“Throw enough money at any problem and you’re
going to help some folks.”

Gov. Mark Sanford on The Early Show on CBS last week, saying that he was against Obama’s housing plan. Sanford also said he was against the broader economic stimulus, but he would likely take a portion of the $8 billion carved out for South Carolina. Source: The Associated Press

S.C. Loses Out
On Stimulus Jobs

A review of the estimated jobs coming from the stimulus suggests a relatively even distribution among the states. That means those hardest hit by the economic crisis, like South Carolina, won’t see as much of an impact on its unemployment numbers as other states.

The White House estimates that South Carolina will see 50,000 new jobs. That’s 24 percent of the state’s 207,000 unemployed that could potentially be put back to work. But, on average, the jobs that states are getting account for 37 percent of their total unemployment number. Six states could cut their unemployment by more than half. In Wyoming, where 10,000 are currently without work, the stimulus is expected to create 8,000 jobs — or enough to give jobs to 80 percent of its unemployed.

Other states with high unemployment that will be least impacted by the stimulus include California, Michigan, Nevada, and Rhode Island. —Greg Hambrick

Proposed Statehouse Monument to
Dead Fetus

Thirty-three state House members, including four local legislators, support a proposed Statehouse monument that would memorialize “South Carolina children whose lives ended before their birth.”

Reps. Wendell Gilliard (D-Charleston), Jim Merrill (R-Daniel Island), Tim Scott (R-North Charleston), and Mike Sottile (R-Isle of Palms) are co-sponsors of the bill. The monument would be paid for through private donations (the bill stresses that donors would not have to be revealed in public financial disclosures), and the state would be expected to pay for the maintenance of it.

Usually, we would just label this as pandering and move on without mention, but 33 sponsors out of 124 representatives is a strong indication of support. It’s the latest in a flood of anti-abortion legislation, including a proposal for a 24-hour waiting period before the procedure. That bill is expected to be debated this week.

These unborn monuments have cropped up in private cemeteries over the years. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled against a monument to the unborn dead in a cemetery in 2002 because of a law against using a gravesite as an ad board for political purposes. —Greg Hambrick

$300,000

That’s the estimated value of Bacardi Rum stolen from Ben Arnold Beverage’s Hanahan warehouse. We’re assuming they’ve ruled out Captain Morgan as a suspect. Argh! Source: The Post and Courier

50 cents

That’s the cigarette tax increase, per pack, proposed by state House Speaker Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston). The revenues would help small businesses and low-income workers pay for health insurance. With the federal cigarette tax increasing by 62 cents this spring, smokers may want to invest in the patch, M&Ms, gold bars, or some other less expensive alternative to smoking.

State Forcefully Spins Wheels on Guantanamo

The state Senate debated opposition to relocating Guantanamo detainees to Charleston’s Consolidated Navy Brig last week before sending the resolution back to committee. The Obama administration has said it will close the controversial Guantanamo facility within the next year, but has not indicated where the detainees will go. Considering the state has limited input, the resolution would largely be a symbolic gesture — namely, that gesture with the middle finger.

Approved by the Statehouse earlier this month, the measure says the state doesn’t want any more combatants. The local brig has already housed three found within the U.S. The resolution also states that it would be “manifestly unjust and imprudent” to locate suspected terrorists “in areas as densely populated or of such vital national interest” as the Lowcountry. Yes, we’re pretty sure that vital national interest is Hootie and the Blowfish.

Sen. Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg) called the resolution a waste of time.

“Will President Obama really care what the state Senate of South Carolina has to say about foreign policy?” he asked. “We should be talking about getting our economy back on track, paying our school teachers, and trying to make health care more affordable.” —Greg Hambrick

School District Striving Toward ‘Excellent’

Charleston County schools are making “excellent” progress, according to a new state report — it’s the first time the district has reached that mark since South Carolina began rating districts a decade ago. Termed the growth rating, it is based on an analysis of state test scores compared to the previous year. The district also received an absolute rating of “average,” an improvement over last year’s “below average.” Individual school progress included Burke High improving from “at risk” or unsatisfactory to “below average.”

“The victory is in the classroom,” says Superintendent Nancy McGinley. “In education, too many people are looking for a miracle, not a method. It’s not a miracle. It’s a strategy we’re going to make work, whether the budget is tight or generous.”

This tight budget year has endangered some programs the district considers instrumental to student success, but staff note there’s hope that federal stimulus money could preserve early education and after-school programs. Meanwhile, the district is looking to develop a reading campaign in North Charleston and a new program to help students transition from elementary to middle school, an area where the district is still struggling in state ratings.

“Where we have not made strides, we’re going to double our efforts,” McGinley says. —Greg Hambrick