Thursday, July 30, 2009

A little history about the Third Congressional District

South Carolina’s Third Congressional District is a difficult political beast. Stretching down the Savannah River Valley from Oconee County to Aiken County along the South Carolina state border with Georgia, the Third Congressional District is one in which no one major media market dominates. Further, the culture is different throughout the district. The people of Oconee County are different in many ways than the people in Edgefield and Aiken counties at the other end of the Third District. The Third District has thus proven to be one in which someone who has mastered retail politics fares better than someone who relies on major media politics.

Indeed, it has been 61 years since someone won the Congressional seat who did not have previous experience in the South Carolina General Assembly. In 1948, James D. Hare won election to the US Congress, only be defeated in 1950 by William Jennings Bryan Dorn, who had held the seat before choosing to run for the United States Senate in 1948. Dorn had previously served in the South Carolina General Assembly before his election to Congress.

Dorn held the Third Congressional District Congressional seat until 1974, when he was replaced by then SC State House member Butler Derrick. Butler Derrick served until 1994, when he was replaced by then SC State House member Lindsey Graham, who served until 2002, when he was replaced by then SC State House member Gresham Barrett. It would appear that that the candidates for the seat in 2010 with the retail political experience of winning and holding a seat in the General Assembly will have the advantage.

However, the set of political skills needed to win and hold on the Third Congressional District has not translated well to statewide politics historically. Senator Lindsey Graham was the first Third District Congressional Representative to move to statewide office in 80 years. William Jennings Bryan Dorn, who was a political legend in his time, lost three times at statewide office, including losses for Governor in 1974 and 1978. John C. Taylor held the Congressional seat, and was one of the local legends of the Anderson area in his time, however he went down to defeat to Strom Thurmond in 1946 in the Governor’s race.

Indeed, not since Reconstruction, has a Congressman from the Third Congressional District went on to win a South Carolina Constitutional office. Taylor is the only holder of the seat to go on to any state office in relatively recent history. As a former Congressman, Taylor was elected to the South Carolina State Senate in the 1950s.
If history is any judge of the future, then one of the members of the General Assembly running for the Third Congressional seat will be elected and Congressman Gresham Barrett has an uphill battle to be elected Governor. The upside is that if Congressman Barrett is elected Governor, he will make history.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nelson Flip Flop

Furman professor Brent Nelson first told us a few months ago that he was running for the Republican nomination for Governor of South Carolina. Now, that the chance of securing that nomination seems slight and other considerations are in play, Professor Nelson is announcing his campaign for South Carolina Superintendent of Education.

The Nelson episode gives anyone who is close observer of South Carolina politics some pause. First, Nelson was quick to announce that Senator Jim DeMint was serving as a Chairman of Nelson’s campaign for of Superintendent of Education. Fair enough. DeMint is to be applauded for his stand against Obama’s health care plan. However, keep in mind that DeMint and Graham and nearly every other major Republican gave way too early endorsements to Karen Floyd’s 2006 bid for the office Nelson is now seeking. Floyd’s campaign was incredibly inept and downright stupid, and led to Jim Rex winning.

The coming months will also tell if another factor is at play with Nelson’s switch from the Governor’s race to the of Superintendent of Education race. The Howard Rich money, for now six years a factor in South Carolina politics, could be at play. The seemingly earnest Furman professor could have been offered the money of a lifetime to run for Superintendent so that the field was clear for Rich favorite Nikki Haley in the Governor’s race.

Campaign contribution sources and certain code words in support of the Rich agenda will be telling signs of just where Brent Nelson is politically and just who talked him into changing races. Forgive VUI for its cynicism. But, rarely does a politician change his goals without someone behind the scenes making it worth that politician’s interest.

VUI will be watching the campaign of Brent Nelson for Superintendent of Education closely over the coming months and will point out any contributions and talking points that make Professor Nelson seem under the influence of someone other than the people of South Carolina.

