Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Primary Primer

Gervais says, the primary season is finally upon us, even if some candidates are skipping out on today's gubernatorial debate like it's an Air Force Reserve drill weekend. In order to adequately follow the slings and arrows, the barnstorming, and the visceral missives that make up party politics, I’ve compiled a glossary of the terms you need to know.

Ad hominem – This term describes an attack at the character of another politician – presumably in a state where the politicians have character which can be attacked.

Baiting – Politically, an effort by one candidate, elected official, or party to gain an advantage by placing opponents on the defensive, as in, ‘In the last Attorney General primary, McMaster baited his opponent mercilessly.’

Debate – Face-to-face discussion between or among candidates so viewers can judge them based on their qualifications, leadership abilities, and hair. As in, ‘A master debater, McMaster baited his opponent mercilessly.

Endorsement – Term for when one politician lends his name to the support of another. An endorsement is meant to instill voter confidence in an unproven candidate, but occasionally it leaves would-be voters asking, “Who the hell is John Sununu?”

Hat in the ring – To throw one’s hat in the ring is to enter a political contest. The term comes from boxing, where throwing a hat into the ring signified a challenge. Other classic boxing terms commonly heard during political campaigns include “on the ropes,” “below the belt,” and the timeless “we wuz robbed.”

Incumbent – For several years, I assumed the little “I” in parentheses next to a candidate’s name stood for imbecile. I was only half right; it also stands for incumbent, which means the current office-holder and implies a “leg up” on one’s opponents. Interestingly, incumbent is also a synonym of lying.

Margin of error – A measure of how lazy pollsters are.

Mudslinging – Apparently, in other states, the political process has deteriorated to the point where issues such as education and unemployment are no longer the focal point of political campaigns. In these states, politicians attack each other in an act termed “mudslinging.”

Political Efficacy – The belief on the part of the individual that he or she can "make a difference" through voting, giving campaign contributions, working on a campaign, or even running for political office. Examples of a high degree of political efficacy in SC politics include the large voter turnout in Greenville County, the abundance of political volunteers in Richland County, and the multitude of large campaign donations in Broward County.

Primary – Term for when a political party decides its candidate for the general election by whatever candidate gets a majority of Katon Dawson. Some parties also use popular vote to decide.

Rhetoric – The ability to use language effectively to influence others. Used by most politicians, but not all; Jakie Knotts influences others via interpretive dance.

Straw Poll – A nonscientific poll, taken in such a slapdash fashion that any results are not truly representative of the population. I know, it does sound a lot like a primary.

Stumping – Term for making speeches, from when politicians once stood upon a tall tree stump to make their remarks. Also, the term for asking the Governor about job creation.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Experts denounce Darwinian evolution

Below: Senator Mike Fair watches as his
hand-picked experts shatter the scientific
status quo.
Esteemed scholars testify before EOC

B & P News - Columbia

The scientific community was taken aback this week as two renowned experts testified on the inadequacy of evolutionary theory before South Carolina’s Education Oversight Committee (EOC). The experts, recruited by Senator Mike Fair (R-Greenville), told the committee Monday that the unifying theory of the life sciences did not stand up to their rigorous scrutiny.

“It doesn’t cut the mustard,” said Professor Benny Hinn, sending shockwaves through scientific fields from anthropology to zoology. “For instance, how can man have evolved over millions of years if the earth is only 6,000 years old? Sounds like one Mr. Darwood wasn’t too good at mathemetrics.”

News of Hinn’s groundbreaking testimony leaked from the conference room and found its way onto the internet within minutes, causing scientists throughout the world to discard the then-accepted theory of evolution by natural selection. Hinn’s colleague, Jan Crouch, further shattered the evolutionary paradigm.

“One major flaw in modern evolutionary theory is the misidentification of human precursors,” said Dr. Crouch, who earlier signed autographs for visiting schoolchildren who confused her for a famous muppet. “For instance, where in the curriculum is the immediate forerunner to woman, the rib bone?”

Asked about the complex nature of Homo sapiens, Crouch asserted that “being a homosapien is a sin” and that “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

The only academically suspect statement of the hearing came when Hinn leapt onto the table and proclaimed that God had sent him to cure EOC Chairman Bob Staton of diabetes. Staton replied that he was not a diabetic, and Hinn returned to his seat. Later, Staton told B & P News that he in fact does have an intestinal ailment that “sounds a lot like 'diabetes',” then rushed into a restroom of the Blatt Office Building.

Fair stated that he will have more experts booked for future EOC hearings “once I get satellite TV,” and reiterated that his push for revised science standards has "nothing to do with religion."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ford, Sanford merge to form unemployment juggernaut

Below: Governor tells a SanFord™ employee
to clean out his locker
Analysts call SanFord™ a potential ‘unemploymonopoly’

B & P News – Dearborn, Michigan

In a business deal that could reshape the unemployment industry, unemployment leader Ford Motor Company announced its merger with unemployment powerhouse Mark Sanford LLC, to form what may be the single largest unemployment provider in the country.

“We’ve had our eyes on unemployment bastion Mark Sanford LLC for a long time,” said Ford spokesman Roland Lemmon. “With his unemployment savvy on our side, SanFord can take unemployment to a whole new level.”

The merger was announced Tuesday morning, to coincide with Ford’s obliteration of a quarter of its workforce and the release of Sanford’s latest, comparable unemployment numbers. Sanford subsidiary “South Carolina” recently overtook rival Louisiana to post a solid 49th place finish in state unemployment rankings for December 2005.

