Senator Lindsay Graham’s Solution for Unemployment in South Carolina
Senator Lindsay Graham’s Solution for Unemployment in South Carolina
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Tuesday that a letter from nearly 100 House Republicans urging President Obama not to appoint Susan Rice as secretary of State employed racially charged “code words” to make its case.
The letter, signed by 97 House Republicans, says Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, “is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter”—language Clyburn saw as racially loaded.
“You know, these are code words,” Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, told CNN. “We heard them during the campaign—during this recent campaign we heard Sen. Sununu calling our president lazy, incompetent, these kinds of terms that those of us, especially those of us who were grown and raised in the South, we would hear these little words and phrases all of our lives and we’d get insulted by them.
“Susan Rice is as competent as anybody you will find, and just to paste that word on her causes problems with people like [incoming Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman] Marcia Fudge and certainly causes a big problem with me,” he added.
In a press conference earlier this week, Rep. Fudge (D-Ohio) said she believed criticism of Rice contained “a clear … sexism and racism.”
“Susan Rice is an outstanding person, and to have her sullied like this really frustrates me to no end,” Clyburn said. “And I hate to see representatives from South Carolina, where her roots run deep, out in the forefront of this. It is just unseemly to me.”
But the state lawmaker who received the emailed attack on the law and responded “Amen”—Rep. Alan Clemmons, R-Myrtle Beach—said he erred in his response. He said it would be unfair for the court to base its decision on the offensive and ignorant attitudes of one constituent.
South Carolina sued the U.S. Department of Justice in February, arguing that it was wrong to block a law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls. A three-judge federal panel began hearing the case Monday in Washington.
On Thursday, a separate three-judge panel in the same federal courthouse ruled against a Texas voter ID law.
The email read: “I don’t buy that garbage that if a poor black person or an elderly one, that these people won’t be able to get one. … They make it sound like these people are too stupid to get one.”
If the Legislature offered a hundred-dollar bill for getting a voter ID card, it continued, “you would see how fast they got voter ID cards with their picture. It would be like a swarm of bees going after a watermelon.”
Clemmons acknowledged in testimony that he responded “Amen” to the email sent to him during a 2009 legislative fight on his bill, and thanked the writer for supporting it. That proposal failed. A similar one passed last year.
Clemmons said he regrets giving the hasty and inconsiderate response to a constituent he doesn’t know. He said the email reflects only the sender’s mindset, not his.
“What I thought at the time was, ‘This is someone I don’t want to engage in discussion. I’m going to move on.’ I wish I’d used a different word,” he said Thursday.
The Justice Department decided last December that the law violates Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which aims to protect minority voters. South Carolina’s voter photo ID law was subject to approval from the Justice Department because of its past history of racial discrimination.
Randolph said the email confirms the state is still stuck in the past.
“It’s part of a confirmation process,” he said. “People are in denial in this state when it comes to how good people are and how much progress we’ve made. There has been progress, but it’s minuscule.”
He noted that Tuesday marked the 55th anniversary of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, then a South Carolina Democrat, launching his record-holding, 24-hour filibuster of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
“That’s what this bill is about,” Randolph said. “We haven’t changed a whole lot.”
Two Democrats who oppose the state’s voter ID law said racism is not in Clemmons’ nature.
Rep. Boyd Brown, D-Winnsboro, no stranger to a floor fight with Clemmons, called the email unfortunate but said Clemmons is “a genuinely nice guy.”
State Sen. Robert Ford, D-Charleston, a veteran of the Civil Rights movement who worked under Martin Luther King Jr., said Clemmons has aided his efforts to appoint African-American judges and isn’t a bigot.
“Clemmons is not that type of person. He is a good guy,” Ford said.
He said he’s offended by the Justice Department’s argument that South Carolina remains racist and can’t be trusted with the voter ID law.
“We have moved so far in South Carolina over the past decades. South Carolina used to be a bad place in terms of racism. We are not in that place today,” he said, while acknowledging the email shows racist attitudes still exist.
The 16 men and four women, allegedly members of a Hells Angels affiliate called the Rock Hell City Nomads based inYork County, S.C., sold drugs, ran prostitution rings and committed arsons, according to authorities. They also sold weapons they knew would be used in crimes, U.S. Atty. Bill Nettles in Columbia, S.C., said in a statement.