A defining time

Last week the United States of America celebrated the 40th Anniversary of landing a man on the moon. Those now elderly men had their time in the intense media spotlight of today. One thing stood clear from them, they were men of a rare breed, men who were surrounding by others who joined them in believing in achievement over compliants. It is a place America once was that it seems so far from now.

Now, it seems all the United States can do is hold on. The American people are complaining about every little detail of life. It is ironic. The developments of the moon program, that gave us things like fast processing computers, digital watches and even microwave ovens, created an atmosphere in which people are so fat, happy, and content that achievement seems less important than just holding on.

However, it is man’s desire to reach for something seemingly unattainble that has led to humanity’s greatest advancements. Reaching for the moon gave the people as a whole advancements in daliy life once thought unthinkable. For that matter, explorers who dared to challenge oceans to discover and create lives on this contitnent forever changed history. Further, great humantairians such as Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. once looked beyond what human beings were and challenged them to be what they could be.

Such is missing today in all of our political leaders. When there is talk of sending up another manned lunar mission or a manned mission to Mars, liberals and conservatives both seem to balk at it. They talk about costs, but the frank reason is there are no well paid lobbyist lining their campaign funds who contend that such challenges be taken on. America has went from the nation that dared to dream and reach to a nation that is pessimistic and has leaders who serve the interests of the well heeled, not the dreams of the future.

It is the biggest thing wrong with the American people and political culture today. Daring to reach beyond expectations and to dream has been replaced with a fear of losing what we have and sense that holding on is accomplishment in and of itself. As a result, freedom itself seems in jeopardy.

Such can not last long. A people either go forward or backward. History is clear that a people can never stand still. The American peolple face a stark choice. Are we a people that believe in freedom, and in dreams, or are we a people that believe in shrinking into history? As a Presidential commission on the space program finishes its work this fall and Congress examines it, will we be a people who still dare to reach beyond ourselves for achievement, or will we let slip the reigns of history we have held for decades?

Though some will sure see it as unfair, it is VUI’s contention that the next few months will define the future of the United States. Some talk of the health care programs debated. For VUI, it is the space program. How we define the coming mission of the space program will define our future. It will tell us whether or not we are a people whose leadership still dares to dream and demands that in working for those dreams that failure is not an option or if we are a people who are satisfied to be led by those who believe we are a people who live for instant gratification and are not capable of summoning the will to go beyond what we are. Here’s hoping we still dare to dream and allow the freedom to dream and achieve.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Top 9: Reasons why Mark Sanford will remain Governor of SC

9) Democrats are afraid that drawing attention to Governor Sanford’s “outsourcing” of a mistress will alienate Hispanic voters in 2010.

8) Howard Rich’s paid lackeys have a thing for Hispanic women, so it’s all good.

7) Attorney General Henry McMaster is satisfied because Sanford’s “Maria” did not have a Craig’s List ad.

6) Charleston “friends” told Senate President Pro Tempore Glen McConnell that a purple robe would not be flattering on him, thus he refuses to do anything that will elevate him to the office of Lt. Governor.

5) The press in South Carolina is more afraid of Jenny Sanford than terrorists.

4) Jakie Knotts decided that he would not talk about who Sanford porked if Sanford did not talk about all the pork Knotts consumed.

3) There is super secret proof that Jim Rex and the RINOs supporting public education paid Maria to seduce the Governor.

2) Sanford, the GOP candidates and the Democratic candidates for Governor are scared to death of two words: “Governor Bauer.”

1Joe Dell says, “who the Hell is Mark Sanford?"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The mess deepens in Anderson County

A day after the Anderson Independent Mail reported that the investigators paid by the current Anderson County Council to investigate the previous County Council and County Administrator had turned over information to the Anderson County Sheriff to investigate, Will Folks over at the blog "Fits News" has posted that Councilman Bob Waldrep is under SLED investigation for submitting an improper legal bill to the county to pay. Waldrep is one of the current council members clamoring the loudest for the paid investigation of the previous council administrator and previous council members.

