Thursday, August 31, 2006

SC6 Trivia Quiz: Hillary Clinton, Hilary Duff, or Duff McKagan ????

Since we're heading towards a Holiday weekend, let's have some fun. Here's a quiz that combines three of my favorite things: Politics, Women , and Rock n Roll..... Michael Reese, why haven't you thought of this??

Try to guess who did what - Sen. Hillary Clinton , Actress Hilary Duff, or Guns n Roses and Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan...... Enjoy!

Who is a Rocker, who wants to Rock, and who is as hard as rocks? McKagan, Duff and Clinton, in that order...

Who penned a best-selling book, who penned a best selling song, and who penned an album of inane drivel? Clinton (nee Rodham), McKagan, and Duff.

Who had Vince Foster killed? Hilary Duff...

Who played Lizzie McGuire on the Disney Channel? Duff McKagan.

Who had a decade long addiction to heroin? Hillary Clinton.

Who sounds best cranked up to 11? McKagan.

Who sounds best with the mute button on? Hilary Duff.

Who sounds best turned of completely? Hillary Clinton.

Quote: "I'm not gonna stay at home and bake cookies"? Duff McKagan.

Quote: " Axl Rose is an idiot... I would never get back together with him again." Hilary Duff.

Quote: "These Guitars kick ass.... Don't like it? F- off!". Hillary Clinton.

Wait. I think I got some of these mixed up..... Anyway, have a nice Labor Day weekend. Drive safe, and I'll see you Monday!

Caution on the Side of Erring: Florence County Schools Get "Rained Out"........

A quick lesson to the Florence County School Administration. The above map is called a RADAR Weather Map. The green and yellow indicate rain, and the point just east of Columbia where the two roads meet is where Florence is... If there is no green or yellow, it isn't raining. Sometimes it rains, but it doesn't necessarily mean school needs to be cancelled - like today.

Yes, classes were axed at 100PM for Elementary School, and 215PM for Jr. and Senior High today - for nothing. The rain was minimal, and winds have topped out at 20MPH. While it might seem like a stupid decision that didn't affect anybody, I'll straighten that thought out. I work with two other people in my department. When the news came, one of my co-workers had to drop everything and pick up her daughter, right in the middle of our lunch shifts. Since you can't drop kids at daycare early, she had to take the rest of the day off. That left the two of us to cover for her work - it's not her fault, but she never should have left, because as the day went on, it became obvious that Ernesto was pushing East. Then again, I can read a map...........

My guess is that someone at Admin. saw the Thursday afternoon storm, and figured that the extended weekend could be stretched another day. What they don't realize is that when they make dumb calls like this one, thousands of residents - not just the ones with kids- are thrown into chaos over nothing. Thanks Guys!

This just in.............. Classes will be cancelled for all of April..

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Katrina , 9/11, and the Hubris of Man..........

As we hit the 1st Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I've been reading a lot of posts and the media accounts. I'll stay clear of laying blame - that's already been done by all the pundits, or at least those with an agenda. However, I have had one overwhelming thought that hits me everytime I listen to everyone's comments: We have no respect for things we can't control...

First, I watched Big Easy Mayor Ray Nagin on 60 Minutes. His "It's taken NY 5 years to fill up a hole in the ground" needs to be looked at two ways. Yes , it's only about 16 acres that were affected, but they did have to sift through 4 or five major concrete and steel buildings, not to mention identifying 3500 bodies crushed to about the size of a quarter each. It takes time. However, he does have a point.... September 11th really was restricted to a small , targeted area, whereas Katrina cut a 90 mile wide swath across the Gulf. This gets me to my main point. America has a real pair of brass ones if we think we can control Nature.

I watched a Weather Channel special on New Orleans and what a Category 3 hurricane could do TWO YEARS before Katrina hit, and it went exactly as they said. Too bad local officials and FEMA don't watch basic cable.. We can build walls and skyscrapers and huge ships, but every once in a while, Nature comes along and kicks our butts to show that we really are NOT in control. So, as a refresher, here is the pecking order for Planet Earth:

Number One: Your Deity of Choice.. Personally, mine is Our Lord God.

Second Place: Mother Nature. And as we know from TV....It's not nice to fool ( or mess with) Mother Nature.....

Last Place: Man.

Sure , we can try to develop chemicals that can stop hurricanes, but against No.'s One and Two, we are basically powerless. Want proof? You need look no further than earlier this Hurricane Season.. Remember Alberto? It was chugging along at Cat.1 speed towards Florida, when a wind shear suddenly and literally stopped Alberto in it's tracks.

