Arrrggghhh! Sheheen ad appropriates one of Haley’s most clueless tropes

Doug Ross brought this to my attention with the words, “You’re not going to like this… Sheheen using Haley-speak to bash Haley.”

Boy, was he right.

As I said just yesterday in a comment on the importance of civics education:

… I’d like our electorate to be sophisticated enough that no one who says “I want to run government like a business” (which shows a lack of understanding of both government and business) would ever get elected. I’d want every voter to understand the basic, profound ways in which government and business are different and SUPPOSED to be different….

The link was to a previous post that referred to how, even back in the days when we used to endorse her for the House, it drove me nuts to hear Nikki Haley repeat that phrase.

So imagine my dismay to see this ad, in which a Sheheen surrogate says, without a trace of irony or suggestion that he is mocking the opposition:

I think government should run like a business and be accountable.

The addition of “and be accountable” is intriguing, and interesting twist. Because one of the chief differences between a business and government is that government is expected to be accountable in ways that a private business most assuredly is not.

So one is tempted to hear that as, “I think government should be run like a business, but still held accountable, like a government.” Unfortunately, he doesn’t mean it that way.

The speaker cites an incident in which the head of a corporation — Target — stepped down when hackers breached credit-card customers’ information.

Well, that’s not a case of someone in business being HELD accountable by anyone other than himself. In government, it’s different. This election is about whether the present governor will be held accountable by the voters. Government has that mechanism, and business does not. Customers of Target do not get to vote the CEO out of office. See the difference?

The fact that voters don’t always vote wayward politicians out of office is one of the messy facts of democracy that makes business owners — who run their own businesses the way they see fit, and see that as the natural way to run anything (when it most decidedly is not the way to run a government in a republic) — think government should run more like a business.

When it shouldn’t.

My very gratifying conversation with Tom Ervin, who now favors a gas tax increase

This morning, I was on my way out of having my breakfast at the Capital City Club, and saw today’s WSJ on the sideboard by the door to the grill, and paused to pick it up and glance over the front page.

Then I hear someone say “Brad,” and look up and it’s Liana Orr, and she’s got someone in tow — a guy about my age dressed in a yellow polo shirt. As she’s introducing me, I see that it’s Tom Ervin, the independent candidate for governor.

He’s a pleasant and personable guy, and as he smiles and tells me that he enjoys my blog, I’m thinking, “Yeah, and you probably say that to all the bloggers, but thanks…”

But then he says something to let me know that he’s read the blog at least once.

Back on July 3, I wrote a post headlined “Tom Ervin won’t say how HE’D pay for roads, either.” It took him to task, along with Nikki Haley and Vincent Sheheen, for ducking the simple fact that if we want more money for roads, we already have a mechanism for that — raise the state tax on gasoline.

Today, Ervin tells me that I was right and he was wrong, and now he’s advocating for a gas tax increase. And of course, he makes sure I realize that he is the only candidate for governor who dares to do that.

So I congratulate him on his new position, and thank him for sharing it with me, and walk around the corner, and immediately whip out my notebook. My friend Roscoe Wilson started to say something to me, but I said, “Wait! I have to write something down.” I wanted to get the exact words that Mr. Ervin had said to me, to wit:

You were absolutely right. You were right to call me out on it.

Because those are words that one might normally put in the “Things no politician said to an editorialist, ever” category.

And yeah, he was flattering me and being disarming and all, but the fact is that when I Googled it, I found that six days after my post, this headline appeared in The Greenville News: “Ervin says he’d raise gas tax to fix roads.” From that story:

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley has vowed to veto any proposal to raise the gas tax, while her Democratic opponent, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, says he won’t endorse a gas tax hike but is willing to talk about it.

Neither Haley nor Sheheen have a realistic plan to fix roads, “and that’s irresponsible,” Ervin told The Greenville News. “Both of these career politicians should be ashamed for not being truthful to the people and telling them straight up.”

Budget surpluses won’t do the trick, Ervin said, and fees can’t be raised enough to meet all the needs, which a state task force projected to be $29 billion over 20 years.

“Nobody likes a tax increase,” said Ervin, a former judge and state legislator from Greenville. “I don’t like it because I’m constantly on the road, too. But we want our highways to be safe. And we also want to continue to attract quality industry to our state, and you can’t get products to market when the highways are falling apart.”

I don’t know how I missed that. Maybe it didn’t get picked up down here. If I’d read it earlier, I would have written something congratulating him.

Anyway. I may not agree with Tom Ervin on everything, but I definitely appreciate his position on this.

