"It's gonna be one hell of a dogfight"

In January, look for the Sarah Connor Chronicles to air on the Fox television network.

Taking up where T2 left off, the series will show Sarah trying to raise her teenage son while on the run from Skynet, who has sent another Terminator on their trail. We'll see where it ends up, but with the producers behind two of the Terminator movies on board, and the preview for the series looking the way it does, it seems like audiences can expect some pretty heavy-duty stuff:

Count on who? More on judicial qualifications

Late breaking news from the Lowcountry as News Channel 2's 11 o'clock broadcast discussed what has been old news in the Blogland for over a week - critical assessments by the South Carolna Bar of two Lowcountry judicial candidates: Charleston Magistrate Linda Lombard and attorney Michael DuPree:

The South Carolina Bar Association says out of 46 South Carolina judicial candidates, Charleston magistrate Linda Lombard is the only one considered unqualified to run for office.

She was in the running for a seat on the 9th Circuit Court.

However, after a judicial review committee interview of more than 30 bar members, the opinion was that Lombard lacks the experience and temperment required for position of circuit court judge.

More proof that if you want late-breaking inside news in this state, don't Count on Two, count on us in new media types to bring it to you, and MSM types to bring it to you after it's safe to stick their necks out or we've done their homework for them.

Or both.

This news story focuses upon Lombard's plight, having been the only judicial candidate found not qualified, and only gives passing mention to DuPree, who in spite of a history of attacking police, Bar members citing his volatile temperament and his self-confessed anger management issues ... is somehow still considered qualified.

Given that the 48 page Bar report was quite lengthy (we read it, so we know), we can understand the need for brevity, which is why each candidate was given a rather modest summary. But in the case of the two candidates of whom they were most criticia: Lombard and DuPree, we believe it would have been best if they would have provided more information to support their concerns.

In case you haven't read the report, and need help sleeping at night, click here to see it.

Maybe the whole "right to know" concept is a little radical for them, but in light of the other black eyes our judicial system has taken recently, we believe a little transparency may help provide some much-needed damage control.

We're disappointed they couldn't do better, and we're also disappointed - once again - with the folks in the MSM for either scooping us without giving us due credit, or taking so long to get around to this story.

The most important issue of 2008?

Many of us politicos are working hard to try to understand what is on the minds of voters, as well as how we can best address their concerns.

The friendly folks at The Onion have this late breaking news on the top issues of the upcoming 2008 election:

Changing news media readership

This story from the Public Relations Society of America discusses the changing news-reading habits of American news audiences, showing the continuing shift of audiences from print media to online news sources:

The New York Times stories reported that “circulation declines of American newspapers continued over the spring and summer, as sales across the industry fell almost 3 percent compared with the year before.”

These figures were from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). A “growing shift of readers to the Internet” was blamed for the drop in circulation.

The other story was from Reuters, which reported a Harris Poll revealed that four out of five adults in the United States now go online. According to the survey of 2,062 adults, 79 percent, or about 178 million, spend "an average 11 hours a week on the Internet.”

For those of us who are communicators on the net, these shifts play in our hands, if we're smart enough to see the trends and take full advantage of the opportunities they present.

Click here to read more ... and as always, your thoughts are welcome.

Ad Watch: Giuliani TV spots seek to reach beyond 9/11 role

Three Rudy Guiliani for President TV spots avoid any mention or suggestion of 9/11, instead focusing on his past experience with fiscal, crime, managerial and economic issues, both as Mayor of New York City and as U.S. Attorney General for New York.

While being the public official most closely associated with 9/11 has helped Giuliani's candidacy greatly, it also becomes the bright light which has worked to obstruct the view of other issues the campaign has been trying to highlight with voters who are looking for more reasons to support the candidate.

The ads, "Leadership", "Tested" and "Challenges" work to portray the former New York Mayor as a pragmatic, results-oriented leader:

Kevin DuBrow: Thanks for the rock and roll

It's a sad day in Headbanger Land with the news breaking that Quiet Riot frontman Kevin Dubrow was found dead at his home in Las Vegas yesterday.

I got turned on to Quiet Riot back in middle school. They were loud, agressive, and Dubrow was full of attitude. Riding MTV's rock and roll wave, their major label release, Metal Health, sold over six million copies and became one of the most noted metal albums of the 80s.

The crazy masked and straight-jacketed dude was one of the most-recognized metal mascots, right up there with Iron Maiden's Crazy Eddie and Megadeth's Vic.

