The Avengers (Rated PG-13)

Written on May 7, 2012 at 7:26 pm


Avenging Superhero Movies

By Kevin Hyde
May 7, 2012

When the first trailer for the mega ensemble superhero flick The Avengers began trickling its way across the Internet a few months ago, it inspired bizarre reactions from some of my friends who grew up reading and loving the Marvel comic books on which it’s based. Instead of giddy anticipation, there was a palpable sense of unease, perhaps even a little fear.

They seemed to be praying (and then broadcasting via Facebook or Twitter): “Please … Please, don’t suck. I don’t ask for much. But please don’t let this movie suck.”

I assume they were petitioning Avengers director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and my guess is that their prayers were answered. Whedon has delivered an exhilarating, heady action extravaganza that might achieve the nearly impossible task of both satisfying the long-time Avengers comics fan as well as the more casual moviegoer just looking for some summer fun at the multiplex.

While the former was the tougher sell, it’s clear the film has found a wide audience, shattering debut box office records worldwide. Less than two weeks into its international release, The Avengers has made more than $640 million. In fact, I don’t know why I’m writing this. Everyone has already seen it.
I didn’t grow up with The Avengers, but I did grow up with “the big summer movie.” As a child of the 1970s and 80s, I was weaned during the emergence of the “blockbuster age of cinema,” when movies like Jaws, the Star Wars Trilogy and Raiders of the Lost Ark changed the stakes and priorities in Hollywood, at least for the summertime. And while I acknowledge that this sadly ended the “Last Golden Age of Hollywood,” that creatively fertile and vibrant cinematic period from the late 1960s to the mid-70s, I hold a special place in my heart for the films of summer and still enjoy a good old-fashioned popcorn movie from time to time.

Unless they involve superheroes.

In recent years I have developed severe, acute superhero fatigue brought on by summers lousy with capes, tights and often boring dialogue in aid of formulaic narratives that inevitably lead to relentless, deafening, climactic action sequences designed to confuse, disorient and trigger minor fits of epilepsy. The thought of seeing The Avengers, a movie about a superhero super group, made me feel like David Banner after a bad haircut. My pallor turned green and I started roaring in second-person sentence fragments.
But The Avengers—Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury—pleasantly surprised me.

Fury is the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., an international spy organization devoted to protecting the world from cataclysmic threat. From the outset, he must find a way to unite the mutually hostile Avengers against Loki (Tom Hiddleston), a demigod and half-brother of Thor who comes to conquer Earth with an angry army of aliens. Loki’s motivations are simple. He believes that humans desire to be dominated by superior beings, and he aims to please.

Whedon, who co-wrote the script with Zak Penn based on the comic books by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, injects the movie with plenty of wit, snappy dialog and a democracy of storytelling that could not have been easy to pull off. We have plenty of characters here, many who’ve had their own movies before. The key to his success: It’s equally enjoyable listening to our heroes talk to each as it is watching them use their incredible/amazing/fantastic powers to do battle with the bad guys.

In the end, the film feels like a love letter from Marvel to its fanboys—the ones motivated to prayer when the first previews came out. During a key moment in the film, the Avengers are compelled to unite by the martyrdom of “their biggest fan.” So congratulations Avengers freaks. In pleasing you, it seems Whedon and the rest of the Marvel team has given us all something to relish.

Kevin Hyde

Kevin Hyde is a freelance writer based somewhere between the Southeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States of America. A graduate of Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism, he has worked as a reporter for daily and weekly newspapers, edited regional and national magazines, written on pop culture for an international newspaper as well as several local, alternative newspapers. He lives in a medium-sized house with his wife and two young daughters in a quaint urban neighborhood—not really the suburbs, not really the city. A recovering cinephile (that’s a scary-sounding word for a person who is passionate about film), he is also an amateur songwriter and humanitarian who wears western-style, snap-up work shirts way too often.

