Friday, April 30, 2010

Candidate statements welcomed and will be posted

The 2010 elections have historic consequences in South Carolina. South Carolinians will elect a new Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Adjutant General, Superintendent of Education, and new members of Congress from the First and Third Congressional Districts for certain. Fourth District Congressman Bob Inglis is in the fight of his political life, and Treasurer Converse Chellis faces a tough opponent in Curtis Loftis. Comptroller General Eckstrom faces opposition in wake of his embarrassing email exchange with Kelly Payne. Several SC House primaries are interesting. So, less then six weeks out from the June primary, the state should be hot with politics.

But, in reality it is not. Sure, activists are on fire and campaign workers and some bloggers are all excited, but the public seems unplugged. Campaign contributions are down and people are just not that excited. VUI always gauges the public mood not by scientific polling, but the conversation at the breakfast places and the feed store. Over the past twenty years, such folks have been a good barometer of what is going on in politics. They vote. They read the papers. They care. This year, they are not excited.

There are a combination of things at play. First, there is no candidate that has the "big mo" as former President Bush the Elder called it. There is no candidate that everyone embraces and wants to talk about and is excited about. Jim DeMint comes closest to that, but he is going to win in a walk. No candidate for Governor stands out. Few folks even know all the candidates for the other offices. People know they do not like President Obama's policies, but beyond that, they just do not have the time or the inclination to get fired up over any of the candidates.

That brings up the the second reason for such. VUI calls it political fatigue. We in South Carolina have been through a lot over the past few years. We had an Agriculture Commissioner disgraced for cockfighting of all things, a former Lt. Governor and Comptroller General convicted of being a financial crook, a state Treasurer convicted of distributing cocaine, and a Governor who went A.W.O.L. to quench a pathetic love for a woman in Argentina. Add to that the disappointments of the Obama Administration so far, which has led to the Tea Party movement, and you get an electorate that is frustrated and fed up. Many are so frustrated they choose not to care anymore.

We at VUI do care. You readers should as well. The people we elect determine how our state and country are ran, and how the money we contribute via taxes is spent. For that reason, VUI is going on on a limb. In the next two weeks, we will be covering the various major races, with a few local races here and there in our articles.

Where we are going out on a limb is this offer. Any candidate who wishes to make a statement to our readers can email it to us at The statement will be posted as an article without editing. That said, VUI reserves the right to comment on that statement in another article. Those of us at VUI cannot make people care, but we can use our little place on the internet to allow all the candidates to tell us why they deserve our votes. Hopefully, candidates will accept our invitation and give our readers a reason why to support them.

Top 9 last words

While death is certainly nothing to laugh about, sometimes the last words of those leaving this world and assuming room temperature are. Here are some of the best the staff has found.

9) “I am as healthy as the Democratic Party.”

8) “I don’t have time to go through this checklist, let’s just go ahead and take off and get in the air.”

7) “Brakes and helmets are for pissants.”

6) “Shoot, you can grill with charcoal and propane at the same time. I will prove it.”

5) “Sixteen beers make me drive better.”

4) “Hey ya’ll, watch this.”

3) “It is just chest pains, give me another beer and I will be alright. Leave me alone.”

2) “Check out the raunchy cartoon of Muhammad and Robert E. Lee I just posted on my facebook page.”

1) “Relax, baby, your husband is not going to be home for hours.”

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Does this group have no shame, no sense of decency?

The City of Charleston has received notice from an out of state group that the cross at the memorial at the fire station that suffered the 9 lost fire fighters in the furniture store fire of a few years ago must come down or the City of Charleston will be sued. The Wisconsin based Freedom from Religion Foundation is ready to sue.

On some level, that is fair enough. There are always wealthy people with nutty ideas who fund groups that hire people to carry out their fringe agendas. Some of those people are true believers; some of them just need a paycheck. So, when one comes across some of the fringe groups, there is always the thought of, well, they got make a living.

However, there is the type of selfish crazy view that just cannot be bought. According to published reports, the attorney for the Freedom of Religion Foundation is arguing that the efforts to memorialize the Charleston Nine are a “sham.” Those folks appear to believe that is all part of a plot to promote the Christian religion by the City of Charleston. Using their logic, the federal government wishes to promote religion by offering crosses, Stars of Davids, and crescents to fallen US soldiers in military cemeteries.

It is a classic tactic of a fringe group out of touch with reality. Attack something that seems sacred to a community, such as memorial to fallen firefighters, and get attention and a sense of self importance by making the people of a community spend resources and time on your agenda. Such acts are bigoted, selfish and insensitive. Such groups are what they claim to fight.

And, just what does the Freedom from Religion Foundation fight for? There are references to free thought on their website. Who is against that? But, when you dig deeper, you find they seem to want people to think like they do. Again, that is the tactics of fringe group. They talk about justice and freedom but only for liked minded people. It is interesting that their efforts appear to be against Christian faith more than others. If one looks at their website’s news section, it is pretty clear. That’s their right.

But, the rest of us have rights as well. If the Freedom from Religion Foundation really believes that the City of Charleston’s efforts to honor the Charleston Nine at their station house is a “sham,” they should not sit back and threaten to sue and issue press releases, instead they should have the courage and the honor to come to South Carolina, meet with the survivors of the Charleston Nine, look them in the eyes and tell them that the efforts to honor their loved ones is sham. Anything less than that and the word “pissants” comes to mind.

