Will SCGOP leadership object to racist language in Legislative Manual?

More than 130 years after Reconstruction ended, South Carolina’s official Legislative Manual still refers to elected officials from the period with derogatory descriptions.

At the end of the 625 page manual is a list of all former governors, lieutenant governors, and speakers of the State House. Next to some names are parenthetical notations such as “appointed by” and “son of.”

A few others, however, received some not-so-nice descriptions.

Former Speakers Samuel J. Lee and R.B. Elliott, for example, are labeled “Negros” while Franklin J. Moses is referred to as a “Scalawag.” A trio of lieutenants governor were listed with similar notations.

While it's pretty certain that the wording was not left in there with any sort of malicious intent, it's just as certain the use of references of "negro" and "scalawag" was originally intended as a malicious statement towards those who challenged all-white rule in South Carolina. As such, keeping it in there honors those bigots who originated the language, and dishonors those whose names the notations were added to.

In an AP story which followed Fogle's post, a number of Democratic leaders seemed to not find the comments a big deal, which seemed puzzling. In this matter, Republicans have two good reasons to call for such language to be removed: first, to show respect and sensitivity towards the state's minority population, and second, to honor these pioneers of the Republican Party, who were the first Republican House Speakers in state history.

Such a gesture may seem symbolic, but in politics, symbolism can matter as much - and sometimes more than - actual substance. Republicans need only look to the example of Ronald Reagan smart use of symbolic imagery and gestures to convey messages and accomplish political objectives.

In the run-up to this year's GOP convention, Karen Floyd and most of the other candidates talked about wanting to diversify a party which is all but totally disconnected from the state's minority voters. Repudiating such language would be a small, but positive, step in showing that the SCGOP leadership is serious about charting a new and more constructive course in its minority outreach.

South Carolina political strategist devoured by alien life form

While on a recent secret mission to the Andromeda galaxy, Wesley Donehue, noted South Carolina political strategist, was devoured by a vicious Quinnus Fogelus while boldly attempting to go where no man has gone before.

Rest in peace. Shazbot, na-nu na-nu.

Let's be "Frank": Gresham Barrett wants to spend tax dollars on his campaign

While lots of political stunts can run the gamut to dishonest to outright stupid, at least it's usually their money, so what the heck? But when it's YOUR money paying for his political advancement, there's a little bit more at stake.

It seems that Congressman - and candidate for Governor - Gresham Barrett, under the guise of informing his constituents about what he's doing and where he's standing, sent this mailing out courtesy of his Congressional office, using tax dollars to pay for it. This practice, commonly referred to as "franking", involves the sending of taxpayer-subsidized mail by members of Congress to their constituents. The practice of franking was loudly criticized by many of those who led the seemingly-forgotten "Republican Revolution" of 1994, in which the GOP won control of Congress, promising a wide range of ethical reforms.

We'll quote the media release we received and post images of the mailing, and let you decide what YOU think of this stunt:

Greenville- Conservative Upstate group leaders today called on Congressman Gresham Barrett to disclose the amount of money he is spending on franking mail that benefits his campaign for Governor and to return the money to the taxpayers. The group displayed an enlarged copy of a mail piece sent by the Congressman that they said was clearly designed to boost his name ID to benefit his campaign and did not serve as official Congressional business.

In attendance were Dean Allen, Executive Director of ROAR (Restore Our American Republic); Butch Taylor, President of Greenville County Taxpayers Association; Kim Williams, Vice President of Greenville County Taxpayers Association; Brian Frank with The Campaign for Liberty; and Harry Kibler, State Director of Patriotic Resistance (an off shoot of GrassFire.org).

Butch Taylor said, “The Taxpayers Association is very upset any time elected officials waste taxpayers money and this mail piece is a clear example of waste.” ROAR leader and news conference organizer Dean Allen said that “Congressman Barrett sent out what looks like a nice piece of campaign literature, and he should have paid for it with his own campaign money instead of taxpayers’ money. I am calling on Gresham Barrett to tell the American people how much taxpayers’ money was used on this franked mailing and give it back to the taxpayers.”

