Alex Stroman: A good day for cool glasses

Check out the 80s-esque sunglasses - and be sure to wish Alex Stroman a Happy Birthday today while you're at it.

Walton Cartoon: "NRA vs. Democrats"

S.C. Prison cell phone hit survivor sues cell phone companies

For years, Robert Johnson was a prison Captain responsible for keeping contraband out of Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security facility in Lee County. It's these efforts which authorities believed resulted in a hit being put out on him, resulting in someone bursting into his home and shooting him six times in 2010.

Investigators also believed the hit was ordered from inside the prison by an inmate using an illegal cell phone.

Johnson survived the shooting and no suspects have been identified in the case. He retired a year later and is now suing twenty cell phone companies, alleging they should have done more to block signals from inside the prison.

Johnson's experience isn't the only one. According to the Washington Post, it's not the first time a hit was ordered from prison:

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 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
  • 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:

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

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

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"

Walton Cartoon: "Kerry ... served?"

Sullivan releases endorsements for District 17 GOP run-off

Greenville County Republican House candidate Chris Sullivan, facing fellow Republican Mike Burns in the GOP run-off for the House District 17 special election, released endorsements from several Upstate legislators. This follows an announcement of endorsements by several Greenville and Pickens County legislators who were backing Burns.

The legislators backing Sullivan in the release are:
  • Rep. Eric Bedingfield - Greenville Co.         
  • Rep. Bill Chumley - Greenville & Spartanburg Co.  
  • Rep. Tommy Stringer - Greenville Co.          
  • Sen. Lee Bright - Greenville &  Spartanburg Co.
  • Sen. Kevin Bryant - Anderson Co.
  • Sen. Danny Verdin - Greenville &  Laurens Co.
The release (way too long for a professionally-written release) is published below:
Leaders say Sullivan’s record of fighting for
conservative Republican agenda makes him the best choice. 

A group of six Upstate Legislators announced today their endorsement of Chris Sullivan as the best choice in the special election for State House District 17.

Family Court races going down to the wire

Several judicial races are going down to the wire, with candidates hustling for support before legislators vote to fill the seats at noon tomorrow.

The Blogland did Q&A interviews with two candidates still in the running: Kelly Pope, who is seeking Family Court At-Large Seat 1, and Melissa Emery, who is seeking Family Court At-Large Seat 5. We appreciate their willingness to answer questions to help enlighten.

Last week, the Blogland raised questions about a Family Court candidate who has no courtroom experience, but still wants to be elected to a Family Court seat:

While candidates are withdrawing from a number of formerly-contested judicial races as they find themselves short of the votes needed to win election to seats, Frierson is still hanging in the race, meaning she has likely attracted some support - but we're not sure why.

If Frierson wanted to serve as a judge badly enough, especially in a focused post such as a Family Court judge, it would seem logical that she would have sought to add practical courtroom experience, especially with domestic issues, to her resume before seeking this post. Hopefully she will address this lack of experience and try again in the future - but this is too important a post for on-the-job or know someone who is.

All three articles should make for good reading - especially if you're one of those voting, or know someone who is.

Lexington Senator to sponsor Concealed Carry classes for educators

Say what you want about newly-elected Lexington County Senator Katrina Shealy, you can't call her a liberal gun-hating politico.

Shealy announced free Concealed Weapon Permit classes for South Carolina teachers and school administrators. The classes, which require both classroom instruction and written tests, will take place in February at Shealy & Sons Electric, which is located at 517 Spring Street in West Columbia. The shooting proficiency test will be scheduled subsequently at Mid Carolina Rifle Club.

The Lexington County Republican was motivated to provide teachers training in response to recent school violence:

Kelly Pope, Family Court candidate - Seat One

As part of the Blogland's efforts to open up the state's judicial election process for people to see, judicial candidates are invited to answer questions about their background. Thus far, two candidates for this year's judicial elections have taken questions from the Blogland: Family Court candidate Melissa Emery and Circuit Court candidate Maite Murphy.

Now, we’d like for our readers to meet Kelly Pope, who is seeking At-Large Judge seat #1 in the Family Court:

Sixteen Republicans running for First District special

With filing closed, an unprecedented sixteen candidates have filed to run for the open First Congressional District seat's Republican primary.

