Brad Warthen remains among South Carolina’s best bloggers, but his success is fueled not simply by his writing ability (though he is a very good writer) or because his blog gets a great deal of traffic (it does, certainly for an SC blog).

Warthen is among the best because he calls it like he sees it, no matter whose ox he gores.

To wit: Last Friday, US Rep. Joe Wilson put out a press release titled “I WAS RIGHT”. Warthen rightly took Wilson to task, beginning by highlighting an excerpt from the release:

Nearly two years ago I made national news when I voiced your outrage at the misrepresentations being perpetuated by the Obama administration. The media and Obama’s liberal allies attacked me for only pointing out the truth that ObamaCare would cover illegal immigrants.

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Barack Obama hasn’t handed out a lot of presidential pardons – just 17 so far during his two-plus years in the Oval Office. Yet one of the individual’s fortunate enough to have had a pardon bestowed upon him isn’t showing a whole lot of gratitude.

Bobby Gerald Wilson of Summerton was granted clemency by the president for his 1985 felony conviction of having sold alligator hides to undercover federal agents just over the Georgia border from Beaufort County.

Wilson, 61, said he applied for the pardon six years ago under President George W. Bush and had given up hope it would ever be granted, according a story by McClatchy newspapers.

“I waited and waited and waited,” Wilson told McClatchy. “Mine should have been done a whole lot sooner. The crime that I committed was no major crime.”

Translation: Don’t sit up waiting for a thank you note, Mr. President.

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There are those who, for whatever reason, genuinely believe President Barack Obama was born outside the United States, and there are those who insist he was born elsewhere for more sinister motives.

The first group likely cannot be reached no matter any amount of evidence to the contrary.

Even prior to the president’s release of his long-form birth certificate earlier this week, he’d already produced his short-form birth certificate, his birth had been reported in the local Hawaiian paper in 1961, and the director of the Hawaii department of health, a supporter of John McCain, said she had seen the original records.

The second bunch, by comparison, doesn’t really care where Obama was born, as long as they can make hay of the issue for their own gain, or that of their political party.

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Just another day of wild inaccuracy and innuendo at Sunlit Uplands.

Sunlit is running a brutally incorrect story about President Obama’s trip to Mumbai, India, which features a headline that reads “Obama’s Visit to Mumbai to Cost $200 Million a Day”.

(Included before the story is this bit of pithy commentary: “It will be worth it if he defects. Will Bo, the family dog, have his own plane, or is that just for his trips to the Cape?” Some advice, Sunlit: Keep your day job.)

Anyway, it’s a bit of an embarrassment that someone who either sits on or used to sit on the South Carolina Advisory Board to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who print such misleading hogwash.

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A sure sign of a geographical entity’s “arrival” is when it gets its own propaganda machine. Here in South Carolina, we have a blog called “Sunlit Uplands,” our own little online version of Pravda and Tass all rolled into one.

Sunlit’s author doesn’t spend a lot of time writing his own pieces but he does enjoy slapping up other folks’ stuff up when it matches his worldview. It doesn’t matter how far detached from reality the article is; if it fits with the opinions of super-ultra far-right wing of the Nut-Nut Party, Sunlit is all over it.

The more entertaining copy can be found in the “Sunlit News” bar, along the righthand side of the site. Headlines read like the something out the Weekly World Newsif it were taken over by the John Birch Society.

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Facebook, the social networking website that has grown exponentially over the past half decade, appears more and more to be an online repository for the mentally unbalanced.

Witness the page titled: “DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN”

Looking past the fact that Patrick Swayze’s last name is misspelled and Farrah Fawcett’s first name is misspelled, the obvious implication here is that the author is asking God to “take” President Obama, as in have him die.

Is it surprising that someone (anonymously, of course) would come up with a page like this? Hardly. What’s a bit more disconcerting is that as of this past weekend, more than 1.1 million people had clicked on the icon indicating that they “liked” the page.

Political discontent is an American tradition and Obama, along with Congress, has certainly stirred up considerable opposition with what many see as a sharp shift to the left.

