Category Archives: The Brad Show

How was the eclipse for YOU?

Just moments before totality: Some of my neighbors were SERIOUS about this thing. I found this scene when I race down the street in my truck trying to escape the shadow of a cloud.

Just moments before totality: Some of my neighbors were SERIOUS about this thing. I found this scene when I raced down the street in my truck trying to escape the shadow of a cloud.

I thought it was pretty great. The hype failed to ruin it for me, as I feared it might.

Your thoughts? Here are some of my Tweets before, during and after:

That was pre-totality. The following are post-totality…

My front walk during totality. The lights actually came on several minutes BEFORE, but didn't show up as well in that photo...

My front walk during totality. The lights actually came on several minutes BEFORE, but didn’t show up as well in that photo…

Joel Lourie on the ‘toxic’ atmosphere in the Senate

You know, I quit doing “The Brad Show” — thereby devastating my millions of fans, who had to console themselves with “Game of Thrones” instead — because it just got to be too much of a physical hassle to produce, especially after the guys who used to shoot it for me moved out of the ADCO building.

But lately I’ve been thinking… I still have my iPhone. Why not go back to the kind of guerrilla video reportage for which this blog was once famous — quick-hitting, spur-of-the-moment clips on the news of the day?

So today, I was talking with Sen. Joel Lourie after a Community Relations Council luncheon at which he and Sen. Katrina Shealy had just been honored with CRC’s annual Hyman Rubin Distinguished Service Award, and he happened to mention that the atmosphere in the Senate chamber was as toxic as at any time he could remember. Here’s what he was referring to.

So, thinking with the blinding speed to which my readers are accustomed, I asked whether he wanted to say that on video. He said no. Then he said yes.

So here ya go.

Since we spoke briefly about roads, I thought I’d call your attention to Cindi Scoppe’s piece today describing what real roads reform would look like. And of course, it’s a classic with its roots deep in the Power Failure series: Turn the roads over to local governments, and leave the local governments alone to fund them as they see fit. A solution that, of course, strikes right at the heart of the Legislative State, which is why nothing like this has ever come close to happening.

If we’re gonna dream about what really ought to happen, we might as well dream big.

Oh, and on the subject of the budget, which Sen. Lourie also mentioned, here’s another good column from Cindi casting doubt on Joel’s man Hugh Leatherman to deliver on that…

Happy to be a resource for a colleague

I see that one of my episodes of “The Brad Show” (a feature I really must get around to reviving one of these days) provided some grist for Kevin Fisher’s mill, in a piece headlined, “Harpo, Homophobia and Hypocrisy:”

Harpo characterized McConnell as “prancing” in Civil War reenactments rather than “marching” or “participating” or “performing” in those events for a reason, the same reason for similar comments he made in a video interview with local blogger Brad Warthen in April 2011.

In a discussion of McConnell’s high-profile involvement in Civil War history, Warthen noted that the then-senator reportedly owns “17 Confederate costumes,” to which Harpo replied, “And one of them has hoops.” To make his point crystal clear, Harpootlian gestured around his waist to indicate a hoop skirt…

Finally, what about you, Cindi Ross Scoppe and Warren Bolton, editorial writers for The State — does Harpo get a free pass that you wouldn’t give anyone else of his prominence who was making such remarks?

Speaking of which, Harpootlian also told Warthen that “the girly boy thing didn’t work” for Democrats. For Harpo, it’s all macho, no homo, no doubt.

If you’d like to go back and view the full episode, here it is.

Oh, and as for Kevin’s challenge to my former teammates…  well, I suggest he’d be hard-pressed to find when Cindi or Warren ever took anyone to task for their perceived “homophobia.” So, no, they’re not giving him a “pass” that they wouldn’t give anyone else. I think Kevin is falling into a trap here, one I see folks fall into a lot: Cindi and Warren work for the MSM. That means they must be doctrinaire liberals. Therefore they’re probably always going on about “homophobia.” So they must be hyprocrites for not castigating their fellow “liberal.”

Fine theory for the ideologically inclined, except that it can’t be supported.

As for my own part — I showed you what Dick had to say. You decide what you think about it. I’m just glad I was able to provide Kevin with some original material. Makes me feel authoritative…

“The Brad Show:” SC GOP Chairman Chad Connelly

Welcome to another guerrilla edition (as in, shot by me out in the field rather than the studio) of “The Brad Show.”

