Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So, you want to ruin a community?


By Aaron Johnson

These days it seems like just about all governments – from the smallest town councils to the largest – are trying to ruin the communities they govern. This can seem like a daunting task; for the amateur, cutting through fads and hype to find truly effective methods of ruining a community can be confusing, frustrating and downright difficult.

Fortunately, there are some leaders in the field who have developed tried-and-true techniques for ruining a community. I’m proud to say that my hometown is one of the nation’s leaders when it comes to destroying its own community. As a long-time observer of the goings-on of city council and the municipal government at large, I have decided to make it easier for you, the prospective community ruiner, to get the job done by distilling the tools and techniques of our beloved state capitol down to the bare essentials.

I have identified four essential elements to the ruination of a city, and I have also developed a nifty little acronym to make it easier to keep track of everything. Just remember:

COLA.

Combat the Arts.

Oppress the Youth.

Lie, and Lack a Plan.

Assault Small Business.


Combat the Arts, or: F___ Hippies.

In order to win a battle, it is important to know the enemy. In our situation, the enemy is anything that makes a community grow and prosper. Fortunately for us, there has been a lot of groundbreaking development in the past few years when it comes to understanding what makes a community flourish. Professor Richard Florida has demonstrated in several studies, culminating in his book The Rise of the Creative Class, that “knowledge workers” who constitute “the creative class” comprise the foundation upon which all successful modern communities are built.

Just what is a knowledge worker? Simple: any highly trained, skilled professional who performs creative, often technical work that can’t be automated. You know, folks such as architects, engineers, software designers and the like. Knowledge workers are awesome when it comes to building communities because they bring in a lot of wealth, they hype up the perceived status of a city and they bolster secondary business models like high-end fashion and retail shops, gourmet coffee shops, dentists and other fancy businesses that we average Joes could never afford.

Of course, since our goal is to ruin our community, we have to ferret out these pesky little buggers and send them packing, never to return again! Which brings us to our next question: what attracts knowledge workers to begin with? The answer: the arts.

I know what you’re thinking! For years, the arts have been used as a way to drain public coffers and pretend you’re doing something for the community you govern, while actually doing nothing. If it weren’t for highly visible  atrocities like the Blue Sky fire hydrant, for instance, Columbia would be hundreds of thousands of dollars less in debt.

Don’t worry, councilmen and women of America, your artsy-fartsy boondoggles are safe. What you have to be careful not to develop, if you really want to ruin your community, is a thriving, vibrant and authentic arts scene in your area. You see, individual artists and small, active art groups like musicians, performance artists, theaters, independent film scenes and such are like catnip to knowledge workers. (Anyone who’s seen a mechanical engineer roll around on his back and bat at the sky with his hands and feet during an improvised jazz concert knows what I’m talking about here.) In Columbia, the municipal government is doing a fantastic job destroying the knowledge economy by going right to the root of the problem: the artists.

Case study: Columbia Alternacirque. This is a real staple of Columbia’s performance art scene. Assembled every weekend at Art Bar is a collection of belly dancers, fire eaters, magicians, live musicians and other artists participating in a smorgasbord for the eyes, ears and heart. It is a precious little gem for Columbia. We’re talking top-notch, national-caliber entertainment that gathers a huge, peaceable crowd of arts lovers (many of whom, of course, are nasty little knowledge workers).

Columbia is doing an impeccable job of pounding this shiny nail back into the ground by harassing patrons who wander six inches away from the “free zone” of Art Bar property with cocktails in hand. Oh, but it doesn’t stop with an undignified game of “the sidewalk is lava!”  The atmosphere is also ruined by a veritable “Rat Patrol” of tow trucks that strobe bright lights a few feet away from the Alternacirque stage and a complete lack of support for the cast and crew of our humble little circus when it comes to things like parking and promotion.

A community that wants to grow would seek out fantastic groups like Alternacirque, but of course we, the community ruiners of America, can learn a fine lesson from the animosity which has been cultivated by the City of Columbia.


Oppress the Youth, or: Get Out of Here, You Kids!

Happy, productive young people – especially bright young professionals – are a shining source of energy and spirit for a healthy community. But if you really want to ruin a community, you have to make sure these kids are given the boot, hard and often. Now, a healthy community might institute reasonable restrictions on minors – like curfews in entertainment districts – in the interest of public safety. But a truly ruinous municipality doesn’t stop there!

You know what kids love? Video games! Columbia’s municipal government recognized this fact, acting upon it by citing local bar The Whig for “lacking a license” for a free cocktail table version of “Space Invaders.” Now, keep in mind that this version of “Space Invaders” – a classic 1980s video game that anyone can obtain for free on a notebook computer, mobile phone or graphic calculator – was completely free! The Whig did not charge a dime, nickel, penny or back rub for anyone to sit down and play. So when I tell you the City of Columbia cracked down on The Whig, no longer allowing it to offer this whimsical laser blastin’ action game for play at its bar, you understand what I mean when I say this was a stroke of genius. Community-ruining wannabes, take note!


Lie, and Lack a Plan; or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Just Forget About All My Campaign Promises.

It’s no secret that politicians stretch the truth during campaigns to gain the power needed to effectively ruin a community, but our mayor, Steve Benjamin, has made tremendous strides in the art, that would give even national-level players a run for their graft. Not only has he “failed” to implement any of several flat-out, cross-my-heart-hope-to-die promises (such as agreeing not to hold any vocational position other than the office of mayor, or balancing the budget), but he has done so without eliciting even so much as a murmur from the local press! Even alt-weeklies like the Free Times have lionized him from the starting gate. And his cohort, Tameika Isaac Devine, has been given one free pass after another since she stumbled her way into an 8 point re-election after facing a 26-year-old sweaty, bearded nobody with a total budget of $2,000 to her $50,000 plus. (Hi, Grant!)

Of course, you can lie and still find success. Just look at Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and Baron Münchhausen! So you need to pair your lying with a complete lack of any sort of cohesive plan or vision. Columbia has been a champion at this for decades under the guiding hand of former Mayor Bob Coble. It looks like Benjamin and his new regime will take up the torch with gusto as they amble their way through one council meeting after another, quibbling over minutiae and bringing in a Ziegfeld Follies-esque parade of consultants, committees and experts – most highly paid and all completely without answers.


Assault Small Business, or: Stop Mom and Pop.

Finally, it is important to destroy small local business at every turn. This can be as simple as having the highest tax rate in the entire state for local businesses, or you can go the advanced route and favor out-of-town big developers when doling out public contracts and hiring consultants and experts.

It’s also a good idea to make small business operation impossible by perpetrating extremely expensive and poorly conceived streetscaping regimens like those previously on Main Street and in Five Points and, to this day, on North Main. You also have to think long-term by concocting harebrained schemes like the “Renaissance TIF District,” which will cost our city millions of dollars over the next few decades and will provide “benefits” ranging from opening a pizza parlor to publicly funding developments for a private school (which is illegal), while simultaneously driving out lower-middle class folks living in that area.

Once you become comfortable with the individual measures outlined above, you can begin dabbling in combination maneuvers. These one-two punches will ensure that your community will stall out, plummet and crash to the ground with an oily, choking cloud of smoke and flame.

Case study: temporary vendors

Columbia is cracking down on temporary vendors. We saw the foreshadowing when it red-taped a potential taco truck into submission by pretending there was some sort of “precedent” or “justification” for blocking a new business from moving into an area developed and zoned for exactly what the taco truck entrepreneur was aiming to do. Now the city is coming out swinging against produce farmers and other vendors like our love-him/hate-him artist Ernest Lee. Whereas most healthy communities would fight to allow temporary vendors to grow and flourish in a manner that benefits the city, in this example, we see that Columbia has managed to Combat a staple of our arts community; Lie to a taco vendor; Lack any sort of plan to make room for these worthy, contributing small businessmen and women; and, of course, Assault small local businesses with ruthless precision.

Case study: 2 a.m. closings

Belinda Gergel has proven to be the most onerous nanny to hit the scene since Fran Drescher, and her for-your-own-good, tough-love, mother-knows-best crusade has most recently taken the form of a maternalistic campaign to shut down entertainment districts in Columbia at 2 a.m. Sure, it would be reasonable to pass a curfew restricting minors from being in entertainment districts after a certain time, but Belinda thinks grown-ass men and women like you and me have no business carousing and reveling after 2 a.m.

This will be a master stroke, as it will Combat the Arts, since a lot of local musicians play well into the night; Oppress the Youth who want a decent nightlife in Columbia; Lack a plan for how bars and night clubs who rely on this after-2 a.m. income will be able to compensate; and Assault small businesses by placing even more restrictions on the already over-taxed and over-regulated restaurants and bars of our fair city.

