Thursday, July 29, 2010

Put down the doughnuts!

Guest Editorial by James Mangine

Instead of providing better policing for areas where there is a potential for violence (and, might I add, an area of commerce and employment for the city), the police just take the easy way out and convince everyone by simply shutting down bars at 2 a.m. all their problems will be solved. I don’t think the 2 a.m. closings will solve the violence issue at all.

England had a problem with binge drinking and related violence.  They thought it might be caused in part because bars closed too early.  So bar closings in England were pushed back to prevent crime.  Guess what? It didn’t work because drinking is so ingrained in their cultural memory that it would take generations to change their habits.

Here are my two guestimates as to what will happen if they set an end to drinking at 2 Columbia:

One, people will booze just as much, they will just go out earlier.  As it stands, people typically go out to bars rather late in Columbia as opposed to cities in the U.S. that have 2 a.m. last calls.  If this happens, the result will be that shootings will just occur a few hours earlier.  I am not sure who that is good for, but apparently it’s good for the police.  The other option is that there will be an explosion in “Crappy Hour” parties around the city.  As it is, these house parties which only start at 2 a.m. are a common Saturday night phenomenon.  If Columbia bar patrons continue the tradition of going out late, then these parties will mean that potential sources of violence will be dispersed from a centralized area that is easy to patrol to residential areas all over the city, which will ultimately require more police to manage. (To say nothing of all the disturbance of the peace calls police will have to field from angry neighbors.)

Here is a novel idea, if the Columbia police know there is an area prone to violence during a particular time period, they just need to do their jobs and not sit in their police cars eating doughnuts.  Having foot patrols in 5 Points and a couple of bike cops solves this problem.  It’s called doing the job my taxes are paying you to do!

Who are the city and County Council looking to for advice on this issue?  Sheriff Leon Lott, the same asshat who thought an armored personnel carrier with a .50-cal machine gun mounted on it was a sensible purchase for the Sheriff’s department and would save lives?  (Has the “peacemaker” been used yet? Does anyone have video of it in action?  Where in Columbia is the area that approaches Baghdad, Gaza or Ciudad de Juarez in violence?)

P.S. I want my minibottles back, too! That was a complete scam... weaker drinks for the same f%!#ing price!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Regional Briefs

By Todd Morehead

[caption id="attachment_2127" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Spartanburg Police say Lori Turner stuffed a McDonalds sandwich in her pants in a ruse to get free food"][/caption]


Convenience stores targeted by con man impersonating a cop

No one has fallen for the scam yet, says the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, but they still want to catch the person who is calling and threatening area convenience stores, claiming to be a police officer.

According to the Aiken Standard, an unidentified male has phoned at least one convenience store claiming that he is a police officer with evidence of a store employee who sold either alcohol or cigarettes to a minor. The caller then offers to destroy the evidence if money is wired to him. The caller has identified himself as both a S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) officer and as a homicide detective with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.

“Neither of those is true,” Capt. Troy Elwell told the Standard.

The caller has given numerous names and has asked that the money be wired to a number of different addresses in the Columbia area.


Casino boats may be coming to North Charleston

North Charleston Mayor, Keith Summey, says he has the necessary votes to remove a city law banning casino boats. The boats, which currently only operate out of Myrtle Beach, sail out into international waters to host casino style gambling out of the reach of state law.

City officials believe the boats could bring the city as much as $1.5 million a year.


Boy suffers nasty run-in with shark

Myrtle Beach officials report that a 10-year-old boy has been bitten by a shark while swimming off the South Carolina coast.

The boy suffered a bite wound on his leg and was treated at a local hospital. The attack is the second this year in South Carolina waters. The other attack occurred off Fripp Island in June.


New Black Panthers hold rally in Newberry

Around a hundred demonstrators, some pumping their fists or holding signs that read “Black Power”, recently marched from a Newberry park to the steps of the Newberry County Courthouse, calling for improved race relations in South Carolina.

Some demonstrators said they were upset because they believe local police pull over black motorists without proper cause and hassle black youths. Others cited a number of injustices ranging from poor housing conditions to racism in public schools. The crux rally centered around the June murder of a local black man named Anthony Hill by his white co-worker, Gregory Collins. Collins has been charged with killing Hill and then dragging his body behind a pickup truck.

Malik Zulu Shabazz, president of the New Black Panther Party, addressing the crowd through a megaphone on the courthouse steps, said he believes Collins did not act alone and accused Newberry authorities of not doing enough to investigate a hate crime.

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says it is up to the U.S. Justice Dept. to rule the case a hate crime, since South Carolina currently has no hate crime laws on the books. Foster said he has so far seen no indication that Collins acted with others.

“[Shabazz] has obviously got information that we don’t have,” Foster said.


Woman arrested at McDonalds for stuffing sandwich down pants

Spartanburg police say an area woman is facing charges after she allegedly stuffed a sandwich down her pants at a McDonald’s restaurant.

Responding officers said Lori Turner, 39, was screaming at employees about being cheated out of a second sandwich she had ordered. What really happened, police say, was that Turner ordered two sandwiches and two coffees and while the drinks were being made she stuffed one of the sandwiches in her pants, claimed she never received it, and demanded a replacement. Officers were alerted to the ruse when they noticed a grease stain spreading on her pants.

Turner was charged with public disorderly conduct and was later released on bond.


Intoxicated man dies after trying to “slap the train”

A Summerville man celebrating his 23rd birthday died last week after trying to touch a passing train outside a local bar.

Witnesses told Summerville police that Justin Helton had been drinking at the Ice House Bar & Grill and had, at one point in the evening, argued with his ex-girlfriend. Around 1:45 a.m., reports say, Helton told someone at the bar that he was going to “slap the train” as it passed on a nearby track. One witness, who watched from the front porch of the bar, said Helton walked up to the train with his arms outstretched as the wind whipped his shirt. The Dorchester County coroner believes Helton’s foot got caught in the track before he was struck by the train. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

The incident marks the second time an intoxicated Ice House patron has been struck by a train. Two months ago, Christopher Ryan Coleman told police he was walking the tracks home from the bar while texting his wife when he said he was “sucked under” a train. Coleman sustained no serious injuries and was later arrested for trespassing on a train right of way.

Sales tax exemptions are slated to end

Here’s a short primer on the Taxation Realignment Commission. In 2009, the Republican leadership in the State Senate developed the idea of an 11-person commission comprised of the best and the brightest from across the state to figure out the mess of the South Carolina tax code. Over the years, so many exceptions have been built in that it’s absurd, and with the state in dire straits when it comes to revenue, something needed to happen.

But creating TRAC didn’t happen immediately. It went through the same mess as everything else, with many Democrats wanting Act 388 to be considered with the rest of the code in order to help deal with school funding. The harder core of Republicans wanted to be sure that if there were anything that could be construed as tax increases in the TRAC report, the General Assembly could reject it, to not act, like Jerry Seinfeld once said he chose not to run.

So here we are, in the middle of summer, with TRAC releasing its initial recommendations, with no consideration of Act 388 and on its way to a final report that could very well go nowhere when the General Assembly reconvenes in 2011. The good news, as much as it is, is that the recommendations are revenue-neutral and reduce the overall tax burden on South Carolinians. What some people may not like, and what will get some members of the Legislature in a lather, is that a lot of sales tax exemptions are slated to end.

Sales tax holidays on guns and wedding dresses? Nixed. A 2.5 percent sales tax added to groceries, prescription drugs, hearing aids, public water service, electricity service. Sales taxes in general added to automobiles, some Internet sales, newspapers, sweetgrass baskets and other items. Maybe we can hope that a cheeky commissioner will slip in a sales tax on weed, forcing your friendly neighborhood dealer to carry around a pocket calculator – “OK, that’s an eighth, so your total comes to $63.60. Will that be cash or barter?”

