Conservation voters want you to know they’re all for the solar bill

This release came in a little while ago:

Friends,

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee cleared the path for the state legislature to give us the sun with solar energy legislation.

The vote was 19-1 in favor, which is unheard of for a piece of legislation like this and a testament to the hard work of our negotiators and a resolve by all the stakeholders to find consensus. As for the sole vote against, we can only assume that the legislator had his judgment temporarily blocked by the bright glare of the sun.

Because the legislation is currently under attack by solar industry groups from out of state, we want to be clear: we wholeheartedly support this bill. We hope this is the beginning of a new era in energy independence for South Carolinians.

Thank you for being a supporter of solar in South Carolina. We still need your help to push this legislation through the Senate and House and to Governor Haley’s desk. The Senate takes its first vote on S.536 this week. Learn more about this issue and contact your elected officials to encourage them to vote YES. To contact your legislator click HERE and just type in your address.

Once S.536 gets through the Senate it moves to the House, so let’s keep up the “heat” to assure that South Carolina’s brightest days are ahead.

Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely

Shawn Drury
Field Director, CVSC

I thought it interesting that the out-of-state industry group is headed by Barry Goldwater. Junior. If he manages to pose a problem to passage of the bill, maybe CVSC could do an advocacy ad featuring a little girl and a daisy

ALL of Richland Election Commission should be replaced

This morning, when I read that there was the potential for every member of the Richland County election commission to be replaced, I wrote on Twitter, “And all five SHOULD be replaced.”

Rep. Nathan Ballentine both favorited and reTweeted my post, so I know I have at least one member of the delegation agreeing with me.

This afternoon, when I got back into town from a business trip to Greenwood, I got a call from a friend, a local businessman who is at the point of retirement, who said he was interested in serving if the delegation was interested in having him. He’s a man who has had a certain success in business, and has been very active in the community. He has no political interests or ambition, and doesn’t want to start playing political games at this stage in life. He’s just concerned about this problem in his community, and is willing to pitch in and help if anyone thinks he can.

In other words, he’s just the kind of person we need serving on the commission.

I called James Smith and asked what the procedure was. I was told he should call the delegation office and get a form to fill out. I passed on the information.

There are at this point about 40 names in the hopper. Here’s hoping that out of the 40, plus the additional ones that will come in now that they’re starting a new filing period, the delegation will find five people willing and able to fix this problem. And that the delegation will actually choose those five…

Your Virtual Front Page, Monday, March 31, 2014

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Not a huge news day, but just to acknowledge what’s going on out there:

  1. Russia in ‘partial’ border pullout (BBC) — So… what’s he leaving in place? I’ll bet it’s still a threat to Ukraine.
  2. Health Website Failures Impede Signup Surge as Deadline Nears (NYT) — A blast from the past on Obamacare’s big day — more website trouble.
  3. U.S. considers release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard (WashPost) — I generally try to keep up with espionage news, but I still have trouble understanding why we were holding someone who spied for an ally in prison. Edward Snowden is still running around loose (sort of) and making appearances at SXSW, and this guy’s been in prison for 27 years? Something is askew here.
  4. Koreas Trade Fire Amid North’s Drills (WSJ) — All we need…
  5. Suspect arrested in Five Points shooting (thestate.com) — What are we going to do about this stuff, folks?
  6. Guinea faces huge Ebola epidemic (The Guardian) — News to shudder at. Even a tiny Ebola outbreak should be enough to send chills down the spine.Just in case the Ukraine and Korea stories didn’t worry you enough…

The new ‘American Party’s’ slate of candidates for 2014

I talked with Oscar Lovelace over the weekend, and he was pretty pumped that the new party he and Jim Rex have started is now fielding its first candidates. Here’s a release about that that the American Party sent out this afternoon:

The American Party is proud and excited to introduce our four candidates for office this year!

 

Jill Bossi - candidate for U.S. Senate (Tim Scott’s unexpired term seat).
Ed Murray - candidate for Superintendent of Education.
Emile DeFelice - candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture.
Donna McGreevy - candidate for State House (District 74 – Columbia).

 

These four outstanding candidates will carry the American Party’s banner into the November General Election.

 

We would like to introduce them over the next few days beginning with Jill Bossi….

JILL BOSSI ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY

 FOR U.S. SENATE

American Party candidate seeks to end political gridlock  

 

 

(Tega Cay, SC)…Saying “enough is enough, it’s time to put an end to the political extremism and gridlock in Washington”, Jill Bossi today announced her candidacy for the United States Senate.

 

Bossi, who served as the former Vice President of the American Red Cross, has never run for office and is seeking the Senate seat now held by Tim Scott who was appointed to that position early last year.jill bossi logo composite

 

“The politicians in Washington haven’t passed a budget for our country in over six years and they haven’t provided a balanced budget since 2001. This is not the way to run a business or a family…let alone a country. Something has to change”, said Bossi.