If you can not pray for the Charleston Nine and the survivors because you do not believe in prayer, that is your right. But, at least, have the sense of decency and shame not to drag an effort to honor fallen firefighters into your myopic and self centered worldview.

Illegal immigration only aids exploiters

The Liberal Left in the United States is worked up in a fit over the state of Arizona’s new immigration law that allows police to make sure a person is a legal immigrant and fines those who transport or hire illegal immigrants. The Left is lobbing charges of racism, threatening lawsuits and boycotts and even the President of the United States is trying to find a way to trump the Arizona law.

Such is puzzling for a group of people that claim to champion the causes of those who are underprivileged. They are simply not thinking their passions through. While they might see their opposition to the Arizona legislation and similar measures in other states as something to help the poor immigrant stay here and make a better life, in fact lax immigration laws exploit the illegal.

Here is how. Suppose a man from Honduras wants to go work in the United States. Instead of going through the proper channels, he instead gets in touch with some criminal element in his country that works with a criminal element in Mexico. The man pays for the passage to America, sometimes in money, sometimes with things as outrageous as giving up a wife or daughter for sexual favors or carrying drugs across the border.

Once in the United States, the man still owes the criminal element that got him to the United States. The employer he works for does not pay the man, but instead pays the “manager” of the immigrant workers. This happens with legal immigrants as well. Things like transportation and living costs are deducting from the man’s pay. The man works a tough hard physical job all day and at the end of the day might end up with a cheap meal and a few dollars for his labor. The “manager” gets the bulk of the money. The American businessman or farmer saves on the labor costs of actually hiring workers under federal and state laws by contracting out the work to the “manager.” There are some cases where illegal immigrants working in such a scheme do not get paid at all.

The illegal worker from Honduras in the example has no recourse. He cannot complain to anyone that he has been exploited. He lives in fear of the United States government and the people who got him to the United States. Indeed, he is part of the dark side of the American underground economy that no one likes to admit exists.

The folks in Arizona and other states realized it does exist. Their measures might not be perfect, but they are step in the right direction, not only to protect the borders of the United States, but to protect illegal immigrants from the exploitation of criminal elements. Liberals should applaud such measures as they eventually will bring sunshine on the exploitation of illegal immigrants. Indeed, tough measures against illegal immigration not only help the illegal immigrant not to be exploited, but it protects the rights of the citizens and the legal immigrants and those who employ them.

There are other ideas out there about how to deal with the problem. However, anyone with any sense of social justice cannot support the current system which traps people in a prison of exploitation and punishes workers and employers for obeying the law, while opening our borders to drug dealers and possible terrorists.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Explain it to us, Mr. Bolchoz

Attorney General candidate Robert Bolchoz comes across as the “everyman” on the introductory page of his campaign website. Bolchoz writes of his working class roots and how politicos have a sense of entitlement. Further, in his issues section of his website, Bolchoz opines, “When it comes to business, state government must become a resource for the state’s citizens, not a bureaucratic road block.”

That sort of rhetoric sounds good. But, then there is Bolchoz’s record. In 2004, Robert Bolchoz, of ING, gave liberal Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd $500 in Dodd’s re-election bid against a Republican candidate. According to Open Secrets, the general election contribution made by Bolchoz for Dodd was made on August 12th, 2004.

Why would a supposed conservative lawyer make such a contribution to a liberal Democrat? It appears, and VUI stresses appears, Bolchoz was just playing the corporate contribution game. As a powerful member of the Senate Banking Committee, Dodd received at least $56,950 from ING employees in contributions over the years.

ING is a Dutch based financial and insurance company that took a huge bailout from the Dutch government in 2008. In 2004, it was in its fourth year of its ING Direct operation in the United States, which basically was branchless banking. While it cannot be contended that campaign contributions directly influence a lawmaker’s actions, it can be assumed that such contributions make sure the lawmaker is not offended.

Does any of the above mean that Bolchoz is some evil guy? Of course not. But, it does appear to label his “everyman” approach and conservative approach as poppycock. When Bolchoz had to play the game, he apparently did.

Perhaps VUI is wrong. We have been wrong before. We welcome Bolchoz or his supporters to explain to VUI and our readers why Dodd’s re-election was so important to conservatives and Republicans that it warranted Bolchoz writing a check to Dodd’s campaign. Our comments section is unedited and not moderated. Explain it to us, Mr. Bolchoz.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Isn't it evil to kill innocent people in the name of God?

The Rev. Franklin Graham was disinvited recently by the United States Army from appearing at Pentagon Prayer Day. The reason stated for the disinvitation was the fact Rev. Graham called Islamic terrorists evil and that he dared to argue that Jesus Christ died for their sins as well.

That offended the mainstream Muslims who supposedly condemn the murder and cowardly deceitful acts of Islamic extremists. That offense was so strong that the Army told Graham he was not welcomed at the Pentagon Prayer Day. After that, several others who were invited have declined to attend.

While there are some atheists out there who crow over such a move by the Army, they should note it was not for them, it was for Islam. Our leaders have become so afraid of offending the religion of Islam that we the people are losing our freedom to be free from that religion.