Our guest today: Chad Connelly, the new chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party.

I spoke with Chad over at the party HQ this morning. Since this was my first sit-down with him, I wanted to cover the bases — ask him to talk a bit about his background, etc. So we did.

But the hot topic — and if you can’t wait to get to it, it starts at 4:15 on the clip — was Gov. Nikki Haley’s threatened veto of funding for the SC GOP presidential primary in January.

Some highlights of that discussion:

  • He said there will be a presidential primary here, “no matter what.”
  • He said presidential primaries are so important that next time the Democrats have one, he’d be the first to support their bid for similar funding.
  • Total cost is a million dollars. Or maybe 1.5 million.
  • He expects to speak with the governor about it, and try to impress upon her the importance of the funding, this week. He’ll also be talking with legislative leaders.
  • Can General Assembly override a veto? “Yes,” he said.

Enjoy the show. This one is actually a bit shorter than most, which I hope you will appreciate. I asked about as many question as usual, but Mr. Connelly is a very focused speaker, which I guess adds up since that is his profession. It’s not that his answers were so short. It’s just that he said what he had to say to answer me, and stopped. Not many people do that.

Thanks for the shout-out, Kevin!

Couple of days ago, Kevin Fisher left a phone message for me to let me know that he would be citing “The Brad Show” in his column in the Free Times, to wit:

Speaking in a video interview on Brad Warthen’s blog on April 20 (Warthen is the former editorial page editor of The State), Harpootlian showed he has learned nothing from his prior mistakes and proceeded to once more insult both African-Americans and gays.

On the matter of Alvin Greene, Harpootlian said when the Manning resident showed up at Democratic Party headquarters trying to pay his filing fee with a personal check (rather than a campaign check), “I would have taken his paperwork and then disqualified him.”

Harpootlian went on to criticize current Democratic Chairwoman Carol Fowler for telling Greene what he needed to do to file properly. Such is equality in Harpo’s world.

Next, Harpootlian offered this year’s version of “light in the loafers,” ridiculing GOP state Sen. Glenn McConnell. When Warthen noted that McConnell has “17 Confederate costumes,” Harpootlian quickly interjected “and one of them has hoops,” while gesturing to indicate a skirt. Earlier in the interview, Harpootlian said “the girly boy thing didn’t work” for the Democrats. Such is inclusiveness in Harpo’s world.

But if you’re a delegate to the state Democratic convention, don’t take my word for it. Go to, watch and decide — for yourself and your party…

Thanks for the mention, Kevin. See you at D’s…

March for Babies coming up Saturday

The above video, posted this week by Alan Cooper on his Midlands Biz site, reminds me that the March of Dimes March for Babies is happening at the fairgrounds on Saturday.

I got sort of peripherally involved with this worthwhile endeavor because Geoff Osborne, an attorney at Rogers Townsend & Thomas (the law firm is a client of ADCO) was involved. He has a deep personal commitment to the organization because his twins were born prematurely, making him acutely aware of the importance of the work March of Dimes does, in this community and across the nation.

When Alan showed interest in having someone from the organization on one of his podcasts, I offered to do the interview for him. Alan and I had been talking about my doing that for Midlands Biz at some point — as viewers of “The Brad Show” can attest, I need all the video experience I can get — and this seemed to be a good one to start on. I’ve also done another interview for Alan, which hasn’t aired yet, with Michael Fanning, a comprehensive tax reform advocate. I’ll show you that one when it’s available. (I hope I didn’t do in that one what I did in this one — note that after noting that I was a guest interviewer, I failed to say who I was …)

But all that aside, I wanted to bring the March on Saturday to your attention. You can still register online here, individually or as a team. For that matter, you can just show up by 8 a.m. on Saturday and sign up, according to Jacki Apel, local March of Dimes communications director — although she points out that you might have to wait in line then, so it’s best to sign up now…

Click these links for more information on the March of Dimes, and the March for Babies.

Additionally, here’s a recent report WACH-Fox did publicizing the event:

“The Brad Show” 2011 season premiere! Starring Dick Harpootlian!


I saw that Pub Politics was going to have Dick Harpootlian as their guest tonight, and decided to scoop ’em. It wasn’t hard, since I had already interviewed Dick last week.

Anyway, here’s the video.

