Workkeys: A better test than PACT?

In serving on the regional Workforce Investment Board, I get exposed to a lot of things in the arena of workforce development, including standardized testing.

Last week, I talked about the growing questions surrounding the PACT test, and promised further discussion, so I wanted to introduce my readers who are interested in education policy to WorkKeys.

WorkKeys is becoming a major tool for assessing workplace related skills, especially when it comes to selecting new employees and eligibility for promotions in technical and manufacturing jobs, which are in short supply in this state. This is the inevitable outcome of a process in which a high school diploma has become an ineffective measure of ones abilities and potential - employers are forced to find a better way to find out what someone is really capable of.

My board, which operates the main One Stop career center in the Charleston area, offers WorkKeys testing to help adults make themselves more marketable to potential employers.

WorkKeys was created by the folks at ACT, the college exam people. The test assesses test-takers on a wide range of skills:

  • Applied Mathematics (uses calculator/45 minutes)
  • Applied Technology (45 minutes)
  • Listening (audiotape presentation/ 40 minutes)
  • Locating Information (45 minutes)
  • Observation (videotape presentation/ Part 1: 30 minutes/ Part 2: 30 minutes)
  • Reading for Information (45 minutes
  • Teamwork (videotape presentation/ Part 1: 40 minutes/ Part 2: 40 minutes)
  • Writing (audiotape presentation/ 40 minutes)
But unlike the all-important PACT test, where our lives must be on hold and revolve around the testing and release of scores in a slow, annual cycle like the sun, WorkKeys scores are returned in days, and they are even posted in individual accounts online for test-takers and potential employers to review. Some states are even turning to WorkKeys as part of their high school exit exam criteria, or pushing for broad WorkKeys testing of high school students, to help assess career directions.

A test that is used nationwide, is respected by employers, can be graded in days, and could easily be implemented on a wide scale without mega-million dollar consulting fees ... that's exactly the kind of dangerous and subversive talk that would never see the light of day in South Carolina education policy.

Thanks Mark Hammond!

I want to thank Mark Hammond for taking his lunch hour Friday last week to say hello to the quarterly meeting of the PPSC - Palmetto Partnership for Safety and Coordination - a cooperative statewide organization of those involved in coordinating utilties and construction efforts, to reduce damages, increase safety, reduce the time of construction operations, and improve the quality of service of utilities.

The time Mark spent welcoming the organization to Columbia and updating us on what is going on in his office was greatly appreciated.

Mark has done a good job of building upon the improvements Jim Miles made in the office, and let's hope the Legislature will allow the voters to continue judging Mark's record for years to come - and that they'll add responsibilities, as well as the funding to carry them out, to his office.

A World without America?

Check out this video from about "A World without America":

Another Perfect Day: A Motorhead classic album

Motorhead is one of the most prolific and enduring bands in the metal scene, with 23 albums recorded since 1976.

English vocalist and bass guitarist Lemmy Kilminster has led a continually-changing lineup, and they continue touring and recording albums at a steady pace and while others come and go, this band just keeps on chugging away.

They even recorded a song for the Spongebob Squarepants movie. Definitely something your basic mean, rough, and scary heavy metal band would do, right?

Then again, Motorhead continues to keep pushing ahead, and let's face it, Spongebob has a following unlike that of any cartoon character.

Ok, so, anyway, let's talk about one of my favorite Motorhead albums - their 1983 release Another Perfect Day. The album is filled with typical Motorhead hard-edged fare, but better produced and organized than most of their other albums.

My favorite songs on the album (but there is NOT a bad song on this album) - Another Perfect Day, Back at the Funny Farm, Dancing on your Grave, and the ever-so-sweet and cheerful Die you Bastard.

If you've ever wanted to buy a Motorhead album - get this album,
If you have some and wanted to add another - get this album,
If you have never heard of Motorhead, and wanna take a chance - get this album,
If you say you're a metalhead, then you aren't unless you ... GET THIS ALBUM!!!

How's that for a recommendation? In case you're still not sold on these guys, here is a You Tube clip of a 2004 performance of Dancing on your Grave, from their Inferno album tour:

For a little comic relief, check out the Tokyo Yankees' cover of the Motorhead classic "Ace of Spades" ... the guitar work is great, vocals suck and the hair ... my God ... not even Sigue Sigue Sputnik had big hair like these guys:

A game of PACT Scam?