Think on it. The federal government has in the past granted and currently grants money to artists who depict Christ and Moses in a derogatory fashion. Yet, networks, funded by private money, are pressured to not air even an image of the Islamic prophet Mohammad, for fear of what Muslims might think or do.

Now, Franklin Graham, a man who has spent much of adult life through the ministry Samaritan’s Purse feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and bringing needed medical care to those in need, is told he is not welcomed because he dared to speak the truth.

And, let’s face it, when it comes to Islamic terrorists, it is true that they are evil. How else can one describe a faith that hides behind God to glorify the killing of innocent people just because they do not share your faith? Western Civilization moved past condoning that kind of evil centuries ago. Western culture once moved into an age of enlightenment, brought on by the religious freedoms espoused in the United States, which pushed aside things like the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem witch trials. Now, it seems our leaders deem enlightenment as catering to those who are offended when we call similar acts by Muslims for the evil that they are.

Even if one does not share the Christian faith, there is something wrong with all but demonizing a man like Graham, who has again spent his adult life helping people, not blowing them up, in order to cater to people offended by him calling evil for what it is. Some will argue for tolerance. Fine. VUI has no problem tolerating the Islamic faith, as long as those who practice it join the rational people of the world in condemning as evil and barbaric the terrorist acts that are done against people who simply do not share the Islamic faith. Yet, the fact remains that the treatment of women, children and those of different faiths is barbaric in most Muslim ran nations.

In their nations, let them do as they will. But, in the United States, lets us not be tolerant of the intolerant and cater to the Islamic fanatics to the point in which we are not free from their religion.

The situation is remindful of an old story. A man ran over snake one day with his car. The man felt guilty about running over the snake, and as he was tolerant and loving of all things, he brought the snake into his house, and nursed it back to health, changing his house to make the snake more comfortable. Once healthy, the snake bit the man. The man, puzzled, asked the snake, “Why did you bite me, I catered to you, I did everything you needed me to do to make you comfortable and bring you back to health.” The snake replied, “You fool, you knew I was a snake when you took me in.”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Top 9 ways of knowing you are not going to have a Happy Birthday

9) Some half drunk guy claiming to be from “the IRS” knocks on your door and asks you why have not mailed your Census form.

8) Your birthday party is begun with drunken people dressed in orange dancing and clapping to Tiger Rag.

7) The woman in your life uses your birthday to let you know that she thinks you should do more with your life and that you are slack, a big disappointment, etc. Though she expects the worst from you, she wishes you a Happy Birthday and quickly judges how you will act around your friends later at your party. She then calls the private investigator she hired to watch you to make sure he is on the job. True love.

6) The cute waitress you flirted with most of the night says, “wow, you are old, dude.”

5) Expecting a birthday greeting from you buddy, you instead are greeted with “You asshole, why didn’t you tell me my wife made out with that guy?”

4) Some dumbass blames you for testing positive for drugs, claiming that a good lawyer would tell them “random” was not the name of the drug test.

3) Your doctor tells you after your annual physical that he does not accept payment plans in your case.

2) One of your friends decides to protest your birthday party because your candles add too much to global warming so close to Earth Day.

1) Your buddies throw you a party at a strip club, only to have the strippers say “the club’s liability insurance company does not allow us to give a guy that old a couch dance.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Does ol Henry really deserve it?

The first ads are out on television for the Henry McMaster for Governor Campaign. Those ads tout McMaster as the old Republican who has a great resume and stands up against Obama’s healthcare plan. It is a tried and true Republican Primary tactic. Republicans feel obligated to the old guy who has paid his dues.

McMaster is that guy. So was John McCain. So was Bob Dole. Henry McMaster served as Ronald Reagan’s U.S. Attorney for South Carolina back in the 1980s before becoming the GOP sacrificial lamb to Democrats Fritz Hollings for the U.S. Senate and Nick Theodore for Lt. Governor. Then, McMaster became the South Carolina GOP Chairman before getting elected as Attorney General. As Attorney General, McMaster touted big issues such as the prosecution of the HomeGold crimes while also being quietly ridiculed in the office by professionals for his eccentric mannerisms.

The public sees McMaster as the old GOP warhorse, those who worked within the Attorney General’s office see him as detached, save for his passion to make sure attorneys and others log in their computers at set times and have documents securely fastened in their file folders. One former staffer for McMaster told VUI, “the guy is nuts, he came around and picked up file folders and shook them to make sure every document was securely fastened. But, if you asked him about a particular case, the guy knew nothing.”

VUI does not think the Attorney General is nuts. We at VUI recognize that discipline has its place and we further commend Henry McMaster for taking on the likes of HomeGold. That said, McMaster’s campaign of “deserving it” is in trouble.

Let’s go back to other famous GOP candidates who “deserved” it. John McCain won the Presidential nomination in 2008 because he deserved it. Bob Dole did such in 1996. Both lost the General Election by a wide margin.

While South Carolina is not the nation as a whole, choosing to nominate someone because they are the old guy who deserves it could prove just as dangerous. Henry McMaster has some glaring weaknesses that could be exploited by a talented Democratic candidate in the Fall. McMaster has a lifelong Republican resume, but in order for him to earn the GOP nomination, he will have to deal with those weaknesses in the coming weeks of the primary.

