Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The ‘Sanford’ becomes metric unit for unemployment

New term already ‘universally associated with joblessness,’ say experts

B & P News – Paris, Columbia

Joining such distinguished figures as Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, and Anders Celsius, South Carolina’s governor was recognized this week with his own namesake metric unit – the “Sanford.”

According to the General Conference of Weights and Measures, which convened this week in France, the Sanford is a derived unit of joblessness equal to the difference between South Carolina’s unemployment rate and the national average.

“The traditional measure of unemployment, the percent, was too arbitrary and small for most economists,” said conference chairman Jacques Strappe. “The Sanford is twice as large, and the term is already pretty much universally associated with joblessness.”

But critics of the new measure argue that the Sanford is not stable enough to be a viable metric unit, increasing by over a hundred millisanfords over the last three years as the Palmetto State achieved the fourth-highest jobless rate in the U.S.

“I think whatever metric we use should be constant, like the meter or the kilogram,” said USC economics professor Kerry O’Keebar. “Of course, it should still be called the Sanford - that’s been economist lingo for unemployment for a couple years now.”

Sanford has mixed feelings about having a metric unit named after him, but has already introduced the new term into his vocabulary.

“People keep focusing on the bad news, like our 48th-ranked joblessness,” said Sanford. “The fact is, South Carolina is only one Sanford above the national average, which is a sign of a bustling, smoking, surging economy. It’s positively smoburkling.”

The conference voted against other proposed metric units named for Palmetto State politicos. The Folks, the proposed unit of force required to kick open a front door, and the John-Gram, a measure of foot-to-mouth ratio, were dismissed as superfluous.

But for some Sandlappers, one metric unit with South Carolina roots is enough.

“Before the Sanford, my favorite namesake metric unit was the Joule,” said Halle N. Dett, a third-year mechanical engineering student at USC. “After the Sanford, my favorite namesake metric unit is still the Joule.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Next week they'll have "two gazillion"

'The imagination is the limit'
It seems as if SCRG just keeps growing and growing…

From The State, 5/11/06 (“Tax credit group on notice,” Aaron Gould Sheinin):

“It’s laughable. If (Cotty) wants to claim that our 2,000 grass-roots supporters are not South Carolinians, that’s his right. But I think they will take great offense at that.”

Merrill declined, however, to provide a list of supporters.
And from The Greenville News, 5/20/06 (“Free speech trumps [our out-of-state funding],” Dennis Sinned):
Randy Page serves as president of South Carolinians for Responsible Government, a statewide grassroots organization of over 200,000 citizens, who support limited government, lower taxes and increased educational options.
2,000 - no, wait! - 200,000 citizens? Isn’t that like 5% of the state? If SCRG keeps multiplying like this, they're gonna put their fictitious "grass roots" letter-to-the-editor writers and non-fictitious out-of-state bankrollers out of business.

Gervais says, get real. It's bad enough to show no regard for state ethics laws, but for goodness sake, show a little respect for reality.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hite’s Bar-B.Q.: Take a left where the Wal-Mart used to be…

My cousin once pointed out to me that you can tell how zealous we Sandlappers are about our past based on how much we give directions using landmarks that no longer exist. He said the most famous example is, “Take a left where the Wal-Mart used to be.”

I thought it was a keen observation, and I’ve been guilty of using defunct landmarks on occasion myself. Most recently, it was to tell someone about Hite’s Bar-B.Q. in West Columbia. That’s where Hannah Jane and I picked up the food for our family picnic on Friday.

Hite’s has been serving up barbecue for almost 50 years now. It’s located on Dreher Road, behind the old West Columbia Wal-Mart, and is only open on Fridays and Saturdays. Using landmarks that still exist, it’s somewhere between the airport and the Triangle City Zesto's.

The folks at Hite’s are friendly, and even took Gervais back to the pit where they smoke the meat. They explained that while working two days a week seems like a relaxing way to live, that isn’t really the case. Not when you spend at least a full day, sometimes two, chopping your own wood.

