... IRREVERENCE, INSTITUTIONALIZED ...

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Who's Hot at the State House?

Taking advantage of our fomenting multitude of male and female staffers, FITS proudly presents the inaugural installment of “Who’s Hot at the State House?” Wanna know who to devote your eyeball to once session’s back in full swing? You have come to the right place. And while we regret to inform the residents of Dorchestor County that favorite daughter Rep. Annette Young (pictured) did not make either list, we at FITS have nonetheless gone to unprecedented lengths to give you the Top 10 Guys and Gals to check out once the bell tolls for the 2006 Legislative Session:

Guys

1. Luke Rankin – Senator, Myrtle Beach

The bricks beneath your feet will likely give you more in the way of intelligent conversation, but Spankin’ is so, so, so (did we say so?) easy on the eyes. Enough about Santee Cooper, Lookie Poo, come sit on our lap and let mommy show you all about ‘good touch, bad touch.’ Without question the single hottest man in the state, let alone state government.

2. Michael Gunn – Lobbyist, Forge Consulting

The best-dressed man in the State House lobby, hands down. Whoever color codes this guy’s wardrobe is a genius and daily trips to the gym have him toned up beyond polite description. Plus, the boy has a slick tongue and an expense account a mile wide to match. Watch out, ladies, there’s something in this one’s eye.

3. Jim Merrill – House Majority Leader, Charleston

Tall and well-built. Relaxed and self-confident. Plus he has the best smile in either chamber. What’s not to like? Our little Jimmy is like Atticus Finch, but we’re pretty sure there are some stallions raring to go underneath that self-deprecating charm. Makes you want to stand up and sing the ‘80’s classic “Let’s Hear It For the Boy!”

4. Larry Marchant – Lobbyist, Palmetto Policy Group

Rivals Michael Gunn for the best-dressed award. Also in amazing shape. Oozes sex appeal, too, without even really trying. Best of all he seems to look better with age, as those pepper-gray locks are always just enough off-kilter or windblown to make us girls swoon, especially when accompanied by his inimitable accent. “Hey Bo!” Indeed.

5. Mark Sanford – Governor, State of South Carolina

A little dorky but an irrepressibly hot tan and he’s in solid shape to boot. Plus, he’s the governor. And he windsurfs. And he has a house on Sullivans Island. Hello! His folksy drawl and Lowcountry plantation don’t hurt him, either, but a word of caution ladies: Word is Jenny doesn’t like to share! I sure as heck won’t cross her!!!!

6. Bobby Harrell – Speaker of the House, Charleston

Nobody wears his power with more sex appeal than Bobby. Never ostentatious but never subtle, either, he carries it with the class, charm and charisma of a seasoned veteran. Those jet black locks and red power ties (always under neatly-pressed button-down shirts) just make you want to loosen that top knot ever so slightly and find a way to keep his mind off all those pesky little power struggles.

7. John Frank – Reporter, Post and Courier

Such a perfectly adorable, sweet-faced baby boy. Just 24 years old and already a seasoned vet at two major daily newspapers, Frank’s ever-flopping hair makes you want to give it a little tussle and see where that takes you. Frank won’t ever make the best-dressed list but he always looks comfortable in what he’s wearing. Plus he’s got great eyes.

8. Otis Rawl – Lobbyist, SC Chamber of Commerce

Oh, Oh, Otie. Can we have another bear hug please? This tall teddy bear of a man can pull off a peach tie and seersucker suit with more style than 90% of the guys half his age. Otie, a down comforter, some vintage red wine and a fireplace are the perfect remedy for those cold, early-January nights.

9. Jim Ritchie – Senator, Spartanburg

I’m getting a little faint just thinking about it – last session I ended up interviewing Ritchie for a news story and had to do the voiceover three times because he got me so flustered. I have NEVER been so close to asking a married man out on a date! Reserved, respected and ridiculously hot, he’s the Jim Merrill of the Senate. Classy and understated.

10. Rick Quinn – Candidate for Treasurer

Remember when the joke was that Rick would be cute if lost about 50 pounds? Well he’s lost the weight but not the blond locks, rosy complexion and adorable eyes that got us going in the first place. Smoke-free, eating right and reportedly on an intense workout regimen, you can be our Treasurer any day, Rickie Poo!

GALS

1. Katie Dunning - Lobbyist, Palmetto Policy Group

Holy guacamole. At twenty-two, Katie does have the advantage of youth but let there be no doubt, this girl is making the most of it. From head to toe there is literally not a damn thing wrong with Miss Dunning (FITS crack staff has checked just to be sure) and her wardrobe and accessories are always impeccably selected and coordinated. There’s a good reason heads turn every time this black-haired vixen strolls into the State House – she’s easily the hottest gal there!

2. Peggy Boykin – Director, State Retirement System

You may not always understand what she’s talking about with all that “inverse annual accrued” accountant stuff, but Lord have mercy there is perfection in this woman’s singularly well-endowed form. How old is Peggy? Who cares! Delicious “FMN” shoe and short skirt combinations also reveal the best set of legs in the Southeast. Girls half her age wish they looked this good.

