Tuesday, April 29, 2008

McMaster seeks injunction against NC residents

“If it’s yellow, let it mellow,” demands SC Attorney General

B&P News – Columbia

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster announced today that he will seek an unprecedented judicial injunction against certain residents of North Carolina, the latest legal maneuver in the Palmetto State’s fight for control of water from the Catawba River.

McMaster asked U.S. Supreme Court-appointed special master Lulabelle “Learned” Hipp to enforce a water-conserving injunction against Tar Heel State residents who use water from the Catawba.

“Simply put, these North Carolinians need to ask themselves one question,” said McMaster in a press conference. “Is it yellow? If so, we seek to enjoin said resident to ‘let it mellow.’”

North Carolina’s top attorney was quick to criticize McMaster’s motion in his own press conference, saying his office was committed to staving off the injunction at whatever cost.

“A yellow-mellow injunction is a harsh remedy,” said attorney general Roy Cooper, who uncharacteristically wore shoes to the event due to the television cameras. North Carolina will fight this proposal whether it takes two months or two years, whichever comes first.”

A B&P News survey of North Carolina residents along the Catawba who have indoor plumbing found that both of them oppose McMaster’s measure.

The Catawba case is not the first time the attorney general’s office has sought judicial relief for controversies between the two Carolinas. In 2000, Attorney General Charlie Condon successfully argued for a judicial decree requiring North Carolinians who “sprinkle when they tinkle” to “please be neat and wipe the seat” at Palmetto State rest areas.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hudson's Smokehouse Express

Gervais is all about Hudson’s Smokehouse in Lexington for good ‘cue. In fact, my only major problem with Hudson’s Smokehouse in Lexington is, well, that Hudson’s Smokehouse is in Lexington. It's a proximity thing.

But since the last season of Barbecue & Politics, Hudson’s has changed my life by opening up an outpost on Knox Abbot Road in Cayce, across from the Farm Bureau building (where Po’ Pigs Bo-B-Q used to be). The Express doesn’t offer live entertainment or a bar like it’s older brother on Sunset Boulevard, and it isn’t decked out as pretty, but it has the stuff that counts.

For those unfamiliar with the Hudson’s brand, this is real-deal, slow-smoked tender barbecue pork, with your choice of three sauces. I can vouch for the mouth-watering Smokehouse Gold sauce, and if I ever develop an acute mustard allergy I’ll let you know how the other ones are. (While I’m working on a cure for mustard allergies.)

The array of sides is really what set Hudson’s apart. The overwhelming favorite based on a scientific poll of everyone I know is the sweet potato casserole. The sweet potato fries and banana pudding are also good, and I always get the collard greens … which could probably be considered an entrĂ©e due to the amount of meat they’re cooked with.

The hash is tasty and gets points for being not too runny, but since there’s no buffet, you really don’t get to decide the all important hash-to-rice ratio. And, of course they also have cole slaw, green beans, fried okra, fried squash, and a few other sides.

The best time to go to Hudson’s Express, if you have a Bridges-sized appetite, is on Thursday and Friday evenings after 4PM. For $10.99, you can get an all-you-can-eat platter, which is three side items and an endless supply of three of the following: BBQ pork, fried shrimp, fried chicken, deviled crab, bacon wrapped chicken, and shrimp & grits. The youngin’s eat for a lot less.

Gervais says, the next time you get the itch to try some good barbecue with some succulent sides, head on over to Cayce and “Express” yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday THRASH Award: The "SC" Policy Council

Ever wonder what it would be like if the Palmetto State had a “council” of sorts, that promoted sound policy from the perspective of the actual needs and values of South Carolinians? A “policy council” if you will. But just for South Carolina. A South Carolina policy council.

That would be awesome. Perhaps at one time such an entity existed. But those days are gone.

That’s because ever since around 2004, the SC Policy Council seems to do nothing but (a) shill for vouchers, like here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here; (b) fight early childhood education, like here and here and here; or (c) fight public school choice initiatives, like here and here and here.

So what gives? South Carolina has actual education issues to deal with, like deteriorating school buses and equitable funding, so why is the SC Policy Council parroting the agenda of the out-of-state voucher lobby? Why so hostile to early childhood education and public school choice? Why so hostile towards South Carolina's schools?

Why indeed.

I thought the answer might be found in the group’s tax returns. But all I found there was that the Policy Council, which for years got by on a meager $300,000 a year, suddenly started getting a ton of money. Right around 2004.

But that couldn’t have anything to do with it.

