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Snowball Fight! December 11, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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bobby snowball

GOVERNOR, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE GO AT EACH OTHER IN NEW VIDEO

FITSNews – December 11, 2007 – The same cinematic geniuses who brought you the drag-dancing Budget & Control Board and “Sanford Slaughter” videos are back – this time with a holiday-themed snowball fight between South Carolina’s top politicians.

You can CLICK HERE to watch the video, just try not to laugh too hard when House Speaker Bobby Harrell takes a snowball directly in the gonads.

Of course, what’s sad is that this video probably represents the most civil interaction South Carolina’s legislative and executive branches of government have had with each other over the last six years …

The Island Packet Gets It December 11, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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packet

AND WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT SIC WILLIE’S NEW 32-FOOT SAILBOAT

FITSNews – December 11, 2007 – While it may not be as flashy as the 155-foot superyacht “Themis,” there’s just something about getting a good deal on a late 90’s model Island Packet that pleases our founding editor Sic Willie‘s already cheerful nature. Particularly when the 32-foot boat includes teak and holly floor and a brand spankin’ new mainsail. Anyway, as excited as the FITS gals are about Sic’s new MILF magnet sailboat, the Island Packet that’s giving us the most satisfaction today is actually a Lowcountry newspaper.

In a strongly-worded editorial published this morning, the Packet not only slammed the S.C. Supreme Court for its recent bar exam shenanigans, but popped the S.C. General Assembly as well for basically trying to control everything it touches …

If lawmakers move to set up independent oversight of the state Supreme Court, the justices have only themselves to blame. Their (mis)handling of the July bar exam results highlights how little recourse there is to challenge decisions by the state’s high court. South Carolina law doesn’t allow independent investigations of complaints against the court. House Speaker Bobby Harrell says it might be time to change that.

Small comfort that — more involvement in our court system by state lawmakers. Lawmakers already dominate the screening process for judicial candidates and then elect our judges from among the finalists, including Supreme Court justices. Vote trading among lawmakers is a long-time complaint. But if they could come up with a truly independent mechanism, then we would all be better served. We’re just not very optimistic because the legislature has a predilection to controlling everything.

Frankly we’re not very fecund optimistic, either, because let’s be honest here – there are cesspools and fecund swamps with more purity than our state’s fecund judicial and fecund legislative branches of government. It’s also pretty fecund obvious to us that putting the fecund legislature in charge of investigating the fecund judicial branch is a serious fecund mistake. It’s basically letting one bunch of fecund slimebags investigate another bunch of fecund slimebags. And that ain’t fecund right, people.

Just Build Your Fence And Shut Up Already December 11, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in 2008 Presidential Primaries, SC Politics.
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border fence

REPUBLICANS ARE SUCH PANDERERS

FITSNews – December 11, 2007 – If South Carolinians think the pandering of the 2008 Republican presidential candidates on the immigration issue has been intense, they ain’t seen nada yet.

That’s because once the presidential circus leaves the Palmetto State in January, our local kneejerkers are planning to pump up the volume on the issue in a big way. Responding to polls that show illegal immigration as a hot topic among local voters, it should come as no surprise that South Carolina politicians are poised to make this their signature issue as a means of shoring up their abysmal conservative credentials in an election year.

Whatever … South Carolina has about as much chance of solving the immigration problem as it does of reversing global warming. Which is to say zero. In fact, asking South Carolina to solve anything is a lot like giving a Rubik’s Cube to a dyslexic baboon, or expecting your pet hamster to single-handedly stabilize a shaky national economy. (more…)

Egg-Tooth Opposes A Spending Request? WTF? December 11, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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eggtooth emerges

THIS IS A FIRST, PEOPLE

FITSNews – December 11, 2007 – We couldn’t believe it either, but South Carolina’s free-spending Ways & Means Chairman Dan “Egg-tooth” Cooper has actually found something he doesn’t want to spend your money on. And of course, it totally figures that it’s something worthwhile that would actually help economic development in our state – specifically, land conservation.

Sure, we made fun of the whacko environmentalists last week for their God-awful video appeal to fringe liberal tree huggers, but they’re dead right when it comes to the need to spend more money to protect one of South Carolina’s most important competitive assets – its unique natural beauty.