SCDOT Weekly Update

Written on December 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm

COLUMBIA, SC - December 16, 2011 - This update is released by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) each week to report the agency’s current financial picture and changes within the agency that are evolving during the reorganization underway to improve the processes and efficiency of the agency.

1)      SCDOT processed approximately $35 million in vendor and contractor payments during the week of December 12. The Vendor/Contractor Information section on the web page has been updated to reflect the construction file and estimate numbers planned for processing during the week of December 19.

2)      An additional $15 million in vendor/contractor payments are tentatively planned for release next week and the Vendor/Contractor Information section on the web page will be updated early next week to show planned payouts for the week of December 19.

3)      SCDOT’s Accounting Office has approximately $13 million in validated invoices logged into SCEIS that are aged more than 30 business days.  Less than $1 million of these are aged greater than 45 business days.

4)      Vendors and contractors are encouraged to utilize the SCDOT Accounting Hotline at 803-737-1227 to check on the status of payments.

5)      A detailed progress report on SCDOT’s reorganization can be found at this link:

South Carolina Physician Workforce Report Now Available

Written on December 8, 2011 at 7:55 pm

COLUMBIA, SC - December 8, 2011 - A new report released by the Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning provides a detailed description of the physician workforce in the state, and information about how the physician education system in South Carolina is changing.  Using multiple sources, including information provided by physicians themselves, this report identifies several issues that influence the availability of medical services in the state.

  • The number of physicians practicing in South Carolina has been growing faster than the population, but the state still ranks lower than most states in the total number of physicians and the number of primary care physicians for each 10,000 persons in the state.
  • The opening of two new medical schools in the state will double our capacity to educate new physicians over the next 4 years, but that may not be enough to offset the number of physicians that are expected to retire over the next decade.
  • One barrier to retaining the new physicians who will be educated in the state is a limited number of graduate-level training opportunities. Most are funded with federal dollars, and budget-cutting efforts in Washington are expected to further reduce support for this critical part of physician education.

The aging of the physician workforce (about one-fifth are now age 60 or older) is occurring at the same time that the number of South Carolinians age 65 or older is increasing rapidly.  The two trends together may create a critical shortage of physicians in the state over the next decade.

Additional information about physician clinical specialties, demographics, and work patterns is included in this report which can be downloaded for free from the Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning website:

The Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning, part of the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium at the Medical University of South Carolina, is funded by a grant from The Duke Endowment.  Located in Charlotte, NC, the Duke Endowment seeks to fulfill the legacy of James B. Duke by improving lives and communities in the Carolinas through higher education, health care, rural churches and children’s services. Since its inception, the Endowment has awarded nearly $2.7 billion in grants.

Moody’s Restores Stable Outlook to South Carolina’s AAA Credit Rating

Written on December 7, 2011 at 9:41 pm

OpenStreetMap LogoImage via Wikipedia

Upgrade comes after extensive review from firm following questions over federal government debt.

COLUMBIA, SC - December 7, 2011 - This afternoon Moody’s Investors Service has restored South Carolina’s AAA credit outlook into the “stable” category.

State Treasurer Curtis Loftis learned of the announcement after meeting with Moody’s officials during a series of meetings with the credit rating agencies and investment banks in New York City.

“South Carolina has a long tradition of stable and conservative investment strategies and it is a testament to our AAA credit that the stable outlook has been restored to our state,” Treasurer Loftis said.  “We strongly value our professional relationships with the credit rating firms and to be able to show them the state’s financial situation in a transparent manner has been key to this process.”

Moody’s issued a review for downgrade for five AAA states on July 19, 2011 during the height of the federal credit rating debate in Washington, D. C.  At the time, Moody’s had concerns about those five states, including South Carolina, being affected by adverse credit of the federal government.

The restoration of stable AAA credit comes following Moody’s review of South Carolina’s debt and spending.  The Treasurer’s Office staff worked with Moody’s to identify all issues associated with the AAA rating.