So far, the McMaster camp all but ignores those weaknesses and instead chooses to play the “the old guy who deserves it” card. That might win McMaster the Gubernatorial nomination, but come the Fall, the weaknesses of McMaster will be front and center. Conservatives who doubt his true dedication might not vote. Swing voters might be turned off by his lack of substance.

Indeed there is a reason why a candidate such as McMaster, who should have been an overwhelming favorite to win the GOP nomination outright now faces a fluid primary race. McMaster has to stop running on his resume and start running on what he will do. South Carolina voters will forgive any alleged eccentricities if McMaster has a substantive plan for what he will do. If McMaster simply stands on his resume, the alleged eccentricities will become real news stories and his candidacy will limp along, with the nomination fight and the General Election, in question.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Is anyone really paying attention to the Education race?

Superintendant of Education Jim Rex had a rough week. First, his campaign fundraising for his race for Governor is dismal. To many Democrats, Rex made a mistake running for Governor instead of re-election.

The second blow to Rex is perhaps why he chose to run for Governor instead of re-election. The South Carolina school and district report cards for the past year are now finally out. Rex called the reports “sobering.” VUI calls the reports disturbing. The reports suggest that South Carolina public schools are regressing, not improving. Add to that failure the increased cost of administration and how in these tough budget times, some administrator is paid six figures while good teachers are let go. In short, reports and budget gimmicks to protect bureaucrats have left our public schools in the worst shape that they have been in decades.

For the above reasons, it is likely that Jim Rex will lose the Democratic nomination for Governor, as frankly, he should. But, the people of South Carolina seem so detached from the race for who replaces Rex.

There are Democrats and Republicans running, and in the near future, VUI will address those candidates and the issues involved. For now, VUI chooses to dwell upon the fact that the race has no attention. South Carolina schools are in crisis, and even the politically active in both parties have a hard time even naming the candidates, much less intelligently advocated for one.

It is part of the unplugged nature of this primary season. But, with the failures of our public schools now front and center, it is time for those of us who keep up with politics to do some work and find out about the candidates and make a way for the people to care about what happens with public education. For whatever reason, down ballot statewide races do not seem to matter to people today. But, no job is more important than the job that deals with public education. We will be on it, but that will not matter unless you do your homework as well.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Is the Haley star burning out?

Nikki Haley looked at one time earlier this year to be a possible candidate for Governor in the Republican Primary Runoff. Perhaps she still will, with the fluid nature of the Governor’s race. But, as of now, it looks like Haley is not going to make the runoff and her campaign is in trouble.

First, Haley, despite her natural charisma, did not raise competitive money in the last quarter. Those groups who support her fired away at Congressman Gresham Barrett, thinking he was their key opponent for the runoff spot. Those supporters underestimated two things going on in this election. First, Lt. Governor Andre Bauer seems to be building bridges with the “Tea Party” folks Haley was counting on. Her supporters attacked the wrong guy. Second is the Sanford aftermath.

Frankly put, Haley is indentified too closely with Governor Sanford. When pundits call Haley “Sanford in a skirt,” it is not about any personal things, it is about comparing Haley to Sanford in being too stubborn to work with other elected officials. Like Sanford, Haley has good ideas, but also like Sanford, people who matter seriously question her ability to work with people who do not walk lockstep with her. That is her weakness, and it damaging.

Add to that Haley faces a tough road as a woman running for Governor. The highest ranking woman official in South Carolina history was Lt. Governor Nancy Stevenson. Old timers tell us that Stevenson won because she had the knack for working with all types of people. Stevenson had no great ideological stances. Instead, Stevenson was known for her integrity and force of personality.

Haley, on the other hand is fighting the uphill battle of becoming a woman Governor in South Carolina with an ideological stance and mixed reviews on her force of personality. It might not be fair, but it is what it is. Haley cannot be elected as Sanford in a skirt. Haley has to show she is above all that and has the personality to work with those who disagree with her. The Haley campaign does not see that. They embrace the Sanford approach, despite the fact that Sanford’s approach failed the state and the conservative movement like few have. If Haley does not change her approach, she is done, relegated to endorsing another runoff candidate and hoping for a position in the next Governor’s cabinet.

Why gays only in health care rights?

President Obama paid back his gay supporters recently by ordering the Department of Health and Human services to forbid discrimination against gay partners in visiting gay patients and making health care decisions in hospitals that receive federal funding through programs like Medicaid and Medicare. However, the political payback discriminates against others.

First, there are anecdotal stories about how gays are denied to be there as their partner dies or to visit a partner in the hospital. There are some people who ignore health care power of attorneys and refer to family members instead of the gay partner. But, to be frank, by and large, most hospitals do not do that. Usually the sick and dying get to see who they want to see and their legal documents are honored. Doctors and nurses usually do not play prison guard.

But as there are some medical professionals who do like to play warden, it is not a bad thing to make sure the patient's wishes are met. What is a bad thing is leaving out straights. There are also anecdotal stories about the longtime live in girlfriend of a straight man being denied visits and decision rights by that straight man's family who despises her. There are the lonely elderly, with no spouse left or blood family left, who are denied a visit by the neighbors who looked after them for years.

If the government of the United States is going to protect people from jerks who keep people from seeing people that they care about when they are in a health care crisis, why not include everyone? Indeed, how would it hurt gay rights if every patient was included in having the right to see whom they wanted to see in the hospital and have their legal medical powers of attorney honored without question?