See? Once you get the system down, it’s fool proof! Now, all you outlying municipal councils and governments, get out there and ruin some communities!

If you do your job right, you might even be able to get the same reaction out of your local artists as we got out of good ol’ Earnest Lee, who was quoted in The State Newspaper as saying: “I’ll go to another city or state if I have to. That’s the end of that.”

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Chicken Man!

talkback@columbiacitypaper.com

Regional News 10-1

By Todd Morehead


BISHOPVILLE

Water gets hotter for former Lee County sheriff

A former Lee County sheriff has been indicted on 47 new charges, as the drug conspiracy case against him takes on new layers that now include allegations of money laundering and racketeering.

Prosecutors say former sheriff, E.J. Melvin’s, collusion with drug dealers dates back to 2001, his first year in office as sheriff. Melvin allegedly described himself to an associate as “untouchable,” they said, and often used his status as sheriff to solicit bribes from dealers in return for his protection. Prosecutors also allege that Melvin actually trafficked drugs himself.

A witness in the case said he saw Melvin deal cocaine from his sheriff’s office vehicle in 2006.

Melvin resigned in May after he was charged with conspiracy to deal drugs in Lee County. After pleading not guilty, he has been out on bond and is set to be arraigned on Oct. 6.

LANCASTER

Human remains discovered after dog dug them up, brought them home

Lancaster County authorities have not yet indentified human remains that were unearthed by a dog last week.

According to one media report, the dog sniffed out a pile of human bones, dug a few up and carried them back to a house near Kershaw. The homeowners called police when they found the bones.

Officials returned to the residence after their first response but found no more bones there. They were also not able to find a complete skeleton or the origin of the dog’s find. They said they hope DNA analysis can help to indentify the remains.

“They were in pretty rough shape,” Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile said in the report.


MONKS CORNER

Police officer fired for having squad car cleaned at bikini car wash

A Monks Corner police officer joined the ranks of the unemployed after photos of bikini-clad women washing his squad car for charity surfaced on Facebook.

One of the bikini-clad women, who is a Berkeley County sheriff’s deputy, will not be disciplined because she was off duty and didn’t display any identifiers related to the sheriff’s department.

So far, Moncks Corner Police would not indentify the officer, who allowed his squad car to be washed at the “Tits n Tats” car wash at Rockstar Tattoo.

“I think he took his personal car there first and then he went in his police car,” Police Chief Chad Caldwell told the Charleston Post and Courier. “I don’t think he was trying to be malicious. I think he used completely poor judgment.”



[caption id="attachment_2524" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="Photo courtesy of Facebook used without permission"][/caption]

Though the officer was off duty, the department has strict policies in place concerning the use of take-home cruisers. Rockstar Tattoo owner, Josh Badgett, said he believes the disciplinary action was excessive.

“The girls were washing cars. There was nothing illegal,” Badgett told the Post and Courier. “I don’t understand why people are making such a big deal out of it. If Girl Scouts were out there washing cars, would there be a problem?”


MYRTLE BEACH

Public masturbator holds city in his grip

Myrtle Beach police are continuing to search for a man who masturbated at a woman’s window and then fled the scene.

According to the Myrtle Beach Sun-News, a recent victim told police she was watching television in her home, heard a noise outside her window and thought she had discovered “someone holding a mag light with a light colored ring around it” before realizing she was actually staring at a man’s penis. According to the report, the woman screamed and the man ran away.

A responding officer said he discovered a substance on the window screen. The woman said she had discovered a similar substance on her window in the spring but didn’t report it.

So far, police have no suspects.


ROCK HILL

Robber foiled trying to rob sports bar during lunch rush

A Rock Hill man is behind bars after his failed attempt to rob a sports bar during the lunch rush hour. According to one report, a York County Sheriff’s employee was eating lunch in the restaurant at the time.

Nukhem-Ra Roberts, 23, was charged with strong arm robbery after his failed attempt to rob Luke’s Sport’s Bar.

According to a police report, Roberts handed a note to the bar manager demanding money. The bar did not comply and he was detained shortly thereafter. Employees at the sports bar said Roberts had left the restaurant without paying for his meal in the past and had frequented the bar for days leading up to his attempted heist.


Newspaper reports on crab leg incident at restaurant

A Rock Hill newspaper, possibly due to a slow news day, recently reported that a couple left a Fort Mill area restaurant after a disagreement with management over a crab leg dinner.

For reasons known only to the Rock Hill Herald and its editorial department, the reporter detailed an incident in which a couple ordered crab legs at Capt. Steve’s Family Seafood restaurant and left without paying. The report later revealed that restaurant management confronted the couple for violating its “no sharing” policy.

“Tuesday night is all you can eat crab legs,” the news report clarified.

Deputies were reportedly unable to locate the couple after they walked out a their $38.10 bill, according the story.

talkback@columbiacitypaper.com

Democracy Under Assault


Those aren't palmetto bugs in our voting machines by Will Moredock

Frank Heindel is a computer-savvy, tough-minded Charleston commodities trader. When he is not buying and selling corn and wheat, he makes himself a holy terror to the folks at the South Carolina and Charleston County election commissions.

Within days of the June 8 party primaries, he started firing off Freedom of Information requests to these two obscure bureaucracies, trying to find out more about the way our state’s 12,000 electronic voting machines work. In so doing he inspired an almost-Kafkaesque theater as bureaucrats ducked and dodged and dragged their feet to avoid owning up to the mess they had just supervised. This FOI attack may have already claimed its first victim: Charleston County Election Commission executive director  Marilyn Bowers suddenly announced her retirement on Sept. 16.

The June 8 primaries left many of us angry and skeptical that Alvin Greene, an unemployed man with no campaign staff, no headquarters, not even a computer or a website, could defeat the well- healed, well-organized campaign of Democratic Party veteran Vic Rawl for the U.S. Senate nomination. While Heindel did not vote in the Democratic primary, he was among the skeptical.

“When the Alvin Greene results came in....I thought that it is indeed possible for the results to say absolutely anything and no one could disprove it,” Heindel told me in an email. “We could all just stomp our feet and say, ‘Why, that is just not possible,’ but our voting system is so woefully inadequate we could be told any result and would have no other recourse than to just accept it....

“Then after the election, the State Election Commission and Marilyn Bowers are on the news saying how wonderful the machines performed. They were reliable and the security was in place so no one had anything to worry about. (State commission executive director) Marci Andino told Fits News that not one machine malfunctioned in S.C. And that is when my BS meter started to go off and I started the (FOI requests) to see what was really going on behind the curtain.”

Behind the curtain bureaucrats were running from the light. (See Frank Heindel’s correspondence with election officials in Charleston and Columbia on my blog.)

At the heart of the drama was Heindel’s request for a disc containing the list of “events” which had affected the 391 voting machines in Charleston County on June 8. (In S.C., voting machines do not  experience “failures” or “errors.” They have “events.”) Heindel made the request by email to Bowers on June 11.

Over the next two months Heindel barraged the Charleston County and state election commissions with dozens of emails and shelled out more than $300 for staff and copying services, trying to obtain public records which should be easily accessible. For two months Bowers offered excuses for her failure to deliver. Most alarmingly, she claimed she could not comply with Heindel’s FOI request without surrendering proprietary information, which belongs to the machines’ manufacturer, Election Systems & Software.

“The Security Plan is not available for public review,” Bowers wrote in an email. “I am sure that you can understand that protecting the integrity of the election process means not allowing outsiders access to certain items. We conduct very transparent elections but as in any other business (banking, etc) there are some things you don’t want everyone to be able to access....”

Heindel was incredulous. “It just floors me that ES&S is the only one who understands what is going on here,” Heindel told me in an interview. “The average person should understand every step of this process. It should be totally transparent.”

The FOI dispute went to the Governor’s Office, where an attorney ruled that  Bowers had to honor Heindel’s FOI request. Still, the disk with the critical data did not arrive until mid-August. And when it did, it showed that Charleston County’s iVotronic machines had suffered thousands of “events,” including power failures and calibration errors. And no one could explain what had happened or why.

On Tuesday, Sept. 14, Heindel sent an email to the board of the county election commission, outlining his complaints with the iVotronic machines and their oversight. Wednesday afternoon the board met with executive director Bowers. The next morning Bowers sent an email addressed, “To my MANY array of friends in the ‘Election World,’” in which she announced that she would retire after the November election. In an attached letter to the board and staff, she gave personal reasons for retiring. Bowers did not respond to a request for comment.

There is no evidence that these “events” directly affected the vote count. But it strongly suggests that election officials do not understand how their machines work or why they fail. Under those circumstances, anything could happen and they would not know it.

