Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Top 9 ways to know that you are having a Rough Thanksgiving

9) Your mama calls out "turkey's ready" and everyone grabs a cup.

8) "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."

7) There are more beer cans than teeth at the dinner table

6) You have to carry your sister a plate because she is camped out in front of Dollar Tree waiting on black Friday.

5) You serve fried turkey, fried ham, fried green beans, fried potatoes and fried snickers bars.

4) After several drinks, Uncle Walter breaks out in a special thanksgiving in tongues message. 

3) You have empty chairs at your table for Elvis and Dale Earnhardt.

2) Your granny asks "what is white and bald headed and welcomed at the White House?  A turkey. "

1) You are a young turkey and you ask an older turkey what this Thanksgiving thing is all about.  The older turkey replies, "well when you grow up, those people over there are going to cut your head off, scold you, pluck your feathers and stick cornmeal up your butt.  But look at the bright side you were not born Nancy Pelosi."

Monday, November 22, 2010

The 5th Annual Thanksgiving Political Awards

It is hard to believe that we are year five of the Thanksgiving Awards at VUI.  We are thankful for the readers and contributors who have kept this one of the longest lasting political blogs in South Carolina.  That said, let's get on to the 5th Annual VUI Thanksgiving Political Awards.  These things are coveted folks, and politicians around the state are waiting with held breathes.  LOL.  

First, there is the Cornbread Dressing Award for Career Achievement.  This year, VUI gives it to outgoing Congressman John Spratt.  Those with more crass motives and hearts might disagree, but Spratt served his constituents well during his tenure and frankly, was like Grady Patterson, in a being a sick old man that the Democrats should have let retire in dignity.  

We move on to the Cranberry Sauce Award for local government achievement.  This year VUI stays local and gives the honor to Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper.  As Sheriff, Skipper has led some major advancements in law enforcement investigations and his office is running efficiently for the taxpayers. Skipper seems to be the best Sheriff in South Carolina and that gets him the nod for this award. 

That moves us to the Holiday Ham Award.  That award is granted to the politician or political figure who, well frankly, has the ego that goes beyond the call.  This year is goes to blogger Will Folks.  Though we at VUI like Will, and actually believe his stories about Nikki Haley, the fact remains that there seems no bigger ego than Mr. Folks in politics.  Jake Knotts comes close, but no cigar, Jakie.  Will's self proclaimed conquest of the Governor-elect just takes the political cake, so to speak. Whatever you think of Folks, it took a pair to lay it all out about him and Haley. 

Now we move to the nominees for the Golden Drumstick Award.  That award is for the best political achievement in South Carolina.  We will outline the nominees.  

1) Governor-elect Nikki Haley.  Can anyone believe what this woman did?  She came out of nowhere to win the GOP nomination and to win the Governor's office.  She did so with otherwise credible folks talking about her, shall we say, indiscretions.  Haley is Teflon, and has a way of making people ignore her flimsy resume and her personal problems.  That takes incredible political skill. 

2) Congressman-elect Mick Mulvaney.  Mulvaney defeated John Spratt.  That was no small order.  Spratt was like Strom Thurmond in his district.  Mulvaney had the skill and the class to campaign around the health issues and age of Spratt while taking advantage of the close ties with Speaker Nancy Pelosi Spratt had to have to maintain his leadership position in the House.  While it was a Republican year, Mulvaney played every move right in sending Spratt into retirement. 

3) Congressman-elect Tim Scott.  Wow.  What can you say about this guy.  Scott is the first Black Republican elected to the House from the South since Reconstruction. Scott got the GOP nomination beating two old strong GOP families, Thurmond and Campbell.  Then, once elected to Congress, Scott is quickly rising, even before officially taking office, in the GOP leadership ranks.  This guy is a game changer for Republican politics and bears watching over the next few years. 

