Guest cartoon: Walton - "Not Me"

Unions and NLRB still pushing over Poster issue

While court rulings earlier this year put the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) workplace poster mandate on ice, an appeal of the National Association of Manufacturers ruling is expected to be heard in the D.C. District Court of Appeals in September. Since these rulings were issued, a number of actions taken in support of the policy both by the agency and those in support of the rule, presenting new challenges for employers and those seeking to curtail the ability of the agency to act as an advocate for labor unions.

The poster rule suffered two setbacks from rulings which barred the agency from mandating employers post a notice that was considered by many to be free advertising for labor unions. In National Association of Manufacturers v. NLRB and Chamber of Commerce v. NLRB, federal courts in Washington D.C. and South Carolina both ruled the agency could not require employers to post such notices

Earlier this month, a Friend-of-the-Court brief filed by the AFL-CIO, Change to Win, and Professor Charles Morris, a retired professor from the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University in Dallas sought to support the NLRB's push for the employer mandate, arguing the poster and other notification processes were within the scope of the agency's authority and were essential to it's ability to help workers who sought to organize unions in their workplaces. In the brief, they warn that "as union density has declined, the need for workers to have an independent source of information about their rights has never been greater".

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 - THIS WEDNESDAY - at 9:30 a.m. The hearing will be held via TV connection at the National Guard Armory in North Charleston on Cross County Road - AND IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

If you can make it, we encourage you to attend.

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:

Pennsylvania latest state to issue E-Verify mandate

Pennsylvania joins a growing number of states which are mandating the use of the federal E-Verify service for screening new hires for eligibility to work in the United States.

Signed into law earlier this week, the Pennsylvania law applies to companies which do business with state government, but doesn't apply to other businesses. The new law would require them to subscribe to the service and begin running new hires through the system no later than January 1 of next year, giving them several months to learn the system.

It's worth noting that E-Verify rules require that all new hires be run. Selectively running new hires or even checking out applicants who have not been hired is not allowed. All or nothing.

The new law comes with penalties, including fines and bans on doing business with the state:

Rep. Phillip Lowe calls Florence County Council out for tax and spending hikes

Florence State Rep. Phillip Lowe isn't afraid to speak his mind.

Local government is funded primarily by property taxes. Have your property taxes declined during the recession? Of course not and nor has the county budget. From 2006 to 2008 the Florence County budget increased by 56 percent from 32 to 51 million.

The recession forced state legislators to make tough decisions just like your family did. Most state agencies suffered 40 percent cuts from the general fund. Since 2000, the number of full time state employees was reduced by 23 percent while Florence County increased by 17 percent.

Was it really necessary for county council to raise taxes? There is no way I would have voted for a tax increase, especially in the most difficult economic times of my life. All but one councilman voted for or praised the tax increase. I am proud of Roger Poston for voting against it.

Poston, the sole council member who voted against the tax hike, is up for re-election. Kent Caudle is seeking an open seat and will be a reliable fiscal conservative. There is one other open seat and one incumbent seeking re-election who voted for the tax increase.

Florence voters should keep Lowe's words in mind when they vote in November.

The Clarendon County Democratic circus

Clarendon County's Democrats were once among the best-known and respected for any of the state's rural counties. Long-time legislators like John Land and Alex Harvin built seniority and were well-known and influential in Columbia and a smart politico could get elected in that county and serve pretty much as long as they'd like.

But in the last couple of years, the county's Democratic politicos have turned the county's political landscape into a circus of questionable ethics and petty backstabbing. Looking more like the set of the Jerry Springer Show than a country club, arrests and lawsuits pepper the field of Democrats seeking legislative seats in November.

Willie Lee Bethune, one of the candidates for the House seat being vacated by Kevin Johnson, who is running for the State Senate, was arrested in May for making false statements by medical provider to the Department of Health and Human Services. Bethune was originally seeking the seat in the Democratic primary, but was forced to seek the seat as a petition candidate.

NC primary vote: More bad news for Dems

2008 Presidential outcome map
While last night's run-off elections in North Carolina were hardly inspiring in terms of voter turn-out, Republicans were able to walk away with bragging rights, having overtaken the Democrats in terms of turnout. In a state where Democrats traditionally out-voted Republicans by three or four-to-one margins in statewide primaries and run-offs, this was a sign of continuing weakness by Democrats and another sign of growing GOP strength in a state Democrats hope to keep in play in the fall Presidential race.

