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What's new in the Blogland?

We wanted to let our readers know there are a couple of additions to the Blogland as a new service to our readers.

Two new interest categories are listed in the Hot Blogland Topics grouping: 2010 Endorsements and Recommended Reading.

We hope both give you plenty to think about in different ways. The Endorsements will let you know what we think and why we think that way while Recommended Reading indexes a collection of postings on books that we think offer entertaining, and sometimes thoughtful, reading.

Both categories are meant to add to your reading, giving you new ideas and opinions to consider, but as always, Blogland readers are encouraged to seek out other sources of information to help entertain and inform them.

As always, thanks for reading.

Nancy Harrelson's record of shady business and political practices

When you're running for office, it helps to pay your bills, especially since lots of candidates stiff printers, ad firms and consultants when they lose. When businesses don't get paid, their suppliers and employees don't get paid. Especially if you're a candidate who is fond of bashing Congress as being fiscally irresponsible.

Meet Nancy Harrelson, who is again seeking to challenge Congressman Jim Clyburn, who defeated her by a two-to-one margin in 2008.

Back in April, while Harrelson was at campaign events, begging for cash to pay for her present campaign, Starboard Communication, a well-known campaign consulting firm, received a judgment by default against Harrelson in Marion County civil court for the sum of $4,562.96.

But that's not the only case of Harrelson skipping out on bills.

TV, Money, and the Governor's Race - updates

As the GOP primary race for Governor heads into the home stretch, here are a couple of developments worth noting.

According to reports, Andre Bauer now leads cash on hand, as well as leading the GOP race for most cash raised in the last reporting cycle:

Bauer: 736,394.76, raised 274,315.26
Barrett: 647,626.59, raised 209,046.47
McMaster: 545,443.81, raised 141,7905
Haley: 387,347.85, raised 102,761.82

It's interesting to note that the rankings for cash and fundraising are the same.

With Haley far behind the pack in fundraising, getting as much earned and outside media is critical. While she got a boost from the Palin endorsement, the recent Will Folks accusations haven't helped, nor does the news that Reform SC responded to a temporary injunction against their Haley advocacy ads by agreeing to pull the ads entirely:

Florence Republicans pack the house

The new leadership of the Florence GOP has really grown the party, as evidenced by a much healthier roster of candidates and much larger turnout at party events, such as one held last night at the Florence GOP headquarters.

A joing meeting of the Florence County Republican Women's Club & Pee Dee Young Republicans, sponsored by Sheriff Kenney Boone and featuring Author Ed Nixon (younger brother of former President Richard Nixon), was one of many standing room only events we've seen in the area in recent weeks.

Candidates in attendance included Lt. Governor candidates Bill Connor and Larry Richter, Superintendent of Education candidates Brent Nelsen, State Reps Phillip "Elvis" Lowe and Kristopher Crawford, County Council candidate Elijah Jones, and future 12th Circuit Solicitor Rose Mary Parham. The event also featured a straw poll.

New polling shows Spratt about to lose lead in re-election race

In 1994, when John Spratt faced his most serious challenger - Larry Bigham, a former Rock Hill School Board member, who held him to 52% in 1994 - Spratt led solidly in early polling.  In the fall, the race began closing and the two candidates traded polling leads throughout October, depending on which day polling was done, and by whom.  Since Bigham, Spratt has held on to leads throughout his races, much to the frustration of Fifth District Republicans.

This year is proving to be different as Spratt's Republican challenger, State Senator Mick Mulvaney, has steadily closed the polling gap. The most recent polling, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, puts the race in a statistical dead heat with Spratt polling 43% and Mulvaney 41%.

Spratt heavily outspent Bigham in 1994 to squeeze out a lead in a race which was only in the competitive range for several weeks. With a little over five months go, if Spratt's fundraising advantage has left him unable to stop Mulvaney's growing support thus far, it's hard to see how Spratt can stop Mulvaney from taking the lead in the next few weeks.

"Satire TV": A look at how comedy creates new perspectives about politics

It's no secret that one of the most effective tools bloggers use to make their points is humor. In a political culture where bloggers often seek to undermine power and deconstruct carefully-crafted political spin, we bloggers often "get" the Colberts and Stewarts of the world far better than those who work in traditional news media.

