Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Port of Charleston: A Bedtime Story

"Port Takes Big Tumble" should have been the screaming headline on the FRONT page of the Newsless Courier today instead of the Business section. Not that the headlines that were on the front page were unimportant, but locals (especially those who have moved here from other regions) need to wake up to the importance of the port's success to Charleston.

Imagine. Little pipsqueak Savannah outranks Charleston for the first time--that's the first time EVER since the two cities were settled. See

How did this happen? Here's a bedtime story.
Once upon a time the SPA decided to build a new container port on Daniel Island for its wonderful access to I-526. As the state dawdled, wealthy locals and Northern transplants built their houses on same, despite the knowledge that a port would be built on one end of their island paradise. Fast forward. . .
Oh, no! these wealthy citizens cried! We can't allow the port to be built on Daniel Island. We must pressure our state legislature, the state port authority, and anyone else in power to build it somewhere else, anywhere else, but preferably in a place where wealthy people don't live! So they did.
And their governmental representatives responded as they were pressured to do. And building of the new port was delayed, and delayed, and DE-layed as new sites were considered and vetted.
Meanwhile, the wealthy homeowners on Daniel Island rejoiced and their homes' values skyrocketed, probably even faster than in the rest of the Lowcountry, because now no imminent threat of (horrors) a port's being built on their island paradise threatened their value.

And everyone on the island paradise lived happily ever after, knowing that no noise or traffic from a port would ever invade their peace. THE END. . . .


The State of Georgia didn't have such myopic influential citizens, apparently, and now SAVANNAH rules!

Will Charleston ever regain its standing, second only to NY-NJ, as a port on the East Coast?

Not at this rate. Not until its citizens take the port seriously again.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Sense of Humor: When Hell . . .

Funny, funny. Lowcountryblogs noted that perhaps I am responsible for the very cold weather of the last couple of days. You know, Babbie will get excited about an article in the P & C "when hell freezes over"?
Apparently, my blog, "Tell Me More" fit that category.

CCSD Finances: Always a Murky Topic

Two articles in today's Newsless Courier are reminders that CCSD is one of a few school boards in the state that does not have some financial oversight. Sigh.

In the Local and State section, we learn of the escalation of construction costs--more than 10 percent over the last two years--of the new Academic Magnet HS and of the new School of the Arts as well as Stall HS--because the district proposed to delay--if it ever would build--a promised North Charleston middle school.
Sorry, I can't imagine its proposing to do that to Mount Pleasant!

Still, the overruns of costs are disturbing.
See "Board Rejects Delay for Middle School" "

Then, the Business section reports on CCSD's suing local tech firms regarding software development, one of them identified as "one of the area's most promising high-tech firms." The squabble, over who owns or is entitled to income from software developed in conjunction with CCSD, also partakes of the shell-game of a start-up company that went out of business and its sister company that never had a contract with the district but went on to engage in similar games with the state Department of Education.
See "2 Companies, Founder Sued by School District,"

Question for Kyle Stock: the contract with the company was for $110 per hour to for software development. SO, HOW MUCH WAS PAID TO THE COMPANY??? Isn't that important?

The best quote comes from Ernest Andrade of the Digital Corridor Foundation, which was also taken for a ride: because of these events, "the foundation has pledged to only invest in companies that have an advisory board."

Now, if the CCSD would only pledge to sign contracts with the same, we might get somewhere and not be required to pay for costly lawsuits.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tell Me More!

I heard about a WWII prisoner-of-war camp when I was growing up West of the Ashley, but I was never sure it really existed until today's article in the Post and Courier--for once it wasn't newsless.

See "Neighbors Push to Save POW Camp,"

But now I am curious. A couple of hundred prisoners? Where were they captured? Who were they? There must be stories out there, if not books and articles.

