S.C. Supreme Court’s integrity in question

Dear Editor:

During the past two weeks, many of my friends and I have written letters to the editor of the Post and Courier. Although more than a half dozen have written, only one letter appears to have been published. That is disappointing and an issue in and of itself. What follows is the letter I submitted.

Throughout the long and illustrious history of the Diocese of South Carolina stretching back for 300 years, we have experienced wars, fires, earthquakes, financial challenges and a multitude of other traumatic events. Always the diocese survived, grew and prospered because of its steadfast belief in following the word of God, as written in Holy Scripture, and the dynamic leadership of a legion of bishops.

That belief in scripture, faith in God and the leadership of a long line of bishops and other clergy, some even taking up arms to defend our freedoms, but who always preached Jesus Christ from the pulpit, ensured that we, here in the diocese today, could enjoy the peace and solitude of our holy and sacred places of worship.

That peace, solitude and freedom of worship is now in jeopardy, as we have witnessed first-hand not only what the National Episcopal Church has done to its teaching and liturgy, but also forcing unwanted policies and legal actions on dioceses. Now we must contend with the recent decision handed down by our S.C. Supreme Court against the Diocese of South Carolina — taking away our church properties.

That decision has been articulated in past editions of this paper so I will not go into the details. Unfathomable and unimaginable, however, is how that decision came about. A travesty of justice has occurred! Judicial integrity was not broken; it was fractured — perhaps beyond — repair by the actions of one justice. We now have a Supreme Court whose integrity, as a whole, must be questioned.

I could accept this decision if it had been properly adjudicated by our Supreme Court with no bias, as they are sworn to do. However, this was not the case, as one of the justices failed to recuse herself because of her deep affiliation and vested interest with one side, to include membership in a body that’s avowed mission has been to destroy the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and defrock its bishop. The other sitting justices, if they knew of her ties to The Episcopal Church, should have taken immediate action to remove her. And if not, when they discovered her egregious breach of trust and confidence, they should have acted in good faith to dismiss her opinion or call for a rehearing with justices with no ties to the case.

I am a proud Citadel graduate, a retired Marine Corps Officer, a veteran of Vietnam and Beirut. My life has been about service to my God, country, family and others. Duty, Honor, Respect and Integrity have been my guiding principles.

To see our state’s most respected court have such an obvious breach of the values I stand for and fought for is troubling — not only for the case with which I’m concerned but for their future as the last word in justice and integrity.

I want a future in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren will be able to worship and grow in Christ as I have and have full trust and confidence in our judicial system as a paragon of truth, justice and integrity.

 

Myron C. Harrington

Charleston, S.C.

 

What inspires local Republican club

Dear Editor:

In what kind of Republican club would you find a person from England who decided to get her citizenship in the USA just so she could vote for Donald Trump? In what kind of a Republican club will you find a Massachusetts Democrat who voted the party line religiously for years until he voted for Donald Trump and switched parties? Answer: Not your average club.

Meet Mara Brockbank, our very creative leader of the Carolina Republican Coalition (CRC). When I met her at a county Republican meeting in January, it almost seemed too perfect that us, both being outsiders in our own ways, would be just the beginning to what is now becoming a great story. Her vision to get a group together was more than socializing, but actually making a difference by harnessing the power given back to us, the people, this last November. The election wasn’t just a culmination of the grassroots efforts that started back in 2008, which birthed concepts such as the Tea Party, but it was an entirely new beginning. This was a vote for country, not party and the CRC builds upon this as its foundation.

There are seismic shifts afoot in the political landscape, and there are now political refugees running from the left to the center looking for a home. Take me for example. I didn’t just decide overnight to stop voting Democrat; the Democratic Party left me over a multi-year period and rendered my thought process incompatible. Riddled with the curse of identify politics, the politics of division, virtue signaling, constant thriving on victimhood and sadly just having absolutely no message at all, the pirate ship that used to be the Democratic Party has been visited by the ghosts of its past. We all know that history repeats itself and the Democrats seem to be reliving aspects of the era that led to the first person who rode the Republican banner to the White House.

We all knew this last election cycle was different. Years from now we’ll all really know what it truly meant historically, but the waves of this election have given rise to Americans that just want their Team USA to win. It’s really that simple and the Carolina Republican Coalition is one of those groups of people.

We have no problem talking to anyone of any view. We won’t always agree, but we have to all talk and build relationships to make this country great. Not talking isn’t the answer. That alternative creates a situation where it's all too easy to be vile to our fellow man. We’ll talk with black nationalists, we’ll talk with secessionists on both sides, we’ll talk with Democrats and other parties wanting to engage in friendly and constructive debate, we’ll also happily welcome recovering and disenfranchised Democrats, we’ll even talk to the establishment and entertain a chat with the mainstream media, but there are main ideas that are true about us above all: country before party, support for the president of the United States and defense of the laws of our land. Without support for those pillars, the country simply can’t win.