The First District has been held by the GOP since 1980, when Republican Tommy Hartnett from Charleston took the seat in an open-race. The Democrats generally have not run strong races for the seat, but in 2008, a strong challenger fell just a few thousand votes behind then-incumbent Henry Brown.

Candidates will meet in the March 19, 2013 Republican Primary. A runoff (if necessary) would be held on April 2, 2013 and the general election is May 7, 2013.

Here's who's running - with web links for most candidates:

John Kerry - not fit for duty

Following the failure of Barack Obama's first effort to name a new Secretary of State to replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he's trying again with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.

Until John Kerry steps forward and answers these questions with the transparency and specificity we require, we will not cease assailing him, and we will not cease our opposition to his candidacy for Secretary of State. Senator Kerry, if you truly value the openness and truthfulness that is part and parcel of this vaunted office, you will promptly come clean and, following that, formally remove yourself from consideration for this position.

There are plenty of good reasons why Kerry is wrong for the job. Many of them have to do with his lack of candor about his Vietnam service and his subsequent efforts to oppose the war and tarnish the image of those who served there. In 2004, the group Swift Vets and POWs for Truth went after Kerry, most prominently via a series of TV ads which featured numerous Vietnam War veterans who questioned Kerry's service record and claims about Vietnam. Their website, which remains online today, raises troubling questions about his record and honesty.

School bus driver strike looming in the Lowcountry?

A breakdown in union contract negotiations may soon leave tens of thousands of Lowcountry school children stranded without school bus transportation. School bus drivers who work for Durham School Services, a company which contracts to provide school bus drivers to both the Charleston County and Dorchester II school districts, voted unanimously to authorize a strike.

In South Carolina, school districts are responsible for providing drivers for the school bus fleet and can choose between hiring them directly or contracting out for drivers, while the state is responsible for buying and maintaining the bus fleet. While the state is working to give Durham flexibility to bring in out-of-state drivers and the Dorchester II school district has begun running employment ads for drivers, these efforts may be too little and too late as a strike could begin at any time.

While the strike has not begun, the authorization means a strike could occur at any time. Lindsay Street, writing for the Summerville Patch, reports this could leave the two districts short approximately 250 drivers. This situation is complicated by complaints that the school districts have been largely shut out of reports on the situation by Durham, according to media reports and school district sources who have spoken with the Blogland. 

Having worked in the construction industry for as long as I have, I long ago learned the importance of managing relationships with suppliers, vendors and subcontractors. While you can't control what they do - beyond what is specified in contractual agreements - if you let them keep you in the dark, eventually you'll get burned.

School districts should be kept fully aware of any problems which could have a major impact upon the ability of a contractor or vendor to deliver crucial services. Otherwise, the contracting parties need to be held accountable when the contract is up and future contracts for these and other services need to take the need for greater transparency into account.

Noel Canning ruling a setback for Obama and NLRB

Efforts by the Obama administration to pursue an aggressive pro-union agenda via the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) suffered a major setback earlier today. A three-judge federal appeals court in the Noel Canning case unanimously found that recent recess appointments of NLRB board members violated the Constitution, ruling that "Because none of the three appointments were valid, the Board lacked a quorum and its decision must be vacated."

If today's ruling is upheld by the Supreme Court, to which the Obama administration is expected to appeal the case, it would be a long-awaited victory for Republicans and business organizations who have long objected to the Board's growing reach into non-union workplaces and increasingly pro-union rulings. It would also be vindication for Senate Republicans who have sought to check the administration's political agenda via the confirmation process which the recess appointments bypassed.

In the case, attorneys for Noel Canning, a Washington State canning and bottling company, argued that NLRB seats were filled in violation of the Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 3, which allows Presidents to fill posts by recess appointments only when the Senate is in recess. Their position was that because the Senate was still meeting in pro forma session when the Obama administration filled vacant NLRB seats via recess appointments, three of five seats were improperly appointed. This would mean the Board would not have a legitimate quorum of at least three members and would therefore have no power to make rulings such as the one which Noel Canning appealed. The three Board members whose appointments were challenged by the suit were:

Legislators back Burns in Upstate House GOP run-off

On Tuesday, Mike Burns missed winning the five-way GOP primary for House District 17 by a mere eight votes - and roughly ten percentage points ahead of Chris Sullivan, who he'll face in a February 5th runoff.

