Free Notary Public training seminars

One thing South Carolina has a lot of is notary publics (including us). While most of us rarely use our status as notaries, it's not a bad idea to have good understanding of the laws, requirements, responsibilities, etc. that we need to keep in mind.

To help us out, the swell folks at the Secretary of State's office is holding a series of free seminars around the state for current notaries, as well as those who may want to become notaries:

Secretary of State Mark Hammond is offering free notary public seminars July 10, 2008 through October 2, 2008 for all current South Carolina notaries public and those interested in becoming a notary public. The seminars will address state laws governing notaries, notary responsibility and liability, and penalties.

Registration at all seminars will begin at 5:30 pm. The seminars will begin at 6:00 pm and the course will conclude by 7:30 pm. Contact Pat Hamby of the Secretary of State’s Office at (803) 734-2512 or to pre-register.

Doug Smith's parting shot

After sixteen years, many of them as Speaker Pro Tem, Spartanburg's State Rep. Doug Smith is hanging it up and going home. We know it's not easy juggling family, work, and legislative service, and he's done it longer than most House members.

His departure, along with the upset of Rep. Bob Walker, who chaired the Education and Public Works Committee, as well as the retirement of John Hawkins, who also had over a decade of legislative service, will cost the county a lot of seniority. While in the House, length of service isn't everything, it is in the Senate.

It will be interesting to see the real impact of losing two House big dogs and two Senators all at the same time when next year's session gets rolling.

Back to Doug Smith ... his op-ed that ran in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal takes a strong shot at our favorite Spartanburg Republican, Rick Beltram:

I was never guaranteed my seat, nor did I ever expect the party chairman to protect or cover me if I had faced a primary. Once I was in office, however, I did expect the chairman to defend his local Republican elected officials - an expectation Beltram, as chairman, has consistently failed to meet.

Most know Beltram as a self-absorbed media hound who has never met a news release he wouldn't release. It is a pity hardworking Republicans have had to work in the shadow of someone who either doesn't understand the damage he does to our party, or doesn't care, or both.

A portrait of Ronald Reagan hangs in the S.C. House Chamber because of a resolution that I prepared and sponsored. I am normally a believer in Reagan's commandment not to speak ill of a fellow Republican, but when it comes to an extreme case like our local Republican chairman, someone finally has to speak the truth.


Watch out for farm tractors

One of the most important things to the Blogland is safety. We're grateful for our readers and want you to keep coming back every day, safe and sound.

This time of year, especially in rural areas, there's a lot of farm equipment on the road, and we join Hugh Weathers, our Commissioner of Agriculture, in urging you to be careful out there:

Hugh E. Weathers, South Carolina’s Commissioner of Agriculture, urges drivers to use caution when driving near tractors and other large farm equipment on the highways around the state.

Each spring and summer there is an increase of tractors and other large farm machines that travel South Carolina’s back roads as farmers work their fields. Every year there are collisions involving farm equipment and vehicles across the state and the Department of Agriculture encourages everyone to drive with care as they approach any farm machine on the road.

“Tractors and combines on the roads are a part of South Carolina,” Weathers said. “I urge all drivers to slow down, be patient behind large tractors that may be driving slowly, and pass with care.”

Supreme Court upholds Second Amendment, overturns DC gun ban

For those of you who are just tuning in, in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, a majority opinion of the Supreme Court overturned a handgun prohibition law, essentially ruling gun bans unconstitutional.

If you'd like to read the ruling, click here.

Ruling on the side of our constitutional liberties were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The majority opinion was penned by Scalia:

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.

The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home," Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington's requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks or kept disassembled, but left intact the licensing of guns.

Scalia noted that the handgun is Americans' preferred weapon of self-defense in part because "it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police."

- Yahoo/AP

Inside Interview: Phillip Lowe

Our Inside Interview this week takes a look at State Representative Phillip Lowe, who holds the Pee Dee region's House District 60, which reaches from the outskirts of Sumter up to the west side of Florence, roughly following U.S. Highway 76 (does one get their kicks on that Route as well?). He's a Republican who resides in Florence County, and is finishing his first term. He was elected with 60% of the vote to succeed retiring Republican Marty Coates.

1) How did you get into politics?

From an early age I have chosen to get involved in matters that interest me. From college days of class president to community involvement and serving boards of directors, I am know as someone who enjoys leading and solving problems.

In 2004 I came to the State house follow a bill from that would have effected my profession of physical therapy. I knew then, I wanted to become more involved.

When my representative decided to retire, community leaders and the Republican party approached me to run. After consultation with my friends and family, who unanimously advised me to not run, I did it anyway.

2) In looking back at your first two years, what would you say you've done to add value to the State House?

Several times I have looked up at the voting board and realized that I cast the one extra we needed to prevail. Freshman make the most difference in sub-committee where the details on bills are worked out.

Specifically, I worked hard on the small business health insurance premiums, immigration, prompt pay, DUI, and new hunting and fishing laws and several environmental bills.

3) Of the House seats in the state, yours is probably the most Democratic one which is held by a Republican. What do you learn about being a candidate and/or legislator in such a district that someone might not in a more Republican district?

My district is a blend of suburban and rural areas encompassing 700 square miles of Florence and Sumter Counties. Republicans from the larger cities generally do not have the same types of problems as my district. While some folks are securing funds for new museums and fine arts centers, I am trying to get the basic needs like sewer, water and libraries for my citizens.

Parts of South Carolina have a growing tax base with fine schools while small towns suffer from declining revenues, an aging population, dilapidated infrastructure, and failing schools.

Rural SC has a different set of problems that are largely ignored. As conservative as I am on spending, stopping growth of government, and reducing taxes, I still must represent my district and address basic human needs.

4) What do you see as the biggest challenges that you'd like to work on in your next term?

  • Job and Economic Growth
  • Educational Funding
  • Health Care
  • Protection of Family Values
  • Tax Reduction
  • Roads and Infrastructure
5) In the Blogland, we love our music. Tell us your favorite artist and/or album.

Old time is the Eagles and Skynyrd and Zeppelin

Today Three Doors Down, Match Box 20, Train, or anything Live

House leadership vacancies - the second shootout?

Make no mistake about it - this spring was a political shootout at the OK Corral, for control of the Legislature. Even though the dust is just beginning to settle from those races, the next shootout is about to begin.

One gang - the Governor, his legislative allies and special interest groups - fought it out with the other Republican "gang" of legislators. Many of the casualties were first and second term legislators, such as Catherine Ceips, Heyward Hutson, and Randy Scott, who hadn't secured their political bases. While the Governor's people scored some wins, a lot of the seats targeted by the Governor and his allies didn't go their way.

The next shootout between the two camps will be in the upcoming races for a whole pack of open House leadership slots, in which many of the candidates are either allies of the Governor or those who were unsuccessfully targeted by the Governor's crowd. In fact, we don't think we've seen this much turnover at the same time since the GOP took over the House after the 1994 elections.