I go back to a quote from PBS's "The Civil War". A century and a half ago, man was worried that they woul have to power to destroy the Earth with it's might. We may destroty Man one day, but we never give earth the respect it deserves..The Earth has an amazing ability to destroy or repair itself - we're just residents. Maybe we'll figure it out .........

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Florence Council Gives Themselves a Pay Raise - And They Didn't Even Know It!!

Earlie this week, I attended a meeting for Florence County Citizens in Action, a local tax watchdog group, and Florence Co.'s worst nightmare. The guest of honor was outgoing Council woman Jennie O'Bryan. Like most honest politicians, Jenny decided one term was enough. Dealing with some members of Council eventually took it's toll, and she is takign time of - but she did leave the door open for a return...

During the Q&A, and interesting question came up. "How did Council end up voting itself a substantial pay raise this year?" It seems that the pay raise was jammed somewhere in the nether regions of this year's budget. How much? Well somewhere around 25-35% over the next two years, or 12,500 to 13,500 per year. Pretty good for a part time gig.

The ironic part is that everyone on Council had no idea the pay raise was taking place. O'Bryan, Morris Anderson and Terry Alexander have all said they knew nothing of it. So who did it? We have a pretty good guess, but who knows.... Now , as bad as the pay raise was in itself , what is worse is what the press did - nothing.....

After the word was out about the pay raises, the Morning News and TV 13 killed the story. It was never aired or printed. As someone who has been smeared by these same media outlets, I find it pretty odd that the wouldn't let taxpayers know that their money is being wasted with sneaky, under the table tactics. So, the question needs to be asked.... WHO ARE THEY PROTECTING ???

It's good that we have groups like CIA to watch out for our citizens, but it's sad that they had to pay for an ad (in a competing paper) to let voters know about the waste. If you ask me, honesty in government and the press is seriously lacking in Florence, and the wrong person is leaving Council....

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto Gets Dissed..... It's Not a Planet Anymore, but it Does Have a Milton..

Poor Pluto... After 75 years of being recognized as a planet, a group of eggheads in Prague decided that it wasn't. Apparently, since Pluto's axis around the Sun is oblong, and it intersects with Neptune's path, it is now viewed as a a sub-planet, or something like that.. Whatever. All I know is that it seems that half of what I was taught in school isn't true anymore...

As a consolation, we are awarding Pluto a Milton Waddams Award, in recognition of 75 years of faithful service. Accepting on Pluto's behalf.......

Fake News: Rainey-Ravenel Debate Highlights and Lowlights...

Okay, maybe this isn't John Rainey, but I couldn't find a single picture on my trusted Google search..... Maybe John Rainey doesn't really exist. Well, I didn't TIVO the pissing contest, I mean DEBATE, between the two. Frankly, I couldn't care less what they talked about , but this is how I think it went.......Part 1 to Part 12.

Part1- Introductions. A la WWF Wresting, Each of them are called into the room by Michael Buffer, and their honorary cornermen are introduced.

Part2 - T Rav Rolls?? For starters, Rainey asks Ravenel exactly what " rolling " is....

Part3 - Rainey Gets Street Cred. Ravenel explains that he would appear a lot cooler if he referred to himself as " J. Rain"... Rainey's face turns purple.

Part4 - Who's Rep. is Better? Both make their case as to which is better - Wearing the Ring, or being "The Kingmaker".

Part5 - What the Dille , Yo? Ravenel and Rainey spend 2 hours discussing the true origin of the word dilettante. Apparently, it is Aramaic...

Part6 - Stuff that REALLY Matters. Who makes better ettoufee - The Adams Mark in Columbia, or The Mills House Hotel in Charleston?

Part7 - Oh Yeah, The Budget... Rainey and Ravenel agree that the impending debt is somewhere between Zero and a Bazillion...

Part8 - More Stuff that REALLY Matters.. Boxers or Briefs?

Part9 - The Conversation Gets Ugly.. Ravenel gets offended when Rainey asks, "If you like women so much, why did you go to the Citadel?" Ravenel turns purple.

Part10 - Down the Gutter it Goes. The two week run of childish behavior culminates with both men comparing their "junk". ETV cameras are immediately shut off.

Part11 - Boys Will Be Boys. With the cameras still off, "Swordfighting" ensues... Records of who won are sealed and locked in a vault in Fort Knox.

Part12 - What Did We Come Here for Again? Rainey and Ravenel discuss who would have an easier time paying off the impending debt. Both decide that they could eat at Taco Bell once or twice to make up the difference.

