Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Obama Youth (The young blueshirts)

It never ceases to amaze me how the great pro big government movements in the worlds history use children to promote their agendas.

What is next? Huge posters with Obama's face adorning the sides of buildings?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Holy Crap! What a mess!

The House Republicans stood up against the President of the United States and defeated the President’s plan to shore up the credit markets in the United States. As a result, the stock market’s Dow Jones average went down 777 points, resulting in a trillion dollar loss for investors, including average Americans who have their retirements staked in mutual funds and 401(k)s.

While I understand the reasons why the Republicans did what they did, I wonder if they understand exactly how much money they will eventually cost the taxpayers they are so fond of saying they protect. If the market continues to fall as some predict, the taxpayers will lose more than twice the amount of the bailout plan in lost retirement savings. Further, with credit frozen, the economy will eventually freeze.

I will admit that I was no fan of bailouts when this all started a few weeks ago. I believe strongly in the freedom to fail. However, I educated myself on the American credit market and what we are up against.

Plainly put, the American credit market is heavily tied to international interests. International investors who are concerned about the American market will simply pull their money out of the United States and place it elsewhere. That is happening on a large scale. For example, the United Kingdom moved to shore up its banking industry on Monday, leaving its banks a safer place for international investors than most American banks.

The United States has integrated itself into the world marketplace. The rules of that world marketplace are different from the free market principles we conservatives embrace. China, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, etc., will act to intervene to shore up their credit markets and thus encourage a shift of investment towards them away from the United States.

Forget for a moment who is to blame for the situation. It is here. I compare the current situation in the United States to a house fire. Suppose the fire department arrived, and before they expended manpower and resources to put out the fire, they launched an investigation to see how the fire started and who to blame for it. Some would say hooray. If the fire department found out that some drunken guy passed out with a cigarette still lit and that started the fire, let it burn to the ground and teach him a lesson. Never mind that his wife and kids are innocent and the public will have to spend money to house them. Suppose the investigation showed that the fire was a real accident but by the time it was concluded, life and property has already been lost. The taxpayers are saved the money of using the fire truck, but they pay higher insurance rates as the insurance company takes losses in claims paid out.

In the abstract world of absolute principles, having the fire department find out the root cause of the fire is logical before expending public resources to fight the fire. However, in the reality of life, not fighting the fire ends up costing the people more money. It is not easy to grasp, but emergency situations are usually the exceptions to the normal rules.

The current United States credit crisis is an emergency. The hundreds of billions of dollars lost in the markets on Monday afternoon proved that. Add to that the international players who stand ready to pummel the United States for their own interests over the next few days.

It was said by one of the Republican House leaders on Monday that 12 members whose votes could have shifted the result of the bill voted no because they were upset at the allegedly medicated Nancy Pelosi. Gee, I hope that was not the case. I would hope ignoring an economic emergency and launching the nation in to a potential depression was not done just because someone had hurt feelings over a speech by a woman whose elevator rarely reaches the top floor.

If so, then as a lifelong Republican, I regretfully inform you readers, that the Republican Party will be in deep trouble for years to come. If nothing is done, and people lose large amounts of their retirement savings, and the frozen credit market results in a deep recession, then, frankly, the Republicans will be blamed in conventional wisdom. The same American people who balked at the bailout will cry out about why it did not happen. They will elect Barack Obama President and return Democrats to power in Congress. There is just enough time between now and election day for Americans to start feeling the real pain of the credit crisis.

As a side note, perhaps that is why Pelosi gave such a hot speech. She knew she could push the buttons of twenty or so Republicans, kill the deal, and set her party up nicely.

What a mess!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

another newman clip

If you think Sanford is crazy, Newman's role as Earl K. Long in the movie "Blaze" reminds us how eccentric our leaders can get. Again, thank you Paul Newman, for your willingness to portray the anti-hero time and time again.

cool hand luke

RIP Paul Newman. I loved his role as Cool Hand Luke. There other roles, like his role as Earl K. Long and his role in "Nobody's Fool." I also enjoyed his no sugar salad dressings that had its profits go to charity.

Politically, Mr. Newman and I might argue, but he was a great artist and a good man. Prayers go out to him and his family. Thanks goes out to him for acting the anti-hero so well over the years.

A race to watch: Greenwood County Sheriff

Four years ago, longtime Greenwood County Sheriff Sam Riley retired from the post. Sheriff Riley, a Democrat, was succeeded by now Sheriff Dan Wideman. Sheriff Wideman entered office with a great deal of goodwill, yet events changed that goodwill about midway through his current term as Sheriff of Greenwood County.

First, there was the growing presence of illegal drug activities in little towns in the county such as Ninety Six. Then there was the Ware Shoals High School sex scandal. The alleged details of sex, cheerleaders, alcohol and National Guard members led to national headlines.

However, despite the headlines and the local and national outrage, the criminal case did not go well. Former Ware Shoals Principal Blackmon had all charges dropped against her and even brought a lawsuit against Sheriff Wideman and others. Jill Moore, the cheerleading coach at the heart of the controversy, entered a PTI program and will have her record expunged upon completion.

Such a result was hardly the “pound of flesh” local folks wanted from people accused of such scandal. It created three different schools of thought around the café table and water coolers of Greenwood County. The first idea was that law enforcement cut a deal without going the distance. The second was law enforcement had to cut a deal because it botched up the investigation. The third was law enforcement went too far in going after the former principal. Add to those three thoughts, the idea that drugs are growing in small towns, and well, a tough situation develops for an incumbent Sheriff, fair or unfair. That is just reality.

Enter the scene Democrat Tony Davis, who started his campaign for Sheriff from Iraq. That is right, from Iraq, where Davis worked as an instructor to Iraqi police. I know it how it is for so many of us Republicans to simply dismiss a Democrat, but Davis deserves a second look. Davis won two purple hearts in Vietnam, and after earning his college degree from Lander, worked his way up in the Greenwood County Sheriff’s department to the rank of Major in charge of investigations. Davis has graduated from most of the available law enforcement programs. Add to that a surprising level of grassroots support.

Of course, incumbent Sheriff Wideman is no slouch. The Sheriff has his own impressive resume. The Sheriff also benefits from being a Republican in an increasingly Republican county in South Carolina. However, when I take into account all the chaos Wideman has dealt with as Sheriff and how some dear friends of mine in Greenwood who are Republicans are going to vote for Davis, I have to note that this race is one to watch. Conventional wisdom says that Sheriff Wideman should win re-election. However, this race is shaping up to be anything but conventional.

The Greenwood County Sheriff’s race is shaping up like a great football game with the intangibles unknown. One would not want to bet on one side or the other, but one who really loves the game can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A debate that changed nothing

John McCain did better than the pundits thought he would, and Barack Obama managed not to faint or to curse, thus, to most pundits, and puppy eyed reporters, Obama won.

While I don’t believe that the debate changed the numbers at this time, I do believe it was telling.

First, John McCain did not come across as the tired old man Obama supporters were hoping for.

Second, Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton. The moon and stars seem to be aligning to make him the next President of the United States, but I ask my Obama friends to join us in being intellectually honest. Barack Obama is a lightweight. He can not communicate with the American people on the level of the leaders his supporters try to compare him to. If you look back at the debates with Clinton and Reagan in them, both those men were on a higher level than Obama.