“We simply out-underperformed them,” said Sanford via closed-circuit television at the merger announcement. “Let this be a lesson to any would-be challengers: SanFord will not be outdone in joblessnessfulness.”

According to some analysts, the Ford/Sanford merger could mean trouble for small unemployers.

“What we’re dealing with here is the Wal-Mart of joblessness, a vortex that consumes all employment in its path,” said USC economics professor Adam Smythe. “Expect to see small unemployers driven out of business as SanFord establishes its unemploymonopoly.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Billy's BBQ Sandwich from Beezer's Gourmet Sandwich Shop

When you order from a restaurant that makes its last delivery at 2:30 AM, you know you're getting a taste of college life. Only thing is, I don't have the same constitution that I had in my "college" days. All the same, when my buddy Lucius suggested we get a delivery order from Beezer's -- near USC's Historic Horseshoe -- for lunch today, Gervais figured, "What the hell?"

Here's the menu description of "Billy's BBQ sandwich" from Beezer's:

"Slow roasted pork swimming in sweet and spicy BBQ sauce piled high atop an 8 1/2 inch sub roll, accompanied with onions, banana peppers, and cheddar/jack cheese."

After trying it, I'm a little skeptical of the "slow roasted" part. The onions and peppers gave the sandwich a little bit of a kick, though. And best of all, I didn't have to go out in the rain. But as good 'cue goes, Beezer's falls a little short.

Beezer's has franchises out in Lexington (pictured) and up in Clemson, and probably a few other places I don't know about. The other sandwiches I've tried have been great, and they deliver promptly and cheaply. Gervais says, give Beezer's a buzz... but unless you just have a "cue-to-do" list, try the Beezer Blaster or another gourmet, non-barbecue sandwich.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Primordial Primer: the terms you need to know about the origins of man

Below: Ascent of man from Homo Idioticus
(or "Alt Man") to Homo Pious Piedmontus
Today the Education Oversight Committee’s subcommittee on academic standards will listen to testimony from scientists hand-picked by Senator Mike Fair, to determine whether our science standards regarding evolution should be revised. It’s a complicated topic - it would take one decades to attain Fair’s nuanced understanding of evolutionary biology and education standards – but here are ten terms you should know if you want to keep up with what is probably the most important issue in our state, except for every other issue in our state.

Charles Darwin – A 19th Century naturalist so far ahead of his time scientifically that he patented a magnetic ornament of a fish with legs, to adhere to automobile bumpers, long before the automobile was even invented.

Genesis – Creationists believe this first book of the Bible to have a scientifically correct description of the origin of Man. Scientists argue that there is only one man whose origin in Genesis is systematically verifiable: Phil Collins.

Homo erectus – A species of hominid that lived between 1.8 million and 300,000 years ago, eventually dying off out of embarrassment for its name.

Intelligent Design – The theory that Man is too physically complex and beautiful a creature to have evolved without some divine or extra-terrestrial guidance. Disproved in 12,000 B.C. with the discovery of the scrotum.

Linnaean classification – This is what it’s called when scientists say Homo sapiens instead of “man.” Linnaean classifications are used to provide scientists with common nomenclature because they are the same everywhere. The lone exception to this rule is the Roadrunner, who is alternately called Speedipus rex, Velocitus delectibus, and Tastyus supersonicus.

Mammals – The class of animals that share characteristics such as hair/fur and mammary glands, as in the original draft of the public breastfeeding bill: “Be it enacted that breastfeeding mothers ain’t nothing but mammals, so as to provide that they may do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.”

Peking Man – A Homo erectus discovered in China in the 1930’s. Also, the reason that South Carolina is 48th in the nation in unemployment. See, there’s this book called the Flat World or something, and it says people in McCormick County are in direct competition with people in Shanghai and New Delhi and blah blah blah, etc etc…

Scopes Monkey Trial – In 1925, a young biology teacher named John Scopes taught evolution, contrary to a Tennessee statute passed by religious fundamentalists. The trial was immortalized in the classic film, Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon.

Social Darwinism – the type of Darwinism right-wingers don’t have a problem with.

Vestigial -- Any structures that have been greatly reduced in size and function over evolutionary time, to the extent that they now appear to have little or no current function. Famous examples are the Tyrannosaurus Rex’s arms, the ostrich’s wings, and John Graham Altman’s brain.

Friday, January 20, 2006

State of the State Re-Hash

The dust has almost settled on Sanford’s State of the State address, and the blogosphere has spoken as loudly and clearly as Senator John Land doing a Foghorn Leghorn impersonation. Or was that an imchickenation? Ah seh ah seh I just don’t know.

The least surprising response was from the Crunchy Republican, who thought it was perfection on a podium. She said, “With Governor Sanford, there is no put-on glitz or oratorical grandstanding.” Sanford’s the king of grandstanding, but Crunchy’s radically right on this – oratorically, he was definitely not showboating and/or demonstrating competence.

I was kind of shocked that The Body Politic was so critical of Sanford in his thinly-veiled plea to be hired as the Governor’s communications director. This was the funniest post Joshua has offered up in a long time: “Even more tedious was the dropping of around 40 legislators’ names; this wasn’t an Oscar acceptance speech.” As Sanford discussed for the fourth straight year what will probably become his legacy -- DMV wait times -- I too was wondering about Oscar’s acceptance speech.