Sure, this is stupid, but honestly, this whole affair has been ridiculous. Rainey should have kept his opinion to himself, and Ravenel allowed himself to be lowered to arguing publicly with someone in his own party. It reminded of the time Jim Clyburn sent out a Press Release on Social Security that mentioned me 4 times ( and President Bush only 3 times). The Big Dog's job is to ignore the criticism that comes from those under you. Like I said, I have no idea what went on today, but I hope they patched this mess up. If not, I have one bit of advice.........LET IT DIE, GUYS.........

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fresh off a $4 Million Tax Hike, Florence Co. SD1 Reveals They Have a $6M Surplus.... When Do We Get the Money Back??

Taxpayers in Florence County were dealt another slap in the face when the board of Trustees for Florence School District 1 were informed that they had a surplus in excess of $6 million this year. This news comes on the heels of Florence County Council raising fees and millages to it's citizens by over $4 Million to make up for it's budget shortfall.... This raises the obvious question: Why can't the County gets it's money back, or take it from the upcoming budget?

Now, you might be wondering if this is a first time occurance. The answer is no. In fact, SD1 has over $36M sitting in escrow, which is about twice the amount recommended by the County Treasurer. The District has already allocated spending $3.4 of the overage - no surprise there. So what about the remaining moolah? Here's a novel idea: Give it back to the taxpayers.

Before you think that I'm just picking on the School Board because they have the cash, here's a little math to justify the request. The School District gets about 75% of the Annual Budget for Florence County. Since the County is $4M short, then 75% of that would be $3M. Let them have the $400,000 extra as a bonus for not spending, and call it even. Of course, that will NEVER happen, because we have a fundamental gap between the County and the Board of Trustees here.

While most of the county works to squeeze every penny, the School Board seems to be an advocate position to milk cash for the District . As the tax increase was being discussed, the School Board was busy authorizing over $800,000 in pay increases, including bonuses for new hires. This then left County Council the enviable job of choosing between tax increases and layoffs. It wasn't a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing - it was the left hand knew, but it didn't give a damn.....

Why should voters care? Two reasons. First it's YOU'RE MONEY, not theirs. Secondly, it can get worse. My opponent was on the School Board, and is still employed by School District One. If you can't see the hypocrisy of approving budgets of the department that you directly work for, you might be blind. Then again, we let Builders and Real Estate Agents on the Zoning Board. County Council needs to be made of citizens with no ties to the money, not a council full of conflicts of interest.

Now, don't read this and think that your school district isn't pulling a similar stunt. Wor dis that 20 School Districts across the state have jacked up millages also. Why? The Tax Reform is scary the heck out of them. Yes, we all fear change, and the shift from Property Taxes to Sales Tax funding has left a giant unknown for schools. Sure, it may not be real, but it's the perception that they might fall short that has bureaucrats scared. Florence may be the first case of a glut of cash, but my guess is that it's silently going on statewide..... A nice rainy day fund.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Media Gets the Wrong Eddie Johnson.... He's Lost his Reputation, But He'll Have a Milton..

" A Good Name is like a fine perfume."

Ecclesiastes, 4:1

This week, we focus on the Media's role in getting facts straight, and the effects it has when they don't do their job for the sake of selling papers or making headlines.. Our winner this week is former NBA All-Star and , from all reports, good guy Eddie Johnson.

Johnson played 17 seasons in the NBA, mostly for the Phoenix Suns. Johnson still lives in Phoenix, where he hosts a radio show, and does a lot of community work. From all accounts, Johnson is a fine example of a guy who gives back to his community. Well, all that good was almost wiped out by an onslaught of incorrect media reports that charged him with a heinous crime.

It turns out that there is ANOTHER Eddie Johnson, who was a former NBA All-Star ( he played for the Atlanta Hawks ), who is about the same age. This Eddie Johnson was arrested this week in Florida for an alleged sexual assault on an eight year old girl. When the story broke, all the media outlets apparently did a Google search, and the Phoenix Eddie Johnson popped up. Nevermind the fact that he lived 2500 miles away from the crime, and that he is 6 inches taller than the Eddie Johnson arrested , various outlets printed the wrong Eddie Johnson's photo and bio nationwide. Don't believe me? Pull it up now... there is likely to be a disclaimer from the previous error.

Sure, the error has been corrected, but the damage has been done. Remember Richard Jewell? It's been ten years since the Atlanta Olympics bombing, and that man's reputation is still tarnished. Take my word for it, being a public figure has a price. The media is quick to jump on you , but slow to admit that they screwed up when things show otherwise.