Inquiring minds want to know!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Salad Days

The Usual Inmates Are Running Ware Shoals Now

It's the inmates again. Ware Shoals was simply a blip in my memory bank until this week's scandal broke all over the national news. It was originally built as "the model town of Ware Shoals for [the Riegel Cotton Mill's ] operatives." Riegel Cotton Mill has been gone for more than 20 years, but the buildings it created for Ware Shoals High School still live on.
When I learned that its principal had tried to keep the press and community from learning the tawdry facts by intimidating the cheerleaders, let's say I was not surprised. Such reactions are the reason that it's a state law that teachers must report suspected child abuse directly to the authorities instead of to the principal to report.
I also learned from the Newsless Courier that Jill Moore, the former cheerleading coach with the poor judgment (no, with no morals, how's that?), was a GUIDANCE COUNSELOR at the school. However, according to the school's website, she was "GUIDANCE SECRETARY," quite a big difference, you will agree. For one thing, she's unlikely to be a college graduate (not that it would have made any difference here!).
Sex, alcohol, and cheerleaders. The press is having great time relishing the salacious details of this mess, but let's keep the facts straight.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Just Copying Wando, I Guess

Check out the Newsless Courier's "Football Star One of Holdup Suspects," in Friday's paper:

What is it about football players? Isolated incidents or a desire to be known as "bad"? Here is another stupid, stupid decision by a student who probably had colleges knocking down his door. Holding up a McDonald's drive-through? Wow! Big bucks there.
Who knows? Maybe some colleges (Auburn, Georgia Tech) think he'll fit right in with the team!

Makes you wonder what ever happened to those Wando players, doesn't it? I'd like to see the Post and Courier do a follow up on that one. The results would be illuminating.

"Robinson [the female employee] and [Derrick] Middleton [the football player] will not be allowed to return to school, pending the outcome of the case, said Pat Raynor, spokeswoman for Dorchester District 2 schools.

"Robinson was working the drive-through the night of the robbery when a man ran up to her from outside and pointed a gun, Miller said.

"Deputies identified Maloney [a drop-out, apparently] as the gunman, he said.

"But (Robinson) actually turned out to be one of the suspects," Miller said. "They made statements to incriminate themselves, and investigators discovered that she was a principal in the armed robbery."

"Middleton, a 6-foot, 208-pound senior, had participated in the Fort Dorchester football program since eighth grade, said Patriots football Coach Steve LaPrad.

"Middleton was named to the Region 8-AAAA all-star team and was a second-team All-Lowcountry selection. "He's a college prospect," LaPrad said. "He's an excellent football player."
"The Patriots posted a 9-4 record during the 2006 season. Middleton showed promise as a junior, rushing 193 times for 1,048 yards and 12 touchdowns.

"He followed that up with an impressive senior season. He rushed for 920 yards and 17 touchdowns during the regular season, and had two strong performances in the playoffs. Middleton rushed for 166 yards and three TDs in a first-round Class AAAA playoff win over Sumter and added 141 yards and a score the next week in a season-ending playoff loss to Stratford."

Pathetic, isn't it?
Update: According to today's paper Maloney is not a drop-out. He's a high-school graduate and a college student.
Well, that makes sense, doesn't it?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Usual Inmates Are Running the Asylum

Thanks to little green footballs for the following two idiocies today:
Idiocy #1:
"At some point, even if you’re willing to give the Associated Press the benefit of the doubt and assume that many of their mistakes are due to sheer incompetence instead of agenda-driven intent, don’t you have to wonder why their mistakes always result in headlines like this?
U.S., Iraqi troops clash in Baghdad.
"That headline implies, obviously to any sentient being with more than 2 functioning synapses, that US and Iraqi troops clashed with each other.
"But the actual story reports that US and Iraqi troops worked together, and apparently kicked some insurgent a-s.
"More evidence of cognitive dissonance at high levels in the Associated Press.

Maybe the headline writer just arrived from the Newsless Courier?

