Sunday, October 9, 2011

The occupation is coming to Columbia

The Occupy Wall Street protests against corporate greed have moved into their fourth week in New York City, and demonstrations have begun in dozens of cities as the 99% movement spreads across the country. On October 15, Columbia will join that list when a group of protesters takes up residence outside the South Carolina State House in solidarity with the protesters in Zuccotti Park.

About 75 people showed up to Occupy Columbia's organizational meeting at Finlay Park on Sunday, a crowd so large that speakers had to use the "human microphone" technique to make their voices heard. The group democratically agreed to begin occupying the State House on Saturday morning as part of a worldwide Occupy Together demonstration, and to continue the occupation as long as Columbia Police allow them to stay.

Monday, August 22, 2011

USC fraternities protest crackdown (or, "We Shall Brovercome")

After "widespread" underage drinking and other alcohol-related issues plagued the University of South Carolina's fraternity rush week early this semester, USC officials shut down the bid process in order to maintain some appearance of authority over the Greek community. Fraternity oversight has always been a joke at USC (hell, last time it took overt displays of racism to warrant any kind of action), but the university's crackdown is the biggest effort to control the den of debauchery known as the Greek Village since I've been in Columbia.

“This is a cultural issue that has infected our community,” said Director of Student Services Anna Edwards, apparently referring to alcohol (though her statement could arguably also apply to the fraternities themselves).

Unsurprisingly, the bros flipped out. Fraternity leaders responded by calling USC's Office of Greek Life "inefficient, ineffective and in violation of university law," and demanded an audit of the office. It's enough to make Fox News proud, and the self-aggrandizing language asking university officials to "tone down their use of aggressive tactics and join us in a period of reflection" only added to this comedy of conceit.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No, Wall Street Journal, News of the World is nothing like Wikileaks

As Rupert Murdoch scrambles to contain the phone-hacking/police bribery/government corruption scandal which threatens his entire British media empire, News Corp's US operations are desperately trying to prevent the crisis from staining their American brands as badly as it has in the UK. So far, the prevailing strategy of Murdoch organizations like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal has been to obfuscate the issue until the average viewer either doesn't understand the extent of the criminal activity in the News Corp empire, or simply decides it's too complicated to care about.

While Fox went the more ostentatious route of associating News of the World with a group of hacking victims while discussing the story, the Wall Street Journal simply chose to compare the now-defunct tabloid to another news organization caught up in a hacking-related scandal: Wikileaks. On Tuesday, WSJ foreign affairs editor Bret Stephens claimed News of the World and Wikileaks are "largely the same story."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tennessee bans scary dogs from state capitol

Rest easy, America. Tennessee legislators are taking time away from their busy schedule of criminalizing Sharia law, promoting creationism and banning use of the word "gay" in public schools so they can focus on issues that matter.

Namely, they're tackling the grave problem of creepy dogs outside the state capitol.

Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, is apparently so afraid of dogs that the mere sight of one walking "back and forth" sends her into a state of apoplectic terror. “My blood pressure shot up, and that was just a normal reaction to fear," she said on Monday. "If someone had approached you with a gun, you would have experienced the same thing.”

The difference, of course, is that while Tennessee lawmakers are doing everything they can to let people carry guns in state-run facilities such as universities, Favors' horrifying ordeal led to an immediate bipartisan ban on animals in the legislative plaza. Who says ideological opponents can't work together?

Meanwhile, the current unemployment rate in Tennessee is 9.5%. So while people in the Volunteer State still can't find a job, at least they have peace of mind knowing their representatives are protecting them from scary Muslims, scary evolutionists, scary gays, and now scary dogs.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Darla Moore's brilliant response to Haley's snub

When Gov. Nikki Haley unceremoniously dumped Darla Moore from the USC Board of Trustees and replaced the philanthropic businesswoman with a little-known donor to Haley's gubernatorial campaign, many denounced the governor's actions as a petty move motivated wholly by politics. After all, Moore has given $70 million to USC over the past 15 years, and helped transform USC's business school into a world-renowned institution. Moore's replacement, Thomas Cofield, is a small-time attorney whose appointment one high-profile member of the South Carolina legal community called a "joke."

Moore's rumored support for Democratic gubernatorial candidates only lends credence to the widely-shared opinion that Haley replaced Moore in order to remove an ideological rival from a position of power. Haley said she replaced Moore simply because she wanted a "fresh set of eyes" on the board, but the overtly political move certainly walks and quacks like a duck.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Will Roger Ailes be indicted this week? Doubt it.

Fox News President Roger Ailes may be indicted as soon as Monday for allegedly telling employees to lie to federal investigators, according to a financial commentator who claims to have inside knowledge of the situation.

On Thursday, the New York Times reported that Ailes in 2006 told publisher Judith Regan, who then worked for Fox's parent company, News Corporation, to lie to investigators about a public official with whom she had had an affair.
Ms. Regan had once been involved in an affair with [Bernard] Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner whose mentor and supporter, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, was in the nascent stages of a presidential campaign. The News Corporation executive, whom she did not name, wanted to protect Mr. Giuliani and conceal the affair, she said.

Now, court documents filed in a lawsuit make clear whom Ms. Regan was accusing of urging her to lie: Roger E. Ailes, the powerful chairman of Fox News and a longtime friend of Mr. Giuliani. What is more, the documents say that Ms. Regan taped the telephone call from Mr. Ailes in which Mr. Ailes ... "discussed with Regan her responses to questions regarding her personal relationship with Kerik."