But, alas, this is politics. President Obama had to throw a bone to the gay supporters. So, he issued this order. The right thing to do would have been to include everyone in such. But, that would not make Obama's gay supporters feel special. Besides straights who live together outside of marriage and the lonely old have no organized political power. Only in America. Only under President Obama.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Diplomacy under the influence

One can not have a blog named Voting under the Influence and not comment on the recent report about how much the United States State Department spent on alcohol last year and the big deal being made about.

According to a report in the Washington Times, the State Department doubled its alcohol spending to over $300,000, including over $3000 worth of Jack Daniels handed out as gifts at one embassy alone. (The embassy in question was not named in the report, but what great taste in bourbon the people of that nation have.)

Frankly, conservatives criticizing the figures are going a little too far and being a little silly. The State Department represents the United States in places in which drinking is not only allowed, it is almost necessary in order to conduct business. Further, gifts are necessary as well. So, for the State Department to give out bourbon as gifts is to be expected. We are not Saudia Arabia, we are the United States.

Further I have never understood the rationale of people who get so worked up over people in government "boozing it up at our expense." Great leaders such as Churchill, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Truman, and many more drank heavily and smoked like trains. Some of the great tyrants in history, such as Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler never drank.

Thus, whether or not someone drinks is not a logical indicator of what kind of leader that person will be. Also, the State Department spending more money on alcohol is not necessarily a bad thing. If a case of bourbon to some world leader greases the skids on a trade agreement or military agreement, so be it. That is how the real world works.

Besides the State Department's hostility towards Israel should concern conservatives and people of faith far more than the the bar tab.

Happy Tax Day

It is Tax Day. The day to file your tax return, and in a lot people's cases, pay our great leaders their due. Indeed, it is estimated that nearly 27 percent of the income of the United States in 2010 will go towards federal taxes.

That is about three times what God Himself asks for. And, the United States federal government will still spend almost twice what it takes in.

So, Happy Tax Day. Pay up.

Days of our Sanfords

They are the wealthy folks with the hillbilly soap opera lives that just will not get out of South Carolina headlines.

A month or so after divorcing from Governor Mark Sanford, Jenny Sanford is openly dating a Georgia businessman. So much for mourning the loss of the marriage.

It is just another punch in the public battle between Jenny Sanford and her ex husband the Governor of South Carolina. It is sad to watch as a human being and embarrassing to watch as a South Carolinian.

Further, just as attention turns to who will be the next Governor, the Sanford's have to be in the media. One wonders if primary day will have a Jenny Sanford "date" photo.

Days of our Sanfords will finally be canceled in January of 2011. But, until then we have to realize the fact that the Sanfords will just not be ignored. Perhaps it should be a lesson to us voters to be careful about our choices at the polls.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Watch out for Bauer

A few months ago, the Governor's race was Henry McMaster's to lose. Most pundits saw McMaster as the odds on favorite, with Gresham Barrett being a potential challenger because of Barrett's financial war chest.

The latest financial disclosures in the Governor's race paint a familiar scene with those who have lined up against the Lt. Governor before. After all the heeing and hawing and pushing and pulling, McMaster, Barrett and Bauer are all virtually tied in funds on hand. Haley trails them, but she still has the Sanford network behind her.

In other words the race is as fluid as ever. That is were Bauer thrives. Four years ago, with the Governor against him, a traffic ticket scandal, and an airplane crash, Bauer took the underdog role and defeated one of Caroll Campbell's sons for the GOP nomination, and with the party divided behind him, went on to defeat Robert Barber.

Eight years ago, Bauer was considered the underdog against respected State Senator David Thomas for the GOP nomination, yet beat him. Then, Bauer defeated respected state Senator Phil Leventis of Sumter for the Lt. Governor's post.

Bauer's string of upsets began when he knocked off long time state representative David Wright back in the 1990s.

Frankly, the race for Governor is too fluid to call it for anyone now. But, this is where Bauer wants to be. Bauer likes being within shooting distance at this point. All the issues surrounding why Mark Sanford did not turn over the Governor's chair to him seemed to have subsided in rank and file voters and donors.

Bauer is in his zone, now. The man has never lost an election and has the knack for coming on strong when it counts. Again, VUI is not saying that Bauer will win, but we are saying watch out for him. Bauer is in his element.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The AG's race and Wilson's law enforcement support

Back in 1994 when General Stan Spears first ran for the post of Adjutant General, his campaign had a simple slogan his supporters would repeat over and over: “Ask a Guardsman.”

The campaign made sense. Asking people whose lives and service to the state are impacted by the election of a public official was pure political genius. “Asking a guardsman,” the people of South Carolina elected then Democrat Spears in a banner Republican year. Guardsmen know who will work with them and lead them the best.

So do law enforcement officers. When it comes to picking the state’s top prosecutor, they know who they indentify with and who they think has the experience and leadership skills to lead the fight against crime and protect the public safety, which is, in the end, the most important job of the Attorney General.

The office of County Sheriff is where the rubber of politics and law enforcement meet the road. County Sheriffs know what they need from the state in their fight for public safety and they have the political savvy to not waste their time or their name on someone who will not deliver what is needed.