While turnout was low, more than twice as many Republicans voted in the statewide run-off contests than Democrats last night. The one Democratic run-off race (Labor Commissioner) had 57,647 votes cast, while the lowest of three statewide GOP run-offs (Insurance Commissioner) had 136,296 votes cast. This was on the heels of the primaries, where Republicans and Democrats turned out roughly the same number of voters. The Democratic max was 934,287 votes cast in the Governor's race, dropping to 769,931 votes in the Agriculture Commissioner race, which was roughly matched by the 897,137 votes cast in a low-key GOP gubernatorial race and 772,584 in the Agriculture contest.

Comparing these totals to the total vote counts from the 2008 primary, both a major drop-off in Democratic voter interest and a major increase in Republican voter activity becomes apparent.

Filing fallout in Dorchester County: Rose named winner, Knight unopposed

The ongoing SEI filing flap continues to leave people scratching their heads as the latest turn in the ongoing saga resulted in District 97 State Rep. Patsy Knight, a top GOP target, and District 38 State Senator Mike Rose, who had lost his GOP primary bid to Summerville resident Sean Bennett, having free rides to re-election in November.

According to the Summerville Patch website, Dorchester County GOP Chair Carol Duncan, who herself was disqualified from seeking a seat on Dorchester County Council, blamed the problems upon Tony Piscatella, who was assigned to handle filings for the Dorchester County GOP:

In previously certifying non-incumbent candidates, I relied on representations made by Tony Piscatella, the Dorchester County Republican Party filing officer, that he had, through 'dumb luck,' required non-incumbents to file paper SEIs despite the filing instructions having no such requirement. I believed Mr. Piscatella and certified all non-incumbents except one who had never filed any SEI anywhere.

It later turned out that copies of the SEI forms could not be found, forcing Duncan to decertify herself along with several other GOP candidates, including Bennett and Ed Carter, who had won the GOP primary for House District 97. 

With the deadline for filing petition candidacies having passed, those who wish to challenge Knight and Rose can only do so via write-in campaigns. As there are no recent examples of write-in candidates winning campaigns in South Carolina, Knight and Rose will likely return to Columbia in January.

More phones in SC prisons

While the FCC opposes allowing states to jam cell phones in prisons, the problem of inmates using cell phones in South Carolina prisons continues, as it does in many other states.

We'd like to share three Facebook profiles courtesy of the good folks at Charleston Thug Life, who do a great job of catching lowlifes online. All three are doing time  in South Carolina prisons: 

Mr. Green even posted his cell phone number in the photo above. We're sure he's lonely so give him a call.

Tinubu campaign selects campaign theme song

Sources have indicated that Seventh District Democratic candidate Gloria Tinubu has settled on a campaign theme song.

Guest Cartoon: Walton - "Vote Obama to save the Earth"

Florence Republican would consider VP role

Florence County Republican Mike Reino surprised South Carolina political observers when he announced that if asked, he would consider being the GOP Vice-Presidential candidate. He enters a large field of those who have been the subject of Vice-Presidential rumors, including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

“Who wouldn’t consider this,” he said. “There’s a ton of travel, the work hours suck, and if I got elected, I’d be the butt of late-show jokes, just like the last few Vice-Presidents: Dick Cheney, Al Gore, Dan Quayle and Joe Biden. Not only that, but fewer people would want to go hunting with me.”

Moye Graham, Chairman of the Clarendon County Republican Party, dismissed these rumors: “If it’s this hard to get Mike to come down to Wyboo for free beer, how can he find the time to travel the country to do hundreds of fundraisers and publicity events?”

This speculation about Reino’s candidacy has reached a feverish pace amid surveys of Republicans indicated that, if asked, most of them would consider the slot. “Not surprising,” said Joe Schmoe, a Washington-based political columnist. “After all, if you ask me to shoot myself, I’d consider it. It doesn’t mean I’d do it, but we tend to think about most things we’re asked to do before we decide if we’re going to do them or not. At least after we graduated from college, stopped smoking pot and dropping acid and sobered up so we could get a job.”

