YOUR PALMETTO POLITICAL FIX …
Just when you least expected it, we’re back with another edition of “The Wire.”
What’s that? For those of you new to this website, “The Wire” is a sporadically published interactive feature in which our founding editor Will Folks (a.k.a. Sic Willie) fields tips, comments, questions and other incoming communications from you, our beloved readers.
When do we publish this feature? Not often enough (as one of our readers points out below) … which we blame on the fact Sic is always goofing off on our Twitter (here) or Facebook pages (here and here).
Anyway … you wanna share a tip? A link? Ask a question? Submit a comment? Put “Sic” on the spot?
Reach out (anonymously or otherwise) via our tip wire … and remember, in addition to confidentially investigating your leads we also publish letters to the editor and guest editorials (even anonymous ones) in the event you’ve got more to say on a subject. Also feel free to reach out to our founding editor directly at [email protected].
To the wire! (And remember to check back often as this segment is frequently updated) …
I think I speak for all of your readers when I say you and Thomas Ravenel need to “get a room.” The fawning hero worship coverage of such a morally compromised individual does nothing to advance the brand of libertarianism you purport to embrace. Do us all a favor and shed “T-Rav” from your daily deluge of links. Get back to covering the corruption at the Statehouse in Columbia and in the Nikki Haley administration. Ravenel is never going to amount to anything, is not going to impact the outcome of Lindsey Graham’s reelection and is needlessly draining you of the credibility you have worked very hard to achieve.
Read the comments on your own articles if you don’t believe me!
Beatty: Thanks for the input. Thomas is my friend. Has been for years. Even if he wasn’t, though, I’d be hard-pressed not to cover him favorably in light of the consistency with which he advances the issues I care about. My website is an opinion site, and if you don’t like those opinions … well, you are one click away from never having to read them again. Also, while FITS has praised Ravenel’s entry into the U.S. Senate race, endorsed many of his views and echoed many of his criticisms of Graham, we’ve also been blunt in assessing his prospects come November.
DAMAGE CONTROL AT BOEING?
Check Friday’s Seattle paper. There is an interesting story absolving South Carolina workers of the recent problems you referenced. Says they are doing higher-skilled work than their union counterparts in Washington State. I would be interested in your take.
Fred: Saw that. My take is simple … Boeing doesn’t care how many planes South Carolina makes. Nor do they care how shoddy the workmanship is on those planes. As a source close to the company’s North Charleston, S.C. facility told me plainly once, “never forget that we are leverage” – meaning the Boeing South Carolina facility exists for no other purpose than as a “stick” in negotiations with the company’s labor union.
FORMER PALMETTO OPERATIVE LINKED TO MISSISSIPPI SENATE SMEARS
Wesley Donohue’s Push Digital company was being paid by the pro-Thad Cochran super political action committee “Mississippi Conservatives” at the time the group was targeting African American Democrats to turn out for Cochran in the run-off. The payments to Push were both independent expenditures in support of Cochran and opposed to McDaniel.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what kind of “online digital advertising” the company did? If it’s anything like the Citizens for Progress radio ad that Fox News recently found, I think it would be worth a FITSNews exclusive.
Anon: Nice catch. We covered the race-baiting Mississippi ad referenced in the Fox report last month (here’s our story). Does it surprise us that “conservative” political operative Wesley Donehue may have been involved in race-baiting ads like this? Of course not. He’s been a tool of the GOP’s left wing from the beginning … and has made a killing over the years defending sellouts like Cochran. BTW, I did reach out to Push Digital for a response and was told this: “We do work for clients all over the country. Political work is disclosed in accordance with state and federal campaign finance laws.”
COLUMBIA S.C. “MAYORHOOD” UPDATE
RE: Steve Benjamin No Longer With Law Firm
Next time you write about a scrubbed webpage, remember the Wayback Machine …
Here’s the archive webpage of Parker Poe Lawyers under the letter “B.” And here ‘tis.
Anon: That’s a solid tip. Duly noted …
MORE COLUMBIA “MAYORHOOD”
None of the Columbia ‘news’ outlets have reported a word about the murder of Donald Gist since the shooter was arrested. I’m sure because he was the mayor’s brother-in-law. Why hasn’t this been investigated?
Anon: Good question. Obviously we reported on it as it happened, but you’re right. Very little has come to light about the circumstances surrounding Gist’s death. I’ll keep my ear to the ground, though.
ONCE MORE, “MAYORHOOD”
Dear Sir, I listened with interest to your appearance on the Cynthia Hardy Pryor radio show “On Point” this weekend on the Big DM. Your comments referring to Mayor (Steve) Benjamin were inappropriate and qualify as racist. Mayor Benjamin has done nothing wrong. He has been charged with no crime. (You’re) assassinating his character with no regard for his wife or family. This qualifies as racist. You owe the mayor an apology, his wife an apology and his children an apology.
