Friday, November 11, 2011

Mental health budget cuts: South Carolina leads the nation

Mental health patients and their supporters rally against mental health cuts at the State Capitol, Columbia, S.C. February 2011

South Carolina is one of the poorest states in the country. The recession has dramatically increased the suffering there. More economic pressure means more people at risk of having mental health problems.

With cuts of over 39% to their budget for mental health treatment, South Carolina leads the nation. CBS News

More details on the massive public health problems in South Carolina.

South Carolina in top tier for cervical cancer deaths
Teen pregnancies, HIV and AIDS run rampant in South Carolina
South Carolina 5th highest in the U.S. for stroke deaths
South Carolina low overall health rankings
South Carolina ranks high for sexual assault

And yet, the conservative politicians that run the State like Senator Jim Demint and Governor Nikki Haley continue to push austerity and budget cuts.

Over 16% of South Carolinians have no health insurance while Demint flips on "Romney Care"
Nikki Haley flip flops on HPV vaccine 
Demint out to kill medicare for South Carolina seniors
Medicaid cuts threaten South Carolina's poor

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How anti-unionism keeps middle class weak in South Carolina and other "red" states

Jack Jones, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing South Carolina, at the dedication of the company's $950 million final assembly plant in North Charleston, S.C. on , June 10, 2011. The plant which received nearly $1 billion in State subsidies has become the poster child for GOP attacks against the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Photo: AP

New Census Data Shows the Importance of Unions to the Middle Class

By David Madland, Nick Bunker, Center for American Progress  | September 23, 2011

New state income data released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau shows the importance of unions to boosting incomes for all middle-class households—union and nonunion alike. The 2010 income data makes it clear that strong unions are a critical factor in creating a middle-class society. Restoring the strength of unions would go a long way toward rebuilding the middle class.

The states with the lowest percentage of workers in unions—North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas—all have relatively weak middle classes. In each of these states, the share of income going to the middle class (the middle 60 percent of the population by income) is below the national average, according to Census Bureau figures.

Mapping the Census data that has been released this fall to previous years also shows that over time the strength of the middle class and the strength of the union movement have tracked closely together. In 1968, the share of income going to the nation’s middle class was 53.2 percent, when 28 percent of all workers were members of unions. Since then, union membership steadily declined alongside the share of income going to the middle class. By 2010, the middle class only received 46.5 percent of income as union membership dropped to less than 12 percent of workers.
Minneapolis police battle Teamsters union rank and file in 1934 truckers strike. This strike and similar strikes and organizing drives across the country led to the passage of the National Labor Relations Act. Today Republican politicians like South Carolina's Jim Demint and Nikki Haley are determined to return to the days when labor disputes were decided in the streets.

As unions weaken so does the middle class

As unions weakened, the lion’s share of the economy’s gains have gone to the wealthy. The share of pretax income earned by the richest 1 percent of Americans more than doubled between 1974 and 2007, climbing to 23 percent from 9 percent. And for the richest of the rich—the top 0.1 percent—the gains have been even more astronomical. Their share of income quadrupled over this period, rising to 12.3 percent of all income from 2.7 percent.

Without strong unions, the middle class has lost out to the wealthy.

Read the rest of the story from the Center for American Progress

Learn more about poverty and South Carolina's anti-union policies
Boeing vs. NLRB: follow the money and influence
The NLRB's case against Boeing
South Carolina Govenor Haley pledges to keep wages low and South Carolina union free
South Carolina 12th poorest state in the U.S.A.
Senator Demint on collective bargaining for public employees

Monday, September 26, 2011

South Carolina Republicans favor tax hike to fix deficit despite what Jim Demint and his Tea Party congressional delegation believe

Poll: Raising taxes is an option for S.C. GOP voters
By Adam Beam  The State (Columbia, S.C.)

S.C. Republican and Republican-leaning voters do not want cuts to Social Security, Medicare or defense — but they might be willing to pay more taxes to help balance the country’s budget, according to a new poll from Winthrop University.
Parris Island Marine base near Beaufort, South Carolina could be one of many federal facilities in the State that could suffer under Federal budget cuts.

Seventy-three percent of S.C. Republicans who receive Social Security and Medicare benefits say they are not willing to cut those programs in order to balance the budget.

And Republicans now working, who don’t yet receive those benefits? More than half say they still are not willing to see their future benefits cut or the retirement age raised.

More than half also say they do not want to see defense spending cut.

Those three federal programs – Social Security, Medicare and defense – make up 53 percent of the 2012 proposed federal budget with its $3.8 trillion in spending, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget. (Also, off the table, presumably, is the $434 million the federal government will pay in interest on the federal debt.)

But if those programs can’t be cut, what can be done to balance the federal budget?

One option, at least for S.C. Republicans, is to raise taxes.

Read about how and why Jim Demint, Tea Party and South Carolina GOP politicians put politics and the Tea Party agenda before South Carolina's interests

Sunday, September 25, 2011

South Carolina legislators' rig pensions-salary scheme to far exceed normal standards

South Carolina State Senator David Thomas decries excessive government spending except when it comes to his own excessive compensation

By Thomas Frank, USA TODAY

At age 55, South Carolina state Sen. David Thomas began collecting a pension for his legislative service without leaving office.

Most workers must retire from their jobs before getting retirement benefits. But Thomas used a one-sentence law that he and his colleagues passed in 2002 to let legislators receive a taxpayer-funded pension instead of a salary after serving for 30 years.
“Taxes are too high and spending is out of control.” Every candidate for office will say these words, but no one in Congress is willing to take a stand to cut taxes and reduce government spending.  As your next representative in Washington I will work tirelessly to reduce governmental waste, fraud and abuse of your hard earned tax dollars. --- South Carolina David L. Thomas (from his Congressional campaign website)
Thomas' $32,390 annual retirement benefit — paid for the rest of his life — is more than triple the $10,400 salary he gave up. His pension exceeds the salary because of another perk: Lawmakers voted to count their expenses in the salary used to calculate their pensions.