After their second album, the underappreciated Condition Critical, they began to stumble and never seemed to really get their footing again, even as other bands pulled back together and started hitting the roads, albeit to much-smaller audiences than their heyday. When I started getting back out to the concert scene the last 3-4 years, they were one of the few bands I never got to catch up with, and I'm sorry I didn't.

There are few who did more to make me metal than Kevin Dubrow and the boys from Quiet Riot. There are more than a few of us out there from those days who might've turned out perfectly average and normal, but thanks to Kevin and company, we're all crazee now.

May his memory be eternal.

Shirley Hinson: Thank You & Good Luck

Since Shirley Hinson’s post-Thanksgiving retirement announcement, a number of people in the blogosphere have asked me for my take on things. So, I'll set aside the books, research journals, and academic writing and get it off my chest ...

My involvement with Shirley goes back quite a while. In 2000, I ran the campaign for her opponent in the GOP run-off. Understandably, she and I were not on good terms for several years afterwards. However, she was gracious and when we were on the same side of an issue, we were able to put first things first and work together. I truly appreciate her willingness to do so.

There are some issues that surround her 2000 race. Those who wish to continue to dwell upon those old issues should take note that she supported Jimmy Hinson for the school board last year, and he supported her for the Senate this year. If they can move on, then so should everyone else.

In recent years, her and I were on the same side in a number of efforts and I’ve been grateful for her assistance. This includes my work last fall to oust several members of the Berkeley County school board who had embraced “alternative funding”, and the Lowcountry Graduate Center.

When she saw an open seat in the Senate as an opportunity to take on a new challenge, she may have been surprised to find me among one of her first and most outspoken supporters, but I was proud to do so. The outcome of that campaign may not have been what she deserved, but I was proud to support her in what has turned out to be her final legislative campaign.

Shirley’s new role at the Lowcountry Graduate Center offers her a great new opportunity. As I am the Vice-Chair of the Communication Department’s Alumni Council at the College of Charleston, which relies on the LGC/North Campus to host our undergrad Corporate Communication major and Master of the Arts program, I can tell you firsthand she’s been a great partner.

Shirley’s new role will allow her to be an even greater asset to the LGC, as well as to better serve the needs of the workforce and business community of the Lowcountry. In this new venture, she can again count on my full support, as well as my best wishes and prayers for success.

Troops: A Star Wars "Cops" parody

This video is a parody of the Cops show, focusing on what took place at the Skywalker home just before the opening of the first Star Wars moive. Special thanks to our friends at the Heartless Libertarian for digging this up.

Green Eggs and Ham

We've received complaints that the Blogland is not providing enough family content these days, and like you, we're really worried about that.

To respond to those criticisms, we've asked the boys from Ludichrist to perform "Green Eggs and Ham", their retelling of the classic Dr. Seuss kids' tale.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all (where's Big Bird?)

After work stops in Bamberg and Columbia, we'll be heading off for our standard three-day Thanksgiving Exile, to study late, sleep even later, as we work to knock out the last of our papers and get ready for finals. Before we vanish and can't be found until sometime Sunday morning, we'd like to wish you and yours a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving ... yes, even you, Rick Beltram.

Be sure to enjoy some time off, get stuffed and remember this important information: don't act like a turkey this holiday season - just eat one.

Studying sounds like a hell of a way to spend the holiday, but it's not like the world is banging on our door or trying to kick it down (at least not until the SWAT team arrives). But on December 6th, at the end of the very last class of grad school - that will be our turn to give thanks to one and all.

Thanks for tuning in and be sure to have a great Thanksgiving. We'll see y'all in a few days.

A good example of a bad PR campaign

Bruce Landis with the Providence (R.I.) Journal brings us an excellent example of a poorly-planned public relations campaign from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, which attempted to hype their recently-completed Interstate 195 relocation project. Their well-intentioned efforts, which aimed to avoid the urban project being associated with the Boston "Big Dig" quagmire, were poorly planned and stumbled in execution, ruining a good opportunity to gain the RIDOT the kind of positive publicity most public agencies would kill for.

To help, we've highlighted the goofs in bold red italics:

DOT spends $500,000 to avoid a ‘Little Dig’
01:00 AM EST on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 by Bruce Landis

Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE — Partly to avoid having its biggest construction project maligned, the state Department of Transportation is spending $500,000 on an energetic public-relations campaign to trumpet the $610-million relocation of part of Route 195 and brand it with the name “Iway.”

The DOT’s campaign had been largely successful, despite massive delays on the stretch’s first evening commute last week — a problem that got progressively better as the week went on.

