Walton Cartoon: "Going Postal - in style"

Duncan and Mulvaney: Setting the example for spending cuts

Lots of politicians talk about the need to cut spending and find ways to get the federal budget under control - but in most cases, their cuts start somewhere else, with someone else's money. But two South Carolina Congressmen - Jeff Duncan and Mick Mulvaney - are setting the example by making the tough cuts first with their own budgets.

Last year, Duncan and Mulvaney were among those who returned over $1.4 million of their budgets.

Duncan pointed out to the move as an attempt to set the example for fiscal restraint:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I try to run this office the same way I ran my small business. It’s important to apply to our Congressional Office the same common sense principles that we all use to manage our homes and our businesses. If the entire federal government did that, we wouldn’t be $16.5 trillion in debt.

It may be small, but those pennies add up and fiscal responsibility is everyone's job. Duncan and Mulvaney are doing their part to set the right example.

Jim Clyburn: We might be stuck with him

While the Congressional Black Caucus may be touting Congressman Jim "JC Hammer" Clyburn to replace outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, it's likely that South Carolina's biggest leech serving in Congress will be stuck in his Congressional seat for the time being.

Congressman Clyburn is an exceptionally well-qualified, proven candidate ... It is without reservation that I urge you to strongly consider this recommendation.

Yeah, we thought that was pretty funny too. We couldn't make quotes like that up.

While Clyburn's buddies think a "good ol' boy" appointment is in order, serious transportation people aren't even giving the Congressman time of day for the post.

Walton Cartoon: "Obama and Tiger Woods"

Changing jobs

I want to apologize for the recent drop-off in Blogland stories. It's not that I'm getting tired of blogging, but that other priorities have come up which I have to deal with.

I recently accepted a new position as the corporate-level human resources and safety manager for a distribution and retail company based in Charlotte. This opportunity has come with its share of challenges - as well as a lot of weekend and evening work - while I get a handle on the new job.

It also means that I'll be leaving the construction industry, aside from the occasional consulting opportunities. After thirteen very rewarding years in the industry, I'm going to miss it - but after all these years, it's time for a change.

I've also been told that the trial date for Brandon Ancrum, who was charged with reckless homicide in the summer of 2010 for the death of my brother, will be in April after several postponements and delays (many of which we understood and agreed with to allow more pressing cases to be heard). This will be a trying time for the family.

Politics is fun, but at the end of the day, I'm just a volunteer citizen activist, just like many of you. Bills have to get paid and family comes first.

This will mean that for the next few weeks, I won't be writing as much, but you can rest assured that I'm not going away.

As always, I want to thank all of you for reading and extend a special "thank you" to those who've reached out express your support for my latest career move, as well as for the upcoming trial.

Walton cartoon: Charlotte sludge

This cartoon from Jamie Walton - who is recovering well - looks at the issue of sludge disposal in Chester County by the City of Charlotte.

The blogsite ChesterWhistle.net discusses their concerns about the issue:

Beginning today, December 28, 2012, DHEC is requesting public comments regarding renewing the land application permit for the City of Charlotte’s sewage sludge to be spread on farmland in SC. Here is the public notice announcement from DHEC. Anyone who questions the spreading of sewage sludge in South Carolina is asked to request a public hearing, so we can hopefully get some improvements made to the program.

There is much controversy surrounding sewage sludge and what kinds of chemicals are in this substance. If you are applying this to your property, you may want to take a look at the following report done by the USGS, indicating 25 different chemicals were found in every bio-solid sample tested.

A public hearing for the permit will be held next Tuesday - February 26 - in Richburg (in Chester County) at the Richburg Fire Station. The meeting begins at 6pm.

Click here to see the permit.

Can you trust Kevin Bryant?

He may try to tell you he's turning 29 today. If he does that, don't believe him.

But do wish Kevin Bryant, a State Senator and pharmacist from Anderson who is also one of the state's first legislators to hit the blogosphere, a Happy Birthday today, however old he may be.

Blogland to moderate first –ever Twitter parody candidates’ forum – #FirstFreakForum

With a large field of Twitter parody accounts aimed at satirizing many of the GOP candidates in the First Congressional District race, the Blogland has decided to give them a first-ever Parody Candidates forum. This event will kick off at 5pm this Saturday and will last two hours.

Follow the hashtag #FirstFreakForum to watch, learn more about the parody candidates (and maybe about the actual candidates) and have a few laughs.

The rules are as follows:

  • Yours truly will call out each of the known parody accounts, by alphabetical order according to their Twitter handle, and each will be given three sequential tweets in a 90 second interval to make an opening statement.
  • Following that, questions will be submitted and each Twitter “candidate” will be allowed to respond in the same alphabetical order - no more than three consecutive tweets to a single question.
  • Questions for the Twitter parody candidates will be drawn at random by yours truly. To submit questions, please email them to earl@earlcapps.org.
  • Alphabetical order will be determined by the list which will be posted on the Blogland three hours before the start of the event. Those Twitter parodies who are not listed in this story should message me at @bloglandec if they are NOT on this list to ensure inclusion no less than three hours before the event begins.
  • None of the Twitter parodies are allowed to use profanity - try to restrain yourselves (for once).