No other South Carolina state workers get those perks.

Since January 2005, Thomas, a Republican, has made $148,435 more than a legislative salary would have paid, his financial-disclosure records show. At least four other South Carolina lawmakers are getting pensions instead of salaries, netting an extra $292,000 since 2005, records show.

Read the rest of the report from USA Today

More about how money twists the actions of South Carolina's Republican politicians
Who owns Jim Demint?
Money and clout behind the Boeing-NLRB controversy
Nikki Haley's rewards friends while spending for South Carolina's working people
South Carolina 6th worst managed state in the USA
Taxpayers foot the bill for Haley's Parisian "party"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

South Carolina cervical cancer deaths in top tier despite average case rate

Statistics point to lack of coherent public policy regarding HPV vaccine and overall public health disaster in South Carolina

South Carolina ranks 20th out of the 50 states for cervical cancer rates. At a rate of 7.9 cases out of every 100,000 women this puts South Carolina in line with the overall national population. (Source: U.S. Center for Disease Control)

What is particularly disturbing is that the DEATH RATE for South Carolina's women from cancer of the cervix is the 6th highest in the nation after Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana and Kentucky and tied with neighboring Georgia, Alabama and Texas. (Source: National Cancer Institute)

According to the Kaiser Family foundation, "Nearly all cervical cancer is caused by 10 to 15 high-risk types of a common sexually transmitted virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV)."
Maybe South Carolina's Gov. Nikki Haley and Senator Jim Demint could learn something from Rick Perry's Texas when it comes to fighting cervical cancer.

In light of the recent Republican debate over public HPV vaccination programs, it is interesting that Rick Perry's Texas which has a much higher rate of cervical cancer cases than South Carolina (9.7 out of 100,000 or No.2 out of the 50 states) has obviously made some progress in fighting this life threatening disease.

High rate of sexual assaults put South Carolina women at greater risk of HPV and other STD infections
Skyrocketing HIV, STD and teen pregnancy rates plague South Carolina
Strokes, infant mortality and a host of other serious health problems haunt South Carolina

Haley's false drug use claims about unemployed admitted

Gov. Nikki Haley admits exaggerated claims about drug use among unemployed applicants at the Department of Energy's Savannah River nuclear facility which happens to be just a few miles upstream from Allendale County, the 10th poorest county in the United States

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has admitted that she has no evidence backing her claim that half of job applicants at a local government facility flunked a drug test. She'd used the claim to push for requiring the jobless to pass a drug test to be eligible for benefits.

But the GOP rising star persists in drug testing for recipients of unemployment insurance benefits. Read the Huffington Post article.

"I so want drug testing, I so want it." Hear Nikki Haley lie about drug test results at Savannah River nuclear facility.  With less than 2% of job applicants typically failing drug tests is the Governor pandering for votes or pursuing sound fiscal management?
"I so want drug testing. I so want it," Haley tells the Lexington Rotary Club. Read our post and see the video 
South  Carolina: 4th highest for joblessness in America
Take a tour of Allendale, South Carolina, poorest county in the State just downstream from the D.O.E Savannah River site

Haley flip-flopped on HPV vaccine: South Carolina girls less likely to receive it

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) -- As the debate over Texas Gov. Rick Perry mandating the HPV vaccine continues between Republican presidential candidates, a woman whose endorsement is coveted by all them, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, has her own complicated history on the issue.
HPV virus leads to warts and can also cause deadly oral, cervical, vaginal or anal cancers.

In 2007, shortly before Perry issued an executive order requiring that schoolgirls be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV, that causes most cervical cancers, Haley was throwing her support behind a similar bill in South Carolina. At the time she was in her second term as a state representative.

State Rep. Joan Brady introduced the Cervical Cancer Prevention Act in South Carolina, and the Republican corralled more than 60 legislators, including Haley, to sponsor the bill. Unlike the executive order for which Perry is taking heat, this legislative mandate did not include a provision for parents to opt out of inoculating their daughters.

Within months, fierce opposition mounted, and legislative records back up accounts from sources who recall sponsors "dropping like flies" before a unanimous vote killed the bill on April 18, 2007.

More than a dozen legislators formally requested to be removed as sponsors from the bill, but the future governor of South Carolina was not one of them.

More on HPV vaccine controvery: Rick Perry, Michele Bachman and the GOP Presidential primary race from CNN

Why South Carolina needs a pro-active effort to protect girls from killer HPV virus

South Carolina ranked 6th in nation for cancer of cervix deaths
South Carolina teen age girls more vulnerable to HIV, other STD's and teen pregnancy
Sexual assault rates higher than average in Nikki Haley's South Carolina
Gov. Haley's budget cuts threaten progress on teen birth rates in South Carolina
Cuts to S.C. medicaid program mean fewer HPV vaccination for South Carolina girls
Lack of health insurance, poor education two reasons why S.C. ranked 46th out of 50 states for health

HPV Vaccine Information For Young Women - Fact Sheet from U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Two vaccines are available to prevent the human papillomavirus (HPV) types that cause most cervical cancers. These vaccines are Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline) and Gardasil (Merck). One of the HPV vaccines, Gardasil, also prevents genital warts as well as anal, vulvar and vaginal cancers. Both vaccines are given in 3 shots over 6 months.

