‘The State’ of watchdog journalism


The State newspaper prides itself on watchdog journalism, but in reality the watchdog is little more than old, toothless canine whose bark and bite have seen better days.

The paper has been scooped repeatedly by the Columbia Free Times and local bloggers on happenings at Innovista, the University of South Carolina’s taxpayer-funded research campus boondoggle.

It got the goods on Gov. Mark Sanford’s affair with his Argentine lover, but only after sitting on salacious emails between the pair for months and after Sanford himself confessed at a press conference in June.

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On life expectancy and health care


It’s nice to see a little common sense injected into the health care debate, no matter how infrequently it happens.

Take this letter to The Washington Post:

The Sept. 23 front-page article “For French, U.S. Health Debate Hard to Imagine” cited the longer life expectancy of the French compared with Americans as an indicator of superior health-care quality.

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‘Last Ottoman’ buried in Istanbul


Ertugrual Osman, the 43rd Head of the dethroned House of Osman and regarded by Turks as the “last Ottoman,” died last week at age 97.

As the last surviving grandson of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1876-1909, Osman would have been known as his Imperial Highness Prince Shehzade Ertugrul Osman Effendi.

Born in Istanbul in 1912, Osman spent most of his life living modestly in New York, according to The BBC.

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Bank of SC Corp. suspends dividend


Officials with the Bank of South Carolina Corp. have opted to temporarily suspend the company’s third-quarter cash dividend, saying it will put the money toward its loan-loss reserves, according to The Charleston Post and Courier.

Executives said they expect to reinstate the dividend in the fourth quarter. The community bank had been paying a quarterly dividend of 16 cents per share.

“After a long-term evaluation of our significant loan and deposit growth, the economy, and listening to regulator expectations, we decided that additional funding to the provision for loan losses is the proper strategy in today’s environment,” Chief Executive Hugh C. Lane, Jr. said in a statement. “This action is voluntary, and will further strengthen the position of the company today and into the future.”

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Civil war marker to be unveiled


A Civil War battlefield in central Missouri has a new monument honoring 123 Union soldiers who died in one of the war’s lesser-known but grisliest clashes.

The monument in Centralia will be unveiled Sunday, the 145th anniversary of the Centralia Massacre and ensuing Battle of Centralia.

The battle came late in the war, in the fall of 1864, when the Confederates sought to influence the 1864 presidential election by attempting to capture St. Louis and the Missouri capital at Jefferson City. Led by Gen. Sterling Price, the Confederates launched an invasion of northern Missouri.

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First Citizens acquires failed bank


First Citizens Bancorporation of South Carolina is the Palmetto State’s second-largest bank company, but it’s making a run for the top spot.

Friday, Columbia-based First Citizens assumed the deposits of $2 billion Georgian Bank, following the latter’s closure by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Atlanta-based Georgian Bank’s five branches will reopen Monday as branches of First Citizens, a closely held company with more than $7 billion in assets.

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Renault upholds French auto tradition


The French automaking industry has long had a reputation for turning out vehicles that appear to be built completely from scratch, as though there was not a single other car in the world from which to turn for inspiration.

Renault upholds that tradition with a couple of its prototype electric cars: the Twizy, shown above, and the Zoe, which not only have ridiculous names but are among the ugliest vehicles ever produced anywhere. Renault unveiled the concept cars last week at the Frankfurt Autoshow.

The Twizy, which looks like it has square wheels, is expected to go into production in the second half of 2011 and the Zoe in mid 2012.

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Provident faces delisting by NASDAQ


Rock Hill, SC-based Provident Community Bancshares announced Thursday that it has been informed by NASDAQ that its common stock has not met the minimum market value guidelines laid out by the stock exchange and that it risks being delisted from the NASDAQ Global Market.

The company received a letter from NASDAQ on Sept. 22, providing notice that for 30 consecutive trading days the corporation’s common stock had not maintained a minimum market value of publicly held shares of $5 million.

Stock in Provident, which has lost $2.4 million through the first six months of 2009, is currently trading for $3.25 a share, down from a 52-week high of $11.

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Clemson lays egg on personal freedom


For all the advantages of living in a major university town – incredible educational opportunities, myriad cultural events, big-time athletics – there are some real drawbacks, too. Among them, having to put up with elitist namby-pambys who want the world, or at least their neighborhoods, to conform their narrow ideal. 

Case in point: The city of Clemson, where the city council voted down a proposal Monday that would have allowed residents to keep up to six hens but no roosters.

Councilmember Jeremy Wright questioned if allowing chickens would open the door to other animals not currently allowed. “Where do you stop?” Wright asked, according to The Greenville News.

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Collexis loses board member


Struggling Columbia technology company Collexis Holdings is down to six directors following the resignation of Mark Auerbach last month.

Auerbach, a director since June 2007,  resigned effective Aug. 19, according to information filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Auerbach, a certified public accountant, chaired and served on the board’s audit committee, and in 2009 became a member of the compensation committee.  

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