Gloria Tinubu: The Green Quitter

South Carolina politics now has a new action figure: Gloria Tinubu, also known as the Green Quitter.

While she's known for upending plans by many Democrats to nominate an "electable" candidate - first Chesterfield County State Rep. Ted Vick and later Horry County attorney Preston Brittain, she's also known for being a perennial candidate and regular quitter all across the southeastern United States.

In 2010, Tinubu was elected to a seat in the Georgia House, only to resign her seat after less than a year to move to South Carolina to seek the Democratic nomination for the newly-created Seventh Congressional District.

But it seems quitting is something the Green Quitter likes to do - and as the Blogland found out, she's done it quite often.

Parole Alert: Brian Nelson, Lowcountry double cop killer

It's not every day we ask for Blogland readers to help us - but it's not every day that someone who killed two cops has a parole hearing in South Carolina.

Brian Nelson (the guy on the right) faces a parole hearing for the hit-and-run deaths of Summerville Police Officer William Bell and Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy Gene Wright, who were killed in the line of duty while attempting to assist a motorist on U.S. Route 17-A in Summerville. To date, he has served just EIGHT YEARS of a twenty year sentence. In our view, you don't drive over and kill two cops and just serve eight years (in our world, he'd be swinging from the gallows).

So yeah, we're opposed to Nelson's release, and we hope you will will join us in doing so.

If you want to go ahead and register your objections without reading any further, please visit the Department of Probation and Parole website ( and state your opposition to the release of Brian Nelson, SCDC inmate # 00292367.

His parole hearing is scheduled for July 25 at 9:30 a.m. We'll keep you posted on the location.

If you'd like to know more about what happened, Valarie Bell Wright, the daughter of officer William Bell, provided this narrative about what took place:

Fair Tax advocate says "No Fair"

... because he didn't get chocolate ice cream for his birthday today.  But we still want to wish John "Fair Tax" Steinberger a very Happy Birthday from the Blogland.

While we're not sold on all the details of the Fair Tax system, we're not thrilled with the current system either. Without people like John working to stir the discussion pot, we'll never get the kind of tax reform our state and country needs.

So today, our hats are off to John Steinberger. Thanks for your hard work and have a great birthday!

More states mandating E-verify for employment screening

While this week's Supreme Court decision on Arizona's immigration enforcement legislation may have tied the hands of the state to enforce immigration laws, this ruling did not touch the state's E-verify mandate, which was affirmed by the Supreme Court in last year's ruling in the matter of Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting. This and other signs point to a growing willingness to mandate E-verify and allow states to implement laws restricting the ability of employers to employ those who don't establish their legal right to work in the United States.

Following Chamber ruling, nine other states joined Arizona in requiring businesses in those states to use E-verify to screen new hires - Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. While the dates for the implementation of the laws vary from state-to-state, all ten states require employers to be using this system by the end of this year. But a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures indicates the E-verify mandates are just the tip of the iceberg on issues related to employment and immigration.

Happy Birthday to Senator Shane Massey

For it's second birthday greeting of the day, the Blogland wants to wish State Senator Shane Massey a Happy Birthday.

If you know him, be sure to do the same today.

Mary Pearson's Birthday Crisis

Counting is an important skill when you're the Treasurer of Dorchester County. Usually Mary Pearson, the county's treasurer, does a great job of this.

Except when she tells you her age. She always seems to get that number wrong.

Maybe she's 40, maybe she's 50. Who knows? In any event, be sure to wish her a Happy Birthday today!

Twin blow-outs in SC 7 run-offs: How they went down

While most observers expected the run-off votes in the Seventh Congressional District to be close, both races ended up being blow-outs, with Republican Tom Rice moving from five points down in the run-off to a twelve-point win and Democrat Gloria Tinubu scoring a three-to-one victory.

In our view, Rice was able to use his nomination candidacy to get a head-start on November by building momentum via a strong, district-wide run-off win, while Tinubu scored a symbolic, but divisive, vindication that leaves her the underdog in the fall contest for the new Congressional district.

