Daily Suds: Overdue Suds

Okay, folks, here are your lately-not-so-daily suds. With thirtieth birthdays, root canals, and having to spend way too much time on the stuff that actually pays the bills lately, well… Enough excuses already.

  • While we were away, Gov. Nikki Haley’s office announced that she would be hosting a series of town hall events throughout the state. Funny how she’s suddenly interested in taking to the road and talking issues with the people. When she was running for governor, she repeatedly rebuffed her opponent Vincent Sheheen’s requests for the two of them to travel around the state holding Lincoln-Douglas style town hall debates.
  • And speaking of Gov. Nikki Haley, during a recent trip to Washington to meet with the nation’s governors, she wasn’t so interested in paying attention to what President Obama had to say about the issues of the day, including addressing rising Medicaid costs.
  • Newly-minted Upstate Congressman Trey Gowdy has decided to practice what he preaches and opt out of federal healthcare available to members of Congress.  Wonder when the rest of the Republican members of the South Carolina Congressional delegation will follow suit?  PS – Anybody else wonder if Draco Malfoy actually grows up to be Trey Gowdy? (Just curious.)
  • The latest silliness from the legislature… Rep. Bill Sandifer (R-Seneca) has proposed legislation to bring back incandescent bulbs manufactured and sold only within the borders of South Carolina (in attempt to evade the federal Commerce Clause’s jurisdiction).

…We interrupt this programming…

…because yesterday (2/24) I had a root canal, and today is my 30th birthday!  </shameless birthday plug>

Will hopefully play catch-up suds later today.  Thanks for your patience!  Busy, busy couple of days.

Daily Suds: Small potatoes

  • Today Democratic State Sen. Brad Hutto held a press conference introducing a healthcare opt-out plan for elected Republicans who love to rail against government healthcare while happily enjoying their own lavish, taxpayer-subsidized state healthcare.  Cue the Republican rationalizing… “But we’re part-time state employees!  Waaaaaahhhh!” Seriously?  That’s the best you can do?  (PS, how many part-time jobs in the real world come with benefits?  Some, I’m sure, but….)  Those of you who want to limit healthcare access for our state’s most vulnerable citizens should be more than willing to show a little selflessness and forego your own fat-cat state healthcare. *This* is the kind of aggressiveness I like to see from South Carolina Democrats. This isn’t pigs-in-the-statehouse stunt stuff. This is a valid criticism — on the merits — pointing out Republican hypocrisy and holding them accountable for their words and actions.
  • The so-called “charter schools bill” supported by Gov. Nikki Haley and Superintendent of Education Mick Zais was impaled in the SC House today and passed without the key component — the financial component — which would have forced local school districts to pony up money to state charter schools within their borders. It was a terrible idea, and I’m happy to see it fail. Charter schools, by design, exist outside of the purview of local school districts. That’s part of the point.  Particularly in light of the budget shortages in districts all over South Carolina, local school districts should not be forced to bear the burden of supporting state charter schools in addition to local public schools. Good to see that the House agreed: 85-32 at that. If charter schools need more funding (and it sounds like they do), it should come from the state because the state chartered them.
  • Remember earlier this week when The State‘s John O’Connor posited as to whether the legislature’s honeymoon with Haley was over?  Looks like it might be.  Today Senate Republicans blocked Haley’s signature roll-call voting bill.  We’ve seen this movie before.  It’s déjà vu all over again, y’all.  Democrats actually stood willing to back the bill and move on to, say, things like addressing the eleventy kabillion major problems facing our state as opposed to all of these small potatoes issues that Republicans are wasting time and taxpayer dollars fooling with.  (Yes, I ended that sentence with a preposition.  That rule’s not really even a thing.  So there.)

    From the State Senate Democratic Caucus…

    South Carolina Senate Democrats today attempted to ensure passage of Governor Nikki Haley’s signature roll call voting bill so legislation that will actually improve quality of life could proceed – like job creation and tax reform.

    Their efforts were blocked by Republican leadership in the Senate and members of Haley’s own political party. Haley’ bill will require all votes in the General Assembly to be on the record and subject to roll call votes.

    Senator Brad Hutto of Orangeburg applauded Governor Haley on her spirited lobbying efforts on behalf the bill. “She spoke and we listened,” said Hutto. “I stand ready to vote for this bill and I know a majority of the Senate is ready to vote for the bill. We have much more important things to do.”

    …Hey, when you don’t have power, you have to use the tools ya got. Though this press release is bubbling over with snark (Hey, Phil!), it does drive the point home that Haley’s own party is blocking her prized bill. And they should have to answer for that.

More on McMaster and USC Law position…

A source familiar with the situation says that current USC Law School Dean Walter Pratt wasn’t informed until last Friday afternoon that former Republican Attorney General Henry McMaster was being hired on a contract basis to lead fundraising and alumni relations for the law school. According to the source, there was no consultation with Pratt’s administration or the school’s faculty that the position was being filled by McMaster. It was very much a unilateral decision.

Additionally, there is some scuttlebutt that this position may amount to a “Dean-in-Waiting” post. McMaster’s contract with the law school is only for three months.  Is he being given an opportunity to prove his fundraising prowess on a trial basis while the decision-making on the new dean is delayed?  Apparently the school has admitted that it isn’t limiting the search to these five candidates if they aren’t satisfied with any of them at the end of the vetting process.

Again, none of this sounds good for current Academic Dean Rob Wilcox‘s chances of being promoted.  Which sucks.

Apropos of nothing, I’ll leave you with then-Attorney General Henry McMaster testifying before a Senate committee regarding a bill requiring a woman to view an ultrasound before undergoing an abortion procedure.  Submitted without comment … because there ain’t much to say, really.  (It’s just fun to tee up some teabagger rage in the comments.)

