Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Maybe Bushes are Green... These and Other State of the Union Viewpoints...

Well, the State of the Union is over. Now all the politicians in Washington can start bashing each other again, and forget the annual lovefest that goes on. It was a pretty standard SOU speech - not as much " we're gonna fix every problem in America" talk as we usually hear. Personally, I prefer to hear the truth ans attainable goals. My favorite SOU quote: "The State of the Union is not strong...." - Gerald Ford , 1975.
Here are some things I found interesting:

Sheila Jackson-Lee, once again in the front row to get in photo ops!.

Cindy Sheehan was in attendance as a guest of Lynn Woolsey, then kicked out and handcuffed. Most of the time, you need to be drunk to get treatment like that.

The Democratic leadership caucus right behind Bush. No sight of Steny Hoyer, but I swear Pelosi was shooting rubberbands at Bush, while Jim Clyburn kept Nancy's train straight...

Iraq. Read my lips, we are not leaving! Bush was pretty stern on this point, making sure that DC knows they have NO influence on troop strength.

Hillary Clinton shaking her head as Bush explained his reasoning on wiretaps. Guess she didn't like Bill's reasoning for bugging Aldrich Ames either.

Democrats cheering for not passing Social Security reform. Perhaps we should pass out fiddles while our benefits burn. Private sector bad!! Except for their retirements.

Bush's one stumble: No economic expansion without immigration? Yikes! I'd like to reroute Air Force One for a day to land in Marion County, so they could see plenty of non-immigrants out of work.

Democrats standing ovation for health care, but their silence when Bush proposed improving health care opportunities for small business. You can't have it both ways , guys.....

" We Are Addicted to Oil" . Bush Goes Green. This will either be where Bush turns a corner, or is branded a liar. More funding for Zero Emissions Coal, Nuclear, Hydrogen and Ethanol. Music to my ears!! But, will this Oil friendly administration's addiction be harder to kick than cigarettes???

Where were the heavyweights on the Democrat side to counterpoint? Tim Kaine? A governor who just took office? Not exactly Ali/Frazier. For all their tough talk, Pelosi, Dean, Kerry and Reid got pretty timid. They must have forgotten that this is about the only time the American public watches them.

All in all, a good job by the President. B+

Man, I'm Tired of Being Right !!

I have a new theory. A person's ability to correctly judge events in Washington is conversely related to the actual distance from Washington. This must be true, because this week alone I have correctly predicted that WMD's would be traced to Syria ( With no use of Congressional Reporting). I also hit the number of votes for Judge Alito on the head at 58.
So, my advice is to stay away from DC if you want to know anything. Below, I have left the mathematical formula of my theory.

K= Knowledge
MDC= Distance to DC.
$ = Infinity

K= MDC x $

Sunday, January 29, 2006

My Nightmare on Gibbes Street...............

Friday night, my friend , Bobby, came down from Florence to help his Mom move. We stopped at his aunt's home South of Broad St. Homes in the area start at 7 figures, so I was glad to finally check out a real Charleston house. However, Bobby gave me one warning before we got there. "Don't talk politics with her, she's Democrat, and I mean a CRAZY Democrat!!"
He wasn't kidding. She showed me her DNC card , and let me know how much she hates Republicans. Granted, I always get a good laugh when I see people who make lots of money on the backs of those less fortunate, then try to make up for it afterwards. However , I was a good boy.
While they downed some Dewar's on the rocks, I got a a glimpse of issues from the other side. Bobby's aunt is a retired school teacher, and a guest there is a principal in Charleston County. The funny part is even staunch Democrats involved directly with education know that money is not the issue. It seems that administration are the ones who can't enough cash. The faculty know that there are kids who probably shouldn't be in school because they disrupt the process, but they are always overriden by the District. As the principal said, "Just complain to Goodloe-Johnson ( Chas. Cty Superintendant), and they let them back in."
It let me in on the politics involved in education - and the power grab involved therein. It confirmed my feelings that the Democrats are being duped by the education establishment to help them in the cash grab, but when people are looking for someone to get money from the government, that's who they will usually go to. My advice is to ask specifically what they need the money for, and don't give money to those items that don't pass the sniff test.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Clam Chowda for Brains: Time to Let Massachusetts Leave the Union.

Sens. John Kerry and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts have both called for a filibuster when the time comes to vote on Judge Sam Alito's nomination for SCOTUS. Intelligently, no other Senators have joined them at this time. It appears that Alito will garner about 58 votes , and if a filibuster is requested, there are the 60 votes needed to override it.
Now, we've always known that Kerry and Kennedy are out of touch, but never has an issue come up where they are standing so obviously alone. I've suggested it before, and I'll suggest it again - it's time to kick Massachusetts out of the US!
I'll admit, I don't like those people very much. I hate the Red Sox, ( thanks for Johnny Damon, by the way!), and I haven't met a person from MA that wasn't an obnoxious a-hole. However, the worst part of Massachusetts are their politicians.
Now, I'm used to democrats whining lately, but the Bay State whines like no one else. Maybe it's the accent. Listen to Ed Markey , Jim McGovern, Bill Delahunt and John Tierney whine sometime. They make Bawney Fwank ( not a misprint) sound downright levelheaded. Sure , there may be individual congresssmen who are worse (e.g. Jim McDermott), but no state has such a complete team of crybabies as they do.
There will be logistical problems (Ferry boats from RI and Ct. to Maine), but think of the benefits. I know I'd go for it - watch enough C-SPAN, and you'll agree! My guess is that Kerry and Kennedy will wave the flag of solitary solidarity alone, and hope they are viewed as idealists. In the end, they'll be seen correctly - as discontented losers. Being Sox fans, they should be used to losing by now.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sign No. 3 That the End is Near: Hamas Wins Palestinian Elections.

" This is The End, my only friend, The End"

-Jim Morrison

One of the people I look up to is Dr. Morris Anderson. Not only is he a Florence County Councilman, he is my Sunday School teacher, and a devout Christian. He has the respect and wisdom that comes only with living a long and full life.
For a while, I could see that he was concerned about us living in the end times, but I attributed it to his being older, and overly sensitive in his later years. With the latest events in the Middle East, I'm not so sure he is wrong.
This week, the political arm of Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian elections, overtaking the more secular Fatah Party. This bodes badly for peace in the Middle East. Israel will not recognize Hamas, and Hamas' sworn aim is to destroy Israel. Just when this area was beginning to stabilize, this combined with Ariel Sharon's illness, throws the region into near chaos.

Let's take a look at the area as it is now:

1. Israel has an unelected PM who is from a party that didn't exist 6 months ago.
2. Lebanon is still under the rule of Syria, which murdered the most respected PM in Lebanon.
3. Iraq is Iraq. Getting there, but still the only nation even trying to hold free elections.
4. Iran is getting closer to nuclear power, and their PM wants to wipe Israel off the map.
5. Afghanistan and Pakistan still can't seem to control the terrorists hiding in the mountains. Osama is still there somewhere.
6. Saudi Arabia and Yemen produce and import more of the Al-Qaeda terrorists into Iraq than any other country.

That's a start. Joshua Gross could probably add 50 more examples. If this keeps up, we're going to be about a week away from hordes of locusts or raining sulfur!

" You're and errand boy, sent to collect a bill."

-Col. Kurtz

If this were 30 or 40 years ago, Israel would be preemptively striking countries in every direction, but those days are gone. Somehow , we have talked them into negotiation and compromise. It's easy for us to tell them to play nice, but we don't live there. The only incident we have to compare it to is Cuba in 1962, and look how crazy we got with a threat from 90 miles away. If the missles were still there, would we negotiate? I doubt it.
There is a big point America needs to remember: Israel is the only true friend we have in the Middle East. All the others are faking it. Dr. Anderson just about blew a gasket when we talked Israel into giving up the Gaza Strip - I might have to skip church this weekend out of fear.
This may be the highest level of instability that I've seen in my lifetime , and I don't have an answer. The amount of hatred among these people is unimaginable for us - we fought for freedom, rights or political gain. These people fight for revenge that goes back hundreds and thousands of years.
I hope Dr. Anderson is wrong, and that some peace can happen in this troubled region. Until then, I'll keep looking out my window for locusts..... " The horror.....the horror".