4)Lt. Governor-elect Ken Ard.  Sure, Ard has family troubles and his consultant was arrested after Election Day.  But, Ard is something to watch.  He went from Florence County Council to Lt. Governor, defeating Tea Party favorite Bill Connor in the GOP primary and then defeating a well funded low country effort by Democrat Ashley Cooper.  Ard has a lot of political horse sense and that will serve him and the state well in the next four years. 

5) Congressman-elect Trey Gowdy.  The Solicitor turned Congressman whipped longtime incumbent Bob Inglis with a message that was humble and basically let Inglis implode.  That was smart politics.  

The winner of the Golden Drumstick is........Congressman-elect Tim Scott.  Years from now, Scott will be a national political force, just wait and see.  

That brings us the nominees for Political Turkey of the Year.  You figure out the meaning.  The nominees are: 

1) Congressman Henry Brown.  Let's look at this year for Brown.  He was once the powerful Ways and Means Chairman of the SC House.  He gave that up to be a Congressman.  He gave up being a Congressman to run for Supervisor of Berkeley County, and got soundly defeated.  Wow.  It is unprecedented in SC history for a sitting Congressman to get whipped for a county office.  

2) State Rep. Dan Cooper.  We at VUI like Dan Cooper, the powerful House chairman.  But, this year, Cooper's laziness darned near got him.  Some kid gave him a run for his money in the GOP primary and then some third party candidate got far too many votes in November against him.  Cooper is in trouble in 2012 if he does not shape up and actually learn how to run a real campaign for his post again. 

3) Vic Rawl.  This guy takes the political cake.  Rawl was a former legislator and Democrat insider who thought he was going to be the man that took on Republican Senator Jim DeMint.  Rawl and Democratic leaders were so confident of that fact they sat on their behinds in the primary.  The result?  Alvin Greene whipped Rawl and opened up South Carolina to one of its strangest political races in history. 

4) Congressman Gresham Barrett.  Again, we at VUI like Gresham Barrett.  But, come on, you raise more money than any candidate for Governor by far and you get whipped by a candidate who did not even show up to her own committee meetings in the SC House?  Further the Barrett camp seemed afraid to call such things against Haley.  It was like they were in a trance by her campaign.  Pathetic.  

5) Congressman Bob Inglis.  Speaking of pathetic, perhaps the saddest and most pathetic campaign of 2010 was the Congressional primary campaign of Bob Inglis.  Whatever his accomplishments, in the Spring of 2010, Bob Inglis came across as the crazy old neighbor who ruined all the neighborhood cookouts with his rantings about crazy ideas.  Far too many voters saw Inglis as the crazy neighbor who would set his head on fire to prove a point instead of a veteran Congressman who would serve their interests.  

The Political Turkey of the Year Award goes to.....Congressman Henry Brown. You lost a race for Berkeley County Supervisor after years in Congress?  That's history made and that is worthy of the VUI Political Turkey of the Year Award.  

That brings us to our last, and most controversial award.  This award has gotten VUI in "hot water" over the past years.  It is the Holiday Fruitcake Award.  This year, we had many to choose from, but as we like to stick to just South Carolina politics, the winner was clear.  Alvin Greene is our Fruitcake Award winner.  Never before have we seen someone so strange.  From touting "action figures" in his own likeness to saying recently that he "was born to be President," Mr. Greene personifies the word fruitcake.  Greene's web campaign ad sealed the deal.  Wow.  Here is the video.  It shows how deserving Greene is of the coveted Fruitcake Award. 


Thanks for reading and have a great Thanksgiving Week.  Stay tuned for our Thanksgiving Top 9 and then we get back to daily posts about politics come December 1.  We will be looking at Congress, the State House and bills filed and everything else.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

How bout them little bears!

I am so proud of the Honea Path Bears. Never have I coached a team I was prouder of. County Champions! Woo hoo! Thank you, Coach Williams for the
opportunity. It was a privilege to coach with such fine coaches and
coach such good kids. I am a proud Bear tonight! Praise God.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank you Veterans

Today is Veteran’s Day.  It is a day that once was much more celebrated than it is today.  Indeed, we live in a country in which so many people forget that so many sacrificed for our freedoms.  Indeed, there are so many who still do.