3. Nikki Haley – State Representative, Lexington

Smart. Sexy. Strong-willed. Nikki’s political stock isn’t the only thing about her that’s on its way up. When she dons her signature pink button-up Jackie O suit at the State House, take care not to walk into a column while you’re gawking. Nikki does own her own clothing store, so she’s got a bit of a leg up on the competition in that regard, but we think you’ll agree it’s one helluva leg. In fact, we think you’ll find both legs appealing.

4. Adrienne Huffman – Lobbyist, Capital Consultants

Someone needs to pass a law that requires “I’m Your Venus” to be played every time this tall drink of water ascends the stairs to the second floor lobby. She is literally the “goddess on the mountaintop, burning like a silver flame.” Bold colors, a full-figure and bright blonde hair will draw your eye immediately, where you would be wise to keep it while Senators and Representatives babble on about this or that.

5. Lindsey Bonds – Lobbyist, Fred Allen & Associates

Hummina, hummina, hummina. Aye-eye-yie yarreeba!!!! This girl walks down the street like she owns the place, and judging from the glances coming faster than stealth missiles in her wake, that assessment is accurate. Miss Bonds is built like a brick barnyard, not like Sir Mix-A-Lot’s built for comfort models, but you’ll still be singing “I’m hooked an I can’t stop starin’” regardless.

6. Clara Smith – Lobbyist, Mike Daniel & Associates

Elegance is still a virtue, girls. Take note of Mrs. Smith, whose bubbly effervescence and sweet demure exterior our male FITS staffers continue to pray is really hiding the girl from the Billy Idol video. One of those rare forms that simultaneously pulls off “cute” and “hot,” Clara has the added benefit of possessing the prettiest smile of all the State House ladies, too.

7. Sara Hopper – Lobbyist

How is this girl still single? Hop on over, boys. You’re missing the boat. Sweet, smart and self-assured, Sara has also made dramatic dress upgrades over the past two years. Previously a fan of “boxy” suits that disguised the full bevy of bodaciousness God gave her, of late she’s been a tad more inviting in her selections. Take a look, fellas. And holla back.

8. Lauren Eaves – SC House of Representatives

Never been to the bill room on the first floor of the South Carolina State House? Now you have a reason to go. Her name is Laurin Eaves and just because you don’t know her name now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the trip. Flowing brown hair and one of the most naturally-beautiful faces God has ever created make Eaves (at 23) a potential long-term rival to our No. 1 Miss Dunning for State House supremacy.

9. The Jennifers

Our original number nine has been replaced by a combination of Jennifer Sparks, Jenny Pressley and Jenny Worthington - all STRONG VR (which stands for "Visual Relief") ...

10. Gloria Haskins – State Representative, Greenville

Classy. Remarkably sexy dresser. And, oh by the way, she is way out of your league. Plus her boys Brian and David would beat you into a living pulp if you so much as look at her in a manner that displeases them. Still, one of the more gorgeous women you’ll ever get a chance to look at in your lifetime.

Wait a minute, where's Will Folks on this list? Oh that's right ... WE ARE WILL FOLKS.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Legislators Pre-File Bills for 2006 Session


While they were snoozin’ at the State, pickin’ their nose at the Post and Courier, noddin’ off at the (Greenville) News, FITS – your real information source – has gotten the scoop and compiled an exhaustive list of all the pre-filed bills headed into what is sure to be an action-packed 1896 session of the South Carolina General Assembly. Wait a minute, it’s the 2006 session. Rep. Skipper Perry (pictured) did not pre-file any bills given a reinflammation of his chronic tetter, but no matter, just take a look at the harvest of possible laws to come!!!

And remember to sing the "I'm just a bill ..." song while you read!!

PRE-FILED BILLS IN THE HOUSE

Rep. John Graham Altman has pre-filed a bill that would permanently duct-tape his mouth shut during interviews with female WIS-TV reporters.

Rep. Nathan Ballentine has pre-filed a bill reducing the size of his abnormally large head and inserting a supplemental appropriation of brain matter to enlarge his abnormally small mind.

Rep. Joan Brady has pre-filed a bill devoting sales tax revenue from any additional cosmetic surgery she may undergo to the Base Student Cost. The BEA has certified $85.4 million in first-year revenue alone.

Rep. Harry Cato has pre-filed a bill that would make him more interesting.

Rep. Catherine Ceips has pre-filed a bill that would make her more attractive.

Reps. Ken Clark and Alan Clemmons have pre-filed a bill that would force all females in South Carolina to attend a “Bald is Beautiful” rally once a year in each of their House districts and wear “I’m with Baldy” shirts during subsequent wet T-Shirt contests.

Rep. Dan Cooper has pre-filed a bill requiring all South Carolinians to join his Anderson County constituents in filling their hats with aluminum foil so as to block the government’s “brainwashing” thought control laser-guided mind waves.