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Promised to be Nice to the SCGOP, But This was Too Funny Not to Post..

I got an E-mail from Jay W. Ragley today. Unfortunately for Jay W., he often has to listen to the brunt of my tirades when I feel slighted by the SCGOP. Sometimes I'm right, sometimes I'm wrong - but part of his job is to listen to BS from nuts like me.
The e-mail was notifying announced and prospective candidates of the filing fee for comgressional seats this year ($3304). Included in it, Jay W. let us know that the SCGOP does not make a penny from these filing fees. He probably should have just directed the comment at me, but it did make me laugh! The squeaky wheel does get the grease sometimes. I have the same effect on Clyburn.

SC : Number 50 , With a Bullet !!

Not to make light of our state's unemployment problems, but this isn't funny anymore. I won't place blame on anyone in particular, but we have some fundamental problems in South Carolina. You can opt for biting sarcasm ( SC Barbeque and Politics), or more constructive discussions (Pee Dee Stuff) on the topic.
My best suggestion is to end the blame game, and to work on some real solutions, no matter which sacred cows get offended. My favorite joke about our state goes like this: "SC is too small to be a separate country, and too big to be an insane asylum." I don't mind jokes about our state, but when our state becomes the joke itself, I get worried.

If Press Releases Were Fish, Clyburn Would Have a School This Week.....

What's with all the inane Press releases coming from the Clyburn Camp this week? Jim goes to Texas? Jim takes students on a Tour? Jim Likes God? Is someone training a new intern, and this is all he/she has to practice with? My prediction for tomorrow's Press Release: "Fecal Examination Confirms It: Clyburn Ate Corn Yesterday."
Palmetto Neocon had a good post a few weeks ago, complaining about the frequency, inanity and poor grammar used in Press Releases. I took it so personally, I'm afraid to send one out now.. His point is correct: too often, we use it to show two things. One, that we are so important, and two, that we are doing something. Neither of these are true, but if it makes us feel that way.........
It appears early on that Jim will use his new post to take even more trips, even after all the flack for his Number 8 trip spender rating in all of Congress. Earl, that is arrogance, right? He's defended it by mentioning his being the first African-American Congressman in SC since Reconstruction, but let's be honest. We live in a 53% black district ( closer to 60% in 1992) - if it wasn't him, it would have been another A-A candidate. Would they have taken all these trips?

Among my favorites of his quotes today: " We have always maintained that what we do as Democrats is fundamental to the Christian ethics most of us practice." I say the same thing whenever a fetus is aborted ,or when the ACLU worries more about a child molester's civil rights than those of the victim.

" Clyburn said he was headed for seminary after college, but became more interested in law than theology. Clyburn discussed it with his father, who blessed his decision with the words, " The world is much better off to see a sermon than hear one." Classic! First, I wonder if Jim would have dropped out of Divinity School also. Second if you can't hear a sermon and only see it, all you see are lips moving, and the message is lost - ironic , isn't it? This whole quote reminds me of Caddyshack, when Noonan told one guy he wanted to be a priest, and the other that he wanted to be a Senator. I'VE OFTEN THOUGHT OF BECOMING A GOLF BALL.....
" He has spoken out against materialism and greed." This coming from a guy whose watch costs more than my car! Check it out sometime, that thing shines like it's nuclear!
Sure, I've sunk to another low blow post, but I do have a point. If you must send out Press Releases, make them ones of substance - not attempts to sanctify yourself.

It's a Good Thing Blogger is Free, or I'd be Ticked Off..

Blogger made some updates today, which cut off service from 700-745 PM tonight - also known as my prime browsing time. I'm still trying to catch up....

New District 63 Candidate Enters Race... But What is He?

The Morning News reported that Steve Calcutt, another Florence attorney, has announced that he will be running for the soon to be vacated seat of Rep. Jim McGee. The odd part is that they did not state which party he is running under. This leads me to think that this might be who FMN is rooting for.
Since Calcutt announced his candidacy at Horne's Restaurant, my guess is that he is running as a Democrat. The Florence GOP also meets at Horne's, but they meet on the second Monday.
Aside from being an attorney, and a church-going Florence County native, the FMN listed no other qualifications for Calcutt. Chamber Member? United Way? Civic Groups? Who knows?? It likely doesn't matter, because District 63 is 90% GOP, and whoever McGee supports will thump Calcutt.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Best Pizza in the South, and other Oxymorons....

They say write what you know about. I'll leave the Barbeque and Gizzards to other bloggers, but no one can beat my well-trained taste buds on Italian food and Pizza. Mom taught me to make Chicken Parmigiana when I was 7. Sure maybe tying my shoes would have been more practical, but that's what double-knots are for.....

First. What Good Pizza Should be Like. This is not up for discussion - no alternative viewpoints are accepted. I am talking about Mulberry Street pizza made by a half-filthy guy named Vito!! Here are the characteristics:

1. Relatively Thin, Slightly Crispy Crust.
Deep Dish is wrong, and crust that breaks like Wheat Thins is illegal. If you are tossing the ends out, you had bad crust. If you hear a slight crunch when you put the pizza cutter on it, jackpot!

2. Olive Oil
When you fold it, oil should be dripping out the back. It's not a mistake - that's the way it ought to be. Just point the end away from you, and your clothes are safe.

3. Keep it Simple
Real pizza is not experimental art. The man who invented Hawaiian Pizza should have the pineapple ring placed on his chest, so the firing squad has a target! Two toppings, maybe. Best rule - if you can't eat it plain, your pizza stinks!

Who's Hot, Who's Not....
The Chains.
Worst: Chuck E. Cheese: Chuck E. Please, Upchuck E. Cheese , Chuck E. Sleaze - I've heard 'em all. Only juvenile offenders should be forced to eat here as punishment. But who cares, as long as the kids keep pumping money into the video games...New suggested name: Time Out Pizza.

Still Pretty Bad: Little Caesar's. Bad, bad!! I'd eat a Tombstone or Bi-Lo pizza first. Paper crust, wretched sauce, and inexplicable toppings. Let's move on, I'm feeling ill.

Ehhhhhh: Domino's and Papa John's. Something just doesn't taste right on these two. Also, they are super cheap on the toppings. If pizza were Ice Cream, they'd be Prailines and D.., just kidding - they'd be Vanilla.

Best by Default: Pizza Hut. Hey, someone had to win... at least they put a ton of stuff on it. The crust is a little greasier too - makes it easier to force it down.

The Upper Crust: The Local Joints.

Worst Pizza Ever: Santino's - Aynor, SC. The instrument has yet to be invented to measure how bad this mess is. The dough looked like it was made with Pillsbury crescent rolls. My wife and I got a divorce after eating here, because neither of us could be with someone who had something that disgusting in their mouth. When in Aynor, go around the corner and get a Nedburger - and live another day.

Best in Florence: Primo Pizza, Magnolia Mall. It's okay, but the it's the best in a weak market. Stefano's has excellent Italian food, but the pizza is iffy. Michael's food needs help, plus he's a former Democratic Party chair.

Best in Charleston: Andolini's. Pretty close, just not enough oil, but your Yankee friends won't complain. Bada Bing is decent, but they lose points for the cliche mafia pics in the dining room. A note to them: Scarface was Cuban, not Italian!

Second Place: Johnny Brusco's, Johnson City , TN. I didn't believe it myself, but it was good. They are a franchise based in Hotlanta, so they could be near you too. If you're ever in the Tri-Cities, check it out.
Disclaimer *** - Franchise pizza varies from store to store, therefore results may be unequal at other locations.