Frank Heindel is now preparing a website with an executive summary of his findings. Watch my blog for details.

www.charlestoncitypaper.com/blogs/thegoodfight

Out of Africa @ HOFP


West African woodcarvings and statues will be on show at HOFP Gallery from October 1 through Oct. 2. The exhibited artifacts were used in actual healing and other rituals in Africa and are believed to have special powers. The opening reception will provide a guest speaker on West African culture, traditional African drum music by Borenya, and African cuisine.

Darren Gilley spent 13 years in the Republic of Guinea in West Africa where he studied the region’s music and customs. As an anthropologist and a student of music, Gilley was especially interested in West African music.  Living in a former French colony, Gilley began to play drums with the local drum players and slowly assimilated into their society.

“Living in Guinea I found that music was a very important social part of their life,” he says. “As I drummed my whole life, using this instrument was a great way for me to submerge into the society.”

Just as music is such an important part of Guinean culture, so are the wood artifacts, masks and statues. At the “Out of Africa” exhibition, the visitor will see numerous statues and artifacts that served an important part in West African culture and society. The Toma (mask) for instance, is one of the first large pieces that the visitors will discover. This Toma mask was obtained by a private collector in 1993 from Conakry, Republic of Guinea. Originally the mask was the healer’s mask in the Toma tribe. It is about 90 years old and was used by the village chief who was a great healer. The role of the mask was to assist with healing and was considered a mediator between the living world and the supernatural world of the dead.

The largest piece at the exhibition is the Banda mask. This mask is a mixture of human and animal. The long horizontal headdress is composed of the face of a human being and the jaw of a crocodile, whose angular teeth are visible along the side of the mask. The top of the headdress features the horns of an antelope, the body of a serpent, and the tail of a chameleon. The human face is characterized by Baga scarification marks as well as a woman’s elaborately braided coiffure. Originally the Banda mask was considered a very dangerous being, who protected humans in times of hardship or danger.

Another important part of the exhibition is the large Baga Bird. This statue is approximately 85 years old. Its size and detail make it extremely rare. Unlike the headdresses, the four pegs at the top of the head are inserted into individual receptacles and sealed, inferring that the receptacles were used to store medicines or potions that would ‘empower’ the statue. In the smaller versions, the pegs and the head are carved as a solid piece.

Gilley came back to the United States to share the uniqueness of Guinean culture and music. He also believes that music can help at-risk youth. For this cause, Gilley’s band, Borenya, is raising funds to travel the U.S., performing for young people at at-risk elementary schools.

To learn more about the show, please visit hofpgallery.com.

ANTiSEEN

Southern legends ANTiSEEN will brutalize all who partake at Hard Knox in West Columbia this Friday. Twenty-five years in, the South’s flag bearers of rock n’ roll chaos are still as hard and disturbing as ever.

You don’t get many bands like this anymore. Definitely none to the chaotic pitch of ANTiSEEN.  Youngsters hungry for authentic mayhem, take heed: that’s real barbed wire and real blood streaming from singer Jeff Clayton’s head. These guys, after all, used to play with GG Allin.

This is not a show for the politically correct. But, if you want some solid hard-ass Southern punk rock and, potentially, some very real danger, put on your big boy britches and come on out.

-Norbet Sykes

Category four artists

Peace and blessings.  Hope you have been well out there.  Both USC (R.I.P. McKinley) and Clemson are off to great starts, the temperature is dropping, and the South Carolina State Fair is right around the corner.  Let’s get it!!

NOSTALGIA

Since autumn has officially begun and we have steered clear from any Hurricanes (literally); I developed a list of 15 artists (and albums) that have come into the game with the power of a category four storm.   Some have had everlasting impacts, some where just for a season. This list should inform you as to what comes out your mouth and how you spend your time can never be taken for granted...

RUN-DMC Raising Hell (1986): Although this was their third album, this was the album that separated Run-DMC (& Jam Master Jay) from every other Hip Hop act on the planet.  The number of accolades garnered from this album will forever remain in the record books.  Respect the architects.

L.L. Cool J Mama Said Knock You Out (1990):  After three previously successful albums (with a few slip ups), many thought that the self proclaimed ‘G.O.A.T.’ was down for the count.  This album proved otherwise.  With monster smashes like ‘Boomin’ System’, ‘Jingling Baby’, and the killer ‘Around The Way Girl’; Mama Said Knock You Out bought LL the title to over 20 years in the music business.

N.W.A. Straight Outta Compton (1988):  The DNA to ‘Street Reality on Wax’ begins with this album.  Although there were some earlier who touched on the topic of the other side of poverty; no other said it as this prophetic.  Think of ‘F#$k The Police’ and you’ll understand.  Salute!!!

Ice-T Power (1988):  The Original Gangster solidified his presence with this album.  From the historic album cover (sweet Darlene) to the thunderous tracks (shouts to Afrika Islam), Power is the blueprint to the West Coast sound.

Boogie Down Productions Criminal Minded (1986): ‘Poetry’, ‘9mm Goes Bang’, ‘South Bronx’, ‘P Is Free’, ‘Dope Beat’, ‘The Bridge Is Over’, and the title track all appear on this ferocious debut.  KRS-One became an emcee like no other before or after.  Singular would fit him best.

Eric B & Rakim Paid In Full (1986):  ‘I Ain’t No Joke’, ‘My Melody’, ‘I know you got soul’, ‘Eric B for President’, ‘Move The Crowd’, and the title track all are records that have literally shaped the approach that any and every emcee who has released a single, EP, LP, or bonus DVD after 1986.  Hands down the most influential album ever recorded.

Dr. Dre The Chronic (1992):  No explanation can be given if you have never heard this record and no explanation is needed if you have.  Classic!!!!!

Wu-Tang Clan Enter The 36 Chambers (1993):  The Wu-Tang Clan consisted of nine of the fiercest emcees (RZA, GZA, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Method Man, and the Ol’ Dirty Bastard-R.I.P.) ever.  They changed how music sounds sonically (i.e. - ‘Protect Ya Neck’), how albums are made (i.e. Wu-Tang Forever double album), and how music business is handled (literally rewrote recording contracts).  Their impact is worldwide.

Snoop Doggy Dogg DoggyStyle (1993):  The West Coast crowned its young king on this album.  His reigned has not waned since.  Listen to ‘Gin & Juice’, ‘What’s My Name’, ‘Doggy Dogg World’, and ‘Murder Was The Case’ and you will understand why.

The Notorious Big Ready To Die (1994):  Although I am partial to Life After Death as being his best album; he would not have been able to make that album if this one was not released.  This is one of the most greatly lyrical and relevant albums ever made.  R.I.P. to Big Poppa

Outkast ATLiens & Aquemini (1996/1998):  These two albums are two distinctively different sounding albums, but both convey the same message…CREATIVITY.  No other albums made sound like these and you will be hard pressed to find two other albums that say so much and are still true.

Public Enemy It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back & Fight The Power (1988/1990):  Simply pick up these two albums before you pick up any other albums on this list and you will truly understand the power of what Hip Hop is.  Classic!!!!!!!

NAS Illmatic (1994):  Released to a deaf public but slow burning to divinity.  Many have deemed this the greatest album in Hip Hop history, and based on the beats (Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Large Professor, etc.), the songs (‘NY State Of Mind’, ‘World Is Yours’, ‘Ain’t Hard To Tell’, etc.), and the seminal album cover (see insert), that argument is hard to dispute.

2 Pac All Eyes On Me (1996): Much respect goes to one of the greatest people to ever walk the face of the Earth.  Tupac Amaru Shakur was seminal and this album is proof positive as to why.  Classic!!!!

Jay-Z (Blueprint), Eminem (Slim Shady LP), 50 Cent (Get Rich Or Die Trying), EPMD (Business As Usual), Heavy D & The Boyz (Peaceful Journey), Gang Starr (Hard To Earn), Puff Daddy (No Way Out), UGK (Riding Dirty), and so many more to come.  Stay Tuned!!!!!


WORDS OF WISDOM

Seek and you shall find!!!


DJ KINGPIN-Villain of Vinyl (kingpinvillianofvinyl@gmail.com)

Movie times for Oct. 1 weekend

Movie times listed are for the weekend of  October 1, please confirm with theater.

Nickelodeon

http://www.nickelodeon.org/ 937 Main Street

French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet takes a satirical look at the global arms trade with this foreign-language comedy starring Dany Boon as Bazil, who rallies his friends to take down weapons manufacturers responsible for his father’s death. Bazil also discovers a dump into an underground haven for cool tools and sculptures crafted from discarded junk. Dominique Pinon, André Dussollier and Jean-Pierre Marielle co-star.