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Statement by Senators Graham and McCain on Pakistan

Written on December 6, 2011 at 9:49 am

WASHINGTON, DC - December 6, 2011 - U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and John McCain (R-Arizona) released the following statement on Pakistan:

“We fully appreciate the importance of U.S. relations with Pakistan, which we believe can serve U.S. national security interests. The cross-border air action that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers was unfortunate and unintentional, and we are confident that the investigation being conducted by NATO and the U.S. military will clarify the circumstances of this terrible tragedy. We join the President and our colleagues in once again expressing our deep condolences to those who lost loved ones.

“The Pakistani government’s response to these events, however, has been deeply troubling and has added to the continued deterioration of our relationship. In recent days, the government has prevented NATO supplies from entering Afghanistan through Pakistan. It has ordered U.S. intelligence officers to leave the country and disrupted their work on important national security matters. And it has boycotted an international conference in Bonn, Germany that supports peace in Afghanistan.

“If these actions were not concerning enough, there were reports just this morning that the Pakistani government has allegedly decided to suspend all bilateral agreements related to counterterrorism, as part of a broader review of Pakistan’s political, diplomatic, and military relations with the United States. Such steps by the Pakistani government would mark a new low for our relationship.

“The United States has been incredibly patient with Pakistan. And we have been so despite certain undeniable and deeply disturbing facts. Most importantly, Pakistani army and intelligence officials continue to support the Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups in Pakistan that are killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the vast majority of the material used to make improvised explosive devices used against U.S. forces in Afghanistan originates from two fertilizer factories inside Pakistan.

“The time has come for the United States to fully review its relations with Pakistan. We must assess the nature and levels of our support for Pakistan. In particular, all options regarding U.S. security and economic assistance to Pakistan must be on the table, including substantial reductions and stricter standards for performance. Most of all, U.S. policy toward Pakistan must proceed from the realistic understanding that certain actions of Pakistan’s military are contributing to the death and injury of our men and women in the military and jeopardizing our national security interests.

“In light of what could be an entirely new relationship with Pakistan, the United States and our allies must develop contingency plans to ensure the continued logistical support necessary for our military operations in Afghanistan.”

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Senate Passes Graham Amendment Making National Guard Part of Joint Chiefs of Staff

Written on November 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

WASHINGTON, DC - November 29, 2011 - The United States Senate last night approved an amendment introduced by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) giving the National Guard a seat on the nation’s highest military council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“I’m very pleased the Senate has voted to allow the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Guardsmen and Reservists are citizen-soldiers,” said Graham.  “Since 9/11, the National Guard and Reserves have done tremendous work at home and abroad in defense of our nation.  They have been called up to duty, taken away from their work and families, and sent to far-away lands for long tours to protect our nation.  They have earned a seat at the table where our most important military decisions are made.”

South Carolina Adjutant General MG Bob Livingston said, “This is a great day for our nation and our military. We face difficult times in terms of the variety and magnitude of foreign threats while dealing the reality of limited resources. The inclusion of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau on the Joint Chiefs of Staff brings the Citizen Soldier to the discussion. The Citizen Soldier has proven himself to be the innovator with civilian skills, the tie to the community and the proven hardened combat troop that is so critical in these tough times. This tradition of citizen responsibility is one of the essential threads in the fabric of our nation. It has made our nation great and will propel us into the future.  The appointment of the Chief of the National Guard is a return to the basic values of our county and will pave the way to great innovation in the defense of our nation.”

The amendment, also sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) attracted 71 cosponsors, and was added by voice vote to the annual Defense Authorization bill.  The Senate continues to debate the measure and a final vote is expected later this week.

“The Senate vote last night was a long-overdue recognition and fitting tribute for our citizen-soldiers and the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our nation,” said Graham.  “The Guard and Reserve is indispensable to fighting the War on Terror and protecting the homeland.  Their voice needs to be heard.”

