There may be more to pork Pres. elect Ronald William Prestage than meets the sty

July 28, 2014
Though he tried to enter the U.S. Capitol Building with a gun, Prestage (center) once presented President Bush with Katie, the first pardoned female turkey.   (photo credit:  Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Though he tried to enter the U.S. Capitol Building with a gun, Prestage (center) once presented President Bush with Katie, the first pardoned female turkey. (photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

When Ronald William Prestage, 59, was arrested last week for trying to take an unlicensed gun into the U. S. Capitol, many wondered what the frequent lobbyist was thinking.  According to the New York Daily News, Prestage did nothing suspicious to bring attention to himself, but the 9-mm. Ruger handgun was found during a routine search.  Prestage was arrested and taken into custody by the U. S. Capitol police.

Well reports and sources that have surfaced afresh after Prestage’s arrest indicate that his bag might not be the only thing that bears looking into.  Prestage is the president of Prestage Farms of South Carolina, LLC (PFSC), which provides turkey to the Louis Rich brand of Kraft Foods.  The parent company, Prestage Farms (PF) lists on its website that their mission is to “produce top quality pork and turkey at a competitive cost”.   (Continue reading full story here.)

Pork President elect caught trying to enter U.S. Capitol with unlicensed gun

July 23, 2014
Prestage was arrested after trying to enter U.S. Capitol with a gun.  (photo credit:  Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Prestage was arrested after trying to enter U.S. Capitol with a gun. (photo credit: Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

A story in The State newspaper today underscores just how easily a tragedy can happen and why tightened security is still imperative.  Ronald William Prestage, 59, was stopped this morning as he tried to enter the U. S. Capitol with a loaded 9mm handgun in his bag.  This is the 2nd time in a week that someone has been caught trying to enter the Capitol with a gun.

Prestage is the president of Prestage Farms of South Carolina, LLC., and is a well-known pork and turkey lobbyist in the hallowed halls of the Capitol.  Fortunately even frequent visitors are required to submit to a routine search and this is when security found the gun in Prestage’s bag.  He was arrested and taken into custody by U. S. Capitol Police on charges of “carrying a pistol without a license”.

R.J. Reynolds’ case goes up in smoke, loses lawsuit, must pay $23.6 billion

July 21, 2014
From ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  (photo credit:  Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

From ashes to ashes, dust to dust. (photo credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Chalk one up for the little guys.  According to a CNN report today, tobacco kingpin R. J. Reynolds lost a lawsuit to Florida widow Cynthia Robinson and will have to fork over $23.6 billion.  Representatives for R. J. Reynolds called the verdict “excessive and outrageous” and are planning to appeal.

The company has repeatedly won lawsuits levied against them on the grounds that people willingly smoke cigarettes and the tobacco company should not be held responsible for something that they are not forcing people to do.  They simply make the product available and, if a person chooses to buy and consume the product, the manufacturer should not be held responsible.  ( Continue reading full story here.)

Piggybacking on immigration, Ku Klux Klan sweetens the pot, delivers candy

July 17, 2014
The Ku Klux Klan in their Sunday Best.   (Photo credit:  ni.wikipedia.org)

The Ku Klux Klan in their Sunday Best. (Photo credit: ni.wikipedia.org)

With much of America being riveted by the scenes of abandoned children left, defenseless, on this side of the border, an old dragon has reared its head to take full advantage of the situation.  The Campus Lately is reporting today that the residents in one Seneca, SC, neighborhood awoke Sunday morning to find that the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) fairy had visited during the night and left bags of sweets in their driveways.

The small plastic bags contained peppermints and other candies, as well as a pamphlet bearing the title “Save Our Land Join The Klan”.  Robert Jones, the Imperial Klaliff of a local sect called the Loyal White Knights said that the event was part of a scheduled recruitment drop that many KKK chapters participate in three times a year.  He said all of the immigration hoopla underscores the need to protect our country and that all of the hype over illegal immigration is doing “all of our recruiting for us.”  He claims to have received over 20,000 interested calls as a result of this weekend’s drive-by goody bag drops.   (Continue reading full story here.)

It’s his prerogative; Arlen Escarpeta cast as Bobby Brown in Lifetime’s biopic

July 15, 2014
Introducing the actor who won the role of Bobby Brown.  (Photo credit:  Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

Introducing the actor who won the role of Bobby Brown. (Photo credit: Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

Essence magazine reported yesterday that Lifetime network has chosen Arlen Escarpeta, 33, to play the role of Bobby Brown in its upcoming biopic about Whitney Houston’s climb to fame and the over-the-top crazy love of the couple.  They had already cast actress YaYa DaCosta in the role of the legendary Houston.