A conservative friend of mine voiced concerns to me before Friday night’s debate about how McCain-Obama debates would be a repeat of the Dole-Clinton debates. He pointed out the scenario of and old war hero versus a young, intelligent, vigorous opponent.

That is not what happened Friday. We did a get a war hero, but he McCain seemed a bit more in touch than Dole did in 1996. As for Obama, he’s no Bill Clinton. Obama wraps himself in the negative with a smirk. But, that smirk could get him elected. Obama has the same smirk that President Bush had in 2000. Further, Obama seems to be able only to rely upon clichéd thoughts about issues, like President Bush in 2000.

Indeed, as a side note, isn’t it interesting how much like Bush Obama really is. They both are sons of prominent politicians. They both are Ivy League educated. They both seem to lack any deep, abiding, well thought out political principles. They both have ties to some rather unsavory characters that helped each make a lot of money. They both have light political resumes prior to Presidential politics. It is just an interesting side note. Maybe that is what Americans want in a President now: an Ivy League graduate with average intelligence, no real long held political principles, who you’d like to drink a beer with.

Back to the debate, as I said, it was not a game changer. Frankly, one could not expect a debate to be on a Friday night. It was odd to schedule a Friday night debate. So many people have high school football games to attend in which their kids play on the team or in the band. Friday is date night or movie night for a lot people. I believe the scheduling of the debate is why the ratings for it came in below the Bush Kerry numbers.

Palin and Biden square off on Thursday. That one could be a game changer.

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain is 72. He's had cancer 4 times.

This ad is despicable by one of those liberal groups who claim how above low tactics they are. The folks behind this should be ashamed and Obama shoudl condemn them.

VUI Sign Project

From Foster Chapel Baptist Church in Roebuck, SC.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Jasper Port and the Governor's legacy

Governor Mark Sanford has failed in many ways. The man just seems unable to work to have the South Carolina legislature go along with him on needed reforms.

However, one item Mark Sanford might redeem himself upon is the planned port at the mouth of the Savannah River in Jasper County.

Unlike other initiatives by the Governor, Governor Sanford and his people have been working with others, especially folks from the state of Georgia, to make the new port a real possibility. While the port might be years away in the making, it must be made clear that Sanford deserves credit for getting things started.

Governor Sanford's work with Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue on the Jasper Port issue will likely prove to be Governor Sanford's greatest contribution to South Carolina as Governor. The development of a port in Jasper County will create ten times the jobs BMW did in the upstate during the Campbell years and will make South Carolina an economic engine for years to come.

Democrats and Republicans who have a problem with how Sanford handles the office of governor have legitimate beefs. As Governor, Sanford has made a mess of so many things. However, on the Jasper port issue, Sanford has so far performed well. As such, Governor Sanford and his people deserve credit.

Now, if the Governor and his people could find the ability and sense to work with the South Carolina General Assembly on other issues, the Governor's eight years in office would not be considered the great waste so many pundits dismiss it as.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NAACP has lost its way

The NAACP was once a proud organization that fought for justice that helped people in their daily lives. The organization’s fights against vast discrimination and oppression that existed in the United States just a generation or so ago gave the organization deserved goodwill.

Now, that goodwill is being squandered over a piece of cloth. The NAACP recently announced it will renew its efforts to punish South Carolina economically over the presence of the Confederate Battle Flag as the Confederate Soldier Memorial on the South Carolina State House grounds. In its remarks about the presence of the flag, the NAACP compares Confederate war dead to Islamic terrorists.

Indeed, Rev. William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP had this to say about South Carolina flying the Confederate Battle flag at the memorial: “We wouldn’t allow al-Qaida to fly their flag…”

Think about what Rev. Barber is actually saying with his remarks. Rev. Barber is comparing the sacrifices of South Carolina men, some who were African American, in defense of their state, as the acts of terrorists. Never mind those men had the notion at the time that their home was being invaded or that they were drafted. Never mind that the vast majority of those who died in defense of South Carolina owned no slaves and frankly held resentment against the wealthy slave owners. Rev. Barber’s remarks show a marked ignorance of history.

That marked ignorance of history does not stop with Civil War history. The NAACP is either ignorant or does not care about what happened in South Carolina in 2000. A group of leaders, bipartisan and biracial, worked out a compromise that removed the naval jack of the confederacy that flew over the South Carolina State House to the Confederate Memorial. The new flag flown was the actual battle flag, not the naval jack that racists hijacked from history to spew their agenda. That compromise also created a beautiful memorial on South Carolina State House grounds to the contributions of African-Americans. There is no other state that honors the divisions of its painful past so and allows people to respect one another and heal.

Perhaps that mutual respect and that chance at healing is what bothers the modern day NAACP. The NAACP of today is not the justice and healing seeking operation of Thurgood Marshall. Today, it is a well funded political organization that pays out big money to its leaders and is fighting to keep raking in the money and have influence in an America in which race is diminishing as an issue.

That fight for relevance in today’s America brings up perhaps the most outrageous aspect of the NAACP’s “economic boycott,” of South Carolina. Suppose the NAACP is successful in getting people not spend tourism dollars or, in its latest moves, movie production dollars, in South Carolina. Such a successful boycott would hurt African Americans in South Carolina more than anyone else. Think on it. Most of the tourism and service related jobs in the eastern part of South Carolina that would primarily be affected are staffed by African Americans. If the NAACP successfully cut off tourism and movie production revenue streams to South Carolina, then thousands of African Americans in South Carolina suddenly would have a hard time putting food on the table. Is it social and economic justice for one to make the very people one claims to stand up for pay for a petty political stunt that is a reach at fundraising and renewed relevance?

The modern day NAACP has a warped sense of values. Like other major political organizations of our time, its elite seem eager to sacrifice the livelihoods of those it claims to protect for financial and political gain. They appear not to give a damn about the single mom who boards a bus in Jasper County to go work at a Hilton Head tourist site. The NAACP elite do not care about how so many people came together to work out the compromise of 2000. They do not care about that single mom getting on that bus at 6AM. They seem to only care about themselves and find a way to diminish sincere efforts by sincere leaders and sacrifice the daily livelihoods of those they claim to champion in order make a headline or two and some money.

Before some of you produce the cliched reactionary claim of racism to this post, remember that I worked to remove the flag from the South Carolina State House dome, and that this blog took on the League of the South and the Aryan nation. However, the truth is what it is, and the truth is the NAACP has lost its way. Forgive me if I worry more about that single mom getting on that bus and depending on that tourism based job than I do about being politically correct in the eyes of some well compensated political elite holding onto relevance.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Palin's Crowds and getting in Obama's head

The media made huge stories about the size of the crowds Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama had hear him speak. Whenever tens of thousands showed up for one of his rallies, the media made sure we knew about it.

Watch out, Senator Obama, you have competition for the rock star status now. The Fort Myers News Press reports that around 60,000 people showed up to hear Governor Sarah Palin speak near the southwest Florida community known as the Villages.

Since Palin's surprise nomination and her successful acceptance speech, Democratic operatives have launched every type of attack they can think of against the Alaska Governor. Despite their efforts, it appears that at this point in the campaign, Palin has developed a star quality that rivals Obama's and one that has marginalized Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden to angry speeches in front of much smaller crowds.

