From Charleston to Pittsburgh, an Arc of Premeditated American Tragedy 

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” – Abraham Lincoln

In these times, America has no city of brotherly love. But that is not unusual. We have been haters since the formation of this Republic. We don’t like strangers and we don’t like newcomers. Some of that is human nature, but we take it to extremes when we hate with such animus that guns are drawn.

The better angels of our nature are under assault by angels that Abraham Lincoln did not mention.

This from Jelani Cobb in The New Yorker

The architects of these atrocities were both white men whose fury was amplified in the echo chamber of the Internet. They conceived of their actions as a form of self-defense.

Source: From Charleston to Pittsburgh, an Arc of Premeditated American Tragedy | The New Yorker

Too high a cost – the war on drugs

Time to re-think the war on drugs. Too many lives have been destroyed for too little purpose. Our jails are full of people who don’t belong there. We spent years fighting alcohol in this country; we have organized crime to show for our efforts. The war on drugs is no different. It has been thirty-five years since Nancy Reagan began this war, and we have accomplished nothing. Too high a cost. Time to end it.


When A Bribe Is Business As Usual

Cindi Ross Scoppe continues the story of ethical governance.  One must point out that legality and ethics diverge in South Carolina government. In terms of government corruption, this state has one of the best records in the nation. The reason? Everything is legal.

Buying gifts for voters and making donations to popular organizations — in order to be re-elected.How exactly is that different from vote-buying? From bribery?It might not meet our state’s legal definition of bribery, which is really convoluted but is generally believed to require a direct quid pro quo. But it meets the dictionary definition of a bribe: “money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust” and “something that serves to induce or influence.”

via Columbia, SC: Scoppe: When bribery becomes an ‘ordinary expense’ | Cindi Scoppe | The State.

Ethics, Shmethics

Adam Beam writes an excellent article on understanding the problems with ethical conduct in South Carolina state government.

The rules are conflicting, the regulators often disagree, and there are too many of them.

And a lot of money is involved.

Critics say South Carolina needs to follow the lead of 26 other states and have one independent ethics commission set the rules for all political candidates. But most lawmakers say that would violate the state’s Constitution. And, they add, they have done a good job of policing themselves, an assessment disputed by others.

via STATE HOUSE FOR SALE: SC ethics law a muddled mess | Politics | The State.