Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chaos, corruption, and miscounts; Richland County Elections Board fires director

Howard Jackson fires back at elections board after his termination. (photo credit:

Richland County Elections Board in Columbia, SC, is mired down in one of the biggest ethical fails since the hanging chad fiasco in Florida.  On Monday the board shocked the city when they suddenly announced that they were firing Richland County Elections Director Howard Jackson, effective this Friday, less than a year after they hired him.

Jackson did not go quietly.  He immediately announced that he had some startling revelations of his own and would hold a press conference the next day.  At Tuesday’s press conference Jackson came out swinging with fiery allegations of messy voting practices, missing absentee ballots, and racist hiring practices by the elections board.

Jackson inherited a sticky situation that he claims he was determined to clean up.  He was hired after a public outcry for the firing of then Elections Director Lillian McBride.  During the presidential election many of the local precincts were short of voting booths or had multiple voting booths that were malfunctioning, leading to some voters having to stand in line up to seven hours to vote.

 Former disgraced elections board Director Lillian McBride (photo credit:

Instead of firing McBride, the board allowed her to resign, and then hired her right back as the Deputy Elections Director.  This lack of accountability is symptomatic of many of the problems that Jackson claims the board covers up rather than corrects.

After Jackson’s candid press conference, the board held an emergency meeting and voted to move Jackson’s last day from Friday to effective immediately.  Not to be outdone, Jackson said that he had evidence of corruption in the elections board that he planned to turn over to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).  Thom Berry, SLED spokesperson, confirmed that Jackson turned in evidence to SLED on Wednesday, but declined to disclose the nature of the evidence pending investigation.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Colorful Maurice's BBQ founder dead at 83, Confederate flag comes down

Master Barbecue Kingpin Maurice Bessinger  (photo credit:
Maurice Bessinger, founder of Maurice’s Gourmet Barbecue and Piggie Park Enterprises, is dead at 83. In a 2000 interview with The State newspaper Bessinger said, “I’m just a fair man. I want to be known as a hard-working, Christian man that loves God and wants to further (God’s) work throughout the world as I have been doing throughout the last 25 years.”
In stark contrast, The State broke the news of Bessinger’s death with the glaring headline “Barbecue eatery owner, segregationist Maurice Bessinger dies at 83”. Bessinger, a Korean War veteran, was as infamous around Columbia for his belief in a racial divide as he was known for his barbecue sauce and restaurants.
When The State ran a story exposing the fact that he was giving discounts to customers who agreed to take pro-slavery pamphlets being handed out in his restaurants, many blacks and whites began boycotting his restaurants and products. This, in addition to his refusal to take down the huge Confederate flags flying over his restaurants, led Wal-Mart and many other stores to snatch his barbecue sauce from their shelves.
Bessinger allowed blacks to pick up takeout orders, but refused to have them dine in his restaurants. He defended his stance by saying that “South Carolina had biblical slavery”, not the harsh kind. This stirred up so much agitation that South Carolina electrical power giant SCANA ordered its employees not to patronize any of Bessinger’s establishments.
Bessinger’s restaurants and barbecue sauce business are now being run by his children. His son, Lloyd Bessinger, said that his father had battled Alzheimer’s disease the past seven years and had not been active in the business. Several months ago Bessinger’s children removed the last of the Confederate flags from the restaurant in West Columbia, SC.
According to The State, funeral services for Bessinger will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in West Columbia.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

WRITING MY DREAMS: Taking Your Emotions on a Roller Coaster Ride...: JUST FRIENDS_2 DAYS OF LOVE WITH PAMELA KAY NOBLE ...

If you haven't read "Handcuffs and a Pyramid of
Satin" yet, please be sure to check out my excerpt featured today on the
blog of author C. Michelle Ramsey. :)

WRITING MY DREAMS: Taking Your Emotions on a Roller Coaster Ride...: JUST FRIENDS_2 DAYS OF LOVE WITH PAMELA KAY NOBLE ...: Sometimes a married woman can find herself in a relationship and feel so all alone. Sometimes that same married woman just needs a friend ...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Texas gov. hopeful hits campaign trail with Obama-bashing rock star

Ted Nugent and Greg Abbott 

The sun is threatening to set on the Lone Star State.  Texas politics has reached a new low with the state attorney general Greg Abbott welcoming rock singer Ted Nugent to hit the campaign trail with him.  Abbott is considered to be the front runner in the race for the GOP gubernatorial nominee after Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced that he will not be seeking a fourth term.
Ted Nugent has long been outspoken and, often controversial, in his views.  But he outdid himself in a January 2014 interview with reporter Daniel Terrill.  He called the sitting  President of the United States of America a litany of disrespectful names to include a “subhuman mongrel”.  You can view the disgraceful video here.

CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer, along with many others, reacted swiftly to Nugent’s being a part of Abbott’s campaign rallies.  Blitzer questioned whether Abbott’s campaign knew how offensive Nugent’s remarks were to the office of the President, as well as to others who have suffered grave oppression.  Among other things, Blitzer said, “That’s what the Nazis called Jews to justify the genocide of the Jewish community,” he continued. “They called them ‘untermenschen,’ subhuman mongrels, if you read some of the literature that the Nazis put out there, there is a long history of that specific phrase he used involving the President of the United States.”

When called to task for including Nugent, a campaign aide for Abbott brushed it off saying, "The controversy is what he said in the past. We are not endorsing Ted Nugent, he is supporting us," the aide said.  That may be true that a candidate cannot control who supports him, but he can certainly control whom he invites to share the spotlight with him and who is seen as sharing like-minded views.
Wendy Davis, who will likely be the Democratic gubernatorial candidate facing Abbott called it an “insult to all Texans”.  You can read the full reactions of other politicians here.  Greg Abbott has claimed he didn’t know what Nugent represented.  Now he does know and it will be very telling to the voters if, now being aware, he keeps Nugent on as one of the faces of his campaign.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Teen Serial Killer: I stopped counting at 22

Murdering Newlyweds:  Meet the Barbours    Photo credit/AP-New York Post
Most people expect their honeymoons to be exciting and memorable. But Pennsylvania newlyweds Elytte Barbour, 22, and Miranda Barbour, 18, added murder to the mix. Just three weeks after their wedding the couple has been arrested for the murder of 42-year-old Troy LaFerrara, accused of luring him to his death with a Craigslist ad promising companionship. According to the groom, the couple just wanted the thrill of killing someone together.
According to CNN, Miranda Barbour told investigators that she was no stranger to murder. She alleges that she committed her first murder at the age of 13 shortly after she joined a satanic cult. She says she doesn’t know the exact number of people she has killed, but it is somewhere under 100. She says she has killed in Texas, Alaska, North Carolina, and California, but has murdered more people in Alaska than anywhere else.
The police questioned the Barbours after discovering that their telephone number was the last number that LaFerrara had called. Miranda gave her first chilling interview to The Daily Item reporter Francis Scarcella, after contacting him to say that she would only speak with him. Read the entire interview here. The police investigation is just beginning so it remains to be seen if the couple will be convicted; however, one of the most frightening concerns is that Miranda Barbour is quoted as saying she has no remorse and, if released, she will kill again.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Restaurants or wild west saloons? SC passes concealed weapons bill

Why Not? What's wrong with dinner and guns?  photo:  upi/Kevin Dietsch

This Tuesday, February 11, 2014, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will sign into law the Concealed Carry Reform Bill.  This bill will allow people with a concealed firearms license to carry their weapons with them into bars and restaurants.  This despite the fact that officer-involved related shootings are on the increase in South Carolina.  There have already been seven officer-involved shootings in South Carolina in 2014 alone.  According to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, “It’s a culture that’s been created where people use guns to solve a problem.”

There have been many concerns from various South Carolina legislators regarding this bill.  State representative Walt McLeod, D-Newberry said, “Booze, beer and wine is powerful stuff.  It causes people to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.”  Proponents of the bill say the fear of fines and penalties will help prevent any problems.  Concealed weapons carriers must adhere to an honor system that precludes them from drinking any alcoholic beverages when they are armed in restaurants or bars.  Read more of the debates from both sides in this article from The State newspaper

While bars are normally frequented by adults, many are concerned because the bill allows concealed weapons to be carried in bars and restaurants.  Families with children are frequently seen dining in restaurants like Ruby Tuesdays, Applebee’s, Fatz, Hooters, and other chains that have bars, where weapons would be allowed.  The bill does allow for owners of an establishment to post a sign banning weapons, but then again the restaurant staff will have to rely on the patrons to comply since customers will not be searched to see if they are carrying concealed weapons before ordering an alcoholic beverage.

My favorite Christmas present from "Santa".  photo:  Instagram/Nikki Haley

Gov. Nikki Haley pushed hard for the passage of the Concealed Carry Reform Bill.  This past Christmas she spread the news of her excitement that “Santa” had given her a Berretta PX4 Storm.  You can read more about what she called a “good time” at target practice in this ABC News article.  She posted an open invitation on her Facebook page for everyone to join her in the Statehouse lobby for the signing of the bill this Tuesday at 10:30am.