There are several reasons for Palin's unexpected rise. First, she is talented and her talk of reform and her courage to buck her own party's establishment appeals to rank and file folks who are tired of politics as usual. Second, the Democrats and many members of the media went too hard after Palin so far. Their respective attacks and reporting seem bitter and small.

Indeed, I keep waiting for one of CNN's reporters to break a story stating, "it seems in kindergarten, Ms. Palin received credit for coloring in a drawing that in fact was not completely colored in. You can see Ms. Palin's work here and see clearly it is not fully colored in, yet she received credit for it. Perhaps it was because she was a cute child or her parents were active in the PTA, Wolfe."

Wolfe Blitzer then would dutifully respond, "Thanks for that very interesting story about possible favoritism showed Governor Palin, we will stay on top of this and bring you up to the minute updates on this growing scandal. You can find the controversial work of Governor Palin on our website."

Not to be outdone, it would not shock me if some Democratic party operative came up with an ad that stated, "Kindergarten is supposed be a time for fairness. But, while in Kindergarten, the cute white girl named Sarah got a special deal in that she got credit for a drawing she did not color in. Is that what we want for our children? Paid for by People against Palin."

Perhaps I exaggerate to make a point, but the truth remains the silly stories and attacks made by the Left against Palin have backfired. Regardless of whether or not they agree with her policy stands, people just are not buying the petty and bitter attacks made against Palin. Instead, they are rallying to her.

It has to be frustrating to the pop culture conscious Obama crowd. Win or lose this election, they now have a rival in their star status.

As a POW, McCain got into the heads of the men trained well to get into his head who held McCain captive. Win or lose the election, John McCain showed us that by picking Palin, he still has the knack of messing with the heads of those who think they control him.

The presence of Sarah Palin is in Obama's and Biden's heads. Her presence is in their operatives' heads. Further, whether they are honest enough to admit it or not, one can rest assured that there are senior Democratic party leaders worried that the presence of Palin, and now her crowds that rival Obama's, might lead to some sort of meltdown by either Obama or Biden in the upcoming Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates.

You see, the choice of Sarah Palin was a gamble. However, it was a gamble of a man who learned politics not on the streets of the South Side of Chicago, but in the brutal political world of the Hanoi Hilton. John McCain as a POW saw politics at its very worst, where standing up for principle got you beaten, where everyday was a chess match not for political victory, but for very survival. That makes getting into the heads of political opponents relatively easy. While this is a horrible year for a Republican Presidential candidate, John McCain formed in his youth a simple disbelief in the no win scenario. That is why he picked Palin. So far, it is has worked. He is in the Democrats' heads and has turned certain political defeat into a fighting chance at victory. For all those people around Obama who saw the Senator as "anointed" already, it has to be one frustrating time. No wonder they are lashing out so.

High School Friday Nights: Lincoln County (GA) at Abbeville

By Russ

A-town Rolls to Victory over Lincoln Co., GA (28-17)

Went to the Abbeville High School football game tonight, the weather was perfect. The Abbeville Panthers beat the Lincoln Co., GA Red Devils (28-17). Abbeville had a packed house, traffic was terrible and finding a parking spot was tough. I heard some say they haven't seen it this crowded since some of the Woodruff games back in the '70's. Anyway, there was plenty of excitement and electricity in the air. Lincolnton brought a good crowd.

First quarter, Abbeville had to punt their first time out. Later on, Abbeville got an interception, which led them to score first with a big 35 yd pass play with 3:10 in the 1rst qrt ( Abb. 7- Linc. 0). Lincolnton turned right around and scored on the next opening drive with a 73 yd halfback pass wiht 2:58 left in the first 1rst qrt. They missed the PAT (Abb. 7 - Linc. 6).

Second Quarter, Lincolnton poured the offense on. They scored on a 20 yd run, then followed up with a 2pt conversion, making the score (Abb. 7 - Linc. 14). Abbeville fumbled giving Linclonton good field position. Then came some really ugly moments. Lincolnton drew two back-to-back unsportsmen like penalties. First, from a player, followed by one from the sidelines. Lincolnton was still able to put points on the board thanks to their field goal kicker who booted one from 39 yards out. (Abb. 7 - Linc. 17). Abbeville was able to get on the board late in the 2nd half with a 13 yard pass to Sammy Head making the score (Abb. 14 - Linc. 17). I'm not sure who the player was that got the following interception for Abbeville during the next Lincolton drive, but I hope it made the high-light reel, it looked as if he went vertical 4ft in the air and caught the ball one handed. Abbeville was unable to do anything with the ball. The half ended (Abb. 14 - Linc. 17).

The third quarter saw no score from either team with several possessions from each. Abbeville moved the ball well, starting off the fourth quarter. They were running and passing . They got down to a key point with a fourth & inches. The quarterback keeper was big, with a 4 yard gain. This led to Abbeville scoring another TD. With 7:40 left in the game it was (Abb. 21 - Linc. 17). There was a lot of fumbling that happened next, on both sides, which led to some excitement and tension. Abbeville fumbled, Lincolnton recovered. Lincolnton fumbled, Abbeville recovered. Abbeville fumbled, but this time they retain possession. With Abbeville facing a third and nineteen, due to a couple of penalties, they had a big run with the option, Michael Thackson ran 74 yards giving the Panthers another TD (Abb. 27 - Linc. 17) with 4:05 left to play. Lincolnton goes into a hurry up offense. But, with 3:09 left to play, Daniel Sorrow of Abbeville comes up with an huge interception. Abbeville essentially is able to run the time off the clock and seal the victory.

For any of you who remembers Abbeville and Lincolnton playing back in the 80's. They use to beat Abbeville thoroughly. It would be like 56 to 0. So, Abbeville is able to feel a little redemption, after all these years. Abbeville has a really balanced offense and an equally strong defense. The play-offs have not been really good to Abbeville the past few years, hopefully they can play for a championship this December. Anybody heading to Ware Shoals next Friday night?

Oh, yeah. Rating the game and such. Crowd was really into the game. Seating, good luck the place was packed. I'm just glad I brought a chair. I would rate the stadium B+. The coaching was good from both sides, but Abbeville was able to capitalize on turn overs. Referees, I'm not to sure on. They blew a call on Lincolnton's very first play. The ball hit the ground and bounced into the players hand and it wasn't blown dead. I'm sure that Lincolnton fans would probably say that the ref's were biased. I'm not sure what was said to draw those unsportsman like penalties, but it could not have been good. Lincolnton also drew a side-line encroachment penalty also during the game. The field looked to be in good shape. The concessions and the toilets had long lines, but with a crowd that size you had better expect such. Overall, it was a really good expierence, I rate it an A.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

VUI Sign Project: Redemption Baptist Church Enoree, SC

Democratic confusion and incompetence

The Democratic leader of the United States Senate, Harry Reid is perplexed. In media reports he said when it comes the Wall Street crisis, that ``no one knows what to do.'' That is why Democrats, who lead the most unpopular Congress in modern history, will go home in a week and campaign instead of work for the people.