Why the HPV vaccine is important
Genital HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another through direct skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity. Most sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives, though most will never even know it. HPV infection is most common in people in their late teens and early 20s. There are about 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital areas of men and women. Most HPV types cause no symptoms and go away on their own. But some types can cause cervical cancer in women and other less common cancers— like cancers of the anus, penis, vagina, and vulva (area around the opening of the vagina) and oropharynx (back of throat including base of tongue and tonsils). Other types of HPV can cause warts in the genital areas of men and women, called genital warts. Genital warts are not a life-threatening disease. But they can cause emotional stress and their treatment can be very uncomfortable. Every year, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 women die from this disease in the U.S. About 1% of sexually active adults in the U.S. have visible genital warts at any point in time.

Which girls/women should receive HPV vaccination?
HPV vaccination is recommended with either vaccine for 11 and 12 year-old girls. It is also recommended for girls and women age 13 through 26 years of age who have not yet been vaccinated or completed the vaccine series; HPV vaccine can also be given to girls beginning at age 9 years.

Will sexually active females benefit from the vaccine?
Ideally females should get the vaccine before they become sexually active and exposed to HPV. Females who are sexually active may also benefit from the vaccine, but they may get less benefit from it. This is because they may have already gotten one or more of HPV types targeted by the vaccines. However, few sexually active young women are infected with all HPV types prevented by the vaccines, so most young women could still get protection by getting vaccinated.

Can pregnant women get the vaccine?
The vaccines are not recommended for administration to pregnant women. Although studies show that HPV vaccines do not cause problems for babies born to women who received HPV vaccination when pregnant, more research is still needed. A pregnant woman should not get any doses of either HPV vaccine until her pregnancy is completed.

Getting the HPV vaccine when pregnant is not a reason to consider ending a pregnancy. If a woman realizes that she got one or more shots of an HPV vaccine while pregnant, she should do two things:

Wait until after her pregnancy to finish the remaining HPV vaccine doses.
Call the pregnancy registry [800-986-8999 for Gardasil or 888-452-9622 for Cervarix]. These pregnancy registries help us learn more about how pregnant women respond to each of the vaccines.

Should girls and women be screened for cervical cancer before getting vaccinated?
Girls and women do not need to get an HPV test or Pap test to find out if they should get the vaccine. However it is important that women continue to be screened for cervical cancer, even after getting all 3 shots of either HPV vaccine.

Effectiveness of the HPV Vaccines
The vaccines target the HPV types that most commonly cause cervical cancer. One of the vaccines also protects against the HPV types that cause most genital warts. Both vaccines are highly effective in preventing specific HPV types and the most common health problems from HPV.

The vaccines are less effective in preventing HPV-related disease in young women who have already been exposed to one or more HPV types. That is because the vaccines can only prevent HPV before a person it is exposed to it.  HPV vaccines do not treat existing HPV infections or HPV-associated diseases.

How long does vaccine protection last?
Research suggests that vaccine protection is long-lasting. Current studies (with up to about six years of follow-up data) indicate that the vaccines are effective, with no evidence of decreasing immunity.

What does the vaccine not protect against?
The vaccines do not protect against all HPV types— so they will not prevent all cases of cervical cancer. About 30% of cervical cancers will not be prevented by the vaccines, so it will be important for women to continue getting screened for cervical cancer (regular Pap tests). Also, the vaccines do not prevent other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). So it will still be important for sexually active persons to lower their risk for other STIs.

Will girls and women be protected against HPV and related diseases, even if they don’t get all 3 doses?
It is not yet known how much protection girls and women get from receiving only one or two doses of an HPV vaccine. So it is very important that girls and women get all 3 doses.

Safety of the HPV vaccine
Both vaccines have been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for females aged 9 through 26 years and approved by CDC as safe and effective. Both vaccines were studied in thousands of people around the world and vaccine safety continues to be monitored by CDC and the FDA. These studies showed no serious safety concerns. Common, mild adverse events reported during these studies include pain where the shot was given, fever, dizziness, and nausea.

Fainting can occur after any medical procedure, including vaccination.  Recent data suggest that fainting after any vaccination is more common in adolescents. Falls and injuries can occur after fainting. Adolescents and adults should be seated or lying down during vaccination.  Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes after a vaccination can help prevent fainting and injuries.

More than 35 million doses of HPV vaccine have been distributed in the United States as of June, 2011.  Almost all doses distributed have been Gardasil.

Why is HPV vaccination only recommended for women through age 26?
HPV vaccines are licensed and recommended for females through age 26 years.  Vaccination would have the greatest benefit when administered to girls. As in trials in younger women, a clinical trial of quadrivalent vaccine in women >26 years found the vaccine to be safe. This study also showed that the vaccine was effective in women without evidence of existing or past infection with HPV vaccine types. However, the study demonstrated no protection against disease in the overall study population. Neither vaccine is licensed in the United States for use in women over the age of 26 years.  Although women over age 26 years are not recommended to receive HPV vaccination, they should have cervical cancer screening as currently recommended.

What about vaccinating boys and men?
The quadrivalent vaccine is also safe and effective for males ages 9 through 26 years. It is licensed by the FDA for prevention of anal cancer and genital warts.  Since October 2009,  the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice’s guidance has been that the 3-dose series of quadrivalent HPV vaccine may be given to males aged 9 through 26 years to reduce their likelihood of acquiring genital warts.   The vaccine is not routinely recommended for administration to males.

Cost and Paying for the HPV vaccine
As of July 18, 2011, the retail price of the vaccine is about $130 per dose ($390 for full series).

Is HPV vaccine covered by insurance plans?
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines, but you may want to check with your insurance provider before going to the doctor. If you don't have insurance, or if it does not cover vaccines, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program may be able to help.