For those who want to get a better idea of how satire can help provide alternative perspectives on politics, as well as its history on the political landscape, the book "Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era" is worth reading. The book is co-edited by Jonathan Gray, Jeffrey Jones, and Ethan Thompson, examinng a wide range of topics related to political satire in mass media by chapter authors wide range of backgrounds mostly in political communication and mass media.

Gray, Jones and Thompson believe satire plays an important role in providing informed commentary on contemporary politics:

No Personal Trash Allowed

In response to a flurry of calls and emails that have come to the Blogland today, along with a number of rejected comments, it has become obvious that it's time to stick to the position that was taken almost a year ago in response to personal allegations regarding Governor Sanford:

Out of consideration for his family, as well as a desire not to further muddy this state's political arena with more personal sleaze, this blog will not add to the the ongoing circus, and it's hoped others will consider the same course of action.

In the current drama, this policy seems a wise course of action to take, so unless any information suggests that state laws were violated, the Blogland will not entertain the notion of publishing or discussing any information sent about any ongoing matters involving public officials.

Perhaps this will make this blog seem less entertaining, but it's not a question of high road vs. low road, but a question of which road I feel more comfortable traveling.

Pub Politics: Bringing beer and politicos together

Recently, two of the Blogland's favorite political operatives, Phil Bailey and Wes Donehue, have come up with Pub Politics, which offers a more thoughtful and civil take on the issues in state politics and government, minus the childish finger-pointing and name-calling. According Corey Hutchins of the Columbia Free Times:

When Palmetto State Republican and Democratic political strategists Wesley Donehue and Phil Bailey aren’t launching blistering press releases at each other from the bunkers of their respective legislative caucuses, they’re meeting every Thursday after work over pints of beer for the weekly taping of an online talk show called Pub Politics.

The Columbia-based new-media phenomenon and its fast-growing audience at is the brainchild of Donehue and Bailey, both 30, and Donehue’s local political consulting firm, Donehue Direct.

Become certified in CPR and First Aid - for free!

As some of you know, I am Red Cross-certified to teach First Aid, CPR, Biohazards and some other important life-saving and safety skills.

You don't have to have a medical background to take this class. Many people, including teachers, law enforcement officers, construction personnel, and even teenage babysitters, take these classes to learn how to respond to save lives. All you need is four or so hours of your time on a weekend to learn how.

If some of my readers elsewhere in the Palmetto State would like to organize a First Aid and CPR class elsewhere, please let me know. I've even talked with some Blogland readers in one county about challenging both parties into holding a bi-partisan class. Just find a half-dozen interested parties and I'll be glad to come to wherever you are and teach it. So email me at and let me know where you're at and let's see what can be worked out.

"Typing Politics": Bloggers and their impact upon political discourse

For yet another good book on political communication and new media, the Blogland recommends "Typing Politics: The Role of Blogs in American Politics", by Richard Davis.

Davis, who teaches political communication at Brigham Young University, takes a look at who bloggers are, how blogs have impacted the political landscape in their relatively short lifespan, as well as considers how they interact and conflict with traditional print and broadcast media.

Numerous examples are presented from both right and left of the political center, such as the role of bloggers in drawing tranditional news media attention to the Swift Vets ad campaign against John Kerry, as well as in highlighting critical mistakes made by incumbent GOP Senators in Montana and Virginia. He presents his findings and argues that bloggers are also helping traditional news media by serving as gatherers of information and story leads which then cross over to broadcast and print news media, where it can help sway audiences.

Statewide endorsements: Eckstrom's vision deserves another term

Richard Eckstrom is seeking a third term as the state's Comptroller General in the upcoming June Republican Primary.

When first elected in 2002, he promised to use his experience as a CPA to scrutinize the state's finances, as well as his position on the Budget and Control Board to question how state government has spent tax dolllars. Time and time again, he's kept his promises to show leadership and vision in modernizing the office and setting new standards for fiscal stewardship in government.

The Blogland supported Eckstrom for re-election in 2006, and based upon his record, once more endorses him for a third term.