Director Angela Bassett has chosen not to rehash the painful memories and questions surrounding the drowning of Whitney Houston in a hotel bathtub on February 11, 2012.  Bassett said, “We’re not interested in dragging her life again through, you know, the muck. She had to play out her choices, and the consequences of them, in a very hot, glaring spotlight, but we’re not interested in dragging that through again.”  (Continue reading full story here.)

Rosie O’Donnell will be bringing the drama; returning as host on ‘The View’

July 11, 2014
She's back!  Rosie O'Donnell  returning to 'The View'.   (Photo credit:  Andrew H. Walker)

She’s back! Rosie O’Donnell returning to ‘The View’. (Photo credit: Andrew H. Walker)

With hosts dropping from ‘The View’ like flies recently, the big question was would Whoopi Goldberg be left to make small talk with an endless stream of guest moderators.  Well ABC lived up to their promise that the show would be moving in a “new and exciting direction.”  The network confirmed yesterday that Rosie O’Donnell will be returning as a host on ‘The View’ next season.

Even though it may not be new, many are looking forward to the excitement that always seems to follow O’Donnell.  When O’Donnell was a host for ‘The View’ from 2006-2007, there were so many hosts that the network would have been hard pressed to even slide a sheet of paper between them.  They were often accused of cutting each other off in mid-sentence as each host scrambled to voice their opinion.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Texas teen survives mass murder spree; her tips help capture Ron Lee Haskell

July 10, 2014

Ron Lee Haskell finally surrenders after killing six people.

(Video via YouTube)

Police were able to capture a mass murderer thanks to the help of one of his victims.  A 15-year-old girl survived being shot in the head and identified Ron Lee Haskell, 34, as the shooter.  Haskell held police at bay during a tense standoff for several hours, but finally surrendered without further incident about 10:00 p.m. Wednesday.  Authorities credit the brave teen with saving her grandparents’ lives because she tipped them off that Haskell was on his way to kill them next.

According to the girl, the lone survivor of the slaughter, she didn’t recognize Haskell at first.  He showed up at her home in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday afternoon disguised as a Fed-Ex delivery man.  He asked for her parents and left when she told him they were not at home.  A short time later he returned and asked for her parents again, but this time he identified himself.  She recognized him as what she termed an “ex-uncle” and tried to shut the door.  Haskell became enraged and kicked his way in.   (Continue reading full story here.)

Six Flags horror: Ninja roller coaster slams into branches on track, derails

July 8, 2014

Authorities work frantically to rescue passengers from dangling car.

(Video via YouTube)

People flock to roller coaster rides for the same reason they flock to horror movies.  They know they’ll   be screaming, they know they’ll be scared out of their wits, but they also know deep down inside that they are in a controlled and safe environment.  And while that is usually the case, up to six people were injured near Los Angeles Monday when a roller coaster derailed.

The incident happened at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, CA, around 5:30pm.  Passengers on the Ninja were shocked when they heard what one witness called a “big boom”.  Many people thought an explosion had occurred, but in reality, the Ninja, described by Six Flags as the “Black Belt of Roller Coasters”, crashed into some pine tree branches that had fallen across the track and caused the cars to derail.   (Continue reading full story here.)

RHONY star Countess LuAnn de Lesseps works for free to prove worth to BravoTV

July 7, 2014
Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and her beau Jacques Azoulay.  (photo credit:  Countess LuAnn de Lesseps via Facebook.)

Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and her beau Jacques Azoulay. (photo credit: Countess LuAnn de Lesseps via Facebook.)

All of the employment and finance blogs advise that if you are out of work, one of the best things to do is to volunteer in the industry you would like to work in.  Apparently that goes for show business veterans also.  According to a story in Radar Online today, Real Housewives of New York City (RHONY) star Countess LuAnn de Lesseps is not getting paid for being on the show this season.

The height of de Lesseps’ popularity on the show peaked around 2010.  She was the toast of the town with her book on etiquette “Class with the Countess”.  And at almost every high society party she attended the guests would beg her to sing her hit single “Money Can’t Buy You Class”.  But over the last few years things began to change.    (Continue reading full story here.)

Independence Day, July 4th: time for freedom from bad memories

July 4, 2014
Confederate flag in Columbia, SC   (photo credit:  commons.wikimedia.org

Confederate flag in Columbia, SC (photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org

July 4th stands for freedom and independence.  Upon reflection, those who favor the Confederate flag flying on the State Capitol grounds of Columbia, South Carolina, do have this right.  But why in the name of compassion and empathy would they want to?

