Governor Sanford endorses Tim Scott, incites a riot

Chanting "no games, more cooperation", supporters of State Treasurer candidates Earl Capps and Converse Chellis set aside their differences to storm the Governor's office in an effort to "clean house".

After Sanford called upon legislators to appoint Charleston County Council Chairman Tim Scott (R-North Charleston) to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former State Treasurer Thomas Ravenel, supporters of Capps and Chellis seemed puzzled and silent, until a denim and leather clad supporter of Capps yelled "rock and roll". After that, the suddenly enraged crowd charged Sanford's office.

While the Governor and most of his staff escaped unharmed, two budget staffers, Pork and Barrel, were not so fortunate. Barrel was captured and served up to the crowd on a hastily-constructed BBQ pit, and Pork was reported missing.

While several political commentators at the scene could not agree on the reason for the Governor's endorsement, they all agreed that Barrel was a tasty line item and hoped that Pork would soon be found.

Capps announces bid for State Treasurer

In a press conference today, Earl Capps, a Summerville resident, confirmed that he would be willing to serve as the next State Treasurer, if chosen by the General Assembly on Friday.

Capps, 36, is the publisher of the Blogland of Earl Capps, a well-read South Carolina blog covering politics, hard rock, religion and research in the field of communication. Recently, during an informal poll of his readers as to who should be the next State Treasurer, he led the candidates, prompting discussion of a possible candidacy for the office.

Following the overwhelming wave of support from his readers, Capps said he decided to try his luck at winning the appointment. "If the people want me to give up a real job for this, I promise they'll get exactly what they deserve," he said. Speculation about what that might be grew after he was seen yelling into his cell phone "next week, it's free beer and hookers".

Columbia political observers responded quickly. "What the f***?", asked House member Carl Gullick (R-York), while Brian McCarty, a well-known political commentator cautioned "if he's appointed, oh s***, watch out for what happens next".

Representative Converse Chellis (R-Summerville), who represents Capps' neighborhood in the State House, was not concerned. "We think someone put him up to this," he said. "Even he'll admit he's not qualified for the job."

Fellow blogger Mike Reino defended his candidacy: "the guy is serious. He's got endorsements, and he's even got a Dirty Harry quote for a cool campaign slogan. Step aside and let him lead our state to ... well, he'll take it somewhere."

Stand by for Pain: Dee Snider ROCKS with Widowmaker

Ok, time for a break from the serious stuff with another hard rockin' album review ... and a Happy Monday to one and all ...

In the 1990s, Dee Snider, frontman for Twisted Sister, formed the band Widowmaker. In 1994, they released their second album, a kick-ass piece of work entitled
"Stand by for Pain".

Unlike Twisted Sister, Widowmaker is stripped down, raw, and much harder and louder. While Twisted Sister was radio-friendly, Widowmaker isn't for the faint of heart, but is best played at full blast. If you can find this CD out there, I recommend it highly.

My favorite tracks from the album are Killing Time, Protect and Serve, Ready to Fall and the title track.

For the obligatory YouTube eye candy, here's a clip of Dee and his band performing the title track live:

2007 Tour de France - what a wild ride!

Congratulations to the new star of cycling, Alberto Contador, of the Discovery Channel team, for winning the 2007 Tour de France!

The last day couldn't have been more set for a photo finish with Discovery's first-place racer, Spaniard
Alberto Contador, only 23 seconds behind Australian Cadel Evans and 31 seconds behind his American teammate, Levi Leipheimer.

In past years, racers have (but rarely) closed such gaps to pull off last-day upsets, but today, they ended up the way they started the day. The final finish of the Tour hadn't been this close since 1989, when Greg LeMond won it by eight seconds, and was the second-closest finish in Tour history.

Two things which stood out in this year's Tour that will likely impact the race, as well as the entire sport of cycling, for years to come:

1) Drugs: In recent Tours, problems with performance boosting drugs and tricks have grown rapidly. With two front-runners thrown out of this year's Tour and entire teams pulling out, the sport must confront this problem, and quickly.

2) The rise of the Americans: In the past, individual Americans have stood out, such as Greg LeMond, Andy Hampsten, and Lance Armstrong. But this year, a number of American racers participated in the Tour and all of them finished well, including Leipheimer, as well as
George Hincapie, from Greenville (24th place), Christopher Horner (15th place), and Christian Vandevelde (25th place). Not only that, but this year, the US-based Discovery team fielded several top finishers, both American and from other nations, such as Contador. This is a long way from the days when there would only be one or two stand-out American riders, and American teams, such as the old 7-11 and Motorola teams, would be far behind in the team rankings.

