Monday, November 30, 2009

VUI cartoons

VUI is reaching out to all those aspiring political cartoonists out there and asking for submissions. The first submission we received was from the cartoonists known as M and S. Their cartoon is an interesting take on President's Obama's agenda. Enjoy. Submit your cartoons to for posting on VUI.

Top 9 reasons why Clemson lost to South Carolina

South Carolina scored a big win over the Clemson Tigers on Saturday, but Clemson fans have been filled with all sorts of excuses as to why it happened. Very few among them congratulate the Gamecocks on the win, instead, they reach for excuses. VUI has came up with the Top 9 excuses as to why Clemson lost to South Carolina:

9) Turf toe, turf toe, turf toe!

8) Hey, we Tigers are going to be the ACC Champions, why do we have to beat Carolina? Losing to Carolina is part of the greater scheme to fool Georgia Tech.

7) Dabo was forced, by the super secret society of Gamecocks in government, to throw the game.

6) Ric Flair helped the Gamecocks cheat. Why do you think they came out to 2001?!

5) Somehow, some way, former President George W. Bush is to blame.

4) How does anyone expect playas to be up by noon, much less ready to play football?

3) Nike is to blame. They made Clemson wear white pants.

2)Dabo tried to call Danny Ford at halftime, but all Dabo got was voicemail. Tiger fans say George Rogers stole Danny's mobile phone.

1) Clemson fans claim Spurrier sold his soul to himself to get the win.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The 4th Annual Thanksgiving Awards

Happy Thanksgiving. First, thank you for reading and commenting on Voting under the Influence. It is has been a great year for this blog, and all involved with it have you, the readers, to to thank for that.

That said, on to the 4th Annual Voting Under the Influence Thanksgiving political awards.

The winner of the Cornbread Dressing Award for career achievement goes to outgoing Columbia Mayor Bob Coble. Though Coble has had his problems as Mayor of Columbia, Coble's vision to revitalize the Vista region of the city became reality.

The winner of the Cranberry Sauce Award for outstanding local government achievement goes to Laurens County Council and related Laurens County officials who brought in the Clemson related project manufacturing plant while Anderson and Greenville County governments were distracted by investigations and the like.

The next two awards the nominees will be listed.

For political Turkey of the Year, the nominees are:

Governor Mark Sanford. Governor Sanford's Presidential hopes went away in less time than one can boil an egg when he admittedto secretly visiting his Argentine lover on, of all weekends, Father's Day weekend. Then came droning interviews and more ethical hypocrisies related to his traveling and his campaign fund.

The political group ACORN. ACORN went from claiming credit in electing President Obama to having Democrats in Congress strip them of federal funding. Let that sink in. You know you have had a bad year when Democrats want to not spend money on you.

Congressman Joe Wilson. Joe Wilson went from "Mr. Lexington" to "Mr. You lie!" Wilson turned what would have been a yawner of a Congressional race into one with national attention. Further, he got his son, Alan Wilson, off message for a few weeks in his Attorney Generals race. (Wilson did rebound, as discussed further on.)

The Howard Rich crowd in South Carolina. A lot of money was invested in their guy Mark Sanford. With 7 years of Mark Sanford as Governor, well funded organizations and blogs, they have almost nothing to show for other than an embattled Governor.

The Atlantic Beach, SC local government. Recent developments about a town council race being overturned add to the indicted Mayor and Police Chief arrested for public intoxication. Things just continue to unravel in that small South Carolina town.

The winner of the Turkey of the Year award is: Governor Mark Sanford. While words like "clueless" and "selfish" have been attributed to Governor Sanford by readers, perhaps one reader summed it up best when he stated, "Turkey of the Year? Is their anyone who has been a bigger turkey and let people down time and time again this year more than Mark Sanford? Hell no!"

Moving on to the nominations for Golden Drumstick award for best political year.

The "tea party" movement. Say what you will about some of those involved in the tea party movement, but that movement put the brakes on President Obama's health care agenda, something thought unthinkable in January.

State Senator Harvey Peeler. While other Republicans are positioning themselves for higher office or carrying water for what is left of the Sanford agenda, Majority Leader Harvey Peeler has been quietly making the SC State Senate run. One will not find the ego of Glenn McConnell or the anger of Jakie Knotts in Peeler. He just works.

Congressman Joe Wilson. Wilson is the first nominee for both Turkey of the year and the Golden Drumstick. The reason is after his "you lie!" remark made so famous, Wilson raised millions of dollars towards his re-election and began working his district like never before. As a result, after his gaffe, he is right back in the heavily favored column for next November. Further, Wilson is the only Republican running for the United State House who does not have any serious primary opposition.

Steve Benjamin, candidate for Mayor of Columbia. Rarely does a candidate announce his candidacy and it results in the retirement of a longtime incumbent. That is what Benjamin pulled off in Columbia when his candidacy put Bob Coble into retirement.

SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell. Like him or not, Speaker Harrell has positioned himself to perhaps be the most powerful politician in South Carolina state government as he has so far successfully negotiated the political tight rope between being outraged at Governor's Sanford's behavior and being cautious in the Governor's removal from office so that the weakened Governor stays to keep the Speaker strong. Due to that mastery of the political tightrope that has given such a good position this year, the Golden Drumstick goes to Speaker Bobby Harrell. Again, the Golden Drumstick is not about who is most liked or who even did the right thing, it about who has had the best political year.

Two more awards are left and they are coveted.

First, the Holiday Ham award for biggest ego(s) in politics. This year, it goes to Mark and Jenny Sanford. Some will boo the pick of Jenny, but remember Jenny chose to engage the Governor in public interviews and is writing a book on their relationship. Neither the Governor or his wife seem capable of spending much time out of the public spotlight. Neither will be ignored. For that, they win the Holiday Ham award.

The Fruitcake Award is self explanatory. There were several worthy suggestions for this award. They ranged from radio talk show hosts to bloggers. However, Wellford Mayor Sallie Peake earned the Fruitcake Award with her policy of "not foot chasing" by Wellford's police officers, her reversal of that policy, and the incredible interviews she had with WSPA TV regarding both acts. The videos have been posted on VUI before, and it is hard to find anyone that could take the Fruitcake Award from the Wellford Mayor.

Thank you for reading. Congratulations to the winners. May all of you have a great and safe Thanksgiving weekend.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oh Henry!

Attorney General Henry McMaster has to be hating what is going on in regards to Mark Sanford right now. As South Carolina's Attorney General, McMaster has the duty of prosecuting Sanford's wrongdoings or turning over such to a special prosecutor.

Prosecuting Sanford on his wrongdoings could alienate important people who might otherwise support McMaster for the office of Governor. Turning over such duties to someone else might make McMaster look weak. In stark political terms, there is is no way McMaster likes what is coming out of the SC Ethics Commission or other stories from the likes of DOT and DSS.

As it stands right now, Henry McMaster is the favorite for the Republican Gubernatorial nomination, which makes him the favorite for the Governor's chair in January, 2011. While McMaster and his people are sizing up their announced political opponents, perhaps their biggest opponent is Governor Mark Sanford. It is Governor Sanford who makes the Attorney General look weak and indecisive. It is Mark Sanford who clings to office to play the role of political albatross around the nominee's neck.