As for Chairman Cooper finally meeting a funding request he didn’t like, well, all we can say is there’s a first time for everything. We’re sure he’ll be back to his old self (i.e. approving millions of taxpayer dollars for totally useless sh*t) any day now …

UPDATE – Speaking of things that are totally useless, check out this recap of the S.C. General Assembly’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session. Hooray legislators!

More Trouble For Fairfield County Superintendent December 10, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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fairfield tower

SUPERINTENDENT’S LIEUTENANT UNDER INVESTIGATION IN ALABAMA

FITSNews – December 10, 2007 – It’s been nearly two months since we were first introduced to the rock ’em sock ’em world of Fairfield County politics … and if things stay this interesting, we may not cover anything else.

It all started back in early October, when an anonymous source contacted FITSNews with a “hot tip” about an alleged scandal involving the local school board chairwoman, Annie McDaniel. Knowing our proclivity for exposing educrat waste, we were urged by this source to investigate claims that Ms. McDaniel had taken an unauthorized trip on the taxpayers’ dime back in August of this year – to a sorority party in New Orleans, of all things.

Well, as we do with all tips, we did investigate – but it didn’t take long before an entirely different story emerged. Not only did Ms. McDaniel’s “sorority party” actually turn out to be a legitimate education seminar, but her trip was authorized in advance by some of the same people who then turned around and accused her of “abusing the public trust.” On top of that, we learned that the Chairwoman’s chief detractor, Fairfield Superintendent Samantha Ingram, had a rather large axe to grind given that Ms. McDaniel was evidently pushing her to improve on the 786 average SAT score the district produces with the $50.6 million (or $13,777 per student) we pour into its schools each year.

Anyway, if that abysmal performance wasn’t enough, now Superintendent Ingram has another reason to be on the defensive. That’s because according to last Thursday’s edition of the Mobile (AL) Press-Register, one of Ingram’s top Fairfield County lieutenants faces an investigation by the Alabama Attorney General after that state’s Ethics Commission unanimously forwarded a complaint alleging that she illegally solicited money from vendors with business before Ingram’s former school district.. From the Press-Register story(more…)

“Governor’s Spokesman?” December 6, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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cornholio

WHEN DID SIC WILLIE GET REHIRED?

FITSNews – December 6, 2007 – This is news to us, but according to the website Sh*t Politics, former gubernatorial press secretary and FITSNews‘ founding editor Sic Willie has reportedly been re-hired as Gov. Mark Sanford’s spokesman.

“The streets will flow with the blood of the non-believers,” Sic said upon hearing the news of his re-appointment. “Are you threatening me?”

Obviously, the good folks over at Sh*t Politics meant to say “former” spokesman, because there’s no way in hell our Sic would’ve ever put out today’s ridiculous press release from the governor’s office, in which overspending, annualizations and liabilities to retirees were portrayed as the “Ghosts of Budgets Past, Present and Future.”

In other news, Sic’s name has also been floated as a potential replacement for Egg McMuffin over at the S.C. Policy Council, although rumor has it his insistence that all female employees participate in “Thong Day” is holding up negotiations.

Ted Pitts Is A … December 6, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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sellout

BUT WAS IT FEAR, STUPIDITY OR AMBITION THAT DROVE HIS BETRAYAL?

FITSNews – December 6, 2007 – By most accounts, Lexington State Rep. Ted Pitts is a good guy who frequently votes with the emerging conservative caucus in the S.C. House of Representatives.

That’s why it gives us no pleasure this morning to bend him over and introduce him to the business end of our disapproval for his disturbing decision to sell out thousands of South Carolina school children trapped in hundreds of failing and below average public schools.

By endorsing a phantom public school choice proposal championed by Democratic State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex, Pitts has completely betrayed the whole raison d’être of school choice – namely that parents and children ought to be given actual choices as opposed to the politically-expedient, status quo-maintaining illusion of them. And that someone other than the virulently anti-choice education monopoly – which has done nothing but fail our children for decades – ought to be responsible for implementing those choices.