Brian McCarty, another state political blogger, agreed with Schmoe: “Think about it - the odds of actually getting asked are about as good as most of us getting the hottest dame in the bar to talk to us. If it happens, great, but let’s face it, it ain’t gonna happen for most of us. But if asked, sure, I'd be willing to consider being number two in the fall of next year, as would most of us.”

Twitter war over Harrell's House seat

Twitter parody alter-egos are nothing new. In fact we follow more than a few of them. Some of them are better with one-liners than a lot of comedians.

In the race for State House Speaker Bobby Harrell's seat in Charleston County, a Twitter alter-ego war has broken out, featuring , a parody of Fair Tax advocate John Steinberger, who is waging a petition candidacy against Harrell, and , a parody of Harrell.

 debuted tonight, featuring a round of Beavis and Butthead "Cornholio" quotes.

If you're on Twitter, both of these are well worth following. 

We have no idea who is who is behind these, but if we ever find out, we're gonna buy them a few beers.

OSHA employer penalties rising

Employer should be wary of increased efforts by federal and state OSHA officials to enforce and penalize employers. While some actions aimed at increasing penalties have been bottle-necked in Congress and in federal courts, but such roadblocks alone won't stop employers from facing increased headaches and costs from OSHA visits to workplaces. Increased OSHA inspections will allow the agency to spot and cite violations with increased frequency, the federal agency is also changing the rules which govern how penalties are applied to greatly reduce the latitude given to employers and set employers up to face quickly-increasing fines for workplace safety violations.

In writing for the Society of Human Resource Management labor attorney Allen Smith reported on a presentation by Nina Stillman, a labor attorney with Morgan Lewis in ChicagoAs penalties are capped by existing federal laws, OSHA has increased penalties by ramping up the use of repeat violator citations. Stillman said OSHA “is doing repeats all over the place.” Such citations are very costly for employers, costing up to five times the penalty of the first-offense citation. 

Stillman also reported that OSHA has increased the penalties by:

Race on for Florence GOP State Committeeman

With the resignation of Florence GOP state Executive Committeeman Julian Young, the race is on to replace him. Four potential candidates have offered their names for the race:

  • Susan Minck was recently disqualified from her intended bid for Florence County Council but was expected to lose that bid handily. When visiting that area before she was disqualified, we counted at least fifty in-yard sign placements for the GOP nominee, but only one for her. She recently moved to Florence, but starting at the top isn't a way to learn the ropes.

  • Tommy Phillips, a past Florence GOP leader, who recently lost his bid for Seventh GOP District Vice-Chair handily.

  • Mike Reino, a past GOP contender for the Sixth Congressional District seat and former Sixth District GOP Vice-Chair. He's also the well-known author of the SC6 political blog who has developed a state-wide political following between his blog and involvement with the Four Horsemen, a power circle of four long-time GOP activists.

  • Renee Woodberry is a relatively new face in the regional GOP circles. A hard-working local GOP volunteer, she was recently named campaign coordinator for a rural State House candidate.

Given these choices, Florence Republicans should pick Reino.

Guest cartoon: Walton - "What is Obamacare?"

Tinubu's Delta vote: Public service or self-serving?

Last year, while Seventh Congressional District Democratic candidate Gloria "the Green Quitter" Tinubu was still serving in the Georgia State House, she came out against legislation which would extend an existing fuel sales tax break for Delta Airlines, telling the press "Delta doesn't need this money. We do." On March 16, she stood by her position when she voted "NO" on House Bill 322 (the bill passed 113-61).

But was this why Tinubu voted against Delta - or was there a more selfish reason which might explain why she wanted to cost the airline millions of dollars?

According to a 1990 story published in the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, Tinubu sued Delta Airlines, alleging an injury caused by a passenger's luggage caused her to lose her 1989 bid for Atlanta City Council:

Supreme Court reins in union political fundraising - again

A ruling by the Supreme Court last week continues years of rulings by the Court which have reined in the ability of labor unions to collect funds for political activities from workers. Last week's ruling in the case of Knox v. Service Employees International Union, Local 1000 continues that trend, calling into question a union practice of collecting the money from workers for political activities. 

In the Knox ruling, the Court held that the method used by the service employees' union to collect special fees for campaigning against two referendum questions in California in 2005 violated those workers First Amendment free speech rights. The court issued two rulings on separate issues in the lawsuit

  • In a 7-2 ruling, the court concluded that the union did not give proper notice to non-union members before making the deductions.

