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time for a cool change

Feb 03, 2016 -- 12:05pm

A bill is making its way through the SC legislature that would put the Governor and Lt. Governor on the same ticket (much like President and Vice-President) instead of voting on them separately, which is how we’ve always done it.    I think it’s a no-brainer.   The way it is, you have the possibility of electing 2 people from different parties…although in SC, electing a Democrat to anything is pretty far-fetched.

I think this is just a start to what we should be doing with our Constitutional officers.   I think most, if not all should be taken out of the public’s hands and put into the hands of the Governor.   

Now, there are pitfalls to allowing the Governor to have this appointment power, such as paying off favors to big donars and avid supporter or giving positions to your cronies.    Will that happen?   Probably to a degree.     But that’s how we handle it Federally….the President gets his or her picks of Secretary of State, Treasurer, Defense, Education, etc.    Why?   Because most of these are positions require a specific skill-set and the average voter doesn’t know which candidate possesses those skills.   This isn’t a knock on SC voters….I’m saying even the most educated voter wouldn’t know who’s the best person for Agriculture Secretary of Adjutant General.   

Do you even know what the Adjutant General does?    No?    He’s the leader of the SC National guard.   Kind of an important job, but instead of garnering that job through merit and hard work, it comes down to popularity contest and who has the most money to buy the most yard signs.    Or maybe your name appears first alphabetically.    Or your name sounds friendlier.     Whatever the case, it’s too important to be left to the whim of the voting public.    That’s why I’m happy they changed the rules for this position at least, and starting in 2019, it WILL be appointed by the Governor.

But what about Comptroller General, Secretary of State, Attorney General or Treasurer?    Do you know what the specific duties of those offices are?   Nobody else does either, yet it’s up to us to pick a winner based on almost no knowledge of the position or its requirements.     I hate cronyism as much as the next guy, but at least appointees would have to be confirmed by the legislature, so there would be a checks and balances system in place to keep the Governor from loading the offices with unqualified people.

I totally believe in democracy and the ability to vote in and vote out the representatives we want (but don’t get me started on the Electoral College…I’ll rail against that later this year).   However, there are certain things we, as an electorate, aren’t qualified to do.   One of those things would filling the SC Constitutional offices.   Time to let Columbia choose.

The color of money

Jan 19, 2016 -- 12:17pm

I think I’ve essentially written about this before, but it’s come up again…so here we go again.    The Oscar nominees were announced the other day.   For the second year in a row, all 20 nominees for the 4 major categories are white.    That’s caused a stir.   Jada Pinkett-Smith and Spike Lee have announced they will be boycotting the Academy Awards broadcast.    The President of the Academy (who is black, by the way) announced that there would be changes forth-coming, such as the addition of 300 new minority Academy members to add to the 6000+ mostly-white existing members to try and add diversity when it comes to voting.

Some are even asking this year’s host, Chris Rock, to step down in solidarity.   

Now, it always seems like I’m always on the side of the little guy, but maybe the roles that were played by minorities this year just didn’t stand out.   Would you feel better if one of 2 nominations went to people of color for roles that were mediocre?     Wouldn’t that cheapen the noms and just make it feel like Affirmative Action…or a token nod?    

What I wrote about before, is that when true equality is achieved in this country, we won’t look at a situation and think that it’s motivated by color…but rather by (in this case) the quality of the work by the actors.   We won’t look at a fight between a white guy and black guy as a hate crime, but rather…2 guys beating each other up.

If African American actors want to complain that minorities aren’t getting plum roles or that nothing good is being written for people of color, they might have a more valid argument.    That’s something that would have to be addressed prior to the movies being made or the awards being passed out.    

Besides, there’s not too many towns in this country that are more liberal than Hollywood.    If there’s one place where everybody’s overly politically correct, it would be there, so I have a hard time believing that voters would purposely exclude black actors on their ballots.   As a matter of fact, I would think they might do the opposite.

closing in on Iowa

Dec 09, 2015 -- 12:36pm

It’s been about 4 months since my last blog about Donald Trump and I wanted to revisit him and make some admissions.