 

Bossi chose to run as an American Party candidate because she believes in the Party’s core principles; Putting an end to career politicians by passing term limits; Governing more from the center instead of the political extremes; Holding elected officials accountable to higher ethical standards and greater transparency; And increasing the economic global competitiveness of our state and nation.

 

“Many have forgotten that our Founding Fathers created a government ‘Of the people, by the people, and for the people’. I want to end the stalemate and make government work again for our country. By putting ‘America First’ over party and politics, we can begin solving problems instead of creating them”, said Bossi.

 

Bossi also said her priorities include…focusing on finding smarter solutions to jump start our economy and putting Americans back to work, passing comprehensive tax reform for individuals and companies by simplifying the tax code, and making healthcare more affordable without invasive government regulations. 

 

As the former Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer for The American Red Cross. Mrs. Bossi was responsible for managing all Supply Chain and Travel related services for the organization. While at The American Red Cross, Mrs. Bossi redesigned the supply chain, implemented new policies and procedures, streamlined the purchase of goods and services by the organization across the Red Cross’ entire footprint in the United States and its seven territories. These changes resulted in millions of dollars in savings for the Red Cross; enabling better stewardship of donor dollars.

 

Prior to her work for the Red Cross, Mrs. Bossi was the Senior Vice President and Sourcing Executive for Global Commercial Banking and Global Wealth Management at Bank of America. While at Bank of America Mrs. Bossi was instrumental in the redesign of the entire supply chain management function for the Bank.

 

During her career, Mrs. Bossi has also served as Vice President of Strategic Sourcing for Experian North America, one of the three largest credit-reporting agencies in the U.S., as Director of G&A Procurement for Verizon Wireless. Mrs. Bossi has held senior supply management roles with companies as diverse as Packard Bell NEC, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lorimar Studios and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios. She holds a BS in Business Management and has been published in many supply chain journals and publications.

 

Jill and her husband Richard have been married for 16 years, live in Tega Cay, SC and together they have four children and four grandchildren. Jill attends Grace Presbyterian Church in Fort Mill.

 

 

Visit Jill’s website at: www.bossi4senate.com.

So congratulations to the new party. Although I’m a little disappointed that they’re not fielding candidates in the races where partisanship is most insidious. I would have liked to see them putting someone up to oppose Jim Clyburn and Joe Wilson. Those are two examples of the “safe districts” partisans draw for themselves and their friends (the Republicans who draw the districts are happy to create the super-Democratic district for Clyburn, because that enables them to draw six very safe GOP districts — that is to say, one super-black district yields six super-white ones).

Not that a challenger would have had much of a chance. It just would have been nice to see.

Oscar told me they came very close to putting up an opponent for Wilson in the 2nd, but it just didn’t happen…

I think Ainsley may become my favorite ‘West Wing’ character

I never saw “The West Wing” when it was on the air, for a number of reasons, not the least of which the fact that I wasn’t watching all that much television in those days. I basically had a TV for watching movies, and didn’t get into watching actual TV programming regularly until AMC started its string of must-watch shows (“Mad Men,” the first few episodes of “Rubicon,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead”…).

There was one reason, though, that I particularly avoided “The West Wing.” I had heard, I suppose from a Republican, that it was a fantasy show for liberal Democrats, a picture of the way they would want the world to be. I was finding Democrats particularly tiresome — that is to say, more tiresome than usual — when the show went on the air in 1999. Most of the angry readers I was dealing with in that period were Democrats, between admirers of Bill Clinton (we were tied, I think, for being the first newspaper in the country to urge him to resign) and of Jim Hodges (the show premiered at a moment right in between his election, which we opposed, and our all-out fight against his signature issue, the lottery).

I just didn’t need to hear any more about how members of that party thought the world ought to be.

But I started watching it on Netlflix during my nightly workouts on the elliptical trainer (they’re almost the perfect length for a 40-minute workout), and the first thing I have to tell you is that what I had heard was a most unfair description of the show. Sure, there will occasionally be an instance in which the liberal position is treated briefly as the only one that’s right and true. For instance, as I mentioned the other day, I was pretty irritated when all the main characters acted like a potential judicial nominee who said there is no blanket right to privacy in the Constitution (there is none, whatever the Supremes may say) had said the Earth was flat.

But you’re just as likely to hear characters ably represent other points of view — such as the early episode in which several staffers point out why “hate-crime” laws are inconsistent with liberal democracy. For every red-meat moment such as the one in which President Bartlet humiliates a thinly disguised Dr. Laura using a rather trite liberal device (asking whether she was for literally applying everything in Leviticus), there’s one in which a conservative view wins out, or is at least fairly considered.