While it's not impossible for candidates to close a ten-point gap in a run-off, Burns is leaving nothing to chance, which is smart considering that Sullivan came within ten points of ousting Senator Mike Fair in the June GOP primary.

Today, we see more evidence of how seriously Burns is taking the run-off challenge - and how seriously he's being taken by others - as he released endorsements from five Upstate legislators. The endorsements include Senator Tom Corbin, who'd vacated the District 17 House seat in November when he was elected to the Senate, along with House members Dan Hamilton, Phyllis Henderson, Dwight Loftis and Phillip Owens - all of whom represent areas near or adjacent to District 17.

According to the endorsement press release:

Family Court candidate lacks courtroom experience

In the race for the First At-Large seat on the Family Court, two candidates are competing for the job: Rosalyn Frierson from Columbia and Kelly Pope from Spartanburg.

The Report of Candidate Qualifications released by the Judicial Merit Selection Committee raised questions about Frierson's experience. According to the report, Frierson reported no time in state or federal courtrooms and no time with practicing family law - but in spite of this, she still wants to preside over courtrooms in Family Court. 

Frierson explains her experience as "less conventional":

I have worked as an attorney during my 20 year legal career in what may be viewed as a less conventional path. I have worked with practicing attorneys and was married to an attorney for many years who practiced in domestic law. I have seen the practicing side of an attorney from that secondary view. I believe that I have the skills required of a judge.

We're sure there are lots of cops, legal clerks and court reporters who have "secondary views" as well, but you don't see them expecting to become judges.

More Sheriff problems

The last couple of weeks haven't been good for South Carolina Sheriffs.

Last week, the Abbeville County Sheriff was convicted for misconduct in office. This week, problems reportedly have surfaced in two other counties: Chester and Chesterfield.

The Link, a Chesterfield County newspaper, reported that SLED is investigating reports of using inmate labor. While SLED denied the investigation to WBTW TV News, the Blogland received other reports of an ongoing inquiry going back to Friday of last week.

But wait, there's more ...

Alex Underwood, the newly-elected Sheriff in Chester County, found unserved and unlogged warrants for several dozen people in a storage container that dated back over the last year and were left behind from the previous Sheriff, who Underwood defeated in November. The charges reportedly include a wide range of offenses, including drug violations, rape and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

Underwood has called SLED in to investigate and help untangle the mess. Source have confirmed that there is discussion of bringing charges in the matter.

Let's hope Underwood's tenure goes uphill from here.

Could North Carolina tax changes efforts boost S.C. Fair Tax prospects?

Those backing a state-level FairTax proposal, which would replace state income taxes with a sales tax, have worked to attract support for their vision of changing the state's tax codes. Recent events in North Carolina may help the South Carolina FairTax activists make some long-awaited progress.

In recent weeks, leaders in North Carolina state government, including Governor Pat McCrory, N.C. House Speaker Tom Tillis and N.C. Senate President Phil Berger, have discussed the idea of cutting or eliminating the state's income tax and replacing it with a sales tax, similar to FairTax legislation which has been proposed in South Carolina.

In an  interview with the Winston-Salem Journal last month, McCrory said he believed that "North Carolina's corporate and personal income tax rates are holding back recovery from the Great Recession because they make the state less attractive to business executives seeking to create jobs." Yesterday, House Speaker Tillis echoed McCrory's sentiments while speaking to a group of small business owners near Charlotte.

Also speaking out on this subject yesterday was Forbes, which called for states to end their income taxes, pointing out the recent moves in North Carolina:

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback have all called for their states to eliminate their income tax and replace it with a sales tax over the past week. They were joined yesterday morning by North Carolina, where the Senate President Pro Tempore, Phil Berger, confirmed the legislature and the Governor, Pat McCrory, would pursue serious tax reform this session. Indeed, a senate proposal being crafted into legislation includes a repeal of North Carolina’s personal and corporate income taxes along with an expanded sales tax.

Moves like these will likely draw greater attention upon two bills which have been filed in the state House and Senate here in South Carolina - H3116 and S185 - both of which would replace the state's income and estate taxes with a six percent sales tax.