MICMACS

OCTOBER 1-7, Friday-Thursday

Friday, Oct. 1- 3:00, 6:00 and 8:00

Saturday, Oct. 2- 3:00, 6:00 and 8:00

Sunday, Oct. 3 - 3:00, 6:00 and 8:00

Monday, Oct. 4 - 6:00 and 8:00

Tuesday, Oct. 5 - 6:00 and 8:00

Wednesday, Oct. 6 - 3:00 and 6:00

Thursday, Oct. 7 - 8:30pm

Regal Columbia Cinema 7

3400 Forest Drive Suite 3000, Columbia, SC 29204

Case 39 new! (R)

2:40 5:00 7:20 9:40

Let Me In new! (R)

2:30 5:05 7:30 10:00

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps new! (PG-13)

1:45 4:40 7:40 10:30

You Again new! (PG)

2:00 4:30 7:00 9:30

Alpha and Omega (PG)

2:10 4:20 7:10 9:20

The Town (R)

1:50 4:45 7:35 10:20

Takers (PG-13)

2:20 4:50 7:25 9:55

Carmike Wynnsong 10

5320 Forest Drive, Columbia, SC 29206

Chain Letter new! (R)

1:45 4:30 6:50 9:20

The Social Network new! (PG-13)

1:30 4:15 7:00 9:45

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole new! (PG)

1:30 4:10 7:05 9:30

Legend of the Guardians:The Owls of Ga’Hoole 3D new! (PG)

Digital 3D Showtimes More Info

1:40 4:20 7:15 9:40

Devil (PG-13)

1:50 4:00 7:20 9:35

Easy A (PG-13)

1:45 4:20 7:05 9:30

The American (R)

1:30 4:25 7:15 9:45

Piranha 3D (R)

Digital 3D Showtimes More Info

1:35 4:40 7:10 9:20

The Expendables (R)

1:40 4:30 7:05 9:40

Despicable Me (PG)

1:30 4:05 6:50 9:15

AMC Dutch Square 14

800 Bush River Rd.,

Columbia, SC 29210

Regal Columbiana Grande Stadium 14

1250 Bower Pkwy, Columbia, SC 29212

The Social Network new! (PG-13)

No Passes

11:50am 2:20 5:00 7:50 10:35

DP (Digital Projection) Showtimes (Passes Allowed)More Info

1:50 4:30 7:10 9:50

Devil (PG-13)

12:30 1:00 2:45 3:15 4:55 5:30 7:15 7:45 9:20 10:00

Easy A (PG-13)

12:15 2:30 4:45 7:00 9:15

DP (Digital Projection) Showtimes More Info

12:45 3:00 5:15 7:30 9:45

The Town (R)

1:10 4:20 7:35 10:20

Going the Distance (R)

12:05 2:40 5:10 8:00 10:35

The American (R)

12:20 3:05 5:35 8:05 10:30

The Last Exorcism (PG-13)

12:55 3:10 5:25 7:55 10:05

Takers (PG-13)

12:10 2:35 5:05 7:40 10:10

Eat Pray Love (PG-13)

1:15 4:15 7:20 10:25

Get Low (PG-13)

11:50am 2:15 4:50 7:25 9:55

Inception (PG-13)

12:00 3:20 7:05 10:15

Carmike 14

122 Afton Court, Columbia, SC 29212

Case 39 new! (R)

1:40 4:25 7:10 9:55

Let Me In new! (R)

1:55 4:40 7:20 10:00

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole new! (PG)

1:50 4:30 7:25 9:50

Legend of the Guardians:The Owls of Ga’Hoole 3D new! (PG)

Digital 3D Showtimes More Info

1:35 4:20 7:15 9:40

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps new! (PG-13)

1:00 4:00 6:55 9:50

You Again new! (PG)

1:20 4:15 7:00 9:45

Alpha and Omega 3D (PG)

Digital 3D Showtimes More Info

2:10 4:25 6:40 9:00

Resident Evil: Afterlife (R)

1:25 3:50 7:30 10:05

Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D (R)

Digital 3D Showtimes More Info

1:10 3:35 7:05 9:30

Lottery Ticket (PG-13)

1:05 3:40 6:30 9:10

Nanny McPhee Returns (PG)

1:15 4:10 6:45 9:20

The Switch (PG-13)

1:30 4:05 6:35 9:15

Vampires Suck (PG-13)

2:30 4:40 6:50 9:25

The Other Guys (PG-13)

1:10 3:45 6:25 9:05

Regal Sandhill Stadium 16 450 Town Center Place

The Social Network new! (PG-13)

1:15 4:00 7:00 9:50

THE BIG MO MONETTA DRIVE-IN

5822 Columbia Highway North, Monetta SC  29105 Gates open at 6:30pm and show starts at 8:00.

Oct 2,3 and 4.

Screen 1

Easy A

The American

Screen 2

Predators

Wall Street 2

St. Andrews Cinema 5 527 St Andrews Road Columbia, SC 29210 (803) 772-7469

Please call

Regal Pastime Pavilion 8 929 North Lake Drive, Lexington, SC 29072

Case 39 new! (R)

2:40 5:05 7:30 10:10

The Social Network new! (PG-13)

2:20 5:00 7:40 10:20

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole new! (PG)

2:15 4:40 7:00 9:40

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps new! (PG-13)

2:00 4:50 7:45 10:30

You Again new! (PG)

2:10 4:30 7:20 9:50

Alpha and Omega (PG)

2:30 4:55 7:10 9:30

Easy A (PG-13)

2:50 5:10 7:50 10:00

The Town (R)

2:05 4:45 7:25 10:05

Wall Street 2

Written by Michelle Hennessy

Oliver Stone fans were thrilled to be able to see the great director’s first sequel to one of his own movies this weekend.  Over 20 years ago, the renowned filmmaker began his sky-rocket to fame with the hit movie “Wall Street” starring Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen.  With the economy collapsing, Stone decided to revisit his hit-making film, and audiences flocked to the theater to watch.

Anyone knowing anything about Oliver Stone is aware of his right-winged political idealism and knows that Stone is unafraid to make a political statement in his work.  Because the economy has been making headlines for two years now, moviegoers expected to see Stone’s perspective on screen.  And that is just what they got.

Upon being released from an eight year prison stint for insider trading, Gordon Gekko finds himself alone in a changed world.  He decides to work his way back to the top by selling a book based on his own experiences as a stockbroker in a booming economy, titled “Greed is Good,” a philosophy he has followed throughout his career.  Miles away, up-and-comer stockbroker Jake Moore watches an interview with Gekko on television and abruptly has the television turned off by his girlfriend, Winnie Gekko.  Jake climbs the Wall Street ladder in a rising economy, until one fateful day when everything changed.  The country’s entire financial system takes a huge hit and begins to plummet uncontrollably.  So, against any of his girlfriend’s wishes, Jake goes to a seminar to see Gordon Gekko speak.  At this momentous meeting, the two men begin a “trading” relationship for favors that each desires.  Gekko begins to help his new apprentice work the down-turned economy and continue to be successful, utilizing his financial genius, in turn for chances to mend his relationship with his estranged daughter.  But, as is typical with Gordon Gekko, not everything is as it seems.

Michael Douglas reclaims one of his pivotal roles and reminds audiences everywhere what a film icon he truly is.  Master of the screen that he is, Douglas shines in every moment of the film.  Nothing else can be said about him except that he is pure perfection in this movie.  Stone obviously was looking for up-and-coming actors to portray the young couple, and Kathleen Chopin and Sarah Finn made the perfect choice in casting Carey Mulligan as Winnie Gekko.  The young celebrity’s star is continually rising, and her acting in this film certainly will keep up that momentum.  However, Chopin and Finn could have done better in selecting the young male lead.  Shia LaBeouf has yet to make an impression on audiences, and although he does give his best performance to date, he is still only mediocre.  As for the supporting cast, they all did a phenomenal job.  Josh Brolin was his usual stellar self, as was Frank Langella.  Moviegoers got the rare opportunity to see Eli Wallach on the big screen, which was another little treasure in this picture.

Oliver Stone’s directing style is unique, and while audience members may not always agree with his political leanings, they can all agree that his style is flawless and elegant in every movie he makes.  Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps is no exception.  His subtle sense of humor is infiltrated in many great moments of the film, and every second is crafted both masterfully and intelligently.  The script was also superb, with shrewd wit and elegance throughout.  Alan Loeb and Stephen Schiff are both relative newcomers to screenplay writing, but each already has a handful of fantastic work under his belt: Loeb being credited with the scripts for both “21″ and “The Things We Lost in the Fire,” and Schiff having written “Lolita” and “The Deep End of the Ocean.”  The two men working together create fantastic work, and moviegoers will certainly get the opportunity to enjoy more of their work in the future.  Other notable elements of the film were the art direction and editing.  With such credits under his belt as “The Ice Storm” and “The Thomas Crown Affair,” art director Paul D. Kelly is no amateur, and his expertise is clear throughout the movie.  All of his elements match Stone’s subtle directing style and creates an exquisite visual experience.  David Brenner and Julie Monroe are both film editors that Oliver Stone uses frequently, and their collaborative work is impeccable, as every scene seamlessly follows the next.