The Red Swingline stapler is on it's way to Phoenix, and maybe an apology to Eddie is in order too. Have a nice weekend, and get back to those TPS reports!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

SC Democrats Make Their Own Gift Bag: A BMW with Michelin Tires, and a Widget !

In response to Gov. Mark Sanford giving a gift bag to his fellow Governors that included items not made in South Carolina, only sold here, SC Democratic Party Chairman Joe Erwin unveiled a new plan. After Tommy Moore wins the seat from Sanford, Erwin promises that future SGA events will include items only made in the Palmetto State. However, his plan has hit a few snags involving cost....

"We want to have a fair mix of items made in South Carolina, but items that people would still want", quoted Erwin. "I'm not trying to politicize this,...... but I just don't know any other way." In keeping with the Made in SC Theme, Erwin plans to give each of them a new BMW z4 Roadster Convertible (Made in Greer) , equipped with Michelin Tires ( also Greer). "We thought about using Honda ATV's (built in Timmonsville), but we weren't sure where they got the tires from."

When informed that the State Party only has enough cash on hand for about 2 or 3 of them, Erwin was undaunted.. "Looks like we'll need the taxpayers to do a little 'Investing in Government'. The Shrimp and Grits Bag is getting a little played out - we ain't going that route."

As an added incentive for the party faithful, the SCDP will distribute a set of Widget Razor Kits to it's members. The reason? Bumper sticker removal.... "We've been getting a few complaints about our members continually having to replace the stickers every two years for the latest slate of "Supercandidates". This will show we care, and it will make the job easier. I suppose we could recruit better candidates, but this is simpler."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Campaign 2008, The Battle of the New Yorkers: Pataki vs. Giuliani .....

Many of the prospective Presidential candidates for 2008 have been visiting our great state lately. This month, two of them have made time, leaving the Empire State to enjoy our beautifully hot and opressive summer. New York Gov. George Pataki and Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani are touring the Palmetto State, raising money and making contacts for 2008. Many voters here don't know much about either of them, so I'll drop my two cents in to try and help you out....

Back in 1994, Mario Cuomo was running for his fourth term as Governor, and everyone had just about had enough. The state Legislature was trying to enact the death penalty for about the 12th straight year, and Cuomo singlehandedly vetoed it every time. Taxes were taking a front stage on everyone's minds, and tuition costs just doubled overnight. Almost everyone wanted Cuomo gone, but who would run against him?

George Pataki had no name recognition, and he wasn't a big city politician, but aided by the ABC (Anybody but Cuomo) vote, and a well publicized endorsement from Shock-Jock, Howard Stern , Pataki stunned everyone and beat Cuomo. Gov. Sanford, please take note of that.... Pataki is like Sanford in a few ways: He is not a fantastic speaker, he is relatively quiet and unassuming. You genuinely feel that Pataki is a decent guy , trying to do a good job. However, Pataki differs from Sanford in that he is more of a compromiser, he's more liberal socially, and he will spend more in a month than Sanford will in a year...... He seems to be kicking around the idea of a 2008 bid right now, and that isn't a good idea. If Pataki is really running in '08, he needs to start raising cash now, and help out some people in '06.

Rudy Giuliani....... When I was young, I didn't like Rudy. Back in the 80's, when he was fighting the Mafia with the Attorney General's Office, I thought he was arrogant and overly ambitious. In short, I thought he was bit of an A-hole.... But 20 years changes people a lot.

I liked Ed Koch when he was Mayor - he was liberal, but he didn't take any crap. Well, Koch was gone , and David Dinkins was at the helm, playing Tennis and providing leadership that lacked, well...Leadership. Think of Ray Nagin, just older. Rudy Giuliani was just what the doctor ordered. He cleaned up Times Square, and made New York a great place to visit again. Crime wasn't tolerated (Maybe with some mistakes and criticism), but he made New York stand tall once again. Then came 9/11....

Did anyone, President Bush included, instill confidence more than Giuliani on 9/11? I don't think so. He went straight to Ground Zero, rolled up his sleeves and kept us all informed, without sugarcoating it.. Yes, he is a social liberal, and I wish he had more experience in International Affairs , but most Governors have no experience in it either. What Rudy has been doing is building a team, and raising cash for himself and his supporters. He is definitely in it in 2008 more than Pataki is at this point.

