South Carolina mystery candidate Alvin Greene speaks to hometown crowd

NewsChannel 36 – By RAD BERKY

MANNING, S.C. — Alvin Greene, the mystery man who came from virtually nowhere to win South Carolina’s Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate gave his first public speech in his hometown of Manning on Sunday afternoon.

Greene appeared nervous as he took the stage in the packed gymnasium of the Manning Junior High School where his name was misspelled on the sign outside.

Greene, who spent no money and never campaigned in the primary, opened his remarks to the Manning chapter of the NAACP by saying he was the best candidate for the Senate and the best candidate for next year’s Image Award.

In the midst of talking about jobs and education, Greene suddenly departed and started talking about someone he knew who was having a legal problem.

Greene is currently facing an obscenity charge for allegedly showing pornography on a computer to a college coed.

Greene said he had a friend who should have qualified for a pre-trial diversion program but did not.

“That same guy’s trial was supposed to be last week but it was put off,” he said, before reverting back to talking about jobs and education.

Greene was supposed to be in court last week on the obscenity charge but the court date was continued.

Greene spoke about putting South Carolina back to work saying, “We can build I-73 from Michigan to the South Carolina coast and widen major highways across the state.”

“Let’s get South Carolina and America back to work and move South Carolina and America forward,” he said.

Greene has, in the past, said that manufacturing action figures of himself would be a boost to the economy.  If that is still part of his platform he did not mention it.

Greene, who was supposed to speak for 20 to 30 minutes, was done after seven minutes.

He was given a rousing round of applause by the audience of 400 to 500 people, many of whom said they could support him.

“I feel with the right guidance and instead of politicians yelling about him being a plant, we should be asking, ‘How can we help you?'” said Kate Nash, who said she had voted for Greene in the primary.

Greene was to have taken questions from the national and local reporters who packed into the hot gymnasium, but he was hustled out a side door by his supporters when his seven-minute speech was finished.

Graham joins panel’s Dems to approve Kagan

MSNBC – Carrie Dann writes: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Tuesday voted in favor of the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, making him the only GOP member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to back Obama’s pick for the high court.

The panel, made up of 12 Democrats and seven Republicans, approved Kagan’s nomination by a vote of 13-6. Every Democrat on the panel supported her, while every Republican other than Graham opposed her. The nomination will go to a full Senate vote within the next few weeks.

“At the end of the day, after the hearing, it was not a hard decision for me to make,” Graham said in announcing his decision. “I thought she did a very good job and she will serve this nation honorably. And it would not have been someone I would have chosen, but the person who did choose, President Obama, I think chose wisely.”

Graham repeatedly noted areas of ideological disagreement between himself and the nominee, emphasizing that she is “a liberal.”

But, he said Kagan had met the Constitutional requirements to warrant his support. “Is the person qualified? Is it a person of good character? Are they someone that understands the difference between being a judge and a politician?” he said. “Quite frankly, I think she’s passed all those tests.”

Graham also addressed one of the main GOP arguments against her nomination: Kagan’s decision as Harvard Law School dean to prohibit military recruiters from using a campus career center on the basis that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring openly gay men and women from serving in the military violated the school’s anti-discrimination rules.

“If I believed that she had animosity in her heart about those who wear the uniform, I could easily vote no,” Graham said. “I don’t believe that.”

He was the only Republican member of the committee to support nominee Sonia Sotomayor in 2009.

Minutes before Graham’s statement of support, his office released a letter from Kagan to the South Carolina lawmaker praising her friend and former law school classmate Miguel Estrada. Estrada’s nomination to the federal bench by President George W. Bush was blocked by Democrats in the Senate in 2003.

The senior Republican on the committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., formally announced his opposition to Kagan’s nomination in a USA Today op-ed earlier Tuesday.

“Throughout her career, Ms. Kagan has placed her politics above the law,” Sessions wrote. “She has never been a judge, never tried a case before a jury and has practiced law for only three years. She is the least experienced nominee in the last half-century.”

Handel, Deal survive first round in governor’s race, head to GOP runoff

AJC – By Aaron Gould Sheinin

Riding the strength of Sarah Palin’s endorsement and a boatload of votes from metro Atlanta, Karen Handel on Tuesday bolted to the top in the race for the Republican nomination for governor. Nathan Deal finished second and will face Handel in a runoff Aug. 10.