The best example of that so far was the episode I watched last night, the fourth in the second season, titled “In This White House.”

It started with an obnoxiously overconfident Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) going on a political talk show to push an education bill. He is demolished on the air by a little blonde girl with a deferential Southern manner who looks to be about 16.

This causes a sensation in the White House. A delighted Josh runs to tell Toby, “Sam’s getting his ass kicked by a girl!” Toby — the Eeyore of the executive branch, a guy who is thrilled by nothing — comes running, saying breathlessly, “Ginger, get the popcorn!” (The good part of the above clip starts at about 2:20.)

But things really get interesting when the president — and Jed Bartlet really is everyone’s idea of a perfect president: wise, fatherly, kind, thoughtful, fair, idealistic, practical and always human — decides to hire Ainsley Hayes.

Enjoying Sam discomfiture at being humiliated by Ms. Hayes is one thing. Bringing the conservative Republican on board is another, and the idea causes much consternation on the staff.

But I think she’s going to be a great addition. As she goes through the throes of deciding whether to take the job, she becomes, if not exactly the voice of the UnParty, a lens for focusing on everything that is wrong in modern partisanship. She reprimands both sides for their destructive habit of demonizing their opponents. When Sam (his ego still bruised from his first encounter with her — he keeps thinking women on the staff are mocking him when they’re not) says defenders of the Second Amendment aren’t about freedom and protection; they’re just people who like guns… she settles his hash yet again by saying:

Yes, they do. But you know what’s more insidious than that? Your gun control position doesn’t have anything to do with public safety, and it’s certainly not about personal freedom. It’s about you don’t like people who do like guns. You don’t like the people. Think about that, the next time you make a joke about the South.

(I remembered what she said when I saw this predictable Tweet from Slate today saying “This is what gun ownership looks like in America.” Be sure to check the picture.)

Then, in the episode’s penultimate scene, Ainsley meets two of her GOP friends in a restaurant. They think she has turned the job down, and they can’t wait to hear about the look on Chief of Staff Leo McGarry’s face. As she sits there looking thoughtful, her friends engage in the sort of rant that we hear too often from both sides.

“I hate these people,” says her friend Harriet.

“Did you meet anyone there who isn’t worthless?” adds Bruce.

“Don’t say that,” Ainsley says softly.

Bruce continues, “Did you meet anyone there who has any-?”

Ainsley lights into him:

I said don’t say that. Say they’re smug and superior, say their approach to public policy makes you want to tear your hair out. Say they like high taxes and spending your money. Say they want to take your guns and open your borders, but don’t call them worthless. At least don’t do it in front of me.

Her friends look stunned. She chokes up as she continues:

The people that I have met have been extraordinarily qualified, their intent is good.
Their commitment is true, they are righteous, and they are patriots.

And I’m their lawyer.

And she walks out.

Wow. If she didn’t look so extremely young, I’d be in love at this point. I think I’m really going to enjoy this character….

I wonder why Hutto isn’t running against Scott instead of Graham?

This just in:

Brad Hutto announces run for U.S. Senate

“Washington, D.C. is broken – and it is time for new leadership in Washington, our current leaders have become part of the problem,” says Hutto

 Orangeburg lawyer and State Senator Brad Hutto announced that he has filed to run for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Lindsay Graham.  Hutto, a Democrat, represents parts of Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton, and Orangeburg counties in the state legislature.Brad Hutto

In announcing his candidacy, Hutto set his sights on Congressional gridlock. “Washington is broken, and we need someone from outside of the Beltway to help improve life for South Carolinians.  We send billions of tax dollars to D.C. every year yet we have crumbling roads, failing schools, and struggling rural communities to show for it. And both sides are to blame.”

While serving in the State Senate, Hutto received a 100% rating from the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce for his pro-business record.  In the Senate, Hutto often leads the fight to improve schools, promote renewable energy options, and protect our natural resources.  Hutto is often in the forefront of causes to insure the individual rights and liberties of all.  He is known for his commitment to children and is an active member of the South Carolina Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children.

“We need a leader in the Senate who will spend more time talking to folks in Barnwell, Bishopville, and Beaufort than appearing on Sunday morning talk shows.  I will focus on job creation with special emphasis on rural South Carolina,” said Hutto.  “We need to require our overseas allies to accept a larger role in their own security so that we can start refocusing attention on rebuilding roads and schools in our own country.”

Recent polling highlights Graham’s vulnerability, with polls consistently showing that even Republican primary voters – where he should be strongest – have reservations about his extended tenure in D.C. 