Rep. Bill Cotty has pre-filed a bill that would immediately make all Democrats Republicans, and vice versa. He has also drafted enabling legislation that, in part, reads “Dogs and cats living together, Mass Hysteria!!” from his favorite film, Ghostbusters.

Rep. Laurie Slade-Funderburk has pre-filed a bill that would make her the only member of the General Assembly allowed to wear fabric that resembles furniture coverings.

Rep. Jerry Govan has pre-filed a bill that would remove the Confederate Flag from the State House grounds, where he would then be authorized to wet it, roll it up like a towel and pop Rep. Jim Harrison repeatedly on the bottom with it.

Rep. Jim Harrison has pre-filed a bill that would keep Rep. Jerry Govan from coming within 50 yards of him.

Rep. Bobby Harrell has pre-filed a bill that would give everybody anything they want, all the time.

Rep. Becky Martin has pre-filed a bill that someone else will have to explain to her and then tell her how she should vote once it comes to the floor.

Rep. Harry Ott has pre-filed a bill that requires everyone in the General Assembly to bow when passing him on the escalators.

Rep. Todd Rutherford has pre-filed a bill that would require Beyonce to leave Jay-Z and come roll wit him in da Beamer. Yo.

Rep. Bill Sandifer has pre-filed a bill that would make him 20% less freaky to look at. Co-sponsoring from the Democratic side of the aisle is Rep. Ted Vick.

Rep. James Smith has pre-filed a bill that would require every newspaper in the state to continue kissing his ass no matter how asinine or illogical his comments and arguments may be.

Rep. Ronnie Townsend has pre-filed a bill that would turn control of the Governor’s Office over to the Department of Education. Co-sponsoring is Rep. Bob Walker.

Rep. Dan Tripp has pre-filed a bill that would formally change the title “Speaker of the House” to “Mayor of Importantville.”

Rep. Thad Viers has pre-filed a bill that would prohibit members of the General Assembly and lobbyists from calling him “Flounder” any more.

Rep. Annette Young has pre-filed a bill that would officially change South Carolina’s State Beverage from Milk to Dewar’s White Label Scotch. She has also pre-filed an amendment to the .08 DUI legislation substituting .30 as the blood alcohol content level to be applied whenever she is pulled over.

PRE-FILED BILLS IN THE SENATE

Sen. Thomas Alexander has pre-filed “Bald is Beautiful” legislation identical to Reps. Clark and Clemmons, only the wet T-shirt competitions will be moved out of Oconee County to Jakie Knotts’ and Kermit LaForce’s Lexington County strip club.

Sen. Chip Campsen has pre-filed a bill authorizing a study to determine if he could possibly become any more irrelevant if he tried.

Sen. John Courson has pre-filed a bill authorizing a study to determine ways he can further ingratiate himself within the bosom of the liberal education bureaucracy.

Sen. John Drummond has pre-filed a bill alerting him and Grady Patterson to their immediate surroundings.

Sen. Mike Fair has pre-filed a bill that would require everyone to “Spend a Day with Jesus.”

Sen. Robert (I)Ford has pre-filed a bill that would require everyone to “Spend a Day with Jesse.”

Sen. Brad Hutto has pre-filed a bill that would reduce the sales taxes on his favorite “Just for Men” products (kudos to sic Willie for this one!)

Sen. Darrell Jackson has pre-filed a bill requiring Andre “Ice Cold” 3000 and Big Boi from Outkast to re-record their hit song “Miss Jackson,” substituting “I’m Sorry Darrell Jackson” in the chorus.

Sen. Jakie Knotts has pre-filed a bill requiring all rising South Carolina sixth-graders to “rassle with a damn hog” over the summer in order to be admitted to middle school.

Sen. John Land has pre-filed a bill authorizing the expenditure of $20 million to improve the acoustics in the Senate Chamber so that he can better hear himself talk.

Sen. Hugh Leatherman has pre-filed companion legislation to Speaker Bobby Harrell’s House bill giving everybody anything they want, all the time – only the Senate version of the bill automatically increases expenditures on top of this by three times whatever personal income growth was in South Carolina the previous year.

Sen. Phil Leventis has pre-filed a bill that would allow him to single-handedly filibuster any piece of legislation he wants for as long as he wants even if every other member of the Senate just wants him to sit down and shut up. Co-sponsors include Sen. Jake Knotts and Sen. Luke Rankin.

Sen. Joel Lourie has pre-filed a bill forcing every member of the General Assembly to shop at his downtown Columbia clothing store while in session. He has also filed an amendment to the campaign finance reform bill requiring Gov. Mark Sanford to apologize for endorsing his opponent, Ken Wingate, and to drop and give him twenty.

Sen. Glenn McConnell has pre-filed a bill that would void the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and devote the entire state budget to building a fleet of rebel submarines designed to “ram them damn Yankees back upriver.”

