Thursday, September 29, 2016

Clinton Within Striking Distance in South Carolina


The margin for error with the poll is 4.5%. So basically we're statistically tied here in South Carolina. I have no idea what turnout will look like, but it's not impossible that Hillary takes South Carolina.

Details Emerging from the Elementary School Shooting in Upstate SC

Luckily, it looks like everyone at the school has survived.

In the coming days and weeks, people on both sides of the debate about how to deal with guns in our society will likely use this event as some sort of confirmation for whatever their preconceived viewpoint is. Try to resist that temptation, if you can.

Try to remember that everyone, regardless of their viewpoint, honestly wants what is best for our society, and our children. It does not help to demonize the other side. Try to have compassion for the victims and some respect for other people's viewpoints. South Carolina is great at coming together. We did it after the Charleston shooting, after the flood, though other events.

It is my hope that everyone in South Carolina can hold together in the face of events like this.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Condolences to the families of Tanya Gee and Leona Plaugh

Today is a sad day. I did an afternoon workout today, and on the way out of the gym, I saw the news via twitter that Judge Tanya Gee had passed away.

By the time I showered and got back to the office, I saw that my Councilwoman (I live in District IV) Leona Plaugh had also passed away.

I knew Ms. Plaugh was sick, but Judge Gee's passing really took me by surprise. I didn't know either of them personally, but I did know their reputations to be honorable, hard-working, and loving.

The SC Bench and my district have lost two great public servants, and they both will be dearly missed. If you get a chance today, just take a quiet moment to say a prayer for their families.

"Alton Brown is an outlier among food celebrities."

Mr. Brown, who describes himself as “difficult” and “a terrible workaholic,” has never been in a more reflective period. His divorce from DeAnna Brown, his second wife, with whom he had a daughter and built an empire, became final on May 13, 2015. She got the 7,000-square-foot historic brick home in Marietta, a couple of miles from the compound, which went to him. “It was a sad time,” said the Rev. Bryant Wright, the pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, where Mr. Brown was immersed in baptismal waters in 2006.

There are lots of people who can be happy and really outgoing in public, but in private they can be misanthropic and dark. Especially Southerners. It's sort of a character trait with Southerners more so than people from other areas of the country. I'm thinking of all the Faulkner characters as the Platonic Ideal of misanthropic Southerners, but there are lots of other examples.

His show Good Eats is/was a great combination of food, science, and humor. Alton Brown seems like one of the funniest people I know, but it seems like really funny people can have a darker side. Maybe that's somehow a balance to the happy, joking side of them.

I'm sure his divorce and tensions with his church had a profound effect on him, but it seems like he's in a good place. You never really know about people, though.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Headlines for Monday, September 26, 2016

Arnie was the original "cool" golfer.

1. Arnold Palmer passed away on Sunday at the age of 87. Arnold Palmer was one of the best golfers of all time and was a huge factor in the popularity of golf as television boomed in the 50s and 60s.

2. Les Miles is fired at LSU, and the Gamecocks lose to Kentucky. Yeah, the Gamecocks are bad. And no, LSU should not have fired Les Miles.

3. Hillary and Trump are tied going into tonight's debate. I keep hearing that tonight is the debate that "America has been waiting for". It feels more like the debate "America is being punished with".

4. On this day in 1944, Operation MARKET GARDEN unraveled. The short way into Germany ended up being a dead end.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Content Free Friday Afternoon Open Thread

In lieu of actual, thoughtful content I am giving you this picture of a cute puppy enjoying a canoe ride.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Which Die Hard Character is Donald Trump?

I saw this tweet yesterday, and it really just struck me as absurd.

So this guy, Bill Mitchell, whoever he is, thinks that Donald Trump is John McLane. By the way, who in the heck is this Bill Mitchell guy?

Is Donald Trump like John McLane?

No, no he is not. This is an easy one, folks. Just put Donald Trump in the movie as himself. What would he have done? He would have been about middle-aged in the early 80s, so it's easy to transport him into the story, celebrating at a party in some high-rise building in Los Angeles.

