Sunday, July 23, 2006
have some sizzle and fizzle
SC Statehouse Report
23, 2006 -- Three years ago as political blogs seemed to be
picking up steam, there was a lot of talk they would change
the political landscape by creating online communities of
new political participants.
These easy-to-use online diaries feature opinions, links
to news, gossip, rumor and innuendo. But while blogs changed
the national landscape in 2004 by motivating voters and validating
the presidential candidacy of Howard "Screaming"
Dean, they haven't done much in South Carolina.
Charleston's Phil Noble, a leading analyst of the Internet
and politics, says blogs will become more important as they
start to impart new ideas and galvanize new political communities.
But for now, they've got a long way to go in South Carolina.
"They're about 75 percent vanity and 25 percent substance,"
he noted. "We're still talking about events and people.
It's not about ideas yet."
South Carolina has about two dozen of these special Internet
sites that look at what's happening and make comments about
state politics. While they're often amusing, they seem to
be a new kind of insider's game. People who like the rough-and-tumble
of political banter are attracted to them, but they haven't
been used much for politics by mainstream folks.
Laurin Manning, a USC law student from Hartsville who is
seen as the diva of state political blogs, says she gets 1,000
or more folks daily who tune into her blog, LaurinLine (http://www.laurinline.com).
"It certainly keeps the conversation going," she
While she agreed that Palmetto State blogs weren't having
a big impact on the political process now, she said they served
an important role in highlighting for journalists what interested
Brad Warthen, the editorial page editor of The State in Columbia,
operates an opinion blog (http://blogs.thestate.com/bradwarthensblog/)
that augments his newspaper work.
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"I don't think they're having a very broad impact, in
terms of influencing the electorate in general or anything
like that," he said in an e-mail. "This is an experiment
for me, and I'm throwing a lot of energy into it -- on top
of a hectic job. I think in the long run this will be worthwhile,
but the potential has not been achieved."
Sunny Philips, a GOP fund-raising consultant in Columbia,
operates The Crunchy Republican (http://www.crunchygop.com),
another popular South Carolina blog.
She says the conversations that spring up when people comment
on things she posts on her blog are similar to what you hear
at Republican meetings in the state. The difference - - the
blog allows people all over the state to join the conversation.
"It's a way to facilitate some types of discussions,"
If you want to check out more South Carolina political blogs,
here is a list of some of the better ones:
Because bloggers tend to provide lists of links to other
blogs, you likely will find something you like by spending
some time surfing on the Web through the links above.
Andy Brack's new book of commentary, Bugging
the Palmettos, is available for $15.00. Click
here for more.
7/23: What really
happens at the polls
Another great cartoon from Bill McLemore:
best way to get South Carolina news is to augment your morning
paper and TV show with SC Clips, a daily executive
news summary compiled from more than 30 state newspaper and
TV sources. It's delivered every business day and is packed
with news of statewide impact, politics, business and more.
Subscriptions are affordable at $30 per month -- and less
for business subscribers. More: SC
7/16: Public financing of campaigns needed
To the editor:
Your comment stating that should Moore have a more money
infusion into his election campaign (Commentary,
7/16) only tends to endorse the remark about American
Politics and its politician leadership - - "OUR DEMOCRACY
FUNCTIONS BY USING THE GOLDEN RULE - - THOSE WITH THE GOLD
That's too bad. We used to have a Democracy controlled by
the people for the people and of the people. We desperately
need a revamped Campaign Finance Reform bill that gets Private
contributions completely out of the loop and gets Public Funding
completely into the loop...Using England as a mold would not
be a bad idea of starters. The organization 'Common Cause'
seems to have the right idea and a review of their web page
may be beneficial to all.
-- Bob Logan, Little River, SC
Here's a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" related to various
political news items from the past week:
Stem cells: Anne Magnum doesn't believe that a friend
of her late brother, former Gov. Carroll Campbell, understands
about the need for stem-cell research, she told television
station WYFF in Greenville. "For President Bush, you
can't say he hasn't been touched by it," she said after
watching Bush veto stem-cell research legislation. Both Campbell
and former President Ronald Reagan died of Alzheimer's disease,
for which stem-cell research possibly carries a cure.
Gangs: USC assistant professor Jeff Rojeck isn't one of
the state's closed-mouth intellectuals. He says that a shooting
death at a Lexington County flea market last weekend is an
example of gang activity in our state. Rojeck is a former
Los Angeles police officer who specialized in gangs. Whether
tied to national gangs like Bloods and Crips, or merely mimic
their named, Rojeck warns gang activity is operating in the
New prof: Jay Bender, the chief counsel for the S.C. Press
Association and the state's most quoted attorney on the open
meetings law, is moving from his law firm to teach at the
USC colleges of law and journalism. Bender is a 26-year veteran
of journalism law, often representing or advising the media
on questions of law. The Journalism School will be greatly
Air pollution: The Department of Health and Environmental
Control, which regulates air pollution in the state, has let
a fellow state department, the University of South Carolina,
slip by with not installing $1 million in air scrubbers to
better control air at USC's $17 million new energy plant.
Neighbors believe USC needs to invest the extra funds to better
control a new system that uses wood chips instead of natural
gas. The plant will emit particulates akin to soot.
Scarborough. See Megaphone. Enough said.
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