Nothing schools do is more important than teaching civics

I applaud this initiative, because there’s nothing schools do that is more important than teaching young people to be well-informed citizens:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

September 17, 2014                                                                                           Contact: Camille AndersonCamille@CivicsEducationInitiative.com

801-874-6497

 

Three Former SC Governors Join Other State Leaders Announcing South Carolina Civics Education Initiative

State Legislative Effort Supported By Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Carl Bernstein, & Award-Winning Actor Joe Mantegna

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – Honoring the anniversary of U.S. Constitution, signed on this date in 1787, former South Carolina Governors Dick Riley, Jim Hodges and James Edwards joined state business leaders today in announcing the South Carolina Civics Education Initiative.  This state legislative effort aims to ensure all South Carolina high school graduates have a basic understanding of American civics and history.

“It is absolutely critical that all South Carolina students have a sound knowledge of civics,” said state co-chair Governor Riley, who also served as U.S. Secretary of Education from 1993-2001. “This is not a partisan issue.  It is an American issue.”

According to the Pew Research Center, only about one-third of Americans can name the three branches of the United States government, much less say what each does.  Studies of high school students in Oklahoma and Arizona showed less than a four percent passage rate on the Unites States Citizenship Civics test – the test all immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship must pass.  According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which administers the civics test as part of the naturalization process, 92 percent of immigrants who take the test pass it on their first try.

The South Carolina Civics Education Initiative will promote an active and engaged citizenry by requiring all South Carolina high school students and those seeking general educational development (GED) study and take the 100-question USCIS Civics Test.

The legislation, which supporters plan to have introduced during the next session of the General Assembly in January, will award students making a minimum score of 60 with extra credit toward graduation. Students will be allowed to take the test as many times as necessary and will allow individual schools to administer the test in a way the school deems adequate.

“Understanding basic civics and how our government works needs to be a priority,” said Columbia businessman and Honor Flight of SC Chairman Bill Dukes, also a state co-chair. “Civic education will enable us to sustain our constitutional democracy.  Our citizens must be informed and responsible.  Our free and open society cannot succeed if our citizens don’t understand the fundamental values and principles of democracy.”

The USCIS Citizenship Civics test consists of 100 basic questions about American civics and history, such as:

What is the name of the President of the United States now?

Name one branch or part of the government.

What is the capital of your state?

What major event happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States?

“It is significant that the Civics Education Initiative is a politically non-partisan effort that understands the critical importance of teaching civics to students who will be stewards of our constitutional republic,” said state co-chair Karen Iacovelli, former member of the SC Education Oversight Committee and long-time education activist.

Its initial stages the SC Civics Education Initiative has enjoyed enthusiastic and broad support. State Co-Chairs include, in addition to Governor Riley, Mr. Dukes, and Mrs. Iacovelli, Governors James Edwards and Jim Hodges, Charleston developer Buck Limehouse, and South Carolina homebuilder Stewart Mungo.

One of the more popular aspects of this effort is the fact that there are no development costs for the test and little to no costs to develop study materials because the test itself and a wide range of study materials are available on the internet for free.

Six other states today are announcing similar state legislative efforts including Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, South Dakota and Utah.  The goal of the Civics Education Initiative is for every state in the nation to pass this legislation by September 17, 2017 – the 230th anniversary of the Constitution.  

The Initiative’s national board of directors includes former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein, and actor Joe Mantegna who has been nominated for both Golden Globe and Emmy awards.  (National Board Video Message)

The Civics Education Initiative is an affiliate of the Joe Foss Institute, which was founded to educate American youth on the importance of our country’s unique freedoms, and to inspire them to public service. Joe Foss was a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, former governor of South Dakota, and first commissioner of the American Football League.

For questions contact Camille Anderson at Camille@civicseducationinitiative.com or 801-874-6497.

http://civicseducationinitiative.com

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By the way, if you’d like to take a civics quiz like the one offered by USCIS to prospective citizens, click here.

I did, and got 100 percent, even though the test included trick questions such as the one below. Obviously, the correct answer is “The Recent Unpleasantness,” but that wasn’t offered as an option. So I had to choose a second-best answer. They graded it as though it were the correct one.

civil war

 

Yes, says the general: Ground troops may be necessary

Here’s today’s lede story for The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal:

Dempsey opens door to combat troops in Iraq

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff raised the possibility Tuesday that U.S. troops could become involved in ground attacks against the Islamic State, despite repeated pledges to the contrary from President Obama.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that U.S. military advisers are helping Iraqi government forces prepare for a major offensive to reclaim territory seized by the Islamic State in recent months. Although the advisers have been assigned primarily to assist with planning and coordination, Dempsey for the first time suggested that they eventually could go into the field on combat missions.

