Andy Brack

BRACK:  Election systems are safe, but hearts and minds may not be

BRACK:  Election systems are safe, but hearts and minds may not be

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | The Russians will only be successful in meddling with the 2018 elections if we let them do it to us.

The nation’s spy chiefs last week said they expected foreign governments to try to fiddle with election outcomes in 2018, just like the Russians did in 2016. But that doesn’t mean foreign governments will necessarily try to hack into voting systems, change names on voting rolls or disrupt the internal mechanics of voting.

“What they are trying to do is inject themselves [into our election process] and cause confusion in another way – using social media and other means,” said state Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg. “They are creating fake news.”

by · 02/19/2018 · 0 comments · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK:  Put an end to gerrymandering

BRACK:  Put an end to gerrymandering

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Perhaps it was naivete, youth or idealism. Maybe all three. But I never felt trapped by gerrymandering during a run for Congress in 2000. I believed people from Seabrook Island to Little River in the First Congressional District were ready for someone different.

Today, of course, I know different. I could have been George Washington himself and not won a seat in Congress that year because of the way the district lines favored Republicans thanks to gerrymandering. After two years of work and more than $500,000 raised, I got 36 percent of the vote – the percentage a Democrat typically got in that seat.

by · 02/12/2018 · 0 comments · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK: It’s the Year of the Panda in S.C. politics

BRACK: It’s the Year of the Panda in S.C. politics

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | If the 2018 gubernatorial race in South Carolina were a sound, it probably would be the chilling screech of fingernails dragged across a blackboard.

Folks, it’s the Year of the Panda, a season already with some of the worst political pandering in recent memory. The nonsense coming out of gubernatorial campaigns is more painful than bamboo shoots being stuck under those screeching fingernails – shoots that should nourish pandas, not irritate voters.

Winner of the week’s pandering award is Gov. Henry McMaster for the blatant ploy to suck up to voters by proclaiming Feb. 4 to be “Stand For The Flag Super Bowl Sunday.”

by · 02/05/2018 · 0 comments · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK: What really needs to happen with General Assembly’s nuclear mess

BRACK: What really needs to happen with General Assembly’s nuclear mess

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Until state legislators go through the five stages of grief over the $9 billion failure of building two nuclear reactors, they might just screw up things worse.

It’s easy to see where they are, so far, six months after the announcement by Santee Cooper and SCANA that the project in Fairfield County wouldn’t get off the ground, despite ratepayers paying more for power over the last 10 years.

First is the denial stage – that it couldn’t happen here. Evidence of this is the prodigious finger-pointing as everybody and his brother look for scapegoats.

by · 01/29/2018 · 1 comment · Andy Brack, Views
At a corner in Selma, Ala., near the National Park Service's Selma Interpretative Center.  The youths on the trip can be seen in the background.

BRACK: Teaching more about civil rights era will bring us together

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  A teenager almost started to cry Jan. 14 as she read a passage from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”  Her white peers, normally boisterous, were markedly subdued as they witnessed stark museum displays of what life was like for black Southerners during civil rights struggles.

One thing was clear for more than two dozen Charleston youths on a church trip to learn about the South’s special kind of past apartheid:  They had no real understanding about what it was like to live in the Jim Crow South of 60 years ago.  They didn’t learn it from textbooks and lessons in school.  They had no real concept of the flashes of vitriol, hate and anger that rocked many Southern communities as they wrestled with civil rights and big cultural changes following World War II.

by · 01/22/2018 · 1 comment · Andy Brack, Views
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering a speech.

BRACK:  How South Carolina influenced King

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  With the Martin Luther King holiday still fresh in our minds, it’s a good time to look at how South Carolina influenced King – and how he influenced the Palmetto State.

Many people don’t realize South Carolina provided sanctuary for King and his supporters.  He used Penn Center on St. Helena Island as a retreat to think and compose.  While state officials in many parts of the South interfered with King, his South Carolina base for reflection helped usher in the civil rights movement.

by · 01/16/2018 · 1 comment · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK:  Cartoonist Ariail loves doodling, drawing about S.C. politics

BRACK:  Cartoonist Ariail loves doodling, drawing about S.C. politics

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  Award-winning South Carolina political cartoonist Robert Ariail has been having a jolly old time lampooning politicians for more than three decades.

As state legislators prepare to get back into the policy swing of things next week, we thought you might enjoy learning more about Ariail’s craft of illustrating an editorial comment, often with a little humor added for good measure.

Q:  Describe what makes a good political cartoon?

ARIAIL:  I think a good political cartoon should be topical and easily understood while imparting a valid message or opinion using good drawing style and, when possible, humor.

by · 01/08/2018 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK:  Preserve, conserve S.C.’s beauty by getting involved

BRACK:  Preserve, conserve S.C.’s beauty by getting involved

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  The beauty and majesty of South Carolina’s natural assets from the mountains to the sea are a part of what makes the state great.  But unless people, including state legislators, take ongoing steps to keep what makes South Carolina special, then we risk losing what we’ve got.

To ensure the state’s natural attractions remain viable, you should get involved at local and state levels to conserve and preserve what’s makes South Carolina great.

Locally, you can pay attention to what’s happening in city and county council proceedings to check development and to make sure local governments abide by smart growth strategies.  You can write letters to the editor, attend meetings, run for office when you see a wrong or just speak up when talking with friends and neighbors.

by · 01/01/2018 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK:  #FakeNews is a fake phenomenon

BRACK:  #FakeNews is a fake phenomenon

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   There is no such thing as #FakeNews.

There is, however, a cynical, national political strategy called #FakeNews.  It is a continuing attempt by President Trump and his cronies to promote public disbelief in information that these politicos don’t like or that makes them look bad.

The whole “#FakeNews” phenomenon is nothing more than a public relations ultra-spin to kill the messenger AND the message.

Before you shout #FakeNews or #RealNews, please realize neither exists.  Either something is news or it is not.  That which is not news either doesn’t measure up as something that’s new, factual and interesting.  Or it is something titillating that is simply made up, a fiction.

The job of a reporter is to provide new information based on facts (hence, “news”) with which you might not be familiar so you can keep informed.  Facts are bits of verifiable information.  For example, Clemson will play in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.  That’s a verifiable fact.  But it’s also a fact that a Clemson coach hopes the team will win.  Sure, that’s an opinion of the coach, but it’s a fact that it is his opinion. 

by · 12/18/2017 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK: State should provide flexibility with local tourism taxes

BRACK: State should provide flexibility with local tourism taxes

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   South Carolina’s legislators need to provide more flexibility to city and county governments in how they can use some of the tax money they collect as the state works to take away more of their revenue.

For years, local governments have received state subsidies to comply with requirements that cities and counties provide some state-mandated services, such as maintaining ditches along state roads or providing offices for courts and some agencies.  By law, the state is supposed to pay 4.5 percent of the previous year’s general fund to help counties with the cost of these required state services.  But since 2010, the state has been shorting local governments with the gap now at just under $100 million a year.

by · 12/11/2017 · 1 comment · Andy Brack, Views