Backstabbing in the Berkeley GOP?

Just when we think it can't get any worse, the legal and ethical quagmire that is the Berkeley County Republican Party just seems to get worse. It seems as if check bouncing, missing funds and state ethics questions weren't enough for the county's GOP leaders. Now, they're attempting to bully the party faithful into silence over it.

As long-time attendees of the Berkeley Republican Breakfast club, we were a little puzzled that Berkeley County Republican Party sent this demand that Charles Schuster, the moderator of the Breakfast Club, step aside from the group that Schuster had run for years:

Berkeley County Republican Party
651 Leevy Drive
Moncks Corner,SC 29461

January 25,2008

Dear Charlie:

I would like to thank You for your service as Co-Host of the Berkeley County Republican Party Breakfast with the late Melvin Mann.

As Chairman of the Berkeley County Republican Party, I will be changing the format concerning the breakfast, hosts and moderators beginning in February. If you already scheduled a speaker for the February meeting, please advise me immediately.

Thank you again for your services and I look forward to your continued participation in the Berkeley County Republican Party.

Sincerely,

Wade Arnette
Chairman

Schuster was quick to respond to Arnette, challenging his right to interfere in a group that is not under the control of the county GOP:

Dear Fellow Republicans, 1/28/08

The Letter Below was not a suprise to me since on August 28,2007, The Berkeley County Republican Chairman (Wade Arnette), the Berkeley County Executive Committeeman (Wayland Moody) and The Widow (Roberta Combs) of the Berkeley County Republican Chairman (1992-Andy Combs) each threatened to do this if I(as Moderator) allowed Nancy Corbin to speak at the September 1, 2007 Berkeley County Republican Breakfast.

After She Spoke (with No Questions allowed from the Audience), the Berkeley County Chairman was invited to Speak and refused.

Since its founding in 1992, The Berkeley County Republican Breakfast has had itsown Checking Account and has NEVER Reported its Activities and Financies to the Berkley County Republican Party.

In December 2001 I and the Late Malvin Mann (Chairman) were honored by the Berkeley County Republican Breakfast for Our Service to the Berkeley County Republican Breakfast and Party.

The Berkeley County Republican Executive Committee did not vote on this since there has not been a Meeting since September 2007.

Charles Schuster may have to work on his grammar a little bit, but you get the point - they're out to get him, but he's not going without a fight. Nor should he. Come on ... it's not like he was fired from a job for embezzlement, stole money or bounced checks, now was it?

Charles is our friend and a big Blogland fan, so you bet your ass that we're behind him all the way. We're not sure if Wayland Moody and Roberta Combs are also in this, since the letter was sent from Arnette, but we hope they're smart enough not to further complicate a pretty embarrassing and difficult matter for Berkeley County Republicans.

We understand that Charles has met with an attorney on this matter, and Arnette will be informed that he has no control over the breakfast club, and therefore has no power to seat or remove Schuster - or anyone else - from his role as moderator.

We know that State GOP Chair Katon Dawson has attempted to brush this mess under the rug, in hopes that thing will eventually work themselves out. But it seems as if Arnette and others keep on using more of these bone-headed strong-arm tactics against their opponents. Dawson may be wise to let this situation play itself out without further efforts at "damage control".

This Saturday, Charles Schuster will, as he does every first Saturday, play host to speakers from the Lowcountry political scene. You can bet that we'll be there to show our support for him. If you'd like to show your support, come on down to the American Legion on Howe Hall Road in Goose Creek. Breakfast starts at 9am and only costs five bucks.

If you'd like to contact Charles, email him at schusterce@yahoo.com and let him know how much you appreciate what he's done.

On a final note, we recently obtained this video of the meeting in which it was decided to oust Charles:



Blogland defies predictions, reaches 700th posting

This is our 700th posting here in the Blogland. We don't know about y'all, but we're excited. So excited that we ... we're ... uuhhh ... well, we don't know what we're gonna do. But we'll do something, just you wait and see.

In case you didn't know, there is a town in Illinos named Elizabeth. This town has a population of exactly 700, which means for every person who lives there, there is a Blogland posting. Maybe we didn't write one for each and every resident of Elizabeth, Illinois. We certainly weren't even thinking of them when we wrote these postings, but darnit, if there is ever a person in that town who will die unless they have a blogger posting, then we're here to help!

Happy 700 to us!

Happy Birthday to Judge Konduros

We at the Blogland want to wish a Happy Birthday to 13th Circuit Family Court Judge Aphrodite Konduros, who is up for a vote for the Court of Appeals next Tuesday.

Naturally, anyone who is Orthodox sits pretty high on our list (being Eastern Catholic, we're close to Greek Orthodox), so we think she's pretty cool. As a veteran jurist, we think she's well-qualified for this promotion too. All the judicial insiders we know speak pretty highly of her experience, temperament and other qualificiations.

According to her bio, she enjoys "cooking, gardening, travel, and may be the worst avid snow skier in the history of the sport" ... so if you want to get her anything for her birthday, we recommend skiing lessons.

So we'll ask everyone to be nice to her today for her birthday, and for my birthday on Tuesday, be nice and put her on the Court of Appeals.

Democratic Divisions?

The South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary has certainly done much to complicate their race. Had Clinton won, it would have continued to shift the momentum to her candidacy and probably allowed her to wrap up the nomination on Super Tuesday.

While polling has yet to really give us a look at what will happen in a week, Obama's upset in South Carolina will give his candidacy enough momentum to keep it viable, even if Super Tuesday is a good day for the Clintons. By keeping the contest alive and stirring up divisions within their ranks, the Democrats may find that the real winner of the South Carolina primary was the GOP.

Stuart Rothenberg questions where the Democratic race is headed:


If Clinton is nominated, some of Obama’s coalition of African-Americans, upscale voters, independents and new voters could easily resent the Clinton campaign and have trouble lining up behind the former first lady, particularly against a strong GOP nominee who reaches out to them.

Black voters aren’t likely to defect en masse to the GOP, but many might regard an Obama defeat as evidence that the Democratic establishment didn’t play fair and took whatever steps it needed to deny Obama the nomination. And you can pretty much bet that some high-profile black leader will comment that the Democratic Party is happy to get black votes but isn’t willing to nominate a black candidate.

Two Democratic operatives who don’t have a horse in the presidential contest told me this week that while Clinton almost certainly could succeed in persuading African-Americans to back her in the general election, she would be forced to spend time doing that rather than wooing independents or weak Republicans.