Idiocy #2:

"At a London conference on climate change, scientists have identified one of the root causes of terrorism: global warming.
"And to support this diagnosis, UK chief scientist John Mitchell cites the studies of the noted environmentalist, Osama bin Laden.
"John Mitchell, chief scientist at Britain’s Met Office, noted al Qaeda had already listed environmental damage among its litany of grievances against the United States.
“'You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and industries,” al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden wrote in a 2002 “letter to the American people.'”

Cast your vote! Which one is more idiotic? or self-serving?

Habitual Liars' Business Fees: Buist Academy & Update

Joke of the Day (Kudos to the Charleston City Paper for this one):

"What do you call a $200 penalty for using a false address to get your kid into Buist, Charleston County’s elite downtown academic magnet?

An application fee (badum-bum). "

[For background on this irony perpetrated by CCSD, see my previous posts on Buist.]

UPDATE: Tonight on the national news, Buist Academy was profiled. The reporters clearly did not understand the difference between the District 20 constituent school board and CCSD, but we have come to expect these stupidities. too bad they didn't read my blog where I explained the whole, convoluted "selection" process. What really caught my attention was the sound bite with Sallie Ballard, the principal.

Man!!!!! Talk about change of tune. Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. She was all for checking addresses and rooting out those who weren't playing fair, and she claimed to have done so in at least three cases.

Funny, that's not how she sounded last July, when the issue was on the front burner. Check out my post of July 10th, "A Magnet for Millionaires: Buist, Part 2," for her attitude then.

Apparently, national TV can change minds!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sounds Good, but Is That a Train Coming?

School Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson's presentation to the CCSD this week was very serious in its rhetoric regarding progress and/or the lack of it in the district. The facts remain that more than half of the schools in the district are rated below average, and true graduation rates are a joke. If the plan is implemented the way she says it will be, the schools WILL improve. Still, one must wonder after the fiasco with Burke High School and its years-long failure to improve, leading to near-takeover by the state last summer.

Yet improvement may be on a tighter budget than CCSD would wish. As the Superintendent says,
"School finances will be a serious concern because of a new state law that changes the way school districts receive funds, she said. The law ends fiscal autonomy for districts, and while district revenue likely will stay steady, operational costs will continue to rise, she said.

"This means that we will likely have a significant budget shortfall to contend with in the coming months," she said.

In that case, those finances SHOULD BE a "serious concern" right now. Presumably someone at CCSD (Financial Officer Don Kennedy?) is in the process of deciding how the district will cope with a shortfall; yet the Superintendent was purposely vague on this account. Let's hope that vagueness doesn't indicate lack of foresight.

We all hope that light at the end of the tunnel isn't headed into a wreck!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The South: Who Is Related to Whom?

The old saying goes, at least about Southern politics (and South Carolina is certainly no exception!), that you really don't know what's going on unless you know "who is related to whom," that is, what are the strong family connections that help to explain the successful political careers of individuals. Take Paul Thurmond, for example. If his last name wasn't Thurmond, would he have been taken seriously as a candidate, much less have been elected, to the Charleston County Council? Or, should I digress on the Ravenel family's grip on many aspects of South Carolina politics, now including even the CCSD?

Even those voters who did not grow up in the South (and their numbers are becoming legion in the state) can recognize these aspects of the "old boy" network, especially the famous last names, but myriad not-so-visible connections remain that are not well-known to transplants unaccustomed to thinking about family connections or even to those Southerners who do not travel in political circles. Think of them as spiders' webs.

Don't misunderstand me. These connections that grease the wheels of politics are not bad because they exist. I'm sure such webs have always existed and always will. In the days when everyone knew everyone else, such connections were a factor in everyone's vote. Today such is not the case.

So when I saw the Newsless Courier's "Know Your State Lawmakers" section this Sunday, I thought, "Good. Finally some factual information." S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell is profiled along with a brief bio and several questions posed by Yvonne Wenger. My favorite is "What are your political ambitions?" Now, that is a fair question. The problem is that the reporter treats Harrell's more obvious political connections that got him where he is today as though he had none.

What could they be???

Certainly being "Junior" hasn't hurt him anymore than it has hurt Strom Thurmond, Jr., a more famous name. To whit, the Robert Harrell Bridge at I-526 and US17 west of the Ashley named for Harrell, Sr., "Whereas, he has been especially active in transportation matters and [. . .] was instrumental in the development of I-526 known as the Mark Clark Expressway and twice served as a South Carolina Highway Commissioner from the First Congressional District." He is also one of the controversial second-term appointees to SCDOT, whom the courts recently struck down.

Family--just can't do without it.
UPDATE: Sunday, January 28th--the latest profile is of conservative Republican Jim Merrill of Daniel Island. Now, Merrill is from Florida according to his bio, but his wife's maiden name is Gaillard. Now, what are the chances that she is related to the former mayor? Nothing wrong with that; however, it makes my point.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thanks, Jim: I Needed That

Here I was thinking that I wouldn't have any more silly comments to blog about since Inez Tenenbaum left office as State Superintendent of Education.

Silly me.

Having been in office not even a month, Jim Rex has made the following comment to the media:
"The state is 'dangerously close to having a demoralized and compromised teaching force,' partly because public schools are criticized."

Really? Well, first, I'm not really sure what he means by "compromised" here.

The Free Online Dictionary defines the word as "A term applied to classified matter, knowledge of which has, in whole or in part, passed to an unauthorized person or persons, or which has been subject to risk of such passing"

Teachers are "classified matter"? Surely not. Mr. Rex appears to need to check his diction.

That they may be "demoralized" seems more likely; however, teachers do not get that way from "public schools [being] criticized." They get that way from incompetent administrators, non-supportive principals, and non-existent discipline. Mr. Rex apparently still has much to learn, since he mentions none of these demoralizing factors.

So, does Jim Rex think the situation will improve if people stop criticizing the public schools?


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Highways and the High Way

Highways first--

Everyone can sympathize with those who will be inconvenienced by the extension of Hungryneck Boulevard in Mount Pleasant [ in today's paper ], and especially with the older black community that must feel as though a tide of population growth is sweeping them away.

That said, George Freeman simply is incorrect when he says, "If you build a road, people will come. You will accelerate growth in the community." The part of Mount Pleasant he refers to couldn't possibly grow any faster than it already has by the addition of a road. All the road will do is prevent major gridlock in the area. As I said in a previous post in regard to extending I-526, they will build, road or not!

Having lived in other congested parts of the country, I have been impressed with the no-nonsense planning of road improvements on the part of the town of Mount Pleasant. So far the work done has been extremely effective. How can anyone could say that road improvements over the past five or so years have accelerated growth? What these improvements have done is improved the quality of life for those who live in the area or those who must drive through it daily.

To which I say, right on!
Now, as to the High Way--
Check out the op-ed page of the Newsless Courier today for a letter signed by former Episcopal Bishop Allison and the Cathedral's Rev. McKeachie for some good-sense reading on the crisis (I use the word advisedly) occuring in the Anglican Communion--developing even as I type.
I can't say better their following response to previous letters:
"Dozens of Episcopal Church dioceses today, in which biblically faithful Christians are marginalized, manifest this tragic irony. Dozens of Episcopal bishops in such dioceses have willfully forgotten that the original Episcopal consecration vows administered until the late 20th century included explicit assent to the following questions:
"Will you then faithfully exercise yourself in the Holy Scriptures, and call upon God by prayer for the true understanding of the same: so that you may be able by them to teach and exhort with wholesome Doctrine, and to withstand and convince the gainsayers?
"Are you ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God's Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to the same?
"The forgetfulness, indeed total disappearance, of such commitment since the new Episcopal Prayer Book was adopted in 1979 has caused many Episcopalians to seek the cover of overseas Anglican bishops in order to remain faithfully rooted in the Catholic order and Protestant freedom of the Anglican Reformation.
"Kevin Wilson's claim that under Queen Elizabeth "no one agreed on theology" is nothing but another example of forgetfulness and denial. The disagreements in that era were minuscule compared with those of Episcopal bishops today who have turned their backs on the theological content of the very vows they swore at their consecration.
"For her part, Barbara Mann has forgotten, in her claim that we are not a confessional church, the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion as integral to the well-being of Prayer Book Anglicanism and "established" by the bishops, clergy, and laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America in 1801. Her false claim allows her and others like her to accommodate the church to the world, rather than the world to Christ, against which St. Paul strongly warned in his Epistle to the Romans.
And the Episcopal Diocese of Charleston is indeed one of the fastest growing in the Episcopal Church.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Non-Profit Does Not Mean Non-Profitable