“If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific [Islamic State] targets, I’ll recommend that to the president,” he testified….

Maybe we can degrade and destroy ISIL with only air power. But as I’ve said before, we don’t know that we can — which is why it is ill-advised, sinking to the level of “doing stupid (stuff),” to rule out using ground troops on the front end. (Saying you don’t want to do it is one thing. Saying on the front end that you won’t is another matter.)

Ground combat troops could become necessary. Which is why a senior general officer, who must have plans for all contingencies, would say what Gen. Dempsey said. And why the president shouldn’t have said what he said.

Going into a fluid military situation, you can’t know that it won’t become necessary to resort to ground combat. You just can’t.

Cindi Scoppe’s litany of the trouble Bobby Harrell is in

After crushing Bobby Harrell’s explanation that he just wrote down some wrong dates on his spending disclosures, Cindi Scoppe, in her column today, went into this litany of trouble the ex-speaker is in, even if you do swallow his “wrong date” defense:

If in fact he “did travel in his private airplane on a personal trip, transporting himself, family and friends to Florida for a high school baseball tournament” and then paid himself nearly $3,900 from his campaign account, as the indictment alleges, that’s not careless reporting.

If in fact he “used his campaign account to pay credit card debt and to pay for goods and services for his home, family and friends,” that’s not careless reporting.

If in fact he “concealed this unlawful payment scheme by … changing and altering the entries in his pilot log book,” that’s not careless reporting.

If in fact he “concealed this unlawful payment scheme by … creating schedules of flights in order to justify payments from his campaign account, when in fact some of the listed flights did not occur or were personal and not related to any official or campaign purpose,” that’s not careless reporting.

If in fact he “concealed this unlawful payment scheme by … misinforming law enforcement officers about the purposes and circumstances surrounding expenditures,” that’s not careless reporting.

If in fact he “concealed this unlawful payment scheme by … misinforming the House Ethics Committee about the reason he reimbursed his campaign account,” that’s not careless reporting.

If in fact he did all that, I’m not sure why there weren’t more chareges. Much of that sounds a lot to me like obstruction of justice. Sort of like that ominous reference to his paying himself nearly $300,000 “in untaxed income” sounds a lot to me like state and federal income tax evasion…

‘Doctors for Sheheen,’ and more on the Medicaid expansion that wasn’t

This release came over the transom last night:

Sheheen Campaign Launches “Doctors for Sheheen”
Doctors want an honest leader like Vincent Sheheen who puts South Carolinians ahead of personal political gain 
Camden, SC – Today, Sheheen for South Carolina launched “Doctors for Sheheen,” a grassroots effort uniting Democratic and Republican doctors and medical professionals from around the state who want a governor to put politics aside, do what’s right for the people, and use tax dollars responsibly and honestly.
Rural hospitals are struggling and closing because of Nikki Haley’s decision to block South Carolinians’ own Medicaid tax dollars from coming back to the state. A study shows that expanding Medicaid would create 44,000 jobs, and help hundreds of thousands of working families. Medical professionals are standing with Vincent Sheheen to restore common sense and honesty to the state’s leadership.
Tonight, Sen. Sheheen will kick-off “Doctors for Sheheen” with a state-wide launch call for supporter in the medical field. Through this grassroots effort, Sen. Sheheen will work with medical professionals on hearing solutions to improve our healthcare system, addressing the financial struggles in rural hospitals, bringing our hard-earned tax dollars back to South Carolina to not only provide coverage to children, veterans and senior citizens, but will also end penalties on local businesses, and keep billions of dollars in revenue in South Carolina.
Medical professionals across the state are joining Doctors for Sheheen and showing their support for Vincent:
Dr. Donna Miller Potts, Anderson County:
 “As a free clinic volunteer, I come across too many hardworking people every day who don’t receive coverage from their employer, and don’t qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private health insurance. They often feel backed into a corner with no options available to them and Governor Haley just doesn’t get it. She allows our federal tax dollars meant to fund local hospitals go to other states. We need Vincent as our governor because we need a governor who actually cares about South Carolina.”
Dr. Theresa Alderson, Kershaw County:
“The biggest problem with the health care debate is too many leaders are worried about the politics instead of being worried about the people. Nikki Haley’s refusal to expand Medicaid in South Carolina makes no sense. Nikki Haley is hurting our economy — leaving tens of thousands of new jobs on the table, and sending billions of our hard-earned tax dollars to other states. This isn’t a matter of political ideology, it’s a matter of common sense. As a doctor, as a Republican, and as a South Carolinian, I believe we need an honest and logical leader who gets it.”
Dr. Charles Rittenberg, Charleston County:
“There are over 200,000 South Carolinians from working families who are going without healthcare because of Governor Haley’s refusal to expand Medicaid. Some of those working South Carolinians or their children could die because Haley has allowed our federal tax dollars, which we’ve already paid, to go to other states. Vincent Sheheen will work with our legislature to correct this problem and, according to a study from the University of South Carolina, the Medicaid expansion with create 44,000 jobs in South Carolina not just in the big cities, but all over the state.”
Dr. Elizabeth Mack, Richland County:
“Throughout my career, working to save children’s lives has been the ultimate privilege. But in recent years, it’s become increasingly difficult to take care of patients. When South Carolina did not accept our Medicaid expansion, insurance premiums spiked for many people. As a result, many patients could not get access to health care. This affects us all. South Carolinians deserve better.”
###