For those of you mostly concerned with just Anderson area politics, Will Folks's blog is perhaps the most read political blog in the state. Now, Folks is wrong on issues sometimes and his methods are pretty cut throat at times. That said, his blog is taken very seriously by politicos and news types. Even though VUI has butted heads with FITS on some issues and some posts, the fact is, more often than not, FITS has its sources down cold.

That means bad news for those of us who call Anderson County home. It seems that the those who have spent thousands to investigate their political opponents now have one of their champions being investigated.

Such is what happens when people get so bitter and angry that they try to criminalize politics. A cycle is started that spins on and on until pretty much everyone in political office is found unclean.

There is no way of knowing who, if anyone, will face criminal charges in this cycle of self destruction set forth by the so called leaders of Anderson County over the past few years. What is certain is that the current leadership and the most recent past leadership of the county throw allegations at one another at a rate that is proving to leave them both tainted. There will no clear winners of that cycle.

There will be losers. The losers are the people of Anderson County, who now have their home county's reputation tarnished, see their local and state tax dollars spent on pursuing allegations from both sides of the great saga, and have so called leaders worried less about the people and more about getting even.

No wonder we are made fun of by FITS News or anyone else. However, I will state this to Mr. Folks and to whomever else: the people of Anderson County are far better than those who represent them in county government. Please do not judge the people of Anderson County on the petty and bizarre actions of the past two county councils.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rolling the Presidential dice

President Barack Obama is planning a high profile prime time press conference later this evening to push his health care reform proposal. Various press reports yesterday show that the President had a bad day pushing his agenda, in that he did not know the details of the Democratic House bill he is supporting. Further, various published reports came out yesterday that Democrats in Congress are having concerns about the speed the President is pushing.

Indeed, Democrats have large majorities in the United States congress, but it is becoming apparent that elements of the Democratic Party are becoming as strong of of an opponent of the President's agenda as Republicans. There are two groups. First, there are the so called "Blue Dog" Democrats who are budget deficit hawks. After the troubling price tag of the Obama stimulus package earlier this year, they are pausing at supporting the price tag of Obama health care. Far left Democrats are frustrated with Obama for his continuance of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and even the Obama Administration's decision to extend Secret Service protection for former Vice President Dick Cheney. Those far left Democrats are frustrated and looking for a reason to pick a fight with President Obama.

So, with Congress dragging its feet, President Obama is rolling the Presidential dice. President Obama is putting the pressure on Democrats to pass his health care plan. Further, President Obama is using his remaining public good will, which is down to the mid fifties in approval polls, to push the health care reform.

The President is in dangerous territory other Democratic presidents have been in. In the fall of 1977, the President Jimmy Carter had large Democratic majorities and pushed his agenda too strongly. President Carter was rejected and found his Presidency weakened for the rest of the time Carter spent in office.

A better comparison can be made with President Clinton. President Clinton used his clout to push through his budget and tax increase. When President Clinton came back later in 1993 with a health care plan, it was a miserable failure. President Clinton had to all but agree with the majority of the Republican agenda in 1996 to get re-elected.

Both Carter and Clinton found themselves far too confident that there was no Republican or conservative answer to their agendas. President Obama now faces the same situation. Add to the situation President Obama's rock star status among the mainstream media. The problem is, the mainstream media does not represent well the American public.

President Obama is making a heck of a gamble. If President Obama pushes through his health care reform, the backlash will harm him. If President Obama fails, he will appear weak and ineffective. Maybe there is some way President Obama can win politically in this situation, but it is not apparent. It looks like a loser either way for the President and the Democrats.

The bright side is that those who think the Republican party is dead will get a rude awakening. When average folks find that they have to pay more for health care and when even the poor find that the government will have a committee decide they should not get certain treatments, the people will wake up to what the Obama big government health care written by lobbyists means to people's lives.