Today's Newsless Courier announces that CCSD has signed a contract with The New Teacher Project (TNTP) [ see their website ] to recruit "enough good teachers" for school years 2007-08 and 2008-09. Admirable goal, that.

Who cannot sympathize with Stall High School's principal (and students) as they limp through this school year minus three math teachers? Who cannot help but notice that the schools listed to benefit from this recruiting are the "usual suspects."

Noticing the numbers, however, forces the reader to contemplate this: for every teacher short of 90 each year that is not recruited, TNTP will pay back the district $1500; however, each teacher being successfully recruited (assuming 200 over two years) will cost the district $5500.
DO THE MATH: that's $4000 NOT paid back to the district per recruiting shortfall.

Of course, TNTP is a non-profit. What would be profit is paid out in salaries, expenses, and bonuses. Let's not assume that it is not a money-making venture! And exactly what WAS Nancy McGinley's connection to them? The article says "[she] worked with TNTP in Philadelphia." As an administrator? As an employee of TNTP? As a teacher? Not clear, Diette.

According to the article, "half of the money [that's $550,000 by my count] will come from the district, and officials want to collect the other half from the community." [italics mine] So far the district seems to have collected $40,000 of that other half, meaning another half-a-million dollars will either be raised from the community OR be paid by the district, since the contract was signed before even 10 percent was raised from the community.

Good luck. I hope someone, or several someones, has deep pockets!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dis"tasteful" Architects of the Sixties

Robert Behre's weekly column on Charleston's architure, "Definition of 'Tasteful' Has Changed a Lot in Past 40 Years," was on the mark about some dinosaurs of the sixties but perhaps off-base on why those monstrosities were built in the Holy City in the first place.

I remember when Rodenberg's Supermarket was opened on Rutledge Avenue. My father was actually one of the radio/TV personalities present. However, no one that I knew at the time thought the building was anything but UGLY. Ditto the pink-elephant library building on Marion Square. After the lovely old home that had been Charleston's downtown library, it was an insult to the sense of sight, especially after being accustomed to seeing the old Citadel barracks in its place! As for the L. Mendel Rivers building, words escape me.

All of these memories bring back another that shows monstrosities are not specific to the Low Country. When I got my teaching certificate in New Jersey, I attended classes in a building designed by the School of Architecture at Kean College (now University). It was a college-classroom building, but resembled nothing so much as an inept parking garage. The stairways were particularly gruesome.

To which I say, it's the architects, stupid. Probably Robert Behre knows that too. New ways of building with cement, glass, etc., come along and those with no artistic sensibilities (how did they get to be architects, one wonders) convince their customers to be on the cutting edge into the twenty-first century.

Let's hear the reasons behind these architectural nightmares from those who designed and built them. Behre says that, "Many buildings are popular when they're built." Yes, popular with trendy architects. Were they ever with the public? Those who designed and approved the designs should be forced to DEFEND their choices. Too much to hope, I guess, that they might be named!
Now, that would be newsworthy.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

They Will Build, Road or Not

The Newsless Courier's lead article today on extending I-526 was timely. No one is more in tune than I to the build up of traffic east-bound to Mount Pleasant; however, no one is more sure that extending I-526 to Johns Island is the only viable option.