This, of course, opens up another whole can of worms. Would Clinton need to ask Obama to join her as her running mate, even though the two camps seem increasingly hostile? And if Clinton is the nominee and seems to pander to African-Americans to keep them energized for a ticket without an African-American on it, would that create problems for the party among swing voters?


Interesting thinking - but the guy has a lot of good observations, and I'm thinking this might be one of them.

This year may be the year that ends forever the sight of two pairs of white males leading the GOP and Democratic tickets. Clearly, the Democratic ticket won't be two white boys, and time will tell if the GOP has the guts to reach out with a running mate such as a J.C. Watts or Michael Steele.

Those who wonder how black voters would respond to an opportunity to put a black candidate into national office need only look at the hundreds of thousand black voters in South Carolina who went to the polls last Saturday to make the American Dream come true for one of their own.

If the GOP settles their nomination on Super Tuesday and the nominee picks a black preferred running mate, and then sets across the country, the sight of a white and black running team, contrasted against a growing Clinton vs. Obama feud, could reap rewards, especially in swing states with large black populations like Arkansas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania and put states like Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey into play in the fall.

That's something the Democrats can ill afford if they want to win the White House in the fall, while holding onto narrow Congressional majorities.

About those new blue SC highway signs

Some may have noticed the new South Carolina route market signs that have started to go up in the last couple of months and wondered what that was all about.

The traditional rectangular black-on-white route marker sign design, which dates back to the 1940s, simply displayed the route number and the initials of the state.

The new sign is entirely in Interstate standard blue, has the words “South Carolina”, a
blue image of the shape of the state with an overlaid white Palmetto Tree and crescent moon across the top. This new design was decided upon by the SCDOT last summer. To save money, plans are to replace the existing old style of signs as they wear out and need to be replaced.

Given that today’s highway signs are made of long-lasting aluminum sheeting with highly-reflective plastic overlays, and have design lives of a decade or more, this transition is gonna take a while. Six months into this ten-year cycle, very few of these signs have needed to be replaced yet, so it's gonna be a while before you see these signs everywhere. Thus far, I've seen them in four or five places around the state - Moncks Corner, Darlington, Irmo, and Marion that I can think of.

Some of these went up when new signs were installed after my company completed work on the widening of Lake Murray Boulevard (S.C. Route 60) in Irmo.

Compared to other states, South Carolina’s route markers were comparatively plain and boring. For comparison, I decided to download samples of the signs of some of our neighboring states.

Florida and Georgia incorporated their state shapes into their signs, North Carolina a diamond, and Virginia used a … falling bullet? Now, this puts South Carolina ahead in the all-important highway sign race.

We knew y'all would be so excited to hear this.

Piney Grove Road question

A couple of weeks ago, one of our readers had a question about the need for the bridge replacement on Piney Grove Road in the Irmo area.

I went out there last week and got some existing-condition photos, which have been posted to our public information website at
www.PineyGroveRoad.com. Whoever you are, if you're reading this (and any other readers), go take a look at the new page - "The Need" - which discusses the condition of the existing bridge, including some rather telling photos.

If you use this road to shortcut from St. Andrews Road to I-26 in the Irmo and Harbison areas, you'll want to bookmark this website until our project is wrapped up next year.

CainBo?

With General Norman Schwarzkopf, Sylvester Stallone and action movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer all supporting John McCain, it opens up all sorts of new avenues for his campaign's marketing approaches:


Here's your chance to get creative and suggest some new storylines and production ideas for this sort of a combination.

Support Ronnie Norton for the Family Court

According to Zane Wilson’s story in the Friday edition of the Myrtle Beach Sun News, the ongoing saga of Anita Floyd’s second attempt to get on the Family Court in the 15th Circuit appears to be continuing its downward spiral:

Ronnie Norton appeared to have enough votes Thursday to ensure that he will be elected judge of Horry County's family court.

A week ago, the race was a tossup, but now Norton has "a strong lead," said Rep. Vida Miller, D-Pawleys Island, who supported Floyd but said that is not because she has anything against Norton.

"He is a very nice person," and both candidates are "very qualified," Miller said.

Sen. Ray Cleary, R-Murrells Inlet, said both are "great candidates," and both have strong supporters, especially among Horry County's lawyers.

But it was the "flip-flopping" of the S.C. Bar Association report on Floyd that hurt her chances and raised questions among many legislators, he said.

A year ago, the bar, which interviews 30 attorneys who know a candidate, found Floyd highly qualified. In December, the same group said she was not qualified.

The Bar Association's director said such differences can arise when different lawyers are interviewed for the reports on candidates.

Norton, on the other hand, had "all positive" comments from the bar, which caused many lawmakers to pick him, Cleary said.

- http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/politics/story/326831.html

That Ms. Floyd is in trouble comes as little surprise to us. The image her supporters have presented do her no favors and in looking at several assessments of her qualifications, the findings have been inconsistent, presenting a record that seems somewhat questionable. When contrasted against Mr. Norton, it’s hard for them not to see some major differences, which probably has much to do with Norton’s lead.

We’ve talked with Ronnie Norton, as well as a number of his supporters. He’s a decent guy, thoughtful and deliberate, and his supporters have been positive and supportive of their candidate. We can see why he’s doing so well at picking up support from legislators.

Norton’s reviews have been 100% positive and supportive. No questions have been raised about him at any step of the way, and nobody has had anything bad to say about him or his qualifications.

In addition to the mean-spiritied and semi-literate rantings we’ve seen from Ms. Floyd’s supporters on this blog, the consistency of positive reviews has been another noticeable, and refreshing, difference between him and Ms. Floyd.

Those legislators who are supporting Mr. Norton are doing the right thing. We also support Ronnie Norton's judicial candidacy and ask those legislators who are still uncommitted to join us in supporting him for this well-deserved judicial seat.

Saddam’s fatal bluff

On Sunday, 60 Minutes will be sharing an interview with an FBI agent assigned to interrogate Saddam Hussein, the late tryrant of Iraq, while he was in the custody of American military forces prior to his execution:
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein kept up the illusion that he had weapons of mass destruction before 2003 because he did not think the United States would invade, an FBI agent who questioned him said.

In an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" to be broadcast on Sunday, FBI agent George Piro describes conversations with Saddam in the months after his capture in December 2003.

Piro said Saddam, who was hanged from crimes against humanity in December 2006, wanted to maintain the image of a strong Iraq to deter Iran, its historic enemy, from hostile action.

"He told me he initially miscalculated ... President (George W.) Bush's intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998... a four-day aerial attack," Piro said.

