Your Virtual Front Page, Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Just a quick overview:

  1. House GOP Won’t Block Bill to End Shutdown (WSJ) — That’s big of them. So, after all their “we’re going to bring the world down around our own heads to make a point” theatrics, they end up with a handful of nothin’, as Dragline would say. As the WSJ also says, “Cruz Comes Up Empty-Handed.” And the NYT says, “At 11th Hour, G.O.P. Blinks in Standoff.” The WashPost says, “Measure leaves Obamacare almost completely untouched.”
  2. City, sheriff, USC police, solicitor meet to discuss Five Points ( — I don’t know what all is coming out of this meeting, but this is the biggest story going locally.
  3. Reps. Kirkman Finlay, Leon Howard call for bond reform for violent crimes ( — Related to above.
  4. Lott apologizes for deputy who abused female Fort Jackson soldier ( — Sheriff says “I wish I could strangle him.” Here’s the video of the incident.
  5. Hagel apologizes to Medal of Honor recipient (WashPost) — For the failure to provide air and artillery support when Capt. Swenson and his buddies needed it.
  6. Afghans Fend Off Taliban Threat in Pivotal Year (NYT) — Security forces rising to challenge, U.S. officials say.

82 thoughts on “Your Virtual Front Page, Wednesday, October 16, 2013

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    I hope that they are considering how emergency vehicles will get through when they close the Five Points streets….

  2. Pat

    #5 Actually, Hagel apologized for losing the nomination packet, didn’t he? And the Capt. thought he was being overlooked because he publicly criticized his superiors for failing to provide air support. Hagel blamed personnel turnover for the packet not being processed in 2009.

  3. bud

    1. The “concessions” made by the Dems are unbelievably tiny compared to the chaos the GOP made over the ACA. And they were probably things the Dems would have supported in any event. Shameful the way the Tea Party jerked the entire country around like this. I hope the voters remember this. But I have my doubts.

    1. Silence

      @ bud – I’ll pardon your gloating over the “republicans” selling the American people out, and I’m not saying that O’bamacare was where they should have made their stand, but I’d like you or any of the other big government fans to answer one question:

      How much debt is too much debt? Harvard University just released a study putting the federal debt at $123,000 per employed American, or $53,000 per American. That’s going to be a tough amount to handle over the long haul. If you add in state and local debt, the number is much higher still. So, how much debt is too much?

    1. Mark Stewart

      Nice to know that even after pushing the entire US economy to the brink, all of SC’s republican Congressmen, and on junior Senator, would still vote for no deal.

      Thankfully, they will have even less influence in three months when Congress will have the opportunity to once again avoid doing what should never have been done in the first place.

      “Doing what your constituents want” is, at times (like this), nothing short of a total abdication of leadership.

      1. Doug Ross

        @Mark – so if the economy goes south in the next year, will you hold the Tea Party responsible? If health care costs rise significantly as a result of Obamacare, will you hold the Tea Party responsible?

          1. Doug Ross

            Does the U.S. government today run under the principles held by the members of the South Carolina delegation? If not, then are they accountable for the economic results in the country over the course of the next year? If unemployment rises, will it be due to the Tea Party? If health care costs jump next year as a result of Obamacare, will it be due to the Tea Party.

            Are we in the Obama economy yet or are we still in the Bush economy?

          2. Mark Stewart

            If they vote like petulant children in January I will hold these knuckleheads accountable – again.

            A significant reason why the economy has had difficulty recovering is because of these ill considered cliff edge postering stunts the GOP has favored since 2008.

            These grandstanding exercises in futility have been a huge drag on businesses – many, many times more significant than the ACA ever will be. You know the math, compounding compounds the significance of missed opportunities for growth way out into the future. What happened to the GOP being the party of sensible long-range planning? The Tea Party has capitalized on fear, but has proven to have no abiliity to provide leadership. This ugly brew on the right is bad for the country in every way. Even municipal unions hold no candle to the reactionaries ability to retard economic progress.

  4. Karen McLeod

    Close off the sidewalks, and leave people having to go longer distances (and into darker areas) to get to their cars? How thoughtful.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      not mention blocking emergency vehicles from assisting the decent law-abiding folk who live nearby….

  5. Doug Ross

    The country is now in the hands of Democrats. They own it. Can’t blame the Tea Party any more. We have the government that Democrats and the phony Republicans want. Let;’s see how it works out over the next two years.