Nobody’s going to enjoy this, really. It’s a big grouping of policy broccoli in a political environment that causes people to pitch a fit if they aren’t fed a steady policy diet of taffy and cotton candy. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, said when the proposals came out that there’s a real want to pass meaningful tax reform in the General Assembly, but getting the TRAC recommendations through will be a fight. He suggested that the package probably won’t be able to pass until 2012. Rep. Bakari Sellers, D-Denmark, said it won’t pass at all because he doesn’t have confidence that enough of his Republican colleagues will back the necessary legislation.

But if it does get through, you may have to pay a few more cents or a couple more bucks here and there. You probably won’t like it. This is the way things are these days, though. Everybody has to sacrifice for the greater good. Don’t start going around saying that last sentence too much, however – you might get called a socialist and end up with a middle-aged gentleman with a Gadsden flag chasing you down the street.

Wolfe is the proprietor of and has written for 11 publications in five states.

Troubled Nurses Skip from State to State

Hundreds of state agencies nationwide have never told the federal government about health professionals they disciplined, undermining a central database meant to weed out dangerous caregivers.

The federal database is supposed to contain disciplinary actions taken against doctors, nurses, therapists and other health practitioners around the country so that hospitals and select others can run background checks before they hire new employees.

Federal officials discovered the missing reports after a Pro Publica investigation in February found widespread gaps in the data, including hundreds of nurses and pharmacists who had been sanctioned for serious wrongdoing.

Since then, regulators nationwide –prodded by federal health officials—have submitted 72,000 new records to the database, nearly double the total submitted for all of 2009.

All states are required by law to report the licensed health workers they’ve sanctioned to databases run by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). But ProPublica found that many state agencies either didn’t know about the requirement or simply weren’t complying.

The failure to report means frontline health workers who have a record of on-the-job misconduct, incompetence or criminal acts aren’t flagged to hospitals or other potential employers, who pay a fee to run checks on job applicants.

Wisconsin, for example, has not reported sanctions against emergency medical technicians. The state’s Department of Health Services website, however, shows that more than two dozen EMTs have been disciplined, including several for criminal convictions and one for stealing drugs from an ambulance.

An agency spokeswoman said officials are working to submit the missing information.

HRSA’s analysis of 13 nursing boards flagged by ProPublica as missing records shows the depth of the problem. Since being contacted by HRSA, those boards collectively have reported more than 2,000 missing cases, including 147 in California and 66 in Illinois. Florida alone had 972.

Despite the important public safety role of the database, federal officials have little power to enforce compliance. Earlier this month, they took what they said is the strongest action allowed against scofflaws: They put a checkmark next to state names indicating they were “noncompliant” and posted the information on the HRSA website.

“That’s the tool we’ve been given by Congress,” said Mary Wakefield, administrator of HRSA, noting that no prior administration had even used that before.

Twenty-one states and Puerto Rico were thus chastised for not reporting on at least one category of health professional or ignoring the government’s requests for information. Kentucky was flagged for 10 professions; Louisiana, six; and Alabama and New Mexico, five each.

Many states were listed as “working toward compliance,” meaning they were in the process of submitting missing information, or “under review” by the federal government.

Congress ordered the government to create a database of disciplinary actions against all health providers more than two decades ago; information about doctors and dentists was first made available in the National Practitioner Data Bank in 1990. But hospitals could begin searching other professions only in March of this year. The database is not open to the public.

The completeness of the database is important because health professionals often have licenses in multiple states. If a hospital checks just one state’s oversight board, disciplinary actions elsewhere may not turn up.

California, for example, recently discovered that 3,500 registered nurses with clean records there had been disciplined in other states.

HRSA is still trying to sort out the compliance status of 450 licensing boards and agencies that appear to never have reported discipline for some of the professions they oversee. The agency plans to report additional information in October.

Officials are in the process of comparing disciplinary actions reported to the federal database to what states have listed on the states’ own public websites. “This is a work in progress,” Wakefield said.

The review did not examine state agencies overseeing doctors and dentists because they have been reporting actions for nearly a decade more than others.

Some state officials said they were surprised to be labeled noncompliant.

David Potters, executive director and general counsel of West Virginia’s pharmacy board, acknowledged that his board had not submitted all of its disciplinary actions, but said he had turned in a plan to catch up.

Consumer advocate Dr. Sidney Wolfe, who has pushed for a more accurate databank, said the agency’s work in recent months is a huge step forward.

“HRSA is at least making some moves in directions that it hasn’t made for a while -- and hopefully there will be many more moves,” said Wolfe, of Public Citizen, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that advocates for patient safety.

How did South Carolina medical professionals fare?

The Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB) and the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) are supposed to contain disciplinary actions taken against doctors, nurses, therapists and other health practitioners around the country so that hospitals and select others can run background checks before they hire new employees.

South Carolina was one of the states chastised for not reporting on at least one category of health professional. While S.C. has provided disciplinary actions against most medical professionals to the public, the NPDB reports that the state has not yet compiled or posted disciplinary actions against athletic directors, message therapists, or special purpose EMTs and is pending review on podiatrists and physician’s assistants.

South Carolina is also a member of a 24-state coalition created to help get good nurses to areas where they are needed most. Under the decade-old partnership, a license obtained in a nurse’s home state allows access to work in the other compact states. In some cases, nurses have retained clean multistate licenses after at least one compact state had banned them.

Luckily, the Palmetto State has a surprisingly accessible database of disciplinary actions against nurses in certain medical disciplines. The S.C. Board of Nursing disciplinary action information is available to the public, free of charge, at the S.C. Dept. of Labor Licensing and Regulation.

Troubled Nurses Skip from State to State Under Compact

Nurse Craig Peske was fired from a hospital in Wausau, Wis., in 2007 after stealing the powerful painkiller Dilaudid “whenever the opportunity arose,” state records say. In one three-month period, he signed out 245 syringes full of the drug — nine times the average of his fellow nurses.

Hospital officials reported him to Wisconsin nursing regulators and alerted police.

Six months later, Peske was charged with six felony counts of narcotic possession. But by that time, he had used a special “multistate” license to get a job as a traveling nurse at a hospital 1,200 miles away in New Bern, N.C.

“When I went to go for the job in North Carolina, I looked at the status of my license and it was still active,” said Peske, 36, who was later convicted of two felony drug charges. “That kind of surprised me, so I figured I would take it.”

The ease of Peske’s move illustrates significant gaps in regulatory efforts nationwide to keep nurses from avoiding the consequences of misconduct by hopping across state lines.

The two states in which Peske worked are part of a 24-state compact created to help get good nurses to areas where they are needed most. Under the decade-old partnership, a license obtained in a nurse’s home state allows access to work in the other compact states.

But an investigation by ProPublica found that the pact also has allowed nurses with records of misconduct to put patients in jeopardy.

In some cases, nurses have retained clean multistate licenses after at least one compact state had banned them. They have ignored their patients’ needs, stolen their pain medication, forgotten crucial tests or missed changes in their condition, records show.

Critics say the compact may actually multiply the risk to patients. There is no central licensing for the compact, so policing nurses is left to the vigilance of member states.

Outside the compact, each state licenses and disciplines its own nurses. But within it, states effectively agree to allow in nurses they have never reviewed.

“While any state can make mistakes, in a single-state license system, the errors impact one state,” said Genell Lee, head of Alabama’s nursing board, which is not part of the compact.

By comparison, when a compact state is slow to act or fails to share information, nurses suspected of negligence or misconduct remain free to work across nearly half the country, Lee said.

Joey Ridenour, chairwoman of the compact’s national board, said she believes the compact has promoted more and faster communication among states. She also said the number of compact nurses disciplined outside of their home states is very small.

But compact officials do not track how many nurses are sanctioned by their primary state for misconduct elsewhere. They also don’t question whether states are adequately policing visiting nurses: 10 states have disciplined three or fewer such nurses in the past decade, compact records show.

Ridenour acknowledged that the pact is only as good as the performance of its individual members. If a state has been historically lax, she said, joining the compact will not change that.