You know, of all the sins that her critics have tried to pin on Nikki Haley, her deliberate refusal to allow Medicaid expansion is the one in which she most clearly, deliberately and with malice aforethought did the wrong thing.

Seems we’d hear more about it from Sheheen.

And perhaps we will. This morning, the S.C. Democratic party put out this release in that same vein:

Today with Chris Christie, Nikki Haley will claim South Carolina’s economy is booming — but don’t be fooled by her smoke and mirrors. She’s proven time and again that she cannot be trusted.

 

The truth is: Nikki Haley is sending $11 billion of South Carolinians’ federal tax dollars to states like New Jersey, and she’s blocking 44,000 jobs here at home just because of politics.

 

Nikki Haley is refusing to  create 44,000 jobs. She’s forcing SC residents to pay Federal taxes that will only help other states. Instead of helping working South Carolinians, she’s opposing the Charleston Chamber and economic interests of MUSC. Here’s your daily reminder of the economic reality for South Carolinians over the past three years, which Nikki Haley has been sweeping under the rug:

 

Medicaid Expansion in South Carolina would create 44,000 jobs. “By 2020, the total annual economic impact of the increase in federal funding due to the ACA Medicaid expansion on the state of South Carolina will total approximately $3.3 billion in economic output, $1.5 billion in labor income, and support nearly 44,000 new jobs for South Carolinians. Approximately one – third of these jobs (15,000) are projected to occur outside of the health care industry due to the economic multiplier effect.” [USC Moore School of Business Report December 2012, accessed 03/07/13]

 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: “We Are Putting People First” – Not Expanding Medicaid Would Send Taxpayer Dollars Elsewhere. “‘[R]efusing these federal dollars would not mean that they wouldn’t be spent. It just means that they will be used to expand health-care access in New York, Connecticut, Ohio or somewhere else. … It’s simple. We’re putting people first.’” [NPR, Political Junkie, 3/4/13]

 

Head of S.C. hospital group says politics blocking Medicaid expansion. “There is a lot of ideology and politics in this debate — it is not just a financial question,” said Thornton Kirby, the state hospital association’s president and chief executive officer. He said South Carolina and other Republican-leaning states “don’t want anything to do” with a federal health-care reform initiative championed by President Barack Obama. [Independent Mail,03/04/13]

 

Charleston Chamber to Gov. Haley: accept Medicaid expansion. “There are two options,” said Bryan Derreberry, president and CEO of the local Chamber. “South Carolina can accept the Medicaid expansion and receive 90 percent of costs from the federal government, or reject the plan and absorb 100 percent of the costs and lose revenue from Washington, D.C.” [The Examiner, 03/07/13]

 

Editorial: Expanding Medicaid in SC. “The only conceivable reason to reject the expansion of Medicaid would be to make a hollow political statement in opposition to Obamacare. But that is political grandstanding at the cost of losing billions of federal dollars to other states and denying health care coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured South Carolinians. And that, we think, would be impossible to justify.” [Rock Hill Herald, 03/02/13]

 

 

See through Nikki Haley’s smoke & mirrors, read more at www.HaleysSmokeAndMirrors.tumblr.com

No, Americans are just weary of HEARING about war…

NYT page

When I saw the above headline on the NYT’s homepage, I couldn’t help Tweeting the following:


My point, in case it isn’t clear, was that I keep hearing all this talk about how war-weary Americans are, when the overwhelming majority of them haven’t experienced a minute of it.