Would Trump have fought off the bad guys, disrupted their plans, figured out their plans, and then saved his wife? Um, no. Donald Trump would have been this guy:

Continue reading below the jump.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The U.S. Navy detonated a 10,000-pound explosive charge near the USS Jackson (as a test)

Being in the Navy has its cool moments.

No word on how the explosion affected marine life in the area. I'm guessing...not well.

Monday, September 19, 2016

"Worst of all, UAV operators are not shown the same respect as pilots who go into the air aboard their aircraft."

Yeah, I can see how pilots of manned aircraft would look down on UAV operators due to the fact that the UAV operator isn't personally putting his life at risk whereas a pilot of manned aircraft is. I think the idea of having NCOs operate the UAVs makes sense, as the officer only rule may be a bit outdated.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Thursday, September 15, 2016

U.S. confirms two more freed Guantanamo inmates have repented and joined Rotary International

Did I say Rotary International? Sorry, I meant to say they've rejoined ISIS.

In the first six months of 2016, two more militants released from the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have returned to fighting, the U.S. government said on Wednesday.

Great. I'm so glad we let these nice young men go free.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hey Richland One Administration - What would you say it is, you DO here?

So the federal Department of Education has these programs where it helps fund local school districts. Essentially, all the school districts have to do is qualify and apply, and presto, the school district gets some free federal dollars.

Richland County School District One happens to be one of these school districts. Accordingly, you would think that this would be a pretty straightforward process. The Dept. of Education wants to give out this money. I mean, hey, if there's one thing the federal government can do, it's shovel dollars out the door. All we have to do is go around and scoop it up.

So, what happened last year with Richland School District One? Well...the folks in charge of the budget failed to spend the money correctly, so they missed out on the reimbursement from the feds.

Last year, Richland School District One missed out on $1.4 million in federal funding designed to help the poorest students succeed because, according to South Carolina Department of Education Chief Communications Officer Ryan Brown, “the district unfortunately suffered from a lack of procedures and mismanagement of funds.” The total amount of that FY 2014-15 mistake – $1,413,482 – was the result of not spending a one-time carryover in Title 1 funding from the previous year.

So, it's like they essentially had this money "in the bank", but if they didn't spend it, it would disappear - and Richland One just did nothing. Poof. Money gone.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for thriftiness in budgeting, but I'm pretty sure that there was something  worthwhile that Richland One could have found to spend $1.4 million bucks on.

So you would think that the folks at Richland One would really make sure they got all their ducks in a row for the next year, right? I mean, sure, we're all human. No one's perfect. Let's just take this as a $1.4 million dollar learning experience, and try to do better going forward.

All good, right?


Brown said despite extensive email and phone correspondence to Richland One from the department of education’s Office of Federal and State Accountability in the months and weeks leading up to the Aug. 15 deadline, Richland One’s Title 1 office failed to meet the federal deadline to be reimbursed for $3.1 million in FY 2015-16 funds it already had spent.
Again! Even with the state office holding their hands like little children, the folks at Richland One still failed to get things submitted by the deadline! We're just talking about paperwork here. No one's asking them to build a rocket. Just do the paperwork. Push the paper. That's it!

For those of you scoring at home, that's roughly $5.5 million dollars in money that the federal government is trying to give Richland One, but the folks in Richland One are too incompetent to figure out how to get it.

So now the children who go to school in Richland One at the poorest, most needy schools are missing out, or will have money from other programs diverted, because the people whose sole job it is to budget and spend the money for the schools can't get their act together?

To quote the Bobs from Office Space, "What would you say, you do here?" It's just amazing that this happens two years in a row. You would think these folks would be ready to go this year after looking like nincompoops last year.

People have to be fired. People have to be told "You failed once, we gave you another chance, and you failed again in exactly the same way. Get out." Punishments need to be real. Consequences need to be real. No probation, no shuffling to another department, gone. Bye. Out the door, don't come back.

What is our school board going to do about this? Are they going to just continue to accept failure upon failure? The federal government is trying to hand out money to the most needy students, and we can't even get people competent enough to figure out how to accept the gift.

Damn, this is why people hate the government.

Monday, September 12, 2016

USS Yorktown and the Twin Towers

Yesterday was the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, and there were lots of remembrances around the country. One of most interesting ones, visually, was this photo tweeted out by the Patriots Point twitter account:

It's amazing to see the USS Yorktown off the coast of New York City in 1975. It sort of feels like some sort of time warp were a WWII aircraft carrier is dropped into the seventies. Amazing.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Neighborhoods Near USC Having Issues - Kit Smith is Concerned

The thousands of USC students living right downtown mixed in with residential folks is certainly a big issue. There's no perfect solution, but there needs to be significant involvement from the University, the neighborhoods, and the city.

I mention Kit Smith in the headline only because she's a pretty solid advocate for Columbia neighborhoods, and she knows what she's talking about. Friend of the blog and neighborhood advocate, Kathryn Fenner is also quoted, but it sounds like USC patrols have helped in her neighborhood.

Kids are going to do dumb things, but steps can be taken to deal with folks who aren't good neighbors. Hopefully, everyone can try to work together to figure out how to live in diverse neighborhoods and live in harmony.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Coach of USA Hockey Not a Fan of Sitting Down for National Anthem

First, it's Team USA, folks. It's the national team, the team of our country - so it sort of has a different feel than if, say, the San Jose Sharks coach said this. Does anyone else feel like it being Team USA makes a difference? I mean, if you're protesting America's anthem, maybe you might just opt out of being a representative to the world via the team, no?

Also, hockey isn't a sport where you stand out as an individual. I would have to say that, even more than football, hockey players are very, very team oriented guys. No one wants to be "that guy" on the hockey team.

Take Wayne Gretzky for example. Every time you hear Gretzky interviewed, you come away with him saying stuff that essentially amounts to how lucky he was to play on a great team with lots of other great players who really made his play better than he could have done on his own.

When the best player in your entire sport ever comes across with an "Aw, shucks..." kind of humility, that gives you a sort of flavor of how team-oriented hockey is. (Maybe excluding goalies).

Pictured - Team USA celebrating a win over the commies in 1980.

Development in Columbia on North Main

Columbia chef and restaurateur Kristian Niemi plans to help boost the revival of North Main Street with a multi-use complex that will include a restaurant, beer garden, bocce courts and concert hall.

Read more here:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Magnolia Open Thread

Magnolia in bloom at The Hermitage, near Nashville, TN

Enjoy the last full blossom of summer, before the cool air of fall comes creeping in.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Who's Ready to Start Yelling at Their TV Again?

As a friend of mine said yesterday, "Tomorrow's the day I start yelling at my TV again." Well, that day is now upon us. It's time to get up, get through the workday, and get ready for some Gamecock football.

Our long slog through the dog days of summer are over. Now, with the official start of college football and September, we have finally made it to the promised land.

I haven't done one of my traditional game-by-game season predictions, mostly because I've been super busy, and I haven't had time to really give the season much thought. Also, with all the new players and coaches, there are a lot of unknowns.

Suffice it to say that I would be happy with six wins, satisfied with five wins, and overjoyed beyond belief if the Gamecocks somehow managed to upset Clemson at the end of the year.

Tonight though, it's all about beating Vanderbilt and getting off to a good start. The most important game of the season is the one you're about to play, so let's hope the boys get after it.

As a trial lawyer, I often take solace in a quote from John Adams which goes "“We cannot insure success, but we can deserve it.” I like to think about that when situations are not entirely in my control, and I think that if I work as hard as I can and do everything I can, then that will at least allow me to deserve a good result, even if I cannot guarantee one.

For the Gamecocks, I just hope they can work hard enough to at least deserve to win. Work ethic counts a lot with me.