A 13-year-old Anderson boy has been suspended from school twice for wearing a jacket with a Confederate flag on it. The principal and district trustees for Lakeside Middle School consider the symbol "disruptive," and ordered James Kingley to take the flag off his jacket.
Perhaps James' jacket could be flown from the State House. According to the magnolia-sniffing lunatics who run that asylum, there is nothing disruptive about displaying the banner over our seat of government.
Gov. Beasley professes to be "absolutely livid" about the Department of Energy's plans to store more foreign spent nuclear fuel at the Savannah River Site, and may once again sue the Feds. Beasley is threatening court action in spite of the fact that he lost the same fight last year.
To those uninitiated in Republican nuclear politics, it may seem that Beasley has been born once again as an environmentalist. Actually, his "outraged" posturing is really part of a Republican jobs program to keep the aging bomb plant's payroll the biggest in the state.
While Beasley terrifies the public over the prospect of 19 metric tons of used foreign fuel coming to SRS, he and Sen. Strom Thurmond are working behind the scenes to get the Feds to agree that SRS is a great place to send 40,000 metric tons of spent fuel from America's commercial nuclear power plants.
Beasley and Thurmond are willing to sell out the Nonproliferation Treaty (requiring the U.S. to take back used nuclear fuel we sold to foreign countries to prevent it from falling into "the wrong hands") to pressure the Feds to keep pouring money and jobs into SRS. (Beasley, et. al., didn't notice that shipping spent fuel to SRS is an environmental hazard until there was no money in it.)
The amount of foreign nuclear waste being shipped to SRS is a drop in the atomic bucket there. The real environmental threat is the Republican's backdoor scam to bring commercial waste to SRS for reprocessing.
Beasley claims to oppose foreign fuel rods coming to South Carolina because "there is no responsible long-term management plan for their ultimate storage."
Real environmentalists remember that it was Beasley who single-handedly trashed a responsible long-term management plan for low-level radioactive waste when he pulled South Carolina out of the compact and kept America's nuclear waste rolling into Barnwell.
Real environmentalists don't expect anything different from political opportunists who make a career of selling our state out to corporate polluters, but they are livid that The State newspaper and other mainstream media don't have enough sense, or guts, to reveal the governor's atomic hypocrisy.
Rep. Jakie Knotts (R-Lexington), that defender of all things local, owes Judy Clarke an apology. Clarke, a USC law school graduate, was working as a public defender in Oregon when her old friend David Bruck asked Judge William Howard to appoint her to help him with the Susan Smith trial.
Knotts is a former Golden Gloves boxer who suffers from an extreme form of xenophobia that leaves him unable to trust anyone outside of West Columbia.
Because of Clarke's appointment, Knotts introduced legislation that resulted in South Carolina being the only state in the nation that prohibits judges from appointing out-of-state lawyers to defend indigents.
In a display of selflessness that should cause Knotts his greatest case of heartburn since his last triple helping of bar-b-que, Clarke donated the $83,000 she earned on the Smith case to the state's Post-Conviction Defenders Organization.
The governor may have pledged his forgiveness, but David's Dad is holding on to a grudge against Supreme Court Justice Jean Toal. Toal voted with the majority of the court to overturn a $13 million award to Dick Beasley's car dealership in a case against Toyota.
The court was not amused when Beasley's lawyers used charts that depicted squinty-eyed caricatures of orientals to represent Toyota.
As long as we let the legislature choose judges from their own ranks, the process is clearly political. Toal had the misfortune of being the first Democratic justice to come up for reelection since the Beasley administration took control.
The most serious accusations to surface during the most lengthy judicial hearings in history, and the first this century for a sitting justice, was that Toal swore, smoked cigars and tended to be bossy.
Critics of the process noted that this describes most of the judges in the state. Toal is the only female among nine Supreme and 40 Circuit Court judges.
When papa Beasley was digging around for muck to sling at Toal, they discovered that the official audiotape of Beasley's day in court was blank.
The anti-Toal forces have been trying to get the FBI to check the tape to see if it has been erased or whether the machine malfunctioned as the court claims. Rumor has it that the FBI has asked for the tape.
Folks in Darlington County learned not to mess with Dick Beasley long ago.
Faithful Lips readers know about the deal worked out in 1994 between Carroll Campbell and David Beasley.
Campbell agreed to support Beasley for governor. In return, Beasley would appoint Campbell to Strom Thurmond's Senate seat after Strom sets the longevity record in 1997 and retires (or completely ceases to function).
Under this plan, Campbell gets to pick up another couple of million bucks from the private sector (he gets a million annually from his insurance industry job and picks up spare change from service on corporate boards) and Thurmond gets to set the record.
Beasley, with Campbell's support, would then take Fritz Holling's Senate seat in 1998 and the dynamic duo would serve the Great State of South Carolina well into the next millennium.
The wild card in this well-stacked deck is our own whacky Sec. of State the man who would do away with his own job Jim Miles.
Miles tells Thurmond supporters he's running against Fritz. To Republicans who think that Strom's big stick is getting limp, Miles admits he's going to run against Thurmond.
If Miles gets into the primary against Thurmond the carefully crafted Campbell/Beasley/Thurmond deal goes to hell and all bets are off. Campbell may then be forced into a primary against both Miles and Thurmond. Smart money would be on Campbell in this contest, and place side bets on him as the Republican that could beat Democrat Elliott Close.