We’re going to look at what’s open and who’s running – and see what you, our readers, have to say:

MAJORITY LEADER: Jim Merrill has been many of the things a Majority Leader should be – articulate, charismatic, and politically savvy. His decision to step down from this post has opened up a hotly contested race to succeed him: Mike Pitts from Laurens County, a retired police officer who is the star of Second Amendment advocates, Kenny Bingham from Lexington County, and Alan Clemmons from Horry County.

We jokingly dubbed Clemmons “The Waterboy” at this year’s GOP convention, but he’s a prodigious fundraiser, having run one of the first $100K House races ever run. His fundraising prowess could make him a strong asset to the House Republican leadership. Plus we appreciate his work ethic, as shown by his willingness to hit the convention floor, passing out water bottles to delegates.

Ok, we apologize for the bad joke there ... Clemmons is the guy on the left.

ASSISTANT MAJORITY LEADER: This seat is also opening up. We see a two-way race at present, between Florence second-termer Kris Crawford and Bruce Bannister, who surprised political observers by winning the Greenville County House seat that was vacated when former House Speaker accepted the prestigious ambassadorship to Canada. Crawford is seen as the Sanford ally in this race. Now the two are going to see who can get on the fast-track for even higher leadership slots.

LCI CHAIRMAN: Current Chair Harry Cato, from Greenville County, is moving up in what seems to be an uncontested bid for Speaker Pro Tempore, which opens up a three-way race between Lexington Rep. Nikki Haley, ranking committee member Oconee Rep. Bill Sandifer, and Charleston Rep. Wallace Scarborough.

Sandifer turned back a well-funded challenge from the Governor's allies, while Haley is well-known to be a strong Sanford ally. Scarborough is seen as somewhere in between the two, but faces what is expected to be a strong re-election challenge which he will have to win before he can seek the slot.

EDUCATION AND PUBLIC WORKS CHAIRMAN: Initially this race was intended to be a showdown between Bob Walker and Ted Pitts from Lexington County. But the 19 people who gave Walker’s challenger an upset win in the GOP primary changed that, and the race is now a four-way affair.

While Pitts may have been an early post-Walker favorite, he has been identified as the candidate most closely aligned with Governor Sanford, which we were told has cost him some support. In the realigned open race, B.R. Skelton and Bill Whitmire, both of whom survived well-funded attacks by Governor Sanford’s allies in the recent GOP primaries, have also begun testing the waters.

The wild card in this race is Mike Anthony, a Union County Democrat who is well-liked by Republicans. Keep in mind this committee had a Democratic chair even after the GOP took over the House in 1994.

It would seem that should any of the candidates than Pitts become the next Education chair, it would be a stinging and costly rebuke for the Governor’s crowd, who invested a small fortune to knock Walker off in hopes of getting a more friendly leader of that committee.

AGRICULTURE CHAIRMAN: For some, Green Acres may be the place to be. For others, the place to be is the chairmans's seat on the House Agriculture Committee.

The current holder, Bill Witherspoon from Horry County, is retiring, and a three-way races is developing for the job. Dwight Loftis from Greenville County seems to have a good shot at the seat, having been in the House since 1996, as compared to Jeff Duncan from Laurens County, who was elected in '02 and Nelson Hardwick from Horry County, who will be starting his second term in the House.

We did have someone offer us $20 to say nice things about Jeff Duncan. He seems to be a nice enough guy, but come on, we don't take payoffs here. Just free beer.

YOUR TURN … what do YOU think? Sound off in the comments section. We’d love to hear what you’ve heard, or what you think of the candidates and our analysis of these developing leadership races.

2008 runoff recap

We called it right in all three of our Senate guesses – Jakie Knotts won by a bigger margin than expected, Ritchie got slaughtered, and Lee Bright pulled off a close victory, building on his strong 2004 challenge to John Hawkins. All three Senators have our congratulations for jobs well done in their candidacies.

Dee Compton, the GOP nominee for the Greenwood-area Senate seat being vacated by John Drummond, has our congratulations for his 2-to-1 runoff victory and our best wishes for what will be a tough fight this fall.

SCRG came up short in its efforts to pick up extra House seats with Tom Young winning the Aiken House seat and David Herndon in the Midlands. One has to wonder if Herndon won’t be facing a petition candidacy from the local perennial loser. We understand Rep-elect Tom Young is a friend of the folks over at Voting under the Influence.

Since many of their House candidates failed to win, one has to wonder if the SCRG’s high-dollar game plan of pouring in massive barrages of phone and mail will be reconsidered in favor of other approaches.

As further vindication of the theory that hard work and grassroots work trumps the big boys and big bucks … in the Democratic race for House Seat 111, being vacated by Floyd Breeland (a really nice guy), Wendell Gaillard, a Charleston City Council member and union leader, pulled off a win in the runoff against primary frontrunner and Clyburn staffer Clay Middleton. Wendell isn’t the most polished guy, but he’s a straight-shooter with a good heart.

Other winners on the Democratic side … Williamsburg Rep. Ken Kennedy, Rep. Creighton Coleman advances to the general election to replace retiring Senator Linda Short, and Rep. Curtis Brantley survived a primary challenge from the guy he booted from the seat two years ago … a race where the Black Caucus backed the white challenger over the black incumbent.

Our State Senate Runoff picks: Knotts, Martin, and a Toss-up

We’ve been sitting back, doing a little traveling, watching a lot of movies, and watching the runoff races boil in the Upstate and Midlands as three Senate races – one open seat and two incumbents – have turned into all-out wars. For those of you who care what we think (but never just take our word for anything, it’d be like taking candy from strangers), here’s our Senate Run-off picks:

Knotts wins in Lexington County:

Two weeks ago, a lot of people were expecting Katrina Shealy to continue building momentum into the second round of voting in this race. Indeed, we believe that if the run-off vote had been held in the first 48 hours after the primary, Knotts would have lost.

Shealy's primary campaign seemed to run smoothly, aided by tons of outside money and a well-focused message which challenged years of Knotts' attacks on the Governor and his bull-in-the-china-shop approach to politics. However, the dynamics of the race seemed to have changed as Knotts has – at long last - begun to get some lucky breaks. The first of these was when the third-place primary candidate, who everyone expected to come out for Shealy, ended up giving a surprise endorsement to Knotts.

While Governor Sanford and Senator DeMint came out for Shealy, Knotts received the endorsement of Congressman Joe Wilson, the numero uno Republican in Lexington County politics, along with Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, whose support among the core GOP voters who will comprise much of the run-off turnout, has always been strong. We’re betting that Wilson and Bauer beat Sanford and DeMint when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of run-off voters. Especially as poorly as the Governor fared in his re-election primary in Lexington County.

The last weekend, a number of legislators who had survived knock-off attempts by the Governor’s allies were sighted walking and making calls for Knotts. No doubt they were eager to see the Governor lose his most high-profile runoff fight, right in his backyard.