Oh Henry! What do you do? Go after the Governor and elevate one of your opponents, Lt. Governor Andre Bauer to the highest office in the state, or stand by and do nothing and look like a weak foghorn leghorn blowhard. The Sanford mess sure does make a mess of 2010 politics. Oh Henry indeed.

The Sanford mess continues

it is Thanksgiving week, a time when most people are worried about their annual dinners with family, sporting events, including, of course, Carolina and Clemson facing off on the gridiron. However, Mark Sanford is grabbing headlines again.

Governor Sanford is grabbing headlines this week by being charged with 37, that is right, 37, violations of ethics rules by the South Carolina Ethics Commissions. Among the charges are campaign fund reimbursements from the still active 2006 Sanford for Governor campaign fund that VUI pointed out months ago.

Last week, VUI pointed out some problems with Sanford's handpicked Transportation Secretary. Since that posting, various people have submitted information to VUI about other problems with the Department of Transportation. Over the next week or so, VUI will be chasing down those leads and posting about what we find.

The irony of it all is stunning. Governor Mark Sanford ran twice on making South Carolina government open and accountable. Further, Governor Sanford has been quick to point out how members of the General Assembly did not meet his standards for ethics and fair dealing. Now, the Governor and his have lawyered up and are defending their actions on the very legal technicalities those they attacked used.

The Sanford mess smacks of hypocrisy. Sanford was the family values Governor who cheated on his wife. He was the accountable Governor who went missing for a week and left his sons on Father's Day weekend. Sanford and his associates are the folks who touted a higher ethical standard that now seems to be a smokescreen, especially if the mainstream media digs into the things at the Department of Transportation and the Department of Social Services.

Those hoping for a Sanford rehabilitation have to be disappointed. VUI is. We at VUI wanted to believe Mark Sanford was a sincere and honest man who we disagreed with on a couple of issues. But, as the evidence comes in, the Sanford mess is one of his own doing as the Governor and his lackeys look more like good ole boys out to get theirs than the reformers they claim to be. The question now is will the South Carolina General Assembly act, or will they cower behind their own political plays and fears of their own acts being exposed somehow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Top 9 things you don't want to hear at Thanksgiving Dinner

9) “Now, kids, ignore that smell, Uncle Jim has just made a boo boo cake. It’s good for him. Lisa, honey, can you change your man after we say grace?”

8) “No, Bobby, you can’t play with Uncle Earl’s date’s tassels. Besides we ain’t got the money to pay her for that. Earl, can you get your date to cover those things up?”

7) “How am I kin to yall? Well, I am your step neighbor by adultery. Fix me a plate.”

6) “Dad, let’s forget this football stuff, ice skating is on. Real men watch ice skating.”

5) Your auntie’s new beau cries out, “That turkey looks good, but it didn’t get near the stuffin’ your auntie got last night. Thank God for Viagra.”

4) "No, dad, he ain't my baby's daddy, but he loves me anyway. The least you could do is fix him a plate. Hurry up. He has to go be with his wife's people soon."

3) “You people realize you are the reason I am in therapy, don’t you?”

2) “Turkey and dressing, can’t, cough cough, get the flu, eat up.”

1) “When you said you would have wild turkey, I thought it would be from a bottle, not some damn poor bird you shot.”

Global warming might cause an increase in prostitution and the $300 million dollar woman

Saturday in the fall is sacred to VUI. Someday, when archaeologists look at American culture, they will likely discuss the religion known as college football. However, yesterday some good old fashioned left wing big government stuff was going on as well as football.

Let's start in the Philippines. If you think that Al Gore gets a little melodramatic, meet the United Nations Food Population Fund's Sunesta Mulcherjee of the Philippines. According to the Philippines news website, Mulcherjee stated, " climate change could reduce income from farming and fishing, possibly driving some women into sex work..."

In Southern terms, your mama and your sister could be walking the streets if you keep driving that king cab truck, Bubba. Shoot, if we don't stop this, Santa Claus might be wearing a red "wifebeater" tank top instead of a red suit. Keep that mental image in your mind every time you want to drive somewhere. The left logic does have an upside, though. The next time you have a few too many beers, you can blame it on global warming, " I was just so damn hot from this climate change, I had to keep drinking beer to cool off."

You might need a beer when you learn about the United States Senate's $300 million dollar woman, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. When the procedural vote on health care reform came down to her vote, the Senator from Louisiana demanded the government spend $300 million in her state. The Democratic leadership went along, because, what's $300 million when you are spending a couple of trillion already? Landrieu actually bragged about her $300 million on the Senate floor. So much for being so worried about the health care of people first.

It is not known how much, if any, of the federal spending in Louisiana will go to teach the LSU football coaching staff how to count. Those of you who watched the end of the Ole Miss-LSU game understand. The LSU staff's inability to count and to manage a game can be chuckled at. However, their Senator's ability to count too well the dollars from our government to help her get re-elected is no laughing matter at all. Maybe Landrieu can blame it on global warming.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Talk of tax increaes ramp up, etc

A few months ago, when VUI noted how the federal deficit and spending were getting hitorically out of hand, we noted that at some point, Democrats would start talking tax increases, or "revenue enhancements" as some big government types like to put such things.

Eight months into the Obama Administration, and such tax increase ideas are bouncing all over the Democratic corridors of Capital Hill. First, there is United States Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, who stated to Bloomberg, "additional income tax to the upper brackets, folks earning more than $200,000 or $250,000 a year, could fund more troops." Levin was talking about the President's long awaited announcement to increase the number of American troops in Afghanistan.

Levin's tax trial ballon rises in the midst of the "revenue enhancements" found in the so called health care reform package making its way through Congress. Such "revenue enhancements" include taxing people on having better than average health insurance coverage and fining people for not paying insurance companies for coverage. The latter is puzzling. If people are uninsured because they can not pay for insurance, than how is fining them for not having coverage going to help them afford insurance? Such is what happens when big government is ran by big business.

All of the above is happening on the release of several unfavorable factors of economic news. First, after both the Bush and Obama Administrations spent over a trillion dollars bailing out the banks on Wall Street and the automovitve industry, 29 states reported an increase in unemployment rates for the month of October. Further, after that money, plus the trillion dollar stimulus package, and Federal Reserve's activist policies, America's record setting debt is drawing concern from China and Europe according to such reputable sources as the Financial Times of London. There will come a time when those folks, using Levin's language, are just going to say no.

Put plainly, the United States ecnomomy is still in a mess. The Democrats seem to think we can tax and spend our way out of the current crisis. Yet, no nation on Earth has ever thrived for a long time on taxing and spending and centraziled control of its economy.

Think of it personal terms. If you ran your own business thinking only of the short term for a long time, wasting profits on superflous spending to the point in which you could not pay your bills, you would be in crisis. Frankly, more people have been in that situation then known. Now, if in that crisis, you borrow money to cover the bills you can not pay and then add more spending, wouldn't a bigger day of reckoning be just around the corner? Wouldn't there come a point in which there was no more money to collect from your customers or borrow from your lenders? Indeed, eventually, you cripple yourself because, no how valuable you think your services are, you can raise prices to the point in which your consumers can not pay. Further, no matter what your credit, you can borrow to the point in which your creditors are tapped out. Thus, there are you, with big spending commitments and less revenue and credit.