Best in the South: ???????????
This is anti-climatic, but I don't remember the name. But I can tell you where it is. It is in Conway, SC, on Hwy 501, inside the Food Lion shopping center, across from Hadwin White GM. I used to stop there in my Enterprise days, and it is by far, the closest to the real thing around. If you're on the way to Myrtle Beach, give it a try.

If you have any ones to recommend, go ahead and post it . And remember, pizza is like love - when it's good, it's real good. and when it's bad............it's still pretty good.

Monday, January 23, 2006

From Our Greatest Generation to the Softest....

Today is my Uncle Pete's 80th birthday, or what would have been. Like my Dad and my other uncles, he joined the Army straight out of high school during World War II. Unlike my father and 4 other uncles, he did not come home. He died Feb.7th, 1945 at the Battle of the Bulge - the final push into Germany and victory. He was 2 weeks past his 19th birthday.
I don't know much about Pete - Dad still can't talk about him without getting upset. I have 2 pictures related to him. One is of him, and my grandparents, all three of whom I never met. The other is of his grave in Luxembourg, where he rests with 11,000 other soldiers. None of my uncles past away before 77, so I have no doubt that he would still be around today. Losing someone that early leave a big shadow, of what would have been. There is some solace in knowing that my family's loss was not alone, but merely one of hundreds of thousands who sacrificed for our country. A generation known as our greatest. It's really sad how far some of us have fallen , and I'm one of them.
I sit at my computer here, reading complaints about our country becoming a " Police State" over a couple of phone calls made overseas by possible terrorists, and gas prices. It makes me think - would we have survived what my parents went through? Depression and World War, gas rationing and other personal sacrifices? I'm not so sure. We watch one of 5 TV's in the house, load up our iPods, and supersize it at MickeyD's on the way to work - where we don't make anything, we just shift paperwork of ownership from one person to another. WE ARE SOFT.....I AM SOFT..
The only ones who have any inkling of how our parents had it are those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of them aren't coming home at 19 either. When you see a soldier, tell them thanks - they might be killed protecting your and my right to fight like idiots over the asinine things that we fight over. Compared to them, you have it easy.
Sometimes, I get tired of my Dad's stories about how things were back then. The truth is, I'm probably embarrassed at how we've had everything handed to us by the hard work of people like my Dad and Uncle Pete. So I take this time to honor my uncle, and those others of our Greatest Generation - may we not give back all that you have gained for us.

Bill Ford Eats a Big S**t Sandwich..........

I'm not going to pick on Ford too much today - I actually liked what I heard. Bill Ford sucked it up, said that they've been doing a sub-par job for far too long, and that in the long term, they likely won't be the 2nd largest automaker anymore.
While cutting 25,000 jobs in the next 6 years definitely hurts, continuing to run the same way would have killed Ford eventually. Both Ford and GM are bloated conglomerates, with too many levels of management, and too much duplication of products. Did you ever notice on the GM Employee Discount commercials, that everyone was a manager? Too many chiefs, and not enough indians.
I like Ford's commitment to hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, and I like the way the new Fusion looks - but I hold back for one reason. Until Ford can show that they can build a 3.0 V6 that doesn't blow head gaskets, I'll wait. Perception is reality, and Ford is viewed as crap, compared to Japanese makers. I don't like to stick this in people's faces, but I drive a 98 Toyota Camry. It has 130k miles on it, it doesn't burn or leak oil, I've never had to replace a broken part on it, and it still gets 33 MPG on the highway.
If Ford has truly made Quality Job 1, instead of using it as an advertising slogan, then they will come back. If the UAW works with them, they can become leaner , meaner, and most importantly - profitable. That buffalo chip that Bill Ford ate today wasn't too tasty, but hopefully, it will get sweeter.

Bon Jovi's 2006 "Slippery When Wet" Remake

Jon, Ritchie and the boys need to have a little chat with their manager.....It seems that Bon Jovi was flying from a show in Buffalo Sat. on to the next gig in Hamilton, Ontario. When attempting to land, the plane was unable to stop, and it skidded off the end of the runway. No one was injured.
Now, I've lived in the Great Lakes area, and I've played in a couple bands as well. The good part of being a musician is you can have some control on your touring - a band like Bon Jovi has total control. You tour down South or West in the winter, and go North in the Summer.
The ghosts of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens , Otis Redding and Cliff Burton must be shaking their heads today. It's simple physics: large vehicles can't stop on wet or icy pavement. Gloria Estefan almost got killed 15 years ago..... How much money is enough? The music business is not one led easily by common sense, but someone needs to use their brain sometimes...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Jim Clyburn Is an Arrogant, Powerhungry Hypocrite... And He's Ugly Too!

After thinking about it, I decided to take any expletives out of the title. After all, most insults end up including someone's mom as well, and that's not my intention.
Upon reading Cly's remarks in The State and his Press Release, I am convinced that Jim is inherently evil. And not just the Diet Coke of evil - he is as evil as pork rinds are bad for your heart. Cly must be stopped for the good of America and South Carolina, and if you don't live in the 6th District, it's time you got off your butt and did something, because this year is an all out assault on Republicans everywhere.
Luckily for us, Cly isn't as smart as he thinks he is. Jim doesn't have the ability to hide his true intentions when he says something. And from what I heard this week, he's telling South Carolina to stick it from now on. It's the common example of a politician representing Washington at home, instead of representing his home in Washington.
I don't focus too much on the Bridge, because everyone knows it's a waste of funds. All he is trying to do is make Orangeburg more accessible to Sumter, so his buddies at SC State can attract more people. That and I'm told he owns a part share in a hotel on Lake Marion, near the gated community that he lives in. But Cly doesn't care if it's a waste. He's daring the State and the courts to try and stop him. Fortunately , we have people like Rep. Murrell Smith (someone who actually graduated from Law School), submitting legislation to block state funds for the bridge. When you're the only one for something, you know it's wrong, but you do it anyway, that is arrogance...
For those of you in Greenville, Charleston and Columbia who think that Cly is not your problem, please wake up. When asked what his focus will be this year, Cly didn't say it would be improving education, lowering unemployment or combating terrorism. His focus is on the Democrats taking back the House. In the small picture, it's not a big deal - Henry Brown, Joe Wilson, Gresham Barrett and Bob Inglis are all secure. The big picture is downright scary. Get ready for the I-word in 2007. If the Democrats win back the House, you can guarantee that there will be an attempt to impeach George Bush. Clear enough now? They will try to peg WMD's, Wiretapping or traffic tickets in retaliation for Bill Clinton's impeachment. The fact that Democrats knew the WMD's were gone and they said nothing is irrelevant. Jim let that little tidbit loose himself - good job, blabbermouth. This year,either the Democrats will win with smears, or go down in flames for years to come. We need to make sure it's the latter. When you turn your back on what's good for your home and your country in order to profit personally, you are powerhungry.
Lastly, Cly has said that the Jack Abramoff scandal will be the biggest disgrace in Washington since the Teapot Dome. If your scratching your head right now, you're not alone. jim is just trying to show how smart he is again. If Strom Thurmond were still alive, he wouldn't remember Teapot Dome. It was from Pres. Harding's term, when a cabinet member leased out oil fields in California and skimmed off the top. Sorry, but when a President resigns, that's a bigger deal. I'll cut through the BS, and just state a fact. Most of the politicians who took money and trips from Jack Abramoff got it by legal means. It's embarrasing, but OK. So far, there are only three Congressmen who it appears took trip that were paid for by Abramoff: Bob Ney, Bennie Thompson, and Jim Clyburn. Thompson and Cly can bring excuse notes from their parents for all I care, but the trip was paid for by Abramoff's old law firm, and that is illegal. Cly was do himself a favor by shutting up ,and letting someone else talk about how righteous they are, because sooner or later, this is going to bite him in his ass. When you criticize people for taking trips, and you took illegal trips yourself, you are a Hypocrite.
Cly needs to be knocked off his perch this year. Some of you give much less credit to blacks than you should. They know a crook when they see one. I've seen Maggie Glover get knocked off. Cly is ready to get a big surprise too - but I can't do it myself.