“I am very careful to say that this is not a cure-all,” said Ridenour, who also is executive director of Arizona’s nursing board. “I just believe it’s better than what we had before.”

A lack of screening

Weaknesses in the state-based system for disciplining problem nurses have surfaced as a public health issue during the past year. California, for example, revamped its nursing board and its executive officer resigned following reports of ineffective oversight that put patients at risk. The state recently discovered that 3,500 of its nurses had been disciplined by other states but had kept clean California licenses. With no federal licensing system, the compact has been seen as at least a partial solution for policing nurses who work in different states. To test its effectiveness, ProPublica examined the disciplinary actions taken by five compact states — Arizona, Virginia, Texas, Kentucky and North Carolina — in recent years.

Reporters found four dozen examples of nurses whose primary licenses remained clean for months or longer after another compact state barred them from working there.

Among the cases detailed in nursing board records:

Therese Morgan, who now goes by Therese Holmes, retains a multistate license in Maryland. Arizone banned her in January 2009 after incidents at five hospitals in the Phoenix area, including failing to show up for work, flunking orientation and frightening a patient whose catheter she removed. Doctors and staff asked that she not be assigned to certain patients. Holmes could not be reached for comment, and officials from the Maryland board would not discuss the case.

Stephen Woodfin, a nurse anesthetist, surrendered his right to practice in North Carolina in January 2006 because of substance abuse. Even so, he was able to keep a clean multistate license in Texas. Nearly two years later at an Amarillo, Texas, hospital, he passed out during a surgery, bleeding from a vein in his arm. The Texas Board of Nursing found he had abused the narcotic Fentanyl. In September 2008, the board suspended him. He now is on probation and is limited to working in Texas. Kathy Thomas, executive director of Texas’ nursing board, said she could not comment on Woodfin, who did not return calls. But Thomas noted that in some cases involving substance abuse, one of the most common reasons nurses get in trouble, discipline might not begin until after a nurse has flunked out of a confidential recovery program.

Dayna Hickman was suspended from practicing in Texas in September 2006, after she administered undiluted vitamin K too quickly to a patient at a Dallas hospital. The patient died a short time later. The next year, Hickman was placed on probation in California because of the Texas discipline. But her multistate license in Iowa remains clear.

Hickman, who now works as a critical care nurse in Mason City, Iowa, said she notified the Iowa nursing board about the incident in Texas. “I have an exemplary record outside of this as a nurse, so Iowa chose to not do anything,” Hickman said.

The Iowa board would not comment, citing privacy restrictions.

Allegations about nurse Craig Peske’s drug use did not stop once he reached North Carolina.

Within days of his arrival, a parent complained that Peske was falling asleep while attempting to insert an IV in her child. A hospital review found that he signed out the painkiller Demerol on dozens of occasions without a physician’s order. When he refused a drug test, he was fired in April 2008, nursing board records show.

Six months later, North Carolina banned him from working there. But Peske’s home state of Wisconsin did not revoke his multistate license until January 2009, giving him the ability to work in any of the other states until then.

Even Peske, who said recently he was sober and had a job as a home inspector in Wisconsin, questions why he wasn’t stopped sooner.

“Should I have been allowed to work in North Carolina? Probably not,” Peske said, then added more firmly, “No, I shouldn’t have been.”

Concern about gaps in licensing

Nationwide, nursing shortages have forced hospitals to rely on traveling or temporary nurses. Nurses working in one state now take medical-advice phone calls or use teleconferencing to see patients in another.

The compact is routinely touted as a success. Just last year, compact administrators said there was “no evidence” the compact compromised public protection, as the American Nurses Association asserted. But officials in nonparticipating states say they worry that the compact gives its members a false sense of security.

Differing laws, standards and staffing levels at state agencies, they said, make cooperation difficult. Even within the compact, state standards vary. Most states have the ability to immediately suspend a nurse’s license, but some can’t — even when the allegations are severe.

Likewise, some states require criminal background checks as a condition of getting a license, while others don’t.

That is one reason the Ohio Board of Nursing elected not to join.

“If an applicant has been convicted of certain crimes such as murder and rape, among others, the applicant cannot be considered for licensure in Ohio,” the board wrote. The majority of compact states, it noted, does not have the same tough standard.

Kansas’ attorney general in 1999 wrote that the state could not legally join. If one compact state, for example, decided that “a correspondence course in aroma therapy” was all that was needed to be licensed, Kansas would be required to let those nurses in.

Two national databases — one run by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the second by the federal government — are supposed to alert regulators and employers to disciplined nurses. But that doesn’t always happen.

Amid such confusion, nurses accused of wrongdoing or incompetence keep working.

Alma Rice, 40, was able to work as a nurse in several states for seven years after she first got in trouble. Tennessee revoked her license in mid-2008 — only after she’d been accused of stealing drugs at four hospitals in three states and had racked up criminal convictions in each state.

Rice had been high on the job, tried to shred patient records to conceal her thefts and hid bottles of urine in her clothes in case she was drug-tested, nursing board and court records from several states show.

A forensic psychologist in Texas wrote in 2006: “It is still doubtful that (Rice) will be able to consistently behave in accordance...with generally accepted nursing standards.”

Rice also had been indicted for alleged child abuse by a Dyer County, Tenn. grand jury in February 2008 after her 18-month-old son was found with needle marks on his arm and tested positive for a powerful anesthetic, court records and newspaper reports said. Rice called police after she forgot where she left him, a report said. She later was convicted of misdemeanor assault in the case. Neither Rice nor her attorney returned calls and e-mails.

Shelley Walker, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Health, defended the process in Rice’s case. Three states took action against her within eight months of each other, she said.

Walker and other compact officials noted that nurses cannot be disciplined before they’ve had a chance to defend themselves.

But records show that while Tennessee and Texas were investigating, Rice was accused of stealing drugs from a hospital in Raleigh, NC.

Nurse Krystal Bauer, like Rice, moved so fast she amassed allegations in multiple states before her home state caught up. Bauer, 37, was accused of stealing drugs in October and November 2007 while working at a Glendale, Ariz., hospital, in December 2007 while at a Weston, Wis. hospital and in June 2008 at a Greenville, N.C. hospital.

She finally surrendered her license in her home state of Iowa in November 2008 after the other three states banned her.

Ridenour, head of the compact, said even the best communication can’t stop nurses when they are intent on manipulating the system. But she said the compact strives to elevate the licensing standards across state lines by, among other things, encouraging states to require criminal background checks.

Nurse Bauer, who said in an interview that she is sober, said the various boards’ obligations to give her due process allowed her to keep moving.

“Until an investigation is closed,” she said, “it’s not going to look like there’s anything going on.”

Norma Jean

From what we’ve heard, metalcore phenoms, Norma Jean, are currently blistering through sets on the multistage Mayhem Festival tour, headlined by Rob Zombie and Lamb of God. And, lucky for the initiated, they’re stopping off in Columbia between Virginia and Florida dates to blow the roof off New Brookland Tavern.

Their new album, Meridional, is less than a month old and already it’s starting to feel like one of their most solid albums to date. The album marks their first release on Razor & Tie after leaving Solid State and seems to blend the best elements of their earlier records into one cohesive whole. There are scorching blowouts punctuated by complex sonic grinds –or to put it simply, imagine old hardcore melded with a dark and sludgy overcoat, filtered through younger ears. In total, it’s a well-crafted package.

If you’ve ever considered yourself a fan of modern metal, don’t miss this one. If your mom says no, just tell her their a Christian band.

In This Moment and Behold The Messenger open the show. Doors at 6 p.m.

- Norbet Sykes

Women in Hip Hop

Much love and big shouts to all of you out there who came & supported The South Carolina Beat Street Beat Battle this past July 24th @ The New Brookland Tavern.  It was a crazy good time.  We are in the dead heat of summer and the Sun keeps shining.  School is right around the corner, so enjoy the few weeks you got left. Let’s get to it.


