Women tapping into their own strength

posted Dec 1, 2017, 7:19 AM by Ocdp Web

The Journal, Posted on November 30, 2017


I think I’ve died and gone to heaven after looking at the most recent election results. All my life I’ve dreamed that women would take their rightful place alongside men in politics and business in our country. Until now, I believed that I wouldn’t see this happen in my lifetime, even though women are just as smart, just as creative and just as talented as men. We make up 51 percent of the population, but where is our representation?

However, there is hope that balance will come before I leave this Earth. Look what happened. Jennifer beat Mike, Wendy beat Randall, Danica beat Robert, Kelly beat Ronald, Elizabeth beat Scott, Hala beat Richard, Betsy beat Jake, and Margaret beat Francis in the House of Delegates for the Virginia State Congress. The overall number of women serving in that 100-member congress will jump from 17 to 27 next year. That is only halfway to the goal of half of representation, but at least it’s progress.

The Women’s March on Washington in January 2017 triggered a movement. An estimated half million women came to Washington, D.C., and 4.6 million more marched throughout the U.S. We want and deserve our rightful place in the decision-making in politics and business. The scales are finally being righted. Case in point, first-time politician Ashley Bennet beat incumbent John Carman, a man who mocked the Women’s March on Washington.

We’ve had 42 women governors since 1925, including territories. Six women are currently serving as governors. There are 39 women running for U.S. Senate and 353 running for the U.S. House as well as many other offices like attorney general, auditor and governor in 2018.

Women are tapping into their strength because they see what politics has become without their presence. There is a seat at the table that needs to be filled by the other half of humanity. I just hope I can stick around long enough to see that 50 percent achieved. With more women in positions of power, perhaps we will finally see pay equity, less sexual harassment, more diversity at all levels of government and business.

Patty Warner


An anti-intellectual attack

posted Dec 1, 2017, 7:15 AM by Ocdp Web

The Journal

Posted on November 30, 2017


Graduate students are normally supplied with a small stipend and a nontaxable tuition waiver to help offset the cost of higher education. Approximately 145,000 graduate students and 27,000 undergraduates nationwide benefit from nontaxable tuition waivers. Graduate students already struggle to make ends meet on stipends of $16,000 to $30,000 — most are less than $20,000. To lose tuition waivers would significantly increase the “on paper” income of these students and even push them into a higher tax bracket. The higher taxes would saddle them with greater hardships and more debt. Furthermore, loss of tuition-based benefits would devastate some graduate education programs by forcing some students to drop out and discouraging others from entering.

The United States cannot afford to allow Republicans to harm graduate students and graduate programs with this tax bill. Graduate students are the nation’s future scientific researchers, educators and other professional leaders. This Republican attempt to impose additional financial burdens on an already strapped, educated population is a harmful anti-intellectual attack on the nation’s university graduate programs and their gifted students. Penalizing those in intellectual pursuits while giving tax breaks to large corporations and the very wealthy is frightening and reprehensible.

Carolyn S. Brown

‘Mr. Duncan, withdraw that bill!’

posted Oct 14, 2017, 4:38 PM by Ocdp Web

Posted on October 6, 2017, The Journal, Seneca, SC


I have long objected to Jeff Duncan’s Sportsmen Heritage Recreation Enhancement Act, but I have not spoken out about it until now. However, a recent event has given me a new appreciation for the value of sound associated with gunfire. Mr. Duncan’s bill would, among other things, legalize the sale and use of silencers.

Our daughter, Diane, was at the concert in Las Vegas on Sunday evening when Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd. Fortunately, she, and many others, are safe because of one simple fact: they heard the sound of gunfire and took actions to protect themselves.

Mr. Paddock had made modifications to several of his guns to increase the speed at which they fired, and I firmly believe that, had silencers been available, he would have used one.

Imagine the increase in carnage if he had used a silencer! People would have been falling for no known reason. Chances are that the music would have continued. Would the carnage have increased by a factor of 10? Of 100?

Silencers have been illegal in this country for many years, and for good reason — they protect people. It is far better for sportsmen to experience the inconvenience of wearing hearing protection than to risk the possibility of a mass shooter with a silencer.

I close by paraphrasing former President Ronald Reagan, a man that I know Mr. Duncan admires:  “Mr. Duncan, withdraw that bill!”

