Halloween and the Occult - Watch this video

Boeing - Welcome to the Palmetto State

Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved for making this deal happen.

Transparency - from South Carolina to Michigan

As more proof that Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom was onto something really big with his transparency initiative, we've been informed that the Republican legislative caucuses in both the Michigan House and Senate have inquired with him about his transparency efforts, apparently with the intent of pushing such efforts in their own state.

Being one of those rare blogger sites who like to rely upon real sources we can name, we talked with RJ. Shealy, Eckstrom's spokesman, who confirmed this was true:

Representatives from both the House and Senate Republican caucuses called our office, both saying they wanted to emulate the efforts that we made here in South Carolina. They had apparently read reports where Richard said it could be done for far less effort than previously thought, which is interesting because they said they were running up against the same things Richard ran into here, with critics saying it would be too expensive and take too much time and effort to put together.

We're excited to see others seeing the value of this initiative, including those who are willing to cross partisan and even state lines, and will do all we can to help them with their efforts.

Such developments like this offer more proof that Eckstrom has earned another term in office.

1989 changed everything

1989 was the year that yours truly was supposed to graduate. Instead it was the year I became an 18 year-old parent and began making a train wreck out of the first few years of my adult life.

But there was some consolation in the knowledge that others would be making even bigger messes that year, the consequences of which still have major effects upon our lives (sort of like become a parent).

Not only did 1989 end the way-cool 80s, but the events of that year did much to bring an end to a world order which had existed since the end of the Second World War. We saw the Cold War end as Solidarity swept Polish polls that were rigged to be Solidarity-proof, mobs destroyed the Berlin Wall, and Red Army forces crawled out of Afghanistan. While it would be a little while longer before we'd see the Soviet Union itself disssolve with barely a whimper, heroic Afghan rebels turn into Al-Queda jihadists, or the Simpsons become the longest-running show in TV history, this was the year that made those things possible.

Time Magazine takes a look back at that year that changed everything:

Historians, picking over what has gone before, revising past judgments, will tell you that our understanding of the past is never final. What were thought to be world-changing events dim into topics of an obscure Ph.D. thesis; what seemed to be small stories turn out to be the ones that shaped the future. All is relative.

Yet 1989 truly was one of those years that the world shifted on its pivot. Some things did change, and changed utterly; we are living with their consequences still. Some things ended, too — not just communism as a state practice, for example, but also the idea that the international system is driven solely by state action. In a way that was only dimly perceived 20 years ago, elements such as multinational business, technological innovation and personal faith now shape our world just as states do.

Whatever the importance of events after 1989, the year itself is one for the ages.

Rep. Erickson calls on legislators to forgo pay for legislative session

Representative Erickson has always been one of our favorites for a lot of reasons, but most importantly for her ability to keep her feet on the ground and never forget that even in the world of Columbia politics, nobody is above good common sense.

We received a copy of an email she sent out tonight, calling upon her fellow legislators to join her in forgoing their pay for this week's special session, and telling them how they can do this:

Dear Fellow House Members,

During our “special session” this week, we are entitled to subsistence reimbursement ($132/day) and one roundtrip mileage reimbursement from our home to the State House. When I communicated with many of my constituents about the issue at hand last week, I also stated shared with them that I would elect to not receive any extra funds for being in Columbia.

Given the dire straits our budget has and continues to be in, I ask that you consider waiving your reimbursement for subsistence and/or mileage also.

Very simply, we have the ability to waive those reimbursements and to save the SC taxpayers’ hard-earned funds, just by asking.

There is no way to introduce any legislation or resolution to prevent other members from getting their subsistence or mileage reimbursement, it must be a personal choice.

Each member has a constitutional right to this reimbursement, however, each member may individually notify Mr. Charles Reid, Clerk of the House, if they wish to waive subsistence and mileage.

You can email him charlesreid@schouse.gov or he will have a document at his desk in the chamber that members may initial to inform him that they wish to waive subsistence or mileage.