The DOT called last month “Iway October” in hopes that the project would open then, but it missed by a few days. For the last two years, the agency has issued a multimedia stream of publicity ranging from an “Iway” logo, with arches like those of the new Providence River Bridge, to decks of cards, numerous media events, a slogan (“Yours. Mine. Ours.”), and even promotional podcasts in two languages.

The $500,000, most of it from the federal government, comes to almost $95 per foot of new road.

Why focus a four-year public-relations campaign on attaching a made-up name to a one-mile stretch of highway that’s only a short piece of another, much longer highway?

Fear that people would start calling it something else, in particular the “Little Dig,” a backhanded reference to the Boston highway project. The “Big Dig” capped a history of cost overruns and delays last year, when a woman died because a poorly built tunnel ceiling fell on her car.

“We wanted to name it, and not have somebody else name it something less fortunate,” said Dana Alexander Nolfe, the DOT’s chief public affairs officer. She said she had started hearing “Little Dig” before the DOT launched the Iway campaign almost exactly two years ago.

The contract has cost $186,000 so far, Nolfe said. That includes money spent on numerous efforts other than publicity and “branding” the project, including widely publicized safety information and arrangements for highway closures and detours forced by major construction around and over two interstate highways.

It’s not clear how vigorously or how skillfully the DOT checked the Internet for other Iways. Lately, Nolfe has been swamped with work getting ready for the road’s opening last Sunday, and the ensuing traffic jams.

There are some other “Iways” on the Web.

For instance, there’s the New Delhi, India-based www.iway.com, which claims it has more than 3,300 cyber cafes in more than 150 cities. “Be an iway surfer,” the iway company urges.

There’s also the book, I-Way Robbery: Crime on the Internet.

The DOT is proud of its use of podcasts, which are digital media files intended for download to computers and portable media players. The DOT’s include video, music and narration extolling the virtues of the new highway.

On YouTube, the sprawling video Web site, the DOT’s podcasts are jostling for attention with several using the same name.

For example, the year-old video “Iway Farm” opens with the message, “Die Iway Die.” That Iway is an ax-swinging warrior who battles in the multiplayer role-playing game Guild Wars. He can deflect arrows and has the peculiar habit of carrying pets into battle. The video that starts with “Die, Iway, Die” ends with the message, “This Has Been An Anti Iway Production.”

That’s OK, Nolfe said. “We didn’t expect to be the only ones on the planet with an Iway. It’s new to Rhode Island.”

Responding to the PR campaign, journalists regularly drove up an embankment off Allens Avenue to what must be the most attractive venue for a news conference in Rhode Island — the new Providence River Bridge, with a great view down Providence Harbor. There and in news releases, the DOT has announced things, re-announced them, and sometimes announced its own announcements.

Take the podcasts, for which the DOT says it has been billed $52,202 so far.

In mid-September, the DOT announced a “premiere showing” Oct. 1 of a dozen podcasts, which would be released in English and Spanish, promoting the new section of highway.

On Oct. 1, it announced that the podcasts would be released, four at a time, during the following three weeks. DOT Director Jerome F. Williams was quoted saying, “This is an exciting time for RIDOT.”

In an otherwise-undated October memo on its Web site, the DOT announced that “RIDOT Enters the Age of New Media,” and explained that podcasts are not “just for 20-somethings.”

In fact, it said, “Many of our parents and even grandparents own computers and media players.”

On Oct. 9, the DOT announced that it had “launched a series of 12 bilingual Iway podcasts last week,” and that podcasts numbers three and four were released that day. Williams was quoted saying the podcasts “break new ground for Rhode Island.”

On Oct. 15, the DOT announced that it had now issued all 12 podcasts, with the last four going out that day.

The campaign is part of a contract with Duffy & Shanley, the Providence advertising, marketing and public-relations firm whose founding partner, David A. Duffy, has been a political ally of Governor Carcieri. The governor made Duffy head of his transition team in 2002 and later appointed him to the state Convention Center Authority.

The contract runs through October 2008, with an option to renew for a fifth year. Included in the contract is what the DOT describes as “branding.” In a memo, the agency cast branding in advertising terms, saying it “creates a measure of consumer awareness for a product” and will “positively position the project with the public,” in the process creating a “valuable asset for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.”

As for “Iway,” the memo said, “The name is simple, clear, and most importantly … memorable.”

The DOT’s original goal, avoiding the nickname “Little Dig,” has been a smashing success. There are tens of thousands of references to “little dig” on the Web, but most of them are about being snarky, and only a tiny number about construction in Providence.

The DOT has done even better in the pages of The Providence Journal, with just two references to “Little Dig,” one in February in a real estate section “neighborhood of the week” article about Fox Point, and another one-sentence reference in a column the same month.

