"We will continue to deliver this message at the funeral of these dead soldiers as long as God continues to deem that to be his choice to show this nation that he is pouring his wrath out. ... When your son or daughter comes home in a body bag, that is a curse from God. There is no turning back. This nation has crossed the line. This nation is doomed."

—Rebekah Phelps-Bavis, a parishioner and lawyer for a Topeka, Kan., Baptist church, defending her fellow parishioners' rights to carry signs saying "God hates cripple soldiers" and "Don't worship the dead," at military funerals. The S.C. Legislature is considering a bill to stop them from doing so. Her church believes the killing of members of this country's armed forces is caused by American society accepting gays. Source: The Post and Courier

Columbia Week In Review ·
Small business owners saw a victory this week when the House turned back a bill proposed to ban smoking in restaurants, bars, and some recreational facilities. A very close 55-52 vote on Wednesday sent the bill back to committee. A battle between health concerns and business and tobacco interests, the cause gained support across party lines, scientific studies were cited, and emotions played to, but the statewide smoking ban won't see the light of day this year. A key legislative "crossover" deadline was missed in the House for tax credits for public and private schools and a higher cigarette tax. Now, a two-thirds majority vote is necessary in the Senate for either measure to be taken up solo. As a result, the cigarette tax and school tax credit initiatives will likely be tacked onto a huge "cleanup" bill that other lawmakers will probably attach their plans to as well. The Educational Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit, sponsored by Rep. Tracy Edge (R-Horry), frees up as much as $1,000 in tuition money for needy students to attend an independent school, transfer to another public school, or be home-schooled. The fiscal impact has been estimated at anywhere from $50 million to $200 million. In related education news, the House killed a bill that would have allowed York County to exempt itself from the uniform school start date that was signed into law weeks ago. A heated debate was sparked based on the interference of the full House into matters of local delegation. A bill allowing poultry farmers more freedom from zoning codes and other restrictions was debated last week, and has received much criticism for taking away local government control. But advocates maintain that it protects farmers' land use rights. The Senate also failed to advance a bill Thursday that would expand the number of candidates eligible to become judges in the state. —Anna Claire Hodge


That's how much a Charleston Symphony Orchestra boardmember thinks that organization will be behind when it closes its annual financial books on June 1. The CSO's 2006 budget was roughly $2.3 million. Last week, the CSO released numbers that show its year-to-date net income was down $120,512, but that season ticket sales, as of April 25 (the most up-to-date figures on hand), were actually up nearly $4,000. Additionally, the CSO's outgoing executive director, Ted Halkyard, announced he and his wife will match up to $100,000 raised in the fourth quarter of this financial year.


That's how much home sales dropped in March 2006 as compared to March 2005 sales numbers: 1,432 properties to 1,738. Slim pickings for the area's 4,000 real estate agents. Source: Charleston Trident Association of Realtors

"When Adolf Hitler, the evil Hitler, was about to invade England, Churchill rallied the people. We don't have a Churchill to rally Americans to stop these illegal aliens. And I want to do my share."

—State Rep. John Graham Altman III (R-Chas.) last week on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, referring to an unsuccessful state bill he authored that would have blocked illegal immigrants from cashing winning state lottery tickets in South Carolina. Never before have so many marveled so much about what comes out of one man's mouth.


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