Given the poor state of Iraq’s military, which was effectively wiped out in less than two weeks of combat engagement with five divisions of American and British forces, it is hard to envision them withstanding an brute-force invasion by two or three hundred thousand Iranians, no matter how poorly trained or equipped they might be.

With options like these, it is understandable that Saddam would want to bluff his neighbors into overestimating the combat effectiveness of Iraq’s military. Otherwise, the noose around his neck may well would have been wielded by Iranians, instead of fellow Iraqis. He just never figured that President Bush was the kind of man who would actually mean what he/she said - until it was too late.


Piro’s narrative in the interview bears warning that while Iraq’s WMD program had not been restarted, it was not for the lack of willpower, or future intentions:

The Iraqi leader had also intended to restart the weapons program and had the means to do it.

"He still had the engineers. The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there," Piro said. "He wanted ... to reconstitute his entire WMD program."

This confirms the essential argument that prompted the invasion – the threat posed by Hussein’s regime was real. It was just a question of when.

There is no small irony in how Saddam, in an effort to avoid his downfall, brought it about. Those who criticize the intelligence shortcomings that led to the United States invasion should have the intellectual honesty to recognize the impact that Saddam’s deception had over the decision to invade in 2003.

But that’s not likely, because the real agenda of many of Bush’s critics is not to objectively question the war effort, but rather to use whatever tools and issues they can to criticize him.

Even if the truth, and our troops, get in their way.

Robert Blake, Michael Jackson & OJ Simpson

... reportedly agreed on an album they all like:


Yeah, pretty sick joke, I know. At any rate, it's Friday, so go on out there and have a great weekend!!!

Research finds no link between voting for Obama and ending racism

On Saturday, those voting in the South Carolina Democratic Primary will have several candidates to choose from.

Our crack research staff, headed by this guy on the right, has determined that if you are white, but do not vote for Barack Obama, this does not mean you are a racist. In fact, our research has indicated that the likelihood of a voter in either the South Carolina Republican or Democratic primary is rather low.

Further, our research has indicated that the outcome of Senator Obama's candidacy, win or lose, will likely have little effect on racism in South Carolina. Racist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Brotherhood, Nation of Islam, the Legislative Black Caucus, and the NAACP expect to remain in operation, regardless of Saturday's election results.

However, our researchers have noted the resurgence of the ill-reputed "Dan Quayle" effect in which the decision-making mental processes of voters become influenced by a young, photogenic, low-seniority United States Senator from a Midwestern state whose mental capacity is ... questionable.

One political analyst we spoke to expressed his opinion that this means that "thanks to Obama, the Democrats can't say jack about Republicans and Dan Quayle anymore".

House 92 special election preview

David Dangerfield is a fellow blogger from the Lowcountry, running the Palmetto Ramblings blog. While I'm in my last semester of graduate school, he's in his first semester. I'm sure he's having a hell of a time learning the ropes, but I'm pulling for him to make it through.

He recently did interviews with two of the candidates for the upcoming special election for House District 92, down in Goose Creek - Jimmy Hinson and Joe Daning. For what it's worth, I think he did a great job chasing those two down, even if Daning's answers seemed a little canned and unimaginative. Go check out David's interviews at http://palmettoramblings.blogspot.com/2008/01/talk-with-candidates-for-sc-house-92.html

Watchdogs and Junkyard Dogs in Myrtle Beach

... so go ahead, trust us with your life savings, your condo at Kiawah and while you're at it ... your daughters.

That seemed to be what the folks at the Myrtle Beach Sun News were trying to say about us, having called us a "government watchdog":

... it was the Floyd-Norton contest that had many legislators, even those from other parts of the state, talking Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday, they received a letter from five lawyers on the Horry County Bar Association's Family Court Committee asking that Norton be elected. Floyd is also a member of that committee.

Later that day, after Emery withdrew, a government watchdog blog posted an S.C. Bar Association report on Floyd which ruled her unqualified. Less than a year previously, the same report found her the most qualified of the candidates who were seeking a previous family court opening.

The story claimed that the "race for Horry County's family court judgeship sparked hotter than usual for these types of contests last week when Horry County lawyers started calling and writing legislators about which candidate they favored".

If you think what they wrote was red-hot stuff, y'all should take a look at what some of those lawyers wrote on our blog. Most notable among these comments were the numerous typos, misspellings and lousy paragraph construction by one "Kathryn M. Cook ,Horry County Attorney", including this snippet:

It is simple petty jealousy of the professional accomplishment of Ms. Floyd and their support of one of the other candidates in this race. The two female lawyers who testified before legislative committe were both represented in their own personal domestic matter by the cnadidate that has now dropped out.

We're not sure if this one needed her bar exam scores fixed, but we're willing to bet English wasn't one of her favorite subjects in school.

One of the targets of Cook's illiteracy responded to the (misspelled) allegations with:

Melissa Emery, the candidate who dropped out of this race, has NEVER represented me in any domestic matter or any other matter. However, Ms. Cook failed to mention Ms. Floyd was her attorney in her own domestic action.

We may be watchdogs, but at least we're not a junkyard dog, nor do we spell or rant like one. But if we are dogs of any kind, we'd like to think of ourselves as one of those cute, cuddly, toothless kinds of watchdogs who wouldn't hurt a flea.

Breaking judicial race news

We have been informed that the race to fill the Ninth Judicial Circuit seat has ended early, with Ninth Circuit Family Court Judge Jack Landis and Charleston attorney Bill Thrower having withdrawn from the race.

Ninth Circuit prosecutor Kristi Harrington will now stand for election to this seat unopposed. We at the Blogland have worked closely with her, in support of her candidacy, and believe she is well-qualified to serve on the bench.

The efforts of many others who supported Kristi, including law enforcement, crime victims, prosecutors, and fellow attorneys, along with key legislative backers, had much to do with Kristi's success in garnering support for this position. We appreciate their team effort.

It is not easy to seek a judgeship - in fact, from everyone we've talked to about this, and everything we've seen, it's a miserable process. After all the work that goes into this, it has to be a tough thing to look at the numbers when one is losing, swallow a little pride, and bow out gracefully, but that's exactly what they did. We appreciate their doing so, just as much as we appreciate them running.

While another judicial race we have discussed here turned nasty and bitter in the last two weeks, this race has been discussed several times here, with respectful and thoughtful discourse. It certainly stands out as an example of the kind of greater transparency that we deserve from our state's judiciary, and that Kristi believes in.

We believe this sense of humility and accountability to the people will serve her well as a judge. Combined with her work ethic and willingness to take on new challenges, don't be surprised if you see Kristi rising to the Supreme Court one of these days.