In the race which will give the winning side tremendous bragging rights, we expect that Jakie Knotts will win re-election, and might just win it by more than a couple of points.

Martin trounces Ritchie in Spartanburg:

A year or so back, when Senator Jim Ritchie began testing the waters for a possible statewide candidacy, he should have considered how it would be received back home. Two strong challengers came out of the woodwork, hoping Ritchie would not be seeking re-election, and a lot of voters didn’t believe he would be sticking around for an entire term, if re-elected. So almost two-thirds of them voted for Ritchie’s challengers. So many that Ritchie finished a distant second and came within a few dozen votes of seeing Shane Martin knock him out in the first round.

This round won’t even be close. Shane Martin will win this one easily.

Whoever talked Ritchie into considering a statewide run really screwed him good.

Bright and Talley fight down to the finish line:

Lee Bright is a hell of a tough customer. Four years ago, he almost knocked out John Hawkins, the now-retiring incumbent Senator. This time around, we weren’t surprised to see him in a runoff for the open seat, finishing a close second place behind current Representative Scott Talley.

In the runoff, Bright was endorsed by the third-placer, who got a little over ten percent of the vote. While that endorsement may have given him a little nudge towards the 50% mark, we’re not sure if Sanford’s endorsement helped.

One should keep in mind that both candidates for House seats within that Senate district who were backed by Sanford and Sons – Ken Roach and Roger Nutt – lost their bids by modest margins in spite of high-dollar third party campaigns waged to help their candidacies. Spartanburg voters have been known to be tough customers who generally favor less politically-extreme Republicans than GOP voters elsewhere in the Upstate.

In any other situation, we’d say Bright has the advantage, but Talley is an aggressive campaigner who has pushed hard and even gone on the attack with some pretty hard-hitting TV spots. We believe this race will be close, with turnout and an effective ground game being the key to the outcome of this race.

By midnight, we’ll know who won and who lost. In the meantime, don’t touch that dial ...

South Carolina tomatoes are SAFE!!!

Good news for Blogland readers - South Carolina home-grown tomatoes are not only the best tomatoes in the world ... they're also safe to eat and free of suspicion in the recent reports of contamination:

Have you had your “red” today? For years, nutritionists have encouraged us to put a rainbow of fruits and vegetables on our plates every day to stay healthy. Fruits and veggies in the red group help maintain a healthy heart, memory function, a lower risk of some cancers, and urinary tract health.

What better way to start the summer than with luscious South Carolina grown tomatoes which are just beginning to arrive at local markets throughout the state.

The good news is that South Carolina grown tomatoes have NOT been associated with the recent salmonellosis outbreak. One reason is that South Carolina growers and others in the industry use both good agricultural practices and good handling practices when producing, packing, and shipping produce.

We've long been big fans of Commissioner Hugh Weathers' "Certified South Carolina" agricultural marketing campaign, but this certainly is another boost for the program. Thanks to South Carolina farmers, we'll be able to shop home-grown with confidence that we're getting the best and safest food in the world!

Wild, drunken party busted. No legislators found.

We couldn't help but chuckle at this story that showed up in the Beaufort Gazette:

A vacant Bluffton house was the scene of a skinny-dipping booze fest for local high school students last week, according to a Beaufort County sheriff's report released Tuesday.

Just before midnight Thursday, the neighbor walked over to the home's pool area, which sent the teenagers -- many of them naked -- scattering in all directions.

They left behind a mess of spilled drinks, liquor and beer bottles, plastic cups and other trash both in and outside the home. The home's mailbox had been broken off and thrown into the pool. New carpeting was caked with footprints.

Which leads us to wonder where Will Folks is at this week, while on his honeymoon?

Something neat to visit - Peachtree Rock

Workforce quality key to Upstate's future

In a tour of the Upstate, Jeffrey Lacker, the chair of the Richmond district of the Federal Reserve, made a number of visits and speaking appearances. In talking with the Greenville News, he praised the progress that had been made in shifting the Upstate's economy away from its traditional textile base:

It's been tremendous progress that's been made, and there's some vibrancy here to offset some of the really devastating losses that occurred earlier in this decade and late in the '90s in the textile industry.

While he pointed out a number of strong assets, such as the heavy presence of the automotive industry and Clemson's ICAR facility, he also warned that such benefits would not last unless the Upstate addresses critical shortages in skilled labor:

"The big challenge is going to be the work force, and enough skilled workers, enough high school grads, enough people with two- and four-year degrees to meet the needs of the developing industry

It was a pretty good story, and we think you need to read the rest of it to see what Mr. Lacker had to say.

Inside Interview: Charlie Lybrand, Charleston County RMC

With the primaries over, our Inside Interview series will be resuming, giving you a look at more of the movers and shakers who make up the sum total of our state's political and governmental realms.

Charlie Lybrand is a veteran of nearly twenty years of GOP politics. Behind Senator Glenn McConnell and Sheriff Al Cannon, he’s one of the longest continually-serving Republicans in office in the Lowcountry. He started out on Charleston County Council, and in 1994, upset the incumbent RMC in the Republican Primary. Charlie is currently serving his 4th term in this office.

We've watched Charlie from the sidelines. In Lowcountry politics, he's seldom front-and-center in politics, but you can bet he's almost always there, ready to speak up or lend a hand when necessary.

RMC is the commonly-used term for "Register Mesne Conveyance". You'll only find these offices as stand-alone elected offices in larger counties. In smaller ones, the functions of office are handled by the county's Clerk of Court.

#1 ... Tell us a little bit about yourself.

This August I’ll be 62 years old. This Monday June, 16, 2008 my wife and I will be celebrating our 40th Anniversary. We have two grown children, Whitney Hannam and Wesley Lybrand. Whitney and her husband of five years have given us a wonderful grandson Oliver Clayton Hannam (Ollie to his friends) who is 16 months old. Whitney is 28 and teaches 2nd grade in the Greensboro N. C. public school system. Our son Wes is employed by Kiawah Island Company and is working as a bartender at the Night Heron Community Club. Wes hopes to be an Events Planner one day.

My wife (Phrona) and I are high school sweet hearts. We both attended Chicora High, from there I attended the Citadel where I was drafted into the United States Army in 1967. Back then if your grades weren’t up to par and you had two arms and two legs, you were Viet Nam material. I joined the Army for an extra year for additional training and then went straight to South East Asia (Viet Nam). My wife and I were married on my 30 day leave before I shipped overseas. We were married for 10 years, almost 11, before Whitney came along. Four years later Wes was born.

I went into business for myself in 1979. I owned Precision Builders which did Renovations and Remodeling work in the Tri County area. About twenty years ago, we moved from Wando Woods in North Charleston to a new home I had built in Rantowles or as I call it Red Top Heights. We built a house that mirrored Phrona’s grandparent’s home in St. George. Wood siding and wrap around porches. Nothing fancy just an ole farm type house.

