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At a corner in Selma, Ala., near the National Park Service's Selma Interpretative Center.  The youths on the trip can be seen in the background.

BRACK: Teaching more about civil rights era will bring us together

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  A teenager almost started to cry Jan. 14 as she read a passage from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”  Her white peers, normally boisterous, were markedly subdued as they witnessed stark museum displays of what life was like for black Southerners during civil rights struggles.

One thing was clear for more than two dozen Charleston youths on a church trip to learn about the South’s special kind of past apartheid:  They had no real understanding about what it was like to live in the Jim Crow South of 60 years ago.  They didn’t learn it from textbooks and lessons in school.  They had no real concept of the flashes of vitriol, hate and anger that rocked many Southern communities as they wrestled with civil rights and big cultural changes following World War II.

by · 01/22/2018 · 0 comments · Andy Brack, Views
FOCUS: How Martin Luther King can inspire your career

FOCUS: How Martin Luther King can inspire your career

By Ben Fanning, contributing editor  |  Did you know that Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was originally titled, “Normalcy, Never Again.”?  In fact, the first drafts of his speech never included the phrase “I have a dream”?

Turns out the entire “I have a dream” part of the speech was improvised.  That’s right…improvised in front of 200,000 people when a supporter yelled out:  “Tell them about the dream, Martin!”

He was inspired in that moment and just shared with them what he’d be dreaming about for his generation and generations yet to come.  It was a beautiful demonstration of how powerful a dream can be.

by · 01/16/2018 · 0 comments · Careers, Focus, Views
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering a speech.

BRACK:  How South Carolina influenced King

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  With the Martin Luther King holiday still fresh in our minds, it’s a good time to look at how South Carolina influenced King – and how he influenced the Palmetto State.

Many people don’t realize South Carolina provided sanctuary for King and his supporters.  He used Penn Center on St. Helena Island as a retreat to think and compose.  While state officials in many parts of the South interfered with King, his South Carolina base for reflection helped usher in the civil rights movement.

by · 01/16/2018 · 0 comments · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK:  Cartoonist Ariail loves doodling, drawing about S.C. politics

BRACK:  Cartoonist Ariail loves doodling, drawing about S.C. politics

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  Award-winning South Carolina political cartoonist Robert Ariail has been having a jolly old time lampooning politicians for more than three decades.

As state legislators prepare to get back into the policy swing of things next week, we thought you might enjoy learning more about Ariail’s craft of illustrating an editorial comment, often with a little humor added for good measure.

Q:  Describe what makes a good political cartoon?

ARIAIL:  I think a good political cartoon should be topical and easily understood while imparting a valid message or opinion using good drawing style and, when possible, humor.

by · 01/08/2018 · 0 comments · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK:  Preserve, conserve S.C.’s beauty by getting involved

BRACK:  Preserve, conserve S.C.’s beauty by getting involved

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  The beauty and majesty of South Carolina’s natural assets from the mountains to the sea are a part of what makes the state great.  But unless people, including state legislators, take ongoing steps to keep what makes South Carolina special, then we risk losing what we’ve got.

To ensure the state’s natural attractions remain viable, you should get involved at local and state levels to conserve and preserve what’s makes South Carolina great.

Locally, you can pay attention to what’s happening in city and county council proceedings to check development and to make sure local governments abide by smart growth strategies.  You can write letters to the editor, attend meetings, run for office when you see a wrong or just speak up when talking with friends and neighbors.

by · 01/01/2018 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK:  #FakeNews is a fake phenomenon

BRACK:  #FakeNews is a fake phenomenon

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   There is no such thing as #FakeNews.

There is, however, a cynical, national political strategy called #FakeNews.  It is a continuing attempt by President Trump and his cronies to promote public disbelief in information that these politicos don’t like or that makes them look bad.

The whole “#FakeNews” phenomenon is nothing more than a public relations ultra-spin to kill the messenger AND the message.

Before you shout #FakeNews or #RealNews, please realize neither exists.  Either something is news or it is not.  That which is not news either doesn’t measure up as something that’s new, factual and interesting.  Or it is something titillating that is simply made up, a fiction.

The job of a reporter is to provide new information based on facts (hence, “news”) with which you might not be familiar so you can keep informed.  Facts are bits of verifiable information.  For example, Clemson will play in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.  That’s a verifiable fact.  But it’s also a fact that a Clemson coach hopes the team will win.  Sure, that’s an opinion of the coach, but it’s a fact that it is his opinion. 

by · 12/18/2017 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
September flooding in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island.  (Photo by SCDOT)

COMMON GOOD: Flood risk assessment to force major change in local, state borrowing

By Fred Palm, special to Charleston Currents   |  A major transition just began in public finance now that two bond rating agencies, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, the say they will add the risk of flooding to  flood risk to financial risk when they evaluate the total risk.  The addition is expected to have a major impact on associated bond interest rates that state and local governments will pay to borrow up front for their major building programs.

Why the change? The rating agencies are concerned lenders can lose all their investments should flooding impacts become extreme. To date, only financial risk was measured. This new metric can be expected to impact the state and local public finance decisions of lenders and borrowers.

When capital investment decision-makers start assessing longer-term risk, the risk inherent in the overall flood adaption plans themselves becomes a consideration of how effective a flood plan will be in addressing the potential flooding conditions —  not just the risk of failing to make the coupon payment associated with a project or general obligation bond.

by · 12/18/2017 · Comments are Disabled · Common Good
BRACK: State should provide flexibility with local tourism taxes

BRACK: State should provide flexibility with local tourism taxes

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   South Carolina’s legislators need to provide more flexibility to city and county governments in how they can use some of the tax money they collect as the state works to take away more of their revenue.

For years, local governments have received state subsidies to comply with requirements that cities and counties provide some state-mandated services, such as maintaining ditches along state roads or providing offices for courts and some agencies.  By law, the state is supposed to pay 4.5 percent of the previous year’s general fund to help counties with the cost of these required state services.  But since 2010, the state has been shorting local governments with the gap now at just under $100 million a year.

by · 12/11/2017 · 1 comment · Andy Brack, Views
Pamela Evette, flanked by Gov. Henry McMaster.  Source:  McMaster campaign video.

BRACK:  Time will tell if governor’s running mate gamble pays off

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  Gov. Henry McMaster made a strategic political decision this week.  Whether it’s good or bad remains to be seen, but it certainly surprised the establishment in Columbia.

McMaster announced a political neophyte, Ohio native Pamela Evette – a Travelers Rest business executive who moved to South Carolina in 2005 – would be his running mate in next year’s gubernatorial race.

That is, if he wins the GOP party nomination.  Three other political animals – Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant of Anderson, former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill of Kingstree and former agency head Catherine Templeton of Mount Pleasant (who also has never held elected office) – want to be the Republican standard bearer at the top of the 2018 ticket.

by · 12/04/2017 · 1 comment · Andy Brack, Views
Fanning in Berlin.

FOCUS: 3 life lessons from trip to Berlin

By Ben Fanning, contributing columnist  |  I recently returned from a trip to Berlin, Germany, and learned several life lessons you can apply to your next trip. 

ONE:  You can do a lot in the freezing rain

We visited Berlin during the off-season to take advantage of the low rates for airfare and hotels.  Also, many of the sites were less crowded than usual.  Of course, this meant we faced freezing rain and wind every day, but we came prepared with heavy jackets and multiple layers.

I had an old band director who repeatedly said, “never wait on rain;” While freezing rain in Berlin might be a deterrent to some, it didn’t slow us down one bit. 

by · 11/27/2017 · Comments are Disabled · Careers, Focus, Good news