Monday, March 31, 2008

SCHP needs more appreciation and understanding


Three more videos were released by major news outlets recently showing state troopers allegedly using excessive force. Two of the three videos were debatable. One trooper in the third video, the kicking scene, clearly lost his temper.
What is lost in the sensation of the videos that have been released over the past few weeks is that no one at the patrol said the incidents were acceptable. Troopers were dealt with. When the Governor thought that a couple of the troopers were not dealt with harshly enough, the Governor got the resignation of the head of the patrol.
That should have ended the matter. There's no need to find and release every video tied to any disciplinary action. What was once a compelling story is quickly turning a sensationalized media blitz that perhaps originated with good ole fashioned political back stabbing. The men and women of the South Carolina Highway Patrol do not deserve to be subject to such.
While we all read the stories and view the video footage from the safety of our homes or offices, state troopers are somewhere in South Carolina doing a dangerous job. Indeed, since the Patrol was founded in 1932, 46 troopers have lost their lives in the line of duty. Seventeen troopers have lost their lives in the line of duty in the past 20 years. You can read the mini-biographies of the troopers lost in the line of duty at http://www.schp.org/in_memory.asp.
When someone flees the troopers and/or acts aggressively towards troopers, it is going to raise tensions. A state trooper alone walking up to a car that has fled from him has no idea of what is about to happen next. Naturally, that trooper is going to be on edge. Being on edge could prove the difference between being an arresting officer or a victim.
Those who are now dubbed the "victims" in the video could have avoided their run in with the troopers in question if they simply would have pulled over for the blue lights.
It's common sense. Why the media, which is quick to tell us that we have to get cover in a tornado, doesn't make clear how not to be part of a scene like the ones showed over the past few weeks is beyond me. You don't play golf in a thunderstorm and you don't run from the blue lights. We all do stupid things. But, when you do something stupid, you can not be a victim.
We ask the men and women of the SCHP to strap on a firearm, some other equipment and go deal with not only the routine traffic violator, but the some of the worst among us. Often they do that job alone.
It appears from some of the videos that a handful of troopers lost their temper. That should not be accepted without some soft of discipline. However, instead of stoking the matter to the point were comments on blogs and websites around the state are calling the men and women of the SCHP things like "racists" and "thugs," perhaps we in South Carolina should try to understand the job the troopers have to do and appreciate how the vast majority of troopers face that job everyday with professionalism and guts.

Friday, March 28, 2008

How to put South Carolina back in South Carolina state elections



There is a growing problem in South Carolina from outsiders who donate heavy amounts of money to legislative campaigns, political action groups, and political parties.

It has been well documented that New York billionaire Howard Rich and his crowd have donated millions to politics in South Carolina on state political issues. They have created front groups, donated from businesses with the same address, and fought every effort for full disclosure.


The United States constitution set up a government in which the states had certain political rights. There was a reason for that. It was thought by the founding fathers that states knew best how to handle their own business in local issues. That belief has long been the heart of the conservative movement in the United States.

Not anymore. While traditionally the left uses big federal government to curb the rights of states to charter their own course on local issues, the neo conservative movement is curbing those same rights with the political tool of today: money.

Money flows to legislative races and front groups to buy high priced consultants and attorneys. It is happening from Oregon to Florida and all points in between. Slick campaigns and well funded lawsuits have replaced the straight talk of the likes of Goldwater and Reagan.

Indeed, if any traditional conservative dares to question the influence of outside money, he is quickly dubbed a “RINO.” However, if one understands the principles of the party that Goldwater and Reagan built, the real RINOs are those opening their wallets to try to influence another state’s politics.

There is a simple solution. All contributions from any out of state group, individual or party to any state office candidate, state party or group that is created to influence state issues should be banned. Further, all candidates for state office, state parties and groups should be required to make quarterly disclosure reports of all contributors. All candidates from the state House of Representatives and state Senate should be limited to contributors from within their districts. Those candidates would be allowed contributions from their state parties and from any state political action group.