It may be a long way to the top, but mark our words, Kristi Harrington is gonna rock and roll:



A coastal Law Enforcement Academy?

No, we're not talking about THAT Police Academy!

In South Carolina, law enforcement officers must go through training and become certified through classes offered at the state's Criminal Justice Academy near Columbia. Those of you who travel the interstates from city to city around the state have probably noticed the proliferation of law enforcement vehicles from various departments, all heading towards Columbia. Now you know where a lot of them are headed.

As of late, there are concerns in the state's law enforcement community that the present system may be breaking down, due to class overload, and that this backlog is affecting the ability of departments to get needed officers out of the classroom and on to the streets.

Having grown up in a law enforcement household (my father was sometimes a firearms instructor at "the academy" over the years), such issues are near and dear in the Blogland:

Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen has 19 new officers coming on board during the next few months, but it could be a long while before some of them hit the streets to serve and protect.

That's because the state Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia is struggling to keep up with the demand for training new recruits, forcing police departments to wait months for classroom openings. At present, it's the only place in South Carolina for new officers to go.

Mullen wants to change that. He is proposing that Charleston lead the way in establishing a Lowcountry regional training academy to ease the state's burden and get new officers on the streets in a more timely fashion.


- Charleston Post and Courier


If the present system isn't working, then Mullen's idea seems worth considering, especially considering that many coastal region communities are two hours or more drive time from the academy in Columbia.

Thanks to Glenn Smith at the Post and Courier for a job well done on this story.

Certain about uncertainty: The present and future of South Carolina's GOP Presidential primary

Since 1980, South Carolina's "First in the South" GOP Presidential primary was once a vital gateway for the presidential ambitions of Republican candidates from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. That was until last night, when a combination of a wide-open GOP field, voting technology, and competition from states envious of South Carolina's influence upon the nomination process broke that string, leaving the race essentially no closer to resolution than before the campaigns arrived in the Palmetto State.

While John McCain left for the upcoming Florida primary with the bragging rights for having finished first place in South Carolina, his first-place win was hardly conclusive. He only led second-placer Mike Huckabee by a modest 33-30 percent, and only carried three of the state's six congressional districts.

But indecision wasn't just McCain's fate. Each of the other leading GOP contenders left the state with very little change in their standings:

  • Mike Huckabee, desperate for a post-Iowa win, watched his early first-place standing in polls in South Carolina slip away since McCain's win in New Hampshire. As with other states, he leaves here without a much-needed primary victory - one he won't likely get in the upcoming Florida primary.

  • Mitt Romney, the biggest spender of all in South Carolina, bailed in the final two weeks to focus on squeezing out a close win in Michigan, followed by an obscure win in Nevada. His late decision to cut his losses here doesn't take away from the fact that he'd invested heavily here for a year, without results.

  • Fred Thompson, in spite of making South Carolina his sole campaign focus, stumbled along with dwindling voter support and limited campaign cash, and received a mediocre showing in a state chock full of conservative voters who were supposed to be Thompson's base.

Where South Carolina was once a pivotal state where the fortunes of Republican presidential aspirants were once made or broken, this year, the state's GOP primary was little more than a pricey sinkhole. The South Carolina primary did little to nothing to add momentum to good candidates, or help push failing ones out of the race. Overall, the GOP race remains essentially as murky and undecided as it was two weeks ago.

Was this irrelevancy a one-time aberration, or the sign of changing trends that will forever alter the role South Carolina plays in the race for the GOP presidential nominations?

Maybe next time ... stay tuned ...

Justice League of America endorsement rocks state judicial race

The race for a state judicial seat heated up following a surprise apperance at the State House by the Justice League of America.

Flanked by her fellow superheroes, Wonder Woman, also known as Kristi Harrington, received the endorsement of the Justice League of America, an organization of veteran superheroes renowned for their efforts to protect truth, justice and the American Way.

"We can no longer sit back and allow the political machinations of mere mortals to endanger the people of South Carolina," said Superman. "We are here today to call upon the people of the state to demand their elected leaders put this woman on the bench."

Batman, who had just flown in from Gotham City for the conference, added: "She is a voice for justice who can do much good for the state. She also makes great waffles."

This endorsement was the latest twist in one of the most high-profile bids for a seat in the state's judiciary. Already supported by two of the state's most-read political bloggers - Earl Capps of the Blogland of Earl Capps and Will Folks of FitsNews.com - reports have surfaced of another alliance being formed to support her candidacy among the state's political bloggers.

This group of bloggers, allegedly known as the Scumdogs of the Universe, reportedly has been considering how it can best join these ongoing efforts to encourage legislators to support Wonder Woman.

According to a report published on Folks' blog, who referred to Wonder Woman as "smokin' hot", her backers may be considering plans to eventually oust the entire state Supreme Court, allowing Harrington to be the state's sole arbiter of justice.

When asked about the long-term plans that may be behind this move, the Green Lantern said: "She is the purest form of justice known to mankind. We will support her every move as she goes forward to smite evil wherever she may find it."

Congratulations, we're losing (again)

More great news about the Palmetto State:

South Carolina came in near the bottom in the latest state-by-state economic competitiveness matchup, with the researchers citing high crime, poor infrastructure, high unemployment rates and dismal educational and human resource offerings as their reasons for ranking the state 42nd on the list of 50.

The seventh annual State Competitiveness Report 2007, released in late December by The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston, ranks states in terms of their competitiveness based on a number of specific criteria. Those criteria include government and fiscal policies, infrastructure, education, human services, technology and business incubation.

South Carolina’s position has dropped steadily in the report during the past three years, ranking 29th in 2005 and 37th in 2006.

While the state Department of Commerce is eager to pat itself on the back about bringing more jobs than ever to South Carolina (which is fair), nobody wants to talk about the fact that we're losing about as many jobs.

South Carolina isn't an economic development engine, it's an economic development turnstile - which is great if you have low skills and don't mind a short-term job with poor or few benefits, but lousy if you want to provide a stable livelihood for your family. Not to mention lousy if we want to have communities which are stable, healthy, and crime-free:


The human resources category was largely responsible for dragging down South Carolina’s ranking this time around. The report noted poor high school graduation rates, higher numbers of uninsured residents, higher rates of infant mortality and unemployment compared to other states. The state was 47th in this category.

Who do we blame for this ongoing economic and cultural sinkhole?

