Wednesday, December 27, 2006

RIP President Ford

Wow, what a holiday news cycle. First, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown passes, then President Gerald Ford. Say what you want to about President Ford, but he had the courage to do things in office that probably led to his defeat for a full term, such as the pardon of President Nixon and the Helsinki Accords, which opened the Soviet Union to western ideas.

Further, President Ford's administration also created the springboard for several of today's politicians, such as Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and first Bush term Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neil.

President Ford was a man of conviction, even when that conviction cost him political support. President Ford was a decent man, and now in a time when decent people in politics seems so unique, that is remarkable.

Rest in Peace, President Ford. I hope ole Bo was there to welcome you with open arms at the Pearly Gates, as one Michigan man to another.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

I say "Merry Christmas" to all of you who read this blog. I hope you have a great celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. I say so without apology. I know there are those politically correct souls who say things like, "have a happy holiday," but I say "Merry Christmas!" loudly and proudly.

In the coming days and weeks, I will be back to my old self ripping those in politics and telling it like it is. But, for today. I just say, "Merry Christmas!"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Newberry votes to keep increases in place

Newberry County Council decided to say "bah humbug" to Newberry County residents who are facing steep tax increases due to reassessments that some say are out of line with reality. Despite the fact that people had to stand outside of the Newberry Opera House at the meeting to protest the tax increase, the big government types running Newberry County pressed forward.

They did offer to consider "payment plans" for residents. Too bad those big government types could not think of ways to keep government to its essentials and less costly. What arrogance. Just think of it. Those big government folks are telling retirees, give up a going out to eat or paying for cable tv or paying the phone bill and make an installment payment so we can pay for some consultant or for someone's bloated salary. Democrats used to make political hay out of the elderly having to choose between spending money on medicine or food. Now, it appears it could be that some elderly will be left to choose between medicine and keeping their homes. It is an outrage.

Yet another example of how one of the most conservative states in the union has some of the biggest growing local governments. We the people have to start paying attention to our local governments and hold them accountable. They have become money pits in which more is never enough. In this season of the year, it is the big government types, like those in Newberry County, who think that the people are Santa Claus, with one big exception. Whatever Santa brings them, those big government types keep saying they need and deserve more. And, if you don't pay up, they will take your home. Those on the street call such a shakedown. Shoot, those Newberry County big government types did not offer the people any milk and cookies.

Pray for ole Russell

My buddy Russell, one of the best friends I have ever had, is fighting cancer at the age of 35. He has one helluva fight ahead of him, and it will be against the odds. Please keep him in your prayers.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The mess with the growth of local governments

This week, in Saluda and Newberry counties, gyms were packed with residents fed up with reassessments that in some cases tripled their property taxes. While there is a state law that prevents so called "windfalls" from reassessment, there are still many property owners, especially around Lake Murray who are being hit with big tax increases.

Saluda County, according to an article in The State, is moving to not use the new assessment values for this years tax bills. The article in The State contends that could lead tax bills in Saluda County to not be issued until the Spring of 2007.

Some Newberry residents are considering boycotting the current tax bills and paying taxes at last years level.

The anger and the quandary the county governments of Saluda and Newberry are in, to me, are a result of something that has been going on all over the state. While efforts are made to cut federal and state taxes, local governments have continued to grow and grow. So called conservatives are elected to office, only to turn into tax and spenders once in office.

If you doubt that, take a look at Lexington County. This past year, Lexington County council passed a tax increase. Now, with that "not enough," Lexington County is looking to add a $25 per automobile fee and Sheriff Jim Metts is looking for a tax increase to increase his department's budget. Lexington County Council is dominated by Republicans. Lexington is perhaps the most Republican county in the state. Sheriff Metts is a Republican. Yet, those conservative Republicans are advocating for bigger and more expensive government.

How did it happen. I believe there are several factors at work. First, county governments have gotten away from their primary mission: provide essential services such as public safety, basic infrastructure, proper record keeping and the like. Things that are labeled under "quality of life" are being funded. Those things are museums, arts council funding, high priced consultants for this and that and so forth.

Second, the county governments are off track because of the apparent heavy reliance of local elected officials upon professional county employees, such as managers and directors. Those so called professional county employees are products of government. They are trained to get more money for their area of responsibility. There is simply do degree program in things like public administration out there that trains professional government employees to do more with less, or realize that their jobs and area is not essential and should be paid for by the taxpayers. More and more county council members in the Midlands and around the state just do not want to do their homework, and let the bureaucrats do it for them. No bureaucrat is going to stand up and say, "this program is not essential." It is just is not going to happen.

The third thing at work allows for the second thing to happen. Too many voters just don't pay attention to local government. Of course, those with the big tax bills in Newberry and Saluda now are, but most do not. Most people can name the President, a like number could name their US Senators or the Governor, but ask them who their county council member is, and the numbers of those who know plummets. The people and the media just don't pay proper attention to county and other local governments, and that has allowed the bureaucrats a safe haven to create big government at the local level in one of the most conservative states in the union.

Hopefully, the protests in Newberry and Saluda will be start of a change. Hopefully the angers those residents feel now will go on until the next election. Hopefully when those folks will vote for candidates who will bring limited and less expensive local and county government, not for someone whose daddy they knew or whose cousin they fish with.

If not, then the irony of the one of the most conservative states in the union having some of the fastest growing local governments will continue.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jakie to tackle gang problem

Lexington county Senator Jakie Knotts will hold a press conference today about the legislation he is offering to fight gangs in the Midlands and the rest of South Carolina. According to the WIS TV, the legislation will allow for the seizure of property used in gang related activities and for the protection of gang members who want out.