Sen. Greg Ryberg has pre-filed a bill authorizing a study to determine if he can stick his nose any further up Governor Mark Sanford’s behind. He also offered an amendment objecting strenuously to Sen. McConnell’s bill, seeing as he is a “damn Yankee” himself.

Sen. Nikki Setzler has pre-filed a bill that would make “I’m Gonna Git U Sucka” the official film of the State of South Carolina.

Sen. Verne Smith has pre-filed a bill that would require the golf cart driver who totes his rotund old behind from the Senate building up to the State House everyday during session to “waaach eeet fo all da lil’ chil-ren, whose goin' ta waach eeet fo all da lil’ chil-ren.”

Sure sounds like legislation sic Willie would like … but then again WE ARE WILL FOLKS.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Hooray for Peter Pumpkinhead! And FITS iPod!!


With apologies to George Michael, for whom FITS is named ("gotta have some faith in the sound" off the 'Freedom' track - Listen Without Prejudice) ... we've gotta give a shout out to XTC after downing some of Mom's delicious pumpkin pie this Holiday weekend. In case you haven't heard of this band, they scored an MTV hit in the early nineties with "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead," a 'hero biographical' song that chronicles the life and death of an unnamed political figure.

Some say XTC's hit is about Jesus, others say it's about John F. Kennedy - the truth is that it's a great song no matter who the subject is. It has also been remade in our current decade by The Crash Test Dummies, but the band left out one of the best verses. FITS, having succumbed to the iPod bug this Thanksgiving while shopping with Mom in Chicago, downloaded both versions along with all our Go-Go's, Bangles, Cindi Lauper, Wham and George Michael faves. Yeah! Gotta love the jitterbug!! "You put the BOOM-BOOM into my heart, you send my soul sky high when your lovin' starts!!!" Jitterbug!! "I was dreamin' when I shoulda been w/ you instead!!" Love it!!!

As FITS has clearly mainlined herself to iPod downloads and "ripping" our entire CD collection (which we then downloaded onto the iPod) for the past four days, we have correspondingly failed to get any new scoop on our hero sic Willie other than a very polite Thanksgiving Day text message he sent to us (and probably twenty other girls simultaneously since it had no names or distinguishing remarks). Still miffed at our post-Clemson game stand-up, we shall see if our little bad boy behaves himself this holiday season but the smart money says there will be plenty to write about.

Plus, pre-filed bills are here too and in only a month and a half it's SESSION TIME!! Yippee!! Shoes, shoes and more shoes for me!!! Look out Barbara Melvin. This year it's war!!!

Of course what would we know about shoes ... WE ARE WILL FOLKS, right? Boom-boom. Jitterbug!!!!! I love my new iPod!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sanford Refuses to Spare Thanksgiving Turkey


It was supposed to be the launch of a new South Carolina Thanksgiving tradition. It ended up being the latest in a string of recent public relations debacles for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.

FITS has learned that new Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer, presumably in an effort to stop the recent bleeding his boss has suffered in the press, organized a South Carolina version of the President's annual pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey. The plan was simple - bring two birds into the governor's office, write up a witty press release and Thanksgiving Day proclamation, then have His Excellency the Governor "pardon" one of the animals and ship it off to a life of leisure at a local petting zoo.

"Great politics," said Francis Marion political scientist Neal Thigpen. "Or at least it should have been."

As it happened, everything was going along smoothly until it was time for Sanford to actually pardon the bird. Turns out, the governor - in addition to having his legendary frugality offended by giving something away for free - suddenly became more than just a tad peckish (that means "hungry" for those of you who received your public education here in South Carolina).

"I can't do this," Sanford abruptly announced to the assembled press corps. "The taxpayers' aren't going to see a dime of that petting zoo revenue and besides, I haven't eaten lunch yet."

Crumpling the Executive Order pardoning the turkey and summarily dispatching it to the waste bin of good media ideas, the governor then proceeded to have both turkeys returned to their cages, ordering them shipped to the Governor's Mansion for "preparation."

"Now we got turkey sandwiches for lunch AND Thanksgiving dinner," Sanford said. "Ya'll come on over and dig in - but it's BYOC, remember."

Sawyer, left speechless at Sanford's latest self-inflicted public relations reverse, was momentarily unable to clarify the governor's BYOC reference, which FITS later discovered means "Bring Your Own Condiments."

"Governor Sanford is becoming more and more out of touch with the people of South Carolina," said State Sen. Joel Lourie. "This makes you wonder what he really did with those cute little piglets Pork and Barrel."

"The governor fully supports the concept of pardoning turkeys for Thanksgiving," Sawyer said. "Unfortunately, since the legislature failed to incorporate a revenue-sharing plan allowing the state to receive a percentage of this turkey's petting zoo proceeds, the governor was left with no choice but to eat him."