Read this description from a local real estate agency:

John's Island lies due west of the Charleston peninsula, serving as a "gateway" island for its more famous neighbors, Kiawah and Seabrook. Technically an island because it is surrounded by the Intracoastal Waterway, the Stono River, the Kiawah River and Bohicket Creek, John’s is protected from the ocean by the islands surrounding it.
A patchwork of natural waterways separated by farmland, residential property and commercial development, John's Island has always served as the agricultural heart of the area. In fact, much of the produce that distinguishes the unique flavors of Lowcountry Cuisine is grown on John's Island. Spinach, sweet corn, broccoli, collards, okra, melons, pumpkins, cucumbers, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, asparagus, blueberries and a variety of different lettuces, all make their way to the stove pots in homes and restaurants across the area.
John's Island is the largest tomato producer in the country, with a wide variety of different types of tomatoes suited to the area. Everything from the tried and true old faithful and heirloom varieties to the hot new designer varieties grow well in this Lowcountry climate. And Wadmalaw Sweet Onions, which are also grown on John’s Island, are said to rival Vidalia Onions for their sweetness and distinctive flavor.
In recent years, John's Island has not gone unnoticed by developers. With its diverse natural scenery and long stretches of ancient oaks, the island offers a quiet, country lifestyle in close proximity to the city of Charleston.

Not unnoticed by developers, tourists visiting Kiawah & Seabrook, and, in fact, natives of the Low Country.

I actually can remember Johns Island in the fifties because my mother taught home economics at the high school for a brief time. I remember the disgusting taste of the artesian-well water produced by its water fountains. As part of the curriculum, my mother visited the homes of the girls she taught. They were POOR; learning canning was a way to eat better, not an experiment in living close to nature. Later, when Charleston had too much rain and the tomatoes couldn't be shipped out, we had baskets of fantastic-tasting tomatoes sold by the side of the roads for practically nothing.

That world is gone and has been for a good, long time now. It's not coming back [and many people would say, thank goodness!]. The one that is coming will include very few farms so close to the coast and/or Charleston. Hey--there were pig farms in the New Jersey Meadowlands not sooo long ago--you could practically smell them from Manhattan. They're gone. New Jersey produced vegetables for New York City and Philadelphia. After all, why do you think it's called the Garden State? Now it's one of the most densely populated states in America. Not too many farms left, either.

Those who don't want to have I-526 extended--what is your alternative? There must be one, unless, of course, you look forward to sitting in gridlocked traffic as there is now on I-26 and Ashley Phosphate.

Not building roads is NOT an option; it's merely wishful thinking.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Time for Resolution

How long, oh Lord, how long must we dilly-dally with the heresies of the governing body of the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.)?
Those faithful who read Adam Parker's story in today's Newsless Courier regarding postponement of Mark Lawrence's consecration as bishop
must agree that it is time for action on the part of traditional Christians caught in the web of will they--or won't they--vote to accept Mark Lawrence as the duly elected Bishop of South Carolina. Bishops selected AFTER Lawrence have already been consecrated.
It's obvious that the national organization is playing cat-and-mouse games. Why should we play by the rules of those who acknowledge no faith in the divinity of Jesus or the Virgin Birth?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Too Good! Can't Resist Posting

Not that I don't support Bush, but . . . can't resist posting this cartoon picked up from littlegreenfootballs.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Somalia--Under the Radar ;)

Back into the isolation booth: (see yesterday's post for an explanation)

Why, you ask (ok, so maybe you didn't ask, so I will) isn't the media providing blanket coverage of U.S. military actions in Somalia? NOT IMPORTANT??? Give me a break. No,

The correct answer IS: because the media don't have
ANY PICTURES. [This one is a file photo.]

What does that say about media coverage of world events?

That's ok. Maybe we'll be finished before reporters manage to tip off the terrorists.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The $64,000 Question

[For those of you still in diapers, that is the name of a quiz show from the fifties.]

However, it's also idiomatic for a question with a very difficult answer.

