Monday, June 30, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
My gift is the ability to see through carefully named groups, usually with Palmetto Tree logos, that are totally the opposite of what they seem.
So when I first heard about “Citizens for Sound Conservation,” our state’s new “conservation” group, I was a little bit wary. Don’t we already have a few effective groups aimed at conserving our state’s natural splendor?
Like the Conservation Voters? The Coastal Conservation League? The Nature Conservancy of
There’s plenty of actual conservation groups out there, doing their part to protect our state’s natural resources for future generations. And I appreciate it, as I’m sure my little Petunia and Gervais Jr. will too.
So while I have an affinity for actual conservation organizations, something seems a little off about this group.
I checked the website, and the group was formed on Earth Day, by such notable
In fact, the organization has no board at all, so I guess the “citizens” portion of the name is purely speculative.
Still, the website had some great links to articles about the environment, such as “No reason we can’t get cheap oil – just drill!” and “Want to lower gas prices? Then drill,” and “Showing ‘intent’ to drill might just work wonders.”
Then there’s “Global warming alarmists like high gas prices,” and “Conservation League should reveal whether it really wants a port.”
Most of the articles are pro-development, pro-new power plant, or pro-port expansion.
In fact, if there’s one thing that Citizens for Sound Conservation doesn't really advocate, it’s the preservation of
But, of course, that's crazy talk.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
From The State, Knotts, Herndon score big wins:
Knotts declared the tax credit issue, often called school vouchers, “dead” in
“Howard Rich can bag up his baggies (of money) and he can move to another state because they are not going to make any headway in
Monday, June 23, 2008
Rumor has it that the dismissal of South Carolinians for Responsible Government's lawsuit against Lexington 1 got affirmed today by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
A less reliable rumor has it that SCRG president Randy Page was seen at a local McDonald's intentionally spilling hot coffee on his lap.
at 7:38 PM
Gervais doesn’t do endorsements. A blogger who does endorsements is like Tae Bo instructor who gives out black belts. Don’t ask me exactly how that simile works, or what year Tae Bo disappeared from the cultural consciousness, just trust me.
I did "Undorsements" a couple years ago, but come on.
So here are “the runoff races I’ll be watching closely” with “commentary indicating how I would vote if I lived in the district” and I wasn’t a “convicted felon”:
Knotts/Shealy: The fireworks stands are opening their awnings, which is good because the 4th of July is coming early this year in
Herndon/Few: This is a runoff between two former Kershaw County GOP chairs. David Herndon has the endorsement of outgoing House 79 Rep. Bill Cotty. On the other side, voucher candidate Sheri Few has gotten more money from Howard Rich over the last two years than his own wife, but has yet to win an election with all this voucher cash. The winner faces Democrat Anton Gunn in the fall.
Rivers/Brantley: As usual,
Young/Singer: In this Aiken race for House 81, SCRG sent out mail attacking Tom Young, so he’s probably the best candidate. I really don’t know much about this contest, so I googled “young singer aiken.” I still don’t know much about the race, but that Clay Aiken really has some pipes!
Should make for an interesting Tuesday night.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
From Tuesday's Spartanburg Herald-Journal:
The common thread between [state senate candidate Lee] Bright and [Tom] Davis is that they are backed by S.C. Club for Growth, South Carolinians for Responsible Government and Conservatives in Action - three organizations that state Rep. Harold Mitchell collectively refers to as the "Gangs of New York" because of their ties to private school voucher proponent and
millionaire Howard Rich. New York
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
There was non-stop music, great barbecue, kiddie rides, crafts, cold beer, and even a cool river to wade in when the mercury got too high.
If you’ve never been to this festival, I wholeheartedly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed.
Here are some of the
Bare Bonz BBQ,
Big Herbs Smokin’ BBQ (
B.S. Pittmeister, Boiling Springs (
Cannon’s BBQ Hut,
Smokin Tigers BBQ, Simpsonville
Southern Hillbilly Smokers, Moore
Sue E. Pigg, Clemson (
Swine Time, Murrell’s Inlet
Too Bad You’re My Cousin,
Up In Smoke,
*My other favorite team names were Funk Q & The Pig You Rode In On, and Silence of the Hams (slogan: “It puts the sauce on itself”).
