Category Archives: Political Circus

Amazon Moving On; Wal-Mart to Live Another Day

BOX CONTAINS 1200 JOBS: HANDLE WITH CARE

Online retailer Amazon probably won’t be coming to Cayce after all – and that’s great news to local retailers like Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us.

During former Governor Mark Sanford’s administration, Amazon had been promised a special exemption from sales tax collection and a free site near I-77 on which a one million square foot distribution center is currently under construction. In exchange, the company pledged to bring 1,249 high-paying jobs to the Midlands and to create a free wi-fi zone that would stretch from the proposed center to the Zesto cone in Triangle City.

Following a 71-47 vote against the tax incentive in the South Carolina House of Representatives, however, Amazon has decided it would prefer to locate in one of the other 49 states in the Union, all of which are reportedly interested in working with the company, according to sources familiar with the nature of capitalism.

“Hell yes we’ll take it,” said Bernie Bugler, head of the Charlotte-based economic development agency South Carolina’s Loss, North Carolina’s Gain.

“Jobs are jobs,” said Bugler. “Not only that, they’re promising jobs.”

Of course, opponents of the Amazon deal here in the Midlands saw the proposed tax break differently—as a potential blow to local businesses. Tea Party activist and former Lexington County councilman Don Treadamay, one of a few dozen protesters who lined up outside the Statehouse this week dangling Lipton teabags from their testicles in protest of the proposed deal, described his stance as one of principle.

“I love capitalism,” Treadamay told The Bug following Wednesday’s anti-Amazon rally. “I love shopping. I love a good sale. I love filling up the spare bedrooms of my Red Bank town house with the exact same worthless plastic garbage you can find for cheap on Amazon. But at the end of the day, when you look at the big picture, we’ve got to support our local businesses.”

“I mean, how the heck is my local Wal-Mart or the Toys-R-Us where my grandkids shop supposed to compete with some national mega-retailer like Amazon?” Treadamay asked to a chorus of cheers from his fellow Teabaggers. “If we don’t send a message now, we stand to lose more than a few hundred jobs. We stand to lose our entire way of life.”

-by Frank Lee

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State Senate Boils Over with Official Business

"More ham, please" - Senator Jakie Knotts

The latest Statehouse stink has next to nothing to do with the ongoing Tea Party Revolution and nearly everything to do with pot liquor. That’s right, in a move that has some local congressman boiling mad, and others holding their noses, the South Carolina legislature on Tuesday declared the collard green the state’s official leafy vegetable.

The 30-12 senate vote in favor of the malodorous green was anything but a lock, as at least half of the naysaying Senators and several of the bill’s supporters freely admit they never eat their veggies.

Lexington County Senator and self-styled gastronome Jakie Knotts sponsored the bill, though he confesses he will “really only occasionally eat anything green—and only if it’s been [flavored with fatback, marinated in lard, wrapped in bacon and] cooked for at least a week [to remove all nutrients].”

As the Daily Circular reports, other senators—notably Aiken Republican Greg Ryberg— do eat their vegetables but can’t actually tell the difference between a leafy green and their mama’s funky-ass casserole. Referencing a 2007 senate decision to dump roughly $1 million in tax receipts into the Pee Dee’s beloved Musée de Haricot Vert, Ryberg suggested that the official state leafy green should perhaps be something else.

“What about the green bean?” Ryberg asked his colleagues in a failed attempt at humor.

Despite the poor comedic timing, which signals neither increased bipartisanship nor a justification for congressional salaries, the decision is nonetheless being touted by some statehouse watchers as a sign that the legislative process may be healthier than previously thought.

“I’m just [impressed] as all heck we [returned from] Hudson’s [Smokehouse] in time [to vote],” said one senator who asked to remain anonymous lest people recognize him for the illiterate moron he, in fact, is. “Most days, we ain’t even [finished] the [ba]nana puddin[g] by now.”

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Fact-Check: ‘The State’ on S.C. Legislature

As The State reported this morning, the S.C. legislature is at it again today – trying to wrap up the latest session of the General Assembly before Sen. Jake ‘Jakie’ Knotts calls anybody else a “raghead” or accidentally outs any more South Carolina Republican Party rednecks.

