Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Breaking News: Dick Cheney is a dick.

Like a bad penny, Dick Cheney just keeps turning up. What's his latest? Dick thinks Obama is making a mistake withdrawing US soldiers from Iraqi cities. Or course, what Dick neglects to mention, is that the Obama administration is following the Status of Forces Agreement that the Bush-Cheney administration signed with the Iraqi government back in November 2008.
Hey...wait a minute. Is Cheney actually admitting that Obama should know better than to follow one of Cheney's flawed foreign policy plans? Maybe I don't know Dick afterall...

The BTPC remembers Coleman-Franken '08: Send in the Clowns.

Franken-Coleman '08 is over kids. And we'd be a little remiss here at the BTPC if we did not at least acknowledge the wealth of material that Norm Coleman's classeless refusal to admit defeat brought this blog. From January 28, 2009 until this post today, Norm has given us 7 posts. Whether it was talking about how inept his legal team was, whether it was admiring his wife's stunning legs (which go all the way to the floor)--like here...

and here...

--or whether it was using something he did as an excuse to post our favorite Kramer video...

Norm gave us the goods. So Salud, Norman. May the clowns be sent in, indeed.

The Space Between...

I have held off on commenting on the fiasco that is the Sanford's marriage, because it's not a topic I enjoy commenting on. For the first two years I practiced law, I did a fair amount of domestic work. I eagerly got out of it, because it is, in my opinion, the most depressing field of law. Even if you "win," it's often not a happy result.

But in those two years (along with just my experience as a regular person observing those I have come into contact with), I learned one universal truth: more often than not, a lot of people spend large portions of their life miserable. I saw many people who never should have gotten married at all, because they did not understand the commitment. I saw people who stayed together far too long, because they placed too much importance on the opinions of others or on misguided notions of what was "right."

In the past week, we've heard a lot about how the Sanfords need to work things out for the kids, etc. I even heard some ridiculous preacher on tv last night saying that for Christians, marriages often become relationships of obedience rather than passion. Folks...that's fucked up. Life is too short to be unhappy. Yes, it would be great for them and for the kids if Jenny and Mark loved each other. But I think it's pretty obvious they don't.

God knows, before a week ago, I would have thought it would impossible for me to feel pity for Mark Sanford. Guess what, I was wrong. There have been rumors forever about how close these two really were. And I think we're seeing that they were not. And with all due respect, if you think Jenny Sanford is the walking incarnate, god bless you. Go buy one of those ridiculous "Stand with Jenny" shirts. But if you have paid attention to this whole thing unfold, it sure seems like she can be a little cold and calculating, doesn't it? And something tells me she did not just grow those traits out of this scandal.

Here's to hoping Sanford just resigns (which is looking more and more likely with the seeming McMaster-Bauer deal concerning 2010 apparently cut) and gets to go find the love he is so obviously missing from his life. Trust me, as a kid from a broken home, some couples ain't meant to stay together.

Finally...I went with the pic above, because it kind of shows just how "close" these two were.

Monday, June 29, 2009

If the Right gets school choice...

Will it help them learn to count?

In the rush to capitalize on the Supreme Court's overturning the Ricci decision, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative commentators all pimped that SCOTUS overturned the Ricci decision 9-0 (Limbaugh went so far as to say SCOTUS found Sotomayor a racist 9-zip"), despite the inconvenient fact that the decision was actually 5-4.

Damn facts.

You stay classy, Rush Limbaugh.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A little Prine on Sunday...

A little of the master troubadour for your lazy Sunday enjoyment. Happy Enchilada to everybody.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Does Jim DeMint want to return to the good old days of the Articles of Confederation?

Jim DeMint is trying to raise some money. In in soliciting for some cheddar, DeMint tells potential donors that he believes "the only way to take back our freedom is to return to the constitutional principles our founding fathers promised in 1776."

Jim DeMint visually attempts to show reporters how much he knows about constitutional history.