For someone who has already gotten himself on the very visible bad side of fiscal conservative watchdogs, such a move is - in our humble opinion - extremely boneheaded, not to mention downright disrepectful of taxpayers.

Thanks go out to those who called Barrett on this stunt for doing what the mailing encouraged them to do - make their voices heard.

The 2009 legislative session - what do YOU think?

They're gone ... the coast is clear, so you can come out now.

The 2009 session of the General Assembly is over, except for veto overrides, and clearly, it was a hell of a year. We started out with a big budget mess and ended up with a bigger budget mess and everyone suing everyone.

It may have been a bad year to be a legislator, but some lawyers are gonna make out like bandits before it's all over.

So we'd like to ask our readers to share some of their thoughts about this year's session of the General Assembly.

Lowcountry Workforce Development for Breakfast

This morning's Local Elected Officials breakfast put on by the staff of the Trident Workforce Investment Board gave those who attended a great opportunity to learn more about what the region's One Stop Centers are doing, and how they can address the needs and concerns of local elected officials. Lowcountry state reps Robert Brown, Joe Danning, Jenny Horne, Anne Hutto, Tim Scott and David Umphlett showed up, along with various elected and appointed county officials from the region.

These reps included all but one of the freshmen House members from the Charleston area, a testament to the continuing can-do attitude shown by this year's Freshman Caucus, led by Scott. Several of them participated in a Question and Answer session with Workforce Board staff members.

Workforce development issues have been at the center of a lot of controversy this year, and given the high unemployment caused by the current economic downturn, it's good to see that these legislators chose to come get the facts for themselves.

British Conservatives stand up for ethics

In 2006, voters disgusted by a lack of Congressional ethics, largely involving GOP members of both houses of Congress, were one of the key voter blocs which threw Congress into Democratic control. While many of those responsible for sabotaging the GOP's congressional majority have since left, there's a constructive example being set by the British Conservative Party's leader David Cameron.

In facing a scandal in which members of Parliament from all parties had been abusing expense accounts, Cameron chose to use the party's first ad in the ongoing campaign for local and European Parliament races to
make a clear statement on the matter:

I want to speak directly about the issue that’s doing so much to undermine our whole political process: MPs’ expenses.

I want to start by saying sorry. Sorry that it’s come to this. And sorry for the actions of some Conservative MPs. People are right to be angry that some MPs have taken public money to pay for things few could afford. You’ve been let you down. Politicians have done things that are unethical and wrong. I don’t care if they were within the rules – they were wrong.

But Cameron's not just blowing smoke on the matter. He's gone after his own MPs directly, showing the door to MP Andrew McKay and threatening MP Anthony Steen with explusion from the party before he steps down at the end on the current parliamentary term. Cameron has disclosed questionable expenses from Conservative MPs on the party's website, initiated a committee to review expense reports and made it clear that current Conservative parliamentarians will be expected to pay back questionable expenses, or be kicked out the party.

Pretty bold stuff, and quite commendable.

Republicans in South Carolina and at the national level can learn something from Cameron's example and demand their party's leaders and office holders work to set a higher standard for ethics in the future. Maybe if they do, voters opinions, which have soured on the GOP nationally, may begin to improve.

Meeting Street Madness

Mike Reino at SC 6 gets props for being our source for the video.

While it's unclear if one of the drunk floozies showing her tail one night on Meeting Street in downtown Charleston really is the daughter of the Mayor of Myrtle Beach, she's not doing her hometown much justice with her conduct.

A bimbo video that showed up here before it showed up on FITS ... that's probably a first. Enjoy the video and have a fun Memorial Day weekend.

I used to hang out here

My company recently started work on a new highway project on James Island, which is where I grew up.

The project is located at the "triangle" at Folly Road and Maybank Highway, including the James Island side approach to the Wappoo Creek drawbridge. When done, the modified intersection will help improve traffic flow and the old Folly Road, used as a shortcut between Maybank and Folly, will have traffic signals to improve safety.