“That’s great,” Nolfe said. “I’ve done my job.”

On the other hand, using the name “Iway” set the DOT up for something that could be worse. After a few of the miles-long backups triggered by the new highway’s opening, one commuter coined a play on words that fit easily in a newspaper headline: “Iwait.”

Slugging through judicial qualifications

At the end of last week, the South Carolina Bar Association published its assessments of those who intend to seek election by the General Assembly to fill seats in our state’s courts once the Legislature reconvenes in January.

You can see them for yourself at http://www.scbar.org/pdf/JQCNov07.pdf. But be warned, it’s a lot of reading.

Overall, we thought they seemed pretty much on the up-and-up, but some elaboration wouldn’t have hurt. Each judicial candidate’s background and qualifications were discussed, but only in two paragraph summaries. While each write-up gave a pretty good idea most of these people were pretty smart people with decent legal careers, it would have been nice to see more of the considerable feedback that helped guide their judgments as to how fit candidates really were to serve.

We did think they were being a bit unfair to two candidates, Judge Russo, who presently sits on the 12th at-large Circuit Court seat and is seeking another term, and Betsy Burton, who is seeking Seat 2 of the Family Court in the Sixth Circuit. They mentioned both candidates had their law licenses suspended for failure to pay bar fees, but that both matters had been resolved … so why bring those issues up at all?

Linda Lombard, currently a Magistrate in Charleston County, former Chair of Charleston County Council, and a long-time figure in Lowcountry government and politics, was the only candidate found unqualified for the job she was seeking: the 13th at-large Circuit Court seat:

During phone interviews, most members of the Bar expressed concerns about Judge Lombard’s temperament and experience. When questioned about these concerns, Judge Lombard denied any problems. Based upon the information and the interview, Judge Lombard lacks the experience and the temperament required for the position of Circuit Court Judge. Based on the information and the interview, the Committee reports that it is the collective opinion that the candidate is not qualified to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.

To be fair, we certainly would have liked to have seen a transcript or maybe sampling of some of those remarks made about her by interviewees. Especially in light of her long record of public service, including as a Magistrate.

While each of the three above cases were somewhat puzzling, the one finding that made us want to reach for our drug-test kits and check a few members of the Bar out was their finding that DuPree, a Charleston attorney, seeking the open Circuit Court seat in the Ninth Circuit, was somehow “qualified”:

Several members of the Bar raised questions about Mr. DuPree’s temperament. The Committee questioned Mr. DuPree about his temperament, and he candidly admitted that he can easily lose his temper. He does not believe that this will affect his ability to be a judge. Based on the information and interview, the Committee reports that it is the collective opinion that the candidate is qualified to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.

As we ponder Mr. DuPree’s claims that his temperament issues won’t affect his ability to serve as a judge, we have to wonder how hitting cops might affect his ability to serve:

Dupree struggled with police officers who tried to arrest him at the hotel after they responded to a report of a fight, according to a police report. Hotel security workers told police DuPree had argued with his wife and then fought with two men who tried to intervene, police said.

- Charleston Post & Courier, October 21, 2003

While DuPree admitted fighting with the cops, his excuse was rather lamely based upon “the fact that DuPree got into a fistfight before his Oct. 5 arrest at the Charleston Riverview Hotel on Lockwood Drive”.

An attorney getting off the hook for fighting with cops? Only in a world where well-connected attorneys are fit to judge themselves. The Blogland is willing to bet that if most of our readers took a shot at a cop, the charges wouldn’t be dropped.

In light of this history of conduct towards law enforcement officers, as well as showing how short a fuse the guy has, we believe that DuPree’s temperament is indeed relevant to the issue of his qualifications.

In the wake of the much-discussed Bar Exam grading mess, we can’t help but wonder what is going on. If you are too, please feel free to speak up – we’d love to hear from you.