How can I get help paying for HPV vaccine?
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program helps families of eligible children who might not otherwise have access to vaccines. The program provides vaccines at no cost to doctors who serve eligible children. Children younger than 19 years of age are eligible for VFC vaccines if they are Medicaid-eligible, American Indian, or Alaska Native or have no health insurance. "Underinsured" children who have health insurance that does not cover vaccination can receive VFC vaccines through Federally Qualified Health Centers or Rural Health Centers. Parents of uninsured or underinsured children who receive vaccines at no cost through the VFC Program should check with their healthcare providers about possible administration fees that might apply. These fees help providers cover the costs that result from important services like storing the vaccines and paying staff members to give vaccines to patients. However, VFC vaccines cannot be denied to an eligible child if a family can’t afford the fee.

What vaccinated girls/women need to know: will girls/women who have been vaccinated still need cervical cancer screening?
Yes, vaccinated women will still need regular cervical cancer screening (Pap tests) because the vaccines protect against most but not all HPV types that cause cervical cancer. Also, women who got the vaccine after becoming sexually active may not get the full benefit of the vaccine if they had already acquired HPV.

Other ways to prevent Cervical Cancer
Regular cervical cancer screening and follow-up can prevent most cases of cervical cancer. The Pap test can detect cell changes in the cervix before they turn into cancer. Pap tests can also detect most, but not all, cervical cancers at an early, treatable stage. Most women diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S. have either never had a Pap test, or have not had a Pap test in the last 5 years. There are HPV tests that can tell if a woman has HPV on her cervix, but the HPV tests on the market should only be used to help screen women at certain ages and to help health care providers assess women with certain Pap test findings for cervical cancer. These tests can be used with the Pap test to help your doctor determine next steps in cervical cancer screening.

Are there other ways to prevent HPV?
For those who are sexually active, condoms may lower the chances of getting HPV, if used with every sex act, from start to finish. Condoms may also lower the risk of developing HPV-related diseases (genital warts and cervical cancer). But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom—so condoms may not fully protect against HPV.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Demint's "Saving Freedom" book slammed by Charleston, SC paper

It's about time somebody called out Jim DeMint

by Will Moredock

In 2009, Sen. Jim DeMint released his book Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America's Slide Into Socialism. It was the most fatuous piece of political propaganda I have ever seen, and I devoted a week's worth of my precious words exposing DeMint's silly claptrap for what it was.

In Saving Freedom, DeMint poured in roughly equal parts religion, history, economics, and old-fashioned, flag-waving jingoism, then hit the purée button. What he poured out was a preposterous sludge of superstition and bigotry, which held that American exceptionalism and unbridled capitalism were ordained by God and anyone who thought otherwise was a threat to the divine plan.

As I wrote that week: "What DeMint does here is romanticize America's past, turning it into a bucolic Christian utopia, in which friends and neighbors took care of each other. There were no industries to regulate, and no ethnic conflicts to sort out. That's the way we should see the country today, he says ... Don't listen to those darn socialists, with all their complicated theories and prescriptions."

Alas, I had only 800 words to fling at DeMint two years ago, when there was so much more to be said. I am pleased to report that another patron of rational thought and fact-based reality has taken up the cause. South Carolina native Barrett Maners has devoted a whole book to calling out Jim DeMint and his harebrained followers in Stopping Radicalism: We Can Stop Jim DeMint's Crusade for Stupidity.

Read the entire review of Demint's book from the Charleston City Paper

How Senator Demint's political philosophy informs his vision of America's future
Demint & Club for Growth meddle in Wisconsin conservative movement
Is Jim Demint hostile to the appointment of women in American government? You decide.
Jim Demint's Tea Party grass roots movement of well informed American's or corporate side show?
Demint puts South Carolina at financial risk with deb ceiling shennanigans
The power behind the puppet: Jim Demint's corporate sponsors

Stopping Radicalism: We Can Stop Jim DeMint's Crusade for Stupidity by Barrett Maners now in print

Stopping Radicalism: We Can Stop Jim DeMint''s Crusade for Stupidity attacks the rhetoric coming from the far right-wing of the American political spectrum. 

The book''s primary focus is on debunking the ideas of Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), especially those expressed in his 2009 book, Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America''s Slide Into Socialism. DeMint''s ideology is typical of followers of the "Tea Party" movement and is anchored in Christian fundamentalism, the doctrine of "American Exceptionalism," and a white-washed version of history. DeMint, who was labeled by the National Journal as the Senate''s most conservative member and has been "positioning himself as the Great Awakener—a national leader of a highly decentralized tea-party movement", casts himself as a spiritual leader as much as he does a political one. He has said that "as this thing (the Tea Party movement) continues to roll you''re going to see a parallel spiritual revival that goes along with it."

Stopping Radicalism analyzes the ideology and objectives of the "prophet of a coming resurgence" and exposes the flawed reasoning, misinformation, and undesirable consequences associated with them. The book provides views that run counter to the simplistic and convenient anecdotes that are often used by leaders of the far right. Beginning with a criticism of the worldview advocated by many fundamentalist Christians and a truthful version of America''s history, Stopping Radicalism brings to light some of the biggest social and political issues that are currently being faced by Americans and explains how the ideas promoted by people like Jim DeMint and his comrades are the causes of many of our problems, not the solutions.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Drug tests may be required for jobless benefits if Govenor Haley has her way in South Carolina

Unemployment insurance, paid for in part by the unemployed themselves would be denied to jobless unless they pass a drug test if Governor Haley has her way. The costly program would probably weed out only 1% to 2% of applicants according to evidence. But undoubtedly it plays well with conservative voters and those who want to blame "deadbeats" rather than a depressed South Carolina economy for the problem.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) wants the jobless to pass a drug test before they can receive benefits, but she seems to have an exaggerated sense of drug use among the unemployed.

