Daily Archives: March 20, 2012

Again, I give my very lifeblood (some of it, anyway) for the cause

Do not try this at home, boys and girls — even if you are one of the Twitterati!

Late yesterday afternoon, I Tweeted out the above picture with this message:

I’m giving blood at the Red Cross with my right, and Tweeting with my left!

Once again, I was giving double red cells, on account of this region needing it so badly. I can’t do it again until 16 weeks from now. But you can fill the need in the meantime.

But again, don’t try it at home. Go down to the Red Cross office on Bull Street (or attend one of the Red Cross blood drives). Click here for info on how to give.

A very UnParty press release from Rep. Taylor

Still catching up on releases sent to me via email, I ran across this rather remarkable one from Rep. Bill Taylor, a Republican from Aiken:

Unanimous Agreement !

Passage of a

Bi-Partisan State Budget

Dear Friends:

In Washington D.C. partisan bickering seems to rule. In South Carolina elected officials know how to work together for better and more efficient government. Democrat and Republican legislators joined


together in the House of Representatives to unanimously pass a state budget this week.

Be assured there were disagreements and much debate on how to wisely spend your tax money, but both sides came together to pass a balanced budget that falls well within the proposed cap on spending. It focuses on the core functions of government – education, infrastructure and law enforcement – all of which are vital to our state’s growing economy.

The spending plan also provides tax relief, pays off debt and replenishes the state’s ‘rainy day’ reserve accounts.

Headlines from the $6 billion General Fund appropriations:

  • $152 million in additional funds for K-12 used in the classroom and not for educational bureaucracy.
  • $180 million set aside to pay for SC’s share of the deepening of the Charleston Port, the major economic driver for SC.
  • $77 million in tax relief to employers of all sizes to assist them with some relief from the high unemployment insurance costs caused by the recession.
  • $549 million in tax relief; 88% of which is property tax relief that must be granted annually if the relief is to remain.
  • Nearly $400 million to the Constitutional and Statutory Reserves – those funds go into our savings account for the next economic downturn – “The Rainy Day Fund’.

While the General Fund budget grows by 4.56%, this plan calls for far less spending as compared to the beginning of the recession. The increase is aimed at patching the severe cuts that have occurred in recent years in law enforcement and education. It is a fiscally conservative spending plan designed to make SC more competitive.

The Governor’s Criticism: In Governor Haley’s fly-around-the-state tour this week she promoted her idea for a one-year only tax cut benefiting major corporations. The House budget plan cuts taxes for every single SC employer, hopefully, that will stimulate hiring.

The Governor also took aim on House Republican’s 7 point comprehensive tax reform plan introduced this week. She called it “disingenuous” even though she and her staff worked with our tax reform committee over the past eight months and the legislation included everything she asked for and much more. (Read the Aiken Standard’s story on this topic.)

What’s Next for the Budget? The proposed budget heads to the Senate. If past years are any indication, senators will bloat the budget with additional spending. Please let your senator know that’s not acceptable.

Wow. First we have all the Senate Democrats voting for John Courson. Now we have a Republican — a House Republican (the most partisan kind), no less — bragging to his constituents that the budget just passed was bipartisan. Instead of the usual business of giving all the credit to the GOP and mentioning Democrats only as obstacles, if at all.

Oh never fear — the zampolits are probably rushing to censure these folks for such UnParty sentiments, denouncing them as double-plus ungood. But for now, I’m enjoying this little Prague Spring.

Partial roundup of legislative candidate filings

In recent posts I’ve mentioned the candidacies of Beth Bernstein, Mia Butler Garrick and Joe Wilson. While this list is by no means comprensive — I’m just sharing the ones that have been sent to me (what, you think I’ve got reporters to go out all over the state and get them or something?), but something is better than nothing.

First, there is this confirmation that Joan Brady is indeed asking for re-election to the post that Ms. Bernstein is seeking:

Columbia, S.C. (March 18, 2012) – South Carolina State Representative, Joan Brady filed today for a fifth term in the SC House of Representatives.  Rep. Brady currently represents the constituents of House District 78 in Richland County, which includes neighborhoods in the City of Forest Acres, the Town of Arcadia Lakes, the Woodlands, and Wildewood.  Northeast Columbia neighborhoods including Woodcreek Farms and Green Hill Parrish will also be part of District 78, under the newly approved re-districting plans.

