Posts Tagged ‘Politics’


Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Here’s an interesting set headlines that popped up in The State – one right after the other – in my RSS reader:



The message?  It’s not, apparently, that gambling is wrong.  It’s that the powers that control gambling in the state do not want competition.

The real problem with the health care debate

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

This article is making the rounds today.  While it’s no surprise that Democrats find South Carolina senator Jim DeMint’s right-wing posturing useful, it was interesting to see this little nugget at the bottom:

At a recent town-hall meeting in suburban Simpsonville, a man stood up and told Rep. Robert Inglis (R-S.C.) to “keep your government hands off my Medicare.”

“I had to politely explain that, ‘Actually, sir, your health care is being provided by the government,’ ” Inglis recalled. “But he wasn’t having any of it.”

Here we have the real problem with the current health care debate – distilled down into just seven words:  “Keep your government hands off my Medicare.”  The reason we’re having much of a debate at all over these issues is that many people simply don’t know whe’s providing their health care or what they’re paying for it.

Hiking the Argentina Trail

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

it’s hard to say anything really coherant about South Carolina governor Mark Sanford’s disappearance on the Appalachian Trail to Argentina, largely because the story is such an incoherant mess.

TPMmuckraker has a chronology of the events in this bizarre scandal, but this image from The Daily Show probably makes events just as clear as the chronology does.

Where in the world is Mark Sanford?

Where in the world is Mark Sanford?

The thing that is obvious in all of this, though, is that Sanford was trying to hide something.

What was he hiding?  Jjust your typical garden variety party-of-family-values unfaithfulness.  He was cheating on his wife.

Gov. Mark Sanford admitted today that his secret trip to Argentina over Father’s Day weekend was to visit a woman he is having an affair with.


“I have developed a relationship with what started as a dear dear friend from Argentina. It began very innocently as I expect many of these things do, just casual email back and forth,” Sanford said. “But here recently this last year developed into something much more.”

Did he, perhaps, get a hot tip from our attorney general on how to use Craigslist to meet exotic people?  Was Sanford trying to upstage John Ensign’s media coverage?  Or was he merely ensuring that the only political party who will get anywhere near him as a presidential nominee in 2012 will be the Libertarians?

Sanford’s going to need another press conference to answer these burning questions. 🙂

At any rate, we now know that the governor of South Carolina handles affairs of state about as well as he handles his other … affairs.

Nice way of putting it

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

The Morning News has an interesting way of describing what we need to do to get our rates of teen pregnancy under control:

South Carolina spends $3.8 million on teen pregnancy prevention. Much of it has gone to programs focused only on abstinence. Though abstinence is part of the solution, it must be combined with reality-based sex education.

Emphasis mine.  Abstinence-only sex ed versus “reality-based” sex ed is a nice way of putting it.  It at least admits what our real problem is … abstinence-only sex ed isn’t actually sex ed at all.  It wastes resources without getting us much in return.

Be proud you’re a rebel ’cause the South’s gonna do it again

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
Fort Sumter (public domain image from Wikipedia)

Fort Sumter (public domain image from Wikipedia)

Not willing to let Rick Perry steal all the secessionist glory, some folks in South Carolina are getting in on the act.

Conservative groups are calling on South Carolina legislators to pass a measure asserting state sovereignty.

The resolution declares South Carolina has the right to ignore any federal law or policies it deems unconstitutional. It notes the 10th Amendment gives all powers not delegated to the federal government to states.

That sounds a little like this:

The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

How well did that work out for us lsat time, hmm?

(Or perhaps this is more like the Ordinance of Nullification in 1832

We, therefore, the people of the State of South Carolina, in convention assembled, do declare and ordain and it is hereby declared and ordained, that the several acts and parts of acts of the Congress of the United States, […] are unauthorized by the constitution of the United States, and violate the true meaning and intent thereof and are null, void, and no law, nor binding upon this State, its officers or citizens; and all promises, contracts, and obligations, made or entered into, or to be made or entered into, with purpose to secure the duties imposed by said acts, and all judicial proceedings which shall be hereafter had in affirmance thereof, are and shall be held utterly null and void.

… which didn’t work out so well for South Carolina, either.)

It would be really nice, though, if conservatives would stop talking treason just because they’re upset that their last president tanked the economy and their last presidential candidate (unsurprisingly) didn’t win the next election.

Tax day!

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Today’s the day citizens are supposed to mail off their tax forms. And in honor of that day, here are some interesting links:

Kevin Drum has a in interesting post about who’s really getting “soaked” by our tax structure: “How to think about taxes” Hint: It’s probably not who you think.

Closer to home, we have lots of articles about “tax protesters” coming out of the woodwork to protest that … the federal government requires money to operate!

[Some coverage in The State]

“What works in America is always and has always been freedom,” DeMint said. “The only way we’re going to stop our…spending is to do these (rallies) all over the country as long as it takes to take back our government.”