    1. Michael Rodgers

      I blame the Tea Party for the shutdown and the resulting damage to people, loss of scientific research, and threat to our credit rating. Conservative columnist Ross Douthat has an excellent analysis at his blog on the New York Times.
      The country has been in the hands of the Democrats since 2008. The 232-200 Republican majority in the House should wield loyal opposition influence, but the Tea Party 32 should not imagine that they can take over the government, throw out the ACA, and implement Mitt Romney’s economic agenda, at least, not while President Obama is in charge.

        1. Michael Rodgers

          I said they wanted to implement his plan, not that he wanted to join forces with them. I do apologize, though. I should have included a reference. Here it is.

          1. Michael Rodgers

            Ha ha Mark, yes right. They wanted to implement Romney’s economic agenda but throw out the ACA, aka ObamaCare, which is yes really RomneyCare gone national.

      1. Doug Ross

        Please.. the shutdown was for two weeks… and it only impacted a small segment of the government. Democrats had the opportunity to fund portions of the government but decided instead to play politics and attempt to make it as painful as possible.

        We have the government the Democrats want. They own it.

          1. Mark Stewart

            Silence and Doug, the shutdown will cost local governnments (taxpayers) and businesses billions and billions of dollars in lost productivity. Don’t say these impacts won’t be noticable just because they didn’t appear to impact you personally. The shutdown will have impacts that will linger well into the new year.

          2. Doug Ross

            How, Mark? They are paying back furloughed workers any lost salary. Where are the billions?

            Can you provide examples of where those billions will be lost?

          3. Doug Ross

            Mark – 20% of the federal government was shutdown for 4% of the year. Do the math. It’s a minor blip with limited consequences. The stock market barely even registered the “catastrophe”.

          4. T.J.

            I was on a presentation at work that placed the shutdown costing roughly 0.5% of GDP growth for the fourth quarter of this year. So, if we had posted a 3% GDP growth, we are not looking at 2.5%. FYI, this was a very reliable economist for a top 5 Bank. The damage to the larger economic picture is pretty big. I think it is ignorant to claim otherwise.

          5. Doug Ross

            And I read an analysis by Standard & Poors that said whatever drop occurred in Q4 will show up for the most part in Q1 of next year. The spending is just shifted by two weeks. Big deal.

            The stock market doesn’t seem to care.

          6. Brad Warthen Post author

            T.J., that reminds me of a presentation I heard from an economist with a bank last year at Rotary. I meant to write about it at the time, but I don’t think I ever did.

            Of course, I can’t recall all the figures now, but he made the point that the thing that was holding back U.S. growth and keeping us from recovering more rapidly from the Great Recession was the cuts in government spending.

            He talked about the healthy growth we were having in the private sector, but then explained how our overall economic growth was being pulled down by the cutbacks in the public sector….

            My point being, this was not coming from some wild-eyed lefty, but from a guy whose bread is buttered by the private sector…

          7. Doug Ross

            You want to invest in the private sector? Fine. Stop sending money to foreign countries and cut back on the wasteful wars. The money is there to invest in the U.S.

            But if you just want to increase deficits and the debt, no dice.

        1. Silence Doggy Dogg

          A 4-6 officers on horseback instead of in cars could have a huge effect on 5 points. They’d have a fantastic vantagepoint above the crowd. They’d also be strikingly visible to criminals and law abiding citizens. They’d be very mobile, and could easily move to any potential disturbance. They’d be tough to outrun. Mounted patrols command respect.

          I remember the end of Mardi Gras in New Orleans when the mounted patrol cleared the street. When it was time, a wall of cops on horses walked down the street and the crowd just vanished.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          You know what else I hate? When you type, “I hate it when that happens,” and you go looking for a video clip of Billy Crystal doing that routine so you can link to it, and you can’t find one.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            You know what I hate even more? When you type, “I hate it when that happens,” and you go looking for a video clip of Billy Crystal doing that routine so you can link to it, and DO find one (or think you do), and you get a blank video frame that says “We don’t like it when this happens, either….”

            I am not making this up.

      1. Mark Stewart

        Yes, horse patrols are good; where there are regular crowds. I’m not sure Columbia really qualifies, however. Based on need anyway…

        On the other hand, having trained police dogs on foot patrol in Five Points sounds like good idea. As an owner of a menacing looking dog, I can tell you that the elements one would most like to impact are exactly the people who appear most impacted by the dog’s presence.

        1. Doug Ross

          Sounds like Five Points is well on its way to becoming a mini-Bourbon Street. Lots of drunken activity in a small area with sketchy neighborhoods just a block or two away.