Gerald: All I can say regarding Mayor Benjamin is karma is a bitch …
Did you see WIS TV 10 reporter Jack Kuenzie discussing the Supreme Court’s recent Bobby Harrell/ Alan Wilson ruling? He’s getting “objective” analysis from attorney Pete Strom – who, as I’m sure you know, employs Bobby’s son Trey Harrell.
BT: Yeah, I missed that … but then again I generally avoid WIS like the plague because it is the most pro-status quo television station in the state. Oh, and they censor viewer feedback. Having said all that, Pete is one of – if not the – smartest lawyer in the state, which I know from experience.
CHARTER VS. SEC NETWORK
So Will. Did I miss it or have you spoken or are you interested in the major issue (to me and other Gamecock fans in the Upstate) about the fact that Charter cable and SEC network still haven’t agreed on a deal to carry it up here in Greenville? Time is running out and still no good news. I’m amazed that this is still unresolved and that it is still under the radar.
Keep up the good work. And thanks.
BP: Thanks man. Not sure what the status is regarding Charter or any of the other providers that haven’t inked a deal with the SEC Network. I’m on AT&T U-Verse – which has subscribed – but it will definitely be newsworthy if August 28 rolls around and there are still providers who haven’t inked deals.
Dear Editor: You need to do the wire more than just once a month. I know it’s a pain in the ass but it is a great feature that generates leads for your site and the mainstream reporters who follow you. Please consider this as a request from a loyal reader — “MORE WIRE!”
Anon: Thank you. You are correct. I will do my best to amp up production of this particular feature.
SIC STRUTTIN’ …
So inquiring minds want to know, Sic William. Do you plan on sharing the identity of the leggy black woman you were cozying up to in the the Capital Lounge late Thursday night in Washington, D.C. Did you inform your wife as to how “close” the two of you were?
DC Eye: I got three words for you. The first is “pimpin.” The second is “ain’t.” And the third is “easy.” Take ’em however you please.
“This is my world and I am a world leader pretend … ”
Great response to the idiot who thinks you, or anyone else for that matter, owe Mayor Benjamin an apology.
I don’t know. Cocaine can make you make some irrational decisions.
True that Jackie, but hopefully, once off the coke, their decision making processes are much better. In Lindsey’s case, he can’t blame coke for the shit he does.
It is a “helluva” drug, I’m told.
Speaking of this….Will, I’ve heard a few grumblings that Dave is planning a comeback. Have you?
Good to see The Wire back. When you run it, it’s the first thing I read.
So about Spurrier’s 200% ($700,000) state salary increase… from $350,00 to $1,050,000.
Butthurt is a disease. Use your new obama phone to call your new obamacare doctor to get some treatment for it.
Just trying to find out how a state employee makes more in a raise in one year than the total state salary of the 2nd highest person in the state. A legitimate question.
I make way too much money to qualify for an Obamaphone and have BC&BS.
He’s not a state employee in the sense that he’s not paid out of the general fund nor the USC operating funds. His salary comes out of the athletics budget and he’s basically the CEO of football so when the football team does well and makes money for the athletics program and the university in general the CEO of football get’s a raise. The board of trustees approves his contract and set’s his salary. Same goes for Dabo at Clemson. Since Athletics is revenue positive and generates money for the University, I really don’t see the issue here.
Wrong. The funds stated on the Budget & Control Board website shows state appropriated state employee salary funds. I know people who are paid off grants and other funds and they do not show on this website, but their base state salary does. His total salary is way more than $1,050,000 just as Dabo is paid more than the $238,000 or whatever it states on the site which is where things like funds from the USC Athletic Department come into his salary. The Athletic Department does not pay the Budget & Control Board which then pays Spurrier. Last year Spurrier’s state salary was shown as $350,000. Is that what Spurrier was paid last year?
I don’t care what the Athletic Departments pay coaches, I do care what state taxpayers pay them. Especially when they’re getting 200% salary increases in a time where other state employees get nothing or if fortunate up to a 10% increase.
The university gives the money to the state so that it counts in their salary. That’s how it works. The coaches receive NO state money.
How about state insurance and retirement benefits?
State insurance is paid by the university through athletics and they make their own co-pays. They contribute to the retirement system like every other state employee and their $$$ contribution matches their salary which give makes their contributions significant and USC has to match them. Given that most of them never retire in SC the state makes $$$ on the investment of the contributions. Since Spurrier is over 55 and has 5+ years of employment he will be able to draw retirement when he quits but at no where near the percentage of salary a normal 28/30 year state employee draws or what a 25 year LEO/Firefighter makes. Actuary wise it the state makes money through the retirement system on high paid short term employees.
Since that is based on “base salary”, do the math on how that changes from $350,000 and $1,050,000. Even if you calculate it for 10 years rather than 20 it’s still a huge increase in retirement.
If you’ll note I stated Spurrier maybe the exception. In general and averaged out they make money.
Every state employee makes out if they draw for more than 3 years. If they die before then and don’t have a spouse on their plan, then the estate just gets the balance of their contributions.