Veterans are easy to find.  One could be your grandfather or the old neighbor who lives down the street.  It might you dad or mother, your uncle, brother or sister.  Veterans are co workers, spouses, and even sons and daughters.  They are all around us, the men and women who stood up and stood post guarding our freedom.

But, with each passing Veterans Day, America seems to forget that.  Most schools will be in session.  A smaller number of cities will have parades or ceremonies.  Indeed, Americans just seem unplugged from the idea that so many are still fighting for freedom in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.  Further, more and more Americans seem even more removed from the truth that the freedoms that we enjoy came from the service and sacrifice of military members and their families.

VUI includes families, because in today’s military, especially, families are hit hard by service.  Many a good military service member has to face multiple deployments in today’s military.  That leaves their families with a missing place at the dinner table, or a missing parent at a play or ball game.

Some will not come back.  Others will but never be the same.  Whether they served years ago, or serve today, the veterans of the United States are owed a debt of respect for their service in protecting the freedom of the United States.

A few years ago, I had a conversation with a veteran who has since passed away.  I took notes because I had a notion of writing about him and those who served with him.  I haven’t, because I did not think my poor writing skills could do their service justice.  But, one line he said stands out.  He told me it was fitting to remember the fallen, but went on to say, “we got remember those who killed and come home and had to live with that killing.”  It was a remark that haunts me to this day.  Because so many died, but even more killed and live with that.

Service in the military is not easy, even for those that never see enemy fire.  We should never let that service be a thankless job.  So, today, seek out a veteran, shake his or her hand, and thank them for their service to our country. 

Thank you veterans.  Here's a tribute from country artist Toby Keith.  

Friday, November 05, 2010

RIP and Thank you, Bob Fulton

In today's world of college football being constantly on television, it is hard to for younger people to know just how much a radio broadcaster meant to those of us who grew up as college football fans in the late 1970s and the 1980s.  Back then, colleges were limited to three games on television every two years in the regular season.  If you could not make it to the stadium, the radio broadcast was your connection to the teams you followed.  

In this area, we had giants in the radio broadcasting field.  The late Jim Phillips called the games for Clemson.  Larry Munson called them for Georgia, and Bob Fulton called them for the South Carolina Gamecocks.  Each had their own style.  Fulton had the knack of knowing the biography of every player that was noted in the broadcast.  

People have their favorite memories of Fulton broadcasts. Three favorites come to mind for me.  The first is when I was still a kid, and I and my dad listened to Fulton call the game as the USC Gamecocks whipped the USC Trojans, 38-14 in 1983. We were actually Clemson fans pulling for the Gamecocks that evening.  My next favorite Fulton broadcast came after I became a Gamecock.  Watching the Carquest Bowl on January 2nd, 1995 on television, with the sound turned down and the radio turned up as Fulton called his last football game for Carolina, which turned about to be Carolina's first bowl win was a real treat.  

But, perhaps it was in retirement that Gamecock fans and all football fans got an idea of the class of Bob Fulton.  When Clemson broadcasting legend Jim Phillips suddenly passed away during the 2003 football season, Fulton came out of retirement to call a Clemson series for the broadcast of the Clemson-Middle Tennessee State game that immediately followed Phillips's death. Such was the mutual respect of the old great broadcasters.  Further, just a over a year ago, there was a story in the media about how Fulton would give play by play calls for games for those who could no longer see in the assisted living center Fulton lived in.  

But, for me, the passing of Bob Fulton is a loss of another of those pieces of childhood.  Great broadcasters like Fulton could paint the game right before you.  Those broadcasters like Fulton had the talent of great writers on the fly.  They could make you feel that you were right there at the game.  So many people have so many memories that revolve around those broadcasts.  

