West book details sad impact of child abuse

Basketball great Jerry West’s accomplishments are legion.

A high school and college star, West won an Olympic gold medal, an NBA title, was a 12-time All-Star and was named league MVP in 1972. He then went then went on to win seven more titles as a general manager.

To get an idea how big Jerry West is in the National Basketball Association, consider this: It is his image that is the NBA’s corporate logo.

One other thing: West is a living example of the devastation wrought by child abuse.

His recently released book West by West: My Charmed Tormented Life, details the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father, abuse West believes contributed to depression which has haunted him his entire life.

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Tidelands restates earnings, posts $6.1M loss

Tidelands Bancshares announced Friday that its restated earnings for the three months ended June 30 showed a loss of more than $6.1 million, up from the original figure of $3.9 million reported in August.

Tidelands said last week it would restate its earnings for the quarter ended June 30, 2011, due to an approximate $2.2 million increase in its allowance for loan losses and related provision for loan losses.

The restatement came as a result of a recently completed joint examination of subsidiary Tidelands Bank by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the SC Board of Financial Institutions, according to information filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

As a result, officers with the Mount Pleasant-based company determined last week that the previously issued unaudited consolidated financial statements for the second quarter should no longer be relied upon.

Tidelands reported a loss per share of for the quarter $1.58, compared to the originally reported loss per share of $1.02, according to SEC filings.

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SC: Home of the ‘dysfunctional cluster’

For all you “cluster” fans, New Carolina – the superfluous organization devoted to sucking down money and throwing up hot air – has designated another emerging cluster for the Palmetto State: the tire industry.

For the uninitiated, New Carolina is the resident snake oil sales organization whose raison d’etre is to push the notion that the key to South Carolina’s future prosperity rests with developing “clusters.”

The Columbia-based nonprofit defines clusters as groups of companies in a similar line of business that “collaborate to improve competitiveness.”

The concept is promoted by Harvard University business professor Michael Porter, who recommended the formation of New Carolina.

New Carolina began pushing the idea of a “tire cluster” following recent announcements that Continental Tire would build a $500 million tire plant in Sumter, and Bridgestone Corp. would construct a $1.2 billion tire plant in Aiken, according to the New Carolina blog.

In addition, Michelin Tire is the state’s largest private employer, with their North American headquarters in Greenville and seven plants in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson and Lexington Counties that employ more than 7,700.

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German dead from WWI uncovered in France

Nearly a century after they were buried alive, the bodies of 21 German soldiers have been discovered in a World War I tunnel in France.

The men, killed in March 1918, were found in Alsace, in what was once part of a labyrinth of passageways that troops used to try to avoid shelling during the 1914-18 conflict.

The 21 soldiers were found in passageway known as Kilianstollen, inside their almost untouched living quarters, according to a publication called The Local.

Kilianstollen was located about 500 feet behind the German front line. It was six feet high, nearly four feet wide and more than 20 feet beneath the surface. Thought to be bomb proof, the tunnel could offer up to 500 soldiers a break from the trenches. 

For two years Kilianstollen survived Allied shelling unscathed, but one March afternoon in 1918, the Germans’ luck ran out. After a particularly heavy mustard gas attack – a chemical weapon which releases a powerful skin irritant – from the German army, the Allies retaliated with force as they rained explosives down on the area. 

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Penitentiary Cemetery: Lives long forgotten

One of the more interesting and depressing treks one can take in South Carolina is the search for what is known as Penitentiary Cemetery, where for more than a century inmates of the South Carolina Penitentiary were buried.

The site is located just north of I-126, between Elmwood Cemetery and the old Columbia Canal in Columbia. More than 1,000 individuals are likely interred there, though the exact number will never be known because officials made little effort, especially in the early years of the state penitentiary, to accurately record prisoner deaths.

The S.C. Penitentiary, later known as the Central Correctional Institution, opened in 1867 amid the rubble of the War Between the States and the chaos of Reconstruction.

“Shackled in balls and chains, ex-slaves earned 75 cents a day constructing Cellblock One using giant slabs of granite that had been mined from a quarry just a few miles up the Congaree,” according to a story in the Columbia Free Times.

The prison remained in operation until 1994 overlooking the Columbia Canal. All told, some 243 men were executed at the site, the vast majority of whom were black, before the structure was demolished in 1999. Today, the locale is home to the CanalSide project.

As it has been for much of its history, Penitentiary Cemetery today is neglected, with few graves marked and only a portion of the cemetery enclosed by fencing.

In a macabre twist, the last of the markers of executed inmates, which were specially marked, have been stolen in recent years.

Walking through the lonely graveyard in the late afternoon as the sun glints through the trees, one realizes that these individuals, all but forgotten in life, have been consigned to eternal oblivion in death, as well.

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French painting stolen amid WWI returned

A 130-year-old painting by Realist Jules Breton was returned to France last week, nearly a century after it was stolen by German forces near the end of World War I.

The painting, A Fisherman’s Daughter/Mender of Nets, was returned by US officials to France’s US ambassador, François Delattre.

The work of art, now insured for about $190,000, was handed by US officials to the French ambassador in a solemn repatriation ceremony at the French embassy in Washington, D.C.

Commissioned by the northern French city of Douai in 1875, the painting hung in Musee de Douai until Sept. 15, 1918, when an unknown German soldier cut it out of its frame as German forces were retreating.

The German army took A Fisherman’s Daughter and other 180 works to Belgium. When the Belgium government wanted to return it to France in 1919, the painting went missing.

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How Hoover caused the Great Depression

As we continue to struggle through the so-called “Great Recession,” it’s important to note that American history has been dotted with economic downturns of varying severity, with more than 40 such events taking place since the nation’s founding.

Among the more notable:

  • The Panic of 1837, caused by bank failures and a lack of confidence in paper currency, led to the failure of more than 600 banks and the collapse of the Southern cotton market.
  • The Panic of 1873, precipitated partly by American overinvestment in railroads, was known as the Great Depression until the 1930s, when the latter economic downturn was given that moniker and that the earlier downturn renamed the “Long Depression.”
  • The Panic of 1893 came about after the failure of the Reading Railroad and the withdrawal of European investments led to a collapse of the US stock market and the American banking industry. It was also spurred in part by a run on the US gold supply. Profits, investment and income all fell, leading to political instability.
  • The Panic of 1907 started with a run on Knickerbocker Trust Co. deposits in October 1907, which brought about events that led to a severe monetary contraction. The fallout from the panic led to Congress creating the Federal Reserve System.

Yet no economic downturn can touch the Great Depression of the 1930s for overall impact on the American psyche. Paul Johnson, writing at the Mises Daily Blog, states that the Wall Street collapse of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed were among the most important events of the 20th century.

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