For those of you who are armchair quarterbacks wanting to understand what happened tonight and why, here's our take on how the run-off races unfolded and what we saw as the key factors in both contests:

DNC speedway opening event cancelled amid fundraising woes

It looks like bashing the one percent is paying off big dividends for Democratic fundraising efforts.

Struggling to meet their fundraising goals for their 2012 Charlotte convention, Democrats cancelled their planned opening event, which was scheduled to take place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. This follows a decision in January to scale the convention back to three days from the intended four day event originally envisioned by convention planners.

Reportedly, Democrats have raised only a small fraction of their intended fundraising target of nearly $37 million, with less than ten million raised to date. With the convention just a couple of months away, it's hard to see how they will come anywhere near meeting this goal.

Meanwhile, North Carolina Democrats have been engaging in their own form of major-league downsizing, with incumbent Democratic Governor Bev Purdue passing on re-election, along with Congressmen Brad Miller (D-Raleigh) and Heath Shuler (D-Asheville), all of whom were expected to lose re-election this year. Lumberton Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre, who barely survived a 2010 challenge and is expected to face another tough battle this year, recently declined to endorse Obama's re-election.

Jasper Port put on hold over jurisdiction issues

The growing battle over bi-state cooperation over maritime shipping in the lower Savannah River region took another turn today when the two-state board overseeing planning for the Jasper County port facility was blocked from conducting business after a motion for an injunction was filed in Charleston courts last week. 

The injunction is in effect until October 1 unless another court hearing takes place sooner. According to Jasper port board member David Posek, the injunction was sought by the Savannah River Maritime Commission after Jasper port board members continued forward with a recent meeting. The Commission contends they have jurisdiction over the maritime shipping issues on the River. According to Posek:
We elected not to postpone the meeting, and the commission filed the temporary injunction restraining us from offering opinions or voting on any issue dealing with navigation, depth, dredging, wastewater and dredge disposal or other issues related to use of the Savannah River for oceangoing commerce.

The injunction would stop board members from voting to authorize a 2013 budget which would fund continued studies and research needed to better determine the feasibility for the Jasper port facility. These funds were allocated for planning of the Jasper port several years ago, but require board approval before being spent, which will be delayed by the injunction. 

This issue is one of several points of dispute between the two states which share the lower Savannah River region over developing the river and surrounding areas for increased maritime commerce, with the feds, Georgia and South Carolina officials and agencies battling over a number of issues, including shipping facilities and river dredging.

Guest Cartoon: Walton - "Fast and Furious Pinocchio"

Vote for Somebody Tomorrow

For the most part, it's been a wild and strange year in South Carolina electioneering. So much so that in most places and situations, the race for the Seventh District might seem strange - but around these parts it doesn't. 

Tomorrow is election day and we're joining to join Herman Cain in endorsing the American people - and reminding you to go vote for somebody. 

In this race, it seems just about everyone has weighed in and many of them have endorsed someone. Except the Blogland - and we're not going to endorse anyone running.

And if you haven't gotten enough information upon which to base your decision, then shame on you.

Best news sources for the 7th District run-off?

The hottest election show in the South Carolina run-off votes is clearly the state's new Seventh Congressional District. We've enjoyed getting out to political events across the Seventh to meet candidates and their supporters, covering a wide range of events from conventions to a gospel music cookout in Hartsville to ritzy dinners in Myrtle Beach.

While we've worked hard to give our readers an informed and thoughtful (and sometimes critical) look at the race, there are two other outlets whose coverage of the race is must-read stuff, especially in the closing days of the contest: 

John Sweeney from This reporter has burned up the miles and hours chasing candidates and stories about this race in a way that few reporters do anymore. He may not work for one of the major metro dailies, but the quality of his work would make you think he does.

Mike Reino, blogging at SC6. Mike was active in the old Sixth District, which covered most of the Pee Dee in the pre-Seventh days. While some suspect the placement of the Seventh was a plot to get him out of politics, he hasn't let being in SC7 stop him from giving you great on-the-spot coverage of events, especially from the often-overlooked Pee Dee counties of the new Seventh District. 

Also, Mike Reino and myself will be on the air on Newstalk 97.9FM and 970AM in Florence on the In The Pickle Barrel show, from 8 to 10am, talking about Tuesday's GOP and Dem run-offs for the state's new 7th Congressional District. I'll be on the show Monday and Mike will be on Tuesday. We both want to hear your take on the race, so please call us at 843-317-1483.