John Oxendine, long the front-runner in the race, saw his candidacy fall down an elevator shaft. The insurance commissioner faded to fourth, finishing behind former state Sen. Eric Johnson. Handel, the former secretary of state, won 33 percent of the vote, and Deal, the former congressman, won 23 percent.

“Nobody believed we could take on the career politicians and the establishment and win,” Handel told ecstatic supporters at about 11 p.m. “But you, you believed. And because you did, we’re standing here tonight and we finished first today.” Handel’s campaign was certainly elevated by Palin’s endorsement, first delivered via Facebook on July 12 and then in an automated phone call to Republican voters. But Handel herself said she felt the momentum turning two months ago. Deal had a heavy-hitter endorsement of his own, winning the support of former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Now, Handel and Deal will make a final three-week charge to decide the GOP nomination, and all eyes turn to an unusual place: Alaska. Does Palin, the former governor of that faraway state, fly to Georgia to rally — and raise money — for Handel? Handel said Tuesday she was hopeful that both Palin and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will come to lend their help. Efforts to reach Palin have been unsuccessful.

On Tuesday, Handel’s strategy of focusing on her home base of Roswell, Sandy Springs and Alpharetta, and Atlanta’s northern exurbs, paid off, while Deal got a boost from portions of his old 9th Congressional District, in the northwestern corner of the state. But Handel was well ahead of the pack even before Fulton County results were in, and she led Deal by 1,000 votes in Forsyth County, one of the largest in the 9th District.

Once Fulton County reported, it was over. Handel, who served on the county commission before becoming secretary of state, was carrying 60 percent of the county’s ballots.

Handel also carried Columbus, Macon and Augusta, as well as many surrounding rural counties. Deal, not surprisingly, did well in north Georgia and led in Athens. Johnson carried counties near his home base in Savannah as well as some rural sections of Georgia. Oxendine carried a smattering of rural counties in the middle of the state and along the Florida border.

Oxendine’s showing in his home county of Gwinnett mirrored his finish statewide: Late Tuesday night, with almost a third of the vote counted in Gwinnett, Oxendine was a distant fourth, with 17 percent of the vote. Handel was leading in the GOP stronghold, with both Johnson and Deal ahead of Oxendine. Oxendine, a statewide official since 1995, conceded at 10:30 p.m.

“It’s been fun,” he told supporters. “It’s been a heck of a lot of fun. This experience has been so great, to find people from every nook and cranny of Georgia to set their lives aside to help this cause. I want to let you know, I’m always going to be here for you. I’m not going to change my e-mail. We’re going to continue to work together.”

Oxendine supporters denounced Sarah Palin and her late endorsement of the Handel campaign. Debra Lieb, who began volunteering for Oxendine in the spring, said the endorsement made it clear that “Palin did no research, with this off-the-fly endorsement.” “Newt I can understand,” she said, because Gingrich and Deal know each other. “But Karen is a liberal,” she said. “Oxendine is the most conservative candidate in the race. Oxendine was ahead until she did that.”

Regardless of what happens with Palin and Gingrich in the next three weeks, several other dominoes could still fall. Do Johnson and Oxendine endorse Handel or Deal? There are logical arguments to be made for Johnson backing Handel. Most of incumbent Gov. Sonny Perdue’s former campaign team split between Handel and Johnson. Their coming together for the runoff makes sense.

But Johnson might also resent Handel’s lumping him in with Deal and Oxendine as having ethical issues. That resentment could lead Johnson to Deal’s camp. Oxendine is more of a wild card. A self-proclaimed party outsider, he and Handel have blistered each other during the past few weeks. It’s difficult to see the two now raising their hands together in triumph…


98% of precincts reporting
Total Precincts: 2860
Election Day Voting: 2852 / 2860   (100%)
Early Voting (In Person): 2857 / 2860   (100%)
Early Voting (By Mail): 2823 / 2860   (99%)

Complete Election Results

Republican Candidates Votes % of Votes
Karen Handel 231,549 34.1%
Nathan Deal 155,672 22.9%
Eric Johnson 136,498 20.1%
John W. Oxendine 114,941 16.9%
Jeff Chapman 20,561 3.0%
Ray McBerry 17,121 2.5%
Otis Putnam 2,538 0.4%
Totals 678,880
County Results

Obama Goes AWOL On Afghanistan

Frum Forum – By: John Guardiano

Most senior U.S. military leaders believe that the United States can’t lose in Afghanistan — provided our political class remains committed to a long, messy and protracted counterinsurgency campaign. But if we do lose, who’s to blame:

  1. the American people, for prematurely (albeit understandably) tiring of the war;
  2. the new right-wing isolationists;
  3. the war itself, because it proved too hard and too difficult to win; or
  4. President Obama, the Democratic Party, and the left-leaning political class, which includes the legacy media and the leftist net-roots?