While the drug problems with cycling put a dark cloud over this year's Tour, we should be proud that Americans are taking a lead role in the Tour, and hope this will be a sign of good things to come.

The rise of Cantador and these strong American riders point to a Tour that should be very competitive and exciting to watch for years to come.

Thank You, Robert Scarborough

As a James Island native, it's not hard to know the name Scarborough. The family has long roots on the island and has been very active in the community since its earliest days as a suburban community.

Robert Scarborough was a name one knew growing up on the island - the James Island Expressway bridge, his long legislative service, as well as on the old Highway Commission, and other efforts on behalf of his community. His record of service to his community was lengthy and - deservingly so - was well-recognized. James Island was fortunate to have such a passionate citizen and advocate, and he will be missed.

Yesterday, Robert Scarborough passed on, but left his community well-taken care of. For which this Island native says "Thank you".

Eloquence in an Electronic Age: Understanding what makes good political speeches work

In my graduate speechwriting course, one of the books we had to read was Eloquence in an Electronic Age, a work by Kathleen Hall Jamieson, my favorite researcher in the field of political communication. I’ve talked about one of her books previously, and one can find a whole slew of works that she’s authored or co-authored.

Eloquence looks at the evolution of political speechmaking in the twentieth-century. While the twentieth-century’s two greatest Presidents - Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan – receive much of the attention of her research, we find her work looking at many moments in American political oratory, including Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, Gary Hart, and Joseph Welch, whose live broadcast challenge of Joe McCarthy’s ruthlessness did considerable damage to McCarthy’s credibility.

In her book, she looks at various tactics used by American political speakers to convey their messages, including the use of “effeminate” styles, storytelling, symbolism, and self-revelation by speakers. She also notes the shrinking role of public speechmaking and its transformation through the medium of television. In this, she notes how Reagan’s use of symbolism was often ready-made for the visual medium and therefore well-received by television audiences.

There is much about this book worth your time, and these days, you can get copies off Amazon for a couple of bucks, so if you want to understand what makes one a great speaker, as well as improve your own speaking skills, it’s a smart investment that we recommend highly. But to date, she's never written anything that I didn't find insightful and eye-opening.

Who could be - or should be - South Carolina's next Treasurer? You decide!

Next week, the politicians will meet to pick a new state Treasurer. But this week, while the office is still vacant, we at the Blogland have decided to have some fun by holding our own non-binding election for this office.

While we can't offer the job to the winner of this contest, we promise to send the winner a bunch of change from one of the change jars laying around my house, so they can play Treasurer in their spare time.

So, who do you, the readers of the Blogland, think could be, or should be, our state's next Treasurer? Speak up and let's hear what you have to say!

Blogger credibility?

A pretty good story by Taylor Bright in the Charlotte Observer raises a fair question about the credibility of bloggers:

The day after John McCain announced this month that his top two campaign men were leaving, an S.C. political blog, The Shot, ran the headline, "McCain Going Down, Top Staffers Jumping Ship."

Next to the headline was a picture of an orange life preserver.

The combination of news and analysis with a hint of wit wouldn't be remarkable -- that's what blogs have thrived on -- if the blog weren't run by members of a firm employed by the Mitt Romney campaign.

What used to be the exclusive territory of enthusiastic amateurs has been invaded by political professionals. Some of the most popular political blogs in South Carolina, a crucial state for the primary elections, are run by consultants who are working with the presidential campaigns of 2008.

I'll admit they raise a good point here. Much of what goes on here is presented by those who are not impartial, but in most cases, our readers are smart enough to know to take what they see on the web with a grain of salt.

The people behind these sites do take sides, after all, it's how a lot of them pay their bills. Sometimes, these loyalties may bias what they present, but the more credible ones don't entirely exclude other points of view, block discussion, or make false or misleading attacks from their sites. But it's not like many of these sites proclaim themselves as fair and impartial, and I think most readers are smart enough to know this.

As to concerns about the involvement of those who are involved in political campaigns ... well, I can't think of a time when political discussion online was ever the province of those who were totally neutral. But by having their insights and "inside information", readers can often learn more than they otherwise would have, especially when going to several sources to "balance" what they see on any given site.

Sure, this inside knowledge has helped to strip some of the influence of traditional media political reporters, who once were the sole outlets of political information. With information leaking out and being discussed from people who work in the field, the general public no longer has to rely on a small circle of a half-dozen reporters to tell us what they think we need to know.

Now, we can find out directly, and if one site doesn't tell us, or explain it in a clear enough manner, we can go elsewhere. Democracy thrives in an enviroment of greater openness and competition.