Wall Street 2 is a fantastic film, and there are so many wonderful subtleties throughout.  Viewers not only get to embark on a thrilling cinematic adventure with more surprises that they even bargained for, but they also get to delve deeper into the world of Wall Street and the corruption that has led to the countrie’s economic downfall.  Equally thought-provoking and hard-hitting, as well as intelligent and flawless, Wall Street 2 is a must-see movie.

http://www.moviefilmreview.com/author/mhennessy

Music times for 0ct. 1

Friday October 1

Cafe Strudel

Rosanna Mae

Hard Knox Grill

Anti-Seen with

You, Me, and Us

Murder Media

Museum Of Art

Nora Jane Struthers

New Brookland Tavern

5:45Kemp Ridley

Emily McCollum

Ned Durrett

Paul Brazell

10pm NBT’s DIY-Pod Dance Party

Bring your iPods

The Sly Fox

Jason Dalton

The White Mule

Kim Richey w/ Mando Saenz.

Utopia

The Tray Hourne Band

Saturday October 2

Cafe Strudel

Flagship Admirals

Martin Luther King Park

Columbia Blues Festival

Jason Ricci & New Blood The Holmes Brothers Eden Brent

New Brookland Tavern

Bio Ritmo w DJ Gardnsound

Utopia

The System

Art Bar

Music Crawl

Sunday October 3

New Brookland Tavern

Freshman 15

My Losing Season

So Contagious

Versus The Robot

Hawaiian Shirt Day

Simple As Surgery


Wednesday October 6

New Brookland Tavern

NBT Battle of the bands

Utopia

Loose Shoes

Thursday October 7

New Brookland Tavern

NBT Battle of the bands

Utopia

Open Mic w Betz Kirby

Friday October 8

Hard Knox Grill

Zack Deputy 10:00pm

New Brookland Tavern

Black Veil Brides

William Control

Motionless In White

Utopia

J’Overt

Saturday October 9

Art Bar

Sons Of Young, Head Space

Cafe Strudel

Redd Wyne

New Brookland Tavern

Pomegranates

The Fluorescents

TBA

Utopia

Blue Train

Sunday October 10

New Brookland Tavern

Invoking The Abstract

Vespers

Ironwill

Roselyn

Saying Goodbye To Scarlett

Monday October 11

New Brookland Tavern

Acoustic Open Mic Night w/ Brightford

Wednesday October 13

New Brookland Tavern

NBT Battle of the bands

Utopia

Vince McKinley Band

Thursday October 14

New Brookland Tavern

NBT Battle of the bands

Utopia

Open Mic

Friday October 15

New Brookland Tavern

All-New Badges

Two Cow Garage

Dave Hause (from The Loved Ones)

Timshel

Friday, September 24, 2010

Despite Pledge to Curtail Corporate Earmarks, Politicians Pursue Them

This March, House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey pledged to stop colleagues from steering millions of dollars in no-bid contracts to businesses, a controversial practice used by politicians to please constituents and boost pet projects, and which sometimes benefits campaign donors.

Restricting so-called corporate earmarks, declared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would help end the “culture of corruption” in Washington by limiting the influence of lobbyists while ensuring that companies “no longer reap the rewards” from special favors.

In a joint statement that grabbed headlines – even though it applied only to one-tenth of all earmark requests – Obey and Norm Dicks, D-Wash., chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee, declared that they “will not approve requests for earmarks that are directed to for-profit entities.”

But that apparently hasn’t stopped some members of Congress from trying – including seven of the 60 members on the appropriations committee. Instead of naming companies as direct recipients of earmarks, as they have in recent years, some members appear to be attempting to funnel money to those same businesses through nonprofit organizations.

Among the politicians are Dicks, Rep. James Moran, D-Va., and Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio – all of whom made the requests just after being cleared last February in a House ethics investigation into whether they had traded favors for campaign donations.

In all, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund found 18 instances in which the seven members are seeking to keep alive previous grants to businesses by listing a university, research center or other nonprofit as the recipient this time around.

While some of the earmark requests appear to involve a sharing of federal dollars between the non-profits and the businesses, in at least two instances intended recipients acknowledged they intended primarily to allow money to pass through to corporations. In two instances, some of the same people work for the nonprofit and the corporate beneficiary.

Similar findings were reported today by The New York Times, which said it had identified “dozens” of such earmark requests totaling $150 million that would indirectly benefit profit-making companies. Obey’s spokesman, Ellis Brachman, said the committee can and will block any requests that violate the restrictions announced by Obey and Dicks in March. But the task is daunting if not impossible, given the sheer volume of requests for earmarks – tens of thousands of them amounting to some $16 billion in federal spending last year.

“No matter what they tell you, there is just no way they can police all that,” earmark critic Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican congressman, told The Times. “They just don’t have the time or resources.”

No comprehensive list of earmark requests exists, so it’s difficult to tell how many members of the committees or in Congress overall are still pursuing earmarks benefiting companies.

Even on its face, the Obey-Dicks restrictions on earmarks were viewed as minimal at the time they were announced; only 1,000 of all earmark requests involve businesses. Some 90 percent of all earmarks are designated for organizations such as charities, nonprofits and educational institutions - spurring predictions that members of Congress, lobbyists and corporations would use these allowed earmarks to keep the money flowing to businesses.

House Republicans vowed for a year to restrict all earmark requests – not just those going to companies.

The Investigative Fund identified businesses that could benefit from earmarks naming nonprofits by reviewing military spending-related requests from members of the House Appropriations Committee. Specifically, the Investigative Fund simply compared for-profit earmarks secured last year with the language of earmarks requested by some of the same lawmakers this year.

While the named recipients varied, the description of the project being funded was similar if not identical in language, which is usually tucked into larger pieces of legislation. (For an example of what an earmark request looks like, and how members are changing their approach, see Two Sides of the Same Earmark)

Many universities collaborate with businesses on endeavors that are legitimate and produce meaningful results. But Flake scoffs at the notion that research collaborations with universities are acceptable when it comes to targeting money specifically as favors requested by individual members of Congress. Such collaborations are “coalitions of convenience for the facilitation of earmarks,” he told the Investigative Fund.

Appropriations Committee spokesman Brachman declined to discuss specific requests. But he said but each earmark would be reviewed separately. Obey, he said, “is very serious about the ban on for-profit entities.” The committee “will not fund earmarks going to for-profits,” he added.

Congressional aides, asked about the continuing requests despite the restrictions, told the Investigative Fund that rules have never been spelled out. The only guidance is a press release – the one released by Obey and Dicks.

Back in March, Steve Ellis, vice president of the Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog organization on government spending, questioned in news media interviews whether Congress could restore public confidence by restricting only one-tenth of all earmarks.

Steering money through nonprofits to for-profit companies won’t improve perceptions, he says now. “Trying to finesse your way around it with lawyerly excuses really feeds voter cynicism.”

Officials at some of the nonprofits acknowledged in interviews that they expect to receive only a share of the money for collaborating with the companies in research. In a few cases, the nonprofit expects to keep little or nothing.  And some of the nonprofits appear to have close ties to the company.

For example, Rep. James Moran, D-Va., last year secured an $800,000 earmark to a health clinic and small company, HealtheState, that is trying to commercialize free medical-records software developed within the Defense Department. This year, Moran has asked for $2.5 million, which would go to the clinic and a nonprofit called Prometheus Foundation.

The foundation lists as its contact, Jill Phillips, an officer at HealtheState. Last year, Phillips donated $4,000 to Moran’s campaign. The foundation’s Web site, which describes its primary mission as helping the “technology transfer” of the medical-records software, lists HealtheState as its partner.

Phillips could not be reached for comment. Moran’s spokeswoman he was “comfortable the funding request meets the appropriate guidelines” and that if the earmark is approved, “it will go to a most worthy non-profit in our district.”

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, has requested $1.5 million for research on behalf of an arm of the Forging Industry Association, which is involved in metals manufacturing. However, the executive vice president of that trade group, Roy Hardy, says he doesn’t have any researchers on staff and so won’t be directly involved in the work.

An Akron, Ohio company, IQ Technologies, lobbied for the earmark with the help of helicopter manufacturers. Joe Powell, the company’s president, said he will use the money to test the company’s exclusive technology for making stronger helicopter parts.