Monday, June 16, 2008
This is really good news, because now I have zero pending ethics complaints, which happens to be my target number.
Those of you who’ve been following Barbecue & Politics for about a minute know that I like to skewer Page and the rest of the employees of the “
In fact, other than being a complete sham, I really have no major gripes with SCRG.
Some might say I’m beating a dead horse, but to me it feels more like a piñata. Except instead of a stick I’m using a laptop. And instead of candy, it’s slimy politics and out-of-state cash that oozes out.
For Gervais, this stuff is fun. And people get all sensitive about it, which makes it even more fun. It has a high Squirm Factor.
But that’s just Gervais S. Bridges. When I’m not using the nom de plume, I like to talk about this stuff too.
I talk about the candidates who got 99% of their funds from out-of-state.
I talk about the phony letters SCRG sent to the newspaper, and the radio ads that mispronounced “
I like to talk about the oaths against public education, the many LLC’s Howard Rich uses to get around our state’s contribution limits, and the guy who was listed as a $1000 contributor to a voucher candidate even though he didn’t give a red cent.
I speak to the people leading the fight against this voucher scheme, and help them articulate the message about what exactly is going on in
I speak to groups of people around the state who just want to know about this stuff.
I’ve even fueled up the truck and driven across the state to have one-on-one chats with real-life SC lawmakers, trying to fix this problem.
Now here’s where I’ll give you a warning. Before you go gettin’ the notion that you’re going to talk to a lawmaker about a problem, you better keep reading.
I’ve discovered that some folks don’t particularly like it when you talk about SCRG being one of Howard Rich’s front groups. And nobody dislikes it more than someone who gets paid $88,000 a year to pretend that it’s not.
So when I got a call from the Ethics Commission a couple months ago letting me know SCRG president Randy Page had filed a complaint against me accusing me of being an unregistered lobbyist, I wasn’t altogether surprised. The truth is, I’ve grown to enjoy the exasperated “you and your blog” look that my wife gives when things like this come up.
Until somebody invents a machine that automatically turns
And if he thinks it’s a good use of Howard Rich's cash, I’m not going to argue with him.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, black GOP lawmaker allegedly spotted in
Scientists from around the country are traveling to
“This is really amazing to me,” said ornithologist Cooper Hawkins of
Scientists are also excited about the Ivory Bill.
“Sure, I guess that’s neat,” said Hawkins. “But come on, Republican?”
There have been no confirmed cases of black Republican election in the South Carolina State House since Reconstruction, and the last established sighting of an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was also decades ago.
Still, authorities have found the initial reports credible enough to warrant a full-scale investigation, even if previously alleged
In 1971, then-legislator Alex Sanders claimed to have heard the distinctive double rap of the Ivory Bill in the
Ten years later, freshman state senator Glenn McConnell of
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Bill Sandifer: 72%
Ed Rumsey: 28%
From the Anderson Independent Mail:
Sandifer, 63, had little trouble fending off Rumsey in the Republican primary 3,269 to 1,283, according to unofficial returns Tuesday...
Rumsey, a salesman and former chairman of the Oconee County Republican Party, campaigned for school choice and received financial backing from people outside of
at 12:57 AM
Carl Gullick: 52%
Kyle Boyd: 48%
From the Charlotte Observer:
“They spent some money,” Gullick said Tuesday night. “Kyle Boyd seems to be a nice guy. That wasn't the issue. The issue was SCRG. They attempted to buy a seat, and they almost got it.”
The organization put out more than a dozen varieties of pro-Boyd fliers, including one sent this week that claimed legislators voted against hunting and fishing rights.
at 12:29 AM
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
And follow the results of the primaries tonight at SCVotes.org. In the past, the SC Votes site has done a good job posting results as they come in from the counties.
SCVotes.org: Just add soda pop and the trait of political nerdiness, and let the good times roll!
UPDATE 7:32 PM: Results are trickling in over at WIS-TV's website.
Friday, June 06, 2008
SCRG is having some good news days lately if their goal is bumping their name recognition up a few notches. If, on the other hand, their goal is not being exposed as a front group for an anti-public education ideologue in New York City... well, they better buy up all the newspapers they can with all that money.
