Time for a change at S.C. State University

When millions of dollars vanishes from a public institution of any kind, answers should be forthcoming - and promptly.

But for an academic institution, which is supposed to be the public institution which most values free and open inquiry, as well as holding rigorous standards for accuracy and truth, to refuse to provide prompt and complete answers is unthinkable - and inexcusable.

The ongoing problems at South Carolina State University are pretty serious, and they're nothing new. Which is why it's time for legislators and the Governor to take inspiration from the institution's slogan and apply a "new state of mind" to matters.

Meet Brandon Ancrum

Thanks to the Blogland readers who have called to inquire about the outcome of yesterday's bond hearing for Mr. Brandon Ancrum.

Mr. Ancrum has been charged with reckless homicide in the death of my brother. The judge found sufficient reason to pursue these charges and set a bond of $50,000, upon the conditions of him turning in his drivers' license and being under house arrest.

Should he make bond, he can only leave his grandmother's house in the company of an adult over the age of 21 for reasons of work, medical treatment, church, or legal appointments.

New website announces "November Starts Now"

Barack Obama's presidency has been a disaster. He is either unwilling to or incapable of doing his job. The economy is in shambles, the government is failing, and Americans are losing hope. Barack Obama was not ready to be President. He's not the solution. You are.

You have the opportunity to turn our economy, our government, and our country around by electing Republicans and restoring your voice in Washington. But to win this fall, we must start today. It's up to you to save your country. Are you ready? Because November starts now.

Here's the first video on the website, entitled "Hillary Clinton was right":

Public speaking advice: Deb Sofield says

It's been a slow week for political news, with the summer heat and primary winners busily scrambling for campaign cash for fall races, so it's a good time to take Blogland readers down some slightly different avenues.

Deb Sofield is a great advocate for women in politics, but she's also a good speaking coach. She's starting a monthly series of speaking tips on her website - http://www.sofield.com/ - entitled "Deb’s 15 Rules for the Road":

Rule number one is perhaps the simplest yet most hard ... and that is:

1. Lighten up – keep a relaxed face.

The most important minute of your life on the stage or in the boardroom or across the table is the first minute of your acknowledgement by the audience, or your dinner guest or your kid’s soccer coach by what is said in that initial look. Because early in a speech, presentation, talk, folks listen to what they “see” more that what they “hear”. So what they “see” must be professional, poised and polished.

Keep Safe in the Summer Heat!

Part of my day job involves occupational safety. The single biggest challenge in my occupation this time of year is heat safety.  While we've had no on-site problems, the news stories regularly bring news of those who are overcome by heat and serve as a good reminder to be careful out there.
Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, and here in South Carolina, it will be far more prevalent than cold-related injuries and fatalities. To help you protect yourself - and others - here's some good advice from someone whose job it is to keep people safe:

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force"

We couldn't help but chuckle over this one, which reminded us of a Star Wars quote:

"I sense a disturbance in the Force."

When reading this in a report from The Hill, we couldn't help but want to cue the Darth Vader theme music:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is concerned about a “disturbing surge in Republican fundraising,” according to an e-mail she wrote to Democratic supporters Tuesday.

In a missive to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) e-mail list, Pelosi thanked donors for helping the committee reach their fundraising goal, but warned that Republicans were jumping out ahead.

“[J]ust as soon as word came of the contribution that put us over the top, we received news of a disturbing surge in Republican fundraising,” Pelosi wrote. “House Republicans are now claiming to have had their strongest fundraising in five years.”

The speaker made a plea for donations to help “close the gap.”

"I look for the resurrection of the dead ..."

Courtesy of the email list by Fr. Thomas More of Holy Apostles Orthodox Church in Columbia are some thoughts regarding the closing of the Nicene Creed, a basic profession of faith for many Christians, including Catholic and Orthodox (while some of the wording differs), which says "I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.":

What does this last phrase from the Creed mean? We can only bear the idea of eternal life if this eternity has already entered into our life.

New Iron Maiden album coming out next month

This is great summer news: Iron Maiden's new album, "The Final Frontier", comes out August 16. We'll be eagerly awaiting this one, but for now, here's the video for the album's title track:

Joe Biden event report

Earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden came to Columbia to help out his good tool, House (No) Budget Committee Chair John Spratt by appearing at a campaign fundraiser at the State Museum.