There are elements of truth in all of these answers, of course. Indeed, all of these people and groups would bear some responsibility for an American defeat in Afghanistan. However, the most blameworthy and culpable, I believe, are those in choice “d”: President Obama, the Democratic Party, and the left-leaning political class.

I say this because these are the people and groups who are incessantly saying, “No we can’t!” even as the U.S. military respectfully says, “Yes we can!”

The new commanding general of U.S. Central Command, General James N. Mattis, alluded to this problem in a recent speech to the Navy League in Norfolk, Virginia. The General had recently returned from Afghanistan and, according to the Virginia Pilot, concluded that:

the American people should not lose faith now.

“The only way we can lose this war is if we lose it in Paris and Brussels, in Berlin and Washington, if we lose it in the bars in Boston and the living rooms of Illinois. That’s where we would lose it.”

Yet, amongst the internationalist and interventionist Right — of which I am a proud, card-carrying member — there is considerable angst and alarm over what appears to be the growing influence of the new right-wing isolationists: people like GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul and Republican Congressmen Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Walter B. Jones (N.C.), Ron Paul (Tex.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).

The concern is that by tapping into a populist backlash against the war, these conservatives might be helping to effect a military defeat for the nation and a political defeat for the Republican Party…

We now have a clear and successful strategy for victory. We now recognize that we are fighting a protracted counterinsurgency campaign.

Americans aren’t defeatists; they’re winners. They like to fight and they like to win, as Patton once reminded us. Our people will endure casualties in pursuit of a just and winning cause. But what rightly infuriates the American people is the sense that our political leaders are using our military to fight and die in a hopeless and unnecessary war.

That’s why political leadership is so important — and it’s especially important today, what with 24/7 cable television news, the internet and smart phones.

It’s especially important today because people nowadays are digitally connected always to the media, which is ubiquitous. Thus, it is absolutely critical that our political leaders constantly articulate, in new and compelling ways, the nature of the threat that we face, why we are at war, and why we must fight.

George W. Bush’s failure to effectively exercise the bully pulpit was a major failure of his presidency; and so, too, with Obama: He rarely talks about the war and, in fact, seems studiously uninterested in Afghanistan (and Iraq.)

This is not surprising. The president’s priorities clearly lie elsewhere: with domestic change and “reform.” Thus, in his Dec. 1, 2009 speech at West Point Obama warned that “our troops commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended: because the nation that I’m most interested in building is our own.”

This, of course, is a false choice based upon bad analysis. Obama’s false choice pits American economic prosperity against relative peace and stability in Afghanistan. But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan account for little more than one percent of America’s Gross Domestic Product.

Indeed, as the Heritage Foundation points out: “The 2010 projected war cost of $95 billion is just 2.6% of the total proposed 2010 $3.8 trillion budget.” And what’s more, Heritage notes, domestic social-welfare spending far exceeds wartime defense expenditures. In fact,

one year of welfare under Obama eclipses [the total] seven-year cost of [the] Iraq War: According to the Congressional Research Service, the [cumulative] cost of the Iraq war through the end of the Bush Administration was around $622 billion. By contrast, annual federal and state means-tested welfare spending will reach $888 billion in FY 2010. Federal welfare spending alone will equal $697 billion in that year.

Obama’s bad analysis involves warning against an “open-ended” troop commitment in Afghanistan. Obama thinks that if we don’t set an artificial deadline for withdrawal from Afghanistan, then the Afghan people will grow dependent upon us and refuse to make the hard choices necessary to sustain themselves independent of American military action.

The truth, though, is quite the opposite: In the absence of a clear and unshakable American commitment to do whatever it takes to win, the Afghan people are worried that we’ll bug out on them and abandon them at their maximum hour of need. Consequently, they have been reluctant to fully embrace us and to trust us. This is a real problem and obstacle because in a counterinsurgency campaign, the people are the center of gravity; they are the prize to be won.