Thanks for your consideration,


Representative Shannon S. Erickson
SC House District 124 – Beaufort

The Blogland commends Representative Erickson for taking this step. We're glad she remembers that in this tough time, our government officials should be ready to tighten their belts as much as they ask the taxpayers and state employees to do.

This is yet another example of why her constituents are well-served by her. We hope this kind of common-sense leadership is remembered next year, when they have an opportunity to give her another term in the House.

I-40 closed near Tennessee line

Since the Blogland thinks highways are neat things (working on them pays the bills around here), it seemed like a good idea to share news of a major closure of I-40 near the North Carolina/Tenneessee state line. This is the result of a major rockslide that may take several months to clean up and stabilize.

Given the volume of rock that came down, it's no small miracle that a major tragedy was avoided.

Motorists are advised to detour the region by taking I-26 through Asheville to I-81 near the Virgina state line. Plan for another two hours to make a trip through the mountains follow this detour route, which is highlighted in yellow:

Department of Transportation officials say that motorists traveling west to Tennessee should take Interstate 40 West to Interstate 240 West in Asheville to Interstate 26 West. Follow Interstate 26 West from Asheville to Interstate 81 South in Tennessee and back to Interstate 40. Eastbound motorists will follow the reverse directions.

A Christian defense of Halloween

Those who know me well know that Halloween is my favorite holiday. Before life got busy with graduate school and teaching, my house was well-known as being "that house" in my neighborhood, with fog machines, props and lots of special effects which scared the beejeezus out of kids.

One thing I never understood was the religious zealots who think Halloween promotes satantic or occult activities. I mean there is only several decades of evidence which shows that celebrating Halloween has not turned millions of American children into hordes of devil-worshippers.

In spite of overwhelming evidence, there still are plenty of people who refuse to accept the obvious when it proves them wrong with regard to Halloween. Call me a Knight In Service of Satan if you will, but I just don't see a problem with an occasion in which I give out a ton of free candy to kids and get to meet my neighbors.

Special thanks to the Rev. Drew Collins - a Blogland reader - who shared a link which addresses the
unjustifiable paranoia of those who are afraid of Halloween from a theological perspective:

This is a good place to note that many articles in books, magazines, and encyclopedias are written by secular humanists or even the pop-pagans of the so-called "New Age" movement. (An example is the article by Wynn Parks cited above.) These people actively suppress the Christian associations of historic customs, and try to magnify the pagan associations. They do this to try and make paganism acceptable and to downplay Christianity. Thus, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc., are said to have pagan origins. Not true.

Oddly, some fundamentalists have been influenced by these slanted views of history. These fundamentalists do not accept the humanist and pagan rewriting of Western history, American history, and science, but sometimes they do accept the humanist and pagan rewriting of the origins of Halloween and Christmas, the Christmas tree, etc. We can hope that in time these brethren will reexamine these matters as well. We ought not to let the pagans do our thinking for us.

Is the Office of Lt. Governor relevant?

Recent news that Bill Connor, a GOP candidate for Lt. Governor, signed the S.C. Association for Taxpayers' "Taxpayer Protection Pledge", didn't really come as a surprise in the race. Generally Republican office-seekers put their names on these pledges to help boost their appeal to the fiscally-conservative voters who make up a large part of the GOP primary electorate.

It's certainly commendable that Connor would pledge loyalty to fiscally-conservative positions - an act that will probably be duplicated by the other two GOP candidates for the office - but considering the fairly limited powers of the Lieutenant Governor, how much real importance does signing such a pledge have?

In recent years, the power of this office has been reduced considerably. After former Lt. Governor Nick Theodore left office, the Senate removed a number of duties and powers, including the ability to appoint conference committee members. Recent restructuring proposals have sought to make this office co-elected with the Governor and some of those proposals even called for the Lt. Governor to be removed from serving in the Senate at all.

