Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dan Savage at USC and Drinking in the Morning

“Savage Love” comes to USC

Dan Savage, author of the wildly popular “Savage Love” sex-advice column (syndicated in South Carolina exclusively in Columbia City Paper) visits the Russell House Ballroom Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m.The Q&A session –essentially a live, audience-driven version of his advice column—will cover anything and everything related to sex, relationships, LGBT issues, sex education and politics. The event is FREE to USC students, faculty and staff.

Also, this weeks episode of Drinking in the Morning is all about Jesus andColumbia City Paper! now has up to the minute movie times, show dates, and weather. has upcoming auditions and theater previews. Bookmark them!

Pick up the current issue: Download


orBrowse PDF

The next publication dates are 10/1, 10/15, and 10/28. Call 803-218-9455 for advertising information.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Congrats Ron Aiken!

We presented Free Times with a fruit basket last Friday to congratulate them on their second original cover story since the "Cromartie Files" in 2000.

Keep up the good work Free Times and enjoy our fruit basket packed with a cheese ball with nuts, small potatoes and sour grapes!

Open season

Five Points is still over looked when it comes to police presence at night. Here is this seasons warning e-mail being forwarded around:

Information out about 5 Points and recent gang related activity. Please Read!

I know we get emails like these all the time warning us about the area, and I am sending one out because my cousin was jumped by a gang of 20-30 young black men Saturday night around 2:00AM while walking to his car parked in between Harpers and the Bank of America.

He was not walking alone, but with 2 girls and another guy. One of the girls had her purse stolen and the 4 of them were able to run and get into their car. My cousin was in the back and was grabbed, knocked to the ground, had his wallet, car keys, and cell phone taken and kicked and beaten by the group. His friends immediately drove the car over to scare the group, and they all ran away. He was taken to the Emergency Room and was in ICU. He is going to be fine, thank God. After the gang was done, they ran back onto Harden Street to mix in. No police were there in time to do anything or make any arrests. The scary part to me is that they ran right back into a public area, obviously not worried about being caught.

While my aunt was in the waiting room of the ER, there was a girl in there with her boyfriend who had been attacked the same night in 5 Points in the same way. Her purse was taken but she was not harmed. Her boyfriend was severely beaten and had a broken jaw.

The nurses in the trauma unit told my aunt they have seen an increase in attacked people coming into the ER over the last few weeks with similar stories from the 5 Points area.

I tried to find something about the 5 Points area in the local media warning of these incidents but was unable to find anything about it though it is clearly happening and a huge danger to all of us who go into the area. I want to let everyone I can know about this and to please be careful when down there and to stay away from back alleys, roads, and dark areas. There is not much any of us could do if attacked by a gang of 20-30 while walking to our cars or being in the area.

Please pass this along so that people will know what is going on the 5 Points area and to be very careful while down there.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Satire by S.M. Baleen

Today (Tax Day), about 1,500 members of the Ku Klux Klan gathered on the South Carolina State House grounds under the aegis of protesting “taxation without representation.” Rally organizer and Columbia area real estate magnate Britton Clark could not be reached for comment on the irony that the rally was being held on the steps of the State Capitol, the very place where taxation WITH representation occurs every day in South Carolina.

U.S. Senator Jim Demint told the gathered fiery protestors, “This is where I get my strength.” Really? From people who apparently despise the fact that their tax dollars are spent to pay the salaries of firefighters, teachers and police officers. (Hey, Senator, I hear that the quasi-country of Somalia has some political position holes to fill.)

Today’s rally, however, is a marvelous indicator that the American political right wing has apparently taken a turn for total pacifism. Or is it possible that the protestors, many of whom have family and friends in the U.S. military, aren’t aware of the fact that the $1 trillion the U.S. government will spend on defense in the current fiscal year comes from taxes collected by the federal government.

Then again, maybe the “tea party” protesters just want the military to be composed of privately-maintained armies. This could be the case, as one protestor could be heard yelling, “COBRA Commander rules! Long live Destro!”

Ironically, at the end of today’s rally, all protestors were forced against their will to cross publicly-funded roads in order to get back to their cars. (No one seemed to complain all too much about that.) And Columbia Mayor Bob Coble issued a special edict that any protestor injured in an automobile accident on the way home would, out of deference for their political beliefs, not be offered police, ambulance or firefighter assistance, nor would they be allowed treatment by a doctor or healthcare worker who had formerly received any type of public education.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) is dismayed to learn that unscrupulous members of the U.S. Senate have taken advantage of Americans' focus on the nation's financial crisis in order to pass controversial legislation that threatens the livelihoods of everyone who relies on copyright for a living.