For all of these reasons, I’m not much worried about the new right-wing isolationists. They’ll pipe down and remain marginal when the American people start seeing tangible signs of military progress in Afghanistan.

What I am very worried about, however, is the lack of political leadership in Washington. The political class, after all, has a long and sordid history of losing its nerve when the going gets tough. Indeed, that’s been their modus operandi ever since the Vietnam War. And when you combine that with a president who’d rather not be commander-in-chief, you have the distinct possibility that America will needlessly lose in Afghanistan.

But if that happens, don’t blame the American people; don’t blame the war; and don’t blame the right-wing isolationists. Blame the political class; blame the Democratic Party; blame the anti-war Left — and blame especially the president whom they bequeathed us: Because he will be the one who says, “No we can’t!”, even as the U.S. military says, “Yes we can!”

Pressure inside capped oil well in Gulf of Mexico continues slow climb

The Times-Picayune – Jaquetta White

With pressure inside the Macondo well continuing a slow climb Tuesday, the federal government authorized another 24-hour monitoring period of the capped well to search for signs of well damage beneath the sea floor.

Meanwhile, BP and government officials are weighing whether to try to stop the flow of oil inside the Gulf of Mexico well by pumping it with mud before the relief well is complete next month. The company could seek approval for its “static kill” this week, BP Vice President Kent Wells said.

Pressure inside the well had climbed to 6,834 pounds per square inch, or psi, Tuesday afternoon, Wells said. Pressure was rising one to two psi per hour. The blown-out well has been undergoing an integrity test since it was capped Thursday to determine whether it is intact or whether there are ruptures somewhere beneath the sea floor through which oil can escape.

“Minor leaks” have been discovered both on the capping stack and blowout preventer used to shut in the well, as well as almost two miles away at another production site, Allen said. “We don’t consider them consequential,” Allen said.

The government last week asked for increased surveillance at the spill site to detect any signs of oil escaping. Allen said he is satisfied with BP’s response so far and comfortable with extending the well integrity test. “We continue to be pleased with the progress of response to anomalies,” Allen said.

Scientists studying the well’s pressure are still trying to determine whether the lower-than-anticipated pressure readings are the result of leaks somewhere in the wellbore or a depletion of the well. “At this point we do not have anomalies that say we don’t have integrity,” Wells said. “As each day goes along it gives us confidence.”

At the same time, however, pressure has not risen enough to suggest with absolute certainty that the well is completely intact, or that it does have integrity. “We have not reached a consensus on how we would determine our total assurance that there was integrity in the well,” Allen said. “That revolves around the competing theories for depletion and leakage.”

In the meantime, BP is researching a method of stopping oil flow by pumping mud into the top of the well. Unlike in the failed “top kill” attempt mud would be pumped a low pressure and rates of speed. Higher levels would be unnecessary because the well is now capped, meaning the mud would likely stay inside the well. Just like in top kill, the idea would be for the heavy mud to slowly overcome the oil flow.

“No decisions have been made yet on proceeding forward with that,” Wells said. “But we are continuing with preparation and planning.” The procedure would need Allen’s approval. It could be 24 to 48 hours before a decision is made on whether to attempt the static kill, Wells said.

The procedure would not be started until well casing had been installed inside the relief well. BP crews are putting the casing in place today and Thursday, Wells said. The company wants the casing in place to minimize the risk of damage to the relief well when mud begins flowing.

Also before the static kill could begin, the Q4000 platform, which had been used to pump mud during the failed “top kill” and was retrofitted to suck oil, would have to be changed back into a mud pumper, Wells said.

Even if the static kill is conducted, the relief well would still be used to plug the blown-out well with mud and cement. A relief well is considered the ultimate solution for stopping the oil flow.

BP plans to intercept the Macondo well with a relief well at the end of this month. Wells said Tuesday that the relief well is “exactly where we want it.” Plugging the well mud and cement could take a number of days or a few weeks, depending on where oil is flowing inside the well. The static kill could speed up that process by stanching the flow before the relief well is completed, Wells said.

“Working in tandem, these can have an ability to have the well completely killed in less time and it could also reduce the execution risk of it,” Wells said. “It’s clearly worth the analysis of it.”