So what is it that they’re weary of? Hearing about it? That seems really — superficial, for want of a better word.

I’m glad polls are showing that the president has backing for his limited plan for dealing with ISIL. But I am disturbed that American public opinion can be so flighty with regard to such weighty matters.

One day, they’re all “We don’t want any more war! Don’t talk to us about war! We’re going to make loud noises and repeatedly cover and uncover our ears until you stop talking about war! WAH-uh-WAH-uh-WAH-uh-WAH-uh…”

The next day, they’re all “We gotta stop ISIL! The president wants to bomb ‘em! Go for it! Bomb ‘em! (Then, maybe we don’t have to hear about them any more!)”

The day after that, they’re all “Are we still bombing ISIL? We’re tired of that! We don’t want to hear about that any more! We’re war-weary! What time does ‘American Idol’ come on?”

And what’s bad about that is that our elected leaders respond to those impulses. No matter what sacrifices are made on the battlefield by the few, politicians will pull out before the aims are achieved if the people get fed up — which they do very, very suddenly.

Anyway, those are the thoughts that go through my mind when I see headlines such as that. And for a brief moment, I don’t want to commit military forces to any cause ever in the future, if it’s going to be fought with politicians’ fingers in the wind.

But then, I think, Well, regardless of all that, out in the real world, we really need to stop ISIL

If I were Sheheen, I’m not sure I’d WANT more debates

Just got this release from Vincent Sheheen’s campaign:

Sheheen Calls for Four Additional Debates
Democratic gubernatorial candidate confirms participation in both Post & Courier debates, works with Myrtle Beach Area Chamber to push for Grand Strand, Midlands, Aiken & Rock Hill as well.Sheheen crop
Camden, SC – Today, Sen. Vincent Sheheen called for open gubernatorial debates in the Grand Strand/Pee Dee, Midlands, Rock Hill, and Aiken areas after working with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to resolve their debate scheduling conflicts with the Charleston Post & Courier.
“Honest leadership means looking people in the eye and telling them what you’d do as governor — I can’t think of a more appropriate way to accomplish that than by debating in every region in the state,” said Sen. Vincent Sheheen. “The people of South Carolina deserve the opportunity to hear directly from their candidates for governor, there are plenty of days left until the election do the right thing. I urge my opponents to immediately agree to at least three more debates to cover all regions of the state.”
Last week, The Post and Courier announced their intention to hold a debate in Greenville on October 21st, a date previously requested by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and several of their local media partners. After conversations with the campaign, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has stated their willingness to find an alternative date for their proposed debate, and as such, Sen. Sheheen confirmed his participation in the Post and Courier/WLOS-TV/WMYA-TV debate in Greenville on October 21st.
“The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to holding an open forum for honest debate between all the candidates about how to build a stronger state economy,” said Brad Dean, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are willing to accommodate schedules, because voters deserve to hear directly from those who are running for the state’s highest office.”
Sen. Sheheen also urged all the other gubernatorial candidates to participate in at least four other debates – in Myrtle Beach, the Midlands, Rock Hill, and Aiken – to ensure that South Carolinians in all parts of the state have the opportunity to see and hear their gubernatorial candidates.
###

Yes, I know the Sheheen campaign needs a shot in the arm, but I’m not sure more debates give him that boost.

There’s one area in which Nikki Haley just walks all over Vincent Sheheen — public speaking. She almost always makes a good impression when standing before a group — while Sheheen underwhelms, and when he tries to ramp up his presence (which he’s been doing lately), it looks like he’s trying. She connects well with an audience. I’m not sure I’d want to give her more such opportunities, were I Vincent.

Maybe he doesn’t realize how much better she comes across, or how diffident and offhand he seems. or maybe he’s just willing to try anything at this point.

Frankly, I’ve always sort of doubted the value of debates, especially given how much emphasis we tend to place on them. Should a potential governor, or president, or legislator be judged on stage presence, like a beauty pageant contestant?

I’ve had extensive exposure over the years to both of these candidates, and I have no doubt that between the two, Sheheen is the policy heavyweight, not only in theory, but in terms of getting things done. As for the theory, here you can find video proof of his depth of understanding of issues. But while he’s the heavyweight, that’s also the way he comes across in front of a group — as heavy.

Whereas Nikki tends to dazzle. Until you stop and really analyze what she’s saying, and compare it to the reality that you know — assuming you know it, which is expecting a lot.