Throughout the history of the United States, one bright fact has stood constant. When a politician fills himself with hubris and overreaches in his agenda, the people punish that politician. President Obama is rolling the dice in thinking he can somehow escape that age old American truth.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Internet Shadows

You will find no bigger fan of blogs than VUI. Blogs are a great venue for people to express themselves and their opinions on various matters. Blogs like VUI are out there for the world to see. If VUI critizes you, you can find it and comment.

The same is true of many other blogs.

Such is increasingly not true of twitter, facebook and other social networking sites. It seems lately that those worst of human traits, such as acting in anger, acting with malice and just plain nuttiness are taking advantage of the tools such networking sites provide them.

Take for an example the recent article in the State about the USC women's basketball coach criticizing a local eating esablishment harshly via twitter. No one knows how the coach was treated or how the perception of mistreatment could have been formed. Unless the eating esablishment follows twitter, they might not even have an idea that something was wrong.

BUt, let's assume that the coach was sincere in her anger and justified and leave it at that. Others who use networking sites to attack other people are not. Facebook for example, allows people to block other people from viewing their comments and page. That seems like a good idea, until someone comes along, with a beef, real or imagined, and trashes the person they have a beef with. They can cowardly hide behind the blocking tool as they say what they will about the person that they wish to defame. The victim of such dafamation is usually unaware of what is being said about them to hundreds and perhaps even thousands of people, as the poster lurks in the shadows of the internet.

While it is true that ever since man has been able to communicate there have been those who like to gossip, make up things, and just plain be nuts, today's technology amplifies the harm that such people can do to people's lives and businesses. While there is no government role to be played in such matters or contended for, other than the lawsuits for dafamation that already exist, there is a moral issue. Are we, as a people,mature enough, to be able to instantly communicate with one another on such a wide scale?

Think on it. Not only do we have the lives harmed at times by destructive people on the social networking sites, but we have human hubris showing as everyone seems compelled to list the details of their daily lives for the world to read, as if the world cares. Further, even our own Governor seemed to jeopardize his family and career over emails that developed into more. I recently learned of a marriage in trouble over sex chat.

When I discussed this with a friend recently, he pointed out it took a bit of arrogance to some to do the VUI blog. Perhaps. The difference is the opinions offered here are the same opinions one would get if they asked me face to face. Further, I will admit that there are a couple of posts I wish I hadn't posted. I am human and have a temper as well. But, the posts are there to be seen and addressed by those mentioned in them. The goal of VUI will always be to be make people think and sometimes laugh about the people and entities with power over other peoples lives. If that gets done, the hits are worth it. I never take the people in the shadows seriously. But, as I learn of real people whose lives have been increasingly harmed by those in the internet shadows, I offer that perhaps it is time those who live in the sunlight of the internet try to shine some light on those in the shadows and call them for the cowards and pathetic human beings that they are.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

RIP Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite was an American media icon. He died yesterday at age 92. For those who do not know what Cronkite was and how he attained his stature, here is a video of the moment he did. Cronkite was working the CBS News desk the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. That work made Cronkite a household name and one respected for years to come. Agree with him or not, Cronkite was a true journalist. He did not have a blog, but in his time, he was "the man."

Here is the video that frankly, made the man mourned today.

GINO: Mark Sanford Governor in name only

It seemed after going AWOL to meet his lover that Governor Mark Sanford could do little more to show how little he cares about the people of South Carolina. However, Mark Sanford's personal ego went beyond that.

First, out of political concerns, he stayed on as Governor, almost as a fit to make sure Lt. Andre Bauer did not have an advantage in next year's race. To their discredit, several Republican and Democratic candidates quietly were happy with the move, as they did not want to face an incumbent Governor.

So, state politics gave us a Governor who abandoned his duties for his lover and a state political system unwilling to address it. When business contacts outside of South Carolina ask about why Mark Sanford is still Governor with his nutty ways, well, the explanation of local politics does not wash. Frankly, people from outside of South Carolina now think we are all a little nuts.

As predicted it only can get worse. Reports now are out that Governor Sanford, the stickler for frugality, traveled first class at state expense on out of state trips, and looking at the rates paid for air travel by some of the Governor's allies like Rep. Nikki Haley, they did as well.

Then there is the Greenville News picking up the notion this week VUI posted a couple of months ago about how the Governor's 2006 campaign account was still accepting contributions and spending money. Of course, some will say it's legal. So be it. But, is it right? It is the type of thing expected of a man who hung his political hat on government reform? Did Sanford use any of that money to see his beloved Maria?

Then there is the news of this week. The Governor and his wife have left the state to go to a undisclosed location to reconcile. "Ahhh, how sweet," some might say. They will quote God and whomever to defend their guy. However, it should be noted important meetings were postponed so Governor could get his "me" time. Further, politics did not allow the Governor to let the Lt. Governor fill in.

Let's be frank. For the next 17 months or so, we will a Governor in name only. Sure, Governor Mark Sanford will have the title, the salary, the bodyguards, and the residence. But, frankly, Sanford has no credibility left. The rest of the nation thinks he and we are a joke. Sanford's ability to negotiate with the legislature and with potential businesses wanting to invest in South Carolina will be limited as no other Governor before.

Such is so ironic for a man who espoused himself to be a man of the people first. Sanford once talked about sewing the seeds of economic development in South Carolina. Now, his continued presence in the Governor's office is sewing the seeds of nothing.

It is hard to predict what will come next from Governor Mark Sanford. His ego and sense of self importance seem to have no limit. One thing is certain, South Carolina's GINO will think of himself first and foremost and his state and party are of little importance to him.

Friday, July 17, 2009

This weeks VUI Top 9: Hillary Clinton

Much as been made about what has happened to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. President Obama has made some big foreign trips recently without his Secretary of State. There evens seems to be silence from Secretary Clinton's office. Well, VUI offers the Top 9 reasons we have not heard from Hillary Clinton recently. Again, we offer 9 because we are not smart enough to come up with 10...with respect to David we go:

9) Pain killers for a broken elbow don't mix well with a shot of bourbon and a beer.

8) Hillary is hanging out in Dick Cheney's old undisclosed location.

7) Hillary does not do third world countries.

6) Hillary saw Vice President Biden speak the other day and thought: "hmmm, sometimes it is best to just shut the hell up."

5) Hillary is tired of Putin's cheap vodka. Let Obama deal with that hangover.

4) Hillary is not sure how to deal with life now that torture is not cool.

3) President Obama appointed Hillary to be Vice President Biden's "personal sounding board."

2) Hillary is coming up with a secret plan to make pants suits the way to overthrow the regimes in Iran and North Korea.

1) Hillary is spending all of her time trying to keep Bill out of Argentina.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

No real reform found in Democrats's health care reform

The President of the United States came out Wednesday and embraced the health care reform bill being formulated by Democrats in the House of Representatives. This bill is over one thousand pages. Even speed reading the bill takes hours as the language is dense and complex. There are things like an office of minority health affairs to be created, a health choices director to be created, etc. One thing does stand out, and that is the tax language involved.

The major media has hit upon the so called “millionaire’s tax” in the legislation. However, the “millionaire’s tax” begins for couples who make $350,000. That includes not only salary, but money made from investments in businesses and stocks. The bill also will charge any business that employs over 25 people $750 per employee it does not pay for health insurance coverage for. There also is a measure to make everyone have health insurance coverage. There are no measures to address the real reasons for the high costs of health care: litigation fears and the myriad of regulations health care and insurance companies have to pay people to deal with.

The legislation proposed by the House Democrats and supported by the President will compound the problems people deal with in regards to health care. Here’s how.

First, taxing millionaires seems popular. Perhaps on salary income such could have broad appeal. However, taxing capital gains as well is just boneheaded in this current economy. We need people to invest in American business. We should not punish them for making money for their investments in business. Some liberals contend that taxing capital gains as well will keep the so called rich from “hiding” their money in investments. Such an idea is ignorant of economics. Investment in American business should be encouraged, not discouraged by more taxes.