Gov. Haley knows her way around guns.  photo:  Facebook/Nikki Haley

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2014 Winter Olympics will boast a dash of color on more than just the flag

2014 US Women's Olympic Bobsled Team/photo credit:

The 2014 winter Olympics will begin in Sochi on Thursday, February 6, 2014.  The Olympics have been a celebration of athletic excellence as far back as 776 B.C.  You can read more of this fascinating history in this article.  But although the Olympics demonstrate athletes from all over the world competing in a spectacular display of good sportsmanship, often, a closer look at the American teams shows a decided lack of diversity.

Blacks have more frequently been seen during, in fact have often excelled in, the summer Olympics.  Who can forget the glamorous Olympic gold medalist and track star Florence Joyner?  She was affectionately known as Flo Jo and many were stunned and saddened when she died suddenly at the age of 38.
There is also track star and multiple Olympic gold medal winner Usain Bolt.  He shot to stardom during the 2008 Summer Olympics as he blazed his way to three gold medals.  He became known as a “lightning bolt” and “the fastest man in the world”.  So while blacks have had their moments of glory, they have not been too prevalent in the winter Olympics.

So it is fitting that since February is recognized as National Black History month we recognize some young ladies that could potentially create history in the winter Olympics this year.  The United States Bobsled team is bursting out of the gate with five Black women leading the charge.  These women will bring a splash of beautiful color against the snow and will show the world a strong, united, and multicultural American team that has come to win.

The five women that will be striving to lead the United States to the gold in the women’s bobsledding events are:  Elana Meyers, Pilot; Jazmine Fenlator, Pilot; Lauryn Williams, Brakeman/PushEvans, Brakeman; and Lolo Jones, Brakeman.  You can read more about each of these determined and talented ladies here.  You can watch the bobsledding competition on NBC beginning February 18, 2014.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Real Winners of Super bowl 2014

Super bowl 2014 was a washout of a game. In every game there has to be a winning team and an also played team. Last night Denver also played. The Seattle Seahawks beat the Broncos in one of the most embarrassing football displays ever. As one Facebook poster said, the writing was on the wall, or rather, in the panicked eyes of Peyton Manning when he missed that first snap. In a nutshell, that was the game. Now to the fun part, the entertainers.
Joe Namath - Photo credit:  Mark Humphrey/ABC Photos
Broadway” Joe Namath lived up to the hype his persona has always promised. Despite an unseasonably warm 45 degree temperature at field level, Namath showed up to do the super bowl coin toss wearing a full length multi-colored fur coat. But Namath has always been one for glamour. Check out these pictures spanning 40 years of Joe Namath balling off the field as well as on.
Queen Latifah - Photo Credit:  Matt Slocum/AP 
Queen Latifah, actress and talk show host, continues to be the renaissance woman. When she burst on the scene as a teenaged rapper, no one dreamed of the many ways she would reinvent herself to constantly remain relevant. During the pre-game show she did a wonderfully mellow rendition of “America The Beautiful”. See the video of her moving performance here.
Renee Fleming  -  Photo credit:
When it was announced that for the first time in history an opera singer had been selected to do the “National Anthem” at the super bowl, many did not know what to expect. But almost no one was prepared to be presented with such a stirringly emotional treatment of the song that means so much to every American. The whole performance was a tour de force. The crowd caught its collective breath when as she sang “the rocket’s red glare”, rockets of were simultaneously bursting around the outside of the stadium and up into the air. And the notes she hit as she sang “the land of the free” transformed the stadium into a patriotic oasis, and made many new opera fans in the process. Check out Renee Fleming wowing the crowd here.
Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Photo credit:  Kevin Mazur/Wire Image

After sitting through an amazingly uneventful first half of football play, the crowd gratefully sprang to life when the dazzling Mr. Bruno Mars hit the stage with a banged out drum solo. He and his musicians wore perfectly matched flaming gold lame leather-edge jackets and rocked it out with perfectly choreographed moves reminiscent of the well-dressed, talented Temptations of the Motown Era. After Mars whipped the crowd into a frenzy with “Treasure”, he was joined on stage by legendary rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Collectively they turned the stadium into a virtual trampoline with the crowd jumping up and down, cheering them on. You can watch this amazing super bowl halftime treat of a show here.
Super bowl 2014 rating? Game: 4 – Halftime party: 100. What say you?