I like both Pataki and Giuliani, but Rudy just has more guts.. The President doesn't necessarily have to be a nice guy - he needs to make the tough decisions. he needs to inject change. New York City is a completely different place , while New York State still has alot of the same problems as 10 years ago. My mind isn't made up, but Giuliani is near the top of my list.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Breaking News: Rainey Mistakenly Meant to Call T-Rav a "Debutante"

A hastily prepared news conference was put together today by GOP Bigwig, political kingmaker and Uber-Everything John Rainey. In it, Rainey claims that he was misquoted in a recent article by Dan Hoover - one in which Hoover said Rainey called GOP Treasurer Candidate Thomas Ravenel a " dellitante"...

Rainey said that he meant to say that Ravenel was a "debutante". "I mean, he is such a Ladies Man, that anyone should know why he's running - for the Chicks. Going to cotillions are just an extension of the inevitable." There is no evidence that Ravenel has been to a cotillion since his days at The Citadel. However, Ravenel is rumoured to still be single, and he hasn't officially be debuted by his parents.

When informed of the meaning of dellitante ( a person who pursues a position with no intention of completing it), Rainey backtracked a bit. "Well, I guess that would be appropriate too. There is a certain amount of commitment to a person running for office. I can only support Thomas if he is willing to hold the office for 36 of the next 40 years... I'm not saying that I'm supporting Grady Patterson, but........".

Treasurer Patterson was unavailable for comment, due to it being "Naptime". However, Lapdog Trav Robertson wasted taxpayers dollars by discussing politics during work hours.. Said Robertson, " He's Successful, Rich, Handsome, Hip, and women like him.........Yes, I'M JEALOUS!!!!"

Thanks to John Rainey - my new Muse! SC6 is back!

SC6 Salutes Florence' s Own, Harry Carson !

This was a big week for the Pee Dee, as Florence native Harry Carson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While everyone talks about his stats, let me talk about what I know about Harry Carson...

In 1976, I became a Giants fan. I was 8, and I watched a game between the Giants and the 49ers. The Giants won, and and I was hooked. Little did I know that game was only the 3rd win for the G-Men that year. It was Carson's rookie year, and I can tell you one thing - the Giants were quite the crappy team for a long time. Carson was a bright spot for a truly bad franchise.

Well there are two things I remember most about Harry Carson: First he, was INTIMIDATING with a Capital I... The pictures I see of him now make me laugh a bit, because in his peak, with the 70's Fu Manchu, he scared the life out of opposing runners...

Secondly, the man was a quality guy. in his 13 seasons, I don't remember a scandal or even bad word regarding him... That was Lawrence Taylor's job! New York is a hard place to be a sports star. The fans expect alot, and they'll call you out wherever you are - ask A Rod. Harry stood tall and that's why he is so revered by Giants fans.

So, congratulations to Harry Carson - no Milton award for you!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hotwire and Delta Screw My Friend for $400..... But At Least She Has a Milton Now..

In keeping with the tradition of the Milton Waddams Award, we recognize someone who was screwed by a Big Company, just because they could. This one might make you wonder if some companies actually give a damn about customers at all...

By buddy's girlfriend , Jean, had to fly to Nashville for a convention, so she called to book a flight. She booked a round trip flight from Wilmington ( about 2 hrs from Florence). However, she found out after that she needed to leave a day earlier, so she called back to try and change flights. Well, Hotwire told her to kiss off, and she ended up having to buy an additional one-way to Nashville. Not a big surprise, but it doesn't end there.

Since she wasn't getting on the first flight, Delta would not let her pick up the tickets for the return flight. Delta's excuse was that Hotwire technically owns the tickets, so she was SOL. In short, the airline that actually flies you there has no control of letting you on the plane! So, after all was said and done, she ended up buying TWO round trip tickets for the one trip.

Sure, maybe in hindsight, she should have just shown up a day late in Nashville, but I haven't seen a case of a company rooking someone this badly in a while. Hotwire should be ashamed..

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

VH-1 Guilty Pleasure: MTV's First Day.........

Flipping through the channels tonight, I ran into some thing that is a must see for Children of the 80's like myself. VH-1 Classic is airing videos from the very first day of MTV. Yes, it's been 25 years since MTV first aired on August 1, 1981. Like I told Michael Reese recently, I am now officially a member of the Old Farts Club!

It's a pretty interesting watch to see crappy videos from dogshit bands like Bootcamp and Ph.D. (?), and to see a pre-Armani Robert Palmer dancing across a xylophone in "Looking for Clues". For those only interested in politics, try a Google search for Mike Campbell.... You don't get the Lt. Gov. candidate - you get 10 pages of the guitarist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

No, 1981 wasn't a banner year for rock, but it was a nice trip back , remembering what I was doing the summer before 8th Grade... Time to go, I gotta figure out my Rubik's Cube - one of these days!!