So long as we don't claim false neutrality, make false or personal attacks, or stifle discussions we don't agree with, I believe those of us who take part in South Carolina's online political culture play an important role in making the process of government and politics more open and inclusive, not less.

For the most part, that's what we're doing, and those doors to the shady backrooms are being opened more than ever. Those of us who want a South Carolina that is run by "we the people", and not the good ol' boys, see this as a good thing - and it is.

So ... what do the rest of you think?

Goodbye Thomas

Three years ago, the South Carolina political world had just absorbed the reality of the upset of David Beasley's high-powered political comeback in the GOP runoff for the U.S. Senate. The key to that upset was Thomas Ravenel, whose late-starting Senate campaign surged to a strong third-place finish, and then shifted that momentum into DeMint's hands by his endorsement.

Two years later, Thomas' bid for Treasurer upset two veteran politicos in the GOP primary, and took out Grady Patterson, the longest-lasting constitutional officer and an American hero considered by many to be unbeatable.

Now, Thomas Ravenel's three-year rocket ride from a little-known real estate developer ended with a whimper, not a bang with his resignation.

In a state which has been rocked by a number of recent criminal scandals among it's political insiders, including Commissioner of Agriculture Charlie Sharpe and former Governor Hodges' Chief of Staff Kevin Geddings, not to mention a string of indictments and convictions in Orangeburg County, Ravenel's resignation was yet another sad moment.

As a friend and reader of the Blogland, we're sorry this day had to come for Thomas, but we're also sorry for the people of this state, which must endure the embarassment of another criminal investigation amongst its highest-ranking public officials. We'll not comment to the continuing criminal case, except to say that we will trust the justice system to consider the facts at hand and reach a fair and reasonable verdict.

The humiliation of a fall from political stardom, along with the loss of millions spent on his campaigns was tough enough, but it will likely pale in comparison to the challenge of facing his addiction. As one who has seen friends struggle with addictions, visited friends in prison, and even lost friends to drug violence, we know the pain that he has gone through, and the pain, loneliness and struggle that lies ahead.

Now that his public life has come to an end, Thomas Ravenel has our best wishes and our prayers for his personal recovery.

Somewhere different: Lake Olathe

Today, instead of boring you with political babble, we thought we'd pick out somewhere at random that seems rather relaxing and freshing.

Of course, we could just bore you to death with more of the usual, since it IS Tuesday, but why not give our readers a break? Especially after the hooplah around the big Democratic Presidential candidate debate.

According to the satellite imagery from our friends at Google Earth, Lake Olathe seems like a nice place to take a dip. Apparently, a favorite stop for the locals, it even comes with a neat map of the facilities adjacent to the lake. Gotta give someone a pat on the back for doing that.

Naturually, it seems like a really nice place to go cool off with friends and loved ones, instead of roasting in the Lowcountry or sitting cooped up in this office. On a day like this, it wouldn't take much to make me come a'runnin'.

Doing fun things ... or doing Tuesday, what would YOU rather be doing? So don't go calling me nuts.

Experts say it's going to be a long, long way to Friday, so all of you kick back and relax a little today. It's gonna be a long week ...

My company's I-20 project in the news

Our project to rebuild the I-20 rest areas in Kershaw County is nearly done, replacing the run-down, overloaded facilities with state-of-the-art facilities, including more picnic areas, family bathrooms, and air-conditioning. For some reason, our friends at The State thought the occasion was worth a news story:

After two years, more than 30,328 man hours and $14 million, new Interstate 20 east- and westbound rest areas in Kershaw County should be completed by mid-September.

But to clarify, our project manager's name is Bob PRICE. He's a pretty cool dude, and some say he might be running for President.

More on those rumors later ...

500th posting: Origin of the "Blogland"

500 postings - Hooray for me!

For the 500th posting, I'll share a little bit of Blogland trivia about the origin of the "Blogland" title.

In case any of you haven't guessed it already, the name of the Blogland of Earl Capps was inspired, in part, by the classic Jimi Hendrix album entitled "Electric Ladyland".

I had been listening to that album when I was trying to think of a name, and it just seemed to make sense. Later on, I found out that the word "blogland" is a lesser-used word for "blogosphere". So much for originality.

No, I wasn't thinking my blog would be a cool place with psychadelic guitar music and lots of ladies hanging on my every word. How can I run any sort of harem when I can't even get my teenage daughter to take out the trash?

Thanks to all of you for staying tuned and sharing your thoughts - via comments, emails, phone calls or in-person encounters. Even the "f*** you" stuff - it's flattering that my big mouth can inspire people and yes, sometimes aggravate the hell out of them.

... and yes, for those of you who are wondering, I will be doing an review of this classic rock album. Look for it soon - I promise.