I will not go into the details and the minutia of the plan’s legal s merits. This isn’t meant to be a legal brief or memo. I do believe that the above simple plan could be defended in the courts and it could take South Carolina politics back for South Carolinians. After all, what is the use of even having states’ rights, if someone from out of state can open his wallet and influence South Carolina state politics from his New York apartment?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ron Wilson revisited


It has been over a year since my original post about Anderson County Councilman Ron Wilson being a RINO of a different breed. I caught considerable heat because I was unable to make the publicity stunt cooked up by Wilson and the Anderson Independent Mail. (What was left unsaid by the newspaper was that it was made clear I wanted to reschedule, but their and Mr. Wilson's terms were "now or never." I had little say whatsoever in the matter.)

Since then, Mr. Wilson has proven himself a more traditional RINO, advocating impact fees and voting for a tax increase.

But, what is striking is the Anderson Independent Mail recently published an article in which Mr. Wilson admitted he was once a member of the League of the South. Wilson called the group harmless.

Really? Harmless? One can believe that if he believes the Southern states should secede from the United States. Check out Mr. Wilson's harmless friends at www.dixienet.org.

If you remember, in his publicity stunt, Mr. Wilson said he had nothing to do with the organization. Now, he tells the Independent Mail he was part of it, but its harmless. One might also note that part of The League of the South core principles is a return to the sliver and gold bullion system. One can debate the wisdom of such, but if someone is a gold dealer, like Mr. Wilson, the self interest is obvious.

What did Ron Wilson get for his RINO ways? The county administrator working with him to make sure that the Sons of Confederate Veterans held their convention in Anderson County. What did the Democrat administrator get by giving such support to Wilson? A committed vote to keep the administrator in his job. That is good ole fashioned big government politics.

As for Southern heritage, I don't have one thing against it. Indeed, paintings of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson hang in my home without apology. However, that is history. Those who advocate seceding from the United States will never have my support. And, those who say "oh well, yes, I did join them, but who cares now?" will not be overlooked.

For far too long, those of us who hold conservative political principles and who honor the legacy of a military genius like Lee have allowed big government types with anti patriotic tendencies to dominate the local Republican scene. It is past time we stood up to those political bullies and said, "This is not what conservatism is about, this is not what being a Republican is about!"

When a politician dares to wear the Republican label, yet votes for higher taxes and more government and admits publicly a past association with an anti-patriotic group, its is time for him to be turned out by the voters. Such acts by that politician are not harmless in the least.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Don't forget the courage and sacrifice of Christ



He was a teacher. He was a humble preacher. He was the son of God Himself. The Roman Empire, the power of the day, reluctantly sentenced the humble teacher and preacher to death.

So the humble man went forward to die for our sins. Your sins and mine were washed away with the sacrifice of the humble son of God.

Think about that man and that day long ago. The Son of God humbled himself and had the courage to go through the torture of crucifixion. Jesus Christ would be beaten, humiliated and nailed to a cross.

Think of that pain. There was the Son of God Himself, whipped by Roman soldiers, and after that whipping, Jesus carried the cross he would be nailed upon up Calvary.

Crucifixion was no merciful or quick death. The nails were driven coarsely through one hand and then the other, and then through the feet. The Son of God hung on that cross and suffered. Then a thorn was put through his side and he was mocked as “King of the Jews” by the Roman soldiers.

How tempting it had to be to our Lord to call down a legion of angels and wipe out those who treated him so badly. Yet, our Lord did not do that. He knew he had to go through that humiliating death to wipe our sins clean with his blood.

Think about what many of us would have went through. Would any of us go through such a painful ordeal for our fellow human beings? After standing and preaching for peace, Jesus met a cruel death. His death was made all that more cruel in that the people he came to save were the very ones who demanded his humiliating death.

What courage Jesus Christ had! Too often we forget the courage of Christ. The story of him taking a whip and running the money changers out of the temple is lost as well as the courage of Christ in his last day. He took a beating that many of us would cringe under. He took the pain of the nails into his flesh. He had the power to cry out to angels to end it, but he had the courage not to do so he could die on that dark day for our sins.

