Category Archives: Money

SC Democrats, you won’t get my digits THAT easily…

After having gotten way harsh on the SC Democrats’ case (or at least, the SC House Democrats’ case) the other day, I was about to respond in a positive way to this come-on:


In the coming elections, we have a chance to make a big change to the future of South Carolina. We must change course, because failed leadership and no accountability isn’t working for the people of South Carolina.

Change is never easy, but with all of you on board to help, I know that we can make a difference at the ballot box.

This is all about you, so we want to hear from you. Click here to let us know which issues are important to you, and share your story.

In just the last year, South Carolina has seen major ethics scandals, botched cover-ups, and failed leaders who are more worried about making headlines than getting their jobs done.

We can’t change this without you. Let us know what your biggest priority is in the coming election and share why it is important to you. Click here and let us know today!

Thank you for being part of our campaign to bring a new era of leadership to Columbia.

Amanda Loveday
Executive Director, South Carolina Democratic Party

I was all like, I gave them a hard time for their agenda, so since they’re asking me now what their agenda should be, the least I can do is tell them what I think. Who knows; it might do some good…

But then I clicked on the link, and realized they were just after my contact info. That’s what they meant by “share your story.”

I should have known.

Anyway, they already have my email address. They can reach me when they want. Apparently, they won’t be satisfied until they have my credit card numbers. Which ain’t gonna happen…

What it would cost to make public college tuition-free

My daughter, who by the way earned a free ride through college through merit scholarships, brought this to my attention today, from a recent piece in The Atlantic:

Here’s Exactly How Much the Government Would Have to Spend to Make Public College Tuition-Free

A mere $62.6 billion dollars!

According to new Department of Education data, that’s how much tuition public colleges collected from undergraduates in 2012 across the entire United States. And I’m not being facetious with the word mere, either. The New America Foundation says that the federal government spent a whole $69 billion in 2013 on its hodgepodge of financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants for low-income students, tax breaks, work study funding. And that doesn’t even include loans.

If we were we scrapping our current system and starting from scratch, Washington could make public college tuition free with the money it sets aside its scattershot attempts to make college affordable today.

Of course, we’re not going to start from scratch (and I’m not even sure we should want to make state schools totally free). But I like to make this point every so often because I think it underscores what a confused mess higher education finance is in this country…


Apparently, some newspapers still have money to waste


That’s all I can think after glancing through this offering of “one-line films created by the Oscar-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski.”

Which, the credits tell us, were produced by The New York Times Magazine.

And which star Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Bradley Cooper, Oprah Winfrey and others.

Wow. Apparently, some newspapers still have money to waste…

Should $125 million be spent on the Carolina Coliseum?

The Carolina Coliseum, back when you could see it from the north side.

The Carolina Coliseum, back when you could see it from the north side.

I think I entered the Carolina Coliseum for the first time in late summer, 1971. The building was only about three years old then.

The occasion was the “Jesus Christ Superstar” tour. This was long before it was either a play or a movie. The album had come out a few months before, and this was a touring group that performed the music concert-style. It featured Yvonne Elliman, from the original album, as Mary Magdalene.

Great show, even without anyone really acting out the story. You youngsters have to realize we were into listening to albums with our eyes closed and headphones on in those days. In fact, the first time I heard the album, this girl named Mary (Riley, not Magdalene) was lying on her back listening to it on the floor of a beach house that a mutual friend’s family had rented at Barber’s Point on Oahu, with the stereo’s speakers positioned either side of her head, inches from her ears. I don’t recall what I thought of the music at that point because a large part of my brain was occupied just looking at Mary.

Then, a few weeks later, I was back in the Coliseum for registration for the fall, my one and only semester at USC. This involved shuffling around from queue to queue signing up for one class at a time, holding these long computer punchcards in our hands. I think the way it worked was when you signed up for a class, you were given a punchcard for that course and section. Then when you were done, you handed in your small deck of cards, and someone fed them into a computer and presto, you had a schedule.

It was the first time I ever had anything to do with computers (I don’t think I saw a hand-held calculator for another year or two), and I was impressed. It all felt very space-age. Which is a term we used to use for “modern,” in the days when we thought the moon was but the beginning of manned exploration of space.

So, you know, this was a while ago.

It cost $8.5 million to build the Coliseum in 1968 (which would be more than $57 million today). The new Moore School going up next to it has a price tag of $106.5 million.

Now, there is a proposal to renovate the Coliseum for $125 million:

Plans call for turning the 12,000-seat arena into classrooms and labs, a one-stop shop of student services, an adjunct student union and a practice facility for the Gamecock basketball teams.