  • The politicians who think you can "buy" jobs with a combination of low-skilled/low-wage labor (which is subsidized via subsidized housing, food stamps, and Medicaid), tax breaks and taxpayer-funded incentives,

  • Community leaders in those areas most-affected by the factors which are contributing to this problem for not using their bully pulpits to convince people to stay in school, stop dealing drugs and committing crimes, and for once, take some responsibility for themselves and their community,

  • Most importantly ... US. These sad statistics aren't about people from Georgia or North Carolina. They're about South Carolinians, who seem to only be able at exceeding the national average at doing things wrong, bad, and stupid.

The reality is that a state where far too many people seem to accept that it's ok to drop out of our schools, get involved in drugs and crime, have kids at 16, and pride themselves more for their garishly-decorated cars and clothes than their education or careers, we're going to be shunned. To be honest, we deserve to be.

As a 10th grade dropout who was a parent at 18, I've helped contribute to these depressing statistics. But as someone who will be receiving my Master's degree in May, I've worked hard to better myself and set a higher standard for others to follow.

If I can work this hard to pull myself up, so can others. If we want a better South Carolina, it's time we find the cojones to admit we ARE the problem, and for once, start doing something to really change the predicament that we're in.

Otherwise, we're not the victims of this situation - we're volunteers.

Who is Earl Capps?

When we visited the State House for the State of the State address, we ran into people who somehow thought the name "Earl Capps" was a pseudonym.

Given the links to personal information in the sidebar, such as work, academic, and professional associations that I am part of, I have to wonder why they'd still think that. But hey, not everyone has time to go snooping around into personal lives ... just the crazy ones, right?

Well, for those of you who want to know what we do late at night when we're not conspiring here at the Blogland, we'd like to share an exclusive behind-the-scenes video from us, hard at work in our secret lair, somewhere in South Carolina, getting down with the Beastie Boys ...




State of the State address receives frigid response

Observers of Governor Sanford's 2008 State of the State address felt the speech received a somewhat cold response ... and then when the Governor went outside, it was snowing.

For some legislators, the weather outside seemed to respond to the Governor's remarks better than words could, for indeed, it was a cold day ... in Columbia.

Throughout his speech, Governor Sanford presented a number of recommendations we liked and may endorse here at the Blogland, such as restructuring, tougher DUI laws, Workers' Compensation reforms, spending restraints and budget reforms.

Bringing in multi-media tools to enhance his presentation was definitely smart stuff, including You Tube, a fave of us new media types.

But the disappointing part of the night was his attempt to link opposition to restructuring to racism, through discussing the roots of the present state government structure in the racist, post-Reconstruction legacy of Ben Tillman's State Constitution of 1895.

We're ashamed as anyone else could be that this state ever attempted to institutionalize racism, as Tillman did through establishing the present system of government. While we don't support the continuance of the Tillman structure in state government, we disagree with the governor that this has anything to do with Tillman or racism.

In no way do we consider those who question the need for streamlining state government racists. They are, as we are, good citizens. Many of them may disagree about what may be the proper balance of power, but they disagree respectfully.

The least the Governor could have done was respect them in return.

We're sorry he didn't do that. Because he couldn't, we once again face the possibility that what was a pretty solid and constructive agenda may once more be undone under petty name calling and divisive rhetoric.

Sometimes, leadership requires more than big ideas and lofty agendas. Sometimes, the small things matter just as much as the big things. While Governor Sanford came to this office with the best ability to see the real problems since Governor Campbell, he has chosen to squander these opportunities by employing low-blow rhetorical approaches and petty political tactics unbecoming of such bold vision.

But attempting to compare his opponents to these losers had to be one of his biggest tactical blunders yet.

We hope that tonight represents a turning point, the low point before a long-overdue turnabout, but we aren't holding our breath. Instead, we saw tonight as business as usual - and a cold day in Columbia for Governor Sanford and his agenda.

Our friends over at THE SHOT, who we hung out with in the Capitol lobby during the speech, had some good quotes from legislators. Go take a look.

The Democrats were good enough to remind us they too had something to say, in their official response to the Governor's address
, and it's worth a look-see as well. Since it's late, we intend to do a comparison and contrast examination of their response, versus the Governor's address, tomorrow.

Driving through the Midlands?

For those of you who travel through the Midlands, there will soon be two new road construction projects you should keep an eye out for. My company, U.S. Group, will be starting work on two new road construction projects in Lexington County:

Piney Grove Road widening and bridge replacement:
This project will replace the bridge over Kinley Creek, rechannel the creek to reduce potential erosion of the roadway, and add a center turn lane for two blocks both north and south of the creek.

U.S. Route 321 at U.S. Route 21/176 intersection realignment:
This project will replace the fork and yield intersection with a standard "T" intersection, complete with a traffic light. U.S. 321 will remain the through-route, while U.S. 21/176 travelers will have to stop and then turn right or left to get onto U.S. 321.

While daytime work that interferes with traffic is usually very restricted by SCDOT contract requirements, we do ask you to slow down exercise extra caution through these work zones. Both projects will likely require lane shift and temporary realignments to facilitate work, which will slow traffic while motorists get used to them. Watch out for those motorists, as well as our workers and construction vehicles.

If you have any questions about either project, please let me know. I'll be glad to help.

As an added bonus, I put the Piney Grove Road project online with a traffic information website, which you can find at http://www.pineygroveroad.com/.

Citizens for Truth and the Bill Gates Assassination

After years of tying to get behind the cover-ups about about the assassination of Bill Gates, Citizens for Truth brings us the real, unvarnished truth. It's not pretty, but seeing as how we're talking about all sorts of shadowy conspiracies this week, we thought this might be information you'd like to know about.

There's even photos from where they protested at the 2000 Democratic National Convention ... and were well received in the official protest area provided for protest groups.

We know that any group that protests at a Democratic National Convention has to be legitimate, right?

They're certainly doing a better job of finding the truth than OJ is at finding the real killer. No doubt this is a worthwhile cause, so go check them out.

Remember folks, the truth is out there ....




Day of Mourning announced for House Majority Leader

At the beginning of session Tuesday, an official Day of Mourning was announced for State House Majority Leader Jim Merrill. Flags were ordered lowered to half-mast and according to reports, much of the community of Daniel Island, where Merrill and his family had resided since before his election to the State House in 2000 was reportedly shocked by what one resident called "very sad news indeed".

Addressing a hastily-called joint session, House Speaker Bobby Harrell addressed legislators, telling them "this was a day that we all knew was coming, even though many of us hoped a day like this would never come."

"Jim has always been an inspiration to me," said Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, who followed Harrell. "He was always someone I could turn to when I needed something. Today is truly a sad occasion and I join all of you in mourning this day."