Graduate school survey on CNN & Fox

A fellow graduate student is doing a survey of news media consumers for her class in Media Management. Bryn is a hard-working student that I have enjoyed working with, so if you could take a few minutes to respond to this survey and email the results to her at bryn_burkard@yahoo.com, I'd greatly appreciate it:

COMM 507: News Survey

1.) Age: ____________

2.) Gender: ____________

3.) Annual Household Income: (Please Select One)
Less than $25,000
$25,000 - $49,999
$50,000 - $99,999
$100,000 - $149,999
$150,000 - $199,999
More than $200,000
Prefer Not to Disclose

4.) Please indicate your Political Party Affiliation (if any). Please Select the Best Option.
Don’t Know/Don’t Care
Not a Registered Voter

5.) Please indicate if you participated/voted in the last General Election: YES NO

6.) Please indicate how likely you are to vote in the upcoming National Election:
(1=definitely will not; 7=definitely will)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

7.) Approximately how much time (minutes/day) do you typically spend following National News? _______

8.) How frequently do you obtain news from the following source(s):

Internet News sites Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always
Newspaper Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always
Television Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always
Radio Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always
Other Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

9.) Do you watch FOX News, or read FOX News on-line? YES NO

If yes, please indicate how frequently:
Several Times/Day Daily Occasionally (once/week) Rarely (once/month)

10.) Do you associate FOX NEWS with a specific political party affiliation? YES NO

If yes, please indicate the political party: ______________________

On a scale of 1 - 7, how strongly do you associate FOX News with this political party?
(1=weakly; 7=extremely strong)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

11.) Do you watch CNN, or read CNN News on line? YES NO

If yes, please indicate how frequently:
Several Times/Day Daily Occasionally (once/week) Rarely (once/month)

12.) Do you associate CNN with a specific political party affiliation? YES NO

If yes, please indicate the political party: ______________________

On a scale of 1 - 7, how strongly do you associate CNN News with this political party?
(1=weakly; 7=extremely strong)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

All survey responses will be kept confidential. Thanks again for helping her out!

McCain looks to fall campaign with Health Care reform

If GOP Presidential candidate John McCain was struggling to stay in the race for the GOP nomination, one couldn’t tell that in Wednesday’s blogger-only tele-conference. Confident, focused, and thoughtful, the Arizona senator took on questions from bloggers across the country.

Looking beyond the GOP primary season, McCain worked to define himself clearly on the issue of health care reform with his audience. While the issue of health care rates relatively low with GOP primary voters in polling, it is a top issue among independent and Democratic voters. Being able to appeal to these voters on a key swing issue will be crucial for GOP victory in a fall election where fewer voters identify themselves as Republicans than in recent years, and overall enthusiasm among the GOP voter base remains low.

Fielding questions from bloggers across the country, he contrasted his plan from that of Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination:

One of the major issues is the difference between my approach and Hillary Clinton’s approach on health care.

These differences were defined as focusing on working to control health care costs and work to rein in those factors he felt were responsible for those increases, as well as make sure that health care costs are affordable so it is able to everyone.

"I believe that we need more choices and access, not more government programs," he said, alleging that government intervention was not the answer. "Are we going to be more and more like France while President Sarkozy is trying to dismantle what has hurt the French economy?"

McCain was concerned about the potential impact of these programs on the size of the federal budget. "When I see all these proposals out there, my question is who pays?", he asked. "We continue to create these things which are basically unfunded liabilities for future generations."

Campaign representative B.J. Boling pointed me to the McCain health care information webpage: http://johnmccain.com/healthcare/

Our special thanks to B.J. Boling with the McCain campaign for the invite.

What makes Fred Thompson so different?

This story in The Onion about Fred Thompson was so good I had to share it with my readers:

My fellow Americans, in the coming presidential election, the voters of this nation will plot a course for the future. There are many candidates, each of whom brings a different vision of that future. But only one has the conviction and strength to lead this great country. Only one is a popular television and film actor ready to face the challenges of the 21st century head-on. And, most importantly, there is only one candidate with a bombshell trophy wife nearly a quarter-century younger than himself.

Click here to read the full story

Breaking news/Cultivation update #4

My paper on my recent research on Cultivation Theory , which examined how television advertising influenced the beliefs and behaviors of audiences, was accepted for presentation at an upcoming academic conference:

I'm pleased to inform you that your Political Communication paper has been accepted for presentation at the Southern States Communication Association's 78th Annual Convention in Savannah, Ga. The convention will be held April 2 - 6, 2008, at the Hyatt Regency Savannah.

Registration and attendance is expected for all presenting authors and panelists. For more information about registration, membership, hotel rates, and other convention information, please visit the SSCA Web site at http://ssca.net.

A tentative convention schedule should be available at the upcoming NCA convention.

Thanks for your participation.

We look forward to seeing you in Savannah!

This makes my Monday a rather good day!

Deep doo-doo in Kershaw County?

Over the years, we've seen a lot in the world of South Carolina politics, but the story that one of our readers brought to us really ... well, we found it more than a little hard to believe until we followed the news links that were provided to us.

It appears that in a political tug-of-war in Kershaw County over the county's sewer system, the s*** has hit the fan ... or at least it poured out onto the ground.

