News Blips 

"Four dollars a gallon is going to be a fond memory."

U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis (R - S.C.), explaining his support for lifting the moratorium on drilling off the East Coast. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Jim DeMint, and Rep. Joe Wilson, all S.C. Republicans, each reversed their previous stance opposing drilling, even though the American Petroleum Institute estimates that offshore drilling won't provide the U.S. with more oil for at least seven to 10 years. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused 124 spills in the Gulf of Mexico's oil rigs that released more than 700,000 gallons of petroleum into the ocean. Source: The State, The Institute for Southern Studies

One Last Primary Wrap Up

City Councilman Wendell Gilliard finally cemented his win for the S.C. House District 111 race June 24, beating out first-time challenger Clay Middleton in a runoff. Voted "Best City Council member" three years in a row by City Paper readers, Gilliard will be the second reader favorite heading for the Statehouse. "Best County Council member" Tim Scott was also elected to the House.

James Island resident Eugene Platt, who lost his run for the Democratic nomination in early June, was rebuffed by the state Election Commission last week in his attempt to be placed on the November ballot as the Green Party candidate. A rarely needed state law prohibits a candidate from appearing on the general election ballot if they have lost a primary bid. As the Democratic nominee in 2006, Platt lost by a mere 40 votes to Republican Wallace Scarborough. Platt said Monday that he's inquired about assistance from at least one civil rights group regarding a legal challenge to the state law.

In other news, the Conservation Voters of South Carolina released a statement last week noting its success in endorsing winners this primary season. Yet all but one of the group's eight Lowcountry endorsements lost. Statewide, the group only lost four other races out of 33 total endorsements. — Greg Hambrick

HRCN CMING! DARFC!

Charleston County Emergency Services is encouraging residents to sign up for a system that will alert you to emergencies by phone or text. Alert Charleston County can let you know about chemical spills, an escaped convict, a missing person, or a hurricane evacuation (as if traditional media needed more competition). Listed numbers have already been collected, but unlisted and cell phone numbers would have to be added by the owner to be included in mass notifications.

"The area selected to receive a call could be as small as a few neighborhoods or as large as the entire county, depending on the emergency," said Bill Tunick, Charleston County telecommunications director, in a statement. Residents can also register to be notified about incidents near other places of interest aside from their home, like a daycare or office.

To register, visit alert.charlestoncounty.org or the county's East Cooper, North Area, or St. Paul service centers. —Greg Hambrick

Obama's iChange Playlist

Barack Obama told Rolling Stone in a recent cover story that he's got Bob Dylan, Jay-Z, Sheryl Crow, and Yo-Yo Ma on his iPod. Though the story doesn't point to particular songs, here's our best guess:

• Bob Dylan, "The Times They Are A-Changin'" and "Gonna Change My Way of Thinking"

• Yo-Yo Ma, "Struggle for Hope"

• Sheryl Crow, "A Change (Would Do You Good)"

• Jay-Z, "Change the Game"

John McCain said his favorite 8-track is "American Pie," but he's annoyed at having to turn it over halfway through the song. (We kid.) —Greg Hambrick

24 years 4 months

That's the sentence for economic guru and yard-gnome magnet Al Parish, who bilked more than $66 million from area investors, then claimed amnesia once he was caught. Lawyer Andy Savage defended Parish by calling him "a buffoon" who was in over his head. Source: The Post and Courier

ACLU Resurrected in Charleston

The American Civil Liberties Union, a stalwart left-of-center punching bag for conservatives, will open a Charleston office with a ceremony at 2 p.m. Wed., July 2, at the Old Exchange Building, where South Carolinians first ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1788. The new office of the ACLU is replacing the state's longtime affiliate, which spent more than a year haggling with the national office before it was taken over in April.

Hurt feelings surfaced in early 2007 after the South Carolina affiliate supported www.savetheaclu.org, which called for a leadership shake-up of the national body. Increased oversight by the national ACLU board followed, along with a dispute in February over considerations to throw out the South Carolina board and start over. The affiliate board was ushered out in late April.

Though he called the strife an "internal reorganization of the affiliate," S.C. board President Neil Caesar was unaware of the ribbon cutting and press conference in Charleston.

In the scant two months since the dissolution of the state affiliate, South Carolina has provided a healthy amount of work to fill the "in" box. A new state law creating religious "I Believe" license plates has already been challenged by another civil rights group and a separate law allowing the display of the Ten Commandments and the Lords Prayer are certain to face legal opposition. Also, a Midland school district dodged a First Amendment challenge last month when it finally allowed a gay/straight alliance to form at an area high school.

"My concern was and remains that there are lots of fights to be fought," Caesar says. "We're not in a position to fight as effectively and productively as we would be." —Greg Hambrick


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