Today, this so called Good Friday, remember that brave man who took the beating and the humiliation so we all could have our sins washed clean in his blood, the blood of the lamb.

Sinner that I am, I am proud to proclaim my devotion to the man who gave up so much to save us all. It humbles my heart to think what Jesus endured for me and for us all. Jesus Christ is Lord! I proclaim him as my Lord and Savior without apology. If the PC crowd does not like that, well, I just don't care. Happy Easter and don't forget the courage and sacrifice of Christ.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Something really stinks in Anderson County local government


Can you smell the stench? There is something that really stinks in Anderson County local government. It's not what you think. It is not either side of the melodramatic and overplayed Wilson versus Preston debate, though that saga stinks bad enough. Now, things have a skunk smell to them.

At least they do in Iva. According the Anderson Independent Mail, a skunk was found spraying about the town hall parking lot and building of Iva. Town officials worked carefully to remove the foul critter but were left with its signature odor.

Contrary to what some might think, the crack staff of Voting under the Influence had nothing to do with the skunk making his statement about the state of local government in Anderson County and South Carolina. Though we do believe that things in Anderson County, on both sides of the melodrama, stink to high heavens.

That said, it would have been fitting if the skunk were found at the home of Ms. Wilson or Mr. Preston or at the homes of their minions.

But, of course, the skunk spray might be seen as a welcome relief from the stink Anderson County citizens are subjected to on a daily basis.

As one county taxpayer said, "Who is worried about a skunk smell? The stench of bull manure from Joey Preston and his crowd and Cindy Wilson and her crowd are much stronger than anything a skunk could produce. "

Another, from Iva stated, " The folks who work for the town ought to be thankful for smelling something different for a day than we have been smelling for years. I thank the skunk for trying to give us some relief. "

It appears Anderson County is a place where the bull manure from the politicos has been so strong for so long, that people welcome a different smell with local politics, even it it is a skunk's.

Friday, March 14, 2008

You think your life is crappy?


If you think your life is crappy, think again. CBS News is reporting that a 35 year old woman from Ness City, Kansas spent the past two years in her boyfriend's bathroom. In the end, she was found by police sitting on the john. She had been sitting so long that her skin had formed to the toilet and her legs had nerve damage. The seat had to go with her to the local hospital.




The story defies conventional wisdom. It is often thought that the man of the house has the john as a royal place to sit on the throne and escape those around him with a copy of Sports Illustrated or the like.


Further, an Idaho Senator was quick to condemn any negative comments against the woman who stayed so long in the bathroom. The Idaho Senator stated, "exciting things can sometimes happen in the bathroom, and the police had no right to remove this woman and take away her pleasure. " When pressed on what exciting things, the Idaho Senator replied, " I am not gay. leave me alone. I will not resign. I do not pay for bathroom sex. I am not from New York. "


People for the Ethical Treatment of Toilets were unwilling to comment. A member did go off the record to comment that "such abuse of toilets by humans has to be stopped. "


The office of the outgoing Governor of New York declined to comment.


Elvis Presley fans were also quite as to the unfounded rumor this was some sort of tribute to the icon.


It is a crappy situation.




Thursday, March 13, 2008

The New Right seems like the Old Left

In the heyday of the traditional conservative movement in South Carolina under Carroll Campbell, the good ole boy left was charged with keeping big government by lawsuits, legislative minutia, and downright hypocrisy.

The promise of those years was that when the Republicans took over, such things would be left behind. As Ronald Reagan would say, "well, that just isn't the case."

Two examples stand out to me from this week's news.

First is the lawsuit filed by the head of South Carolinians for Responsible Government. I read the complaint. It is well written and presented professionally. The plaintiff might prevail.

