It’s Coming Down

Following my recent posts on the Confederate flag in South Carolina:

It’s officially coming down.

Gov. Nikki Haley has signed a law to remove it after the state House and Senate approved the bill. Our story:

The Confederate flag is scheduled to come down Friday morning after more than half a century on the state Capitol grounds, lowered in a solemn ceremony and placed in a nearby museum.

A beaming Gov. Nikki Haley signed a historic bill Thursday, paving the way for the flag’s removal and capping a whirlwind push to take down a divisive symbol that has been a part of the state’s political landscape for decades.

“Today, I am very proud to say, ‘It’s a great day in South Carolina,” she said, flanked by hundreds of people, including three former governors, a bipartisan coalition of legislators and onlookers eager to bear witness to a day some thought would never come. She signed the bill with nine pens, one for each of the families who lost a loved one in the June 17 church shooting that prompted the soul searching that is now bringing the flag down.

Meanwhile, embedded above and on YouTube here: a powerful speech Republican Jenny Horne made late in the deliberations.


Businesses Pressured SC Gov. to Push for Confederate Flag Removal

Following up on my post from Tuesday

Here’s an interesting, behind-the-scenes bit from a WSJ story on how businesses pressured South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to ditch the Confederate flag:

Ms. Haley came under significant pressure to call for the flag’s removal from leaders of multinational and South Carolina businesses after the shootings, according to people involved in the discussions. Michelin North America, based in Greenville, S.C., was among companies calling for immediate removal of the flag.

“We are ready to support our elected officials as they take the necessary steps to do so,” Michelin CEO Pete Selleck said.

Top elected officials, including the governor, business and nonprofit leaders, made frantic calls and emails over the weekend, according to people involved. One of them was Chad Walldorf, co-founder of a barbecue chain called Sticky Fingers and the chairman of the state Board of Economic Advisors. He said he made dozens of calls from vacation in Colorado. “There was a very widespread consensus in the business community to get the flag down,” he said.

Mikee Johnson, chairman of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, also began lobbying to bring the flag down. “I felt like it was going to be a turning moment in the state’s history,” said Mr. Johnson. “I told [Ms. Haley] she’d get overwhelming support from the business community if she took that action.”


On the Charleston Shootings and the Confederate Flag — and Some Links for Following the Debate

2015 06 24 flag

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said Monday that the Confederate flag should be taken down.

That comes, of course, after a white man, in a racist attack last week, killed nine African-Americans at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Photos uncovered later showed him embracing the Confederate flag.

That banner — which South Carolina hoisted in 1961, in the middle of the civil rights movement — represents to so many of the state’s citizens racism, hate, violence and subjugation.

What about those who say the flag symbolizes pride in the South’s history, that it represents “heritage, not hate,” as the saying goes?

At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates points out that South Carolina’s secession from the union — which kicked off the Civl War, of course — was centered on the very institution of slavery. In the state’s own language at the time:

A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

Many are saying now that it’s time to move on, at long last.

In Columbia, a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate are required for the flag to be taken down. The (Charleston) Post and Courrier quotes Haley as saying that if the two bodies don’t debate the issue summer, she’ll call them back into session to do so.

Now, following the shootings, an issue that for years has seemed settled — that the flag will continue to fly — is up for debate. And things seem to be moving quickly.

Just yesterday, The Post and Courrier reported:

Proponents of removing the flag could have an uphill climb. A Post and Courier survey of state lawmakers — predominately Republicans who control the House and Senate — found there is no consensus that the flag has to go, with many saying it’s too soon after the tragedy to act.

And today:

A Post and Courier poll shows the state Senate is within striking distance of having a majority in favor of removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds. Support appears strong in the House, as well.

Here are a few sites to keep an eye on as things develop.

In a feature I love for its simplicity, the Post and Courrier is asking every member of the legislature where they stand on the flag, and posting the results in real time.

Meanwhile, in the Lowcountry, the Beaufort Gazette/Island Packet is collecting statements from Beaufort legislators:

While five local legislators have come out in support of removing the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds, three others have remained quiet on the issue.

In Columbia, The State newspaper has also been covering the issue.

Stay tuned.


Journey to America, trip report number 2: Video of Duke’s BBQ

Embedded below is a 48-second YouTube video of my brother C describing our lunch at Duke’s BBQ. Duke’s serves the best Southern food I’ve ever eaten.

C wrote about the place in his Top 5 restaurants in Beaufort, SC post.