The legislation was endorsed by the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the National Governors Association, the National Guard Association of the United States, the Adjutants General Association of the United States, and the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States.

Governor Nikki Haley holds Press Conference on the Charleston Port

Written on November 28, 2011 at 5:41 pm

The Global Corner/November 2011 - Candles under Bushel Baskets

Written on November 28, 2011 at 9:54 am

The National Export Initiative (NEI) formed by the Obama administration sets a goal of doubling exports from the years 2010 to 2015. Inasmuch as 2010 was a nadir in recent economic growth, this period also established a rather low benchmark of exports and, even then, it is still uncertain whether or not the goal is attainable. However, in the worthy pursuit of increasing exports, regardless of this national goal, South Carolina manufacturers should consider what is available to incentivize them to export at the state level. There are two export incentives under the S.C. tax code written specifically to provide economic benefits for exporting. Most S.C. manufacturers are not likely to be aware of these tax incentives.

•    Tax Code-  Section 12-6-2810-  Deferral of taxes on income attributable to increase in gross income from foreign trade receipts. No state income taxes are due on increases of foreign sales for a maximum period of 5 years (a sales cap of $5Million Dollars applies). Negative: Interest due and payable on deferred amount of taxes.

•    Tax Code-  Section 12-6-3375- Tax Credit for S.C. port cargo volume increases. Credits based on increasing shipments from S.C. ports with a minimum increase of 5% over base year. Base year must have a minimum of 75 tons shipped (approximately 10 containers). Negative: Coordinating Council for Economic Development determines the amount of tax credit to be granted or allowed. Not designed for small business.

Also, there are new grants to promote S.C. exports from sources such as:

•    Appalachian Regional Council (ARC) - Administered by ECI-Find New Markets and funded by the ARC and the S.C. Department of Commerce. Limited to 12 counties in Upper State.
•     State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program-  Funded by the Small Business Administration and administered by the S.C. Department of Commerce.
•    I-95 Corridor Grant- Administered by ECI-Find New Markets and funded by the Small Business Administration.

These three grants offer basic tools to assist S.C. manufacturers in their export initiatives. For those who qualify, these grants can cover partial or all costs of international trade shows, sales material, translations, web site development, stipends for matchmaking, market research and other related tools for engaging and attracting international buyers.

The purpose of this article is to raise the awareness of export incentives and programs that are available in South Carolina. Any manufacturer considering or currently exporting should be knowledgeable of what is available and, probably, most are not.

Even with these programs, South Carolina’s legislative bodies could do more. In a study conducted by the Small Business Exporters Association and the Federated International Trade Association, a comparison of export incentives offered by each of the 50 United States to its resident manufacturers revealed S.C. was deficient in some areas when compared with other states. For example, 13 states help underwrite the costs of international trade shows for its manufacturers. Over 11 assist in export finance and loan guarantees. Exports create jobs and any assistance and ideas that will impact growth in international sales should be considered by both the private and public sectors.

Jerry Smith, is an export trade consultant and Vice-President of International Business Development, South Carolina Manufacturers Extension Partnership. For more information concerning this article, contact:

AARP Launches Social Security Benefits Calculator

Written on November 28, 2011 at 9:19 am

New planning resources help Americans decide when to claim benefits and  


prepare for retirement


WASHINGTON, DC - November 28, 2011 - AARP today announced the launch of its Social Security Benefits Calculator, a unique interactive tool designed to help people make the complex but critical decision of what is the best age to claim Social Security benefits to meet their financial goals. The calculator is part of AARP’s new “Ready for Retirement?” effort, a ten-step approach to envisioning and planning for a secure retirement, which includes creating a budget and preparing for the unexpected.

“Our research shows that many Boomers are worried about retirement because they don’t feel prepared,” said Jean Setzfand, Vice President of Financial Security at AARP. “With our new easy-to-use calculator and our ‘Ready for Retirement?’ resources, we want to help older Americans understand retirement as a life transition, visualize their goals, and take the steps needed to build retirement security.”

