Casino plan for Myrtle Beach, T-Rav wants Graham’s seat and more Hobby Lobby fallout

For Weekly SurgeJuly 9, 2014 

This week in Under the Outhouse, Myrtle goes from vice to dice, Lindsey Graham will have to deal with a little Southern Charm, and the Supreme Court pushes the Left off the deep end.

Will Myrtle Beach Casinos Save South Carolina Highways?

It is no secret that South Carolina roadways are in desperate need of some TLC. Yet, with one of the lowest gas tax rates in the nation, which helps pay for road maintenance, the state is short nearly $30 billion in funding for roadway projects spanning the next two decades. Enter State Rep. Todd Rutherford. Rutherford, a Democrat from Richland County, announced last week that he will propose a bill next year to legalize well-regulated, upscale casinos in the Myrtle Beach area. Rutherford believes these casinos will generate revenue to close the gap in badly needed road updates without needing to raise the gasoline tax. “Anyone who loves individual freedom, personal liberty, and lower taxes should get behind this issue 110 percent,” says Rutherford, burying the dagger deep in the hearts of the so-called “free market” Republicans who oppose Rutherford’s gamble -- such as Governor Nikki Haley. From a purely fundamental philosophical level, gambling should be a legal activity for adults in a free society. Unfortunately, South Carolina Republicans are not necessarily the best advocates of individual freedom, especially when it comes to gaming. For example, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Seneca) attempted to push a ban on online gambling earlier this year. This means Rutherford’s plan, despite its obvious economic benefits for both the Grand Strand and the state, will just be something to debate while in line for a State-sanctioned lottery ticket. It is a shame you cannot pave roads with irony.

S.C. Senatorial Race to Get a Little “Southern Charm”

Well, it seems Thomas Ravenel’s threat to run against U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham was more than just a bumper for his reality show, “Southern Charm.” The former State Treasurer, who resigned from his position in 2007 after pleading guilty to federal drug charges related to cocaine distribution, announced last week that he will challenge Graham and Democratic candidate Brad Hutto in November. “I’m a flawed messenger, but my message is better than the other guy’s,” Ravenel told The State in an interview. Ravenel’s appearance in the race will likely have little impact on Graham, but then again, Ravenel has nothing to lose and the bankroll to certainly shake the cage on issues where Graham is extremely vulnerable. Voting for Ravenel, even if not with the expectation he will win, may be seen as a relief valve for Republicans sick and tired of Graham. Plus, Ravenel actually sounds like the Republican voters have always wanted Graham to be. “Democrats keep dictating choices in our marketplaces and Republicans keep telling us who we can and cannot love,” Ravenel stated in a press release following his campaign announcement. “And both parties want to keep spending like there’s no tomorrow while they spy on us to make sure we don’t step out of line. All of this leads to less prosperity and liberty – and more dependency and fear.” Remember kids: A wasted vote is one cast for a candidate in whom you do not believe.

SCOTUS Trolls America

It is best to leave the Internet alone for a few days following any Supreme Court decision on button-pushing issues like the Hobby Lobby case. It takes a few days for it to work out all the stupid. Contrary to all the hype surrounding last week’s Hobby Lobby decision, its impact was very limited, and not much changed as a result -- most notably, access to certain types of contraception is still available for all employees. What the Court did change, however, was who should paid for it. In the 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that while providing contraceptive coverage as a component of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare) was a “compelling government interest,” the Court ruled it was illegal to make owners of “closely held corporations” pay for it if those owners objected on the grounds that doing so violated their religious expression. Instead, the Court suggested a less burdensome method was either the government paying directly for the coverage, or making the same coverage accommodations currently in place for objecting non-profit corporations. The Court also explicitly stated the ruling did not apply to other medical procedures, nor did could it be used to cloak illegal discrimination. In short, the Court recognized the legal importance of providing contraceptive coverage for women, but felt there were better ways to do so that did not violate the sacred American right to religious expression. The only valid reason to be upset about the ruling, as Cato Institute’s Julian Sanchez highlighted, is if one believes the expression of religious values to be of so little value that individuals should be forced to act against these beliefs “regardless of whether this makes any real difference to the outcome.” For those still not content with this explanation, feel free to protest Hobby Lobby when it opens its first Grand Strand location in the near future.

ANDREW DAVIS is a Myrtle Beach native and former Director of Communications for the national Libertarian Party. Contact him at SCPundit@gmail.com, or follow on Twitter at @SCPundit.

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