"I so want drug testing. I so want it," Haley said during a Thursday question-and-answer session at the Lexington Rotary Club. She noted that the government had to make sure it would be feasible: "We have to make sure this works. We have to see what the return is on it. And, we have to see federally and legally if we can do it."

Haley said scads of job applicants flunked a drug test at the Savannah River Site, a nuclear reservation along the Savannah River.

"Down on River Site, they were hiring a few hundred people, and when we sat down and talked to them -- this was back before the campaign -- when we sat down and talked to them, they said of everybody they interviewed, half of them failed a drug test..."


Jim Giusti, a spokesman for the Department of Energy, which owns the River Site, told HuffPost he had no idea what Haley was talking about with regard to applicants flunking a drug test.

"Half the people who applied for a job last year or year 2009 did not fail the drug test," Giusti said. "At the peak of hiring under the Recovery Act we had less than 1 percent of those hired test positive."

The River Site doesn't even test applicants. "We only test them when they have been accepted," Giusti said.

A spokesman for Gov. Haley did not respond to requests for comment.

The unemployment rate in South Carolina, which recently trimmed benefits for the jobless, is 10.9 percent.


According to the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group, no state has ever instituted mandatory drug tests for the jobless to receive unemployment benefits, though Wisconsin and Indiana have passed laws that disqualify the jobless from benefits if they fail a prospective employer's drug test.


"The process of referring claimants to drug tests would delay timely delivery of benefits required by federal law," said NELP senior staff attorney George Wentworth in an email. "Administration of state unemployment insurance laws is federally funded but the federal government will only subsidize reasonable administrative costs. Sending hundreds of thousands of South Carolina citizens who have just lost their jobs off to a laboratory so that their state government will be satisfied they are not drug abusers is not a cost that the federal government would or should pay, and it would violate federal unemployment law to make unemployed workers pay for the test."

Read the unabridged article from the Huffington Post

Learn more about poverty and joblessness in South Carolina
Could South Carolina's poorly performing public schools be a factor in the State's high unemployment?
Senator Jim Demint: unemployment insurance just makes the jobless lazy
South Carolina unemployment 4th highest in the U.S.A.
South Carolina 12th poorest State in America

Friday, September 9, 2011

Haley, Bobby Hitt claim controversial European junket will pay off with jobs for South Carolina

South Carolina taxpayers ponied up nearly $1 billion in subsidies in order to get Boeing to invest $1 billion in their new North Charleston assembly plant. 

Haley insists European trip will result in 2 deals
By GINA SMITH - The State

Gov. Nikki Haley insisted Thursday that her recent $127,000 economic development trip to Paris and Munich soon will result in two companies locating in South Carolina.

Haley also disagreed with a media account in which Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt was quoted as saying no deals were struck during the trip.

Haley said she and Hitt agree the two companies will come to the state as result of the trip.
Today's news video

“He (Hitt) calls them agreements. I call them deals,” Haley said. “Those two (companies) – I talked to them. They are coming, and I am waiting for them to get announced, and we’re going through (the) logistic(al) issues of the announcements. But they’re coming. And I can’t wait until they come so I can say, ‘See.’”

Hitt agreed with Haley’s assessment Thursday.

“The deals, they get done (at events like the Paris Air Show), but there’s still paperwork to get done,” Hitt said. “A variety of processes have to be done before you officially announce.”

Neither Haley nor Hitt would identify the companies. Those identities typically are a secret until a deal is announced. However, South Carolina has been trying to sell the state to companies that do business with the Upstate’s BMW factory and Boeing, which recently opened an aircraft assembly plant in North Charleston.

Read more from the State with coverage of how Haley plans on retraining the unemployed after cutting their benefits earlier this year

Big salary increases for Haley's friends: cuts for the rest of the South Carolina

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Demint and Club for Growth: don't 'foist your choice' in Senate race say Wisconsin conservative bloggers

A network of conservative bloggers from Wisconsin apparently resent the efforts by South Carolina Senator Jim Demint and the Club for Growth to decide who will represent Wisconsin conservatives in the upcoming U.S. Senate Republican primary. Demint and the Club announced their support for former Congressman Mark Neumann

Wisconsin's senior Senator, Herb Kohl will retire in 2012 at the end of his fourth term. A moderate Democrat, Wisconsin conservatives hope to replace him with a home grown candidate of their choice.

Here is the letters published September 6, 2011 in the blog Lakeshore Laments that put the would be kingmakers on notice.

An Open Letter to National Conservative Groups from Wisconsin’s Conservative Bloggers
To: Chris Chocola, Club for Growth, The Honorable Jim DeMint, junior Senator from the Great State of South Carolina
It is with great disappointment that we have learned of the efforts of some conservatives on the national level to try to dictate to Wisconsin conservatives their choice for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Senator Herb Kohl. This is a tremendous opportunity for Wisconsinites to elect a second conservative senator worthy of holding the office, and one that Wisconsin conservatives will take very seriously. This is not only a choice of ideology but of character, and it is our responsibility to bring Mark Neumann’s lack of character to your attention.
While we do not question Neumann’s past contributions to conservatism while he was a Congressman, his actions during last year’s campaign are completely unbecoming of a conservative candidate.
We respectfully request the national conservative groups and individuals to take a second look at their endorsement of Neumann. We ask that since many of them missed the opportunity to come to Wisconsin during the recent battles over collective bargaining for state employees and the recall elections, they come to Wisconsin now to talk to true Wisconsin conservatives to find out what they think of Neumann before attempting to foist their choice upon Wisconsin.
We do not write this under direction or duress from any candidate, potential candidate, or candidate’s campaign. We write this under the knowledge that as the primary for United States Senate commences in earnest, we will likely go our separate ways and support any number of candidates. That is our right as Americans.
If the past election in Wisconsin has shown national conservatives anything, it is to trust in the faith of Badger State conservative activists. We had the foresight to supply the movement with current leaders and rock stars like Janesville Congressman Paul Ryan, Ashland Congressman Sean Duffy, Green Bay Congressman Reid Ribble, Governor Scott Walker, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, and even Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
That is just in the past two years, and we assure you, there are plenty more where they came from.
Owen Robinson, Blogger, Boots and Sabers, since 2003 West Bend, WI
Thank you,

