Grits, Eggs and Politics ... and Oysters too!


Saturday was a busy day on the road in the Blogland.

The morning started out in Summerville, with the Lowcountry GOP breakfast club's monthly meeting featuring a forum of the Superintendent of Education candidates. All five spoke to a packed house.

Next stop: Beaufort. The Beaufort Area Republican Club's oyster roast filled the park, with a long roster of state and local candidates speaking.

Representative Shannon Erickson's praise for fellow Beaufort delegation members Senator Tom Davis and Rep. Bill Herbkersman as "a great team that does great things working together" was a sign of how much Beaufort politics had changed since the 2008 elections.

It was interesting to see some of the Education candidates at both events, which serves a good example of how much work running for statewide office can be. Running for statewide office isn't for someone who hates travel or likes being home for dinner every day.

In March, it's hard to beat spending one's weekend running the Lowcountry for good fine, fine folks, and a darn great time. If you spent today home vegging out, you missed a great time!

Upstate Republicans recruiting former Solicitor to challenge Rep. Kirsh?


In the last year, the GOP knocked out many of the last Democrats standing in the Upstate arc between Spartanburg and York Counties: special election wins for House 30 and a Cherokee County Council seat, followed by the defection of Rep. Dennis Moss and another Cherokee County Council member.

The last Democrat standing: Clover Representative Herb Kirsh.

Kirsh's survival in York County's GOP-leaning House District 47 has often been attributed to his willingness to work with Republicans, but with the GOP quickly mopping up the remaining Democrats in this region's swing districts, it seemed a matter of time before Kirsh would face a serious challenge.

The Blogland has talked with several Upstate politicos who have indicated serious efforts are underway to recruit former 16th Circuit Solicitor Tommy Pope to challenge Kirsh, who has avoided a serious challenge since the mid-1990s.

Lowcountry GOP regional campaign HQ to open Monday

Later this fall, you can bet you'll see scenes like this with happy Republican volunteers at the Lowcountry Republican Party joint campaign headquarters, which opens Monday next week.

7671 Northwoods Boulevard, Suite G  North Charleston 
Right next door to the Ice Palace and down the street from Northwoods Mall.

The grand opening will be from 3 to 6 p.m. on Monday!

To help achieve real change in 2010, they're looking for donations of furniture to include folding tables, desks chairs, office supplies, computers and just about anything that goes in an office. Cash donations to help with utilities, phone and computer service will be gladly accepted.

Volunteers will be needed to help staff the office – both during the filing period to assist candidates, as well as after the filing period to assist interested voters with information, handing out yard signs and assisting candidates.

To help, or drop by to get more information about the Lowcountry Republican candidates, please contact Lin Bennett at 843-571-6330 or email her at chairman@charlestonGOP.org.

Mark your calendar: Sunday, March 21 - Berkeley GOP women annual social

If you're hanging around the Lowcountry on Sunday, March 21, here's an event you don't want to miss:

    Berkeley County Republican Women Annual Membership Tea March 21, 2010 2 pm - 5 pm All Republican Candidates Welcome The Home of David and Peggy Appler 910 Apple Core Lane Ridgeville, SC 29472 RSVP 843-688-5171

We know that SCGOP Chair Karen Floyd will be there, as well Attorney General Henry McMaster, as well as several other statewide and Congressional candidates (and the Blogland will be there as well).

You don't want to miss this event!

Mark your calendar: Women in Politics seminar in Georgetown, Sat. March 27

Gender diversity in South Carolina politics is sorely lacking (a subject we'll be talking about soon). Upstate Republican Deb Sofield is one of those who understand that this is an area which needs to be addressed. Active in the Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics, she's heading up a class on Saturday, March 27 in Georgetown aimed at helping women become more active in politics, either as candidates or campaigners.

The last meeting, which was held in Santee on February 20, was well attended, including a number of women holding elected and party offices - from both parties - from the Midlands, Lowcountry and Pee Dee, who offered advice and encouragement for attendees.  We've been told that a similar mix of newcomers and veterans will be at this event as well, so you really don't want to miss it!