Laurin’s post on John Land’s pre-emptively taped response caused some commenters to cry “fowl,” but ah seh I don’t see anything wrong with it. Maybe I've been watching too many detective shows, but I actually could easily tell it was pre-recorded. Major clues were the ambient light, the lack of background noise, and the fact that John Land was still awake at 8PM. Especially after that speech.

Here are Gervais' picks for the five best quotes from the State of the State address:

"Let’s not go there right now, Gilda." It’s good to see Sanford has a nice rapport with Rep. Cobb-Hunter, but “don’t go there”? That’s not even a “black” quote anymore, it’s so old. At least he didn’t tell her to “talk to the hand, girlfriend” or give her “three snaps in a Z formation.”

“I was thinking of fishing with Chip.” When your Governor loses his train of thought during the State of the State address because he’s thinking about being on a boat with his man friend, something’s wrong.

“On spending, we have got to come up with some alternative to having me try to catch-up with Governor Campbell’s record of 277 budget vetoes.” Campbell never had a GOP majority in either chamber, much less both. Sanford’s flattering himself by even making a slight comparison… one of Campbell’s boogers could recruit more jobs than the current administration has.

"Rosa Parks this, Rosa Parks that." Sanford challenged legislators to “courageously defy the status quo” like Rosa Parks did. Of course, when it was time to lower flags in Parks’ honor like the 49 other state governors, Sanford’s gubernatesticles were nowhere to be found.

"It means someone is loading up a U-haul rental trailer and leaving Michigan because they think South Carolina represents greater opportunity. In the short run, that lowers Michigan ’s unemployment rate and raises ours..." Bullshit masterpieces like this deserve their own section in the Louvre Museum. Preferring to have at least one foot firmly planted in reality, I can’t participate in the fiction that our unemployment is due to droves of bright-eyed, U-haul-driving Michiganders who see South Carolina as a land of opportunity. According to the FDIC, our job growth is third from last in the nation, just like our unemployment rate. Even though I’m allergic to Spanish moss, I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and say job growth is the real problem.

Happy Birthday, Mom! Love you!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

State of the State: Unofficial Viewer's Guide

Here's what you need to know about the terms you will hear -- and some you won't hear -- during Sanford’s State of the State address tonight.

Unemployment – Sanford chokes on this word like Mama Cass eating a ham sandwich. Don’t expect to hear it. Listen for “employment situation” or “employment numbers” or “jobs picture” instead. In the last State of the State, when SC was 47th in unemployment (known by some as the “good ol’ days”) the word was used a grand total of (let’s see…carry the two) zero times.

“Sending your tax dollars into Columbia” – Sanford likes to evoke the image of garbage trucks full of cash cruising down I-26 towards Columbia. Fair enough. Nobody likes the thought of their tax dollars going to another city. However, as a point of fact, the tax money is actually sent to a warehouse in Pomaria, SC. Not many people know that.

Put Parents in Charge – Not a chance you’ll hear these words. You have a better chance of hearing Jakie Knotts sing “It’s Raining Men” a capella than hearing Sanford discuss the ill-fated legislation he crafted and fought for. See “Charter Schools.”

DaimlerChrysler – Sanford will blow the CEO of DaimlerChrysler right there in the chamber if he thinks it’ll make people forget we’re 48th in the nation in unemployment. Expect a subtle mention, like wearing a DaimlerChrysler sandwich board.

Soil Conditions - “soil conditions” is an “economist metaphor” used by “economics students” who didn’t “study for the test.” I don’t really think he’ll say “soil conditions” again, but my bullshit flag will be pre-staged in my breast pocket just in case.

Biking across the state – for the uninitiated, this isn’t a euphemism for hard work, perseverance, or for rallying support for an agenda. It’s a euphemism for riding a bicycle across the state.

“Work with the legislature…” – Sanford will extend an olive branch by ensuring that livestock carried into the State House will first be provided ample opportunity to defecate on the lawn.

Charter Schools – Charter schools were authorized in South Carolina in 1996. Education leaders like Democrat Inez Tenenbaum are not opposed to them. Still, if Sanford puts the entire weight of the Governor’s Office behind them… who knows?

China and India – A lot of people make the mistake of comparing SC’s 7.1% unemployment rate to Alabama (3.6%) or Georgia (5.4%) or NC (5.2%) or Florida (3.6%). But as any economist worth his soil conditions knows, South Carolina should only be compared to India and China. Look for Sanford to evoke these Asian countries as a reason for our unemployment crisis, no matter how well other states are doing.

Nikki Haley – The State of the State is a good chance to prove to the public that one gets along with legislators swimmingly. You never know who he’s going to mention by name, or whose name he’s learned recently. The obvious picks are Haley and McConnell, but rest assured a Democrat and an Upstater will also get mentioned -- and subjected to relentless teasing from their peers on Thursday morning.

Veteran – Sanford will recognize a Palmetto State veteran of the Iraq war, to commemorate the four-year anniversary of his joining the Air Force Reserves while running for Governor.