Columbia, S.C. – February 22, 2007 – The same company that currently reaps millions of dollars to grade South Carolina’s controversial Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (PACT) has now been awarded a contract to oversee reforms to the test. Minnesota-based Data Recognition Corporation, which is represented in South Carolina by political heavyweight Warren Tompkins’ lobbying firm, Tompkins, Kinard & Associates, won a $54 million contract in 2003 to grade the PACT.

Now, that same company has been awarded an $825,000 contract to recommend PACT reforms, an arrangement some consider a conflict of interest.

“Now that’s the fox guarding the henhouse,” said former State Board of Education member Terrye Seckinger.

Legislators agreed.

“I would be more interested in hearing a fresh perspective on PACT than hearing from someone who has been providing PACT services for years,” said State Rep. Phillip Shoopman, a former member of the State Board of Education. “I have yet to meet a teacher who is thrilled with PACT, so going back to that well doesn’t make sense to me.”

A year or so ago, I took my GRE exam - a two-hour exam which was my last obstacle to be an official graduate student (I had gotten in on a waiver since the program was new). It took me two hours and I got my scores on the spot (I even passed it, believe it or not). Many other similar tests are administered and scored via computer.

If it's done for those seeking professional certifications and entry into graduate programs, then I have two questions:
  • Why does the PACT test have to be done the way it is?
  • Who stands to benefit/profit from the way it is presently being done?
The answers to these questions will likely tell us a lot about why they won't modernize the state's assessment tests.

About five years ago, when a friend of mine who was then on the State Board of Education was one of those who tried to stop local school districts from continuing to creep their start dates back to early August. Why the need for a change? They need more time to teach the PACT test ... to get the desired scores ... to rig the system.

Anyone who has been through college will remember those required general ed classes, where the professor was an adjunct or new on faculty who got stuck with the class. They had to be there, and so did we. To let each other off the hook, we agreed to show up for class, they'd "teach the test", we'd pass it and go on to real classes.

Well, that's the PACT test

Maybe it's no big deal that we graduate kids who show up my office unable to fill out a job application or pass a drug test, but when the PACT test has become such an obsession that it's now considered a higher priority than football season or condom distribution ... you know it's a real problem.

I'll bet THAT last sentence got your attention! I'm not sure about footballs and condoms, but if Mr. Rex would like to see the job application skills of high school graduates, I'd be more than happy to let him see what they turn in.

... I'll have more discussion about how we assess our state's student population next week, so please stay tuned.

Can anyone explain the whole "Iran War" thing?

For the last few weeks, I've been seeing this paranoia over war with Iran in the media, fueled by Democrats whose frantic statements about "the President can't go to war with Iran", but I can't figure out where it's coming from.

Now a Rasmussen poll says 57% of Americans believe we'll be at war with Iran:

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of American adults say it is at least somewhat likely that the United States will be at war with Iran before another year goes by.

A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 1,000 adults found that 23% believe that War with Iran is Very Likely. Another 34% say it is Somewhat Likely. Thirty-two percent (32%) disagree and say War with Iran is Not Very Likely (26%) or Not at All Likely (6%).

Fifty-five percent (55%) of Republicans believe war is likely along with 59% of Democrats. Younger Americans are more likely to believe that war is coming than their elders.
Looking back before we went into Iraq, there was a whole chain of events that took place ... going to the United Nations, talking with allies, having discussions with opinion leaders and Congress ... lots of open talk about military force, and then a period of mobilization of military force. Last time I checked, none of this is taking place with regard to Iran, so in the absence of military efforts, I'm at a loss to understand what is going on here.

Since when has there ever been any discussion from anyone about for an invasion of Iran, and even more importantly, where would these forces come from? I don't know who really buys into this crap, but it just goes to show that the American people aren't as smart as some people think.

Red Cross training challenge update

Response to Monday's posting about doing classes in First Aid and CPR have been strong . Here are some of the responses that I've received:
  • I've been contacted by Republicans in Clarendon County about organizing a class, on a non-partisan basis for community service,
  • I've got other instructors who will help me with classes in Columbia and Charleston, if we have enough people interested;
  • I've got locations in Columbia, Charleston and Beaufort to do this training.
... now all I need is YOU.

Email me with your interest and I'll be sure to get back to you when plans start firming up. Participation is welcome and encouraged, regardless of your political affiliation.