It took me awhile to get to that point with her — like, years. Voters aren’t going to get to that point in five debates.

Is Ervin inappropriately politicizing the horrific deaths of those five children?

That’s a question that occurred to me when I saw the Tom Ervin campaign’s release below two days ago, and I was reminded of it when I saw the campaign mention it in another release this morning:

TOM ERVIN’S PREPARED REMARKS FROM PRESS CONFERENCE AT DSS HEADQUARTERS ON THE MOST RECENT TRAGEDY

The news that five children from Lexington County have been massacred and left on the side of the road is a horrific tragedy. As a parent, I ask all South Carolinians to pray for the victims and their family. I want to thank law enforcement for their quick response to this tragedy.

20140525_0138-300x300

In cases like these, we may never have all the answers to the questions that come to mind.

However, our state Department of Social Services has an ongoing responsibility to prevent these tragedies from happening over and over again. The children under DSS scrutiny are the most vulnerable population in our state and these children can’t protect themselves.

Unfortunately, we have seen these tragedies repeat themselves over and over again. From 2011 through 2013, 251 children have died under Governor Haley’s watch. This figure does not include the children that have died in 2014.

That is simply unacceptable.

Today’s news reports are that the Department of Social Services interviewed the man accused of killing his five children and concluded he was a, “highly intelligent, responsible father capable of caring for his children.”

On August 7th, DSS was at his home to investigate allegations of child abuse.

Less than a month later, these children are found dead.

Enough is enough.

I’m here today to call on the General Assembly to return in special session with the purpose of removing control of the Department of Social Services from Gov. Haley and placing it under the authority of an independent administrator or receiver.

Governor Haley’s record of failed leadership over DSS necessitates an immediate transfer of authority and control before another child is put in harm’s way.

I’m also calling on the legislative audit council to expedite the release of their independent findings concerning DSS, so we can implement new procedures and practices immediately.

I will continue to make this my focus until we can fix DSS. This is not politics, this is about protecting our most vulnerable children.

Yeah, I know. The failures of DSS to prevent child deaths is easily the most lurid policy failure that can be laid at the feet of the incumbent. There is a policy element to this horror. But to hold press conferences about it so soon…

Maybe it’s just me. I can’t even bring myself to read past the headlines of these stories. It’s just too painful to contemplate. Maybe he’s not being tone deaf. Thoughts?

Lindsey Graham’s reaction to Obama’s ISIL speech

Above is a video of Lindsey Graham speaking on the House floor about the plan for combating ISIL that President Obama spoke about last night.

Here are some excerpts from Graham’s speech:

  • “About the speech last night, what bothered me the most was the way it started. The President tried to tell us that as a nation we’re safer today than we have ever been. Do you believe that? I don’t. There are more terrorists, more organizations with more money, more capability, and more weapons to attack our homeland than existed before 9/11. We’re not safer than we were before 9/11 and that’s just an unfortunate fact.”
  • “Every president, every senator makes mistakes. History judges you not by the mistakes you make but by what you learn from them.”
  • “Here’s what I ask of the President – stop caveating everything. Look the enemy in the eye and say ‘We will destroy you’ and stop. Look the American people in the eye and say ‘We have to win, we will win and I will do what is necessary to win.’”
  • “The American military…..they’re tired, but they’re not too tired to defend this country.”
  • “The President also said this operation against ISIL will be like other CT (Counter-terrorism) operations over the last five or six year. No, it will not! This is not some small group of people running around with AK-47s. This is a full blown army. They were going to defeat the Kurdish Peshmerga, a pretty tough fighting group, if we hadn’t intervened. To underestimate how hard this will be will bite us.”
  • “Mr. President, please be honest with the American people about what we face. Somebody’s got to beat this army. This is not a small group of terrorists. They have howitzers. They have tanks. They are flush with money. They are getting fighters from all over the world. But they can and will be defeated. They must be defeated.”
  • “There is not a force in the Mideast that can take these guys on and win without substantial American help.”
  • “Mr. President, if you need my blessing to destroy ISIL, you have it. If you need to follow them to the gates of hell, I will send you a note – ‘go for it.’ If you need Congress to authorize your actions, let me know. You say you don’t and I agree with you, but if it makes us stronger for this body to vote in support of your plan to destroy ISIL, I will give you my vote. But here’s what I expect in return — your full commitment to win.”
  • “One thing I can promise the American people – if we take on ISIL and lose – we will unlock the gates of hell. And hell will come our way.”