I was down there the other day and in a moment of nostalgia, took some pictures of the underside of the bridge, which used to be one of my hangout spots back in my high school days. Obviously, others have continued the tradition, with lots of spray paint, mixed with a modest amount of booze.

I won't say what I was up to, and we'll leave it at that.

I'm wondering if one would find the faded message "F*** Earl Capps" down there. If not, I'm sure some readers of the Blogland will gladly repaint it.

Digital communication in the workplace

Anna-Fiona Cooke, who I recently featured as a new graduate of the Masters in Communication program at CofC, will be taking some of her research regarding the impacts and benefits of digital communication in the workplace national this fall.

Lives today are strung together by fast interactions, prompt responses and immediate results. Naturally, these modern communicative tools are welcomed in the workplace. Cooke, a communication graduate student, explored this in a research paper entitled "Type. Send. Communicate." What began as a project for her communication management seminar revealed how the instant exchange of ideas is reshaping the workforce.

Cooke (pictured here) found that Generation Y workers - twenty-somethings who have depended on cell phones and laptops since high school - use technology to increase productivity at work. Meanwhile, their Generation X managers - born between 1965 and 1980, an era of Pac-Man games and eight-track players - faced challenges as a result.

Over the span of a month, Cooke observed and interviewed workers at a local small business. She asked participants when they preferred digital communication over personal methods, how often they used them and why. "Many of the interviewees admitted using text and instant messaging for everything, from asking questions about projects to where to go to lunch," Cooke says. Next, she conducted several personal interviews with executives in large businesses, including a financial sales manager in Atlanta and a human resources consultant in Columbus, Ohio.

She found that using technology increased proficiency. The young wave of employees who grew up using word-processing and instant messenger accomplished their tasks quickly and, in turn, wanted recognition. "They expected more breaks or to go home when their goals for the day were complete instead of working a traditional 9-to-5 day," says Cooke.

That's her in the picture.

Her research was timely, relevant, and well-presented at last fall's conference of the Carolinas Communication Association, where she won their Mary Jarrard award for best graduate research paper. I expect her work will be well-received at the NCA conference as well.

Illegal immigration enforcement to shift focus to prosecuting employers

Those who have flagrantly disregarded federal laws which require employers to hire only those authorized to work in the United States may soon find the going is getting to get a little rougher:

On April 30, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a shift in its workforce enforcement priorities from the prosecution of illegal aliens working in the United States to the prosecution of employers who knowingly hire them. According to a fact sheet distributed by DHS, only 135 of 6,000 arrests related to worksite enforcement in 2008 were employers. As a result, DHS issued new guidelines to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with instructions to immediately "focus its resources in the worksite enforcement program on the criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly hire illegal workers in order to target the root cause of illegal immigration."

Employers - defined in this context as hiring managers, management, owners, CEOs, supervisors, and other occupational titles - can expect ICE offices to use their full authority when executing investigations such as the use of confidential sources, cooperating witnesses, and undercover agents.

Click here to read more ...

While some argue the shift of focus onto employers and away from those who are working illegally may be intended to reward Hispanic political constituencies, which are usually very Democratic, the reality is that those who hire illegally can count on increased scrutiny by Homeland Security and ICE in the future.

Lowcountry flag retirement

A Blogland reader will be involved in a flag disposal ceremony at the end of the month, which will be held in the Lowcountry. She has asked for anyone who has old flags in need of proper disposal to send them.

If you have any old flags, I will be glad to accept them and forward them to her.

Cross-generational workforce management

Stepping into the HR world, where I earn my paycheck ... I thought I'd share this article on managing cross-generational workforces. I thought it provided some useful food for thought:

Generational diversity at work is growing as many older employees are working longer and younger employees are increasingly joining the work force. Teams are likely to include multiple generations in the years to come. In many cases, your direct supervisor may be someone much younger or older than you. The more you understand the unique perspectives, work styles, and goals of the generations you work with and manage, the more effective you will be as a manager and an employee.