Hood Temple Declines to Run for District 63....

I spoke to Jim McGee today, and I asked him about the race to replace him in the Legislature. Jim is the only state rep. who gave me his cell number, and actually answers when I call - unbelieveable!! I will miss him.
The news according to Jim is that Hood Temple will not for McGee's seat. That leaves it right now as a two man race between Bubby Floyd and Chris Crawford. I assume it will stay that way from here on. From what I read on Pee Dee Stuff, Crawford is backed by Steve Imbeau, and Floyd is backed by his father, Eddie Floyd. If you want to read about all things Pee Dee (including the best gizzards) , check it out there - my blog is gizzard free!
The one part that I find disappointing is that Floyd and Imbeau are very staunch Republicans, but both inexplicably donate to Clyburn's campaign. They should know it's a waste of money, because Clyburn gives all his private money straight to the DNCC, so they can fight all the other GOP candidates they donate to. I'm not a doctor, but I'm not stupid either.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Deep Thoughts......By Mike Reino

I've been working a lot this week - for once. So I'll just give some vacuous ramblings from items this week. It makes me wonder how they pay Larry King so much for junk like this.
Showtime ( HBO jr.) will be making a film about the Orangeburg Massacre of 1968. Kudos, because it is overdue, and I wonder what took the state so long to apologize for the incident. I'm also glad that Showtime is making the movie, because I was worried that Jim Clyburn would use Federal funds to allocate a film......
So go go the winds of fortune in politics.... Rod Shealy Jr. got Blind Melon and Cravin Melon mixed up , and I lost some major help like that! I do know "Sweet Tea", but that's about it. Guess I shouldn't tell him I still support Sanford also.........
Do the Democrats need any more proof that we are winning in Iraq? This week alone , 1. We killed a number of top Al-Qaeda operatives, including the top explosives and poisons man. 2. Iraqi citizens are now fighting local Al-Qaeda cells ON THEIR OWN.. 3. Osama Bin Laden has resurfaced after 13 months, and now wants a truce in Iraq and Afghanistan. We may yet pull out of Iraq by year's end, but more likely due to winning than from "Redeploying". If you see a soldier , tell him/her "Thanks".
My buddy Gary McLeod may finally be at the end of his political rope. Word is he offered to pay his local county GOP dues if they would put up his Congressional entry fee. Hmmmm, you give us $30, and we give you $3300 - uh, no thanks!
I had date #2 with my new friend last night. T-Bonz in Mt. P this time . If a lady still looks good with no makeup, keep her! This relationship may take longer than it took to build the Ravenel Bridge, but so far, so good. As long as it doesn't cost as much!!

Reading Barbeque and Politics today, I found Pat Conroy's metaphor-laden article to be very vague and a bit strange, but then again, I'm not a very flowery writer..... I'll soon be posting an article about a triangle shaped cotton ball named Bitsy, who is upset with his owner named Marshal because Marshal likes to play in the barn with his pig, Arnold ..........
I finally made it to the Berkeley County GOP meeting Tuesday. I tell you, they ask a lot of questions!! Apparently, they didn't get the memo that says, " Just tell Reino 'Good Luck'."...........Coming Soon: Clyburn is an Arrogant **ick, and The Hotties of the Hill..........

Monday, January 16, 2006

It Stops Raining in Seattle - Crank Up the Blind Melon!

Sunday was the first time in 28 days that Seattle had no rain. It's no wonder that Seattle is the suicide capital of America. That many days of rain would make me want to die also. I know all the high tech jobs are out there, but everyone there must have Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder ( I didn't make that up). I'll stay here in the sunny, humid South.
As for today's weather in Seattle - it rained again!

Grady Patterson: These Computers Is-A Driving Me Crazy!

No doubt Greg Ryberg and Rick Quinn will jump on the fact that Grady Patterson was late filing his campaign reports due to trouble with the new system. It makes you kinda feel sorry for the old coot.
The article leaves with me with a picture in my mind of Grady sitting in front of an old-style adding machine, cranking away. That or him affixing stamps on the computer yelling, " How the heck are you supposed to mail this stuff?"

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Tornado Pummels Clarendon County Neighborhood.

A tornado touched down Friday night in the Winters Hill community of Clarendon County. About 15 people were injured, 4 critically, and dozens are now homeless from a mobile home park flattened by the storm.
It was great to see the teamwork and response in aiding the people who were affected. The Salvation Army and Red Cross were on site almost immediately, and thanks as usual to the local EMS , police and firemen. Even Gov. Sanford was at the scene Saturday to see the damage. Clarendon County is often a forgotten part of the state, so it's great to see everyone come to their aid.
I wanted to do something to help the local effort, but I know someone who would have better ideas. If you want to help, I'd e-mail Cathy Gilbert, Editor of the Manning Times, and I'm sure she could put you in touch with someone. She's a Democrat, but she has a good heart. The Manning Times is listed on SC Hotline, and you can e-mail her from there.

Tired of Top Ten Lists? Tough Crap !! It's the Hotties of the Hill !!

I know, you're tired of Top Ten Lists - but I did promise this about 4 months ago. Besides, mine has pictures to look at, not just reasons why Andre Bauer does/doesn't need a driver!

I exhaustively searched through all of the women of the House of Representatives, and for a while, I didn't think I could find ten to profile, but I lucked out. Five are Republicans, Five are Democrats, so I threw partisanship out the window for once...

I don't just have pictures, I also threw in a little info about each ( not of the Playboy variety), so hopefully, this will be educational as well. Speaking of what this is, is this Sexist? I hope not. Is it entertaining? I hope so. Is it ripping off everyone else - you bet! So without further adieu, I give you the Hotties of Capitol Hill !

Number 10: Jo Ann Davis (R-VA)

No, not Alice from the Brady Bunch (that's Ann B. Davis). Rep. Davis was a realtor before joining Congress. You can picture her trying to sell you a 4BR, 3.5BA in a great school district, can't you? She serves on the Armed Services, Intelligence and international Relations committees. But what makes her hot? She is a breast cancer survivor - tough is hot.

Number 9: Doris Matsui (D-CA).

Rep. Matsui took over after her husband Bob Matsui passed away suddenly in Jan. 2005, but she is no starnger to politics. She was a member of virtually every civic organization back in Cali, and she now serves on the Rules committee. Why is she hot? Because she is so tiny and cute! I can't confrim this, but I believe she is about 4'5". Instead of sending cracked hammers like Nancy Pelosi and Marty ( Maahty) Meehan to try and get their way, the Dems would be better off sending Little Doris to mother them into compromise.

Number 8: Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)

Loretta reminds me of all the Hispanic girls I went to High School with - but none of the girls I knew have an MBA from American University. This red-hot Latina serves on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, so she is ALL about Defense. Muy Caliente'!

Number 7: Virginia Foxx (R-NC).

Now, before you think I've lost my mind, just think. For starters, she's a FOXX. Secondly, she has that Grandmotherly App. State drawl (where she used to teach) . Thirdly, she's an Ag. nut, which I always like. She serves on the Agriculture, education and Government Reform Committees. Foxxy? You Bet!

Number 6: Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX).

She is wrong on almost every issue that exists, and she doesn't give a rat's ass! That is why she is hot. Among her favorite hobbies is wrestling other House members for the front row on State of the Union night. What is amazing is her resume. She has degrees from Yale and Virginia Law School, has served as a Judge , City Council member, and she is on the judiciary, Science and Homeland Security committees. this all goes to show one thing: All the education in the world can still make you stupid! But she is a Strong Black Woman, and that's enough to make the list.