Hutto lives in Orangeburg with his wife of 28 years, Tracy, a pediatrician.  His son Skyler is a student at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law.  Hutto graduated from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina and received his law degree from Georgetown University.  Hutto, an Eagle Scout, is a Past President of the Boy Scouts’ Indian Waters Council that serves South Carolina’s midlands region, and he remains active with Scouting on many levels.

www.BradHutto.com

###

My first thought in reading the headline was, OK, so maybe Tim Scott will have some opposition in the general.

Then I saw that he’s running for Graham’s seat. Which doesn’t make sense. He cites this as his reasoning:

Recent polling highlights Graham’s vulnerability, with polls consistently showing that even Republican primary voters – where he should be strongest – have reservations about his extended tenure in D.C.

Which is just kind of inside-out partisan thinking. Yes, Hutto is one of the more enthusiastic partisans on the Democratic side in the Legislature. But it really takes a particularly simplistic, dualistic view of the politcal world to say, “even Republicans… have reservations” about Graham. “Even” Republicans? Republicans are the people Graham has trouble with. Not Democrats, particularly. Certainly not independents. Assuming Graham can secure his renomination — and he most likely will, after some discomfort — he’s going to blow past anyone who opposes him in the general as though that hapless individual is standing still.

Is this not obvious to everyone?

Why is everybody and his brother lining up to run against Graham — “even” Democrats? While Scott gets a relative free ride, in terms of not having anyone opposing him likely to make him break a sweat.

It’s weird…

That’s not the first example I think of, Henry

I was just now looking back at the press release from yesterday announcing Henry McMaster’s entry into the contest for lieutenant governor:

McMaster Files for Lt. Gov.
For Immediate Release                                                                           March 27, 2014
Contact:  Adam Fogle @ 803-394-3006
 
COLUMBIA, SC — Former S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster officially filed Thursday as a Republican candidate for Lt. Governor.  In an online video announcement McMaster said, “For this job, experience really does matter.”
 
In addition to serving eight years as Attorney General, McMaster gained national attention when President Ronald Reagan chose him as his first U.S. Attorney.  In that job, McMaster led a crackdown on corruption and drug trafficking.  He later became State Republican Party Chairman and led the SCGOP through a period of historic growth.
 
With a strong record in both the public and private sectors, McMaster said he brings to the race “a unique mix of experience and proven results.”  In announcing his decision to offer as a candidate for Lt. Governor, McMaster issued the following statement:
 

Experience Matters

“The next four years will be critical to our state’s political, economic and cultural future.  I love South Carolina and I want to help create a future of progress and prosperity.
 
“As Lt. Governor, I plan to be a strong voice for conservative reform in State government.  I’ll be ready on day one to preside over the work of the State Senate.  It takes experience in State government and knowledge of the law to do a good job.
 
“After four years of Barack Obama, I think we’ve learned that on-the-job-training is not always a good idea.  For the job of Lt. Governor, qualifications really matter.
 
“I’m also ready to address the growing challenges faced by our state’s seniors and adults with disabilities.  At the present rate, South Carolina’s senior population will double by the year 2030.
 
“I’ve discussed this issue in detail with my friend Glenn McConnell, our current Lt. Governor.  He is making wonderful progress in developing plans and strategies to deal with the aging crisis.  And I am prepared to follow in his footsteps.
 
“Finally, I’m ready to work with Governor Haley and the conservative leaders of the State Legislature to protect taxpayers, grow our economy, create new jobs and build a tomorrow we can all be proud of.
 
“That’s why I’m running as a conservative Republican for Lt. Governor and I ask for your support.”
 
The Republican Primary will be held Tuesday, June 10.  Learn more about Henry McMaster atHenryMcMaster.com.  View the entire video announcement on YouTube.
-30-

Did you catch that non sequitur about the president? “After four years of Barack Obama…” (On his website, by the way, he says somewhat more accurately, “After nearly six years of Barack Obama…)

As criticism of POTUS goes, of course, that’s fairly mild stuff. His inexperience was one of the things that kept me in the John McCain camp in our 2008 endorsement. So, fair observation there.

But hey — what does it have to do with running for lieutenant governor? You’d think he’d compare himself to his opponents for the nomination, not to Republicans’ favorite national whipping boy. (Yeah, I know how this plays in the GOP base. But I have to wonder: Doesn’t anyone in that base ever go, “Hey, wait a minute. What does this have to do with Obama?”)

Here we go again, y’all. I thought Henry was easily the best of the GOP field for governor last time around. But one thing kept me from feeling good about his candidacy: His over-the-top — I mean, “over-the-top” by the standards of reasonable folk; not “over-the-top” by, say, Tea Party standards — attempts to nationalize the campaign. Remember the ad in which he promised to protect us from Obama and his Washington “vultures”?