Second, small businesses are the engine that will drive any potential economic recovery. A business with 25 employees is a small business. Chances are the man or woman running that business make personal sacrifices to meet payroll from time to time. If they can not pay for health insurance coverage for all their employees it is likely because they do not have the money to. So, faced with the choice of keeping 25 folks employed and paying a fine or laying off a couple of people to not be fined, chances are people will be laid off. That is not what is needed in a nation with double digit unemployment.

Third, real health care costs issues are not being addressed. Health care has become the most complicated overpriced commodity in American business. There are three reasons for that. First, health care is not a typical good or service. If you are having a heart attack or have been in a car accident, you are in no position to negotiate price with a health care provider. Think about it, if you are having a heart attack, are you going to ask the first responder which hospital is the cheapest to go to? Of course you are not. While you might search out the cheapest car, computer or clothing to fit your needs, when a health emergency arises, you take the service and worry about the costs later.

Health care providers and even health insurers have taken advantage of that predicament people get into. Before you assume those providers are just out to make a buck in someone’s moment of need, think of the regulations that they have to deal with. Health care has become one complicated thing. Government regulations and fear of lawsuits are the third reason for the increase in health care costs. Every moment of health care provider’s day has to be documented. Then that documentation is reviewed by someone trained to know the ins and outs of health care regulation. Then, the insurance company pays someone to look at the same information to make their judgments. On and on it goes.

Here is an example of what is going on. Billy Bob is out cutting up firewood for the winter. His chainsaw slips somehow and he cuts his arm. It is a deep cut. Jim Bob is with him and calls 911. The ambulance arrives and treats Billy Bob on the scene, documenting every step they took and submitting that to someone paid to review it. Billy Bob arrives at the ER. Before treatment begins, an admissions clerk, paid again by the system, asks Billy Bob about his insurance. She submits her notes to whoever is paid to review them. Then, Billy Bob is seen by the ER nurse, who makes and submits her notes to another paid person. The doctor makes his way in to look at Billy Bob. It looks like a simple cut that needs stitches. But, fear of litigation has changed the procedure. The doctor makes his notes, and then orders Billy Bob to X-Ray to make sure. The X-Ray tech makes her notes to whoever is paid to review them. After the X-Ray, the doctor decides all he has to do is give Billy Bob some stitches and an antibiotic. But, before he gives the antibiotic he checks a paid for database to make sure Billy Bob does not show up as allergic to anything. Then, before Billy Bob leaves, some clerk comes around getting him to sign a statement about his right to privacy.

Three weeks later, Billy Bob gets the bill for his treatment. It is four figures. His insurance company pays someone to review it who decides that the X-Ray was not necessary, so they refuse to pay for that. Billy Bob starts getting calls from a bill collector. Billy Bob gets fed up and thinks he will see them in court. He does not. He gets a notice saying his South Carolina tax return has been garnished to pay his health care bill. An accident that would have cost him perhaps a hundred bucks twenty years ago has cost Billy Bob thousands in insurance premiums that would not pay the inflated health care bills and a lost tax return.

The plight of people like Billy Bob is what has the American people in angst about health care. However, President Obama’s plan does nothing to address those types of concerns. Like any other lobbyist driven big government legislation, all it will do is cost the Billy Bobs of the world more money. Frankly, what are the Billy Bobs of the world to do when their employer lays them off and yet Billy Bob is still required to carry health insurance with little or no income? How can health care costs be driven down when there remains such regulation and fear of lawsuits over little or nothing? How can there be money to pay for health care for all if business is driven out of business and people who invest are punished? It is enough to make one sick, but chances are, one can not afford to be.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reaching the national credit card limit

History has been made by President Obama and the Democrats running the United States Congress. For the first time in American history, the annual deficit has hit one trillion dollars, (1.086 trillion dollars to be exact.) Further, the end of federal government’s fiscal year is not until October. By that time it is estimated that the budget deficit for the fiscal year 2009 will be 1.84 trillion dollars. That will be nearly four times last year’s deficit.