Broiled Asian-Inspired Mahi-Mahi

Broiled Mahi Mahi with Asian glaze, steamed spinach and wild rice

In case y’all didn’t know, Columbia’s Shop Tart went all healthy last week.  Inspired by her steamed fish and spinach post, I picked up a small mahi-mahi steak at the Publix in Trenholm Plaza tonight and decided I’d cook it Shop Tart-style.  It even happened to be on sale.  Yay! (But I got the last one. Sorry.)

I opted to broil my fish rather than steam it a la Shop Tart …because I just don’t have the willpower that she does.  (I’ll always listen to the little Paula Deen whispering in my ear on one shoulder rather than to the little angel on the other shoulder.)  And I decided I’d prepare it with Asian flavors. 

Here’s how I did it.

  • Move the top oven rack to roughly six inches from the broiler.  (This may vary depending on how powerful your oven is.)  Preheat broiler to high.
  • Rinse the mahi-mahi steak off with water and pat dry with a paper towel.  (This recipe would also work with any thick, mild fish — swordfish, salmon, halibut, sea bass, grouper, etc.)

Raw Mahi Mahi getting seasoned

  • Rub both sides with a little olive oil and generously salt and pepper.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice on both sides of the fish and place on a broiling pan or cookie sheet after spraying pan or sheet with cooking spray.  I used a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil so that I could just wad up the messiness when it was done and have less to scrub.  Broiling can make a mess.
  • Steam and salt your fresh spinach if you have it, or heat up frozen spinach according to directions.

Asian glaze ingredients

  • Now for the glaze.  As the fish begins to cook, mix together a small amount of vegetable or canola oil, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, soy sauce, seasoned rice wine vinegar (not really necessary if you have the lemon juice … you just need one acid … but it adds an interesting flavor element if you have it), garlic powder or minced fresh garlic, a few drops of honey, a drop of sesame oil (if you want … just remember that one drop goes a LONG way), and fresh ginger.  I cheated and used this ginger stuff, which can sometimes be found near the refrigerated salad dressings. (Freshly-grated ginger tastes and smells awesome, but it’s also a pain to grate.) Apologies for the lack of specifics on measurements for each of these ingredients. I just eyeballed it. Start with a small amount of each and season to taste. You won’t need much of any one ingredient.
  • Keep a close eye on the fish under the broiler.  Try to resist moving the tray around, but be careful that fish doesn’t start to burn and that smoke doesn’t start billowing out of the oven …because, man, will that make your house reek.  Billowing smoke = bad.
  • Depending on the thickness of the fish, it should broil for about 8-10 minutes or so and doesn’t need to be flipped.  The fish should have a golden crust on top and easily flake apart with a fork when it’s ready.
  • After removing the fish from the oven, place on top of bed of spinach and drizzle glaze on top.

Verdict?   Loved it.  And so will you.  It’s simple and takes practically no time to prepare.  Bon appétit!

Daily Suds: This governor’s office is brought to you by…

  • John O’Connor has a story in The State today on how much money DC Republicans forked over to prop up Nikki Haley in the general election — almost a million dollars, including most of the television advertising at the end of the campaign.

The largest donation to the two pro-Haley accounts, set up by the Republican Governors, came from cigarette-maker Reynolds American, which contributed $125,000 to the RGA South Carolina IE, or independent expenditure, PAC. That group filed its initial paperwork with the State Ethics Commission just days prior to the election. It spent about $205,000 on media.

The large Reynolds American donation, and four others to the RGA South Carolina IE PAC, took advantage of a federal judge’s September ruling that struck down campaign contribution limits on PACs and other third-party groups in South Carolina. Efforts to reach Reynolds American were unsuccessful.

Haley and Sheheen were on opposite sides of the state cigarette tax debate last year. Sheheen supported the 50-cent-a-pack tax hike that became law last year; Haley opposed it. As governor, she has pledged to oppose any tax hikes.

A second Republican Governors fund spent almost $700,000 on Haley’s behalf.

It received donations from some of the biggest names in business: conglomerate General Electric, oil company Exxon Mobil, retailer Wal-Mart, carmaker Nissan, drugmakers Eli Lilly and Pfizer, restaurant operator Waffle House, cable company Comcast and Baltimore Ravens owner Steven Bisciotti.

Now that Haley’s on a crusade to gut Medicaid, I’m betting Eli Lilly and Pfizer are wishing they’d considered donating to her opponent.  It is pretty weird that a Republican candidate in South Carolina needed so much help financing a top-of-the-ticket campaign.  People like donating to campaigns that are likely to win, and a Republican nominee in a Republican state in a Republican tidal wave year, well…

  • 15 year old Midlands doggie, Jonnie Girl, woke up her owner by licking her to alert the owner that their house was on fire.  They escaped safely.
  • Greg Hambrick of the Charleston City Paper takes on Senator Jim DeMint for DeMint’s assault on Sesame Street.
  • A Spartanburg woman was arrested after stealing copper vases from graves in a cemetery. Police chased her into a briar patch. Owwwwww.  (Pretty sure there’s an Uncle Remus joke in there somewhere.)
  • Is Haley’s honeymoon with the legislature over?  Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee voted down Haley’s preferred legislation on her signature issue of stricter on-the-record voting measures after she made the unusual move of attending the committee meeting to make her case for her preferred bill.  An observer relayed to me that the committee’s vote seemed to have more to do with rebuffing Haley’s finger-wagging and borderline belligerent tone than it did anything to do with their unwillingness to agree to more stringent on-the-record voting rules.  (I wasn’t there, so I have no idea whether or not that was the case.  I’m all for more transparency in government, but I also don’t think it’s the most pressing issue at hand right now.)