Money talks, you see, but policy councils don’t listen. “Policy councils ain’t for sale,” as they used to say back in the day, unless that was just a dream I had.

Still, Gervais got his janitor’s key and his flashlight and did his darndest to find out where in the Palmetto State this extra money was coming from.

Was is Gilbert? Nope.

Gaffney? Nope.

Greer, Greenville, Goose Creek? Nope, nope, nope.

It wasn’t even Gyrtle Beach.

Like the rest of the folks flapping their traps about private school vouchers in our state, the SCPC is just shillin’ for out-of-state villains. Have a look:

$148,000 from Alliance for School Choice, Inc. (Arizona)
$60,000 from Friedman Foundation (Indiana)
$13,000 from Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform (DC)
$25,000 from the Jacueline Hume Foundation (San Francisco)

$120,000 from Alliance for School Choice, Inc. (Arizona)
$70,000 from Friedman Foundation (Indiana)
$20,000 from the JM (Jeremiah Milbank) Foundation (NYC)
$2,000 from Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform (DC)
$25,000 from the Jaqueline Hume Foundation (San Francisco)
$5,000 from Claude R. Lamb Foundation (Kansas)

$90,000 from CATO Institute (DC)
$10,000 from the Heartland Institute (Chicago)
$50,000 from Friedman Foundation (Indidana)
$30,000 from State Policy Network (California)
$30,000 from the JM Foundation (NYC)
$25,000 from the Jaqueline Hume Foundation (San Francisco)
$150,000 from Walton Foundation (Arkansas)

That’s just the money I found. I’m sure there’s more. And it’s probably no coincidence that the Godfather of the South Carolina voucher farce, New York millionaire Howard Rich, sits on the board of the Friedman Foundation and the CATO Institute.

Hoo boy. Ain’t that something? An actual “South Carolina” policy council pimping itself out to narrow, out-of-state interests, and churning out tons of voucher lobby talking points under a Palmetto Tree letterhead.

Gervais says, congratulations, SC Policy Council. You may have lost your credibility as a representation of real Sandlapper values, but in the end you’re a winner ... of a Thursday THRASH Award.

The Howard Rich Advocacy & Shilling for Hire (THRASH) awards were created to honor South Carolina political advocacy groups that are controlled by, funded by, or specifically created by out of state interests under the guise of representing the actual interests and values of actual South Carolinians.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Top Ten

A lot of fuss has been made recently about the current filming of the movie “Nailed” on the grounds of the South Carolina State House. Gervais says, that’s great, but we shouldn’t let this Johnny-come-lately not-even-a-movie-yet overshadow the Palmetto State’s other fine moments on the silver screen. To refresh your memory, here are the…

Top Ten other great moments in SC film history

10. (1993) SC native Andie MacDowell stars in second-best film of all time featuring Bill Murray and rodents

9. (1989) In third installment of Indiana Jones series, character’s real first name revealed to be “South Carolina

8. (1971) Bamberg, SC Piggly Wiggly clerk coins phrase “it puts the lotion in the basket”

7. (1989) Major League Baseball finally removes SC native Shoeless Joe Jackson's name from its controversial "ineligible to be in a Kevin Costner movie" list

6. (1994) Filmmakers searching for a setting for a film about a low-IQ millionaire with a wife named Jenny descend on Beaufort, SC

5. (2005) Nemo found dead along banks of Catawba river

4. (1993) “The Program,” the story of a college football team plagued by drug and alcohol abuse, filmed at Williams-Brice Stadium for sake of authenticity

3. (1975) Myrtle Beach swimmers afraid to go into the water after viewing 1975’s epic thriller “The Apple Dumpling Gang”

2. (1990) Hotshot doctor Ben Stone charmed by the folksiness of Grady, SC while doing community service for his bad driving; real-life doctor beaten mercilessly by State Troopers for same offense

1. (2006) Two USC students sue makers of film “Borat” for portraying them as beer-chugging, misogynistic racists, tarnishing the otherwise stellar reputation carried with the term “USC Fratboy.”

Monday, April 21, 2008

"Vetting" Mark Sanford

Once a fortnight, the Wall Street Journal op-ed page makes a point to float Mark Sanford's name out there as a potential VP candidate. Like here, here. here, here and here, and like they did this Saturday in the column “South Carolina’s Contender.”

It may have been a good piece, but I couldn’t read much further than the sentence that read, “Mr. Sanford's main governing problem is the state's constitution.”

Oh, brother.

