Columns

Since 2011, Phil has written a weekly column about South Carolina for the SC Press Association and it appears in several dozen newspapers across the state. He also does a monthly column for the Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly and the Charleston Business Magazine.

Phil’s columns are about education, politics, business, history, culture – and all things South Carolina.

Political ‘false choices’ are crippling South Carolina

Neil Robinson is a man who should be listened to.

He is an eminent Charleston attorney with a prestigious statewide law firm. He is highly respected by his peers and community as testified by a wall crowded with commendations and accolades. With his head full of white hair, his well-tailored suits and his air of quiet confidence, he has a distinguished and slightly imposing bearing.

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We Need to Reinvent Public Education in South Carolina

Cindi Ross Scoppe is one of the most important people in South Carolina. And, she has recently put forward one of the most important ideas for this state – perhaps the most important – for the last generation or so.

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Is The Dream Dead or Alive in South Carolina?

If you stop and really think about it, this is the most fundamental question one could ask about our state and nation.

And the answer says a lot about the kind of people we are as a state and a nation.

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The Coding Movement is Sweeping the World, U.S. and S.C.

All the way from the board rooms of tech executives in Silicon Valley to the kindergarten class at Voyager Charter School in Charleston, the coding movement is sweeping the country.

So, who is behind the coding movement?

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South Carolina’s Impending $19 Billion ‘Robbery’?

“Some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen.” Woody Guthrie

Full disclosure: I have nothing against the state’s utilities. Back in the 1980s and 90s when I was Director of the Palmetto Project, two of our board members were Virgil C. Summer, retired Chair of the Board of SCANNA (the parent company of SCE&G) and Al Ballard, head of the Electric Co-ops of South Carolina, the retail distributors of Santee Cooper’s power. Virgil was the founding Chairman on the Palmetto Project. Both of these men exemplified the highest values of corporate integrity, accountability and putting the people of our state first. A more recent full disclosure is that in the last few years I have solicited, without success, financial support from both SCE&G and Santee Cooper for non-profit projects.

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McMaster, Trump, and Saving the Planet (and S.C.)

On Saturday morning, the newspaper landed with its usual thud on my front porch. As I bent over to pick it up I saw the headline, “McMaster Backs Trump’s Exit from Climate Accord.”

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Simple, Easy, and Wrong Answers for S.C.

“For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”  H. L. Mencken

The South Carolina Legislature seems to live by this. We have some very big and complex problems in this state and our legislators are masters at coming up with clear, simple and wrong answers. Three stories in the news last week are a perfect illustration of this.

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The Best Schools in the U.S. ... and S.C.

Did you ever wonder what a truly great school looks like?

Politicians, business people, teachers, etc. all talk about how we need, want and deserve great schools. But no one ever really describes what a great school looks like.

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Archie Parnell should be in the U.S. Congress

The U.S. Congress today is hyper-partisan, divisive, shallow, parochial, corrupted by money, driven by special interest, dominated by career politicians, poisoned by personal attacks, disrespectful of the voters, focused on the short term and rigidly ideological.

Archie Parnell should be in Congress because he is none of these things.

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S.C. Political Corruption, Part 4: Image, Ethics, Business and South Carolina’s Future

Image –

After World War II, a fierce but civil rivalry developed between Birmingham and Atlanta as to which would become the unofficial Capital of the South.

Founded in 1871, Birmingham was a coal and steel town with much of the ownership of the principal industries being in Pittsburgh and other northern cities. The symbol of the city was and is a large statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and the forge. In 1950, the city’s population was 326,000.

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