I suppose DeMint will be hoping his potential donors now as little about history as he appears to, because any schoolkid knows the Constitutional Convention was not convened in Philadelphia until 1787. Then again, maybe DeMint doesn't really our Constitution and instead, wants to return to the salad days of the Articles of Confederation, which were drafted and ratified AFTER the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Of course, the Declaration of Independence was just that, a declaration of independence. It does not contain core constitutional principles from our founding fathers.

As Salon points out, this could just be seen as a stupid, ignorant missed fact. But when the appeal for money starts throwing out figures related to 1776, like donors giving $17.76 dollars or DeMint's hope to raise $17,760 in $17.76 increments over the next five days, well then that's no longer a mistake, it's just retarded.

Way to go, Jimmy. This will make everyone forget about South Carolina's floundering educational system.

The Chief versus the King of Pop

Back in the mid-80s, Michael Jackson was the hottest star in the world. As such, politicians and their handlers all wanted to rub up on him and hope a little of that heat would stick to them. No one was immune, not even President Regan and his handlers.

So while lots of folks were blinded by Michael's celebrity light, there was one man who donned cataract glasses and refused to pilot the Chief Executive into the sun. That man was our Chief Justice John Roberts.

Roberts was an associate White House counsel who shot down several attempts by White House staffers to tie the President to some Jackson publicity. I guess the Chief wasn't a big fan. Rumor has it, he was a Jermaine Jackson guy...

Burger King's new ad: not exactly subtle is it?

I mean...we all know sex sales. And we all know companies and their ad agencies push the limits on trying to subtly suggest sex in their ads. But this new ad for the BK SevenIncher is a little sad, no?

But what's sadder than the pic, is the fact that they feel the need to drop the word "blow" in at least twice in the copy:

IT'LL BLOW YOUR MIND AWAY. Fill your desire for something long, juicy and
flame-grilled with the NEW BK SUPER SEVEN INCHER. Yearn for more after you taste
the mind-blowing burger that comes with a single beef patty, topped with
American cheese, crispy onions and the A1 Thick and Hearty Steak Sauce.

Awful lot of Mayo on that sandwich in the pic too, right? As Copyranter notes, it is the "most blow-jobby ad" ever seen. Come on, King. We expect better.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A tribute for the King of Pop

In tribute to the "Most successful entertainer of all time" (according to Guiness: 2 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions, 13 grammys & 13 solo #1s), here are some videos the BTPC thinks show just how popular the King of Pop really was.

Arabs loved him:

Filipino prisoners loved him:

My personal favorite, Wedding Parties love him. Personally, Von and I are waiting for all of our friends to learn this routine before we tie the knot:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Rule of Three

We have recently lost three pop culture icons. First it was the man who practically invented the term sidekick, Ed McMahon. Then today in rapid succession came sex-symbol icon (and former spouse of the Six Million Dollar Man) Farrah Fawcett and the King of Pop: Michael Jackson.

McMahon made news most recently for his financial woes. But it seems kind of apropos to me that a guy who really rose to fame in large part to his seeming to be everyman to most folks suffered the same financial woes many people are currently facing. I heard a commentator on NPR say the other morning that when McMahon was asked what he wanted on his tombstone, said he really did not want one. But if he had to have one, he hoped it would read that he "was a good man and a great Marine."

Farrah's poster (pic above) probably hung in more homes during the '70s then pictures of Jesus. How hot was Farrah? The issue of Playboy she posed for as she hit 50 is still one of the highest selling Playboys ever.

And what can we say about Mr. Thriller himself? In reading some of the coverage of the whole Sanford Sex Scandal, I think it was Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo who reminded folks of the old saying that no one deserves to be remembered solely for the worst moments in their life. I'll choose to remember Jackson solely for his Off the Wall and Jackson 5 days. To this day, I cannot hear the Five's "ABC" playing and not smile and sing along. Shake it, baby. Shake it...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Why Speeding Tickets are bullsh*t.

