Dee Snider on Al Gore

Dee Snider sounds off on the subject of Al Gore, who targeted him and his music back in the 80s in Senate hearings:

Let’s cut to twenty-five years later, I’m still married – none of my kids have been busted for drug possession. Can Al and Tipper Gore say the same thing? I don’t think so – oh, snap!

These Senate hearings saw an unlikely coalition of John Denver, Snider and Frank Zappa firing back at the Senators. Snider's most colorful moment was suggesting Tipper Gore had S&M fantasies:

Joe Riley: "Working hard to make something ugly smell like a rose"

An investigative story in today's Post and Courier blows the whistle on Charleston Mayor Joe Riley's efforts to downplay the major leadership failures which cost the lives of nine firefighters in June 2007, as well as avoid accountability for the root cause failures to blame for the tragedy through an effort at covering up a report which identified critical failures by City government.

Our hats are off to Glenn Smith, whose story looks at recently-released emails between investigators and City of Charleston government, reporting that the emails provide:

Fresh insight into the team's investigation and the challenges it faced. The messages, obtained by the city in connection with ongoing lawsuits surrounding the fire, were released to The Post and Courier in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The messages show some team members had strong opinions early on that the Fire Department was mired in the past and that then-Fire Chief Rusty Thomas was an impediment to progress. They became increasingly frustrated with Riley, as well, over his unwavering loyalty to Thomas and his steadfast defense of the department's antiquated tactics.

Despite evidence to the contrary, Riley kept insisting that the chief and his department were among the best in the country and that the fire casualties were the result of a "perfect storm" event, not outdated tactics, equipment and training. Team members strongly disagreed, e-mails show.

Time for a change at S.C. State University

When millions of dollars vanishes from a public institution of any kind, answers should be forthcoming - and promptly.

But for an academic institution, which is supposed to be the public institution which most values free and open inquiry, as well as holding rigorous standards for accuracy and truth, to refuse to provide prompt and complete answers is unthinkable - and inexcusable.

The ongoing problems at South Carolina State University are pretty serious, and they're nothing new. Which is why it's time for legislators and the Governor to take inspiration from the institution's slogan and apply a "new state of mind" to matters.

Meet Brandon Ancrum

Thanks to the Blogland readers who have called to inquire about the outcome of yesterday's bond hearing for Mr. Brandon Ancrum.

Mr. Ancrum has been charged with reckless homicide in the death of my brother. The judge found sufficient reason to pursue these charges and set a bond of $50,000, upon the conditions of him turning in his drivers' license and being under house arrest.

Should he make bond, he can only leave his grandmother's house in the company of an adult over the age of 21 for reasons of work, medical treatment, church, or legal appointments.

New website announces "November Starts Now"

Barack Obama's presidency has been a disaster. He is either unwilling to or incapable of doing his job. The economy is in shambles, the government is failing, and Americans are losing hope. Barack Obama was not ready to be President. He's not the solution. You are.

You have the opportunity to turn our economy, our government, and our country around by electing Republicans and restoring your voice in Washington. But to win this fall, we must start today. It's up to you to save your country. Are you ready? Because November starts now.

Here's the first video on the website, entitled "Hillary Clinton was right":

Public speaking advice: Deb Sofield says

It's been a slow week for political news, with the summer heat and primary winners busily scrambling for campaign cash for fall races, so it's a good time to take Blogland readers down some slightly different avenues.

Deb Sofield is a great advocate for women in politics, but she's also a good speaking coach. She's starting a monthly series of speaking tips on her website - - entitled "Deb’s 15 Rules for the Road":

Rule number one is perhaps the simplest yet most hard ... and that is:

1. Lighten up – keep a relaxed face.

The most important minute of your life on the stage or in the boardroom or across the table is the first minute of your acknowledgement by the audience, or your dinner guest or your kid’s soccer coach by what is said in that initial look. Because early in a speech, presentation, talk, folks listen to what they “see” more that what they “hear”. So what they “see” must be professional, poised and polished.

Keep Safe in the Summer Heat!

Part of my day job involves occupational safety. The single biggest challenge in my occupation this time of year is heat safety.  While we've had no on-site problems, the news stories regularly bring news of those who are overcome by heat and serve as a good reminder to be careful out there.
Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, and here in South Carolina, it will be far more prevalent than cold-related injuries and fatalities. To help you protect yourself - and others - here's some good advice from someone whose job it is to keep people safe:

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force"

We couldn't help but chuckle over this one, which reminded us of a Star Wars quote:

"I sense a disturbance in the Force."