Maybe that is not a bad thing. Because, knowing the Democrats and their philosophy, they would contend for more regulations and more taxes. They would likely join with the Republicans to find money to bail out more businesses out, as both parties are under the influence of lobbyists for such businesses.

So, perhaps it is good Congress will be going home. There are a couple of things Congress could do to spur the economy. One would be to eliminate the capital gains tax. That would spur investment back into the stock market. Another would be to reduce the income tax on small businesses. That would give the little guy a break while he deals with credit lines being harder to obtain. As much as those proposals make economic common sense, the sun will rise in the west and set in the east before the Democratic leadership buys into them.

Thus, we get Senate Majority Leader Reid. He seems smart enough to know that tax and regulate might not do, but he just can not fathom another way. Thus, he goes home, leaving us with "No one knows what to do."

Are those folks really the people you want to turn over the keys of Congress and the White House over to? For nearly two years, Reid and Nancy Pelosi have ran the Congress with no competence. They have failed in every goal they claimed to want, they have acted as partisan hacks to prevent things from going forward that could help the nation, and now, they are confused and going home.

Is that who we really want running this country the next four years?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The freedom to fail

President Bush stole a play from Jimmy Carter’s playbook and had his administration bail out Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG over the past week or so. It is a play straight from Jimmy Carter’s political playbook, as Carter bailed out Chrysler in 1979.

Barack Obama and John McCain both hint at more government regulation of the financial industry as a remedy to the mess on Wall Street. However, it is hard to take either very seriously when both men are surrounded by advisors who either worked for or lobbied for Fannie Mae and Freddic Mac. Indeed, in his short tenure in the United States Senate, Barack Obama took more money related to the two mortgage giants than all but one member of the United States Congress in the past decade.

Regardless, the simple truth is that government money and regulations can not fix what is wrong with American financial institutes and frankly, American business across the board. Despite the resiliency of the American economy, the shift in the priorities and the character of American business management over the past decade created this crisis.

When the United States was becoming the economic engine it is now, what mattered to owners and managers was performance. Owners and stockholders did not care about what college some manager went to or if he participated in some post graduate special course or the like. What they worried about was the bottom line. Take for example Dave Thomas, the late founder of the Wendy’s hamburger chain. Before he founded Wendy’s, Thomas worked for the KFC chain. Within KFC, he rose through the ranks not based on his educational resume, indeed Thomas dropped out of high school, but on his performance. Most American businesses today would not even allow a business genius like Dave Thomas to even manage the night shift because he did not have some degree.

The dwelling upon degrees instead of actual performance is one aspect of what is wrong with American business today. Another is the shift in the definition of success. There was a time when success was not only turning a profit, but setting up a business that produced in the long run. Men such as Jim Self of Greenwood would sometimes sacrifice their own short term benefit to keep their businesses running. Self did so in the Great Depression, when he paid his employees with his own cash out of armored trucks to keep his mills open. Self, as other business giants of his time, got rewards in the long term for himself and his business.

Today’s business world is so different. Folks with Harvard and Yale MBAs sit around and think of ways to put as much money in their pockets as quickly as possible and hire computer experts to make decisions for them to do just that. In the financials it is as simple as having a computer decide to sell mortgages at 70 cents on the dollar if the borrowers were late on three payments in a year. Never mind the human factor that a borrower most likely does not want to lose his home and that the asset of his mortgage could be kept with negotiation. American business leaders wanted short term profits, not steady long term secured profits.

Those business leaders who took that road failed. Their management was horrible, their stockholders did not hold them accountable, and they failed. It is that simple. Such failures could have redefined the American business culture back to where it was when America became an economic giant. Instead, with bailouts from the federal government and with talk of regulation, all the American political leaders are doing is supporting failed business models.

Business is not about who has the best degree, or who speaks the nuanced languages of the business academic elite, it is about performance. Businesses who sacrifice long term success for short term gain should not be shocked when, eventually, their practices take them down. If allowed to just fail, better ideas could be come forth in the face of failure.

However, our leadership, in both parties sees fit not to allow that to happen. Ronald Reagan put it so well over twenty years ago. When asked what made capitalism stronger than socialism, Reagan replied, “We have the freedom to fail.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McCain/Biden? Acting President Biden?

Looking at the Real Clear Politics electoral map that currently has Obama with a 273-265 vote lead over McCain, an interesting scenario came to mind.

Suppose the swing state of New Hampshire swung to McCain Palin, and all other states remained the same. That would create a 269-269 tie. That would throw the election to the Congress, providing that both campaigns were unable to steal an electoral vote from the other side before the actual votes were cast.

Such things have happened before. The constitution of the United States provides a system to elect a President and Vice President if no candidate receives a majority of the votes. It has happened twice. The first time such happened was in 1800. Thomas Jefferson, and his running mate, Aaron Burr, received the same number of electoral votes, forcing the House to decide the matter for Jefferson, and resulting in a reform amendment pertaining to the election of President and Vice President.

After that reform amendment to the constitution, the issue again arose in 1824, when no candidate had a majority of electoral votes. Despite the fact that Andrew Jackson had won the popular vote at the time, the House of Representatives, voting not as individual members, but as state delegations, narrowly elected John Quincy Adams. South Carolina's John C. Calhoun was elected by the Senate to be Vice President. Calhoun would later be elected Vice President with Jackson in 1828, making Calhoun the only Vice President to serve under presidents of two different parties.

Such a thing might seem absurd in today's politics until you look at how the process could unfold in a tie. Though the Republicans are in the minority in the House, and likely will remain so after November, they have control over more state delegations, and will likely maintain that control. In that case, McCain would win a House vote with a 26-24 or 27-23 vote. The Senate is controlled by the Democrats, and they vote as members for the Vice President in such a scenario. In that case, Biden would be elected Vice-President.

If the House voted 24-24-2 or something like that, then another provision would come into play. If no President-elect could qualify than the Vice-President-elect would act as President until Congress could resolve the matter. In that case, it is likely Joe Biden would become the Acting President of the United States on January 20th, 2009.

I realize such scenarios as above are unlikely. But, they have happened. Indeed, as recent as 1877, Congress looked at its options as there was no legitimate winner declared between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden. Congress had more time back then, for the President elected in November did not take office until March 4th. Yet, just days before President Grant was to leave office, a special commission decided the election. (It had even been bantered around Congress for a provision allowing Grant to stay on until the matter was resolved.)

Pundits will tell you there have never been times like these politically. They are correct to some degree, if they mean the power of the internet and 24 hour news channels. Though, I suppose since the dawn of the simple printing press, there has always been someone out there telling it as they saw it. The truth is, though, history shows us that things have been crazier, if you will, in politics, and the United States survived.

If one of the "crazy" scenarios occurs during this election cycle, may we all have the wisdom of President Grant back in 1877. Despite the historically noted faults of his time as President, perhaps his greatest moment was not allowing either side to have supporters "march on Washington." Instead he pleaded for citizens to abide by and accept the constitutional process. With an electorate that is now so divided and so passionate, such a stance might be never more important for the future of our nation.

VUI Sign Project: Beulah Baptist Church Abbeville, SC

Saturday, September 13, 2008

High school friday nights: Palmetto beats BHP

Belton Honea Path has solid facilities, a great atmosphere and a relatively recent state championship. Those qualities did not translate into victory on Friday night as the Palmetto High Mustangs won for just the seventh time against the Bears and for the first time in 12 years.