Why is it different for the United States government? Increased taxes on the wealthy and health insurance fines on the poor will lead to less revenue. Extended borrowing will tap out credit. Inefficient spending can only be supported so long by such methods.

Eventually, a day of reckoning comes. In personal days of reckoning, individuals can live with a lesson learned via bankruptcy or judgments from creditors. The federal government has no such luxery. When that day comes for the federal government, chaos and rapid inflation will join double digit unemployment. The United States could become Brazil with a world class military.

Preventing that day requires things that the current leadership seems unwilling to do. First, government regulations and capital gains taxes must be cut. Second, we must forget political correctness and tap our vast oil and natural gas reserves so we begin to stop the bleeding of American treasure to foreign nations for our energy needs. Third, our governments, on all levels, must learn to say no to big lobbyists wanting bailouts for their banks or companies or politically correct special interests wanting this and that tax dollar. We must go back to believing in the free market and get out of the people's way.

The way out is simple, but can it happen? Chances are 50-50 at best. Too many people line their pockets for the short term for taxing and spending not to be attactive to them. But, twenty years for now, when your 401(k) won't buy your grocercies and gas for a week, remember how short sighted we all were in 2009.

High School Friday Nights

Friday night was another playoff night for South Carolina High School League football. The battle to determine who lands on the campus of South Carolina State in Orangeburg for the Class A Division I and II championships has been decided. The final battles to determine who shows up the first weekend in December at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia will be decided next Friday night.

Starting with Class A, Division II, VUI favorite Ware Shoals fell down in Williston Friday night to Williston-Elko. Any doubts about the strength of Williston-Elko, due its weak schedule, were debunked in how the W-E jumped out to a 24-0 lead over the Ware Shoals Hornets in route to a 44-20 victory. It was the second year in a row Ware Shoals dropped the so called upperstate title game to W-E. Williston-Elko gets a shot at revenge next Friday at noon when they face the team that beat them for the state championship last year, Scott's Branch.

In Class A, Division I, the Tanneyhill juggernaut called Chesterfield rolled on to Orangeburg with a win over Calhoun County. The legendary Gamecock quarterback's pupils will go up against Lamar in the second game of Friday after Thanksgiving doubleheader in Orangeburg.

The bigger schools will not determine their state champions until the weekend of December 4th-5th in Williams Brice Stadium. They will be playing semi-final matchups the Friday after Thanksgiving.

In Class AA, the Abbeville Panthers defated Batesburg-Leesville and were rewarded with a hundred mile plus road trip to Pageland-Central to fight for the so called "upperstate" crown of Class AA. The winner of that game will face the winner of the Manning at Dillon game in the Brice.

In Class AAA, the upstate/lower state definitions actually make some geographical sense. In the upperstate, Clinton will travel to D.W. Daniel and in the lowerstate, Marlboro County will travel to Myrtle Beach. The matchup between tne winners of those two games in Brice just might be most interesting game of the Weekend of Champions.

In Class AAAA, Division II, Berkeley defeated Greenwood, moving on to host Goose Creek in what should be a classic lowcountry showdown. In the other semi-final game, South Pointe travels to Northwestern in what should shape up to be a Rock Hill area classic in its own right.

In Class AAAA, Division I, or the Byrnes division as VUI calls it, the Byrnes Rebels rolled on, whipping Mauldin 69-28. Next week, the Rebels will host nearby team Spartanburg in a meeting that will certainly pack 'em in the house.

Also, Gaffney made sure that the division would be an all upstate affair, handing the living legend John Mckissick's Summerville team a 35-28 loss to earn a trip to Dorman in the other semi final matchup.

Though Ware Shoals lost, it was another great Friday night for South Carolina High School Football. (We always root for those little teams) Forget shopping. If you want some real bang for your entertainment dollar, go out and watch one of the high school football matchups next Friday. VUI does not see a turkey among them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Obama criticism and the egotists

Voting under the Influence is no fan of the policies of President Obama. Further, it is right and acceptable for people to criticize the President of the United States. However, just as people on the fringe left went too far when they joked about hoping Bush would choke on another pretzel or Cheney's pacemaker would malfunction, so called Christians who "pray" for President Obama by offering a reference to Psalms 109:8 go too far. Their so called prayers are not reflective of conservatives or Christians.

Those promoting the Psalms 109:8 prayer are putting such on t shirts, baseball caps and other items. According to the Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible, Psalms 109:8 states, "May his days be few; may another seize his goods."

Indeed, the 109th Psalm of King David is about David lamenting about his enemies who lied about him and attacked him maliciously. There is an historical context to consider. Verses in it call for David's enemy's wife to become a widow and for David's enemy's children to be fatherless and left destitute. Pastors reading might cringe, but King David was basically saying, "Okay, God, you put me in this job, now help me deal with these people who are full of it and out to get me."

Those who pray for such for President Obama seem to forget the New Covenant that was created through Jesus Christ. Christ did not pray for the personal demise of Herod or the Roman Governor, men who were certainly his political foes at the time. Taking the 109th Psalm of David out of its context and ignoring the teachings of Christ that followed is misguided.

Further, it is misguided for anyone claiming to be Christian or conservative to embrace such a thing. Christian values are about compassion. Conservative political values are about protecting people by giving them freedom. The teachings of Christ and the ideas espoused by the likes of Goldwater and Reagan do not allow for such ignorant and hateful notions.

Barack Obama is the President of the United States. As such, Obama is owed respect due to the office he holds, and owed vigorous thoughtful opposition to his political policies by those who disagree. Barack Obama is also a human being. As a human being, no one who understands what being a Christian, or even just a good person, is about, would pray or wish harm to him or his family. Indeed, conservatives fight daily for people not to be harmed personally or professionally for conservative views in academia or the media.

Anyone who is so opposed to President Obama that they wish the man and his family personal harm does not know what being a Christian or a Conservative is. They are as lost as the far left activists and other extremists. Like those other extremists, the people who pray for Obama's personal demise are egotists.

For years, we have seen the actions of the left egotists. Oppose gay marriage and work in show business and people work to destroy your career and personal life, for example. Now, the right egotists are getting in on the action. Left or right, if you believe that your point of view about things should prevail to the point in which you pray, hope or work for the PERSONAL demise of your opponent and his family, then you have a problem far beyond political wins and losses.

In sum, if you want to criticize the President's political policies and acts, I am with you. If you want to poke fun at the President, I am with you. If you pray for his and his family's personal demise, I am calling you an egotistical nutcase, and demanding you refrain from calling yourself a conservative, Christian or Republican.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Sanford "good ole boys?"

Governor Mark Sanford made much ado about the how the previous DOT head was a “good ole gal” and that “good ole boy” favors were being handed out by the SC Department of Transportation Commission. All that was supposed to change with Sanford’s ally, H.B. “Buck” Limehouse as Secretary of Transportation.

There is argument by those who say those before Limehouse did not practice favoritism. Fair enough. But, if Sanford’s ally Limehouse is to be held to the same standard of Sanford’s rhetoric, Sanford has a problem.