Eminem- Recovery

Janelle Monae- Arch Android

The Roots- Things Fall Apart (1999)

Leela James- My Soul

Duck Down Records- 15 Year Anniversary


Currently the biggest issue and resulting debate in music is the current presence (or lack thereof) of ‘Women in Hip Hop’.  Nicki Minaj is currently waiting in the Dugout and has some huge ‘stiletto’s to fill when she finally steps up to the plate this year.  Not too long ago there was a plethora of MC’s who had way more estrogen than testosterone.  Let’s take a look back at a few names (and accomplishments) of the ‘Female MC’…

Sha-Rock (1st Female MC in Hip Hop/Member of group Funky 4 + 1, standout verse on their hit, ‘Rocking It’)

Sequence  (1st Female Group in Hip Hop/Released hit ‘Funk You Up’)

Roxanne Shante’(Teenage phenomenon supported by Marley Marl who became the 1st Female Battle MC with the release of ‘Roxanne’s Revenge’ as a response to UTFO’s ‘Roxanne Roxanne’)

Salt & Pepa (The most successful Female Group in Hip Hop history with sales of over 20 million records and countless Grammy’s are revered as ‘The Female Run-DMC’ and have laid the blueprint for the possibilities that await ‘Women in Hip Hop’)

MC Lyte (Considered by most as the ‘Greatest Female Lyricist’ of all time and garnering the 1st RIAA certified Gold Plaque for a Female MC, Lyte As A Rock in 1987, MC Lyte has a catalogue of records that can be rivaled by few)

Queen Latifah (Hip Hop’s royal rhymer has become an ambassador for the opportunities that await talented & gifted women.  After winning the 1st Grammy by a Female MC- 1993’s U.N.I.T.Y.,  starring in countless TV shows & movies, gaining Oscar nominations, and building a portfolio that would make Oprah smile, Queen Latifah rules like no one else)

Lil Kim & Foxy Brown (As two sides of the same coin these ladies have forever changed the view and the level of respect towards ‘Women in Hip Hop’.  From not having to be seen as one of the ‘boys’ or downplaying their prowess to having tremendous fashion style & sense and crafting lyrics as sexually charged and independent  as any women can be, these Brooklyn born MC’s influence in Hip Hop cannot be denied or diminished. The Notorious B.I.G., Nas, and Jay-Z should all be proud)

Lauryn Hill (1st & only Female MC or Male MC for that matter to garner 5 Grammy’s in one night including ‘Album of the Year’ for 1998’s masterpiece ‘The Mis-Education Of Lauryn Hill’.   As a founding member of The Fugees and unable to recapture a slice of her success due to the pressures and demands of balancing music, money, and family, Lauryn Hill has become a recluse in today’s musical landscape, but her inspiration is forever present)

Da Brat & EVE (The ‘Chi-Town’ Cutie and ‘Pit-bull in a Skirt’ have become two of the greatest musical talents to have ever held a microphone.  From their distinct styles and looks, masterful rhymes skills, and empowerment messages, both cannot be rivaled.  Da Brat was Hip Hop’s 1st RIAA certified Platinum Female MC- Funkdafied in 1994  & EVE has carved a great niche for anyone seeking to succeed on their own terms)

Missy Elliot ( Currently the highest selling Female MC of all time, Missy Elliot can not only handle a microphone, she is also a tremendous producer, song writer, singer, director, label executive, talent scout, and visionary.  From the success of her debut single, ‘The Rain’, and the countless hits she has had since, Missy is in a lane all her own)

…these accomplishments are nothing to be scoffed at.  The need for women in any discipline, especially Hip Hop music, is a synonymous as having vegetables on your dinner plate.  Most love them, but some may not like the look or taste, but the nutrients, minerals, and benefits they provide are damn sure vital and necessary if you want to survive.  James Brown said it best, ‘…this is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman!!!’


Much love to all of you out there.  Be on the lookout for The Record Report Radio Talk Show streaming soon on your PC, Laptop, or Cell Phone.   Ever need a DJ, Sound, Mixtapes, Host, Drop, whatever, make sure you hit me up at


Derf City

Live Music Listings

Thursday July 29

Cafe Strudel

Darren Flowers

El Burrito

Dave Holder & Friends

Hunter Gatherer

Jazz Night



My Darkest Days

Sick Puppies

It’s Alive

New Brookland Tavern

Full Color Footage

The Sea Wolf Mutiny

Dance Commander



Open Mic w John English

Friday July 30

Cafe Strudel

Kelly Mclachlan

Hard Knox Grill

GreedyWhite Citizens with Decadence


New Brookland Tavern

Kenley Young

The Specs


Macs on Main

Fatback & The Groove Band


White Sabel

The White Mule


Saturday July 31

Art Bar

Jerry Garcia Tribute

Cafe Strudel


12:00 pm Ashley Wells

1:00pm Alexa Woodward

2:00pm Cover of Afternoon

3 Rosanna mae

4 Alys Denney and The Trapeze Swingers

5 The Dubber

6 The Traye Horne Band

7 Ancient Sunken Navies

8 The Flagship Admirals

9 Now You See Them

10 Black Bottom Biscuits

Hard Knox Grill

The dirty Lowdown

Macs on Main

The D.R. Jazz Trio

New Brookland Tavern

Wretched (CD Release)


Graves Of Valor

The Classic Struggle




Sunday August 1

New Brookland Tavern


This Is Hell

In Regret



Tuesday August 3

New Brookland Tavern

Acoustic Open Mic w Brightford

Wednesday Auguest 4

New Brookland Tavern

New Music Night w/:

Graveside Manner

A Vacant Soul

Modern Day Slave

Kings Last Shot

Experiment 317


Bluegrass w Slap Wore Out

Thursday August 5

El Burrito

Bluegrass Night

Hunter Gatherer

Jazz Night

New Brookland Tavern Set Apart

Embracing Goodbye

We Sail At Dawn

From Tomorrow



Open Mic w Keith Bates

Friday August 6

Hard Knox Grill

Uncrowned with

L.I.E The Izm

New Brookland Tavern


Up The Down Escaloator

Kid Anthem

Archer vs. Gunman


Blue Train

Saturday August 7

Art Bar

Patchwork Medic CD Release: Fallen Kings, Norwegian Blue, Pan

Hard Knox Grill

Concrete Jumpsuit

New Brookland Tavern

“803 Unite: Musician Meet & Greet” Back To School Promo & Planning


Cathedrals of Soul

Sunday August 8

New Brookland Tavern



The White Mule

Joe Firstman

B.J. Barham

Jay Buchanan

Monday August 9

New Brookland Tavern Norma Jean

In This Moment

Behold The Messenger

Tuesday August 10

New Brookland Tavern

Acoustic Open Mic w Brightford

Wednesday August 11

New Brookland Tavern

Columbia City Paper’s

5 Year Anniversary Party


Bluegrass w Total Denial

Thursday August 12

El Burrito

Dave Holder & Friends

Hunter Gatherer

Jazz Night


Open Mic Night

Friday August 13

Hard Knox Grill



The Jedburg Barons

Saturday August 14

Art Bar

Carolina Chupacabra

Hard Knox Grill

The DB Bryant Band

New Brookland Tavern

Magnetic Flowers

The Thirsties

Venice Is Sinking

Cooter Scooters


Deb Varn & Midnight Blue

Sunday August 15

New Brookland Tavern The 2010 CONEY ISLAND COCKABILLY ROADSHOW!! W/:

The Squidling Bros. Circus Sideshow

Viva Le Vox

Jason and the Punknecks

Guitar Bomb

Hickry Hawkins

The Holy Roller Sideshow

Burlesque & More...

The White Mule

Todd Carey

Dion Roy

Josiah Leming

Monday August 16

New Brookland Tavern



Mehkago N.T.