Rite-Aid & your tax dollars at work: Buy candy with food stamps



Today's example of your tax dollars at work comes to you from the Rite-Aid Pharmacy store at the intersection of Savage and Ashley River Roads in Charleston, where shoppers are informed via advertising display signs that they can use their food stamps/EBT cards to purchase candy.

This wouldn't have surprised us if we'd seen it in a no-name corner store, but to see a major chain retailer encouraging such use of taxpayer-funded food assistance resources just doesn't seem right.

Here's the full-size shot of the candy display:

Managing viral PR damage: Domino's Pizza You Tube incident

Last year, two former employees of a Domino's Pizza location in North Carolina, Michael Setzer and Kristi Hammonds, decided to have a little fun with the food, posting a video of them tampering with the food on YouTube. The original incident was discussed here in the Blogland.

The video hit the web quickly, and the s*** hit the fan just about as fast when viewers found it and began forwarding it around the web.

This ABC News story looks at how this PR disaster played out, including how web viewers played a key role in helping alert Dominos to the existence of the video, and how the pizza chain handled the mess:

Domino's was the latest company to be on the wrong end of a "Twitter storm," a spontaneously formed digital mob that rapidly shares information. The company's swift response to the employees and its wider customer base, using the same Web sites and media that spread the video, has been praised by observers who nevertheless wonder if the company can emerge unscathed.

All FIVE GOP Superintendent of Education candidates to visit Lowcountry Saturday

LOWCOUNTRY GOP BREAKFAST CLUB TO FEATURE REPUBLICAN EDUCATION SUPERINTENDENT CANDIDATES’ FORUM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WHEN: Saturday, March 13 at 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: Kelly’s BBQ restaurant, US 78, Summervile
CONTACT: Ron Turner, Chairman (843) 814-1805 ron@ronturnerhomes.com

This Saturday, Lowcountry Republicans will gather at Kelly’s BBQ in Summerville at 9 a.m. to participate in a forum of the announced Republican candidates for the 2010 election for State Superintendent of Education:

• Gary Burgress
• Elizabeth Moffly
• Brent Neilsen
• Kelly Payne
• Mick Zais

After the panel speakers have made their presentations, a moderated Question and Answer session will allow those in the audience to present questions to the speakers.

For the last seven years, this organization has featured monthly meetings which have featured candidates, policy experts and grass-roots Republican party activists who have promoted candidacies and discussed current issues. Combined with “open mike” question-and-answer sessions, the general public has been able to learn about important issues and express their concerns on these issues, as well as grill candidates for public office.

Past speakers have included each of the current GOP statewide office holders, including Governor Sanford, Congressman Henry Brown, Senator Jim DeMint, as well as many regional legislators and representatives from grassroots and policy advocacy organizations such as Gun Owners of America, Fair Tax, and the South Carolina Policy Council.

Breakfast is served for $6.50 per attendee, and the general public is cordially invited to attend, regardless of political affiliation.

Democrats writing off AG race?

In years past, Democrats have showed little serious interest in contesting the Attorney General office. In each of the last four election cycles, they've fielded a single candidate, and each time, including two open races, their candidates failed to come even close.

The last two times the AG's office was open, 1994 and 2002, the GOP fielded veteran prosecutors: former Ninth Circuit Solicitor Charlie Condon and former U.S. Attorney Henry McMaster.  Democrats haven't run an AG candidate with high-level prosecution experience since 1994, when their canididate was Dick Harpootlian, a former Solicitor.

Hoping to reverse that trend, some Democrats looked to the candidacy of First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe. His record as a veteran prosecutor, combined with his ability to earn some crossover GOP support, made him an atttractive candidate for Democrats.

Then two weeks before filing, Pascoe quit the race, leaving Democrats empty-handed.

What's your favorite road?

The folks with Asphalt Magazine have put together http://www.favoriteroad.com/: a website for readers to submit descriptions and photos of some of their favorite roads. The site's been up since last fall and lots of people have submitted their write-ups and photos.

You can submit roads or browse roads to see what others have sent in, as well as rating roads which have been submitted and see which ones readers liked best.