Number 5: Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Sure, I can't stand her and the way she tries to politicize EVERYTHING... But hey, the lady looks pretty good for 65. If I was 65, i'd be satisfied with her - as long as I have a pair of ear plugs! One little tidbit about the Minority Leader: Her father and brother were both Mayor of Baltimore (her native city). That's about all I can take............

Number 4: Katherine Harris (R-FL)

Surprise! I bet you didn't know Kat had such a good figure. She's come a long way from the Spackle Lipsticked 2000 Election Days. The woman is pretty smart too. She is Harvard educated, and was an IBM Exec. before she saved Dubya by sticking to her guns as Sec. of State in Florida. Hopefully, she will win the Senate seat, because the ladies in the other chamber need work - hence , no Senators on our list.

Number 3: Mary Bono (R-CA).

No doubt, some of you have been waiting for this one. Mary is our second widow, and the 4th from California on our list. She definitely uses the Pilates machine, and she probably would be Number One if not for one reason: She hasn't done anything in Congress, and that is NOT HOT..... However she is well cultured (Art history degree from USC), so you could do a lot worse. Anyone who makes Cher jealous can't be that bad...

Number 2: Marsha Blackburn, (R-TN)

Marsha has all the credentials that it takes to be Hot on the Hill - she's conservative, smart, and she works hard. You can usually see her on C-SPAN after dinnertime, fighting off those stupid 30-something Democrats. She's a graduate of Mississippi State, andserves on the Energy and Commerce Committees. I forgot - she's pretty darned good looking, and she has the most distinct drawl in Congress!! Marsha has given it a good fight, but she falls just short on our list... So, here is our Pick of the Litter...........

Number 1 : Stephanie Herseth (D-SD).

Sure, a lot of you won't agree with me. But, look at it from my viewpoint. I'm 37, and there aren't many women in Congress that are your age that don't look like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (AARRGHH!!). Steph is really cute, she's not a sarcastic, superpartisan kissass, and she's an Ethanol Nut. She serves on the Ag, Veterans Affairs and Resources Committees A graduate of George Washington University Law School, she also has a political pedigree - Her Grandpa was Governor of South Dakota, Grandma was Secretary of State, and Dad ran for Governor also. Okay, maybe she's not your style, but this is MY list, so too bad! Congrats, Stephanie - too bad I won't get to be in a Committee with you this year!

Well, that's it! I can't believe how long it took to do this. Hopefully, you'll appreciate the effort. Maybe we'll get some fresh faces in Washington to add next year - sorry Ralph Norman, you have NO SHOT!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Congress' Kelo vs. New London Hypocrisy

Time for me to get back to my Fact Attack. The Judge Alito nomination made me think about something I hadn't previously. Last year everyone was stunned by the Supreme Court's ruling on Kelo vs. New London , as we should be. Authorizing the demolition of a person's home in order to improve a town's tax pool is egregious, and it's quickly becoming a national problem. Anyone's home or business is a target for the next Big Box retailer who finds the location as a "prime spot".
Every congressman jumped right the opportunity to send out a press release, expressing their outrage. And why not? Eminent Domain is as popular an issue as child abuse - well almost. It's a perfect example of Big Bad Government and Big Bad Business trying to stick it to the little man. The problem some congressmen have is that they ARE Big Bad Government, and they are financially connected to Big Bad Business in their dance of joy on private citizens.
Time to play connect the dots with campaign contributions again. Congress has become so crazy with fundraising, that they don't care much where the money comes from, that is, until the poop hits the fan. And in Kelo, it shows a blatant hypocrisy in Washington. How can a congressman show outrage when they are getting 1, 3,5 or $10,000 from WalMart, Home Depot, Costco and other companies?
Sure , the root problem are the local governments and their obsession with property tax revenue. However, if Big Box can pay off Congress, certainly taking care of a few city council members is easy. The trouble for Congress is that those payoffs always stay on FEC records - a true hypocrite-ometer.
By now you know what I'm about to say. Jim Clyburn is a hypocrite. His requisite press release came out immediately, but he fails to mention how much money he's been taking from WalMart for about 5 years now. Yes, WalMart, the most anti-union corporation in the world, gives money to Jim Clyburn, the man who gets six figures every election cycle from every union under the Sun. When you look at it, it doesn't seem like the unions are getting their money's worth from him, does it?
Like the Abramoff affair, maybe our congressmen should give back the money to Big Box as a goodwill gesture for misleading America - but don't count on it. Sure, both parties would suffer, but it would be a stern lesson for Congress to learn. Until we show that we aren't stupid, they will always assume we are.

The Highway's Always Greener on the Other Side.

A real quick note. While driving to North Carolina Thursday, there was a radio ad for a group against the recent doubling of NC's gas tax. The odd part about was the comparison between NC's roads and those in SC and Virginia.
In it the speaker ( Country Conservative, I believe ) said that NC spends more, but the roads in the neighboring states were better. I'm not sure if this guy ever drove around here, but if he took the 70 mile trip on US-52 that I took that day from Rockingham to Florence ( one lane each way ), he might change his mind. We still are talking about I-73, North Carolina is building it. Like Hitler said, the bigger the lie, the more people are going to believe it. Happy Driving!!

I Bury the Hatchet with Katon, and Not in His Back..

I attended the Executive Committee meeting today, and it was extremely positive. Lindsey Graham spoke, and he set the tone for the day. Disagree if you want, but keep it positive and team-oriented. Sec. of Agriculture Hugh Weathers spoke, and you can tell he's a farmer, because the man has more one liners than anyone I've ever seen ( and not just "More xxxx than Carter's has liver pills" ). Other candidates in attendance were Mike Campbell, Bob Staton and Elizabeth Moffly.
A new Second Vice Chair was chosen, with McCall receiving just one more vote than Lollis. They are both good friends, so it was a very clean process. It was a good time of politicking, and it's obvious that everyone is getting into election year mode.
At the end, Katon Dawson came up to me to say hello, and make sure everything was okay. It was a very classy thing to do, so I will refrain from badmouthing the SCGOP. Like Lindsey said, we may not agree, but we are a team, so I'll be a good soldier from here on.

District 63 Update...........

If there is one thing I can teach you, it is this: If you ever need to know what's going on in Florence, ask Shelby Phillips. The woman knows EVERYTHING politically, and usually before anyone else.
Shelby says the poop on Jim McGee's seat in the Legislature goes like this so far. Attorney Hood Temple will run, School Board member Willard Dorriety is out. Dr. Chris Crawford is in, as is Bubby Floyd , son of Bush Pioneer contributor Dr. Eddie Floyd.
This will be a big money race, so the odds on favorites are Temple and Floyd. Shelby says Hood Temple has enough to beat Floyd. There is a ton riding on this seat, because my guess is that Hugh Leatherman, who is losing power in the GOP fast and will be 77, will not run again in 2008. That makes the winner of District 63 the favorite for the Senate in 2 years.
As for who I am picking - not a chance. This is the prime area of my district, so I'll be non-partisan, and support whoever wins. I need all the friends I can get!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Darius Rucker Goes Zoot Suitie and the Blowfish !

Sign #2 that the End Times are near: Darius Rucker, singer for Hootie and the Blowfish will be appearing solo at Francis Marion University. Be warned, he will not be breaking out the acoustic and singing about a little love and tenderness. Rucker will be performing the songs of Rat Packer Frank Sinatra. Word is that Brian Setzer is ready to sue.
For those of you Sinatra fans who still want to hit Harry Connick Jr with a shoe for career plagiarism, I give you a couple alternative lyrics.

(From Very Good Year). When I was 35....I did a very dumb thing.
(The End) And now, I end my career....and so prepare, for armageddon.
(High Hopes) Anyone knows that Darius can't.. Play without his band. He must be, high on dope.

