NINE BILLION DOLLARS

 

After eight years of writing a blog, I have learned a few things. One of them is, when I am really mad about something, the words seem to flow from my fingertips. This is one of those times that I cannot stop writing about an awful thing here in South Carolina.

According to an article written by Phil Noble, a syndicated writer across South Carolina, this is probably the biggest boondoggle and corruption event in the history of the state. I am not sure where it stacks up against Enron or the savings and loan debacle, but it comes close.

Here is the story as I have read about it.  Santee Cooper and SCANA (SC Electric and Gas parent company) lobbied the SC legislature in 2007 to pass the Base Load Review Act. It enabled the power companies to build nuclear facilities to provide electricity for the state. The legislation provided a 10.5% guaranteed profit to SCANA even if the project went into the tank.

Guess what, the project went into the tank. The legislation had passed in only a few days with only 6 house members voting no. Imagine school finance laws to help rural schools become more successful. Let’ see that might take over 20 years. Guess there must be a difference between the two pieces of legislation.

Rate payers in SC have been paying the cost of this project and will continue to pay for it until the 9 billion bucks is finished. Meanwhile, the management of the two companies has enriched them and publicly takes no responsibility for the failure of the project.

Do you think that money exchanged hands during the passage of this legislation? You bet it did and it continues today. Not sure how many of the legislators from 2007 are still around, but recently, the Governor of SC received a campaign  donation of 115k. At this point SCANA has refused to hand over a study by the Bechtel Corporation who did a study of the project in 2015.

Bechtel reported on a number of serious problems with the project and its construction. SCANA and Santee Cooper are responsible for this debacle. Their management will leave their companies with large golden parachutes. The President of SCANA, who was just let go by the board, will get a 16 million dollar severance package.

This is all a pile of caca de toro. If you took that 9 billion dollars and divided it by the 736,000 children in public schools in South Carolina, you would get an additional $12,228 per pupil. That would go a long way to solving South Carolina’s education problems.

 

 

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MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN

Every time I see that hat that says, “Make America Great Again…” I feel like replacing great with the work white. To say that our current president invented the whitening of America is giving him too much credit. This has been going on since the establishment of our country.

It probably began even earlier before the Revolutionary War, when our former rulers tried to do away with Native Americans. We even pitted one tribe against another by signing treaties and then abrogating them. We learned a great deal from the British.

We institutionalized racism with the creation of the constitution of the United States of America. Not only did we not get rid of slavery at the beginning but we actually counted African Americans as 3/5ths of a human being. We certainly did not see them as citizens or tax paying voters. We actually had to fight a way in which 500,000 people lost their lives to get rid of slavery. Anyone tell you that the war was fought for economic reasons; tell them to go to heck.

When each immigrant group came to this country in the 19th century, they were restricted in what they could do. The Irish went through this development before they were considered “white.” The Italians went through the same thing. The German Jews became white in the 19th century, even as they mostly discriminated against Russian Jews. Which brings me to a startling fact. Jews were not considered “white” until the 1960’s. I wonder what Ethiopian Jews are called here in the United States/

The whole anti-immigrant feelings in this country led to restrictions in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Interesting that at the beginning of World War II, the Japanese Americans were incarcerated, but not the white German Americans (of which there were millions). So, it appears that our nation is not color blind.

Today there is a vast undertaking happening in this administration. Brown skinned people are  being rounded up and put into holding areas and being sent back to wherever they came from. Interestingly enough the Republican centered Cuban brown people who came here illegally during the Mariel Boat crisis, are not being rounded up, nor are their children being sent back to Cuba.

At the beginning of this Administration, 7 countries were singled out for the Muslim Ban (that’s what the President called it).  The seventh country was Iraq. There are over 100, 000 Assyrian Iraqis who came here many years ago, mostly illegally, who are in Michigan. They gave the President his 11,000 vote majority in that state. They were sure he was going to help with the Iraqi problems. He would never call down ICE to send them home.

Oh yes he did!! ICE started to round them up until it was found that Iraq was no longer on the Muslim ban list. Funny how that works if you are the wrong color, but you give me bunches of votes. Not sure that doesn’t happen almost every election.

So with possibility of DACA people never being able to be citizens (read that- have never voted against the present administration), we now understand that this persecution has nothing to do with national security. If we make America White Again, we will continue to be in power. Bring on the Brown shirts.

I WILL NOT RETIRE

We moved to South Carolina for different reasons than most people. Our friends were moving away or dying. My time as a lobbyist for rural schools has ended. I still have some contacts with legislators, but just sporadic phone calls. Those were the reasons, not the weather.

I live in adult Disneyworld (Sun City). This is an over 55 community. The overwhelming number of them has come down here to retire in the real sense of the word. There are so many activities here on campus that some people get sick joining everything that there is available. There are even two softball leagues and a great field to play on. Whatever your interest, there is a club.

You can hang around with interest groups, people from your state, and people with the same disease that you have and play golf to your heart’s content. Those are out retirees. They have worked hard all their lives and they deserve these moments in the sun.

I am not involved in any of those activities. I do belong to one club- the Doo Wop club. We listen and sometimes sing to old doo wop records. The leader of the club is the best doo wop historian I have ever heard. I can listen to him forever. Tonight there will be a doo wop dance and I am looking forward to it.

I do exercise here on campus. That’s about it. I have few friends that I have made here. My friends come from Harrisburg, where I lived before coming here. I have really no individual friend’s that I have made. Our couples friends go out with us, come to our home and play funny card games, and drink diet caffeine free Coke.

My life is outside the walls of Sun City. As it has been for most of my adult years, I advocate for rural schools and communities. My favorite times down here are when I meet with juniors and seniors from the Ridgeland Hardee High School and spend time with them. They fill me with joy and sometimes sadness. You can’t win them all, but when you get a text from a young man who I had to push hard to get to a college, it is all worth it.

Carol works with 10 young women. They are tougher than the guys. They are incredibly hard on each other. We have spent many hours with people who live here and understand that kind of culture. Carol has saved, at least 3 young women from going down the tubes. There is so much more to be done.

The kids here are the same as anywhere else in rural America. They mostly have not been out of their county, not have they flown, taken a train or gotten to other parts of the country or world. We try very hard to have them see that there are other places and other opportunities rather than making up beds in hotels on Hilton Head Island.

The students that we are working with are articulate, intelligent and soak up things like a sponge. Some are closer to me than others. There are those who shy away from either a handshake or an NFL hug (no touching). Some though feel comfortable enough to give me a big hug when they come into our meeting and then when they leave. Some are so big that they make me disappear in their embrace.

Unless some disease fells me, or I become senile, I will continue to work with the kids. I will not retire.