Often, one of the most important retirement-related decisions is when to claim Social Security benefits. The only guaranteed, lifelong source of retirement income for most Americans, Social Security is the principal source of family income for nearly half of older Americans.

More than half of those claiming retired worker benefits in 2009 elected to receive benefits as soon as they became eligible at age 62. But that decision comes at a cost of lower monthly benefits, potentially decreasing one’s lifetime retirement income by a significant amount - as much as 8 percent lower for every year that someone claims before reaching full eligibility age.

“Choosing to claim benefits early - or late - is a highly personal decision made all the more difficult by the weak economy,” said Setzfand. “With health, employment, lifestyle and savings among the many variables to consider, no one age is right for everyone. However, the later you decide to claim, the greater the potential benefits may be for you and for your family. Our calculator helps people weigh the variables and make an informed decision for their individual circumstances.”

The AARP Social Security Benefits Calculator walks users through a simple, question-and-answer format and provides estimates for both monthly and lifetime benefits across a range of ages. It also allows users to customize their experience by calculating spousal benefits and taking into account the impact of continuing to work while collecting benefits. It gives users the opportunity to compare estimated monthly benefits to expected expenses in retirement, and to print a personalized summary report.

To try out the new AARP Social Security Benefits Calculator, visit

In addition to the calculator, the “Ready for Retirement?” ten-step guidelines incorporate evaluating your health, building your social network, and finding new ways to cut expenses.

“Too many people avoid planning for retirement because they think it’s just a numbers game, or they simply don’t know where to start,” concluded Setzfand. “More and more in today’s environment, though, individuals really have to take responsibility for ensuring their own retirement security. With these tips and tools, AARP is here to help.”

See all ten “Ready for Retirement?” steps at

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world’s largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP’s millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

BAF SC Chapter Issues Open Letter to Presidential Candidates

Written on November 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm

South Carolina Business and Elected Officials ask, “Can We Build A Future … With Infrastructure Built in the Past?”

COLUMBIA, SC - November 21, 2011 - Building America’s Future South Carolina Chapter (BAF-SC), today, issued an open letter to the Republican candidates for President who have descended on the state in recent days urging them to discuss their strategy for a 21st Century infrastructure plan in light of the United States’ declining competitiveness compared to other nations.

“Around the world, countries are investing in critical infrastructure – building 21st century transportation systems, ports, airports and broadband – that will make their economies far more competitive in the future. For example, the Shanghai port now moves more container traffic a year than the top 7 U.S. ports combined,” reads the letter. “Yet here at home, we continue to rely on the infrastructure our grandparents’ generation built for us.  We’ve allowed our country to fall from first place in the World Economic Forum’s 2005 economic competitiveness ranking to number 15 today.”

The signers of the letter – members of the BAF-SC steering committee – have been meeting since the group’s inception earlier this month to forge a path to success for South Carolina in light of the difficulties posed by America’s ailing infrastructure.

“Everyone knows South Carolina faces serious infrastructure challenges. While our state’s population has grown by over 28 percent in the last ten years, our infrastructure has failed to keep up. Since 1990 we have seen a 49 percent increase in traffic on our roads, and in the next decade or so we expect that to increase by another 45 percent,” states the letter. “South Carolina is watching to see whether you understand the need for smart infrastructure investment and reforms based on accountability and transparency. The Choice is Clear: The Time for Action is Now.”

Graham Responds to Super Committee Failure to Agree to Deficit Reduction Plan

Written on November 21, 2011 at 7:05 pm

WASHINGTON, DC - November 21, 2011 - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made these statements on reports the Super Committee had failed to reach agreement on a deficit reduction plan.

Super Committee Failure:

“This is yet another reason for the American people to lose faith in Congress.  I know it is difficult to deal with our mountains of debt and unsustainable fiscal problems, but America has always accomplished great things in the face of adversity.”