Speaking of Tea Party standards…

If he were really concerned about on-the-job training, don’t you think the first politician who would come to mind would be someone closer to home — say, our governor, who had three terms as a House backbencher and no known managerial experience before becoming our chief executive?

But Henry would never do that. Henry has been remarkably loyal in his support of the governor ever since she beat him for the nomination in 2010. The State today talked about how Henry is one of three candidates for Gov Lite who have “ties” to the governor. But Henry is the one she owes, the one who has swallowed every ounce of pride to be her cheerleader, and give her countenance among business types and party regulars.

How McConnell is playing nationally

In one venue, at least…

Slate runs a fairly even-handed (despite the Slate teaser, “IS A MAN WHO DRESSES LIKE A CONFEDERATE GENERAL UNFIT TO BE A COLLEGE PRESIDENT?”) piece that first appeared in Inside Higher Ed. There are no surprises in it. I just find it interesting to see how our controversies in SC play elsewhere, particularly in a case in which the protesters claim that McConnell’s selection will hurt out-of-state recruitment and the value of a College of Charleston education.

An excerpt:

Trustees at the College of Charleston are facing heat from faculty and students for picking South Carolina’s lieutenant governor as the college’s next president. In the process, critics say, the trustees brushed aside warnings that Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell’s promotion of Confederate history could damage Charleston’s reputation and turn away prospective students and donors.

In picking McConnell, the public liberal arts college’s trustees reportedly ignored the school’s own search committee, which did not recommend the politician—who has never worked in higher education—for president.

Backlash has been swift. Students rallied against McConnell’s selection Monday in the largest campus protest in recent memory. “This is 2014 NOT 1814,” one sign read. On Tuesday the student government voted no confidence in the college’s trustees. …

As you see, not much new. I just thought I’d share.

Your Virtual Front Page, Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not much big happening outside of Ukraine, but here goes:

  1. UN declares Crimea vote illegal (BBC) — Likely response from Putin: “Illegal, schmillegal.” The vote was nonbinding, and backed up by essentially nothing. But still, the UN took a stand, which is something.
  2. Congress Backs New Sanctions, Kiev Aid  (WSJ) — The U.S. provides $1 billion in loan guarantees, while the IMF ponies up $14-18 billion.
  3. Health-care enrollment hits goal of 6 million (WashPost) — That’s the adjusted goal, mind you. But it hardly fits the GOP narrative of a total, bungled failure, does it?
  4. Obama meets pope on Vatican visit (The Guardian) — As far as I know, Russell Crowe’s new movie about Noah was not discussed. POTUS kept gushing, “It’s wonderful meeting you. It’s wonderful meeting you,” Obama began. “Thank you so much for receiving me.” Further proof of what a rock star this pope is.
  5. McMaster files for lieutenant governor (thestate.com) — Four years ago, he was the presumptive front-runner for governor — before scandal sympathy and the Tea Party boosted Nikki Haley past him. Can we go ahead and call him the front-runner for Gov Lite? I think so. In any case, if the governor doesn’t back him, she knows not what loyalty is. He’s been a good soldier for her ever since his crushing defeat at her hands.
  6. Obama formally outlines NSA reform (The Guardian) — Using the word “reform” loosely, of course. I read the explanation, and remain confused as to what POTUS wants to do now. What is described in this story doesn’t sound terribly useful, but perhaps I’m reading it wrong. By the way, in my quick overview of news sites, only The Guardian was giving this significant play.

Guess you better slow your Mustang down

Yesterday, I saw the hawk on my way in to work. Today, I encountered a character from R&B legend, previously believed to be fictional.

There was this late-model white Mustang coming up behind me on Sunset Boulevard, coming on too fast. I got into the right lane, preparing to get onto the ramp for Jarvis Klapman, and it started to zip past me — but then we were both stopped by a traffic light.

My eye was drawn to the furious activity going on in the driver’s seat of that car. It was a young woman who was very busy applying makeup. She had a powder brush in her right hand, and rather than brushing it on, she seemed to be aggressively stabbing her cheek with the brush, and looking in her rearview to check the effect. Maybe she was trying to redden her cheek under the powder.

Then, I noticed the cigarette smoke curling up from her left side, partly blocked by her head. So I’m pretty sure that hand was fully occupied, too.

The light changed, and she stomped on the accelerator, and rushed away.

It was then that I realized that I had just seen Mustang Sally herself.

She needs to slow that Mustang down…

It is completely wrong for this country to change ANY policy in response to Edward Snowden’s actions

Slatest got straight to the heart of the matter:

Edward Snowden was the first to declare victory. On Monday night, the Obama administration had, via the New York Times, announced the imminent end of the bulk collection of metadata and proposed new rules requiring the National Security Agency to get warrants before grabbing individual records. It was far less than what civil libertarians had wanted. But Snowden calledthe White House announcement a “turning point” and the “beginning of a new effort to reclaim our rights from the NSA.”