“I look forward to the continued opportunity to work on issues impacting the families of District 78 including, encouraging new jobs and investment in our community; strengthening our schools in Richland One and Two; and, advocating for our most vulnerable citizens – the children of our state.”

Rep. Brady has the unique distinction of being one of only 16 women currently serving in the South Carolina General Assembly. She holds several prestigious leadership positions in the SC House of Representatives including: Chair, House Insurance Committee; Vice Chair, Jt. Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children; and Secretary, House Ethics.  Rep. Brady was recently elected to the Executive Board of Woman In Government, a national organization of female, state legislators.

During her eight years serving as a state legislator, Rep. Brady has successfully sponsored numerous pieces of legislation including: expanding notification on the SC Sex Offender Registry; limiting residency of convicted sex offenders; expediting adoptions with the Responsible Father’s Registry; curtailing illegal methamphetamine production with a pharmaceutical log; and setting new “green” building standards for state buildings.  Currently, she is working on passage of the “Angel Investment Act”, a bill that encourages investment in start-up companies.

Rep. Brady is involved in community issues, serving on the Executive Board of EngenuitySC and is a founding member or the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce Northeast Council.  Prior to serving in the SC House of Representatives, Rep. Brady served for four years on Richland County Council and is a former mayor of the Town of Arcadia Lakes.

Rep. Brady is the proud mother of three grown children.  She resides in the lovely Town of Arcadia Lakes.

For more information on the Re-elect Brady campaign, visit Joan Brady for the House District 78 on Facebook and follow @JoanBBrady on Twitter.


Then, somewhat more briefly, here are some other filings:

  • Rep. Tom Young of Aiken is going after the Senate District 24 seat being vacated by Greg Ryberg. Young, an attorney, was elected to the House in 2008. He cites by way of qualification: “While in the House, Young has pushed several restructuring bills which were lauded by conservative groups across the state. He also sought to impact the social and economic costs associated with high school dropouts with a bill that would encourage those between the ages of 15 and 17 to stay in school in order to keep the privilege to drive. Young has gained a reputation of being very attentive to constituent service and providing a weekly email update to voters in the district.”
  • Rep. Mike Sottile of Isle of Palms is seeking a third term in the House representing District 112. From his release: “Some of the bills Rep. Sottile has taken a lead role in advancing include point of sale tax relief for home buyers, frivolous lawsuit reform, on the record voting, voter ID and illegal immigration reform. Sottile said his goal in being reelected is to push for further reforms in our state such as charter school reform, comprehensive tax reform, state spending limit, a shorter legislative session, stronger right to work laws, and restructuring.”
  • Rep. Mike Forrester, yet another who calls himself a “conservative reformer,” is seeking re-election. Beyond that, he describes himself thusly: “Forrester, known as a strong advocate for job creation through conservative reforms, has been a consistent voice for restrained spending, lower taxes, and government restructuring.” He represents District 34 in Spartanburg.
  • Rep. Derham Cole of Spartanburg wants to be returned for District 32. “I am running to ensure a proven conservative represents the people of House District 32,” he says in his behalf. “I want to continue the progress we have made in the House on restructuring and tax reform issues. On that front, the House just passed a conservative budget that replenishes reserve funds, provides tax relief to South Carolina’s employers, and sets aside funds to deepen the Port of Charleston.”
  • Sen. Larry Martin of Pickens, who has been in the Legislature since 1979, and in the Senate since 1993, wants District 2 to return him yet again. Here’s what he has to say for himself: “Senator Martin has been at the forefront of conservative reforms during his time in the Senate, and a leading advocate for lower taxes and responsible budgeting. In recent years, he led the fights on on-the-record voting, frivolous lawsuit reform, immigration reform, and abolishing the Budget and Control Board. He has also fought hard for bringing jobs to Pickens County, working in partnership with state and local economic development officials to bring more employment opportunities to the district. In addition, this week Sen. Martin was elevated to the position of Judiciary Committee Chairman, giving Pickens County an incredible level of influence in the Senate’s legislative process.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler of Gaffney, the best Tweeter in the upper chamber, is asking the voters of District 14 for a ninth four-year term (meaning he’s been there since 1981). The dairyman says he “has played a leading role in cutting income and property taxes, pushing for spending caps, cracking down on illegal immigration, on-the-record voting, and restructuring.” His 190-word release uses the word “conservative” no less than four times. It’s like a verbal tic or something. Tom Young tied him in this regard; the others confined themselves to two or fewer.