My apologies for poor lyrics.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Pigskin Picks....... Round 2.

I have to go out of town again ( family issues ), so I'm going to make my picks now for football.

BEARS VS. PANTHERS. Steve Smith and Carolina will face something they didn't in New York - a Defense. Jake Delhomme is showing to be a good playoff QB, but Chicago rattled him bad last time. Rex will put up 10 pts. and the defense will probably add a TD, but that's enough. BEARS 17-10

PATS VS. BRONCOS. Denver has the running game, speed ,a mobile QB, and a decent defense. New England has Tom Brady. I'll be wrong some day, but til then, I'm not betting against the Pats. PATS 27-23.

STEELERS VS. COLTS. Pittsburgh looked almost as good last week as they loooked bad against the Colts earlier this year. Too many weapons, and the extra week gives the Colts time to focus on football again. COLTS 35-20.

SKINS VS. SEAHAWKS. I was almost ready to pick the Skins - then I remembered Mark Brunell was QB'ing. Shaun Alexander gets more yardage and TD's than the entire Washington team this week. Skins fans will then get back to their true love - bureaucracy and politics.

Enjoy the games!!

Alito Gets CAP'd in the Back by Democrats

Apparently unable to crack Judge Samuel Alito's 15 years of service, Senate Democrats have decided to try the racist/sexist label on him. The slandering of Alito became bad enough that Alito's wife left the Judiciary Committee room in tears, where Sen. Lindsey Graham apologized to her.
The furor occurred over Alito's membership in a group called Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP). CAP was reputed to be against allowing minorities and women into Princeton. Judge Andrew Napolitano, a CAP board member and Fox News analyst, said that CAP was against instilling Affirmative Action at Princeton. Alito says he doesn't remember when he was a member, but Senate Dems continue to ask the same question, apparently not believing him.
Being an Italian - American, this is getting to be offensive, but not surprising. I remember when Alito's name first came up, that whispers of a Mafia connection started. We're used to this by now .
Sen. Ted Kennedy attempted to hijack the committee from Arlen Specter(R-PA), but eventually Specter did give in and ask for documents related to CAP be requested. It looks like a delay tactic from Senate Dems, as they continue to troll around for the magic bullet - which is a little ironic, considering that Arlen Specter came up with the magic bullet theory in the Assassination of Kennedy's brother.
Why the Democrats waste their time on this is beyond me. They have no chance at beating the appointment, and only make themselves look bad . The Art of War usually says if you can't win a battle, stay out of one until you can win. They'll never learn.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I Wasn't So Sunny with Mrs. Philips....

If you've been surfing around the SC Blogs you might see some comments I left for Crunchy Republican and SCGOP head cheerleader, Sunny Philips. We as humans have a knack for inadvertantly pushing someone's buttons by making what we think is a positive comment. Well, Sunny pushed mine by bringing up tonight's GOP Legislative Kickoff soiree.
I'm not a 100% partisan hack. If I see or hear a problem in my own party, I will point it out. I've posted comments on this event already, and the SCGOP financing millionaires for office, while ignoring others. Refer to them if you need to. The unfortunate part is that I need the SCGOP, and they need me. They might not think they do, but I cover 15 counties, and no single candidate covers the area like I do. The people I work with in the party feel we are enduring a new kind of oppression: Donation without Representation. We contribute, but we don't get much assistance in return.
Reading Sunny's comments made me see red, and I laid into her pretty well. She's just doing her job, and I apologize. It's just that my issues with the SCGOP go far beyond lack of support. We all try to be team players, but there are times when I'm not sure my team gets it.

Big Blue Gets a Black Eye........

Sunday marked the end of the season for my beloved New York Giants, as they were sliced , diced, pureed, sauteed and generally violated 23-0 by the Panthers. I had less pain when I had my kidney operated on, and that was 66 stitches!
When I made my predictions, I forgot that the Giants were recruiting players from St. Vincent's Junior High to play linebacker for this game. Still, the year was a success, and I look forward to even more in the Fall. Overall, I went 2-2 last week - I forgot that Tom Brady doesn't lose after New Year's.

Jim McGee Quits, Atty's Pop Up From Everywhere to Run!!

I was watching Channel 13 in Florence, and they are reporting that SC Rep. Jim McGee (R-Florence) will not run for re-election this year. I was only mildly surprised. Jim's first concern has always been his family, and the politics and BS in Columbia probably wore him out. McGee is my State Rep., so the first thought in my head was to possibly run to replace him. District 63 is a small, 90% Republican area, so it would be a lot easier to mount a campaign. Then I got to the meeting.
It turns out that now about 15 people want to take his place, mostly attorneys. I haven't seen any of these guys at a party meeting in 3 years, but now they are all Republicans. Not that it really matters, as long as they have money. As my buddy Dean Fowler, Flo. Cty. Treasurer said, "Some people run for the right reasons, some just run". I really liked Jim McGee. I got to hang out in his office with him, Murrell Smith, Marty Coates and Mike Thompson as they discussed PPIC ( for Mrs. Moffly, Put Parents in Charge ). He is a moderate voice of reason, willing to stick his neck out on an issue.
Now he's probably going to be replaced by a Good Old Boy elitist out to pad his bank account. So goes the world - might makes right.

Monday, January 09, 2006

So, Did Anyone Miss Me?....

Sorry I didn't post for a couple days here. I was in Florence - I finally got up early enough to drive the 2 hrs and make it to church on time. I should find a church in Charleston, but there's something about going to your home church that's special. I stayed overnight and attended the Florence County GOP meeting. It was poorly attended ( about 15 people), but we did have a statewide candidate speak.
It was Elizabeth Moffly. Who you ask? Well, she is running for Inez' old job as Sec. of Education. She is a business owner and mother from Mt. Pleasant, or as they say here, Mt. P. Being a fringe candidate myself, I always take an interest in trying to help the little guy, or lady.
She read a prepared speech, which sounded more like a dissertation, for about 12 minutes. I've given my share of bad speeches, so I forgave her on that point, but we were on Strike One. She was much more comfortable just answering questions, so I decided to ask her the same questions that Chip asked me.

1. Should equity in funding be on a per student or dollar for dollar basis? She had said she was for equal funding, but would not really peg an answer on this. " some schools need more projects than others" . I thought this was an easy question..... Strike Two.

2. What do you think of the TERI program? " What is TERI?" I kid you not. Aside from Medicare, TERI is eating up the State budget worse than anything, and she didn't know what it was. Strike Three.

I always try to encourage out of the loop people to run, but I can't support Mrs. Moffly. Being a mother and well off doesn't make you qualified for this job. Sorry.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Na, Na, Na, Na..... Hey Hammer, Goodbye.

That gust of wind felt today was the collective sigh of relief from Republicans like myself upon hearing that Tom DeLay will not seek to reclaim his job as House Majority Leader. DeLay represents exactly what is wrong with Washington - bend the rules and exploit the system until it finally snaps. When your leader is viewed as the most unpopular man on the Hill, it's time for him to go. Republicans don't owe him anything, because he may cost them a lot more this Fall. If I had a wish, it would be to not allow Republicans from Texas and Democrats from Massachusetts from speaking on the House floor - they've wrecked America enough lately. So, farewell to the Hammer, time to grab another tool from the box.

Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) will no doubt keep his spot as DeLay's replacement. Being a Caucus leader, he's not on C-SPAN a lot, so about all I know is he looks a lot like DeLay. Someone's going to have to move up, so I'll give a short list of who I'd like to see.

The Green Guys

Tom Goodlatte-VA. Does a lot of bipartisan work. Big on the Ag Committee as well.
Steve King-IOWA. A major Ethanol proponent, which I think would help SC alot.
Bob Inglis-SC. Still under the radar a bit for keeping his term limit pledge - no way to get ahead in Washington! Very hydrogen focused.

