising that left 23 whites and some several dozen slaves dead. The revolt was put down in less than 24 hours and has been largely forgotten in popular history and memory. Yet it has reverberated for nearly three centuries through the subconscious mind of the South, taking the form of racial fears, racist laws, and the politics of regional extremism.

With some evidence, Shuler makes the argument that the Stono rebels – recent arrivals from Portugese West Africa – were Catholic converts with an understanding of the Portugese language. As such, they would have been able to communicate with Spanish agents from Florida, who infiltrated the wilderness plantations on the periphery of the colony, mingled with the slaves and promised freedom to all who could escape their bonds and flee to St. Augustine. He also argues that communication among slaves was more sophisticated than most scholars have assumed, including the use of drums, flags, shouts and perhaps written messages.  White accounts of the rebellion do indicate that as the Africans moved across the countryside, killing, plundering and recruiting more participants, and later as they stood and fought a hopeless battle against white militia, they used flags and battle formations. What is not as easy to accept is that they were “calling out liberty” as they marched along.

The idea of liberty – as in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” as in “Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!” -- was part of an 18th century dialog, to be sure, but it was a dialog of intellectuals, aristocrats and bourgeoisie.  Shuler expounds at length on the evolution of Enlightenment thinking through the 17th and 18th centuries, including the writings of John Locke, who also created the founding constitution for the Carolina colony.

There is no question that the slaves of St. Paul's Parish wished to escape their bondage, to flee the rice plantations and make their way south. There is no question that they were enraged at their white tormentors and wreaked a bloody vengeance on them. But Shuler argues that they were imbued  with some 18th century bourgeois notion of liberty and that the rebels were deliberately striking at the social and economic infrastructure of the colony. His evidence is sketchy and circumstantial, to say the least.

It is much easier to believe that the Stono slaves did what slaves have done from the beginning of history – took any opportunity to rise up against their masters and flee toward the light of freedom. The Roman slaves who revolted with Spartacus in 71 B.C. certainly had not heard of John Locke or any other modern political thinkers. But they possessed the one requisite for a slave uprising – human nature in the face of unyielding oppression.

Shuler is much more affective in arguing that the Stono Rebellion fed the rising 18th century conversation about political rights and personal freedom. He writes: “Rebellions were truly human reactions to capture and enslavement, but such actions take on added significance in America because they were the first steps n the development of the abolition movement – the first international human rights campaign.” Of course, at the same time the Revolutionary spirit was rising in this country, terrified whites were passing ever more repressive laws to control their slaves.

There are a number of incidents cited in Shuler's book that the reader can see reflected in modern attitudes and behaviors. The South Carolina Gazette, the colony's only newspaper in 1739, felt that its first responsibility was to protect the image of the colony, and so blacked out the story of the rebellion from its pages altogether. After the rebellion, colonial leaders insisted that the only reason their slaves had revolted was that they had been provoked by Spanish agents. Their argument anticipated by more than two centuries those white southern leaders who insisted that racial strife in their fiefdoms was the result of “outside agitators.”

Friday, December 25, 2009

Fear of the Future



[caption id="attachment_866" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="By Will Moredock"][/caption]

Fundamentalism began as reaction to modernism

Much has been written this year in observance of the birth of Charles Darwin in 1809 and the publication of his monumental work, On the Origin of Species, in 1859. Another important date – one which has gone largely unnoticed, yet which is also important in its perverse way to the ideas of our modern world – is 1909, the year in which a couple of oil tycoons met and hired theologian A.C. Dixon to produce a series of books called The Fundamentals.

Conceived as a reaction to Darwin and the other voices of modernism, The Fundamentals were a collection of 90 essays by prominent American and British clerics, compiled into 12 volumes and published between 1910 and 1915. They became the intellectual basis of modern fundamentalism.

For the past three decades the political and cultural movement collectively known as the Christian right has been powered in large part by the ideas of fundamentalism. Adherents of these principles generally will tell you that they are following ancient doctrine; in truth, much of their ideology – including the Rapture and Second Coming – is actually quite recent.

“(Fundamentalism) is the intellectual underpinning of a lot of modern social and political ideas,” according to Elijah Siegler, assistant professor of religion at the College of Charleston. “George W. Bush was the high-water mark of fundamentalism in American society.”

The fundamentalist movement has had a long and twisting path since it was launched a century ago.

Lyman and Milton Stewart were oil magnates and founders of the Union Oil Co., who took it  upon themselves to finance seminaries, missionary work and the publication of Bible tracts and Christian books. Lyman Stewart's most ambitious project was the publication of The Fundamentals, which encapsulated a lot of free-floating ideas that had been inhabiting the fringe American theology for generations.

Fundamentalism was riding high in the decade after publication of its manifesto. It fueled the Red Scare of the 1920s, made war on Catholics and immigrants, imposed Prohibition on the nation. But Prohibition was a disaster, and the Scopes “Monkey Trial” was a deep embarrassment to the movement. Fundamentalism withdrew from the mainstream, becoming politically and culturally marginal until it reemerged a half-century later as the Christian right.

A chief characteristic of fundamentalism is its obsession with the End Times and Second Coming. Those cryptic passages from Revelation, which mainstream Christians have scratched their heads over and generally placed on the shelf with mysticism and witchcraft, became the centerpiece of fundamentalist ideology. For the  fundamentalist, the end of the world is imminent and nothing else matters.

One consequence of this peculiar world view, Siegler said, is that most fundamentalists disregard environmental warnings and eschew almost all forms of social and political reform. The important thing for the fundamentalist is to get right with god and prepare to be whooshed up in the Rapture. The world and the people in it are not worth saving.

You can understand how this theology would have a deep appeal to political and economic conservatives. In fact, Siegler suggests that the nexus of big business and religion at the launch of the fundamentalist movement is no accident. It has been repeated a number of times in the past century, including in the rise of the Christian right and the emergence of a secretive sect of wealthy and powerful Christian politicians who operate out of a house on C Street in Washington, D.C. In his book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, Jeff Sharlet describes how this group worked against FDR's New Deal in the 1930s and supported rightwing dictatorships around the world during the Cold War.

In American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Chris Hedges describes how the Republican Party joined forces with Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and other fundamentalist leaders in the 1970s in a bold grab to put traditional Republicans in control of Washington, and put fundamentalist Christians in control of American culture.

Their scheme almost worked. George W. Bush served two terms as president (whether he was elected is still debated) and GOP leaders spoke just a few years ago of a permanent Republican majority in the Congress. A number of factors contributed to the fact that Democrats now hold the White House and the Congress – not least of which was the fact the the fundamentalists overplayed their hand after the 2004 election and scared a lot of moderates away.

Fundamentalism is in eclipse as a political force today, but it is still alive and well. And like a cancer, it can always return. It is an authoritarian ideology, an intrinsic and intractable enemy of peace and freedom. All freedom-loving people should know its signs and be wary of its dangers.

See Will Moredock's blog at www.charlestoncitypaper.com/blogs/thegoodfight.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Art Bar's The Nightmare After Christmas

December 26th
Prognosis

No Wasted Motion
DJ Evelfaery

DJ D

Lets be honest, nothing says the Christmas season like industrial (someone was telling me the other day that all "industrial" bands that followed the demise of Industrial Records were technically "post-industrial" bands...please give me a fucking break)  I mean after all that cheery happy crap with Santa Claus and your family it's good to have a break.  This show provides that outlet.  The headliner Prognosis is a quality synth industrial band out of the ATL.  Think Covenant, Funker Vogt or even old FLA or Haujobb.  Plus, there are going to be some DJs so there is bound to be a darker dance party emerging.  And that is what makes this a more fun show to go to than if it was a metal show on the 26th.  It's dark but still danceable as opposed to just something you can bang your head to.  It's not like industrial bands roll into Cola on a weekly basis so please get out there and support the acts from this region.  Sadly, the last industrial show in Cola that jumps to mind for me was Sister Machine Gun and that was a while ago (I am sure I am missing some other shows but no one's perfect).