          I’m starting to believe the conspiracy theory posted on Fitsnews that the city and USC really don’t care about improving the situation in FIve Points. They want all the activity to shift down to Main Street and the Vista instead what with all the new student apartments going up in Dorm-ovista. If you can’t beat the gangs, just move to the other side of town.

          Five Points is old and busted. The Vista is the new hotness.

          1. Mark Stewart

            Wouldn’t want to be un PC when dealing with gangs and punks, would he?

            Some part of policing is intimidation. K9’s riding in airconditioned, tinted patrol cars are 99.98% underutilized.

            Go with what works.

      2. Bryan Caskey

        Mounted units are great in crowd management situations and they make an impression. They’re a good “force multiplier”. I would guess that one mounted officer is the same as 5-6 officers on foot.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          The issue with K-9s is that they are not friendly and could be a safety issue in the tight quarters. The fear is that innocent people would try to pet them and get bitten.

        2. Silence Doggy Dogg

          Agreed. You know what else is a good force multiplier? Air power!

          Imagine if you will, the 5-Points entertainment district being patrolled by AH-64 Apache Longbow helicopters in the air, supported by The Richland County Sheriff Department’s M113 “Peacemaker” Armored Personnel Carrier and a mounted cavalry patrol on the ground.

          In case things get out of hand, we could have several B-52 Stratofortresses loitering in the area every Friday and Saturday night to really take care of business.

  6. Doug Ross

    Now we find out how Mitch McConnell was able to close the deal. He got a nice fat $3 billion dollar dam project for Kentucky tacked onto the bill… Poker’s an easy game when you’re playing with house money. Hopefully that sealed his fate to be replaced in the next election. I guess he figured his best shot was to bring home the pork to the people.

    Democrats now are responsible for the following: unemployment, inflation, the debt, the deficit, and health care costs. Let’s check back a year from now to see how they did.

          1. Doug Ross

            Including a payment of $174,000 to the widow of Senator Frank Lautenburg who died this summer?

            “Frank Lautenberg died in June at age 89. He was named one of the 50 richest members of Congress by Roll Call in 2012, with a net worth of $56.8 million at the time. He purchased a $1.8 million condo at the West End Ritz-Carlton in Washington in 2003.”

            This would be a special payment made as part of a “tradition” that Congress has implemented to the widows of Congressmen. The payment is on top of the insurance payout she would receive from the Federal Employee Group Life Insurance.

            I’ll never understand how they can tack on all these little paybacks onto a big bill just to slide them through. $174,000 represents all the taxes I have paid to the Federal government over the past 7-8 years. Glad to see a millionaire’s wife get it.

      1. Doug Ross

        I’m sure if Obama requested it, it was part of a backroom deal forged by McConnell. He can throw around billions of dollars of other people’s money as a bargaining chip.

    1. Doug Ross

      Glad to see law enforcement cracking down on serious crimes like having a marijuana blunt. Must mean all the guns and gangs are under control.

      Who was this woman harming by possessing marijuana? Can’t we just stop trying to regulate what people do with their own bodies?

      1. Silence

        Here’s an idea, Doug. How about adults, especially adults in influential positions, start acting like role models instead of idiots.

        The above statement can be applied to any of the following:
        Elected Officials (Congress this week)
        Law Enforcement (RCSD former deputy)
        Athletes (take your pick)
        Celebrities (even local ones like Ms. Hardy)
        Parents (yup, them too)
        Professionals (pebble in shoe)
        Executives (them too)

        1. Doug Ross

          There’s only one group on that list that needs to act like role models: Parents

          If parents do their job, their kids should be able to discern whether the behavior of all the others is acceptable or not and make the appropriate choices.

          For me, if a 50+ year old woman who has a TV show watched by maybe a couple hundred people wants to smoke a doobie, she’s not harming anyone. She certainly doesn’t need to be branded a criminal… particularly when the arresting officers likely engage in “legal” alcohol induced stress relief themselves.

          1. Silence

            Everyone needs to do their job and act like adults. Unfortunately, we are all in this together so we need to put on our “big boy pants”.

          2. Silence

            Doug “Doggie Dogg” Ross – Marijuana is an integral part of the whole “gangsta” culture that’s behind the rash of violence in 5-points and elsewhere.

            Yeah, decriminalize it, you will say. I know…

          3. Doug Ross

            And what is alcohol but the basis for all sorts of violent behavior, drunk driving, and domestic abuse.