Vote on Bowles-Simpson Deficit Commission Plan:

“The Super Committee’s failure to address our growing debt problems only leads to future generations living in a poorer, weaker America.

“Today I call on President Obama to embrace the Bowles-Simpson plan.  I also urge the Democratic leadership in the Senate and Republican leadership in the House to bring the Commission report up for a vote.

“Like any serious plan to address our nation’s long-term fiscal health, the Bowles-Simpson plan has many provisions which give me heartburn.  And while the Bowles-Simpson framework may not be perfect, it is better than the status quo.  On balance, the plan begins to make the necessary changes which will address the fiscal calamity we are facing.

“The time has also come for President Obama to be involved, not as an observer, but as a leader.  He should call on the Senate and House to schedule votes on the Bowles-Simpson proposal.”

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Amazon Unveils Best Movies and TV Shows of the Year

Written on November 17, 2011 at 10:59 am

Amazon movie and TV editors announce the best movies and TV shows to watch on DVD, Blu-ray or enjoy instantly on the new Kindle Fire with Amazon Instant Video

SEATTLE, WA - November 17, 2011 -, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced its picks for Best Movies and TV shows of 2011. Chosen by Amazon TV and movie editors, The Social Network tops the list for best movie of the year with Walking Dead: Season 1 coming in as the best TV show of the year. Customers can browse the Best of the Year Movies and TV store for top entertainment picks in a wide variety of categories and genres. To see a complete list of the Best Movies and TV shows from 2011 and to check out Amazon editor’s recommendations, visit

This year’s list includes video content available on DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video. Amazon Instant Video is a digital video streaming service that offers customers more than 100,000 movies and TV shows to rent or own and to stream instantly. Prime Instant Video is a benefit to Prime members that offers digital video streaming of nearly 13,000 movies and TV shows at no additional cost. Customers can enjoy digital content from Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video on any of the 300 Instant Video compatible devices, including their new Kindle Fire.

“We work very hard to provide our customers with the most extensive selection of video content. We offer more than 400,000 DVDs and Blu-rays as well as more than 100,000 digital videos for instant streaming with Amazon Instant Video,” said Katie Lay, senior manager for the Amazon Instant Video store. “We created the Best of the Year store to help customers navigate all that great video content and to help them discover movies and TV shows to watch instantly on their new Kindle Fire, with Amazon Instant Video, or via DVD and Blu-ray.”

The Best of the Year Movies and TV store is live now on and offers different “best of” genres to help customers search and discover 2011 video entertainment, including DVD, Blu-ray, Kids, Art House, Anime, TV, horror and many more.

Top 10 editors’ picks for best movies of the year:
1. The Social Network
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
3. Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI)
4. The King’s Speech
5. X-Men: First Class
6. Bridesmaids
7. Inside Job
8. Black Swan
9. Midnight in Paris
10. Tangled

Top 10 editors’ picks for best TV shows of the year:
1. Walking Dead: Season 1
2. Louie: Season 1
3. Breaking Bad: Season 4
4. Parks and Recreation: Season 3
5. Downton Abbey
6. Mad Men: Season 4
7. Sons of Anarchy: Season 4
8. Community: Season 2
9. Bored to Death: Season 2
10. Friday Night Dinner: Season 1

To see a complete list of the Best Movies and TV shows from 2011 and to check out Amazon editor’s recommendations, visit, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection., Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business.

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South Carolina REALTORS® Release October Market Numbers

Written on November 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm

COLUMBIA, SC - November 15, 2011 - South Carolina REALTORS® (SCR) today released its October 2011 statewide market reports. Record low mortgage rates, affordable prices and favorable negotiating leverage seem to be driving purchases.

For the 12-month period spanning November 2010 through October 2011, Pending Sales in the state of South Carolina were down 0.8 percent overall. The price range with the largest gain in sales was the $100,000 and Below range, where they increased 10.9 percent.