Figuring this s*** out, however, is proving somewhat problematic for Kershaw County leaders, after the county administrator was arrested for filing a false report, alleging that several others, including a member of County Council, had released sewage at several pump stations to create the impression there were problems with the county's sewer system.

According to The State, this kind of s*** hasn't been seen before in their county, so puzzled county council members are going to let the Sheriff's Office check this s*** out further before taking any action. To be honest, we're sort of at a loss for words ourselves about this one.

This is the kind of s*** you just don't hear every day, not even in South Carolina. Since we don't quite know what to make of it, we're curious to know what you, our loyal readers, think about this s***?

Is the Internet destroying political discourse?

Some thoughts from the website of the Public Relations Society of America about the impact of the internet upon political discourse:

Our country’s political discourse is fracturing in the information age, says University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein, author of the book Republic.com 2.0, an update of his 2001 Republic.com. As Salon.com writes, Sunstein acknowledges that the Internet has benefited democracy in many ways, but argues that if new technology gives us unprecedented access to information, it also provides more ways to avoid information we don’t like and that makes our views more extreme.

To read more, click here.

Your thoughts ... ?

Inside Interview: Kristi Harrington

For the long-awaited resumption of our Inside Interview series, we wanted to mix things up a little bit by looking beyond the usual politicos and taking a look at some of those who seldom get recognized for what they do. This week, our guest is Kristi Harrington, a Deputy Solicitor in Berkeley County.

Why her? For starters, prosecutors work hard. She’s worked in the area of Internet predators, which my father did before he retired from the City of Charleston PD. She’s also a single parent, like myself, who successfully juggles work and her responsibilities to her home.

For those of y'all who don't know, being a single parent is a lot like being married: you have to work, be a parent, and be generally super-responsible. The differences are that you sleep alone at night, and when life gets tough, there’s nobody to back you up or lean on.

My first discussions with her took place on a late Sunday evening, after she’d spent all day at her office, working on cases. That’s dedication, and when you’re the only parent on the home front, a hell of a tough juggling act.

Kristi is a Francis Marion alum who got her law degree at the University of Tulsa. While others went into more lucrative legal professions, her career has been spent as a prosecutor, and she’s also worked as an adjunct professor. This is someone to whom serving others is a passion, and our hats are off to her.

So, like all the other suckers we’ve interviewed, we’re gonna throw some questions at her, and see what she throws back at us:

Tell us, in one paragraph, what made you consider law school?

Because I couldn’t stand the smell of the Gross Anatomy Lab ... in all seriousness, I remember when Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed. It was that day that I decided I wanted to be a judge and to be a judge, you do have to go to law school. I had been surrounded by the law from a young age. My uncle was a Charleston County Deputy and my dad is an attorney. I love to read, immersing myself in law books in my dad’s office. I remember writing a brief and a Motion to demand my father pay me for working in his office: I was 12 years old. The rest is history.

In the next paragraph, tell us why you’ve made your career as a prosecutor?

I started in the DA’s office in Tulsa my first summer of law school. By my second year, I was trying felony jury trials as I was fortunate enough to be involved in the legal internship program. It was then that I realized the thrill and satisfaction of being a prosecutor. Once you experience the adrenaline of jury trials, there is no other occupation that gives as much exhilaration as being in the courtroom.

Most people don’t realize how much private attorneys make, compared to prosecutors. With your experience, you could be making double, triple, or more in private practice? What are the rewards for you?

I cannot easily convey the job satisfaction that I have. How do you put a monetary value on sending a child molester to prison? How do you value the cost of innocence to that child? The ‘rewards’ to me are invaluable. I recently had a discussion with a learned judge. I stated that a prosecutor always gets to do the right thing, whether the right thing is prison or a dismissal. Fortunately, he agreed with me. A prosecutor wields substantial power and must understand that in dealing with all cases. Car wrecks are easily settled, but decisions in my job can literally cost someone his or her life.

From one single parent to another – how do you juggle all the balls of being a parent and working such a consuming job, as well as being active in your community.

I am often asked this question, sometimes not so politely. My first response is I did not choose this, but I did take control of the situation. I feel that having a career makes me a better mother. Being able to provide financially is a necessity, and I feel that balancing work and family gives my son a positive role model. I have to be extremely organized and adept at multi-tasking. I often read cases sitting in the stands while my son practices football. I usually eat lunch at my desk so I can get everything accomplished at work that day. I get up early to make breakfast (my pancakes are legendary) and do a load of laundry. It is not always a piece of cake, but, somehow it all gets done…And, I like to think done well.