Another day is spent cleaning and buying supplies for the week, and the cooking actually commences the night before. In other words, as the guys in the pit explained, “If we were open three days a week, we’d have to work six days a week.”

So does all that effort make the barbecue any better? Absolutely.

The barbecue pork is the ultimate in mustard-based ‘cue, and we enjoyed it at a nearby park in Springdale (R- Joe Wilson). In addition to three barbecue sandwiches smothered in homemade sauce, we shared a pint of hash & rice and a pint of what Hannah Jane called “hella good” cole slaw. These homemade side items were excellent on their own, but were even better mixed.

The whole picnic was about $13 (the sizeable sandwiches were only $3 each!) an unbelievably good deal for such high-caliber, authentic Southern fare.

Gervais says, I haven’t had Hite’s this good since I was a kid, stopping for the occasional milkshake in Lexington at the intersection of Main Street and Highway 378.

You know... where the Hite’s Dairy Bar used to be.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Magnum dopus

A couple of commenters pointed out this WLTX item, which was also covered by The State over the weekend.

It’s your standard “white supremacist Latin teacher” story, this time at Brookland-Cayce High School in Lexington 2. Because, let’s face it: you can’t seriously study the mother of all Romance languages without occasionally veering off towards John C. Calhoun's support of slavery.

He calls himself “Dr.” Winston McCuen, presumably to recognize the doctoring of his job application, on which he lied about never being fired. But McCuen was fired - from St. Joseph’s, a Catholic school up in Greenville - for refusing to take down the Confederate battle flag from his classroom.

And, like most folks who were never hugged as children, Dr. Winston is a staunch proponent of slavery.

The State did a nice job of providing links to his internet commentary about the pecking order of the races and how his workout regimen gives him the upper hand when the “Brookland Bloods” battle the “Cayce Crips.”

I followed these links to the darkest alleys of the internet and compiled some, but not nearly all, of his asinine comments. So here they are... ad nauseum:

"By the way, I now consider segregationism to be a form of bleeding-heart liberalism. Personally, I am a deportationist. (I have no qualms whatever about using force.)"

"Not a day goes by that I don’t muse, while standing in the hallway between classes suppressing barbaric “student” behavior, how much better this school would be, both academically and socially, without the blacks and the hispanics (most of whom are illegal)."

"Let’s put it this way: One reason I keep a gym membership is to keep my edge in stopping gang fights at school."

"Speaking of broken records: I’m dreaming of a WHITE COUNTRY!!!"

"Actually, I consider racial segregation to be a mere half-measure, with deportation of blacks from America being wiser. Why? For the obvious reason that blacks cannot handle more extensive freedom responsibly."

"So why do we empower ignoramuses? Because democracy and equality have become our idols. We mindless Americans continue to sacrifice all hope of rational government on the altars of these vicious idols."

"There is no apology to be made for black slavery in America. Why should today's whites apologize for the wisdom of their ancestors?"

Gervais says, kudos to St. Joe's and Brookland-Cayce for sending this one on his way. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a shower.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Floating the Hunley

From John Monk's "How senator steers sub under radar":

The Hunley is one of South Carolina’s biggest financial undertakings in modern times. Not counting university expansion projects, the Hunley ranks behind only a few large road and bridge projects. It even exceeds the $62 million State House renovation in the 1990s[...]

Few in state government have any idea of costs of various Hunley projects in the pipeline.

I don’t have a clue,” Gov. Mark Sanford said last week.
I'll say.

Friday, May 12, 2006

More pandering to bear

“This is nothing more than election year pandering. Where was Mark Sanford last year following Hurricanes Rita and Katrina? Gas prices in South Carolina were over $3.00 a gallon. He didn’t call for a gas tax suspension then[...]

Election year gimmicks like this cannot cover the fact that four years of Mark Sanford have been a disaster for South Carolina. From jobs to health care to education, Mark Sanford has been a failure."