Deploying perfidious secrecy reminiscent of the circumstances of the passage of the USA-Patriot Act, the Senate passed S. 2913, also called the Shaw Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008 ("Orphan Works Act") on Friday, while the national media was focused on the mortgage meltdown bailout proposal. A similar bill is being considered by the House of Representatives.

The owner of a store notices a man shoplifting her merchandise. She calls the police, who arrest the man. But they don't take him to jail. Instead, they let him keep the stuff he stole. All he has to do is pay the retail price. They let him go.

Crazy? You bet. But that's exactly what Congress wants to do to intellectual property. If a cartoonist or another artist catches someone stealing his or her work, the thief gets to keep it. All he has to do is pay retail.

Sponsors of the Orphan Works Act claim they want to make it easier for libraries and researchers to reproduce intellectual property whose creators or copyright holders are difficult to find. The practical effect of the Orphan Works Act, however, would be far more sinister. If signed into law, it would create an irresistible incentive for unscrupulous individuals and companies to violate copyrighted material, including the political cartoons created by our members.

"The bill enables users to exhibit orphan works if, after a thorough and documented good-faith search, they are unable to locate the copyright owners," reports the Deseret News of Salt Lake City. And there's the rub. A "good-faith search" is so broadly defined as to be meaningless.

Let's say, for example, that a book publisher wanted to print an editorial cartoon in a history textbook. Currently a typical reprint fee for such use is $250. Under current copyright law, a publisher who gets caught using such work without permission would be liable for three times the standard rate—in this case, $750. A judge could order the books impounded. If the cartoonist had to hire a lawyer, a judge could make the violator pay his or her attorney's fees. These provisions deter most would-be copyright violators.

Under the Orphan Works Act, the deterrent effect of punishment would all but vanish. If the cartoonist learned about the infringement and tracked down its perpetrator, all the publisher would have to do to avoid the triple penalty would be to claim that it engaged in an as-yet undefined "good-faith search." In the cited example, the aggrieved cartoonist would receive $250. He or she would have no way to remove the image from a book that he or she might find objectionable—say, one that advocated reprehensible political views. There would be no compensation for legal fees, or the time and effort involved in tracking down lawbreakers. And that's assuming the artist were ever to learn about the illegal usage.

In the unlikely case that an artist were lucky enough to learn that his or her work had effectively been stolen, he or she would only be entitled to "the amount on which a willing buyer and willing seller in the positions of the infringer and the owner of the infringed copyright would have agreed with respect to the infringing use of the work immediately before the infringement began." But this is no different than the storeowner who catches a shoplifter. A victim of theft is NOT a "willing seller."

Laws that encourage illegal behavior are bad laws. We hope the Senate and President Bush will join us, at least 60 other organizations representing writers and artists, and millions of Americans employed in the creative arts, in opposing the Orphan Works Act.

Ted Rall, President
Association of American Editorial Cartoonists

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Real Republican Maverick

Governor Mark Sanford is more true to Republican roots than some in the Bush administration. It is no surprise Sanford had trouble on CCN defending the similarities of John McCain's economic plan to the Bush Administrations. Perhaps Sanford was more biting his tongue than blanking out. This is a great article by Sanford that appeared the the Washinton Post.

While Sanford gave one bad interview nothing compares to Palin's "air space" in the attached Youtube clip and she expects to be Vice President. Since that appearance she has been turning down interviews and it is becoming more apparent McCain may have made the wrong V.P. pick in trying to attract moderate and independent voters.

McCain is no longer a maverick and never accept a self given nickname. It makes reminds me of a "compassionate conservative" that was going to be a "uniter not a divider."

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Americans at war with nature

Since World War II and perhaps even earlier, Americans have been seemingly brainwashed into believing we have to war with everything.  There has been the unsuccessful war on poverty, the unsuccessful war on drugs, the unsuccessful war on cancer and recently along the Mississippi we have seen another battle lost in our war against nature, or in this specific case: a river.   

The Mississippi has proven once again to be an adversary that the United States and its citizens cannot beat (similar in a way to fighting a conventional war against an idea like terrorism or fighting a war against plants like the opium poppy, marijuana or coca). An early victory by the Mighty Mississip’ occurred in 1927.  The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 displaced 700,000 people.  Another battle lost by America was the Great Flood of 1993.  Yet, we have rebuilt houses again and again and have built higher and higher levees in the hope that it can stop a force of nature, a flooding river. 