On August 20, 2009, the South Carolina Department of Transportation Committee met. The minutes of that meeting are public record. Section 10 of those minutes are presented here as they were published. It is not a riveting read by there are several things that stand out. Here is Section 10:

On motion of Commissioner Stevenson, seconded by
Commissioner Isaac, the Commission passed a motion approving
the recommendation of the staff to proceed forward with a
contract modification with Phillips & Jordan based on the
negotiated cost to complete the US 17 (ACE Basin)improvements in Colleton County as included in the original 2006 RFP to complete the remaining sections of US 17 between Combahee River and SC 64 in Jacksonboro.

It was noted by Commissioners Hooper and Isaac that it was
disclosed in letter form prior to the Commission meeting, that
while the son of Secretary Limehouse is employed by the
contractor, his position with the company is in a capacity that is
totally removed from this project and presents no conflict.

Commissioner Nuckles voted “no” to this motion and stated that it
is important that the Commission take a strong position toward
being transparent, open and above board on any contracts,
especially one that is of one hundred million dollars. She further
stated that, the opportunity for all contractors to bid on a project is
a basic premise of our law of transparency and accountability in
the State of South Carolina and that a contract modification does
not allow that option.

In other words, the staff of the Transportation Department, who works under the Secretary of Transportation, recommended that the Transportation Commission approve, without bid, a contract modification on a project for a firm the Secretary’s son works for.

By the standards set forth by Governor Sanford’s rhetoric, such is not acceptable. Further, the Commission’s noting that the Transportation Secretary’s son held no direct role with the project, thus there was not conflict, is troublesome. One can imagine that if the son in question had been a legislator’s son on a project whose no bid status was determined by that legislator’s staff, the Governor and his supporters would be pointing out how no rational employer would hold accountable or fire an employee whose father’s staff recommended a no bid contract modification. For that matter, there would probably be a press conference held in that legislator's hometown.

Such is the hypocrisy of the Sanford crowd. They talk about transparency and above board dealings in state business. But, apparently, that only applies to their political opponents.

Reader input on the Thanksgiving Political Awards

In a few days, Voting under the Influence will present its 4th annual Thanksgiving political awards. Since the readers of this blog have made that it possible for VUI to stay around so long, this year VUI is seeking input from its readers.

If you any nominations or ideas about who is deserving of the various awards, comment here, or email your ideas to

Here are the list of awards:

1) Turkey of the Year (given to the politician or political group with the worst year and most boneheaded moves.)

2) Golden Drumstick: (given to the politician or political group with the best year or most influence.)

3) Cornbread Dressing Award for Career Achievement

4) Cranberry Sauce Award for outstanding local government achievement.

5) Holiday Ham Award (given to the politician, blogger, consultant, with the biggest ego.)

6) The Fruitcake Award (self explanatory)

We look forward to your input. The Awards will be announced on Wednesday November 25th.

Thanks for reading and for commenting.

VUI Video of the week

This week's video, in consideration of our Governor's ethical concerns being addressed yet again due to his traveling for love, is the old country classic by Johnny Lee, "Looking for Love."

Since Don Bobby in the House is going to eschew impeachment against the Governor, even the Governor's folks can laugh when they think about it.


What is in the air at the Grand Strand?

The Grand Strand area is becoming famous for elected and public officials having run ins with police. The arrests of the Atlantic Beach Mayor and Police Chief have been widely reported and commented about on VUI.

Now, Myrtle Beach gets in on the action. According to WMBF-TV of Myrtle Beach, political consultant Mike Green was arrested for trespassing after he refused to leave a private party being held by Myrtle Beach Mayoral candidate Mark McBride.

According to the report, Green stated he worked for the firm consulting for incumbent Mayor John Rhodes. Rhodes denied that Green worked for his campaign. Arrests motivated by politics on both sides, (an over eager supporter of candidate versus an all too eager to call the cops supporter of the other candidate), always seem silly and a waste of law enforcement resources.

Whatever happened on Monday night did not help McBride Tuesday, as McBride was denied a return to the Mayor's office, losing to current Mayor Rhodes by a tally of 2469 to 2157.

Maybe there is something in the air down on the Grand Strand causing such run ins with police by officials and political activists. At the least it seems those wanting to get involved in Grand Strand local politics and governments need to know a good bail bondsman.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Top 9 reasons Anderson County government is just not for you:

VUI hates to do it, but we focus on Anderson County for this week's Top 9. No matter where you are in the state, you just can not help but realize how chaotic politics are in Anderson County. This Top 9 will hit those who know Anderson politics, and it will be the last comments VUI has on the subject for some time. But, frankly, the staff just could not help themselves.

That said, here we go, the Top 9 reasons Anderson County government is just not for you:

9) You don’t have the money to sue everyone else or be sued by everyone else.

8) You are not into traveling around the nation at the county’s expense. You don’t even have a sidekick.

7) You are not into “getting” even with business rivals by using your position to nix economic development deals. You find it hard to believe Stan Spears is "out to get ya."

6) You actually care about serving the people.

5) You just don’t give a damn what Joey or Cindy did or did not do. You think about silly things like cutting taxes and getting jobs for the county.

4) You think things like reading and writing are important for government servants. Further, soap operas aren’t your style.

3) You like to listen to the John Boy and Billy Show in the mornings and you don’t like dining at Sullivan’s.

2) Making fun of the only black member of county council just does not fit your tax cutting and government reduction agenda. You have this silly notion that race has nothing to do with conservatism.

1) If you wanted to serve in a Georgia style local government, you would move to Hartwell and run for office.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

High School Friday Nights

The playoffs are in full swing around South Carolina in high school football, and while Class AAAA teams were beginning the playoffs with long road trips, Class A upper and lower state championship game teams were being determined.

The action on the field was overshadowed by what happened in Union County. Union is a place that has had its troubles lately with arrests of current and former public officials as a corruption scandal heats up. High school football is often a great escape from such serious news.

However, with the home team Union County up on J.L. Mann, a stadium wall collapsed with students sitting on it and pressing up against it. Fortunately, the various published reports have no one with life threatening injuries. However, 28 were injured, and 12 were transported to a local hospital.

WSPA TV gives a good account of the story as it unfolded in the following video:

Again, VUI is thankful that there were not any life threatening injuries in Union County. That said, over the years covering high school football, we have been in some old and rickety stadiums and press boxes. Hopefully no one will start pointing fingers or blaming Union folks. By and large, attending a South Carolina High School League football game is a safe and family friendly thing to do. Accidents happen, and frankly, schools in Class AAA and below do not have the resources to have new stadiums built every few years. Further, people should note how calmly and quickly students, fans, and officials handled the incident.

Moving back to football, two games in the upstate stood out Friday night. Ware Shoals defeated Christ Church 40-14 in Ware Shoals in what VUI dubs the "real" upstate championship in Class A Divsion II. There are not that many Class A Division II teams that play in the upstate. Most schools in the category play in the lower midlands and the eastern part of the state. The Ware Shoals-Christ Church matchup was the true test of what Class A Division II program ruled the upstate of South Carolina.

Ware Shoals is probably the best team in Class A west of Columbia, period. They have an impressive offense and defense that has improved greatly. Playing a game against them in their home stadium, which is dimly lit and has loud fans, is something even bigger schools do not look forward to. Add to that Ware Shoal's game entrance, one of the most interesting in the state as they walk the balcony of the field house to smoke and music and run down the steps to the field. The old Ware Shoals field house looks like a prison.