I don't plan to offer these until school is out in May or June, as waiting until then will allow me much more flexibility to travel to anywhere in South Carolina there is enough interest, so speak up and I can make plans. While I'd encourage you to let everyone know who you are on my blog at these events, it certainly isn't required.

Trey Walker to star with McMaster in Ferris Bueller remake

Plans to do a remake of the 1980s hit movie Ferris Bueller took another step forward with the selection of Trey Walker, the long-time confidant of S.C. Attorney General Henry McMcaster, to play the role of "Garth", the bad guy played by Charlie Sheen in the original movie, alongside Henry McMaster, who will reprise the role of Ferris Bueller..

The character was awaiting booking in police station, where he meets Ferris' sister, who will be played by Madonna. She laments the life of being the sister of Ferris, the most-popular student at their high school.

As she didn't name him, Garth unknowingly recommends she talk to none other than Ferris:

Garth - "There's somebody you should talk to."
Geine - "If you say Ferris Bueller you lose a testicle."
Garth - "Oh. So you know him?"

Walker, who is presently employed by the McCain for President campaign after having worked as the spokesman for Attorney General McMaster, was unavailable for comment, as they were busy completing Generalissimo McMaster's takeover of the state.

Red Cross First Aid and CPR training

This past Saturday, and the next two, I'll be down in Bluffton, taking the Red Cross First Aid and CPR Instructor training course. When I'm done, I'll be able to add safety training, in support of my company's Safety Director's efforts, to my growing portfolio of work responsibilities.

This will allow me to not only be more knowledgable in life-saving techniques, but to help teach others how they can do the same. While the instructor training is a series of classes lasting about thirty hours over three weeks, the First Aid and CPR classes only take four to six hours.

In fact, I might even organize a Red Cross First Aid/CPR training class or two at various locations around the state this summer, and challenge my readers and fellow bloggers to participate so they can become certified to render First Aid and CPR!

This way, when bad things happen, you'll be able, knowledgable, and prepared to respond in a pro-active role.

Homeland Security isn't just about stopping bad guys - it's about responding to any kind of disasters which threaten the well-being of our fellow citizens ... and it involves YOU, so don't sit on the sidelines - GET INVOLVED!

*** UPDATE - After several phone calls and emails in response to this posting, look for the first class to be held in Columbia at my company's maintenance shop off US 21/176/321 in the Dixiana area one Saturday in May or June.

Ron Wilson to face racism allegations

First off, please overlook the desecration of the Confederate battle flag by neo-Nazi inbreeds.

It looks like Ron Wilson, whose connections to white supremacist groups has been a question of a bit of blog discussion as of late, is willing to stand and deliver after all.

He and Brian McCarty have agreed to take part in a forum regarding Mr. Wilson's views and associations Monday at six p.m. ... at a location far from his Council district in upper Anderson County. Go figure ...

Anderson County Council member Ron Wilson will appear at a public forum at 6 p.m. Monday at the Anderson County Fair and Expo Center to answer questions and respond to charges about his background.

Mr. Wilson called the Anderson Independent-Mail this past Monday to say he is tired of hearing charges that he’s a racist and has had close relationships with leaders from the far-right conservative movement.

- Anderson Independent-Mail

After the threats, insults, racial slurs, and rantings that Brian and I have endured the last few days, I'm glad to see this making headway. If you can make it to this event, please don't miss it.

Mike Campbell endorses ... ah, who really cares?

The last thing I heard, Mike's brother was still in McCain's camp, but who knows?

A major turn in the 2008 Presidential primary occured when ... aahhh dammit, I can't even type this with a straight face ...


Ok, so maybe you're not impressed. But then again, neither was I.

Since it's Valentine's Day, and we're supposed to be showing some love, let's show a little Blogland Love to Mikey by looking at the media release announcing his endorsement. It included FIVE paragraphs about Carroll Campbell (who didn't endorse Huckabee), one about his wife (who did), and believe it or not - just one stinking paragraph about Mikey. Let's take a look ...

CARROLL PARA. 1) Since 1980, the late Governor Carroll Campbell and his family have played an integral role in helping each candidate they have chosen to support ...

CARROLL PARA. 2) In the late 1970’s, then-Congressman Carroll Campbell, along with close friend Lee Atwater, mapped out a plan ...