Graham speak

Bobby Harrell suspends himself — or tries to, anyway

This broke earlier today:

House Speaker Bobby Harrell suspended himself Thursday from the House of Representatives and transferred his duties as speaker to his next in command.

The suspension came the day after the Charleston Republican was indicted on nine charges, including illegally using campaign money for his personal expenses, filing false campaign disclosure reports and misconduct in office….

Harrell’s suspension, he said in the letter, is effective immediately. He transferred his duties to speaker pro tempore Jay Lucas during his suspension.

But an advisory opinion by Solicitor General Robert D. Cook, requested by two Democratic House members, said Harrell cannot suspend himself because the indictments disqualify him from participating in business of public office.

Instead, the indictments require the speaker pro tempore to act immediately to suspend Harrell…

A good deal of confusion, no doubt arising in part from the fact that this is pretty much a new situation for everyone involved.

Meanwhile, I ran across this webpage from just a fortnight ago, when Harrell’s prospects for hanging on looked excellent. What a difference an aggressive prosecutor and a grand jury can make…

Harrell then

CNN’s Peter Hamby hereby dubs Bakari Sellers a kingmaker

At home, Bakari Sellers is clamoring for free ink, attacking his better-known opponent for his country club membership.

But on the national level, Peter Hamby — who I suppose got to know Rep. Sellers back when he was stationed in SC by CNN in the months before the 2008 presidential primaries — has now dubbed him a kingmaker in the 2016 contest for the White House:

Hambycast: Want to be president? Talk to this guy

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) — It’s September of 2014, but Bakari Sellers is already getting calls and visits from the small crop of Democrats considering a 2016 presidential bid.

Few voters outside South Carolina have heard of him. But he’s a young star in the state’s Democratic party, and as a key political figure in a pivotal early primary state, Sellers could play an outsized role in electing the next President.

When Barack Obama won South Carolina’s 2008 presidential primary in blowout fashion, boosting his campaign after a devastating blow in New Hampshire, Sellers, then a 23-year old first-term state legislator, was in the crowd at his victory party, beaming.

Sellers co-chaired Obama’s campaign in the early primary state, helping the then-senator go from long-shot to history-maker after vanquishing Hillary Clinton in the heavily African-American state….

The best part of President Obama’s speech tonight

Here it is:

When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here’s what one of them said. “We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people.”

That is the difference we make in the world. And our own safety — our own security — depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation, and uphold the values that we stand for — timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth….

Yes, that is what sets this nation apart. We are the nation that will go halfway ’round the world to save endangered and oppressed people. And we are the one nation that can do that, time and again. We have the power; we have the resources. And therefore we have the moral obligation.

That’s not the only reason we must “degrade and destroy” ISIL. It also involves doing “what it takes to defend this nation, and uphold the values that we stand for.”

The monsters of ISIL must be stopped. And we’re the ones to do it. It’s great that the president is enlisting others to help. But it’s going to depend on us, and our resolve to end this evil.

SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell indicted

When state Attorney General Alan Wilson handed off his investigation of Speaker Bobby Harrell to First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe, Harrell went around doing victory laps, as though it meant he was in the clear.

This afternoon, Pascoe announced that a Richland County grand jury had indicted the speaker. Pascoe’s statement:

First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe announces that the Richland County Grand Jury indicted Robert W. Harrell, Jr., Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives, today on nine charges. The nine indictments are for two counts of Misconduct in Office (statutory and common law), six counts of Using Campaign Funds for Personal Use, and one count of False Reporting Candidate Campaign Disclosures.

A bond hearing date has not been set. Mr. Harrell has been provided copies of his indictments but he will be allowed to formally accept service of the true billed indictments and attend his bond hearing on the same date.

Once the date for service of the indictments and the bond hearing is set, the First Circuit Solicitor’s Office will provide ample notice to the media of the date and time. Solicitor Pascoe stated, “At this point in the process, the indictments are mere accusations. Mr. Harrell is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Solicitor Pascoe will have no further comment regarding this matter and respectfully requests that the media not contact his office regarding the case against Mr. Harrell. Any requests for indictments or future filings in this case should be directed to the Richland County Clerk of Court.

If you want to read the indictment itself, here it is.