Were there any bombshells during the show, along the lines of wanting to rent the black vote, or opposition pols being light in their loafers? Well, there WAS a comment about a certain GOP senator and hoop skirts. But I wasn’t actually trying to elicit such. It’s just that Mr. Harpootlian is rather irrepressible.

I’m involved in negotiations with his opponent in the race for state Democratic Party chair, Phil Noble — negotiations that consist of trying to find time when he’s in town and the studio is available (Dick’s office is just a few blocks away, and that made it easier) — but no dice yet. In a pinch, we may have to fall back on a phone interview, but I hope it doesn’t come to that. There’s also the possibility of Skype, which would be an innovation for the show.

But we’re all about innovation here at “The Brad Show.” That, and in-depth discussion of the issues of the day. Who knows what we may get up to in this new season? I certainly don’t. We just sort of make it up from episode to episode…

Quick! You have anything you want to ask Dick Harpootlian?

He’s going to be here in a few minutes to tape “The Brad Show” (the first one of the new season!). This should be fun. But I’m thinking I should have some questions ready for him. I’ve got at least one ready, from this release he put out yesterday:

Fellow Democrats —

If we want to win elections, we have to fight.

The Democratic Party is a “big tent” of people committed to caring for those who are most vulnerable.  Our party attracts many kind, compassionate people who are not inclined to “go for the jugular” — and that’s a good thing.

Republicans, on the other hand, are motivated by self-interest and a willingness to do anything to win.  They’ll continue to win for years to come if we don’t change our ways.

I have earned a reputation as a tough guy, and while that may be unsettling to some of you, it’s exactly what our party needs right now.  We don’t need a nice guy or gal at the helm.  We need someone who can and will throw a punch at every opportunity.  It’s how we will hold our elected leaders accountable, and it’s how we will allow our candidates to focus on sharing positive plans for the future rather than defending themselves from “mudslinging.”
I’ve included a web video in this message that I think you’ll enjoy.  It’s an example of the sort of aggressive accountability that I will bring to the office every day as your next party chair.

I hope you’ll take a moment to watch it and share it with your friends.

If we work together and fight hard we will beat Republicans in South Carolina and usher in a new era of progress in the state we all love.


Dick Harpootlian

Of course, it’s not much of a question. I’m just going to say, “How’s it going, ‘Tough Guy’?” I’m going to say it all scornful, like one gangster to another.

But that’s not going to fill much airtime. So do you have any ideas for questions? Hurry up. He’ll be here in less than 15 minutes.

“The Brad Show Christmas Special,” with our special guest, the lovely Shop Tart. But without the June Taylor Dancers…

OK, so it’s not really a “Christmas Special” in the circa-1965 variety show sense. If you want that, here’s Mr. Andy Williams. Or if you prefer, Perry Como from 1958.

No, this is just the Tart and me sitting in the studio, chatting about:

  • Her actual secret identity. Actually, she says it’s not that secret.
  • “Shopping locally, as something that everybody can do.”
  • How to ask a clerk for a discount, just for you…
  • Where to take a break from last-minute shopping. (And which shops will be cracking open a bottle of wine in the afternoon.)
  • Why she has all that advertising, and I don’t. (Or at least, you can read that into what you hear.)
  • How she got into doing what she does.

… and more.

Enjoy. And have a Merry…

And if you really want the June Taylor dancers, here you go. But I prefer The Shop Tart.

“The Brad Show,” Episode V: Jim Rex

Well, here’s the latest show. Go back to this post for supplementary materials, such as a release from Dr. Rex on his tenure.

It went well, I thought, but you’re the judge. All of us here at “The Brad Show” thank Dr. Rex for including us on his farewell tour of interviews, and we wish him the best in the future.

Next up (later this week): The Shop Tart. Don’t miss it.

Coming on “The Brad Show” tomorrow: Jim Rex

Just another teaser/preview. Sometime tomorrow the latest installment of “The Brad Show” will air, with guest Jim Rex, SC superintendent of education.

As background, here’s a PDF Dr. Rex sent over in advance of our interview, detailing accomplishments during his tenure.

And for what it’s worth, here’s a list of the questions I used in our interview:

JIM REX – The Brad Show

December 15, 2010

Looking back, what do you consider to be your main accomplishments as superintendent?

What would you have done differently?

Particularly, I’d like to delve into your public-school choice initiatives. To what extent was it a response to the voucher movement? And doesn’t it face many of the same problems that private choice does? (Transportation, equality of access, etc.)