Here are six ways to lead diverse teams and effectively manage across the generations ... (read more).

Mark your calendar: Trident Workforce Investment Board's annual elected officials breakfast

Recently, a lot of attention has been placed upon the issue of workforce development and job creation, courtesy of the recent ESC showdown, as well as with staggeringly-high unemployment rates.

County and legislative elected officials from the Lowcountry have an opportunity to come and learn what the One Stop Centers overseen by the Trident Workforce Investment Board are doing next week at a special Local Elected Officials breakfast event:

Tuesday, May 26 at 7:30 a.m.
Trident One-Stop Career Center
Hanahan Drive, just off Rivers Avenue

We've already confirmed a number of county officals, as well as legislators, who are coming. If this is you and you haven't confirmed, then please take the time to mark your calendar and let us know you're coming!

Transparency in government goes mainstream

News that two Lowcountry counties - Charleston and Dorchester - are putting their spending information online is a comforting sign how the idea of governmental transparency, which was once rejected as impractical or unnecessary by its critics, has quickly been accepted and implemented by governmental entities across the state. According to the Post and Courier:

Dorchester County Council Chairman Jamie Feltner made the motion to put spending records online. Councilman Kenny Waggoner got council to amend it to include salaries of at least $50,000.

"It's the citizens' money, and I have no problem with them seeing where their money goes," Feltner said. "To me that's the only way you're going to get feedback from the public. If we're doing things they don't like, they can let us know."

Dorchester County's resolution cites the example of S.C. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, who put the spending of all state agencies on his government transparency Web site in March. The site was updated last week to allow searches of each agency by vendor, Communications Officer R.J. Shealy said.

Anderson County was the first county to put its check register online, in April. The cities of Cayce, Irmo and Turbeville followed suit. Columbia also has been talking with Eckstrom about going online, Shealy said.

But the quest for transparency in South Carolina government isn't over yet. Senator Mike Rose is one of those who are working to take transparency in government even further. He has co-sponsored legislation which will requires state school districts, some of whom employed delaying tactics to budget-related FOIA requests, to follow suit by posting their financial records online. He has also sponsored legislation to apply the same requirements to state colleges and universities.

Considerable credit should be given to two state elected officials who pushed for transparency in government before it became cool: State Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom who
set the example by putting the state's finances online, and State Representative Nikki Haley, who led efforts to push for legislative transparency by working to require legislative roll call voting.

Help the latest victims of South Carolina's sagging economy

State Agriculture Commissioner Hugh "Al Capone" Weathers and the folks at the Department of Agriculture are working to share the plight of South Carolina's unemployed fruits and vegetables with the people of South Carolina with the help of a series of videos we found on YouTube.

To overcome the crisis, their intended course of action is to seek and recruit Palmettovores - creatures who have a dependence upon fruits and vegetables grown in South Carolina. For some, it's a genetic trait, for others, it's an acquired condition.

Sources close to the Blogland have informed us these vegetable activists will take to the streets in several South Carolina cities this week in their efforts to become fully employed, including one rally which will be held today at the Market in downtown Charleston.

Resistance is futile - become a Palmettovore.

Karen Floyd's Challenge

Seven years ago, when Katon Dawson took the helm of the SCGOP, things were very different for Republicans in South Carolina. Unified by opposition to former Democratic Governor Jim Hodges at home, Palmetto State Republicans held legislative majorities in Columbia, and had friends in Washington with President Bush and a GOP congressional majority.

On Saturday, Dawson passed along the leadership to Karen Floyd. In stark contrast to the early days of Dawson's tenure, the state GOP faces difficult challenges, both from within and without. At home, a corrupted Governor and his extremist allies have torn the party with shadowy associations and misleading political games, while spendthrift legislative leaders embarked on an unprecendented spending spree, leaving the state wide open to a budget disaster without comparison. In Washington, the Democrats hold power in the White House and Congress.