Some of Merrill's fellow legislators poured out their hearts in very emotional comments on the House floor:



It's really sad when something like this happens to someone you were just getting to know and enjoy working with.
- Rep. Carl Gullick (R-York)

It's just so hard to believe. I mean he was always so full of life and energy.
- Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley)



On a day like this, we can't help but look back at our own lives and wonder where we're headed.
- Rep. Chip Limehouse (R-Charleston)

I had been looking forward to working with him, and then something like this happens.
- Rep. Shannon Erickson (R-Beaufort)



Reports came in of flags being lowered to half-mast across Canada, reportedly at the request of United States Ambassador David Wilkins, a former South Carolina State House Speaker.

Then the proceedings were interrupted by freshman Senator Paul Campbell, who went over to Jim Merrill's desk, looked at the empty seat, and then walked up to the microphone and said:


Happy 40th Birthday, Jim. You know we all wish you the best.

Happy 40th Birthday to
Majority Leader Jim Merrill
from the Blogland!

On Shaky Ground: Anita Floyd's judicial candidacy

This week, candidates in the upcoming judicial elections will be free to seek votes from state legislators. Before they do, the Blogland's crack investigative team would like to share a tidbit we gleaned from the S.C. Bar's assessments of judicial candidates.

While we invited all the judicial candidates to participate in Blogland interviews, we're not really surprised that Anita Floyd, an attorney from Conway and candidate for the 15th Circuit Family Court seat, refused our invitation to interview, as she probably wouldn't have been very comfortable explaining this part of her bar review:

After interviewing a minimum of 30 members of the Bar who have knowledge of the candidate’s integrity, competence and temperament and interviewing the candidate, the Committee reports the following information. Ms. Floyd has extensive experience in Family Court Matters. She is described as possessing above average legal knowledge and diligence. Concerns were raised by members of the Bar about Ms. Floyd’s temperament, professionalism, and candor. Based on the information and interview, the Committee reports that it is the collective opinion that the candidate is not qualified to serve as a Family Court Judge.


Having done more than our fair share of quantitative research in graduate school, we wanted to understand the process used to ensure that the survey sample is truly representative of the general opinions of attorneys who would have experience with Ms. Floyd. To help with this, the Blogland spoke with four attorneys regarding the Bar's interview process. All four are current members of the South Carolina Bar. Here are the points all four agreed upon:
  • The "minimum of 30 members of the Bar" is a just that - the very least interviews they will conduct. They will often conduct more than 30 interviews.

  • In the event serious concerns are raised, the number of interviews they complete will be increased considerably to help ensure the negative comments are relatively representative and not just the sentiments of a pocket of disgruntled attorneys.

  • Attorneys are generally cautious about their statements when interviewed, and they will often avoid raising concerns except in extreme situations.
In some of these discussions, it was pointed out that in the case of Floyd, the "more than thirty interviews" which were conducted of attorneys (we were told that the actual number ended up being between 50 and 60) who have practiced law in Floyd's home turf represented a large percentage of all attorneys in Horry County.

We would like to have seen those comments, or at least some excerpts from those statements,and hopefully we will see them in future judicial races. However, the general methodology upon which these assessments are made seems fairly sound, in comparison with scientific approaches at surveying. Therefore, we believe that the report of the South Carolina Bar, with regard to attorney Anita Floyd, presents credible concerns which the General Assembly cannot ignore.

We aren't sure if this information is being provided to legislators along with the JMSC assessments, but in case it's not, we're posting this information here. We simply ask that they review all the information, decide for themselves which information is more objective and valid, and make up their minds accordingly.

We're not trying to say that the JMSC findings are not without merit. However, when the choice is between one candidate who was rejected by one review, and another who was found qualified by both, the smart thing to do would be to pick the one who passed both reviews, not just one of them.

Those who sit on the bench must meet very high standards, especially with regard to honesty and fairness. Given recent events with regard to the grading of Bar exams, the need to re-establish credibility in our judicial and legal professions is greater than ever. If the legislature truly wants to help move our state's judiciary towards a higher standard, they should reject Ms. Floyd's judicial candidacy.


ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO READ THE SOUTH CAROLINA BAR REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL CANDIDATES CAN GET THEM ONLINE AT
http://www.scbar.org/pdf/JQCNov07.pdf

John McCain draws hundreds in Summerville

Friday afternoon saw what had to be a first for Summerville when two Presidential candidates held campaign rallies in Summerville, roughly 3-4 miles from each other. With approximately 30 people, Fred Thompson's event fizzled, but John McCain's event, held at Kelly's BBQ just outside of Summerville on US 78, saw between 300-400 attendees, including yours truly. If you've got any doubt about the turnout, just look at this photo:

There for the occasion were former Charleston County GOP chair Dr. Mark Hartley, S.C. Attorney General (and former SCGOP chair) Henry McMaster, Mayor of Importantville (and State House Speaker) Bobby Harrell, and Senator Lindsey Graham.

While I clearly support Rudy, this is a guy I hold great respect for. How can you not respect someone with his record of service to his country. Five years in NVA custody ... wowwww ...

McCain touched on his Vietnam experiences in a couple of quotes:


There were some great pilots, and obviously, some were better than I was since they didn't get shot down.


The rockets' red glare looks real nice until you see them up close and personal.

Much of the speech focused on defense issues, promising "no surrender" to terrorism and Iraq, condemming attacks on General Petraeus, and promising veterans a "card that can get you the health care you deserve, anywhere you need to go to get it".

He also promised action on greenhouse gases, and to spend more time "working to get things done" in a bipartisan manner, pointing out crossover support from Democrats such as Senator Joe Lieberman.

The event lasted about 30 minutes and saw much of the GOP network of Dorchester County turn out for the event, as well as those who were clearly military veterans. While originally planning to do some Q&A with the audience, delays in traffic and the unexpected large turnout shortened the plans for the event and McCain and company were out the door, headed for their next stop.

Special thanks are due to the McCain campaign, who always makes sure us bloggers receive equal standing to traditional media representatives. This included their senior on-site staff, Rick Quinn and Trey Walker, but also B.J. Boling, who works to make sure we bloggers are kept well in the loop and invited to events.

If this is the kind of turnout he can muster with little notice in Summerville, while other candidates are meeting groups of dozens, it's clear to see that McCain's second South Carolina try is meeting with much better success than his 2000 bid.

The System has Failed: Megadeth that works

In many album reviews here in the Blogland, we look at those surviving 80s hair bands who continue cranking out solid material, even with a fraction of the album sales and concert attendance numbers of their heyday. Megadeth's 2004 The System has Failed album is more proof that an 80s band two decades removed from their heyday does NOT have to suck.