Jokes - Sanford is a born comedian. Expect zingers from the get-go. Some of the best from years past:

Bob Faith is someone in whom I have – well, tremendous faith. (2003)

I realize that for many of you, this is like watching paint dry… (2003)

As for me, I’m going on a bike ride across South Carolina this spring. I’ll start out in the mountains, hoping it’s more or less downhill. (2004)

Jon Ozmint led our efforts at Corrections to start our own grist mill for grits and chicken laying operation for eggs…to get to the other side! (2004 - Okay, I added that last part)

To be competitive in keeping creative people, you don’t run them over on the road. (2005)

In this chamber last year, I proposed kicking it off by riding a bike across the state… to get to the other side!” (2005 - That one he really said. Not really, though.)

Milwaukee – In a rare fit of beer-induced Turret’s Syndrome, Sanford blurted out the word “Milwaukee” twelve times in his last State of the State address. Seriously, twelve. Charleston? Once. Greenville? Zero. Columbia? Twice - the “District of Columbia” and “tax dollars into Columbia.” This year, I’m going to play a drinking game: Every time the Governor says “Milwaukee,” take a drink.

Property Tax Relief – Unlike “Milwaukee,” the term “property tax” wasn’t used in the last State of the State address. Or the one before that. Or the one before that. But those weren’t election years, and for some reason I think property taxes will become a front-burner issue while the cameras roll. Just a hunch.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Nest passes the test

Last week I ventured out to OkraTown to try a new restaurant – Boar’s Nest Barbeque (website still under construction).

This all-you-can-eat buffet is on Broad River Road in Lake Murray Country, and it’s a first-class operation. The buffet is similar to the Palmetto Pig's, but the main difference is that Boar’s Nest planned ahead for the line of people that inevitably forms when you serve up good 'cue buffet-style.

The buffet has pulled pork, hash, rice, green beans, cole slaw, chicken, hush puppies, potato salad, and more. You can pay a little extra for some red velvet cake, but if you have room for dessert, you’re not taking this buffet seriously.

Boar’s Nest caters, too -- I first tried their food at a Christmas party a few weeks ago. And I like the fact that they made the effort to get a memorable phone number.

Gervais says, the Nest passes the test. Get some!

Speaking of OkraTown, thanks to my good friend (and Irmo resident) PettyCa$h for the new Barbecue & Politics logo. What do y’all think?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Campbell adds acute accent mark to campaign signs; Bauer responds with umlaut

Below: Political signs tainted
by questionable symbols
Violation of time-honored language rules upsets some

B & P News - Columbia

In a new brand of political gamesmanship, Lt. Governor-candidate Mike Campbell this week added an acute accent mark to his Campbell’s Soup-style campaign signs. Lt. Governor Andre Bauer responded with his own new diacritical mark -- a prominent umlaut.

“This is clearly a case of accent-mark envy,” said Bauer in a telephone interview with B & P News. “We saw this last election when Leventis put a tilde over his N. It wasn’t even pronounceable.”

Campbell responded to the claim of diacritic envy by saying, "Is not," and then offering, "He started it."

While the exchange between the Bauer and Campbell camps seems to have stalemated for now, some people -- including Governor Mark Sanford -- worry that political candidates are using too much discretion with their signs.

“What is up with the ‘V’ in Lovelace? It’s a weird blue shape, like maybe a slice of pizza," noted Sanford. "He’s a doctor -- what if he goes to administer an IV and he inserts an ‘I-blue pizza’ instead? Sounds like malpractice to me.”

Some South Carolina voters are also wary of the trend, and prefer candidates who opt for more traditional signs.

"I've always liked Jakie Knotts 'cause he sticks with plain ol' letters," said Lexington resident Duke Murray. "Not all them fancy vowels and whatnots."

Educators agree that the signs could send the wrong message, especially to our schoolchildren.

“I’ve always worried about politicians taking our liberty,” said Dreher High School English teacher Jessamine Flowers. “But now, they’re taking liberties with the language I love to teach.”

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Barbecue Sauce Leak: McCain on State House Grounds

No, not John McCain -- SC's native son Edwin McCain was spotted this week on State House grounds at a public hearing for the autism insurance bill.

McCain has a new record due out April 11th, and will perform at Jammin' Java in Columbia on March 1st.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Sanford blasts Lovelace for out-of-county donations

Below: Sanford uses maps to contrast his tight
base of local support with Lovelace’s donors from
“all over creation”
“So much for being a ‘Newberry’ physician,” scoffs Governor

B & P News - Columbia

Governor Mark Sanford took aim today at GOP primary opponent Oscar Lovelace, for the large percentage of out-of-county donations accepted in his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

“All I’m saying is, if this guy’s a ‘Newberry’ physician, why is money flowing in from Greenville, and Aiken, and Charleston?” asked Sanford at a press conference. “Sounds a little fishy to me.”

Sanford used charts to illustrate that his opponent’s donations have come from “practically all over creation,” while contributions to his own campaign have been relatively localized. While Lovelace does not deny that he has accepted numerous contributions from non-Newberry counties, he says he “patently rejects donations from Marlboro County, on principle.”

Even with a small war-chest that rolled over from his MUSC Student Body President campaign, Lovelace trails the governor in fundraising so far. But he doesn’t necessarily think large donations will affect voter turnout in the primary.

“Dollars translate to votes about as well as Gullah translates to pig Latin,” said Lovelace, consulting his notebook of state-specific one-liners. “South Carolinians can’t be bought like a cheap trinket from South of the Border, and Pedro can hang his sombrero on that.”