The audio is a bit low here, so you might want to turn up the volume. (RSS readers can click here to see the video if it isn’t displayed below.)


The best — and only — Thai food in Beaufort, SC

Back in January, as you might recall, my little brother C penned a guest post here at called “Top five restaurants in Beaufort, South Carolina.”

C is a serious foodie, and unlike his older brother, he’s spent a lot of time in SC over the past several years.

Though it didn’t make his list, I wanted to point out that our sleepy seaside town (pop. in 2000: 12,950) now boasts…a Thai restaurant. ((Side note: The globalization of sushi is well documented. But what about the globalization of Thai food?))

The curiously named Yes! Thai Indeed restaurant has been earning some positive reviews of late. (Not only does the restaurant have a Web site, but they even have their menu (PDF link) and guest book online.)

Will Yes! Thai Indeed make C’s 2010 round-up of Top 5 Beaufort restaurants? Only time will tell.


Top 5 Restaurants in Beaufort, SC

I asked my little brother C, who’s a serious foodie, to list his five favorite restaurants in our home town of Beaufort, South Carolina ((Beaufort, SC is my adopted home town; I moved around a lot growing up, but I spent more time in Beaufort than anywhere else. C, on the other hand, was raised in Beaufort and went to college in nearby Charleston, SC. So he knows what he’s talking about. Trust me.)) Here’s what he wrote:

Beaufort, South Carolina isn’t known for gourmet dinner options or haute luncheons. This coastal town does provide options a-plenty for those seeking local comfort food and a healthy dose of southern charm. Here are my picks for must have Beaufort fare.

  1. Blackstone’s Deli — A popular downtown spot, Blackstone’s sticks to tried and true American breakfast favorites. Think blueberry pancakes with a side of sausage patties. For a local touch, try a cup of stone ground grits alongside fried eggs and bacon.

    Blackstone’s Deli
    205 Scott St.
    Beaufort, SC
    (843) 524-4330

  2. Alvin Ord’s — Clearly a favorite among Beaufort’s lunch break crowd. Alvin Ord’s does lunch right, serving classic deli style sandwiches on fresh baked round buns. Be sure to try the Salvation — ham and salami all the way with four cheeses toasted onto the bun.

    Alvin Ord’s
    1415 Ribaut Rd
    Port Royal, SC
    (843) 524-8222

  3. The Shrimp Shack — If you’re interested in going a bit out of the way, The Shrimp Shack is well worth the drive from town. Family owned and operated, the folks at the shrimp shack serve the only shrimp burger I’d ever eat. Because the docks are literally across the highway, fresh local seafood is the standard. Call ahead to inquire about seasonal operating hours.

    The Shrimp Shack
    1925 Sea Island Pkwy
    Saint Helena Island, SC
    (843) 838-2962

  4. Taqueria by Berto — Forced to move from his downtown location, Berto has reopened in Shell Point with a streamlined menu and restaurant. Simplicity is key here; good value and strong flavors make this Mexican eatery stand out. The tacos are an obvious choice though I would recommend an alambre — a mix of sautéed veggies and meats with a hint of pig oil (lard) topped with fresh soft cheese and served over flour or corn tortillas.

    Taqueria by Berto
    Shell Point Plaza on Parris Island Gateway

  5. Duke’s Barbecue — Last, but certainly not least, is my personal favorite. Once a chain across South Carolina, the Duke family barbecue restaurants now operate independently to bring traditional meat and fixins to anyone hungry enough to partake in the twice weekly buffet experience. The Carolina chopped pork is unmistakable and the pork hash will make you forget about any issues you might have with “everything but the oink” cooking. There isn’t a healthy choice on the buffet, so load up on fried chicken, fried okra, fried corn fritters, or anything else that could conceivably be fried.

    Duke’s Barbeque
    3533 Trask Pkwy
    Beaufort, SC
    843 524 1128

Got any restaurants to add to the list? Add ’em to the comments. Thanks, C, for the write-up. Happy eating, all.


I’m Home in the US

I’m home in the US now. Arrived here on Monday. Spent some time in central PA. Currently in Beaufort, SC. Heading up the coast to Charleston in a few minutes. Visits to NYC and DC will come next.

Friends here in the US: email me for my local mobile number.

Posting here will be light for the time being, but I’ll be sending brief dispatches to Twitter.

For now, I can say this: I just had a quintessential South Carolina Lowcountry meal of fried chicken, okra, mac and cheese, banana pudding, and sweet tea.

It’s good to be home.

Stay tuned, mis amigos.