Palmetto hung on to win 7-6 after BHP’s second string kicker missed a potential game winning field goal with 7 seconds remaining. We at VUI feel bad for that kid. The spot of the ball on the hash mark and entire situation was just stacked against that kid. Here is hoping that the staff and students at BHP give that kid a break.

To give perspective on what Palmetto accomplished Friday night, lets take a look at history. When they last won against BHP, Bill Clinton was running for re-election and gas was 95 cents a gallon. Now President Bush was a first term Governor from Texas. Carroll Campbell was alive and was considered to be a running mate with Bob Dole on the Republican ticket. Usama Bin Laden was someone way down on the list of national security threats. David Beasley was Governor of South Carolina. Strom Thurmond was running for re-election to his last term.

You get the point. Palmetto pulled off a big win for its program Friday night. One that makes it coach, Jody LeCroy, the toast of Williamston, and one that makes BHP backers think about how best to show Wayne Green the door and find some young up and coming coach like Jeff Murdock at Ware Shoals to come take over the program.

It was another interesting night in high school football. Overall, Belton-Honea Path, regardless of the play on the field, is a spirited and family friendly place. It is a great place to take your kids to a game. It is a safe and friendly venue for fans. However, with the AAA Bears losing at home to AA Mustangs to go to 0-3, it might not be a friendly place for coaches.

Next week the entire crack staff of Voting under the Influence will be in Abbeville, as the Abbeville Panthers play host to 13 time Georgia state champion Lincoln County. It should be a fun one to watch.

The Democratic Party is trying its best to attack Governor Sarah Palin’s lack of experience to be Vice-President. Republicans adroitly point out the lack of experience of the Democratic Presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama. In current American politics, pundits and politicos alike seem to gravitate towards experience and proven winners. However, they seem ignorant of history.

Take for example the resumes of two very different men. The first had all the experience anyone could hope for to be President. He served as a state legislator, a member of the US House of Representatives, a member of the US Senate, as Ambassador to Russia and the United Kingdom, and as Secretary of State. That President had the best resume going into the job of any President before or since. That man was loved by Washington insiders and the press of his time.

The second man had a much weaker resume. He served four terms in a state legislature, only to have his career end in being defeated at the polls. He served one term as a member of the US House, only to be quickly and strongly turned out by the voters for re-election. He was soundly defeated for a bid to the United States Senate. When he ran for President, he had been defeated more than either Sarah Palin or Barack Obama combined and had less experience than either of them in political office.

Who were those men mentioned above? The first was President James Buchanan. Though experienced like no other going into the White House, Buchanan is rated by historians as one of our worst presidents. Despite his strong resume he seemed unable to handle matters as America tinkered on the brink of civil war. Aside from sending a successful telegraph to Queen Victoria over the Atlantic, Buchanan was a miserable failure as President of the United States.

The second man with the thin resume was Abraham Lincoln. That’s right. Abraham Lincoln was a defeated politico with little experience who won the White House out of the blue and had to sneak into Washington to take his job due to fear of assassins. Lincoln went on to have extraordinary vision and judgment that provided the leadership that saved the very essence of the United States.

I do not contend that either Palin or Obama are like Lincoln. I only offer the historic perspective so we can take a deep breath and think about what our society is. Suppose a tall, rural, ugly fellow with little experience but true principles tried to run for President today. That guy would be attacked viciously by the press. They would laugh at his rail splitting past and scoff at his experience as a rural lawyer and storekeeper. If Buchanan were to face Lincoln in today’s press, Buchanan, the experienced pol, who some even think might have been gay, would get the good press. The rube Lincoln would be summarily dismissed.

Afterall, who wants some backcountry rube with good ideas but has no looks and metropolitan charms being on the news networks everyday for four years? In our current age, we seem to choose Presidents and Vice Presidents for the dumbest of reasons. Our press is more worried about what their sisters or brother in laws did than what their ideas are. Our press seems to care more about what some movie star has to say than what our candidates say.

It is insane in so many ways. And, we sit around and wonder why we are getting our butts kicked in global business competition. It is simple to understand. We are a lazy society now that relies upon the media to spoon feed us melodramatic tidbits about candidates for office. We are more concerned about Sarah Palin’s daughter than Barack Obama’s policies.

Just think that in 1860, America was so guided by such a media and culture. President Buchanan, with huge positive numbers, would have likely decided to run for re-election. In such a case, with todays media behind him, he would have defeated that Republican rube Lincoln. The United States would likely be just a ban of states in the north. North America would have gone the way of South America, just a bastion of tinhorn nations.

Today’s times are in some ways as trying as 1860. What scares me is that the media and culture fight so hard to espouse the defeatist point of view of Buchanan. We in America seem to crave the guy who pleases the media, not the guy who can lead us through these times to remain great.

I just keep coming back to how some “inexperienced rube” who ran on a national ticket as a Republican would have no chance in today’s media. We are at a point in our history in which we need another Lincoln The problem is, our media and culture would never allow another Lincoln to be elected.

Friday, September 12, 2008

VUI Church sign project

One of the things I learned in my travels as a road closing attorney that traveled around the state of South Carolina was that so many of South Carolina's churches had interesting sayings on the signs out in front of them. Some offered profound wisdom. Others offered corny and cliched remarks. Some had a mix of both. One thing I saw over all those years on the road was that people in small little churches often had leaders in their churches who made remarks on the signs out front.

That is why the crack staff of Voting under the Influence and I have decided to ask for contributions from the public of sayings on church signs. Your favorite church saying on a sign will be published here if you follow some simple rules. First, you must submit a digital picture of the sign with the saying. With that saying, you must tell us the church name and where in South Carolina that church is. If you want your name to be credited, let us know. We will run the picture and church name with or without your name, it is up to you.

Please send the pictures of the church quote, the name and location of the church, and any remarks you might want published to rbmccarty@gmail.com.

At the end of the year, the best submission of church sign and comments will gain a small donation from the crack staff of Voting under the Influence to the church that is featured.

All churches that have a sign comment photographed and sent will have such presented on this blog.

We at Voting under the Influence want to merely show another part of South Carolina culture that often gets missed by the mainstream media and highly paid political operatives who seem more concerned on what the ESPN reporter at a Clemson or Carolina game is wearing. We want to show the real life of South Carolina.

Again, you can help us. Email your church sign sayings photos, with location and comments to rbmccarty@gmail.com

The Hurricane Ike gas price hike

Local news outlets are reporting that folks are all in a panic because of the spike in gasoline prices in South Carolina related to Hurricane Ike. Indeed, one upstate news report noted that wholesale gas prices could be as high as five dollars a gallon.

Is it right? Does it make sense? Is there gouging? Who if anyone should do something about this?

First, lets take a look at the fundamental principles of economics. While there might be gasoline station owners and wholesalers who jack up the price of gasoline during such a crisis, their efforts are actually marginal compared to to the actions of the consumers of gasoline. Sure, Hurricane Ike will temporarily cut the supply of refined gasoline in the eastern United States by around 20 percent. Sure, there are those who will try to make what they can off the situation. However, what makes up the bulk of the reasoning for huge gasoline prices spikes, is us, the consumers.