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Po' Pigs doesn't ship.. but it still delivers

What? I'm not even showing yet!
Hannah Jane is a lot further along than Angelina Jolie is, and we decided recently that we’re going to bring Gervais Jr. into the world with as many sitcom and movie clichés as possible. We discussed it tonight over the pulled pork, collards, green beans, hush puppies, rutabaga, fried chicken, and banana pudding that make up about a third of the buffet at "Po’ Pigs" Bo-B-Q on Knox Abbott.

We decided it will go a little something like this:

First, I’ll be drinking a bottle of Aquafina, and Hannah Jane will say, “My water.”

I’ll say, “No, this is my water,” and take another sip.

“No, you idiot,” Hannah Jane will reply, frantic. “My water. It just broke!”

I’ll rush to pack the car (a light blue suitcase will be by the front door) and head for the hospital. When I get down the road a ways, my cellphone will ring. “Hello?”

“You forgot one thing,” Hannah Jane will say. “ME!” And then I’ll turn the car around.

When we get get to the delivery room, Hannah Jane is going to say to things like, “GET THIS THING OUT OF ME!!!” and “I WANT DRUGS…NOW!!” and “YOU try pushing something the size of a [large fruit] out a hole the size of a [small fruit]!” Why is it always fruit? I don't know, but we're going to go with it.

When the doctor asks if I'm the father, I'll make a snarky comment like, "No.. but when I get my hands on the guy who is..."

I’m going to stand beside her and say “breathe” and “push” a lot. She’ll respond with “YOU DID THIS TO ME!!! I HATE YOU!!!” When she lets go of my hand, I’m going to shake it in the air as if to say, “That hurt!”

At some point I’m going to turn white as a sheet and ask groggily, “Is there a doctor in the house?” as I slump to the floor.

After the delivery, when the doctor hands Hannah Jane the baby, it’s going to be three months old and clean as a whistle, instead of looking like a piece of chewed gum. (We don't know how we're going to arrange this yet.) I’m going to say, “He’s got your eyes,” and she’ll say, “He’s got your nose, bless his little heart."

A nurse will walk in five minutes later and ask us for a name. Simultaneously, I’ll say “Gervais Jr.” and she’ll say “Maurice,” then we’ll look at each other affectionately and I’ll tell the nurse, “Marvais. Marvais Bridges.”

Roll credits.

Gervais says, try the buffet at Po' Pigs when you're on my side of the river. I may never know what it feels like to be pregnant, but after three helpings of the 'cue smothered in Orangeburg Sweet, I sure felt close.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The terms you need to know…

Gervais says, following state government can be tough – here are the terms you need to know to keep up with the legislative session:

Act - A bill that has passed both houses of the General Assembly and the Governor's veto

Adjournment - The time of day by which state constitutional officers are required to remove livestock from State House grounds

Amendment - Any change made or proposed in a bill by adding, changing, substituting or omitting. If a bill is like a girl with low self-esteem, an amendment is like a boob job.

Appropriation - Money set aside by formal action for specific use, judiciously applied toward the maintenance and improvement of the state, except for when it goes to the Education Establishment, where it gets thrown at schoolchildren (usually rolls of pennies)

Bill - Draft of proposed law presented to the Legislature to be amended beyond recognition. If debate makes legislation stronger, a Bill is like a ninety-pound weakling who gets sand kicked in his face at the beach. The seagulls are the amendments. Don’t use this metaphor in an exam situation.

Calendar - List of pending legislation, according to the order of business scheduled on a legislative day; also, something you can hang on your wall to remember that May 10th is Confederate Memorial Day

Caucus - An informal meeting of a group of the members, sometimes called on the basis of party affiliation, and in the case of the Senate Democratic Caucus, usually held in the corner booth at the Waffle House

Clincher - When a bill has received a reading, and a motion to reconsider has been tabled, this maneuver is referred to as a “clincher,” due to the fact that no other parliamentary motion can bring the Bill up for reconsideration. Also, the reflexive tightening of the anus by fellow Republicans whenever John Graham Altman opens his mouth.

Cloture - A common misspelling in journalism. It’s Coulter, you dumbasses, and she’s a pistol!

Confirmation - Approval by Senate and/or House of an executive appointment … as if the Governor would hire anyone without impeccable credentials

Debate - Discussion according to parliamentary rules. If legislation is like a 90-lb weakling who gets a boob job, debate is like a seagull with low self-esteem. Again, you may want to use your own analogy if you’re being tested.

Decorum - Proper order, etiquette, and conduct of members during a floor session while the Governor carries defecating pigs into the State House

Died in committee - The defeat of a bill in committee by not returning it to the House or Senate for action; also, a term used to describe Glenn McConnell’s breath

Filibuster - This is pretty much when someone talks and talks and talks, but nothing gets done. Think Sanford and unemployment, but applied to the Legislature.

Fiscal year - July 1-June 30. My fiscal new year’s resolution to stop shooting fireworks seldom lasts more than four days.

Gallery - Balconies or other specific areas of chambers for visitors to view the proceedings of the Legislature. Sometimes peanuts are served, and then guess what it’s called? Still “gallery.”

Germaneness - The relevance of amendments, speeches, etc., to the Jackson Five

Hopper - A depository for bills awaiting introduction. Sometimes it’s filled with grass, and then guess what it’s called? Still “hopper.”