What are the remaining challenges for education in South Carolina?

Why did you decide to run for governor?

Do you wish now that you had run for re-election?

Is there anything you would have done differently in your gubernatorial campaign?

Is there anything the eventual Democratic nominee could have or should have done differently?

You’re an unconventional political officeholder in that you didn’t rise up through a party system and through lower offices. What does it mean to you, and to South Carolina, that the Democratic Party is no longer a player on the state level?

What are your hopes, and your worries, as you look toward Mick Zais taking the helm?

I didn’t read them out, of course — the list is just something I do to prepare my mind and help me if I get stuck. But I think we covered most of the material that the questions envisioned.

Shop Tart’s coming! (And Jim Rex has been here)

See the way Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf reacted when he heard Santa was coming? Well, that was me today when I found out that The Shop Tart herself will be here on Monday to tape a special pre-Christmas edition of “The Brad Show.” Well, sorta. Think how it would have been if James Caan had played the elf. More like that. But I was excited, nevertheless.

And today, we taped a show with outgoing SC Superintendent Jim Rex. Plans are to have that one up on the blog Monday. Then we’ll tape the Tart on Monday for showing later in the week.

Trying to get the momentum going again on “The Brad Show,” just in time for Christmas. And if you want to buy the boxed DVD set of Season One for that just-right gift for a loved one, well… I don’t have any made, but if you send us enough money we’ll burn the frickin’ shows onto a DVD, and put it in a box, too.

Who better to get us into the spirit of the last-minute shopping frenzy than the Tart herself? Watch for her, and Dr. Rex, right here on this station…

“The Brad Show:” Mia Butler, House candidate

With time running out, I thought it would be a good use of our video time to help voters get to know a last-minute candidate, one who hasn’t had the benefit of long exposure to the electorate. So last Thursday, Mia Butler visited our studio.

Mia, a Bennettsville native like me, is the Democratic nominee for S.C. House District 79, which suddenly found itself without an incumbent when Anton Gunn suddenly went to work for the federal gummint.

Ms. Butler is running against the far better-known Sheri Few, the frequent Republican candidate.

I have a lot of footage of Ms. Few from the last time she ran, and plan to edit some of that and put it up this week. Don’t let me forget about that…

“The Brad Show,” Episode 3: Vincent Sheheen

Well, here it is: The third installment of “The Brad Show.” Our guest Wednesday afternoon was Sen. Vincent Sheheen, the Democratic nominee for governor of South Carolina.

We sort of did this one on the run. We found out on Wednesday that he would be in our neighborhood, and were told we could catch him over at Rep. James Smith‘s law office at 4 p.m. So Jay and Julia grabbed the equipment, and we ran over there. James and his staff hastily cleaned off a conference table that was covered with stacks of documents and other debris while Jay and Julia set up the camera and wired us for sound, and we were off. Twenty-five minutes later, we were packed up and ready to leave, the interview in the proverbial can. It all went so smoothly — no thanks to me; all I did was show up — that would you have thought we had done this 100 times before.

So thanks, Jay and Julia, and thanks, Capt. Smith, for accommodating us so generously.

I hope you can find something of value in this conversation. I’m sure you’ll tell me if you don’t…

Coming up on “The Brad Show:” Vincent Sheheen

My plan was to keep pressing until I got a commitment for a time that Vincent Sheheen would sit still long enough for us to shoot an installment of “The Brad Show” with him, and then to turn and press Nikki Haley for an interview as well — having heard she was reluctant to do such things. Sort of the way I’m currently playing Joe Wilson and Rob Miller off against each other. (Oh, wait — you don’t suppose they’ll read this, do you?)

But the strategy fell all apart today, when the Sheheen campaign called and said, “What about today?,” which set off a scramble to act on that opportunity. Jay and Julia gathered up the equipment, and at 4 p.m., we spoke with him in the conference room over at James Smith’s law office, a few blocks from ADCO. The interview ran about 23 minutes, same as the one with Dr. Whitson.

The show should be up on the blog by the end of the day tomorrow, if nothing more arises to prevent Jay from getting it ready.

To whet your appetite, I share with you the list of questions that I prepared as a crutch before the session. Back when I was at the paper, I almost never prepared questions (or anything else) ahead of time. In keeping with the Fremen dictum to “Be prepared to appreciate what you meet,” and being a believer in the Dirk Gently holistic method of investigation, I liked to go in and see where the interview would go. And often it went in interesting directions that I could never have anticipated.