There are two schools of thought with regard to the future of this office:

  • One school argues that the office should be removed from the ballot, possibly even from serving in the Senate entirely. This would reduce the office to a "spare tire" to fill a gubernatorial vacancy.

  • The other school argues that in the Senate, where members represent single-member districts, thus serving localized interests, having a presiding officer who is elected statewide serves to help moderate those influences, further enhancing the chamber's intended mission as the more deliberative body. Many who hold this position would like to see the office retained on the ballot and given more legislative powers.

The Blogland endorses the latter point of view. As none of the three GOP candidates for the office have advocated it's removal from the ballot, as well as argued for the office to be more pro-active in a number of roles, it can be inferred the candidates would, to some degree, agree with this position.

Connor's signing of the SCAT pledge has raised an issue worth asking about the future of this office. It will be interesting to see how much those who want to win this office are willing to talk about it.

Richard Eckstrom to speak to my CofC students on Wednesday

Special thanks to Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, who will be coming to the College of Charleston tomorrow evening as the next participant in this semester's roster of guest speakers to my evening Public Speaking classes:

South Carolina's Comptroller General, Richard Eckstrom, CPA, will speak at the College of Charleston in F. Mitchell Johnson Physical Education Center Beatty Center on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 6:00 p.m.

Eckstrom will address an audience of students on the importance of public speaking in his career.

Eckstrom was invited to campus by Earl Capps, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Communication and the teacher for multiple sections of the basic public speaking course.

“We thank Richard Eckstrom for taking the time to discuss the importance of public speaking with our students,” said Brian McGee, chair of the Department of Communication. “We are grateful for his willingness to speak with students who are taking this course, which is so critical to the future success of college students,” said McGee.

With one of the largest undergraduate majors at the College of Charleston, the Department of Communication enrolls more than 800 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs. Students in the department study such topics as political communication, interpersonal communication, journalism, and public relations. The department is housed in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Cheese War is on: Meet Beatallica

Recently, the Blogland editorial staff convened an emergency meeting at our secret lair, which is in an undisclosed location hidden where nobody can find it.

The reason for this meeting - how the Blogland to respond to a
recent cheese attack from the Voting Under the Influence blog. After considering a list of options which ranged from doing nothing to going out drinking to telling our moms, we decided that nothing short of a forceful response was in order - a response which would send a message that the price for future attacks is simply unthinkable.

So to our cheese foes at Voting Under The Influence, here's yours:

Thanks to the guys from the Classic Metal Show podcast for news of this band.

Upstate Firefighter needs your help

Firefighter Bryan Clark is a good citizen in Greenville County who could use some help from our readers:

Wade Hampton Fire Chief Randy Edwards announced that the district established a trust fund for firefighter Bryan Clark who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

According to Edwards, surgery removed the mass and most of the cancer, but Bryan Clark's recovery will include additional treatments that incorporate additional testing, scans, chemotherapy and/or radiation.

"You can imagine how difficult this time has been for Bryan and his family, and they still face a long road over the weeks and months ahead," Edwards said.

He added, "Bryan is not just a member of this department. He's our friend. He’s a 42 year old husband and father of two. He's a dedicated 22 year member of the fire service who served 17 of those years here at Wade Hampton."

Because of the anticipated cost of Bryan's treatment, his friends and fellow firefighters established a trust fund to assist with expenses during his treatment through the Duke University Health System.

Donations are tax deductible and can be presented at any Palmetto Bank branch or at Wade Hampton Fire & Sewer District's headquarters located at 4211 East North Street, Greenville, SC 29615.

Checks may be made payable to "Wade Hampton Fire Department -- Bryan Clark Trust Fund."

Chief Edwards said that people shouldn't feel they need to give a specific amount or that their donations aren't enough and that any amount will be appreciated.

"We hope that as people hear about Bryan and his story, they'll think about him, his wife, and their children and be moved to contribute," Edwards said.