The race to the bandwagon had begun. By Tuesday morning the Republican-run House Intelligence Committee was polishing and promoting the End Bulk Collection Act of 2014, which would grudgingly achieve much of what the White House grudgingly asked for. On Tuesday afternoon, Sens. Rand Paul, Ron Wyden, and Mark Udall strolled into a Senate hallway bustling with reporters to accept the NSA’s partial surrender….

Never mind Rand Paul, et al. The Washington Post reports “an emerging consensus” from the White House to the Hill that the collection of metadata must cease.

This is an utter outrage.

A former junior employee of a government contractor, traveling with stolen national security secrets, broadcasts what he knows to the world. The President of the United States says the programs Snowden is on about are legal, measured, accountable and appropriate. Responsible members of Congress back him up.

A mere few months later, after a drip-drip-drip campaign by this self-appointed king of America (what else to call someone who is not elected, but takes it upon himself to subvert the policies and procedures arrived at by the duly constituted authorities in all three branches of our government?) and his fellow travelers, enough emotion and semi-conscious twitches of discomfort have been detected among the American public that the president, and the Congress, are ready to abandon policies that they know to be just fine as they are.

And the new “decider” for America is so obviously deluded, so obviously a fantasist with no sense of perspective, that it’s appalling to think of him deciding anything.

There are some who agree with Snowden’s fantasy that he is a defender of our Constitution. And yet, what he has done is presume to subvert the system of decision-making and checks and balances that our Constitution was written to set up.

This is disgusting. And it is an open invitation to the next self-aggrandizing, malcontent punk with a far-too-high security clearance who wants to undo American policy all by his lonesome. Just throw a wrench into the works! The United States government will bow down before you!

The only proper governmental response to Edward Snowden was to pursue him, to apprehend him if possible, to try him, and to lock him away.

Instead, this is what our elected leaders have done…

Apparently, Rainman is now in charge of search for MH370

Image of debris Tweeted by USAToday.

Image of debris Tweeted by USAToday.

First, credit where credit is due — Bryan Caskey came up with the Rainman bit.

He said that this morning when I responded to this alert from the BBC:

A further 122 objects potentially from missing Malaysian flight identified by satellite, Malaysian minister says http://bbc.in/1duQCP9 

By saying, “122? Exactly?

Not 121. Not 123. One hundred and twenty-two pieces of wreckage, exactly. I mean, come on. Now even Rainman could fix the fragments in a debris field floating in the ocean that precisely. Toothpicks scattered on a diner floor, sure. But not pieces of pieces floating in the deep blue sea. How do you know, for instance, that two or three of them aren’t the above-water part of one piece that’s mostly submerged?

And it wasn’t just the BBC — everybody was dutifully reporting that exactly 122 objects were spotted. The thing that got me was that the Beeb said it was 122 further objects. Similarly, USAToday reported that they were 122 new objects — like you could tell these objects from others spotted before.

Yeah. OK…

One senses that these news organizations have been so starved for substantive, hard information about what happened to this flight and the people on it that they will lunge at anything that looks factual and precise.

No matter how absurd such precision seems, if you stop and think about it…

A wild, beautiful vision in the heart of downtown

I’ve got this thing about hawks. Whenever I’m driving through the countryside and I see one gliding above the road or the woods and fields to the sides, it’s special to me. I’m like, “Look! A hawk!” And my wife is like, “Yes, I see that — yet another hawk…”

Well, she would have been impressed had she been with me a few minutes ago.

I was eastbound on Lady Street, waiting at that light (which must be one of the Top Five longest red lights in Columbia) to cross Bull. The light finally changed, and as I put the truck in gear and started to move, a hawk came swooping across the street at me, no more than four or five feet off the ground.

It was carrying something furry and rather large — maybe a big squirrel, smaller than a ‘possum or raccoon — and I think maybe that was retarding its effort to gain altitude. It passed my window, almost within arm’s reach. I saw the working of its wings, its fierce, proud visage (which would never show that it was having a hard time), close-up and in action.

As I rolled across Bull, I glanced in the rearview and saw the hawk glide around, rather than over, another vehicle behind me (anything but let go, in keeping with the First Law of the Foot). Then I saw it rise, maybe 12 or 15 feet, toward a tree branch. Then I lost sight of it.

But what I did see was a treat. If you have a thing about hawks, the way I do. I wish I could have gotten a picture. But even if I were wearing Google Glass, it was probably too quick to get the shot — unless I just happened to be shooting video, and it’s hard to imagine why I’d have been doing that at the most boring intersection in Columbia.