To put it bluntly - the Republican Party is in a hell of a mess. Whether she likes it or not, Floyd will be expected to take a leading role in helping put it back in order.

Floyd has her critics who question her ability to lead the party. Those critics would be wise to not worry about what she is or is not doing and roll up their sleeves to make their own contributions. One of the keys to the Democratic victories of '06 and '08 was the decentralized approach in which Democratic activists were empowered to support candidates and turn out the vote. Republicans who feel they cannot work with Floyd would be wise to emulate that example.

The party leadership shows a suprising degree of diversity. Of the RNC representatives, Chair and Vice-Chairs, only two of the six are held by white males. Two of the six are black, roughly mirroring the state's population, which is roughly one-third black. Republicans will be challenged to acheive greater diversity in their voter support, and Floyd and her leadership team will be challenged to play a key role in these efforts.

Two-thirds of younger voters are either Democrat or lean that way. They are far more dependent upon technology to communicate than older voters, but their political outlooks are also very different. These voters are far less likely to respond to negative campaign tactics, assess issues and policies in terms of what will produce a broader social benefit, and combine friendship and politics to make their activism part of their every day lives. To tap into that energy and establish commmon threads with these voters will require imagination and tolerance for people who might agree on issues, but think, act, and look very differently than traditional Republicans.

The GOP will face a tough battle in 2010. Democrats emboldened by a close race against Congressman Henry Brown will surely try again, as well as see if they can wage some breakthroughs in statewide races. Winning the Governor's race presents he Democrats an excellent opportunity to blunt GOP influence in the 2011 redistricting process. Infighting has done critical damage to the GOP in two of the three largest counties - Charleston and Richland - where Democrats reversed GOP majorities and contribute significantly to statewide Democratic voter turnout. Republicans will be battling across the state to hold back the Democrats, and the state party organization will be hard-pressed to keep Democrats from scoring some costly breakthroughs.

Voters are frustrated with the ongoing battling between Governor Sanford and the Legislature, and polls show voters blame both sides for the current budget mess. If something doesn't give, those voters could start punishing the GOP at the polls. Floyd will be challenged to take a role in helping end this feuding and getting Republicans working together towards addressing the problems with the budget, education and unemployment which are very much on the minds of voters.

There are considerable challenges ahead. As the new leader of the state GOP, many will look to Floyd to lead efforts to address these challenges. Towards these efforts, she has the full support of the Blogland.

2009 GOP convo recap, Part 2: Ken Ard campaign drop-in

Immediately following the convention was a reception hosted by Ken Ard, a recently-announced GOP candidate for Lt. Governor. The place was packed with well-wishers, supporters, and curious Republicans who crossed the street from the convention to meet the candidate and learn a little bit more about him.

We were impressed with the turnout and certainly appreciative for the hospitality shown by Ard and his supporters.

As an aside, we've already heard criticisms that Ard, who currently sits on Florence County Council, would be handicapped in his bid by a lack of legislative experience. To those people, it's worth noting that Bob Peeler, who served in the office from 1995-2002, was elected having held no higher elected office than the Cherokee County School Board. In spite of that, Peeler scored a stunning come-from-behind victory and went on to win re-election handily against a comeback bid by former Lt. Governor (and former legislator) Nick Theodore four years later.

We met Ard and found him likable and thoughtful. He'll make a welcome addition to the field of GOP candidates for this office.

2009 GOP convo recap, Part 1: Will Katon Dawson get a life?

As a veteran of many SCGOP conventions over the last twenty years, including the last two changes of leadership (Barry Wynn and Henry McMaster), I've seen a lot of tributes over the years. But the tribute to Katon Dawson was like none ever given to any outgoing party figure.

We've not always been nice to him here in the Blogland, but in spite of these criticisms, today's praise was well-earned. In seven years as Chair, he's raised millions of dollars, held a lot of hands, helped a lot of candidates, and put up with a lot of crap - including from this blog.