Gowdy's Stand on Fast and Furious

The Blogland's hero of the week is clearly Upstate Congressman Trey Gowdy who launched a firey rant at the Justice Department's cover-up of Operation Fast and Furious became the stuff of national headlines, blasting the agency's tactics as "wrong, no matter what administration does it".

As the current administration hides the matter behind Executive Privilege, we can't help but remember the once-upon-a-time words of then-Senator Obama who said to CNN:

I think the issue of executive power and executive privilege is one that is subject to abuse and in an Obama presidency what you will see will be a sufficient respect for law and the co-equal branches of government that I hope we don't find ourselves in a situation in which we would have aides being subpoenaed for what I think everything acknowledges is some troublesome information out there.

Funny how things change.

We appreciate Congressmen Gowdy for reminding us again that Fourth District voters made a wise choice two years ago when they voted to send him to Washington. 

If you haven't seen his committee performance from earlier this week, we have the videos for you:

Jordan won't endorse in 7th run-off

Ending several days of speculation, Jay Jordan, a Florence attorney who finished third in the GOP primary for the Seventh Congressional District, announced he would not endorse either of the two Republicans who are in next Tuesday's GOP run-off.

In a statement reported by John Sweeney at SCNOW:

I only ask that the folks who gave me the great honor of their support employ the principles I fought for in determining which remaining candidate deserves the privilege of receiving their vote.

Jordan finished in third place, carrying Florence and Darlington Counties, two of the eight counties that make up the Seventh District. Overall, he carried twenty-two percent of the vote. As his primary support was heavily concentrated in and around Florence, the lesser of the two Republican areas in the district, an endorsement could have played a role in tipping the balance in the run-off.

While Jordan will be sitting the run-off contest out, other also-rans have made endorsements in the contest. Former primary candidates Chad Prosser and Randall Wallace have endorsed Tom Rice while Katherine Jenerette has endorsed Andre Bauer.

Bauer attack ads: Loose with the facts

With a close race for the GOP nomination for the Seventh Congressional District underway, the two contenders who made it into the pending run-off vote - former Lt. Governor Andre Bauer and Horry County Councilman Tom Rice - are running hard for the win.

But a closer look at the race finds that Andre Bauer is playing extremely loose with the facts in his attack ads against Tom Rice. We'll address the facts we found regarding two claims made in his advertising:

Guest cartoon: Walton - "Buying America"

Rice gets support from second primary opponent

With eight days to go before the GOP run-off vote in the Seventh Congressional District, candidate Tom Rice appears to have landed the support of a second primary opponent. 

Last week, Chad Prosser, who finished fourth in the primary, announced his support for Rice.

Speculation still swirls around the intentions of Florence attorney Jay Jordan, who finished third overall and first place in Florence and Darlington Counties, but thus far, he remains publicly neutral in the run-off vote.

Foreign automakers keeping UAW out of plants

While labor unions have done well at organizing work forces at United States-based automakers, they've struggled to get into foreign automaker facilities in the United States. According to a recent MSNBC story:

While the UAW continues to represent Detroit’s Big Three manufacturers, it has all but completely failed to gain representation rights for the so-called transplant lines now run by virtually all the major foreign-owned automakers, from BMW to Toyota to Volkswagen.

UAW president Bob King sees these efforts as crucial to the survival of the labor union, warning "If we don't organize these transnationals, I don't think there's a long-term future for the UAW, I really don't". Last year, it was reported the UAW was considering going after Volkswagen and Daimler plants and now is reportedly looking at attempting to organize a Nissan plant in Mississippi. But the track record of organizing these companies plants isn't good.

Confusion reigns as Democrats fight over 7th District primary outcome

The race for the Democratic nomination for the state's newly-created Seventh Congressional District has taken a bizarre turn. While former Georgia legislator Gloria Tinubu clearly pulled off a strong first-place finish in the June 12th primary over Democratic insider favorite Preston Brittain, the decision by the state Election Commission, which conducts primaries for the state's major political parties, to declare her the winner of the nomination has taken the contest from the ballot box to the courtroom.