First, gasoline demand rose when millions in Texas decided to fill their tanks and evacuate their homes for safer locations. Then, that rise in demand was compounded by those in other regions who heard reports that gas prices were going to spike. The latter went to the gas stations and topped off their tanks. Topping off one's tank seems be an act of common sense, until one considers that only compounds the supply versus demand problem.

Suddenly, the laws of supply and demand create a situation in which those gas stations owners who kept their prices at pre-Ike levels quickly sell out of gas and those who have the gas raise their prices and even add limits to how much gas consumers can buy. It is nothing sinister, it is simply the market reacting to the demands of the consumers.

Politicians will, of course, try to find otherwise. It would not surprise me in the least if Attorney General Henry McMaster found some gas station to go after for gouging. Such an act by the Attorney General would be politically popular.

However, such an act would not address the real problem that arises in times such as these when we face a storm like Ike. It is not the gasoline dealer who is truly at fault for the spike in gasoline prices. It is the consumers. We as a people panic when we learn of such things, and actually buy more gasoline than we actually need and would use in a normal week. Thinking we are being smart and looking out for our families, we top off the tanks, not really knowing that by doing so, we vastly increase demand and thus make the price spike even worse then a cut in supply could cause.

That brings back the question of who is to blame for the gasoline price spike. Is it the big oil companies? It is the local gas station owner? Or, is it we, the consumers, who panic and overreact and purchase more gasoline than we normally do when we hear that there might be an uptick in price?

Who can do something about this? You can. Buy only the gasoline you typically need. Do not panic. The normal supply will be returned shortly.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One can put a suit on a street hustler, but he is still a street hustler

Obama might be the favorite of the third world countries to be the next President of the United States. You know those nations, they have dictators that run around in funny little hats who think women are possessions and that rights are things to laugh about.

Obama now kicks women again by comparing the woman that is the Vice Presidential nominee of the Republican party as a pig. What?

yep, the video above makes it clear. There was also some reference to a a fishy smell by Senator Obama.

It makes clear that Obama has given up the holier than thou high road he and his said he was on. Obama has taken it to the gutter level.

I suppose, after all, one can put a good suit on a street political hustler, but he is still a street hustler.

Forget Campbell for Lt. Gov, how about Flair vs. Jake Knotts?

The State paper and various blogs around the state reported that Mike Campbell is mulling over running for Lt. Governor again or working with Flair on a reality tv program.

What would be more interesting is a match up between Flair and Jakie Knotts. It would be deja vu. Flair faced a extraordinarily similar rival back in the 1980s in pro rasslin.' Indeed, I can not tell if that is Jakie or not in the video.

Wooooooh. Have a some fun people.

One thing is for sure, Mikey is best fit to stay out of the ring with the heavyweights.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Smoking Bans

I think the South Carolina Supreme Court was right in its decision striking down criminal penalities for people who violate local smoking bans. It just seems silly to make something criminal that is not illegal to possess and use.

That said, I have never been a big fan of smoking bans. I am a big believer in both property rights and the laws of economics. If a man or woman works hard and raises the money to invest in an eating establishment, it should be up to them whether or not they allow smoking. Think on it.

Suppose some guy named Joe worked hard his entire life to save the money to invest in Joe Sixpack's Bar and Grill. He opens the place and chooses to ban smoking in it. So be it. Smokers can choose in the economy to spend their time elsewhere. The same would be true if Joe chose to allow smoking in his establishment. Non-smokers could choose to go elsewhere. That, folks, is freedom and capitalism. Having some government make the choice, no matter how good its intentions, infringes on Joe's right to invest his money and use his property as he chooses. It infringes on the awesome power of the free market and infringes upon economic development.

Of course, there are overwhelming policy concerns, and some say the legal act of smoking is among them. However, if an establishment meets the accepted health standards for food preparation, it ought to be up to that establishment to decide which legal substances, such as tobacco, can be used.

Some friends of mine point out how alchohol is regulated despite the fact it is legal. Establishments have to apply and get licenses to allow such use of a substance. While I think that is comparaing apples and oranges so to speak, since people can do things like smoke tobacco and drive without penalty, it does raise an interesting question. How is it that alcohol use, which has a greater effect upon the mind and frankly on the public safety, is merely regulated and tobacco use in establishments banned? Think on it. Bubba can go to Joe Six Pack's Bar and Grill and get hammered on Jack and coke, but the minute he lights up a Marlboro, the "progressives" get ready to lock him up. It does not matter that Bubba has a designated driver, the SOB lit up a Marlboro in a public place!

There is something fuzzy with that sort of "progressive" thinking, as there is with much of the new models for local governments in South Carolina today. Far too often, local elected officials do not do their homework and rely upon paid professional admininstrators to tell them how their local areas should be governed. Those paid professionals come out of the "progressive" public administration programs found at universities around the country. Those programs know a great deal about passing fads, such as "smoking is bad" and very little about things like economic laws and principles that created the wealth we enjoy. Thus, we get conflicted poliicies in which a substance that alters the mind far less is banned, and one that makes people dance naked on the Ravenel Bridge is merely regulated.

I just can not understand what those "progressives" fear about human beings having the freedom to choose their life's decisions. Here's a crazy idea. Let businesses allow people to smoke tobacco. Allow them to sell alcohol. If someone gets out of line, let him deal with the man. It is that simple. If you go to Joe Sixpack's and get drunk, it is your fault, not Joe Sixpack's. If you smoke all your life with big warnings on the side of the packs of tobacco you smoke, if you get cancer it is all on you. What the hell happened to personal responsiblity in this country? If I got diagnosed with cancer, I won't be suing Hav-a-Tampa. I won't blame Coors Light. I did it. I made my choices.

(I know some folks get diseases out of the blue, and I feel for them, but how the heck can we blame Joe Sixpack's bar and grill for our own acts or God's? Indeed, how can some government control acts by God, for you progressivs, fate?)

Of course, "progressives" and the arrogant folks that seem to make up local governments today can not live with that. They believe that they know best how to make your decisions in your life. Frankly, the think most people, their friends and neighbors, are just too stupid to choose wisely where to go to eat, where to work and how to act.

The next thing you know ole Joe at Joe Sixpack's Bar and Grill will be told he can not serve the mushroom chesseburger, the bacon chedder fries, or show any team on the televions in his establishment that have some sort of Native American mascot. Wait and see.

I say, light 'em if you have 'em, wear that Braves t-shirt and if you got a ride home, enjoy that cold beer with some fried chicken wings. But, if you eat the double layer chocolate cake everyday for ten years and wash it down with a real soft drink and some ice cream, don't blame the place that served you the food for your high blood sugar. Likewise, if you choose to work or hang out in a place that is smokefilled, don't blame the establishment if you get related health problems.

Instead, try something empowering. Take time to educate yourself and choose wisely where to work and where to play. Then, you won't have to sit around waiting on some complicated "progressive" to save you. You will have control of your own life. You do already. Each and every reader of this post has a helluva lot more control over his or her own life than they realize. Don't rely on government, make your own choices, those choices will create the world you want.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Doubt Public Education needs reform?