07/30/10 :: Friday

Future Farm 255 Athens, GA

The Mosier Brothers Surrey Tavern Augusta, GA

Jason Jones The Country Club Dance Hall & Saloon Augusta, GA

Jason Lefty Williams Live Wire Music Hall Savannah, GA

The Two Man Gentlemen Band Sentient Bean Savannah, GA

Christine Lavin Diana Wortham Theatre Asheville, NC



Black Gold Orange Peel Asheville, NC

Corrosion of Conformity

Zoroaster Stella Blue Asheville, NC

Morgan Geer (Drunken Prayer)

Mad Tea Party The Watershed Black Mountain, Catie Curtis Warren Wilson College Black Mountain, NC

Barenaked Ladies

Angel Taylor

Ben Kweller Road Runner Mobile Amphitheatre (formerly Uptown Amphitheatre) Charlotte, NC

Futurebirds Snug Harbor Charlotte, NC

Chasing Edison The Philosopher’s Stone Charlotte, NC

Widespread Panic Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Charlotte, NC

WormsLoew Wild Wing Cafe Charlotte, NC

Cool Kid Collective The Rusty Rudder Cornelius, NC

Deepwater Soul Society Kickin’ Chicken Charleston, SC

Bonerama The Pour House Charleston, SC Thank God Tin Roof Charleston, SC Janus

My Darkest Days

Sick Puppies

It’s Alive The Dive Goose Creek, SC

DaveTurner Coffee Underground Greenville, SC

Sol Driven Train Gottrocks Greenville, SC

Zoogma The Handlebar Greenville, SC

Slippery When Wet House of Blues N. Myrtle Beach, SC

Velvet Truckstop Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ Sullivan’s Island, SC

07/31/10 : Saturday

illicitizen Terrapin Brewery Athens, GA

Holman Autry Band The Melting Point Athens, GA

Jason Jones The Country Club Dance Hall & Saloon Augusta, GA

Zoogma Emerald Lounge Asheville, NC Boom One Sound System

DJ Ginza Stella Blue Asheville, NC

Shak Nasti Pisgah Brewing Black Mountain, NC

Dirtbag Love Affair Dolce Vita Charlotte, NC

Allison Weiss The Evening Muse Charlotte, NC

Widespread Panic

Bubonik Funk Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Charlotte, NC

Crosstown Amici’s Sports Bar and Grill Concord, NC

Super Bob (formerly Bob) Jesters Pub Fayetteville, NC

Simplified Aquapalooza Terrell, NC

Bret Mosley Plum’s Beaufort, SC

The Papa String Band Home Team BBQ Charleston, SC

The Movement

SOJA The Pour House Charleston, SC

The Mosier Brothers Gottrocks Greenville, SC

Sol Driven Train The Windjammer Isle of Palms, SC


Mike Pinto Trophy Lakes Johns Island, SC

Cyndi Lauper House of Blues N. Myrtle Beach, SC

Malevolent Creation Ground Zero Spartanburg, SC

08/01/10 :: Sunday

Ocean is Theory

All Get Out Sector 7G Augusta, GA

Wisin Y Yandel Bojangles’ Coliseum (Formerly Cricket Arena) Charlotte, NC

Simplified Mac’s Speed Shop Charlotte, NC

Filligar Snug Harbor Charlotte, NC

Bret Mosley Acme Cantina Isle of Palms, SC

Melovine Island Bar & Grill Surfside Beach, SC

Hot Time in the City

By Judit Trunkos

City Art Gallery is proud to present Kathy Casey’s new solo exhibit entitled, “Hot . . . a passion for painting.” Gallery goers who have been faithfully visiting City Art for while will likely know Casey’s work very well. Her colorful new non-figurative pieces, dedicated to Harry Greenberg, can be seen through August 14.

Joe Cocker’s song “Summer in the City” would provide the perfect mood for this show. These spontaneous abstract pieces are flooded with warm colors; angles and lines melting jutting an intriguing texture that seem to radiate with both the unbearable heat of summer and Casey’s own observations of life in a hot urban city.

“The paintings that I love have a life of their own,” Casey says. “I have a quote by Jackson Pollock hanging on my studio wall: ‘Every good painter paints what he is’.”

Like most artists, Casey has changed and developed her style over years. The active lines and engrossing colors that fill Casey’s current canvases show a strong influence of abstract expressionism.

This exhibition features more rectangular shapes and less curves. Mostly inspired by the parallel lines and structure of a city, Casey depicts the smoldering buildings of summer. The straight lines of streets and skyscrapers painted in red, oranges and pinks producing the heat Casey desires to express.

Suggesting a subject for a canvas is not the same as actually having a clear title or an object in mind. In fact, Casey avoids objective painting; her inspiration comes from abstract ideas such as feelings and moods. To explain her approach in more depth, Casey says that “surface quality and texture are often inspired by the corrosion and dissipation I see in old buildings … cracked stucco, worn wood, the patina of rusting iron.”

Looking at the thick paint often shaped by a pallet knife one can’t help but wonder at the texture of the pieces.

“I search for beauty in the seemingly imperfect,” she says, “unearthing and embracing subtle details that beckon the viewer to linger and look more closely.”

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Home, Sweet Home

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

What I learned on my summer vacation

By Will Moredock

I recently returned from a week's vacation – my first in four years – in the mountains of Virginia. The weather was beautiful and generally 10 to15 degrees cooler than in the Lowcountry.  I saw lightening bugs for the first time in years. And it seemed like everyone I met wanted to know: What the hell is going on in South Carolina?

South Carolinians have always thought of themselves as an exceptional people with an exceptional way of interpreting the world. We are part museum and part freak show: the place where the Union was torn asunder and the Civil War began; the home of Strom Thurmond, the centenarian senator with the longest filibuster on record and the secret black daughter.

Ten years ago, we were fighting our great battle over the Confederate flag. Every columnist and cartoonist in the country weighed in on the matter. Garry Trudeau devoted two weeks of “Doonesbury” to the debate. The networks and cable channels sent reporters to cover the story, as did The New York Times and The Washington Post. We had not been the center of so much attention in 140 years.

When I traveled in those days, I hesitated to identify where I was from; and when I did proclaim South Carolina my home, it felt like I was holding a press conference as people sought the latest developments in the flag imbroglio, and my opinion on the matter.

The flag issue has been largely put to rest, but we are suddenly famous all over again. It started last year when our governor went AWOL from his official duties, telling his staff that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. As the whole world knows by now, Mark Sanford was in a love nest in Argentina. The late-night comics had a field day, and “Appalachian Trail” entered the vernacular as a euphemism for sneaky misbehavior.

Before divorcing him, Sanford's aggrieved wife wrote a nasty little book about her 20-year marriage to the philanderer, portraying him as a selfish, emotionally shallow, tight-wad. She made the talk show circuit and the bestseller list and America had a whole new reason to talk about South Carolina.

Then there was the matter of Republican politico Rusty DePass comparing Michelle Obama's relatives to a gorilla in a widely distributed email. There was the inevitable uproar and apology, but South Carolina had another black eye.

Next, Sen. Jim DeMint made himself the spokesman for the moon dogs of the Republican Party and declared that the healthcare debate would be President Obama's “Waterloo.” Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer made himself famous for 15 minutes by comparing poor people to stray animals. Republican state senator Jake Knotts tried to out-do him by calling President Obama and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley “ragheads.”

And, of course, there was Haley herself. A first-generation Indian-American, she knocked off three male GOPers in the June primary and runoff, with a flamboyant endorsement from Sarah Palin on the Statehouse steps. But in the days before the first voting, two men came out of the woodwork to say – without evidence – that they had had affairs with her. Voters were uninfluenced by the allegations, but the nation got another glimpse of the way we play politics in South Carolina.

And then there was Alvin Greene, the strangest creature to come out of the Peedee since Lizard Man. We still haven't figured out who he is or how he defeated Vic Rawl for the Democratic Senate nomination without campaigning or fund-raising. Greene will never sit in the U.S. Senate, but like Lizard Man, he is destined to become part of South Carolina folklore.