Mark your calendar - Mon. 5/24: Free BBQ & Straw poll with Rep. Steve Parker in Boiling Springs

Next Monday - May 24 - State Rep. Steve Parker is buying anyone and everyone free BBQ at his election rally in Boiling Springs, to be held at the Boiling Springs High School campus.

Dinner is served beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the program to start at 7 p.m., featuring stump rally speeches from statewide, regional and local candidates, along with a straw poll for state-wide and 4th District candidates

This event has become a regular stop in the primary campaign calendar for the Upstate, and since it's free, it's easy to see why. With free BBQ, it's something we'd be at as well, if it wasn't so far away.

Court fees veto worth reconsidering

The Blogland is no friend of a lot of those who talk about the "pain" governmental agencies are enduring in this recession. Had several years of surplus revenue been better managed, then maybe the current situation wouldn't be so bad.

It seems that those who cry the loudest are the ones who've been hurt the least, while agencies whose functions are often vitally important, such as public safety, endure patiently and quietly. In our dealing with the state's judiciary, we've found the judges we've dealt with to be frugal and responsible. They work far beyond the usual 9-to-5 and deserve to be cut a little slack with this vote.

House Bill 3161, sponsored by House Judiciary Chair Jim Harrison, is aimed at trying to protect one of the state's most important functions: keeping the courts open.  The Blogland calls upon legislators to support the override of the Governor's veto of these fee increases.

How much for the Chrysler? Thank John Spratt

The Blogland is sure the hard-working families of the United States who are struggling to pay their bills, many of whom are putting off buying new cars in the current economy, don't mind cutting back and going without to shell out $34 freakin' billion dollars to help keep GM and Chrysler open.

That's the latest GOVERNMENT estimate of how much taxpayers will be out after the feds are paid back for last year's bailouts:

The Treasury Department said Monday it will lose $1.6 billion on a loan made to Chrysler in early 2009.

Taxpayer losses from bailing out Chrysler and General Motors are expected to rise as high as $34 billion, congressional auditors have said.

Of course, this doesn't include the cost of the Cash-For-Clunkers program, which was another attempt to subsidize Detroit's failed model of automotive manufacturing - and went mostly going to foreign-owned car companies, working as well as any other government giveaway program.

Bailing out Chrysler was one of the worst political decisions made in the early 1980s, right up there with electing John Spratt. We've seen the futility of the former, and hope those in the Fifth District who are going without while Spratt helps hand their hard-earned cash to Detroit will realize the latter is at least as foolish.

House Republican budget revolt to force legislature into overtime?

Many expected the legislature to wrap things up this week, wrapping up the budget as well as some other loose ends, so they could head home for the summer.

But those expectations may be dashed when legislators return to Columbia tomorrow, as we've been told that a number of House Republicans are planning to force a showdown over a budget loaded with new fees, including many from the ranks of the freshmen class.

Fireworks will likely start quickly once budget issues come up in the House, and if what were told is true, then legislators may be in town a little longer.

Stay tuned.

Don't Forget: Thursday is First Annual Everybody Draw Mohammad Day

The Blogland wants to remind our readers of this special occasion, which is coming up on Thursday and encourage our readers to participate in this important event.

We think it's an occasion worth celebrating, so submittals from our readers will be posted, truck bomb or no truck bomb, so PLEASE join the fun and freedom of this event.

Mitch Daniels, the GOP, and the Tea Party Movement

In the interview, he upholds the tea party movement (as we have since it rose last year) as a legitimate political force, while arguing Republicans should keep the movement at a distance for its own protection:

He agrees with the ideas expressed by this amazing gathering of independents, conservatives, Democrats and Republicans who are worried about the federal debt and the federal leviathan growing by the hour.

"But the tea party must be authentically separate and spontaneous, which I think it is," Daniels said. "I have carefully stayed away from it — not because I don't appreciate what they are doing, because I do — but because I don't want them tainted by too close of a relationship to either party.