But a lot of those who greeted them - up to 300 at one point - weren't there to show their support for Spratt or Biden, but rather to protest their rampant spending and borrowing. Of the many signs waved by protestors, Fair Tax and "Sack Spratt" signs were the most prominent ones. 

"Washington Liberals" website seeks to tie SC Dems to national party

The SCGOP rolled out its newest effort to connect South Carolina Democratic Congressional candidates to the national Democratic Party with its Washington Liberals website.

So far, the primary targets seem to be endangered incumbent Fifth District Rep. John Spratt, and Second District candidate Rob Miller, who is seeking a re-match - and flirting with perennial candidate status - with incumbent GOP Rep. Joe Wilson.  Much of the discussion looks at where their actions and contributors tie them into their Washington power and donor bases.

Marvin Rogers challenges the GOPs "conspiracy of silence"

Black Republicans, while a smart part of the contemporary GOP, have drawn more than their fair share of attention as many Republicans seek to break the strangehold the Democrats hold over black voters. In South Carolina, two who have drawn considerable attention are RNC committeeman Glenn McCall and First District congressional nominee Tim Scott.

A lot of books written by political VIPs tend to focus on their views and experiences. Books written by Republicans from non-traditional GOP groups usually follow in those footsteps, but Rogers takes a more thoughtful approach in his book, focusing more on the broader issues, political identification in the black community, and the history of voter loyalties among black voters. It's not a terribly long book, but one which is well-written. It runs light on the kind of editorializing which most books of this genre engage in, putting a stronger focus upon "just the facts" so the reader can get the information they need and form their own conclusions. 

Joe Biden in Columbia with John Spratt on Friday

In about 48 hours, Joe Biden will be in Columbia to reward John Spratt for his loyal support of the Obama adminstration by starring in a campaign fundraiser.

We've been told groups are rallying outside of the location to protest the current administration, which we think is a great idea. If you'd like to go, here's the details you need to know:

This Friday from 1-4pm
301 Gervais Street Columbia, SC

Hope to see you there!

Fed immigration approach: Audit employers, "catch and release" suspected illegals

Both federal and state law have been very clear on this issue: those who are not eligible to work in the US are not to be hired. State legislation was adopted last year over concerns federal law was not sufficient, but it seems the feds are finally stepping up to bat, auditing employers' hiring files, requiring that those hired wrongfully be fired, and in some cases, bringing actions against the employers.

Over the past year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has conducted audits of employee files at more than 2,900 companies. The agency has levied a record $3 million in civil fines so far this year on businesses that hired unauthorized immigrants, according to official figures. Thousands of those workers have been fired, immigrant groups estimate.

GOP House candidate accused of kickbacks?

One good way to tell an incumbent is on defense is when they go on the attack early in an election year. When they go on the attack in the middle of the summer, it's a sure sign of trouble for the incumbent.

Just ask Tyler Jones and James Island Democratic State Rep. Anne Hutto, who went on the attack against her Republican challenger Peter McCoy in recent days.

Tea Party sustainability?

The problem with the Tea Party, I think it's just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out.

The Blogland was one of the first to come out in defense of the relevancy of the tea party movement as a viable political force, a prediction which has come true. While many conservative activists are usually quick to pounce on Graham, basic observation he shared may have some degree of merit. However, we think the future of the tea party movement is ultimately up for grabs, but that its far from decided.

You Cut: House GOP website allows public to help identify where to cut waste

U.S. House Republicans are trying a new approach to engaging public involvement in reining in runaway federal spending.  GOP House Whip Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) has gone online with YouCut, a website which presents voters with spending programs and allows them to cast votes as to which ones they'd like to see cut to help trim the federal budget.

With over a million votes cast, this website is generating plenty of buzz, and the Blogland says it's must-see stuff.

This is yet another sign of conservatives working to engage a broader range of involvement on national issues. The Contract With America is another ongoing engagement effort which used an online poll to help pick a list of ten priority issues for the next Congress. Well over 100 Congressional candidates have signed onto this Contract - over two dozen signing on last week alone.

With efforts like these, getting involved is easy - so go do it.

* Thanks to Lin Bennett, Charleston GOP Chair, for this lead.

Me on last week's Pub Politics

After a week of being down and out with the death in the family, my "comeback" to the world was via last Thursday's appearance on South Carolina's best show on state politics: Pub Politics.