State Sen. Anton Gunn told Politico: “If you want to hear something crazy, if you want to see something stupid, come to South Carolina.” Things have gotten so bizarre here that Jon Stewart devoted a whole segment of his “Daily Show” to South Carolina and declared us America's whoopee cushion.

So is it any wonder the good people in Virginia looked at me and asked: What the hell is going on in South Carolina?

I wanted to tell them to just look up my City Paper columns. I have been trying to explain this state to myself and to you, gentle readers, for the last eight years. It's not that our politics are especially corrupt. Compared to New Jersey or Louisiana, we look like choir boys. But South Carolina's politics are driven by anger and fear, in a manner that makes it both destructive to social comity and irrelevant to the actual business of governing.

That's what I wanted to say. But in the end I just told them to leave me alone. I wanted to watch the lightening bugs.

See Will Moredock's blog at

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Abominable In Southern Politics

By Baynard Woods

If Jim DeMint truly stands by the principles he espouses, he may one day take a bold stand against South Carolina’s shrimpers and could even try to ban college football on Saturdays.

I spent a day calling DeMint’s offices to see when and if he would put those plans into effect. The young summer interns who answered the phone were quite confident when I asked them if the Senator believed that the Bible was true. They were less certain when I asked about specific abominations. DeMint still will not return my calls, but I think it is safe to say that the Senator does not like abominations. The book of Leviticus says that for a man to lie with another man is an abomination. DeMint is pretty serious about hating gay sex. While running for the Senate in 2004, he talked with Tim Russert about how “as a father” he hated gay sex; he said openly that gay people should not be allowed to teach in public schools.

But notice the wording (in the King James translation): “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” It does not apply to lesbians, and so the lesbian bondage clubs are cool and not abominatory at all. Besides, there was something the Old Testament God hated even more than gay men: shell fish.

These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.

And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination.

Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

How can you miss it? God himself states three times that shrimp, oysters, crabs and scallops are abominations. The rant against shellfish is three times as long as the passage about homosexuality. If abominations are marked with an X, gay sex is X-rated. But shrimp is XXX. Those clams you’re eating better be bearded, lady, or God might strike you down!

And yet I’ve never heard DeMint mention the issue at all. The guy must despise shrimpers—because they’re really like gay prostitutes when you think about it in Biblical terms, trolling around, selling their abominations to others. To children even! He must be really rejoicing about the BP oil spill, because it killed this pernicious industry in more than one state. He could only pray for such a miracle in South Carolina.

David Bahati, a member of the Ugandan Parliament and DeMint’s C Street Family, introduced a bill that would make homosexual activity a capital crime. I’m looking for DeMint to offer a similar bill about shrimping.

Abomination-eating masses, we’ve got to be ready.

And, to the S.C. man who keeps getting caught having sex with a horse: Exodus says bestiality should be punished by death—the horse too. Sanford, bad news, buddy: Death.  Well, as long as she wasn’t “another man’s wife” you might be saved, since your wife was little more than property and wasn’t guaranteed any protection from your fornicating. But that’s kind of like asking what the meaning of is is, ain’t it? Oh, and no more college football. See, when Numbers says you die for breaking the Sabbath, it means Saturday.

DeMint claims that his ethics and his politics are religiously motivated. And yet he disobeys God every single day in an act of open defiance. Leviticus commands Jim not to cut his hair on the side or shave his face. DeMint says you cannot have two masters; in the battle for DeMint’s soul, Gillette beats Jehovah every day.

If DeMint and his tea partiers shave and cut their hair and eat shellfish and break the Sabbath, why don’t they just get it over with and start teabagging each other?

Or they could just stop selectively using the Bible to justify their positions.

Letters To The Reader

Dear dancing hippie,

Ah, the venerable white guy chicken dance, flapping around through a haze of pot smoke like our Native American brethren of old. What do you see, dancing hippie, as you gyrate through that strychnine-fueled mental landscape? Do you imagine yourself dancing in an ancient rite, calling upon the gods of rain and maize, while the lead guitarist takes a solo and the rest of us look on with our beers? Whatever is going on, I applaud you (and am thankful you’re too preoccupied with dance to recite your poetry to me between songs).

Columbia City Paper

Dear Charleston RiverDogs,

We fully support your idea to put Alvin Green’s head on the bodies of all those unused Mr. Liberty statues you have laying around for fan appreciation night. (In January, Charleston area officials briefly discussed building a giant, male version of the Statue of Liberty in Charleston Harbor. Aesthetically speaking, cramming the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, the warships at Patriot’s Point, and a glimmering, 300-foot statue of a naked man wearing a Liberty crown in the mouth of the Cooper River is the type of overkill the nation expects from South Carolina.  The “Statue of Freedom” would’ve made Charleston like the Graceland of national cityscapes. A perfect fit! Though, the idea was eventually shot down, the Charleston RiverDogs baseball team reportedly ordered boxes full of Mr. Liberty statues that they planned to give away.) …Enter Alvin Green and his idea to sell action figures of himself to spur economic growth –a Senate candidate and an idea so bizarre that only a crate full of semi nude Mr. Liberty statues would even be in the same league of absurdity. To marry the two ideas and paste Green’s head onto the statues, well, RiverDogs, that’s just a little bit of brilliance! If our country ever created an award show for state weirdness, this, sirs, would be their Oscar.

Columbia City Paper

Dear OCD relative that I’m taking to the mall,

Sweetheart, we’re never going to make it down to Yankee Candle Company if you don’t stop licking that display of high heels. Creepiness aside, it’s just unsanitary. Though, judging from what you just did in the planter box near the food court, you’re probably not terribly concerned about germs right now.

Columbia City Paper

Dear Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda The Man Christ Jesus (666),

Best press release ever, TMCJ666! Not sure why you sent it to the City Paper sports desk, but, nonetheless, we were intrigued by your announcement that you, personally, have scheduled the Judeo-Christian Judgment Day to coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012. “The Earth’s rotation has accelerated to a speed of 66,666 mph. All prophecies are fulfilling, even scientific, astronomical and numerological formulae are aligning - all pointing to the year 2012, where the Puerto Rican-born Jose Luis De Jesus (Latitude 66.6°) curiously turns 66.” Then apparently you are supposed to transform into some type of benevolent Antichrist and blah, blah, blah.

For an ex-con televangelist to make such a claim takes some brass balls. To me, it’s just begging someone to throw down the gauntlet. See we’re sick of you soft wussies who claim all this stuff about Y2K, various second comings, divine origins, and aliens and shit and then when nothing happens you simply shrug it off. If you’re bold enough to claim to be the Antichrist, you’re bold enough to do us all a favor and put your money where your mouth is.

This is an open challenge, Jose, from Columbia City Paper: When the clock strikes midnight and rolls into Jan. 1, 2013 and nothing happens, face your parishioners on live TV, admit that you’re just a grifter like any street level con man, donate all your earnings to science, and take a job as a line cook where you belong.

Columbia City Paper

To Kill A Mockingbird Turns 50

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

And it still inspires us to be better people

They are still toasting and cheering in Monroeville, Ala., a week after the official observance  commemorating the 50th anniversary of the publication of that quintessential Southern novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

Nationally, the celebration has been going on for weeks, with stories in major magazines, including Smithsonian, Southern Living and a turn by fellow Pulitzer Prize-winner and Alabaman Rick Bragg in Reader’s Digest. At least one book, “Scout, Atticus and Boo,” by Mary McDonagh Murphy, was published this spring to observe the moment.

Author Harper Lee, 84, is in a retirement home today, but in fact she has been in retirement for decades. Known for her reclusiveness and eccentricity almost as much as for her book, Lee put in a few appearances in the weeks prior to the July 11 anniversary, but pretty much left the speaking and toasting to others.

And why not? How much more can be said about this wonderful little book? Forty million copies sold worldwide. Translated into 50 languages. Ranked as the best novel of the 20th century in a 1999 survey by the Library Journal. A 1991 survey by the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Library of Congress Center for the Book found that “Mockingbird” was “most often cited as making a difference in people’s lives, second only to the Bible.”