Kevin Binversie, Blogger, Lakeshore Laments, since 2003 St. Francis, WI
 James Wigderson, Blogger, Wigderson Library & Pub, since 2005 Waukesha, WI
 Steve Eggleston, Blogger, No Runny Eggs, since 2005 Oak Creek, WI
 Patrick Dorwin.Blogger, Badger Blogger, since 2004, Milwaukee, WI
 Tim Gray, Blogger,, since 2010 La Crosse, WI
 Ben Froland, Blogger,, since 2009, Neenah, WI
(Others may change or add some wording, but this has been a work-in-progress since last week.) 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Demint opposes first African-American woman to U.S. Court of Appeals

Hon. Bernice Bouie Donald has served as Judge of U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee since January 1996. She previously served as Judge of U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee and General Sessions Criminal Court. She received her law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law where she has served as an adjunct faculty member.

By an overwhelming, bipartisan vote (96-2) the United States Senate confirmed the nomination of Judge Bernice Donald to the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals. She is the first African-American woman to serve in that capacity.

Despite Judge Donald's indisputable long and distinguished career, South Carolina's Senator Jim Demint voted against her nomination. He was joined by Louisiana Senator David Vitter, best known his recent election despite his connection to the "D.C. Madam" prostitution scandal of 2007.

Even Lamar Alexander, conservative Republican Senator from Tenneesee and Demint ally on legislation like Cut, Cap and Balance, enthusiastically spoke on behalf of the confirmation of Judge Bernice Donald to the U.S. Court of Appeals-6th circuit. Please see the video above.

Demint and Vitter: only two Senators to oppose Hilary Clinton's confirmation

 It is interesting that Demint and Vitter were also the only two Senators to oppose Hilary Clinton's confirmation as Secretary of State. However as there have been no explanations offered in the press or on either Senator Demint's or Senator Vitter's official Senate websites, the public can only speculate as to why either senator would oppose Judge Donald's nomination.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nikki Haley's European vacation: lots of perks but "vague" results.

European vacation or legitimate business? Haley's fiscal priorities under fire as summer 'jobs' trip detailed
BY RENEE DUDLEY, Post and Courier

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gov. Nikki Haley's weeklong trip to Europe in June in search of "jobs, jobs, jobs" cost South Carolinians more than $127,000. But the Governor and her entourage of more than two dozen returned without any finished deals to bring new employers to the Palmetto State.

"It was a great party," according to South Carolina Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt seen here with Governor Nikki Haley

Haley, who captured the Governor's office preaching fiscal restraint, spent the cash so she, her husband (Michael Haley a U.S. Department of the Army federal employee) and the rest of the state's contingent could stay in five-star hotels; sip cocktails at the Paris Ritz; dine on what an invitation touted as "delicious French cuisine" at a swanky rooftop restaurant; and rub elbows with the U.S. Ambassador to France at his official residence near the French presidential palace.

The South Carolina group also threw a soiree at the Hotel de Talleyrand, a historic Parisian townhouse where they feted foreign employers in hopes they'd set up shop in South Carolina. The Department of Commerce billed the $25,000 event as a "networking opportunity for members of the South Carolina delegation."

"It was a great party," Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt said in an interview last week.

Read the rest of the Post and Courier article about Governor Haley's European vacation
Big salary increases for Gov. Haley's friends while cutting budget for the rest of the State
Gov. Haley's attack on South Carolina's elderly

Latest update: Haley, Hitt claim upcoming jobs from their European junket

Monday, September 5, 2011

Demint's Palmetto Freedom Forum today at 3PM ET on CNN

Palmetto bugs swarm to  Demint's Palmetto Freedom Forum to compete over who can crash the American standard of living the fastest. 

Tune into: Sen. Jim DeMint's Palmetto Freedom Forum on Labor Day from 3 to 5 p.m. ET on CNN or, then watch John King's interview with DeMint on "John King, USA" at 7 p.m. ET.

Watch Mitt Romney, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman and talk show host Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul compete to see who can crash the economy the fastest, drive wages down the lowest and destroy the social fabric of America to the level of Jim Demint's South Carolina with the most zeal.

BREAKING NEWS (11:00 AM ET): Gov. Rick Perry will not participate in the Palmetto Freedom Forum today in order to return to Texas as the State battles wildfires . Perry did manage to participate in U.S. Rep Tim Scott's town hall meeting in Myrtle Beach prior to his departure from the State.(Sources: Huffington Post, Texas Tribune)

While Jim Demint leads the charge of the Tea Party movement, South Carolina could very well be the poster child of failed conservative politics. If Republican austerity fanatics have their way the rest of the country could soon find themselves swimming in the same soup:
Jim Demint's South Carolina among the poorest states in America
Teen pregancies, HIV and AIDS rates soar in South Carolina
Sexual violence in Jim Demint's South Carolina
South Carolina public schools among the worst in U.S.
Violent crime: South Carolina leads the country
Public health problems and low health insurance rates plague South Carolina's citizens
South Carolina: 4th highest unemployment rates in the U.S.
South Carolina last in education according to conservative group
Investor's journal slams South Carolina's management record

Friday, September 2, 2011

Amanpour & Demint on This Week

Veteran journalist Christiane Amanpour's This Week will feature South Carolina Senator Jim Demint on tomorrow's show. Check local schedules for air times or check the link below after the show airs to view the interview on line.