Thanks to two of the coolest cats in state politics: Democrat Phil Bailey and Republican Wes Donehue (the guys you want on your side and never on the other side) for the letting me come on the show to chat a bit, clear my head and thank folks for reaching out to me and my family during the recent events.

Catch them live, shooting on location at the Sly Fox in the Columbia Vista area this Thursday at 6pm.

For those of you who missed it, here's the show:

Pub Politics Episode 14: The Dog Days of Summer from Wesley Donehue on Vimeo.

Jesus is Neither a Playboy Nor My Homeboy

The idea of Jesus is mainly our “friend” is deeply rooted in our particular religious culture. Our lack of reverence expresses itself in everything from our worship to our evangelism. How many times, for instance, have we seen an earnest Christian approach someone (including us) and ask, “Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?”

While intended as a means of carrying out the Great Commission, the question is asking something else entirely. In essence, it’s asking whether we possess God rather than whether God possess us. God is, indeed, our friend. But there is something about claiming God as our “personal” friend that seems to imply that we are putting him in the same category as our “personal trainers” and “personal assistants,” people who serve us, rather than someone whom we are expected to serve. When Jesus becomes someone we can befriend he becomes someone we can take lightly.

Jesus, however, is not my homeboy. The term “homeboy” always implies a co-equal relationship and never refers to someone who could be considered either superior or an inferior. Jesus may be a friend, but he is not my “buddy.” Christ is my master, my redeemer, my Lord and my God.

State legislative battles present opportunities to GOP?

While Republicans will likely extend their overall political dominance of the South, recovering ground lost in the last two election cycles, the political fireworks will be rather intense in some areas. In addition to races for a handful of contested U.S. Senate and House seats, desires by both parties to strengthen their hand in the upcoming 2011 reapportionment process will intensify efforts to fight over control of legislative chambers.

One can also expect fireworks as both parties battle for control of Southern legislative chambers. The GOP holds a slight lead with 13 chambers to 11 for the Democrats. Going into 2010, five legislative chambers in the South will likely be the focus of considerable efforts to hold them, or upset majorites - three held by Republicans and two by Democrats.
According to this story on NPRs website, these legislative battles look to take place nationwide, with both parties determined to maximize their influence upon next year's legislative and Congressional district reapportionment efforts:

Kevin Brackett vs. Nightline

The Blogland is a big fan of 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett. Like his predecessor, (future State Representative) Tommy Pope, Brackett is a career law-and-order guy who lives to keep the communities of South Carolina safer, he's as creative as he is dedicated, is tough on criminals, and doesn't back down from a fight.

He went to work for Pope right out of law school, not always a good move for those deep in law school student loans, and moved up to replace Pope several years ago. We've watched him stand firm and take the fight to the criminal element.

His newest fight: taking on NBC's Nightline show over what he sees as inaccuracies in a recent murder case:

Help Joe Biden

This Friday, Joe Biden is coming to Rock Hill to help out South Carolina's most endangered political species: John Spratt.  Which we think is a fine weekend for the folks in Rock Hill to go somewhere else and do something else.

As we all know Joe is a little challenged for speech ideas, we thought we'd ask our readers to suggest a good speech he can plagiarize ... uuhhh ... consider for the occasion. So make your recommendations and we'll be sure to pass them along. Maybe even deliver copies in person at the Friday event.

Democrats to blame Bush for expected electoral losses

Confidential sources have informed the Blogland that Democratic national leaders are bracing for staggering electoral losses in November, including the loss of control of Congress, as well as sizable losses of governorships and state legislative seats, giving the GOP both control of the nation's Capitol, as well as greatly-enhanced leverage over redistricting in many states.

In the event such dire predictions should become reality, these sources informed the Blogland that the Democratic leadership intends to shift the blame for the electoral upset to former President George Bush.

Temporary House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-umber than dirt) defended this strategy in a press conference:

We promised the voters that things would be done differently when they put us in power, and believe me, they're being done really differently. Why should we take responsibility for our actions now when blaming everything on Bush has proven to be a lot easier to do than saying "we blew it".

The Blogland returns

I want to thank the many Blogland readers who've reached out the last few days to express their sympathies and show their support for my family with the recent events. It's been a tough time, and there's still a lot to deal with in the months ahead.