Back in August, I said that Trump’s surge to the top of the polls wouldn’t last and that he’s not a serious candidate.     Well, as I’ve already admitted on the air, right now I put his odds of winning the GOP nomination at fairly high, although I still don’t consider him a serious candidate.    At this writing there’s about 50 days until the first caucus in Iowa.   That doesn’t leave enough time for the candidates polling in single digits to make a legit run to win there or in New Hampshire.   Taking that into consideration, that really only leaves Trump, Rubio and Cruz as the only 3 with a shot in those 2 states.    (Carson fans, sorry, but that ship has faded).   As a side note, Bush and Christie are making big pushes in NH, so it’s possible either or both make a decent showing there to keep their hopes alive.

So why do I think Trump is one of only 3 candidates with a shot to win, but I don’t think he’s a serious candidates?   It’s semantics, I guess.    He seriously can win, but I can’t take him seriously.     It’s very obvious to me that he’s a master at giving his fans what they want and presenting it in an ‘us versus the World’ kind of way.      That way, when he gets attacked, it’s the ‘scum’ media out to get him.    Boo…hiss…liberal media.     Or he can’t bother being ‘politically correct’.    Boo….hiss……liberal agenda PC.     When the attacks come after pretty much every speech, the followers circle the wagons and explain away every controversial thing he had to say.

Even though I tend to the left, I think it’s refreshing that someone isn’t worried about surveys and trends before they give their opinion about something, but there is limit.    And I think Trump has exceeded that limit on several occasions.     By my count, he’s said derogatory things about or insulted: Mexicans, women, veterans, the disabled, unattractive people, the overweight, Jews and Muslims.    Pretty sure I’m missing a few.    Plus he’s said he wanted to close mosques and he ridiculed the circuses for stopping the exploitation of elephants, not to mention stretched the truth greatly about post 9/11 Muslim celebrations.    Did you know he also told reporters that his first wife, Ivana, was a member of the Czech national ski team in the Japan Olympics?    Yeah, that never happened either.    Or that the plaque he’s installing on his golf course in Potomac commemorating George Washington is in a place Washington never visited?  

None of that matters to Trump supporters, but they’re not alone.   

If you support someone, you’re willing to be more forgiving than someone who didn’t support you in the first place.     Everytime the next controversy of the day is laid at Hillary’s feet, I’m asked why it doesn’t affect her numbers or support.    I say the same thing…those small insignificant things don’t matter to her supporters….same way Trump’s controversies don’t affect his numbers in the slightest.   The people making the noise are people who aren’t on your side to begin with, so in the long run, it doesn’t matter.     So keep pandering to your supporters, you’re not going to win over the detractors.

can't we offend anyone anymore without offending someone?

Nov 12, 2015 -- 1:44pm

We do a lot of segments on the Hot Talk Morning Show to let you know what people around the country are outraged about at the moment.   Most of the time we’re mocking, because people get outraged about the simplest and stupidest stuff.    But it’s okay to be offended about anything…it’s a personal choice.    What outrages you might be hilarious or perfectly acceptable to someone else.    But when does it change from “I’m offended by this, but it’s not a big deal…I’ll ignore it or move away from what’s offending me”…to….”I’m offended by this and I demand you change your behavior immediately so you don’t offend me or anyone else ever again.”   What determines that dividing line?     When does an issue become big enough to exact change?

I think the determining factor is power.    Once a minority group becomes powerful enough, they can wield that power to let the majority know that it’s not alright to say or do ‘this’ anymore, and if you do, ‘this’ will be the consequences.    Threats like that will basically be laughed at by the majority until the minority shows they can back it up or if enough people in the majority agree with what the minority has to say.

Women were looked at as second class citizens and held under men’s thumbs for centuries.   Eventually, women flexed their muscles and touted the fact that half the world is, in fact, female.   Men recognized that and 100 years ago agreed to give them the vote.    Equal pay is still not a reality, and in many countries, women are still treated as chattle property but at least strides are being made.

Ironically, African American men were given the vote 50 years before women, even though blacks only make up 15 percent of the population.   Of course civil rights came 100 years after that, and only begrudgingly.    This would be the perfect example as to why the majority shouldn’t rule when it comes to equal rights.   If we let the public vote on who gets what rights, the minority is always going to get the short end of the stick.    People say the Supreme Court is over-stepping its bounds to give equal rights to gays and lesbians, but if we left it up to the electorate, discrimination against lots of groups would be entirely legal and accepted.   