For which he has the appreciation of the Blogland.

Having done so much, he's also earned a break, but when I talked with him at the convention this afternoon, it didn't sound like he plans to take one.

Without a doubt, it's time for Katon to follow the sage advice of Captain James Tiberius Kirk:

Get a life.

Let's hope he'll be doing just that - at least for a little while before tackling his next challenge.

Knightsville Republican Women meet next Tuesday

They'll be at the Jumpin' Juice and Java on Dorchester and Bacons Bridge Roads at 7 P.M. Dorchester County GOP Chair Carol Duncan will be the guest speaker. Be there - we will.
If you want to get involved, contact Chair Mikki Hunter via email: mikki25@sc.rr.com.

Republicans turn out in Manning

When you don't have a life, love BBQ, or you're a Republican (or all of the above, like I am), only then does it make sense to drive to Manning on a Thursday night for the Clarendon County GOP convention.

But I wasn't the only one who did that - in fact, the meeting was packed with a lot of new party members. In addition to local Republicans, a pack of candidates for state GOP offices were in attendance.

Karen Floyd was there, as was all four announced candidates for Vice Chair offices. Obviously this is a sign that little Clarendon County is becoming important to the statewide GOP.

It's also a good sign of what kind of a workhorse the Clarendon GOP has in their new chair, Moye Graham. Our hats are off to Moye and all five candidates who took the time and effort to come down for Moye's first meeting as Chair.

The Blogland loves the fine folks in Clarendon County and ALWAYS appreciates their hospitality.

What Sanford doesn't know will hurt you

Adam Fogle over at the Palmetto Scoop talked about Sanford's latest misfire in his ongoing PR war with state government:

At a press conference Monday, Sanford discussed “a number of wasteful and inefficient proposals contained in the state budget.”

The governor particularly pointed out the proposed “Capitol Police Force,” which would move the 67 officers assigned to protect the Statehouse from the governor’s control to the legislature.

But under Sanford’s oversight, the Bureau of Protective Services assigned one in every five of those officers to administrative positions in Blythewood — something the governor said he was unaware of when asked at the press conference.

“Shouldn’t the Governor know about his own Cabinet agencies,” the reporter asked?

When we read this gem of wisdom, we felt a little like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, when the terrorists opened fire on cops who thought his calls were prank phone calls, saying "welcome to the party, pal". As we pointed out a few weeks ago, the Governor's office has no idea what is in the Governor's office and what is not, like when Joel Sawyer, his lap dog (uh, spokesman). attacked the One Stop Centers, which are part of his Department of Commerce.

While one might hope Governor Sanford would rally the troops, round up some animals from Riverbanks Zoo, and call a press conference demanding accountability and reform, we'd advise you not to hold your breath waiting. A while back, we pointed out how other gubernatorial agencies are out of control, costing taxpayers tens of millions ... and even costing South Carolinians their lives:

One example is the state’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, which some jokingly refer to as “PRT – Prosser’s Rarely There”, referring to Chad Prosser, the agency’s director. Another is the Department of Corrections, an agency which has long been ignored, underfunded and understaffed, especially during Sanford’s tenure, creating unmanageable conditions which have become the subject of numerous complaints and lawsuits.

The worst example of Sanford’s “do as I say, not what I do” approach to governance has been DSS, where the failures are counted in the lives (and sometimes deaths) of children who have been let down by this poorly-run agency. When twenty-nine month old Samuri Hayes died in DSS custody, some asked why Sanford was silent about the problems in the agency.

In these cases, as well as others, what Sanford doesn't know about his part of state goverment will hurt you in many ways.

This situation continues to head downhill as Sanford faces a budget process where he has no influence and no relevancy. With the budget soon to arrive at the Governor's desk, where it will likely be vetoed, we will soon be subjected to more of the usual complaints from Governor Sanford about the irresponsbility of this state's politicians to oversee state government and manage how it's tax dollars are spent.