As you know, we here at Barbecue & Politics have always shared the Journal's fondness of Sanford, except for the last six years or so, when his governing skills have been in a deep recession.

So, yeah, part of Gervais would love to see Sanford get a boarding pass to join the Straight Talk Express as a VP candidate, on the possibility that John McCain wins in November. Or maybe an ambassadorship to Mauritius, which is beautiful this time of year. (Although Mauritius also has a constitution, so watch out.)

But if you're one of the dozen or so people who "get their Gerv' on" regularly at this blog, chances are you, unlike the WSJ, have acquainted yourself with the actualities of the SC governorship – the selling out to out-of-state interests, etc. – and you know that Sanford is, well let’s just say he’s more of a “stuntsman” than a “statesman.”

The media like to focus on the same old stunts: carrying pigs into the State House, or the horse and buggy thing, or vetoing the entire budget. That stuff sold a few papers in its day, and is still funny in its own sort of way.

But Sanford’s biggest publicity stunt, the one that first caught Gervais’ eye when he was just a piglet, doesn’t get much play from the mainstream media, and sure won’t get any ink in the pages of the WSJ.

However, McCain has several close ties to SC political insiders, and the McCampaign has probably already done a little “due diligence” on Sanford as a potential running mate. So they already know about Sanford’s stunt in the Air Force Reserves. And, no, I didn’t mean to say “stint.”

But for the benefit of those of you just tuning in, here’s the basic timeline:

March 2001: Former congressman Mark Sanford announces bid for governor of South Carolina. Right on! (Greenville News, 3/27/01).

January 2002: Sanford joins the Air Force Reserves at age 41, ten months into his campaign for governor. He currently leads the GOP gubernatorial candidates in fundraising with over $1.5 million cash-on-hand. (Post & Courier 1/12/02).

June 2002: Lieutenant Sanford wins GOP primary.

August 2002: Lt. Sanford: "It's not ideal from a campaigning standpoint, but it's what I wanted to do, so you make it work as best you can." (Sanford can’t find class space, Post & Courier, 8/3/02)

November 2002: Sanford elected governor, 53% to 47%, over incumbent Gov. Jim Hodges.

December 2002: Eleven month veteran Sanford attempts a daring “elect and eject” maneuver: "I can't go with them. I'm trying to figure out where we go from here. By virtue of the fact I'm governor(-elect), I've moved into a nondeployable status." Sanford says he “may have to” resign his commission. (Sanford mulls leaving Air Force Reserve, AP 12/28/02)

January 2003: A constitutional expert at the USC says he is unaware of any provisions that would keep Sanford from serving, and an Air Force spokesperson says Sanford “would have no choice” if activated, and could not transfer to a nondeployable unit. Sanford does an about-face: "The bottom line for me is that I made a commitment and I am going to keep it. Therefore, as to any orders I receive I will do just as anyone else in my unit and follow them … I believe simply that this is consistent with who I am as a person." (Sanford says he'll serve if Reserve unit activated, Greenville News 1/29/03)

March 2003: Sanford now supports draft, no special favors. To CNN: “I happen to be one of those that really think we ought to reinstate the draft, that, again, everybody ought to be vested in the American system… [I]n Vietnam … people had an option to get a medical degree or a law degree. That child wouldn't go, but the poor kid from Allendale who didn't, frankly, have those educational options, they were the one that was sent to Vietnam. And I think we need to get away from that as a country.”

April 2003: 14 months after joining, Governor Sanford completes two weeks of elite “knife and fork school” for officers directly commissioned into the Reserve. In the event of a Taliban ambush of the Governor’s Mansion, Sanford now able to “salute them to death.” (Post & Courier, 10/22/04).

January 2004: Two years after joining, Sanford still not qualified to do his job in the Air Force Reserve, but says he is working on a correspondence course to train as a medical administrator. Also reportedly playing Risk on home computer. (Reserves to promote Sanford to captain, Post & Courier 1/10/04)

February 2004: About 40% of Sanford’s unit, the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, has been called to active duty so far, according to the AP. (Reserve still a Sanford problem, Post & Courier 2/10/04).

June 2004: February to October is a long time for nothing to happen, so it seems like I should throw “June” in between. But actually, nothing happened.