-Norbet Sykes

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Images of Christmas

By Todd Morehead

Originally published 12-23-09


We’ve gotten comments –some good, some not so good—about our holiday themed cover art over the years. Last issue we ran a photo of Jesus squaring off nose-to-nose with Santa to tie into the theme of our liberal/conservative gift list and to illustrate the dichotomy of the holiday itself. Of those readers to whom I’ve spoken, none seemed more affected than a young boy at the West Metro Parade of Lights in West Columbia. He actually had Christmas issues from the last two years stuffed into his jacket pockets. City Paper, it seemed, had driven the little guy to a crossroads.

I was on my third doughnut when I saw him standing nearby and staring down at a crumpled copy of the December 3 edition. The boy, slight for his age, had a shock of thin brown hair that had been mussed, I assumed, by the Spider Man toboggan he had tucked under his arm. His large brown eyes seemed to be transfixed on the cover image and his lips worked silently while he tried to make out the words.

“Hey, little fella,” I said walking up to him. “Where’d you find that?”

Without looking up, he cocked a mittened thumb over his shoulder to the dumpster behind Zesto. I noticed, then, that he also had the December 3, 2008 edition rolled up and hanging out of his jacket pocket. Even partially hidden, I recognized the cover illustration of a brutalized Santa Claus hanging from a cross.

“Wow, kid, you must be a fan.”

“Not really. My dad says these guys hate Jesus.” He wiped his nose on his jacket sleeve. “Santa Claus, too.”

“Actually, I think that image was supposed to represent the ailing American construct of Christmas in this bleak economic landscape; an ode to modern capitalism, if you will.”

He shrugged. I noticed that he had a small piece of notebook paper in his other mitten and when I squinted at it I made out a few items listed in green crayon. It was his Christmas list! He had written in big red letters that he hoped Santa visited him this year, because he didn’t come last year.

Before I could comment on the list, a youth group from a local Pentecostal church began to sing carols from the bed of a pickup truck. One caroler started to toss candy canes toward us, but I waved her away. The boy ignored the float, too. I followed his gaze to a small terrier that was wagging his whole back end and tugging playfully on a bright red leash, while a little girl laughed gaily and fed it bits from her cookie. The little boy’s eyes lingered on the dog and an expression of familiarity and recent grief seemed to pass across his face. He pulled out the bloodied image of Santa begging for death from the cover of City Paper and stared at it for a long moment.

“Mister?” he asked finally, tugging on my pant leg. “Do you think Santa is in heaven with my dog Patches?”

“Nah. Dogs don’t go to heaven, silly.”

I got down on one knee, took the toboggan from under his arm and pulled it onto his head to keep his ears warm.

“Listen,” I said, “You know how your grandma has been asleep in the hospital for a few months with the beeping machines and tubes? Santa’s kind of like that right now.”

“Oh.” The boy’s voice cracked and his bottom lip began to tremble. He looked away toward the parade to gather himself. After a moment, he looked up and his eyes were filled with tears.

“I only did one bad thing this year, mister, I swear! I – I thought maybe it would make Santa mad at me again.” The boy’s eyes widened and he seemed to physically stoop under the weight of some dawning, unnamed horror. “Do... do you think because of me?” He brought a mitten up to his mouth and gaped at the mutilated image of Santa. “Did I do this to Santa?”

“Come on, kid.” I took a bite of doughnut and stared out at the street. “Don’t beat yourself up over it.”

A passing fire engine blared its horn and I thought I heard the Shriner mini cars buzzing in the distance. I needed another nip from the flask in the porta john to properly enjoy them.

“You should, uh, run along now, kid. And find yourself a good spot. You don’t want to miss Andre Bauer do you? I hear they’re gonna have him propped up in the back of a convertible.”

“Whoopee,” he said flatly.

He hung his head, turned without a word, took a few steps and stopped with his back to me. Silhouetted against the glow of twinkling lights, he looked like a North Pole elf who’d been around the block one too many times. He seemed to gather himself to turn and ask another question but it never came. After a moment he let the Christmas list fall from his hand. It fluttered briefly on the curb amid the glitter and confetti and then it dropped silently between the grates of a sewer drain. Once it had drifted out of sight, the boy walked away without looking back at the parade.

I watched him make his way past the brightly lit snowflakes and candy canes hanging from the telephone poles, the smell of hot cocoa wafting on the breeze. He kicked a trash can near the corner, then shuffled past laughing families lining the sidewalk, the copy of City Paper still clutched tightly in his little fist.

I sighed at the image and smiled. Man, I love Christmas.


Images of Christmas By Todd MoreheadWe’ve gotten comments –some good, some not so good—about our holiday themed cover art over the years. Last issue we ran a photo of Jesus squaring off nose-to-nose with Santa to tie into the theme of our liberal/conservative gift list and to illustrate the dichotomy of the holiday itself. Of those readers to whom I’ve spoken, none seemed more affected than a young boy at the West Metro Parade of Lights in West Columbia. He actually had Christmas issues from the last two years stuffed into his jacket pockets. City Paper, it seemed, had driven the little guy to a crossroads.I was on my third doughnut when I saw him standing nearby and staring down at a crumpled copy of the December 3 edition. The boy, slight for his age, had a shock of thin brown hair that had been mussed, I assumed, by the Spider Man toboggan he had tucked under his arm. His large brown eyes seemed to be transfixed on the cover image and his lips worked silently while he tried to make out the words. â€œHey, little fella,” I said walking up to him. “Where’d you find that?” Without looking up, he cocked a mittened thumb over his shoulder to the dumpster behind Zesto. I noticed, then, that he also had the December 3, 2008 edition rolled up and hanging out of his jacket pocket. Even partially hidden, I recognized the cover illustration of a brutalized Santa Claus hanging from a cross.“Wow, kid, you must be a fan.”“Not really. My dad says these guys hate Jesus.” He wiped his nose on his jacket sleeve. “Santa Claus, too.” â€œActually, I think that image was supposed to represent the ailing American construct of Christmas in this bleak economic landscape; an ode to modern capitalism, if you will.”He shrugged. I noticed that he had a small piece of notebook paper in his other mitten and when I squinted at it I made out a few items listed in green crayon. It was his Christmas list! He had written in big red letters that he hoped Santa visited him this year, because he didn’t come last year.Before I could comment on the list, a youth group from a local Pentecostal church began to sing carols from the bed of a pickup truck. One caroler started to toss candy canes toward us, but I waved her away. The boy ignored the float, too. I followed his gaze to a small terrier that was wagging his whole back end and tugging playfully on a bright red leash, while a little girl laughed gaily and fed it bits from her cookie. The little boy’s eyes lingered on the dog and an expression of familiarity and recent grief seemed to pass across his face. He pulled out the bloodied image of Santa begging for death from the cover of City Paper and stared at it for a long moment.“Mister?” he asked finally, tugging on my pant leg. “Do you think Santa is in heaven with my dog Patches?”“Nah. Dogs don’t go to heaven, silly.”I got down on one knee, took the toboggan from under his arm and pulled it onto his head to keep his ears warm. â€œListen,” I said, “You know how your grandma has been asleep in the hospital for a few months with the beeping machines and tubes? Santa’s kind of like that right now.”“Oh.” The boy’s voice cracked and his bottom lip began to tremble. He looked away toward the parade to gather himself. After a moment, he looked up and his eyes were filled with tears.“I only did one bad thing this year, mister, I swear! I – I thought maybe it would make Santa mad at me again.” The boy’s eyes widened and he seemed to physically stoop under the weight of some dawning, unnamed horror. “Do... do you think because of me?” He brought a mitten up to his mouth and gaped at the mutilated image of Santa. “Did I do this to Santa?”“Come on, kid.” I took a bite of doughnut and stared out at the street. “Don’t beat yourself up over it.”A passing fire engine blared its horn and I thought I heard the Shriner mini cars buzzing in the distance. I needed another nip from the flask in the porta john to properly enjoy them.“You should, uh, run along now, kid. And find yourself a good spot. You don’t want to miss Andre Bauer do you? I hear they’re gonna have him propped up in the back of a convertible.” â€œWhoopee,” he said flatly.  He hung his head, turned without a word, took a few steps and stopped with his back to me. Silhouetted against the glow of twinkling lights, he looked like a North Pole elf who’d been around the block one too many times. He seemed to gather himself to turn and ask another question but it never came. After a moment he let the Christmas list fall from his hand. It fluttered briefly on the curb amid the glitter and confetti and then it dropped silently between the grates of a sewer drain. Once it had drifted out of sight, the boy walked away without looking back at the parade. I watched him make his way past the brightly lit snowflakes and candy canes hanging from the telephone poles, the smell of hot cocoa wafting on the breeze. He kicked a trash can near the corner, then shuffled past laughing families lining the sidewalk, the copy of City Paper still clutched tightly in his little fist. I sighed at the image and smiled. Man, I love Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Year of the Radical Right