As the boys from AC/DC once put it:

Well I'm back, back,

Back, back,
Back in black,
Yes I'm back in black!!!!
The Blogland returns to the world today with a visit to Pub Politics this evening. Watch for more news, opinions and attitudes from the Blogland.

Thank you

I've heard from a lot of Blogland readers about Friday's events and wanted to confirm what has taken place, as well as thank you for your concern.

My younger brother Jonathan died of injuries sustained in a car wreck Friday afternoon in Charleston. He leaves behind his girfriend, her son Trevor and their eighteen month-old son Eli.

The other driver was charged with reckless homicide. You can rest assured that friends and family look forward to seeing this case prosecuted fully.

Condolences can be sent via U.S. mail to:
Bill Capps (my father) and Joyce Lee (my mother)
c/o Earl Capps
P.O. Box 51002
Summerville, SC 29485

Special thanks go to the paramedics with Charleston County EMS, who kept him alive long enough to reach the hospital, a feat which doctors said should not have been possible, as well as to the medical staff at the Medical University of South Carolina for their valiant efforts to overcome what was massive trauma. The Charleston County's Sheriff's Office also gets thanks for investigating the incident and being, as they often are, the bearer of bad news.

The Blogland may take a few days off while we deal with the aftermath, so don't be suprised if nothing new goes online after the weekend.

Where was Rob Miller today?

Today, a neighbor of 2nd District Democratic congressional candidate Rob Miller decided to do something to help disabled vets. So six-year old Jack Carter Worrell spent the day in the summer heat, selling lemonade.

While Jack was standing out in the summer heat helping veterans, Rob Miller was in Washington DC holding fundraisers with liberal activists and lobbyists helping ... well, helping himself.

As the picture shows, Jack was thanked for his efforts by Congressman Joe Wilson, who was in Miller's town while Miller was ... yep, raising money with liberal activists and lobbyists.  Who was he meeting with?  According to a release from the SCGOP, Miller's fundraising agenda for today includes events at:

Protecting your church congregation from sexual misconduct - a guest op-ed

The Blogland, having it's Catholic Christian loyalties, has discussed a lot of issues related to church and faith (the two don't always go together), including the issues related to the long-held tradition of the Roman Church regarding celibacy.

The Blogland disagreed strongly with this policy for a couple of reasons, including on this blog, for a couple of key reasons. First is the fact that the Eastern Catholic Churches have long allowed married clergy with no problem, thus filling their clerical ranks. Second is because of the way this policy has fueled perceptions stemming from sexual abuse allegations which turns away people who may otherwise find a home within one of the several parts of the Catholic Church.

But sexual miscontact in churches  is a problem in other churches as well, so it's wise to not be fooled into thinking that if you're not Catholic, you're safe. In the 80s, several televangelists fell over sexual misconduct allegations, so there's a lot of reasons why these issues should matter to any congregation which places people in trust in their churches.

I know this personally, as a family friend, a evangelical pastor, who presided my second wedding, went on to spend several years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.

While in Manning recently, I read a good article by John Durant, who owns DuRant Insurance of Manning, in a local paper which talked about some good steps any congregation's leadership should take in protecting their flock and church personally and financially from sexual predators in their midst. I'm not sure of his faith affiliation, but when the advice is sound, it doesn't really matter, so I asked him to submit this as a guest editorial, and appreciate him sharing it:

Joe understands Jobs

The Blogland has gotten to know the Wilson clan over the last year, including Congressman Joe, and considers it a real honor to get to know them.

One of the reasons yours truly has opted to remain in the private sector and spend the last decade in the construction industry instead of "going corporate" is because of the deep respect I have for those who work hard every day for a living and help build this country.

Joe Wilson is taking time in his campaign to put in several days of work becoming familiar with a wide range of occupations and companies across the Second Congressional District. From baggage handler to ticket sales to handling granite, he's proving to a be pretty multi-talented guy.

I might even invite him to come out to one of my company's project sites. Or he should go work at one of Rep. Shannon Erickson's preschool facilities in the Beaufort area.

Thanks John, we needed a laugh

Tuesdays aren't fun days for a lot of people, but we have to thank endangered species ... uuummmm ... Congressman John Spratt for making it a little easier.

