An expedition to bring back the remaining gold from a steamship that sank in 1857 off South Carolina in one of the nation’s worst maritime disasters has recovered almost 1,000 ounces of gold - the first gold recovered from the wreck in almost a quarter century.
The S.S. Central America was bringing gold back from the California when it sank in a hurricane. In addition to 425 lives lost, thousands of pounds of gold went to the bottom aboard the 280-foot, side-wheel steamship.
About $50 million was recovered during expeditions to the wreck in the late 1980s and early 1990s before legal disputes shut down the operation.
Odyssey Marine Exploration of Tampa, Florida, announced Monday that almost 1,000 ounces of the gold was recovered during a reconnaissance dive last month.
Despite all of the progress made so far on LGBT rights, on Tuesday, Louisiana voted to uphold the state’s anti-sodomy law, 67-27, despite it being ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, in their landmark 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision.
In its decision, the court ruled that laws prohibiting sodomy seek “to control a personal relationship that, whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of persons to choose without being punished as criminals.”
Unless you live in Louisiana?
In fact, in addition to Louisiana and Texas, Idaho, Utah, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas and Oklahoma have all maintained their own anti-sodomy laws, despite their direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision. In three of these states — Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas — such anti-sodomy laws pertain exclusively to “homosexual conduct.”
The Louisiana bill in question, HB12, proposed to amend “crime against nature…” and was introduced in January by State House Representative Patricia Smith (D-Baton Rouge). Although it seems painfully obvious that there is no reason on Earth to maintain such a law, Smith’s proposed bill was a direct response to the targeted arrests of gay men in her district who were profiled and lured by undercover police to agree to consensual sex. At least 12 men have been arrested in this “sodomy sting” since 2011, despite the fact that prosecutors refused to bring charges in every single case.
A proposed South Carolina state budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes nearly $70,000 in funding cuts for two public colleges that assigned books addressing gay and lesbian themes. State Representative Garry Smith (R) originally advocated the measure that would take away $52,000 from the College of Charleston and $17,142 from the University of South Carolina Upstate. The House passed its full $24 billion budget with a 115-2 preliminary vote Tuesday and approved it for the Senate on Wednesday.
For its first-year summer reading program, the College of Charleston assigned Fun Home, an illustrated memoir that documents the writer’s experience coming to terms with her sexuality in small-town Pennsylvania. A 2006 piece in The New York Times Book Review described author Alison Bechdel’s memoir as “a story about a daughter trying to understand her father through the common and unspoken bond of their homosexuality.” Bechdel’s father, a closeted gay man, dies in a car accident after his daughter comes out to him.
Students at South Carolina Upstate read Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, a collection of stories about the state’s first gay and lesbian radio show. A summary on the university’s first-year program page recalls an enthusiastic opening segment on the station: “For far too long, talk radio airwaves have been dominated by the people who talk about us. Starting this fall, we speak for ourselves!”
Governor Nikki Haley (R) did not offer a specific comment on the book bans: “We haven’t looked at all the details of the budget yet,” she told The State. “I don’t want to get into the details of what the House did because, once the Senate gets it, sometimes they change that.”
Police officer and political novice Dave Feliciano, who is contesting the Republican primary to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), said on the steps of the South Carolina state House Thursday that Graham is “ambiguously gay.”
The State reports that Feliciano made the comment as he participated in a news conference announcing that four of Graham’s challengers will support whomever ends up in a run-off with the senator, if Graham does not garner 50 percent of the primary vote.
“It’s about time that South Carolina [says] hey, ‘We’re tired of the ambiguously gay senator from South Carolina,’” Feliciano said. “‘We’re ready for a new leader to merge the Republican Party. We’re done with this.’ This is what it’s about, all of us coming together and saying, one way or the other, one of us is going to be on that ballot in November.”
Last year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner began with a very special introduction from one of the few members of Congress most Americans could identify by sight: Francis Underwood, the ladder-climbing sociopath played by Kevin Spacey in Netflix’s House of Cards. “You know my motto, Ed,” said Spacey to Fox News’s Ed Henry, then-president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. “You scratch my back, I won’t lacerate yours.”
A short video that played after Spacey spoke exemplified a rare bipartisan convergence to get something done. Alongside a number of other politicians and journalists, John McCain, Mike Bloomberg, Valerie Jarrett and Steny Hoyer were shown in conversation with Underwood, the Democratic congressman from South Carolina who, when we last left him at the conclusion of the series’ first season, was the House majority whip. “I may lie, cheat and intimidate to get what I want, but at least I get the job done,” Underwood said at the video’s end. “So I hope some of you were taking notes.”
Right on cue, the room united in uproarious laughter. We’ve seen something similar these past few days, ever since the second season debuted on Netflix on Friday. But the across-the-aisle affection for the nefarious—even criminal—exploits at the center of the show raise a question: Why has Washington, D.C., been so enthusiastic about the grim, cynical funhouse version of itself that appears in House of Cards?
The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee approved most of the state’s new science standards on Monday but blocked a clause featuring the phrase “natural selection.” According to Republican state Sen. Mike Fair, “To teach that natural selection is the answer to origins is wrong.”
“I don’t have a problem with teaching theories. I don’t think it should be taught as fact,” Fair said after Monday’s review, according to the Post and Courier. “Natural selection is a direct reference to Darwinism. And the implication of Darwinism is that it is start to finish.”