[caption id="attachment_857" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="James Ellroy should be required reading for all of us, including the radical right."][/caption]

By Baynard Woods

Radical Conservatives controlled the country for most of this decade. But last year saw the birth of the Conservative counterculture. Obama’s election has allowed racists, insurance companies, polluters, Bible Beaters, anti-intellectuals, End Timers, Conspiracy theorists, Birchers, Birthers, Beck, Nativists, red state Red baiters, lobbyists, Dobbsists and disgruntled Baby Boomers afraid that they aren’t the center of the world anymore, to come together and present themselves as anti-fascist, anti-communist, and anti-elitist patriots, naming their movement after the Boston Tea Party. Right-wingers hated Clinton, Carter and Johnson pretty good—but they were all Southern at least. The Right has not known such countercultural fury since the election of John Kennedy in 1960, when the paranoid Bircher/Klan counterculture was equally, or more, important than the leftist counterculture that was developing. Countercultures are always represented as much by style as by substance. The historian Richard Hofstadter detailed this style in his book The Paranoid Style in American Politics, which came out in 1964. That paranoid style is alive again—and in many ways it models itself on that previous countercultural moment.

This year was the perfect time then for the release of Blood’s a Rover the final volume of the trilogy that may well be the great work of fiction about the right-wing counterculture, James Ellroy’s Underworld USA.

With this dark and daunting book, Ellroy, a crime writer known for Black Dahlia and L.A. Confidential, completes his strange, disturbing and ultimately compelling picture of American politics as crime. The trilogy begins with American Tabloid just before the election of John Kennedy and leads to his assassination—an event arranged by two of the book’s main characters. Ellroy’s timing was perfect. American Tabloid may have chronicled the early sixties but it came out in 1995, just as the radical right was rising again as an anti-Clinton insurgency. The Cold Six Thousand, which came out in 2001, followed many of the same characters as they helped instigate and orchestrate the escalation in Viet Nam, the drug trade, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.

These books are about the heroes of the tea-bag movement, the small-time and often conflicted operatives working with some loose government sanction. It is hard to believe how insightful Ellroy was. Ellroy’s heroes help us understand the part of the country that it is most important for us to understand—our worst part. The heroes of Ellroy’s books are the torturers at Abu Ghraib. They are the bumbling CIA operatives found guilty of kidnapping in Italy, and the Blackwater employees who went on “snatch and grab” missions with them.

The New Radical Right might try to distance itself from Bush, but Cheney and Rumsfeld remain its patron saints, with their brash, defiant, almost rock n’ roll style. Joe Wilson was just Rumsfeld on the other end of the podium. The Boston Tea Party was not a demonstration—it was an act of destruction, of radical subversion. The tea party was intended to incite revolution. By using this name, DeMint and his cohort admit that their purpose is to subvert the government of the United States. This is where DeMint gets some of his radical chic. You can almost hear him with his buddies making fun of how square his country cousin Lindsey is.

Sanford’s trip to Argentina was the big story this year, but perhaps it should have been DeMint’s trip to Honduras. It shows that DeMint has gone full-retro, embracing Right Wing Latin American coups in open defiance of the U.S. policy. Oh, how it brings back memories. It almost makes one giddy. This was the year, remember, when DeMint and G. Gordon Liddy, Nixon’s Watergate man, came together to say that the president was a Nazi.

As it happens, Liddy bears a striking resemblance to James Ellroy. If I were inclined to give Wilson and DeMint a gift, I would definitely buy them Ellroy’s Blood’s a Rover. And I would recommend it to the rest of the country, so we know what we’re talking about when we’re talking about tea-baggers.

Holiday Toons: RedMeat/Derf/Hots/Stripwax






Friday, December 18, 2009

Vocal Booth

Snoop

Greetings to you!!!  Hope all is well out there.  Much has gone down since we last shot the breeze.  The Vocal Booth is proud to wish all of you out there some Happy Holidays (From Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, and Of Course Kwanzaa).  As the holiday season is upon us, the music keeps on pumping.  Timbaland is back another album, OC and AG (Remember them?) of D.I.T.C. fame have released their first collabo album in the vein of Method Man and Redman….BANGER! Gucci Mane had to undergo his major label release behind bars, but the streets love it.   Rhianna has released her 4th album to little fanfare, but she gets brownie points for her extremely vivid and emotional writing, and as expected, Chris Brown has flopped.  His album is truly having a hard time making any type of connection with the people.  I must say that the people have spoken…Beat a woman, lose your female fans.  Women are the #1 consumers of everything.  Not a smart move. Let’s get it!!!!


REVIEW

Back just in time with a great last minute stocking stuffer, and fresh off the release of his critically-acclaimed, 10th studio album, Snoop Dogg has jumped back in the driver’s seat with his new album, Malice In Wonderland. Chopped filled with songs about women (Gangsta Love, Pimpin’ Ain’t EZ), his hometown and partying (I Wanna Rock, 1800), and love locked down (Special), Malice In Wonderland is the perfect addition for the ‘EastSide Rider’ in all of us.  Coming in 14 songs (with 2 interludes) deep and just under 50 minutes, Snoop Dogg has crafted a jewel.  From warm, simmering, and powerful G-Funk melodies reminiscent of Ice Cube’s Lethal Injection, DJ Quik’s Way 2 Fonky, and a sprinkle of E-40’s In A Major Way, the production quality is definitely a strong suit for ‘The Boss’.  If there is a drawback to Malice In Wonderland, it would be a little too many songs with weak guest appearances (Soulja Boy, Problem) and no presence of The DPGC  Collective (sans DJ EZ D*CK). Malice In Wonderland was an album created by Snoop Dogg as a testament to the prowess of his musical legacy and current stylistic influence.  This is also an album that celebrates the power of loyalty to one’s craft, crew, and core audience.  The beautifully crafted ‘Special’ featuring Brandy & Pharell is the perfect celebration to those who’ve stood by Calvin Broadus from day one and still to this day.  The Boss Lady, Mrs. Broadus,  is also a big influence on how this album was crafted and arranged together; Snoop is 10 toes down in love with this woman  By all means grab yourself a copy, grab a Swisher Sweet, and be sure not to forget your favorite poison of choice….this will ensure that you will rock.  GO SUPPORT REAL MUSIC!!!


EVENTS


Any artist, musician, band, record label, producer, manager, songwriter, DJ, B-Boy, and overall music lover; if you are looking for some exposure and support for your project…The Record Report (SC’s 1st & Only Live Radio Talk Show dedicated to EVERYTHING MUSIC!!!) is looking for some show guests.  Be sure to call 803.546.2319 or send in an email to…  HYPERLINK "mailto:therecordreport.com@gmail.com" therecordreport.com@gmail.com for more info.  Also be on the lookout for The Vocal Booth Year End Wrap-Up Issue coming sooner than you think.  More details on the way!!!