We have had three Boykin Spaniels. Beau who is our current Boykin is the love of our life. Who could ever believe a dog could give as much love and be such a large part of a family. Beau and his bride (Mollie) have just had puppies. My wife insists that we bring one of the puppies home, she wants to call him BJ or Beau Jr.

We attend Seacoast West where I am very active in the First Touch Ministry. I have been to Honduras 5 or 6 times on mission trips and I went with our church to help out in Pass Christian, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. I am also President of the Low Country Miata Club. We have a 2006 Black MX5 Miata.

#2 ... How did you get involved in politics?

Politics started back in Boy Scouts where I was a troop leader, then President of our Explorer group, then President of the Hi-Y in high school. After the military, I was President of the Civic Club in Wando Woods and Administrative Board Chair at Cherokee Place United Methodist Church. That was back when North Charleston just beginning to annex unincorporated property. I was opposed to our area being annexed by North Charleston.

After the election, I was asked to serve on the Cooper River Parks and Playground Commission. I served there for 7 years before being asked to serve on the North Charleston Sewer Commission. I enjoyed public service and thought I might be an asset to County Government so I ran for County Council in 1984 and lost. Six years later I ran for County Council again and won.

At the time my business was doing great and I felt like for those who had been given much, much was expected. So I put my whole heart and soul into the Council. Hindsight being 20/20, I can tell you I neglected my family and my business. Both suffered because I thought I was important and my service to the community was a necessity. I was wrong on both accounts. I thank God that my wife didn’t leave me and my children didn’t stop loving me. As the four year term came to a close, my business was not so good anymore and my family was hoping I would not run again for Council.

We joke about my wife telling me that if I wanted to run for County Council again, I should file for Office and file for divorce at the same time. It never did come to that but I really enjoyed Public Service so I offered for the Register Mesne Conveyance Office (RMC) and was lucky enough to win. That was back in 1994. Since that time under my leadership, we have gone through two major upgrades. The Charleston RMC Office was the first in the State to scan (image) every document that was recorded. We were also the first RMC office in the State to go on the Internet.

Our douments go back to 1719 and they are currently be scanned for longevity and will also be put on the World Wide Web. Since then we have continually led the State in technology and are in the final stages of a new system that will allow the document to be book and paged as it is recorded. The document will also be bar coded and imaged the same or next day and be mailed back to its maker. We will enter data from the electronic image from a split screen monitor. This new technology will end up saving thousands if not millions of dollars over the long run by letting the computer do the work of 5 or 6 employees. I expect this new technology to reduce our need for so many employee but I have committed to no one losing their jobs.

I have worked out a plan where RMC employees who are no longer needed here will be transferred to other jobs in the County.

#3 ... With a political career that goes back literally over decades, you are presently one of the longest-serving Republicans in public office in the Lowcountry. What are some important lessons you’ve learned from such political longevity?

Political Longevity is not something you think about, until you look back on it and say “has it been that long?” I have always been one to understand that politics is a game of addition and not subtraction. I like people and I hope they like me. I have also learned you can’t continually burn bridges. People expect you to stand up for what you believe and vote or act that way but you can’t be negative all the time. I also believed that you must be seen and heard by the people who put you in Office.

So many politicians get elected and then just go away not to be heard from until it’s election time again. I attend the monthly Executive meetings, I am a member of the East Cooper Republican Club, the First Monday Republican lunch and I try an attend the Charleston County Republican Women’s Club as well as the Sea Island Republican Women’s Club. The evening clubs are harder because I like being at home with my wife, but I understand the need to be at these meetings. The folks who are members of the auxiliary clubs are just ordinary folk who want to help the Republican cause and I think Elected Officials should be at as many of these social functions as they can.

#4 ... are you comfortable about where the GOP is headed, and why do you feel that way?

I am not comfortable with the direction of the GOP. I think we have lost our vision. I don’t have a clue what Sen. John McCain stands for. In the name of non-partisanship, we have blurred the lines so badly between the Parties that I don’t know what a National Republican stands for. That may make a lot of my Republican Colleagues mad, but that’s how I see it.

We must have a plan to make this great Country of ours Energy Independent. I don’t hear it.

We must have true immigration plan that requires everyone in this country to follow the rule of law. Last year, it was our Republican leaders that led the fight for Amnesty for illegals. I don’t get it.

The Republicans at the national level spend money like “drunken sailors” like Alaska’s bridge to no-where. That was a Republican Senator behind that boondoggle.

All colors, faiths, nationalities and beliefs must be welcome in our Party otherwise it will become the lily white country club party that can not get elected. We must learn to rally around what unites us and not what divides us with the exception of the two things that have always been the strongholds of Republicanism; a strong military and our belief that the unborn child has a right to life. We can’t waver on those to ideals.

Other than that I am pretty happy. Yeah, right.

#5 ... You've been office longer than most in the Lowcountry. With two years left in your present term, do you know what you're going to do in 2010?

I’d plan to stand for re-election once again. I like my job. Plus, I can’t afford to be a Wal Mart greeter quite yet.

I plan to keep the Charleston RMC Office on the cutting edge of Technology and stay right here until I retire. That might change if our Congressman decided to retire. I support Henry Brown completely and think he is doing a great job but if he were to quit, I might take a serious look at that position. I’d really like to try and straighten out some of that mess in Washington. Knowing full well that one little freshman congressman can’t do much, but I’d sure like to try.

Congratulations, Will

Today, our best wishes, prayers, and congratulations are with South Carolina's numero uno political blogger Will Folks.

It seems as if the guy is really getting married this morning.

When the Palmetto State's most eligible bachelor is getting married, it's a sign of hope for the rest of us singles (the competition is greatly reduced, allowing even us twice-divorced losers a little glimmer of hope) ... and a warning that hundreds of heartbroken women will likely be hurling themselves from bridges, ledges, and cliffs across South Carolina by sundown.

We hope they don't. If they're single, heartbroken ... and rich ... we hope they'll give us a call and not waste the potential of their bank accounts ... uh ... lives.

Seriously, Will, you're a good guy and we respect your work and your talents. You have our very best wishes and prayers for a joyous and fruitful marriage, as well as a great honeymoon.

But being twice divorced, just promise you won't ask us for marital advice, ok?

We'll see you back soon.

Representative Erickson gets results with "Lauren Gentry" law

Those who say a freshman legislator can't really hope to get much done, other than learn where the restrooms and free dinners are at, should take lessons from Shannon Erickson, Beaufort County's hard-working freshman State Representative.

In the closing days of this year's legislative session, her "Lauren Gentry" bill made it through the Senate and onto the Governor's desk. This new law will help protect the rights of South Carolina students who are victims of those predators and bullies on campus.

While we were glad to do our part to help move the bill through, the bulk of the work was done by Erickson, with the help of some compelling testimony from Ms. Gentry.

Representative Erickson saw a real problem and acted to do something about it. That's what leadership is all about. For a first-year legislator, this kind of hands-on commitment to getting results is impressive, and it's a good way to assess her long-term potential to grow and become a real leader in the State House.

Ed Koch: The Special Bond Between Catholics and Jews

Recently, I ran across this op-ed penned by former NYC Mayor, Ed Koch. Like many Jews and Catholics, he may be non-practicing, but still holds his faith and his identity within that tradition near and dear. It seemed worth sharing:

I have always believed that there is a special bond between Jews and Catholics, and have made it a personal and professional priority to strengthen that bond. In the modern era, the relationship between Jews and Catholics became solidified with Vatican II under Pope John XXIII.

More recently, the bond was further strengthened during the reign of Pope John Paul II who made clear his love and respect for the Jewish people by referring to us as the "elder brothers." Pope John Paul II extended Vatican diplomatic recognition to Israel, rejecting the threats of those who he called "Koranic" opponents. His closeness to the Jewish people was demonstrated by his recognition that the special bond that existed between God and the children of Israel is an enduring one.

You can read more of Koch's op-ed by clicking here.

Judas Priest set to rock the summer

This summer is bound to be a headbanger's delight for a lot of good reasons, but first among them is the big summer plans of Judas Priest.

Next month, their long-awaited Nostradamus album will hit the
stores, and in July, they will hit North American shores to begin a tour in support of the new album. Their website - - will keep you up with all the dates for their shows and tickets as they go on sale.

As part of our post-graduate recovery process, we've already got our tickets.

If you'd like to get a sneak preview of the new album, they put a couple of tracks on their band website ( -
the title track, "Nostradamus" and "Visions".

Time for a cease fire?

Over the last three months, we’ve watched a massive statewide battle take place. While some may attempt to claim the results point to a turning point in state affairs, a closer look suggests very little has changed.

Several of the legislators who went down or will be struggling to survive run-off battles did plenty to defeat themselves. Most notably were Senator Randy Scott and Representative Gloria Haskins. A number of challengers backed by SCRG-backed challengers and candidates for open seats did well, as could be expected considering a number of incumbents were pummeled by continual waves of attack mailings, push polls and even television advertising.

But a large number of SCRG-targeted races failed to go their way. Incumbents survived in the majority of races, and plenty of the open seats they targeted were close races or went for non-SCRG candidates.

The most important lesson learned from last night, in our humble opinion, is that no incumbent is truly bullet-proof and that winning office requires hard work, humility, and the willingness to respect your opponent’s ability to put up a fight. While we’ve disagreed with SCRG a lot, we’ll give them credit for helping shake some cages that long needed shaking in Columbia. We hope that long-overdue lesson won’t soon be forgotten.

Over the last few weeks, everyone involved in these primary feuds have turned up the heat. We’ve certainly done our share of slugging in a number of races around the state, so we’re not going to mislead our readers by claiming sainthood.

Tonight, we’ve heard from those on both sides who swear they’re not going to quit, not going to budge, and have every reason to believe the fighting will continue. But after what we’ve seen the last few months, we can’t help but believe there has to be a better way.

We hope we’re not the only ones who feel that way.

Primary in the Blogland

It’s Election Day today. Are you going to vote? We are.

A few weeks ago, we reconsidered our original plan not to vote in the Horne-Hutson race. But the personal attacks and smear tactics from Heyward and company got too much for us to watch, so we’re voting for Jenny Horne. Whatever she is, at least she's honest and doesn't go around trying to disenfranchise people in ways that would make the Klan and Nazi brownshirts proud.

So what do we see going on out there … ?

We’ll be surprised if Jakie Knotts returns to the Senate, or Gloria Haskins to the House. Luke Rankin will win big in his Senate primary, as will Kent Williams, Robert Ford and Clem Pinckney on the Democratic side. So will Carl Gullick, Bob Walker, and Gilda Cobb-Hunter in the House.

Scott Talley will edge out Lee Bright for one Spartanburg Senate seat, and Jim Ritchie and Shane Martin will go into runoff overtime for the other. Catherine Ceips and Randy Scott will have close races, and could lose their seats as well. Jenny Horne will run close with Heyward Hutson in one Dorchester House race, and could score a rematch upset, but next door, Annette Young will roll her primary challenger.

There will be close races for Solicitor in the Lowcountry between Jennings and Wilson, as well as in the Upstate with Adams and Drawdy. A couple of weeks back, we had reliable sources tell us Wilson was slightly ahead, but Jennings has been running some strong and focused TV spots which have to be exerting a strong influence on late-breaking undecideds.

We have no idea who will win the GOP nods for open House seats in Aiken and Horry, or the GOP race for the open Senate seat in Greenwood.

Lindsey Graham wins by a comfortable margin in a race which we’ve always said was his fault.

Brian McCarty over at Voting under the Influence has some pretty good insights, which we largely agree with. Go check them out.

Overall, turnout will be mixed. In some places, like along the Wade Hampton US 29 corridor from the Bob Jones campus to downtown Spartanburg, as well as Beaufort, Dorchester and Lexington Counties, it’ll be red-hot in numerous legislative races. But in most places, we think primary turnout will be nothing like the big turnouts seen in 2002 and 2004.

On a local note … if Mike Rose beats Randy Scott, expect a petition candidacy in the fall. We’ve been contacted, but we’re not getting involved. Sure Mike Rose and his people have never liked us very much, but a petition candidacy is simply a do-over of the primary. We’ll accept the will of the voters.

Further, political history is pretty clear on the odds of a petition candidacy succeeding: zero. Only three House members, and none in the Senate, have won races as petition candidates in the last two decades, and only one of those: Bubba Cromer from Richland County – was legitimately elected as a non-party candidate.

We’ll talk about all the news tomorrow, and get your thoughts on what this state can look forward to – for better or for worse.

The price of Graham’s arrogance

Tomorrow, GOP voters will go to the polls across South Carolina, and among those they will put in office, and those who they will remove from office, United States Senator Lindsey Graham will receive enough votes to give him the GOP nomination, all but assuring him a return to Washington for six more years.

Were it not for the Senator’s arrogance, it is a race which might never have happened in the first place.

Graham, once a darling of conservative activists for his role in the impeachment proceedings against former President Bill Clinton, had risen quickly. His election to the Senate came ten years following his political debut as the first Republican State House member to be elected from Oconee County. Few could have predicted that six years later, he would be a virtual pariah in his party.

Senator Graham isn’t in trouble for the overwhelming majority of the votes he cast. His trouble stems from a number of highly-visible actions that have infuriated conservative activists. Votes that might have been explained, but the Senator never felt the need to do that.

It’s not uncommon for a politico to buck the party line from time to time. Generally, once they realize they’ve rattled some cages, they take the time to reach out to those offended, and appeal to the good judgment of their friends in their party to weigh one vote against the many others which met the party loyalty test.

That’s not what Graham has done. He has chosen to keep the rank-and-file of the party at arm’s length. Instead of engaging his critics in a hands-on campaign, he has chosen to let their attacks go unanswered and run for re-election hiding behind a five million dollar warchest.

We’re not going to entirely disagree with Graham’s politics. The Gang of 14 turned out to be a smart move, keeping the GOP relevant even after the Democrats took the Senate. Being willing to reach out and work with Democrats, especially since they took over the Senate, has allowed him to play a role in avoiding the kinds of tensions that were seen a few years ago when former Senator Tom Daschle led a 51 seat Democratic majority.

But these are things that he has never tried to explain to the party faithful who feel betrayed by these and other moves. Maybe he felt such explanations would not be welcome, or maybe he didn’t feel he needed to explain anything.

For such arrogance, Lindsey Graham won’t get our endorsement, nor our votes. In our opinion, he’s done nothing to deserve either.

Senator Graham’s efforts to work with his party back home pales in comparison to the state’s junior Senator, Jim DeMint, who has attracted a following among conservatives both at home and nationwide. Should he win the nomination tomorrow, Graham would be wise to be more like DeMint and a lot less like he’s been during his first term.

The day everything changed

We talk a lot about bold moves made by campaigns and political figures as if they have some great meaning to our lives, or some major impact upon the course of human events. But even the best of the planning, scheming and calculations that are part of South Carolina's political process pale in comparision to those which took place in the run-up to the day which we have come to know by simply as "D-Day".

That's a small name for an event which changed the world.

For us political hacks, June 10 may seem important, but for those of us who love liberty and have high hopes for the future of mankind, June 6 is the day that really matters.

Take a minute to reflect upon their courage and be thankful for what they did, and what they gave up, on that day. For all they did, it's the very least we can do.

Earl Leroy Capps, Danang, South Vietnam, 1968

Recently, we received an email from a Charles Colman, who ran across our blog while searching for people he'd served with in Vietnam. While we didn't have an answer for him, we know these blogs have a wide viral reach, so we decided to help him out by posting what he had to tell us:

I am writing in search of Earl Leroy Capps who my brother and I served with in Danang, South Vietnam in 1968. If you know an Earl Capps who may have been in Danang in 1968 I would appreciate hearing from you or him.

The unit both my brother, Bill, and I served with was the Small Craft Repair Facility (SCRF), which was part of Naval Support Activity: Danang, Republic of Vietnam. I served there from August 1968 to August 1969, Bill served there from September 1968 to September 1969 and Earl Capps from late 1967 to late 1968.

So far I have found 12 of the 48 or so guys I served with in Danang, South Vietnam. I am proud to say the vast majority of them came back the states and went on to be solid citizens after their service by buying homes, holding down jobs and raising families.

We're certainly grateful for his service and glad to help forward this request via the Blogland. If you can help, please do.

If you would like to know more, you can visit and under the drop-down menu Community -Unit pages enter SCRF - Small Craft Repair Facility Danang. Or you can contact Mr. Colman, whose contact information is provided below:

Charles R. Colman
Phone: 408-972-5101 Cell: 408-807-5790

Developer cash raises questions about Hutson's ethics

Last fall, Heyward Hutson returned to the State House from the Summerville area, with a campaign largely backed by a local group of anti-growth advocates.

In their zeal to score a win, either the anti-growth crowd didn't realize Hutson was pulling a fast one on them, or they wanted a win so bad they didn't care.

Much of the problem of growth in the Summerville area was fueled by rampant real estate speculation, where people would buy homes and "flip them" outright, or rent them for the short term while they waited for a better offer. There is no small irony in the knowledge that one of those real estate investors is Representative Hutson himself. One of his rental properties is located on Axtell Drive in the Newington Plantation subdivision, not far from Flowertown and Newington Elementary Schools - both overcrowded due to the kind of rampant over-development that Hutson both opposes and profits from.

While that's bad enough, the truth about Hutson just gets worse. He's not just fueling development - he's taking thousands of dollars from real estate developers and their political allies.

Allegations have followed a shadowy campaign by Howard Rich, a New York real estate investor, to pour thousands of dollars into South Carolina campaigns. Wikipedia sources note that he has been adventuring in a number of states in a similar manner. A story from the Washington Post reported that Rich has become a major financier of the "property rights" movement, a term long alleged by growth opponents to be a code phrase for "developer special interests":

“The property-rights movement, as it is known, has a major new benefactor — Howard Rich, a wealthy libertarian real estate investor from Manhattan,” The Washington Post recently reported. “He has spent millions — estimates run as high as $11 million — to support initiatives that will appear on ballots throughout much of the West.”

The Stop Howard Rich SC website has detailed the numerous shell groups through which Mr. Rich has funnelled campaign cash to various South Carolina candidates, including Hutson. Their reports, which can be confirmed via the Ethics Commission website, point to a clear pattern of what is known as "bundling", a practice by which large donations from a number of donors are sent at the same time to candidates.

Such practices are often employed by special interest groups to support candidates known to support their agendas. The Howie Rich Exposed website discusses his record of supporting candidates who are pro-development, under the guise of "property rights".

When we pulled up Hutson's contributor report, guess what we found?

  • 05/16/2008 1,000.00 - 123 Lasalle Associates A Partnership
  • 05/16/2008 1,000.00 - Bradford Management of New York Inc.
  • 05/16/2008 1,000.00 - Pomerantz, Alan J.
  • 05/16/2008 1,000.00 - Rich, Yvonne
When electronic reports were searched on the state Ethics Commission website, these four out-of-state contribution sources all turned up to have made numerous donations to as many as 16 candidates, and have been identifed as part of the "bundling" scheme used to funnel thousands upon thousands of out-of-state dollars to South Carolina candidates.

Voters who are concerned about growth in Dorchester County should be concerned when their Representative is a real estate investor who rakes in big bucks from out-of-state developer interests, while giving them a shallow song-and-dance about their concerns:

"I think people are upset about how their quality of life in Summerville is being changed," Hutson said after the results were announced. "They see the growth out of control and they're insisting on taking charge again. I have recognized, like everybody else in this district, that we need to manage the growth better. We're tired of turning the faucet on full blast without any control."

- Charleston Post and Courier (10/31/2007)

These findings should warn House 94 voters who are concerned about controlling growth that Hutson may not be as virtous, or as honest, as he'd like Summerville voters to believe.

Election days and your career, Part Three: How to survive screwing up

Say you’ve been hired to work for a special interest group that keeps sending out press releases with gross inaccuracies. So bad you have to keep sending out apologies and retracting statements. Let’s presume you really made mistakes and weren’t just carrying out political hit-jobs for your boss.

Ok, we’ll cut the crap – let’s say you’re NOT working for Club for Growth. Therefore, you really, truly did screw up, and your boss is really pissed. With the slowing economy, you can’t afford too many real, live mistakes, so this article from Susan Kushnir, “Margin for error: Making mistakes – and recovering from them”, offers some sound advice:

“There are distinct steps one must take to recover from a mistake,” says Wendy Kaufman, president of Balancing Life’s Issues, Inc., a provider of training seminars on enhancing work/life balance.

First, the person who made the mistake has to process what he or she has done. “The immediate human reaction is to say, ‘I didn’t do this,’ which makes the mistake even worse. If you don’t process the mistake, you’ll never get to the next step,” Kaufman says.

Kaufman was asked to coach a senior executive and his boss who had a tense relationship. She says, “Their bad relationship can all be traced back to the day when the senior executive blew off a meeting with his boss. The boss found his behavior unprofessional and disrespectful. In truth, they never got past this incident because the senior executive never took responsibility for his actions.”

Second, the person must own the mistake in its entirety and show remorse. “You immediately lose credibility if you place blame,” Kaufman says. “Don’t bring up extenuating circumstances. If you’re late, don’t blame it on the traffic because there is always traffic or accidents or whatever.”

Dan Meyerson, senior vice president of leadership and development, Bank of America, agrees and adds, “I always say, ‘Bask in the glory of your mistake.’ In other words, be comfortable with it and show others you can come back even stronger after making a mistake. It’s important to show that it won’t affect your self-esteem.”

Last of all, clearly outline an action plan to ensure the mistake doesn’t happen again. “This way, the boss can think I’m really angry but she owned it and has a new plan. What more can I ask?’” Kaufman says.

By the way, Ms. Kushnir is a senior VP for Portner Novelli.

Election days and your career, Part Two: Planning ahead by networking

Let’s be honest – if you waited until the bad news hits, you’re already well behind some people in the job market. The smart person is always working on a Plan B … and the smarter ones have Plans C, D, and E in the works too. Key to those is that whole networking thing. Today’s installment of our “How to keep from losing – even when your boss did” series looks at sharpening those networking skills so the day the bad news arrives, you’re only days away from your next job.

We’ve got three really great articles written by long-time career professionals about the importance of networking, how to be good at it, and how to make it work for you – as well as those around you.

  • Social Anxiety: Susan Balcom Walton, an associate professor of public relations at Brigham Young University in Utah.

    How can I establish relationships without seeming fawning and self-serving? How can I leverage my network with confidence and initiative, but not with desperation? How do I network without brownnosing?

    Smart questions. The instinct to avoid brownnosing shows a certain self-awareness that’s important when networking. That said, networking is essential so we must move past our sensitivity and learn to do it well. As Jim Masuga, vice president,
    Heyman Associates notes: “For PR people, networking has to be second nature, because it has such tremendous business and personal value. Communications and networking are nearly synonymous.”

  • Networking with Intention: Terri Lynn Johnson, APR (Accredited Public Relations professional – i.e., someone who doesn’t put out erroneous press releases), and associate professor at Eastern Illinois University.

    Networking needs to be done constantly. Whether in person, online, by phone or by mail, it needs to be done systematically and with a purpose. By following the tips below, you can maximize the benefits of all networking opportunities.
    o Be goal-oriented.
    o Be systematic.
    o Never stop.
    o Find a mentor.
    o Say thank you.

  • Never a dead end: Kelly Papinchak, a PR professional with the Brookwoods Group out of Houston, Texas.

    When I entered the PR profession more than five years ago, I did not intend to average one job per year. This pattern started at my first job, when budget cuts halved my salary within my first year, and continued at my next job, where a layoff left me looking for employment after only a few short months. Clearly, I was not dealt the best hand out of college.

    However, I am proud that I did not miss a single day of employment between jobs. That is a direct result of persistently building my contacts — even if I have a job that I love dearly and would never imagine leaving. I want to emphasize that networking does not mean meeting people to get a job, and networking is not asking someone to be your mentor because he or she works where you want to work. Networking is about building and maintaining relationships for mutual benefit, which is the most basic definition of public relations.
While I think the links will work, if they don't, email me. I've got the original articles archived. Don't worry - any inquiries for copies will be kept confidential, as is the rule for any human resources matter.

Joey Millwood strikes a blow for the rich

Comrades, workers of the world, if your kids are stuck in poor schools, unite. Otherwise, Joey Millwood will keep them in chains.

Don't just take our word for it. The Spartanburg Herald-Journal caught Millwood, whose campaign office does double-duty as the campaign headquarters for Kyle Boyd, who is running for the State House in York County, in the act:

State Rep. Bob Walker and Joey Millwood both say they oppose voucher programs that would give public money to parents to send their children to private schools.

Millwood is in favor of tax credits for parents who choose to send their children to private schools, while Walker is opposed to that as well as vouchers.

Tuition tax credits, which are favored by Millwood and his friends at SCRG, will only benefit the extremely wealthy who send their kids to private school.

According to the State Department of Revenue's 2007 tax tables, here's how much you have to report in taxable income in order to receive the following tax credit amounts:

  • $2,000 credit - $35,000 taxable income.
  • $3,000 credit - $49,200 taxable income.
  • $4,000 credit - $63,500 taxable income.

For those of you who don't know, taxable income is often far less than one's gross income. The amount of taxable income is derived from one's federal taxes, which allows thousands of dollars of standard deductions.

According to the IRS' 2007 1040-A form, a single mother of two would have to make at least $49,650 (after deducting $7,850 for Head of Household and $6,800 in exemptions for dependents) and a married family of three would need to earn $55,900 (after deducting $10,700 for married status and $10,200 in exemptions for dependents).

If you consider that health insurance and 401K plans are paid for out of pre-tax income, further reducing taxable income, these families may need to earn another $10K/year in gross income to qualify for even a minimal $2,000 tax credit. But from what we've seen, private school tuition (while often lower than the per-student costs of public schools) is still way more than $2K/year.

According to the S.C. Budget and Control Board, about 35% of South Carolina homes have a household income of more than $50,000 a year, and about 17% more than $75,000 a year. In fact, only six of 46 South Carolina counties have a median family income near or above $50,000 - Beaufort, Dorchester, Greenville, Lexington, Richland and York.

Tax credits only benefit those who are wealthy enough to afford to pay the tuition up front and earn enough to own enough in taxes to receive the credits. Many middle class families who pay private school tuition would receive little or none of the tax credit amounts. Even if they could afford to send their kids in the first place.

Worst off of all under these schemes are the poor. They don't have the disposable income needed to pay tuition up front. In the end, yon don't really change anything with this plan. But we think that's the way the tax credit advocates like it.

For that reason, we've always opposed credits and supported vouchers. So if you're an inner-city single mother making ten bucks an hour, hoping to get your kids into a school that is safe and decent, or even an average family residing in most counties (including Spartanburg, where Millwood resides), Millwood's advocacy of tuition tax credits has nothing to offer you.

If Millwood really cared about helping the poor of the state, he'd stop parroting the SCRG's country club agenda and back vouchers for those who need it, instead of more tax breaks for those who don't.

Election days and your career, Part One: Looking for work?

Election day came and went, and guess what? Your boss didn’t make it and either your promised job won’t be coming, or your boss just got booted and the victor has made it clear that come January, you need not even bother to apply for your job.