The clause in question, from page 78 of the South Carolina Academic Standards and Performance Indicators for Science, reads as follows:
Conceptual Understanding: Biological evolution occurs primarily when natural selection acts on the genetic variation in a population and changes the distribution of traits in that population over multiple generations.
Performance Indicators: Students who can demonstrate this understanding can:
Analyze and interpret data, using the principles of natural selection, to make predictions about the long term biological changes that occur within two populations of the same species that become geographically isolated from one another.
The state’s board of education approved the “natural selection” clause after squashing an effort to include intelligent design as an alternative theory to evolution. On Monday, the oversight committee passed all other measures in the state’s new K-12 science standards, but it referred the evolution provision back to a subcommittee for review. Both the state board and the oversight committee must agree on the new standards before they can be adopted and implemented by the education department by the fall of 2014.
State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais noted South Carolina’s long-running debate over the issue, arguing “both sides” should be presented to students.
There is only one solution: Ban motor vehicles in Tea Party infested regions. They like the 17th century so much, they can go back to horses and buggies or tramp through the horse droppings in their western boots (which were, after all, designed for the purpose). They could have the option of bicycles, but probably consider them a gay/communist/European plot.
Once upon a time, I thought Haitians were the worst drivers in the world. Then, on January 1, 2003, I moved to Columbia, South Carolina, and immediately came to respect the controlled chaos of Tap-Tap drivers careening about Port-au-Prince like a flash mob of alkali metals with electrons to burn.
I had never seen anything like the smash-up derby drivers of the Palmetto State.
The winter of 2003, an ice storm befell the South Carolina capital. (As a Minnesotan by birth, I use the term ‘winter’ only in its strictest seasonal sense.) A not-terribly-funny thing happened: when semaphores went out across the city, drivers everywhere categorically rejected the “rule of the road” that states a disabled stoplight is transformed into a four-way stop sign.
To my stupefaction, drivers flew through intersection after intersection at the normal speed limit, somehow oblivious to the following critical thought: “If Driver X were to approach this intersection simultaneously from a perpendicular direction as Driver Y, an emergency room visit would surely ensue.”
There are some amazing statistics and graphs at the link. I labeled this humor but such a correlation does seem to exist.
The Civil War began in South Carolina, as we are reminded by the Confederate marching son the Bonnie Blue Flag:
First gallant South Carolina nobly made the stand
Then came Alabama and took her by the hand
Next, quickly Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida
All raised on high the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.
The song’s writer got the order wrong after South Carolina, which seceded December 20, 1860 and was followed by Mississippi, but that did nothing to detract from the song’s popularity. Southerners were able to get behind the spirit of the thing and accuracy could get behind poetry for the sake of promoting southern rights, just as today it is our fact-based world which must step aside.
As the song’s chorus says,
For Southern rights, hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.
Southern rights are still marching in South Carolina a century and a half later where tea party senator Lee Bright preaches, “If the Tenth Amendment won’t protect the Second, we might have to use the Second to protect the Tenth.” He has also wisecracked, “If at first you don’t secede, try again.” The bill he filed for South Carolina to study the adoption of its own currency would be only the beginning.
According to Bright, Obama wants to be king, and and confusing the Bible for the Constitution, Bright says there is “No king but Jesus.” Apparently, being legally - and constitutionally - elected president against the wishes of the political minority is not only an affront to God but illegal in some bizarre fashion. The fact that Obama was elected twice has driven the last coherent thought from their brains.
As I have pointed out here before, there are more than two amendments in the Bill of Rights and there is more to the Constitution than these two amendments, not that you would know it from Republican discourse on the subject. The fact that you don’t like how things turned out doesn’t mean you get to throw the system out. Bright’s histrionic “I want peace. Listen, peace is sweet, but it’s not so sweet for the chains of slavery,” is a cry for anarchy.
Honestly this guy doesn’t sound too “bright”
Yesterday, we took a look at South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s top-polling Tea Party primary challenger, state Sen. Lee Bright, who thinks the income tax is something out of Nazi Germany and is concerned about women with nice nails and pocketbooks getting food assistance.
It turns out that Bright doesn’t just want to eliminate a host of core federal programs…he’s also itching to refight the Civil War.
In a series of speeches to Republican and Tea Party gatherings this year, Bright has riled up crowds with the states-rights rallying cry, “If the Tenth Amendment won’t protect the Second, we might have to use the Second to protect the Tenth.”
Bright is a proponent of nullification, the unconstitutional idea that states can “nullify” federal laws that they don’t like. This year, he sponsored a bill in the state senate to nullify the Affordable Care Act.
Also make sure you watch all three videos they have posted there of this lunatic at the rally.
Get your face on TV and write a book: Check. Start meeting the big money people: Check. Visit Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina - Israel, too: Check.
Deny any of this has to do with running for president: Check.
For politicians planning or tempted to run for the presidency in 2016, the to-do list is formidable. What’s striking is how methodically most of them are plowing through it while they pretend nothing of the sort is going on.
Somehow, it has been decreed that politicians who fancy themselves presidential timber must wear a veil concealing the nakedness of their ambition. They must let the contours show through, however - more and more over time - while hoping everyone doesn’t tire of the tease.