WORDS OF WISDOM


Thanks for all the love and support.  Have a safe, happy, and family filled holiday.  See you in the New Year!!!!  Be sure to stay sucker-free!!!


DJ KINGPIN-VILLIAN of VINYL    kingpinvillianofvinyl@gmail.com

Arts Notebook

ansel adams mt williamson

Local Arts Preview for 2010

By Judit Trunkos

Columbia’s galleries and artists are looking forward to next year. Columbia City Paper asked some of the most prominent galleries and artists to give us a sneak peak into the upcoming year’s art events and projects. Art lovers will be satisfied to hear that art in Columbia is thriving and next year’s exhibitions and shows will be better than ever.


Maryellyn Cannizzaro, owner of Art + Cayce, says her space “is dedicated to exhibiting art that often eludes a formal venue.” Andrew Norton Weber and Suzy Scarborough both exhibited at the venue last year and recently received an invitation from the Ministry of Culture in Ecuador to have a two-person show there from December 2009 through January 2010.


ART + CAYCE celebrates new and established artists whose work connects to the Midlands. Plans call for four to six openings each year featuring a gallery talk. Next year’s planned exhibitions will feature “Larry Racioppo: Photography of Architectural Ruins” in the spring 2010.

Brilliant  Image

McMaster Gallery at the University of South Carolina exhibits both faculty and student works, but also artists who are not part of the USC family.


Starting Jan. 15 artist Jonathan Brilliant will create â€œa dynamic and engaging installation reflecting his interest in the effects of labor, performance, and materials applied to an exhibition space.  This exhibition is part of his cross country traveling series ‘Have Sticks Will Travel Tour’ where he will be visiting various galleries to build massive, suspended sculptures from coffee stirrer sticks,” says gallery director, Mana Hewitt.


HoFP Gallery offers a unique combination of regional and global work, from traditional southern landscapes to international modern paintings.  Alice Perritt is the owner of HoFP Gallery and a certified Professional Framer who brings over 20 years of experience in art and custom framing to HoFP Gallery.  Alice brings a style and creativity to her work that has garnered numerous accolades for her business.

“HoFP has had a full year,” Perritt says. “We just closed a show of paintings by Maya Eventov that was one of our top three most successful ever.”


Columbia Museum of Art brought amazing shows last year, including the famous Impressionism traveling exhibition “Turner to Cézanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection” and the ongoing “Ansel Adams: Masterworks” photography show. For the upcoming year, the museum promises artlovers “The Chemistry of Color: Contemporary African-American Artists,” starting Feb. 5. The show will feature approximately 70 paintings, sculptures and works on paper chronicling the accomplishments of African-American artists in the second half of the 20th Century. Among the artists included are Benny Andrews, Romare Bearden, Sam Gilliam, Barkley Hendricks, Jacob Lawrence, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar and Raymond Saunders.


From May 21-September 19 the museum will feature “Imperial Splendor: Renaissance Tapestries from Vienna.”

Letters to the reader

Dear Internet comment boards,

Does the web really need you anymore? To be frank, who really cares what the average asshole thinks about any given post? Inevitably, “godawgs75” gets into it with “harleyguy ” over some trifle completely unrelated to the thread. Next thing you know, the dreg types who get off on “Jersey Shore” have taken over –checking back on each other’s reply comments, which is even more pathetic—and at the end of the day it just ends up hogging the site’s hard earned bandwidth.

Maybe someone out there should just start Argue.com. Post a random daily opinion sentence and let commenters interface with a state-of-the-art comment board that allows them to forge alliances with other users, more conveniently start and track sub-arguments, deploy a whole range of sociopathic emoticons, and keep up with rival replies from various theaters of battle. Supplement it with an iPhone or Drone app and bitter housewives can take out their aggressions in anonymity from anywhere. And, more importantly, spare the rest of us.

Columbia City Paper


Dear televangelism fans,

Sadly, one of the founding fathers of televangelism, Oral Roberts, has been called to heaven (or possibly the other place). Assuming the former, we can only hope that he now sits at the right hand of the 900-foot-tall Jesus that commanded him to solicit millions from viewers to build a skyscraper in Tulsa. Doctors said he succumbed to complications from pneumonia, but, c’mon, Oral Roberts claimed to have raised a little kid from the dead and said he held regular chats with the omnipotent creator of the universe. And, you’re telling me he can’t shake pneumonia? We all know it was really the economy. Remember back in the 80s when he said God would “call him home” if he didn’t raise $8 million and everyone freaked out and sent him $9 million just to be safe? ...Looks like he just didn’t meet his quota this year.

Columbia City Paper

Regional briefs

CHARLESTON

Vote concedes county to feral cats

Charleston County Council has approved a controversial program that lets feral cats roam throughout the county. The ordinance, which passed with a 7-2 vote, would let the animals have free reign over the countryside as long as they are vaccinated, microchipped and spayed or neutered.

Animal welfare groups say the program could save the county more than $40,000 in costs associated with euthanizing and incinerating the cats. The county did, however, impose a kitty death penalty for trouble-making cats that are captured more than twice.

“It’s a three-strikes-and-you’re-out thing,” Charleston County Councilman Elliott Summey told the Charleston Post and Courier. “It’s not going to get picked up again unless it’s causing problems.”

Some area birdwatchers and naturalists expressed concern that free roaming packs of cats would negatively impact bird populations. But a representative for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says the program will reduce cat numbers in the long term.

“Lets say I’m driving down Dorchester Road and I see a bunch of cats at a dumpster by a convenience store,” Joe Elmore, an ASPCA spokesman hypothesized to the Post and Courier. “If you... euthanize them, other cats will come in and breed and take their place.”

By sterilizing and vaccinating them instead, the cats could defend their dumpster or other food sources from rival cat gangs that would’ve otherwise simply taken over their turf. Eventually the untreated cats would likely get sick and die, Elmore said.

FLORENCE

Three charged in 2007 civil rights case

Three white men who threatened a black man who was trying to use the restroom in a Marlboro County store have pleaded guilty in a federal court and are awaiting sentencing.

Thomas Blue Sr., 49, Thomas Blue Jr., 28 and Judson Talbert, 35, pleaded guilty in a Florence federal court to civil rights and carjacking charges, after they attacked Dahndra Moore when he stopped at the Stop and Shop on Dec. 6, 2007. The store was owned by the Blue family.

According to reports, the elder Blue escorted Moore to the parking lot and threw him to the ground when he tried to use the restroom. The younger Blue threatened Moore with a chainsaw while Talbert stole Moore’s car, drove it away and burned it. Moore was able to run down the road and escape into a nearby home.

GREENVILLE

Cross-dressing man claims to be undercover cop

Greenville Police arrested a man they say was dressed as a woman, claiming to be an undercover officer and attempting to arrest patrons at Haywood Mall.

According to a police report, David Lee Burton, 45, told officers that he comes to the mall on Wednesdays and Fridays dressed in women’s clothing. Police were called to the scene when shoppers complained that Burton approached them, saying that he was an undercover officer with the Greenville Sheriff’s Department. Burton denied the allegations.

Burton was charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer and trespass notice served.

Golf course sexual assault fabricated, authorities say

Greenville County authorities have charged a woman they say falsely reported that she was sexually assaulted at a golf course.

In November, Kathryn Isbell, 23, of Taylors, told police that a stranger sexually assaulted her in the tree line along the course at Pebble Creek Country Club around midnight while she was searching for her dog. According to the Greenville News, investigators said they began to find discrepancies in the evidence, casting doubt on Isbell’s story. Confident that there was no sexual assault, police have charged Isbell with filing a false police report of a felony.

If convicted, Isbell could face five years in prison and a $1,000 fine and she could be ordered to pay restitution to the investigating agency for the cost of the investigation.