The Confederate Flag is a banner that yet waves over the State Capitol grounds of Columbia, South Carolina.  It has been waving since 1962. It is time that the proud citizens of Columbia, South Carolina, take down the Confederate Flag.  Columbia’s city slogan is “Famously Hot”.  South Carolinians should be hot about this embarrassment hanging over our city.

Many people in favor of keeping this flag flying argue that it is a part of history, and as such, should not be forgotten, or removed.  This, however, is a part of history that is nothing to be proud of. Many of the Confederate Soldiers fought for the cause of the Confederate states to have the right to continue owning their slaves.  No one living in 2011 was responsible for this. But to many minorities, this is a painful reminder of being thought of as property, rather than human beings with the same God-given right to freedom as any other citizen of this great country.  So painful in fact, that in a state that is trying desperately to boost its tourism income, this flag has actually become a burden.  Several religious, political, and even athletic groups, whose events could have brought hundreds of thousands of dollars into the state, have cancelled and moved their events and conventions to other states in a boycott of the Confederate flag.

In 2000, the Confederate Flag was moved from the state house to fly in front of a monument to fallen Confederate Soldiers on the State Capitol grounds.  This was a good first step, but clearly not enough.  The October 28, 1999 edition of The Economist stated that “So far, the NAACP estimates that South Carolina has lost at least $43m that would have come in from visitors: more than 40 organizations have cancelled events in the state, and at least 70 families have moved reunions to other places.”

An article by Sam Eaton published on July 31, 2009 on the news website WLTX.com stated that the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) “voted to move its 2010 convention from South Carolina after the NAACP reminded them of the organization’s tourism boycott of the state over the Confederate flag.”  According to this article, the Christian Church has about 700,000 members. This is a profound loss of tourism dollars to the local hotel and restaurant industry if even a quarter of the members had attended a convention held in South Carolina.

South Carolina also continues to lose out on much needed athletic tourism dollars.  A  July 9, 2009 article by Gene Wojciechowski on ESPN.com emphasized the long-term detrimental effect the Confederate flag is having on South Carolina’s economy.  He states “The Atlantic Coast Conference has had enough of that flag: Earlier this week it pulled the 2011, 2012 and 2013 ACC baseball tournaments out of Spurrier’s  (referring to University of South Carolina’s winning head football coach Steve Spurrier) state and relocated them to neighboring North Carolina. Myrtle Beach’s loss becomes Durham’s and Greensboro’s economic and tourism gain.  Meanwhile, the NCAA won’t touch the state of South Carolina with a vaulter’s pole. Same goes for Spurrier’s home conference, the SEC. And all because of a Confederate battle flag that first flew atop the state Capitol dome in 1962 and still flies prominently, defiantly and wrongly at a Confederate soldier’s monument on the Capitol grounds in Columbia.”

Where do things stand on the Confederate flag in 2011?  An Associated Press article by Seanna Adcox in the HeraldOnline on January 17, 2011, shows that the Confederate flag is still a hot issue.  This article highlighted the views and opinions of people who attended the January 17, 2011 rally in Columbia, South Carolina celebrating the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday.  According to the article, “Georgia’s NAACP president, Edward Dubose, said the NAACP is renewing its commitment to “not spend one dime in South Carolina until that Confederate flag comes down.” He said he and his wife led by example on the drive, by stopping in Augusta, Ga., to order food, then waiting until they arrived in Columbia to eat it.”

From another attendee, “This is more in-your-face. That’s just heartbreaking,” said Markita Primm, 37, who, along with her 14- and 11-year-old children, boarded one of two buses that traveled overnight from Detroit to attend.  Primm, who’s on dialysis and in a wheelchair because of a leg amputation, said she wanted to protest the flag in person. “This flag flying is not right,” she said.  Primm came with 120 people on a trip organized by Detroit talk radio personality Mildred Gaddis, who pledged to keep coming every year with more people until the flag is down.”

The Confederate flag should be completely removed from the grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol.  This building and its grounds and its employees represent all of the citizens of South Carolina.  To those who somehow have fond sentimental thoughts over what this flag represents, they can hang replicas of the flag in their own living rooms or front yards. This flag can also be hung in a South Carolina museum to preserve its historical value.  This is an example of a historical period that many South Carolinians are not proud of.  Events represented by the Confederate flag happened so long ago, that an apology, though necessary, cannot erase the tragedy.

The best solution is to remember history, so as not to repeat it.  Remember it yes, but not arrogantly wave around the symbol of that tragedy.  South Carolinians must now contact their local Representatives and Senators.   In the spirit of the rebels…..the Confederate Flag must come down.

*I will re-post this article every July 4th until progress is made.


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