CARROLL PARA. 3) In 1980, the first South Carolina primary was held. That year the SC party established led by Sen. Strom Thurmond and former Gov. Jim Edwards supported early frontrunner, John Connelly (they misspelled Connally - whoops!)

CARROLL PARA. 4) Carroll Campbell signed on to be Reagan’s state chairman. Together, the Campbells and Lee Atwater delivered a resounding victory for Reagan in South Carolina ...

CARROLL PARA. 5) Barbara Bush has stated that “neither my husband nor my son would have been president had it not be for the efforts of Carroll and Iris Campbell.”

... and FINALLY A PARAGRAPH ABOUT MIKE CAMPBELL: Having learned at the feet of his masterful father, Mike Campbell, the Campbell’s youngest son, is continuing the late Governor’s legacy. In June 2006, he won a three-way primary for Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina by 8% — before narrowly losing in a run-off two weeks later (by less than 2%) to the incumbent. Despite his loss, he is widely considered a rising star within the GOP.

In the usual style of writing news stories and press releases follows an inverted pyramid style, where the most important information is usually put up front. But, I guess if that was done, all the good stuff - the Carroll Campbell record - would have been overlooked.

In the humble opinion of the Blogland, you can't say enough good things about Carroll Campbell oftehn enough, especially since it's unlikely the state history textbooks will include any mention of Carroll Campbell until a Republican Education Superintendent is elected to the Kremlin on Rutledge Street.

In reading this media release, we are left with a few questions:

1) What (if any) other qualifications does this guy have?
2) Who in the world really considers this guy a "rising star"?
3) How desperate is the Huckabee campaign anyway?

All good questions to ask, and I'm betting that Mikey and/or the Huckabee campaign will have as much to say about this posting as the last one I wrote on the Huckabee candidacy. But they're certainly welcome to respond, and we promise to print it, provided it is written better than the aforementioned media release.

Don't forget that whereever you are, whatever you're doing today, it's Valentine's Day. So be sure to take a few minuts to show a little love to someone who has it coming.

Valentine's Day? Yeah, whatever ...

In recognition of Valentine's Day, instead of wasting money and time trying to buy all our readers cards and chocolates, we're just going to do all text in red and let you feel the love emanating from this blogsite ...

I may come across as the Ebenezer Scrooge of this holiday when I say that I have no plans for the occasion. I'm doing nothing for nobody, going anywhere, with anyone ... or anything at all. Just spending some time with my little one, and working on stuff for school.
My project for school is a rhetorical analysis of the Susan Smith trial - if that ain't a warm, romantic story with a South Carolina sweetheart, I don't know what is. After all, everyone loves Susan Smith - even some of her prison guards.

I sound soooo exciting and romantic, don't I?

But for those of you who are willing to fall in line behind the Pied Piper over in Hallmark's marketing division, go for it, be my guest. Be sure to make the most of today (as you should any day) and have a happy Wednesday!

The McCarty-Wilson debate: Racism in our society and political culture

In the Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln once framed the Civil War as a conflict centered around the question of what kind of nation this would be, or if would be a nation at all. While the issue of white supremacists in the GOP raised on Brian McCarty’s blog last week certainly does not have the same kind of world-changing impact, he does ask for some serious soul-searching with regard to asking if the Republican Party will embrace those who take part in radical white supremacist efforts.

For that, he has been the target of some serious criticisms and personal attacks, and now has been challenged to debate Mr. Wilson. I found it interesting to see the original challenge which was posted on Brian's blog avoided addressing the allegations raised on Voting under the Influence, instead, he simply chose to attack the credibility of Brian and his sources.

“Simple” is the right word here. Mr. Wilson’s rhetorical tactics are simple, and seem intended to avoid discussion of the allegations made about what role may be playing in the undermining of civility and rule of law in contemporary American society.

Brian and I were raised up in a South that was just a generation removed from the Jim Crow era where our communities were segregated and most political power controlled by small circles of “good ol’ boy” elitists that denied access and due process to minorities, and to a lesser degree, even whites of lower socio-economic standing.

What many of these radicals and bigots don’t realize that the elitists at the pinnacle of the social, economic, and political structure which they claim to miss was based on education, family, wealth and land ownership. They wouldn’t have made the “A” list back then any more than they've made it now. Today’s outcast white supremacists are the inheritors of a sad tradition where the in-town crowd treated them with disdain and disgust, except to use them as the bully-boy enforcers of their Jim Crow order when challenged by “uppity” civil rights activists, blacks, or social reformers.