What is relief? A normal day Everywhere. Have fun and make it a great day out there. As always, many many thanks for tuning in.

Hey Homer!

With all the hoopla about the new Simpsons movie, we'd like to tip our hats to our own lovable Homer Simpsons - our readers from the VC Sumner nuclear power station in Fairfield County.

According to our traffic tracking reports, employees from that power plant are our 61st largest contingent of readers. As always, our readership is always appreciated, no matter where they're tuning in from, or what they should be doing when they're checking us out.

So to the guys who are responsible for keeping the Midlands well-lit at night, and whose watchful eyes keep a good part of Fairfield and Newberry Counties from glowing in the dark, here's to you.

So tonight, when you're at work reading the Blogland, kick back, relax and have a nice cold case of Duff's beer. Don't let the flashing red lights or alarms bother you ... after all, you've earned a break, and we think you deserve it.

Richard Eckstrom exonerated - YES!!!

State Comptroller Richard Eckstrom, a regular Blogland reader who we support, apparently will be fully cleared with regard to Ethics allegations over his use of a state vehicle:

The Commission finds that the State Vehicle Management Act, as construed by the agency charged with administering it, does not prohibit personal use of state assigned vehicles by statewide elected officials and that Respondent acted in accordance with that understanding. Therefore, Respondent did not violate S.C. Code Ann 8-13-700(A). Accordingly, the Commission grants Respondent’s motion for summary judgment and dismisses the complaint.

You can read the rest of the Ethics Commission's findings HERE.

The whole situation was rather bone-headed. Sure, we at the Blogland probably wouldn't have used a state vehicle in a similar situation, but his childish Democratic opposition tried to build the Appalachian Mountains from a molehill to help Drew Theodore defeat him last fall.

It didn't work with the voters, nor did it work with the Ethics Commission. Maybe now, they'll go away and find a more positive outlet for their energies.

Drew Theodore, as you recall, criticized Eckstrom's efforts to remove lethal asbestos from state offices and in doing so, earned the endorsement of the Grim Reaper, which we reported here first.

We're certainly glad this whole experience has ended, and while we hope Richard comes out of this smarter, we hope the biggest lesson of all was learned by the political hacks who shamelessly raised and distorted the issue purely for their political gain.

Parenting and Silence do NOT go together

Hats off to my friend Jennifer for a really good posting yesterday on her blog. So good that I wanted to share this excerpt with my readers:

As a parent, I often crave quiet. Particularly when I am trying to get something done and the 3 kids that can talk are all screaming. "Mom! She touched me!" "Mommy, she looked at me." "Mommy, she said she hates me!" "Mom, she's breathing the same air as me!" And so on. Oh, and the baby is crying.

[For anyone who is wondering, the correct responses to the above screams are: "Quick! Go take a bath before the germs multiply." (As you can see, this response has two-fold value. One, it distracts. And two, it teaches hygiene.) "She didn't see you, though, 'cause you're invisible." (Once again, distraction value: I'm invisible? Really? Cool!) "Tell her you hate her back, but don't use the word 'hate,' I don't like that word, try 'loathe' or 'despise.'" (Here, we are increasing our little ones' vocabularies.) "So stop breathing." (Okay, that may be uncalled for, but by this point, I've frickin' HAD IT!)]

If you like that ... go check out the rest of the story.

South Carolina's Interstate 73 (one of these days ...)

For those who keep up with such things, the intended route of South Carolina's northern leg of Interstate 73 was announced yesterday. This will be the route the freeway will take from its terminus near Myrtle Beach to where it ties into the section that is presently being built from North Carolina.

North Carolina has embraced I-73 eagerly, but this was easy for them, since they have an extensive network of non-Interstate freeways which they could re-shield at I-73 with very little need for additional improvements to meet interstate specifications. Now, South Carolina and Virginia are playing catch-up.

While North Carolina's section, from I-77 at the Virginia line to South Carolina, may be done in the next few years, South Carolina's section will likely just be getting underway at such time. The completion of this route may provide some economic development opportunities for the region, it will certainly help fuel the growth of tourism to the Grand Strand, as well as provide a much needed evacuation route for the region.

While the Carolinas are moving this new Interstate forward, Ohio and Michigan, where the route is intended to go, have far less enthusiasm for the project, having dropped environmental studies for the freeway.

If you want to know more about the progress of I-73 in South Carolina, there's a website:

Stay tuned ...

Tour de France update

For those who follow cycling, which I do, since I used to race back in high school, the prospects to see a ninth year of American dominance, mostly due to Lance Armstrong's seven Tour wins, are slim, but not entirely impossible.