To quote that revered academic Dr. Peter Venkman, “It just seems a little pricey for a unique fixer-upper opportunity, that’s all.”

But that’s just a first, gut reaction. Perhaps a case can be made for it. What do y’all think?

‘We’re No. 9! We’re No. 9!’ Walk for Life team ends up in Top Ten

That's me, Kathryn, Bryan and Doug.

That’s me, Kathryn, Bryan and Doug.

A month later, with (presumably) all contributions counted, our Walk for Life team met the goal of making the Top Ten, which follows:

  1. Pink Posse $10,050
  2. Richland One – AC Flora High School Team Haddon… $9,292.14
  3. Richland One- Satchel Ford $8,231.40
  4. EDENS $6,370
  5. Spirit Communications $6,096
  6. Team Winkie $6,001
  7. Richland Two-Ridge View High School… $4,527.41
  8. Gowns and Crowns $4,431.50
  9. $3,651.44
  10. TeamRichlandone student nutrition services…$3,564.57

See all the teams on this page.

Of course, now we’ll be going for Top Five next year, which as you can see is going to mean at least $6,100. We’ll get an early start, think positive thoughts, adopt a clean and healthy lifestyle, give up fatty foods, and do opposition research on the other teams. OK, just kidding on the last two.

But we can do this!

For this year’s achievement, I want to thank our actual walkers, Kathryn Fenner, Bryan Caskey and Doug Ross (pictured above). Bryan and Doug were also our two biggest fundraisers ($1,715 and $1,191.44, respectively), while Kathryn made a generous personal donation.

Let’s also thank Diane Chinnes, Jeff Miller, Maria Medrano, Mike Fitts, Phillip Bush, Rick Shackelford, Kathy Moreland, Hunter Brumfield, Lisa Marie Field, my Dad, and a bunch of anonymous givers, every one of whom played a critical role in this year’s achievement.

Sheheen campaign objects to use of governor’s mansion


I got this release from Andrew Whalen with the Sheheen campaign today.

Of course, if you “sign the petition” expressing your indignation at Nikki Haley using the governor’s mansion for fund-raising, the Sheheen campaign will have your contact info. So they can solicit you for campaign funds. And stuff.

Anyway, here it is:

Nikki Haley is at it again. She and the South Carolina GOP are shamelessly selling access to the Governor’s mansion grounds. This time literally. That’s just wrong.

In a few weeks, Nikki and her friends will be opening the gates and hosting an “exclusive reception” on the grounds — not for official business, but to raise cash to support her re-election.

Listen, if this doesn’t sit right with you, you’re not alone. Seems to me that using the Governor’s mansion grounds for a campaign fundraiser, at best, violates the spirit of the state’s ethics laws. If you agree, add your name to our online petition and tell Nikki Haley that you are tired of her using government property for campaign purposes. Add your name here >>

This isn’t the first time Nikki has blurred the lines of what’s legal in South Carolina – flying campaign staff on state planes, using state vehicles to pick up out-of-state campaign cash, hiding income. The list goes on and on. We deserve better. South Carolina deserves someone who doesn’t have to cover things up or blur lines to preserve their political career.

If you agree it’s time for new leadership in South Carolina, add your name to our online petition right now.

Thanks for standing with us,


Campaign Manager
Sheheen for South Carolina

Also, there’s a blue “contribute” button at the bottom of the email. Just in case…

There’s no question: GOP will be to blame for shutdown

This morning on the radio, I heard reports that some Republicans in Congress are hoping they can shift blame for the likely government shutdown to the president and Senate Democrats.

Wow. Talk about your fantasies.

As you know, I love to blame both parties for everything (which drives Bud crazy).

But in this case, there is simply no question: The Republicans made this happen all by themselves. Some of the older, wiser heads in the party know this — they remember the Gingrich shutdown — and have a bad, bad feeling about now.

But the young innocents of the Tea Party charge blithely on — partly because on a certain level they really don’t care whether the government shuts down (their extreme ideology makes them feel, deep down, that that’s a consummation devoutly to be wished), but also because, in case it does turn out to be something less than a lark, it will be blamed on Democrats.

But no one whose thinking is not distorted by ideology can miss what has happened here.

First, there is the Tea partisans’ insistence on making every single raising of the debt limit some kind of showdown at the OK Corral, which meant we were doing to have a crisis this month anyway.

Then, there is this bizarre fixation on not funding a perfectly legitimate law that has stood up to every legitimate thing they could throw at it. It survived legal challenges. When they tried to run against it in an election, they lost. They have demonstrated 42 times that it is not in their power to repeal it. So now they want to defund it, or delay it — which would be patently illegitimate on its own — and have brought about an imminent shutdown of the whole government in their bid to stop the law from taking effect.