The dramatic increases in federal spending and in the federal budget deficit have made traditional investors in the federal debt concerned about the future value of the dollar and their investments. It is not a good sign when the Secretary of the Treasury is making trips to China and the Middle East to assure investors that the dollar is safe from runaway inflation. Runaway inflation is traditionally the result of dramatic spending and debt increases. There have been deficits and debts before, but not since the Civil War, has the reliability of the future of the dollar so openly been discussed among foreign investors.

There is a logical reason for their apprehension. Washington has an insatiable appetite to borrow and spend. Such a deficit is before President Obama’s drive for health care reform goes through. The President wants it completed by the end of the fiscal year, which could break the two trillion mark. At the very least the overall national debt has now went over twelve trillion dollars and the annual interest payments are over 450 billion dollars and climbing.

To put the above numbers in perspective, think about the following: the interest payments are larger than the money spent by the federal government on any other part of government other than the entitlement programs and defense. There is simply no concrete effort at any sort of spending restraint.

What the Congress and the President have offered so far this year is not the traditional Keynesian approach of moderate deficit spending. Instead, what is happening is a complete transformation of the American government’s role in the economic system. The federal government owns control of some financial institutions and General Motors. Take General Motors for example, the traditional “big government” approach to General Motors would have been for the federal government to buy a large numbers of cars from GM, and perhaps encourage the states to do so as well. Instead, the federal government bought a majority interest in GM. Unprecedented acts like that and an unprecedented budget deficit have traditional foreign investors in the US dollar concerned. Most astute investors in the US dollar did not see such acts coming a year ago. What they are likely concerned about now is what will happen in the next year.

While it is clear that the shift in culture in American business away from long term planning and rewarding those who produced created the economic mess we are in, the overreaching response from Washington will likely compound the problem. Ironically, it will likely be the acts of those who railed against the shift in business culture that could eventually do the most harm to the American way of life.

Liberals often fancy themselves above the laws of economics. They find the laws of economics to be brutal and cold and unfeeling. However, the behavior of the United States Congress and the President of the United States so far in 2009 could bring about the harshness that they rally against. The burden of the debt will eventually take its toll. The laws of economics will come into play. Investors will refuse to buy more American debt. Entrepreneurship will cave into the burden of big government. Interest rates will feel the pressure and rise as will inflation. When both business and government act against the laws of economics, failure will eventually come. Borrowing and spending inefficiently to stave it off only makes the failure bigger when it comes. The only way to truly recover is for the government and business to return to economic principles that made the American economy so strong in the first place.

Friday, July 10, 2009

This weeks VUI Top 9

As stated before, with respect to David Letterman, here is this week's VUI Top 9. We come up with nine because we ain't smart enough to come up with ten. This week's top nine revolves around the infamous photo of President Obama. Here are the top 9 thoughts and quotes about the infamous photo:

9) French President Sarkozy: "Damn, Mr. President, don't turn your body, just use your eyes."

8) Congressman Barney Frank: "I don't get it. What is the President looking at?"

7) White House Spokesman: "The President was looking at the steps to see how they were constructed, and also for a quarter that he had bounced off an unknown object."

6) Former President Bill Clinton: "I told President Obama he would really like the job. "

5) Michelle Obama: "He did what?!"

4) Sarah Palin: "That could have been my daughter the President was eying. I am insulted. Man, these go go boots are killing me."

3) Unknown Congressman: "Now that is a stimulus!"

2) President Obama: "Memo to self, visit Brazil soon."

1) Governor Mark Sanford: "See what I am talking about, Mr. President."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

VUI Vacation

VUI is on vacation, including a blogging vacation until Friday, July 10, 2009, where the new VUI Top 9 will be offered. Regular posting will resume on Monday, July 13th.

We at VUI hope you are enjoying the summer as much as we are. We recognize taking a week off will hurt us in the coveted Blognet News Rankings, but frankly, we have never cared much about such things. The entire staff suffers from Sanford fatigue and Palin Soccer/Hockey Mom Syndrome. A few days off doing real things like fishing, hiking (for real, not fake hiking in Argentina), and cooking out with family and friends should do the trick.