Speaking before a paltry 25 Democrats in Fort Mill yesterday (compared to 350 in Lancaster for Mick Mulvaney on Saturday), Spratt said that budgets weren't really that important, but that something needed to be done about spending:

We need something to keep spending in line," he said. "We need something that causes people to stop and say, 'Can we afford it?' We've got that in place.... Don't worry about the fact we don't have a budget."

Linda Ketner bails on petition Senate candidacy

After an effort by some Democrats to encourage her to challenge Senator Jim DeMint as a petition candidate, Lowcountry Democrat Linda Ketner announced that she would not wage a campaign for the seat, asking her supporters to end their efforts:

During the weeks since the Petition Initiative was presented to me, I have exhaustively onsidered all the ways that we might mount a similarly strong campaign in the short 3 1/2 months left to us. Sadly, I have concluded that at this late date, it's just not possible to assemble the team and resources we need to mount the effective campaign we all ant.

Bottom line: yes, we deserve - and desperately need - better government, but a last minute campaign without essential resources won't get us that outcome.

And so, with great appreciation and humility, I thank those who participated in this initiative, and announce I will not accept a petition candidacy. I have asked that the drive be stopped.

We're not sure if this will be the last effort by some Democrats to undo the outcome of their Senate primary.

If only they'd worked this hard to stop Alvin Greene before he won the primary ...

Mount Pleasant 4th of July TEA Party

About 250 people turned out in Mt. Pleasant on the afternoon of the 4th for the Lowcountry TEA Party, which featured 1st Congressional District GOP nominee Tim Scott, 6th Congressional District GOP nominee Jim Pratt, State Senator Larry Grooms, and Lowcountry conservative activist (and former 1st District GOP candidate) Mark Lutz. They were joined by Fair Tax supporters and regional 9/12 groups.

The event also featured games for kids, lots of BBQ, music for attendees.

Mark your calendar: Tim Scott and Newt Gingrich in Charleston this Friday

The GOP is leaving nothing to chance in the race to fill the open First Congressional District seat. To help, they're bringing in some big names to help.

This Friday, Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the US House, will be joining GOP nominee Tim Scott for an event which will be held from 3-4 p.m.

Event Sponsorships are $2,000 and individual Tickets are $500

Tristan Restaurant is located at 55 South Market Street in downtown Charleston.

Wanna go? Contact Lindsey Helms by calling 803-988-8440 or via email: lindsey@scgop.com.

The John Spratt ad the Democrats don't want you to see

FITSNews is reporting the Democrats aren't happy that Republicans aren't happy about the lack of a federal budget. With Spratt, who chairs the House Budget Committee, facing a tough re-election fight, the GOP is doing the smart thing in running an ad calling Spratt out on the matter and encouraging audiences to visit the website Where Is The Budget, where they can sign a petition to call for Spratt and others in House leadership to pass a budget.

The Democrats are doing the brave and courageous thing. In other words, they're trying to get the ad pulled off the air. Since they don't want you to see it, we naturally think you should - and pass it along to your friends in the Fifth District while you're at it:

Big TEA Party turnout in Lancaster

A crowd of approximately 350 turned out earlier today in Lancaster for a 4th of July Lancaster County TEA Party rally, filling the parking lot of the Elrod automotive dealership lot, with overflow parking on the shoulder of the S.C. 9 Bypass.

When asked to stand by geography, the overwhelming majority of the audience members were from towns and rural communities in Lancaster County, with a handful from Chester, Chesterfield and York Counties.

Up first were two Lancaster County GOP candidates: incumbent Rep. Deborah Long, running for re-election to District 45, and Rob McCoy, the GOP challenger for House District 44. Then lenn McCall, South Carolina's GOP national committeeman, and 5th District Congressional candidate State Senator Mick Mulvaney.

Comptroller candidate sees Gamecock flag over State House as "First Step"

Democratic Comptroller General candidate Robert Barber was reportedly looking at withdrawing from the race to resume his lobbying business, reportedly excited by the decision to fly the Gamecock flag over the State House after USC's recent sports victories:

This is great news that South Carolininans are coming to their senses about this gentlemanly sport and realize that there is nothing wrong with being proud of watching chickens fight to a bloody death. We can only hope this is a sign that we'll be soon be able to turn back the clock to the days when barns full of spectators can once more cheer on these prized animals pecking and tearing each other to death.