When reading this in a report from The Hill, we couldn't help but want to cue the Darth Vader theme music:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is concerned about a “disturbing surge in Republican fundraising,” according to an e-mail she wrote to Democratic supporters Tuesday.

In a missive to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) e-mail list, Pelosi thanked donors for helping the committee reach their fundraising goal, but warned that Republicans were jumping out ahead.

“[J]ust as soon as word came of the contribution that put us over the top, we received news of a disturbing surge in Republican fundraising,” Pelosi wrote. “House Republicans are now claiming to have had their strongest fundraising in five years.”

The speaker made a plea for donations to help “close the gap.”

"I look for the resurrection of the dead ..."

Courtesy of the email list by Fr. Thomas More of Holy Apostles Orthodox Church in Columbia are some thoughts regarding the closing of the Nicene Creed, a basic profession of faith for many Christians, including Catholic and Orthodox (while some of the wording differs), which says "I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.":

What does this last phrase from the Creed mean? We can only bear the idea of eternal life if this eternity has already entered into our life.

New Iron Maiden album coming out next month

This is great summer news: Iron Maiden's new album, "The Final Frontier", comes out August 16. We'll be eagerly awaiting this one, but for now, here's the video for the album's title track:

Joe Biden event report

Earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden came to Columbia to help out his good tool, House (No) Budget Committee Chair John Spratt by appearing at a campaign fundraiser at the State Museum.

But a lot of those who greeted them - up to 300 at one point - weren't there to show their support for Spratt or Biden, but rather to protest their rampant spending and borrowing. Of the many signs waved by protestors, Fair Tax and "Sack Spratt" signs were the most prominent ones. 

"Washington Liberals" website seeks to tie SC Dems to national party

The SCGOP rolled out its newest effort to connect South Carolina Democratic Congressional candidates to the national Democratic Party with its Washington Liberals website.

So far, the primary targets seem to be endangered incumbent Fifth District Rep. John Spratt, and Second District candidate Rob Miller, who is seeking a re-match - and flirting with perennial candidate status - with incumbent GOP Rep. Joe Wilson.  Much of the discussion looks at where their actions and contributors tie them into their Washington power and donor bases.

Marvin Rogers challenges the GOPs "conspiracy of silence"

Black Republicans, while a smart part of the contemporary GOP, have drawn more than their fair share of attention as many Republicans seek to break the strangehold the Democrats hold over black voters. In South Carolina, two who have drawn considerable attention are RNC committeeman Glenn McCall and First District congressional nominee Tim Scott.

A lot of books written by political VIPs tend to focus on their views and experiences. Books written by Republicans from non-traditional GOP groups usually follow in those footsteps, but Rogers takes a more thoughtful approach in his book, focusing more on the broader issues, political identification in the black community, and the history of voter loyalties among black voters. It's not a terribly long book, but one which is well-written. It runs light on the kind of editorializing which most books of this genre engage in, putting a stronger focus upon "just the facts" so the reader can get the information they need and form their own conclusions. 

Joe Biden in Columbia with John Spratt on Friday

In about 48 hours, Joe Biden will be in Columbia to reward John Spratt for his loyal support of the Obama adminstration by starring in a campaign fundraiser.

We've been told groups are rallying outside of the location to protest the current administration, which we think is a great idea. If you'd like to go, here's the details you need to know:

This Friday from 1-4pm
301 Gervais Street Columbia, SC

Hope to see you there!

Fed immigration approach: Audit employers, "catch and release" suspected illegals

Both federal and state law have been very clear on this issue: those who are not eligible to work in the US are not to be hired. State legislation was adopted last year over concerns federal law was not sufficient, but it seems the feds are finally stepping up to bat, auditing employers' hiring files, requiring that those hired wrongfully be fired, and in some cases, bringing actions against the employers.

Over the past year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has conducted audits of employee files at more than 2,900 companies. The agency has levied a record $3 million in civil fines so far this year on businesses that hired unauthorized immigrants, according to official figures. Thousands of those workers have been fired, immigrant groups estimate.

GOP House candidate accused of kickbacks?

One good way to tell an incumbent is on defense is when they go on the attack early in an election year. When they go on the attack in the middle of the summer, it's a sure sign of trouble for the incumbent.

Just ask Tyler Jones and James Island Democratic State Rep. Anne Hutto, who went on the attack against her Republican challenger Peter McCoy in recent days.