This beautiful 241-year-old experiment called the United States proves that this young country is blessed beyond belief, but we have our struggles. It’s in our DNA to argue and sometimes fight amongst ourselves. Don’t lose faith though. Even with our turbulent past we keep finding ways of coming back and winning. We thrive on challenge.

Looking at the last 241 years, if the USA was a stock on that stock market you’d have to bet everything on it winning long term. Every day we all wake up we can make that day everything we want. That’s the magic of the USA and the message that has been buried by the vitriol and rhetoric of the lost Left, the political class and the failing media. However, that’s where groups like the Carolina Republican Coalition shine like a beacon to keep us grounded to what this country was built on: people that care at the local level to make a real difference.

What Mara Brockbank and the rest of the CRC team have done by setting up the first proper Republican club in downtown Charleston in more than a century, and possibly much longer from what I’m told, is not just more of the status quo. The Carolina Republican Coalition is an inclusive grassroots organization full of people from all walks of life who have emerged from this last groundswell that brought power back down to the people. The members of CRC want what everyone else wants regardless of where they stand in the political spectrum. Everyone wants ability to freely and safely live life, have liberty and have the opportunity to pursue of happiness.

It’s time to take the field together and it’s time to win. It’s 2017, as a party we have 67 percent of the governments across the country and we have an opportunity to make this country what we want. We have an opposing party that’s in disarray and we have issues in our own party that need to be resolved. However, in the end we owe it to our future generations to do what’s right and what’s needed.

It’s almost funny to say, but we’re the underdogs now. We took back the country by surprise last November. We’re the true the rebels, the patriots. Now the rest is up to us. Sitting back and watching the news isn’t changing anything. It isn’t making us smarter. Awareness isn’t changing anything. Look at our friends on the left. They’re drowning in awareness, but it didn’t win an election. Only a real message and meaningful action from the heart will continue to drive this country forward and only together can we all make it happen. This is about us — all of us.

Come join us.

 

Richard Krenmayer

Charleston, S.C.

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NFL makes itself unworthy

Dear Editor:

The current/growing symbolic outrage of the NFL is just one more example of typical liberal-issue evolution. Think back to the Ferguson protests, where the Hands Up, Don’t Shoot movement arose. The entire premise of that “demonstration of outrage” was based largely on the lie that an unarmed innocent black youth trying to surrender was murdered by a white racist policeman. That story line was proven to be an outrageous lie reported and perpetuated by media and liberal organizers.

In 2014 the successfully promoted lie of Ferguson led Rams players to put their hands up while on the field in symbolic support of Hands Up, Don’t Shoot — now a “movement.” From that NFL action sprang Black Lives Matter and its spread of anger and division financially and emotionally stoked by Liberals and the Left to retain their black voting block.

In support of BLM, the now-infamous Colin Kaepernick, urged by his Egyptian MTV-star girlfriend, took a knee in 2016 to stand against “the oppression of people of color” in this country. What portion of his $126 million contract went, I wonder, to serving people of color, other than himself and the Egyptian? He did spend $10K on a fine for “wearing incorrectly branded headphones” during a game, and another $11K for “inappropriate language against Chicago.” The team or the city? In any event, the NFL seemed able to define what was acceptable behavior/language from a player at that point. Why not now?

My questions to NFL players are these:

— If your protest is not about disrespecting America or its symbol, the flag that represents all that America offers its citizens, why not “take a knee” during half time, or in the middle of a quarter? Why not run for public office and possibly really make a difference? The Dems could certainly do with some new faces on their bench.

— If your protests are, as you claim, in support of Kaepernick’s views, which oppressed people of color are you personally helping financially with your average salary of $2 million a year, or through hands-on action within their communities? Either would be meaningful.

Certainly NFL players are not oppressed. Half of them have college degrees (many via college sports scholarships), and even rookies with a simple high school diploma start at $325K, plus the requisite bonuses and incentives. Their major brush with personal oppression may come after their careers are over. Surveys of former players have shown that 78 percent are bankrupt, unemployed, and/or divorced after two years of unemployment. Admirable heroes indeed for black youth in America.

— If NFL stars are actually patriots who love the flag but need to make a statement, why have only four of you volunteered for military service since the Korean War? Pat Tillman gave up a multi-million dollar contract to serve our country, with tragic results. Caleb Campbell, Paul Hornung, Alejandro Villanueva... hmm None of the current crop of statement makers seem to be veterans. Maybe that's why they don’t understand the meaning or value of the American flag.

From 2012 to 2014, 33 NFL players were arrested on charges involving domestic violence, battery, assault, and murder. In the last two years at least 15 were arrested for violence against women. This current “moral stand” by football players is one more example of empty, misguided Liberal group think. Nice work.

Forget firing them. Show the NFL owners what matters to Americans. No more NFL in this house. How about yours?

Hartley Porter

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl.

Two years ago, United States District Court Judge Richard Gergel handed the cruise terminal opponents their first victory, tossing the SPA’s federal permit to build a proposed $35 million terminal at Union Pier and blasting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to adequately review the project’s effects on the area.

‘Pluff Mud Chronicles’ got it right

Dear Editor:

Thank you and David for your recent column. These last few years, I’ve had to turn off the news for all the ridiculous selling of propaganda that has led to more racial divide and hate than my teen years of the 70s. Poor Dr. King.

This amazingly ignorant but highly overpaid Caucasian liberal PC group has brought to fruition the adage of Orson Wells: “Everyone is equal except those who are special.”

It is sad to see the hate that has been laid at our feet in six years. Visiting a health club before renewing mine, my friend and I visited one in Mt. Pleasant where the T-shirts read, “We are a nonjudgmental gym.” It never would have crossed my mind that a gym would have a need or be inclined to “judge” its clients.

The paranoia reminds me of some of the crazy tactics that worked for Hitler, but let’s not go there. Your article was one that put my equilibrium back to normal, and I am glad to know we still have a thinking public versus the sheep of media who adhere to the lies of propaganda. The sad part is: There is real news and really hurting people in this country, including human trafficking and so much more that is just overshadowed with this political rhetoric.

Keep your eyes on the ball. 

V. Maguire

Charleston, S.C.

 

Remembering Judy Vane

Dear Editor:

Someone once described Judith (Judy) Vane, a founder and legendary supporter of the Spoleto Festival USA, as “a marvelous mix of grit and glamour.” This exceedingly accurate comment leapt into my mind the moment I heard that on April 4, that Judy had departed this life that she so lovingly embraced, leaving her trademark dazzling smile and famous throaty laugh to appear only in our memories.

However, this arts-loving, charming, but tough, woman left in her wake a powerful living legacy, one that utilizes the arts to change lives by encouraging people to break out of their self-concocted cocoons and view the world through diverse prisms.

Years before Gian Carlo Menotti selected Charleston as the site of an international performing arts festival, Judy was considered an exceptionally dedicated and talented actress who starred in and supported numerous Footlight Players’ productions at the Dock Street Theatre. However, I had never seen Judy on stage when, as almost newly-weds, my husband, Dr. Franklin Ashley and I met Judy and Jack Vane at a Count Basie concert at the Charleston Naval Base Officers Club in 1968.

By happenstance, we were assigned to the same table for dinner as the Vanes, and when Basie’s band began to swing, we four got up and began to dance, and then so did every one else. We talked and danced until midnight, but, not wanting the party to end, Judy and Jack followed us to our townhouse, where we sipped daiquiris and talked about theater and music until 2 a.m., when Judy suddenly remembered that a baby sitter was waiting at their home with their two very young boys, Adam and Jay and they immediately dashed off.

Upon hearing of Judy’s death, Spoleto General Director Nigel Redden, in a phone call from his Lincoln Center office in New York, said, “Certainly, we will miss Judy, just horribly! She was a mainstay of the festival, and I can’t imagine it without her, as Judy and Jack always made their beautiful home available, not only for Spoleto parties, but also welcomed visitors to stay with them.

At Judy’s funeral, Adam Vane remarked, “Mother and Dad treated everyone the same. They were as comfortable conversing with (actor) Anthony Hopkins at a party given for him, as they were talking with the man cleaning up after the party.”

It’s no secret that Judy lobbied unrelentingly for the Spoleto Festival USA to be bought to Charleston rather than to other cities being considered. The late Theodore Stern, former chairman of the festival, once revealed to me: “Judy helped to charm Menotti into choosing Charleston, certainly with her vast knowledge of the theater, but most of all with her ability to generously open her home to strangers from another country — that was a rare gift!”

Redden then related an incident that occurred when Celeste and Charles Patrick hosted a festival late-night, after-party out by their swimming pool.

“The party had just begun when Judy arrived, all dressed up, and immediately began an animated conversation while standing with her back to the pool,” Redden recalled. “Suddenly, I happened to glance toward Judy, in time to see her take a step backward and fall directly into the pool!

“Well, naturally, everyone dashed to her rescue. But after drying off with a towel, she went straight in her car, drove herself home, dried her hair, changed clothes, and immediately returned to the party, where she laughed and joked about her ‘accident’ late into the evening.”

Many who knew Judy might agree that this funny tale of never accepting defeat could not only serve as how Judy Vane might like to be remembered, but also could be considered a valuable life lesson for us all.

Dottie Ashley

Mount Pleasant, S.C.

 

High cost of litigating TEC

Dear Editor:

In light of your diocesan litigation with The Episcopal Church, we thought this letter might be of interest to your readers. This is what we sent March 5 to the deputies of the 2015 General Convention.