October 2004: About 60% of the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron’s 125 members have been activated. Sanford “has never been mobilized, possibly because he hasn't received all of the training he needs to be fully qualified in his Air Force job.” After all, it’s only been 31 months. Major Cynthia Camp, an actual “participating” member of the 315th AES, awarded Bronze Star for her efforts overseas. (Stellar Examples, Post & Courier 10/2/04; Sanford to complete his Air Force training, Post & Courier 10/22/04)

January 2005: Halfway through his six-year commitment to the reserves, Sanford reports for duty in Texas to continue training as a medical evacuation officer. An Air Force spokesman cannot say whether this training would finally make Sanford qualified for his position, but notes Sanford “did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.” (Governor reports for Reserve duty, Post & Courier 1/14/05).

March 2005: Sanford transfers, kicking and screaming, to an Air Force homeland disaster relief agency, as an Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer. Sanford: "I've always said if the military comes calling, I'm going. Having transferred, I would say were they to be deployed, I'd obviously call and see if there was a way I could help out, given that's a role I've been training in for three years." To help out further, Sanford plans to “dial down the center” saving his old unit a ton of money on the collect call. (Air Force transfers Sanford to new job, Post & Courier, 3/10/05).

April 2005: A month after Sanford’s reluctant transfer, one-third (35 members) of the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron called to active duty. (Sanford's former Reserve unit called into duty, Post & Courier 4/26/05)

August 8, 2005: Twenty more members of 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron called to active duty. (Charleston Air Force reservists to be activated, Post & Courier 8/2/05).

August 29, 2005: Hurricane Katrina hits Louisiana and Mississippi. Time to spring into action!

September 2nd-3rd, 2005: Vermont’s Lt. Governor, an Air Force Reserve Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer like Sanford, reports for duty to support recovery efforts for Hurricane Katrina, coordinating supply and medical airlifts and conducting site visits in Mississippi and Louisiana. (Vermonters Make A Difference in Hurricane Aftermath, Brian Dubie 9/18/05)

Captain Mark Sanford reports to vacation: “The governor stopped short of asking residents to cancel travel plans for the popular Labor Day weekend. ‘There's no place like home,’ said Sanford, who still plans to travel to his family farm in Beaufort.” (South Carolinians urged to conserve as costs soar, Post and Courier 9/2/05)

October 2006: Sanford describes his Air Force job "self-deploying”: “That means, if there is a national emergency, such as a terrorist attack or a natural disaster like a hurricane, members of the unit voluntarily report. There are no mandatory call-ups, he said.” (For Sanford, it's all about satisfaction, The State 10/8/06)

All of which brings me back to the Wall Street Journal article, which I actually did go back and read, while you were reading this post. In the piece, Sanford says: “I put my left hand on the Bible and raised my right hand and I swear to uphold the constitution.”

Of course, Sanford wasn’t talking about the military oath that he took “without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.” He was justifying why he brought pigs into the State House.

McCain’s patriotism and service are indisputable. I don’t think picking someone like Sanford would hurt the ticket in that regard. (In fact, that's a pretty balanced ticket: self-sacrifice at the top, and self-service at the bottom.)

But I do think that when he picks a VP candidate, chances are McCain will pick somebody who can take the oath of office without people having to wonder if he means it ... and therefore he probably won't look twice at "South Carolina's Pretender." No matter how badly the Wall Street Journal seems to want him to.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday THRASH Award: SC Association of Taxpayers (updated)

According to the latest Winthrop/ETV poll, South Carolina taxpayers overwhelmingly want to raise our lowest-in-the-nation, seven cents per pack cigarette tax. And fortunately, there’s an association which represents the views of taxpayers and lobbies the General Assembly on our behalf. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the association is currently being co-opted by Big Tobacco.

That group, the North – er, SouthCarolina Association of Tobacco – er, Taxpayers was busted last month for using cash and lobbying materials from the tobacco industry. From The State’s “R.J. Reynold’s stealth move,” 3/3/08:

The message began showing up in mailboxes last week in the form of 10,000 postcards sent to Republican activists by the South Carolina Association of Taxpayers…

Several Senate staffers said the chart on the postcards is the same chart that R.J. Reynolds lobbyists were showing some state senators in weeks prior…

The postcard also warns that the “hospital industry and insurance company special interests want Legislators to raise your taxes!”…

“We got some donations,” Weaver said, when asked if R.J. Reynolds paid for the postcards. “We get a lot of corporate donations, let’s put it that way.”

Um, this might go without saying, but R.J. Reynolds couldn’t give a flying trapeze artist about our tax policy in South Carolina. I suspect what they care about is their profits. And they’re using a non-profit to get their profits.

