Brown vs. Ketner, Angel Oak, New fire chief, Bob Barr 

Neswblips

"Sometimes they would place ads that had "hump day" special for Wednesday or they'd change the spelling to make it more erotic... 'come see me' and spell it not c-o-m-e."

An undercover Charleston County officer on a recent prostitution sting of the internet networking site Craigslist. Source: Live 5 News

2,380

That's the number of breast cancer stamps James Island resident Eugene Platt purchased last week as part of an annual recognition of the memory and loss of his wife, who died from the disease in 2003. The post office sells the stamps at a premium and donates the proceeds to fighting the disease. It was the sixth year that Platt made the purchase, laying down $1,309.

Brown Gets Curt With Ketner

In the first of two scheduled debates for the 1st Congressional District election, incumbent Republican Henry Brown downplayed the role of our representatives in Congress as he took on Democrat Linda Ketner.

Brown held his own in defending controversial votes in Congress, while Ketner proved her mettle on a variety of emerging issues.

In an exchange over the recent $700 billion bailout bill Brown supported, Ketner argued she would have pressed for improvements to the bill before giving her vote.

"There are some limits to what a Congressman can do," Brown said. "Ms. Ketner, you wouldn't have been able to deliver, either."

Ketner said if she's got a problem with a piece of legislation, she's going to speak out.

"I don't count on somebody else to lead," Ketner said.

Later in the debate, Ketner was making a point on energy concerns when Brown interrupted her. She responded that she wasn't surprised that he disagreed, considering that the oil industry has donated to his campaign. When Brown countered with a question about stock Ketner owned in oil companies, she told him that she sold that stock.

"Good for you," he said. "You're all pure again."

Brown apologized to Ketner after the broadcast.

"I don't like talking about my opponent, and I apologize for being so curt with you tonight," Brown said, according to The Post and Courier. —Greg Hambrick

Angel Oak Village Gets Tree Permit

The City of Charleston's Board of Zoning Appeals approved the removal of 25 protected trees, handing a victory to the developers of the 21-acre Angel Oak Village. The 600-unit development had received a swell of opposition in recent weeks because of the project's proximity to the historic 1,400-year-old Angel Oak. Developers have agreed to an extended buffer to ensure the tree is safe and have proposed offering up some land to expand the existing Angel Oak park to further protect the oak.

Individuals opposing the project have created www.SaveTheAngelOak.com and a related internet petition with well over 5,000 signatures. They'll continue to rail against the project they say will ruin the Angel Oak experience. —Greg Hambrick

"I've got absolutely no way of knowing that."

Fort Mill Mayor Danny Funderburk when asked if Barack Obama was the Antichrist. Funderburk forwarded an e-mail erroneously suggesting Obama was the biblical baddy because he was "just curious" about whether it was true. Contrary to the chain e-mail, there is no description of the Antichrist that would point to Obama. Ironically, there are many references in the Bible to hapless sheep. Source: WCNC Charlotte

Charleston Mayor Picks Fire Chief

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley has chosen Montgomery County, Md., fire chief Thomas Carr to lead the city's department. The new chief has 30 years experience and was leading more than 2,000 firefighters in Montgomery, according to The Post and Courier.

The City Council will have to confirm the hiring.

Charleston Fire Chief Rusty Thomas retired earlier this year amid damning reports on the department's response to the June 2007 Sofa Super Store fire that killed nine firefighters. Carr is expected to implement a broad swath of new policies to bring Charleston in line with leading fire departments across the nation. —Greg Hambrick

$60 million

That's the record-setting gift to the College of Charleston last week by businessman Guy Beatty Jr. The school will use $2 million a year, with half going to scholarships and half going to buildings and infrastructure. Source: The Post and Courier

$4,005

That's how much the students of Ashley Hall raised for the Spirit of South Carolina tall ship on Jeans Day last month, when students were allowed to make a 50 cent donation for the privilege of not wearing their uniforms for a day. The Spirit was hit by lightning this summer in New England, and is still docked there undergoing repairs.

Don't Call Him a Spoiler

Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr was in town last week campaigning for the slimmest of chances at the nation's highest office.

Barr is a former U.S. Congressman from Georgia who will appear on 46 or 47 statewide ballots come Election Day. Let us spoil it for you now: He will not win. But that's not really the point. The campaign is about sending a message of dissatisfaction with the two main parties. Libertarians believe in most of the principles that Republicans believe in, but their argument is that the Libertarians "really" believe in them.

A fine example may be the recently proposed Wall Street bailout that was approved after initial Congressional skepticism. Barr and other Libertarians say the $700 billion plan was the wrong move.

"Give the market a chance to operate here," Barr says.

In front of a meek College of Charleston audience, progressive student issues came up. One student asked about the rights of poppy farmers in Afghanistan. Another girl argued with Barr over his support for off-shore oil exploration anywhere, anytime. A third student asked about gay issues and got a surprisingly reasoned response — repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and everything else is up to the states.

Barr would love to get his message to voters through the national debates, but third-party candidates are essentially barred from participating.

"They might end up saying, 'I don't like Barr,'" he says of an imaginary inclusive debate. "But at least they would have the option."

As for the argument that he's a "spoiler," Barr said the loser between the two major candidates shouldn't blame somebody else for their own failure. Candidates should strive to put together a platform that draws a plurality of the voters or face the consequences.

If someone votes for him, Barr says, "That's not taking votes from McCain. ... That's not taking votes from Obama. (They) wouldn't have those votes in the first place." —Greg Hambrick


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