Vision for America

Dear Editor:

With loss of the Senate, the Democratic Party’s objective to transform America has suffered a setback. The Senators that lost their elections are the same Senators elected in 2008 that gave Harry Reid and Barack Obama the power to pass unprecedented progressive legislation.

Changes at the Gibbes

Dear Editor:

The Gibbes Museum of Art has embarked on a much-needed renovation of the front and rear garden spaces concurrent with the massive restoration and renovation of the Gibbes building. After earlier attempts to prolong the life of the magnolia trees in the rear garden (one of which was just large enough to be classified as a grand tree) the decision was made to review designs that did not include the five existing trees. Other institutions, including St. Philip’s Church, have experienced similar issues with magnolias that have reached their life expectancy.

Letters to the editor

 

Happy New Year to a 106 year-old

Like the rest of us, Charleston’s finest citizens never know when the gray man will come calling. Gone are Jim Edwards, Arthur Wilcox, Margot Freudenberg and Ted Stern among others. No longer young but with lights burning bright are Fritz Hollings, Dorothy Anderson and Craig Bennett to name a few. Herbert V. Nootbaar does not live in Charleston but if he did he would certain be counted among our finest citizens.

Just because it is a cliché to say we are a nation of immigrants does not mean that it isn’t true. On May 20th 2014, Herbert Nootbaar, who celebrated his 106th birthday on November 8th, was awarded both the Ellis Island Humanitarian Award and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The Ellis Island Medal of Honor was founded in 1986 to honor the contribution made to America by immigrants and the legacy they left behind in the successes of their children and grandchildren.

Approximately 100 medalists are honored each year to “celebrate the diversity of American life honoring not only individuals but the pluralism and democracy that have enabled ancestry groups to maintain their identities while becoming integral parts of the American Way of life.” The diverse group of honorees includes Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Henry Kissinger and Mohammed Ali.

The Nootbaar family came from Holland. They moved to Germany where Max Nootbaar, father of the recipient, graduated from Heidelberg and then moved to America. In 1896 he joined the Chicago police force. He took on the Black Hand, extortionists later replaced by the Mafia. Suffice it to say he was fearless. He retired to California and died in 1939.

His son Herb is one of the most remarkable people we have ever known. Herb had a long career in the grain business and remained president emeritus of the National Grain & Feed Association well into his 90s. He and his lovely wife Elinor, sadly deceased, have been generous in the extreme. They donated wings of hospitals and endowed the Department of Law, Religion and Ethics at Pepperdine University. A loyal graduate of the University of Southern California they donated baseball fields and baseball museum The Hall of Fame Complex.

Close personal friends of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, they donated the garden at the Reagan Library. One of his prized pieces of memorabilia is one the cartridges from the 21-gun salute honoring President Reagan at his funeral.

We met Herb and Elinor when he was 97. A mutual friend called and asked if we would show them around Charleston. When we said we would be delighted, we were informed he had to walk with cane. The previous year, Herb — who could have hired an army of roofers — fell when he was repairing his roof. It would have killed a lesser man, or at least made him an invalid. Not Herb.

The following year we visited southern California. At 10 a.m. one morning Herb and Elinor picked us up. No limousine, no chauffer. Herb was behind the wheel of the family car and took us on a fabulous tour that lasted until around 6 p.m. when they took us to their beautiful home in Laguna Beach for drinks.

True story: When Herb had his 100th birthday he realized that his driver’s license had expired so he hurried on down to the DMV. There he aced the written exam and passed three eye tests without glasses. The examiner high-fived him and said “Come back when you are 105.”

When he reached 105 his family and friends begged him not to drive, so he did not renew his license. He did say modestly “I believe I could have passed the exam.”

Herb’s own recipe for longevity is, he says, simple: “Pick a good wife and then love and respect her and encourage her love of you.”

There are I think two other attributes that have contributed to Herb’s long life. One is an exquisite sense of humor that allows him to laugh at himself. At the end of our long day he told on himself a priceless story of a train trip in the 1940s that he, his father-in-law and A. P. Giannini took from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Herb was struggling to do business with Bank of America and this was supposed to be a way to gain entrée set up by his father-in-law.

Giannini, who was the founder of the Bank of America and voted one of the 100 most important men of the 20th century, had on a new much loved necktie his daughter has just given him. They went to lunch when they reached LA. Everyone ordered oysters on the half shell. Herb put a drop of Tabasco on his oyster. Down it went, hit bottom and up it came — all over Mr. Giannini’s favorite tie. There is more to the story, equally funny. Needless to say, Herb was never able to do business with Mr. Giannini’s bank.

In addition to that sense of humor Herb has without exception the best attitude of anyone we have ever known.

C. Stuart Dawson, Jr.

Charleston, S.C.

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