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"(SPAWAR spokesman Lonnie Cowart) said the company is on track to achieve the goal of 50 vehicles a day during the month of December ... Cowart said security restrictions prevented him from saying how many vehicles a day SPAWAR is putting out now."

That's a Post & Courier report on the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in Charleston. The company is trying to beat back accusations it isn't installing its radio equipment for mine-resistant vehicles fast enough. Apparently, reality is classified, but wishful thinking is open to review. Source: The P&C

THE RESURRECTION OF RUDY MCROMNEY

A new Whit Ayers poll in S.C. suggests the return of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to first-tier status, putting the embattled presidential candidate in a statistical tie with former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, and former N.Y. Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Meanwhile, former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., continues to see his support shrink while former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee slowly rises in the polls.

Huckabee got ample support last week, first from former pro wrestler Ric Flair (who hosted a tailgating meet-and-greet for the candidate at the USC/Clemson game), then from Rep. Bob Inglis. With Huckabee's numbers rising in Iowa seemingly by sheer will, one wonders if he has the ability (and time) to turn things around in South Carolina.

Meanwhile, N.Y. Sen. Hillary Clinton remains far ahead of other Democratic candidates, 19 percent ahead of second-place Ill. Sen. Barack Obama with 20 percent of Dem voters undecided. Both frontrunners had their volunteers out in force for South Carolina State's Lowcountry Football Classic, and Michelle Obama stopped by Orangeburg last week to draw support for her husband, proving neither campaign is taking the black community for granted. —Greg Hambrick

$1

That's the toll on the Cross Island Parkway on Hilton Head Island. The state is considering a toll for new express lanes on interstates 95 and 26. Put a drive-thru Starbucks at the front of the lane and we're sold. Source: The Post & Courier

2 a.m.

That's when North Charleston bars could be shutting their doors, with the City Council prepared to vote on the matter as early as Thursday, Nov. 29. It's seen as a way for the city to stem violence. The real crime is the poor girl who goes home alone because she couldn't get drunk enough to make that ugly guy look hot. Source: The Post & Courier

LITTLE VALDEZ ON THE COOPER

Between 20 and 100 gallons of oil spilled into Shipyard Creek last Tuesday, covering as much as a square mile of water with diesel slick and polluting marshland as the tide carried it upriver. "We can't pinpoint where it came from, but a first thought is Kinder Morgan, because of where it's at," says DHEC's Mark Hiott, who responded to the accident. Hiott also explains that oil occasionally leaks into the bilge of personal watercrafts, and a boat passing by could have then pumped their bilge into the creek. The Coast Guard were the first at the scene and deemed the quantity of the spill to be unrecoverable. They've taken samples from the ship docked at Kinder Morgan and will know within two weeks whether that boat is responsible. —Stratton Lawrence

$850

That's how much former Law & Order actor and presidential candidate Fred Thompson, R-Universal Studios, was asking from supporters to pay for a prime-time campaign spot in the Charleston market. Because, you know, he's just not on TV enough.

"I'm not an attorney and so I can't look at it from that perspective."

A Charleston City Council member overheard discussing pending litigation. In January, the 13-member council will usher out its three lawyers, going attorney-free for the first time in recent memory, leaving that "perspective" to city staff.

HATE CRIME DATA

Newly updated FBI crime data not only shamed/angered North Charleston officials, it also laid out the latest information on hate crimes. There aren't dramatic historical changes amongst the data. Racially biased crimes make up a little more than half of all hate crimes.

Crimes motived by the victim's sexual orientation account for 15 percent of the hate crimes reported nationally, but make up 21 percent of hate crimes reported in the state. Goose Creek, North Charleston, and the College of Charleston each reported only one hate crime — all motivated by sexual orientation. South Carolina has no law protecting gays and lesbians specifically from hate crimes. —Greg Hambrick

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