Levi Leipheimer of the US-based Discovery Channel team has run a strong performance through the race and is presently in ninth place, less than four minutes behind out of over 49 hours' racing time.

Farther back, in 25th place, with over nine minutes deficit, is Christopher Horner of the European Predictor-Lotto team. While his chances to close that much of a gap are slim, his performance thus far has been rather impressive.

We at the Blogland certainly wish these guys luck in keeping a strong American presence in this traditionally-European sport. Stay tuned ...

Attention Mike Reino

Hey Mike, while I could not bring myself to buy a Faster Pussycat album to do that review you wanted, my friend Metal Mark did. Go check out his review of their album.

Feel better now?

I heard they just put out a new studio album and might be touring soon. Good news, dude.

GOP troubles = Democratic opportunities?

Our friends at SCHotline's blog cite a Wall Street Journal story which asks if GOP troubles and in-fighting in the South could spell electoral troubles:

The indictment is just one of the political headaches across the South that are making Republicans look more vulnerable than they have in years to losing ground in the region’s legislatures and statehouses. Though there isn’t any sign of them losing their dominance in the region, the once-formidable “Solid South” coalitions they forged in the 1980s and 1990s to end a century of Democratic dominion have given way to messy schisms and infighting. Today, they look a lot like the bitterly divided Democrats of three decades ago.

I was there in the late 80s and early 90s where South Carolina Republicans, led by Carroll Campbell, positioned themselves as political reformers, seeking to challenge the status quo. The tremors set off by Lost Trust and mismanagement of the Secretary of State's office, then led by the late John Campbell, as well as a history of corruption and mismanagement in state government, helped topple the state's long-time Democratic majority.

But this sweep was aided by the fact that there was no monolithic Democratic machine. Factional in-fighting amongst Democrats resulted in party-switching by the dozens among elected officials, and many "Democrats for" movements which helped Republicans win critical crossover votes. Their fights and blood feuds became our opportunities, which Carroll Campbell and others were wise enough to exploit with brutal effectiveness.

Now, we have a Republican governor who fights with a Republican legislature to the point where a Democratic gubernatoral candidate counted on a large and vocal group of Republican supporters, along with highly-publicized investigations of GOP statewide elected officials.

This wasn't much different than the mid-1990s, where former Governor David Beasley's split with party moderates helped fuel a rout in which he lost, along with the party losing several legislative seats and two other statewide offices to Democrats.

Now, look back to last year at the national level, where GOP voters, disgusted by a Congressional majority far more interested in doling out pork than ethics, sat home and helped elect Democratic majorities in both houses.

Those insiders arrogant enough to think the people aren't watching should have learned from last year's Congressional rout that the voters aren't stupid. They expect government to work, and if it settles into corruption, incomptence, mismanagement and petty feuding, then they clean house. They did it here, and they did it at the national level in 1994 and 2006. They will do it again - it's just a question of when, and to which party.

While much time and many opportunities have been lost, there is still time for the state's GOP leadership to clean up their act, try a little harder to get along and find a workable middle ground. But not much. Otherwise, when they take casualties at the polls, the only ones they can blame is who they see in the mirror.

GOP takes Ceips' House seat

GOP efforts to hold Catherine Ceips' House seat in the Beaufort and Sea Islands area were successful, as filing closed with three GOP candidates and no Democratic candidates.

Randy Bates, Diane DeWitt and Shannon Erickson will square off for the GOP nod in what is sure to be a short, but hotly-contested race for the seat.

As the Blogland's employer has a highway project in the area, we'll be sure to keep an eye on this race and keep you informed.

Earl Capps dies in tragic car crash?

We at the Blogland regret to inform you that the voice of one of the state's most smart-assed bloggers - our state's worst defender of marriage, and a vocal advocate for the Nugentian fusion of booze, hard rock and right-wing libertarian politics may have been stilled ... at least for the next fifteen minutes:

Earl Capps was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics responding to the accident.

Highway Safety Investigators have told reporters that Earl Capps lost control while driving a friend's vehicle on Interstate 80 and rolled the vehicle several times killing him instantly.

The vehicle was believed to have been traveling at approximately 95 miles per hour in a 55mph zone at the time of the accident.

Witnesses have stated that Earl Capps's car crossed the double lines several times prior to the accident and hit the center lane divider causing the vehicle to flip and roll.

Toxicology tests will be performed to determine whether he was driving under the influence.

Memorial services for Earl Capps have not yet been announced. The service is expected to be a closed casket funeral due to the severe head trauma.

This is a pretty funny fill-in-the-blank joke website. Go check it out!