Meanwhile, Rep. Leon Stavrinakis is thinking about running for the Senate District 41 seat that Glenn McConnell just vacated. He says: “Anne and I are humbled by the encouragement we have received over the last week by folks all over the tri-county area. This overwhelming support has driven us to reassess where I can best serve the people of South Carolina. To even be considered as a successor to Glenn F. McConnell is quite an honor. Anne and I are currently discussing this possibility with our family and friends along with the possibility of offering to continue with the great honor of serving in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Our focus has always been on determining how I can best serve the place I’ve always called home. I want to thank everyone for their well wishes, words of encouragement, and continued prayers.”

Arguments heard in Haley ‘corruption lawsuit’

If you didn’t read the Free Times last week, you may have missed this:

by Corey Hutchins, March 16th 02:53pm

A judge heard oral arguments on March 12 in a public corruption lawsuit brought on behalf of a prominent GOP fundraiser against Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.

Fifth Circuit Judge Casey Manning has yet to make an official ruling on whether the case will move forward.

Reached by phone, Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said the governor’s office had no immediate comment on the matter.

Former Board of Economic Advisors chairman John Rainey, who recruited Mark Sanford to run for governor in 2002, filed the lawsuit in November. It asks whether Haley broke any laws as a House member either by lobbying a state agency on behalf of her employer Lexington Medical Center or by doing secret consulting work for Wilbur Smith and failing to properly abstain from legislation benefitting the engineering firm. Both occurred during the time she represented Lexington County as a Republican in the S.C. House prior to becoming governor in 2010…

It continues to puzzle me that South Carolina went through such paroxysms over Ken Ard buying a few trinkets with campaign money, to the point of his resignation, while we’ve never had a satisfactory answer to the  question, What did Nikki Haley do for Wilbur Smith to earn that $42,500?

For that matter, we don’t know what she did for Lexington Medical to earn that $110,000 salary.

We’re still waiting. Nikki’s still silent on these matters. And no one is bothered by that, apparently, except John Rainey.

Darrell Jackson’s right; Dick Harpootlian’s wrong. Period.

Have you seen this offensive nonsense?

Democratic chairman criticizes one of his own for endorsing a Republican

A Democratic state senator, who has endorsed an incumbent Republican state senator over his Democratic challenger, earned the wrath Monday of the state party’s chairman, Dick Harpootlian.

State Sen. Darrell Jackson, a Democrat, has endorsed state Sen. John Courson, a Republican, for re-election, The State newspaper reported Saturday. Jackson and Courson both represent Richland County, and Courson recently was elected the new leader of the Senate, largely on the support of Senate Democrats, including Jackson…

In an email Monday, Harpootlian urged Democrats to call Jackson’s office and “ask him to behave like the Democrat he claims to be.”

“I’m building a party here. It’s tough when, every time I put up a couple of bricks, one of my own party wants to take one down,” Harpootlian told The State

Of course Sen. Jackson is supporting John Courson’s re-election. He and every other Democrat in the Senate just voted for him for Senate president pro tempore. You can’t be pro tem if you’re not a senator, so by implication, every Democrat just endorsed him as a senator.

They supported him over the partisan Republican option, Harvey Peeler, because Sen. Courson has served the Democrats of his Shandon district just as faithfully and ably as he has the (relatively few) Republicans. He has earned the trust of Sen. Jackson and his other Democratic colleagues.

Dick Harpootlian should butt out with his pointless partisanship. His attitude is what’s wrong with out politics today.

But I think voters should call Sen. Jackson’s office, as Dick suggests — and thank him for being a statesman.

On the one hand Jupiter, on the other Venus

Rick Stilwell, a.k.a. @RickCaffeinated, shared this last evening:

Explanation: It was visible around the world. The sunset conjunction of Jupiter and Venus was visible last week almost no matter where you lived on Earth. Anyone on the planet with a clear western horizon at sunset could see them. This week the two are still notable, even though Jupiter has sunk below the brighter Venus. And if you look higher in the sky you can see Mars as well. Pictured above, a creative photographer traveled away from the town lights of SzubinPoland to image a near closest approach of the two planets almost a week ago. The bright planets were separated only by three degrees and his daughter striking a humorous pose. A faint red sunset still glowed in the background. Although this conjunction is drawing to a close, another conjunction between Venus and Jupiter will occur next May.

That’s Jupiter on the left, Venus on the right.

Very cool.