Into the isolation booth:

If two smokers light up in a bar after the Charleston City Council's ordinance against smoking in public places receives the final green light, and one is smoking a cigarette and the other is smoking a joint, which one will get arrested first?
Follow-up--if both are arrested, which one will get the tougher penalty?

What say you?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Real Rock and Roll--980 am

The signal is weak. The morning drive DJ leaves something to be desired in polish, but the music is real.
Not that revolving playlist ad nauseum from Clear Channel, but the real rock from the late 50s, 60s, and early 70s.
When was the last time you heard the Isley Brothers' version of "Shout" on the radio???
If you appreciate REAL rock, try this one--980 on your am dial.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Writing about Schism

Congrats to Adam Parker, who at least attempted to be even-handed in ferreting out the facts in his articles in today's Faith and Values section in regard to events looming in the Episcopal church and Anglican Communion. See

Saturday, January 06, 2007

CPT Revisited, or Is It CFT?

Revisiting my post of October 18th, during the heat of the Charleston County School Board battle--I've been trying to substantiate the claim by a College of Charleston professor that Langston Hughes used the term. He did. Well, kinda sorta.

In The Ways of White Folks, a selection of Hughes's short stories published in the early 1930s, he suggests that no one is surprised when a black musician's performance doesn't start on time because everyone (white and black) is accustomed to "colored folks' time." So there it is.

It does strike me that all Southerners, with few exceptions, tend to be five minutes late (or more). Any Yankee who's moved here has noticed that tendency. Maybe CPT (or Hughes's CFT) should be known as ST--Southern time! All I know is that I have racked my brain to dredge up any other time in my life when someone used this acronym in either my reading or my hearing! Just didn't happen.
By the way, the stories are excellent. Hughes had a great gift for satire.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Building Bridges

Reading the comments on my last post about the Don "Halt," I was reminded of my better half's example of good transportation planning. When the George Washington Bridge was built over the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York, its designers actually planned for future development! I quote from Wikipedia:

"As originally built, the bridge [in 1931] offered six lanes of traffic, but in 1946, two additional lanes were provided on what is now the upper level. A second, lower deck, which had been anticipated in Ammann's original plans, was added, opening to the public [in 1962]. This lower level was waggishly nicknamed "Martha" by some. The additional deck increased the capacity of the bridge by 75 percent, making the George Washington Bridge the world's only 14-lane suspension bridge, providing eight lanes on the upper level and six on the lower deck."

When the Don Holt was built, I wonder if anyone thought that traffic during the next 20 years might increase to the point that more lanes were needed? Why was no provision made for adding lanes? If a bunch of Yankees can figure out in 1931 (actually, in 1926) that the GW Bridge might need more lanes for cars in the future, why not here in the 1980s when the Don Holt was designed? It's been open for a mere 14 years. Perhaps planning for future traffic is more expensive in the moment, but how much more will be spent because no one looked to the future?
The first image says it all--that's a penny (for wise) and a pound (for foolish).

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Time for Critical Thinking--The Don Halt and Oak Terrace Preserve

Still puzzling over the lack of a halt on the Don Holt this am--maybe rubberneckers stayed home because it was raining?

On the subject of critical thinking, has anyone else noticed that articles in the Your Lowcountry section lack it? Could this lack be a policy of the Newsless Courier? Apart from being frustrated by lack of news from the West Ashley area where I grew up because I live in the "special to readers in North Charleston and Berkeley County" area, it does strike me that this weekly section of the paper presents entirely POSITIVE news / features on whatever appears. Consult Jasiri Whipper's feature called "Waste Not: Old Lumber Mulch for New Homes" that appeared in today's paper [not to be found on line, I'm afraid]. It touted the recycling of materials from the old houses demolished in the Century Oaks neighborhood in North Charleston where the Noisette Company is developing Oak Terrace Preserve.