Let’s look at gays and lesbians.   They make up approximately 3 to 5 percent of the US population.    In many states it’s perfectly legal to discriminate against someone for sexual orientation.   Is it because of the small number and lack of power?   That’s a big part of it.    What about Jews?   Jews make up only 2 percent of the US population, but could you imagine firing someone for being Jewish or keeping 2 Jews from marrying?    Of course not.   Despite the small number, that minority group wields lots of power and influence even though Jews can either been born that way or convert…which is the same exact thing some misguided people say about gays and lesbians.

Size doesn’t always matter.    The largest minority group in the US is the Latinos…at about 17 percent.   Despite the size, it seems perfectly okay for some people to talk about Hispanics as if they’re really not people.    Jokes and putdowns aren’t met with the same disdain you’d hear if you said something bad about another group.    Why?   Power…or the lack thereof.     Some Hispanics are starting to rise in the ranks of power politically and economically, but until they do, it seems like treating them as second-class will be acceptable to too many.

Why do Asian-Americans, who represent only 5 percent of the US population skate by?    Is it language, assimilation, money, power?    

In addition to power, a lot of acceptance has to do with the passage of time.    Several groups, including Asians, Italians, Irish, etc, were all treated as less-than-human when they first started coming to our shores.   After a while, they were accepted, and America’s disdain turned to whoever the newest batch of immigrants were.     Now, that befalls the Muslims.    People of the Islamic faith only make up about 1 percent of the US population, and they are now the target of most discrimination…which is perfectly acceptable to most Americans.

I started this blog with the question of what determines the dividing line of offensiveness?    How many people need to be offended before something needs to be changed of sanitized?    A few thousand…a few hundred….one?     We’ve seen plenty of examples where one person complains to a group about something they’ve done and that group changes.    Is that one person the only person with the strength to stand up to a larger group and ask for change….or are they just over-sensitive and represent only themselves?  

So…what’s the litmus test on whether something’s offensive?    I would say, if you have something to say about a group, if you could go up to one of that group’s members and say it to their face without the fear of reprisal or injury, you’re okay.    I would also say, if you could substitute the word ‘women’ or ‘black’ in place of whatever group you have something to say about…and you know you’d get in trouble for saying it….then don’t say it.

no wonder I never win.....

Oct 01, 2015 -- 1:21pm

Back in 7th grade, I was an ambitious young lad and decided to run for Student Council at Lewis & Clark Junior High. (Go Patriots!)   The other candidates and I all got up in front our classmates at an assembly so we could give our best speeches, trying to sway all those undecided 11 and 12 year olds.   Some candidates promised a new soda machine in the cafeteria.   Some tried to talk about lobbying for more recess time.    Others pledged to get new gym equipment.    Everyone made their best pitches.  Then I remember one student stood up, recited some bumper-sticker-like saying that essentially translated into “may the best man win”...and then he sat down.   I smiled.  I felt confident that I wouldn’t have to worry about him getting in the way of me achieving ultimate power.  But, I under-estimated one thing: he was one of the popular kids.  And, yep, he won.

That story doesn’t haunt me as much as you might think it might, although I do seem to remember every little detail of it like it happened only yesterday.   But I have thought of it a few times recently when I start looking at all the presidential candidates.    Liz and I have had quite a few of the candidates on our morning show and after we finish talking to one that may be under-performing in the polls, we usually have the same response: that person has a great resume and some great ideas, they just aren’t getting any traction or any love from the voters.    Why?    Same explanation as 7th grade...it’s a popularity contest.    The candidate who can handles themselves the best, says what the voters want to hear, sounds the best and yes, looks the best, is often the person who ends up winning the race, regardless of their ability to actually do the job.    As Americans, I think we all bristle at that idea, but it’s hard to disprove it.     Some of the candidates (both Democrat and GOP) who have the best resumes in this election cycle are being left in the dirt and will eventually be left in obscurity when it’s all said and done.