I have a confession to make: when I am driving, I often do not pay attention to my speedometer. I usually just drive along with traffic. Part of that, I am sure is my ADD. Part of it the fact that I feel my safety and the safety of others is better served with me directing my attention to the actual roadway, instead of at my dash.

I have another confession: I think speeding tickets are the biggest BS, arbitrary "crime" we have in this country. First, I have a problem with how speed limits are arrived at. Many of them do not fit their geographic location and have no basis in reality. How many times have you driven somewhere, where if you actually went the speed limit, you would be creating a hazard because the limit was so far below the real speed traffic went?

Second, most of the law enforcement officers operating speed-measurement devices (SMDs) operate them in direct violation of their certified training, IF they ever received such training to begin with.

I recently read a Beaufort Gazette story on traffic radar certification and it reminded me of just how little most folks know about the situation.

Keep in mind, the material below is NOT LEGAL ADVICE. You want legal advice, call an attorney and make an appointment.

My very first jury trial was a speeding case, where the officer was less than honest about the requirements of his certified training. It ticked me off, so I started looking into the training and requesting information from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy (CJA). The CJA training was adopted from collective efforts of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. In other words, the CJA training IS the industry-standard training. In the roughly four years since that case, I have handled roughly 40 speeding tkts and found one universal truth: Cops do not follow the industry-standard training.

So what's the problem? Well...cops go through a three-day program at the CJA to become certified ( or they are taught locally by in-house instructors, who were certified as instructors through that same CJA training). The whole point of having a certified training program, is so that the cops will follow proper techniques and procedures in maintaining and operating the SMD equipment, so the measurements arrived at by those machines will stand up in court. Since it is rare for someone to challenge a speeding ticket, the cops cut corners and don't follow some very important procedures.

This isn't just on the individual cops. I have been told by some cops that they are specifically told by their agencies that they do not have to do some of the things the training specifically requires them to do. This despite the fact that the State's own training manual specifically warns that "Evidence of adherence to all certification requirements and protocols will be required in Court." Unfortunately, there are no repercussions for the cops not following their training. As long as they "recertify" they never lose their "certification" for failing to follow their training. So in essence, the training is certificate is worthless.

A speeding case is very similar to a DUI case. In both instances, the be-all-end-all of the State's case is likely a reading from a machine that utilizes scientific principles. That means in both types of cases, the most important witness against the Defendant is usually going to be a machine. In this country, every Defendant has constitutionally-protected Due Process rights which guarantee them the right to confront the witnesses against them. How does one confront a machine? Easy...proper records must be kept of the maintenance and operation of that machine, so that a Defendant can challenge whether or not the machine was properly working at the time it provided the reading against the Defendant.

Now in SC, we have statutory laws that handle that for DUIs. The South Carolina Code sets out specific instructions on what information the State has to preserve and provide to Defendants charged with such violations. Case law provides further illumination on what must be provided, as well as establishing precedent for remedies in cases where the rules aren't followed.

Unfortunately, speeding law lacks these helpful tools. And when cops don't follow the steps in their training that would preserve this information, it is lost forever, thus depriving Defendants of the right to use that information in their defense.

However, in SC we do have Rules of Evidence and case law that lay out what thresholds must be met for such scientific evidence to be allowed in as evidence. Those can help us understand some bare minimums that must be met for the evidence to come in. Herein lies an additional problem. By failing to follow the CJA program, cops are failing the very quality control measures that are recognized by their peers as being essential to determining the reliability of the underlying science. That is a problem. Because while Courts have acknowledged the general acceptance of the underlying science behind radar in speeding cases, the State still has to prove the machines were properly working at the time of the prosecuted violation. And that means meeting the Rules of Evidence standard.

Of course, for most people, whether or not to pay a ticket is usually an economic decision, not a guilty-or-not-guilty one. The cost of hiring an attorney is usually going to be greater than any fine for the actual violation. However, if you want to fight one...give your local criminal defense attorney a call.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

FBI unwilling to look for the "painted house?"