Organized labor frustrated with Obama administration?

A couple of weeks ago, the Blogland looked at the difficulties faced by labor unions in getting their agenda enacted by the Obama administration.  We aren't surprised they're not happy with this lack of return on their investment in the current political majority.  Sam Hananel reports on the state of discontent among organized labor leaders in the current lack of progress:

Prospects for a health overhaul have faded. Even slimmer are the chances of achieving labor's chief goal, passage of a bill making it easier for unions to organize workers. A bipartisan jobs bill passed this week by the Senate drew tepid praise from the AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka, who called it a "Band-Aid on an amputated limb" — far short of what unions wanted.

This wasn't what unions expected a year ago after spending more than $400 million to help elect Obama and increase the size of Democratic majorities in the Senate and House.

Leaders of labor's largest federation will try to figure out how to refocus their political agenda when they begin their annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., on Monday.

Rep. Clemmons blamed for hard rock outbreak at State House

The Blogland has learned that Myrtle Beach Representative Alan Clemmons has been blamed for an outbreak of heavy metal among members of the State House.  Reportedly Clemmons' conversion took place while he was convalescing following a recent horse riding incident where his hand was injured.

I don't know what came over me. I raised my hand in the air, center two fingers curled up. Then all I could hear was Bruce Dickinson singing the lyrics to Iron Maiden's "The Trooper".

Shortly thereafter, balloons began sprouting in his yard in the image of the famous "devil horns" sign well-know in the heavy metal scene.  This sign has been used by heavy metal fans around the world, and is most commonly associated with Ronnie James Dio.  While Dio did not invent the sign, his use of the sign during his time with Black Sabbath gave the sign's usage tremendous popularity among heavy metal fans.

Parole Action Alert: Keep Brian Nelson behind bars

The Blogland is asking for your help in keeping a double cop-killer behind bars.

On November 19, 2002, Patrolman William Bell of the Summerville Police Department and Deputy Gene Wright of the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office stopped to assist a stranded motorist on U.S. 17A, in Summerville, South Carolina.

While changing the motorists tire, both were struck and killed by a passing vehicle.

The driver, Brian Nelson, was not supposed to be driving, as he had a medical condition which prohibited him from legally operating a vehicle. Nelson tried to flee the scene and had to be detained at the scene by good citizens who came upon the scene.

Florence Republicans circle wagons behind Reps Crawford and Lowe

In recent weeks, there has been speculation about nasty primary battles brewing for Florence State Reps Kris Crawford and Phillip Lowe. Fingers pointed to Florence County Senator Hugh Leatherman and his supporters as seeking to recruit and fund challenges against both Representatives.

Late last week, Senator Leatherman appeared at the Florence Rotary's oyster roast fundraiser, where he dashed those rumors, expressing his support for both Crawford and Lowe.

Other local GOP leaders have been quick to rally to the defense of both legislators, and some have contacted the Blogland to discuss these rumors. One party activist labeled such rumors as "too much Columbia spinning by people who'd like to see these guys going at each other's throats".

Charter School funding restored in House committee vote

The Blogland, in spite of opposing the political thuggery associated by some school choice backers, is very much in favor of any means by which parents can be provided more education choices for their children.

While vouchers may be some time off from becoming policy, more immediate measures such as charter and virtual charter schools are available now, but under considerable fire by choice opponents.

Even though I have questions about online education, especially at the college level, I've also taken online-based courses during my undergraduate days and taught for a distance education course offered by George Washington University. It's an option worth exploring and developing in the school choice debate.

The High Cost of Early Prisoner Releases

One of the biggest inequities in South Carolina is in how the state deals with its budget priorities in bad times.  Public education funding is largely spared from budget cuts while other agencies take the brunt of cuts.

Apparently other parts of state government like law enforcement, prisons, courts, environmental protection, agricultural inspection, and others aren't thought to be essential to the well-being of the people of this state.

Nettie Britts is one of the fine Blogland readers who knows better and she's speaking out on her blog, challenging state leaders, Democrats and Republicans alike, to put public safety first by making real budget cuts instead of releasing prisoners early: