5.19 | Monday, March 11, 2013
dervishes come Wednesday to Charleston
MARCH 11, 2013 -- What ties us together globally as human beings? We all walk along different paths in life, but what is the underlying, proverbial ribbon that ties us together? Some people look to such things as nature and others to religion as their way of understanding the meaning of life.
One such seeker is a writer who created thought-provoking poetry who we in the West call Rumi. He was born in 1207 in Balkh, currently situated in northern Afghanistan, to a religious family. They settled in Konya, Anatolia [present-day Turkey] in 1228. He became known as Mawlana Jalaladdin Muhammad Rumi. 'Mawlana' means 'Our Master' and 'Rumi' means 'Roman Anatolian' because Anatolia used to be called the "land of Rum" [meaning from Rome, Italy].
He wrote on topics such as love, compassion and happiness. His poems are so universal that they have remained popular over 800 years and spread all over the globe. His works inspired Madonna to create the song 'Bittersweet' using one of his poems translated by Indian-American holistic health guru, Deepak Chopra! She sings, "Whirling and dancing like a spinning wheel I saw myself as the source of existence".
Rumi spent his life as a devoted religious teacher and poet. Every aspect in his life branched from his love of God. His religious training was focused on divine love, worship, austerity and abstinence, piety, consciousness of God, humility and tolerance, which are the foundations of Sufism. Due to the religious warring in the Seljuk dynastic period in Anatolia, Sufism eventually spread from Iran to present-day Turkey and subsequently further into the West.
There is a striving in Sufism for an ultimate union with God coupled with the understanding that man and God stay separate. There is a dualistic lifestyle between the conscious, physical world and the unconscious spiritual world that the Sufi must master. A Sufi strives to live a life focused on the pursuit of conscious awareness of God.
are different Sufi groups throughout the world. Each has different styles
of worship. Rumi's lifestyle and subsequent teachings gave way to an order
of Sufis forming in Konya in the 1300s called 'Mevlevi.' These believers
were Muslim but they wanted to transcend their respect for God from everyday
ritual and blossom into a loving devotion. The teachings of Sufism paired
with Rumi's guidance aided them in this transcendence.
This act of turning reflects the revolution of all creation from something as small as the atom to something as big as the universe. After whirling, he or she then returns from this spiritual journey as an individual who reached maturity and greater perfection, as being in the service of the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of beliefs, races, classes and nations.
Charleston has the opportunity to witness first-hand this timeless act of worship all the way from Turkey! At 7 p.m. March 13 at the Charleston Music Hall, a Turkish dervish group will perform a sema. They will also be in Columbia on March 11 and Greenville on March 14. Come seekers! All are invited to experience this unforgettable performance!
campaign ads aren't worth much
MARCH 11, 2013 -- The spate of televised political advertising is only going to get worse as the March 19 congressional primary looms. Unfortunately, television advertising is how most people learn about candidates -- especially when there are 16 candidates in the GOP primary. Let's take a realistic look at the candidates and their ads, starting with the Republicans:
Sanford: The former governor weaves a message in his first
ad of being a proven fiscal conservative with yet another plea for
forgiveness for an extra-marital affair that led to the very public break-up
of his marriage. Redemption stories, notes the lead character in the Netflix
drama "House of Cards," are very powerful narratives. All we
can wonder is can Mark Sanford ever stop asking for forgiveness for his
personal failing to do the people's business?
Turner: The self-anointed conservative son of media mogul Ted Turner
smacked at Sanford and "career politicians" with a pretty tasteless
ad making fun of the redemption tour, but it made its point. Turner's
campaign seems to be about trying to figure out how many ways he can say
he's conservative without a record of it.
Grooms: The Berkeley County GOP senator tries hard to appeal to Christian
voters with his emphasis on faith, family and freedom. "I'm in this
race because I'm worried ... worried for our families." His two
ads are slick, but generally forgettable.
Limehouse: A longtime member of the South Carolina House from Charleston,
Limehouse does a disservice to voters by bringing up the specter of socialism
in a pandering ad
featuring former Gov. Jim Edwards. Obviously a tool to try to get a chunk
of the large senior vote in the GOP primary, preying on seniors' fears
to win votes isn't something to be proud of.
Kuhn: The former state senator has blanketed the airwaves with ads
on how he'll out-conservative other conservatives, all of whom focus on
cutting spending. He's attacked Sanford, Grooms and Limehouse with comments
judged misleading about spending. And what's really galling is how one
ad ends with a jet flyover of an aircraft carrier -- an image that gives
the impression that he's got a military background, which he doesn't.
Bostic: The former Charleston County councilman doesn't physically
live in the First Congressional District, but is quick to point out he
works in it. Yet that didn't stop him from running for the seat or using
a little girl who said she was his niece in an ad
to push his message. Tacky.
Hoffman: The relatively unknown former White House staffer asks for
limited government in his only
ad, a standard introductory piece that may be too little too late
to cut through the chatter of all of the other candidates.
Blandford: The libertarian Navy veteran offers a Mission Impossible-style
ad that's kind of clever but likely to be too little for a likely
There are eight other candidates in the Republican primary, but we haven't seen ads for any of them and couldn't find any on their Web sites.
Democratic side, only two candidates are running -- Elizabeth Colbert
Busch and Ben Frasier. Colbert Busch is the only one with a primary
ad, a relatively standard, dull bio piece that touts her experience
as a "jobs creator."
Good luck in figuring out who you're going to vote for. Despite there being a huge field of candidates, there doesn't seem to be much choice.
Candidates challenged to ride bus with Straphangers
To the editor:
Six candidates for the SC-1 seat in the U.S. Congress have taken Hungryneck Straphangers' invitation to join us for a guided ride on the CARTA public transit system in the past month. The candidates who have been on the bus with us are Turner, Moffly, Larkin, Hoffman, Bryant (all Republicans) and Larry Carter Center (Green Party.) We are still hoping the Democrats and the remaining Republican and Green party candidates will take a ride with us before the primary.
All the candidates who have been on the bus have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of fresh potential voters, a great opportunity in a campaign which has been dominated by events where a large field competes for the same pool of base voters. While these less engaged voters can be tough sells, candidates of both the Green and Republican parties have found votes on board. Next week our organization will begin distributing thousands of printed tickets at bus stops telling transit voters who has been on the bus with us to assist them in selecting who to vote for in the primary. Transit riders regard having an actual, on board local transit experience to be important in determining which candidates are in touch with their day to day experiences.
While we'll be dealing with more detailed, transit connected issues later in the campaign, we're going to confine our outreach voter education prior to the primary to this simple fact of who has taken a ride on the bus. We won't be endorsing candidates in the primary (or general election later).
isn't a 'story:' It was a great festival
To the editor:
evening on my birthday and then from 7:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday
I worked as a volunteer at Charleston Tells Storytelling Festival at Wragg
Square. I have never been so sore and tired in my life.
a the best birthday weekend I have ever had. The storytelling festival
was a smashing success and will be back the same weekend next year. I
have never been prouder of my wife than during this weekend. It was almost
flawless and performers and attendees were extremely happy with the way
it flowed. The only complaint I heard about was someone suggested that
someone should have sold coffee since it was chilly.
My wife, Cynthia Bledsoe, along with Michel Hammes and Jamie Thomas, did Charleston proud. Their dedication and extremely hard work made this storytelling festival one to be envied. It is hard to believe that it was an inaugural event but it was. I would like to give these three and the multitude of volunteers that made Charleston Tells Storytelling Festival the best that it could be a standing ovation.
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to attack Charleston
As early as the fall of 1862, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and Assistant Secretary Gustavus Fox were pressuring Flag Officer Samuel F. Du Pont to attack Charleston with his ironclad fleet. In assessing a naval attack on Charleston, Du Pont referred to the harbor as "a good deal like a porcupine's hide and quills turned outside in and served up at one end." He relied on Confederate deserters and escaped slaves for reconnaissance on the Confederate defenses and understood the firepower of the hundreds of Confederate guns placed in batteries around the harbor.
General P. G. T. Beauregard designed three interlocking circles of fire on any ship entering the harbor. Fort Sumter was the center of the first line which included Batteries Gregg and Wagner on Morris Island to the south and Fort Moultrie, Fort Beauregard, Fort Marshall and Batteries Bee, Marion and four small batteries on Sullivan's Island to the north. The second circle included Fort Johnson and Batteries Cheves, Wampler and Glover on James Island; Fort Ripley and Castle Pinckney in the harbor; a battery on Hog Island and two batteries on Mount Pleasant. The final circle included batteries in Charleston and others on the banks of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Range buoys were placed throughout the harbor to assist the Confederate gunners with the accuracy of their fire. Any ship coming through the main shipping channel would have to first face the 85 guns at Fort Sumter and the 24 guns at Fort Moultrie.
Fox, in a meeting with Du Pont, insisted that he should "go in and demand a surrender of the forts or the alternative of destruction of their city." Welles was also frustrated with Du Pont. He wrote in his diary that Du Pont "shrinks from responsibility, dreads the conflict he has sought, yet is unwilling that any other should undertake it."
Du Pont expressed his concerns about the ability of the ironclad ships to handle the shot that would be fired on them. He wrote Secretary of the Navy Welles stating that Fox "overrates the monitors as much as he underrates the defenses" of Charleston. Even John Ericsson, the designer of the monitors, warned of the pending naval attack on Charleston. In writing Fox he stated, "Your confidence in the great naval attack astounds me - you have not turrets enough . . . you have not guns enough."
President Abraham Lincoln knew that support for the war in the North was waning and he needed a major victory to boost morale. Lincoln met with his naval and army commanders to discuss the progress of the war. General John Foster pitched his proposal to capture Charleston by, first, taking Morris Island. Lincoln expressed his concern that approaching by Morris Island could result in a protracted siege. Like Welles and Fox, the president favored a naval attack and insisted that they instruct Du Pont to press the attack without delay.
In early March, two additional monitors and the USS Keokuk, an experimental ship with two fixed and armored towers, were dispatched south to join Du Pont's force. This brought Du Pont's attack force to seven monitors, the USS Keokuk and the USS New Ironsides, the strongest ship in the navy. All of the ironclads were sent to Port Royal where their armor plating was reinforced.
Intelligence gathered from escaped slaves and Confederate deserters alerted the Union Navy to the many obstructions and torpedoes placed in Charleston Harbor. Naval engineers designed rafts to be built on the bows of the monitors to clear any threats in their path, though Du Pont expressed, "I have no more idea that we can use them than we can fly."
In Charleston, Beauregard issued an order for noncombatants to leave the city in the face of the pending attack, but Charlestonians were supremely confident of victory and few left. Frank Vizetelly, a correspondent for the Illustrated London News, was in Charleston. Prior to the attack, he filed a report with the London newspaper, writing: "I have every faith in the result of the coming encounter . . . every preparation has been made, every appliance pressed into service." Vizetelly predicted that the pending attack would "assuredly be one of the most extraordinary ever witnessed-amour-plated ships against sand-batteries, earth works, and brick and stone forts."
site seeks big dreams for South Carolina
Envision South Carolina is a new eight-week interactive multimedia project that seeks to engage South Carolinians to dream big, connect with others and share what they've learned. The project has launched a Web site and is looking for the active participation of major media partners across the state.
"I hope and believe this project will inspire our fellow South Carolinians to embrace bold and innovative thinking about our shared future," said College of Charleston President and Envision SC co-founder George Benson. "Envision South Carolina is intended to help us take action-to think about how South Carolina can be a leader on the world stage."
The project includes video interviews with 25 of our state's innovators, educators and business leaders about how South Carolina can become globally connected and "world class" in technology, industry, education and more. It also includes an educational component for students of all ages to "connect, learn and share" on a project of their choice that reaches out to other parts of the world. The website, EnvisionSC.org, allows all residents to submit their own ideas for advancing our state.
This statewide endeavor has been developed as an inter-disciplinary project of the College of Charleston under the personal direction of its co-founders, College of Charleston President George Benson and Charleston businessman Phil Noble.
Competition promotes, rewards academic excellence
More than 1,200 public school students in the tri-county area participated Saturday in the 27th annual Quest Academic Competition held at Trident Technical College.
The competition seeks to promote academic excellence, provide academic challenges and recognize those who excel in academic areas, including math, science and social studies. Individual competitions also were in composition, public speaking and visual arts, as well as an array of special competitions in everything from culinary arts to construction. Overall school winners included:
Briefs: GE, Riley, PeopleMatter
Master storyteller Augusta Braxton Baker
Augusta Braxton Baker, the first African American to hold an administrative position in the New York Public Library, was born on April 1, 1911, in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of Winfort Braxton and Mabel Gough. Her father was educated at Morgan College and taught mathematics. Keeping with the custom of the times, her mother retired from elementary school teaching following Baker's birth.
Baker's mother had a profound influence on and nurtured her love of reading and her overall education. "I was an only child, and I was fair prey, you see, for my mother to teach," Baker noted in a 1989 interview. Baker also cited her grandmother's influence on the development of her literary abilities: "my earliest recollection too was a storytelling grandmother, and that may have been the seed for my later interest in storytelling." Having developed an early love of literature and literacy, Augusta was advanced in elementary school and subsequently graduated from high school at age fifteen. She entered the University of Pittsburgh, where she met and married her first husband, James Baker. The marriage produced one son. The two moved to Albany, New York, where Baker continued her studies at New York State College for Teachers, earning a B.A. in education in 1933 and a B.S. in library science in 1934. The Baker marriage ended in divorce, and on November 23, 1944, Augusta married Gordon Alexander.
During her accomplished career as a children's librarian with the New York Public Library, Baker received the first Dutton-Macrae Award in 1953 for advanced study of library work with children. Her knowledge and capabilities were recognized by the Georgia Teachers and Education Association (GTEA) in 1956 when they requested that she provide consultation toward the advancement of the Librarians' Section of the organization. She later served as consultant to other organizations and programs, including the long-running television series Sesame Street. She was an early supporter and contributor to the development of the Coretta Scott King Book Award, which was first presented at the American Library Association Conference in 1970, and in 1974 she was the first African American to receive the Clarence Day Award.
In 1980 Baker joined the University of South Carolina (USC) and became "Storyteller-in-Residence." This position was created for Baker, and her goals were to teach others how to create enthusiasm in children about stories and reading. In 1987 the city of Columbia established a yearly festival in her honor, "A(ugusta) Baker's Dozen: A Celebration of Stories," recognizing the importance of stories and storytelling.
the joint efforts of the USC College of Library and Information Science
and the Richland County Public Library, each celebration features authors,
illustrators, storytellers, and a keynote address focusing on Baker's
lifelong dedication to the creation and expansion of African American
children's literature, the development of literacy skills among children
and young adults, and the increased usage of libraries among children
and adults. She received honorary doctor of letters degrees from St. John's
University in 1978 and from the University of South Carolina in 1986.
Augusta Baker retired from USC in 1994 and died in Columbia on February
Did you guess "cemetery?"
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IN THE WEEK AHEAD
(NEW) Health Expo: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., March 14, Trident Technical College , Building 920, 7000 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston. More than 20 Roper St. Francis Healthcare doctors and medical experts will discuss and answer questions on nine topics. $10 registration fee that includes breakfast, lunch and snacks. Reservations and more: 843.402.2273.
Gardening in the air: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., March 16, Charleston Exchange Park. The 2013 Carolina Yard Gardening School is open for registration. For $75, participants will enjoy two lectures, two workshops, a great lunch, door prizes and free compost. Register here.
CONTINUING AND IN THE WEEKS AHEAD
(NEW) Walter Edgar: 12:30 p.m., March 21, Hanahan Hall, Grace Episcopal Church, Wentworth Street, Charleston. The South Carolina historian will speak at the church's luncheon series. $7 for lunch. More: 723.4575.
Book signing lunch with Lee brothers: 10:30 a.m., March 22, Fleet Landing restaurant, 186 Concord St., Charleston. Blue Bicycle Books is offering this special access to the Lee brothers as they discuss their new book, "The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen." For $75, you can get a great lunch and signed book. More.
(NEW) Bulls Bay Nature Festival: All day, March 23, with keynote address by Clemson's Patrick McMillan of "Expeditions with Patrick McMillan" at 6 p.m. At the Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center, 5821 Highway 17 North, Awendaw. Music, art, nature hikes, more. Register online.
Natalie Merchant: March 23, Charlotte Symphony, Belk Theater, Charlotte. The singer-songwriter will perform in Charlotte with its symphony with music from her new album, as well as from her solo and band days. Tickets start at $44.50 and can be bought online.
Free admission to county parks: March 24. The Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission will offer free admission to all county parks on this day as part of Customer Appreciation Day. Visitors also will be able to win waterpark and fishing passes ... and more. More: www.ccprc.com
Spring break camp: March 26-28, Dill Sanctuary, James Island. The Charleston Museum will offer morning camps for children age 5 to 10 where they'll take marsh walks, collect fiddler crabs and make crafts. More info.
Lowcountry Cajun Festival: Noon to 6 p.m., April 7, James Island County Park. There will be lots of Cajun and Creole food, great music and more at this event that costs just $10 for anyone over 12. More.
(NEW)Dig South: April 12-14, College of Charleston TD Arena, Charleston Music Hall, The Alley and Redux. The interactive festival explores the intersection of technology, social media, marketing and the arts. More.
Hunt & Habit: Through April 21, Charleston Museum, Meeting Street. The museum will present an original exhibition of women's and men's riding habits, hats and accessories from the 19th and early 20th century. More info.
Images due by June 6. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is holding
its annual photo contest for photos taken at the attraction between March
1 and May 31. Entry is $25. To enter and look at rules, visit the Lowcountry
Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Walks also are conducted on James Island and Folly Beach.Learn more online.
4/1: Angstadt: Manatees
Noble: Envision SC
Saucy new book
of Keokuk guns
4/1: With no vision ...
4/1: Vacation ID tips