Category Archives: Opinions

Artificial Intelligence, Natural Stupidity

Artificial Intelligence, Natural Stupidity and the Tower of Babel.

Ok, let’s start there.

Natural Stupidity: Any fool can see that the Earth is flat (except for mountains and hills) and that the sun flies across the sky each day and goes back to where it started from during the night. It’s obvious!

I don’t deny that I possess ample Natural Stupidity. But I don’t let that stop me from pondering things that are above my level — possibly above anyone’s level.

So let’s talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Computers, we must concede, are a whole lot “smarter” than us, if smartness is measured by the amount of knowledge one possesses.

Does any one person hold in their brain all the works of Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, William

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Courier Letters to the Editor 3-22-23

Importance of being a blood donor

Dear Editor,

In 2022, the American Red Cross declared the first-ever blood shortage crisis with the spread of the omicron variant. This left many health professionals to make tough decisions about who would receive life-saving blood transfusions. Although the number of donors has been steadily increasing, the shortage of blood persists. In fact, only 2-3 percent of Americans donate blood every year, but an estimated 38 percent are eligible.

One whole blood donation can potentially save three lives, but there are many different types, including plasma, platelet and power red donations, where the volunteer gives a concentrated amount of red blood cells. One car crash victim or surgical patient could need dozens of whole blood transfusions, while people with

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What does having a pure heart mean to you?

Many are familiar with the beatitudes, which are a section of a larger discourse spoken by Jesus in His earthly ministry. They are found in His sermon on the mount in Matthew chapter 5, and some of them are mentioned again in the sermon on the plain found in the 20th chapter of Luke.

Both homilies are filled with spiritual wisdom and laid the groundwork for New Testament Christianity. There are also beatitudes found in the Psalms, and all of these truths are timeless and just as life-changing and relevant today as they were when they were spoken.

The Greek word for “beatitude” simply means blessed, fortunate and content, and presented in the context of living each

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moment with a relentless determination for having a clear understanding of right and wrong and demonstrating boldness to accomplish God’s purpose, no matter the cost.

When you think about the condition and direction of your life today, do you consider yourself being this type of Christian? It’s easy to read over these precepts while yawning, but they were never meant to be options or suggestions. You might have heard the old saying that beatitude is short for “be-in-this-attitude,” and this is a good way to make them more personal.

When we take the time to meditate on the deeper meanings, we realize they are pillars in the foundation of our faith and our relationship with God and humanity. Today, I want to focus on one of these statements found in Matthew 5:8 — “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Within the context of the next two chapters, Jesus is basically teaching us what being His follower is about. Christ is clear about the importance of being holy and pure in our conscience, but how do we develop this attitude and retain it?

As we ponder about the state of being pure, we also notice Jesus mentions the word heart. What do you think of when you hear something like, “well, bless your heart,” “she broke his heart” or “he loved her with all of his heart?” Some say it is the conscience, the emotions, the intellect and our will, and others believe it is the deepest recess of the soul.

Whatever — or wherever — it is, it is the most sacred place of our existence and the very location that God wants us to surrender to Him so that He can dwell there. Daniel 1:8 talks about how Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with sin. In this light, we see that it is our responsibility to guard and protect our inner sanctuary from the darkness and corruption of carnality.

The first several chapters of Proverbs explain that we are to store the treasures of God’s word in our hearts and the authority of His truth will produce joy and peace. “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear to my sayings. Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” Proverbs 4:20-23.

This is about staying focused and being consistent, which by the way is one of the most difficult aspects of the Christian life. A pure heart is not divided, and as James 1:6-8 reminds us, a double-minded person does not receive help from the Lord. A pure heart for God walks with integrity, repents often and does not fear what the world thinks of them. A pure heart embraces humility, comprehends and embraces our identity in Christ and makes a covenant vow to surrender our will in order that we might accomplish His.

It’s a beautiful thing to be close enough to God to feel conviction from the Holy Spirit. This is His way of getting our attention when He wants to correct or give us special instructions. Hebrews 10:22 talks about drawing near to God with a true heart in the full assurance of faith and having our hearts purified from an evil conscience.

Living in God’s presence and being pure in heart does not happen by accident. We see what we are trained to see. May we be awakened and allow the refiner to have His way. Let us be consumed with a passion to be holy, knowing those who are pure in heart will see God.



William F. Holland Jr. is a minister, chaplain, psalmist and author. As a freelance faith writer, his books and newspaper and magazine articles are enjoyed around the world. Dr. Holland’s weekly column, “Living On Purpose” is focused on bringing spiritual hope and encouragement through God’s Word. Read more about the Christian life at

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More light needed

It’s Sunshine Week in South Carolina and across the nation, a time to recognize the importance of access to public information and accountability in local government.

We should start off by saying it’s not just media that has access to the Palmetto State’s Freedom of Information Act. You do, and it’s important you’re well versed on it. We’ve had instances of citizens poking around government and coming to us with their own findings.

We would humbly remind everyone it was Westminster resident and former city council candidate Wendy Golten who found information that revealed some seriously questionable purchases made by one city committee in desperate need of oversight last fall.

While great strides have been made in the open records law that was last modified in 2017, there are still some agencies that look to circumvent or — even worse — try to obstruct the law because they know they won’t really get in trouble over it.