Many of these complaints will be dead-on, but you can bet nowhere will Sanford accept his share of the blame for what has been going on. Which is unfortunately, because such candor would be a refreshing break from the usual games of finger-pointing and buck-passing that Sanford and many others engage in. Such a move may help strip the political cover reform opponents are hiding behind and start the long-overdue process of reforming and streamlining state government moving forward again.

President Nixon's brother coming to Spartanburg for GOP event

The Spartanburg County Republican Party is pleased to announce that Mr. Ed Nixon, the brother of President Richard Nixon, will be our featured guest speaker for lunch and a book signing on Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 12:00 noon at the Marriott at Renaissance Park in Spartanburg. The event, including lunch, is $25 per person. Mr. Nixon will be available after the event to sign his book The Nixons: A Family Portrait. The books will sell for $25 each (not included in the lunch price).

“What an honor to have Mr. Nixon with us to share profound insights of his family and his brother—to give us a glimpse into political history from someone who lived it up close and personal,” said LaDonna Ryggs, chairwoman of the Spartanburg County GOP.

For more information, contact LaDonna Ryggs at
ryberta@yahoo.com or call her at 864-906-5574.

Fun at the State House

This afternoon was a good time at the State House when I stopped by for a visit. While I'd stopped by just briefly to drop off a notary application for an employee, I ended up hanging out a little bit longer. As always, there are plenty of friendly folks at the State House, and I'd like to tip my hat to some of them:

  • Representatives Carl Gullick, a long-time friend, and Anton Gunn were, as usual the most cordial and eager to say hello.
  • Senators Paul Campbell and Larry Grooms - just as friendly and willing to drop whatever they were (or weren't) doing to talk for a few minutes.
  • Reps. Boyd Brown, Alan Clemmons, Shannon Erickson, Jenny Horne, Chip Limehouse, Tim Scott, and David Umphlett.
  • The policy people are always some of the most informed, and always take a few minutes to chat and keep me updated on their issues of concern, including Michael Covington, Tony Denny, Wes Donehue, Jason Puhalsky, and Darrell Scott.
It was nice to see everyone and if I missed you, drop me an email or call me and I'll be sure to make sure I drop by to say hello the next time I'm there!

Secret balloting: The American Way

Here in the Blogland, we're all about mom, apple pie, and liberty as key to the American way of life.

So is secret ballot voting on Election Day.

Secret ballot voting is the way to make important decisions that affect the lives of Americans. H3305, by Representative Eric Beddingfield, with S316 as Senator Peeler's companion bill, are crucial pieces of legislation that will help protect the right of South Carolina workers to decide matters via secret ballot in the workplace. They deserve the support of legislators.

Fun at the Charleston Greek Fest

When the folks at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in uptown Charleston throw a party, they really throw a party. Anyone who has been attending their annual Greek Fest - like me - knows this is an event which keeps growing and getting better as time goes on.

I arrived, with my little one in tow, straight from church, shortly after the event started. There was already a long line at the gate and the place was packed. With the vendors, the great food and beer and wine (domestic AND Greek), there was plenty to see, do, and of course - buy, eat, and drink.

The only thing missing from the event was a designated driver, so I had to behave, keep the drinking to just one beer, and not help stimulate the economy of the parish as much as I wanted to.

Rain moved in a bit later, but nobody seemed to care, least of all their dancers. The youth dance group at this parish apparently is an award-winning team and was doing a darn good job, even in the light rain that began falling when they took the stage.

All in all, it was a great event. If you missed it this year, too bad for you! Be sure to be there next year!

A Tale of Two Graduations

With two graduations to attend, Friday was a busy day in the Blogland.

For lunch, it was the Community Healthcare program, by which the Lowcountry Workforce Investment Board (which I serve on) funds and operates a Certified Nursing Assistant program, filling much-needed vacancies with local employers (in spite of a recession, many healthcare-related positions are yet unfilled). This program, taught by an RN with a Master's in Education, offers those who are often working in jobs near minimum wage an opportunity to learn the skills necessary to increase their wages by fifty percent or more, as well as give some the needed push to pursue nursing programs.