Believe it or not, a clip from one of the songs on that album, "Die Dead Enough" is my cell phone's main ring tone.

If it's good enough for my cell phone, it's good enough for your album collection. Go buy it.

Here's a YouTube clip of the song so good it's on my cell phone:



... and live footage of "Something I'm Not", from their Gigantour 2005.



Inside Interview: Phil Bailey

Yesterday’s Inside Interview with GOP campaign operative Wesley Donehue called for a little bi-partisan balance. As a veteran politico, one of the most important things we’ve learned, and like to share with others is that things aren’t always what they seem, nor can everything in state politics be easily-classified or well-defined, much to the chagrin of those who think they’re smarter than the rest of us.

One of those “wild cards” who, like us, keeps people guessing is Phil Bailey, a fellow CofC alum, and Blogland reader. He's also the director of the State Senate’s Democratic Caucus. Raised in the Midlands, he graduated from Columbia’s Cardinal Newman High School about ten years back, and went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the College of Charleston.

These days, Phil is back in the Midlands, but you can bet he's always roaming the state, eagerly eyeing political opportunities wherever they may appear. Although he’s one of the most prominent and sought-after Democratic campaign operatives in the South, Phil decided to stay local and keep his current job, instead of heading off with one of the presidential campaigns.

In the recent series of special elections, his work had much to do with the Democrats being able to defy expectations of non-stop GOP romps by targeting his party’s efforts on waging two unexpectedly-strong races – first in Berkeley County, where John West scored a surprisingly 42% in a heavily-Republican district, and then in the Savannah River valley, where many in the GOP expected a cakewalk, and ended up winning by a mere 200 votes.

In our humble opinion, if the Democrats are to remain politically relevant in one of the reddest states in the nation, this is one of the guys they’ll need to do the job.

Now that we’ve said so many nice things about a Democrat that we’re sure to hear it at the next few GOP events we attend, we’ll shut up and let Phil take a few questions from the Blogland:

Q - How did you end up in politics?

I grew up in it. I can remember my mom taking me around to Mike Dukakis events in 1988 and she was heavily involved in Paul Tsongas’ SC primary campaign in 1992. As a 12 year-old kid, I remember the excitement of the political rallies and sitting back, paying more attention to the nuts and bolts of the rally and the campaign than the actual candidate. I never waited around to declare a major in college. I went right into political science. Declaring early freed me up for the important classes in college like sailing.

I was lucky to go to work for Charleston Mayor Joe Riley’s re-election right out of school; handling his schedule and being his body-man. That was a great learning experience.


Q – South Carolina is about the toughest state in the country for Democrats. Tell us about some of the challenges that come with your job in relation to this and how you deal with the challenges that come with this.

Democrats didn’t lose the Senate at the ballot box. We lost it because of party-switchers.

Legislative district lines are the challenge. Democrats have always been competitive in state-wide contest. But the way the district lines are drawn is the toughest challenge. There are very few competitive districts left. They’re drawn to protect the incumbency of the current member.

Q - Here’s a freebee – what are the best favors that South Carolina Republicans have done to help make your work easier?

MARK SANFORD. I never underestimate the guy. He’s one of the smartest politicians I know of. His shtick as a faux-reformer is effective. All the snowbirds moving into SC eat that stuff up. But it has made life in the General Assembly much more interesting. (Kind of the enemy of my enemy is my friend…)

Also, Sen. Kevin Bryant needs to keep drafting legislation.

Q - What are your thoughts about bloggers and other “new media” outlets?

I think they’re great. Blogs are an effective way to reach opinion makers across the state. It’s funny to watch, sometimes, the senators reading blogs on the Senate floor. You can tell if there is something interesting out there when the Senators are running around telling everyone the web address. Senator McConnell will sometimes reference FITSnews from the podium. I hate to give Will Folks a plug, but his blog is great. He’s a great writer. Funny as hell.

Q – To date, which campaign(s) have been your favorite? Why?

Joel Lourie’s ’04 state senate race was fun. But Drew Theodore’s ’06 comptroller race has been my favorite, so far. That was my first state-wide race. I really got to travel the state and get to know folks like Nick Theodore - the man can make a mean Greek omelet. Who knows what he put in those things. Guaranteed heart burn.

It was a down-ballot race and we had nothing to lose. We got to raise hell in the hopes of getting noticed and we did. Also, running a campaign against Rod Shealy is an experience.

Q - Since we’re all about great music here in the Blogland, we’ll close by asking what’s your favorite album and/or artist?

R.E.M. One of the first records I ever bought was the Green album. Been an avid fan ever since, except for the Up album. It’s crap. Basically, any R.E.M album prior to when drummer Bill Berry retired is good.

Metal always makes it onto my Ipod. The old school stuff – Ratt, Quiet Riot, AC/DC.

Lately, I’ve gotten into a RadioHead phase.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Wowwww … thanks for a great interview, Phil.

Inside Interview: Wesley Donehue

When it comes to looking inside state government to see who’s who and what’s what, it never hurts to look at the power behind the throne. If the Governor is a King, the cabinet officials Princes, and the Legislature feudal Lords and Barons, then one could argue that the knights of the kingdom would be the political operatives.

On that list of knights would be Lowcountry native Wesley Donehue.

Wesley grew up in Goose Creek, and went to USC. Currently, he is employed with First Tuesday Strategies (formerly known as TTS), where he serves as Vice President. Last year he won all 5 State House races for which he was senior strategist including Bill Cotty (which we covered here in the Blogland), Keith Kelly’s out-right win in a 3-way primary in Spartanburg County, and Mick Mulvaney – the only GOP legislative pick-up in the last election cycle. Wesley also just picked up a seat for the GOP in the State Senate as senior strategist for Shane Massey’s campaign, giving him credit for both of the GOP's two legislative gains since 2004.

Last year Wesley opened South Carolina’s only political Internet firm – Under The Power Lines. He serves as a web consultant to Senator Jim DeMint, Representatives Nathan Ballentine and Thad Viers, and Senators Shane Massey and Ray Cleary. His wife, Elizabeth, has another specialty in the political business as a successful fundraiser (www.donehueagency.com).

If political operatives are the “knights of the kingdom”, Wesley has never been a knight who shied away from a nasty fight. Just this year he made national news by creating a website attacking Senator Fred Thompson (and the Blogland stuck up for him, and got a few barbs from those who couldn’t take a joke).

