Heard in the Echo Chamber - Volume III
It was a close call, but the Quote of the Week for this installment of FITS' "Heard in the Echo Chamber" belongs to admittedly bottle-fed Charleston Rep. Chip Limehouse, who went on the record this week (lamentably, we think you'll agree) in support of his public breastfeeding bill.
In eloquence unrivaled since the Kennedy Inaugural - or at least since early Season III of "The West Wing" - Rep. Limehouse articulately extolled the myriad virtues of his most celebrated "feel good" legislation:
"There's no downside to breastfeeding, only good things can come out of it."
Ahhhh, yes ... to which we can only add, "True dat, Rep. Limehouse. True dat."
Universal as support may be for this very nipplesary (sorry, we meant neccesary) measure in the House, FITS has learned that Rep. Limehouse's bill may be substantially amended in the Senate, where Horry Sen. Luke Rankin is seeking modifications to allow for public breastfeeding only "when the chicks doing it are hot."
DOLLAR DOLLAR BILLS, YA'LL
Last week the state Board of Economic Advisors - you know, those people who routinely tell us the sky will fall if we even think about cutting taxes - announced that we've got an extra $236 million to play with in the upcoming fiscal year.
Really? And I thought we couldn't afford an individual income tax cut?
Anyway, Gov. Mark Sanford wants to use those dollars to increase the taxpayer rebate from his previously-proposed amount of $150 per family to $400 per family, but House Ways & Means Chairman Dan Cooper is having none of it.
So what is Chairman Egg-tooth's priority? The age-old governmental scam of "deferred maintenance."
People, it's 2006. The state's budget has increased by nearly a billion dollars over the past five years.
If you want to know the truth, the only "deferred maintenance" left in South Carolina is some long-overdue bridge work on the House Ways & Means Chairman's top front teeth, which we're reckoning would cost about $2,360 - not $236 million.
Of course we're sure there's probably also a fire truck that needs buyin' somewhere.
RED HERRING 101
Believe it or not, the Flo-Mo (Florence Morning News) wasn't the Slow-Mo this weekend for a change as reporter Andy Cole broke a big story Saturday about a proposed Inland Port in Marion County. To read the story in its entirety, click on the incredibly long hyperlink below:
Embraced enthusiastically by Sen. Kent Williams and other representatives of Double-Digit Unemployment Land (a.k.a. The Pee Dee), the Marion County project is being backed financially by Grand Strand big-wigs Burroughs & Chapin and is based on a successful Texas model that also includes an industrial airport, industrial park and multiple nearby housing developments. The Texas Project, dubbed "Alliance Texas," was launched in 1998 and has resulted in $5 billion in capital investment and the creation of 24,000 jobs thusfar for the Lone Star State.
Of course, leave it to the Marxist-Leninists at the State Ports Authority and "Little Stalin" Hugh Leatherman to immediately object to any proposal that, oh, we don't know, seeks to actually bring jobs and capital investment to South Carolina. And leave it to them to use Red Herring 101 from Bob McAlister's School of Mass Communications.
"You need to be careful when you talk about ports, because you’re talking about unions," the diminutive Comrade Leatherman said. "If any industry came in this area that is unionized, I’d fight it tooth and nail.”
Of course you would, shorty ... which begs the question: Since 1,400 of the 1,800 employees currently working at the Port of Charleston are unionized, you wanna go ahead and shut down that little job-creating operation, too?
FITS 20,000th VISITOR
We about couldn't believe our site-tracker the other day: 20,000 visitors. Are you kidding? Twenty-thousand people have logged onto our little corner of the world wide web?
Seriously, we're humbled, and we're accountants (or at least two of us are).
Laurie was all set, in fact, to kick off the FITS 20,000 celebration when something incredibly unfortunate transpired: Dianne figured out how to log onto our site-tracker's "unique visitor log" (which as it turns out is eerily similar to President Bush's domestic wiretapping program). Sadly, she discovered that 19,812 of our visits were from Queer as Folks blogger Paul Adams and his wife, Tina.
Oh well, girls can hope can't they?
WHO'S AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD WILL?
Hunter Howard of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, apparently.
Invited to appear on The Andy Thomas Radio Show last week, Howard, the Chamber's Executive Director, was eagerly clearing his calendar and polishing his pro-business credentials in anticipation of working the press until he learned he would be going up against Sic Willie, a weekly contributer on the program.
Evidently leery of our favorite bad boy's propensity to drop "bombs," Howard politely declined the request to come on the program.
In other Sic Willie news, our hero was named "The Terrell Owens of South Carolina Politics" by blog stalwarts Devinely Southern last week (http://devinelysouthern.com/?p=119) and even got the Sic Semper Moronis translators at Free Carolina to put down their freshman year Latin textbooks for a minute and tell some damn Will Folks' jokes for a change: (http://freecarolina.blogspot.com/2006/02/guest-blog-j-clyburn-pedestrian.html).
We're sure Ross Shealy over at the Shealy Barbecue Blog will attempt to reclaim his franchise this week, provided there's not a glut of Oscar Lovelace talking points to get out, at least.
Until next week ... be heard.