Bend In The Branch

The personal opinions of one among many.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Monday Mutt Shot

The Silent Plea

Saturday, January 28, 2006

In Memory

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I think I'm in trouble.

I got a note from the teacher.

Update: 9:15 p.m., I'm not the one in trouble.

People Helping People

MANNING — A company owned by a preacher and located more than 65 miles from Manning came to the aid of St. John Baptist Church last week.

The Rev. Steve Crosby didn't arrive wearing a suit and tie. In deference to the occasion, he had on jeans, a work shirt and a baseball cap as he operated equipment removing trees from the church grounds and cemetery.

"I'm here doing this for the Lord," Crosby, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Walterboro, said. "I'm not here to get any type of recognition. I'm here to help."

With 20 pine trees and oak trees littering the grounds around the church and cemetery, Crosby said the church was looking at paying a good bit of money to get the work done.

Crosby, who owns Low Country Tree Service in Walterboro, said the work he and one of his employees, Jimmy Callahan, were doing Thursday would have cost the church as much as $4,000.

"We have all the equipment to do the job and we wanted to help," Crosby said prepared to work in the cab of a small bulldozer outfitted with a claw attachment. "It won't take us but a couple of hours to get the job done."

Grave markers at St. John Baptist Church lie toppled after the tornado.
Crosby said he and a group of individuals were on their way to Jackson County, Miss., to aid in the cleanup there when he learned a church in Clarendon County was looking for a company to volunteer its services to remove the trees.

"I left two-thirds of the team in Santee and headed over here," he said.

Crosby's first stop was the Winter's Hill community where he aided the Juan Lopez family by moving the twisted frame of the family's former home.

"They wanted to get under there and look for clothing and what have you," he said. "It didn't take but a minute to unload the equipment and turn the trailer's frame over so they could look at the items that had been underneath it."

The Rev. Cokley Richburg, who will celebrate his 35th anniversary at St. John Baptist Church on the second Sunday in February, called Crosby's work "a blessing."

"The Lord brought him here," Richburg said as he watched Crosby and Callahan clear the property. "This is truly a blessing."

Richburg said while the tornado's destruction was devastating, it brought the community and people together.

"This is a blessing," he repeated. "The Lord's people working together. It's a blessing."

The Item

Idol in the Making

Sgt. Steven David, Jr. must have encouraged Airmen all over America to learn the sultry, soulful songs of Marvin Gaye.

After all, he wooed Paula Abdul.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Godspeed, SSGT S

Our thoughts and prayers go with you!

Peddling for Grades

The kid brought home a fundraiser form last week. While I believe in supporting our schools in every way possible, I refused to allow her to participate after she and several of her classmates reported that an extra-credit grade would be awarded if they sold a certain number of items.

My initial call to her school last week regarding the matter was not returned.

A follow-up call today resulted in a conversation with a secretary who assured me the fundraiser had been approved by the school. She explained, "...all of the teachers are giving extra credit."

Her response to my emphatic, "Are you telling me that the school has approved fundraising for grades?", was an immediate referral to the principal, who professed no knowledge of the grade incentive.

Grades are earned, not bought. Lessons are taught, not bartered for classroom "extras" such as DVDs.

Monday Mutt Shot

These Boots Weren't Made for Walkin'

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Johnny Sterling Martin was determined not to pay child support. He was so determined that he escaped while serving a jail sentence for failure to comply with a court order requiring it. A family member aided his escape by reporting his death.

It took 27 years and an encouraging sister for a mother to conquer her fears and seek answers.

She found another child, another ex-wife, a soon-to-be-ex-wife, a girlfriend,
and Johnny Sterling Martin.

Hookin up da Hoopty

Pimp My Stroller

- from the inbox, courtesy of RDLR

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Repair, Rebuild & Remember

We do it, and we don't expect anyone else to do it for us.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Monday Mutt Shot

Snug as a Bug...

Saturday, January 14, 2006


A tornado tracked through a rural subdivision populated mainly by mobile home owners in Clarendon County last night.

There were injuries and property damage, but no loss of life.

The adage, “Trailers are tornado-bait” is true only because mobile homes, by design, are not capable of withstanding high wind speeds.

The vast majority of mobile home owners are like those living in rural Clarendon County, South Carolina: struggling to overcome the stigma of poverty by refusing to depend on the government for financial aid by way of subsidized rent in order to own a home of their own.