I support public education in South Carolina,but not in the form it is in today. It has become a bloated bureaucracy top heavy with administrators and funded by who has the most gifted grant writer.

An example of how the grant system is just plain silly at times, take for example the $800,000 the federal government gave as a grant to South Carolina elementary schools for providing fruit and vegetable snacks. The idea is to promote healthy choices in eating. I suppose the mystery meat served for lunch in the school cafeteria does not get that job done. Frankly, don't we in south Carolina already have school dietitians who are supposed to promote healthy eating and provide healthy foods at breakfast and lunch for children?

The money is spread out over the following schools:

# North Aiken Elementary (Aiken) – 541 students – $27,320
# J. D. Lever Elementary (Aiken) – 614 students – $31,007
# Varennes Elementary (Anderson 5) – 387 students – $19,543
# Calhoun Academy of the Arts (Anderson 5) – 683 students – $34,491
# Nevitt-Forest Elementary (Anderson 5) – 426 students – $21,513
# St. Helena Elementary (Beaufort) – 526 students – $26,563
# James J. Davis Elementary (Beaufort) – 401 students – $20,250
# Whale Branch Elementary (Beaufort) – 362 students – $18,462
# Guinyard Elementary (Calhoun) – 639 students – $32,589
# Hursey Elementary (Charleston) – 283 students – $14,291
# Mary Bramlett (Cherokee) – 291 students – $14,695
# Plainview Elementary (Chesterfield) – 200 students – $10,100
# McBee Elementary (Chesterfield) – 402 students – $20,301
# Summerton Early Childhood Center (Clarendon 1) – 210 students – $10,710
# St. Paul Elementary (Clarendon 1) – 196 students – $9,996
# Manning Elementary (Clarendon 2) – 687 students – $34,693
# Hendersonville Elementary (Colleton) – 457 students – $23,078
# Black Street Elementary (Colleton) – 425 students – $21,569
# Harleyville Ridgeville Elementary (Dorchester 4) – 502 students – $25,351
# Andrews Elementary (Georgetown) – 855 students – $43,177
# Alexander Elementary (Greenville) – 380 students – $19,190
# Hardeeville Elementary (Jasper) – 752 students – $38,352
# Jackson Elementary (Kershaw) – 416 students – $21,008
# Bethune Elementary (Kershaw) – 135 students – $7,155
# Midway Elementary (Kershaw) – 395 students – $19,947
# Harbison West Elementary (Lexington 5) – 490 students – $24,745
# Pelion Elementary (Lexington 1) – 983 students – $49,641
# Batesburg-Leesville Elementary (Lexington 3) – 452 students – $22,826
# Albert R. Lewis Elementary (Pickens) – 249 students – $12,574
# Windsor Elementary (Richland 2) – 609 students – $30,754
# Keels Elementary (Richland 2) – 602 students – $30,401
# Mary H.Wright Elementary (Spartanburg 7) – 398 students – $20,099
# Park Hills Elementary (Spartanburg 7) – 431 students – $21,765
# Cleveland Elementary (Spartanburg 7) – 504 students – $25,452

Hooray for the kids and teachers who get to munch on a healthy snack. However, when public school parents are nickeled and dimed by the public schools their children attend; and when the taxpayers are constantly asked to give more to provide just the basics; and when our children are encouraged by the school administration to go out and peddle second rate high merchandise to help fund the school; it is an outrage the Department of Education would tout spending $800,000 on fruit baskets and vegetable trays.

If you ever doubt the system we have needs reform, remember that while some students in this state share books and computers, and go to school in dilapidated buildings, our state's Department of Education touts getting money to spend on fruit baskets. I guess kids and their parents will not have to worry about that apple for the teacher in those schools.

Editor's note: This post is the first of several VUI will be doing over the next few weeks on reforming public education in South Carolina.

Time to be Raisin' McCain

Thursday night was a hit for the GOP. Senator Graham hit hard on on the sucess in Iraq. Tom Ridge and Cindy McCain warmed up the crowd about the national hero who is the GOP nominee.

McCain acted as a country first hero would. He addressed the American people as a populist with a proven record of service who can bring about real change.

The Democrats message of "four more years of the same" just will not do after McCain's speech.

I know I am biased, but this election seems to be shaping up as one between the veteran hero who has populist appeal versus the ole street hussler from Chicago.

The message the GOP made clear, change is coming. You pick the type in November.

High School Friday nights: Thursday edition from Russ



Due West that is. The Dixie High Hornets played the Spartans of Camden Military Academy on a Thursday. This game was moved up due to the threat of severe weather possible from hurricane Hanna, we still don’t know if we will see any rain from it here in the upstate. Judging from the field there at Dixie, we definitely still need the rain. I don’t know who cuts the grass there, but they need to raise the blade up a notch. Dixie lost tonight 33-19. Even though a loss is never good, the Hornets played for all four quarters. Those boys gave it there all and that they can be proud of. The first half was really exciting. Dixie scored first with Camden answering back late in the first quarter. Camden scored again. Then Dixie scored another touchdown, but the PAT was blocked. At the half the score was 14-13. Camden came on strong in the second half, they scored three more touchdowns, Dixie was able to block two of their PAT’s. Dixie came back and scored with 2:06 minutes left in the 4rth quarter. Coach Gambrell had them go for two, but Camden was able of hold them up. The final was 33-19. Gambrell has a lot to be proud of, those boys played with enthusiasm. Gambrell is not afraid to take a chance, he had his boys go for it Fourth and One deep in their on territory during the second quarter. Only a coach with confidence would do that. Camden coughed up the ball several times but Dixie couldn’t capitalize. Two of Dixie’s running back’s #20 (Ramsey) and #25 (Norman) had several big runs. Across the field for the Spartans, #25 (Ross) and #8 (Pegues) had big running plays. Pegues should be nickname Pegasus. That boy can high step and run like a… well, thoroughbred. I rate the facilities a B+, someone please water the field. The concessions were good, everyone brags about how great their chicken fingers are. I even hear a rumor that they are going to be serving hamburgers at the big game next week at the Gambrell Bowl. The officiating was fair, no controversial calls. Go, Hornets. The Big Sting. I need to stop that, stop that don’t I. Using clichés. The Big “D” if you don’t know, is what is painted on the field there at Dixie High School. The title for the article is taken from the Mark Chestnutt classic, “I’m Going Through the Big “D” and I don’t mean Dallas.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

We don't like this Ike

This old video is from the 1952 GOP Convention that rallied around Ike Eisenhower for President. Ironically, it is the last time such a man of heroic character stood as a major party nominee.

However, let's be frank, we don't care much for Hurricane Ike, which seems, from the long range models, to be headed for the SC Coast as a huge storm.

Friday night football and the like

Just got the word that Dixie and Camden Military will mix it up tonight on Thursday, because folks are worried about rain from Hurricane Hanna. That is too bad. The crack staff of Voting under the Influence can only have a skeleton crew there on Thursday night, due to McCain's speech and the beloved Gamecocks taking on Vandy. We are working hard to make sure we have a report as promised.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Liberals go sexist and Palin was a hit

As Day Three of the Republican National Convention unfolded, one of the strangest things I have ever seen in politics and journalism unfolded. For over thirty years we in the United States have heard media types and the left wing pundits tell us that women deserve equal treatment as men in the professional world. We have been told time and time again that women should have equal pay and access to career opportunities. (We at Voting under the Influence happen to agree with that idea. In fact, we are proud to have women stronger and more successful than all of us as friends.)

