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The Columbia Star
Columbia, South Carolina
March 27, 2009     The Columbia Star
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March 27, 2009

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THE COLUMBIA STAR S C MARCH 27. 2009 -- 5 the Mike Maddock My son is only six-years-old, so he's far too young to be pigeon- holed into some predes- tined career path. Still, even at such a young age, he is presenting clues that say he could be president of the United States or he could be the next Bernard Madoff. Neither of which is par- ticularly pleasing due to the particular skill set my son exhibits on a fre- quent basis. I would not call my son a cheat. That's much too harsh and quite unfair to label a kid with that moniker. However, the little guy isn't afraid to change the rules of a game midstream to his advantage. He's naturally competitive and likes to win like everyone else, but I guess I haven't done a very good job explain- ing that it's better to win fair and square than just to win. The prime example is a game my son and his two sisters play when I'm driving them around town. If one of my kids spots a red Volkswagen Beetle, then he or she screams, "Punchbuggy Red!" If it's blue, then "Punchbuggy Blue" and so on. The one that spots the most ptmchbuggies by the end of the day wins. My son got tired of losing and started calling our punchbuggies tele- pathically or at least that's how my daughters and I explained it, because despite the fact no one ever heard him call out punchbuggy, he vehemently (sometimes to the point of tears) insisted he did. Another example is the lock the doors game. He always asked me to lock the doors of the car when we are leaving home. This got annoying for me because while I was trying to make sure I didn't dump my cup of water in my lap or back over various toys in the driveway, he asked me constantly to do some- thing with a free hand l just didn't have. So I started trying to lock the doors before he asked, and it turned into a com- petition. When I started beating him regularly, he changed the rules. The first change was the game was to be played only on the way to school. Then came only on Mondays or Wednesdays or any other day I forgot, and he could win. He also changes the rules of H.O.R.S.E. If he can't make the shot, ther~ that shot is not allowed. So far we've ruled out lay ups, shots behind the backboard, and anything involving a swish. And that's not all. He starts races down the stairs when he's already halfway down, and I'm standing at the top. He claims never to have been involved in any race where he's los- ing, unless, of course, his victim falls for it, slows down, and allows him to pass. He claims bath- room emergencies to get out of wrestling holds. He "accidentally" bumps the checkers board when he senses defeat. He announces proudly that he is the winner in a game I had no idea I was playing in the first place. "I win the sitting on my hands prize!" He's either brilliant or slightly deranged, which makes him an excellent candidate for Washington or Wall Street either way. t weave a Mike Cox The Executive branch of the Federal gov- ernment has done what SC governor Mark Sanford was hoping they'd do -- send him a letter stating it's illegal to spend stimulus money on South Carolina's debt. With state and local governments forming committees and making plans to spend the windfall coming their way, every- one knew Sanford wouldn't stop the flow. They also knew he didn't really want to. Several governors around the country are claiming they might refuse the stimulus money from Washington. All have three things in common. Each one is a Republican, each has future national politi- cal plans, and each one resides in a state that will override any attempt to keep the money from being accepted. Everyone goes home happy. That state gets stim- ulus money, the legislature gets to show how much courage it has by bucking the govemor, and the future candidate has some spiffy footage for 2012 campaign commercials. But no one should be surprised we are seeing money and politics so intertwined. It has been that way for a long time. Every time a politician ear- marks funds for a pet proj- ect back home or gets a bridge, walkway, or build- ing named after him, someone in a state far away is paying to insure that legislator gets re--elect- ed. Each incident where a group of lawmakers pass- es some controversial edict to support a specific reli- gion. outlaw some minor irritable activity, or take the fights away from the cur- rent scapegoat minority group, everyone involved knows the ACLU will file a suit and most likely win. The legislative body doesn't care; they claim they did everything possi- ble to prevent whatever it was and blame activist judges. The outcome is as fixed as pro wrestling. The only part of the whole cha- rade not mentioned is the legal price tag. Stop these quixotic escapades, and the budget is much closer to being balanced. Raising funds to fill state and federal coffers could also be much easier with some political courage. Prohibition taught us people will break the law to consume certain things, even if they are ille- gal. So let's legalize every- thing people refuse to stop doing that's not covered by the Ten Commandments. l~/Iarijuana is illegal primarily because the folks who used it in the 60s were protesting against Richard Nixon when they were awake. If pot were legalized tomorrow, annual tax pay- ments to state govern- ments would increase by several million dollars each. If you add the savings associated with the reduc- tion of drug associated crimes, the revenue boost for each state would be substantial. Gambling is illegal because Puritans frowned on the prospect of easy money. Estimates on illegal gambling during the Super Bowl and Final Four each year climb into the billions. We allow bingo, lottery, and online stock trading; why not legalize all gam- bling? Nevada allows it, and they haven't dropped into the fiery pit of Hell. Surely other states could survive. One other thing; the oldest profession. How hard would it be to make it a holistic medical treat- ment? It has to be more beneficial than forttme tellers. Besides, how