If you're a single parent, like yours truly, with no other source of income, the prospect of being without a paycheck is more than just a bad joke - it's a threat to my family. In times like these, your ability to navigate the tough waters of the job market mean the difference between finding a good job in the private sector, moving back in with your parents, or finding a well-off sugar momma or daddy (our preference).

Be prepared for your job interview.

A survey asked HR managers and executives about the mistakes made by interviewees. Here are the top five mistakes they cited:

47%: Little/no knowledge of the company
17%: Unprepared to discuss skills and experiences
9%: Unprepared to discuss career plans/goals
9%: Limited enthusiasm
3%: Lack of eye contact

Resume and cover letters

In a column published in the PRSA's April 2008 newsletter, here are five common mistakes that HR managers caution against making when you send out cover letters and resumes:

1) When you write the cover letter, don’t assume the spelling of their names,
2) Make sure those cover letters are customized for the company, and not the last one you wrote a letter to,
3) Light touch with fonts, including standard fonts and sizes, and minimal use of bold, italics, and underlining,
4) Don’t give out email addresses that sound cheesy or childish (such as “diva15689@” or “fuhrerrick@” - you get the point), and
5) Keep resume content brief, with reasonable margins. They recommend “one page, one inch”.

Tomorrow, we'll talk about the value of networking. Be sure to stay tuned.

Erickson's "Lauren Gentry bill" moves forward to full Senate

Over the last month or so, the Blogland has taken up common cause with Beaufort County Representative Shannon Erickson, who has been pushing what we've come to refer to as the "Lauren Gentry" bill.

This bill would protect those who are the victims of on-campus intimidation from forfeiting their right to partcipate in school interscholastic teams, should they transfer schools under duress. This bill, HR 4758, would require students to have worked with the system to seek alternatives, including by seeking a formal restraining order.

While we shouldn't have bullies on campus, this bill protects students when our schools can't - or won't - take the appropriate action to protect those students.

Erickson sponsored this bill after Lauren Gentry, a former Beaufort County high school student, was forced to sit out her high school year after getting a restraining order and having to change schools for protection from an angry ex-boyfriend. While this bill comes too late to help Gentry, this young lady has spoken out strongly for this bill.

We want to thank the Representatives who voted 76 to 22 for this bill, and those on the Senate Education Committee, who voted to send this bill to the full Senate.

Sources have informed us that Erickson's bill will make it to the Senate floor today or tomorrow. While we understand this is a busy week for the Senators, we ask them to please take a few minutes of their day to pass this bill, sending it to the Governor's desk, where it is expected to receive approval.

Election days and your career: How to keep from losing – even when your boss did

As anyone who tunes into politics knows - Election Day is coming.

As we all know, that means some offices will be filled with new faces, and new office holders means some people are gonna be looking for a job (or maybe Matt Moore, who keeps putting out all those supposedly-erroneous press releases).

Being public relations professionals employed in the private sector, the Blogland happens to receive the monthly newsletter from the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America). While we’re sure the recent issue, which focused largely on job searching and career development, was influenced by the slowing economy and not the plight of a bunch of political hacks who didn’t have the good sense (much less the requisite degree of motivation or relevant qualifications) to get a job in the private sector in the first place, we’re smart enough to realize that this issue still has some valuable advice to offer our readers.

The nice guys that we are, we wanted to lend a helping hand to those of you who are about to be unemployed, whether or not you see it coming, by sharing some of that information in a three-part series that we’ll feature this week in the Blogland:

  • Part One: Looking for work?
  • Part Two: Planning ahead by networking
  • Part Three: How to survive screwing up
We sure hope y'all tune into this series, because you never know when you will be out looking for a new job. Feel free to ask questions and make comments. We've still got lots of contacts in the HR world and if we don't have an answer, we'll do our best to find it.

May 2008: the month in review

It's been a busy month in the Blogland. With graduate school over and eight years in academia fading into the rear view mirror, we actually had time to get a life.

Instead, we spent more time writing.

As always, we're flattered that of all the things you could have done, you decided to come into the Blogland and hang out with us for a little while. To help show our appreciation for your readership, around the first week of every month, we like take a little time out from our own huffing and puffing to talk about what YOU read and talked about.

There was certainly a lot of good things to celebrate this month: getting that Master's degree, the election of Glenn McCall as the new National Committeeman from South Carolina, and seeing two of our friends getting selected to go to the GOP national convention this summer. They will join Moye Graham, who we helped get elected at the 6th District convo a few weeks back.

But not all news was good. We took time to mark the loss of Orangeburg County Deputy William Howell in the line of duty, and in a sick turn of events, some of his friends happened upon our comments and spoke up in his defense and even put down the officer he killed.

Our Shat-slinging contest with Mike Reino continued. While Mike could take a joke, it seemed as if Lee Bright, a Spartanburg Senate candidate couldn't.

Meanwhile in the State House, our "pet" legislative bill of the year - Representative Erickson's bill protecting students who transfer high schools out of fear of harm from losing their right to participate in extracurricular teams - made great leaps forward in the Senate. The bill now moves on to the full Senate, with our thanks for those who've supported it thus far.

This month's ten most-read postings:

Senate upsets in the making?
2) The Summerville Senate Slugfest
3) Campaign season bloopers
4) "He was a cop, that's just a job"
5) Graduation party report
6) Support Glenn McCall – our proven Republican leader
7) Huckabee endorses McCall for SCGOP National Committeeman
8) The Blogland Graduation Party:This Saturday - don't miss it!
9) Is the GOP relevant in 2008?
10) Inside Interview: Scarlett Wilson, 9th Circuit Solicitor candidate

This month's ten most-discussed postings:

1) Deputy William Howell - Thank you
2) Graduation party report
3) 3 great national delegates: McAbee, Pearson, and Ryggs
4) Senate upsets in the making?
5) Erickson, Ceips turn on St. Helena's Island traffic signals
6) John Land to address the Blogland and CofC Graduat...
7) Support Glenn McCall – our proven Republican leader
8) The Summerville Senate Slugfest
9) May is Safe Digging Month
10) Glenn McCall wins landslide - SCGOP convo recap

June will be a pretty busy month here. We've got a great career development mini-series which will draw on our professional HR experience, some concert news, album reviews, and probably some books as well.

That is when we're not trying to catch up on about a year's worth of backed up house and yard work.

Thanks for tuning in and be sure to stay tuned to the Blogland.

Yesterday's winners - SCGOP convo recap

Congratulations are in order to yesterday's GOP convention winners, especially those who were endorsed by the Blogland.

The Blogland asked our readers to support four candidates, and three of them won yesterday: Glenn McCall, our new RNC representative, LaDonna Ryggs, delegate, and Mary Pearson, alternate.

They will join Moye Graham, who we helped get elected to one of the two delegate slots filled at the 6th District convention several weeks ago.

We're not so arrogant as to think we got them elected, but we do want to congratulate the winners, and thank those who supported them. We believe all three will do a great job, and they certainly have our best wishes and prayers for success.