On the issue of Obamacare, they are an utterly defeated army that has turned guerrilla and has nothing left to fall back on but acts of sabotage.

What they have done is so obvious, and so obviously outrageously irresponsible, that there’s little chance that anyone outside of the more fervent parts of their base could dream of blaming anyone but them.

I just figured I might as well go ahead and say that, before the shutdown occurs…

Walk for Life: We’ve surpassed our goal, again! So… what should the NEW goal be?


Well, we did it! We surpassed the new goal, only a couple of days after setting it!

Our Walk for Life team has now raised more than $3,000 — to be precise, $3,076 as I type this.

There have been a number contributions to the General Team Donation category (including one from my good friend and colleague Mike Fitts). But the big story remains the highly successful efforts of those shakedown aces, Bryan Caskey and Doug Ross. Remember when I told you that Bryan was in the Top Five individual fund-raisers among all Walk for Life participant? Well, he’s moved up from No. 5 to No. 4, as you can see on the right-hand side of this page. Way to go, Bryan! And you know Doug’s gotta be in the Top Ten, which is tremendous.

But all of you who have contributed need to form a circle, all turn to your right, and pat the person in front of you on the back. You all deserve it.

Now, that said, down to business. Of course, now that we’ve reached the goal, Col. Cathcart will set a new, higher number. You know how he is.

So I’m asking y’all’s advice. What should it be? $4,000? $5,000? I want it to be a stretch, but achievable. Thoughts?

Colonel Cathcart raises our ‘Walk for Life’ goal


Col. Cathcart, Lt. Col. Korn, and Major Danby.

You remember Col. Cathcart, don’t you — from Catch-22? (And if you haven’t read Catch-22, you should.)

Here’s a reminder of who he is:


His main function in the plot of the book is to keep raising the number of missions that the men in his bomb group must fly before they can rotate stateside. He does this to curry favor with his superiors. He lives for “feathers in his cap” and lives in horror of “black eyes.”

This repeated raising of the number of missions is a key driver in Yossarian’s constant, growing anxiety, especially since the colonel always raises the number just before Yossarian reaches it:


Well, it seems that Col. Cathcart has slipped out of the pages of the novel and somehow gained access to our Walk for Life team profile, and raised our goal — much as Yossarian slipped out of his tent one night and moved the bomb line on the map to above Bologna.

And I’m happy to report that I — I mean, Col. Cathcart — ran into Samuel Tenenbaum this morning, who is sort of the General Dreedle of Palmetto Health Foundation, and told him that our goal has been raised from $1,000 to $3,000. He was most pleased. I think this is quite a feather in my, I mean Col. Cathcart’s, cap.

And I’m sure, men (like Lt. Scheisskopf, I enjoy addressing you as “men” in a clipped, military voice), that you’ll be happy to keep flying missions until we exceed the new goal. Failure to do so would result in a black eye for me, your colonel, and I’m sure none of you men want that.

Bryan Caskey’s highly successful Walk for Life email: ‘Cancer: Are You For It or Against It?’

If you’ve been following the comments on this earlier post, you know that Bryan Caskey has now joined Doug Ross in raising more than $1,000 each for our Walk for Life team. Bryan is now in the top five among all individual fund-raisers for Walk for Life (look at the right-hand side of this page to see his name).

I asked Bryan how he did it, and he said he just “sent an e-mail out to a bunch of my other youngish-age (20-40) friends around Columbia. The group is mostly lawyers. (Don’t tell Juan!).” Here’s the email:

Cancer: Are You For It or Against It?

Hey! Stop what you’re doing, and pay attention for a second. It involves boobs.


Got your attention? Good.


On Saturday, October 5 (before the tailgating begins for the UK/USC game) I will be walking in the Columbia Walk for Life/Race for Life. Unless you’ve been living on the moon for the last decade, you know this is a big fundraiser to fight breast cancer. The reason I am sending you this e-mail is simple: I’m shaking you down for money. If you’re getting this e-mail, I know you have at least $25.00, and I hope you aren’t in favor of breast cancer.


We all know that breast cancer can be effectively and significantly reduced by early detection and treatment. That’s why I need your support. And by support, I mean money.


For the gentlemen who receive this e-mail, let’s take a little time to worry more about the health of women’s breasts, rather than their size. I’m challenging you to do more for breast cancer awareness than simply saying you’ve been aware of breasts for quite some time. I’m not guaranteeing you that donating will help you with the ladies, but it certainly won’t hurt. Don’t let cancer get to second base.


