Wednesday, February 4, 2009

An Obama Shirt Incident in Sumter, SC Reveals a Bigger Problem

For the record, I'm an Independent who voted for Chuck Baldwin, the Constitutional Party nominee for President this past election, so I was neither on the Obama or McCain 2008 election bandwagon. However, when I read the following articles by Jordan Sandler on, even I was disturbed about what happened at a Sumter, SC school a few weeks ago:

Principal forbids 5th to wear Obama shirt to school

Superintendent defends principal in Obama shirt controversy

The quick version of the articles is that a Sumter County, SC teacher advised a student not to wear a Barack Obama shirt to school prior to Inauguration Day for fear that the student would be harassed and for the "welfare" of the student.

I'm sorry, but such an explanation just does not "wash" or "fly" with me. A better Southern colloquialism would be "That dog won't hunt!"

First of all, exactly what should the student or for that matter the teacher be worry about? What has happened at that Sumter, SC school for a teacher to even think of doing such a thing? Exactly whom should the student be fearful of ridicule from? The other students? The principal? The community? Sumter SC Republicans? Please!

I find this kind of action by any school immature, appalling, and asinine at best. You mean to tell me, that a student can wear a "Satan Rules" or "Jesus Loves" or "McCain/Palin" shirt in Sumter County District Two schools with not such much as a faculty or staff member passing gas over it, but a student who is excited about an Presidential inauguration that will be taught in American History classes for years to come because Barack Obama is the first US President who is non-white CAN'T WEAR A SHIRT WITH HIS FACE ON IT UNTIL HE IS SWORN INTO OFFICE?


The fact that a teacher has the time for this nonsense instead of teaching students in a public school in a state that is consistently ranked toward the bottom in the nation in education lets me know that there is a bigger problem.

Would you like to guess what the problem is? Here are some clues:

The Daytona 500 is called "The Great American (blank)"

The 1982 number-one single by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder was "(Blank) and (Blank)"

Sumter County District Two's problem is as clear as (blank) and (blank).

It's amazing to me that people say that South Carolina has an image problem. Really?... I wonder why? Maybe it's because South Carolina has a (blank) problem. You think?


Monday, January 26, 2009

The New York Times Did Not Do Columbia, SC a Favor - Just Ask Mayor Bob Coble.

Here's my point:

Your job is to market the city of Columbia, SC, the capital city of South Carolina. You wake up one December morning, just a few days before Christmas to read one of your favorite newspapers, The New York Times. You turn to the business section and you read the following:

Reeling South Carolina City Is a Snapshot of Economic Woes

Merry Christmas! The New York Times just "dissed" your city BIG TIME!

I understand the premise of the article. I really do. Peter S. Goodman wanted New York Times readers to understand America's economic dilemma, not in concepts or theories, but in terms of real cities and real people. BUT MR. GOODMAN, DID YOU HAVE TO PICK COLUMBIA, SC? MY HOMETOWN? MY BIRTHPLACE?

The Goodman article de facto just told millions of Americans looking for jobs, "Hey, if you want a job, DON'T COME TO COLUMBIA! DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! HEY, FORGET ABOUT IT!"

To be fair, Mr. Goodman tried to give hope to my hometown city regarding the agenda of President Obama. But I believe the die has long since been cast.

So how do you market Columbia now? What do you tell job seekers outside the city or outside businesses looking to relocate? "Hey come to Columbia; We're friendly, we have no jobs, but we have fried chicken and a Confederate battle flag on the corner of Main and Gervais. You can't miss it, just look for the State House. Y'all come over ya hear?"

Have fun with this one Mayor Bob Coble, it's a doozy!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Three Numbers Define the Presidency of George W. Bush

"Bush Issues Order Preventing Strike by Airline Union"

"Bush, in Reversal, Won't Seek Cut In Emissions of Carbon Dioxide"

"Bush and Health Care Companies Promise Medicare Drug Discounts"

Don’t these headlines bring back memories? I mean, I can remember exactly where I was when President George W. Bush and then Russian President Vladimir Putin held that famous and eye-riveting news conference in Genoa, Italy for the G-8 Summit, standing side-by-side talking about the Kyoto Protocol and finding “common ground”

Yes, I remember those moments as if they were yesterday….

SAY WHAT! EXCUSE ME? …In the words of former college coach and television football analyst Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend!”

WHY DON’T WE REMEMBER? Are you kidding? WHY?

You know why. Everyone age 7 and older that day knows why. It’s the same reason an earlier generation has and always will remember DECEMBER 7, 1941 …for the rest of their lives. We know why.

Remember when the numbers 9/11 only stood for an emergency phone number; when “ground zero” only meant the exact locations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki where the two atomic bombs detonated; when only those in the Pentagon knew what “homeland security” meant; when folks could say goodbye to someone taking a airline flight AT THE GATE WINDOW?

September 11, 2001 changed everything, everyone, and everywhere. The world changed and so did America, along with a United States President in just his ninth month in office. That fateful day just after 9 am, the Presidency of George Bush missed the exit going to “the usual” and go on the expressway to “Oh my God!” One morning President Bush is reading a children’s book to second-graders in a Florida classroom and by the evening the President is addressing a stunned nation …in morning, fear, anger, and disbelief.

Like Lincoln with Fort Sumter, Wilson’s second term with the Zimmermann Telegram, FDR with Pearl Harbor, and LBJ to a certain degree with the Gulf of Tonkin, September 11th rerouted “the best laid plans” of President George Bush. Like presidents before him, America will never know how Bush’s presidency would have gone without 9/11. Hypothetically, if we could put any US President in history (Washington, Jefferson, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton) in Bush’s place that day, how would their presidency have gone in the following years?

The following January at a press conference in Ontario, California, President Bush referred those 12 hours of history as “an interesting day.” It certainly was…and a bag of chips.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Congratulations J.P. Hayes!

For those who follow golf or have a passing interest, J.P. Hayes made a difficult decision to disqualify himself in a qualifying tournament to earn his PGA Tour card.  His deontological sense of duty to the sport of Golf and his conscience, I believe is quite admirable and valuable in society today.  This Kantian ethic I feel is somewhat lacking among many, but to the few this investment will return big dividends.

Well done J.P. !

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cutting the Interest Rate in England Won't Work

The Bank of England (BOE) took the unusual step of cutting it's interest rate by 1.5% (150 basis points) to 3.0%. The measure sent many in the European financial world into a coma since the BOE's normal modus operandi is to be conservative and reactive when making changes to its interest rates. I do have one question for the "Old Lady of Threadneedle Street". Haven't we seen this economic strategy before? Do the words "Federal Reserve" mean anything you? No, well how about "Bernanke" or "Greenspan". What have you been doing the past two years, watching the tele?

Martin Weale from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research comments on the BOE cutting its lending rate:

I understand that the BOE is trying to be proactive in reversing the downturn in the UK economy, but slashing interest rates will lead the British markets into the same complications that plaques the US - which is overextended or undocumented mortgages. Considering that European Central Bank cut its lending rate a half of a percentage point to 3.25% and the Swiss National Bank cut its target band to 1.5% - 2.5% range the BOE should "slow its roll" just a little bit.

The International Monetary Fund revised its earlier growth forecast projecting the economies of the United States, Europe and Japan will contract 0.3% in 2009. Considering the actions of the BOE this week, no wonder IMF changed its mind.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tommy Bowden: Close Only Counts in Horseshoes

I was not at all surprised when I heard the news that Tommy Bowden resigned as the football for Clemson University. Other than the announcement during the middle of the 2008 season, I believe many were sad about the situation, but not shocked. I am proud to be a Clemson man and I make no bones about it. As an alumnus of Clemson (Class of 1987) and a supporter of Clemson Athletics, I have followed Clemson football since the days of Steve Fuller, Jerry Butler, and Dwight Clark in 1978, through the moments of NCAA National Championship quarterback Homer Jordan, to William and Michael Dean Perry, through Mike Eppley, Rodney Williams, Charlie Whitehurst, to the current 2008 edition. I believe Tommy Bowden’s departure has as much to do with the past 30 years of Clemson football as it does with this disappointing 2008 season for the Tigers. My reasons are the following:

Reason #1 – Clemson, once king of the hill in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), has now entered the abyss of FBS (formally Division I-A) football.

Clemson has won the ACC title 13 times in its history, the most titles of any school in the ACC. However, Clemson’s last ACC title came under coach Ken Hatfield in 1991, a year that signaled that a new sheriff was coming to town; Sheriff Robert (Bobby) Cleckler Bowden. Starting in 1992, Bobby Bowden’s high-powered, pro-style offense either won or shared the ACC title 12 or the next 14 years, including 11 straight victories ending in 2003. Although Tommy won three of the last four meetings against his father, Tiger fans have just now started to feel better about playing the Seminoles. By the way, I sat with my brother Clarence in a wet and cold Death Valley to unfortunately witness in 1988 Florida State rips Clemson fans hearts out with the infamous “puntrooski.” Since the ACC started divisional play in the 2004-2005 season, Clemson has yet to win the ACC Atlantic Division to play for the ACC Championship with the winner going to a BCS bowl game.

Reason #2 – The Bowl Championship Series raised the stakes for winning at Clemson.

A seven or eight-win season decades ago kept a coach employed at a BCS football program until retirement, not anymore. With a 12-game schedule, the Clemson football community considers three or more losses in a year unacceptable.

Reason #3 – Clemson’s national championship in 1981 has put too much pressure on Clemson teams during the following years.

There is a unwritten hope at Clemson, that one year Clemson will regain the form that led Danny Ford to coach that national championship team. It is a hope I believe that has hurt Clemson football more that it has helped. After 1981, Clemson went on probation and never has played at that level since then. Clemson, it is time to appreciate the 1981 team, but no longer compare future teams by the 1981 performance.
Perhaps the most significant reason for Tommy Bowden’s departure is

Reason #4 – The hiring of Tommy Bowden in 1999 produced expectations from the Clemson football family that ultimately Coach Bowden could not meet.

Prior to 1999, Tommy Bowden coached Tulane to a 13-0 season capped with a Liberty Bowl victory. Clemson fans were ecstatic at Bowden’s hiring. They felt that at last Clemson would have the fast-paced offense that would make Clemson consistently a top ten-football program that could compete with such teams as Oklahoma, Ohio State, LSU, Southern Cal, and Florida. The Clemson Athletic Department under the leadership of Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips made substantial capital investments in its facilities including an addition to the West end zone at Clemson Memorial Stadium as well as giving Tommy Bowden a contract extension. Prior to the extension, there were reports that Tommy Bowden strongly considered leaving Clemson to become the head football coach at Arkansas.

Under Tommy Bowden, Clemson had good years, but not the great years that Clemson fans were hungry for some time. Clemson developed a reputation as a program that started out the gates fast, but stumbled at the finish. During the last five years, rumors of Bowden’s head on the chopping block were a common occurrence. Only a long awaited win against Florida State in 2003 prolonged Tommy Bowden’s tour of duty. The wheels began to fall off in 2007 after a nationally televised win against Florida State, which I believe, gave the Clemson football players a false sense of confidence. After a 4-0 start, Clemson suffered difficult losses to Virginia Tech and Boston College and ended the season with a loss to Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Bowl to finish with a 9-4 record.

Clemson fans viewed the 2008 season as the season with no excuses. Writers predicted Clemson to win the conference having a very favorable schedule without the Tigers playing Miami and Virginia Tech. The Tigers #9 preseason ranking indicated that Clemson would regain the ACC crown and play in its first BCS bowl game. However, after an embarrassing season opening loss to Alabama viewed by a national audience, Clemson won just three of its first seven games, with only one win against an unranked BCS team under Bowden (North Carolina State). With signs of disunity with Bowden’s coaching staff and with the players, the Clemson program collapsed with an emotionally and mentally exhausted Tommy Bowden to tell Terry Don Phillips “No Mas.” Tommy had enough and wanted to get on the fun wheel before Phillips pushed him off.

Looking back, perhaps the theme to Tommy Bowden’s tenure was the 1994 hit by Naked Eyes “Promises, Promises.”