Southerners love a good yarn more than any people since the ancient Greeks and “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a yarn for the ages. In a time of intense and often violent social change, it affected people as no speech or treatise could have. It is not a “civil rights” story, yet with its tale of racial violence and injustice, it allowed whites to sit in the comfort of their homes and book clubs and peer across the color line, to stare into the darker corners of the American psyche. What they saw there transformed many and, for some, awareness became political and social action. Even today  lawyers around the country say they were inspired to go into law by the courage and conviction of Atticus Finch, the attorney at the heart of the novel.

To those who require a refresher, the story takes place in Maycomb, Ala. --  a fictional town that looks a lot like Monroeville – in 1936. It is told by 6-year-old Scout Finch, whose father is appointed  to represent a black man accused of raping a white woman. The rage of the community is directed not just at the falsely accused man, Tom Robinson, but at the Finch family as well. Atticus is wise and strong throughout the crisis, never allowing himself to impart fear to his children. When he is vilified and threatened by an angry mob, even when Tom Robinson is wrongly convicted and later killed trying to escape from jail, he remains stoic. Only when his own children are threatened does he take action. Seen through the eyes of young Scout, the folly and injustice of adult society is clear, but never pedantic.

The novel won a Pulitzer Prize and huge sales and was spun into an Academy Award-winning film two years later, starring none other than Gregory Peck. Perhaps that is why “Mockingbird” remains Lee’s first and only book. After all, what could she have done to top it? Or perhaps, as some have suggested, she was too stunned by the years of celebrity and fawning to ever put pen to paper again. Whatever the reason, she became Monroeville’s silent sphinx, the famous spinster, living with her spinster sister in the prosaic little town in southern Alabama.

I was 10 years old when “Mockingbird” came out, but did not get around to reading it until college. I was ready for it then. I’m not sure I would have been in my slow and isolated South Carolina hometown -- which also could have been a model for Maycomb.

For me it was the story of one man’s grace in the midst of anger and violence. No, he could not prevent the tragedy which overwhelmed his town. Or as Rick Bragg wrote, “ would take more than one good Alabama man to make this sorry world all right.” But one suspects that those who witnessed his quiet strength would forever be changed. Certainly, he inspired millions who have met him on the pages of Harper Lee’s novel.

Reading “Mockingbird” did not inspire me to become an attorney, but it did play into my decision to go into journalism. I have always been awed by the power of words to move people – for good or for evil. I’m still looking for the right words to “make this sorry world all right.” But until they come to me, I will keep reading “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

See Will Moredock’s blog at

Legislating the Environment

A rundown of conservation victories and defeats at the State House

By Todd Morehead

Mother Nature has had a rough year, particularly in the Southeast. Though South Carolinians can count our blessings that we aren’t dealing with the mess our Gulf Coast neighbors are enduring, we’re still staring down the barrel of the nuclear waste industry, polluted waterways, and the specter of offshore drilling, just to name a few concerns. To compound the problem, key environmental issues continue to play out under the gaze of an anemic Dept. of Health and Environmental Control or are swept aside altogether in the wake of political scandal and budget vetoes.

Just last week in Columbia, DHEC continued a swimming ban in the Congaree River near the Gervais Street Bridge, due to a coal tar-based goo that had coagulated on the riverbed. A few blocks up Gervais from the Congaree site, the legislative session at the State House recently drew to a close. Hard line conservationists would probably consider the 2009-2010 session a wash, though some important environmental legislation was actually able to squeak through. As the General Assembly cycled through bills in its usual Darwinian fashion, some key ideas and proposals actually fared well; in other areas, it seemed to be survival of the richest...

Waste Management

A bill that would have increased particulate ash waste from burned garbage was put on hold for another year. The Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee voted unanimously to carry the legislation over, effectively killing it for the time being. Introduced by Sen. Creighton Coleman, S.1325 would have subverted the states solid waste management plan by exempting large trash incinerators that generate small amounts of power, designating them as “waste to energy” facilities. The Covanta incinerator in Chester County –Coleman’s district—would be allowed to exceed its 600 ton per day limit by purchasing unused capacity from existing landfills. Covanta would then burn over half a million tons of trash annually, leaving behind tens of thousands of tons of ash waste and more mercury per unit of electricity than would be produced by a coal-fired power plant. In addition, the net effect of purchasing unused capacity, according to the ConservationVoters of S.C (CVSC), would have “swapped South Carolina’s future capacity with imported trash from northeastern states.”

On the flip side of that coin, Rep. Dwight Loftis helped pass an E-Waste Recycling bill (H.4093) that will help keep toxic heavy metals out of landfills and waterways. The bill requires electronics manufacturers to establish recovery programs for unused electronics at no cost to consumers.

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee killed a second recycling bill (S.173), that would have required beverage permit holders to recycle beer, wine, and liquor bottles. The subcommittee said it feared the law would put economic stress on small bars.

Clean Waterways

Following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the House and Senate adopted S.1478, a joint resolution that calls for an Oil Spill Contingency Plan. Under the resolution, DHEC, the Dept. of Natural Resources, and the Governor’s Office must develop a plan to protect the state’s coastline if spilled oil from the Gulf makes its way around Florida, up the eastern seaboard, and onto South Carolina shores.

Further inland, a key first step was passed in the regulation and management of water resources South Carolina shares with other states, like the Savannah, Catawba-Wateree, and Pee Dee rivers. The water withdrawal permitting bill (S.452) passed both the House and the Senate and was signed into law after it was amended to maintain natural seasonal flows to protect wildlife and natural wetlands. The passage marks the end of four years of negotiations between manufacturers, utilities, water suppliers, farmers, conservation groups, and DHEC.

While water usage faired well, a number of water quality bills were ultimately killed. A bill requiring DHEC to create a standard emergency notification procedure about spills in public waters (H. 3606) passed in the House but didn’t make it through the Senate. The Senate also killed a House bill (H.4503) that sought to place restrictions on dishwashing detergents containing phosphates that are known to pollute state waters. The House Environmental Affairs Subcommittee killed a bill (H.4500) at the behest of the Realtors Association, according to the CVSC. H. 4500 would have required the inspection of septic tanks upon the sale of a home.

Despite two raw sewage spills in the Broad River in December 2009 alone, the Senate Medical Affairs Committee killed a “Three Strikes” bill (S.1170) that would require a mandated DHEC review of operations at sewage treatment facilities with three or more spills in any 12-month period.

Natural Resources Preservation

The Conservation Bank is a state funded effort to maintain and preserve wildlife habitats, natural areas, historical sites, watersheds, urban parks and other natural areas in the face of increasing land development. Though the Bank narrowly survived this legislative session, it ultimately came out battered, but intact. The Bank’s agency was cut more than any other state agency last year. Currently a “death clause” exists which zeroes the Bank’s budget when there are across-the-board cuts to state agencies. Language in H.4269 sought to remove the death clause but it was ultimate struck by the House Ways and Means Committee. The House struck attempts to direct $2 million to the Conservation Bank, as well, but later provided $207,000 to keep the doors open. The Senate added $1.5 million toward the $4.5 million in commitments the Bank had already made prior to this year’s budget cuts. Conservationists are pushing for the General Assembly to eventually designate the Bank as an official state agency.

Energy Efficiency

A bright spot in the legislative session came with the near unanimous passage of the Energy Efficiency Financing Bill (S.1096). The bill, introduced by Sen. Glenn McConnell, will ultimately save money for ratepayers, reduce energy use and create local, green jobs. Under the new legislation, municipal electric systems and electric cooperatives can reduce energy waste by offering voluntary financing and loans to residential customers to subsidize insulation, weatherization, and upgrades to more efficient heating and cooling systems. Loans would be liens tied to the electric meters rather than the properties and the homeowner would repay the loan over time on the utility bill.