However, there is something about such a lawsuit that just reeks of pettiness the likes of Reagan and Goldwater would disapprove of. The suit's aims are for political purposes. History tells that often, not always, but often, lawsuits are the tools of those on the left who make the tactical decision that they can not achieve their aims through the political process. It is ironic that a conservative group would embrace a lawsuit that all but encouraged judicial legislation to achieve the political aims not easily found in the roll call of the General Assembly or at the voting booth. Instead of taking the mantle of "we'll beat them with our ideas," the new Right in South Carolina has apparently taken the approach of "let's sue them."

What smacks of hypocrisy in regards to the lawsuit is that the group itself is somewhat secretive about its own finances. Groups on the left in the 1960s did such things and perfected such to an art. If anyone demanded accountability from them, many of those groups would cry out that such accountability would invade privacy, chill advocacy, etc.

The second example is the Governor's office's response to the dramatic reduction of a program that is at the heart of the welfare reform championed by Republicans in the 1990s. The Governor's DSS asked for six million dollars less money, resulting in the child care voucher program being dramatically cut.

What does that program do? It gives women in shelters or on welfare a hand as they work their way out of welfare by assisting them with childcare. It is a program right out of the playbook of Newt Gingrich in 1994. It encourages folks to work themselves off public assistance and thus cost society less and start contributing to society. It was at the heart of the conservative movement one time.

Not any more. While New Right Governor Mark Sanford and his folks found $50 million for land conservation, they could not find $6 million for women with children working to contribute. It was the Governor's spokesman's response that really underscored how much like the old Left the New Right is now. In sum, he blamed the differences in spending on the legislative and budget process. Insiders get what he is talking about. Technically, in the game of inside political baseball, he is correct. But, to the people of South Carolina, and those who used to dream of a day when government leaders would not resort to such legislative minutia, it is something that is hard to understand.

The Governor of South Carolina can find a huge amount of money to help protect his beloved coastal areas but can not find enough money to fund one of the pillars of welfare reform the Republican Revolution of 94 was based upon. Add to the tactics of one of the groups that lines up behind the Governor. The New Right of South Carolina seems like the Old Left. Only the names have changed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The VP Wildcard Pick: Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana


While the Democrats fire back and forth at one another over their party’s Presidential nomination, Senator John McCain can begin to start mulling over running mates as he embarks on a trip to the United Kingdom, France and Israel over the next week.

On the list are our very own Senator Lindsey Graham and Governor Mark Sanford. The Governor of Minnesota is mentioned. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida comes up in some conversations. Yet, the wild card of me is the 36 year old Governor of Louisiana.

Governor Bobby Jindal has surprisingly strong experience for a man of his age. He has served in the Bush Administration and the House of Representatives, as well as in Louisiana state government. Governor Jindal has won all but one , ( a loss toss to former Governor Blanco in 2003), election he has entered convincingly and has an appeal to social conservatives and a record of experience on health care, the most pressing domestic issue of our time. Add to that resume an Ivy League and Rhodes Scholar education and some years working with a Fortune 500 company.

Jindal also happens to be a minority. He is an Indian-American. His record, his charisma and his ethnic background just might be the right combination for the Republican ticket to balance Barak Obama.

Jindal is also compatible with McCain. Jindal campaigned to reform Louisiana in his run for Governor last year. Unlike some other names touted, such as Kay Hutchinson of Texas and Mr. Martinez, the word reform will not be foreign to Governor Jindal in the fall. Also, unlike Governor Sanford, the man seems able to break down barriers with his political opponents to get things done.

Jindal’s faults are primarily based upon his youth. While he has remarkable experience for a man his age, he will still be 37 come time to pick a vice presidential nominee. The Dan Quayle factor comes to mind. Some people will see him as too young to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

But, Jindal’s name is worth mentioning in the veep sweepstakes. He is a wildcard, and if McCain is the riverboat gambler some say he is, do not be shocked if the young Governor from Louisiana is tapped for the ticket.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Public education is good for us all

There has been some considerable debate and some considerable money by those outside of South Carolina pertaining to public education in South Carolina.

What I will contend here might surprise some of you, but efficient and effective spending of public money on public education just might be the best government bang for our buck we can ever expect.