Lobbyist - A representative of a special interest group whose function is to influence legislation affecting his special interest by writing letters to the editor under a pseudonym

Motion - Formal proposal offered by a member of the House or Senate; also, when Senate fullback Jakie Knotts jogs laterally, prior to the snap, to confuse the House linebackers during the annual House/Senate football game

Out of order - Not being conducted under proper parliamentary rules and procedures; also, the House Ms. Pac Man machine donated by the video poker lobby in 1998.

Simple Majority - The GOP

Sine die - Final adjournment. From the Latin sine, meaning “without,” and die, meaning “accomplishment”

Skeleton bill - A measure introduced without substance, in South Carolina usually referred to as simply “bill”

Sponsor - Legislator who introduces a bill, amendment or resolution; also a company that pays legislators to wear their apparel, as the Dorkwad Glasses Company apparently does Rep. Tom Dantzler

Stand at ease - A term referring to that situation in which the body does not recess or adjourn but suspends its deliberations; also, a term often heard muttered by members while Nikki Haley has the floor

Status of Bill - The position of a Bill at any given time in the legislative process. It can be in committee, on the Calendar, in the other house, etc. Also, good, thanks for asking.

Stopping the clock - A practice of lengthening the hours of the legislative day irrespective of the passing of the hours of a calendar day. Used to be called clock-blocking, in the General Assembly’s wilder days.

Sunset - Expiration date of a measure. If you eat a measure after its sunset, you may be in for an upset stomach.

Table - A means of disposing of a bill or other matter. Sometimes it’s done while drinking coffee, and then guess what it’s called? COFFEE TABLE!!!!! YAY!!!

Take a walk - To purposely be absent to avoid voting on a measure. Be careful not to do this on the "wild side," lest the coloured girls go doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo.

Veto - The action of a Governor in disapproval of a measure passed by a popularly elected legislature controlled by his own party. Literally, means I forbid, which gives it an air of gravitas until the legislature overrides it later.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Projected deficits scare pants off Leatherman

Below: Leatherman, scared trouserless
Governor promises free slacks to all South Carolinians

B & P News - Columbia

A state budget forecast which predicts deficits beginning as early as 2007 and reaching levels of up to $400 million has scared the pants off Senator Hugh Leatherman, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

“It’s not a euphemism,” said Leatherman in an interview with B & P News. “These projections frightened my knickers clean off. Just look.”

Observers say having one’s pants scared off by a dire economic forecast is a political oddity, but not altogether unheard of.

“It is very rare indeed for a seasoned legislator to have Budget-induced Vanishing Disorder,” said visibly giddy USC political science professor Gilbert P. Cobbler. “But without a doubt, Leatherman has a case of the BVD’s.”

Governor Mark Sanford reacted to the news by making a pen-and-ink change to his proposed budget, granting every South Carolinian a new pair of slacks. But critics say the Sanford “pants rebate” amounts to election-year pandering.

“Sanford’s budget is full of holes, just like Leatherman’s boxers,” said Oscar Lovelace, Sanford’s challenger in the Republican primary. “I mean, shit, I could give the guy a physical while he’s still wearing the things.”

This isn’t the first time Leatherman has been floored by budget forecasts. In 1998, predicted shortfalls scared the Dickens out of Leatherman, requiring the legislator to replace several classic books in his personal library. In 2000, a deficit prediction scared the daylights out of Leatherman, causing a partial solar eclipse in downtown Columbia.

"I've lost my daylights, my Dickens, and now even my pants worrying about the state's budget," said Leatherman, bashfully holding a newspaper over his exposed underwear. "But as long as I have my bejeepers, I will keep working to make South Carolina fiscally sound."

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Weekend Re-Hash

Here are the posts from the SC political blogosphere this week that stuck to my ribs:

The Crunchy Republican shares her views on why public education is so important to her:

"We hardly even considered public schools because we had heard … things like 5th graders having babies and fourth graders being "held up" for their Coca-Cola money... Despite the fact that I don't have children enrolled in South Carolina's public schools, I am extremely interested in what happens there…My kids interact with public schooled children often. We go to public parks, churches, malls and other areas where they come in frequent contact with children in public schools."

Yikes! I give my daughter a bath if she comes within ten feet of those wretched lepers. Sometimes, I make her wear public school-kid repellent, too. I’m just joking. This whole distrust of public schools helps explain a lot -- such as why every time Mark Sanford farts, Crunchy hears a Shakespearean sonnet and smells a fresh ocean breeze.

The Teen Republican makes a splash on the scene, and also proves that puberty and politics don't mix, with a list of his favorite and least favorite politicians, from which the following is excerpted:

Worst SC Democrat - Inez Tenenbaum (*cough* Tenenbitch *cough*)
Worst SC Republican - N/A

Welcome aboard, kid. Remember, Mrs. T can change your report card to all F's with one keystroke.

And SC Hotline links to a press release from South Carolinians for Responsible Government, which details their last attempt at relevance, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against Dorchester Two. SCRG wants to make sure no tax money was used to help defeat their private school tuition tax credit agenda. For a group whose president sends The State phony letters to the editor under a pseudonym, SCRG sure cares a lot about impropriety.

Here's a clue voucher from Gervais, SCRG: It wasn't "Dorchester Two tax dollars on the grassy knoll" that killed Put Parents In Charge -- it was Professor "This-Legislation-Blows"... in the library... with a candlestick.

That's all for now, kids. Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Sodfather II -- More Soil from Sanford

Below: A dirt bag.

