S.C. agri-boom

A May 28 article misstated South Carolina’s No. 1 industry. Recent studies show that agribusiness is the largest industry in South Carolina, generating an annual economic impact of $34 billion and creating 200,000 jobs in the state.

It is important that the public be aware of the value of agriculture to our state’s economy.

More details of the strength of agriculture can be found in “The Economic Impact of the Agribusiness Industry in South Carolina,” prepared by Miley, Gallo & Associates for the Palmetto Agribusiness Council, of which the S.C. Farm Bureau Federation is a member.

The introduction of the study states that South Carolina’s agriculture and forestry industry represents one of the largest, if not the largest, industry cluster in the state’s economy.

In fact, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce: “Agriculture and forestry together have the largest impact on our state’s economy.”

David M. Winkles Jr.

President

S.C. Farm Bureau Federation

Knox Abbott Drive

Cayce

GOP jumps track

Gun extremists, homophobes, survivalists, Tea Party know-nothings, anti-science types, birthers, conspiracy theorists, austerity extremists, anti-environmentalists, religious fanatics, etc.

I liked it better when the Republican Party was led by the big-time capitalists. At least it made sense. Now it is just a party of lunatics, and who knows what they really want?

William A. Johnson

Serotina Court

Mount Pleasant

Southern roots

I was delighted to see the May 27 Associated Press story of Edson’s Raiders, 900 Marine commandos in two battalions of World War II fame. The article identified them as the forerunner of today’s U.S. Army Special Forces predating the Army’s Rangers by several months. These men are certainly deserving of acclaim and respect. They proved their heroism all over the Pacific Theater.

However, the first American Special Forces contingents were scouts from the Confederate Cavalry.

In November 1862, Gen. J.E.B. Stuart ordered his two cavalry brigade commanders, Fitzhugh Lee and Wade Hampton III, to form 20-man detachments of scouts for special duty establishing and maintaining permanent presence within enemy lines.

These detachments became adept at gathering intelligence, conspicuous for accuracy, timeliness and abundance of detail, regarding troop movements and changes in threat levels.

At the same time, they conducted petite guerre against small enemy units and vulnerable outposts. The scouts regularly served as strike forces against specific enemy targets and as special couriers carrying communications between the Confederate high command and agents deep within Union-occupied Virginia as far north as Alexandria. They brought in many prisoners along with their weapons, horses and accouterments which helped keep the rest of Stuart’s cavalry mounted and outfitted.

The detachments were commanded by sergeants reporting directly to Hampton, Lee or Stuart. Sgt. George Shadburn, second commander of Hampton’s Scouts, wrote of those who rode with him, “They were picked men, selected from the entire cavalry on account of their well-known gallantry, courage and devotion.”

These men received no extra pay, promotions or special privileges despite having likely the most dangerous job in the Army. Union commanders diverted huge resources in response to the scouts’ activities. At one point, over 1,200 Union soldiers were committed to an area patrolled by just 10 of Hampton’s Scouts. Lack of success caused friction between senior Union commanders and adversely affected morale of their troops.

The scouts’ missions, successfully carried out until war’s end, were nearly identical in nature to those of today’s Special Forces. Accordingly, they can justifiably be termed Confederate Special Forces.

D. Michael Thomas

Indigo Lane

Goose Creek

Scout policies

A June 1 letter concerning the policies of the Boy Scouts of America on gay scouts and gay scout leaders is unsupported by fact or logic. The writer states that “all Boy Scouts should be boys who plan to be real men some day.”

Gay men are real men. Gay men work, support families, fight in the military and participate positively in our society in every way that is important. These are attributes to which all boys should aspire. The writer states that “neither should people who are gay be allowed to be Boy Scout leaders. They would make it appear that being gay is fine.”

Being gay is fine. Being gay is not a moral fault.

Gay men can be role models for all boys, gay and straight. But gay boys, most of all, need to see gay men in positions of authority and respect where they can serve as role models and counteract the hatred that still exists in our society against gay people.

Samuel M. Moskow

Fidling Road

Charleston

Help for Burke

I read about high dropout rates of students attending Burke High School. I attended Boston University in the ’70s, and I learned several years ago that Boston University took over Chelsea City public school system, which was failing, and turned it around, graduating over 80 percent of students and sending them off to college.

Education in Camden, N.J., was neglected in the ’70s and thereafter, and now it is the No. 1 crime city in the country with the worst education system. It all started with education. Ask me, I lived through it.

Rutgers University in Camden has instituted a program, although it is not as aggressive as Boston University’s. Rutgers is providing students with incentives (scholarships, grants, paid internships, etc.) to get degrees in education and probably have contracts to work in the system for a number of years.

These students, while studying at the university, get involved in the community and by the time they start work, it’s second nature.

Burke High School is surrounded by great universities, so what’s the problem?

We need to invest in our communities. These are our future leaders.

Mary Foust

Pignatelli Crescent

Mount Pleasant

Rate-hike excess

The new rate hike requested by SCE&G comes as no surprise to me. However, I am surprised that it took months for The Post and Courier to publish an editorial regarding the hikes, which were determined in the fall of 2012.

I have been present at the local meetings of the Public Service Commission where dozens of people stated their objections to a price hike to no avail. The commission has been consistent in that they have given SCE&G most of what it requested and one was given with a codicil that no future requests be made within an established period of time. I don’t think that worked either.

SCE&G has no incentive to honor conservative requests in rate hikes. Simply stated, it can do whatever it wants to its customers, who have no alternative for power delivery. The Public Service Commission is a docile player in this abuse of customers.

Our elected representatives appoint the commissioners. That’s all the control we have as customers.

SCE&G is a thriving business that answers to its shareholders. Period. As customers, we need sincere help in curtailing SCE&G and where will that help come from? Someone please tell us. The commission should be able to do its job in the interest of the public or its members should be replaced. The same goes for our elected officials who place commissioners.

SEC&G’s demands affect everyone and especially the lowest in income who must choose between a necessity such as food and their electric bill. Help is needed from everyone to make a difference in stopping rate hikes from SCE&G.

ELEANOR HORRES

Bank Street

Mount Pleasant