Depending on how the primary votes were counted, either Tinubu scored a first-round win in the primary or she faces a run-off with Brittain. On primary night, Tinubu initially had 49% of the votes but was later declared the winner with nearly 53% of the vote after the Election Commission threw out approximately 2300 votes cast for State Rep. Ted Vick, who abandoned his Congressional campaign but was still on the ballot. By either count, Brittain finished about twelve percentage points behind Tinubu.

This outcome hasn't prevented some high-profile Democrats from working to keep Tinubu from being declared the outright winner. Both the Brittain camp and SCDP Chair Dick Harpootlian blasted the decision to declare Tinubu the winner, arguing the Vick votes should be included in the primary vote count and called for a run-off. In response to these appeals to the Election Commission and the state courts, a number of parties weighed in on the matter, making the matter increasingly murky and tentatively putting the state's run-off elections, planned for Tuesday, June 26, on hold:

US Dep't of Labor Wage/Hour crackdown looming?

My company recently had a site visit from an investigator from the Wage and Hour enforcement by the U.S. Department of Labor. The investigator was cordial, professional and efficient in his visit. But changes in the agency’s approach to handling investigation and penalties should serve as a warning that those friendly visits may become quite costly for an unprepared employer.

Writing in the June 2012 edition of HR magazine, attorney Allen Smith reports that Wage and Hour enforcement by the US DOL is becoming more aggressive, meaning employers will need to exercise additional caution on these issues.

Reporting on a May presentation at the Jackson Lewis Corporate Counsel Conference in Washington, D.C., Smith reported that investigators are now assessing civil penalties on first visits. This is a change from years past, when a first visit would result in a warning and useful guidance on how to improve compliance so as to avoid penalties.

This is just one of a number of reports of ramped-up enforcement.

Guest cartoon: Walton - "Obama's Clowns"

Todd Kincannon thinks he's smart

But hopefully today, he'll drink himself silly, because it's his birthday.

Please join the Blogland in wishing one of the state's few Republican attorneys a Happy 37th Birthday!

Lowcountry Tea Party groups denounce so-called "SC Tea Party" attack email

An email blast sent out from an unknown sender today claiming to be part of a "SC Tea Party" has come under fire from the Lowcountry's largest and best-recognized Tea Party-associated groups. The email allegedly endorsed Sean Bennett, who is challenging incumbent Senator Mike Rose for the GOP nomination for Senate District 38 in the Summerville area.

According to the Charleston Tea Party website:

The domain name is privately held according to and was purchased in March of 2012, but there is no website. The email is signed by Adam – just Adam. Like Cher or Madonna. It appears as though there really isn’t any organization associated with this email address, at least not a tea party organization. Nice try, though, hat tip and all that. We will continue to post information on any candidate for information purposes, but just remember, it’s not an endorsement.

We've also been informed the Lowcountry 9.12 project has also denounced the email, while the local RINO Hunt and South Carolina Republican Liberty Caucus have announced their support for the re-election of Senator Rose, as has this website.

There is discussion of a plan to announced a reward for information which can positively identify the sender of the email and any connections to either of the candidates in Tuesday's GOP Primary for Senate District 38.

Our Republican Primary endorsements

Voting on Tuesday? We are and if you're a Republican voter, so should you. Here's who we're supporting in Tuesday's Republican Primary:

These are some good hard-working candidates but there are many others out there who may be worthy of your vote. Before you go vote, please take the time to do your homework. Please make informed choices consistent with your priorities and values.

Polls open at 7am, but you can also vote early. Here's where to go vote in your county if you're voting early or voting on Election Day.

Jordan Bryngelson for House District 97

Republican voters casting primary ballots in House District 97 have a very easy decision to make in the upcoming Republican primary. The two candidates seeking their votes have very different backgrounds and sets of qualifications. Of the two candidates, Jordan Bryngelson is the one qualified Republican candidate and has the support of the Blogland.

Bryngelson has long roots in the GOP and has campaigned for numerous Lowcountry Republicans. He also represents Dorchester County on the state GOP's Executive Committee. Not only does this experience mean he'll be ready to work in Columbia, but they also mean these connections will help keep him accountable for casting conservative votes as a legislator.