Anderson Independent-Mail: Oconee County’s Bill Sandifer, a Republican in the South Carolina House, is the latest local lawmaker to come under attack by voucher and tax credit proponents (read: public money for private education) disguised not too cleverly as “responsible” citizens of South Carolina.
Free Times: Perhaps exemplifying SCRG’s role in the South Carolina project, an Anderson County councilman, Ron Wilson, said [SCRG president Randy] Page called him in ’06 and offered him big-time financial backing to run against Rep. Dan Cooper, R-Anderson and chair of the powerful budget-writing House Ways and Means Committee, according to a Feb. 28 article in the Post and Courier.Get your voter registration cards out, people. Sandlapper Super Tuesday is just a few days away.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
The State newspaper recently mentioned a “contract for change” which may or may not be a political stunt, may or may not have been drafted by former Sanford spokesman Will Folks, may or may not have been plagiarized from The State’s editorial pages, and may or may not have been signed by the slate of voucher candidates who are being funded by NYC millionaire Howard Rich this cycle.
The contract is a farce, but truth be told, I wondered if the Hit List Compact had some solid ideas.
By posing as a candidate in fictional “House District 317 in
Here are some of the key provisions:
Spending: Gourmet coffee served at State House to be secretly replaced with Folgers Crystals
Bureaucracy: Mandatory use of “ghost men” on base paths during agency softball games
Restructuring: Comptroller General will report directly to executive branch of whichever state he has driven his publicly owned minivan
Government Efficiency: Streamline cumbersome Budget “and” Control Board into more efficient Budget “&” Control Board
Checks and Balances: Saying “G’day Guvnah” in funny British accent will be jailable offense
Crime and Punishment: First-time criminal defendants get three chances to “roll doubles” and avoid jail time
Judiciary: When liberal, activist judges legislate from the bench, confiscate bench for 60 days
Education: Fully fund public schools, but only if Air Force has a bake sale to build a bomber
Workers Compensation: Avoid saying that workers comp premiums cost “an arm and a leg” in vicinity of workers who have actually lost arms or legs
Ethics: Lawmakers may only apply pine tar to first 18 inches of the mace of the House of Representatives
As you can see, it’s a pretty good pledge. Like the media, I gave it all the consideration it was due. But ultimately, Gervais didn’t sign it.
At the end of the day I only have one pledge, and that’s to do my best for the people of Chesterburg County.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
The folks over at Take Back SC are doing a good job keeping up with voucher group SCRG's various mailpieces as they ooze into mailboxes around the state. The latest one assails a lawmaker for his "failure to protest" a vote.
Seriously, postal workers need to wear gloves when handling this stuff.
These SCRG hit-pieces have covered every topic from gays to gasoline, from prophylactics to poetry, and from marijuana to Mark Foley.
In fact, there's only one issue SCRG goes to great lengths to avoid mentioning when attacking a candidate.
Monday, June 02, 2008
5/28 Aiken Standard: SCRG is a pro-voucher organization that wants to stack the Legislature with others of a like mind. It targets those who have a record of being in favor of public money going to public schools only. And rather than merely supporting candidates it likes, SCRG uses scurrilous negative advertising in an effort to scuttle the campaigns of those it is against.
5/28 Anderson Independent-Mail: In a recorded telephone message received at
Skelton said in the message that, “This group is financed by Howard Rich, a
5/29 Seneca Daily Journal: Outside interests continue to hold significant sway in Rumsey’s campaign, as $3,000 of his contributions come from purported Howard Rich connections in New York City. … Rich is known for funneling money through obscure LLCs, a tactic used to circumvent
6/2 The State: “I call them political terrorists,” said state Rep. Gene Pinson, R-Greenwood. “They’re outside of the state, trying to do a hostile takeover of state government. I like for South Carolinians to run
Gervais says, if the Palmetto State's fourth estate keeps peelin' the onion on the out-of-state voucher lobby, I might have to give out some pulled-pork Pulitzers.
at 12:02 AM
Joshua "public education is welfare" Gross reports that he will attend the Republican National Convention in Minnesota this September as an alternate. Gervais says, I can think of no one better to represent real South Carolina values than Joshua.
And by "represent real South Carolina values," I mean that he recently learned how to pronounce "Horry."