Ryan’s spokesman said he believed partnerships between for-profits and non-profits would still be allowed. Ryan did not identify the company in his request, only the trade association


An Exempt Chairman?

The likely next chairman of the appropriations committee is Dicks. As the defense spending subcommittee’s chairman, he already is in the position to enforce the restrictions he endorsed last March in his press release with Obey, entitled, “Appropriations Committee Bans For-Profit Earmarks.”

But Dicks has himself continued to pursue money for research undertaken by a company in his district.

Since 2004, Dicks has sponsored more than $20 million in earmarks for the tiny startup, Intellicheck Mobilisa. In last year’s earmark request, he named the company, whose executives have donated $26,000 to his campaigns.

This year, the earmark names a subcontractor and collaborator as the intended recipient on the project – the University of Washington.

The research involves technology identified in the earmark request as a “Littoral Sensor Grid” – the same description for Dicks’ earmark directly benefitting the company last year.

The company, which sells a system that scans driver’s licenses for retail stores and military bases, secured its first earmark to provide free wireless Internet to passengers on ferries. That morphed into a system for sending security and environmental data collected from waterborne buoys in the Seattle area, for which the company received a $4.5 million no-bid contract last September.

The University of Washington has received $1 million in each of the last two years to provide assistance in the research, according to the contract obtained by the Investigative Fund.

The latest earmark request is for $6.2 million. University spokesman Bob Roseth said it’s unclear how money would be split. He said the company wouldn’t necessarily be involved in the project next year, though he wouldn’t rule it out.

When asked how the company could not be involved in deploying its own technology – the “Littoral Sensor Grid” – Roseth responded, “that’s a fair question.”

A spokesman for Dicks said he wasn’t sure if the ban would allow the company to be involved in the project anymore.

[On July 6, the day after this story was published, Dicks, through a spokesman, said his intention was for the funding to go to the University of Washington. “Intellicheck Mobilisa will not participate in any aspect of this work,” Dicks said in a statement. “Any suggestion to the contrary is uninformed speculation that will be proven wrong if the appropriation request is accepted and signed into law.” Dicks’ spokesman did not reply when asked how the company could be uninvolved in developing and deploying its own technology.]

Just weeks before requesting the earmark, Dicks had been among seven lawmakers cleared in a congressional ethics investigation involving suspicions they had traded earmarks for campaign donations. The House ethics committee uncovered evidence that company executives gave campaign donations in expectation of receiving earmarks. But the panel concluded in February that lawmakers were not involved themselves or had no idea of the expectations of lobbyists and companies.

The final report included evidence that one company, 21st Century Systems, had given Dicks a $1,000 campaign donation through its political action committee and was planning to give more, in hopes of getting an earmark. An internal company spreadsheet on campaign contributions to members of Congress proposed giving Dicks another $2,000 and in the next column listed an earmark it was seeking from Dicks.

Dicks told investigators that he does not review Federal Election Commission filings to see who’s giving donations to his campaign and that he awards earmarks only after careful review of their merits.


Earmark University

Also cleared in the investigation was Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, who told the ethics committee that she separates her fund-raising activities from her legislative duties. This year, Kaptur is sponsoring five earmarks for the University of Toledo that last year she directed to private companies.

A research executive at the university, Frank Calzonetti, said Kaptur’s office asked earlier this year if the school would be willing to start collaborating with four of the companies seeking earmarks. University researchers were already collaborating with a fifth company, so Kaptur’s earmark this time lists the school as the intended recipient rather than the company.

The name of that company is Teledyne Turbine Engines, which once had a plant in Toledo that at its peak employed 1,100 workers. To save the plant from shutting down, Kaptur helped set up a collaboration with the university in 2003, directing millions in federal dollars to a new research effort.

Included in the ethics office report was a form used by Teledyne to justify contributions from its political action committee. It asks if the candidate is important to any of the company’s program, and in Kaptur’s case, the answer given is that she represents the district where Teledyne Turbine Engines is located and sits on the subcommittee that directs defense spending. The form then asks if the candidate being supported could influence the awarding of government funds. The answer given in Kaptur’s case was “absolutely.”

Teledyne’s legislative affairs director acknowledged in an interview with the ethics office that donations gave him access to lawmakers to discuss legislation and were awarded based on past support the member of Congress provided. In his interview with the ethics office, the company officer “says that it does go through your mind whether you are buying influence.”

In exonerating Kaptur, the ethics office said there’s no evidence that Kaptur was aware of Teledyne’s internal documents or the views of its legislative affairs director.

Now, again, Kaptur is sponsoring a $4.5 million earmark to research Teledyne’s turbine engines. Only this time, she’s lists only the University of Toledo as the intended recipient. Teledyne’s PAC and employees have donated $22,900 to Kaptur’s campaign in the past six years.

One company, American Systems Corp., spent roughly $140,000 on lobbying in the past year, including pursuit for what its public disclosure identifies as an “Enhanced Detection Adjunct Processor.” Kaptur is sponsoring an earmark using the company’s description but lists the recipient as the University of Toledo.

Kaptur declined requests to speak with the Investigative Fund. But she told The Times, in its story on earmark requests, that she’d been pleased alliances formed by defense contractors in Ohio enabled her to resubmit requests that had once been made directly to them. “I am a member who does fight for my region and my state,” the Times quoted her as saying, and adding, “I don’t fight mindlessly.” [She told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer on July 6 that the idea was not to bypass the new rules but to continue working on “creation of jobs based on innovation, and we never apologize for that.”]

Another member of the appropriations committee, Rep. Steve Rothman, is sponsoring a $9.8 million earmark for a start-up company with six employees. Last year, Rothman named Lightening Energy as the recipient. This year, the Congressman lists the unincorporated New Jersey Innovative Technology Consortium as the recipient.

Mark Merclean, the consortium’s sole unpaid staffer, said it is still up to Lightening Energy to do all the work to get the contract and to deal with Congress. “Now if a company gets an earmark, that’s great. It can still go through the consortium,” although the money would end up with the company, Merclean said.

Rothman also requested a $2 million earmark for the New Jersey National Guard. In the Senate, where there is no ban, Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, is sponsoring what appears to be the same earmark but says the money will go to Telos Corp.

In another instance, Rothman is seeking $3 million for the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, the same earmark that Lautenberg wants for a Hackensack-based company, ID Systems. Last year, Rothman himself named both Telos and ID Systems as the recipients of these earmarks.

Rothman’s office did not respond to questions about the earmark requests.

One company identified in the Investigative Fund’s reporting admits it set up a nonprofit entity to secure government contracts. Charles Lambert, an Air Force veteran, said that in December he created the nonprofit, Persistent Elevated Solutions, because his for-profit company, Colorado Springs-based Skysentry LLC, was not allowed to bid on an Environmental Protection Agency contract. Skysentry has received earmarks for years for testing lighter materials and more efficient batteries for blimps.

But this time he knew he had to seek a contract as a nonprofit. “There are various government agencies, like the EPA, that restrict bidding to nonprofits,” said Lambert. The company filed with the Ohio Secretary of State and paid a $125 fee to set up the nonprofit.

While Lambert acknowledged that the Army hasn’t shown much interest in funding the research, he estimated it could save the military billions of dollars. “Decision-makers in the Army are supportive but not anxious to kind of stick their necks out and support a new technology,” he said. Rather than restricting earmarks to nonprofit companies, he thinks Congress should vet them better.

“If I feel like I can stand on the steps of one of the presidential monuments and explain to the American public why I think it’s a good thing and anticipate that they are not going to react adversely, I’m not ashamed to go after some of these thing.”

The City & Red Meat



Lets Move Into That “New Era Of Leadership”


Opinion by Grant Robertson

Something that I hear continually is how painful it can be to sit through city council meetings. Perhaps I am in not in the majority here, but I have to confess that I love watching them. My girlfriend consistently has to rush past Channel 2 with me because she sees and recognizes the gleam in my eye when I see that grainy, obscenely wide shot of the council chamber and hear those droaning, unhappy voices piped through crappy microphones.

To those of you that find city council meetings dull: you are clearly not paying attention.

In the meeting on Wednesday, September 15, Mayor Benjamin, under light pressure from the four local news crews present, decided to push item five on the docket forward. Item five dealt with the heated “2 a.m. closing” for bars that we’ve all heard so much about. It began with a presentation by Tom Sponseller, head of the “Hospitality District Safety Taskforce,” put together by council several months earlier, in order to point out possible decisions that council could make to increase safety in our hospitality districts. On multiple occasions, almost ad nauseum, Sponseller told council that 2 a.m. closings for bars was not always the answer. He said, again and again, that these early closings work well in some places, and not so well in others (read: businesses can go belly up).