It's this background which qualifies him above his primary opponent, who last ran for the House as a Democrat and to this day, refuses to be candid about his past intentions or political identity. Carter may  be a recognized business figure in the community, but if he wants to run as a Republican, it would seem that he'd want to establish a record in the Republican Party first.

One choice is a loyal, energetic conservative with proven Republican credentials. The other is a local business figure with questionable affiliations who is seeking to add to his resume. When these are the choices, it's clear that Jordan Bryngelson is the qualified Republican candidate for this House seat. 

Fake "Tea Party" sneak attack in Senate 38 race

In the last two or three days before an election, you'll find campaigns who are willing to pull a fast one, hoping voters don't get a chance to put the facts together about the attacks before voting. Usually those campaigns are behind and hoping to get a last-minute boost by these kinds of sneak attacks.

Add Sean Bennett, who is challenging Summerville State Senator Mike Rose in Tuesday's Republican Primary, to the list.

An email sent out this morning from "Adam at" claiming to be "A Message from" made a number of claims about Senator Rose. As the email included no supporting information to substantiate the claims, nor was there a response to our reply email asking for their identity and supporting information, we're not going to discuss the claims made in the email. There was also no website for the group, which was registered to a web hosting service with no information listed for whoever actually purchased the web domain.

This is part of a pattern of anonymous third-party attacks made in this race by Bennett supporters that we've been watching, including a billboard campaign waged by another shadow group, "Dorchester One LLC", he told the Summerville Patch website "I'm flattered that people like our message. I just have no connection with it."

Unfortunately, Bennett doesn't seem to have a problem with these kinds of shadow groups doing his dirty work for him. If he doesn't believe in transparency on the campaign trail, it's hard to see how he'd do much to advocate it once elected.

House 110 candidate faces residency questions, weak polling

A voter poll released by South Carolina REALTORS is predicting a big win for Charleston County State Rep Chip Limehouse, with a fifty-one point lead over his challenger, Ron Paul supporter Peter vonLehe Ruegner (64-13, with 23% undecided). But it may not be the only problem faced by Ruegner in his uphill battle.

While the poll results suggest that House District 110 voters don't seem to know who Ruegner is, information we've received has raised questions about WHERE he is. This is no small irony as Ruegner, who fancies himself as a political crusader out to unmask what he sees as corruption and insider dealings, seems to have engaged in his own campaign of misinformation regarding his actual residency.

The Blogland received copies of Ruegner's filings and a screen capture from the Republican Party's Voter Vault  voter database website, which paint a confusing and conflicting picture of Ruegner's whereabouts, suggesting that he may not even reside in the district which he wants to represent in the State House.

Mutually assured destruction in Senate 36 race

Clarendon County Democrats seem to have a new strategy in the race to fill the Senate seat being vacated by long-time Senator John Land: Mutually assured destruction.

After the recent Supreme Court ruling forced all but one Democratic candidate off the ballot for the seat, Eleazer Carter, who Chairs the Clarendon County Democratic Party, has reportedly notified the one remaining Democratic candidate - State Rep. Kevin Johnson - that he will be considered ineligible to run for the seat.

Carter was one of those previously disqualified for the seat, suggesting local Democrats are engaging in a Mexican standoff which is serving to drag each other's candidacies down. We've been informed that Carter and the other two Democratic candidates who were previously bumped off the ballot intend to wage petition candidacies in order to get back on the ballot.

House 97 GOP candidate playing both sides of the party line?

While the Democratic roots of Ed Carter, who is running against Jordan Bryngelson, Dorchester County's GOP state executiveman, for the GOP nod for House District 97, are no secret, more comes to light to support concerns by many party activists that Carter is simply using the Republican label as a ticket to go to Columbia, with a tangled web of contradictions about his party identity going back to his failed 2000 bid for the House seat.