You've probably heard that NY is getting a nice, new football stadium and that Giants' Stadium is going to be torn down.

So that presents a unique opportunity for the FBI: if they wanted to, they could finally snoop around the stadium and see if they can find Jimmy Hoffa. Unfortunately, it looks like the FBI has no interest working to prove or disprove that popular theory of the missing union leader's resting place.

The FBI officially punted that idea back in 1989.

"Never say never, but it is a remote possibility he is buried there,"
said Special Agent Hal Helterhoff then, after the investigation failed to find
"any substantiation."

The teardown changes nothing, said Special Agent Bryan Travers

"If there was some credible information, we wouldn't wait until the
stadium was being demolished," he said. "We would go in there and aggressively
look for it ...

"We would never wait this long. ... We would have no problem digging a
giant hole at the 50-yard line if we thought there was reason to act," he

"No, there are no plans," said Alice McGillion, spokeswoman for the New
Meadowlands Stadium Corp., the company formed to build the privately financed
new home of the Giants and the New York Jets, and tear down the old one.

I find it hard to believe Geraldo hasn't talked his bosses at Fox into letting him go digging around.

Then again, maybe it's just that the FBI believes Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran's accounts of what happened to the union leader. Sheeran was a union leader from Delaware and Philadelphia. But apparently his main job was "painting houses" (aka whacking people for the mob). He also specialized in "carpentry" (disposing of bodies.) Sheeran confessed to being involved in Hoffa's disappearance. More than being "involved," Sheeran confessed to pulling the trigger in the 2004 book on his life authored by former chief deputy Delaware AG, Charles Brandt: "I Heard You Paint Houses." Sheeran claimed to have been given the job by mob boss Russell Bufalino. The theory is that Hoffa, pissed because they wouldn't let him have control of the unions back, was going to rat about the mobs entanglement with the Teamsters pension funds.

How true is Sheeran's claim? According to a blurb on the book:

"Sheeran's confession that he killed Hoffa in the manner described in the book
is supported by the forensic evidence, is entirely credible and solves the Hoffa
mystery."- Michael Baden, M.D., former Chief Medical Examiner of the City of
New York

I mean, damn...if Dr. Baden says it's so, who am I to argue? I read the book back when it came out and I'm not sure what forensic evidence Baden is alluding to. I think maybe there was a hair found in a car that was used, but that doesn't prove anything other than Hoffa may have at one time been in the car. In 2004, investigators tested blood-stained boards from the home where Sheeran alleged the hit took place and the blood was not Hoffa's.

Then again, "The Iceman" Richard Kuklinski, also is alleged to have claimed involvement in Hoffa's disappearance. (And if you've never watched the HBO documentaries where Dr. Park Dietz interviews the Iceman, you should. He was one cold bastard).

Hey...the good news is that "The Irishman's" story may be coming to the big screen with none other than the powerhouse Scorsese-DeNiro duo directing/acting respectively. Hey...fuggitaboutit.

Mousavi: I am ready for death.

Tehran is erupting in violence. The picture with the crowd is allegedly Mousavi addressing a rally today, where at some point, he allegedly told the crowd he is "ready for death."

There are reports of security forces firing into crowds and of helicopters spraying marchers with some kind of chemically treated water (looks like it may be CS tear gas crystals mixed in water) which makes the skin feel like it is scalding.

The best western site I have found to follow this is Andrew Sullivan's "The Daily Dish." This appears that if may turn into the first revolution ever twitterized. Seriously, regardless of what happens in Iran, Twitter has justified it's existence over the past week, as the majority of info coming out of Iran is the medium usually reserved for Lindsey Lohan telling us she just enjoyed asparagus carpacchio at Wolfgang's new Bistro.

Every Iranian expert I've managed to read yesterday and this morning has said today is the tipping point in Iran. If they powers that be fail to put these protesters down today, Iran's course may very well be altered. So check online tonight and see what happens.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Stay classy, John Ensign

If you paid any attention to the news this week, you saw where Senator John Ensign (R-NV) admitted to having an affair with a married woman who not only worked on his staff, but whose husband also worked for him.