Last but not least, your favorite band and/or album of all time is … ?

I don’t have a favorite only because I truly do love all types of music. My musical collection ranges from Abba to Zepplin. Dependent upon my mood, I may need to hear Justin Timberlake (did I hear you groan, Earl) or Mozart. My closest friends would say that Kung Fu Fighting is my “theme song”, but my car CD player is full of Stevie Nicks.

If you'd like to get in touch with Kristi, click here to email her.

Congrats to the Ryberg family

In addition to giving Aiken County Senator Greg Ryberg a new Republican partner on his home county's Senatorial delegation, it was also a good night for the his family. It appears that Ryberg's daughter, Amy, won a race for City Council there, taking the seat being vacated by fellow Republican Deb Sofield.

Congratuations to the Ryberg family, and good luck Amy.

Congratulatons to Senator Massey

In what has been a race with an amazingly-high level of turnout, Republican Shane Massey has won his State Senate bid with a 51/49 victory over Democratic State Representative Bill Clyburn.

While we expected Clyburn, with his established resume and national Democratic connections, to do well, we didn't expect the race to be THIS close. The 14,000 voters who turned out was a testament to both candidates doing all they could to win this one. But Massey, the underdog for much of the race, again pulled it off.

We congratulate Shane Massey, wish him well in the State Senate, and look forward to seeing him keep his promise to shake things up in Columbia.

October 2007: The Month in Review

The Blogland passed the 600th posting mark, and from the looks of it, we're not slowing down, and we're taking no prisoners. So what happened in the Blogland during the month of October?

The Megadeth concert in Myrtle Beach was a kick-ass show. One of the best seen in years of concerts, without a doubt.

We dug into our pockets and bought some great books and CDs online and made it a great month for thsoe readers who won our ROCKtober prize drawings:

  • Mike Reino, at SC6, who was the first to correctly "name that Nazi",
  • Dawber 71, who we still don't know who this person is, whose suggestion of Motley Crue's "Stick to your Guns" was our favorite pick for the Blogland soundtrack album, and
  • Brian McCarty, at Voting under the Influence, who won our random drawing for the remaining prize packages.
... to our winners, we hope you enjoy the great reading and listening. We wouldn't be who we are, except for people like you ... who tune in even though they think we're freakin' nuts.

Our call for reader recommendations for a Blogland soundtrack album fizzled, with only a handful of recommendations made - but we're still taking your recommendations, so get 'em in there.

My company's highway widening project in Bamberg is wrapping up, and we're still looking for eight flag poles to be donated, or for $2-3K worth of donations to buy them outright. US Group, the Town, and some of our subcontractors and suppliers are donating materials and labor to build a small park around the memorial which we intend to refurbish.

Shane Massey had a pretty good month, stunning the state with his 2-1 win in the GOP run-off. We hope November gives him the win, and we've loudly and proudly endorsed the guy. As to be expected, our readers had plenty to say about his candidacy.

Last, but not least, it was a great (or terrible) month to be Rick Beltram, who seemed to be on his way to becoming the most-discussed person in the Blogland, thanks to a series of statements which we found to be deceptive, threatening, and even highly amusing. Many of postings that made our ten most read or discussed for the month of October talked about our buddy Rick. The guy may not be a rocket scientist, but when we talk about him, people tune in and our readership goes up, so maybe he's good for something after all?

But who cares about what Rick Beltram thinks (a lot of the Republicans I talked with in Spartanburg don't)? What matters is what you, our loyal fans think, as shown by the postings you read and discussed during the month of October, and looks like you did a lot of that.

Here are October's ten most-read postings (9 of 10 are political, 4 about Rick Beltram):

1) "I'll Huff, and I'll Puff, and I'll ... "
2) Hanging Rick Beltram with his own words
3) Rick Beltram's facist outlook out of step with GOP?
4) Challenging Republicans?
5) GOP Run-off in Senate 25 special election today
6) College costs up in South Carolina - yep, more crybabies
7) Cleaning up political campaign discourse?
8) We support Shane Massey for the Senate

9) Blogland Contest: Adolf of the Upstate?
10) Please help us finish a veteran's memorial in Bamberg

Here are October's ten most-discussed postings (7 of 10 are political, 4 about Rick Beltram):

1) Blogland Contest: Adolf of the Upstate?
2) Challenging Republicans?
3) Rick Beltram's facist outlook out of step with GOP?
4) Blogland, the Soundtrack album?
5) First ROCKtober prize winner
6) Good morning Kansas
7) Massey wins GOP runoff in District 25
8) "I'll Huff, and I'll Puff, and I'll ... "
9) GOP Run-off in Senate 25 special election today
10) College costs up in South Carolina - yep, more crybabies

As always, thanks for tuning in and be sure to keep coming back for more. After all, here in the Blogland we're not just TALKIN' politics, we're ROCKIN' politics in the Palmetto State.