For the women who receive this e-mail, I don’t need to tell you anything. You know what’s up.


It’s an easy decision: You’re either for cancer, or you’re against it. Which is it?


The only way I will know that you’re against cancer is if you donate money. I’m taking care of the walking part, so you just need to take care of the donating part. I’ve donated $25.00, and I’m sending you this e-mail to ask that you do the same.


Follow This Link <>  to visit my the web page and help me in my efforts to support Palmetto Health Foundation. You click the link, put your information in, and boom! You’ve declared your allegiance in the war on breast cancer.


This is the preliminary shake-down e-mail. Future communications will consist of the following in ascending order until you donate:


1.      Another e-mail, but this time IN ALL CAPS.

2.      A text message.

3.      A telephone call (You don’t want me to actually do this, do you?)

4.      I will show up at your house at 7:00AM

5.      I will send a tough guy named “Luca” to your house at 7:00AM the following day. (You don’t want to meet Luca, because hereally hates cancer, and he’ll assume that you’re in favor of cancer).


Don’t let Cancer steal second base!


second base


P.S. More details below:


This year’s Walk for Life/Race for Life will be held Saturday, Oct. 5 in Finlay Park, Columbia, SC. The Walk/5K Race will begin at 8:30 a.m., and the 10K Race will begin at 8:15 a.m. It is with great enthusiasm that I will be participating in this year’s Walk/Race. I’m walking. Please consider sponsoring me with a donation so that Palmetto Health Breast Center can continue to save lives and raise awareness about early detection. To make a donation, visit the link at the bottom of the page.

Please consider making a donation today. No amount is too small, and whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated.







Bryan D. Caskey

Go, all of ye, and do likewise…

Walk for Life: Let’s shoot for the Top Ten!


This blog’s Walk for Life team exceeded its fundraising goal days ago, thanks to the unwavering efforts of the stalwart Doug Ross, who raised more than the $1,000 benchmark all by himself.

So now, let’s get competitive about this.

I don’t know how much other teams have raised for the Oct. 5 event to fight breast cancer, but if the pattern is anything like two years ago, we’re probably in the Top 20 already. In 2011, we came in 18th despite only having raised $982.

The amount we’ve raised so far this year, $1,309, would have put us in 12th place two years ago. So it seems reasonable to assume that the Top Ten is within our reach. (Again, I don’t know where we stand this time, but back then, anything over $1,620 would have put us there.)

Thanks to Kathryn Fenner, Bryan Caskey, my Dad, and one regular from the blog who gave anonymously, for joining Doug in bringing us this far.

Now I’m hoping to hear from some of y’all who haven’t acted yet. Join us, and Top Ten status can be ours…

Once a sailor, always a sailor: McCain hopes bill to eliminate bills will help enrich strippers

OK, to be fair, he was set up. But he rose to the bait, and had fun with it:

(CNN) – If Congress passes the COINS Act replacing the $1 paper bill for a coin, the U.S. government may be able to save billions in printing costs at the expense of a little more jangle in the average consumers’ pockets. But what about the strippers?

That’s what The Hill newspaper asked one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Sen. John McCain, in a piece published Thursday. The question came from a separate 2011 story where the publication suggested strippers could suffer in a bill-less economy, with G-strings and garter belts far less accommodating of cold metal.

For his part, the Arizona Republican responded in stride in a Capitol Hill hallway.

“Then I hope that they could obtain larger denominations,” McCain reportedly told The Hill.

According to The Hill, the 76 year-old McCain started answering questions from another reporter before a smile spread across his face and he shouted down the hallway to The Hill, “Fives, tens, one hundreds!”…

Hundreds? Bada-Bing!

You know, if this bill passes, and the senator wants to determine whether it’s having the desired, um, stimulative effect on the economy, I’ll be glad to help him with the research. But only if he’s buying; I hear the drinks are pretty pricey in those dives.

But seriously, I like the idea of this bill. When I was in England, I thought it was great that I could make small purchases — postcards, newspapers, a cuppa, or a bottle of beer from an off-license — with pound and two-pound coins. They were very handy.

But dollar coins have never caught on in my lifetime. And you know why? Because we haven’t produced a dollar coin that anyone could respect, much less love. Not since the old silver dollars, which by the time I came along were already collector’s items that your grandma gave you for your birthday and you stashed them safely in a dresser drawer where they still reside to this day.

I’m not going to get into the politics of choosing Susan B. Anthony and Sacajawea as the “heads” side of these coins; that’s neither here nor there. People would use dollar coins with Alfred E. Newman on them, if the coins themselves were substantial and respectable.

