There's something in the water, I tell you
Just like it's the water in New York City that makes bagels from there so damn good (drool...), there's something in the water here that makes politicians insane.
I mean, on top of Strom "The Thing That Would Not Die" Thurmond and Lindsey "Cracker" Graham, we've got a few loose nuts in our State Leg as well.
Example #1 - We've got legislators actually arguing whether or not putting ads INSIDE school buses is a good thing (and managing to dodge taking a stand on it):
COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - A South Carolina senator who objects to advertisements on school buses has told lawmakers considering the idea that students shouldn't be force-fed corporate ads on their way to school.
Republican Senator Greg Ryberg of Aiken wants to ban school districts from putting ads in buses to raise money. Some senators at a subcommittee meeting Wednesday said such decisions should be left to local school board members and parents.
Well, it's at least nice to see a Republican being something other than a evil tool of corporate interests, as so many of his peers aspire to.
Democratic Senator Kay Patterson of Columbia says it's an option some districts may need because the Legislature doesn't adequately fund education.
Well, imagine that. Inadequately funding public education, so the private sector is willing to step in and hang an ad in front of lil' Johnny and Britney's faces while they're supposed to be "learning". After all, it's not enough that the school halls, school cafeterias, even the lessons themselves have been intruded on by advertising, not to mention the ads kids willingly inflict on themselves. Hell, why should kids get ANY respite from the corporate world?
We should just sell kids outright to corporations - or at least rent 'em for the time they're in school. Tattoo a logo on the back of their hand, so they can never escape advertising. Change their names legally while they're in school - Britney Johnson might be, say, Nike Johnson. When they graduate, not only can the corporation get their name mentioned, but maybe the presenter can even say the company catchphrase in awarding the diploma! Whee!
After all, it's all so much easier to rely on The Free Market(tm) than it is to adequately fund education.
Example #2 - Legislators fret over the menace that is Skee-Ball:
Columbia, SC -- The South Carolina House killed what's known as the "Chuck E. Cheese" bill Wednesday morning, over concerns that it would allow video poker to sneak back into the state.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison, R-Columbia, said, "I think it is drafted in such a way that it would create a loophole to basically get us video poker back, where you're paid off in merchandise rather than cash."
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, to make it clear that Skee Ball and other games that offer tickets or tokens that are traded for toys or candy are perfectly legal.
While Rep. Harrison was speaking against the bill, Rutherford asked him about the current law against gambling. Harrison explained that, under the current law, if you pay something of value and an element of risk is involved to win something of value, that's gambling.
"So little three-year-olds or five-year-olds at Chuck E. Cheese are, in fact, breaking the law by gambling? Is that what you're telling me?" Rutherford asked.
Harrison replied, "I think under the current definition of gambling, that what goes on as innocent fun in many cases is gambling."
Oh, my! Little
Johnny Staples might be GAMBLING! OH NOES WE"LL ALL DIE
Of course, by Rep. Harrison's own definition, the State Lottery is "gambling", but that's irrelevant 'cause that money is intended for "education".
So how's that new education funding working out?
50th in high school graduation rate. Manhattan Institute.
See The Post and Courier, 2/16/05: "South Carolina has long lingered near the bottom in many national rankings of public education. But none offers a more worrying indicator of the state's future than our low standing in high school graduation rates-- now last among all 50 states, according to a new report by the Manhattan Institute."
49th in average SAT scores. The College Board. See The Post and Courier, 8/31/05: "In test results released Tuesday by The College Board, South Carolina's average SAT score increased seven points to 993, or 35 points below the national average of 1,028. The Palmetto State's average score on the college entrance test tied with Georgia for 49th place, topping only Washington, D.C."
First in high college tuition. Chronicle of Higher Education. See the Myrtle Beach Sun News, 9/15/05: " South Carolina's average tuition was ranked the highest in the nation by the Chronicle of Higher Education when compared to percentage of per-capita income."
Well, I guess it's not really gambling then, since you do indeed "pay something of value and an element of risk is involved", but getting something of value back? Not so much.
But you do get one of those cool scratch-off cards that you can leave all over convenience-store parking lots when you're done with them, so I guess that's something.