As a board member, I take pride in seeing this cost-effective initiative filling needs and creating new opportunities for them willing to pursue them. That's real economic stimulus, folks.

For dinner, it was down to the Sotille Theatre at the College of Charleston to attend the graduation of Master's degree candidates, for my first graduation as a member of faculty. To be among the faculty who led the processions both in and out of the theater, among those who did much to nudge and guide me along in my own studies, was one of the biggest honors I've ever had. But even more important was the pride I took in seeing two friends graduate:

  • Anna Fiona Cooke, one of the stars of the program (and fellow recipient of the Carolina Communication Association's Jarrard graduate research award), who now has her MA in Communication. Pictured with her parents and sister, she was wearing my Master's hood (and looked darn good in it), which she needed to borrow due to a goof-up in her Master's attire order. She'll be taking a little downtime before planning her next move.

    Her work in the graduate program was outstanding, and whether she goes to work or to pursue a doctorate, she'll make outstanding contributions. I was honored to share several classes with her while I was still in the program, as well as to be among those who watched her win the Jarrard award last fall, making the CofC graduate program a winner both times its grad students competed for the award.

  • Kolo Rathburn, who was the President of the Graduate Senate this past school year, where I formerly served as a committee chair. Pictured with his mother, he received his MS in Marine Biology, in what is arguably the College's most outstanding graduate program. After some downtime, he'll be off to a public policy job in DC.

    Kolo is a hard worker in a tough program. His leadership in helping bring the college's Graduate Student Association into being, as well as leading it in its second year of existence, was outstanding. His balance and cheerful nature will open a lot of doors in the future, both in his career as well as for those he will work with.

The Department of Communication's graduate program graduated its second-ever class, going from four graduates last year to nine this year. Much thanks for the success of the program is owed the faculty of the graduate program, as well as Department Chair Brian McGee, current Graduate Program Director Vince Benigni and former Director Doug Ferguson for their vision and hard work - as well as for not strangling yours truly when I was still a student in the program.

Microwaving stuff

It's graduation week at CofC, so an active alum and adjunct like myself is gonna be busy. Not to mention that Greek Fest is this weekend. Look for reports about both in the next couple of days.

Until then, here's something to fill some space. Enjoy ...

Last weekend, someone sent us a link to these guys who do a series entitled "Is it a good idea to microwave this?".

Yeah, it's pretty stupid. Probably the kind of stuff that is hilarious if you're sitting around drinking yourself into a mind-numbed stupid.

Here's where they microwave a can of spray paint:

Yeah, pretty stupid stuff ... but kinda cool too!

Do I run for SCGOP Chair? Help me decide

Yesterday's post which revisited my recent flirtation with a candidacy for SCGOP chair stirred up a lot of discussion, both on and offline. To say the least, I was flattered at the support I received.

I've pondered the pros and cons of a candidacy and talked with a few people. I'll share these and solicit feedback:

  • The convention will be boring and needs to be livened up.
  • This would give me a brief platform to plug the blog and my issues of concern.
  • It would be a way to respect my readers and thank them for their encouragement.

  • It could stir up negative sentiments at the convention.
  • It could upset the presumptive next Chair.
  • It may facilitate hate trips for Floyd opponents.
  • People may not take me seriously in the future.
All of these are points worth considering. So I'll leave it to my readers to sound off. What should I do?

Blogland readers overwhelmingly want Earl Capps in SCGOP Chair race

A couple of months back, Blogland readers were asked to sound off as to whether or not they believed Earl Capps, the publisher/editor/author/nazi of the Blogland, should seek the Chairmanship of the SCGOP. According to a poll we posted on the blog, an overwhelming number of you said "YES", with nearly 80% of the vote supporting a candidacy.

That's pretty big numbers, but since the race has narrowed down to Karen Floyd, whose candidacy is now unchallenged, we wonder what the numbers would look like if the same question was asked now.