Surprisingly, Columbia’s daily coupon circular does a pretty good job outlining the day’s agenda. Nonetheless, ‘The Bug’ did notice a few gaps in their coverage, and a few places where the story behind the story failed to get mentioned, probably because The State’s three-man staff is all in Omaha this week, cheering on Cocky.

Here’s what the Shop Road gang left out:

Voter I.D. Bill

The State says:

The S.C. Senate approved a plan that would require voters to present a photo ID at the polls. But House members aren’t likely to go along, meaning a two-year effort to pass a voter ID law is likely dead. The Senate bill creates a window starting 15 days before an election for no-excuses early voting, which must include at least one Saturday in statewide primaries and general elections. The joint House-Senate compromise allowed only seven days of early voting. The Senate bill allows counties to establish multiple early voting centers, while the House allows only one such center in each county. The Senate bill allows absentee voting on paper ballots any time before an election and by voting machine 30 days prior. The House version required a qualified elector to request an absentee ballot in person, rather than by mail or phone.

The State could be correct in its suggestion that the House will knock down a Senate-approved plan requiring voters to show an I.D. at the polls. They’re also not wrong in their rundown of the various compromises made thus far concerning such issues as absentee voting and paper ballots. What The State fails to mention is why the House really doesn’t like the Senate plan, and how last-minute politicking could swing the balance. Veteran Statehouse-watcher Daryl ‘Dizzy’ Homebody explains:

“What I’m hearing behind the scenes is that certain key members of the House think the Senate bill is really designed to punish U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene, who apparently doesn’t even have a military I.D. anymore,” says Homebody. “I’m also hearing the Greene camp is lobbying pretty hard on this one. At this point, it’s probably safest to say ‘anything’s possible.’

Transfer of Power

The State says:

The House and Senate must also settle differences on a bill that would automatically transfer power to the lieutenant governor when the governor is absent for an extended period. The bill, inspired by Gov. Mark Sanford’s disappearance last summer, would give the lieutenant governor authority to act in an emergency if the governor is away from the state and cannot perform his duties for 12 hours or longer. Lawmakers must agree on what actions constitute an emergency.

The State basically gets this one right, at least concerning how the bill came to be. What the paper fails to mention is that state lawmakers have no idea what an emergency is, or what constitutes an absentee governor. According to multiple sources, the entire state has been in a state of emergency since before Reconstruction and we haven’t had a governor who has actually resided on Planet Earth since Dick Riley.

“Looking at the past quarter century,” says one source, “I think we could have transferred power about 95% of the time. Of course, had we done that during Mr. Sanford’s term, we would have really had to haul ass to catch up with [Lt. Governor and notorious lead-foot] Andre Bauer.”

Expunging Criminal Records

This time, The State dropped the ball completely.

The State says:

The House and Senate must also settle differences in a bill that would order destroyed records of arrest when a criminal defendant is acquitted of a crime or a prosecutor decides to drop charges. Lawmakers are still settling on where and how long to keep records of arrest before they are expunged.

It’s not that The State reporters got the story itself wrong, more that they didn’t cover the real story, which once again goes back to nasty election year politics.

“This one’s got Alvin Greene written all over it,” says Homebody.

“The Republicans I’ve talked to say they want to keep Greene’s pending pornography charge on record no matter what the courts decide, and may even want to find a few other charges. State Democrats want to see Greene summarily arrested, transferred to solitary confinement and expunged so completely from the public record that it will appear as though he never even existed.”

More Sanford Vetoes

In this instance, The State is trying to make a news story out of something that nobody who still resides in The Palmetto State would ever mistake for news.

The State says:

Senate lawmakers have more gubernatorial vetoes to consider today. Gov. Mark Sanford has enjoyed his best session yet at striking spending from the state budget. House lawmakers agreed with 51 of Sanford’s 107 spending cuts. The Senate is about halfway through voting on whether they will agree with the House on the cuts it rejected. Among the Sanford cuts the Senate could reject today with a two-thirds vote are:

• Millions of dollars in money the S.C. Department of Revenue is expected to raise that would support public defenders, Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School for at-risk youth and transportation money for the S.C. Education Department.

• $100,000 for the S.C. Commission for the Blind

• $3.1 million to Clemson and S.C. State universities for the schools’ public service programs that give local farmers technical assistance.

Yes, our fact-checkers here at ‘The Bug’ say The State got the facts right, but beyond that, there’s really nothing to report here. Sanford vetoed money for important public agencies, including one that protects the justice system, another that helps our farmers and another that serves the blind? The House did some grandstanding, and now the Senators must each decide what will be in their best interest come November? We could have reported this without even turning on the computer.

–Posted by Bubba Libb

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Sanford Steps Out…Again

Some men are just wired to cheat, especially in the sex-steeped world of consevative American politics.

Take S.C. love-guv and mountaineering globetrotter Mark Sanford. Almost a year to the day after he hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail — all the way down to the southern hemisphere to dig a hole in soulmate Maria Belen Chapur’s Buenos Aries backyard –Governor Sanford slipped away from the Argentine capital for a quickie with ex-wife Jenny ‘Staying True’ Sanford.

According to The Palmetto Bug’s Buenos Aries bureau chief Gina Sniff, Sanford did not notify anyone in the sultry South American city of his travel plans, not even his security detail.

“We were under the impression he was somewhere up in the Andes,” Sanford’s South American press secretary Gillermo Folkado told reporters gathered outside the villa shared by the sometime-governor and Chapur.

As it turned out, Sanford had actually jetted off to the Palmetto State, where he maintains a small mansion for use when he’s visiting in his capacity as a lame duck adulterer. He is seldom seen in South Carolina these days but was spotted in the Capital City earlier this month issuing vetos, according to representatives of several crucial state agencies who had their funding indiscriminately slashed.

Sanford also makes it back from time to time to go hiking with his family, sources say, or to pursue his other hobbies.

“He likes to get a little strange sometimes,” one prominent local blogger told the Bug, referring to Sanford’s interests in coffin building and holediggery.

While in-state this time, Sanford attended a victory party for newly annointed gubernatorial candidate Nikki “You Must be Joking — I Slept with Who?” Haley. It was during that party that the governor was caught on tape getting frisky
with ex-first lady Jenny.

Chapur has declined to comment on her runaway soulmate’s latest rendezvous, but is rumored to be writing a tell-all memoir. Due out sometime after the governor leaves office, Muy Gobernador purportedly chronicles their on-again/off-again romance as well as Sanford’s clumsy attempts to learn the tango.

Meanwhile, owners of the full-length smut tape (which reportedly also shows Sanford denying federal stimulus in nothing but chaps and a hairshirt) are said to be in negotiations with the producers of the popular Pols Gone Wild DVDs.

UPDATE: Recent reports that Sanford, Haley and former press secretary Will Folks left Haley’s victory party early for “an inappropriate camping trip” have not been substantiated, even by Folks’ blog.

-Posted by Frank Lee
(Correspondent Gina Sniff contributed to this story)

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Candidate Greene Shows Savvy Hand

Greene's Nonstop Senate Campaign in Full-Gear

After weeks of bafflement regarding U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene’s meteoric rise to power, answers are beginning to emerge about just how the mysterious Man from Manning became the biggest powerbroker in the South Carolina Democratic Party.

According to a story published on the website of Columbia TV station WIS, Greene has been actively campaigning for the Senate for months, and doing it where he could meet the most people and have the greatest possible impact, while also racking up savings on everything from Doritos to color copies — all the stuff his grassroots campaign will need to take on Republican incumbent Jim DeMint this November.

Instead of participating in televised debates or making stump speeches, WIS reports, Greene’s been pumping hands and kissing babies at Wal-Mart:

A woman from Greene’s hometown of Manning says she saw Greene campaigning. Neathery Elliott said Greene stopped her while she was in a checkout line in a Wal-Mart in Manning while he was raising votes.

“I asked him what he was up to these days and he said, ‘yeah, I’m running for the Senate,'” recalled Elliot. “I said, ‘that’s wonderful.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’m running on the Democratic ticket.'”