Ronnie James Dio: The Mob Rules forever

It's a day of mourning in the Blogland with the passing of Ronnie James Dio, who became a legend in the metal scene when he took over the lead singer role of Black Sabbath after Ozzy Osbourne left the band in the late 1970s. I had the honor of seeing Dio performing with his old band two summers ago near Washington, D.C., where they opened for Judas Priest, in what would be his last tour before he was sidelined by stomach cancer.

Enjoy the times you get, because you might not get another chance.

Today's message from Wendy Dio, his wife, on the Ronnie James Dio website:

Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever.

Here's my favorite song from his Black Sabbath days - "Mob Rules":

The Dorchester Wild Card?

Back in 2000, the last open race for the First Congressional District seat, much was made of outgoing Congressman Henry Brown's "stronghold" approach, in which Berkeley County and North Charleston politicos came out almost unanimously for Brown and campaigned for him. This approach paid off, as Berkeley County and North Charleston precincts gave Brown virtually all of his 5,000 vote lead in the GOP primary over second-place candidate Buck Limehouse, a prelude to his victory in the subsequent run-off.

In 1994, Mark Sanford surged from the back of a seven-candidate field into a distant second place behind former SCGOP Chair Van Hipp, relying heavily upon endorsements from most of the losing primary candidates to go from 17% to Hipp's 31% in the primary to a 53-47 victory in the run-off two weeks later.

Mindful of the value of this approach in deciding past races, the candidates in this year's race for the open First District seat have heavily courted endorsements from legislators, local politicos, party activists and business leaders. Thus far, the two best-funded candidates for the seat - Tim Scott and Paul Thurmond - have netted most of the endorsements, with announcements coming out almost daily from the two campaigns.

However, of the five counties in the district - Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown and Horry - virtually none of the endorsements for any candidate have come from Dorchester County.  Given the growing share of First District votes cast by that county, that could make the county's voters the wild card in next month's all-important GOP primary.

VUI's "Big Mo" theory

The “Big Mo” is fickle in politics. It can leave a candidate in a day. McMaster, Bauer and Barrett have all dealt with being the focus of the spotlight. Frankly, they did not perform as well as they probably hoped to in those moments. Now, the spotlight will turn for a moment to Haley. She is in the game. Whether or not she can find a way to win will be determined in the next few weeks.

McCarty may be on to something here.

In years of watching statewide races, it's worth noting that those who lead in name recognition throughout most of a race, but fail to close the gap often lead in the primary, but struggle to win the nomination. Notable examples were:

The trap of naming things after living politicians

Once again, the practice of naming public facilities in Southern states is coming under scrutiny. This time in Alabama, where a reporter found more than one road and public facility is still bearing the name of politicians who were later sent to prison:

It's a corruption trifecta, and that's almost as good as a road to the dump.

That's not just a road map. It's a history lesson.

In a story from the news portal website AccessNorthGA, Derek Alderman, a cultural geographer at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. cautioned against that practice, which is also rampant in Georgia:

Their legacy isn't even established yet.  They are more susceptible to the politics of the day.

Which takes us back to a long-standing controversy here in South Carolina over this same practice of politicians naming things after each other.

Medal of Honor recipient endorses TWO Congressional candidates in same race?

There seems to be a litte confusion in the First Congressional District GOP race about who has been endorsed by retired General James Livingston, a local Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.

According to a release from the Tim Scott campaign last week:

Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, retired General James Livingston has joined 1st District Congressional Candidate Tim Scott’s campaign as an advisor.

General Livingston will advise Mr. Scott on issues relating to DOD (Department of Defense), Homeland Security and issues important to active duty and retired military.

This evening, the Stovall Witte campaign announced their endorsement by the same General:

Today, the Stovall Witte for Congress campaign thanked Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Major General James E. Livingston for joining his campaign as a national security-veterans affairs adviser.

Witte stated, "As a retired Army Lt. Colonel who spent twenty-four years serving our country, I have immense and immeasurable respect for General Livingston. I am ecstatic that he has agreed to help advise my campaign on the vitally important issues of national security and veterans affairs. He will be a true asset to my campaign for Congress."

If anyone would like to explain how one person can be supporting several candidates, we'd be interested in hearing from them ...

Elmer Fudd still lurking in Myrtle Beach?