MYRTLE BEACH

Skeletal remains of fetus found

A 16-yr-old girl has been arrested after her mother found the skeletal remains of a fetus and called authorities.

According to multiple media reports, the teen’s mother saw photos of the dead fetus on her daughter’s cell phone, recognized the background location, and retrieved the remains. The woman then notified police. A Horry County deputy coroner determined that the fetus was stillborn at less than 20 weeks old. The teen was charged with desecration of human remains.

Woman arrested over hot dog

A Charleston woman found herself in hot water after she allegedly made a hot dog at a Myrtle Beach area Circle K, offered to pay it for it later and then threw it in the trash after the clerk declined her request.

The woman told responding officers that she threw the hot dog away because it didn’t taste good. She was later charged with shoplifting. The hot dog was valued at $1.41, according to one media report.

ROCK HILL

PETA angered over Christmasville chimp show

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called on the Rock Hill Christmasville show to disallow a travelling chimpanzee show from participating. The animal rights group claims that chimps generally undergo harsh treatment during training process. The show went on as scheduled.

The Christmasville show, which was billed a “Chimpfabulous,” featured chimps doing various stunts. A chimp named Rickey reportedly rode a scooter and later wore a pair of sunglasses while lip-synching a Stevie Wonder song. Another chimp named Kenya, 35, was reportedly dressed like a cowboy and rode around on a small horse.

The City of Rock Hill defended its choice to use the chimps in their Christmas event.

“We research very carefully any vendors that we allow in city events,” city of Rock Hill spokeswoman Lyn Garris told the Rock Hill Herald. “It's an honorable group of people. The animals are well treated. We're comfortable that we've made a good decision.”


regional_Head12-17

CHARLESTON

Former General Assembly Politicos Wed

Former state senator Catherine Ceips (R-Beaufort) and former Republican state representative Wallace Scarborough were married in a private ceremony at Ceips’ home in Beaufort last week, according to the Hilton Head Island Packet.

In 2006,  Columbia City Paper columnist  Will Moredock broke the story that Scarborough’s then-wife had alleged her husband and Ceips were having an affair while serving in office.

affair_copyCeips served in the state House of Representatives from 2002 to 2007 before she won a special election to fill a state senate seat vacated by Scott Richardson. She lost a full-term bid for the seat in the 2008 election. Scarborough served the General Assembly from 2001 to 2007.

The couple has not commented to the media about their wedding at press time.

Vote concedes county to feral cats

Charleston County Council has approved a controversial program that lets feral cats roam throughout the county. The ordinance, which passed with a 7-2 vote, would let the animals have free reign over the countryside as long as they are vaccinated, microchipped and spayed or neutered.

Animal welfare groups say the program could save the county more than $40,000 in costs associated with euthanizing and incinerating the cats. The county did, however, impose a kitty death penalty for trouble-making cats that are captured more than twice.

“It’s a three-strikes-and-you’re-out thing,” Charleston County Councilman Elliott Summey told the Charleston Post and Courier. “It’s not going to get picked up again unless it’s causing problems.”

Some area birdwatchers and naturalists expressed concern that free roaming packs of cats would negatively impact bird populations. But a representative for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says the program will reduce cat numbers in the long term.

“Lets say I’m driving down Dorchester Road and I see a bunch of cats at a dumpster by a convenience store,” Joe Elmore, an ASPCA spokesman hypothesized to the Post and Courier. “If you... euthanize them, other cats will come in and breed and take their place.”

By sterilizing and vaccinating them instead, the cats could defend their dumpster or other food sources from rival cat gangs that would’ve otherwise simply taken over their turf. Eventually the untreated cats would likely get sick and die, Elmore said.

FLORENCE

Three charged in 2007 civil rights case

Three white men who threatened a black man who was trying to use the restroom in a Marlboro County store have pleaded guilty in a federal court and are awaiting sentencing.

Thomas Blue Sr., 49, Thomas Blue Jr., 28 and Judson Talbert, 35, pleaded guilty in a Florence federal court to civil rights and carjacking charges, after they attacked Dahndra Moore when he stopped at the Stop and Shop on Dec. 6, 2007. The store was owned by the Blue family.

According to reports, the elder Blue escorted Moore to the parking lot and threw him to the ground when he tried to use the restroom. The younger Blue threatened Moore with a chainsaw while Talbert stole Moore’s car, drove it away and burned it. Moore was able to run down the road and escape into a nearby home.

GREENVILLE

Cross-dressing man claims to be undercover cop

Greenville Police arrested a man they say was dressed as a woman, claiming to be an undercover officer and attempting to arrest patrons at Haywood Mall.

According to a police report, David Lee Burton, 45, told officers that he comes to the mall on Wednesdays and Fridays dressed in women’s clothing. Police were called to the scene when shoppers complained that Burton approached them, saying that he was an undercover officer with the Greenville Sheriff’s Department. Burton denied the allegations.

Burton was charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer and trespass notice served.

Golf course sexual assault fabricated, authorities say

Greenville County authorities have charged a woman they say falsely reported that she was sexually assaulted at a golf course.

In November, Kathryn Isbell, 23, of Taylors, told police that a stranger sexually assaulted her in the tree line along the course at Pebble Creek Country Club around midnight while she was searching for her dog. According to the Greenville News, investigators said they began to find discrepancies in the evidence, casting doubt on Isbell’s story. Confident that there was no sexual assault, police have charged Isbell with filing a false police report of a felony.

If convicted, Isbell could face five years in prison and a $1,000 fine and she could be ordered to pay restitution to the investigating agency for the cost of the investigation.

MYRTLE BEACH

Skeletal remains of fetus found

A 16-yr-old girl has been arrested after her mother found the skeletal remains of a fetus and called authorities.

According to multiple media reports, the teen’s mother saw photos of the dead fetus on her daughter’s cell phone, recognized the background location, and retrieved the remains. The woman then notified police. A Horry County deputy coroner determined that the fetus was stillborn at less than 20 weeks old. The teen was charged with desecration of human remains.

Woman arrested over hot dog

A Charleston woman found herself in hot water after she allegedly made a hot dog at a Myrtle Beach area Circle K, offered to pay it for it later and then threw it in the trash after the clerk declined her request.

The woman told responding officers that she threw the hot dog away because it didn’t taste good. She was later charged with shoplifting. The hot dog was valued at $1.41, according to one media report.

ROCK HILL

PETA angered over Christmasville chimp show

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called on the Rock Hill Christmasville show to disallow a travelling chimpanzee show from participating. The animal rights group claims that chimps generally undergo harsh treatment during training process. The show went on as scheduled.

The Christmasville show, which was billed a “Chimpfabulous,” featured chimps doing various stunts. A chimp named Rickey reportedly rode a scooter and later wore a pair of sunglasses while lip-synching a Stevie Wonder song. Another chimp named Kenya, 35, was reportedly dressed like a cowboy and rode around on a small horse.

The City of Rock Hill defended its choice to use the chimps in their Christmas event.

“We research very carefully any vendors that we allow in city events,” city of Rock Hill spokeswoman Lyn Garris told the Rock Hill Herald. “It's an honorable group of people. The animals are well treated. We're comfortable that we've made a good decision.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

ishopcolumbia.com

Shop Local, Win Free Stuff!

ishop1In honor of national Buy Local Week and for the second year running, Columbia City Paper would like to encourage our readers to try to spend $100 of their holiday money at locally-owned businesses this holiday season.


As most of Columbia knows, this paper has staunchly supported local business (and called out those who don’t) since our inception in 2005. Considering our average readership of around 75,000, if each City Paper reader spent $100 of his or her holiday budget at locally owned businesses, we could pump as much as $3 million back into Columbia’s economy. The average, according to one study, found that of $100 spent at a local business, $45 stays in the community. But that same $100 spent at a chain store would put only $13 in our local economy, according to the study.