The Handsome Guys

David Dreier-CA. Very tough on the Democrats, but so polished and sharp that you don't know he's putting you down.
Paul Ryan-WISC. A little young, but a very sharp guy that's up on the numbers.
Adam Putnam-FL. The Hammer for 2016. Was called " That Howdy Doody Looking Kid" by Marion Berry-MS ( Not the Crack-Addled Mayor of DC). Loves to spar with the other side, and does not back down.

The Ugly Guys

Tom Tancredo-CO. Too short, too bald, too ugly by his own account. However, has singlehandedly made Immigration an issue this year. Good consensus builder.
Peter King-NY. Chairs the Homeland Security Committee. Looks a little like a sloppy Steve Forbes, he's a good centrist, but with NY toughness.

The Ladies, or Gentlewomen

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen-FL. Don't ask me to spell it again. A consistent face on the floor of the House, and does a lot of bipartisan work.

Sue Myrick-NC. One of the few Bible Belt women in Congress. A female on the GOP side would be a good idea, but she has voted against the party on a few key votes.

Raving Maniac Indeed.....

Scouring through the blogosphere, a blog called The Raving Maniac has plastered his column on a few other blogs. It is essentially downing Gov. Sanford, and he says he's embarrassed to be a Republican and from South Carolina. A few tips:

1. A Republican is NEVER embarrassed for being one, and a South Carolinian is NEVER ashamed of their home - you either aren't one or possibly both of them.

2. Republicans never say " We Can Do Better" . That only comes from the lips of John Kerry , Nancy Pelosi or a DNC talking head.

By the way, the only Maniacs I've ever listened to was 10,000 Maniacs - ok, I'm dating myself.

All Is Not Well in Pelosiville......

I'll just reprint this whole column from Robert Novak , but it is quite on the mark.

Some Democrats ready to oust Pelosi
WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had just finished a typically discursive floor speech shortly before the year-end adjournment when a very liberal member approached her second-in-command, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and whispered in his ear: “Steny, is it not time for a coup?”It obviously was not time to oust Pelosi and replace her with Hoyer. House Democrats do not get rid of their leaders with coups, as Republicans have during the last half-century. Nevertheless, dissatisfaction with Pelosi’s performance is pervasive across the ideological spectrum. Her colleagues grumble that under her leadership, the party lacks focus and a clear agenda necessary to take advantage of Republican disarray.This deficiency is referred to by some House Democrats as “the Nancy problem,” but it really transcends failings of their party leader. They remain tied to obsolete practices that freeze in place aged committee leaders. Their rhetoric betrays inability to free themselves from New Deal tax-and-spend policies. The Republican majority looks divided, out of gas and threatened by serious scandals. But Democrats fear they are ill-equipped to seize their opportunity.The Democratic Caucus vote that propelled Pelosi to power was cast Oct. 10, 2001, when Pelosi defeated Hoyer for party whip, 118 to 95. But the authenticity of that outcome always has been questioned inside the caucus because of the exaggerated influence by Pelosi’s fellow Californians. Thirty of the outsized California delegation’s 31 Democrats voted for Pelosi, some reluctantly. Minus them, Hoyer had a clear edge over Pelosi of 95 to 88.Many Democrats inside and outside of Congress see the wrong person elevated as their House leader by accident of geography. It is hard to deny that Hoyer surpasses Pelosi in backroom strategy sessions, in floor debate or in television interviews. The man from southern Maryland seems a better voice for a party trying to expand its base than the woman from San Francisco.Today’s gap between minority leader and minority whip is wide and visible. Hoyer is no conservative and delivers the partisan stem-winders expected of a party leader. But he also is unapologetically pro-business and pro-national defense, while Pelosi consistently runs in the opposite direction. Hoyer voted to go to war and for bankruptcy reform, while Pelosi was against both.When Rep. John Murtha in effect called for immediate U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, Pelosi in the secrecy of the party caucus embraced that dangerous political course. After two weeks of internal debate, Pelosi backed down to Hoyer’s position of effectively letting the House members individually pick their own way.It is not ideology, however, that makes many Democrats yearn for Hoyer. The congressman who whispered about a coup in Hoyer’s ear is much closer to Pelosi ideologically. He and other Democrats are simply appalled by Pelosi’s image as a party leader. While she got by delivering 60-second speeches as an ordinary congresswoman, she seems distracted and lost in making four-minute Democratic closing arguments on a bill.Pelosi neither sets an agenda nor offers inspiring messages, but she cannot be held wholly responsible for the superficial quality of Democratic rhetoric from the House floor. Debate on bills ordinarily is led by the senior committee member, who is bound by cliches and stereotypes. One of the best and longest lasting of Newt Gingrich’s reforms when he became House speaker in 1995 was to institute term limits for Republican committee heads. The Democrats keep their leaders as long as they live.The Democratic management of legislation in the House is handled by the likes of John Dingell, 79, Energy and Commerce Committee (25 terms); Tom Lantos, 77, International Relations (13 terms); John Conyers, 76, Judiciary (21 terms); David Obey, 67, Appropriations (18 terms); and John Spratt, 63, Budget (12 terms). These are men who generally talk about moving the previous question more than moving the nation.The combination of such senior citizens and the 65-year-old Pelosi produce a mind-numbing product that is not calculated to take advantage of an unpopular war and a climate of scandal. Pelosi is reported fearful that if Democrats do not finally regain control of the House this year, she may be replaced by Hoyer. There are House Democrats who feel that change ought to come sooner to prevent another election defeat.

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Before some people think that this is a good idea, and that Jim Clyburn could move up to number two, calm down. Clyburn can't do Hoyer's job. The Democratic House's goal was to make their leadership look like America, and Clyburn was and is the most power-driven African American in Congress. However, he is not an innovative legislator ( he only introduced one bill this year), and I don't think he could inspire excitement in the Democratic caucus. He is in a perfect position - head partisan propagandist.

Pigskin Picks.............

I love playoff football, especially since my G-Men made it to the show this year. Send in your predictions - pens and magnets to the winner!
PATS VS JAGS - I think Belichick missed the 2 pt. conversion on purpose last week to avoid both overtime and the Steelers. Jacksonville will make them sorry they did. JAGS 20-17.

BUCS VS SKINS - How did Tampa get a No. 3 seed? Skins are on a roll, both on Offense and Defense. I'm going the non-PC route here, and it won't be close. SKINS 27-14.

GIANTS VS. PANTHERS - I am partisan, but the Panthers just don't show up sometimes, whereas the Giants tend to lose games they should win. The Panthers can shut down Tiki, but Jake Delhomme has been a mess against a good defense ( Da Bears!). GIANTS 17-13.

STEELERS VS BENGALS - Is anyone picking the Bengals? Marvin Lewis can scream all week long, but they can't stop anyone right now. The Bus takes a couple non-stops to the end zone, and another weak No.3 seed goes down in a laugher. STEELERS 30-17.

Enjoy the games!

My Theory on Jack Murtha...