TwoPoundCoinBackInstead, our mints have produced these light, cheesy things that look and feel like they’re inherently worth less than a copper penny. They look and feel like something you’d get out of one of those old machines in arcades that squished a penny and stamped your name on it. And you can’t distinguish them from quarters in your pocket.

By contrast, the pound coin has heft, and thickness, and a good tactile feel to its surfaces. You can immediately distinguish it when you reach for one. As for the two-pound coins — they’re amazing. They are so distinctive, so substantial, you’d think they were crafted by the dwarves in Middle Earth in time out of mind. It even appears to have Elvish inscriptions on it.2pd02r

Craft something like that, and America won’t miss the dollar bill.

Maybe we could use some of the money saved by eliminating the paper ones to make these coins something Americans would actually want to use. For a change.

Yeah, but when’s the OTHER Koch brother going to kick in?

As you might expect someone with his, um, notoriety to do, Mark Sanford is attracting some celebrity money. This from the WashPost:

Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford raised $334,397 over the past two months in his bid for a South Carolina House seat, campaign finance reports filed Friday show. He has a couple high-profile and deep-pocketed allies in his quest to regain political office, including billionaire GOP donor David Koch.

A special election for the seat vacated by Sen. Tim Scott (R) is being held March 19; the general election is  May 7.

Koch, who launched the conservative outside group Americans for Prosperity, gave $2,500 to Sanford’s House campaign. So did Foster Friess, a major back of Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign…

His (or whoever’s) likely opponent in the general election, also enjoying a name-recognition advantage, is doing almost as well:

Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, is the likely Democratic nominee. She raised almost as much as Sanford at $309,559 and has $208,630 on hand. She hasn’t gotten any money directly from her brother, but she has gotten $2,600 from Evelyn McGee and $2,500 from Evelyn Colbert. Stephen Colbert’s wife is Evelyn McGee Colbert. Trevor Potter, the Republican Washington lawyer hired to help the comedian start a super PAC, gave $500.

There can be a drawback to suggesting that voters make their own signs about your campaign for Congress

mark sign

We all know about Mark Sanford’s bizarre campaign signs. You know, that he’s encouraging people to take scraps of cast-away plywood and crudely letter them with the message, “Sanford saves tax $.” Signs like this one.

Sanford thinks this is terribly clever, and sends out a terrific message about him in his bid for the GOP nomination for the 1st Congressional District. Me, I think it just reminds us what a startlingly cheap so-and-so he is, and not in a good way at all. More like this way:

In her 2010 memoir, former first lady Jenny Sanford tells her own stories — most of them unflattering — of his frugality. In one, Mark Sanford bought her a diamond necklace for her birthday. He ultimately made her give back the beloved gift after deciding he’d paid too much for it…

Anyway, an alert reader sent me the above image, which the reader reports was found “near Ravenel Bridge in Charleston.” This is what the sign refers to, in case you’ve forgotten.

So sometimes you might just want to go ahead and have official signs run up, and put them out yourself. It’s easier to stay on message that way…

AARP poll: SC grownups favor Medicaid expansion

I say “grownups” because all the respondents were over 45. It was the first word that came to mind. I’ll allow that there may be some grownups out there younger than 45. Anyway, here’s a report from the Charleston paper on the poll:

Most South Carolina adults interviewed for a new poll think the state government should expand Medicaid eligibility to include more low-income residents.

The poll was commissioned by AARP, a group in favor of expanding Medicaid in South Carolina under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A statement about the poll was published Tuesday on AARP’s website, but the full results have not been released.

It found that 54 percent of 800 adults polled in February favor Medicaid expansion and 57 percent disagree with Gov. Nikki Haley’s decision to decline federal money to accomplish that. All of the adults included in the survey were 45 and older.

South Carolina has a choice to opt out of the expansion because the state would eventually need to pay for part of it — 10 percent of the costs by 2020. The federal government would fully fund Medicaid expansion for three years and at a minimum of 90 percent after that…

Maybe when Nikki Haley gets to be 45, she’ll develop a more sensible approach to this, too. It’s possible. I don’t know what the excuse of the GOP majority in the Legislature might be.

By the way, AARP is lobbying in 40 states (including SC) for Medicaid expansion. But that should come as no surprise, since AARP has a lot of grownups in it…

Patriotic Millionaires: ‘Raise our taxes. We can take it.’

I knew about Warren Buffett, but I hadn’t heard of the “Patriotic Millionaires” group until I got this release today:

Patriotic Millionaires Slam Congress on the Sequester Stall
“We did our part, now it is time to do yours!”