So, Rest in Peace, Bob Fulton, and thank you, sir, for the memories.  The friends and family of Bob Fulton have our prayers and sympathy.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

'Nuff said

We will be breaking down the results and working to hold our new elected officials accountable. But, for now, this picture says it all. What a night for Republicans.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Vote for a Vet

In state elections, it is easy to get lost in the issues of local affairs and the shortcomings of character of those running. But, in Congressional elections, being a Republican is easy. Voting Republican means voting for our vets.

Whatever your feelings about domestic policy, the Obama-Pelosi agenda in regards to our veterans and to our men and women still fighting to keep us safe from terrorists leaves a lot be desired. In the past two years, the military has been served with nothing but insults by the Obama-Pelosi machine. Our military has been told to expect cuts in their and their families' health benefits. They have been told to accept homosexuals openly serving or else. The leftists who back the President and Speaker Pelosi have spent money and time portraying our troops as the bad guys. They even tell us that its okay for Muslims to celebrate the attack on the United States on 9-11 by building a mosque on the site of the attacks.

Now, perhaps Muslims do have the constitutional right to build a mosque there. But, wouldn't it be nice to have leaders that at least say that such is inappropriate. Instead, we have a President who embraces such at a Muslim dinner and Congressional leadership that wants to write laws that make it politically incorrect for our troops to even speak ill of the Muslim extremists that they fight. Heck, Congress even pressured NPR to fire a commentator who said he was uncomfortable being surrounded by devout Muslims on a plane.

That is Obama's America. It is a place in which our military is gutted of its benefits and its morale. It is a place in which political correctness overrides common sense when it comes to securing people. Obama's Secretary of Homeland Security frets over good ole boys having shotguns while she fights Arizona being able to secure its borders.

That is the nonsense that is Obama's America. Domestic stuff can be debated ad nauseam. But, the safety of this country and the men and women who fight to protect it is not up for debate. Whatever you think of Republicans, they will fight for the folks who fight for us. They will be there. That is why, state elections aside, it is important to vote Republican in all federal elections. We need a Republican Congress to hold the President and his band of naive ne'er do wells in check. Consider a vote for a Republican a vote for a vet.

Top 9 things we don't want to hear on Election Night

9) "Ya'll take a look at this video of the Governor-elect. See what you idiots voted in. That's her with the towel on her head. I swear to GAWD that's her. Where's my drink? Is the dog still in the car?" State Senator Jakie Knotts

8) "Take that Lucy, Charlie Brown just got himself re-elected. Trying moving that football on me again, bitch. Yeah, and tell Barber you are the real cock fighter." lovelorn Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom

7) "Wow, look at all these brown shirts. What a movement we have!" Nikki Haley

6)"....(incoherent)....(incoherent)....(mumble)...wait, you can not video tape me...(incoherent)..." Congressman John Spratt

6)"Thank you America for returning me as Speaker of the House. I have to tell you, I was running low on Zoloft. This really helps. Wait, you said Joe Wilson just won? You lie! I need a pill." Nancy Pelosi

5)"President Obama just called me, and I told him I would do for South Carolina what he has done for America." Vincent Sheheen

4)" I told Nikki to tell the SLED guys if the SUV is a rockin', don't come a knockin'" Mark Sanford

3)"What do you mean I can't hire my daughter as my chief of staff? She got me elected." Ken Ard

2)"I thank you for re-electing me, but I got to ask, does anybody other than me really want this job? Hell, I can't even have a scandal with this job." Secretary of State Mark Hammond

1) "So ladies, you chose Jim DeMint, a bad man. Well, take a look at these pictures to find out what you will be missing for the next six years. I bet you feel bad now. Yeah, you could have had that. All lady peoples want that." Alvin Greene

Monday, November 01, 2010

VUI's political losers

It is that time a year again when we at VUI predict our list of political race losers. We do this in honor and respect to the late Leonard Posthostis, whose radio program “Leonard’s Losers” was a staple in our homes on Saturday mornings before college football games. Ole Leonard would predict the losers of the games of the day, and be right a lot more than he was wrong. In that tradition, we offer again, VUI’s political losers.