Or, we could have simply not rushed into Iraq. But I digress… How does DeMint think we should control spending?

DeMint urged support for proposals such as school-choice and private health care over reforms that give government greater control.

… by giving tax money away to unaccountable private schools and pouring money into the impenetrable bureaucratic hell of private insurance companies, of course! That’s true freedom! Makes about as much sense as anything else tax protesters say, I suppose.

The “FairTax” folks are also getting in on the act:

Advocates of the FairTax also will rally at the Township Auditorium this evening. The FairTax would replace federal income taxes with a 30 percent (23 percent when included in the price) sales tax on services and sales of new goods.

Why this gets any traction in South Carolina (aside from the crazy truck guys) is beyond me. We already tried swapping out property taxes for increased sales taxes in this state. Now we have higher sales taxes and the state budget is still screwed.

Last but not least, here’s Indigo Journal’s open thread on the tax protests – with a few pictures:   [Tax protesters open thread]

Happy tax day!

Conservative performance art

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

There are some folks out there who wonder how we in South Carolina managed to elect officials that want to play crazy, stupid games with the federal stimulus package, the state budget, and our underfunded state services.

Let me introduce you to conservatism,  South Carolina style:

Conservative performance art, right side

Conservative performance art, right side. Click to enlarge.

What it says:













And on the other side …

Cnservative performance art, left side.  Click to enlarge

Cnservative performance art, left side. Click to enlarge

It says:







And there you have it!  South Carolina’s conservative values – as articulated by the “crazy truck guy”.

With help like this …

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

There’s an odd headline in The State today:
Bill would help SC schools amid budget cuts
Sounds good, right?  Then you read the article.

South Carolina lawmakers gave key approval Wednesday to a bill allowing school districts to increase class sizes and furlough teachers to absorb budget cuts

That’s “help”?  If cramming more and more students into a classroom and cutting teacher pay (which really isn’t that great to begin with) is meant to help our schools, I shudder to think what a bill hurting our schools would look like.

State of the State

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Governor Sanford had his “State of the State” address last night.  While I didn’t get a chance to watch it live, The State has a transcript up for us to9 read and analyze.

A common theme among conservatives is that government is wasteful.  While that’s true in a sense, it isn’t helpful.  Alternative systems for providing services that the government does are also wasteful – perhaps even more so than the comparable government system. (Consider the cost of our health care system compared to most other industrialized nations with various forms of “government” health care…)  Governor Sanford suggests that …

[…] every one of us tied to government can follow the lead of working South Carolinians in being creative in finding ways to do more with less. Whether in Dillon or Grey Court or Yemassee, doing more with less is what families across our state are indeed doing everyday – and those of us who work in government should find ways to honor these daily decisions being made by the people who pay for government.

It’s as if he doesn’t recognize that most of us state workers have been asked to do “more with less” for quite some time now.  As my three loyal readers know, I’ve worked as an instructor at one of our technical schools for nearly a decade.  I’ve watched enrollment increase as state funding stagnates.  Faculty workloads have increased because of all these new students, while at the same time money for salary increases to merely keep up with inflation and money for needed upgrades and maintenance to classrooms and labs has disappeared.

On a personal note, when I decided to introduce a digital blackboard to my classes – to make note-taking and interactive problem solving easier for my students – the money for the device came out of my own salary.  “Doing more with less”, indeed.

How about the governor and legislature figuring out how to make sure state services are adequately funded during times of economic stress.  In other words, a way to keep state services operational when these services are needed most.  Helpful hint:  The solution  probably doesn’t involve this:

The second leg of what we have proposed to stimulate the economy is a flat tax of 3.65 percent in one’s individual income tax return.


To pay for this part of the tax cut, we would raise our lowest in the nation cigarette tax from seven cents to 37 cents.

Jacking up the cigarette tax and using the money to prop up another tax cut strikes me as counterproductive at best.  Increases in the cigarette tax should be used for funding to help keep people off of cigarettes in the first place.  Subsidizing cigarette taxes for income tax is otherwise simply a way of taxing the poor, who are more likely to smoke and less likely to be able to quit.*** And aside from the regressive nature of this kind of tax, haven’t we already seen the dangers of substituting a stable tax for an unstable one?

*** The linked article is from the UK, but it likely holds up here, too.

No room at the inn

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

This blog has been quiet recently.  That’s due to the fact that a new semester has started. New semesters mean getting swamped – not only by preparation for the semester’s classes and labs, but also by the onslaught of new students who have only just decided that they need to come to school.

Lots of them.

The president of the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education said “enrollment is booming” at the state’s 16 technical colleges – up to 20 percent – as laid off workers seek training for a new job.

That’s something the legislature should consider when deciding how much to slice off of the technical college budget during this legislative session.  Tech schools are retraining the state’s workforce – and they need money to do it.  Withiout adequate funding, students will come … but there will be no room at the inn.