Studies show that vouchers work for some, but not for all. We live in a world that deals with us all. It is not about how our children fare that will define the government burden upon them, but also how our neighbors’ children fare. Simply put, we are only dreaming if we believe subsidizing private school tuitions, through whatever means we see fit, is going to make our society better in the long run. The cold, hard truth is that those who cost us the most in government in the future come not from suburban two parent homes, but from the places and circumstances that the tuition tax credits or vouchers will not touch. Those children left out will grow up to be either criminals we have to pay for via incarceration or those who take welfare checks. Either way, they will not add to the tax base and they will take away from the public’s moneys.

It is time for those of us who call ourselves conservatives to wake up. Public education will save us money in the long run. If we can turn those who take from the tax base into those who contribute to it, taxes will end up lower. Further, we can no longer afford to give up the fight for efficient and effective public education in exchange for some hope that we will be able to be subsidized by the state to send our children to private schools. Our state’s constitution makes clear the commitment we have in South Carolina to public education.

We conservatives in South Carolina have all but given up the fight to redefine public education. Instead, we have allowed outside sources, with big money, to tell us to call for subsidizing private education.

While that might seem tempting, keep in mind that when the private colleges of this nation choose to take federal money, they do so taking federal standards. Therefore, there is a good chance that some smart lawyer will make sure that now very private schools will become quasi public via their acceptance of public dollars.

Add to that the fact that giving money to middle class and above families to assist in sending their children to private schools does nothing to address the failure of public schools in the areas where, frankly, parents and children have no choice. If we leave those children to the so called wolves, we will pay for it later through social programs and jail costs.

Those who have presented the biggest money in this debate have big gains to be had. They are investors in for profit private education. They really do not care about how much the taxpayers of South Carolina suffer in the long run, as long as they can make their money. South Carolina is a small state, ripe for takeover.

While I never fault any businessman for looking to make a profit, I must point out that we, the taxpayers of South Carolina, will lose if we abandon public education and avoid the hard issues of making it better and more efficient.

South Carolina leaders need to tackle the big problems of public education, not abandon it. For, if they abandon public education, the very children that they claim to stand for will be left with the tab of paying for the lack of education the majority of South Carolina children get over the next few years. Public education effects us all every time we pay our taxes.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Why McCain? Hillary's Campaign gave me the answer.


The battle for the Republican nomination is now over. I supported Mike Huckabee to the end, but now the former Governor has conceded. While other conservatives are sighing in despair and shaking their heads over John McCain being the Republican nominee, I will not join them.

While John McCain’s maverick ways have frustrated me at times, and while I did work hard to help George W. Bush defeat him in 2000, I will not let my frustrations with McCain stand in the way for standing up for what is best for the country.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign ironically summed up my feelings. The Clinton campaign recently ran an ad that asked who we wanted to answer the White House phone at 3AM when some crisis was going on around the world.

With only three choices left, my choice to answer that phone is John McCain. John McCain, regardless of what one might make him on various domestic issues, understands the great security threats our very freedom faces. McCain understands that the battle against Islamic extremism is the great moral test of our time.

Further, of the three candidates now standing, McCain stands head and shoulders above the other two in regards to character. McCain literally took beating after beating in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp standing up for America. Standing up for the freedom of America will come easy to him in the Oval Office.

It is time for Republicans to close ranks. It is time for them put behind them the issues on domestic issues that they hold with John McCain. The most significant thing a President does is protect the very being of the United States. In these times, rancor about domestic disagreements pales in comparison to the notion of who will defend America best.

There is no doubt whatsoever John McCain will protect the United States. Imagine, if you will, that phone call at 3 AM a year or so from now. Who do you really want the White House signal corps officer to wake up? Should it be Barak Obama or Hillary Clinton, elected because some hardcore Republicans were too upset to work to elect McCain? Or, for the good of the country, should we work to make sure a tried and true defender of this country is awakened to take the call?

The answer for me is simple. I want John McCain to answer the call.