About the Wade Hampton Fire Department:
Established in 1958 with boundaries that encompass much of Greenville (SC) County's Eastside, the Wade Hampton Fire Department provides an array of programs to protect the lives and property of residents and businesses the throughout the special purpose district.

For further information about the Wade Hampton Fire Department, visit www.WHFD.org.

For media inquiries regarding this release, please contact Taft Matney by phone (864/505-8866), by fax (864/297-3871), or by e-mail (taft@taftmatney.com).

Going to Beaufort

For those Blogland readers who are going to Beaufort this weekend for the state Federation of Republican Women convention, be sure to stop by and say hello. LaDonna Ryggs, the Spartanburg GOP Chair, and I will be teaching a communication skills class at the convention.

If you want to learn about how to sharpen your spoken or online communication skills, don't miss these classes - or just stop by to say hello.

Of course anyone who wants to pick up my bar tab ... I won't discourage you from doing that either.

Upstate GOP breakfast club to feature Spartanburg city and school board candidates

The Piedmont Republican Club will host a forum for all Spartanburg County School Board candidates and Spartanburg City Municipal candidates.

The forum will be from 10AM-11AM on Saturday October 17th at The Beacon Drive-In (Panther Room). All candidates will speak and have an opportunity to have answer questions from the audience. This event is open to the general public and is FREE.

The Club stresses the importance of these "off-year" elections. These elections are non-partisan and the forum will offer voter awareness to the issues of the various campaigns.

For more information, please call Rick Beltram (864-582-1717).

Joe Daning's re-election fundraiser packs the house

Special thanks go out to the team effort shown by friends, family and other supporters of Goose Creek State Representative Joe Daning for what was a solid show of support for his fundraising reception for next year's re-election campaign.

With a majority of Lowcountry GOP representatives present for the occasion, the crowd numbered upwards of 100, with a line out the door at several times during the evening. While we weren't opening the envelopes, there were more than a few being dropped in the bowl by attendees. That's never bad for an off-year fundraiser by a freshman legislator.

Joe's two decades of public service to the Lowcountry, as well as hospitality, was greatly appreciated by yours truly. Let's hope this guy gets another well-deserved term in Columbia.

This is what happens when you do the job the cops can't

My father, a retired City of Charleston police officer, was involved in the efforts to find a missing Charleston woman whose body was found last week. Apparently the City of Charleston PD didn't appreciate someone else doing what they were unable to do, namely break the case and find her body:

The weekend discovery of Katherine Waring’s remains on Wadmalaw Island has ignited a legal squabble between police investigators and private detectives working the case for the victim’s family.

A private investigator hired by attorney Andy Savage, a Waring family friend, found the missing woman’s remains Saturday, ending a four-month search. At the request of Charleston police, county sheriff’s deputies seized and searched the investigator’s vehicle for evidence, authorities said.

Savage filed a lawsuit today against Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon, Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen, and their respective departments, and seeking unspecified damages and the return of photographs, notes and other items taken from private investigator William Capps. Savage also is seeking a temporary restraining order preventing authorities from viewing, using or sharing the seized items.

Court documents state that the items seized from Capps contain sensitive, confidential “work product” from the Waring investigation and other cases, and that their release would violate attorney-client privilege.

He got his vehicle back yesterday. That's a hell of a way to treat a former colleague.

Remembering Cheron Gunn's life of service

The Blogland wants our readers to remember the life of SMSN Cherone L. Gunn. The brother of Blogland reader and Midlands Representatie Anton Gunn, Cherone was killed by Al-Qaeda aboard the USS Cole nine years ago today.

Committed to serving his country and protecting his fellow Americans, he was serving in the Navy with plans to enter a career in law enforcement. His willingness to live a life of courageous service sets an example worth remembering and honoring.

Our thoughts are with Anton and his family on this day, and we hope that yours are as well.