New York, NY –Today, Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength implore Congress to come to an agreement and stop the impending budget cuts from the sequester. “Your job in its most basic form is to keep the country running. We did our part, now it is time to do yours!”

Travel writer, TV host, Tour Organizer, and Patriotic Millionaire Rick Steves (WA) says: “It’s time for millionaires like me to step up to the plate and contribute our share. A millionaire south of our border would spend a small fortune for designer fortifications. He’d need armed guards on his street corner so his child could walk to the park. What’s it worth to be able to work hard and prosper in the USA. It’s worth being a patriotic supporter of a progressive tax system. What’s honest? To acknowledge that we are the least taxed wealthy class in the civilized world and we’d live nowhere else. Together, we can invest in the fabric of our society and together we can enjoy the peace and stability and opportunity that you can only find here in America. Yep, I’m a Patriotic Millionaire.”

Filmmaker and Patriotic Millionaire Abigail Disney (NY) says: “The fact is that I pay a lower effective rate on my income than my assistant does, and that is just plain stupid.  We need to address the most egregious outs millionaires have access to and bring the tax code back in sync with our values as a democracy and meritocracy.  Closing the carried interest loophole, to name one of many, will go a long way toward getting us there.”

CEO of NuCompass Mobility and Patriotic Millionaire Frank Patitucci (CA) says:  “If my paying a few more dollars in taxes helps close a deal that will maintain basic government services, count me in. The alternative, a depressed economy, will cost me a whole lot more.”

Former AOL Executive and Patriotic Millionaire Charlie Fink (VA) says: “These two things I know to be true: there is no problem in business that cannot be solved by more revenue AND no business can cut its way out of a budget crisis. With or without the sequester, our problem remains lack of revenue. This was only slightly addressed by higher taxes on the wealthy. We must end corporate welfare, and get back to a system where our businesses, along with the most wealthy, contribute to the general welfare that allows our society to thrive, and create opportunity for others.”

Patriotic Millionaire Woody Kaplan (MA) says: “In order to maintain tax loopholes which advantage only the wealthiest Americans, the Republicans are putting our economy at risk, disrupting government services, and putting middle class taxpayers on furlough.  This is an unconscionable combination of greed and arrogance.”

Attorney and Patriotic Millionaire Joel Kanter (VA) says: ”It is remarkable that we are days away from the latest chapter in ‘Hostage Politics First, Country & Policy Later’ where millions of families will pay an enormous price. One can only hope that the outcry from those seeking reason will become unbearable on those seeking purity of purpose at all costs, and that Americans themselves will become ever more vigil about allowing their government to be hijacked and held hostage. I daresay an airliner facing these circumstances would become the focus of the world, and yet the millions that will be impacted here are seemingly noticed by none.”

Founder of Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. and Patriotic Millionaire Michael Alexander (CA) says: “Everyone who has reviewed the tax code agrees that it is past time to eliminate tax loopholes that benefit the wealthiest. We are better than that. It is time that the GOP act like grown-ups, show compassion, and do what is best for the country and those less fortunate.”

Angel Investor and Patriotic Millionaire Ron Garret, PhD. (CA) says: “Republicans say they want to shrink the deficit, but they refuse to raise taxes, which leaves draconian cuts as the only possible option.  But instead of owning this conclusion they instead try to blame the president for the inevitable results of their own policies and the laws that they voted for.  Apparently Republicans understand that if they stood by the results of their policies, the American people would run them and their gerrymandered obstructionist hypocrisy out of town on a rail.”

Patriotic Millionaire Emanuel Stern (NY) says: “For the good of the country, politics and partisanship must be put aside and our national interest set first. Any rational person would understand that both cuts and revenues are needed to achieve fiscal responsibility. It is time for cuts and they should be substantial. But they also must be accompanied by revenue. Loopholes must be closed. Please stop playing politics with our Country’s national interest.”…

The Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength was formed in Fall 2010 by some of the country’s most financially successful citizens who came together to urge the President to let the Bush tax cuts expire for people making more than $1 million per year. Now, Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength consists of more than 220 members, including:  more than a dozen current and former Google employees, actress Edie Falco of Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, the founder of Esprit, the founder of the Princeton Review, travel writer Rick Steves, the founder of, legendary philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, famed economist Nouriel Roubini, financial guru Andrew Tobias, top executives from Warburg, Pincus, and other major financial firms, filmmaker Abigail Disney, and many others.

Here’s a list of the millionaires. By the way, these aren’t just folks who have a million dollars (which is what I thought “millionaire” meant). These are people who make a million or more a year.