ABCNEWS: He may be the Tea Party's kingmaker in the crucial primary state of South Carolina. On the eve of hosting the top Republican contenders at his Palmetto Freedom Forum, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint comes to "This Week" and talks with Christiane Amanpour about what he needs to see Monday for a candidate to win his key endorsement. And as President Obama prepares to address the nation on jobs, DeMint says he wants to see a plan, not "talking points off a TelePrompTer." But what is the Tea Party's vision for getting America back to work?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene threatens S.C.; Demint denies climate change science

Hurricane Irene churns over the Atlantic in this NASA image. Now a category 3 storm it is building in intensity and tracking north-westward towards the Carolina coasts where it is predicted it will reach category 4 strength.


South Carolina is particularly vulnerable to severe storms like Hurricane Irene  which is expected to hit the United States as a category four storm tomorrow. Severe weather is a constant threat to the State's valuable tourism industry as they cause heavy beach erosion and threaten the Port of Charleston and other critical infrastructure.
Category 4 hurricane defined: wind speeds between 131 and 155 mph; waves 13-18 feet high. They "tend to produce more extensive curtainwall failures, with some complete roof structural failures on small residences. Heavy, irreparable damage and near complete destruction of gas station canopies and other wide span overhang type structures are common. Mobile and manufactured homes are leveled. These storms cause extensive beach erosion, while terrain may be flooded far inland. Total and long-lived electrical and water losses are to be expected, possibly for many weeks. Source: Wikipedia and CBS News
The vast majority of climate scientists attribute the increase in severe storms to man made-fossil fuel generated global warming. Nonetheless as a friend to major oil and energy interests who contribute to his campaign and PAC, South Carolina's Senator Jim Demint consistently denies science while South Carolina pays the price.

Senator Demint's office offered this guidance for constituents as they face the prospect of facing Hurricane Irene and the loss of property and life. 

August 23, 2011
Be Prepared for Hurricane Season
by Jim's Staff
As we continue to monitor Hurricane Irene’s progress towards the East Coast, South Carolina remains at high risk for major effects from the storm.

Be sure to stay tuned to local news for the latest updates on the path of Hurricane Irene and if you live in a coastal area, please make sure that you know your evacuation route.

Everyone should have an personal emergency plan in place for them and their family, whether for hurricanes or any type of disaster.  Please take a few minutes to review the following information: it will be time well-spent!

General information on emergency preparation:
Get hurricane current updates & South Carolina-specific info:
Find your closest Red Cross shelter:
Please contact our Columbia office, 803-771-6112, or our Greenville office at 864-233-5366 if we can be of additional assistance.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Demint's Labor Day Forum in Columbia, SC assembles the cream of the extreme

The Confederate Flag waves proudly over the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia where Jim Demint will be hosting his Labor Day GOP candidate's forum. The treasonous flag symbolizes the extreme conservative principles that South Carolina's elites invoke to keep their state unemployed,  uneducated and replete with heath problems and crime since the Civil War.

Tea Party kingmaker, South Carolina Senator Jim Demint is holding a Republican Presidential candidate's forum in Columbia, South Carolina, the state capitol.

Appearing before the invitation only audience will be U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann who's opposition to government bailouts didn't stop her family business from taking federal and State of Minnesota subsidies of nearly $200,000; Texas Governor Rick Perry who's "Texas economic miracle" shares the honor with Mississippi of being the states with the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs; U.S. Representative Ron Paul, Former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, half-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman and Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, whom Demint endorsed in 2008, will not be present to represent the liberal wing of the Republican Party. Former Senator Rick Santorum was also not invited along with Huntsman because neither candidate met the polling requirements set by the event's organizers.

The power behind the Kingmaker: who owns Jim Demint?
Amanpour to interview Demint on South Carolina GOP forum and Tea Party's future

Monday, August 22, 2011

South Carolina rape case underscores high incidence of sexual violence in the State

One of many roadside churches just south of Allendale, SC

Roadside churches are about as common as legal loan sharking businesses in South Carolina. Combine that with America's highest violent crime rate, the 15th highest number of forcible rapes among all 50 states, the fact that 50.2% of all South Carolina rape victims are acquaintances of the offender and you can easily understand the story that hit today's national headlines. (Sources of sexual assault Data: US Census, State of South Carolina).

It seems like the conservative culture of family values doesn't work in Jim Demint's South Carolina.

South Carolina pastor Dale Richardson accused of raping women behind church

LADSON, S.C. - South Carolina pastor Dale Richardson has been charged with kidnapping and raping several women at gunpoint, including two of them in a trailer behind his church. He is also accused of kidnapping a fourth who was not sexually assaulted.

According to an incident report, on a Saturday afternoon in July, the preacher picked up a woman and gave her a ride. When the 20-year-old tried to exit out of the car, Richardson allegedly pulled a gun, bound her hands, covered her head and took her to the gray-blue trailer home behind the Free Will Baptist Church in Ladson.

The report also said he later dropped the woman in a wooded area and threatened to shoot her if she turned around. The woman was able to identify Richardson from his picture on the church website, which also displays a short biography detailing how he became a Christian and then a pastor.