We're not sure who Elmer Fudd really is either, but we're willing to bet that he didn't get elected Mayor of Myrtle Beach:

The true identity of Elmer Fudd may never be known.

Elmer Fudd is the alias used by an online commenter accused of making false claims about the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, NewsChannel 15 learned the chamber dropped its defamation lawsuit against Elmer Fudd. Chamber attorney Cherie Blackburn says chamber leaders think they know Elmer Fudd's identity, through information revealed in a related lawsuit that was settled last week.

She says they decided it was not worth the time or expense to continue the suit.

Advice to candidates: Avoid the lunatic fringe

After over twenty years of being involved in politics, I've learned at least a few things. One of the most important lessons is that the candidates can't be at every event, which means they have to rely upon supporters to distribute literature, get signs up, get signs down, and occasionally speak on behalf of the candidate if they can't make it.

Relying upon others is crucial for candidates for down-ballot offices, who can't raise the kind of cash that gubernatorial and senatorial candidates can. This means that they often can't afford to hire a team of campaign workers who know what to do, what events to attend, and when needed, speak for the candidate in a thoughtful manner, as well as know who is who at an event - including who not to piss off.

All too often, it's the novice candidates who, due to their lack of experience can't raise much cash or attract many seasoned politicos to support their candidacies, end up having to settle for the people who are willing to help - and end up with people whose involvement with their campaign will backfire and further damage their already-struggling candidacies.

The Blogland's 3G weekend network: Grits, Graduations & Greek Fest

The Blogland agenda for this weekend is real simple:

We hope to see some of our readers out there!

Are journalists the heroes in the ongoing Catholic Church scandals?

In yesterday's Charleston Post and Courier, my faculty Department Chair co-authored a letter which took the Roman Catholic Bishop of Charleston to task for criticizing news media criticism of the church's approach to handling clerical abuse allegations:

Guglielmone suggests the Church should receive credit for internal reforms, while not seeking to excuse the Church's 'bad decisions.' These reforms are important and significant, we agree. It is worth noting, however, that these reforms came only after the publication of stories in the news media.

If the community is asked to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the Church's response to child sexual abuse, we should do the same in recognizing the work of journalists in exposing decades of sexual abuse committed by thousands of priests and other people associated with the Church.

Beginning over two decades ago with the work of the National Catholic Reporter, journalists have done more to initiate reforms that protected children in the Catholic Church than has the Church hierarchy. Whatever their faults and failings, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists of The Boston Globe, for example, contributed greatly to saving another generation of children from abuse and brought justice to abuse victims.

This issue has been discussed often in the Blogland, and in this, Dr. McGee, a fellow Catholic, as well as Dr. Chris Lamb, have my appreciation for being willing to take a tough stand. If only the Vatican was as willing to be honest and candid ...

UK Election polls to close at 5p EDT - Here's where to follow the results

For those of you who don't have anything better to do on a Thursday night, you can follow live tracking of election results in the United Kingdom, which are expected to take several hours to be completed.

Late polling suggests the Conservatives will fall about ten to twenty seats short of the 326 seats needed for a majority, with Conservatives polling the support around 35-37% of surveyed voters, and the Labor and Liberal Democrat parties at 25-28% each.

Unless the outcomes suggest a major deviation from the outcomes which were predicted late polling, every seat will count in deciding who won today's elections.

Follow the British elections

Tomorrow is election day in Great Britain, where the election has turned rather heated, with the nation's third party, the Liberal Democrats, gaining ground at the expense of both the long-standing major parties: the Conservative and Labour parties.

The current Labour government, led by Tony Blair's successor Gordon Brown, is not expected to survive, unless the Conservatives fail to win a majority of seats, allowing them to negotiate with others to form a coalition government. While this is common in other parliamentary democracies, the idea is something new to the UK.

We'll be watching and rooting for Cameron Brown and his Conservative Party to end Labour's thirteen-year reign, but that outcome is far from certain.

To follow the outcome of things, The Telegraph will carry live coverage and will report on the outcomes of races for the individual seats, as well as a polling projection map, that is worth checking out. Electoral Calculus isn't as aesthetically-pleasing, but is at least as good, if not better, to track polling and make your predictions.