To encourage participation this holiday season, we’ll be giving gift certificates to shoppers who support local merchants (with proof of purchase). Please visit www.ishopcolumbia.com for more information and to take the shop local pledge for a chance to win. The contest and the buy local campaign will run through the holiday season.


Happy shopping!

Columbia City Paper's Bipartisan Gift Guide

by Todd Morehead

santajesus


As one of the more memorable legislative sessions in years draws to a close, many hope to find solace in hearth and home this holiday season; a chance to lick political wounds and heal families torn asunder by screaming Thanksgiving debates over health care and taxes. This year to help families reach across the aisle during the gift exchange, we introduce the Bipartisan Gift Guide. Because City Paper believes, whatever your political persuasion, together we can salvage Christmas.


For the liberal on your gift list



Communist T-Shirt

Chances are, any commie liberal arts majors on your list already have Che Guevera and Mao Zedong gear in the dorm room closet. But they can be the trendiest socialist in line for public health care with a Communist Party of China T-shirt.  Price: $16.99.

Available at NeofactionApparel.com.

Vegan Cat Food

Forget trying to get the perfect gift for the vegan in your family. Anyone who refuses to eat broccoli at Thanksgiving because technically it has a circulatory system is bound to turn up a nose at anything a deer-hunting bumpkin like yourself is wont to buy. The next best thing you can do: buy a gift for the cat. We recommend Vegecat brand powder supplement for vegan cats. Price: $10.

Available via special order through your local health food market or online.

Men’s Body Thong

hangtight

So you’re shopping for your nephew who’s a little light in the loafers. He’s still got a few years before he closets himself, puts on a bowtie and runs for state office, so what do you buy him until then? Underwear? A pack of T-shirts? Why not both? The men’s body thong perfectly blends the crack-splitting appeal of a thong with the durability of a tank top in a one-piece mesh design.

Price: $18 - $30.

Available locally at Nancy’s Nook or online at ABCUnderwear.com.

Designer Eyewear

Notice that your brother-in-law has been squinting onstage while playing accordion with his art-rock band? A new pair of hipster glasses may help him see the error of his ways and will look more presentable for the insurance sales job that’s just come open at your firm.

Available at Frame of Mind, Columbia.

Solar-Powered Hat

Perfect for the granola aunt who’s always preaching about global warming and energy consumption. Tell her to put her money where her mouth is, pack up her energy-guzzling air conditioner and wear your Christmas gift: the Sun Mate 692 Solar Safari Cool Hat. A lightweight solar panel powers an onboard fan. When you care enough about the planet to sacrifice your dignity.

Price: $29.99.

Available at Amazon.com.

U.S. Treasury Bond

By the time the sniveling liberal grad student in your family realizes his Ph. D in the history of Baroque art will never pay dividends, it will be time for him to cash in your bond to supplement the welfare he’s on and add to the bus fare to his job washing dishes at a coffee shop.

Deodorant

bo
Maybe, just maybe, on a good day you might catch a glimmer of the logic your rank, nouveau hippie relative uses for electing not to use deodorant for socio-political reasons. Actually, scratch that. There’s no good reason.

Price: $3.99.

Available everywhere.

One-Way Ticket to the Arctic

Give the preachy animal rights lib the chance to live that “Save the Polar Bears” bumper sticker by buying a one-way ticket to Iqaluit, Nunavut Territory.

Price: $849.

Available at Travelocity.com.

Bunk Beds

If the bleeding-heart liberals in your family are so concerned about illegal aliens coming into this country and stealing American jobs, you may as well give them bunk beds to house the overflow of immigrants. We recommend the ladder-end-style bunk bed from the Great American Bunk Bed Company.

Price: Call for pricing.

Available at Dr. Z’s Bedroom Center.

For the conservative on your gift list



Holy Toast Stamper

marytoast

It might not be true for the oil stain in the driveway, but next time your crazy aunt claims to see the Virgin Mary’s face on a piece of toast she’ll actually be correct. The Fred™ Holy Toast Stamper is made of durable plastic and imprints a flawless design of the Holy Mother on standard size slices of toast. Price: $3.99. Visit WorldWideFred.com and use the store locater to find a local merchant that carries Fred products.

Gimp Mask

gimpmask

Having already gifted sex swings and latex genitalia, are you at a loss for what to get the feisty Republican politician on your list?

In the age of the hidden camera, you can’t go wrong with the fun and discretion provided by a bondage hood. Made with breathable leather, hoods come with accessories such as leashes, gags, zipper slits and bag style hood designs for that Abu Ghraib feel. Price $37.95.

Available at Nancy’s Nook.

Fetus Corsage

Help conservative pro-lifers on your list hold their creepy roadside vigils in style with fetus corsage pins. Each pin features an actual size “micropreemie” doll at 8 weeks gestation, set within a tasteful floral design. $2.50 each. Lapel pins featuring angels holding fetus: $5.00 each. Available at GodsLittleOnes.com.

Health Savings Account

Have a conservative in your family who yelled himself hoarse about death panels at a town hall meeting? Chances are he could develop a vocal chord polyp down the road. Assuming this relative was laid off from his job during the Bush administration and can’t get health insurance to treat it due to a preexisting condition, what better gift to bestow upon him than a health savings account? Price: Varies. Contact: HSA Bank for more information.

Georgian-era Outfit

Send them to the next tea party rally in style with a greatcoat, breeches and powdered wig reminiscent of the American founding fathers.

Live Rattlesnakes / Running Shoes

Rattlesnakes make a great stocking stuffer for any religious snake handler. That said, venomous reptiles are often hard to acquire. Your better bet might be a new pair of running shoes for the grandmother who has been in a wheelchair her whole life but plans to walk again after a trip to the faith healer. Running shoes available at: Strictly Running in Five Points.

Hammock

The Hennessey Expedition hammock provides ultimate comfort for any conservative camped out in the legislative halls while lobbying and/or filibustering during the next general session. Featuring full velcro entrance seal, mosquito netting and a mesh pocket on the ridgeline, a conservative will be able to derail most any bill that comes his or her way. Price: $139.95. Available at Get Your Gear On.

Palmetto Tree Bowtie

bowtieName a backwards social policy, shady real estate deal or racial epithet of local merit and chances are it came from behind a palmetto tree bowtie. As Cackalacky as Maurice’s Barbecue. Price: $38.00. Available at the SC.gov online shopping mall.

Bob Jones University Bumper Sticker

Why mince words? Especially on your bumper. The “God Bless Bob Jones University” bumper sticker with rebel flag design is certain to please any conservative this holiday season. Available via phone order at the Redneck Shop, Laurens, SC.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Flashback: Peter Gabriel - Third Album (Melt)

Without any doubt, this album was ahead of its time!

I'll first start with 'Games Without Frontiers.' This track perhaps is the best Electronic Pop track of the 1980s. Listen to this with your headphones and you will be blown away. When artists of the era were pumping their Modular Synths full of Reverb so that one note sounded like an entire orchestra exploding, Gabriel kept the cold and robotic raw tone of the electronics subtle and intricate. The sparse and frigid bass driven tone of this track is almost akin to some Drum and Bass tracks of the late 1990s. The mix of programmed rhythms and electronic sounds with acoustic drums and instrumentation gives this track a layered syncopation that often blurs the line between both and keeps the entire composition full without creating the cacophonous melodrama we have come to expect of 1980s Electronica. The composition of tonally disparate musical phrases and subtle production on this track is hands down superb and revolutionary. It's perverse to think that this track is filled with such experimentation yet it is somehow so catchy that your Grandmother might actually start whistling along. There are even Break Beats in it!

The stigma of Gabriel being known as an "Adult Contemporary, Light FM" artist has closed many people's ears to his work from prior to So. This third album however, is nothing of the sort and is perhaps one of the darkest pieces of music to come out of the decade. Gabriel speaks to you as the Modern Bureaucratic Man and dives deep into his perversions and eccentricities with a clever, decidedly British manner. On Third/Melt, whatever you want to call it, the listener is taken on a journey which is undoubtedly a commentary on the general psyche of the era but also a Futurist Art Piece grounded in an Historical, almost Folk understanding of our society.

To mix the Political, Psychological, Kitch, Provincial, Futuristic and Ancient fluidly into a cohesive album is no easy feat. Many artists have tried but so few have succeeded in their attempts. Just take a listen to Lauri Anderson, Talking Heads, Eno, Bowie, etc. They are all amazing artists but none have managed to mix the common with the obscure without sounding ironic or condescending in some way. Gabriel fuses them perfectly here.

- Michael Martarano

It's not over yet!

For publication:  Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009

678 words

It’s probably over, but it still ain’t over

By Andy Brack

S.C. Statehouse Report

DEC. 13, 2009 – Anybody who thinks the potential impeachment of Gov. Mark Sanford is over isn’t recalling the words of Yogi Berra.

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” Berra said in 1973 when the come-from-behind New York Mets nabbed the pennant on the final day of the baseball season.

For South Carolina, the state obsession with Sanford’s peccadilloes is far from over, despite some sloppy and misleading reporting by some news outlets.  While Sanford certainly dodged a hurdle this week, consider:

Process.  This week, the House impeachment subcommittee voted 6-1 to not recommend impeachment to the full House Judiciary Committee.  But just because a subcommittee says one thing, a full committee can say another.  The full committee on Wednesday will take up whether to impeach the governor.  It’s not often a full committee goes against the recommendation of a subcommittee, but it’s been known to happen.  And whenever 25 politicians get in a room over a hot political issue where they’re on the hot seat, well, you can fill in the blank.

House floor.  Even if the House Judiciary Committee doesn’t send an impeachment resolution to all 170 members of the House for consideration, something could happen on the floor during the 2010 session to bring the issue up for a vote.  (It probably won’t happen, but could.)

S.C. Rep. James Smith, a Richland Democrat on the House subcommittee, voted against impeaching Sanford but said he believed the full House needed to settle the issue.  â€œI’ve always felt this was not a decision for seven members of the House,” he said in a phone interview.  â€œImpeachment is a constitutional prerogative of the full House.”

Ethics Commission.  In a Wednesday statement, Sanford said the Judiciary subcommittee dismissed 32 of 37 ethics allegations against him.  In the large scheme of things, that’s a little misleading because it makes it look like those charges are gone.  In fact, the governor still faces action by the state Ethics Commission on all 37 violations of state ethics law.  What the Judiciary subcommittee did had no impact on those allegations.

Attorney General.  The jury still is out also whether Attorney General Henry McMaster will file criminal charges against the governor in relation to the civil ethics violations.  While McMaster, a gubernatorial candidate, may have been waiting on the House before sticking his finger in the wind to determine what to do, there is the possibility that the Sanford saga could hit the criminal courts.  (With the House moving forward on a censure resolution, this also isn’t likely.)

Rep. Greg Delleney, the Chester Republican who is pushing hard for Sanford’s impeachment, said he’s not giving up.

“I’m not quitting until it’s over.” He said, “As long as I have a breath, I’m going to proceed.”  When asked why, he said, “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

On Wednesday, Delleney introduced a legal opinion into the record that another option existed for legislators who wanted to remove Sanford.  It’s a little-known constitutional measure called “removal by address.”  It probably has never been used.

According to the opinion by Rutgers University Professor G. Alan Tarr, who runs the Center for State Constitutional Studies, South Carolina is one of the few states that offers “removal by address.”  Article XV, Section 3 of the state constitution allows the governor to remove “any executive or judicial officer” for “any willful neglect of duty, or other reasonable cause.”

As Tarr contemplates, it’s unlikely Sanford would remove himself.  But if the House and Senate passed a non-impeachment resolution to suspend Sanford from office and replace him with a temporary governor, the temporary governor could, in fact, send Sanford packing through the “removal of address” option.

Yes, this complicated option is as likely as snow in July at Myrtle Beach, but to suggest the whole messy Sanford imbroglio is over just ain’t so.

More than likely Sanford will be around until January 2011 when a new governor takes office.  Until then, lawmakers need to deal with Sanford’s embarrassment to the state quickly, start concentrating on South Carolina’s big problems and push the increasingly irrelevant Sanford aside.

Andy Brack, publisher of S.C. Statehouse Report, can be reached at:  brack@statehousereport.com.

###


imgresBy Andy Brack

Anybody who thinks the potential impeachment of Gov. Mark Sanford is over isn’t recalling the words of Yogi Berra.

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” Berra said in 1973 when the come-from-behind New York Mets nabbed the pennant on the final day of the baseball season.

For South Carolina, the state obsession with Sanford’s peccadilloes is far from over, despite some sloppy and misleading reporting by some news outlets.  While Sanford certainly dodged a hurdle this week, consider:

Process. This week, the House impeachment subcommittee voted 6-1 to not recommend impeachment to the full House Judiciary Committee.  But just because a subcommittee says one thing, a full committee can say another.  The full committee on Wednesday will take up whether to impeach the governor.  It’s not often a full committee goes against the recommendation of a subcommittee, but it’s been known to happen.  And whenever 25 politicians get in a room over a hot political issue where they’re on the hot seat, well, you can fill in the blank.

House floor. Even if the House Judiciary Committee doesn’t send an impeachment resolution to all 170 members of the House for consideration, something could happen on the floor during the 2010 session to bring the issue up for a vote.  (It probably won’t happen, but could.)

S.C. Rep. James Smith, a Richland Democrat on the House subcommittee, voted against impeaching Sanford but said he believed the full House needed to settle the issue.  â€œI’ve always felt this was not a decision for seven members of the House,” he said in a phone interview.  â€œImpeachment is a constitutional prerogative of the full House.”

Ethics Commission. In a Wednesday statement, Sanford said the Judiciary subcommittee dismissed 32 of 37 ethics allegations against him.  In the large scheme of things, that’s a little misleading because it makes it look like those charges are gone.  In fact, the governor still faces action by the state Ethics Commission on all 37 violations of state ethics law.  What the Judiciary subcommittee did had no impact on those allegations.

Attorney General. The jury still is out also whether Attorney General Henry McMaster will file criminal charges against the governor in relation to the civil ethics violations.  While McMaster, a gubernatorial candidate, may have been waiting on the House before sticking his finger in the wind to determine what to do, there is the possibility that the Sanford saga could hit the criminal courts.  (With the House moving forward on a censure resolution, this also isn’t likely.)

Rep. Greg Delleney, the Chester Republican who is pushing hard for Sanford’s impeachment, said he’s not giving up.

“I’m not quitting until it’s over.” He said, “As long as I have a breath, I’m going to proceed.”  When asked why, he said, “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

On Wednesday, Delleney introduced a legal opinion into the record that another option existed for legislators who wanted to remove Sanford.  It’s a little-known constitutional measure called “removal by address.”  It probably has never been used.

According to the opinion by Rutgers University Professor G. Alan Tarr, who runs the Center for State Constitutional Studies, South Carolina is one of the few states that offers “removal by address.”  Article XV, Section 3 of the state constitution allows the governor to remove “any executive or judicial officer” for “any willful neglect of duty, or other reasonable cause.”

As Tarr contemplates, it’s unlikely Sanford would remove himself.  But if the House and Senate passed a non-impeachment resolution to suspend Sanford from office and replace him with a temporary governor, the temporary governor could, in fact, send Sanford packing through the “removal of address” option.

Yes, this complicated option is as likely as snow in July at Myrtle Beach, but to suggest the whole messy Sanford imbroglio is over just ain’t so.

More than likely Sanford will be around until January 2011 when a new governor takes office.  Until then, lawmakers need to deal with Sanford’s embarrassment to the state quickly, start concentrating on South Carolina’s big problems and push the increasingly irrelevant Sanford aside.

Andy Brack, publisher of S.C. Statehouse Report, can be reached at:  brack@statehousereport.com.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Whither Jenny?

Whither Jenny?

Is S.C.'s First Lady ready for a radical makeover?

Watching Arianna Huffington on MSNBC recently, I was struck once again with the way this political Proteus has transformed herself from right wing pundit and spoiled little rich girl into a left wing pundit and tough-talking populist.

I don't know how seriously to take Ms. Huffington or her transformation. There are more than a few who claim she is nothing more than an opportunist, and there is plenty of evidence to support that charge. But whatever she is, she is passionate about it.

For Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington, it's been a long, strange trip indeed. Born in Greece in 1950, she immigrated to Great Britain at age 16 to study at Girton College and Cambridge University. At 21 she was president of the prestigious Cambridge Union Society, and graduated the next year with a degree in economics.

Over the next quarter century she had relationships with several prominent men of politics and letters. She was freelancing for National Review and hanging around with the California GOP crowd when she met petroleum heir and Bush family friend Michael Huffington in 1985. They married a year later and Michael Huffington moved to California to establish residency and win the Santa Barbara County seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992.

Two years later he challenged incumbent U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, spending $28 million in a bitter and unsuccessful campaign – the most expensive non-presidential campaign ever waged until that time. Throughout her husband's brief political career, Arianna Huffington stood by her man, campaigned with him, and was widely thought to be measuring the White House windows for curtains.

The Huffington's divorced in 1997. Arianna began her leftward drift, running for governor of California against Arnold Schwartzenegger in a truly ugly campaign in 2003, and endorsing John Kerry for president in 2004. She has since been closely associated with Democratic Party politics. In 2006, she was named to the Time 100, Time magazine's list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I see a parallel between the adventures of Arianna Huffington and the recent misadventures of our first lady, Jenny Sanford. The analogy is not perfect, of course, but it is close enough to merit a serious look.

Jenny Sanford has also been accused of political and social opportunism. She clearly enjoyed the ride to the top of state politics when her husband's star was rising. And she was not the least bit  coy earlier in the year when Mark Sanford was being touted in some Republican circles as the man to beat Barack Obama in 2012.

But she wasn't just a sightseer on her husband's career train. She was the manager for his first congressional campaign in 1994, and his first gubernatorial campaign in 2002. And she was more than a nuts-and-bolts operator. By most accounts she worked closely with her husband in the early Statehouse days, serving as his gatekeeper and enforcer. When Sen. John Kuhn of Charleston emerged as a strong and early critic of her husband in 2003, it was Jenny who maneuvered Kuhn into an embarrassing physical confrontation in the Statehouse and ultimately got him replaced by Sanford ally Chip Campson.

Now this Cinderella story has come to an end. With revelations last June that her husband was having an affair with an Argentine woman, and with subsequent charges of ethical misconduct in office, Mark Sanford has less political future than John Kuhn. As for the Sanford marriage, well, that doesn't look too promising, either. Jenny and their four sons moved out of the Governor's Mansion last August and returned to the family home on Sullivan's Island.

It looks like this smart, attractive, 47-year-old heiress is suddenly going to have a lot of time on her hands. And it seems reasonable that she may have an existential crisis on her hands as well. Yes, she told Vogue magazine in a feature story last September that her children are the focus and purpose of her life, and nothing in marriage or politics changes that.

Hmmm...could be. But she surprised a lot of people last month when she wrote a letter endorsing Rep. Nikki Haley (R-Lexington) in next year's GOP gubernatorial race against four hairy y-chromosome candidates. What are we to make of this? Is Jenny ready to get back in the game? Does she want to quarterback another campaign? Maybe become a candidate herself?

Early indications are that she is widely admired in South Carolina. Beside her weepy, dissembling husband she looks like a tower of strength and integrity.

Does Jenny Sanford have a political future of her own? In this state, with the lowest percentage of female office holders in the nation, there is certainly room for her. And there is always room for another smart Democrat.

See Will Moredock's blog at www.charlestoncitypaper.com/blogs/thegoodfight.


by Will Moredock

Is S.C.'s First Lady ready for a radical makeover?

jenny-sanford Watching Arianna Huffington on MSNBC recently, I was struck once again with the way this political Proteus has transformed herself from right wing pundit and spoiled little rich girl into a left wing pundit and tough-talking populist.

I don't know how seriously to take Ms. Huffington or her transformation. There are more than a few who claim she is nothing more than an opportunist, and there is plenty of evidence to support that charge. But whatever she is, she is passionate about it.

For Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington, it's been a long, strange trip indeed. Born in Greece in 1950, she immigrated to Great Britain at age 16 to study at Girton College and Cambridge University. At 21 she was president of the prestigious Cambridge Union Society, and graduated the next year with a degree in economics.

Over the next quarter century she had relationships with several prominent men of politics and letters. She was freelancing for National Review and hanging around with the California GOP crowd when she met petroleum heir and Bush family friend Michael Huffington in 1985. They married a year later and Michael Huffington moved to California to establish residency and win the Santa Barbara County seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992.

Two years later he challenged incumbent U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, spending $28 million in a bitter and unsuccessful campaign – the most expensive non-presidential campaign ever waged until that time. Throughout her husband's brief political career, Arianna Huffington stood by her man, campaigned with him, and was widely thought to be measuring the White House windows for curtains.

The Huffington's divorced in 1997. Arianna began her leftward drift, running for governor of California against Arnold Schwartzenegger in a truly ugly campaign in 2003, and endorsing John Kerry for president in 2004. She has since been closely associated with Democratic Party politics. In 2006, she was named to the Time 100, Time magazine's list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I see a parallel between the adventures of Arianna Huffington and the recent misadventures of our first lady, Jenny Sanford. The analogy is not perfect, of course, but it is close enough to merit a serious look.

Jenny Sanford has also been accused of political and social opportunism. She clearly enjoyed the ride to the top of state politics when her husband's star was rising. And she was not the least bit  coy earlier in the year when Mark Sanford was being touted in some Republican circles as the man to beat Barack Obama in 2012.

But she wasn't just a sightseer on her husband's career train. She was the manager for his first congressional campaign in 1994, and his first gubernatorial campaign in 2002. And she was more than a nuts-and-bolts operator. By most accounts she worked closely with her husband in the early Statehouse days, serving as his gatekeeper and enforcer. When Sen. John Kuhn of Charleston emerged as a strong and early critic of her husband in 2003, it was Jenny who maneuvered Kuhn into an embarrassing physical confrontation in the Statehouse and ultimately got him replaced by Sanford ally Chip Campson.

Now this Cinderella story has come to an end. With revelations last June that her husband was having an affair with an Argentine woman, and with subsequent charges of ethical misconduct in office, Mark Sanford has less political future than John Kuhn. As for the Sanford marriage, well, that doesn't look too promising, either. Jenny and their four sons moved out of the Governor's Mansion last August and returned to the family home on Sullivan's Island.

It looks like this smart, attractive, 47-year-old heiress is suddenly going to have a lot of time on her hands. And it seems reasonable that she may have an existential crisis on her hands as well. Yes, she told Vogue magazine in a feature story last September that her children are the focus and purpose of her life, and nothing in marriage or politics changes that.

Hmmm...could be. But she surprised a lot of people last month when she wrote a letter endorsing Rep. Nikki Haley (R-Lexington) in next year's GOP gubernatorial race against four hairy y-chromosome candidates. What are we to make of this? Is Jenny ready to get back in the game? Does she want to quarterback another campaign? Maybe become a candidate herself?

Early indications are that she is widely admired in South Carolina. Beside her weepy, dissembling husband she looks like a tower of strength and integrity.

Does Jenny Sanford have a political future of her own? In this state, with the lowest percentage of female office holders in the nation, there is certainly room for her. And there is always room for another smart Democrat.

See Will Moredock's blog at www.charlestoncitypaper.com/blogs/thegoodfight.