That home field advantage and tradition will not be available to Ware Shoals as they travel about 90 miles to lower Aiken County next week to face Williston-Elko for the official Upper State Championship. Again, in the way Class A football is slanted towards the lower state, a team closer to Charleston than Greenville hosts the "upper" state title game.

In Class AAAA football, teams were traveling all over the place. One of the most interesting games of Friday night involved a team that traveled perhaps the longest to show up and play. James Island traveled all the way to northern Anderson County to upset Wren, 56-55 in overtime. That is right, 56-55. It was a storybook upset by the 4-8 James Island team to end what has been a storybook season for Wren.

James Island's win also hurts VUI's contention that Class AAAA should revise how it sets up playoffs because four or five hour bus rides to a game put the visiting teams at a real disadvantage and restrict parents and fans from going to the game. That said, James Island was the only Class AAAA team with a really long trip to win Friday night. It is simply a hardship on Class AAAA teams, parents and fans to have such long trips in playoff games. Afterall, SC High School League officials, Friday is both a school day and a work day.

Next week things get really interesting. Go out and enjoy a game.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Anderson County and local government in SC

It has been a while since VUI addressed issues in our own backyard. There are several reasons. First, things in Anderson County are what they are. The so called Republicans on County Council replaced another group of so called Republicans and neither have acted like true Republicans committed to less spending and limited government. What Anderson County Council politics seems to be is two groups of people with personal rancor towards one another who use whatever resources that they can to go after each other without regard to conservative principles or the people of the county. To coin a phrase, they are all a bunch of RINOs.

The only reason that people in other parts of South Carolina would be interested in what is going on in Anderson County is Anderson County is yet another example of how local government is out of control. People who tag themselves as Republicans get elected to offices like county council, and then spend money on investigating their political opponents and the like. One needs a program to keep up with the roster of who is suing who in Anderson County and which lawyer represents which local political official or activist. It is an embarrassment to the good people who live and work in Anderson County.

But, it is going to go on a bit longer. Those who thought the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent investigating the past and going after past officials was over with the report presented to Council this week got a dose of reality. Even after one of the most talked about targets of the investigation, former economic development staffer Heather Jones, got cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by Solicitor Chrissy Adams stating that her acts were not criminal, Council members Eddie Moore, Cindy Wilson, Bob Waldrep and Tommy Dunn voted to spend even more taxpayer money by hiring lawyers to try to get back the buyout of former Administrator Joey Preston's contract. Those lawyers and litigants can be added to the program.

The people of Anderson County work hard and wonder when will the spending of their tax dollars on political retribution stop. Real conservatives do not act this way. Real people concerned about the well being and reputation of their county and community do not sue each other over every little thing or dwell on personal grudges. When will real leaders emerge and move beyond this current Anderson County bitterness?

While Council worries about how much Joey Preston made last year, real problems are up front and center. WYFF has reported that the county funded Honea Path Rescue Squad is facing some serious questions about financial mismanagement. Economic development once pegged for Anderson County has moved elsewhere. Promises of lower property taxes were not carried out. Promises of smaller and smarter government were not carried out. Instead, the current majority of Anderson County Council acts like the previous one, using its resources and time to score points in a personal grudge match with the other group. The so called leaders of this county, in both groups, seem more worried about how to score points against the other side, and help themselves, instead of working for the people.

Anderson County is not alone. There are local governments around South Carolina suffering from such self centered leadership. Those self centered types love spending other people's money for their own interests and hate anyone who calls them on it. It is far past time for we, the people, to say no more of this nonsense. We need to pay attention to what leaders do, not what they say, and hold them accountable. Look to who benefits when they try to promote or prevent some local act. Look at what personal grudges are involved. If someone calls herself conservative, make sure they act like one in office. (Chances are if your local elected official hires lawyers at your expense to sue people they don't like, they are not conservative.) The people of South Carolina and Anderson County deserve better from local government. To get it, pay attention, and call them for what they are.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shocker....Jenny Sanford endorses Nikki Haley

State Represenative Nikki Haley is the darling of the Sanford crowd. She is Governor Sanford's heir apparent to his movement for whatever it is he claims to stand for.

During her career in the State House, Haley has been more the Representative from the Governor's Mansion than the Represenative from Lexington County. If you ever want to know where Haley stands on an issue, just refer to Sanford's talking points.

Thus, it comes as little shock that First Lady Jenny Sanford, the wife of the embattled Governor, gave her nod to Haley for Governor recently. Jenny Sanford played an important role in the Sanford campaigns of 2002 and 2006, and helped to shape the Governor's maverick stands. As such, she has as much personally invested in the Sanford agenda as the Governor and political animal that she is deep down, the First Lady naturally would support the candidate that mimicks the Sanford agenda.

Further, an endorsement from Jenny Sanford is the safe nod to Sanford campaign investors to give to Nikki Haley. The Governor's endorsement could be damaging to the upstart Lexington County House member, but the wronged woman's earnest support could turn into fundraising gold for Haley. Those past out of state investors in Sanford who are uncomfortable with him can write checks to Haley now with a clear conscious. The wronged wife has given them the go ahead.

And, why did she? That is debatable. Some argue that she is still "all in" when it comes to the Governor's career, and that working to elect Haley could help in the political rehabilitation of the Governor. Others argue that she is showing her own influence and wanting to illustrate just who was the power in the Sanford power couple. Others contend that neither Mark or Jenny Sanford can endure not being in the newspapers.

Who knows what is the real motivation. But, one thing is for sure, Jenny sanford's support of Nikki Haley will gain Haley money from the old out of state Sanford investors. Time will tell if that makes Haley a real contender for the GOP nomination.

Enough of blaming victims for evil acts

The media started the notion of blaming the victims years ago with the Columbine High School shootings. Various media reports lamented about how the shooters were picked on and were outcasts, and that, along with the ease of access to guns, caused them to kill.

Now, some media reports are coming out that the terrorist attack against US Army troops by Major Nidal Hasan could have been motivated by others who ridiculed or placed the terrorist Hasan as an outcast. One report from CNN quotes a cousin of Major Nidal Hasan as stating:

"They wouldn't treat him as if he is one of them. He was a major in the Army and other majors wouldn't treat him equally as a major should be treated," the cousin said. " 'Yes, you are a major in the U.S. Army, but you are still an Arab, a Muslim, you have your own traditions and values and we have ours.' He was bothered by that a lot. He wasn't respected as he should have been.”

Liberal bloggers have followed suit, lamented about how Hasan was “bullied” and how he had easy access to guns.

What bull manure. Poor Nidal Hasan, he was disrespected by his colleagues because he sided with Islamic extremists. No wonder the poor guy attacked innocent people. And, how could he help himself, being bullied so, and guns so easy to get in America?

Make no mistake, leftist politically correct people are working hard to make this about the faults of the victims and not about the terrorist Hasan and his horrible act. That is their nature. To them, no one is evil, they just act because Western society gives them evil choices. To them, Hasan is no murdering terrorist. Instead, to them, Hasan is a victim of discrimination who lashed out the only way he could, with weapons provided by our gun rights.

So, look for stories to come out over the next few weeks from media and bloggers about how non-discrimination efforts and gun control could have prevented the terrorist act at Fort Hood. As those stories come out and that point of view gains respect, Islamic extremists will likely revel in delight at the embracing of ignorance by the so called media elite of America.

Only in America can the victims eventually be blamed for the act of an evil attacker. When we will wake up and see the nature of our enemies and have the guts to hold people accountable for their violent acts? Being harassed or bullied for being odd does not give one a right to kill. Indeed, Hasan’s terrorist attack seems to justify the concerns his colleagues had about him.

VUI video of the week: Reagan in Berlin

Usually, the VUI video of the week is something funny, or dramatic from life or sports, but this week, as we honor the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, VUI offers up Ronald's Reagan's historic remarks that came true.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day. It is often an overlooked national holiday. However, it honors the men and women who have kept the nation free.

Veterans Day started out as Armistice Day. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first anniversary of the armistice ending World War I as “Armistice Day” on November 11th, 1919. Congress followed a few years later making “Armistice Day” a national holiday. It was not until 1954 that November 11th became a day to honor all veterans, via a bill signed by President Dwight Eisenhower proclaiming the day as “Veterans Day.”

The history aside, today is a day in which we should pause and remember and thank our veterans. Veterans are not alien to us. They are found all around us. There is the grandfather who is in his eighties who remembers his days in World War II or Korea like they were yesterday. There is the uncle who served in Vietnam. There is the guy you work with who served in the Gulf War. There is your neighbor down the street who continues to serve deployment after deployment in the War on Terror.

The price paid for service by our veterans is seen and unseen. Those who were wounded or disabled in combat are clearly seen and deserve honor. But, those with unseen sacrifices deserve the same honor. They are fathers and mothers who spend long months away from their families serving our nation. They sacrifice what the rest of us consider to be normal in life to stand post against those who would do this nation harm. They give up what we take for granted, as do their families and friends.

So, take time today to thank a veteran for his or her service to our country. They stood post and many still stand post, in places we do not want to even think about, so that we can be free to live our lives. More than this holiday, we owe them our gratitude and respect. That gratitude and respect is best illustrated by committing ourselves to making sure that those who serve and their families have the best America can give them and that we never let those who served be forgotten in post service hardships.

Toby Keith found in music and video a tribute that is fitting. Watch it and remember if you like your freedom, thank a veteran. Thank you veterans and families.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Questions about Fort Hood troubling

As President and Mrs Obama prepare to travel to Fort Hood today for the memorial ceremony for those lost in the terrorist attack upon the base by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, troubling questions about how the government dealt with Major Hasan are developing.

Various published reports indicate that government officials knew that Major Hasan had tried to contact Anwar al-Awlaki. Anwar al-Awlaki is an American Islamic cleric who embraces militant Islam from his now Yemeni home through a website. Awlaki was also a leading cleric at the mosque that Major Hasan attended in Virginia once. Further, Anwar al-Awlaki praised Major Hasan as a hero of Islam for Hasan's acts at Fort Hood.

Take a moment and let all that sink in. A United States Army psychiatrist, who sees and treats American soldiers at their emotionally weakest, was allowed to remain at his post after he tried to communicate with a cleric who embraces terrorism against the United States. It would be one thing if someone just "flipped out" so to speak in an unpredictable manner, but when the government is aware of extreme views and attempted contacts with a terrorist, how does the government allow someone like that access to military personnel?

Think of how silly things are today. We live in a society in which grandmothers can be stripped searched at the airport because their replaced knees set off the metal detectors, but we are unable to relieve an Army psychiatrist from his post after our government learns he is trying to get in touch with a terrorist. There is something seriously wrong with how we as a people approach the reality of the threats we face. It is as if our government seems determined to go out of its way to show its resolve against terrorism by being tough on people who are obviously no threat while at the same time it is determined to go out of its way to show how politically correct it can be by all but ignoring people who could be a threat so it does not "profile" or "discriminate."

The American politically correct approach is being exploited by our enemies. They do not have the same qualms we appear to have about being respectful to those who want to kill us. Our enemies do not live in the politically correct world. They live in reality, where they use every possible weakness they perceive in us to attack us.

The Fort Hood attacks should be a wake up call to Americans. There is no doubt there are patriotic Muslims who serve in the United States military. The wake up call is not about them or Islam. It is about reality. If a military member embraces skinheads, the Klan, or Islamic extremism, he should be dealt with and relieved. There is a marked difference between allowing political and religious freedom in civilian life and giving military access to those who embrace violent extremism against the United States. If we honor those who died and were wounded, we can no longer accept the notion that political correctness trumps reality when allowing access to military bases and personnel.

Happy Birthday, US Marines

On this day in 1775, Captain Samuel Nicholas organized the Continental Marines in Philadelphia, marking the birth date of the United States Marine Corps.

Since that start, the United States Marine Corps has went beyond its mission of being infantry support for naval operations. Especially in modern times, the United States Marin Corp is thought of as the tip of the spear, so to speak, in regards to American military power.

Further, the Marines have taken on duties regarding the Presidency and diplomatic affairs. Marine One is the most famous helicopter in the world. Marines also stand guard at the White House and at Camp David. Marines also can be found providing security in 140 American embassies and consulates around the globe.

Thank you Marines, for all you do and Happy Birthday to the Corps!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Top 9 signs you are staying in the wrong hotel

9) The desk clerk tells you, “In India, we learn to live with the roaches and rats. We are all one.”
8) It is 5 AM and the folks in the room next to you are making a porno movie.
7) At 3 AM, the four hundred pound guy staying in the room directly above you decides he needs to run in place.
6) The room is $40 a night. If you want protection, that is extra.
5) The desk clerk chuckles when you ask for daily, instead of hourly rates.
4) The desk clerk says, “Ignore those police lines and have a good rest.”
3) Maria is trained by her Pakistani employer to come clean your room at 7AM, no matter what.
2) You are warned against wearing certain colors to the free continental breakfast; else you might start a gang related incident.
1) The desk clerk tells you after your stay, “my man, the itch you have will go away in a week or two.”

Friday, November 06, 2009

We are all Army today

The United States of America is in shock and the prayers of America go to the families of the victims of the Fort Hood, Texas shootings. Twelve are dead and over thirty are wounded.

The news reports have been fluid about the incident, as they often are after such events. Various reports had multiple shooters. Then, just one shooter, who was dead. By publication of this post, the shooter was identified as Army psychiatrist Major Malik Nadal Hasan, who was wounded but alive.

The motivations for Major Hasan's horrific attack on innocent people is not officially known. Rumors and reports are rampant. Hasan's Islamic faith has rung alarm bells among the non-politically correct. There are reports that Hasan had problems with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and did not want to be deployed to that region. There are other reports about Hasan allegedly making comments sympathetic to Islamic terrorists. Hasan's cousin has made clear that Hasan's family are Americans and are in shock. He offered sympathy to the victims.

It will take a few days for the rumors to shake out. During that time, it is important that the focus of our prayers be for the families of those lost and for those injured.

Then, when the mourning is over and the recovery is starting, it will be time for truthful answers to tough questions. Forget the political and religious aspects for a moment, how did the Army create an environment in which one of its psychiatrists could be capable of such an act? Think on it. An Army psychiatrist is privy to the thoughts and emotions of American soldiers at their weakest. How did the Army allow someone who apparently had such hate (sane or insane) for American soldiers to be in such a position?

Of lesser importance, but important, who benefits from the act and how did Hassan's alleged views against the War on Terror factor into the Fort Hood incident?

The last question might open VUI to claims of being conspiracy nuts or bigoted. So be it. Someone has to ask, why was this done, and in asking why, who benefited from troops being attacked at an American Army fort that was about to deploy troops to the war.

The demand for the answers to the above questions will be strong and the answers will come in time. America needs to be calm, determined, and methodical in finding those answers. There should be no political correctness, no hot headed rushes to judgments, just open investigating and frankness. For now, though, pray for the folks at Fort Hood. May God comfort them. We are all Army today.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

"Yes we can" has turned into "why we can't."

A year ago, American voters made history, electing the first African American President. The charismatic campaign of President Obama had the majority of Americans in a frenzy. The Obama campaign's mantra of "yes we can" became a touchstone of high hopes for so many Americans, both right and left.

A year later, "yes we can" has turned into "why we can't." Historically it is normal for a man elected President of the United States to face the stark realities of the office and be more humble in his approach as President than as a candidate for President. But, perhaps no time in American history has a candidate stirred such hope and delivered so little in office.

The Obama Administration seems to have a laundry list of people to blame for "why they can't." On universal health care, they quietly blame Republicans and "blue dog" Democrats in Congress. On the economy, they trot out tired old arguments against former President Bush. On Afghanistan, they blame Bush and the Afghanistan government for why Obama can not decide on what to do next.

The stark truth is that the President seems to vacillate on the larger issues. The Obama Administration has wasted time in not realizing the campaign is over and the governing has begun. The President filled his administration with far left activists who would rather fight than work out a deal.

The press makes much ado about how people on the right are angry, with reporting about "tea parties" and such. But, there is an anger on the left in America that is perhaps stronger. People on the left voted for Obama believing the clouds would part, the sun would shine, and life would be utopia. It has not happened. Where is the Barack Obama who promised moderate and right leaning voters he would win the war in Afghanistan? Where is the Barack Obama who promised left leaning voters a public health care option that would let those who could not get insurance opt into Medicare? Remember how candidate Obama criticized Hillary Clinton in Orangeburg, SC for proposing to make people buy health insurance or be fined? Now President Obama seems okay with that.

Indeed, the Obama campaign consisted of a likable candidate with a great family who could give a good speech filled with rhetoric that really said nothing. Thus, people projected their own political views upon the guy they liked personally.

President Obama is so different than candidate Obama. When the lack of leadership, the continued political campaigning, and the downright issue flip flops are considered, there is little wonder at how the "why we can't" Presidency of Barack Obama is slipping so in the approval numbers.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Yet another pre-season gubernatorial debate

Tuesday night the campus of South Carolina State University in Orangeburg was the site of yet another "pre-season" gubernatorial debate. Most of South Carolina is not paying attention to the Governor's race, and after watching Tuesday night's debate, who could blame folks for not paying attention?

The debate, which focused on environmental issues, was touted as historical because candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties participated. Such might make media types, some bloggers and academics feel all warm and fuzzy, but the truth is the debate just offered twice the canned answers, the bad makeup, and the egos.

That said, since we cover politics, VUI has to say something about the pre-season clash. (Now the staff of VUI knows how the sports writers feel covering high school football jamborees or NFL pre-season football.)

First, the lighting was bad and the makeup was bad. All the candidates were portrayed in poorer than they wanted physical like. As Editor of VUI, I found no winner or no clear loser. As I said, to me, it was like watching a glorified football scrimmage. The candidates were going through the motions and making sure they ended the night without being hurt. Further, like a scrimmage, things were just off. No one, the candidates, the panel, the folks filming the event, had their game faces on. (Side note, what was it with cutting to Gilda Cobb Hunter in the seats when Larry Grooms spoke?)

Other staff members of VUI saw it differently. One was clear about how she thought Lt. Governor Bauer had a good night. Another thought Jim Rex look liked the leader for the Democrats. Yet another had perhaps the most interesting insight. He found Robert Ford to be the winner because, "of all of them, Ford is the guy I would like to sit down and have some barbecue and beer with." There was also some debate among the staff on who was more colorful, Robert Ford with his broken English, or Henry McMaster with his exaggerated "Foghorn-Leghorn" accent. There was little debate on how the Hillary Clinton style pants suit does not work for Nikki Haley.

Here are some other quick thoughts stated by some of the staff throughout the debate. With canned answers from candidates from both parties, the staff went after more interesting stuff.

"Someone tell Dwight Drake to get a haircut, it is not 1975. Besides, he looks like a funeral home director. "

"Sheheen seems like a nice boy."

"Grooms reminds me of a guy who sold me a used car once."

"Gresham Barrett's smile reminds me of the joker from batman."

"Who the Hell is that guy," said in reference to both Robert Ford and Mullins McLeod.

"Henry McMaster can't be that dumb."

"Why is Jim Rex doing this?"

"Both Nikki and Andre need to eat more."

All that said, there were some people that worked hard to pull off the debate with all the the candidates at SCSU Tuesday night. The criticism of the second "pre-season" debate is meant in no way to criticize their hard work. Indeed, those who worked to pull off the event are probably the only winners of the night.

Virginia Gubernatorial elections are no political bell weathers

Tuesday night was a night of welcomed relief for the Republican Party, as Republicans took over the Governor's Mansions in Virginia and New Jersey. Pundits and bloggers both are abuzz about the return of the GOP and how the Obama honeymoon is over.

Perhaps the honeymoon is over, but there is a lot of work left to be done to thwart Obama and the Democrats.

First, Republicans and/or conservatives lost a Republican US House Seat in New York to a Democrat. Democrat Bill Owens defeated Conservative Party candidate Douglas Hoffman. Hoffman was the defacto Republican candidate for the seat after Republican leaders like Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty ran out the official Republican nominee out of the race. Democrats were gleeful to pull off the win and add one more to their caucus in the House as Republicans went through their "RINO" purification ritual. Republicans have to realize they can not continue to narrow the definition of "Republican" and hope to gain governing control in Congress. But, there are always those who like to complain more than do. Those Republicans are probably as happy as the Democrats with the results in New York.

As for the Governor's races, history shows they are no bell weather races for future elections. In Virginia, it seems history runs contrary to that notion. In 1981, Democrat Chuck Robb won election as Governor of Virginia. Three years later, Ronald Reagan won re-election. Republican George H.W. Bush won in 1988 after Democrat Gerald Baliles won the Governor's race in 1985. Republican George Allen won the Governor's office in 1993, only to see Bill Clinton re-elected in 1996. Democrat Mark Warner was elected Governor in 2001, and George W. Bush won re-election in 2004.

Does Bob McDonnell's win on Tuesday night mean that Barack Obama will be re-elected President? No, of course not. Chances are it means nothing to the re-election of the President or Congressional elections. It does show that Obama is human and not politically invincible. Obama's endorsements in Virgina and New Jersey did not turn people on or out to the polls.

To put it in boxing terms, Obama seemed invincible until Tuesday night. Now, he's been cut, so speak. Obama is human. But proving Obama is human is not going to win the fight for 2010 or 2012. Human as he his, Obama's operation still packs a big left hand. The GOP is going to have to continue to work hard and find ways to get along with one another in order to cobble together coalitions that will put the GOP back in power.

