“Shambolic probably does not go far enough in describing their ineptitude.”

Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now, the advertising company that developed the “South Carolina Is So Gay” ads, on the state’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and its efforts to first ignore and then denounce the campaign. E-mails released by the department show directors knew of the ads a week before the story broke here in the states, with one spokesman writing that he was “praying this little story doesn’t jump the pond.” Source: The State

Charleston Schools Pinch Pennies

While some have criticized Charleston County Schools for not getting money to the classroom, new figures compiled by the Voice for School Choice suggest the district is one of the more fiscally conservative in the state.

In regards to per-student expenses (including local, state, and federal funding for school operations), Charleston was at a distant 71 among the state’s districts with $9,824. It’s far less than some other coastal districts and well below the state average of $11,480.

The district probably would love more money for after-school programs and extended school for at-risk students, but the state’s lopsided funding formula has Charleston begging for scraps. —Greg Hambrick

Activists Hope to Crowd The Polls

Where were you on Nov. 7, 2006? Chances are you were not at a voting booth having a senior citizen explain touchscreens to you. Only 35 percent of South Carolina voters showed up during the mid-term election. For the big dance in 2004, it was still only slightly less than half the voting-age population. It’s not just disappointing, it’s disturbing.

The S.C. Progressive Network, the Charleston NAACP, and the S.C. Voter Education Project are partnering to educate individuals and groups on how to register voters so that this year’s elections aren’t a spectator sport.

“There is nothing more important to a healthy democracy than an engaged citizenry,” says Brett Bursey of the Progressive Network. “The sad reality is that 98 percent of the candidates who spend the most money are the ones who win. That’s not an election, it’s an auction. We need you to register and vote to build power to change the system.”

The network’s Missing Voter Project targets minority youth with street maps identifying unregistered or infrequent voters, Bursey says. Only half of the state’s black residents are registered to vote, and only half of those registered actually vote.

The registration training session will be from 7-9 p.m. on Thurs., Aug. 14, at Morris Brown Church, 13 Morris St. ­—Greg Hambrick


That’s the number of hurricanes now predicted for the Atlantic coast, according to midwest hurricane sage William Gray. The total number of storms is now expected to be 17. Gray had previously predicted eight hurricanes out of 15 total storms. So confusing! Where’s Whoop Whoop, the hurricane predicting gibbon when you need him? Source: The Associated Press


That’s the percentage of Charleston homebuyers who paid in cash. It’s surprisingly lower than the national average of 7 percent and the numbers from nearby cities. Beaufort was at 13 percent, and Myrtle Beach was a whopping 22 percent. The only house we can pay for in cash has a box lid instead of doors. Source: RIS Media

Pawn Shops See Spike
in Business

Pawnbrokers, more so than big-name economists like Greenspan and Bernanke, provide the ground-level reflection of America’s financial state of affairs. As housing construction slows, truckloads of tools are finding their way to pawn shops. As people struggle at the gas pump and the grocery store, household items are also filling the shelves.

Local pawn shops report an overflow of guns, DVD players, radios, television sets, instruments, and so on. Some shops have an entire wall crowded with tools. Others have jewelry cases that look like they can’t hold one more earring. Gun racks are overflowing with .38-caliber revolvers and shotguns. Some have moved excess inventory to storage units or garages.

Gene’s Jewelry and Pawn in North Charleston has noticed a definite increase in the number of people coming in to sell items, as well as an increase in inventory. One employee notes some people have become “repeaters,” meaning that they will return every so often to pawn items. Some people bring in things that don’t really matter to them while others bring in personal treasures and heirlooms they don’t wish to part with. “They rarely come back,” says one employee. “Maybe one out of four people return to buy back their items.” —Caitlin Baker

“We’re very much looking forward
to the RNC. Getting the permit was
a no-brainer.”

Julian Royal of gentlemen’s club Schieks Palace Royale in Minneapolis. Royal was the first in line for a $2,500 permit to stay open late during the Republican National Convention. Source: Minneapolis City Pages