She was there for us when we needed her

And, boy, did we need her.

I don’t typically define myself as a South Carolinian, not having been born or raised here. But this past year, I found it difficult not to.

Every South Carolinian will admit that 2015 was a horrible year. We were in the international spotlight way too many times last year for all the wrong reasons.

First we were horrified by the racially-motivated massacre at Mother Emanuel AME South CarolinaChurch in Charleston. Our grief was nearly as deep as that of the victims’ family members and were deeply ashamed that one of our own could cause us such heartache. In July, we cringed as racial tension erupted again when what amounted to an in-state war over an outdated flag was fought in front of the media’s cameras. In the end, South Carolina entered 21st century when the Confederate flag FINALLY came down from the S.C. State House grounds, where it never should have been flying. And then we had to suffer through endless video broadcasts of two tragic and allegedly racially-related shootings of possibly innocent people by law enforcement..

Then in October it rained. And rained. And rained. None of us ever experienced a flood like that and likely never will again, thank God. Nearly six months later and we’re still in the recovery stage.

Probably the only person to come out a winner in all this is our governor, Nikki Haley. And kudos to her. Time Magazine listed her as one the “100 Most Influential People” for her leadership during these days (among other reasons, I’m sure). If you don’t have a copy you can read Sen. Lindsey Graham’s tribute to her here.

Gov. Haley had a rough first term – so rough that one wonders how she got re-elected. She battled allegations of extra marital affairs, was accused of numerous ethical violations, clashed with her Republican colleagues, and showed poor judgment on numerous occasions – all while trying to improve the state’s 10.8% unemployment rate during the devastating economic crisis that began in 2008.

Most of the contention has quieted down and the rumors of personal and ethical indiscretions have all but evaporated. She’s matured, learned a few lessons, and done a lot right during her second term (including putting Donald Trump in his place with some well-timed Southern charm).

But most importantly, she won our hearts during thGovernor Nikki Haleye distressing events of 2015 when she responded to each one with compassion, intelligence and determination. We were proud to have her represent South Carolina’s sorrow and humiliation with such dignity.

I’ve never been a huge Haley fan and often criticize her policies. Nevertheless, I appreciate her leading us with such grace and empathy during our worst days. We needed that.

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The Bad Boys of South Carolina

But not the kind we gals like

First, the good news. South Carolina’s governor finally saw fit last January to put together a domestic violence task force. That group met this week and heard the personal testimonies of several domestic violence survivors. I sure hope they listened and will make realistic recommendations to Gov. Haley. Recommendations that will actually be implemented. I’m a vociforous advocate for stronger laws (or in some cases any laws!) to protect victims and help reduce the rate of domestic violence in this state. My post “What I Really Hate About South Carolina,” which caused quite a stir in August, 2014, and Domestic Violseveral follow-up posts are still being viewed, shared and reposted, thankyouverymuch. Obviously, I’m pleased that the subject of domestic violence in South Carolina is finally getting the attention it deserves.

I’m cautiously optimistic that the powers that be are actually dealing with the fact that South Carolina has the highest rate in the nation of women murdered by men.

Now for the bad news.

Former Lexington County Sheriff James Metts got a slap on the wrist for Sheriff James Mettscorruption and accepting bribes. This is just the latest in a long list of many South Carolina law enforcement officers who find orange jumpsuits flattering. Metts is the eighth sheriff in South Carolina to be charged or investigated in the last four years. The list of South Carolina police officers and deputies fired, indicted and/or investigated in connection with criminal cases is longer than my arm.

In Metts’ case, I fault the voters who have elected and repeatedly re-elected him as their top law enforcement officer since 1972. Why would anyone continue to vote the same person into office for 40 years knowing the risk of corruption? My guess is ignorance, complacency and personal favors are the biggest factors.

One thing that I think would make an improvement in both these areas is more women being involved in South Carolina politics. Our good ol’ boy culture and the lack of participation by women are at the root of many of South Carolina’s problems. Did you know that South Carolina has NEVER been represented in the U.S. Senate by a woman? Women’s voices in politics and presence in law enforcement, on any level, would make a huge difference in our communities. Not every woman can or should run for office. But we can support those who do and encourage those who should. Attend your school board meetings. Be a campaign volunteer for a female candidate for county council, state legislature, or Congress. Encourage a female deputy to run for sheriff.

Better yet, don’t vote for the male candidates who have been in office for decades (can you say Strom Thurmond?). Look for a woman candidate who is in favor of term limits and vote for her! We won’t rid this state of it’s Neanderthal mentality towards women until we put women in positions of authority where they can represent and protect our daughters, mothers and sisters.

Opposed to running unoppsed

Jenny, this is all your fault!

I’m licking my chops, salivating, and rubbing my hands together in anticipation. My brother just sent me the link to Gail Collins’ September 17 article in the New York Times, “Sex is the Least of It.”  Yup, yet another op-ed about Mark Sanford. The journalistic equivalent of Häagen-Dazs ice cream. I’m posting this BEFORE I read the article because I’ll be too wound up when I’m done to do anything but sputter and spit. The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker also wrote a piece on Sanford’s foibles yesterday.

Sanford Walking

Keep walking. And don’t come back!

I blame Jenny Sanford for our communal state of shame every time her ex opens his mouth. By not backing up his story about being on the Appalachian Trail  in 2009, she washed her hands of him, inflicting him and his trail of endless tears on us. I’m sure the only winner here is his Argentinian ex-soulmate, Maria Belen Chapur. All I have to say to her is, “De nada!”