I was heartened to see that Sanford used the term “soil conditions” -- not once, but twice -- in his new proposed executive budget.

The term "unemployment" was mentioned a few times too, primarily in the “we're 48th in the nation in an election year, so let’s move on to soil conditions” context.

I thought I’d share a list, compiled by my research assistant Gügel Von Brauser (exchange student), of some of the other times the Sodfather has evoked “soil conditions” over the past few years, while SC’s unemployment rate reached epic, embarrassing proportions.

APRIL 2002:
(Not yet Governor: 5.8 % unemployment, tied for 35th in nation)
"First education, then creating the soil conditions that are right for job growth and wealth creation, and that ties into tax and spending policies and regulatory functions. Those are the big two."

"Encouraging this type of capital investment is essential to our mission of creating more fertile economic soil conditions here in South Carolina."

"Our team is going to continue working on our economic soil conditions as a state so that local development folks will have some additional tools to use in attracting business."

"We must improve the underlying soil conditions for growing small businesses."

"Our administration is all about enhancing South Carolina's underlying business climate so that the soil conditions for economic growth are there."

MARCH 2005:
"At the end of the day, it’s government’s job to create rich soil conditions and a healthy climate for economic growth and then get out of the way so that small businesses can grow and thrive."

JULY 2005:
"I think the work this group does will go a long way toward keeping our state on the right track with respect to making sure we have fertile soil conditions for job creation and economic development."

"Encouraging new jobs in every corner of our state is central to our mission of creating more fertile economic soil conditions here in South Carolina."

"Ultimately, we want to accelerate the pace of that growth --and growth in all sectors of our state's economy --by continuing to improve the underlying soil conditions for business growth in our state."

"One of the hottest topics is the larger theme of economic development. ... I believe in preparing the soil conditions. And I think we took an important step toward getting soil conditions better in South Carolina."

(7.1% unemployment, 48th in nation)
"By cultivating the economic soil conditions in the state and focusing on the principles of sustainable economic development, we can show companies across the globe (including those already here) the benefits of locating and growing in South Carolina [...] Improving these underlying soil conditions will help South Carolina continue to grow in this globally competitive marketplace."

Soil conditions... Gervais isn't going to mince words here: Mark Sanford is the Blue Sky of bullshit. He smears murals out of the stuff, and would probably make an oversized fire hydrant out of it if you asked nicely. But after three years of gubernatorial pontification, our "soil conditions" are about as fertile as Bea Arthur's uterus.

Except Bea Arthur's uterus could probably secure an Airbus plant before we could.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sandy's Barbecue Sandwich / Reggae Against the Machine

I’ve been meaning to try out Sandy’s barbecue sandwich for a while now. Sandy’s has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Going there reminds me of a time when I could metabolize a pint of ice cream in a half hour, and I didn’t care what hot dogs were made of. I got my chance to try the sandwich this week, at last, thanks to a cassette tape.

I had a little radio show in college called “Reggae Against the Machine.” Sometimes I would tape the show, which was hosted by my roommate and me, to make mixed tapes for the long drive home from school. Good idea, right?

I recently came across one of the old tapes, labeled "SHOW BEFORE SP. BREAK" and popped it in the kitchen radio, the only functional cassette player in the Bridges house. Some of the songs on it still get a little airplay in my truck; others I hadn't heard in years. Hannah Jane and I were really getting a kick out of it, and then...

I had forgotten that almost seven years earlier, just before Spring Break, I got a call from my ex-girlfriend who was "in the area" and "really wanted to see me." I was dating Hannah Jane at the time. I have no idea what possessed me to mention it on the radio show. But as I sprang across the kitchen to press the "stop" button on the tape player, a very pregnant Hannah Jane moved in front of me. She reached behind her back and turned up the volume. And I braced myself for embarrassment.

Luckily, I mentioned that I had a girlfriend and there was no way I was going to meet up with the old girlfriend. In the end, my only crime was not telling Hannah Jane that the ex-girlfriend had called. At any rate, the incident left me feeling guilty enough to take my swollen wife to Sandy's for a milkshake, something that she has lately been unable to turn down.

I finally got to try the barbecue sandwich, which was a lot better than I expected it to be. It's billed as "famous, award-winning vinegar based bar-b-que from NC," and it reminded me of the Lizard's Thicket sandwich. Except Sandy's puts a little slaw on it.

Gervais says, try the barbecue sandwich at Sandy's... don't wait until you've done something to make yourself look like a weiner.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sanford launches 80’s cover band

Below: VETO with frontman Sanford (2nd from left)
Group to promote album by touring state

B & P News - Columbia

Governor Mark Sanford this week announced the formation of his new 1980’s cover band, VETO, which will tour the state throughout the legislative session. The band name is reportedly inspired by the quirky new-age band DEVO, but it was not everyone’s first choice of moniker.

“I really wanted to name the band something more catchy, like Mark and the Soil Conditions,” said Sanford, as he popped the collar of his lime green Izod shirt. “But, as usual, I was overridden.”

Sanford, the band’s lead singer, also says the group has been working on several classic tunes for their upcoming tour, and has solicited requests from various politicians in an effort to mend relationships in state government.

Among the requested songs that VETO learned are Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science” (Sen. Mike Fair), Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock’n’Roll” (Treasurer Grady Patterson), Wham’s “Careless Whisper” (Rep. John Graham Altman), and Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” (Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer). The band refused to learn “Lady in Red,” but Sanford would not discuss the reason.