In addition to popularity, the other factor for a successful campaign is.....no, not workable ideas and proposals.....but money.   One of the reasons that incumbents are so hard to get rid of is that they already have money behind them.   Polls show that only 11 to 15% of Americans think that Congress is doing a good job, but in 2014, the last general election, probably 95 to 98% of those running for re-election, got re-elected.    Why?   Name recognition and money.     Also, it’s my assertion that the general population feels that Congress is so bad is because of ‘the other guys...my Congressman is fine..it’s all the rest of them’.    So nothing changes.   In SC, Lindsey Graham faced 8 different challengers for his senate seat, all accusing him of not being conservative enough.   People couldn’t tell you fast enough how much they hated him, and how they couldn’t wait to get him out of office.    When it was all said and done, Lindsey is still their senator and won by an easy margin.    How?   Name recognition and money.   He was the best known of any of the candidates, by far, and nobody could come close to his war chest.    So despite the grousing, nothing changed.

The best and the brightest amongst us is not always the most articulate, the richest or the best looking.    Sometimes they have trouble getting their point across in a cogent manner, have a few extra pounds or don’t come across well on camera.    Those may sound like insignificant reasons to dismiss someone from something as important as the presidency....and you know what, they are.    But you know what, they do.

...what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

Sep 25, 2015 -- 1:49pm

Being a candidate is all about hyperbole.    Tell your followers what they want to hear…regardless of whether or not you can back it up…and make it as unbelievable as possible.      Unbelievable to the other side, that is.       Your side will eat it up, but the other side will try to let the world know that the claim isn’t true.    But it won’t matter…because the other axiom of candidacy is…constituents don’t care whether or not something is true, as long as it jives with their beliefs and furthers their cause.

Take the Democrats claim in the last election about Republicans and their War on Women.    Is that true?     Doesn’t matter.     The Democrats made the claim…kept repeating it and their voters believed it.    Of course, it didn’t help the GOP when you have elected officials talking about ‘legitimate rape’ and other issues that made them look bad, so it played right into the Dem’s hands.

Speaking of War, one of the campaign planks for the GOP this year is that the liberals are waging a War on Christianity.     Same as the last example…say it enough and your people will believe you, regardless of whether or not it’s true.     When I read a candidate is using this ploy, I chuckle because I know it’s nothing more than campaign rhetoric.    I hear candidates talk about Christians being ‘bullied’ into doing something they don’t want to do.    Let’s examine: a bully is someone who uses their position of superiority to make someone do something against their will or forces their superior will upon them.   Last I saw, the number of Christians in this country was 70+%....it’s kind of hard to bully someone to do something if you’re such a small percentage of the population.

Then you hear about Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis.    She claims that the courts are trying to force her to go against her religious beliefs…when actually she’s trying to force the rest of the county to adhere to her religious beliefs.     It’s a War on religious freedom!!     No, actually, it’s trying to make sure that every American is afforded the same rights.     And in a nutshell, that’s what most of this imaginary ‘war’ comes down to.     Everytime a minority group stands up for themselves and asks, then demands, to be treated fairly, justly and equally under the law, the majority always pushes back.    They’re called troublemakers, muckrakers and malcontents because the majority thinks the minority should just be happy with what they have…when all they’re asking for is to enjoy the same rights the majority has.     When the minority group finally gets equality, the majority complains that ‘their rights have been taken away”.     It’s totally the opposite.   You’re not losing any rights….the other side is gaining them.   You have the same rights today that you had yesterday.      And when you complain about the possibility of losing those precious rights…think of what it would feel like if you didn’t have those rights to lose.

Things like nativity scenes at City Halls, having religious displays at municipal buildings or allowing prayers at the beginning of High School football games have never been constitutional.   They all violate the church/state separation.     Only thing is, the people who supported those displays were in such majorities, the minority didn’t have anyone to stand up for them and fight.    Times are changing, but it’s not a war.

You want a real war on Christianity?    In countries around the world, like China, the Middle East, Africa, Christians are being jailed, persecuted or even executed for their beliefs.    That’s not happening on our shores and never will.   Those are real wars.   This is simply a group of people trying to stand up for what the Constitutional framers had in mind.

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