United Abominations: Great new Megadeth CD

A few weeks ago, Megadeth released their long-overdue United Abominations CD, fresh from their stint on the Dio-led Heaven and Hell tour. As proof this music is still relevant, it debuted at number eight on the U.S. album sales chart ... fans were waiting for this album, and trust me, they shouldn't be disappointed.

Long known for their left-wing political critiques, in the title track, they suprise fans with a point of view about the irrelevance of the United Nations so far right, you'd swear that Ted Nugent wrote the song:

"The UN writes resolution after resolution and has become irrelevant through inaction and totalitarian paralysis,"
"Order, Order!!!"
"Ha! There is no such thing as order"
"Larry, it's true, reports confirm today that the United Nations has officially closed its doors forever,"
"Well, I just don't see what all the fuss is, because they don't do anything anyway, do they?"

The UN is right; you can't be any more "un"
Than you are right now, the UN is undone
Another mushroom cloud, another smoking gun
The threat is real, the Locust King has come
Don’t tell me the truth; I don't like what they've done
Just give me ammo for the United Abominations

NATO invaded Yugoslavia to end ethnic cleansing, there was no UN
The US invaded Afghanistan after 9/11, there was no UN
Saddam Hussein violated 17 UN resolutions; The UN was asked to join the war in Iraq. The US invaded, Ha! there was no UN
Libya bombed a discotheque in Berlin killing Americans, there was no UN
Iran funds any terrorist organization it can, and attacked the US in the seventies, there was no stinking UN
Facing War without end, looking into the future, there was no more UN

The UN Dispatch, a pro-United Nations blog, felt the need to attack Megadeth's commentary in a posting. Apparently, this guy didn't get it.

Gears of War is another great track, and their re-do of A Tout Le Monde, this time as a duet with Cristina Scabbia, a vocalist with the Italian metal band Lacuna Coil. But why lie? There's not a bad song on the entire album, so stop waiting, and go out and buy it.

For some eye candy, here is a YouTube video of the band performing Gears of War:

Environmentalists attack McCain

Environmental groups attacked the Presidential campaign of Senator John McCain for what they termed as "irresponsible waste of energy".

This came after reports of mass staff losses by the McCain campaign after lackluster fundraising and a failure to make headway at winning over undecided GOP voters, while recent Presidential race entrants Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson have since won over large numbers of those uncommitted voters.

"The last person has left the building, but the lights were not turned off", said Ima Trehug, of the National Environmental Conservation Movement. "If he was any kind of leader on environmental issues, when the last person left his campaign, the lights truly would have gone off".

McCain promised to look into the matter. Sources close to the Arizona Senator said that the failure to turn off the lights really wasn't that important, as they were expecting the power to the campaign headquaters to be cut off at anytime due to lack of campaign funds.

June 2007, the month in review

Big apologies for taking so long to go through my traffic reports, but here are the blog postings that you read and commented most about in the month of June.

Most read postings:
Santee Cooper and the Berkeley County Senate Race (6/29/07)
Ceips & Hinson for the State Senate (6/18/07)
Survey of bloggers and readers - go participate! (6/21/07)
Pied Pipers and "Extreme Politics" (6/26/07)
USS New York: New navy ship's ties to 9/11 (6/12/07)
Beaufort politics on the web (6/28/07)
"Mr.Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" (6/12/07)
Romney denies pardon to Iraq veteran for juvenile offense (6/13/07)
Last week of the General Assembly (6/4/07)
D-Day (6/6/07)

Most commented postings
Santee Cooper and the Berkeley County Senate Race (6/29/07)
Southern Commandments (6/18/07)
Favorite Places: Old Sheldon Church (6/15/07)
4. D-Day (6/6/07)

5. Either way you go (6/1/07)

6. Congratulations (again) to Senator Ceips (6/20/07)
7. Playing Elanor Rigby (6/8/07)
8. Romney denies pardon to Iraq veteran for juvenile offense (6/13/07)
9. New friends and good times in Clarendon County (6/7/07)
10. It's Thursday (we're almost there) (6/21/07)

As always, thanks for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. While the traffic and discussion ran a little under May, I appreciate those of you who tuned in to the non-political postings. I try to throw some stuff out there to show us political hacks have a life after all.

Lady Bird Johnson: Rest in Peace

The valuable roles performed by spouses in the world of politics are often overlooked. Male or female, they quietly endure and stand by their mates, which isn't always easy to do. It is this enduring faith and loyalty that is rarely recognized, yet so vital, to the ability of these public officials to endure and meet the challenges of their offices.

In the lives of our Presidents, the First Ladies (and one day Husbands) become often-unrecognized public servants, as vital to the success of an adminstration as any other official.