While it's bad enough the Senator had an affair, it's even worse that in admitting to it, he chose to have his staff leak that his hand was forced, basically accusing the cuckolded husband had attempted to extort him. (And it's simply just downright funny that these two guys met through Promise Keepers).

Ensign better be shooting straight on this. Because if he isn't he just handed Doug Hampton one hell of a defamation lawsuit. The Las Vegas Sun has a copy of a letter Hampton sent to Fox News 5 days before Ensign did his mea culpa. While that letter doesn't prove Hampton did not attempt to extort Ensign, it lays out some easily verifiable facts about what happened once he found it. If those bad boys check out and Ensign can't prove this guy tried to extort money from him, he could very well get lit up by a jury. What person doesn't think a jury would want to stick it to a sleezebag politician who not only slept with his friends wife, but did it while being a "promise keeper" and then threw the friend under the bus when explaining why he was admitting the affair. Classy, John. Real classy.

In an effort to wipe some the stink off his own ass, he may have opened himself up to having a big chunk taken out of it. Couldn't have happened to a classier fella.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A lost classic

Messing around in the wastelands that is summer programming, I was searching YouTube this evening and ran across one of my all-time favorite '80s shows: Steven Banks' Home Entertainment Center. Banks later had a show (see pic) but it was this one-man show he toured around playing which Showtime put on the air that really put him on stage.

I can never think of Brigette Nielsen without thinking of the her "mammary glands..."

Anyway, click here to watch it. (It's broken into several parts. It's worth it, trust me).

Tuesday Night is Ladie's night (for rock on...)

An all-gal version of Rock on. Hey...it's summer. Consider this our Lilith Fair.

A little British bombshell in Duffy...

As the Boss once said, I don't know how many girls you've dated, but you've never lived 'till you've had your tires rotated...by a red-headed woman...And Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis is one sexy red head.

An little something from Ms. Lemon Lover herself, Aslyn

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kate Gosselin to her daughter: "Yeah...well people in hell want water too, Mady."

Today, it's depriving her daughter Mady of water. Obviously tired and thirsty from sitting in front of a kleig lights and cameras, Mady tells her mom she's going to get dehydrated. Kate is too busy telling Alexis how adorable balancing her hat on her head is, because...you know...that will make great tv.

Mady points out to her mom that she hasn't had a drink all day, which reminds Fraulein Kate that's she's a little parched herself. After getting her own bottle of water and taking a sip, RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER DAUGHTER, she puts the top on and places it on the other side of the chair, just in case Mady got a little handsy and tried to get herself a drink. Kate then explains that after the next interview, "Judy" will somehow manage to get you kids some drinks. That's right kids...you're the B listers here. In case you missed it, with all the hot adultery rumors going on and with her bikini photos out there, Mama is hot shit. You younguns can wait.

After Mady tells her mom, "You are so mean. You drank it right in front of my face." Kate makes a half-hearted effort to get it to her before explaining, "we can't right now, we're going on."

Mother of the Year! (in Dick Cheney's Opinion...)

Hey Mitt, I've got a question...

Why are you such a douche?

Seriously, on This Week this morning, the Romster managed to find a way to blame Obama for what is going on in Iran:

"[T]he comments by the president last week that there was a robust debate
going on in Iran was obviously entirely wrong-headed. What has occurred is that
the election is a fraud, the results are inaccurate, and you're seeing a brutal
repression of the people as they protest.
"The president ought to come out
and state exactly those words, indicate that this has been a terribly managed
decision by the autocratic regime in Iran.

"It's very clear that the president's policies of going around the
world and apologizing for America aren't working.... [J]ust sweet talk and
criticizing America is not going to enhance freedom in the world."

What. A. Hack.