It's admirable that recycling takes place, but isn't there some backstory to this phenomenon? What Art Titus, Noisette's VP, isn't going to bring up to the reporter? Namely, all of the controversy surrounding the selection of Noisette by the North Charleston City Council and the years of financial questions?

Yes, Noisette was selected [without a bidding process] on the basis of its expertise [limited at best] in using "green" methods of development. If it were not using them at this point, THAT WOULD be a story! Surely with a little digging the reporter could have found this out.

"Noisette Fulfills Promise to Build 'Green.'"

Given how many promises by Noisette have NOT been fulfilled, that should have been the focus--finally, good news!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Don Halt Redux

Vacation's over. We need only experience the Don Halt Bridge at 7:35 am to know. Today's complete "halt on the Holt" was the result of a stalled car in the left eastbound lane and a disabled car just over the bridge in the right-hand lane.

I repeat myself: I-526 has reached capacity. The slightest anomaly sends it into gridlock, east or west-bound. We know this. We know growth continues. Are we going to wait until it mirrors Ashley Frustrate and I-26 before we even DISCUSS widening or building another highway to take the pressure off?
Yes, I know the picture is of a California traffic jam. That's what the Don Halt will look like next year.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

How Much per Hour to Die?

W & C Construction Inc. of Ladson and its president, Larry Wilkins, have arrived at the top of the INFAMY list this morning. They are the one company mentioned by name in an article about child labor regulation in South Carolina. This unlucky and invidious firm hired the brother of another of its illegal workers, and the brother turned out to be 16. How do we know? He died at the construction site. We all know that area construction sites and lawn services rely heavily on illegal aliens for workers, but WHY?

Here's the situation. Sixteen-year-old illegal Guatamalans will work for less money than even 21-year-old Mexicans. And all illegals will work for less money than Americans. Which is why I want to shout at the television set when a politician states that "illegals take jobs that Americans won't do"--yes, won't do at that price!!

How many decades, and how many dedicated workers, did it take to arrive at a workplace that is safe and non-exploitative for American laborers? Why do we have a minimum wage? Why do eight-year-olds no longer work in mills?

The use of illegal aliens of any age negates those laws in one fell swoop. How can illegals complain about illegal and unsafe working conditions? Whom do they go to if the employer is not paying the minimum wage or shorts them in their paychecks?

Josue Daniel Martinez Castillo was not the only illegal alien to die working in construction last year; he represents the tip of the iceberg. What about those injured on the job? Forget Workmen's Comp for them!

And the employer makes out like a bandit--which he is! And now so many illegals work for so many companies that a firm cannot successfully bid on a contract unless it employs cheap illegals like every other firm. So it goes in Beaufort County we know. I'd love to see the Newsless Courier investigate THAT issue in the Charleston County bid process!

Now for the cold, hard facts.
  • Because Martinez Castillo was too young to be working on a roof, the child labor violation cost his employer $11,000.
  • OSHA lists three other underage fatalities in SC since 2003, all Hispanic [and all illegal, I would bet].
  • The employer was also fined $302 for "faulty recordkeeping." [You would assume the small amount represents just one faulty record--but you would be wrong. Six workers had no records; 11 of the remaining 18 employees' were incomplete--pitiful! A pitiful effort and a pitiful fine.]
  • The company didn't even know the teenager's correct name until his father showed up with his birth certificate.
  • Another $2,375 fine was levied on the company for "safety violations" after the boy's death.

Unanswered questions:

  • What was Martinez Castillo's rate of pay?
  • Did his family receive any compensation other than picking up his body? [I bet not!]
  • Is his cousin still working at W & C Construction?
  • How much did the company save on labor costs on that job site by using illegals?
  • Who is following up on the company to see that it walks the straight and narrow in the future?

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

What about posting every day whether the Newsless Courier has anything of interest or not?

BTW, does anyone besides me occasionally chuckle remembering the hoopla over Y-2K?

Maybe we should all keep that fizzle in mind as the media present us with the dire consequences of whatever-we-are-doing in the world!