Sanford says VETO is eager to finally play in South Carolina after coming off a marathon east coast tour last year.

"Curiously, most of our support comes from out-of-state," said Sanford, as he tight-rolled his acid-washed blue jeans. "Go figure. I guess a lot of Sandlappers are too cheap to shell out the small donation necessary to see a kick-ass show."

Unfortunately for VETO, the group’s debut disc, The Marshall Sanford LP, was recently named one of 2005’s three worst albums by Rolling Stone magazine. Still, Sanford mantains an optimism which borders on aloofness about the upcoming dates.

“People have heard me rant about South Carolina’s 1890’s-style government or whatever,” said the Governor as he donned a white sequined glove. “But now it’s time they hear me pump out the 1980’s-style rock.”

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Sticky Fingers Barbecue Pizza -- "One Heckuva Pie"

Mama treated me to lunch at Sticky Fingers at Harbison today. I love their ribs and their pulled pork, but I decided to try something new. I'm glad I did. The Barbecue Pizza is a "starter" on the Sticky Fingers menu, but it ain't no dinky little appetizer. It was so big I had to take two slices home with me, even after I gave one slice to Mama. This is my new favorite thing at S.F., except for the shirt that says "Ribs... for her pleasure."

Menu Description: A crispy tortilla shell with your choice of pulled pork or grilled chicken with Sticky Fingers Memphis Original barbecue sauce, chopped red onions, jalapeños, covered in melted cheese and topped with diced tomatoes.

Sounds good, right? It is. I got the pulled pork, and it was fantastic. Gervais says, try this "pizza" next time you go out to Sticky Fingers. And in the meantime, go here to determine your Sticky Fingers Blues Name.

Sincerely yours,
Ugly Bad Boy McGee

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Gervies... THE TEN WORST OF 2005

Here's Gervais' picks for the ten worst, most embarassing, not-so-bright events surrounding SC politics in 2005.

1. Armstrong Williams’ Pricetag. In January, SC’s native son and SC State grad Armstrong Williams was exposed for being on the Bush Administration’s payroll, to the tune of $240,000. In return, Williams lavished the No Child Left Behind Act with praise in his syndicated columns and on his talk show. I never studied journalism or Judaism, but that doesn’t seem kosher.

2. Donnie Myers’ DWI. Arrested in April and charged with DWI and open container, 11th Circuit solicitor Donnie Myers initially said the partially-full beer container in the car “wasn’t mine,” though he failed two breathalyzer tests administered by the Asheville, NC police. By August he changed his tune and pleaded guilty to both charges. Luckily no man is above the law, so he got a really firm smack on the wrist.

3. John Graham Altman’s Mouth. April: The “pop ‘er again” fiasco, followed by a confrontation with WIS-TV’s Kara Gormley in which he said, "You're not very bright, and you'll just have to live with that." Also: "You women want it one way and not another. Women want to punish the men, and I do not understand why women continue to go back around men who abuse them." Somebody put a muzzle on this guy, quick.

4. Michael Hollings’ Indecisiveness. The son of Senator Fritz Hollings was a Dem candidate for Lt. Governor for less than three months, and pulled no punches that he saw the job as an apprenticeship to higher office. He eventually figured out he couldn’t be Lt. Gov. and still be a lobbyist. When he cancelled his run in August, Andre Bauer reportedly breathed a sigh of I don’t give a shit.

5. Charles Sharpe’s Ethics. Agriculture Commissioner arrested in July for accepting bribe from cockfighting proponents, ends up in prison. The most troubling thing about this is that people who breed f#@ing fighting chickens have $10,000 to throw around on bribes -- I’m in the wrong business. (I breed peaceful chickens.)

6. Michael Graham’s Miscalculation. July-August: Pride of Pelion and Oral Roberts U, Michael Graham thought he could say “Islam is a terrorist organization” and keep his job as a conservative radio show host up in DC. Sometimes people slip up and say things they don’t mean. But when they say it 23 times during the same program, the radio station fires them like a drunken Sanford staffer (see below.)

7. Will Folks’ Domestic Violence. Sanford bulldog Will Folks pleaded guilty to criminal domestic violence in August, but not before writing an op-ed proclaiming his innocence and going on TV to blame his plight on Jakie Knotts and others. Knotts’ famous reply: "What's political about a man beating a woman? He needs to be more concerned about not beating a woman than who leaked the story." Still, Palmetto Neocon named Folks one of the “Best of 2005,” so I guess these events are open to interpretation.

8. That Other Sanford Staffer’s Arrest. Back in September, Mark Sanford’s Administration Director Michael Cavanaugh, 53, made headlines by being arrested for public drunkenness at 3:30 on a Wednesday night/ Thursday morning while walking home from Five Points. To Sanford’s credit, Cavanaugh was canned right away.

9. Phil Bailey’s Judgment. Dems got a black eye when this staffer for Senate Dem Caucus badmouthed a respected governor who had just passed away in what he thought was an anonymous post on the LaurinLine. I heard GOP Chairman Katon Dawson got Bailey a Blackberry for Christmas and told him, “go nuts, kid.”

10. Mark Sanford’s Performance. January – December. TIME was right to name Sanford one of the three worst governors; SC is 48th in the country in unemployment. If we were California, we’d be having a recall election right now.