Let’s start with the Congressional Delegation. Senator Jim DeMint is making a name for himself around the country, campaigning for candidates and being mentioned as Presidential contender for 2012. Republican DeMint’s opponent is Democrat Alvin Greene, who has made a national name for himself in his strange and unlikely nomination. The novelty of Alvin Greene and his criminal charges and strange behavior has worn off, and the DeMint machine rolls on. VUI’s loser, in a rout: Alvin Greene.

In the First Congressional District, history will be made. For the first time in that district’s history, a Black man will represent that district in the United States House of Representatives. Democrat Ben Frasier is a good man by all accounts, but this is a Republican year. Tim Scott has done everything right, and is set for a big win and will become a rare Black Republican in Congress. VUI’s loser: Ben Frasier.

The Second Congressional District race is the most expensive in the history of the state of South Carolina. Incumbent Republican Joe Wilson’s “you lie” charge against the President during an address by the President to Congress made this race a national one. Money poured in on both side. Democrat Rob Miller, the man who lost to Wilson two years ago, is back again, with a fist full of dollars. But, Wilson raised even more money, and in the end, especially in this year, the Second District is a Republican one. It will not be comfortable and there might be some tense moments, but in the end VUI’s loser is Rob Miller.

The Third Congressional District is almost forgotten about. Democratic nominee Jane Dyer was whipped two years ago by outgoing Congressman Gresham Barrett. Barrett gave up the seat to run for Governor and lost. Jeff Duncan of Laurens is the new Republican nominee. All that has changed for the Republicans is the name of their nominee. Dyer will feel like a Homecoming opponent when this one is over. VUI’s loser: Jane Dyer.

The Fourth Congressional District is a lot like the Third Congressional District. Trey Gowdy defeated incumbent Bob Inglis in the June Primary, but again, only the names have changed for the Republicans. Paul Corden carries the banner for the Democrats again, and again, he will be their sacrificial lamb. VUI’s loser: Paul Corden

The Sixth Congressional District race is the Democrat’s homecoming game. Democrat Jim Clyburn has considerable firepower in that district and is going to light up the vote tallying scoreboard like Florida against Charleston Southern. Jim Pratt is the Republican homecoming opponent. VUI’s loser, in a big way, even in this year: Jim Pratt.

That brings us to the Fifth Congressional District race. This one is the most interesting one in the state. The old powerhouse, Democrat John Spratt is taking on the new power, Republican Mick Mulvaney. The race has went back and forth in the polls, and both parties are pouring money and operatives into the district. In college football terms, this one is Penn State with its old coach and traditions versus Boise State and its young and trendy ways. An old political dog like Spratt can always find a way to win, so this one is harder than most to call. But, in this climate, it seems the old dog’s time might be up. VUI’s loser, in a close one: John Spratt.

Now, we move to the statewide constitutional officers.
As Curtis Loftis will be elected Treasurer and Bob Livingston will be elected Adjutant General by default, as they have no organized opposition, we will move on to other races.

In the race for Commissioner of Agriculture, Republican incumbent Hugh Weathers is faced Democrat Tom Elliott. If you have never heard of Elliott, do not feel bad, we at VUI had not until we started researching the races. Weathers will cruise. VUI’s loser: Tom Elliott.

The race for Comptroller General of South Carolina might be more interesting. Incumbent Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom is the Republican nominee for re-election. Eckstrom is a CPA and has fiscally sound views, but his love life has become a topic of interest. We at VUI have noted repeatedly how we did not like him using Peanuts characters to express his lovelorn status. That said, his opponent, Democrat Robert Barber, seems to be perennial candidate for statewide office and is an old cock fighting lobbyist. In the end, the lovelorn CPA will carry the day. VUI’s loser, in one closer than people think: Robert Barber.