Read the full CBS-AP report

South Carolina Sexual Assault Statistics 
The newest statistics from SLED’s website states that in 2009, South Carolina had a total of
1,649 rape offenses reported:

  • The rape rate in South Carolina has been higher than the national rape rate since1982.
  • In South Carolina, the rape rate has increased 37.6 percent from 1975 to 2009
  • A decline of 2.9 percent of rapes took place from 2008 to 2009.
  • 50.2 percent of offender relationships to victims of rapes were acquaintances.
  • 22.6 percent of rape victims fell into the age range of 18-24.
  • Saluda County, SC ranks number one in the state for number of rapes per 10,000 people residing in the county (15 offenses = 7.9 rapes per 10,000 people). as of March 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Don't believe what they say in the "Lame-stream" media, Jim Demint's Tea Party movement is really a lot of fun

South Carolina's junior Senator Jim Demint is proud to be called the Tea Party Senator. His PAC has been credited with electing a large number of pro-Tea Party members to Congress.

Let's take a look and meet the Tea Party folks and learn more about the movement that Demint calls his own.

Compassionate conservatives: CNN-Tea Party debate audience cheers idea that the uninsured should be left to die.

Listen to Wisconsin Tea Party rally applaud their part in helping to crash the U.S. economy.

This disabled Tea Party supporter lives off veteran's benefits and pays no taxes but complains about government spending for other poor and working folks. Its alarming to note that many Tea Party supporters often depend upon and live on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and veteran's benefits even while Tea Party politicians like Jim Demint and Michele Bachmann want to eliminate or severely cut back those very programs.

Tea Partiers in Texas don't like hispanics in the State legislature. They're not too fond of teachers either

Nobody can say Tea Party members don't understand the issues. That's because their leaders do such a great job educating them on everything from the founding fathers to Obamacare, taxes, welfare and government spending priorities.

This Tea Party anti-communist wants to be able to choose a good doctor. We sure hope that he finds one soon.

Thankfully, there are no racists in the Tea Party!

Jim Demint's Saving Freedom reviewed by Charleston, SC paper

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Demint twists truth about U.S. debt downgrade perhaps to deflect blame from Tea Party

The Tea Party, bought and paid for by the Koch brothers shows over and over again that its willing to shut down the government, push the country to the brink of default on the national debt and otherwise crash the American economy in order to extract more budget cuts and tax dodges for the rich. 

Despite the fact that Standard and Poor’s explained that the number 1, 2 and 3 reasons for their recent downgrade of U.S. debt were the tea party inspired partisan brinksmanship over the debt ceiling, South Carolina Senator Jim Demint insists that the responsibility for the lowered rating rests with the Obama Administration and that somehow mismanagement by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is to blame. Demint and other conservatives like Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann have called for the Secretary's immediate resignation.

Demint’s false assertions about Treasury Secretary designed to misdirect blame and exonerate Tea Party and Republicans from the first debt downgrade in American history

The fact that the S&P statement nowhere mentioned mismanagement by the treasury department as a reason for the downgrade did not deter the "Tea Party Senator" from making their claims. Perhaps its an effort to redirect blame from the Tea Party Congressional delegation that insisted on tying an increase to the debt ceiling with deficit reduction and went on to consistently refuse to compromise on a much larger package  that would have included some additional revenues from closed corporate tax loopholes, some adjustments to deductions and some broadening of the tax base as proposed by the Obama Administration.

The Obama Administration's "grand bargain"  included $3 Trillion in budget cuts and around $800 billion in increased tax revenues substantially bigger spending cuts than ultimately were agreed upon through the final legislation. The Administration's plan would have likely satisfied the ratings agency although political 'dysfunction' initiated by the willingness of the Tea Party Republicans to push the the U.S. to the edge of default was clearly the main reason behind the credit downgrade.
“...the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges. (Standard & Poors' statement on U.S. debt downgrade)
Ironically, Demint went on to say that the downgrade could have been avoided had the debt ceiling deal included more budget cuts, precisely what the Obama Adminstration including Secretary Geithner proposed in its grand bargain. 

Republican and Tea Party resistance to eliminating Bush tax cuts cited as additional justification for the debt downgrade.

S & P also strongly indicted Republican intransigence on any revenue increases. They clearly stated their worry that the formerly “temporary” Bush tax cuts seemed to be on their way to becoming permanent.

“Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.”  (Standard & Poors' statement on U.S. debt downgrade)
Read the Standard & Poors debt downgrade press release
How a downgrade on the national debt will impact South Carolina's fiscal future

Friday, August 5, 2011

Jim Demint driving the austerity bus: "most powerful political figure" next to President Obama according to The Atlantic

Senator Demint demands the kind of austerity  for the rest of the nation, that consevatives have been imposing on South Carolina for years. His home state is one of the poorest in the nation, has the highest violent crime rate,  and suffers from enormous public health problems. By nearly every social indicator it is a failure. Now its Senator is building a legislative movement to drive the rest of the US down the same road.

August 1, 2011.Senator Jim DeMint was not one of the major political players whose every move we watched this weekend, but he was the animator of much of the high stakes drama over raising the debt ceiling and cutting the national deficit and debt.  DeMint has been the driver of the 'never give up, never surrender' drum beat of the largely freshman class of Tea Party conservatives in both the Senate and the House.  DeMint provided muscle and counsel to Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor in his posturing during this debate.
Read the rest of The Atlantic's analysis
DeMint’s leadership PAC battles leaders in fight for future of Senate GOP caucus
By Alexander Bolton 08/04/11 The Hill

Members of the Tea Party Caucus and the GOP leadership are in a money race that could shape the ideology of the Senate Republican Conference.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) remains the king of GOP fundraising, but members of the Tea Party Caucus are getting more active about electing conservatives in their mold to the upper chamber.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who often battles his leadership over the direction of the conference, has been more aggressive this year in the use of his fundraising committee.
Read the entire report from The Hill
Read more about who own's Jim Demint
Demint blames Geithner in transparent attempt to get tea party of the hook
Mitch McConnell: victor and "great dismantler" in debt ceiling deal
Wisconsin conservatives ask Demint and Club for Growth to back off  in selection of congressional candidates