            I’d be happier if the thugs were spending more time smokin’ dope than hanging out on the streets causing problems.

            Making it legal takes away a lot of the criminal activity associated with it.

          4. Silence

            Ms. Hardy has put herself out there as a community leader and role model. She even has her own “OnPoint! Leadership Institute For Girls”. The enrollees do 4 full days of training in leadership, public speaking, goal setting, decision-making, social graces/etiquette, ethics, and financial management.

            I wonder if smoking fat blunts falls into the “leadership” category or the “decision-making” category. Maybe they are teaching people not to “Bogart” the blunt, which would fall under the social graces/etiquitte lessons.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Cynthia! Wow, I had missed that item. She’s about the last person I know likely to be a stoner. A very together lady, always on top of things and attending to business. That just doesn’t sound right…

      1. Heywood

        Maybe she was set up by the CPD. They’ve been rumored to plant things, and not things that need to be watered.

      2. Silence

        Goin’ to the fair, smokin’ endo, sippin’ on gin and juice,
        laid back, with my mind on my money and my money on my mind…

      3. Phillip

        Having some marijuana on your person or in your home doesn’t make you more of a “stoner” than having a bottle of wine in your house makes you a “wino.” Plenty of people…millions…smoke marijuana occasionally and remain “on top of things, attending to business.” I could have told her, next time, carry a pack of cigarettes and slip the joint in there like it’s another cigarette.

        1. Silence

          Plenty of people start out smoking marijuana occassionally and turned into total burnouts too… moved on to harder drugs, that sort of thing.

        2. Silence Doggy Dogg

          Later on that day, my homey Cynthia H. came through with a gang of Tanqueray
          and a fat *ss J of some bubonic chronic that made me choke —- this ain’t no joke

          I had to back up off of it and sit my cup down Tanqueray and chronic, yeah, I’m effed up now
          but there ain’t no stoppin’, I’m still poppin’ Cynthia got some women from the city of Cola

        3. Kathryn Fenner

          I think carrying, say, a hip flask on your person to the fair bespeaks of a less than healthy relationship with intoxicants….

  7. Leon

    I have never heard of Cynthia Hardy until today. As for those millions of people who smoke marijuana occasionally, where do they get it? I don’t want it but, if I did, I would have no idea where I would purchase it. There are probably more than a few unsavory characters out there who sell it and I am sure I would not want to make any kind of transaction with them.

  8. Doug Ross

    Many adults are getting the marijuana (the good stuff) shipped to them from states that have decriminalized it. Or they just get it from any number of people growing and selling it in the state. You could probably get a dime bag in 10 minutes at any high school.

    I’ve never taken a puff (unlike Bill Clinton) but spent my freshman year with a roommate who smoked it morning, noon, and night. His first words to me when I met him were “Is it okay if I get high?” He was an honors engineering student and a great guy. It’s not as harmful as abusing alcohol in my opinion.

    1. Silence

      Doug I’m not an attorney but, if people are shipping weed through the mail, or by UPS across state lines, I am fairly certain that they are violating at least one federal law…

      I am also fairly certain that if you (or I) went to “any high school” and started asking the students where we could score some weed, we’d probably find ourselves with a free ride to Alvin S. Glenn within “10 minutes”.

      Not saying that it’s not available there, just that you and I would look pretty suspicious hanging around a bunch of kids and trying to buy drugs….we would need disguises.

      1. Doug Ross

        If you want pot, you can get pot. Very easily.

        The number of people busted for pot is probably a very small percentage of those who partake in it.. Funny how we don’t hear about rampant marijuana induced car accidents, domestic violence, etc.
        According to this LA Times article,

        Drug use also rose among adults ages 50 to 64, the study found. The surge was especially strong among Americans in their late 50s, whose rates of illicit drug use grew from 1.9% up to 6.6% between 2002 and 2012. Researchers believe the increase is largely because baby boomers, who were more likely to use drugs than earlier generations, are aging into that group.

        1. Silence

          So basically the same A-hole baby boomers who have been causing problems since their youthful hippie-dippie days are still causing problems. A generation lost in space…

          Which is consistent with my experience. I don’t think that any of my similarly aged professional friends use illegal drugs, but I know several 50 & 60 somethings who do.

          1. Doug Ross

            None of my friends (early 50’s) use it either. Or I should say they don’t say they use it.

            But, seriously, Silence… do you really think pot smoking is more of a problem than alcohol abuse? It’s not a “gateway” drug. There’s no reefer madness going on.

            I say legalize it and tax it.

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