The most recent fuel added to the fire is comments made by Carter in a recent interview on the Summerville Patch website, where Carter admits to his past willingness to pay both sides to get ahead. He claimed that his failed 2000 bid for the seat, where he was the Democratic nominee, was part of a planned switch game in which he'd use the Democratic label to win the seat and then switch to the GOP:

Forget about parties for a minute. I have always been a conservative, especially a fiscal conservative. Some people call what I did shenanigans, but I call it strategy. The idea was to win as a Democrat, help with the redistricting of District 97 and then switch parties and run again as a Republican. Every election is different. Now I want to run with a party that most accurately reflects my beliefs.

This was the same contest in which he told the Charleston Post and Courier "I guess I’m not independent because I am and have been a Democrat."

Confusing, isn't it?

In any event, Carter's attempt to serve as a Democrat in the House was short-circuited when District 97 voters went for Republican David Owens, who became the first Republican to hold the district based in rural upper Dorchester County. 

Republicans uncontested for first-ever courthouse seats in Lancaster and Union Counties

While the GOP wave has swept much of the Upstate, this wave has passed several of the smaller counties, leaving local Republicans struggling to catch up with the kinds of domination their counterparts enjoy in counties like Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg and York Counties. Reaching in an arc from Lancaster to Abbeville Counties, this region has proven to a tough nut for Republicans to crack.

But this year Republicans in Lancaster and Union Counties can celebrate first-ever wins of courthouse offices as Democrats opted not to run opponents against Lancaster County Treasurer Carrie Helms and Union County Clerk of Court Freddie Gault. Both were appointed to fill vacancies and face voters for the first time this year.

Prison violence and the Clyburn connection

Our most recent discussion of the issue of cell phones in prison was a month ago. Guess what? It's becoming an increasing security risk in South Carolina prisons, as well as in other states.

Yesterday, inmates seized a guard and rioted at Lee Correctional Institution (prison). According to news media accounts, "inmates with illegal cell phones called Lee County dispatchers about the seizure of the guard. Many different inmates made the calls".

We're pretty sure that being able to jam cell phone signals in prison might've helped prevent the coordination of this attempted prison takeover.

Since Jim Clyburn's association with his daughter, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, no doubt helped get her that well-paid job, perhaps he could ask her to allow the thirty-one states which have requested FCC approval to jam cell phone signals in prison. After all, if that brat is gonna hog at the trough, she might as well do something for the money. 

David Stumbo for 8th Circuit Solicitor

This year, the GOP primary contest in for the 8th Circuit Solicitor's office has been a tough battle between the incumbent Jerry Peace and  David Stumbo. If Republican voters want a career prosecutor with a proven record of being tough on crime and a friend of law enforcement, David Stumbo is the clear choice in the race and has earned the Blogland's endorsement.

Stumbo is a career prosecutor, having prosecuted cases in the adjacent Eleventh Circuit as well as the state's Attorney General's office. When working in the Eleventh Circuit Solicitor's office, he had a ninety percent conviction race. In covering this race, we've talked with a number of people in the region's legal, criminal justice and law enforcement communities and Stumbo had the highest level of support we've ever seen for such an office. This would be reassuring for an open seat race, but against an incumbent, it's a tremendous sign of confidence they have in his ability to serve as Solicitor.

The incumbent's record has been one of great disappointment. In his four years, the record is nothing short of tragic. With those we've talked with, he's lost the confidence of those the Solicitor's office should be an advocate for: victims and their families, fellow prosecutors and law enforcement. This lack of confidence is stunning and we've found some very serious reasons for this lack of support and trust.

S.C. Republicans working Wisconsin for Walker

The heated Wisconsin gubernatorial recall campaign has drawn national attention, including from South Carolina Republicans.

Several South Carolina Republicans are on the ground in Wisconsin, campaigning for Republican Governor Scott Walker. Beverly Owensby, Chief Development Officer for the conservative website Palladian View, along with LaDonna Ryggs, Managing Editor of Palladian View and Chair of the Spartanburg County GOP, and Lauren Luxenburg, Social Media Coordinator for Palladian View, have been in Wisconsin for the last few days, working hard to oppose the Democratic and organized labor recall efforts.

They were even nice enough to send back some pictures to share with Blogland readers.

Walking, calling and greeting voters have been nearly a 24-7 mission for these volunteers. We're sure they're looking forward to coming home after the votes are cast tonight.