The overall Median Sales Price was down 0.9 percent to $148,500. The property type with the largest price gain was the Single-Family segment, where prices increased 0.2 percent to $157,263. The price range that tended to sell the quickest was the $100,000 and Below range at 137 days; while the price range selling the slowest was the $300,001 and Above range at 186 days.

Market-wide, inventory levels were down 14.9 percent. The property type that lost the least inventory was the Single-Family segment, where it decreased 13.2 percent. That amounts to 12.6 months supply for Single-Family homes and 14.2 months supply for Condos.

Senate Debates Legislation Affecting Charleston Harbor Deepening

Written on November 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm

WASHINGTON, SC - November 15, 2011 - The United Sates Senate is now debating the Energy and Water Appropriations bill which contains many important provisions for South Carolinas’ harbors, waterways, and coastline.  Among the most notable is a provision introduced by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) which makes the Port of Charleston eligible for funding to continue its harbor deepening study.

“Deepening Charleston Harbor is the number-one issue for South Carolina’s economy,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “The Port of Charleston is our gateway to the world.  That’s why I have long believed that when it comes to deepening Charleston Harbor, failure is simply not an option.

“Today, one out of every five jobs in South Carolina is tied – directly and indirectly – to the operation of the Port,” said Graham. “Deepening the port will allow us to keep these jobs in our state and also create more jobs in the future.  We are moving to a more merit-based approach to port deepening and I’m confident Charleston will fare well under that new standard.  Charleston port deepening offers the taxpayer the biggest bang for their buck.”

Under the provision affecting Charleston Harbor Deepening:

  • Funding for ongoing Army Corp of Engineer projects — which were not included in the President’s budget submission to Congress — will be eligible to receive up to $10.5 million for ongoing harbor studies.  The federal share of the Charleston Harbor deepening study, which will be matched by the state, is expected to cost approximately $4.2 million in the next fiscal year.

“Our new provision is a breakthrough in port funding,” said Graham.  “Under the current system we are shut out because we were not included in the President’s 2012 budget.  Now, Charleston will be eligible to receive federal funding to continue our deepening study.  Until the study is complete we cannot transition into actual construction on deepening the harbor.”

Graham noted that other provisions will also have positive impact on South Carolina’s ports like Georgetown and coastal communities which continue to face erosion problems.  They will be eligible for funding in various areas including a $55 million account for commercial harbor maintenance, $40 million for shore protection, $30 million for small harbor maintenance, $22 million for navigation, and $15 million for inland navigation channel maintenance.

Recycling Program Coming to South Carolina Welcome Centers

Written on November 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Nov 10, 2011, 12:16

Travelers stopping at South Carolina’s nine Welcome Centers soon will have the opportunity to recycle aluminum cans, plastic bottles and newspapers thanks to a new program developed by a public-private partnership, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) announced Tuesday, Nov. 15.

This new program, “South Carolina Welcomes You to Recycle,” begins today at the York County Welcome Center on I-77 and will cover all nine of the states Welcome Centers once fully implemented.

“Many of the visitors who stop at our Welcome Centers have beverage containers and newspapers they would like to recycle,” said Lee Tsiantis,  SCDOT’s Maintenance Contracts Manager.  “This program will provide travelers a convenient opportunity to recycle while on the go. This recycling effort also will reinforce litter prevention and help keep South Carolina’s roads clean and beautiful for all of us and our visitors to enjoy.”

The “South Carolina Welcomes You to Recycle” partnership includes SCDOT, Sonoco Recycling, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and PalmettoPride.

Sonoco Recycling will provide the containers and signage for all of the Welcome Centers.

“This effort is part of our commitment to the recycling culture in South Carolina,” said Jim Brown, vice president of Sonoco Recycling. “Recycling is not only good for the environment by conserving natural resources, but also is good for the economy by helping create jobs.

More than 2 million people visit South Carolina’s Welcome Centers each year.