Update: Somebody slipped Gervais an email to let me know that the SC Association of Taxpayers is not a non-profit, and sure enough I can't find SCAT on the SC Secretary of State website anywhere. According to the SCAT website, it is "an independent, privately funded research group whose purpose is to encourage government to work more efficiently." Let me pare that down for you: Advocacy for Hire.

Using Big Tobacco money to mail out Big Tobacco propaganda to South Carolina voters under the name of a South Carolina group doesn’t seem right. Gervais says, next time, tell 'em to send it under their own name.

For selling out its credibility, the SC Association of Taxpayers wins the second Thursday THRASH award.

The Howard Rich Advocacy & Shilling for Hire (THRASH) awards were created to honor South Carolina political advocacy groups that are controlled by, funded by, or specifically created by out of state interests under the guise of representing the actual interests and values of actual South Carolinians.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Synchronized spending from Charleston

Rich folks from Charleston soon may finally have a voice in South Carolina government. That’s right… the days of the Lowcountry being virtually unrepresented in the State House may be coming to an end.

I know this because when Gervais was searching the State Ethics Commission’s super new online disclosure website, I discovered that Charleston County is getting a lot more involved in funding primary campaigns around the state.

Not all of Charleston, of course. Actually, it’s pretty much just five guys and their ol’ ladies. But it’s a start.

The queer thing is that even though Charleston is an indisputable melting pot of diverse political opinion, these five guys were pretty consistent with one another as far as how much money they gave, when they gave, and to whom they gave:

Senate Candidate Lee Bright, Spartanburg
William Baker, Kiawah Island $1000
Ruth Baker, Kiawah Island $1000
John Barter, Kiawah Island $1000
Mary Barter, Kiawah Island $1000
Walldorf, Sullivans Island $500
Bill Hewitt, Charleston $1000
Laura Hewitt, Charleston $1000
Wilbur Prezzano, Charleston $1000
Sheila Prezzano, Charleston $1000

Senate Candidate Katrina Shealy, Lexington
William Baker, Kiawah Island $1000
Ruth Baker, Kiawah Island $1000
John Barter, Kiawah Island $1000
Mary Barter, Kiawah Island $1000
Walldorf, Sullivans Island $1000
Walldorf, Sullivans Island $1000
Wilbur Prezzano, Charleston $1000
Sheila Prezzano, Charleston $1000
William Hewitt, Charleston $1000
Laura Hewitt, Charleston $1000
SC Club for Growth PAC $1000

House Candidate Tim Scott, N. Charleston
William Baker, Kiawah Island $1000
Ruth Baker, Kiawah Island $1000
John Barter, Kiawah Island $1000
Mary Barter, Kiawah Island $1000
Walldorf, Sullivans Island $1000
Bill Hewitt, Charleston $1000
Laura Hewitt, Charleston $1000
Wilbur Prezzano, Charleston $1000
Sheila Prezzano, Charleston $1000
SC Club for Growth LLC $1000

Interesting, right? It reminds me of those little fish that all change directions at once. Except these aren’t little fish, they’re big fish. And the fish are all on land. And it’s actually a little less disorienting to predators, because it's just money. Okay, it's not the best metaphor.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Who egged Joshua Gross's car?

It’s not often that you’ll hear Gervais stick up for someone associated with the “SC” Club for Growth. And you probably won’t today, either. But it does kinda suck that somebody recently “egged” the car of avowed movement conservative Joshua Gross.

Gross is the former executive director of the SC Club for Growth, and also recently did a stint working for Fred Thompson in South Carolina. He's a huge Barbecue & Politics fan. And I'm not a shrink, but he may also have a dash of paranoid delusion going on.

Gross blogged about the incident of political terrorism at his new site, the Columbia Conservative:

Fair warning - I don't intimidate easily. Hitting my car (with over 114K miles on the odometer) with the embryonic remains of a chicken isn't going to do it. Just gives me more motivation.

Well said, Joshua. Well said.

Joshua’s post is titled “The politics of intimidation,” and it should serve as a stern warning to all you “carton-carrying members of the ACLU” and Muslim egg-stremists: Joshua Gross cannot be silenced by eggs.

Gervais, however, is readily silenced for 5-10 minutes by eggs, as any Waffle House waitress along I-26 can verify. At any rate, here’s a photo of the crime scene and a police sketch of the suspect. If you have any tips, be sure to leave ‘em in the comments.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The out-of-state voucher cash rolls in

April 10th was the due date for SC campaign finance reports, which means it’s a big day for Barbecue & Politics. If you’ve tuned in for past seasons, you know that I keep track of all this out-of-state voucher money pouring into the Palmetto State, kind of like a farmer might keep track of locusts.