Lady Bird Johnson, as First Lady, endured five of the toughest years in the White House. The Johnson's life in the White House began with the JFK assasination and ended unexpectedly with a sudden withdrawal from public life due to public backlash against the Vietnam War. Throughout the administration, assasinations, civil rights unrest and war protests tore at the country. In those five difficult years, she was one of the few constants her husband could turn to in such a tumultous and restless time.

Few people could find a spouse so devoted and loyal, and a nation could not have found a First Lady more suited for such a difficult time.

For her loyal and steadfast duty to the Presidency, her family, and the American people, Lady Bird Johnson, a humble daughter of Texas who became America's First Lady in a time of great struggle, deserves the honor and gratitude of her nation.

Following the Money: Ross Shealy & House #79

Ross Shealy presents an excellent bit of research of the concentration of out-of-state campaign cash. His findings piggyback on findings I reported on last year in Representative Bill Cotty's re-election campaign.

Ross' research is dead-on as his taste in BBQ, and his wit is just as good:

But votes in District 79 don’t come as cheap as some folks think: Letts earned a thousand fewer votes than he did petition signatures, and Cotty edged out his Democratic opposition just under 300 votes.

96% of an SC legislative campaign funded by the out-of-state voucher lobby... For a little perspective, there is more actual fruit juice in a box of Hi-C fruit drink than there was actual SC funding for Mr. Letts.

While I support school choice, which seems to be a major litmus test for these outside contributors, I don't support the wholesale buying of our state's elected offices to reach that goal.

Supporting Paul Campbell

For whatever reason, there are those who seem to think a Blogland endorsement might be had for Democrat John West in the race to fill the vacant State Senate seat in Berkeley County. Since the GOP run-off, several emails and phone calls have been made to see if this might be possible. Between taking shots for something I didn't do (in re the email accusations) and the strong support given here for Shirley Hinson's failed bid for the GOP nomination, one might expect West's people to go fishing for such crossover support.

For those that hope that cheap shots and sour grapes are enough to sway the opinion of the Blogland about this race, we offer the same wisdom given so generously to the German general who demanded the surrender of the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge:


Voters who care about Berkeley County should cast their vote for GOP State Senate candidate Paul Campbell in the special election on Tuesday, August 7. While a political novice, his hard work to win the seat signals that he is the candidate best qualified to tackle the challenge of following Bill Mescher's legacy of hard work and constituent service.

2010 Gubernatoral candidates

Andy Brack at the Statehouse Report takes a look at some of the potential candidates for Governor in the open 2010 race. A veteran of state politics, Andy's got some pretty good insights there, including:

Republicans - Henry McMaster, Bobby Harrell and Gresham Barrett
Democrats -
Inez Tenenbaum, Robert Barber, and Vincent Sheheen

Most of these names have the potential to run serious candidacies and appeal to wide ranges of voters, and none of Andy's picks look like bad ones at all.

Your thoughts?

Be Nice to Democrats Day

Today, it's "Be Nice to Democrats Day" in the Blogland.

Aside from some different thinking on issues, they're not really bad people at all. If you know one, go give them a hug - I promise they won't bite!

Above is Frankie Denmark, former Chair of the South Carolina Utilites Coordinating Committee, giving my good friend Marty Turney, the current Vice-Chair of the Dorchester County Democratic Party, a hug ... and a well-deserved award too.

Bad Dog ... and woman?!?

Many thanks to Dan Rushing of TELICS of Charlotte, who I work with on the Palmetto Partnership for Safety and Coordination (a co-op group that coordinates utilities and construction in SC), for sharing this photo of a sign in a yard somewhere in York County.

I wonder where the guy responsible for the sign is sleeping these days?

Lillee Schuster, Rest in Peace

Tonight, our condolences go out to Charles Schuster, the moderator of the Goose Creek Republican Breakfast Club's moderator, for the loss of his mother, Lillee. If you know Charles, please take a minute to share a thought or prayer to help him and his family through this difficult time.

WASP goes to Hell ... dorado

Recently, I bought WASP's "Helldorado" CD, which came out in 1999. The band intended the album to be a return to their early roots, capturing the wild and rough-edged feel that made them stand out from much of the LA scene metal bands of the 80s.

Unlike other 80s metal bands which came back, WASP never quit or went away. They continued chugging right along, putting out album after album, with each release sounding as good, if not better, than the one before it. These guys don't know when to quit, and unlike a lot of other bands who slowly lose their creative steam and whose shows consist mostly of the stuff they first played in the 80s, there's no reason they should quit now.