You have to admire the heart of the people who keep rebuilding along the Mississippi, but once you wade in deeper you have to get fairly pissed off at those people.  You hear people say, “I couldn’t afford flood insurance and now I lost everything.”  No matter how heartless it sounds the question has to be asked: “You knew the river flooded, why should I feel sorry for you for taking a calculated risk and losing?”  No one feels sorry for people who lose their shirt on other risky gambles like letting it all ride on black at the roulette table, why should I feel any worse because some person chose to live next to a river that floods and either didn’t get flood insurance or wasn’t able to afford flood insurance? To top it off, FEMA and other federal organizations help rebuild these communities and levees and that money comes from you and me.  Our money is taken to rebuild communities that—almost guaranteed—will be flooded again.  It’s a river; rivers flood and levees seem to break quite often.  So basically our federal government is reinforcing generations of bad decisions and allowing them to continue.   

The question remains: isn’t there a better solution to this problem than levees and flood insurance?  Every time a town is destroyed by a flood, the actuaries crunch out the numbers and come up with new, higher premiums; levees get built higher, bigger, and stronger which seemingly causes more catastrophic flooding when they fail.  My question is why fight the flooding, why not work with it? Doesn’t flooding ultimately deposit new nutrient rich silt on farmlands?  If flooding were allowed to occur along large stretches of the river, wouldn’t that dissipate the effects of the flood, and lead to lower flood waters in general? (I admit I am no flooding expert and this last supposition could be wrong).   

Well how could we do this?  How could we build homes and communities that to borrow a hippie phrase, “live in harmony with nature?”   Hmm, let’s think about this. What is the major issue with flooding? The water rises but the buildings don’t, thus they flood.  There is the answer: floating buildings!  A building that could float would cost more up front, but in theory flood insurance (yes you would still need it as a precaution) premiums would be significantly reduced so you make the cost difference up on the back end.   

Could it be done? Yes it can be done.  Asian communities have been build on stilted or floating platforms in areas that are dry are only part of the year.  And people like the Dutch, as close to masters as there can be in fighting water  (yes, even they haven’t won the war) have begun to look at the feasibility of large scale floating villages.  Some existing floating housing in the Netherlands even “move[s] up and down with the water level of the river.”  And there are even patents on file here in America for the concept.  Seriously, how hard could it be to adapt/modify these concepts to work in the Mississippi floodplain?  Granted it might not be feasible for large factories (then again there is a possibility it could be) but small towns and rural communities that seem to take the brunt of these floods could be made impervious to flooding, saving my money and saving me from hours of TV footage of people crying because they lost everything they owned.   

What happened to American ingenuity and creativity…did we decide to lock it away while we fight hundreds of “wars on xyz” which we can never win?  Better solutions exist than a higher levee or another botched FEMA recovery effort.  Why don’t we try them?

Saturday, January 19, 2008



Syndicated political cartoonists Ted Rall and Matt Bors will issue
cartoons ridiculing two figures generally revered by liberals for their
political humor: Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" and Stephen Colbert of
"The Colbert Report."

Despite not making a deal with the striking Writers Guild of America,
Stewart and Colbert have returned to their shows--without writers--in a
move that has generated little to no criticism from the liberal press.

Rall and Bors, who write and draw all their own material and are not
members of the Writers Guild, have decided to team up and deliver a
one-two punch, with each of them taking on one of the Comedy Central
hosts in cartoons issued by their respective syndicates on the night of
Thursday, January 17. The cartoons will also be available at their
websites and

"One naturally hesitates before unleashing the fearsome power of Rall
and Bors," said Bors and Rall, "but the stakes are too high, the issues
too important, the hypocrisy too hypocritical for us to just put down
our pens and tune in to their union-busting, albeit highly amusing,

Rall's cartoon imagines rough and tumble union members from 1938
traveling through a wormhole to encounter Jon Stewart, whom they
identify as a "scab." The comic ends with Stewart being carried away on
a stretcher after being violently beaten. "Stewart's wry, vaguely
left-of-center wit fails to register with the visitors from a more
straightforward time," Rall writes in the comic.

"Progressives shouldn't let these scabs off the hook, no matter how
hilarious they are," said Rall. "The War on Snarkism starts now!"

Bors' comic deals with Colbert in a parody of his popular segment "The
Wørd." This time the word is "Scab" with Colbert remarking, "Writers
may be able to hang out all day on their air conditioned sidewalks, but
I have a mouth to feed, folks!" while the screen informs us of his
ego's lunch break demands. It's something you could almost imagine
Colbert saying, with Bors turning the faux-right wing persona back on
the host.

"They have no integrity, no morals, and no guts," Bors huffed. "They're
funny, sure, but not ha-ha funny. Not after this."

Ted Rall's cartoons are distributed by Universal Press Syndicate, while
Matt Bors' work is distributed through United Feature Syndicate. They
each draw three cartoons a week.

Neither Rall nor Bors will be available for appearances on either of
the shows while the strike remains in effect. "We'd rather fight in
Bush's wars than cross a picket line," they said in unison.