Loose Lips


We sometimes wonder who if anyone is getting the POINT. But the three-page fax we received recently critiquing every story in the last issue from a conservative "Christian" perspective let us know that at least one person reads the paper cover-to-cover.

Jesse W. Sellers is so concerned that POINT is corrupting the morals of our repressed citizenry that he has pledged a monthly response to our publication, which he cleverly calls Counterpoint.

"The purpose of Counterpoint," Sellers says, "is to demonstrate, in simple fashion, the utter lack of serious thinking contained within the pages of POINT.

"It is our contention, admirably demonstrated by POINT, that liberals do not think, they feel. While emotion is a very real part of the human soul, it should never be the basis for action, or for the development of one's world view. Emotions must be channeled through intellect, not the other way around."

Sellars continues, "We further contend that a conservative world view and especially a Christian one is the only world view that will provide a foundation for a healthy society."

If you are studying how fundamentalism impedes creative thought, you may want to contact Sellers at the Christian News and Herald in Columbia for a copy of Counterpoint.


While most people were relieved that the Susan Smith trial wasn't televised, Columbia's most telegenic defense lawyers, Dick Harpootlian and Jack Swerling, got more than plenty of air time.

While Swerling was on retainer from NBC and paid to provide courtroom analysis, Harpootlian provided free sound bytes to anyone with a camera. (Media pros said he did a good job.)

Since the trial ended on a Friday, and NBC is the only network with a Saturday morning news program, Har-pootlian's post-conviction insights never made the air. As the frustrated TV wannabe was driving home after the trial in his famous new Mercedes, he was reportedly doing over 100 mph. The officer who pulled him recognizing near greatness when he apprehends it only wrote The Poot up for doing 85.


Fifty years ago on Aug. 6 the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Two days later the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

In the soul searching and denial that accompanies the anniversary, some have finally found the nerve to ask, "Did we need to drop the bombs?"

South Carolinians are being forced to recognize that one of their own former governor, U.S. senator and then-Secretary of State James Byrnes had his heavy finger on the trigger. Byrnes, President Harry S. Truman's most influential advisor, successfully argued against more cautious scientists and military brass that the bomb had to be dropped immediately.

According to a special report by ABC news, Byrnes advised against waiting until Aug. 15, when the Russians entered the war against Japan and were expected to dramatically turn the tide. Byrnes also insisted that a civilian population be targeted without warning. Yessiree, more reason to be proud of our collective history.


Everyone knows that the nuclear dump in Barnwell was kept open by an amendment to this year's state budget. The law requires the estimated $120 million a year in fees to be earmarked for education.

What most folks don't know is that provisions on how the money would be distributed were left out of the final bill. Struck from the bill was a Senate stipulation that 30 percent of the money go toward scholarships based on financial need, with some academic guidelines.

Rep. Henry Brown (R-Berkeley), one of three House members on the budget committee who pushed for removal of the Senate's distribution formula, doesn't think financial need should take priority over academic achievement.

"Somebody making $100,000 a year that sounds like a lot of money," Brown said. "But if they have two or three kids in school it's not."

Brown might do well to consider the plight of the average South Carolinian, who makes $17,000 a year and has two kids to put through school.

When the Legislature convenes in January, Brown will try to convince his colleagues that upper-middle-class kids have a right to a slice of the radioactive scholarship pie.


Michael Graham has an irrefutable gift when it comes to offending liberal politicians. Graham, a witty amalgam of William Buckley and Rush Limbaugh, recently gained the distinction of becoming the first state employee ever personally unhired by the Legislature.

Graham was most recently Sec. of State Jim Miles' "communication director." Graham was once a stand-up comedian and state coordinator of the Pat Buchanan presidential campaign. He has had his plug pulled on two radio programs (WLTR and WVOC) that took politicians to task from a conservative and often Libertarian viewpoint.

Graham's column in Free Times, a Columbia entertainment tabloid, was reportedly waved by his detractors at a Senate finance committee hearing that axed his position from the budget.