VUI video of the week: Newman's wild ride

Daytona and Talledega are NASCAR's monster speedways, where restrictor plate racing is practiced. Drivers and pundits complain about the plates and how the plates affect racing and safety. Last Sunday, Ryan Newman, driving the #39 car got one wild ride. Thankfully, Newman was not seriously injured. For those who think NASCAR is not a real sport or does not take some this video..

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The work in the quiet time

It is over seven months until the party primaries in South Carolina for statewide and congressional offices. Most people are worried about how to deal with the upcoming holidays. The press is concerned with President Obama and his health care reform efforts and his decision on what to do in Afghanistan. Other press folks are worried about Governor Mark Sanford. A handful are worried about the races in Virginia and New Jersey.

However, behind the scenes and under the media radar, candidates are doing important work for statewide, congressional and State House offices. Candidates are meeting with important activists and community leaders, and raising money. Campaigns are setting their organizations in place. Now is the time that any candidate who knows anything about such races is working supporters and all the contacts of those supporters. Though media coverage comes later, now is the time that important work is done to lay the foundations for political victory. Just like practices are important to sports teams having success, preparation is essential to political success for candidates.

Over the next few weeks, VUI will look at the various races and candidates and note how well each is doing in getting ready for 2010. We will be working our own sources to see who is doing the work in the quiet time. VUI will do so because it is often the media unsexy work done in the quiet time that sets up victory when everyone is paying attention.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Governor calls state constitution he swore to uphold an “insane model.”

If there were any South Carolinians hoping that Governor Mark Sanford would go away quietly during the last 15 months of his term, they got a reality check when Governor Sanford made a stop at the Clemson Rotary Club Monday on the Governor’s apology tour.

The Anderson Independent Mail reported that Governor Sanford called the 1895 constitution’s set up of state government as “an insane model.” Further, Sanford trotted out his old racism arguments about the 1895 constitution, contending that it was structured out of the fear a black would be elected Governor.

The “insane” remark is incredibly strong rhetoric for a Governor to use. One wonders if it slipped out because of all the Columbia whispers about the Governor’s own sanity. Of course, the Governor has always had a fixation about running against Ben Tillman and the framers of the 1895 state constitution. One would think that they were current political figures the way Sanford uses them in his arguments. (One wonder's why Sanford did not show some real guts and call for Clemson's Tillman Hall to be renamed.)

As for the Governor’s contention that the Constitutional Convention of 1895 was afraid of electing a black man Governor, well, it is a marked ignorance of history. In 1895, no black man was going to be elected Governor. Full blown racism was in effect. Those men did not fear what they thought would never come to pass. Sanford, for the past seven years, has used race to get attention for his ideas about constitutional restructuring. Arguing the racism of the time is easier than actually understanding what was going on.

The men who wrote the South Carolina Constitution of 1895 were conservative in their approach, perhaps to a fault. They were farmers and merchants afraid of strong executive power, not black power, buy any strong executive power. Most of those men either had suffered great loss or knew people who had suffered great loss at the hands of strong executives in power during Reconstruction. Further, South Carolina already had a strong tradition of being a legislatively dominated state. Indeed, the notion of the legislature being uncomfortable with strong governors goes back to the days when South Carolina had a Royal Governor from the British Crown.

At any rate, the Convention of 1895 was not filled with lunatics. The attendees were serious men who took their duties with a sense of purpose. Perhaps that seems “insane” to a man who has acted as selfishly and as erratic as Mark Sanford. The irony is when Mark Sanford was missing last summer and when he was just flat embarrassing since with several different acts, he made the writers of the Constitution of 1895 look like geniuses for limiting the power of the Governor. Insane indeed.

Health Care: Big Government squeezes out charities and shakes the average man down

Democrats appeal to us to support their health care reform efforts telling us our selfish interests of lower health insurance premiums will be met. Republicans tell us that the Democrats will take away the health care so many have. Big money interests from the insurance and medical industries have their roles to play, and around we all seem to go on health care reform.

But, where is the sense of charity in health care these days? Take Greenwood’s Self Regional Hospital. It was created as Self Memorial Hospital, in honor of James Self, the founder of Greenwood Mills, who donated money to create a hospital for his hometown. Self never intended for that hospital to become a for profit entity that made doctors and hospital administrators relatively wealthy.

The Self story is told around the nation. Hospitals that once were ran by charitable organizations and local governments have increasingly become for profit venues. Certainly, those well meaning people who gave so much of their own wealth to establish health care facilities did not envision those facilities becoming profit centers that created big salaries for administrative workers on the backs of the sick.

Indeed, just a generation or two ago, an uninsured man could have heart surgery, for example. His friends and church could raise the money to cover the bill if need be. Now, well meaning friends and churches might raise money, but they will likely not come close to paying the bill. The reason is simple. In times past, the bill was to pay doctors and nurses and minimal administrative costs. No one was looking to get rich or keep big payrolls. Today, medical administrative costs are higher than the actual cost of seeing a doctor. Doctors have to charge more than ever to cover medical liability insurance costs.

Various reasons are offered for the situation as it is. Some contend that Americans, weary of taxes, resent the poor and the sick. Others contend that the loss of manufacturing revenues in the economy have shifted the jobs to service, such as administrative costs. The latter argues that cutting those costs dramatically would result in an economic depression, as millions around the nation would be laid off. Others argue that there is simply no incentive for charitable medical activity. With soaring liability insurance costs, and the need to hire administrative employees to cover all the state and federal regulations, charitable medical care simply cannot operate well.

As charities often do not write campaign checks to Congressional or Presidential candidates, it is little wonder that incentives for charitable health care is not addressed. As Barry Goldwater once warned, big government has become the big payoff for so many. There is no easier way for big business to get big government to pay them off than with health care. Health care is often not a rational economic choice made by the consumer. If you are having a heart attack, you do not have the luxury of shopping for the cheapest venue to have your by-pass surgery. As such, health care profiteers seize upon the most vulnerable in their time of need and get paid.

While some might debate, with validity, the cons of a public health care system, there is something wrong with a government that seems so hostile to charity based health care. Just who benefits from big government, ran by big lobbyists, running health care?

Further, the health care industry enjoys a status that other for profit essential industries do not. Think on it. Your local electricity provider has the same monopoly in your region as your local hospital. The difference is your local electricity provider has to be open with its activities and go before the Public Service Commission to change the rates it charges you. If we have the ability to know, through a public venue, why our electric bills go up, then why can’t we know through the same public venue, why our health care costs go up?

The answer is simple. It is not conservative or liberal. It is financial. Big money controls the health care debate on both the state and federal levels. Especially in tough economic times, when people are making choices to spend less of their money, lobbying to get government to make them spend more on a basic need like health care is more important than ever to the health care profiteers. In such a circumstance, charities must be squeezed so that the for profit health care industry gets paid.

A limited government role in health care would prevent lobbying power. But, that seems to have passed by. America seems committed, through its elected officials on both sides of the aisle, to big government having a big role in health care. Thus, charities are squeezed out, the average person suffers, and the lobbyists write so called reform that, from the current bill, seems to all but force Americans to pay some health care insurance company. It is one of the biggest shakedowns of all time.