-- Sen. Brad Hutto (D- Orangeburg)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Few, Folks agree with SCRG platform

Below: Few, Folks
Group ‘not funded from out-of-state,’ believe Few, Folks

B & P News - Columbia

Anti-tax lobbying group South Carolinians for Responsible Government may be plagued by the perception that it is funded by out-of-state interests who oppose public schools, but the group is now finding a handful of supporters within the Palmetto State as well. House candidate Sheri Few and former Sanford spokesman Will Folks are two of the most ardent supporters of the voucher organization.

“SCRG really is a grass-roots organization,” concur Few, Folks. “It sure isn’t just something that was propped up by deep-pocketed public school opponents from God-knows-where.”

Few, Folks also think that SCRG gets a bad rap for sending bogus letters to the editor of a statewide newspaper under the palindromic pseudonym, ‘Dennis Sinned.’

“It is perfectly legitimate to espouse your views by using a conjured up entity like Dennis,” agree Few, Folks. “How else are you supposed to illustrate your vast, grass-roots network that is not funded from out-of-state interests?”

Similar views are held by others, such as Anil Farbetween, president of the SC Indian-American Alliance for Non-public Schoolage. The Alliance recently formed an offshoot of SCRG called the Carolina Indian Government Alliance for Responsibilivouchers (CIGAR).

“The Indian American Alliance - which, like us, is not funded by out-of-state interests - further illustrates our vast network of grass-roots South Carolina support,” said SCRG spokesman Dallas Merrill. “We have bona fide Palmetto State supporters, and they are Few and Farbetween.”

Added Merrill, “Folks, Few, and Farbetween believe that SCRG is getting stronger every day through its vast network of in-state financial support and real, South Carolina values.”

Merrill also cited the support of Columbia law firm Fueher & Fueher, which helps SCRG sue school buses, as yet another sign the group has vast Sandlapper grass-roots.

“Our vast, in-state support includes Fueher & Fueher, Folks, and others who are Few and Farbetween,” said Merrill. "Add to that pretty much every CIGAR Indian in the state, and it's clear that we are a vast grass-roots force to be reckoned with."

Monday, May 08, 2006

Legislators vote on superlatives, sign legislative manuals

Top: Legislators swap legislative manuals
Bottom: The infamous Leventis inscription

Lawmakers honor end-of-session traditions

B & P News - Columbia

The excitement was palpable on State House grounds last week, where lawmakers eagerly anticipate the end of the 2nd session of the 116th General Assembly and the beginning of Summer-Fall Break. One sign of the imminent vacation was a special joint session to vote on superlatives and start the month-long process of legislative manual signing.

“When Mike Fair signs your legislative manual ‘R.H.T.S. – Raise Hell This Summer,’ you know that folks are getting giddy for the session to end,” said Rep. Chip Limehouse, who was voted “Breast All Around” by his peers for his sponsorship of the public breastfeeding bill. “And everyone knows to watch out for Senator Leventis and his patented filibuster inscription.”

Senator Glenn McConnell, voted “Most Likely to Secede” for the fifth year in a row, said he is excited about obtaining signatures in his legislative manual, as he has for over twenty years

“[Rep.] Bobby [Harrell] always has something funny to write,” said McConnell. “Last year, he signed in the crease and wrote, ‘I wanted to be the first one to sign your crack.’ Man, sometimes I wish I was in the other chamber.”

The tradition of signing legislative manuals is as old as the legislative manual itself, and some inscriptions even provide historians insight about the mechanics of the Palmetto State’s legislative body.

“Old, signed legislative manuals can provide obscure details about the nature of legislative alliances, even some across party lines,” said USC history professor Calvin “Cal” Hoone. “But more often than not, the only information you get is who farted in what sub-committee meeting.”

Pundits speculate that this year’s most sought-after inscription will be the farewell message by Rep. John Graham Altman. Altman, who is not seeking re-election, was awarded the distinction of “Very Brightest” by his colleagues.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Dum Spiro Spears-o

Some parents have different views of acceptable risks, [Sanford] said. "It has been proven that it is more dangerous to drive at night or in the rain - are those times when parents should be penalized for taking additional risks with the lives of their children?" Sanford said.