May their spirit remain intact in spite of their losses.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Dear Pat

We need to talk.

Obviously, you missed the subtle hint.

An apology:

(1) When tempered by baseless allegations

The evangelist also chided the news media for not conveying the "heartfelt sentiments" he also expressed the day after Sharon fell ill.

When your "heartfelt sentiments" declare the fate of "a very likeable person" you are "sad to this condition" with "woe", you have no one to blame for your words except yourself.

(2) And issued only after the threat of loss of income

The apology -- offered in a letter to Sharon's son, Omri -- followed a threat by Israel to exclude Robertson from a proposed $50 million Christian heritage site in northern Israel.

is cutting.

You don't speak for God, Pat, and you certainly don't speak for all Christians.

...Daniel Ayalon, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, said his nation accepted Robertson's apology.

"Israel respects Rev. Robertson and accepts his apology, which reflects his true friendship and support for the state of Israel," Ayalon said.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Memory Jog

"I cannot fathom how this could happen," claims Dr. Rose Wilder, Superintendent of Clarendon School District 1, when discussing the District's Early Childhood Center.

Construction of the facility began in 2001 and has yet to be completed. Taxpayers have voted against referendums to provide funds to the district, the last being a proposed $5.2 million dollar bond referendum in 2004.

Dr. Wilder is quoted in the article as saying, "It would be very difficult considering the district's past history to get a referendum passed,".

The reporter doesn't detail the history Dr. Wilder references.

Perhaps a jog down Memory Lane is in order.

Clarendon County Council rejected two of the school district's spending plans in 2001. The first was out-of-balance by $1,000,000.00; the second by $331,000.00. The district reported a budget of $57,752.00 for travel of board members while neighboring (larger) School District 2 had a travel budget of only $12,000.00 (Reference).

Payroll checks bounced, SLED investigated the misappropriation of $700,000.00, the Attorney General initiated an investigation of possible criminal acts, and it was suggested that the school district acted without authorization in building the Early Childhood Center (Reference).

The acting superintendent resigned; a board member threatened a reporter, was removed from his position and fined for ethics violation (Reference).

Audit results were released.

The school district sought the reapportionment of money specifically provided by the state for building funds in order meet operating expenses, an Act which was vetoed by the Governor:

This veto is based upon my belief that bonded indebtedness should not be used by school districts to fund operating expenditures. According to school district officials, the funds in Clarendon School District One's building fund amount to approximately $300,000 derived from bonded indebtedness. In a transmittal letter accompanying H. 3945, R.105 last year, I indicated very clearly that I would veto any legislation that continued this practice. As I stated then, I believe funding short-term operating needs with long-term bonded indebtedness is not the fiscally-responsible way to address budget shortfalls, and will actually add further stress on the school district's financial condition.

Furthermore, while all state agencies have been forced to make adjustments in their budgets due to the shortfalls of the past few years, according to school district officials, this school district is not currently running an operating deficit. Therefore, I do not believe authorizing the use of this money is appropriate or necessary.

For these reasons, I am returning H. 4702, R.209 to you without my signature.

Mark Sanford

Monday, January 09, 2006

Monday Mutt Shot


Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Quasi-Christian

Pat Robinson has judged Isreali Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

"He was dividing God's land, and I would say, 'Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the [European Union], the United Nations or the United States of America,'" Robertson told viewers of his long-running television show, "The 700 Club."

"God says, 'This land belongs to me, and you'd better leave it alone,'" he said.

by invoking the Word of God.

According to The Associated Press, Robertson spokeswoman Angell Watts said of people who criticized the comments: "What they're basically saying is, 'How dare Pat Robertson quote the Bible?'"

"This is what the word of God says," Watts told the AP. "This is nothing new to the Christian community."

Indeed, this is nothing new to the Christian community. Portions of Scripture are oft referred to in order to promote the cause of the quasi-Christian. For example:

1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Matthew 7:1-3

True Christians show a loving concern for others, based on the life and teachings of Jesus, as Christ.

In Washington, President Bush offered praise for Sharon in a speech on Thursday.

"We pray for his recovery," Bush said.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

You are Surely Lost

when you can't see the forest for the trees.

I wanted to applaud the student for taking a courageous stance in defense of her beliefs, but her arguments, as well as those of her father, lack substance.

Had either read past the language they found to be so horribly offensive in the book, I think neither would have been so quick to promote prejudice and ignorance.

Monday Mutt Shot

Time for a New Year's Nap

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!