On the part of Spurrier, it was genius for him to get his salary increase through his base salary rather than through the Athletic Department. It screws the retirement program in the end, since the numbers I quoted were based on 10 years of service, for every year additional you can add nearly 2% to that number. The state retirement system will end up paying him north of $200,000 for life once he retires.
I assume this was part of his special assistant to the AD position slotted for him, it’ll likely be based on his base salary and it’ll help that his current base is over a million vs. $350,000.
Would be interesting to know if additional time has been bought before this increase in order to bump retirement pay even more.
Also, I have seen in news reports that various state employees were allowed to purchase future years towards their retirement. They would pay a certain amount additional towards the retirement account and receive benefits equal to the number of years purchased. Someone retiring at 27 years of actual service could pay for three additional years and get the same retirement benefits as someone that had 30 actual years of service. So even if Spurrier didn’t have ten years in he could purchase years to equal ten (or more).
Maximum purchase is 6 years total. For unearned time, it’s 33% of your highest year’s income. So if Spurrier wants to buy 6 years he can, for $2,100,000.
Now note that this would be put into an account showing his contributions. It’s like a savings account, if he dies before he collects the balance of his contributions his estate receives the remaining balance. I believe the state retirement system has been getting around a 4% return on investments, so it’s a safe bet, and better than putting it in CD’s.
Wrong. If it were true, what would be the reasoning behind giving just a small portion?
I have read that the football program at any of the colleges that have one is not a stand alone proposition and in fact is one of the reasons the coaches get at least a part of their pay from booster clubs, etc. The football (or any program) program does not pay for the stadiums, practice fields, equipment salaries, etc.
At least Spurrier produces. Then there’s McConnell. Sheesh.
I thought by “the wire” you were going to compare the corruption in the show “the wire” with the current level of corruption in Columbia. Only thing missing is an Omar Little character running around robbing drug dealers.
SC workers smarter than Washington’s Union Brutes. How bout that. That had to make FITS S#!* all over himself. His loathing for South Carolina, and our people, makes him feel superior. Like most liberals, they cannot stand to see their myths busted…
But if FITS is anything like the rest of them, he just ignores facts that don’t “FIT” into the leftwing fables…that guide you…
Slapping the piss out of people, people shitting all over themselves… You’re into some weird stuff, huh?
You voting base loves that, don’t you?
You’re voting isn’t old enough to vote.
Glad The Wire has been reconnected, Sic – keep it up!!
Man-love means never having to apologize for anything you post on your privately-funded and owned site. But it doesn’t absolve you from ridicule, dude!
You do realize that some of your avatars look more like Cartman than Editor in Chief of South Carolina’s leading social commentary site?
And don’t get too hung up on being perceived as races. T-Bone is Al Sharpton without the personality or bank account.
Rock on, Will, Rock on!!
I think you BANGED it on the Head Dice Man: FITS CERTAINLY is a Southpark-class bard, if nothing else.
And unfortunately for him: his audience would be five times bigger, if it were not for that dang literacy thingy…
Any trained journalist should exercise a degree of skepticism of off the record remarks. While Boeing certainly wanted to put pressure on the AIM. That they wouldn’t care about production in N. Charleston is silly. I am sure you are accurately quoting the source, but why would he tell you that. He must have a motive if only his own vanity. He gave you the quote you wanted and then you quit asking questions. Not good journalism.
In regards to the Gestapo tactics at the plant. A Chinese citizen was just arrested in Canada for spying on Boeing (defense plant in the US). The guards may have thought you were photographing employees and their license plates as they entered the plant. The security guards have more to worry about than nosy journalists. Terrorists and corporate or international spies. They may have thought you were a distraction for someone else to enter the plant. Of course that is far fetched, but they are there only to prevent that one attempt that may not happen but once in 40 years or never.
If the SC plant really is that terrible, Boeing will not want the union to call their bluff in negotiations. If the Washington employees know about the SC plant being terrible, Boeing can’t bluff. There is no leverage if the SC plant sucks so bad.
MUSC was equated with Anderson Area Medical Center today by US News and World Report Ratings. They also lost the top hospital in South Carolina to Spartanburg Regional. All rated sub specialities at MUSC are no longer rated among the top performers. All this, under the leadership of Etta Pisano who seeks to put MUSC within the top 25 in the US. I wonder if the new president will take this opportunity to fire her? She has truly ruined a great medical center and needs to be replaced.
Not to worry, Susan, the rankings are based on two-year-old dala. I am a nurse at Spartanburg Regional. Lots of wierd stuff going on. A senior VP has committed multiple sexual assaults on staff, management bought an unneeded nursing home from a board member, management flies around the country on hunting trips on a board member’s jet, they spent $350,000 on a trip to the masters and have a skybox at the Panther’s stadium. With such massive corruption at the top, we will fall.
Looks like T-Rav has replaced crack with hot fudge sundaes.
Is it possible for a driver in SC to have been “ticketed” 19 times for traffic violations in less than a decade and still have a DL? Counting the “ex” 25!
It is a bit disturbing, seeing so many pictures of Will.
Feds to open $50 million resort for illegal children.