Helldorado is one of those great WASP albums. In this one, the band's songs are of excess - sex, drugs, and a wild rock and roll lifestyle - and the price to be paid for being consumed by such a lifestyle:

Tonight-it's all over now
Ooh, Hell's just one mile down the road
Goodbye-it's all over now (so long)
My Helldorado's going home
Hot wheel's-a-turning
Screaming down the road
The tanks never empty
He fills up with souls
I feel the flame-a-burning
Do you wanna go?


Go get this one ... and before long, you'll be wanting everything else they've recorded. But you can check out this concert footage from a stop in New Jersey last year ...

Attack mailing seeks to create false criminal associations

A copy of this mailing arrived in my email Monday afternoon, some 16 hours before voting started in the GOP runoff for the Berkeley County State Senate race. Since I was supporting a candidate in that race, it would have been unfair of me to discuss it then, but since the election is over, I can discuss it now.

Most of you know I supported State Representative Shirley Hinson for this seat, but for what it’s worth, Paul Campbell now has my support in his upcoming race against Democrat John West. Given the district’s demographics, which I knew well from having worked with the late Senator Mescher over the years, I’ll predict that Campbell slam-dunks West next month.

The mailing scan only showed the content side, but not the mailing side, which could have helped to identify the sender. That would have said a lot about the responsible party, and when I asked the email sender to scan and send me that page, or to even call or email to discuss, I never heard back.

The sender of the email was identified as kent killarney []. That is all I know about Kent, or whoever that person really was.

The creator of this piece placed Campbell’s picture between one statewide officeholder who was convicted and another who has been indicted and below a picture of his consultant, who we all have heard about … and heard … and heard. The visual placement tactic and the text (including the words “Rod Shealy’s crop”) had to have been intended to give the impression that Campbell was associated with these people and might even be controlled by his consultant.

While there is a considerable history of attacking Shealy in the hopes of hurting one of his candidates, voters in those races don't seem to be paying attention to those charges. Given this history, I’m not sure why someone thought such an approach would bear fruit this time. Regardless of if one believes this stuff is relevant or not, time and time again, the voters don’t seem to think it is. As the “customers” of the political process, the voters are always "right".

It is unfortunate that some people didn’t stick to the high road in that race, but judging from the election returns, the voters either didn’t pay attention, or didn’t believe what they’d seen. Once more, the "Bash Rod" approach came up short.

Presently, the source of this piece has yet to be determined, but some of us would like to know. If anyone can produce information as to the source of this mailing, such as the mail side which should show the postage information for the mailing (if you have a copy of this mail card, I’d love to see it in person), please send it to the Blogland. You can do it anonymously or not – either way, we promise to respect your wishes.

Happy 4th of July from the Blogland

Everyone be sure to make it a great 4th of July out there!
Turn off your computer and go have fun!

(.. it kind of looks like a Palmetto tree, doesn't it?)

Austin Whetsell and the Whetsell family

The SCHotline blog reports that Austin Whetsell, the son of GOP political consultant Walter Whetsell, was caught in a riptide yesterday afternoon while on a church mission trip to Mexico. A call to Starboard Communications' office confirmed this report is the real deal and not a prank.

At this time, Austin has not been found, and we certainly hope and pray that by some miracle, he will be found safe. Walter Whetsell has been a friend to the Blogland since long before there was a Blogland, but even if he wasn't, we'd still be pulling for him and his family right now. We hope that all of you will as well.

We at the Blogland ask for your thoughts and prayers for the Whetsell family. It sounds like they're going to need them. For the latest information, you can visit a blogsite set up by the Whetsell's church at

If you're a blogger, please consider putting up a posting to show your support for Walter and his family.

All other postings on this blog are still here for your reading if you click on the "Older Posts" link below. Out of respect for Walter and family, we felt it was appropriate to remove the other postings from the main page. We'll put them back up in a few days.

Shirley Hinson for the Senate - Do it tomorrow

Those of you who know me well know that I tend to call 'em like I see 'em - even when I have to be big enough to swallow a little pride and do the right thing. That was a major hallmark of my friend, Senator Bill Mescher, who I miss now that he's left us.

If you live in Berkeley County and want to do the right thing, then tomorrow, you'll join me in supporting Shirley Hinson for the State Senate in Tuesday's Republican run-off election.

Shirley Hinson has the experience, the connections, and is right on the issues - from fighting the tax-and-spend crowd on local school boards, supporting restructuring and reform of state government, to protecting Santee Cooper as a South Carolina-owned electrical and economic resource.

For eleven years in the House, and eight years on the Berkeley County School Board before that, she's been a hawk on fighting taxes and listening to her constituents. Your vote to put Shirley in the Senate and will give a proven fighter a well-deserved promotion.