Hey, all you South Carolina voters in District 1 – yeah, that’s you Charleston, Hilton Head, Summerville and points beyond – get with the program, please. Isn’t there anyone down you can find to represent you on Capitol Hill (and in the press) besides this dope? Is there a District 1 citizen reading this who will run? Please?

A man speaks up!

Literally!

champagne-toastI won’t pretend that South Carolina  House Speaker Bobby Harrell’s announcement was in response to my recent blog post about our state’s shameful domestic violence statistics. I believe the Post and Courier deserves that credit. Cheers!

Let’s hope the committee Harrell sets up will actually accomplish something… and include an abundance of women. businesswoman-wearing-heelsBetter yet, let’s all contact him and make that suggestion!

I confess my curiosity: Is Harrell actually concerned about reducing domestic violence or using the platform to rehab his own questionable reputation? Tsk tsk to me, but what would a post from yours truly be without a little snark?

To end on a more positive note than that, I’d like to thank everyone who shared my blog post on social media and took the time to contact me with their opinions and comments – positive and negative. I read and responded to all of them. The response has been terrific. Let’s keep up the good work bringing awareness to the need for change in the laws and culture regarding domestic violence in South Carolina.

Earth-shattering news in South Carolina

Earth_shatteringStuff that leaves us shaking our heads

We experienced an earthquake a few weeks ago here in South Carolina that registered 4.1 on the Richter scale. It made the national news. However, that’s nothing compared to recent rumblings and shake-ups in the state that have been felt all the way in Florida and Texas.

Columbia’s copout, cop in, copout (ad infinitum)

Columbia can boast having had the most police chiefs in one decade. We’ve had eight in eight years. Liz Taylor and Mickey Rooney were each married eight times (not to each other), but it took them decades to accomplish that feat.

I don’t have the time, energy, or desire to go into the details of each chief firing or resignation (or even remember them all). The schemes and scams in American Hustle  pale in comparison to the shenanigans preceding this week’s resignation. This video below gives a pretty good synopsis.

Revolving Door Full Screen 1

Image: wach.com

A nationwide search commenced a few weeks ago for a permanent replacement to head the department. What moron would even consider applying for a job with a revolving door for an office?  The apparent front runner is from West Virginia (insert snarky laughter here). All this is taking place in a county that boasts a super bad-ass sheriff who would fumigate the rat-infested Columbia Police Department in five minutes flat, but our city manager (who carries baggage of her own) won’t hear of it.

“It is the Mission of the Columbia Police Department to professionally protect and serve with virtue…”  (insert eye roll here)

Just vote no… to everything!

Just as entertaining is the corruption in our Richland County Elections and Voter Registration Office. The shady hiring and firing, allegations of fraud and general incompetence in that office have all but stripped Columbia voters of one of their fundamental rights.

As if things aren’t tragic enough

South Carolina’s civic leaders only make the local news. The citizens of South Carolina make national news. It’s heartbreaking to hear that a mom from Cross, S.C. tried to drown her children by driving her van into the ocean. And it’s embarrassing that a drunk from Orangeburg, S.C. plowed into a crowd at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.

Don’t be surprised if we learn that someone from South Carolina is responsible for that missing Malaysian aircraft.

Columbia: gem or diamond in the rough?

We’re still celebrating the city of Columbia being named the fifth best place to live Fall_skyline_of_Columbia_SC_from_Arsenal_Hillby Kiplinger only to be informed it’s a city infested with gangs. Of course, this shouldn’t be news to anyone who lives in Columbia or the surrounding communities. This summer has seen a drastic rise in violent crime, most attributed to gang activity.

I bring this up because I’ve been posting about the Columbia Police Department lately. The CPD made my “Bad Things About Columbia” list, along with the fact that we have a part-time mayor (who has less authority than the city manager and the city council). In a recent WIS-TV video and you’ll hear Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott (who, along with his department, made my “Good Things About Columbia” list) hint at the real problem with CPD. He does so in an oh-so-politically-correct way, of course.

I wonder if Lott ionlyyoucanprevents relieved the city council voted against him managing the CPD with its endless scandals and turnover in chiefs. Lott knows he answers to the citizens of Richland County. Unfortunately, either the members of the city council don’t realize they answer to the citizens of Columbia or the citizens of Columbia don’t realize city council answers to them. Until everyone figures it out and decides to do something about it, the ineffective, corrupt CPD will continue as-is. And it’s likely the gangs will, too.

I’m wondering about Wandering

I’m going to miss him. At least I hope it’s a him, because I’m in love. I’m not a huge fan of Twitter, but I met my soul mate there. And I know he loves me, too. Allow me to introduce you to Wandering Mark.

wandering markWandering Mark @StopSanford

 Famous hiker. Winner of 37 ethics violations. So sorry about my mistress that I’m marrying her. Promised to serve only three terms and now running for a fourth. Appalachian Trail

Wandering Mark has an excellent sense of humor sarcasm and I adore a witty man. If he happens to wear a uniform, all the better. I’m wondering is if he’ll continue to tweet me sweet nothings now that his favorite topic of discussion is firmly ensconced as S.C. District 1’s new congressman, thanks to his bewildering rabid herd of lemmings supporters.  How long will I have to wait to hear his chirpings in my Twitterfeed? Dare I hold out hope that the object of his scorn will continue to provide fodder for his missives? Wandering Mark, tweepheart, don’t abandon me.

Yours forever,

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