Luckily, the State Ethics Commission has made it a cakewalk this year, thanks to its new online filing and disclosure system.

Needless to say, the “grassroots” voucher group South Carolinians for Responsible Government is dutifully funneling this outsider cash into Palmetto State races for New York City libertarian Howard Rich and friends this primary season.

Which candidates are taking this out-of-state voucher cash? Here’s what we’ve got so far:

Sheri Few, House District 79:

3/4: 188 Claremont LLC, 73 Spring Street Rm 408, NYC $1,000
3/4: 332 E 11 LLC, 73 Spring Street Rm 507, NYC $1,000
3/4: Bradford Management, 73 Spring Street Rm 507, NYC $1,000
2/28: Joseph Stilwell, 26 Broadway, 23rd Floor, NYC $1,000
2/28: John Kirtley, 339 S. Plant Ave., Tampa, FL $1,000

Bob Leach, House District 21:

3/14: Joseph D. Stilwell, 26 Broadway 23rd Floor, NYC $1,000
3/14: Yvonne Rich, 211 West Road 1, Mountain Home, AR $1,000
3/14: John Kirtley, 339 S. Plant Avenue, Tampa, FL $1,000
3/14: 332 E 11 LLC, 73 Spring Street, Rm. 507, NYC $1,000
3/14: 188 Claremont LLC, 73 Spring Street Rm. 408, NYC $1,000

Wendy Nanney, House District 22:

2/26: John Kirtley, 339 S Plant Ave., Tampa, FL $1,000
2/13: Joseph Stilwell, 26 Broadway 23rd Floor, NYC $1,000

By way of background, 73 Spring Street, NYC is the address of Howard Rich. Joseph Stilwell of New York is a director of Rich’s “U.S. Term Limits,” Yvonne Rich of Arkansas was a co-director of Rich's “Colorado At Its Best,” and John Kirtley of Tampa is chairman of a national voucher group with ties to Amway and Wal-Mart.

That’s a lot of $1000 checks flowing into small-town South Carolina races, folks – much of it through the “LLC loophole” which makes a mockery of our contribution limits. And sadly, I suspect there are some late filers out there with even more.

As the filings trickle in, you can count on Barbecue & Politics to serve them up.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday THRASH Award: Carolinians for Reform

Our first recipient was a no-brainer.

I say "no-brainer" because the winner, Carolinians for Reform, is most famous for being the temporary recipient of over $100,000 in public funds, directed from the Governor’s Office late last year … which anyone with a brain could’ve told the governor was a stupid idea. (Sanford is the honorary co-chairman of a PAC run by the same guys, called “Carolinians for Change.”)

UPDATE: Frank Zanin, director of Carolinians for Reform, is also a director of Reform SC. (pdf)

But that’s not the reason Carolinians for Reform gets the first THRASH Award. After all, they returned the siphoned funds to the state, and there’s no reason to think the governor is going to make a pattern of secretly benefiting his buddies like this.

The real reason Carolinians for Reform wins the award is this, from The State newspaper in December:

The group, Carolinians for Reform, has raised $216,600 since August, according to the records…

The biggest contribution to
Carolinians for Reform was $100,000 from Texas real estate executive Harlan R. Crow. Crow is also a founder of The Club for Growth, a D.C.-based advocacy group that has supported Sanford. In total, $127,000 came from out-of-state sources, including $10,000 from Fluor Government Relations and New York City resident Robert W. O'Neel III.

Fluor is a Texas-based company that does major infrastructure work. I’m thinking about using them for my back deck, but I'm still waiting on the other bids to come in.

The upshot of all this is that over half of “Carolinians” for Reform’s money actually comes from Texas.

It doesn’t seem like a “Texas” thing to do, especially considering that state’s well-documented aversion to imposter picante sauce. But then again, Texans are known for their genuine concern for the goings-on of South Carolina government, so don’t get carried away. There’s nothing untoward going on here.

We'll have to wait and see how much Carolinians for Reform and its PAC participate in the upcoming primaries, but you can bet whatever they do will be in the best interests of either Club for Growth millionaire Harlan Crow or actual Sandlappers.

Gervais says, for using the word “Carolinians” in its name while being bankrolled from Texas, Carolinians for Reform is the “lone star” of today’s awards show – and the first winner of a Thursday THRASH award.

The Howard Rich Advocacy & Shilling for Hire (THRASH) awards were created to honor "South Carolina" political advocacy groups that are controlled by, funded by, or specifically created by out of state interests under the guise of representing the actual interests and values of actual South Carolinians.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Howard Rich Advocacy & Shilling for Hire (THRASH) awards

You may have noticed the link over there to the left called “Buying South Carolina,” with the picture of the old guy. That’s Big Apple libertarian Howard Rich, the millionaire developer who is trying to buy South Carolina, one State House seat at a time.

He doesn’t seem to like public schools, and rumor has it that it all started with a batch of bad “band fruit” in 1973.

In past seasons of Barbecue & Politics, we've mentioned Rich a time or two. But it’s not fair that Gervais picks on him all the time. So for the next few weeks, we’ll honor him.

And there is no greater honor than having an award named after you. Just ask Joseph Pulitzer, who has some sort of award named after him for something-or-other.

The Howard Rich Advocacy & Shilling for Hire (THRASH) awards were created in the same vein: to honor South Carolina’s political advocacy groups that are controlled by, funded by, or specifically created by narrow out of state interests without regard for the actual interests and values of real South Carolinians.

It takes a lot of courage to say, “Even though you are a narrow special interest from who-knows-where, I will take your stack of out-of-state cash and do my best to pass this off as a South Carolina idea.”

Gervais says, that courage should be rewarded with a good THRASH’ing. So, for the next few weeks, Thursday is "THRASH" day here at Barbecue & Politics.

Who will be the first recipient of a THRASH award?

Come back tomorrow and find out...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Playin' in Carolina

Y'all might remember reading in the newspaper last summer about a SC native who brought four of his students, young Native Americans at the St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana, to the Palmetto State for a few weeks.

The students, ages 12 - 15, came from their reservation in Big Sky Country to get a taste of USC basketball camp, but they got to experience a lot more than just hoops - including their first-ever swim in the ocean.

This year, the "Playin' in Carolina" program is expanding to accommodate more camps, more campuses, and more students, including some of the female student-athletes of St. Labre. If you want to see how you can pitch in, visit this website. And read Ron Morris' great write-up of last year's visit while you're there.

Monday, April 07, 2008

More on "baloney" SC groups

GOP consultant Terry Sullivan’s assessment of why out-of-state groups like Club for Growth and SCRG weren’t able to tap into their “vast, grassroots membership” to field many State House candidates:

“That is what happens when you pretend to be a grass-roots organization but are really just a front group for out-of-state people,” Sullivan said.

Sanford-friendly candidates don’t materialize,” John O'Conner, The State 4/6/08.

Ouch. If Terry’s not careful, he’s gonna get a bunch of phony hate letters in his mailbox courtesy of SCRG's numerous South Carolina supporters (pictured).

Smear email questions Obama's patriotism

Candidate pictured not rendering “rock salute” during classic rock anthem

B&P News - Philadelphia

The presidential campaign of Illinois Senator Barack Obama suffered a setback this week, as yet another “smear” email attack landed in the inboxes of thousands of Pennsylvania voters.

B & P News obtained a version of the email, which purports to show Obama failing to render the “rock salute” during the playing of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s rock classic “Freebird” at a campaign event late last year.

“He’s definitely not throwing the goat,” said Francis Marion University political science professor Petey Rivers, who analyzed the email for B & P News. “If this photograph was taken during the epic guitar solo, it definitely calls Obama’s patriotism into question.”

The Obama campaign disagreed, saying the photograph is taken out of context, and that neither Senator Hillary Clinton or Senator John McCain have the classic rock credentials of Obama.

“I have personally seen him hoist an ice-cold Budweiser during the Allman Brothers’ ‘Midnight Rider’ and play air guitar during Boston’s ‘More Than a Feeling,’” said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, who says he has no connection to the Bee Gees despite his high falsetto voice.

“I think full I-pod disclosure is in order.”

The email marks the second classic rock controversy of the Obama campaign. Earlier this year, rival Sen. Clinton questioned Obama’s affinity for the Doobie Brothers’ 1972 hit “Jesus is Just Alright With Me.”

"Just "alright?'" asked Clinton. "Sounds like he's a Muslim to me."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

"Sewer Politics"

You gotta hand it to Republican Carl Gullick of York County. He doesn't mince words when it comes to the despicable tactics of the outsider-funded voucher vultures at South Carolinians for Responsible Government.

From today's Rock Hill Herald:

"It's sewer politics," said Gullick, who beat Democrat James Miller two years ago. "And what I've been told is, even when they know their candidate can't win, their whole motive is to discredit you and get you to quit. What I've been told is, these guys intend to ruin you."

With apologies to sewers everywhere, I don't think I've heard it stated any better.

Tom Davis: Hodges donor in his "youth"

If you know who Tom Davis is, then you get an ‘A+’ in Following Politics Way Too Closely. For those of you picking your nose in the back of class, Davis is the Sanford aide who recently resigned from his post to run for elected office. He faces Catherine Ceips in the GOP primary for Senate Seat #376 down in Beaufort. Don’t quote me on that district number.

Last week, Davis was interviewed by the good folks at the editorial board of The State newspaper about his ambitions. In the chat, which you can watch here on Brad Warthen’s blog, Davis predicts that his past political affiliations may come back to bite him.

Enter Brad Warthen, questionnaire extraordinaire:

Brad: “What you’re saying is that you have two liabilities in a Republican race: (1) you used to be a Democrat and (2) much worse, you worked for Mark Sanford.” (laughter from editors, gulping sound from Davis' throat)

Davis: “Uh, I wouldn’t characterize it that way. But um you know, it’s a fact that when I was right out of law school, um, as I think a lot of people when they come out of school are, they tend to be a little bit more idealistic and a little bit more, in my opinion, trusting of the good that can come from government.”

Amen to that. Ask any recent law school graduate (if you can drag him out of his NARAL meeting) and he’ll tell you that law school is three years of left-wing indoctrination. So nobody can fault Tom Davis for being idealistic way back when.

Besides, to hear Tom Davis tell it, what we’re talking about is a bright-eyed kid, law degree in one hand, New Coke) in the other, blasting “We Are The World” a little too loud from the stereo of his Delorian. No big whoop.

Warthen’s post goes on to describe Davis as “a very open, candid, straightforward, sincere kind of guy.”

While I trust Brad implicitly, Gervais decided to find out what Tom Davis meant by his political affiliations “right out of law school” by going to my favorite website, FollowTheMoney.org.

Turns out, he probably meant “1998,” about thirteen or so years after graduating from law school. That’s when he gave two contributions to the campaign of governor Jim Hodges.

Best as I can tell, Davis’ political conversion occurred sometime around 2002.

How much will this matter in District #384’s imminent GOP primary? Who knows? It sure wouldn’t matter to me, and probably shouldn’t matter to the voters of Beaufort.

Gervais says, all that should matter is whether a given candidate is an "open, candid, straightforward, sincere kind of guy."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Barbecue & Politics: The Final Season

That’s right, kids. Yesterday’s post kicked off the very last season of Barbecue & Politics.

Like all the great sitcoms (pictured) this blog must eventually end, no matter how much heartache ensues. In fact, some sources say the only reason Gervais is even dusting off the ol' keyboard is that he just needs a few more posts before he gets syndicated on the WB.

What do we have in store for the next few months? I have no idea. But I promise you this: I will probably try to post a lot of mildly interesting stuff if I’m not too busy with other things, for as long as I can, but not more than a few months.

Whether I can live up to these lofty standards remains to be seen, but if you plan to stop by, here are a few of Gervais' ground rules:

1. Counter-arguments. One of the most useful features of many blogs is the ability to make counter-arguments in the comments. This feature is unnecessary on this blog because the information is factually correct and the opinions are even more correct.

2. Profanity. Don't cuss. The word “bleep” is a useful onomatopoeic device, universally recognized as a viable substitute for an expletive.

3. Anonymity. Sure, whatever.

4. Bias. In some posts, you may think you notice a “bias” towards or against a certain politician or political group or issue. That’s because you are “biased” to think that way. You should purge your mind of this bias and approach each issue without bias, just like Gervais.

5. Advertising. Through a quasi-exclusive arrangement with Google, advertisers may reach dozens of Barbecue & Politics readers, several of whom have paying jobs, with a text ad in a 10-point font that is bound to attract customers like moths to a flame. It’s your money, but I can't imagine a better way to spend it.

6. Agenda. Undoubtedly some unscrupulous reader will accuse Gervais of having an “agenda.” Such accusations will always be met with the same unwavering response: I will pretend I didn’t hear you correctly. Did you say magenta? Addendum? Girlfriend named Brenda? I’m sorry, I just can’t understand you.

That's it for the "ground rules." Come back tomorrow, when Gervais starts "lifting the bun" on some of the most bleeped up aspects of SC politics.