The known parody candidates' list is as follows - and candidates will be called on in this order:

You are invited and encouraged to tune in for this first-ever event. While we're not quite sure what to expect, it's bound to be pretty wild stuff.

Guest article: John Schafer - "Grandparents' rights advancing in Legislature - at last"

Today's guest article was written by John Schafer, a Pickens County resident and Vietnam-era veteran who heads us the Grandparents Rights Association of South Carolina. He is one of the most-recognized activists on Family Court and DSS reforms related to the rights of grandparents and other close relatives in South Carolina:

As a concerned grandparent and citizen, I have been working in the family rights movement for about five years, working to protect the rights of family members to play roles in the lives of their relatives. In many states, including South Carolina, grandparents have few legal rights and can be left unable to be involved in the lives of their grandchildren, in spite of considerable research which shows that involvement can make a vital difference in the lives of children. While there has been little progress in our state on these issues, the one bright spot where real progress was made was when Governor Mark Sanford signed regarding grandparents’ visitation rights bill into law back in 2010 (the full text of the law can be seen on this page: http://grasc.org/news/news.html).

Since then, we have been working to do more to strengthen Grandparents rights and give them more opportunities to make a difference - with lots of encouragement but little result until recently.

Walton: Obama's drone

Jamie Walton is down for a few days due to some health issues, but we've been told all is going well and he'll be back soon. If you know him, reach out and give him your best wishes for a full recovery.

Rick Grimes for Secretary of Defense

In a world of trouble, it's important that our next Secretary of Defense be a man (or woman) of action. They should be decisive, determined to protect and, when necessary, stone cold.

We say "F*k Chuck" and call upon the Washington politicians to make Rick Grimes - the lead character from the AMC series The Walking Dead - our nation's next Secretary of Defense.

You say he's a fictional character? And our nation's foreign policy is any less un-real?

So why are some reasons Rick Grimes should get the job:

You want someone who will protect his own? Look how he's led his band and stood up to all sorts of threats.

Can he handle a crisis? You bet! In a world over-run by zombies, he's stood on his own for three seasons.

Will he stand up to dictators? Just ask the Governor of Woodbury.

Will he coddle special interests and develop buddy networks? He killed his best friend and even killed child zombies. This is a man who has no favorites - count on him to get the job done.

Grimes is one stone-cold dude. He'll have the backbone to stand up to hordes of those who are determined to destroy everything and consume all in their path. Islamic radicals, North Korean thugs and anyone else should live in fear of a guy like this in charge of our nation's defense assets.

Which is more than we can say for the current administration.

Rep. Sellers DUI arrest part of a pattern of dangerous driving

WIS-TV has reported that last October, Bamberg County State Rep. Bakari Sellers was arrested in Chester County on suspicion of DUI and was booked into jail after refusing a sobriety test. His drivers' license was suspended for six months for refusing to take the test - a fact which Sellers didn't seem to want to share with the voters back home.

Weeks after his arrest, Sellers won a close race for re-election, winning by a ten-point margin to Republican Dan Lawrence while losing two of the three counties in the usually heavily-Democratic district. Perhaps this disclosure could have made the race much closer, just as charges against Chesterfield County Representative Ted Vick resulted in a very close race with his Republican opponent.

Dodging the cops in one part of the state while dodging voters back home. Seems like a pattern.

But wait, there's more.

A quick check of court records showed that in Orangeburg County, Mr. Bakari Nikosi Tuggle Sellers, DOB 9/18/1984, was found guilty of 80 in a 60 zone in 2007, and then found guilty again of going 64 in a 55 zone in 2009. He was also a defendant in a motor vehicle lawsuit which was closed with a consent order in 2012.

More Twitter parodies entering SC-1 race

A relatively new form of political satire is the use of Twitter via parody accounts. In the special election to fill the First Congressional District seat, it's a form of political discourse that's becoming quite popular - and seems to be catching on like wildfire.

Yesterday, the Blogland reported that two more parodies had entered the race. Today, we learned that three more parody accounts appeared: @curtisballsac, @roscoepnash and @teddystrustfund.

The ever-growing satirical field now includes:

… and @dogcampbell, who is not a parody of any candidate, but is having fun in the race seeking the Twitter vote nonetheless.

If you have any to add to the list, drop an email to earl@earlcapps.org.

DeMint kicks off new SC-based think tank

Fresh on the heels of his new high-profile role at the helm of the Heritage Foundation, former Senator Jim DeMint hasn't forgotten the folks back home.

DeMint is taking $300,000 from his Senate campaign fund to seed the new Palmetto Policy Forum and is putting Ellen Weaver, his former Senate state director, in charge of the organization. Also coming on board is long-time policy researcher Oran Smith.

If successful, the group would could fill a gap created by the once-prominent Policy Council, which was a research and issue advocacy powerhouse under former President Ed McMullen, but since has turned to alliances with left-wing radical groups and spent much of its energy attacking public officials.