Personally, I am of mixed feelings about a debate, because Mr. Wilson has already shown that he is not willing to address the issues which Brian raised, or the place such views have in the present-day Republican Party, which are the only legitimate issues for a debate. Such an event would likely have a low turnout, packed with many of Wilson's parrots, and filled with the same kinds of evasions and intellectual cheapshots that he has already taken. But Brian is a grown man, capable of making his own decisions. I'll let him decide if he wants to waste an evening on the matter, but if he does, I'll be in the front row, because history teaches us that vigilance is essential to the defense of liberty.

Mr. Wilson may say that he wants a debate, but from where I see it, the debate has already begun.

If you care about this issue, then please make your voices heard.

The Broad River at Lockhart: Not a good sight

Recently, on one of my rambling road trips across the Upstate, I decided to take a bit of a break in the town of Lockhart.

For those of you who don't know where Lockhart is, it's a small old textile mill town on the west bank of the Broad River, where SC Routes 9 and 49 cross from Union to Chester County. While the mill was closed many years ago, and eventually demolished, a canal which was constructed to divert water from the river to provide electricity for the plant, town and several thousand nearby residential, commercial and industrial customers. In fact, the two or three blocks closest to the canal sit behind a levee, while much of the rest of the town scales the side of the hill.

One way of coming into the town is to turn off SC 9 west of town at the turnoff to the Lockhart school complex, and a road makes a half-circle, descending into the town, and by a fishing area and the diversion dam.

I decided to get out and walk up the trail to the other side of the diversion dam, and the sight of trash that was floating in front of the dam was stunning. A lot of it was green soft drink bottles.

This is where trash goes if it's not properly disposed of, so keep this in mind and do your part to keep our state clean.

Neo-nazis attack S.C. blogger

Brian McCarty at Voting under the Influence has become the target of a some real live ones after posting his concerns about Ron Wilson, a GOP member of Anderson County Council:

The traditional breed of RINO is a politician who labels himself a Republican but is thought to be more of a Democrat in nature. However, there is another breed of RINO, and that is fascists who hide behind the Republican Party name and tarnish the conservative movement. Anderson County Councilman Ron Wilson is one of that different breed of RINO.

Both sides of this issue, both Wilson and McCarty defenders, are going at it pretty good in the comments section, including what appear to be some pretty serious threats against McCarty for expressing his opinions:
Mr. McCarty, you do no know who and what you are messing with. But, you will. Just wait and see how your life goes the next few weeks. You will regret this post. I promise you.

Mr. McCarty, we are watching you and yours. The South will Rise Again, and when it does, you will hang, sir.

The self proclaimed rocky balboa of sc republican politics comes out swinging, but I think in this sequel Rocky will get killed.

Wow - someone is taking this stuff pretty seriously. Go take a look and feel free to chime in with your thoughts about his posting, or the comments.

While we're talking about Neo-Nazism, here's some information about a Nazi advocate for racial purity, who in the good Aryan tradition, was a lifetime advocate of keeping the races pure and sex partners underage. I wonder what Mr. Wilson thinks of his teachings.

U.S. 321 widening event recap

The project “thank you” event for the 321 widening team went well yesterday, with about sixty people turning out. It was a great opportunity to meet so many people, including Michael Covington, the famous highway executive and songwriter, and to hear from Richard Eckstrom, our state’s Comptroller General.

The first picture is Eckstrom, Greg Cook (my Regional Manager), and Embree Griner (the President of my company).

Things couldn’t have gone smoother – pretty much everyone showed up who was expected, the speakers did their parts, and the food was delivered and set up flawlessly.

Special thanks go out to several people who made the event a success:

Greg Cook, U.S. Group (my boss) – for having the confidence that he could go out of state for a week and come back with no involvement or advance preparation for the event, and that the event would go well and that his role in the event would go smoothly. It is a blessing to work for someone who has that much confidence in my ability to put together an event like this.
Tina Hembree, SCDOT Special Events – she did a great job lining up the upper SCDOT management to attend and participate in the event.
Dionne Gleaton, Orangeburg Times and Democrat – for taking the time to cover our event, and writing a pretty darn good story … and most importantly …
Paige Cooper, Sticky Fingers catering. They even came all the way down U.S. 321 to Livingston, South Carolina from Columbia. The food was great and the service could not have been better. If you have an event, you definitely want to let them take care of you.