crazy is it to have a law against selling something that can be given away without any problem? The first responder at a crime scene is usually in a hurry. As the deputy steps out of his patrol car the ser- geant barks aver the radio: "Get a move on it, 220, we're backed up on calls. Get back in service ASAP.." By the time 220 (the deputy) gets to actually speak to the victim, he's already behind with two more calls pending. The victim, Mrs. Rawl. is upset over the theft of several rings and a necklace that've been in her family for three generations. The deputy takes notes for his report, returns to his patrol car, and heads back in serv- ice. Later, Mrs. Rawl is interviewed by a detective, the cop we call "Bulldog" because once he sinks his teeth into a case he won't let go until it's cleared. Mrs. Rawl tells the detective what happened and answers a few questions. Bulldog's job is to find out what truly happened. To do this, Dog lends a doubtful ear to everybody he talks to. Like many other victims, Mrs. Rawl thinks the detec- tive doesn't really believe her story. Weeks go'by with no resolution to the heirloom jewelry case until one day Becky, a sheriff's victim advo- cate, calls Mrs. Rawl to see how she's getting along. From the victim's vantage point, the victim's advocate often seems to be the only caring person during a painful ordeal. Although resigned to the loss of her heirlooms, Mrs. Rawl, at Becky's urging, thinks back to the day of the theft. "Now that you mention it," says Mrs. Rawl, "the day my jewelry went missing was the day I had my dining room painted." "Every time the painter went out to his truck, he'd stop for a second and look straight into my bedroom. That's where I kept my jewelry. Maybe it was nothing, but that painter made me nervous." Becky thanks Mrs. Rawl and then passes the infor- marion along to Bulldog, who recognizes the painter's name from a prior case. The detective drives out to the painter's house and . finds him in the garage cleaning brushes. When the sus- pect sees Dog peering at him from the doorway, he walks over with his wrists outstretched. "I knowed you was comin'...what took ya so long?" Seen at St. Pat's in Five Points '500 Deductible Monthly Premium O- 1 7 M $98 51 -55 M $227 F $98 F $244 M $149 M $271 18-40 F $193 56-60 F $273 41 -50 M$201 M $307 F $220 61-64 F $302 TUCKER AGENCY, LLC 843-450-8286 TOLL FREE 866-604-0417 By Glenn Scherer honest officials, and incompe- al page editor. CAP led theaway from levee construction to In a 2008 editorial, John tent environmental regulators - charge against a grossly negli- the Iraq War by the Bush admin- Fleming of TheAnniston Star This February, Denver's thereby making our hometownsgent Monsanto Corporation that istration, summed up the greatest worry Rocky Mountain News died. In better, safer, more enjoyable let toxic PCBs leach into soils,Without the small news-of many involved in community March, The Tucson Citizen fol- places to live. and an equally negligent paper in my hometown of journalism: "If local media no lowed. Meanwhile hundreds of Likewise, local activists Alabama Department of Vernon, New Jersey, activists longer is local, how does it fulfill other American newspapers have relied on community news- Environmental Management, couldn't have defeated a cell one of its most essential roles: reduced staff and declared papers for accurate unbiased"more of a permit facilitator for phone tower slated for construc- informing the community in themselves in significant eco- reporting. With little or noindustry than a protector of the tion within eyeshot of the times of peril?" nomic trouble, money to buy publicity, environ- environment." said Fleming.Appalachian National Scenic As our economy implodes, Few commentators have mental activists, like Love But it was TheAnniston Trail or the illegal trading of a and deregulated corporate mentioned one of the biggest Canal's Lois Gibbs, scribbled Stars reporting about CAP,,state wildlife management area shenanigans reach unbelievable potential losers in the demise of outraged but informed Letters to including the filing of a lawsuit, for a proposed 165-unit condo heights, it would be foolish for print publishing: our local envi- the editor or sponsored public that helped bring the issue to complex or the demolition of a us to imagine that no company ronment the clean air, water, meetings and protests that were the attention of the rest of the RevolutionaryWar-era tavern for out there is quietly trying to dis- land, forests, beaches, wetlands, sure to attract a reporter from city and the state, and moved a Burger King. Those battlespose of toxic waste in some- and wildlife that enrich our the local paper, the US Environmental played out on the pages of The body's backyard, or that state or communities. In Anniston, Alabama, it Protection Agency to act. Vernon News, with both sidesfederal regulators might not be Since the days of muck- was a neighborhood group One of the most instruc- vying for the people's hearts and asleep at the switch as that raking reporter Upton Sinclair called the Community Againsttive recent examples I can think minds. This is democracy at waste gets dumped. and his establishment-shaking Pollution (CAP) that in the late of is that of the New Orleans work, even if it is democracy writ The best thing you can do revelations about a corrupt1990s spoke up for West Times-~cayune, which reported small, not large, to defend against such possibili- Chicago meat packing industry, Anniston, "a part of town that is the likelihood of Mississippi Don't go first to CNN or ties in your community? Support responsible local investigative largely poor, largely black, large- River levee failures a year before Google News. Rather look foryour local newspaper. Buy a journalists have shone a wither- ly forgotten, and largely pollut- Hurricane Katrina, along with an those stories percolating subscription. Read every edition. ing light on corporate polluters, ed,'~ according to John Fleming, obvious reason for those failings: upwards from the pages of your Glenn Scherer is co--editor unscrupulous developers, dis- then The Anniston Stars editori- the diversion of federal funds community newspaper, of Blue Ridge Press.