I’m sure it was less of a treat for the furry thing. But that’s nature for you. As Woody Allen observed in “Love and Death” (in answer to Diane Keaton’s observation, “Isn’t nature incredible?”):

To me, nature is…I dunno, spiders and bugs and big fish eating little fish, and plants eating plants and animals eating…It’s like an enormous restaurant.

Would you have locked Hitler away forever?

Andrew Sullivan brought this to my attention the other day, under the suitable headline “Time and Punishment,” and I’m just getting around to sharing it. Ross Anderson interviewed philosopher Rebecca Roache on the moral implications of life-extending technologies. An excerpt:

Suppose we eventually learn to put off death indefinitely, and that we extend this treatment to prisoners. Is there any crime that would justify eternal imprisonment? Take Hitler as a test case. Say the Soviets had gotten to the bunker before he killed himself, and say capital punishment was out of the question – would we have put him behind bars forever?

Roache: It’s tough to say. If you start out with the premise that a punishment should be proportional to the crime, it’s difficult to think of a crime that could justify eternal imprisonment. You could imagine giving Hitler one term of life imprisonment for every person killed in the Second World War. That would make for quite a long sentence, but it would still be finite. The endangerment of mankind as a whole might qualify as a sufficiently serious crime to warrant it. As you know, a great deal of the research we do here at the Oxford Martin School concerns existential risk. Suppose there was some physics experiment that stood a decent chance of generating a black hole that could destroy the planet and all future generations. If someone deliberately set up an experiment like that, I could see that being the kind of supercrime that would justify an eternal sentence.

So, just to carry the absurdity a bit farther… Would the rest of us be around when he got out, having had our own lives extended? Would any of us be Holocaust survivors? Would we have to watch him walk out, a free man? After millions of lifetimes, would anyone care, or would we have been changed over time in ways we can’t even imagine. If one of us shot him as he walked out, what would our sentence be?

Bottom line, only God gets to hand out eternal sentences. It’s probably a good thing that we lack the ability to usurp that authority…

Sheheen is officially running

This release came in a few minutes ago:

Sheheen files for office, pledges leadership and accountability for South Carolina
Columbia, SC – Today Sen. Vincent Sheheen officially filed to run for Governor of South Carolina in 2014, pledging to bring honest leadership and real accountability to the governor’s office and work across the aisle to deliver results for the people of South Carolina.
“We need honest leadership and real accountability to improve public education, grow our economy from within, and rebuild our roads and bridges to create a better future for South Carolina,” said Sen. Sheheen. “More importantly, we need leaders who will work with both parties to get things done, but aren’t afraid to stand up to either party to do what’s right. That’s the experience and vision we’re bringing to the people of South Carolina so that, together, we can change the way this state does business once and for all.”
Sen. Sheheen announced his intention to run in for governor again last April and has since traveled around the state meeting with small business owners, teachers, women and hardworking families to listen to the challenges they face and discuss his vision for a brighter future for South Carolina.
“Under Nikki Haley, there’s been no accountability, no results – just failures of leadership and incompetence,” Sheheen continued. “The people of South Carolina deserve a government that works and works for them. And when government doesn’t, they don’t need excuses, they deserve action and results. It’s time for new leadership.”
In the past three years, South Carolina’s families have been repeatedly hurt and exposed to threats because of the incompetence of Nikki Haley and her administration:
  • hacking at the Dept of Revenue allowed 3.5 million people’s Social Security number to be stolen, Nikki Haley covered it up for 16 days.
  • TB outbreak at a public school that Nikki Haley’s administration covered up for two months, refusing to tell parents that their kids were being exposed to tuberculosis everyday at school.
  • children dying and being repeatedly put at risk because of the Haley administration’s focus on getting their numbers down at the Dept of Social Services left at risk kids in abusive homes and dangerous situations.
  • hardworking families are struggling and the economy continues to lag with falling wages, declining average income, and a staggering drop in the workforce as people give up looking for work.
  • small businesses are stuck at the back of the line as Nikki Haley’s focus on only recruiting big out-of-state businesses stacks the deck against them and forces them to pay the highest commercial property taxes in the country.
  • South Carolina remains first in the nation for women killed by men while Nikki Haley vetoed fining for rape crisis centers. And women have an especially hard time achieving economic success, as South Carolina makes no effort at achieving equal pay for equal work.
“The test of leadership is not how you act when things go right, it’s how you act when things go wrong,” said Sen Sheheen “South Carolina deserves a leader who will be honest with people, take responsibility for failures, and demand accountability from their administration to deliver results from people of South Carolina. It’s time to end the cover-ups and excuses, and instead present a vision for the future and work to bring people together to achieve results. That’s how I have always worked, and it’s a belief and work ethic I will bring to the Governor’s office.”
Senator Sheheen laid out his vision for a more prosperous future for South Carolina based on honest leadership and real accountability:
  • universal, voluntary 4-year-old kindergarten to increase access to public education and get the most bang for the buck
  • improve learning by treating teachers like professionals, and raising teacher pay to the national average to attract and keep quality teachers in the classroom
  • build South Carolina’s economy from within by focusing on small businesses and supporting them just as much as businesses recruited from out of state.
  • restore South Carolina’s roads and bridges to improve safety for families and build infrastructure for businesses to get the state economy moving.
  • appoint competent leaders and demand accountability when things go wrong.
Vincent Sheheen ran against Gov. Haley in 2010, in one of the closest gubernatorial races in the country, narrowly losing by just 4.5 points in a wave year for Republicans. The most recent statewide polling shows Nikki Haley’s approval numbers stuck in the low 40s and the 2014 match-up between Haley and Sheheen as a dead heat.
Read more about his ideas for South Carolina at www.vincentsheheen.com and in his book, The Right Way: Getting the Palmetto State Back on Track.
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Art imitating life imitating art imitating life imitating…