Free speech is a critical element in any democratic form of government, but there appears to be an over-the-top element in American society that sees nothing wrong in wishing death on the duly elected leader of our nation, and it’s found an outlet in such media as Facebook, Twitter and through blogging.

This isn’t a characteristic limited to the right, either. Three years ago, when George W. Bush was in office, there likely would have been a similar page, though perhaps without the religious overtones, if Facebook had been as popular then.

For your reading pleasure, here are a few comments on the “Take Obama” page:

  • “Dear Lord, please bless the man or woman who created this page : )” (The smiley face is a nice touch. I’m sure the Lord appreciates it.)
  • “Dear Lord, Please let Obama have a long life so he can be reminded every day how big a failure he was as President. Oh wait, thats right, blood sucking vampires live forever. Amen” (Grammar is certainly a weak spot among the nut job crowd. We’ve got unnecessary capitalization, a missing apostrophe, a missing hyphen and a missing period.)
  • “come november I’M voting against the socialist [democratic regime] .vote republican for congress and senate , and tie this rotten traitor dictating son of a bitches hands to keep him from selling us out to his muslim friends, he’s done enough the way it is. I don’t know who turned him on , but it’s time to turn him off…” (Where to start on this one?)

Ah, such enlightened discourse. If only John Stuart Mill or Edmund Burke were still around to debate these deep thinkers.

Many Christian denominations espouse the belief that it’s necessary to pray for everyone, not just those you like or agree with. Even if you can’t find it in yourself to pray for those you disagree with, it hardly seems like the Christian thing to do to hope for the death of a political foe.

old olds

It’s hardly surprising that Cash for Clunkers has been a rousing success. According to online automotive information resource Edmunds.com the average cash value of the traded-in clunkers was $1,475 while the owners of those vehicles earned rebates for either $3,500 or $4,500, depending on the replacements vehicles they chose.

As The Coyote Blog points out, the government is paying some consumers $4,500 for assets with a market value of $1,475. “Well of course it’s a popular program with its participants — Obama is buying up dollar bills for $3,” he writes.

Coyote adds: “Left undetermined is whether consumers have been enticed into more expensive cars they cannot afford by this $3000 windfall. It seems like just yesterday when the Obama administration was slamming credit card companies for enticing people into debt with low teaser rates or slamming mortgage companies for enticing people into mortgages they could not afford.”

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gm

The belief that some companies (Bear Stearns, AIG, General Motors) are too big to fail is a dangerous precept that erodes one of capitalism’s basic tenents - risk and reward.

As George Mason University economics professor Russell Roberts points out in The New York Times, capitalism is predicated on profits and losses.

“The profits encourage risk-taking,” he says. “The losses encourage prudence. For decades, government policy and action have discouraged prudence by bailing out or taking over virtually every significant financial institution that has acted recklessly.”

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 amtrak

The good folks who run Amtrak probably did little more than shrug when they learned the Obama Administration had designated $1.3 billion in stimulus funding for the government-owned passenger train operation.

After all, doesn’t Amtrak effectively get a stimulus check every year in the form of a government subsidy?

The operation has never turned a profit and will likely lose money until the stars fall from the sky, but don’t tell that to politicians on hand Monday to witness the unveiling of the first of 81 passenger cars to be restored with the help of economic recovery funds.

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bills

The St3ate newspaper has a wonderfully uncritical story here about how stimulus money is providing job training and helping renovate a low-income housing unit.

It begins with the tale of Denise Jones, a Midlands’ resident who lost her job developing film at a local camera shop when digital cameras made film rolls largely obsolete.

After being laid off, according to the story, Jones would drive around Columbia looking for employment and pass by construction crews working on new homes.

“I would wonder, ‘How can I get a job like that, working with my hands? I could do that kind of job,’” she was quoted as saying.

Now Jones is “on her way to becoming part of a construction crew, thanks in part to federal stimulus money that is pouring into South Carolina,” the paper reports. Soon, she and others will help renovate 100 units at Latimer Manor, a North Columbia low-income apartment complex, the paper adds.

At the risk of sounding insensitive, several things come to mind while reading this story:

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