Hammond's Black Bike Week bust

Atlantic Beach Bikefest, commonly known as Black Bike Week, has gained a high degree of notoriety for unleashing a crime wave across the Grand Strand. The event and the Town of Atlantic Beach have drawn fire from a number of Horry politicos, including County Council Chair Tom Rice and State Rep. Tracy Edge.

This year, Secretary of State "Dirty Harry" Mark Hammond joined the festivities, teaming up with Horry County cops to raid event vendor stands, which are leased out by town government, arresting three and seizing over half a million dollars in fake merchandise.

Merchandise items seized in the bust included counterfeit merchandise included CDs, jeans, sunglasses, hats, handbags, shoes, wallets, cell phone covers, iPad covers, and DVDs. Some companies whose products were counterfeited included Air Jordan, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Major League Baseball, Motion Picture Association of America, National Hockey League, NCAA, NFL, Nike, Oakley, Polo, Recording Industry of America, True Religion and Versace.

For the life of us, we can't fathom how people would think they'd be buying legit brand-name products from a vendor's table, but we suppose not everyone has a clue.

But this raid was just the tip of the iceberg for the town that looks like the most corrupt and/or inept in South Carolina.

Guest op-ed: Bill Connor, "Hutto against people on FOIA, school choice"

This op-ed penned by Sixth District GOP Chair Bill Connor was also published in the Orangeburg Times and Democrat:

I was extremely disappointed to learn that Orangeburg state Sen. Brad Hutto has promised he will filibuster a bill expanding and simplifying Freedom of Information Act laws in South Carolina.

According to The Associated Press: “Hutto says he’s not objecting to the public records bill (meant to bring transparency to our government), but is rather part of a game of legislative chess in preventing debate on a private school choice bill.” When voters speak of ending the corruptions of a “good ole boy” system in state government, this case epitomizes those corruptions.

Interestingly, The Times and Democrat recently ran a fascinating letter by Bill Rogers about the troubling ways in which many public school districts abuse or ignore the laws governing Freedom of Information Act requests or stifle them through outrageous charges. Case in point was a 2008 report in The T&D that Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 Superintendent Melvin Smoak demanded $5,000 to provide the public copies of his 2007 travel expenses. It is outrage and frustration over such absurd behavior by school bureaucrats that is, for many, fueling support for school choice.

South Carolina's "Shooting Seventh" District?

If you're looking for candidate action of a more literal kind, we don't think there's a Congressional District in America which can compare to South Carolina's "Shooting Seventh" District - a special kind of place where three of fifteen current or former candidates have presented the potential to do harm in recent months.

Then it was Ted Vick, another former candidate who is still a Chesterfield County State Rep, who was arrested for, among other things, carrying an unlicensed concealed weapon.

Now the latest candidate to hop on the crazy train is Dick Withington, a perennial Horry County candidate who is airing a radio ad where he says he is unsheating a sword, threatens to take it to Washington to "attack" things and quotes Vito Corleone (about halfway down the page, just below "Do you want a Show Horse or a Work Horse?").

Somewhere, racehorses are trembling in fear of losing their heads over an offer that can't be refused.

Regular Blogland reader and Myrtle Beach entertainment executive Boz Martin told us "Whittington is bugfuck. You may quote me on that." We can't help but think Mr. Martin has a point.

Seriously, what are the odds that one Congressional district could have all three of these characters seeking the same seat in the same election cycle?

Like Stephen Colbert says, you better know a district. when you see South Carolina's Shooting Seventh District coming, you might want to run and hide.

Guest cartoon: Walton - "Hogs at the trough"

Paul Thurmond for State Senate 41

State Senate District 41 was one of the most stable districts in the state in terms of representation. Since the state first adopted single member legislative districts in 1985, it had only been represented by Glenn McConnell, one of the first Republican legislators from the Lowcountry until several months ago when McConnell was unexpectedly elevated to the office of Lieutenant Governor opened the seat.

While McConnell's thirty-two years of Senatorial experience will be difficult to replace, the choice for who will succeed him isn't. We're endorsing Republican Paul Thurmond to fill the vacant Senate seat in the Republican Primary which takes place on Tuesday, June 5.