Rosemary Parham gets around

Earlier today, FITSNews ran pictures of 12th Circuit Solicitor candidate Rosemary Parham at the Galivant's Ferry Stump Rally, a regional political gathering held on the banks of the Little Pee Dee River right off U.S. Route 501.

It shows what some already know: Parham, who resigned her better-paying role as a federal prosecutor to challenge the incumbent Solicitor, is leaving no stone unturned in her campaign.

The above picture of Parham shows her astride a classic Harley last Saturday at Creek Ratz in Florence for the Bikes and Badges Event. Proceeds from this event go to benefit the Florence County Sheriff’s Office Camp Pee Dee Pride, a free camp for children 8 and 12 years of age.

We're sure there were Democrats at this event, just as there were more than a few Republicans at the Galivant's Ferry event. But unlike the joker who was camera-stalking Parham at the Galivant's event, we get good photos.

More fun photos from the 12th Circuit Solicitor's race to follow ...

Only Pope is Proven for House District 47

When voters go to the polls in next month's Republican primary in York County, their vote to decide a nominee for House District 47 is one which shouldn't be taken lightly. They have three candidates to choose from, but one of those candidates stands above the others.

Former Solicitor Tommy Pope is an exceptional candidate who deserves their vote and their support.

Pope's slogan simply identifies the one quality that sets him above the rest: "Proven". He alone has a record of dedicated public service, conservative leadership, and proven electability.

The Grim Reaper to re-enter South Carolina politics?

In the 2006 election cycle, the Grim Reaper made an unusual move by getting off the sidelines and entering two hotly-contested statewide election races in South Carolina.

The Reaper endorsed two Democratic nominees for statewide office: then State Senator Tommy Moore for Governor, and Drew Theodore for State Comptroller. Both candidates lost, giving rise to rumors that this endorsement was, as one political operative put it: "the kiss of f****in' death in this town".

When reached for comment, the Grim Reaper refused to say that he'd selected any candidates, promising us "when I take sides in some of these races, it's going to be an endorsement to die for".

Stay tuned ...

4th CD candidate target in latest campaign attack

Fourth District candidate and Spartanburg solicitor Trey Gowdy was reportedly the victim of mistaken identity in the latest attack in the heated GOP primary battle for this Upstate congressional district.

The other candidates have not commented on this incident, but we suspect an independent party with no connection to any of the candidates was the culprit.

While walking neighborhoods in Greenville yesterday, Gowdy ran into a dog which confused him for a Milk Bone - or maybe Nancy Pelosi - and decided to chew on him a little. Gowdy checked in with the Blogland:

Breakfast in Berkeley: Hundreds of people, dozens of candidates & straw polls too

Over 200 people turned out in Goose Creek for a standing-room only event at the May meeting of the Berkeley County Republican Breakfast Club.

Even the disgraced former Chair, Wade Arnette, whose failed attempt to hijack the group two years ago rallied the group to new turnout records, was there.

Candidates from statewide races down to county offices were there a'plenty. By our count, about two dozen of them were on hand and spoke to the crowd. The event included a straw poll which polled the audience's support of candidates for major statewide and regional offices, as follows:

Lee County Sheriff arrested in fed drug sting

Lee County Sheriff Edgar Jerome “EJ” Melvin, 47, of Bishopville was one of seven people arrested by state and federal authorities as part of a drug sting Saturday morning, according to a release from the US Attorney’s office.

Melvin has served as the Sheriff for Lee County, South Carolina, since 2001.

Also arrested Saturday morning in connection with the case were Brenda LaShawn Ellerby, 26; Antonio Holloman, 23; Larry Williams, 51; Eric Andre Hickman, 34; Anthony Lee Williams, 37, and Sheldon Maurice Bradley, 24, all of Bishopville, according to the release.

Melvin and the others arrested Saturday are charged in federal warrants with conspiracy since 2006 to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack in South Carolina, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 846, according to the release.

Melvin was re-elected to a third term in 2008, defeating Republican Jerry Tidwell. No word on if Tidwell, or someone else, will be appointed to replace Melvin.