It is striking that Alan Wilson has gained the endorsements of 29 of the 46 County Sheriffs in South Carolina. The support is across regions, party lines, and population numbers. No amount of money or slick advertising and highly paid consultant tricks can rival such support from the people that fight in the trenches against crime every day.

The staff of VUI is not officially joining the Sheriffs and endorsing Wilson. But, the staff is united in that Lord lost us with his exaggerated resume that was unnecessary, and frankly, we never hear anything about the other guy running.

Further, VUI is big fan of law enforcement. As such, when a race like Sheriff, Solicitor, or Attorney General comes up, we take a page from the old Stan Spear’s campaign and “ask a cop.” And, when it comes to Sheriffs, getting 29 of them to agree on a candidate is like herding cats. One has to give Wilson credit for the talent of building such a coalition.

That said, it is a long time to June. There are those, especially those around Lord, who see the Attorney General’s office differently. Lord is well funded and will wage a blistering campaign considering those in his camp. The Wilson campaign should expect and prepare for the worst from Lord. VUI predicts that the Lord camp or someone supporting it will talk about how liberal sheriffs are before the campaign is over. Such might seem crazy, but it is about the only hand they can play after Wilson put together such a coalition of support. You can bet someone in the Lord camp is looking for something bad about one of the Sheriff’s who endorsed Wilson. Further, look for Lord to shift the campaign to business. It is his best shot. In other words, it is going to be one helluva race. VUI will be watching closely and commenting.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Jesus is gay and President Obama calls me every day for consultations

There is controversy in the Lone Star State. According to published reports, a Tarleton State University student wants to put on a play that portrays Jesus Christ as gay. The usual groups have aired their usual remarks. Gay rights folks love the idea. Christian groups hate it. The play is going to be performed in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The idea among fringe gay rights activists that Christ was gay is nothing new. It has been one of the stretches of historical truth in their propaganda arsenal for some time. Other historic figures such as Abraham Lincoln have also been called gay by fringe gay groups. Mainstream gays just sort of go along with the historical twists.

Such historical revisions are pure political propaganda. There is no historical evidence that Christ or Lincoln were gay. Indeed, there is more historical evidence that the inner circle of the Nazi regime were homosexual or at least bisexual, but do not look for any plays about that. Indeed, if anyone starts to ask for historical facts or points out the Nazi issue, one is quickly labeled a bigot or whatever. The truth is lost in the hate that looks to label others hateful.

That said, there are certainly great contributors to history, literature, music and the arts that were and are gay. A gay man broke the German code in World War II for the allies.

VUI frankly does not give a damn about people’s sex lives. What is troubling is that some gay rights activists think that the rest of us care about their sex lives to the point that they can hijack history and portray an historical or religious figure as gay as some sort of personal statement and then expect that people just accept the distortion.

There are always people who want to project their values and their lifestyles upon great names in history. What is troubling is when people pick and choose historical figures to project upon and then call those who question such as hateful. Think on it. Picking on Jesus is easy for someone in the academic world. A play about Jesus being gay only offends Christians and the sense of truth. That is expendable for a political point for the far left. A play about Muhammad being gay would not be as acceptable by the fringe Left, for it might offend Muslims, who are somehow, despite their radical element that would kill gays, protected from such distortions about their main religious figure. In the liberal left world, that makes sense.

This is the United States of America. People are free to put on a play portraying Jesus Christ as Gay. The rest of us are free to call it untruthful propaganda used by people who want to project their own values in an exaggerated way. But, watch out, the Left will call you someone who hates gays, even if all you are after is holding someone historically accountable. To the far Left Gay fringe, freedom of speech means that they can say anything and be free from hearing anyone question them. Truth matters little if it interferes with their agenda. Those who speak out against that agenda must be ruthlessly attacked.

Such has happened before in American history. The Ku Klux Klan projected their fringe views upon Christ and used Him and the figure of the cross for their propaganda. A hundred or so years ago, good people were afraid of the consequences of challenging the Klan’s twisted view of Christ. So it is not a surprise that another fringe group would use Christ in an untruthful and ruthless way to promote their agenda in the 21st Century. Some group in Michigan touts Jesus to plan to shoot policeman, and some fringe gays try to portray Christ as gay to justify their lives. That is what fringe groups do. They try to hijack the name of Christ for their own agenda. We should not be afraid to hold them accountable.

There is no evidence that Jesus Christ was gay. From his teachings, Jesus certainly did not want the hate filled cross burnings the Klan did in his name or for some fringe group in Michigan to plot killing policeman in his name. All that gives such people time in the national dialogue is deceit backed up by ignorance. It makes one wonder who is next? Will Gandhi be portrayed as gay next? Mother Teresa? Perhaps even Ronald Reagan? I gotta end this, Barry is calling.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

We forget our heroes

Not long I ago, I went to a funeral for a great man. He was a businessman, a man who raised a family, and a man awarded for his bravery as he fought on the Pacific islands during World War II. Today’s world would judge that man for his hard ways. But, I feel lucky to have known him and to have worked for him. That man was a hero of mine. I know he was one of those young men who lost a lot killing to protect America and watching their buddies die. That experience made him a man who did not tolerate the bull manure most of us try to pass off.