Sen. Ernie Passailague (D-Charleston) was so offended by Graham's status as a tax-supported, high-profile, right-wing hatchet man that he proposed the elimination of Graham's job in the budget.

Passailague said, "Miles came in wanting more auditors, and we took the money from communications. Miles' position is to mainly handle notary publics. I don't know why you need a $50,000-a-year employee to handle press releases.

"If anybody should have gotten the message last November it should have been Michael Graham. State government is not a jobs program for washed-up entertainers and reporters."


"Detroit is a union town. We're drawing the line against scabs and union-busting," roared a speaker at a July 17 rally supporting striking workers at Detroit's two daily newspapers.

The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press are jointly owned by Gannett and Knight-Ridder. While the companies made $56 million in profits last year, wages have been frozen and nearly 2,000 workers laid off since the 1989 merger of the media giants.

When 2,500 workers walked on July 15, Knight-Ridder put out the call for scabs within their own ranks. The State's senior business editor Fred Monk and librarian Lee Hemphill answered the call.

Monk said he views his mission as "trying to preserve a newspaper."

Guilt, schmilt. "I feel good about what I'm doing," he said.


If you've seen Gov. David Beasley's chain gangs on the highway, you were probably on an interstate close to a big city.

With only 100 out of nearly 18,000 inmates in the program, Beasley held a press conference anyway to let criminals and taxpayers alike know that "these people are rebuilding their lives." (By picking up trash in high visibility


Gov. Beasley has made retribution a central theme in his judicial reform philosophy. "What we're beginning to see is our vision for a new system, a system of more labor and less vacations," he has said.

Our born-again governor went on to remark, "To me there's no prettier sight than seeing our interstates dotted with work crews in orange vests."


Least we be accused of focusing on isolated incidents of Gov. Beasley's seeming insensitivity, you need to know about the "rally to celebrate passage of welfare reform legislation" that the governor attended in Charleston on July 26.

Beasley told the assembled business representatives and Department of Social Services officials that the act limits the time and number of kids welfare recipients can claim and promised that it will "restore South Carolina parents to responsibility and our families to independence."

A few token welfare recipients were present and busily munching finger sandwiches, knowing that these were the last crumbs they could expect from the governor's table.


Tom Turnipseed is a human tsunami of political correctness that warrants electronic amplification. The man would probably explode without some way to share his concerns with the people of South Carolina.

The one-time manager of George Wallace's presidential campaign brings conviction to his anti-racist diatribes. This is a guy who has lived and breathed all the bigoted attitudes he now disclaims.

Now Turnipseed has a daily radio show on a Columbia AM station that has rednecks listening to a black radio station for the first time in their lives.

Every weekday at 2 p.m. the Tom Tur-nipseed Show takes to the airwaves with guests and topics to challenge listeners' political sensibilities.

Topics have included the Confederate flag, gays in the military and workers' rights. The guest list is a Who's Who of South Carolina's progressives.

For radio that makes an honest effort to balance the overwhelming rightward tilt of talk shows, tune in to WOIC 1230 AM the next time you're in Columbia.


This very visible statewide elected official doesn't miss a chance to publicize his opinion. He seems to view keeping women out of The Citadel and the Confederate flag flying as personal crusades.

He attacked attorney David Bruck for seeking a plea bargain in the Susan Smith case, sued the federal government to block "motor voter" registration, and joined in the defense of Colorado's anti-gay initiative.

He has most recently charged into battle against the federal government with "a battery of lawyers" to lay claim to the Confederate submarine at the bottom of the Charleston harbor. Rumor has it that this sleazebucket intends to use the submarine to defend The Citadel from cooties.

Be the first caller to correctly identify this sleazebag and win a free trial subscription to POINT.

Last month's sleazeballs were the first father/son honorees: Rick Quinn senior and junior.

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© Copyright by POINT, 1995

Last modified 8/8/95