All that’s left now is to determine whether it was cowardice, naked ambition or stupidity (or a combination of all three) that motivated Pitts to deal South Carolina’s children this most unkindest cut … and then to assess the many ways in which his sellout benefits the people most responsible for relegating generations of those very children to second-class status. (more…)

Some Love For McMuffin December 5, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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mcmuffin ed

SC POLICY COUNCIL PRESIDENT STEPPING DOWN

FITSNews – December 5, 2007 – As much as we’ve given him a hard time in the past, it’s difficult to dispute the fact that SC Policy Council President Ed McMullen has been a consistent advocate for change in a state that desperately needs it on multiple levels.

That’s why we were saddened to hear that “McMuffin” – as he is known to his confidantes – is leaving his position as president of South Carolina’s most widely-known and well-respected conservative thinktank.

In eighteen years at the Policy Council, Ed has been on the front line of the fight to fix South Carolina’s worst-in-the-nation education system – not to mention dozens of other conservative causes. In the process, he’s emerged as a fixture on editorial pages across the state as well as a key insider player in state politics.

Sadly, the Boss Hoggs who currently run this state have largely refused to heed the Policy Council’s wisdom (examples of which can be found here and here), but behind every occasional breakthrough of common sense is usually a study or report put out by McMullen’s group …

So good luck, Ed (you owe us a couple McMuffins for this, BTW).

Random State Political Update December 5, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
5 comments

carpet world

NO LOCAL “CARPETGATE,” MORE ON PAYDAY LENDING LAWSUIT, WORKERS’ COMP “STONEWALL” & INEZ

FITSNews – December 5, 2007 – For the past ten minutes we’ve been investigating whether or not a carpet and flooring company that has made campaign contributions to state budget writers Dan Cooper and Hugh Leatherman was also the beneficiary of a statwide no-bid contract worth millions of dollars. Of course we also munched on some delicious red seeded grapes, took a long-overdue bathroom break and whooped the New Orleans Saints’ asses in a little Madden ’08 football while we were at it … making us talented multi-taskers, baby!

Anyway, despite some potentially questionable decisions benefitting this particular company by the folks over at the S.C. Procurement Office (part of the State Budget & Control Board), we’ve been unable at this point to uncover any evidence of a pay-to-play scam. That’s because according to the board’s spokesman Mike Sponhour, “there is no statewide corporate carpet contract,” and bids for carpet and flooring projects are administered by the individual agencies “on a job-by-job basis.” So yeah, for now we better just stick with the national “carpetgate” story.

PAYDAY LENDING UPDATE – We wrote recently about another lawyer-legislator shakedown in South Carolina, this one involving thirteen state legislators who stand to make millions of dollars by going after the payday lending industry in a series of class action lawsuits. Aside from the obvious potential for abusing the public trust, we were surprised to learn from a reporter friend of ours today that two of the State Senators who are pushing this legal jihad (John Hawkins and Vincent Sheheen) still sit on a committee that is charged with writing our state’s payday lending laws.

In fact, they’ve even heard testimony in the past from some of the same people they now represent … (more…)

Somebody’s Gonna Be Angry December 4, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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annualization annie

“THERE’LL BE A HOT TIME IN THE OLD TOWN TONIGHT”

FITSNews – December 4, 2007 – If you happen to be a bottle of Scotch currently residing anywhere within a fifty-mile radius of State Rep. Annette Young, this might be a good time to run for your life.

That’s because Young’s hand-picked Supreme Court nominee, Diane Goodstein, failed to make it out of today’s Judicial Merit Selection Committee screening process – a shock to Palmetto political observers (including us) and a huge defeat for Young, who had previously guaranteed her colleagues that Goodstein would emerge from the crowded field of would-be Supremes.

Young also personally delivered several campaign checks to state legislators from a company owned by Goodstein’s husband, former State Rep. Arnold Goodstein.

Obviously, one component of the alleged Beattygate conspiracy has now unraveled, and while we weren’t at today’s meeting (we had an important X-Box 360 date with the Philadelphia Eagles) our bet is that the committee members didn’t want to take the heat associated with fulfilling this particular end of the bargain. Or it could have been that Judge Goodstein simply wasn’t one of most qualified candidates.

Yet even though Young’s end of the alleged deal has now completely fallen through, we’ll have to stay tuned to see whether or not the Legislative Black Caucus makes good on its part of the widely-rumored arrangement – namely supporting Rep. Harry Cato in his bid for Speaker of the House.