Hey, Mitt...how can you say there was not a "robust debate" going on? The challenger apparently won. Seems like the robust debate actually worked. Unfortunately, now...the powers that be are refusing to acknowledge the results of that debate. You ought to know all about spinning the results of a debate. Think back to when your campaign said you won some of those Presidential debates...

As Benen points out, Scarborough is the voice of sanity for the GOP here:

"[T]he law of unintended consequences came in again. I suspect that Cairo
speech really scared the grand ayatollahs in Iran. If they were going to fix an
election, this was the time to fix it, because the last thing they wanted to do
was Barack Obama take credit for reformers winning in Iran, like they already
have in Lebanon. And by the way, in the short term that's bad news for us. I
think in the long term, though -- if the ayatollahs are seen stealing an
election, as a result from what Barack Obama did in Cairo -- I actually think
that's a positive for the United States and Iran in the long run."

Wow...it's getting biblical in Iran.

Biblical as in God is coming into the picture. Andrew Sullivan has had Farsi speaking readers translating articles for him throughout the last 48 hours and his most recent post is BIG:

Grand Ayatollah Sanei in Iran has declared Ahmadinejad's presidency illegitimate
and cooperating with his government against Islam. There are strong rumors that
his house and office are surrounded by the police and his website is filtered.
He had previously issued a fatwa,
against rigging of the elections in any form or shape, calling it a mortal sin.

I've got a feeling it's about to get ugly in Iran...

This is the end...

This is the end, Beautiful friend

This is the end my only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end

Of everything that stands, the end...

(We may be seing the birth of a revolution in Iran, folks.)

Saturday night rockin' out

A little D:

A little D doing the Who:

A little Steve Earle:

And finally, so for those who want to feel like they're closing out the night at Bar None, a little Rage:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

If you really want to tie your room together...

Then you should check out this website: http://www.lebowskipainting.com/

I may not know art, but I know what I like. And the painting above is classy. It comes as a poster for just $19.99. Or for you high-faluttin art lovers, on rolled canvas or stretched canvas for "big money."

I mean, it's no Jackie Treehorn, hand-drawn doodle of a penis, but not all of us can own certifiable masterpieces.

Stop. Hammer time...

Have you seen the latest in flashmobs, the Hammer Pants Flashmob? Good stuff.

Hattip, Pop Candy.

He ran for the President of Iran...

We ran together to a tropical island...

Looks like shit is breakin' off over in Iran. In case you missed it, they had elections over there this week and the big one was the presidential election, where a fella named Mir Hossein Mousavi is challenging the "very, hairy Jake Gyllenhall to me" incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Government officials, including the true leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have declared the Brokeback lookalike the winner. Looks like the people ain't having it.

Riot police clashed with supporters of presidential candidate Mir Hossein
Mousavi in the center of the city Saturday evening after the government declared
that he had been defeated in a landslide by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Tear
gas and batons were used by police to battle angry crowds, a bus was set on fire
and explosions were heard in the distance.

On some streets, the protesters pushed back the riot police. Women wrapped their headscarves around their faces to ward off the tear gas. Stones were thrown at the police.


Mousavi issued a statement vowing not to "surrender," calling the election
results "treason to the votes of the people." He added that Iranians would not
"respect those who take power through fraud."

By all accounts, Moussavi was headed to a win and the mullahs got sacred. As one man said: “They didn’t rig the vote,” claimed this man, who showed his ministry identification card but pleaded not to be named. “They didn’t even look at the vote. They just wrote the name and put the number in front of it.”

This is big, folks. "Nuclear threat? The only threat I see, is the threat of you not coming home to me..."

Ahmadinejad released his own statement, enlisting the help of Adam and Andy:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Batshit Bachman is Back, Baby...

Steve Benen has a post up pointing out Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachman's most recent ridiculousness. It's pretty damn funny what Batshit Bachman is complaining about now.

Bachman is accusing the Obama administration of creating a "gangster government" where only businesspeople with ties to Democrats will be able to thrive. As proof of this, she points to a story about Dem. Senator Amy Klobuchar helping GMC dealer Paul Walser keep his dealership, Bloomington Pontiac GMC, open. Just one little problem: "Her primary piece of evidence is a dealership in her own state owned and operated by a Republican who hasn't contributed to a Democrat on the federal level in at least 10 years."
Some highlights:
$6,700 to Michele Bachmann
$43,000 to the Minnesota
Republican Party
$5,100 to Norm Coleman
$7,350 to Bush and McCain
$0 for Democrats

As Jed Lewison summarized:

That leaves us with two possibilities: either the Obama administration [officials] are the least competent conspirators ever, or Michele Bachmann is a paranoid and delusional freak.

Uh...I'm going with answer B, Jed.

Mayor Wukela: "There is no free lunch."

Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela held a press conference today, to explain to the people of Florence the proposed millage increase in the proposed city budget.

SCNow has an article up. If you are interested in hearing the entire presser, the whole thing is up on blip.tv.

I'd urge people to check it out. Especially, the folks that commented in the SCNow article. The reality of the matter is that if we don't get a new fire station, our ISO rating will go down. What does that mean? It means everyone's property insurance would go up. So if we fail to build the station now, we are all going to see an increase in our property insurance. Now here's the rub. If that ISO rating goes down, it will take years to get it back. It would not simply go back to the better rating with the addition of a new station. So, if we do the millage increase later, say after the ISO rating goes down, we'll have the millage increase along with higher property insurance rates. So we're going to have to do it, so we might as well do it and get a benefit from it.

Our millage level currently in the City right now is the same level it was at in 1970. But the cost of keeping that rate there has meant we have not added vital infrastructure and services, despite the City's dramatic increase in area. Think of all the new expansion on the south side of town, then think of where the nearest city fire station is. They can't get to houses over on the south side of the city in time.

For those who don't think the time is right, watch the presser. Actually, given the city's financial health right now, this is actually the best time to do these things, because the city can borrow money at very good rates, given the economy and the city's great rating, and with the financial health, most of the increased revenue could be used directly to pay off the bonds now.

Anyway, check out the press conference yourself and see what is proposed and what actual effect it would have on you.

Shep Smith versus Rush and the rest

Give it up for Shep Smith. The man has increasingly become the lone, sane voice of reason over at FoxNews. And for that, he is now feeling the heat from conservatives, including Grand Poobah of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh.

What's got them riled up? Remember that DHS report from a while back? You know the one about extremists here in the US. The one Republicans got all worked up over, claiming this was nothing more than the Obama administration targeting conservatives. Well, Shep pointed out what is painfully honest: the report was right. And you know what...all the crap that comes out of the mouths of these pundits isn't helping matters. The other day on his show, a friend told me that Rush actually used the phrase Obama's socialization of America had to be stopped "by any means necessary."

O'Reilly ran numerous segments on Dr. Tiller and calling ham a "baby killer" and referring to his clinic as a "death mill."

These people use this inciteful rhetoric and then want to act like they hold no responsibility for the extreme acts that occur as a result of unstable people acting on that rhetoric. I thought a core tenet of conservatism was personal responsibility.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sorry, but we've been tied up...

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. We had a jury case that has taken up all of our time. The presentation of evidence and arguments are over, so we're just waiting around on the jury. Once its over and we have fully caught up at the office (and recuperated), we'll put our nose back to the technological grindstone...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

DeCosta is Da Man

The BTPC's favorite Charleston thesbian is getting a little pub. John Stoehr has a nice write up for Spoleto Buzz on Lake City homeboy Brian De Costa. Our baby's all grown up...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

St. Peter better get ready to have that pebble snatched from his hand...

Actor David Carradine was found dead in his Bangkok hotel room today, in what was an apparent suicide. One night in Bangkok indeed, Murray Head. Here's hoping he finds another grasshopper in the Pearly Gates.

