One of the perks of power is having minions. You know, the little people who are more than happy to do your bidding at all hours of the day and night.
Case in point: Bobby Harrell, the Speaker of the South Carolina House. Harrell’s right hand man is Greg Foster and among Foster’s duties, apparently, is puffing up his boss’s Wikipedia profile.
Earlier this month, FITSnews.com detailed the ridiculously saccharine-sweet description of Harrell on Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia. Highlights included:
Bobby Harrell has a long track record as a representative for the people. Bobby has been faithfully serving the needs of South Carolinians from the moment he was elected to the state’s House of Representatives in 1992. He’s been tackling the tough issues that are improving the lives of his constituents ever since. Through the years, he has earned a reputation for bipartisanship and for creating legislation that builds a future of prosperity and opportunity for all South Carolinians.
DNA testing to try to identify hundreds of bodies buried in a mass grave during World War I began last week.
The bodies come from Fromelles in northern France, where thousands of British and Australian troops were killed or wounded in a single night in 1916. Regarded as a total failure, the battle is described as “the worst 24 hours in Australia’s entire history.”
An exploratory dig in May of this year confirmed that there are between 250 and 300 bodies buried at the site.
According to CNN.com, enough DNA has been recovered from teeth and bones to make full-scale testing worthwhile, the British Ministry of Defence said.
Pieces of uniforms including belt buckles and buttons have also been found, which will help with identification, the ministry said.
“Each one of these soldiers will be laid to rest with the dignity they deserve and we owe it to them to do all we can to identify them,” British Veterans Minister Kevan Jones said in a statement.
The Battle of Fromelles was fought at the same time as the better-known Battle of the Somme, which raged about 50 miles to the south.
At Fromelles, two divisions of Allied infantry had attacked a strongly fortified German position known as the Sugar Loaf.
The defenders knew the British and the Australians were coming; the terrain favored the Germans. As the British and the newly arrived Australians charged into battle, the Germans opened fire, according to CNN.com.
By morning, about 2,300 British and Australian soldiers were dead. About 5,000 others were wounded.
German troops buried the Allied dead after the battle, laying the bodies with dignity, arranging them in neat rows, wrapped individually in groundsheets.
Last year, preliminary digs commissioned by the Australian government located five mass graves near the site of the battle.
Interestingly, it is believed that one of the German soldiers involved in the battle was Adolf Hitler, then a 27-year-old corporal and a message runner in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment, according to Wikipedia.
Nearly a century after World War I, the bodies of more than 165,000 Commonwealth soldiers are still missing, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The Spartanburg Herald-Journal has a curious article on First National Bancshares in today’s edition.
The paper finally gets around to reporting on hometown First National’s 10-Q filing from last Friday, stating in the opening paragraph that the company lost $20 million during the second quarter and doesn’t expect to meet minimum capital requirements by the upcoming deadline set by federal regulators.
The story then proceeds to discuss more-mundane factors such as the bank’s nonperforming assets, loan-loss provisions and FDIC insurance premiums before highlighting the fact that First National has just one week to achieve capital ratios prescribed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency back in April.
Should the company fail to meet that goal, it could be shut down. Seems kind of significant, doesn’t it? Perhaps the sort of thing a reporter might want to focus on?
What was also interesting was that while bank Chairman Dan Adams commented for the story, “official” bank spokesman Reed Byrum “would not comment,” according to the article.
Byrum isn’t a bank employee; he’s a hired gun. He’s the chairman of The Byrum Innovation Group, a strategic counseling firm.
He describes himself as being “a leading national corporate strategist in dealing with such critical issues as reputation, positioning and governance. Byrum is expert at positioning companies in the financial markets and commercial marketplaces.”
He is also the former national president and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America.
All that, and Byrum has “no comment” on First National’s situation. Any public relations professional worth his salt will find a way to say “no comment” without actually doing so. There’s all kinds of ways to give comments to reporters without actually saying anything, a fact Byrum certainly knows.
No, what it sounds like is that bank management instructed him not to say anything at all and he was just following orders. That’s pretty telling, and pretty indicative of how bad a position First National is in.