That man’s funeral service depressed me. Whether or not the folks meant it, it seemed like it was something to just get done and over with. There almost seemed to be a sense a relief that the old fella died. Far be it for me to judge a mourning family and friends, but I got sick to my stomach at how one of our nation’s heroes left this world in arrangements that were just so common. The pit in my stomach developed when I tried to tell a relative of the great man how much of a hero he was to me, only to be met with a dismissive look. I got the hint and said no more. That is how so many Americans deal with the passing of the old heroes. It is just something to get done and over with. Again, manners made me say nothing.

But, in this space, I will say a helluva lot more. Everyday, the old men who fought for this nation in World War II and held the line in Korea are leaving us. Among them are bona fide heroes. They are men who killed and lived with loss. They are men who put that behind them to go on to build this nation’s economy and raise families. They are American heroes. They gave all they had to this country during their service in the military and after as they built lives without complaints. Those men are the ones who actually gave America the power it has in the world today.

So, when some old guy is ailing, maybe you ought to try to take in mind the man he once was. Maybe he was the guy who stormed a pillbox on Iwo Jima, or was a guy who lived with black feet for more than fifty years after being frost bitten in Korea. Maybe the old guy next door still lives with watching his brothers in arms die in Europe.

Those old guys who are dying off now did not have the internet. They do not have Facebook pages or blogs. What they did have was guts and integrity, the likes of which far too few in this generation have or even appreciate. Each and every day, more of those heroes die. The least we can do is paying them the proper respect for the men that they were and remained to their dying day.

The lack of respect for those old veterans illustrates the lack of respect and knowledge that the American people have for those who serve now. It is telling that those still living that fought at Iwo Jima respect those who fight in Iraq and Afghanistan more than the most of the American people. Those old men, dying off as they are, understand the sacrifice of those who both die and live in battle. The ignorance of the rest of us that makes an old vet’s funeral seem like a hassle and seem oblivious of the sacrifices of the old guy and the men and women today, says that so many of us are unworthy of the sacrifice of life and soul those who fight for us make.

So, when that old neighbor or relative who fought in World War II and Korea passes on, take a moment to honor them. Think of what they did and lived with their entire lives to give us the freedom we enjoy. Give those old heroes their due. Then, look around and be sure to honor the heroes who stand guard for us today as well. If you are too worried that grandpa did not leave you enough money or that your current neighbor who is deployed has a wife who cannot get the grass cut like you like, well, you are a piss ant.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Top 9 things you just ought not to say to candidates at rallies and such

It is the political season again in South Carolina. It is a time that candidates get out and mingle with the people. However, there are just some things you ought not to say or do around candidates. Here are the top 9:

9) “Yo, Vinny, did your Mama name you after that guy in “My Cousin Vinny? I mean you are what, 20? Is Joe Pesci gonna stump for you?”

8) “Mr. Bauer, I think you are okay. My cousin is gay and I have no problem with him. Oh, you are not gay. Sorry, I was just going on the Sanford people’s stuff. Well, I have another cousin who speeds all the time, so we are still good. My grandma loves the blanket.”

7) “Mr. McMaster, can you meet my nephew? He just loves Foghorn Leghorn in the cartoons, and to meet the guy who does him would be such an honor for the little guy. What? No, my nephew has not been a victim of an internet sex crime!”

6) “Leighton Lord, my wife just loves you in that ballet stuff you do. I think it is a little gay, but hey, the ole lady likes it. Oh, I am sorry; I thought you were that Leighton Lord, you know one of the Lords prancing. My bad.”

5) “Mr. Rex, what an honor it is to meet a man who was around when public education began. Nurse! I think Mr. Rex needs help. ”

4) “Senator Ford, what an honor it would be to play numbers with you. No, I don't have a knife, sir.”

3) “Rep. Haley, would you mind signing this copy of the Art of Kama Sutra?”

2) “Don’t worry Congressman Barrett, no one pays attention to those damned IQ tests. What's an IQ test? Don't worry about it, sir.”

1) “Mr. Eckstrom, I am a big Charlie Brown fan. Come to think of it, Kelley Payne does remind me of Lucy. Sorry she moved the football, sir.”

Is Harry Reid creepy on the campaign trail? You betcha

Nevada Democratic Senator Harry Reid is in the political fight of his life. The United States Senate Democratic Majority Leader is hitting low marks in Nevada state approval ratings and is running against a slew of candidates who have filed against him. The sheer number of candidates might help Reid in the end, but as Reid hit the campaign trail this week, his greatest liability, his mouth, has hit again.

Published reports out of Nevada have Reid once again going off the deep end. Reid, of course, is famous for touting the President of the United States' strength as a “light skinned Negro,” a remark that was published in a recent book.

Reid did was most Democrats do and went after Sarah Palin, quipping about her use of the term “you betcha” and the fact Palin wrote notes on her hand. Fair enough.

It is another remark that sort of creeps the staff of VUI out. The reporting of the remark comes from the website Here is their take in its entirety:

“In one of the stranger moments on the campaign trail today, an audience member at Comma Coffee in Carson City asked U.S. Sen. Harry Reid what he is doing to encourage immigrant women of child-bearing age to come to the United States.

Reid began to launch into a serious answer on immigration and then paused.

"Let me answer it this way: I'm not opposed to sex," he said to a few moments of silence before the crowd began laughing.

Reid then gave a shout out to Tiger Woods, who is attempting a come back after being caught philandering.”