Close primary finish in District 17 leads to run-off

The Tuesday Republican primary in House District 17, which will be followed by a run-off in two weeks, was one of the closest photo-finishes seen in state politics in some time.

According to a report posted on The South Carolina Conservative website, Mike Burns fell just eight votes short of winning the nomination outright, with 1114 votes (49.7%), forcing a run-off with Chris Sullivan, who got 874 votes (just under 39%). 

Following Burns and Sullivan were three others: Roy Harmon (143 votes - 6.4%), Tom Kolarik (75 votes - 3.4%) and Randall Young (24 votes - 1.1%).

With a ten point deficit to close in the run-off race, the eight votes that eluded Burns could be all it takes to give Sullivan a second chance to win the seat. Sullivan waged a strong GOP primary challenge to Senator Mike Fair last spring, carrying nearly forty-six percent of the vote. Those we've talked with expect a spirited race between the two leading another close - but final - finish in two weeks.

Kudos to Javan Browder for getting the numbers out there before anyone else.

Set-up at Tea Party convention?

Earlier this month, several stories claimed that radical political activities were taking place at the Tea Party convention held in Myrtle Beach, most notably the "witch doctor" t-shirt activist who reported selling t-shirts which portrayed Barack Obama as a witch doctor. Writing on, Tim Slagle responded to those stories with a different take on things:

No matter what Conservatives do to make their case, the Alinsky-bound Left is determined to continue the narrative of angry white racists.

Did you know there was a Tea Party convention in South Carolina, last weekend? Well if you read the Huffington Post or any number of Left Wing blogs, you do now. Because some yahoo, decided it would be funny to show up in a T-Shirt, with a caricature of the President as a Witch Doctor.

Slagle dug deeper into this story, finding a more restrained picture than what was presented by other sources, including raising questions about the identity of the person who allegedly produced and sold the t-shirts.

Melissa Emery, Family Court candidate - Seat Five

In the first few weeks of this year's legislative session, this race to fill a number of state judicial seats will be at the top of the agenda of our state’s legislators. 

We at the Blogland believe our state’s judicial selection process is too hidden from the public eye, and that a little transparency is long overdue. To help shed a little light on this somewhat-shadowy process for the benefit of our readers, we ask those seeking upcoming judicial seats to answer a few questions - and appreciate those who respond.

Melissa Emery, a Pee Dee native and an attorney from Myrtle Beach, is seeking the Seat Five At-Large Family Court seat. The first in her family to get through college, she’s a proud Francis Marion alum who is nearing her tenth year as a member of its board. A graduate of USC Law School, Ms. Emery has been practicing law for eighteen years, with much of her practice time spent in family law.

Now, we’d like for our readers to meet Ms. Emery:

S.C. State to offer Corruption major

Struggling with declining enrollment and funding shortfalls, S.C. State University could use some fresh new ideas to help boost enrollment. The Blogland has been informed that the college intends to specialize in a new major in Corruption.

"A lot of people have called this college a poster child for corruption," one source at the Orangeburg-based university told us. "So we figured 'why not work with what we're good at?'"

The school has been the center of a lot of attention regarding money, ethics and it's leadership. Recently, a former university board Chair and former campus police chief were busted in a big kickback scandal. While this would seem to be more than enough of a scandal for any college, S.C. State has been the source of enough incompetence and mismanagement for ten colleges, as evidenced by a string of problems faced by the school:

Walton: "Obama FDR"

Try Thug Control, not Gun Control

Two recent Rasmussen polls suggest that gun control advocates are going beyond the limits of popular support. While the first survey found that 74 percent of respondents agreed with the following statement: "Does the U.S. Constitution guarantee the right of an average citizen to own a gun?", the second one presented an even bigger question for those who think that passing laws is the answer to reducing gun violent. In that survey, 57 percent of respondents believed that there should be a greater emphasis on enforcing current laws over passing new ones.

When we see that, we can't help but think about websites like Charleston Thug Life, which recently ran this posting showing a collection of photos taken from Facebook pages of local hoodlums, some of whom are clearly underage, carrying weapons - including the photo shown on the right. This site has profiled many instances of convicted felons who committed crimes with weapons they weren't supposed to have in the first place and shown how, time and time again, dangerous criminals get light sentences and dropped charges, allowing them to run the streets and keep doing more of what they'd been doing.