And apparently, Greene did not limit his campaigning to the Manning Wal-Mart. Sources have also spotted the tireless campaigner at several other Clarendon County Wal-Marts, including locations in Turbeville and Summerton.

“It’s a beautiful strategy,” says political consultant G.O. Peterson, who calls Greene’s decision to stick to Wal-Marts within a forty mile radius “populism at its best.”

Paxson, South Carolina home gardener Jamal Clyburn could not agree more. Clyburn says he has seen Greene twice at the Turbeville location, both times in the potted plant department.

“The first time, I was looking at fertilizers and pesticides and didn’t know which one would kill stuff and which one would make stuff grow,” says Clyburn. “And since he was just standing there, too, I went ahead and asked him, did he have a green thumb?”

“That’s when he stuck out his hand and said, ‘Yeah I do, in fact my name is Greene—Alvin Greene—and I’m running for U.S. Senate,” Clyburn recounts with a laugh.

“I saw him again the next week, right there in the same place, same green t-shirt and everything, just working the vote,” says Clyburn.

Clyburn hasn’t made up his mind about Greene’s platform, which he says he doesn’t know much about yet. Still, he says Greene is one heck of a campaigner.

“Oh yeah,” says Clyburn. “Just in the ten minutes we was standing there talking about plant food he must have told two or three people about his campaign. Same thing the next week. We haven’t seen that level of political commitment in these parts since I don’t even know when.”

-Posted by Frank Lee

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Cockfighting ‘No Big Deal’

Good, Clean Fun at the Cockfight!

Cockfighting fans got some good news today when a Swansea judge reversed his decision to sentence an Orangeburg man to two years in prison after he was caught on video attending two different cockfights earlier this year. The defendant, Chad Gable, 36, will now have to pay fines and court costs equal to $4,200. Earlier reports that he is not permitted to attend another cockfight for at least six months have not been substantiated.

Swansea Magistrate William Shockley initially sentenced Gable to two consecutive one-year sentences but changed his mind after Gable’s attorneys argued that it was their client’s constitutional right to request a jury trial. Meanwhile, outside the courtroom, several of Gable’s supporters argued that the defendant shouldn’t be punished for requesting a trial when many residents in the economically depressed area depend on the $30/day juror compensation fee to feed their families and put spurs on their chickens’ feet.

Critics have argued that the initial sentence was only handed down after Gable insisted on a jury trial, perhaps thinking his peers would let him off for something many rural South Carolinians consider a cultural tradition and an affordable alternative to “high-ticket” sporting events like USC football games and amateur bowling.

“Some of us, this is about all we got, it’s what we do,” said one longtime cockfighting fan who asked to remain nameless fearing similar retribution in his own upcoming trial.

“It ain’t like it’s hurting nobody,” said the source. “And we usually eat the dead birds anyways, once it’s all done and we sweep out all the feathers and blood and all. I just don’t really see what everybody’s squawking about. It’s not a big deal, is it?”

–posted by Frank Lee

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State Rep. Misses Vote, Claims Confusion

S.C. state representative Grady Cooter (R-Horry) missed today’s vote on Governor Mark Sanford’s multiple line item budget vetoes because he mistakenly thought the chamber was meeting to vote on the state’s official snack food.

“When my office called to say I needed to get my butt up to Columbia this morning, I thought [the vote] was about Fritos,” said Cooter via cell phone from his johnboat on the Pee Dee river. “Had anybody told me what we was really talking about was vetoes I might could’ve waited to go fishing ’til tomorrow.”

Asked how he would have voted had he been present for the much-publicized budget vote, however, Cooter once again became confused.

 “That all depends,” said the five-term Republican representative and well-known vending machine kingpin, who could be heard spinning his reel in the background. “It’s not that I think Fritos is all that bad a snack food, really — sometimes my wife crushes ’em up and puts ’em on chilli with a slice of Velveeta, which is delicious — but if you gonna sit there and ask me, Do I want a bag of corn chips representing me and representing the good state of South Carolina, I do not. If it’s up to me, I’m more a pork rind man.”

-posted by Frank Lee

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