FITS attempted to contact sic Willie to see what he thought of his old boss's latest media stumble, but alas our hero was unavailable - typing away at this blog since, after all, WE ARE WILL FOLKS.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Bad Boy Willie At It Again


FITS was a tad upset this morning having been forwarded a copy of sic Willie's latest post on www.laurinmanning.com, an up-and-coming political website where our favorite bad boy offers his weekly musings.

In this week's column, sic Willie describes in detail an exchange that took place at a Columbia-area bar over the weekend between himself and the campaign manager for Greg Ryberg (pictured at left, on the left). Apparently, sic Willie was not in the mood to talk politics but this gentleman was.

What? Is this really news?

Our hero goes on to extol the virtues of keeping political conversation out of bars and goes so far as to quote himself (first time I've seen that) from a speech he apparently gave to a bunch of graduate school students last week or something. First of all, I thought that's what bars were for, Billy Boy. Second of all, letting you speak to a class of grad students is like letting a child pornographer loose in a kindergarden class. Hopefully the professor gave the girls fair warning in advance to keep their cell phone numbers to themselves.

Does FITS sound more than a little jilted this afternoon? Yes, we do. And with good reason. Sic Willie did not return our calls all weekend only to claim that he "had a little too much fun at the Clemson game" when we finally got through to him this morning - AFTER we had left town following the game, of course. He apologized profusely, but we at FITS are currently not fooled. One of our correspondents in fact reported our boy trolling the Sheriff's lot after the game - a well-known tailgating hangout of young sorority girls.

Come on, Willie Boy.

In utter seriousness, it was disappointing to see such an effort from Willie this week following what was roundly praised as an excellent, well-crafted exposition on the current status of the tax reform efforts pending before the General Assembly. Irreverent or not, he hit the nail on the head in saying that a contemplated property-sales tax tradeoff should have an income tax relief component to it for economic development purposes.

Stick to what you are good at, Billy bad boy, and the next time someone shouts at you about politics in a bar use the two feet God gave you! Of course this will likely never happen because WE ARE WILL FOLKS.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Jesus to Aid USC - Threatens Tigers With Rapture


In a rare interview with the Son of our Lord, FITS has learned that Jesus Christ himself will be tuning into the USC-Clemson game Saturday - scheduled to be televised at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN 2. The game was originally available only on a pay-per-view basis, that is until ESPN executives announced Tuesday that they had decided to pick it up. Jesus confirmed that a measure of divine intervention was at hand.

"I spoke with my Father and we agreed that this game needed to be televised," Jesus said. "It's the 103rd meeting of a celebrated in-state rivalry, both teams are going bowling and hell, after last year's brawl, it's a no-brainer from a ratings standpoint."

Jesus also admitted he has a favorite in the Carolina-Clemson rivalry - The Gamecocks.

"The Tigers are basically a bunch of Miami-like thugs," the Holy Christ said. "And that Bowden guy? What a tool-rod. They are definitely all going to hell. Straight to friggin' hell."

Perplexed, FITS asked the Savior of the World why it was, then, that Clemson seemed to get most of the series' breaks - particularly officiating breaks - if his omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence was on the side of the Gamecocks.

"Well Satan has pulled a couple of fast ones over the years," Jesus shot back. "In fact, Rod Gardner's push-off that let Clemson beat USC back in 2001 was a perfect example. I was responsible for the D-line on that play, God himself was in charge of the linebackers and the Holy Spirit was supposed to take care of business in the secondary. Well, Satan poured all of his evil into making sure that one play broke his way, and I guess we didn't play as a Trinity when push came to shove."

Jesus said there would be no similar hiccups in Saturday's game owing to the budding relationship between the Holy Trinity and new USC Coach Steve Spurrier.

"Coach Spurrier really has us playing within ourselves and letting the game come to us," said the infallible Son of the Alpha and the Omega. "God has beefed up the linebacking corps and Ko Simpson is really letting the Holy Spirit work in his heart back there in the secondary."

Asked for a prediction, Jesus said that while He obviously knew what the score would be, He did not want to encourage the sin of gambling by revealing it in advance.

"The Cocks will pull it out," He of the Virgin Birth unequivocally stated. "Sidney Rice? Come on. The kid is a stud. We made him, too, so we know what he's capable of. In fact, my Father and I were watching film of him from his upcoming sophomore year last night. Wait till you see what he does next year. Unreal."

Like the Tigers, FITS may be condemned to hell ourselves for printing the Holy One's comments without clarifying first that the conversation was on the record, but then again if anybody should know the rules of journalism it's Jesus, and we were going to hell anyway because after all WE ARE WILL FOLKS.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Time Says Inez is Nation's Top Superintendent


The crack staff at FITS has just learned that TIME magazine plans to name South Carolina's own Inez Tenenbaum as the nation's top school Superintendent. Tenenbaum, who has doubled the number of employees at the State Department of Education making $50,000 or more over the past four years, will be featured in a cover story on public education in the magazine's upcoming issue (on newsstands Monday).