Well, Mr. Pascoe certainly wasted no time on that. He’s either a really fast worker, or Mr. Wilson had already built him a pretty good case, it seems to me…

Open Thread for Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Some possible topics:

  1. So maybe we’re going to do something about ISIL now — Tonight, the eve of Sept. 11, the president will lay out what he is reluctantly prepared to do to stop ISIL. Looks like we’re talking air strikes on both sides of the border that doesn’t matter to ISIL (which polls now support). What worries me is that for POTUS, it’s all about what he won’t do, on account of it being against his religion, and that of so many in his base, to send troops into Iraq, much less Syria. (Note that I’m not saying we need necessarily to do that. I’m saying it makes me nervous to go into a military conflict telling the world what you won’t do.) This country’s in a bad situation: Policy wonks see the need to stop ISIL whatever it takes, but the public doesn’t want to wage war, and political leadership from Obama to Rand Paul has been telling them for years they don’t have to — and a world full of thugs eager to take advantage of that. Well, we’ll see. I thought Clinton was wrong to rule out boots on the ground in Kosovo, but it worked out, so I was wrong. We’ll see.
  2. That horrific story about the five slain children — I can’t read these stories, and I walked out of the room last night when my wife was watching local TV news. But maybe y’all would like to discuss it. If so, go ahead.
  3. What do I need a bigger iPhone for? I have an iPad — There is one question that none of the stories about the new iPhones have answered: Will all future iPhones be absurdly large? I bought the iPhone specifically because of its handy size, making one-hand operation easy. Will Apple quit making the phone in a sensible size? If so, that’s crazy. And while I’m at it, what on Earth is the appeal of tablet-sized phones? That’s as inexplicable to me as the continuing (continuing against all reason) national love affair with SUVs. I just don’t get it… (Bonus question: What do I need any watch for? I quit wearing them after I got my first cell phone.)

Or, talk about what you’d like.

Lindsey Graham, weakest incumbent GOP senator in the nation?

Graham chart

Meant to share this yesterday. Lachlan McIntosh of the Brad Hutto campaign brought this chart to my attention, with the commentary:

According to this CBS New, York Times poll of all the US Senate races this year, Lindsey Graham is the weakest Republican incumbent in the nation. He’s getting just 42% of the vote. 

In a quick glance, that appears to be the case. Of course, what is greeted as good news by one Democratic challenger is pretty lousy news for Democrats nationally. Lots of Democrats would give anything to have Graham’s 42 percent. Look at poor Mary Landrieu, trailing at 36 percent!

Erwin touting his ‘mo’ in new poll

You know that ARG poll I mentioned yesterday? Well, Tom Ervin is very proud of the progress it shows for his campaign:

NEW POLL SHOWS THREE-WAY RACE, TOM WITH MOMENTUM 

 

Greenville, S.C. —  The Tom Ervin campaign issued the following statement in response to the poll conducted by American Research Group:

“This poll shows we have a three-way race and confirms what we are seeing on the ground: Tom’s common sense solutions are resonating with voters,” said Matt David, the campaign’s senior adviser. “Whether it’s his push for tough ethics reform in Columbia or his plan to eliminate the income tax, this momentum will continue as more people learn about Tom.”

Link to poll information:

AMERICAN RESEARCH GROUP POLL, CONDUCTED SEPT. 2 – SEPT. 4

Tom Ervin (I)                         18%

Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D)     33%

Gov. Nikki Haley (R)              43%

Steve French (Libertarian)      1%

I’ll bet that if he didn’t have something to show for all that money he spent, he’d really be bummed about now…

Business Insider sees S.C. economy as 5th worst in U.S.

46-south-carolina

The South Carolina Democratic Party is touting this story (“Nikki Haley claims South Carolina’s economy is booming, but don’t be fooled by her smoke and mirrors,” etc.), but I found it sort of interesting in its own right.

It’s a list from Business Insider ranking the respective states’ economies from worst to first. We rank 46th, or fifth worst. Here’s the reasoning they gave:

South Carolina’s largest private-sector industries are professional and business services, retail trade, and manufacturing. Here’s how South Carolina did on our variables:

  • South Carolina lost 4,600 nonfarm payroll jobs in July, the third-worst loss in the country.
  • Gross Domestic Product per capita was just $30,728, also the third-lowest.
  • The average annual wage was $39,800.

I was intrigued by the photos chosen to illustrate each state. We were represented by the sand sculpture above. I think I recognize it as being from just before a presidential debate down at the beach, either in 2008 or 2012.

My fave was the New Mexico one, which showed Jesse Pinkman being held prisoner down in the pit by the neoNazis. Which is appropriate, since N.M. ranked three positions below even us (Mississippi, of course, came in last). Maybe they’d be doing better if Mr. White were still alive and cooking, bringing in mad stacks, yo…

49-new-mexico