SC Supremes hears the Pig-in-the-poke-Governor's Case

In case you missed it, the Supreme Court of South Carolina heard oral argument yesterday in the battle Governor Mark Sanford is waging against the State Legislature, over accepting federal stimulus money. (Click here to watch streaming video, courtesy of SCETV).

You may be wondering, why Sanford would want to refuse over $700 million of federal funds. After all, won't this money be spent somehow? And if so, should not the Governor of South Carolina prefer to have it spent in South Carolina, to benefit us Sandlappers? If you have to ask these questions, then you don't know the Porcine Prince. As the carpet at the Statehouse can attest, there is nothing our Governor will not stoop to (or step on) for political grandstanding.

Make no mistake about it, grandstanding is all this is. Sanford's argument is that he opposes this money for philosophical/ideological reasons. See...he's for less government. This is government spending run amok! Of course, Sanford has no answer to most obvious dilemma with his rock-solid political ideological stand: Governor, won't your actions lead to South Carolinians essentially having to "pay the mortgage but not get the house?" Of course it will. But that doesn't concern Sanford.

See, Sanford is doing this so he can run for President and claim "I was the only Governor who did not accept federal stimulus money." While we at the BTPC have yet to get our hands on an advance copy of Sanford's speech announcing his impending Presidential run, we feel confident in saying that sentence above will not be followed in the speech by anything resembling the the following: "And I did not accept it despite the fact my constituents would still be stuck with the tab and that the money would have been used for public schools, which if you know anything about South Carolina, you would know are in a desperate state of affairs. But who doesn't like a man who stands on principle!"

Anyone who follows state politics knows that Sanford's oak-like adherence to his ideology only pops up when it benefits his ambitions. For instance, see his stance on the "I believe" license plates, which we discussed here. Back then, we asked:
Where is "less government is what we need" Governor Sanford in all this? I mean,
after all, he could have stopped this colossal waste of taxpayer money by
vetoing it. I mean, we all know he has no problems vetoing stuff. But no...Marky
Mark took the cowards way out and did not veto or sign the damn thing. Of
course, by vetoing it, he would have offended all the god-fearing Christians in
the State, and we all know reelection comes before principles. But he could not
have signed it and ran for President, because even he knows its blatantly
unconstitutional. Hence the do-nothing move. Way to roll strong, Guv.

So Sanford can keep peddling the principle angle all he wants. We're not buying it.

The true shame in all this, is the money at stake (at least about$350 million of it) is targeted for public education. So Sanford's actions are actually targeting our school children and the teachers who educate them. That is no coincidence either. Sanford has done all he can to decimate public education in this state and has been cashing Howard Rich's checks and laughing it up while doing it.

So how cool is it that Sanford's latest grandstanding is being stopped by two students who have stepped up and called him to the carpet. The cases the Supremes heard oral argument on were brought by 18-year old High School student Casey Edwards and 3rd year law student Justin Williams. Attorney Dwight F. Drake, who is representing Ms. Edwards, stated in a recent email that Sanford's efforts "are damaging to the future of every school child in South Carolina. His efforts undermine attempts to lessen the impact of the current recession. His efforts create uncertainty for thousands of school teachers who don't know whether they will be employed and teach our children this fall."

The State newspaper reported that Sanford said Monday he would not appeal any ruling by the Supremes and that he expected to lose. (Editor's update: He was right. The Supremes handed down their decision today ordering Sanford to take the money). And there you have Mark Sanford. Mr. Less Government himself admitting that this is all just a show. Meanwhile, South Carolinian school children face a July 1st deadline for our state to apply for this money.

A long time ago, a member of royalty once responded to being informed that the peasants had no bread by saying, "Let them eat cake." With this ridiculous lawsuit and grandstanding act, Mark Sanford has shown what he thinks of his constituents: he thinks they should eat cake.

Is there any doubt that Justice Donald Beatty hit the mark yesterday when he pointed out to our wannabe-monarch's attorneys that "It doesn't mean he's King."