Howie Rich complains about ‘hit piece’ on him in The State

A blog post at SC Schools Report brings my attention to a letter that Sen. Kevin Bryant received from his fan Howie Rich. Here it is:

Dear Kevin,

First of all congratulations on the “A+” ranking you received this month from the S.C. Club for Growth. I understand you’ve received the highest score in the SC Legislature eight years running – which is quite a feat. Given how many of our elected officials get away with paying lip service to freedom and free markets, it’s gratifying to see when a few of them actually walk the walk – as you have consistantly done.howard

I wanted to write because I’m sure you’ve seen the lates “hit piece” against me in the Columbia newspaper – which is (once again) ramping up its vendetta agains parental choice and those of us who support it. This liberal rag – which gives The New York Times a run for its left – leaning money – apparently believes that demonizing me (and the legal contributions I have made to candidates in South Carolina) passes for a legitimate argument against school choice.

Meanwhile the paper does everything within its power to prop up the grovernment-run school system in the Palmetto State – which as we know is falling further behind the rest of the nation (exacting larger and larger sums of money from the South Carolina taxpayers.)

Thankfully the ongoing proliferation of new (and social) media in South Carolina means we no longer have to coddle this status quo mouthpiece – and can take our case directly to the people. This is exactly what you are doing in your “Blog from the Back Bench,” and I commend you on those efforts.

Ideologically we both know how this debate will progress. Absent the infusion of market-based reforms South Carolina’s government-run monopoly will continue to fail generations of school children – while sticking taxpayers with an ever-escalating bill.

But what is the political future of this debate? On that front I want to make something perfectly clear: Every time I read one of these hit pieces, my commitment to the fundamental reforms we are advancing is redoubled. What we are witnessing in South Carolina right now are the last gasps of a dying status quo – entrenched politicians (and their legacy media supporters) whose only remaining excuse for the poor performance of their government -run system is that parental choice has become a “distraction.” Clearly their House of Cards is close to toppling.

2016 will not be a repeat of 2012 – in which incumbent-created protections denied challengers a chance to compete in an honest primary. Mark my words: Those currently running victory laps around the South Carolina State House after giving up more than a third of the vote to “petition candidates” will be held accountable for their votes in a true GOP primary three years from now. And from what I am told, there will be an even broader coalition of pro-taxpayer, pro-free market interests aligned against them.

It comes down to this: The Republican-controlled Senate will either pass school choice this year or it wont. If it does, South Carolina’s children, parents and taxpayers will be better for it. If it does not, then school choice advocates will focus every bit of energy they have on the 2016 primaries.

On this we have learned over the years is that choice – in addition to being effective everywhere it has been implemented – is a rising tide both politically and legislatively. When we started this fight we were nowhere in the S.C. General Assembly – now the S.C House has passed choice legislation and we were one rigged primary election away from getting it through the Senate.

One way or the other choice is coming. It is only a matter of resources, planning and patience – and I can ssure you we are blessed with an abundance of all three.

Thank you for your leadership on this issue. I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Take care,

Howard Rich

Gosh, I had no idea Mr. Rich was even aware of The State’s existence, much less that he was so bugged by what it said about him. Oddly, the “hit piece” to which he refers is a fairly straightforward, news story that tells readers about his ongoing contributions to SC lawmakers. It’s also a pretty old story — I don’t know the date of his letter to Sen. Bryant.

By the way, I join “Howie” in complimenting Sen. Bryant on his blog. He was the first blogger in the Legislature, and still maintains it pretty religiously. It’s a good thing that we can keep tabs on what he’s doing and thinking.

Everything that is wrong with our politics, in state & nation

Haley Palin

OK, so maybe it’s not everything — there’s personal pettiness, and anti-intellectualism, and an appalling willingness on the parts of too many to stoop to the lowest common public impulses for advantage — but it’s something that runs through it all, and ruins everything it touches. And besides, those things are more or less related to this thing.

It was on display in this story today about the campaign “warchest” — oh, let’s not forget that another thing that is wrong with our politics is that we pretend that it is war, with all that attendant “fighting for you” trash — that Nikki Haley has assembled for an as-yet-undeclared re-election campaign.

I’m not talking about Nikki Haley in particular here. I’m talking about something that is all too much a part of modern politics, and she just provides us with a good example, because she’s a particularly avid practitioner of what I’m talking about. The relevant passage:

Haley had six fundraisers last quarter, half of them out of state, in California, New York and Florida.

Donations from S.C.-based businesses and residents accounted for less than 60 percent of the total she raised during the quarter. Florida donations were next at 10 percent, followed by New Yorkers at nearly 6 percent.