Until the legislation is filed, and the details can be looked over, no one can truly know how powerful the measures will be. But, hooray to Jakie Knotts for actually doing something about the gang problem and not burying his head in the sand like so many other midlands politicians are doing on the issue.

Let there be no mistake about it. The Midlands of South Carolina has a gang problem. Just the other day, I spoke with the mother of a middle school student whose child came home telling her about another child on her bus who talked about being in a particular gang and showed the appropriate gang signs to the other children on the bus. That bus was not in some inner city district. That bus was rolling in the highly respected suburban district of Lexington-Richland District Five.

For far too long school officials and law enforcement officials have downplayed the presence and power of gangs. Hooray again for state senator Jakie Knotts in that the senator acknowledges the problem and tries to something about it.

Gangs are perhaps the most destructive force that can be unleashed upon middle and high school students. We must do something about the problem and do something about it now.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mitt Romney is a lump of political coal

Tis the Season, I suppose. It is time for the hustle and bustle of Christmas. While you are out there buying your Christmas gifts for your family and friends, there will be those who will be trying to sell you on a lump of coal in the 2008 South Carolina Presidential primary. That lump of coal is Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. The Governor’s campaign would have you believe he is a true Republican conservative who can build a party and get things done. But, if you buy that, you will end up with a lump of coal in you presidential stocking.

Governor Romney is a proponent of big government. As Governor, he signed a bill that made socialized medicine the norm in his state. Further, he is unstable on taxes. While he says he is for lower taxes, he did nothing to lower taxes in his state while Governor.

Governor Romney plays his faith as a trump card. He tells us he is a Morman, and as such is pro life and against gay marriage. That sounds good, until you look at his record. When he ran for the United States Senate in 1994, he gave a heartfelt story about how a relative of his died from complications of an illegal abortion and that he would not challenge abortion rights because of that. Further, as Governor, he had the first legal gay unions of a state on his watch. Again, if you go back to the rhetoric of the 1994 United States Senate race, Romney was no opponent to such.

Then there is the “party builder” label Mitt Romney’s folks would have you believe. There is a reason that Romney did not run for re-election this year. He would have been crushed at the polls. His state saw devastating losses for the Republican Party in this year’s election. If anything, Romney’s term as Governor left the state of Massachusetts Republican Party worse off then it was before he took office.

I could go on, and will in the coming weeks and months about why Romney is not the right choice for the Republican Party for President of the United States. But, for now, I will just advise this, do not be surprised if supporting Romney gets you a lump of coal in your political stocking. Romney is no mainstream conservative. Romney is no South Carolina conservative. Romney is just a big lump of political coal South Carolina politicos should avoid putting in their political stockings.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Braggin' on Little Brother

I have to brag on my little brother Matthew McCarty, who was voted fireman of the year by his fellow fighfighters on the Honea Path Fire Department.

Way to go little brother, proud of you as always.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

This and that: some random thoughts

I have had ideas about several posts. Instead of doing a post on each one, I will try to express them all in one post. There is this and that: some random thoughts.

1) I don't know who begs more for my money to remain on the air, TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) or SCETV. The Preachers and the bureaucrat broadcasters lay it on thick this time of year. Sure, there are good programs on both. I especially like the old Bible based movies TBN broadcasts, and some of the SCETV music programming. But, to listen to those folks, you would think the Devil himself will take over the television programming if I don't hand them over my credit card number. Sorry, folks, I choose to give my charitable donations this year to Franklin's Graham's Samaritan's Purse, which is doing some meaningful work helping oppressed Christians and others in the Darfur region. Graham is also doing meaningful work in other places around the world. If you want to give to or learn more go to http://www.samaritanspurse.org/.

2) What is with SCRG and the State newspaper? Yet again, we get some letter or whatever you want to call it from Randy Page against this state, this one calling Cindi Ross Scoppe crazy, or crazy like a fox, take your pick. Didn't the guys at SCRG learn with their limited results that sophomoric personal attacks are just a waste of time and money? Why won't they stick to the high road of ideas, after all, we conservatives have the better ideas, we don't need to wallow in the mud with cheap personal attacks, especially against a newspaper writer. It is just plain silly.

3) Steve Spurrier and the increasing cost of college football. I like Steve Spurrier. I am an alumnus of South Carolina and I love the Gamecocks and the university. I am glad Spurrier is staying at SC. He is a good man and a good coach. But, with a contract of 1.75 million a year, I wonder how much is to going to be too much to pay for a college football coach. Spurrier made 1.25 million this year, with was a little over $178,571 per victory. That 1.25 million is three times what the President of the United States makes. The new amount will be over four times what the President of the United States makes. Of course, Spurrier might call on an old Babe Ruth quote. A female reporter asked Babe Ruth in the 1920s what he thought of making more than the President of the United States, Ruth replied, "Sis, I have a had a better year than the President so I should make more money than he does. " At least Spurrier's salary does not come entirely from the taxpayers, but it does remind us how a simple extracurricular activity has grown into a big business for colleges.

4) Last but certainly not least, take some time this holiday season to think about the men and women who work as our state troopers. They will not have any time off like the rest of us have. They will be out there working the roads protecting us. Somewhere along the way in SC politics, we shifted our values. While some educrats and teachers enjoy relatively large salaries and plenty of time off, our state troopers go underpaid and overworked. One teacher I argued with recently about the situation summed up the arrogance of the education establishment. She told me, " if we have to cut trooper pay or whatever, let's do it to make sure teachers get paid more, our job is more important." It is hard to tell that to the young trooper, with a wife and child at home while he walks up alone to that car with Florida plates at 3AM on I-95. It is my understanding State Rep. Michael Thompson, among others will try to help our troopers this coming legislative session. Let's hope they are successful. Those men and women do a thankless job that is essential.