Want to reduce the number of crimes committed by those with guns? It would seem logical that locking up the ones who commit them would be a good first step. 

First District parody candidates on Twitter

The race to fill the First Congressional District seat is underway. Without a minute to spare, pranksters have taken the race to Twitter with parody Twitter accounts. While we've seen this taking place in some South Carolina races, the speed and number of parody accounts is greater than before.

So far, the Blogland has identified four Twitter parody accounts running wild (look at some of the comments and you'll see what we mean):

As the race develops, we're sure there will be more. Stay tuned.

Blogland Tales of Corruption

It's no secret that South Carolina government is a playground for the dishonest, unethical and downright criminal - and occasionally the lights get shined on a few of them, including here in the Blogland.

A new subject category on the right-hand sidebar "CorruptionSC" allows quick access on Blogland postings which discuss the corrupt, dishonest and inept games and those who play them. Many of them may not be big, sexy headline stories, but often state and local governments screw us by the little things, not the big things.

Amazingly, many of these things are done in local government without any effort to hide what is being done.

The Blogland has been doing its part to try to change some of that and will continue to do so, but your help is needed. If you've got a story to tell, the Blogland is ready to listen to what you have to say. Drop us an email anytime.

Abbeville Sheriff arrest raises questions about courthouse corruption

Yesterday, Abbeville County Sheriff Charles Goodwin was charged with misconduct in office. This is related to allegations of a kickback scheme related to work performed on county cars from 1998 to 2011.

Goodwin wouldn't be the only Sheriff busted in recent years. Former Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin was nabbed by the feds for his role in a Lee County drug ring, former Union County Sheriff Howard Wells was convicted for lying to federal officials while former Saluda County Sheriff Jason Booth was found guilty of misconduct in office for using inmate labor on his personal property.

But Sheriffs aren't the only courthouse officials who are getting into trouble around the state, raising questions about conduct by elected courthouse officials - and who is watching them.

Haley's Work for Welfare plan: Not so radical

Earlier this week, the Haley administration announced that if you're receiving SNAP (what we call food stamps these days), don't have children at home and are considered able-bodied, it's time to work in return for your benefits.

As reported on Haley's Facebook page, SNAP 2 WORK, an effort spearheaded by the Departments of Employment/Workforce and Social Services, will require up to 100,000 of those who fit into this category and are receiving these benefits to work.

Frankly, we'd like to know why that shouldn't be 100% of those in that category. If taxpayers are having to go without on account of those on public assistance in the current poor economic situation, we don't see why their hard-earned dollars should be paying for a free ride for others.

For those who think that's a mean, cruel right-wing thing to do to people in tough times, the truth is 1) this concept was used by a leftist President and 2) it makes sense from a workforce development standpoint:

Walton Cartoon: Two Down ...

Another lost hero

The father of John Campbell, a Charleston County GOP activist and Blogland reader, passed away last Friday and was buried yesterday.

A thirty-year veteran, he served in World War II, as well as during Korea and Vietnam. Our Republic has depended upon people like him who answered the call of duty for so long and so reliably.

Let us be grateful for what he's done, and may we be worthy of the freedoms and opportunities which him and others sacrificed so much for.

Please keep John and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Legislators honor York County overpass flag-waver

For years, Leonard Farrington was a regular figure in York County. Not because he'd run for office, was a wealthy businessman or had been involved in some nefarious scheme.

Leonard Farrington was noted for getting on top of the Sutton Road overpass in Fort Mill (Exit 83) and waving an American flag, an effort he'd taken up the day after 9/11 and continued until 2011, when health reasons forced him to hand the flag over to the local Rolling Thunder chapter.

While Farrington passed away a year ago, he hasn't been forgotten. Two York County legislators - Rep. Ralph Norman and Senator Wes Hayes - have both sponsored resolutions to name the Sutton Road overpass after him. Those bills - S215 and H3293 - are expected to pass easily. The signs to be placed will read:


While he may have been a hero of that time, it wasn't the first time Farrington answered the call of duty. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1941 upon learning of the attack on Pearl Harbor, spending much of the war in the Pacific.