In case you missed it, Secretary of State Mark "The Bean" Hammond's office released its annual "Scrooges and Angels" list yesterday.
The cleverly-titled list keeps South Carolinians abreast of how well different charities currently operating in our state are fulfilling their missions.
Here's how it works ... First, the Secretary of State's office compiles the list. Second, an overweight state employee wearing a sweater with snowflakes and a Christmas tree on it hands the list to the Bean. Finally, the Bean stands nervously in front of the two or three reporters who drew the short straw that morning and patters on and on about "who's been naughty" and "who's been nice."
It's basically like fourth grade show-and-tell, except using grown-ups.
The whole exercise underscores how utterly ridiculous it is that we even have a Secretary of State's office in South Carolina - let alone one that the voters are Constitutionally required to elect.
Is it nice to have a list of good charities and bad charities? Sure, it's nice. And is Mark Hammond a nice guy? Sure, he is, and his puffy, red cheeks just scream holiday cheer to us.
But this is government, people, not a bad talent show.
Sic Willie, who is running for the Secretary of State's office in 2010 on a Montgomery Brewster-esque "None of the Above" platform, wants to transfer the "Scrooges and Angels" project to University of South Carolina graduate students.
"Research students can collect the data and PR students can release it to the media - all as part of their class projects," he said. "We can unlock the idealism potential of our state's young people while at the same time eliminating the need for government to perform what is essentially a fringe function."
Lawmakers, however, said the Sic Willie plan (like Sanford's restructuring) has no chance of passing because it "makes too much sense" and "would save money we could be spending."