Carl Fortson


Clemson Needs a Clean Energy Future

posted Oct 1, 2017, 7:06 PM by Ocdp Web   [ updated Oct 1, 2017, 7:06 PM ]

Posted October 1, 2017, The Greenville News

It is heartbreaking to watch Clemson University commit itself and the surrounding Clem­son area to another 35 years of using fossil fuels. By allowing Duke Energy to build a natural gas power plant in the middle of campus, it is also committing to the use of old technology that is being replaced worldwide with renewable resources such as solar and wind. 

In addition, building a new natural gas plant signals the university's willingness to accept the hazards inherent in Amer­ican fracking operations and the leakage of methane from the pipelines that will transport the natural gas along hundreds of miles to Clemson University. It is widely known that these me­thane leaks are 86 percent stronger than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere, thus contributing to warming of our planet. Also it is accepted sci­ence that the sulfur, mercury, and particulates that produce nitrogen oxides are grave health concerns linked to asthma, bron­chitis, lung cancer and heart disease. 

In contrast, were Duke Ener­gy encouraged to install their proposed solar farm, it signals a very different future for Clem­son University: one that em­braces change toward clean energy sources and the applica­tion of the incredible research on this subject being conducted by their own faculty and students. There are plenty of places on campus for installing, solar in­cluding rooftops, parking lots and agricultural land. More im­portantly a 50-megawatt solar installation would make Clemson University's 2030 "carbon neu­tral" goal achievable almost overnight. 

Let's all embrace the idea that Clemson University and the City of Clemson can together become "The Greenest College Town in America " Let's join the trend being embraced by other col­leges and towns across America:  Think green, think healthy fu­ture, think moving forward into a clean energy future for our area and for our kids. 

Ellie Taylor 


Duncan doesn’t represent innocent bystanders

posted Sep 23, 2017, 7:36 AM by Ocdp Web

Posted on September 22, 2017, The Journal, Seneca, SC


I read the recent article in The Journal regarding Congressman Jeff Duncan’s H.R. 367 “Hearing Protection Act.” This bill would make it much easier for people to get silencers for their weapons.

Is it really a “health issue” as Duncan claims, or maybe help for the hunter who can’t hit the side of a barn? We need to give the poor marksman a second or even third shot to kill that deer before it can know where the bullet is coming from.

Or, on the other hand, let’s consider when Congressman Duncan so cavalierly directed James T. Hodgkinson to the baseball practice where he shot four people, including Rep. Steve Scalise. Perhaps more people would have been hit if he were using a silencer. The others had time to duck for cover because they heard the shots.

It seems unseemly that Congressman Duncan is pushing so hard for passage of a silencer bill while Congressman Scalise is still in rehabilitation.

And also, let’s think about Iraq war veteran Esteban Santiago, who in January flew from Alaska to Florida’s Fort Lauderdale airport and calmly took a gun from his checked luggage in the baggage claim area. He began indiscriminately shooting, killing five people and wounding six. Thirty-seven others suffered injuries while ducking for cover. How many of those would have died because they didn’t hear the shots and were not able to run? Santiago followed TSA procedures in checking his weapon in his luggage. But who is looking out for the rest of us who would like the ability to protect ourselves from crazy people with guns? Not Jeff Duncan. He gets his campaign money from the NRA and is only interested in doing their bidding. He does not represent innocent bystanders.

Jeff Duncan has been on our payroll since Jan. 5, 2011. Can you name one thing that he has done for you?

Cece Parker


Duncan doesn’t represent constituents’ interests

posted Sep 23, 2017, 7:33 AM by Ocdp Web

Posted on September 22, 2017, The Journal, Seneca, SC


Jeff Duncan doesn’t represent his constituents’ interests. Instead, he insists on representing special interest groups. He supports/sponsors bills that strictly reflect the wishes of his campaign contributors, not us voters.

Just look at the industries that underwrote his last campaign: oil and gas, $41,000; retired, $33,680; insurance, $24,050; hospitals/nursing homes, $21,250.

His top contributors were: National Auto Dealers Association, $15,000; National HealthCare Corp., $12,000; Dove Transportation, $10,200; American Society of Anesthesiologists, $10,000; Blue Cross/Blue Shield, $10,000.

Do any of these industries represent our interests? These are special interest industries that simply wish to maximize their ability to bring in money. Several want to have standards relaxed so that we voters are more at risk or have fewer rights and opportunities.