Another potentially close race will be race for Superintendant of Education. That office seems to be Democrats to have. In the past twelve years, Republicans have swept to victory in other offices, but lost this one. Incumbent Jim Rex gave up the race to run unsuccessfully for Governor. Democrat Frank Holleman runs in his place. Republicans nominated General Mick Zais, the former President of Newberry College, and Libertarian Timothy Moultrie runs again as the spoiler. Zais is not as scary to teachers or inept in campaigning as Karen Floyd was four years ago. This seems to be the year that Republicans could find a way to win this office. Further, despite his personal resume, Holleman does not have the personal touch that Rex or Tennenbaum had before him. It will be close. But, in the end, VUI’s losers: Frank Holleman and Tim Moultrie.

A race that will not be close is Secretary of State. Incumbent Republican Mark Hammond seeks yet another term on that job. There is something about this race that makes the Democrats talk good folks into going out and getting crushed at the polls. This year’s Democrat is Marjorie Johnson. If Democratic Party elders come and try to talk you into running for this office, watch out, you are in for a butt kicking. Johnson seems like a good person, and someone who wants to make a difference, but again, her party talked her into to being a sacrificial lamb. VUI’s loser, in a big way: Marjorie Johnson.

That brings us to the “Big 3” of statewide offices. Let’s start that discussion with Lt. Governor. The Lt. Governor’s office went down a notch or two in status when Governor Mark Sanford survived his scandal in part because people did not want Lt. Governor Bauer becoming Governor. Add to that for over three decades the office of Lt. Governor has been a political dead end. It has been the last stop on the elected political careers of Nancy Stevenson, Mike Daniel, Nick Theodore, Bob Peeler and Andre Bauer. Each of those individuals had impressive resumes coming into office.

By comparison, the resumes of Republican nominee Ken Ard and Democratic nominee Ashley Cooper are light. At least Ard was elected and served on Florence County Council and understands how local government works. Cooper was just a staffer to former Senator Hollings. Yet, Cooper has Charleston to count on and his campaign has hit Ard really hard. Make no mistake, Ard and Cooper are fighting it out for the office. It has been one of the ugliest races for Lt. Governor in the state’s history, and that helps Cooper. But, again, in this climate, VUI thinks Ard will find a way. So, VUI’s loser: Ashley Cooper.

That brings us to Attorney General. You know who we want. VUI has been clear for a while now about its support for Alan Wilson. But, we look at this as it is. The fact is Matthew Richardson, the Democrat, has run a great tv ad campaign. Richardson has also made efforts to thwart the grassroots efforts of Wilson. Further, as the grandson of an ole good ole boy judge, Richardson has used every contact and played every political hand. One has to give the man his due. But, in the end, his nastiness and his disrespect for a man like Wilson who served our country in combat will come back to bite Richardson. Richardson himself is a decent man, but those around him who attacked a vet are not. And, that folks, matters and it will matter to the voters. VUI’s loser: Matthew Richardson.

Now the big one: Governor. The race is between Republican Nikki Haley, Democrat Vincent Sheheen, Green candidate Morgan Reeves and our own Richard B. McCarty, write in candidate. This race will not be as close as some think. Haley has the magic. Some call her a con artist. Some call her talented. But, Haley has a way of saying nothing that rallies people. Take for example her latest ad where she says she will “take South Carolina back.” Back from whom? Her fellow Republicans who control the General Assembly? The Republican Governor who she has supported lockstep? Haley is full of clich├ęs and no substance. But, it works. Haley dodges and flat lies about her life. But it works. She has the “Big Mo” as the Bush the Elder put it. Sometimes people just do not care what a candidate really stands for or what they have done. They just want them. As football handicappers put it, this is a lock. Haley wins and wins big, thus the VUI losers: Sheheen, Reeves, and gulp, yes, our own McCarty.