Californians’ 51 donations ranked second in number behind the 418 reported from South Carolina, but their combined $21,000 ranked fifth in total amount, at 4 percent.

“It’s a strong showing,” Pearson said. “It shows that people in and outside the state want her to be re-elected gov

Haley had six fundraisers last quarter, half of them out of state, in California, New York and Florida.

Donations from S.C.-based businesses and residents accounted for less than 60 percent of the total she raised during the quarter. Florida donations were next at 10 percent, followed by New Yorkers at nearly 6 percent.

Californians’ 51 donations ranked second in number behind the 418 reported from South Carolina, but their combined $21,000 ranked fifth in total amount, at 4 percent.

“It’s a strong showing,” Pearson said. “It shows that people in and outside the state want her to be re-elected governor if she runs.”

And no, I’m not saying it’s awful that she goes after money where she can get it, or anything like that. The thing that I am saying is a problem is the fact that it is possible for a governor, any governor, to go outside his or her state to raise campaign money. It’s the fact that those outsiders will give, when asked the right way, that is the problem of which I speak.

Reading that story, I tried putting myself in Nikki Haley’s place. I tried imagining that I was running for governor, and I was on a fund-raising trip to New York or Florida or California or wherever, and I was standing in front of a well-heeled group of people with checkbooks in their pockets, and I thought:

What on Earth would I say to those people to get them to give money to me for my campaign for governor of South Carolina?

And I couldn’t think of a thing. I mean, I think about the reasons I would run for governor if I did, and they are many. I refer you to my last column at the paper for just a tiny few of those reasons. But not one of the reasons that could ever conceivably motivate me to run could ever possibly motivate someone who does not live in South Carolina and has no stake in South Carolina to give me money.

I would have nothing to say to them. Nothing that would be relevant to them, in any case.

But Nikki Haley, and other politicians who do what she does, have no problem in that regard. That’s because pretty much everything they say, and think, as political creatures is cookie-cutter stuff, the kind of stuff the national talking heads constantly spew out of the Beltway via 24/7 TV “news.” You can’t tell one from another.

That’s why it’s so easy and comfortable for someone like Sarah Palin to campaign alongside Nikki Haley, which they did with such aplomb and comfort in one another’s company during our governor’s first campaign. That’s because, even though they are from very different states with different issues and different needs, they think the same thoughts and say the same things. Henry Ford’s methods of mass production have been applied to politics, so that parts are interchangeable.

This is made possible by the fact that all these folks talk about is ideology — pure, simple, lowest-common-denominator ideology, unsullied by the specifics of reality, which is understood everywhere because of modern communications.

Their words and their thoughts have nothing to do with the messy, organic, ad hoc, practical, idiosyncratic business of governing — which to an honest person who engages it with an open and critical mind practically never meshes with the neat constructs of ideology.

And that’s what’s wrong. That’s what that story made me think about.

Here we go over the cliff, y’all!

This just came over the wire a few minutes ago:

WASHINGTON (AP) – The House will miss the midnight Monday deadline lawmakers set for voting to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”

House Republicans notified lawmakers that the chamber will vote Monday evening on other bills. They say that will be their only votes of the day.

President Barack Obama and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Monday they are near a deal to avoid wide-ranging tax increases and spending cuts – the fiscal cliff – that take effect with the new year.

Both men said they were still bargaining over whether – and how – to avoid $109 billion in cuts to defense and domestic programs that take effect on Wednesday…

OK, so there could still be a deal by Wednesday. And truth be told, the “cliff” is more like a steep incline, with various painful measures being enacted as we move into the new year. There is time, even after tonight, to undo much that the cliff entails.

But still. They’ve known this was coming a year and several months. Pretty much everyone wanted to avoid it. But Washington is so pathetic, they couldn’t get it done.

These are the times we live in.

First the DOR breach, now this

My friend Paula Harper Bethea, who runs the state lottery, disclosed the following today to WLTX, which is billing this story as an exclusive:

Columbia, SC (WLTX) — News19 has learned SLED is investigating funds taken from at least one South Carolina Education Lottery account.

SCEL’s executive director Paula Harper Bethea, tells News19 that accounting discrepancies have been found and an investigation is underway.

Sources tell News19 the dollar amount is six figures. We’re told that the money has since been returned, but charges are still likely to be filed.

Bethea stressed to News19 that this involved the finance side of the lottery and that “at no time was the integrity or the security of the central gaming system or any of our games affected.”

SLED would only confirm that an investigation into the accounting discrepancies is underway and would not release any other information.

First somebody gets into our private data at DOR, now somebody (else?) gets into the lottery till. What next?