A House bill aimed at encouraging energy efficiency (H.4683) was put on the backburner and is awaiting a rewrite so that it can be introduced next session. The bill seeks to allow counties and municipalities to issue bonds for energy improvement loans to residents and businesses. Those loans would be repaid as a special line item on property tax bills.


Many conservationists believe the Dept. of Heath and Environmental Control (DHEC) would operate more productively and with more accountability as a cabinet agency. In 2009, Senators Phil Leventis and John Courson introduced S.384 to do just that. The bill made it through the Medical Affairs Subcommittee, but cabinet status was ultimately rejected by the full Committee. To keep the issue at the forefront, the conservation community offered amendments that would improve the management of DHEC and make its permitting process more transparent. DHEC has come under fire in recent years for appearing to “rubber stamp” air and water quality permits to large-scale waste producing industries and utility companies. The Senate never voted on the amendments or the bill after several senators raised objections.

Special thanks to the Conservation Voters of S.C. –Ann Timberlake and Debbie Parker, in particular—for compiling and providing the information and inspiration that shaped this legislative rundown.

For more information on environmental activism in the political arena, please visit CVSC at

Sequoya Prep School

New Brookland Tavern

Friday, July 23

It has become sort of running joke that Sequoyah Prep School will pack out every venue they play with screaming 16-year-old girls. Now, that’s true to a degree, but it detracts from the fact that these guys are on their way to becoming a powerhouse Southern pop band ...and they’re getting there based on solid songwriting, a big sound, and raw talent, not their looks.

The boys from Florence are currently finishing up a new album. Ghost Town, released in 2009, was a sonic leap forward for SPS, so I, for one, am curious to see what they have up their flannel sleeves next. They seem to be playing some select local dates this summer to keep their chops up while the album is processing, so definitely expect a few new songs. And, if they decide to stick to the classics, well, what Sequoyah Prep School fan could complain about that?

Be sure to get there early to check out Parachute Musical and Murphy’s Kids.

-Norbet Sykes

Local and Regional Live Music Dates

Thursday, July 22

Hard Knox Grill

Green Jelly, Crash

Cadillac and Fight in Vegas

New Brookland Tavern

The Private Life Of David Reed

Jonas Sees In Color

The Decour

The Vegabonds

The White Mule

James Ervin & Friends

Friday, July 23

Art Bar

Tom Beard, Denys Proteau, West African Drummers

Cafe Strudel

Laura Monk and High Cotton

Hard Knox Grill

Them Bones:Alice in Chains

Cover Band

New Brookland Tavern

Sequoyah Prep School

Parachute Musical

Murphy’s Kids

The White Mule

Hot Lava Monster (unplugged) w Timshel

Saturday, July 24

Cafe Strudel

Four People The Band

Hard Knox Grill

Pink Floydian Slip

New Brookland Tavern

Non Stop Hip Hop Live Presents SC Beat Street Beat Battle Hosted By FatRat Da Czar w/ Boondak Syndicate and TD Tha Don

Smoke in Blythwood

Captain Midnight Band

The White Mule

John Wesley Satterfield and his damn fine band

Sunday, July 25

Hard Knox Grill

DB Bryant Band

New Brookland Tavern

Your Chance To Die

The Terrigen Mists

Invoking The Abstract

At Sixes And Sevens


The White Mule

Sonia Leigh

Monday, July 26

Tuesday, July 27

Hard Knox Grill

Viscous Guns

with Deleveled, Acoustics Mouse and Paisley Marie

New Brookland Tavern

Acoustic Open Mic Night w/ Brightford

Wednesday, July 28

New Brookland Tavern

With Reckless Abandon

Hawaiian Shirt Day

Hey Dude

The Yellow Team

Do Your Worst

Thursday July 29



My Darkest Days

Sick Puppies

It’s Alive

Saturday July 31

Cafe Strudel

Now see you then

New Brookland Tavern

Wretched (CD Release)


Graves Of Valor

The Classic Struggle


Sunday August 1

New Brookland Tavern


This Is Hell

In Regret



07/23/10 :: Friday

Colossus Caledonia Lounge Athens, GA

efren Flicker Theater and Bar Athens, GA

Tift Merritt The Melting Point Athens, GA

Dead Confederate Sky City Augusta, GA

Deified Reviver The Wormhole Savannah, GA


Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band

Southern Culture On The Skids

Nathan Moore Bele Chere Arts and Music Festival Asheville, NC

Clay Aiken

Ruben Studdard Biltmore Estate Asheville, NC

Morgan Geer (Drunken Prayer) Broadway’s Asheville, NC

PERICLES Club 828 Asheville, NC

Shannon Whitworth Grove Park Inn Asheville, NC

Velvet Truckstop Highland Brewing Co Asheville, NC

Cowboy Junkies Orange Peel Asheville, NC

George Terry & the Zealots The Lab Asheville, NC

Silver Machine The New French Bar Asheville, NC

Songs of Water

Timbre White Horse Black Mountain Black Mountain, NC

Pink Floydian Slip Amos’ Southend Charlotte, NC

Jimmy Thackery Double Door Inn Charlotte, NC

Jamie McLean

The Jamie McLean Band McGlohon Theatre Charlotte, NC

Toubab Krewe

Tropic Culture Neighborhood Theatre Charlotte, NC       Col. Bruce Hampton

Duende Mountain Duo Salvador Deli Charlotte, NC


Yadkin River Theory

Town Mountain The Evening Muse Charlotte, NC

Tim McGraw

Danny Gokey

Love And Theft Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Charlotte, NC

Kellin Watson

Michael Bellar/the AS-IS Ensemble Summit Coffeehouse Davidson, NC

Green Jelly The Rock Shop Fayetteville, NC

Philmont Providence Place High Point, NC

Gaslight Street Home Team BBQ Charleston, SC

Deepwater Soul Society Triangle Char Bar Charleston, SC

Concrete Jumpsuit The Backporch Columbia, SC


Dan Wall

Mindelixir The House (Formerly the Elbow Room) Columbia, SC

Hot Lava Monster The White Mule Columbia, SC

Tammy Trent First Baptist Church Spartanburg, SC

Straight Line Stitch Ground Zero Spartanburg, SC

The Waybacks The Showroom @ Hub-Bub Spartanburg, SC

Parachute Musical New Brookland Tavern West Columbia, SC

07/24/10 :: Saturday

Greg Laswell

Cary Brothers

Harper Blynn 40 Watt Club Athens, GA

Ep3 University of Georgia Athens, GA

Josh Roberts & The Hinges Livewire Music Hall Savannah, GA

Dead Confederate The Jinx Savannah, GA

William Fitzsimmons

Rosi Golan The Wormhole Savannah, GA

Tanglespeak Grapefull Sisters Vineyard Tabor City, NC


The Legendary JC’s

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals


Kellin Watson Bele Chere Arts and Music Festival Asheville, NC

Diocious Emerald Lounge Asheville, NC

East Coast Dirt Hannah Flanagan’s Asheville, NC

Col. Bruce Hampton Lexington Avenue Brewery Asheville, NC

Morgan Geer (Drunken Prayer)

Drunken Prayer Stella Blue Asheville, NC

Colette Dharma’s Lounge Charlotte, NC

Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra Double Door Inn Charlotte, NC

The Living Room Conglomerate Salvador Deli Charlotte, NC


Songs of Water The Evening Muse Charlotte, NC

The Have Nots The Milestone Charlotte, NC

Chasing Edison The Philosophers Stone Tavern Charlotte , NC



Puddle of Mudd


10 years Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Charlotte, NC

The Movement Visulite Theatre Charlotte, NC

Midwest Summer Jam Crown Coliseum Fayetteville, NC

Captain Midnight Band SMOKE Southern Barbecue Revival Blythwood, SC

Turtle Folk The Pour House Charleston, SC

Pink Floydian Slip Hard Knox Grill Columbia2, SC

The Note Ropers The Handlebar Greenville, SC

Colossus The Basement Myrtle Beach, SC