Other options included a curfew for minors in the hospitality districts, actual police foot patrols, bars having the ability to hire off-duty police officers, and my personal favorite... hiring another consulting firm. Specifically one from outside Columbia so that it has no ties to businesses here. That’s right: The consultants recommended finding more consultants.

Councilwoman Plaugh was the most concerned, saying something along the lines of: “We’ve already been waiting since May to hear your solution... and your solution is to ask someone else?” A valid point.

Belinda Gergel - who began the crusade to shut down bars at 2a.m. in the first place and who is the reason we all found ourselves in this discussion to begin with - then proceded to ask broad, general questions about 2 a.m. closings that had already been addressed by the committee, as if she had not even been listening for the 30 minutes prior. Three more council members voiced their concerns, including the mayor. All agreed: “This is something that we need to make a decision on.”

And, in the same breath, council moved on to the next item.

It was somewhat unbelievable. This taskforce had put forth mostly valuable information: put more police officers in Five Points (on foot patrols, specifically), don’t let minors be there unattended after a certain time, and fix the laws that are on the books so that police officers can enforce them. These are all reasonable responses, and in most people’s minds, a comprehensive plan towards solvency without damaging the established businesses in the district.

Yet, no one on council was willing to take a hard stance on what to do. I have a hard time figuring out what we are paying them to do, since their answer to every tough question seems to be that what we need is more time and to pay someone to tell them exactly what to do.

To a certain point, this is no surprise from City Council, many of whom now find themselves in the awkward position of having to make decisions for themselves after decades of obtaining shadowy instructions from puppet master E. W. Cromartie. Bust Steve Benjamin is jockeying to place himself in a position of command by calling for a switch to a strong mayor system.

I ask you now, Mayor Steve, if you firmly believe in the strong mayor form of government, can you please demonstrate that you have the will and judgment to wield such power? This council needs more leadership than you are currently giving it. Make a decision and own it. Simply taking points of personal privilege and calling on people to speak is just not going to cut it anymore. The One Columbia you have created is waiting for you to be an actual leader.


talkback@columbiacitypaper.com

Letters To The Reader

Dear Glenn McConnell “slave pic” controversy,

First and foremost, thank you, Sen. McConnell for unwittingly capturing a bizarre visual metaphor for life in present day South Carolina. Now, we’re not going to jump into the editorial fracas and charge overt racism here. If the National Federation of Republican Women had tried to hire servers to go full Kunta Kinte, it would be a different story. Lucky for McConnell, the couple in costume was from the Gullah-Geechee cultural group and they regularly dress in 19th Century garb for educational purposes. But all the debate over that photo is straying from the main point of concern, which should be this:

Sen. Glenn F. McConnell, the most powerful Republican legislator in our General Assembly... is a fucking Civil War reenactor.

Thank you and goodnight!

Actually, no, let that sink in for a moment. Ever wondered why –in spite of a national NAACP boycott and years of public outcry—the Confederate battle flag still flies over the capitol grounds today, one hundred and fifty years after South Carolina first shelled American troops at Fort Sumter? Well, for one, because the Senate President Pro Tem, who was instrumental in keeping the flag in full view, has such a chubby for the Confederacy that he dons a costume and reenacts the killing of federal soldiers, thus fulfilling some weird dress-up fantasy that he is an officer in a pro slavery militia. And, as long as McConnell, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, salutes it and charges it into fake battle on the weekends, it’s a safe bet that the Stars n’ Bars are going to stay proudly flapping on Gervais Street until someone votes him and his buddies out.

Maybe someone could run against him on a renaissance fair ticket?

Columbia City Paper


Dear hippie morning commuter on Harden St.,

Requisite dreads and beadwork? Check. “Save the Trees,” “Coexist” and peace sign bumper stickers? Check. Blouse from recycled fabrics? Check. But, woah, hold on! You must have missed that memo about littering! Wow. Of all the cars stuck at this red light, yours was the last one I’d expect to be spewing cigarette butts from its windows. You just got your crocheted vegan cookbook satchel revoked, missy!

Columbia City Paper


Dear Hootie statue coming to Five Points,

Great idea! Recent violence and shootings in the area have sparked worries that a wankster element is slowly moving into Five Points. This Hootie and the Blowfish statue should be an instant fix. After all, what self-respecting group of thugs would kick it in front of a Hootie statue? That thing will be a virtual repellent to anyone under 35. Brilliant work!

Plus, for once, it’s a Five Points accoutrement that’s not funded by public money. Just be sure to put galoshes on it.

Columbia City Paper


Simplified at The White Mule

Fans of light 90s modern rock and sorority chicks looking for something to do this weekend rejoice: Simplified takes the stage at White Mule on Friday.

The Charlotte based outfit boasts over a thousand shows played since their formation in 2004 and that work ethic shows through in their polished, well-packaged sound. Simplified has shared the stage with Blues Traveler, Edwin McCain and O.A.R. and are making a name for themselves on college campuses nationwide.

The show starts at 8 p.m.

Vocal Booth: NOSTALGIA

Peace and blessings.  Hope the last edition gave you more than enough information to keep you vibing through the summer.  Summer has breezed by and autumn is on its way.  Back to parties, tailgating, homecomings, rushes, and step shows.  Since the weather is on the drop, I figured I’d reminisce with y’all today. Let’s get it!!

NOSTALGIA

As I was driving this state for the past few weeks and scanning the various local stations, I noticed that there is a tremendous absence of Hip Hop groups in today’s musical landscape.  I want to give you a list (in no particular order) of one of the greatest groups of all time (hit I-Tunes to get most of these records)….The Roots (and some of their collective produced output).  Composed of founding members, Tarik ‘Black Thought’ Trotter, Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson, and a staple of various members throughout their years to perfect that sound; simply put, The Roots are the standard by which every group in Hip Hop should be measured by.  This list should remind you why greatness can never be taken for granted...

Good Music (1993)

Essawahmah? (1993)

The Session (1993)

Proceed (1994)

Distortion To Static (1994)

Silent Treatment (1994)

The Lesson Part 1 (1994)

Respond/React (1996)

Section (1996)

It Just Don’t Stop (1996)

What They Do (1996)

Concerto Of The Desperado (1996)

Clones (1996)

Universe @ War (1996)

The Hypnotic (1996)

The Adventures In Wonderland (1996)

The Next Movement (1999)

The Spark (1999)

Dynamite (1999)

Ain’t Saying Nothing New (1999)

Double Trouble (1999)

Act Too (Love Of My Life) (1999)

100% Dundee (1999)

You Got Me (1999)

Don’t See Us(1999)

Lesson Part 2 (2000)

What Y’all Want (1999)

The Ultimate (1999)

Sacrifice (2002)

Complexity (2002)

The Seed 2.0 (2002)

Water (2002)

Quills (2002)

Pussy Galore (2002)

Star (2004)

Stay Cool (2004)

Web (2004)

Boom! (2004)

Game Theory (2006)

Don’t Feel Right (2006)

Here I Come (2006)

Living In A New World (2006)

Get Busy (2008)

@15 (2008)

Criminal (2008)

Rising Up (2008)

Walk Alone (2010)

Right On (2010)

Dear God (2010)

And plenty more album/live/bonus cuts from the almost 20 year discography & careers

Once your tuition, room & board, meal plan, and books are all paid for, take a small portion of that overage money and go out and buy a CD or two (I recommend PAPA JAZZ RECORD SHOPPE- 5 POINTS) from The Roots and keep great & innovative music around!!!

DJ KINGPIN-Villain of Vinyl (kingpinvillianofvinyl@gmail.com)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Live Music 9/23-9/30

Thursday  Sept. 23

New Brookland Tavern

Kevin Seconds

Sons Of Young

Utopia

Open Mic w Brett Mello

The White Mule

The Mobros w/ Hans Van Rearick

Friday September 24

Hard Knox Grill

Crash Cadillac CD

Release Party with

Silus, Whiskey Mountain Machine

New Brookland Tavern

Hot Lava Monster

Shallow Palace

Blueroots

Utopia

Julia Beckmans b-day bash w Jackaroe

The Sly Fox

Josh McCaa

The White Mule

Simplified w/ tba

Saturday September 25

The Art Bar

Bob Dylan Tribute Show

Hard Knox Grill

Obraskai with

Right to Fall & Artemia

New Brookland Tavern

4:45pm

We Sail At Dawn

Behold The Messenger

Ninjaloot

Saying Goodbye To Scarlet

9:30pm

Decadence

Fight In Vegas

Necessary Evil

Utopia

Devils in Disguise

The White Mule

Whiskey Tango Revue w/ Todd Mathis(american gun), Aaron Berg, & James Overbee

Sunday September 26

Hard Knox Grill

DB Bryant and Friends

Monday September 27

New Brookland Tavern

Acoustic Open Mic Night w/ Brightford

The White Mule

The Southern Trails Tour: Jeremy Aggers, Chelsea Lynn Labate, Channing and Quinn, Tyler Lyle.