It is worth pointing out many of the entities we cover daily comply entirely with the law and respond in a timely manner, save for one particular agency we’re taking a good, hard look at right now. More on that later, hopefully.

We’ll run through a few quick hiccups we’ve seen here of late. At Clemson University, it’s commonplace to receive an investigative report on Greek life shenanigans with pages — yes, pages — completely blacked out and redacted. Good luck coming up with a good-faith argument to justify that.

We’ve had inconsistent billing for documents we’ve requested in the past, only to come back with a higher cost than the last time. Is inflation really hitting hard in the electronic documents economic sector?

In February, we reported on a Six Mile man being charged with felony driving under the influence resulting in death in a fatal November crash. Naturally, we contacted the South Carolina Department of Public Safety for the “incident report, arrest warrants and any other supplementary documentation” on the case, but never checked a box requesting the dispatch audio/log.

That didn’t stop the agency from trying to bill us for it. In all, they wanted $175 for us to be able to tell you how this person was charged with such a serious offense.

After being called out for the absurdity, we got some gobbledygook back from the state office about how it is woefully inundated with requests — by the very person whose job it is to fulfill them — and how, actually, arrest reports, warrants and collision reports are provided to the media at no cost.

Did that public information officer provide them in that email with the halfhearted explanation? Of course not.

The last little battle we plan on pushing back on is over the withholding of supplemental police reports. Sometimes, we’ll receive initial incident reports that only have a few sentences concluding with, “See supplemental for further.” In the supplemental, there is much more color and insight on whatever is alleged to have happened.

After internally questioning why we couldn’t get hold of those supplemental reports in an active investigation or case, we were recently informed by South Carolina Press Association media lawyer Taylor Smith that they are fair game. Police are required to disclose any report that includes “the nature substance, and location of any crime or alleged crime reported as having been committed” as defined in Section 30-4-50(A)(8).

There are others across the state who have had their own issues with agencies not following the law, and we’ll try to highlight them here.

Not all is doom and gloom, though. There is still sunshine coming through the clouds. We’re grateful to have a tool to provide transparent coverage and only want it to be stronger.

Courier Letters to the Editor

Saitta gives update on broadband

Dear Editor,

I want to follow up on the article titled, “$24 million grant to expand county internet access.” High-speed internet service has been a critical need in the district I represent on county council (Pickens area and north of Highway 183).

While most of the funding is coming from Blue Ridge (Upcountry Fiber), federal and state governments, I supported and voted for giving Blue Ridge a tax incentive to make it all happen faster for us in Pickens County. In 2021, the county council voted unanimously to give a $1.6 million tax cut to Blue Ridge in return for a $10

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COVID numbers

How does it feel when you’re the only one in the whole grocery store who’s wearing a mask? Or when you get three phone calls from the senior center asking if you’re interested in signing up for the monthly ladies lunch, after you’ve already said no?

Do you feel tempted to explain to the young person who gives you the eye in the dairy aisle? Or worse, apologize to the

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Walking on bridges that human eyes cannot see

Soon after Jesus had resurrected, we find a beautiful account found in John chapter 20 that is a wonderful example of how much God loves us and desires to help us.

The friends and family of the Messiah were gathered together after his horrific crucifixion and were still grieving over his death when suddenly, He appears in their midst. Even though they remembered how He had promised to return, I’m sure they were still awestruck. Jesus stretches out His hands and reveals His wounds, and of course, they are overjoyed to see Him again. He spoke peace over them, commissioned them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, then vanished.

Thomas was not there that night, and later when he returned, he was told that Jesus had visited them. He responded

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Justice prevailed in the Palmetto State

If Bubba hadn’t caught that chicken and come running up with it in his mouth right when he did, Alex Murdaugh might very well have gotten away with murder.

There are probably few places in the world other than a wild-hog-hunting estate in the South Carolina Lowcountry where a hound dog and a yardbird could have played such a pivotal role in solving a murder mystery such as we saw unfold in a Colleton County courtroom over the past few weeks.

But it was not the good-old-boy system that won the day in this case. The villain of an entrenched rural aristocracy was unable to withstand the collective will of 12 ordinary citizens.

In the end, justice prevailed in the Palmetto State — which goes a long way toward making up for the bizarre, podunk images the Murdaugh case cast on our beloved state in the eyes of the nation, and indeed the world.

(When the judge has to send a bailiff to retrieve a dozen eggs from the jury room for a juror who is being ejected for

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Reports from the Veterans Affairs OIG

Who would have thought it … stealing diabetic test strips for profit? Apparently there’s money to be made from those medical supplies. And one Michigan woman, in charge of procurement at a Department of Veterans Affairs pharmacy, made a lot of it, stealing in excess of 7,500 boxes of the strips over the years.

She wasn’t alone in the scheme. She’d sell them to a co-thief who’d make her own sales down the line to a third

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Courier Letters to the Editor 3-8-23

Taking a stand for our children

Dear Editor,

We as parents who are raising children who have autism and developmental delays need to take a stand for our children so they may have a voice. I’m proposing to the councilmen and women to build Arc Chapter in Pickens County.

The Arc Chapter of South Carolina promotes and protects the human rights of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and activity supports their full

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