But enough of our yakking - let’s see what Wesley Donehue has to say …

Q - How did you end up in political consulting?

First off, I think the term “political consultant” is WAY overused by people. There are people in SC and across the nation who have never even worked on a campaign or run a race who call themselves political consultants. It’s BS. I’m 28 and have worked on, run, or advised over 25 campaigns. Am I a consultant? Yeah, I guess so, but it’s still a term I like to save for the elders. Call me an “operative.” I like “strategist” too. It’s a good word.

I first got interested in politics between the 8th and 9th grade. I attended Westview Middle School in Goose Creek and was supposed to move on to Stratford High. The school board had other plans. They split Westview and made a few of us go to Goose Creek High instead and it was pretty obvious which few of us it was – the not so rich kids. I was pissed as hell. How could these people tell me I couldn’t go to school with my best friends? It didn’t make a bit of sense. That was how I got interested in the game.

I went to USC as an engineering major and during my freshman year Senator Bill Mescher asked that I page for him at the State House. There it was…I was hooked. I was then introduced to Rod Shealy who hired me to work on a few campaigns. I changed my major to political science and decided that I was going to be a professional political operative.

After working on a ton of different campaigns, I met Terry Sullivan who hired me to work on the DeMint campaign. Following DeMint’s win I went to run Mike Campbell’s campaign for Lt. Governor. I left in January of 2006 when Warren Tompkins, Terry Sullivan, and Heath Thompson opened TTS and asked me to run the firm.

Q - What are your thoughts about bloggers and other “new media” outlets?

I believe that one day every voter will get the majority of their news from the web. But that’s not going to happen in the next few cycles and it certainly isn’t going to happen today. Regular voters still get their politics from the opinion leaders - those who disseminate information to others, i.e. MSM, activists, elected officials, uber-informed voters...

New media is important because most opinion leaders get a large chunk of their news from the Internet. That in turn is disseminated down to regular voters. It’s called the two-step flow of communication. “The people with most access to media, and having a more literate understanding of media content, explain and diffuse the content to others.” Here’s how it works:

Joe lives in Columbia. He is 63 years olds, votes in every Republican primary, but doesn’t own a computer and wouldn’t know what to do with it if he did.

Bill is a reporter for the Associated Press who reads blogs every day. Today he read an interesting story on The Blogland of Earl Capps, investigated it a little deeper, and wrote his own story. After posting his story on the wire, it was picked up by WIS and The State newspaper.

Joe saw the story on the 11:00 news last night and read about it again in The State this morning. The story was written on a blog, read by a reporter, and disseminated down to the regular voter.


That happens all the time and it’s important that campaigns harness that power. This year we see campaigns hiring entire teams of bloggers and new media experts.

I have had a lot of fun opening South Carolina first Republican Internet strategy firm called “Under The Power Lines Netroots | New Media.” We don’t just build websites. We use the web for votes by creating a web strategy that fits into a campaign’s overall strategy. We then build the tools necessary to complete that strategy. Check us out at politicalnetroots.com.

Q - Last year, we watched a multitude of bizarre political scenes – airplane crashes, herds of cows wearing campaign signs, and the Grim Reaper endorsing candidates for Governor and Comptroller. Does this suggest that the Grim Reaper may be planning to take strong role in our state’s political process, or is this a sign that the end times are near?

The Grim Reaper and the cows are way cooler than Jim Hodges’ Bubba, but not nearly as cool as Jim DeMint’s codgers.

That’s funny. Not until I wrote that did I realize that both Bubba and the codgers were used to whoop up on David Beasely. The Bease just brings out the creativity in people I guess.

Anyway…No, I don't know if the end times are near. That's a question for Mike Huckabee.

As for the cows and the Grim Reaper, they could be plotting something. All they'd need is a blog.

Q - To date, which campaign(s) have been your favorite? Why?

That’s an easy one. By far it was Jim DeMint’s campaign. We had a great team that worked really well together. Terry built the most well oiled machine I’ve ever seen.

Working on a US Senate campaign is stressful and exhausting. Sometimes your nerves are so wound up that you can’t sleep for days. But with Senator DeMint I can look back and know that every single second was well worth it. Jim DeMint is an amazing Senator and every American is lucky to have him serving us in Washington. At times, he seems to be the only one still standing up for our conservative values, and that makes me very proud.

I also enjoyed serving as Deputy Campaign Manager to Mike Bouchard’s US Senate campaign in Michigan. Mike is one of the best men I have ever met and it was very sad to see him lose, but running a campaign in a state so different from South Carolina really expanded my skills. And as Napoleon Dynamite says “girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.” Everyone always asks how I landed a wife so much cooler than me. Guess that’s how.

Q - Since we’re all about great music here in the Blogland, we’ll close by asking what’s your favorite album and/or artist?

When I’m at work I like to hear O.A.R, Guster, and Weezer because it gets my blood flowing. I listen to a lot of rap in the car because it’s the only time people aren’t yelling at me to turn it off. I like a lot of old Wu Tang and Bone Thugs. It’s the Goose Creek in me. I’m not into a lot of the new rap except for Souljah Boy…because I’m learning how to “crank dat.” At home I listen to Bob Marley, Jump, Little Children, Hootie, and Dave. Elizabeth makes me listen to Kenny Chesney a lot.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Stay tuned tomorrow, when we hop to the other side of the political fence for a chat with Phil Bailey with the Senate Democratic Caucus ...

Inhale to the Chief: The Blogland's South Carolina Presidential Primary Review

In a couple of weeks, hundreds of thousands of South Carolina voters will go to the polls to pick candidates in the Presidential primaries. Then, like the aftermath of a wild weekend party, the candidates will hit the road the next morning, acting like they don't know us, and leaving everyone tired and burned out, with lots of debris (leftover signs) scattered all over the place for someone else to clean up.

The way we figure it, the other blogs have plenty to say about the race, and there’s not much original we can say that they won’t say or haven’t already said. To do our readers a favor, we decided to spare our readers more of the Presidential BS, and keep things short and simple by presenting a brief recap of our past discussions about the candidates and issues.

As many of you know, we’ve endorsed Rudy Guiliani, and we’re sticking with that endorsement, in a race where some sources have indicated that bullshit is the number one issue among voters.

For your information and entertainment, here are some of the past postings we've made regarding the presidential race, broken down by candidates and subjects:

Rudy Guiliani:
Mike Huckabee:
John McCain:

Barack Obama:

Mitt Romney:
Fred Thompson:

Issues in the Presidential race:
Polling and straw polls:
South Carolinians & Presidential politics: