“Some say she cannot be elected president. I say those who underestimate Hillary Clinton do so at theirown peril.”

U.S. Sen Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), in a Time magazine profile of the former first lady.

Columbia Week in Review ·
After three weeks of floor debate, and almost a year of discussion, the Senate reached a consensus on a property tax relief plan. The vote came 11 hours after the session began. A second reading was given to a bill that would give voters the choice of substituting increased sales taxes for property taxes. The bill also raises the state sales tax to five and a half cents. The half-cent increase removes county operating costs from tax bills. Because the choice of sales or property taxes will be up to each county, the bill might require changing the state constitution, which would require two-thirds approval from the legislature. A bill aiming to reduce the number of illegal immigrants working in the state received key approval Thursday in the House. The bill will require state agencies to check the legal status of new employees through a U.S. Department of Homeland Security electronic verification system. The Senate must give two-thirds approval to take up the matter because the session is past the May 1 crossover deadline. A plant could be built at the Savannah River Site to convert weapons-grade nuclear material into fuel for power plants. In 2002, the state agreed to take on 34 tons of weapons-grade plutonium at the Savannah River Site in Aiken if the federal Department of Energy (DoE) built a mixed oxide fuel (MOX) facility to convert the plutonium into fuel. “The South Carolina MOX project is a cost-effective and efficient method for the United States to dispose of a significant portion of its plutonium inventory,” says U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.). The United States also agreed to help fund a similar MOX plant in Russia. The construction of both plants has been delayed because of liability issues and Russia’s full-funding demands. The bill now allows the DoE to negotiate with Russia, and will ensure that the state moves forward with MOX. “The Defense Authorization bill still awaits consideration on the House floor and in the Senate, so the funding for the MOX facility is by no means a done deal,” said Spratt. “But this language is a step in the right direction.” —Anna Claire Hodge

4th

That’s where readers of AmericanStyle magazine ranked Charleston nationally among cities under 100,000 in that magazine’s annual Top 25 Arts Destinations poll. Damn you, Asheville, N.C.; damn you to hell!

“I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.”

Charleston native Stephen Colbert two weekends ago, pillorying the Bush administration during the annual Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C. Much of the Washington press corps sat silently, and later tried to paint Colbert’s hilarious diatribe as “unfunny.” We say, “Screw you, humorless Washington press corps!”

20

That’s how many pounds the average teen will lose by the time they graduate, according to former President Bill Clinton, thanks to a new deal with the soda industry that will gradually take sugary drinks out of school vending machines over the next few years.

Chicora Elementary Wins National ‘Turnaround’ Award ·
It just goes to show you how bipolar the Charleston County School District is. A few years ago, the School Board was discussing shuttering Chicora Elementary, located in the impoverished Chicora/Cherokee neighborhoods off Rivers Avenue in N. Charleston. Then, last week, the school wins the National Change Award, given out by the Fordham University Graduate School of Education. The school’s average standardized scores have exploded over the past five years, ever since Mary McReynolds was first brought in to change the culture of the failing school. McReynolds, who has since gone on to the head principal job at Goodwin Elementary, was succeeded at Chicora this year by school district vet Camille Lee, who hopes to keep the revolution going and get all of the school’s students up to, and past, grade-appropriate reading levels. Really, we hate that we ran out of space this week in News to write about how great this turnaround was. Kudos. —Bill Davis

10

That’s where Academic Magnet High School ranked on Newsweek‘s recently released list of the nation’s top public high schools. Wow. Newsweek also put the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville on an elite list of public schools because its students score well above average test scores. Yeah, that’s right, two of the nation’s best high schools are in South Cackalackey! Represent! And who said you can’t spell “suck” without “s” and “c”? Apparently the same people who heard about the Military Magnet teacher who was suspended and arrested after allegedly admitting she slapped a student.

Haiku O’The Week
Like the Dodo bird
And the three-toed sloth of yore;
Dubya is fading.