Another reason Campbell wants to keep the scheme alive and not be forced into a race against Miles is his hopes for a Dole victory in 1996. Campbell figures that a Dole presidency should provide him with a nice Cabinet seat. Hell, he can always be Senator, Secretary of Something would look good on the résumé.
Miles, to our triumvirate's chagrin, is in no hurry to declare against Thurmond. He has until April 30 to file for the office, and if the battle over reapportionment isn't resolved, the filing date could be pushed back until June.
Bill Crystal, a Republican opinion-maker who helped craft the Contract with America, recently predicted that Thurmond has two choices: run and lose or retire.
Thurmond's Republican colleagues are also pressuring Strom to retire. If he runs and wins, rumor has it that he will be asked to resign as chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee.
Another scenario has Campbell content with his current position in life. "Some people with money went into politics to get power," noted one Democrat. "Campbell went into politics to get the power to make money. For a guy who ran a pool hall and parking lots, knocking down well over a million a year is more alluring than being a public servant."
Most South Carolinians didn't hear about Sen. Strom Thurmond's lonely battle to protect us from a ballistic missile attack. The mainstream failed to report that Thurmond was the only hold out in the entire Senate refusing to vote for the START II agreement limiting nuclear weapons.
Thurmond threatened to filibuster against passage of the treaty because Clinton's defense budget didn't provide for the Star Wars defense system that Thurmond still supports.
In January, Thurmond was finally convinced that Nikita Kruschev had removed his missiles from Cuba, and START II passed the Senate.
Though same sex marriages are not legal in any state in the Union, Rep Gary Simrill (R-York) has introduced legislation that would make such unions illegal in South Carolina just in case.
It will be interesting to see if Simrill and the other members of the government off our backs and into our bedrooms caucus will support House bill 4071.
This bill, introduced by black caucus members Inabinett, Neal, J. Brown and Kennedy, is a joint resolution proposing an amendment to Article III, Section 33 of the state constitution. If the bill passes the legislature, voters this November will have an opportunity to delete the law that states, "The marriage of a white person with a Negro or mulatto, or person who shall have one-eighth or more of Negro blood, shall be unlawful and void."
Oblivious to the fact that his party's leadership isn't really interested in doing anything to further Jim Mile's political career, Rep. Doug Smith (R-Spartanburg) has presented legislation to do away with the office of the Sec. of State.
Miles, in a show of ultimate obeisance to the Republican mantra of Less Government, recently proposed that his office could be dissolved.
According to the Miles, his most important functions, keeping track of notary publics, corporations and the registered subversive, could be done by other state agencies for less money.
While Smith's bill seems to be perfect ammo for the Republican assault on unnecessary government, House Speaker David Wilkins and other Beasley/Campbell faithfuls don't want to support anything that could make Miles into a populist hero.
Smith's bill may be a referendum on the Sec. of State's political future. If the bill dies in committee, it reflects that the Beasley boys consider Miles a threat.
We just hope there weren't any children watching the obnoxious behavior of the Republican legislator's doing lunch at Valerie's in Columbia the other day.
"They were loud, and demanding," according to one witness, "and they didn't leave a tip."
Reps. Ron Fulmer (R-Charleston), Doug Smith (R-Spartanburg) and Hunter Limbaugh (R-Florence), known in some circles as the "Nazi Caucus," were joined by Rep. Johnny Tucker (D-Anderson). You remember Tucker, the Democrat who was rejected when he tried to switch parties because he was pro-choice.
When the foursome left the restaurant and passed in front of the state Democratic office Limbaugh, in what was apparently a subtle critique of the Clinton administration's attempts to regulate tobacco sales, flipped his cigarette butt at the enemy headquarters.
"The time has come to bring chain gangs back to South Carolina," said Atty. Gen. Charlie Condon in January. Condon wants to change the state law that requires people sentenced to more than three months to stay in their own county and serve on convict labor crews.
"We're talking about deadbeat types who need to be punished," Condon said. "It's mostly people convicted of traffic offenses and fraud."
Since statistics indicate that our legislators have a much greater chance of being busted for traffic offenses than the general population, it is unlikely they will support Condon's attempts to change the law.
Lips revealed several months ago that there were ethical considerations in the prevalent practice of Republican legislators sending fundraising solicitations to registered lobbyists.
It was noted that many registered environmental lobbyist routinely received invitations to Republican fundraisers because they were on the lobbyists list.
The state Ethics Commission released a statement last month that said lobbyists who "inadvertently" get invited to contribute to political fund-raisers can pass those invitations on to their clients.
Lobbyists are barred from making campaign donations but the solicitations can be "forwarded" to clients who have a financial interest in affecting the political process, as long as the lobbyists don't recommend that their clients make a contribution.
This is an advanced Republican concept referred to in the trade as "surgical ethics."
This month's Sleazeball Award goes to the state employee who has filed the most suits against the federal government since taking office. This sleazeball has no regard for the Constitution and would have been a hero during the Tillman administration. He has compared his opposition to voter registration to the battle for the Alamo.
Be the first caller to identify this month's sleasebag and win a free trial subscription to POINT.