Can Rudy help fight vandals in Orangeburg County?

Boneparte watched as members of the county administration and sheriff's office made the symbolic effort Monday to clean graffiti from a bridge within a hundred yards of Boneparte's front porch.

The main effort is to begin Saturday when deputies converge on the bridge armed with paint remover, scrub brushes and trash bags to attack the spray-painted stars, gang initials and fast-food bags that litter the roadway.

Tired of the talk of gangs, Boneparte said she'd help officers clean up the area at the Middle Pen Road bridge. Impressive, her gesture. More impressive, perhaps, considering she's a third-grader at a local elementary school.

To help with this, we'd like to share an initiative waged by Rudy Giuliani when he was Mayor of New York City in a video that we originally showed back in the spring:

Vote for the UFO guy for Mayor of Bowman

It looks like Jody Pendarvis, the guy who built and operates the UFO Welcome Center in Bowman, is running for Mayor of the town on Tuesday.

We at the Blogland are proud to endorse a man with such ... out-of-this-world vision(?) ... for such an important office. We wish him and his tourist-friendly agenda for Bowman the best of luck, should he win on Tuesday.

If elected, he might do great things for the town ... and if his efforts pay off, either Bowman will be the site of the first contact with alien beings, or the first place they blast off the map when they invade. Either way, if anyone can put Bowman first at anything, it's this guy.

Don't laugh ... in looking at how this state is run, how could he do any worse?

The knives come out in Beaufort County

The day after Halloween, the Blogland brings you rumored tales of revenge and eerie whispers of scores to settle ...

This year’s chain-reaction special elections in Beaufort County in which Catherine Ceips won her bid to replace former Senator Scott Richardson, and then Shannon Erickson filled Ceips’ House seat were unusual, especially with a total of five legislative special elections in the Lowcountry and Midlands.

No sooner than the dust has settled from the Beaufort special elections do our loyal supporters report that knives are already being sharpened anew for what may be an all-out political war across Beaufort County in next spring’s GOP primaries.

Sources close to the Blogland report that several people are considering running against Senator Ceips, including:

  • Tom Davis, Governor Sanford’s Chief of Staff,
  • Weston Newton, who lost in a close GOP run-off for the Senate to Ceips in the spring, and
  • Tom Taylor, who ran a strong third place in the special GOP primary.
To add to this, some Hilton Head politicos are reportedly working to find another challenger, even though it's hard to imagine where a fifth candidate could fit into a race like this.

If Davis gets in, with the support of the Governor’s political allies, as well as Newtown and Taylor, this race could get red-hot and quick. If others join the fray, even more so. While Ceips is a tenacious campaigner and aggressive with constituent relations, facing two or more opponents will be a heck of a fight.

There are also reports of a pending rematch between Representative Chalk and former County Council member Starletta Hairston. Given Chalk’s abysmal fundraising and poor showing in his special Senate GOP primary bid last spring, this race could be one to watch. For Ceips, having Chalk, who supported her in the GOP run-off, tied up in his own re-election battle can’t help her own re-election bid ... which might be one reason why this is happening.

Meanwhile, Representative Erickson’s district, Ceips’ former turf, is relatively quiet, with her having just won over two token write-in efforts, including by Bates supporters. Her political honeymoon may give her a free ride in the spring, but time will tell on this one.

Reports claim that some of Erickson's supporters haven’t forgiven Ceips’ support of Randy Bates against Erickson. It's easy to understand that the unsanctioned write-in campaign launched by Bates' supporters hasn't helped heal those wounds.

Given that Erickson represents many of the areas which were key to Ceips’ run-off victory, those disgruntled Erickson supporters could inflict serious damage upon Ceips’ re-election prospects. If Erickson runs unopposed in the spring, but Ceips has opposition, it's hard to imagine them missing out on a chance to settle scores.

While some of her supporters may be sharpening the blades, Erickson herself indicated that her and Ceips were going to work together and put the race behind them, and every indication we have received points to the both of them working to co-exist peacefully. We take Erickson at her word, and suspect that both of these ladies will be too busy getting re-elected to worry about the other.

One can certainly ask if this points to a county-wide shoot-out between Ceips’ supporters and her opponents. With four months to go before filing begins, it will be interesting to see what happens in the spring.

Stay tuned, this could get interesting …