Are we happier today? Has your wealth increased? Duncan’s net worth has increased over the period from 2009-2012 from $1,157,411 to $1,475,007 — that’s 27 percent.

There is only one solution: Replace Jeff Duncan in 2018 with someone who truly represents the interests of South Carolina’s 3rd congressional district.

Ted Taylor


A Mockery of American Values

posted Sep 22, 2017, 5:55 PM by Ocdp Web

Posted on September 14, 2017, The Journal, Seneca, SC

Hard to believe, but Rep. Jeff Duncan voted against help for the victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Didn’t like the bill because it contained “other stuff.” That “other stuff” kept the United States from defaulting on its debt and kept the government running through December, but to Jeff Duncan, those were minor details that didn’t matter.

Not explicitly stated, but very obvious from the subtext, the bill was anathema to Mr. Duncan because it was bipartisan. Worked out with the Democrats! Fortunately, the bill passed the Republican-controlled House 316-90 (80-17 in the Senate), which spoke well for the Republicans’ values even as they rejected Jeff Duncan’s.

And this is our representative? The man who chairs the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere? God help Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean islands devastated by Irma!

Because ultimately it is America’s values that are on display here — and Jeff Duncan makes a mockery of them.

Carlos D. Luria

Valuing hearing over human rights?

posted Sep 22, 2017, 5:53 PM by Ocdp Web

Posted on September 18, 2017, The Journal, Seneca, SC


One of the NRA’s ever-faithful agents in the U.S. House of Representatives — South Carolina’s own Jeffrey Duncan, who poses as “the people’s” 3rd Congressional District representative — introduced H.R.367, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 in January. Mr. Duncan apparently believes inner ear hearing loss, due to loud gunfire, trumps any human’s right to be warned there’s a gunslinger in the vicinity!

This bill amends the IRS Code to: (1) eliminate the $200 transfer tax on firearm silencers, and (2) treat any person who acquires or possesses a firearm silencer as meeting any registration or licensing requirements of the National Firearms Act with respect to such silencer. Any person who pays a transfer tax on a silencer after Oct. 22, 2015, may receive a refund. The bill amends the federal criminal code to preempt state or local laws that tax or regulate firearm silencers.

This proposal to “give weaponized folks the added advantage of legalized stealth when prowling suitable public targets” sped through the U.S. House Committees of Judiciary and Ways and Means to presently reside in House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.

I wonder, does Steve Scalise, R-La. — and his family — favor giving that extra advantage to his baseball field sniper on June 14? Perhaps Rep. Scalise reacted to the sound of gunshots prior to having his body ravaged by just one bullet. Did audible explosions prevent Scalise’s death? Does Mr. Duncan intend to benefit wildlife hunters or will firearm manufacturers and criminals see the upside?

Sherry McKnight


Duncan lacks empathy, competence

posted Sep 20, 2017, 11:43 AM by Ocdp Web

Letter in The Seneca Journal 9/20/17


S.C. Rep. Jeff Duncan put politics ahead of concern for his countrymen by voting against aid for those suffering from the ravages of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. These victims were and still are reeling from loss of life, loss of homes, loss of power, loss of businesses, lack of medical care and public health issues related to exposure to toxic chemicals, smoke inhalation and water-borne diseases. Fortunately, other Republicans chose to “Make America Great Again” by proceeding and succeeding with a bipartisan “yes” vote to help those in need.

What is important to Rep. Duncan? His SHARE Act to protect hearing loss of sportsmen by deregulating controls on gun silencers recently passed through the House Committee on Natural Resources to the House floor for vote, a bill which Rep. Duncan describes as “critical” legislation. This legislation is not “critical”; support for those devastated by Harvey and Irma is “critical.”

The need for a new law to protect the hearing of sportsmen is questionable. A hearing health care professional can help sportsmen select appropriate earplugs to prevent hearing loss. Furthermore, deregulating controls on silencers would make them more available on the street. Silencing gunshots in the street would make it hard to locate a shot, making crime more difficult to control.

During Rep. Duncan’s four terms in the House, only one of his bills has become law. His Congressional report card for 2014 also reflects a lack of competence (GovTrack.us). Perhaps the Third Congressional District needs a more effective representative in Washington — one who is more supportive of American values. The 2018 midterm election would be a good time to find one.

Carolyn S. Brown


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