Now, apparently, those opportunities are not for women with children in the minds of some pundits and bloggers. Just google the words "Palin neglects family," and you will have all sorts of left wing hits come up. Even CNN's John Roberts asked if Palin was neglecting her special needs son by running for Vice President. Other mainstream pundits are asking the same thing, posing their allegation as a question.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy ran for President with two young children. His wife miscarried soon into his Presidency. Should he have resigned? In 1968, Robert Kennedy ran for President and was tragically shot during that campaign. However, did anyone say that as a man with 11 children, he should tend to family business? Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton ran for President with young daughters. Indeed, Barack Obama has two young daughters. Should we ask Mr. Obama to step aside? Indeed, has any man nominated for President or Vice President of either party been told by a pundit to stay home and mind the family?

We should not be surprised at their sexism. For those folks attacking Sarah Palin now for running for Vice President are the very same people who espouse how equal we all are, but tell some groups that they just can not make it without special help from the government. They are the same people who would not even consider the woman who got as many primary votes for the Democratic Presidential nomination to be their Vice Presidential nominee. Instead, Obama chose Joe Biden, a man, who as Mike Huckabee put it, "got less votes running for President than Sarah Palin did running for Mayor of Wasilla."

The attacks from the Left on Sarah Palin and her family are not just an insult to her and her family, but to millions of women who balance successful careers with family lives. It is an insult to the millions of men who realize that the woman in their life has real talent in her career and who supports his spouse or partner by playing a bigger role in the home and family life. Are we to assume that to liberals, those men are somehow lesser because they support the women in their lives?

Regardless whether or not Sarah Palin becomes the next Vice President of the United States, her very presence has enlightened us to the true sexist nature and anti-family nature of some men and women pundits on the Left.

As for Wednesday night's speeches, I noticed the humor. Mitt Romney, Mick Huckabee, Rudy Guiliani and Sarah Palin all had the folks in the hall laughing at the Obama candidacy. Palin had the best delivery and speech of the night. Palin showed she can hang with the "big boys" so to speak. Even Obama's campaign complimented Palin's delivery and charisma. In sum, Palin was a hit in her first big night on the national stage.

Of course, that will probably mean the Left will try to hit her and her family even harder in the next few days. It will be interesting to see if the Democrats continue this dangerous gamble of theirs to push their friends in the media to raise very sexist positions on Palin. Also, don't forget Joe Biden. He is smart and tough. But, in an new political environment like this, he is likely have one of those media moments about mothers and the workplace that will make Dan Quayle's Murphy Brown comments pale in comparison.

GOP Convention Day 2: Back to McCain

After Hurricane Gustav took the attention away from the politics in Minnesota on Monday, the Republican National Convention returned back to politics. The Bushes had their moment before prime time, but the Republican Party is clearly the party of John McCain now.

That party has a message of reform and change. Fred Thompson's speech did several things. First, it defined that the Washington insiders do not care for someone like Sarah Palin, who increasingly more people can identify with as the media and the left surrogates pick on her family. (As a side note, even I did not believe that the Left would so attack Palin's teenage daughter or dwell on her husband's traffic violations back in the 1980s. Wow. What is next, did Palin's husband forget to dot the i in his name on a document somewhere?) Thompson was right in alluding to how Palin is not a Washington cocktail party regular. That sort of thing matters in both Washington and Columbia. There is a marked disconnect from the arrogant elite in politics and the people who actually do the hiring. Thompson's remarks played into that.

Thompson's remarks also played into the fact that John McCain is a man whose personal courage has allowed him to do what he thought was right, even when doing so got him tortured in a prison camp. It will be hard for a Mayor Daley type from Chicago to rattle John McCain. Those remarks opened the door for the next speaker, former Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman.

Only the courage of a man like John McCain, who can place his country above his party could inspire a former standard bearer of the Democratic Party to attend the Republican Convention and ask Democrats to put their country first and vote for John McCain in November. Standing in stark contrast to some of the remarks coming out of Denver last week, Lieberman did not attack Obama or Biden, he simply stated why a man like John McCain is right for the Presidency.

To me this Lieberman's best line: "My Democratic friends know all about John's record of independence and accomplishment. Maybe that's why some of them are spending so much time and so much money trying to convince voters that John McCain is someone else. I'm here, as a Democrat myself, to tell you: Don't be fooled. God only made one John McCain, and he is his own man."

Overall, it was a good night for the GOP. They presented a coherent message of how the ticket has courage to stand up to the entrenched interests and change Washington. Those howls you hear from the Washington elites is because they can no longer only just offer cliche thoughts on McCain-Palin. McCain-Palin is not the typical Republican ticket. Whether or not the ticket prevails remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, with the emphasis on courage and independence, the message from Denver of "four more years of the same," rings hollow. From what the GOP showed us tonight, either way, change is coming. Now, the debate can be about what type of change.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Another storm beginning with H

Long time South Carolinians remember where they were on the night of September 22nd, 1989. That was the night Hurricane Hugo slammed into the South Carolina coast.

Though Hugo was a terrible storm that caused damage from the coast to Rock Hill and all points in between, it hit at a location (north of the Isle of Palms, just south of Mcclellanville) in which the most damaging northwest quadrant flooding was limited to unpopulated areas that were relative higher in elevation than the rest of the low country.

Do not misunderstand me. Hugo packed a powerful punch and it hit South Carolina hard. However, in some ways South Carolina was spared even more damage because of where Hugo actually hit.

Now, nearly twenty years later, South Carolina faces a strike from a storm named Hanna. If the tracks from the National Weather Service and other websites are correct, Hanna will hit somewhere near the mouth of the Savannah River.

For the low country of South Carolina, a hurricane hitting that area is the worst case scenario. The strongest part of the storm found in the northwestern quadrant will pound the lowest of elevations along the low country coast.

Some experts muse that the scenes from Katrina in New Orleans would be easily repeated if a strong hurricane hit just south of Charleston. If Hanna is strong, places like Hilton Head, Beaufort and the communities developed around them would be devastated. Models show that flooding would be incredible.

Now, the forecast for Hanna is several days out, and there is really no way of knowing whether the storm will hit the low country or strengthen or weaken. But, as the national media spotlight shifts to another storm hitting Louisiana, perhaps those of us in South Carolina should pause and take a moment to see what is going on with Hanna and make ourselves prepared.

By the end of the week, Hanna just might be the big story the media is chasing. Stay aware and safe.

Foul Don Fowler Amused by New Orleans Hurricane

I said in an earlier post that the party that was partisan first about Hurricane Gustav would take a big hit. Don Fowler, from South Carolina, and a former DNC Chairman, shows here the crass and cynical nature of the politico world.

Fowler has apologized for the remarks, however it the video provides insight on how the high ranking Democrats think and how they are amused at a hurricane hitting during the GOP convetion.

I am ashamed Don Fowler is from South Carolina and disappointed in his remarks. Some things you laugh at, like people running from their lives, makes an apology just not good enough.

Fowler's crass humor is an embarrassment to our state.