If Harry Reid the closet racist did not creep you out, then Harry Reid the sex machine has to. What a bizarre answer to a bizarre question. Remember Reid is the leader of the United States Senate. While VUI knows that Nevada is party central, when an elderly United States Senator gives his take on sex, you betcha it’s a bit creepy.

Columbia’s Mayor’s race shows lack of participation in municipal elections

Columbia is the capital city of South Carolina, and with a population within its city limits estimated at 127,000, Columbia is the largest incorporated area in South Carolina. As such, the Columbia area media gave heavy coverage to the race. As a result, a high turnout for South Carolina municipal elections occurred. Of the estimated 127,000 people that live in Columbia, a whopping 16,434, or 13 percent of the population, turned out to vote for Columbia’s next Mayor.

Sadly, such a turnout is strong for such an election. South Carolina towns and cities that have “off date” elections not associated with primary dates and general elections in the fall have a hard time getting voters to the polls. People simply are not in “election mode.” Some municipal leaders like it that way, so they can get their small group of motivated supporters to the polls and win government office over the vast majority who did not vote for them.

Most people are complacent with that because, frankly, we read major media. State and national primaries get the attention of the newspapers, the television and the blogs. Thus, we have an electorate in which the majority knows very little about the elected officials who control their local police, fire departments, parks and water and sewer services. The majority of people pay large amounts of money for municipal taxes, water and sewer fees and other municipal fees, without even knowing who set those taxes and fees, much less actually voting to choose those officials.

Some will blame voter apathy. That is a legitimate problem. However, the problem is encouraged my municipal governments that hold off date elections. Even those who care about elections have the mindset that the elections that really matter are the primaries that are held in June and the general elections that are held in November of even numbered years. If a municipality holds an election at another time, even the voter who cares, with her busy life, is more likely to miss the date than not. The numbers are clear on such. There are a large number of South Carolina voters who vote in the primaries and in the general elections and do not vote in municipal elections, despite the fact that the municipal elections decide the officials who will be the most involved in the voters’ daily lives.

A uniform municipal election date would help that problem. But, frankly, that is not going to happen anytime soon.

What is going to happen in Columbia is a runoff between Steve Benjamin and Kirkman Finlay in two weeks. One of those men is going to be the next Mayor of South Carolina’s capitol city. VUI predicts Benjamin because of his ground operation, but whoever the winner is, they will be elected by less than eight percent of the population of Columbia. A relatively handful of voters will decide who sits at the head of a multimillion dollar budget and effects the lives of tens of thousands of people who never voted for them or against them. That is something to think on.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The puzzling things around Leighton Lord's AG campaign

Leighton Lord’s campaign for Attorney General has a boatload of money to spend. That is evidenced by the mail he has sent out already, his tv ads already aired, and his slick website. However, there are some puzzling things around the Lord campaign.

First, it is puzzling why the Lord campaign greatly distorts Lord’s resume. There is no need to. Lord is the managing partner of a big law firm with proven experience running a group of lawyers. Yet, the Lord campaign seems bent on stretching things a bit. On his website, Lord’s “early law enforcement career” is touted. That law enforcement career is based on Lord’s service as Counsel to the United States Senate Subcommittee on Investigations. While that was important work, it was not law enforcement work. Lord was not out arresting or prosecuting the bad guys. Indeed, calling Lord’s time working for the Senate as law enforcement is like saying that someone who was counsel to the Agriculture Committee was a farmer.

The second puzzling aspect about the Lord campaign is an “attack” radio ad aired against Lord by The America Future Fund. The ad, aired in the upstate, complains about upstate tax dollars going to the Boeing plant to be built in the Charleston area. The ad suggests that people go to a website, The website claims to be against the Boeing project because it involves tax payer money. Fair enough. But, the news articles referenced are not really hard hitting, and the reference to Leighton Lord links to his resume on his law firm’s website, which is positive. If people were looking for something that was hard hitting and damaging to Lord, the Boeing Bailout site is not it.

Further, the America Future Fund is a group that plays loose with the rules to assist conservative candidates. They are to the Right what Move On is to the Left. Lord would typically be someone such a group would support. Such groups have always lined up behind the efforts of Mark Sanford, and Mark Sanford was a proponent of the Boeing deal.

Such got the staff of VUI scratching our heads. We were so puzzled we turned to an old pro in South Carolina politics and asked him his thoughts. That old pro would not, to our chagrin, let us use his name, but what he said made us think. Here are his remarks.

“Brian, what you see here is some smart politics. That Bonnie Blue guy and the Sanford people are sharp, and they are with Lord. Look at it. Lord can cry foul over a negative ad. But, the negative ad really helps where the votes are, along the coast. An attack ad against a man for getting jobs to South Carolina in this economy? Please. This is an old set up. He is hoping Wilson’s son and that other fellow take the bait. Lord would love to be portrayed as the man who got the Boeing jobs to the Low County. And for the ad to be ran by a group that would normally support Lord, well that tells you right there what those fellows are up to. It’s sneaky as Hell, but it’s smart.”

Some words to think on. Frankly VUI does not know what to think. We offer no opinion on the matter. Maybe the Sanford styled groups are eating their own. Check out the ad below and look at the website, consider the stretches about the law enforcement experience and make your own judgments.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Remembering the courage of Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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