USS Nimitz

USS Nimitz

Hollywood makes a movie, a year or so ago, about the Iran hostage crisis. It tells the true story of how the CIA pretended to be making a movie in Iran in order to sneak a handful of the American hostages out of the country.

The real movie about the fake movie that hoaxed the Iranians wins the Best Picture Oscar, which Iran could not have failed to notice.

So… now we see that Iran is building a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier — or rather, a vessel that looks like a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. They do it in plain sight, so we can’t fail to notice. Our intel guys watch it being built ever since last summer, and we finally get to the point that we can’t stand it anymore, and have to say something.

Then, when the United States raises questions as to what in the world Iran is up to, they respond, Uhhh… it’s for a movie! Yeah, that’s the ticket… we’re making a movie… ya know, like ‘Argo.’

Which makes us wonder what they’re really up to. What could be the actual purpose for which making a movie is the transparent cover?

Whatever it is, when they spring it on us, I half expect the Iranians to say, “Argo ___ yourself!”

"I'm, uhhh... making a movie! Yeah, that's the ticket..."

“I’m, uhhh… making a movie! Yeah, that’s the ticket…”

Can anyone identify this aircraft?

plane

I’ve already asked Burl, our resident expert on aviation history, via email. Of course, his main area of specialization is military (I think), and this really looks civilian to me. But he probably knows, and I’m awaiting a reply.

Anyway, Lanier Jones of ADCO had this framed picture (sorry about the reflection of me in the image; the picture doesn’t have non-reflective glass), and was curious as to what sort of aircraft it was. (I’d have taken it out and scanned it, but I think he just had if framed.)

I told him it looked like an early airliner. I can think of no other reason for the windows. General shape is like a DC-3 (the civilian version of the C-47), but it seems much too small to be one of those.

Anyone?

 

If ‘crazy’ is called for, Obama’s not your man

Thought this clip of David Brooks talking about what it might take to stop Putin in Ukraine — since the usual stuff (sanctions, etc.) isn’t working — rather interesting:

DAVID BROOKS: I’m also thinking, sometimes you just have to do something a little crazy. Putin did something a little crazy. And we’re all, ooh, let’s not get in front of that guy.

Obama is like the least likely person you’re ever going to meet to do something crazy. He’s prudent, thinks thing through? But sometimes you just got to strike a little fear…

JUDY WOODRUFF: Like what? I mean, what would be…

DAVID BROOKS: Well, I’m beginning to think we’re going to get to a spot, if this continues to escalate, and it’s clear — well, it seems clear that Putin is — just wants to — if Ukraine wants to go West, he will dismember Ukraine.

And it seems to me that arming, not getting involved, us, in Ukraine, but arming Ukraine for some deterrent effect to keep the Russians out of there is a useful thing to start to think about. And I think we’re probably going to end up having a serious debate about that…

Yeah… You’ve got that right. Barack Obama just doesn’t do crazy.

Now, George Bush, he would do crazy. And as you know, I thought it one of his virtues. (I didn’t think he had many, but I granted him that one.) The invasion of Iraq would have been a wonderful deterrent to rogue, or merely problematic, regimes — if Bush could have maintained the impression that he would be willing and able to do something like that again.

The invasion of Iraq scared the stuffing out of Moammar Qaddafi, who immediately gave up his attempt to get nukes. There were signs of nervousness across the region, as oligarchs and dictators thought, “If he’ll take out Saddam, just like that, he could come after me next. He’s crazy…”

But then Bush lost public support over Iraq, and it became clear he didn’t have the capital to do anything like that again, and everybody calmed down…

No chance of that happening with President Obama. Even when the other kids — France, Britain — volunteer to go first, he’s not going to get crazy. He was elected pretty much on an anti-crazy platform.