See you in a few days. Thanks for reading, and don't forget to unplug every now and then. Just don't go incommunicado in South America. A little humor to get you through the week:

And, to give you something serious to think about, Hank Williams, Jr. sums up why the average man is having a hard time understanding the so called stimulus and running off to Argentina to meet a Latina Hottie. Here is a video to think on. This is what average folks are dealing with right now. It is also a hint at where this blog will be heading in the next few months. We are going to offer some humor and tidbits about Southern life as always, but we are also going to try to be a voice for people who are not a part of Obama's stimulus or Sanford's affairs. We are going to give 'em all Hell for the average man when the vacation is over. Why? Because we ain't bought and paid for by unions or HOward Rich and well, somebody has to speak out.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

It is the weekend of the Fourth of July. It is a time for good friends, good times, some baseball, some auto racing, and of course, good hash and barbecue.

Hash can be a confusing food to those who did not grow up in the rural South. Yesterday evening, as I was preparing a quart of hash I had bought in Ware Shoals, SC, I was talking to a friend on the mobile phone. When I told him I was dealing with a quart of hash, my friend asked if I would really smoke that much, and remarked that if I did I would be crazier than Mark Sanford at a singles bar on Latina night. I quickly corrected him on the nature of the hash.

Of course even the hash made for eating can get a bad reputation from the very Southerners who enjoy it. Hash has been the source of good ole Southern gossip for years. Hash is made of shredded meat, seasonings, and some folks add potatoes. Most folks make hash with beef or pork or a combination thereof. I have heard of chicken and turkey hash, but I have never eaten such, out of fear that the late Lewis Grizzard somehow would curse my Gamecocks even more if I dared to consume “fake” hash. The Gamecocks lose enough to those people from Georgia, so, I am not about to take any chances.

However it is the very contents of the hash made this time of year in a small town that can start all sorts of rumors. When I was child in a rural Southern town, if a couple of dogs got missing in late June, the little old church ladies would start about how they were not about to eat any hash during the Week of the Fourth. Thus, great rumors started, and the poor ole boy making hash would have all but show his grocery receipts for beef and pork before people ate his hash. Of course, oh Joe Dale would be an exception, he would stand there, with his shirt unbuttoned, and exclaim, “I don’t care if its dog or cat, this stuff is pretty good, I will have some more and another Natural Light, please.”

Of course, Joe Dell’s Fourth of July was ruined one year when he hollered out “hey ya’ll, watch this firework,” and dropped a match into a mason jar filled with leftover Roman candle powder. I suppose someone forgot to tell the ole boy the value of a fuse, or that glass fragments are tough to dig out.

But what would the Fourth of July be in the South without good ole hash, barbecue and some drunken guy darn near blowing himself up? You will see them out on Saturday. After two plates of hash and a twelve pack of beer they will stand there holding bottle rockets and roman candles in their hands and at least a few of them will end up in an emergency room somewhere. It would not be a summer holiday without such.

Some holiday humor and bringing out the Top 9

VUI is bringing out the VUI Top 9 of the week, and trying to laugh a little over the holiday weekend.

The VUI Top 9, because we ain't smart enough to come up with ten, for the week ending July 3rd, 2009: Top 9 things things we do not want to hear Governor Mark Sanford say:

9) I crossed the line once with Janet Reno.

8) As I sat in Argentina, I thought of the most beatiful name in the whole wide world: Jenny.

7) Blago and I are going to open up a public relations firm

6) I think I have a man crush on Chief Reggie Lloyd now.

5) I think I can beat Jim DeMint in the 2010 US Senate primary.

4) Jakie Knotts ought to add a little South American spice to his barbecue.

3) If they impeach me, I'll veto it.

2) The little voices inside my head keep telling me I can't resign.

1) Uh-oh, my soul mate is late.

With all respect to David Letterman.....