Tuesday September 28

Hard Knox Grill

Singer Songwriter

Night hosted by Pamela Dale

New Brookland Tavern

All Get Out

O’Brother

Death On Two Wheels

Pan

11pm Mustep Dubstep

(An All Get Out afterparty)

Wed September 29

Hard Knox Grill

Jazz Fusion & Funk

with Jeremy Roberson

The White Mule

South Carolina Broadcasters w/ Josh McGill

Utopia

Coolie G & Lion Soul Reggae

Thursday Sept 30

Utopia

Open Mic w Keith Bates

The White Mule

Female songwriter showcase

Friday October 1

Hard Knox Grill

Anti-Seen with

You, Me, and Us

Murder Media

Museum Of Art

Nora Jane Struthers

The Sly Fox

Jason Dalton

The White Mule

Kim Richey w/ Mando Saenz.

Utopia

The Tray Hourne Band

Saturday October 2

Martin Luther King Park

Columbia Blues Festival

Jason Ricci & New Blood The Holmes Brothers Eden Brent

Utopia

The System

Art Bar

Music Crawl

Movie Times for 9/24



Movie times listed are for the weekend of  September 24, please confirm with theater.

Nickelodeon

http://www.nickelodeon.org/ 937 Main Street

I AM LOVE

Oscar winner Tilda Swinton shows off her multilingual skills in this Italian melodrama, in which family dissension, unbidden desire and other tensions bubble to the surface during the patriarch’s birthday party. When the seemingly picture-perfect Recchi family gathers at the family manse to celebrate the great old man, the veneer of civility falls quickly away in director Luca Guadagnino’s lush, atmospheric film.

SEPTEMBER 24-30, Friday-Thursday

Friday, Sept. 24 - 3:00, 5:30 and 8:00

Saturday, Sept. 25 - 3:00, 5:30 and 8:00

Sunday, Sept. 26 - 3:00, 5:30 and 8:00

Monday, Sept. 27 - 5:30 and 8:00

Tuesday, Sept. 28 - 5:30 only

Wednesday, Sept. 29 - 3:00 and 5:30

Thursday, Sept. 30 - 8:00 only

Regal Columbia Cinema 7

3400 Forest Drive Suite 3000, Columbia, SC 29204

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps new! (PG-13, No Passes)

1:45 4:40 7:40 10:30

You Again new! (PG)

2:25 4:50 7:15 9:40

Alpha and Omega new! (PG)

2:10 4:30 7:00 9:20

The Town new! (R)

2:00 4:45 7:30 10:15

Resident Evil: Afterlife (R)

2:30 5:00 7:45 10:10

Takers (PG-13)

2:20 4:55 7:25 9:55

Lottery Ticket (PG-13)

2:45 5:10 7:35 9:50

Carmike Wynnsong 10

5320 Forest Drive, Columbia, SC 29206

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole new! (PG)

1:30 4:10 7:05 9:30

Legend of the Guardians:The Owls of Ga’Hoole 3D new! (PG)

Digital 3D

1:40 4:20 7:15 9:40

Devil new! (PG-13)

1:50 4:00 7:20 9:35

Easy A new! (PG-13)

1:45 4:20 7:05 9:30

Going the Distance (R)

4:35 10:00

Machete (R)

1:35 7:10

The American (R)

1:30 4:20 7:15 9:45

Piranha 3D (R)

Digital 3D

1:35 4:40 7:10 9:20

Eat Pray Love (PG-13)

1:30 7:00

The Expendables (R)

1:40 4:30 7:05 9:40

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (PG-13)

4:20 9:50

Despicable Me (PG)

1:30 4:05 6:50 9:15

AMC Dutch Square 14

800 Bush River Rd.,

Columbia, SC 29210

Regal Columbiana Grande Stadium 14

1250 Bower Pkwy, Columbia, SC 29212

Devil new! (PG-13)

12:30 1:00 2:45 3:15 5:00 5:30 7:15 7:45 9:30 10:00

Easy A new! (PG-13)

12:15 2:30 4:45 7:00 9:15

DP (Digital Projection)

12:45 3:05 5:15 7:30

The Town new! (R)

1:10 4:30 7:35 10:20

Going the Distance (R)

12:05 2:40 5:10 7:50 10:30

Machete (R)

11:55am 4:50 9:40

The American (R)

12:20 3:05 5:35 8:05 10:30

Avatar: Special Edition 3D (PG-13)

8:00pm

The Last Exorcism (PG-13)

12:55 3:10 5:25 7:55 9:55

Takers (PG-13)

12:10 2:35 5:05 7:40 10:05

Eat Pray Love (PG-13)

1:15 4:15 7:20 10:30

The Expendables (R)

2:25 7:10

Get Low (PG-13)

11:50am 2:20 4:55 7:25 9:50

Inception (PG-13)

12:00 3:20 7:05 10:10

Toy Story 3 in Disney Digital 3D (G)

12:25 2:50

Carmike 14

122 Afton Court, Columbia, SC 29212

Legend of the Guardians:The Owls of Ga’Hoole 3D new! (PG)

Digital 3D

1:40 4:20 7:15 9:40

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps new! (PG-13)

1:00 4:00 7:00 10:00

You Again new! (PG)

1:20 4:15 7:10 9:45

Alpha and Omega 3D new! (PG)

Digital 3D

2:10 4:25 6:40 9:00

Resident Evil: Afterlife (R)

1:25 3:50 7:30 10:05

Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D (R)

Digital 3D

1:10 3:35 7:20 9:50

Lottery Ticket (PG-13)

1:05 3:40 6:30 9:10

Nanny McPhee Returns (PG)

1:15 4:10 6:45 9:20

The Switch (PG-13)

1:45 4:25 6:55 9:30

Vampires Suck (PG-13)

2:15 4:40 6:50 9:25

Flipped (PG)

1:50 4:05 6:35 9:00

The Other Guys (PG-13)

1:10 3:45 6:25 9:05

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (PG)

1:30 3:50

Charlie St. Cloud (PG-13)

6:20 9:15

Regal Sandhill Stadium 16 450 Town Center Place

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole new! (PG)

12:10 2:40 5:10 7:40 10:10

Legend of the Guardians:The Owls of Ga’Hoole 3D new! (PG)

11:40am 2:10 4:40 7:10 9:40 12:00am

The Virginity Hit new! (R)

12:20 2:45 5:00 7:50 10:05 12:15am

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps new! (PG-13)

1:00 1:30 4:00 4:30 7:00 7:30 10:00 10:30

You Again new! (PG)

11:50am 2:20 4:50 7:20 9:50 12:20am

Alpha and Omega new! (PG)

12:25 2:35 4:50 7:35

Alpha and Omega 3D new! (PG)

11:55am 2:05 4:20

Devil new! (PG-13)

12:00 12:30 2:25 2:55 4:25 4:55 7:35 8:05 9:45 10:15 11:50 12:20am

Easy A new! (PG-13)

11:45am 12:15 2:00 2:30 4:15 4:45 6:55 7:25 9:30 10:00 11:45 12:15am

The Town new! (R)

1:15 4:10 7:15 10:10

Resident Evil: Afterlife (R)

2:15 4:35 7:55 10:20

Open Captioned

12:00pm

Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D (R)

7:25 9:50 12:10am

The Last Exorcism (PG-13)

9:55 12:05am

Takers (PG-13)

12:05 2:35 5:05 7:45 10:25

Lottery Ticket (PG-13)

12:20 2:50 5:15 8:00 10:30

THE BIG MO MONETTA DRIVE-IN

5822 Columbia Highway North, Monetta SC  29105 Gates open at 6:30pm and show starts at 8:00.

Sept 24,25,26

Screen 1

Wall Street

Knight and Day

Screen 2

Takers

Resident Evil Afterlife

St. Andrews Cinema 5 527 St Andrews Road Columbia, SC 29210 (803) 772-7469

Please call

Regal Pastime Pavilion 8 929 North Lake Drive, Lexington, SC 29072

Alpha and Omega new! (PG)

2:00 4:30 7:00 9:20

Devil new! (PG-13)

2:40 4:50 7:20 9:50

Easy A new! (PG-13)

2:50 5:10 7:30 9:50

The Town new! (R)

2:20 5:00 7:40 10:20

Resident Evil: Afterlife new! (R)

2:30 5:15 8:00 10:30

The American (R)

2:50 5:20 7:50 10:10

The Last Exorcism (PG-13)

2:10 4:40 7:10 9:45

Vampires Suck (PG-13)

2:15 4:45 7:15 9:30