South Carolina's public schools rank last in the nation in SAT scores, last in the nation in graduation rates, and according to the latest PACT results, generally stink despite consistent, triple-digit percentage funding increases over the past three decades. The average per pupil cost of educating a child in South Carolina's public school system has swollen to almost $10,000 (compared to less than half that ten years ago) - yet Tenenbaum has led the charge to prevent parents from exercising control over even a third of that mammoth investment themselves in an effort to find a better educational setting for their children.

TIME, which incidentally named S.C. Governor Mark Sanford one of the nation's three worst chief executives last week, said its ranking of Tenenbaum was based on "a clear, scientific methodology that's as transparent as our objectiveness as a news source."

Former Georgia State Superintendent Linda Schrenko, who is accused of laundering public education dollars to pay for her failed gubernatorial campaign and to give herself a face lift, among other personal expenses, was TIME's "Superintendent of the Year" winner two years ago.

And yes ... I AM WILL FOLKS.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mayor of Importantville Addresses State's Economy


The "Mayor of Importantville," House Speaker Bobby Harrell today unveiled his vision for improving South Carolina's economy - a three part plan focused on sweeping K-12 enhancements, a substantial increase in Higher Education investment and a massive transportation infrastructure and government works program he referred to as "The Real Deal."

"I know my dear friend the governor will likely disagree with me," Harrell said. "But I'm running this bitch now. He can sit and spin for all I care."

Harrell's plan - which would raise government spending in South Carolina by approximately 8,317% over the next twenty years - would result in the creation of roughly 350 new jobs, all of which Harrell has already promised to various less-than-successful relatives of General Assembly members.

"I heard Bill Sandifer's brother's sister-in-law's neice had fallen upon tough times up in Oconee," Harrell said. "I want her to know that the Mayor feels her pain, and help is on the way. She will have a brand job with a brand new office at Clemson PSA under my new plan, editing their fine 'raising earthworms' publication and organizing local 4-H meetings."

Harrell disputed criticism of his plan from those who maintain South Carolina is already spending too much money on higher education.

"The average state spends 10% of its general fund dollars on higher education," Harrell said. "We here in South Carolina spend 17% of our general fund dollars on higher education. I say let's make it 20%."

Harrell also resisted criticism from Democrats who claimed his powerful father, DOT Commissioner Bob Harrell, was behind the dramatic increases in highway infrastructure spending.

"My dad is growing peanuts," Harrell said, referring to their family's Lowcountry farm. "When was the last time Mark Sanford grew anything on his farm?"

Still, Harrell was forced to explain three $100-plus million bridge projects in Dorchester, Lexington and Florence Counties. Engineers at each site indicated the bridges were being constructed to provide passage over absolutely nothing.

"While it is true there are no roads, creeks, rivers, train tracks or other impediments necessitating the construction of these three bridges, everybody likes a ribbon-cutting and besides, we've got plenty of money," Harrell said.

Harrell added that specific requests from powerful leaders like State Rep. Annette Young, Sen. Jakie Knotts and Sen. Hugh Leatherman made his approval of the projects a political necessity.

"I cannot say no to my good friend Annette," Harrell said. "That Dewar's-induced gravel in her voice renders me incapable of resistance. When she asks for something from the Mayor, she's going to get it."

Finally, Harrell's plan added several gazillion dollars to the $2 gazillion emergency aid plan announced yesterday by State Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum, but withheld the vast majority of that money until 2007, when Tenenbaum will be out of office.

The Superintendent, long friendly with the Mayor, nonetheless praised his initiative.

"As governor, I will work closely with the Mayor to ensure that no South Carolina tax dollar is left untapped and no government boondoggle is left unapproved," Tenenbaum said, until her husband Samuel tapped her on the shoulder and reminded her that she is not yet a candidate for that office.

Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer called Harrell's plan "fab-foo-goo-tastic, if you are a liberal editor at Time Magazine."

"We have a choice," Harrell said. "We can actually work to improve our economic climate and create thousands of new jobs, or we can have government use your tax dollars to buy a few of them for the well-connected. I think our choice is clear. As for me and my House, which I'd like to remind you is the South Carolina House, I say Higher ed jobs for every legislators' cousin."

Slick Willie, since he is no longer the gov-nah's mouthpiece, was not asked for comment on the Harrell plan. But now you know what he would have said because, as well you know dearest readers, I AM WILL FOLKS.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Inez Requests $2 Gazillion for Public Schools


Inez Tenenbaum (left) today requested $2 gazillion dollars in "emergency aid" for South Carolina public schools following their dismal performance on this year's PACT test.

"We're making strides," Tenenbaum said. "We're fulfilling the promise of accountability. This money is just what the doctor ordered for South Carolina public education."

Last week's PACT results showed one out of four South Carolina public schools is either failing or below average - results Tenenbaum characterized as "not really all that bad when you look at them upside down."

Nonetheless, Tenenbaum held a press conference this morning requesting the $2 gazillion "for the children." She later added the money was also to be specifically earmarked "for the future" and "for the teachers."

State legislative leaders immediately warmed to the proposal, despite the fact that none of them knew exactly how much money a 'gazillion' was.

"The Superintendent is to be praised for her vision and commitment to our public schools," said House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper, stroking his Hitler-esque moustache in a totalitarian but not overly-menacing fashion. "This two gazillion dollars is indeed a worthwhile investment in our schools."

"I applaud the Superintendent vigorously," said Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman, his eyes widening to the size of dinner plates at the mere mention of the word 'gazillion.' "I am sure more than enough funding exists to meet this need."

While Republicans fawned over the Superintendent's proposal in loving and tender terms, Democrats were quick to point out that more money would be needed.

"Say what?" said State Sen. Robert I. Ford. "Two gazillion? That ain't enough to pay the 'lectric bill. We need mo money."

"Our schools do need a larger financial commitment," said Florence Mayor Frank Willis, a 2006 Democratic gubernatorial candidate. "My $3.6 gazillion education plan includes extra Sloppy Joe meat, free Vault energy drinks, keyless entry systems for all school lockers and a brand new laptop with wireless web access for every South Carolina public school student."

Tenenbaum discounted Willis' criticisms as politically-motivated.

"He's just worried about our upcoming gubernatorial primary," Tenenbaum said, before husband Samuel Tenenbaum stepped in to clarify that his wife was not yet an announced candidate for that office.

Gov. Mark Sanford's spokesman Joel Sawyer indicated that the current occupant of the governor's office was considering the proposal, but that any support he offered might be withdrawn at a later date should Henry Eichel at the Charlotte Observer call him and ask difficult questions.

"We are supportive in theory," Sawyer said. "But that could change based on the media calls we receive."

Evidently the only individual in South Carolina opposed to the plan was our hero, Slick Willie. In fact, a FITS correspondent observed the governor's former right hand man angrily clutching the Tenenbaum press release and shoving it into a piece of furniture in his office as soon as it came off the fax machine.

BEA Chairman John Rainey said his office would begin reviewing the $2 gazillion request immediately, but hinted it would receive a favorable hearing.

"We are here to serve the interests of the education bureaucracy and do whatever it asks of us," Rainey said. "I know what a gazillion dollars is, and yes this is seersucker, thank you kindly."

State economist "Biggie" Gillespie agreed.

"Unless it is a job-creating income tax cut, we will find the numbers to make it look plausible."

Will Folks once again railing alone against the wind ... but then again I AM WILL FOLKS.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dowd Obession Fuels Referendum's 2-to-1 Defeat


FITS' correspondents have uncovered the dark truth behind the overwhelmingly successful "Vote NO" campaign in the Lexington Richland School District 5 bond referendum ballot held yesterday.

Yup, Ole Wille (I mean me) is (was) at it again. Slick Willie, that is. You heard it hear (here) first: WILL FOLKS was working the "Vote NO" press on the DL (that's "down low," for readers born before 1970).

Guess the hunk-a-hunk-a burnin' love question is why in the hell would I (Will Folks) work for a local ballot referendum after "playing" such an instrumental role in electing Gov-nah Mark Sanford in 2002. Isn't that kinda a precipitious "where are they now" type step down? And really, is there anybody's door to kick in and throw into furniture if you lose??? (Oooooo yie yie ... that's Saaaa-MOKIN!!!)

Well, according to the FITS' microphone planted outside Willie's favorite at-work smoke spot (garbage dumpster, Southtrust building garage), turns out the whole she-bang (he-he) was part of Ole Willie's effort to impress a female columnist FITS' staff generally loathes (in the form of her face on a dartboard). Forget your lofty small government, fiscal responsibility or "truth and merits" motivations. No such purity here. Forget that despite outspending our hero Will 10-to-1 and employing the vaunted Chernoff-Sliver-Newman-Gregoire (state's biggest PR firm) to run the vote YAY "campaign," there were no such legitimate David v. Goliath over or undertones at work in this one.

Turns out that, like anything and everything else Will Folks does, the possibility of getting laid was at the heart of his latest undertaking.

"Laurin Manning just made me read some twelve page article by Maureen Dowd," Slik (sic) Willie was overheard saying to some chippy on his cell phone at 11:34 a.m. yesterday morning in the Southtrust Go-rage. "She is so hot. I could care less (that) she is old enough to be my mom. Maybe I could sit in her lap and she could show me all about good touch, bad touch?"

After an ever so brief pause in which Slik (sic) Willie's chippy presumably said something, the recording picks up Will Folks' inEmmitt-able voice again.

"I have to do something to impress her," Folks says. "She wears leopard print shirts under black suits and occasionally red pumps and fishnet. And pearls. How strong is that? I know ... I am going to secure her love and affections by winning the Lexington Richland School District 5 bond referendum vote and writing a Sorkin-esque screenplay about how I did it. Didn't she date Aaron Sorkin once?"

Final vote totals on the "proposed but Slick Will disposed of" referendum were 9,490 (67.3%) against the referendum, 4,598 (32.7%) for it.

"I fear Will is quickly moving into the John Hinckley, Jr. realm," noted state psychiatrist Buddle B. Fuddle said. "Maureen's delicious milky white breasts not withstanding."

I am sure you will hear Will Folks bragging about his intrinsically pure motivations and what a worthy cause this was for his firm to take on "pro-boner" (WHOOPS, we meant "pro-bono"), but now you know the truth and besides, I AM WILL FOLKS.

Monday, November 07, 2005

State House Paint, Wall Repairs to Cost Millions


FITS' staffers today uncovered yet another monumental hidden government expense soon to be coming out of your back pocket - a $120 million interior renovation project to the "didn't-we-just-renovate-this-a-couple-years-back" South Carolina State House.

The project will replace all paint and satin wall-coverings on the second and third floors of the building, which designers say have begun to bubble and chip due to "unacceptably high levels of hot air exposure" during the months of January through June. Damage was evidently most severe in the House and Senate Chambers, including the ceiling above Rep. Harry Ott's desk in the House of Representatives and the ceiling above Sen. John Land's desk in the Senate.

"There's obviously been a sustained stream of hot, noxious gas coming up from Sen. Land's desk," said Budget and Control Board Spokesman Mike Sponhour. "The ceiling there is gone. The ceiling above Rep. Ott's desk is also practically dissolved."

According to documents obtained from the Budget and Control Board by FITS (that's Faith In The Sound, yo) under the South Carolina Freedom of In-fo-mation Act, work on the restoration project was started last week by Hugh Leatherworks, Inc., a Florence-based construction company that, following state government tradition, submitted the highest bid on the project.

"We had lower bids," said Sponhour, "but obviously Sen. Leatherman and Chairman Harrell-Cooper weren't about to take those."

Additional problems were found in the East Wing of the First Floor of the State House inside Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer's office.

"There was some chipping there and a little bit of bubbling," Sponhour said.

Bauer, however, indicated he would personally pay for the renovations out of money he made in his controversial DOT land deal.

"As long as I ain't pulled by the po-po again b'tween now an' then, I'll pick up the tab," Bauer said, adding that senior citizens inspired by his leadership at the Office on Aging had volunteered to supply any labor associated with the renovations.

"Eh?" said Newberry resident Clyde Bovinous. "Eh?"

Noticably lacking in hot-air related damage was the First Floor's more prestigious 'West Wing,' where Gov. Mark Sanford's offices are located.

"All of the walls in the Governor's suite were just fine," Sponhour said. "There's obviously no hot air coming out of there."

At least now that Will Folks, ole Willie, slick Willie is gone ... but then again I AM WILL FOLKS.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bandy Professes Love for Lovelace


Boy, oh boy. Slick Willie (I mean I) would have never let this happen. Lee Bandy, the Senior Political Commentator in the State (and at The State, for dat matta), cozies up tenderly to Rod Shealy's latest attempt to bother Mark Sanford in this Sunday's "On Politics" column.

Bandy breaks momentarily from fawning on Lindsey Graham to kiss Oscar Lovelace (left) on the lips (no tongue, yet at least). And then, horror of horrors, he even had the sheer, unmitigated gall to suggest that Sanford's office was caught off guard by this latest demonstration of Shealy cleverness!!!

"Flat footed," spaketh Bandy, referring to Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer's response to the GOP (Ghetto Operative Politico) Gubernatorial Primary candidate's challenge.

Ole Will Folks would have been all over Bandy's posterior on this one, filling His Venerableness with a litany of previous Shealy based attacks on His Excellency the Governor and using that "personal touch" (no not that one, Miss Smith) to ensure that the column inches Bandy was looking to fill had some saucy comment to marginalize the Lovelace threat with a delicate balance of humor, irreverance and personality based wit.

Drinks would no doubt have been involved in the process and damn sure Sherry Shealy-Martschink (Rod Shealy's sister who was unceremoniously dumped from the Worker's Comp Board, thus spawning the bearded brawler's not so impotent rage) would have had her name appear front and center in the article.

Willy, we miss you but then again I AM WILL FOLKS.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Saucy Gervais S. Bridges


I gotta admit, I had to dress down a lot of my friends who got all up in arms about Gervais S. Bridges' Mark Sanford-as-Will-Folks Halloween post.

I thought it was hilarious.

I also thought it was pretty funny two dudes from the Statehouse actually went as "Will Folks" for Halloween. The wife beaters and business cards "Still think I'm Press Sec." were a funny touch, too, but Jack Daniels? Come on. Maker's or Smirnoff. Jack Daniels is status quo, and ole' Willie doesn't touch the status quo unless he's throwing it into furniture.

And then of course this week Will gets the Free Times "Political Faux Pas" award. Or runner-up. Gotta love it. Only the Confederate Flag is more offensive to Free Times readers than Will Folks.

Willie is getting a little overexposed. But then again I AM WILL FOLKS.