April 2, 2009

"Our Dumb State"

From the Columbia Free Times, a series documenting "our dumb state." I have to admit a little chagrin here, as a Palmetto State native son; unfortunately, they seem to have a point...
Our Dumb State with a Vengeance

by : Free Times

Welcome to the third installment of “Our Dumb State,” an occasional series in which we celebrate the self-defeating insanity that all too often takes hold in our state and propels us into the national — or even international — media arena. From former Miss South Carolina’s well-publicized troubles with maps to Thomas Ravenel’s well-publicized troubles with cocaine, our state offers seemingly endless fodder for ridicule on YouTube or in the monologues of late-night talk-show hosts. And in two previous editions of Our Dumb State (as well as in our annual Year in Review issues), we’ve made it our mission to give a local spin to those stories that have catapulted our state to infamy.

Lately, we’ve been in the news for two big stories: Gov. Mark Sanford’s war on stimulus spending and Michael Phelps’ run-in with a bong. But wait, there’s more! Don’t forget last year’s dust-ups over the “I Believe” license plates and the “So Gay” ad campaign. And then there are some more recent bumbles, such as a state legislator’s proposals to — no joke — outlaw profanity and sagging pants.

Folks, we couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried. And frankly, we wish that South Carolina would be in the news for better reasons. But hey, these things happen — and we feel sure they’ll continue — so the best thing to do is just lighten up a bit and laugh at our state’s foibles.

And that’s what “Our Dumb State” is all about: It’s a completely opinionated but hopefully humorous look at South Carolina’s many media missteps. While there’s plenty to debate about just where the dumbness lies in all this — and you might well disagree with our view on it — there can be little debate that, deserved or not, South Carolina routinely ends up with far more than its fair share of negative publicity. So, at some point you just have to shrug your shoulders and laugh. Because if you don’t, you just might cry. — Dan Cook

Our Dumb Coal Plant
Santee Cooper vs. Common Sense

Now this is what we call dumb.

Listen, an element of contrarianism is cool, you know, and going against the grain has its merits at times.

But WTF? Build a coal-fired power plant when more or less the entire nation has abandoned such sources of electricity because of the toxic emissions and ash byproduct they generate? Even in the face of the facts that coal-fired power plants are the largest source of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and that said CO2 is changing global climate patterns by warming the planet?

Yet, build one is precisely what state-owned utility Santee Cooper plans to do, in Florence County on the Pee Dee River.

Santee Cooper deserves big props for, on its own volition, setting a goal to obtain 40 percent of the energy it produces from green sources by 2020. And the utility’s board of directors is backing up that objective with money and other measures.

But Santee Cooper is off the reservation with this coal plant scheme.

The utility contends that it is necessary to meet projected growth in energy demand in South Carolina — so the lights come on when people flip the switch.

Might we suggest that the lights of common sense at Santee Cooper are what seem to be not coming on, at least in regard to this project. — Eric Ward

Read more about our dumb state here.

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