As to the question of if the new group will have more influence upon politics and policy than the current or former Policy Council, or any other advocacy group, time will tell, but we hope they'll make headway at pushing good ideas. Lord knows some new ideas are needed in Columbia.

  • Gresham Barrett, former Congressman and a 2010 GOP candidate for Governor
  • Michael Brenan, state president of BB&T and Gov. Nikki Haley’s appointee to the S.C. State Board of Education
  • Michael McBride, chairman of Anderson-based HMR Veterans Services Inc.
  • C. Dan Adams, president and chief executive of Greenville-based The Capital Corp.
  • Stu Rodman, founder and the forum’s vice-chairman. He is also the Vice-Chair of Beaufort County Council
We'll be watching to see the group's progress. While their website is still under construction, their Facebook website is online. Check it out.

Mike Burns wins House 17 GOP run-off vote

This time, the race to fill House District 17 didn't come down to a single vote. Mike Burns, who led run-off opponent Chris Sullivan by about ten points in the primary, scored a solid win in tonight's run-off vote, again leading Sullivan by about ten percentage points.
The final vote counts were
  • Mike Burns: 1,383
  • Chris Sullivan: 1,134
Barring any last-minute write-in candidacy, Burns is now unopposed for the seat, which was vacated by State Senator Tom Corbin in November.

My SC-1 race overview on Front Page Magazine

My overview of the state of the GOP field for the open SC-1 congressional race was published yesterday on Front Page Magazine, a national political website.

Here are some excerpts from that story:

The recent appointment of South Carolina Congressman Tim Scott to replace former Senator Jim DeMint last month opened up a feeding frenzy to fill South Carolina’s First Congressional District. Sixteen Republicans are seeking the now-open seat, including novices, legislative veterans, defeated politicos seeking a comeback and two candidates with national connections and name recognition, all jockeying for the special election contest for the seat ...

While Sanford is believed by many to be best-known candidate starting out, that perception and his past negatives have made him a target for some of the other candidates. His high name recognition failed to deter candidates from running for the seat and many past Sanford supporters are backing other candidates for the seat, suggesting he isn’t generating the enthusiasm of years past ...

Democrats also have three candidates in a primary which is expected to draw far less attention and heat as the GOP primary. In a seat which has been in GOP hands since 1980 (with only one close call for Republicans – in 2008), the GOP nominee will be an early favorite to carry the seat - even if such a wide and hotly-contested field will make it hard to spot a potential primary winner. While the primary outcome may be uncertain, what is certain is that this race - and its unprecedented field of candidates - will be worth watching.

To read the rest of the story, click here - and if you've got your own thoughts about the race, please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section.

... and if you're curious as to who is running, or want to find out about the candidates, here's a list of candidates with web links for most of them:

More Twitter parodies in SC-1 race

A while back, the Blogland discussed some of the parody Twitter accounts who are adding their own twists to the barrage of messaging produced by the sixteen Republican candidates in the race to replace Tim Scott in the First Congressional Distrct.
Just as people kept pouring into an already-full field of candidates, at least two more parody accounts have entered the race in the First: @chumpslimehouse and @harrygroomssc.

Those of you who enjoy political satire and tidbits of opposition research being wedged into the sometimes-comedic and often-critical tweets, here’s the updated roster of the known parody accounts in the race:
… and of course, special mention goes to @dogcampbell, who is not a parody of any candidate, but has a ruff approach to running for the seat.

If you have any to add to the list, drop an email to earl@earlcapps.org.

Robert Ford's racism ... again

As someone who has been active in the realm of politics since high school and who grew up in the Lowcountry, I've long been used to Robert Ford's antics and racially-tinged rhetoric, first as a member of Charleston City Council and then as a member of the South Carolina Senate. Over the years, he seemed to have moderated his hard line and learned to work with others.

At least that's what I thought.

Today's rant by Senator Ford about Berkeley County State House member Samuel Rivers' vote in a recent Family Court race was one of the most insulting and racially-tinged statements I've heard Senator Ford make in a long time:

Rep. Erickson bringing 1st District candidates to Beaufort

Representative Shannon Erickson has been working hard to make sure her backyard folks aren't ignored - and the red-hot race for the First Congressional District is no exception. Even though she's in the middle of a busy legislative session, she's still found time to host a series of candidate forums for those seeking the Congressional seat.

Thus far, the series has hosted appearances by Chip Limehouse, Elizabeth Moffly, Mark Sanford and Teddy Turner. Each of the events feature two candidates, giving them opportunities to introduce themselves and answer questions from the public. Each candidate will be on stage for an hour, either 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Dates for the upcoming Town Hall events are:

This Wednesday: Pub Politics talking Defense and Homeland Security

This Wednesday, like many Wednesdays in Columbia, there will be politicians in Columbia and there will be people drinking beer.

While you can't do anything about the politicians, you CAN do something about the beer:


... and do it with the folks at Pub Politics, who will be featuring Major General Bob Livingston, South Carolina's Adjutant General. It's a rare opportunity to hear from one of South Carolina's experts on defense and Homeland Security issues and you don't want to miss it!

Walton Cartoon: "Super Bowl"