  • In a 5-4 ruling, the court ruled that the method used by the union to allow non-union members in the state's "agency shop" workplaces to "opt out" of such special fees was insufficient to protect their First Amendment rights, ruling that non-members should be sent a notice giving them the chance to "opt in" to the special fees.

The case was initiated by eight California civil servants in response to a 2005 "special assessment" imposed by SEIU officials to raise money to campaign against four ballot proposals, including one that would have revoked public employee unions' special privilege of using forced fees for politics unless an employee consents. The plaintiffs argued that employees who refrained from union membership who were forced to pay union dues as part of the state's agency shop workplaces were given no chance to opt out of paying the SEIU's political assessments.

Charleston Coroner: SC Coroner of the Year

Congrats go to Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten, who was named the 2012 Coroner of the Year by the South Carolina Coroner's Association.

A Registered Nurse with a BS in Nursing from USC, Wooten has sixteen years' experience in the Charleston County Coroner's office, having joined the Charleston County Coroner's office in 1995. She was named Chief Deputy Coroner in July 1996 and then appointed Coroner on September 1, 2006 to fill a mid-term vacancy. Wooten was elected to a full-term in 2008 and is standing for re-election in November.

Being Coroner isn't always a good job to have, but Wooten has earned good marks for her competence, professionalism and compassion in this office and has, in our humble opinion, earned this recognition. Voters would be wise to keep her on the job for another four years.

Tinubu: Atlanta Olympics racist?

While the Democratic primary for the Seventh Congressional District seemed to avoid overt racial overtones, many felt racial identity played a major role in the race. If the race card was played to help Tinubu win the Democratic nomination, it wouldn't be the first time that the Green Quitter, a.k.a. Democratic nominee Gloria Tinubu, has done it in her public career.

While many called the 1996 Olympics, held in Atlanta, where Gloria Tinubu served on City Council, lost two mayoral bids and represented a part of it for a few months in the Georgia State House, Tinubu accused the event of hurting minorities and accused city officials of racially-targeted purging, while she criticized the city's mayor for engaging in racially-charged rhetoric.

According to Harvey Newman of Georgia State University, the event generated an economic impact of over $5 billion, as well as numerous improvements to infrastructure, housing and sporting facilities around the entire metropolitan area. It was also praised for raising the reputation of the Atlanta metro area among major business leaders.

But Tinubu's assessment of the impact of the Olympics seems to reject the Kennedy-esque view that a rising economic tide lifts all boats. Quoted in a report published five years ago by the Center on Housing Rights and Evictions, an international liberal advocacy group, Tinubu said the 1996 Olympics adversely impacted minorities and accused Atlanta officials of discriminatory purging of the city for public relations benefits:

Happy Fourth of July

We want to wish our readers a Happy and SAFE holiday as we celebrate the founding of the American Republic. We'll be celebrating with too much beer and fireworks and hope you'll be off doing whatever works for you and yours.

Be sure to reflect upon the price that has been paid for our freedoms and take a minute to ask if we're doing our best to make sure those sacrifices weren't in vain.

Clarendon Dem feud still boiling

The ongoing war between Clarendon County's top Democrats continues, as current State Rep. Kevin Johnson, the only remaining Democratic candidate for Senate District 36, fights back against efforts by the Eleazer Carter, the county's Democratic Chair - who was removed from the ballot himself - to remove him from the ballot.

As first reported several weeks ago, Carter sent a letter that Johnson should not be on the ballot. One copy of the letter was received by the Clarendon County Election Commission, which in turn sent the letter to the State Election Commission. While no action has been taken by the State Election Commission, state-level Democrats have told the commission that Johnson should remain in the ballot. 

As an insurance policy against being booted off the ballot, Johnson has begun a petition campaign. Reportedly other former Democratic candidates are conducting petition drives in the hopes of getting on the November ballot.

Guest Cartoon: Walton - Justice Roberts

Feds considering hiring quotas for disabled

Keep in mind that many local and state programs receive federal funding, thus could fall under the scope of this proposed rule.

Claiming a thirteen percent unemployment rate for those with disabilities, Patricia Shiu, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, said "specific goals" and "real accountability" were needed to ensure increased hiring of disabled individuals.

That means mandates upon employers are in the works.