The event, like the project, ran pretty smoothly, and with great cooperation and support ... except for Eckstrom's attempt to break into a lecture about the history of GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) and how they are used by textile manufacturing firms in Nebraska and south-central Georgia,which required us to zap him with a tazer gun to get him back on track.

I'm just kidding about the lecture and tazer gun (however, there might be some legislators might have done it if given half a chance) - his comments were good, and his presence was well-appreciated.

Seriously, the participation and support of everyone yesterday was greatly appreciated, and the spirit that made the project go so well was evident at the event.

Enjoy the pics, and if you missed it, you missed a pretty darn good event. The Orangeburg Times and Democrat also had a pretty good write-up of yesterday's event as well.

Roth back in Van Halen, tour to follow

David Lee Roth's last two attempts at a "comeback: were fairly short-lived - a 1996 reunion with Van Halen that produced two songs for a greatest-hits collection and an appearance on MTV Music Awards, and a morning radio show that attempted to replace the now-defunct Howard Stern radio show.

In both cases, I always felt Diamond Dave got the short end of the stick. But I'm sure others would disagree.

Well, looks like he's back, along with (most) of the rest of Van Halen, and planning a big tour this year:

February 2, 2007

Los Angeles, CA - In what is no doubt one of the most anticipated moments in rock and roll, VAN HALEN officially announces their 2007 North American tour.

The tour will mark the first time since 1984 that original VAN HALEN front man David Lee Roth will perform with Eddie and Alex Van Halen along with new bassist Wolfgang Van Halen for 40 shows this summer.

VAN HALEN fans can look forward to legendary high intensity performances, featuring a set list of the most iconic hits ever produced by America's premiere rock band.

Eddie Van Halen states, "I am very excited to get back to the core of what made VAN HALEN."

We'll see how long this lasts, especially considering how short-lived their reunion with Sammy Hagar was. Until they make it through a tour and get in the studio, I ain't holding my breath.

Tomorrow: Highway completion "thank you" in Orangeburg County

U.S. 321 from North to Neeses in Orangeburg County will soon become a four-lane highway, with a second traffic signal to be activated at the intersection with S.C. 4 in Neeses, replacing the existing high-profile stop sign currently there. There have been a number of fatalities at that intersection, where people gambled on crossing 321 and lost.

For what has been the historic “back door” the rural inland Lowcountry region of Bamberg, Hampton, Jasper, and Orangeburg Counties, and an alternate route for trucks and other travelers to hop around the I-26/I-95 Florida traffic on their way to and from Georgia, this will certainly improve travel.

To mark this, I’ve been busy organizing a “thank you” event, to be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Town Hall and Community Center at Livingston, South Carolina, right there on U.S. 321. There will be whole raft of people in attendance from the SCDOT, the news media, my company, subcontractors, staff from Congressman Joe Wilson's office, as well as several politicos. Headlining the event will be Richard Eckstrom, our state’s Comptroller General.

I even got a great deal on catering from the folks at Sticky Fingers in Columbia, and while I'm pretty cool with a wide range of BBQ places, everyone loves Sticky Fingers!

This the third project we’ve completed in the last two months, with a four-lane opening in Manning and a new I-77 interchange in Fairfield County back in December. In the spring, look for us to open up four lanes on U.S. 378 from Turbeville to half-way to Lake City, helping improve traffic flow on what is a major alternate Myrtle Beach route for the Midlands.

Today's important Safety message

For my birthday, I didn't get home from work until 10.30pm, and then had to be up for work at 5.45 am this morning. Since I'm a little tired and bummed out from a 14.5 hour workday on my birthday, I have nothing new to share with ya'll today.

Since I don't have anything to yap about, I thought I'd provide a little useful information instead, like this very important safety sign:

Ya'll be safe out there, and whatever you do, watch out for the edges.

Birthday Drama

When I started this blog, I thought I'd share some thoughts on what was going on in the world around me, as well as my academic work. After a while, I decided to let it "hang out" a bit by sharing a little personal info here and there.

It didn't take long for the crazies to come a'howling.