Today, I saw Rep. Jack Murtha say to a reporter that if he were a young man today, he would not join the military. Even Gen. Wesley Clark could not understand how a person with Murtha's resume would say such a thing. It's leaving a lot of people wondering what is causing such a betrayal or epiphany, depending on which side you are on.
Now, I watched Murtha's entire speech in the House , explaining the reasons for his change of heart. Even though I disagreed with him, I respected his opinion. The feeling that the Iraqi people did not want us there was an overriding theme. If I were an Iraqi, I wouldn't want anyone in my country either, whether they were protecting me or not. The ensuing "hand to mouth" , and " I wouldn't join if I were you" comments I found to be insulting and bad for troop morale. Here is my theory on why.
I imagine Jack Murtha has seen a lot. Having served in Vietnam, he's seen many young people die, not always for the best reasons. After 34 years in the military, he's likely had his fill of visiting injured boys at Walter Reed Hospital.
Aside from military years, Murtha is not a young man, and older people, particularly those who have been in war, will try to make amends in their later years. My Dad is 81, and I see the effort he gives to apologize for his earlier mistakes. Murtha is seeing Iraq, it reminds him of Vietnam all over again, and he feels it is his duty to wave the red flag and avoid what he thinks is a futile war. It is admirable, but misguided.
Iraq and Vietnam are different conflicts. Vietnam was fought between two entire nations that were split idealogically down the middle. Iraq is a country of 25 million that is being attacked by 5 or 10,000 insurgents under no flag. Many people forget we were told by experts that it would take 3-5 years to get out of Iraq. It's a lot like flushing cockroaches, without being able to throw a fogger at them. You can only take out a few at a time. Yes , we'd like the Iraqi army to train faster, but this isn't a nightguard job, this is fighting an experienced and creative enemy. As they stand up, America will stand down.
I don't see Murtha's stance as a political ploy - I do see it in others since his speech. While I understand how his experience may influence his thinking, as we say in sales, 'I appreciate your input'. America doesn't always do the popular thing, it does what it needs to do. If you see a soldier, tell them thanks.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Norman Raises 415K, I Get a Free Dinner......

I attended the Sumter County GOP meeting last night. My being there is not unusual, they are the only county that meets on the first Thursday. Meanwhile, three counties meet on the second Thursday. I did get to meet Ralph Norman , the GOP's handpicked choice for Congress in the 5th District. He was friendly, and asked me a lot of questions, most of my answers being " It's hard with no fundraising". I really wanted to ask him for Karl Rove's phone number, but I resisted.
Park Gillespie was in Sumter last month, so having met both now, I can compare the two. Ralph Norman has a voting record to back up his views, limited though it is, and he is a decent speaker - better than I am, but not really motivating. Park Gillespie is motivating. If Park were debating John Spratt, I have no doubt that he could kick Spratt's monotonous , confusing propaganda around the room. Unfortunately for Park, Norman has all the big guns behind him. His press release today said he raised $415,000 in 2 1/2 months, about 400 times what I did. We did finish even in one department - we both got dinner last night!
Either of them will have a good chance in November, and having both of them running is actually a good thing, because they will need the practice and name recognition. However, might makes right in politics, and this looks like Norman's year.

Stapp Gets Engaged.... Will his Old Band be Invited??

Let's have some fun.... I see Scott Stapp, formerly the singer of Creed, is engaged. Let's hope this one doesn't call him on a radio show to tell him she's cheating on him for revenge, like his ex.
After that, and a stint at rehab, his bandmates dumped him to form Altar Bridge. Stapp has a solo album out, but Altar Bridge seems to be doing much better. So here is my question: which one is better now?? If you think they both stink, that's fine too. Cast your vote in the comments. Everyone on the winning side gets a free Reino for Congress pen and fridge magnet!! Sorry, that's the best I can do.

Maybe We Can Start 4Pre-K for Newborns.......

I see the SCDP has a post concerning a new bill. Six whole days after the School Funding decision was passed down, Sens. Lourie and Smith of Columbia introduced the Pre-Kindergarten Investment Act. It made me reflect some more on that decision, and I think there's a major error in the Judge's ruling.
I haven't read the bill, but the release states it makes Pre-K mandatory. Here is the problem. The decision stated that the funding for early years education was insufficient, but what does Pre-K have to do with funding? What we have just set up is another excuse for our failing schools, bigger goverment, and not holding parents responsible for educating their kids before school starts.
Over the past 6 years, South Carolina has addressed the problems of large class size, poor teacher pay, teacher training , equitable distribution, and now it will be that we wait too long to put them in school. I'm sorry, but we are running out of reasons for why our kids , particlarly in rural areas , aren't succeeding. It's too bad that they are not going after the problem: parents not teaching their kids in the early years.
The Orangeburg T&D had a very straightforward article, emphasizing how generationally, there was no focus on education, and the major obstacle that it's become in education. Telling parents to be more active in the learning process works, but it's easier for some in Columbia and Washington to say that it's the government's fault - mainly Republicans. This thinking is taking us down a slippery slope.
Get ready for the following term this year: Investing in Government. Those words make me cringe, but that's the plan. Just pay your taxes, and we'll raise your kids for you. What happens when this fails ( and you know it will )? Send kids to school at three? Two ? If it gets bad enough, we might make children wards of the state at birth, because parents are incapable of educating them.
While this is ridiculous, one point is inescapable. For hundreds of years, children all over the world have started school at age 5, and been educated properly. For some reason though, people in South Carolina feel that we need to start at 4, and that it's the government's fault . No amount of money will educate our children. Only effort and teamwork between parents , teachers and the community will. Now go read to your kids.

You Can Learn a lot from an Alcoholic........

I did something Wednesday night that I had never done before. I went to an AA meeting. Not for myself, but for my brother, who was visiting. He's been sober for 7 months now, and so dedicated to recovery that he wouldn't take a day off while on vacation, 700 miles from home.
Growing up, I idolized him. He taught me to play guitar, told me not to smoke, and every joke or imitation I can do, I learned from him. After college, I started to see the demons that would hold his life back for 44 years. The destructiveness he had and the deliberateness with which he did it caused the two of us to switch roles. I had to drag him home, make sure he went to work, paid the bills, etc. For a very long time, I swore he'd never live past 40.
Most people would say , "send him to rehab". Well, no one was paying for it, and here is the part some people don't get. If the abuser does not want to recover, he will not. Throwing an objecting alcoholic in rehab is a waste of money, and only delays the relapse. The person needs to WANT to recover, and it didn't happen with my brother until 7 months ago.
I won't and can't go into what goes on at AA, but I will say that is does require full and unflinching self-examination. You simplify life, eliminate the things that affect your well-being, and find success in the smaller events - the ones we take for granted.
He's not a completely different person now. The sense of humor is still there ( His favorite AA joke: What's the difference between a drunk and an alcoholic? A drunk doesn't have to go to those meetings!). Like an onion, he's peeled away the bad tendencies, and just left the parts that everyone likes about him.
He left to go home today, and I had to let him know I was proud of him. He's managed to get his license back for the first time in 20 years, he has a good job, and his 7 year old daughter is the best kid I've ever met. In that one hour Wednesday, I was retaught a lesson that we all could learn from: Take a good look at yourself every now and then, fix what you don't like about yourself, and life will be a lot easier. One Day at a Time........

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Highway Pork: The Other White Meat Bankrupt By '08

A report by the US Chamber of Commerce says that the Highway Trust Fund, the fund that allows Congressmen and Senators to get re-elected through pork barrel projects, will be bankrupt by 2008. How you ask? Simple. They are spending more than they will take in.
The Trust Fund is accumulated through Federal Taxes from gasoline sales from you. Over the six year period from 2004-2009, the Fund is expected to take in $231 billion. Incidentally, the bill was not passed and signed until July 2005, because almost every Congressman and Senator had a special earmark or pet project. This caused the House to try and pass a bill for almost $320 billion, but they somehow found a way to get it down to $286 Billion. Yes, your math is correct, they are $55 billion short. Like Social Security, the slush fund will be zero in 2008.
In typical Washington fashion, a fund that was setup to build bridges and highways now helps fund additions on college campuses and other pork projects to make sure that official can say that they got " their fair share". My response goes back to childhood: If your friend builds a bridge, does that mean you have to? This is the exact thought process that has caused the deficit to skyrocket.
This is not a partisan issue. Both parties are losing their minds, because bridges are like supermodels - you can point to them and say, "look what I got!" Voters focus on tangible things they can see. Like your dependable wife, lower taxes and jobs just aren't glamourous enough to show off.
We just had a huge fight on Capitol Hill about spending and tax cuts hurting America. Meanwhile $55 billion that isn't paid for is staring us right in the face. Unfortunately, the slogan in Washington is, "Pork: It's What's for Dinner".