Nettles said the gang members promoted “a climate of fear through intimidation, violence and threats of violence.’’
In raids in two states Thursday, police said they recovered stockpiles of drugs and more than 100 weapons, including two automatic machine guns. In a 91-count indictment, authorities identified the alleged gang leaders as Mark William Baker, known as “Lightning,” of Lancaster, S.C., and David Allen Pryor, known as “Yard Owl,” of York, S.C.
Authorities said the arrests and indictment culminated a two-year investigation into the gang’s activities, centered in South Carolina, with a few members from North Carolina.
“The general public doesn’t notice it, but these guys are really dangerous,” said Barker, who studies motorcycle gangs.
The indictment also described the inner workings of the Hells Angels.
According to police, the gang holds regular members-only meetings called “church.’’ Members must ride American-made motorcycles, and wear a diamond-shaped “one percenter’’ patch that symbolizes the gang’s belief that members represent the 1% of motorcycle club members who are violent outlaws.
Prospective members can become “hang arounds,’’ performing menial chores and petty crimes, and must follow orders issued by full gang members, according to the indictment. Most members have nicknames; among the nicknames of those arrested this week are “Gravel Dave,’’ “Diesel,’’ and “Rat.’’
The investigation was conducted by two federal and 10 state and local law enforcement agencies, Nettles said.
Lieutenant Augustine Kim has an understandable desire to preserve his own safety since he was wounded on duty in the Afghanistan war. Moreover, the South Carolina native has always been an avid collector of guns but, when he was deployed overseas, wisely made the decision to move his gun collection from his otherwise vacant home in Charleston (where they could be stolen or otherwise inadvertently accessed) to his parents’ home in New Jersey.
Upon returning home from his tour of duty, Kim wanted to take the highly valuable collection (worth several thousand dollars) back home from New Jersey to South Carolina, and set out back home in his car with the weapons secured in accordance with every relevant federal law. However, on his way, he stopped at Washington, DC‘s Walter Reed Memorial Hospital for a doctor’s appointment. If he’d known what would follow, he probably would have rescheduled at a hospital in a different state.
What followed? Emily Miller at the Washington Times explains.
After his appointment, Kim set out back home. Unfortunately, he got lost on the way, and was pulled over by Washington, DC police, who accused him of driving with a suspended drivers’ license (this wasn’t actually the case — a clerical error was responsible for the mix-up). However, because of the nature of the offense, the police officer involved called for backup, told Kim he’d have to go to the police station to sort it out, and asked permission to search Kim’s vehicle. Kim, apparently unaware of the absurdly restrictive firearms laws in Washington, agreed, assuming that his painstaking attempts to transport the guns correctly would get them passed over in short order
Kim tried to explain that he was only trying to transport the weapon home to his home state of South Carolina, where possession of it is legal. However, the police told him that because he had stopped at Walter Reed, he was guilty of owning the gun at a place other than his home, and was thus in violation of DC law. He was arrested on four felony counts — charges that could conceivably have resulted in as much as 20 years in prison — and was allegedly mistreated during his time in DC jail.
Kim must have figured out he was dealing with an irrational legal system, because he engaged the services of Richard Gardiner, the very attorney who had represented Dick Heller, a firearms owner whose case — District of Columbia v. Heller — made it all the way to the Supreme Court and was the first case in which the Court began to hint that it would acknowledge a fundamental right to bear firearms. Gardiner negotiated the charges against Kim down to one misdemeanor charge, which was summarily dismissed in May 2011 after Kim kept out of legal trouble in the district for 9 months. The entire legal mess essentially went away.
However, for Kim, the story hasn’t ended yet. Why? Because the District of Columbia still hasn’t returned his guns. Rather, the DC legal system has hemmed and hawed and delayed in every way it can to avoid returning the firearms to their rightful owner, who has had all the charges against him dismissed.
“This is legalized theft,” Gardiner told the Times. “The charges were dropped, and they don’t give you your property back?”
Whether this is simply an epic case of bureaucratic oversight or an instance of willful refusal on the part of the district to do its job, the fact of the matter is that it is inexcusable and probably illegal. Hopefully, the public outcry about this incident will make the district take the hint.