I've gotten used to the occasional bombshell being submitted. So long as they weren't terribly offensive, I approved them, mostly for entertainment value and to remain an outlet of free speech.

But what I can't figure out is what it is about my birthday posting that set off the freaks and made the knives come out - anger, amusement, revenge, a combination of these reasons, or something entirely different. If you think the comments I approved were out there, you should have seen the ones I rejected.

I guess someone out there thinks I'm trying to portray myself as some sort of SuperCitizen or Man of the Year, but ya know, a self-admitted heavy metal headbanger with two divorces, a high-school dropout turned non-traditional college student ... that's someone who is not a saint, has a checkered past, still has at least a few screws loose, and is probably not the person you'd want your daughter to have a relationship with.

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I don't think those 83 average daily visitors really care about "who he is" so much as they're tuned in to find out "what crap is he gonna say today".

In any event, thank you for the entertainment which I suppose is your birthday present to me. I'm flattered that I'm so important that I'm worth so much of your time, effort, and passion. I didn't think that anyone cared about me so much.

But please, go find a more appropriate forum this crap, ok?

Happy Birthday to me

Tomorrow (Monday) is my birthday, and I'll be turning 36 ... is that good news, bad news, or what?

Well, I managed to live yet another year without succumbing to the urge to choke the ever-loving crap out of someone. Lord knows enough people do their best to drive me (and many of you) to that point. That we let the world live, sometimes, can be a small miracle that we have yet to fully understand. I guess that's good news.

So what's up for my birthday? Aside from work today and studying tonight, not a darn thing. It's cheaper than hitting a bar and/or bottles, and more productive. Sure it would've been nice to spend it in Outback with someone special, but I can't get that every year, I guess.

In any event, presents, especially in the forms of large packages of cash, are always gratefully accepted ...

January 2007, the month in review

January is over (already?) and it's time to look back at which postings you, my readers, found of interest over the last month:

1/1: My winners and losers of 2006
1/4: Time to rein in payday loans?
1/10: Who really leads the Presidential race?
1/16: Jim Clyburn becomes JC Hammer
1/18: The Validity of Straw Polls
1/19: The Family that Rocks together ... hhhmmmm ...
1/23: No good deed goes unpunished
1/25: Keep the elected Comptroller General
1/26: Lake Marion Bridge opponent criticized in Capitol Hill rampage
1/31: Restructuring support in the Senate

As always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughts. Stay tuned and come on back!

Poor Joe Biden

Poor Joe Biden - his second attempt at running for President ruined by the simple act of opening his mouth on the first day of his candidacy, with this interesting choice of words about another Democratic presidential hopeful:

You got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.

Absolutely amazing ... who was the speechwriter who dreamed this stunt up? John Kerry?!?

Maybe the good Senator (and Presidential aspirant) from Delaware should've stuck to plagiarized speeches. After all, if you can't get it right on your own, just use what worked for someone else instead ...

Getting ready for Valentine's Day?

There are many of us who plan ahead for holidays, including Valentine's Day. Normally, it's understandable, especially for those of you who like being married.

As for me, two divorces later, I've become a little more cynical and just about convinced of three things:

1) Most the good ones really are taken,
2) Being twice-divorced is a big turn-off for women, and
3) There is a big "KICK THE CRAP OUT OF ME" sign on my back.

To reinforce these notions, I got an email from someone I'd chatted with online a couple of times, but never met in person. Little did I know I'd ended up in some sort of list of guys she was planning to hook up with. There were about a dozen other guys in the cc list (most of them were probably just as surprised as I was).

It made me wonder what kind of person I was dealing with, so I thought I'd share it with my readers to see what ya'll think:

This is just a reminder for those of you who are interested in being my PRINCE, Valentine's Day is coming very soon. Creativity and Originality counts more than the price. Good luck every one

If this reminder offends anyone, feel free to curse me out or delete it and keep going.

While some of ya'll might have theories as to who it might be, the sender and recipients will be kept totally confidential. However, I assure ya'll that the female who wrote this email is NOT ...
- A former legislator from James Island,
- One of my disgruntled ex-females,
- Britney Spears or Paris Hilton, or
- Anyone employed by a member of Anderson County Council.

Personally, I think this is someone who has watched so many "reality" shows that the only reality she knows is that which can only be found in the Twilight Zone.

So, today's question ... is it me, or is this gal playing the field like a common garden implement?