-from the AP's Jim Davenport, "Child safety seat fine veto brings backlash for Sanford"

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New Game: Tom Cruise or Henry Jordan?

On the heels of the highly successful “Who said it - Federal Agency or Sanford Appointee?”, Barbecue & Politics presents a fun new brainbuster: "Who said it – Tom Cruise or candidate for Lt. Governor Henry Jordan? "

The rules? Well, they’re simple. Given a quote, you the reader must ascertain whether the remark should be attributed to actor Tom Cruise or candidate for Lt. Governor Henry Jordan. Remember to keep track of your score…Here goes!

Who said it…Henry Jordan or Tom Cruise?

1. "Some people, well, if they don't like Scientology, well, then, f--- you. Really. F--- you. Period."

2. "Screw the Buddhists and kill the Muslims."

3. "When you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances in people, there is no science behind that."

4. “There is no science to support trans-species changes, in other words a monkey becoming a man.”

5. "SAT scores have gone right down the toilet. The parents are blaming the teachers, the teachers are blaming the parents and the psychs are putting everyone on drugs."

6. "It is painfully obvious that our state's public school system is failing our children. The reason: it is being run for the benefit of a centralized education bureaucracy and its hidden social agenda."

7. "I have a need…a need for speed."


1. Tom Cruise
2. Henry Jordan
3. Tom Cruise
4. Henry Jordan
5. Tom Cruise
6. Henry Jordan
7. Trick question - Andre Bauer

How did you do?

6-7 correct: Super job -- but don’t get a big head, Maverick. Tom Cruise is crazy, so naturally his quotes will differ greatly from someone like Henry Jordan, who is not.

4-5 correct: Show me the money… you have a knack for distinguishing between the narrow, suspicious perspective of actor Tom Cruise and the mainstream worldview of candidate Henry Jordan.

2-3 correct: You could have done better with your eyes wide shut. Remember: if the quote is a little crazy, it was Tom Cruise who said it; if the quote is normal, it was Jordan.

0-1 correct: Tying your shoes must be a mission impossible. How can you not tell the quotes of ordinary Henry Jordan and wacky Tom Cruise apart? Tom Cruise is clearly nuts - unlike Henry Jordan, who isn't.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Dildo lobby opposes sex toy ban

Below: Rep. Davenport takes
on pervasive dildo threat

Legislator aims to halt “dildofication” of SC

B & P News - Columbia

Long considered a “sleeping giant” in Palmetto State politics, the influential dildo lobby re-emerged last month to oppose a bill introduced by an Upstate legislator, Republican Ralph Davenport. Rep. Davenport’s bill, dubbed “the Bildo” by some members of the General Assembly, aims to ban the sale of sex toys inside state borders.

“The notion that dildos are bad is a huge fallacy,” said dildo proponent Delilah Dover, chairman of the activist group SCRD. “As a dildo insider, I feel that if dildos are criminalized, only criminals will have dildos.”

But Davenport, of Boiling Springs, says the sale of sex toys contributes to the moral delinquency of the state. He says he is not intimidated by the high-profile dildo lobby, or “dildo establishment.”

“This is about more than sex toys. It’s about the dildofication of South Carolina,” said Davenport. “Veiny or smooth, double-ended or strap-on, vibrating or conventional - no dildo will be above this law.”

Some analysts agree with the dildo lobby that banning the sale of sex toys, like the dildo, could have dire economic consequences for the Palmetto State.

“If this bill passes, expect to see South Carolinians purchase large quantities of Georgia and North Carolina dildos,” said USC economics professor Dylan Dougherty. “It seems to be a better deal to dole out our dollars on domestic dildos.”

The bill is expected to be discretely filed underneath some clothes in a State House chest-of-drawers until next session, thanks to lobbying efforts by SCRD. But Governor Sanford says if "the Bildo" somehow reaches his desk this session, he will treat it as any other legislation and veto it.

“I’ve always espoused a more limited government, and a limited government doesn’t mess with the hardworking dildos of taxpayers,” said Sanford. “I mean, the dildos of hardworking taxpayers.”