But with video, I’m a little less confident still, and like to have some questions in front of me in case I freeze up and can’t think of anything to dispel “dead air.”

So I prepared this list ahead of time (it took no more than five minutes) — and we actually got to most of the questions, as you will see tomorrow:

Questions for Vincent Sheheen

“The Brad Show”

October 13, 2010

At the Columbia Rotary Monday, you said this is the most important gubernatorial election in SC in 40 years. I concur. Or at the very least, it’s most important since we missed our chance to have Joe Riley as our governor in 94. But what are YOUR reasons for saying so?

Early in 2009, you jokingly asked me, “Am I making you hopeful?” Well, at this point I would say that depends: Can you win this election? Elaborate.

Why should you win it? Compare and contrast.

One beef I hear from readers on my blog is that sure, maybe Vincent Sheheen is a nice guy from a good family, but what would he DO? Talk about your vision for South Carolina. What do you want to accomplish as governor?

I particularly enjoyed hearing you speak Monday about one of my favorite topics – reforming state government. You have a plan for doing that that originally I wasn’t too crazy about – it involved a lot of sweetener for the Legislature. But since then, I’ve reached two conclusions: One, that’s the only way we’re going to get reform, and Two, your approach actually points to an important difference between you and your opponent.

Could you summarize that plan for our viewers?

Issues, plans and programs aside, elections are, to some extent, about character. Is this one more so?

How do you deal with all the revelations coming out about your opponent without seeming to be too negative? Do you think you’re hitting that note at the proper “Goldilocks” point – neither too hard nor too soft?

And your opponent aside, what the most important thing voters need to know about YOU?

What are you hearing from voters?

Where do you go from here?

By the way, with both Caroline Whitson and Vincent Sheheen, I did an unconventional thing. I gave each of them a brief glance at the questions I had prepared before we started, just so they could be thinking about the answers as we proceeded. I’m more interested in getting thoughtful answers than I am in ambushing sources.

I’ll gladly do the same for Nikki, if she’ll sit down with me — while at the same time telling her what I told Caroline and Vincent, that the questions were not an absolute guide. If things start to move in a promising direction that I didn’t anticipate, I revert to form and run in that direction.

“The Brad Show” is BACK! Our guest — Caroline Whitson

Well, I told you it was coming back, and here it is!

After a well-received pilot episode, “The Brad Show” got put on the back burner — not by network twits like the ones who canceled “Firefly” (and who will no doubt go to the “special hell” that Shepherd Book preached about) — but by me, because I was way busy trying to keep a blog going while working a new job.

But now it’s back, and it has cool new intro and theme music, compliments of ADCO Interactive’s Jay Barry. I told Jay I wanted something sort of NPRish, or Dick Cavettesque, and with that crystal-clear direction, this is what he came up with.

Watch, enjoy, and be edified. Not by me, but by my guest, the president of Columbia College, and leader in the effort to pass the penny sales tax for transportation — which is what we talked about.

We also talked about Caroline’s plans to don a Catwoman-like costume for the Ludie Bowl festivities over the weekend. She promises pictures, which I’m looking forward to seeing, and posting…

“The Brad Show” is back in production!

Speaking of the untimely cancellation of brilliant television, you will recall that “The Brad Show” was cancelled after one well-received episode.

But now, it’s back! Or will be, in the next few days. I just taped the second installment this morning. I had the honor of interviewing Caroline Whitson, president of Columbia College and the former chair of the commission that studied transportation needs in Richland County a couple of years back. Now, Dr. Whitson is helping lead the effort to pass the penny sales tax referendum on Nov. 2, and that was the topic of our conversation at our studio at ADCO.

That interview will appear sometime early next week. My next show will likely be with Steve Benjamin. Actually, we had set up the studio for him — he was originally scheduled for noon yesterday, and Jay had set up the studio for a single camera (Dick Cavett style), instead of the two-camera approach we used with erstwhile Benjamin opponent Steve Morrison. That was to cut down on editing time, since we wanted to have it up today, on the new mayor’s 100th day in office.

But the mayor had to cancel at the last minute yesterday (which actually kind of worked out great for me, as I had the cable guy at my house doing something that I had thought would be relatively simple, but ended up taking more than seven hours), so we’re going to try again next week.

I’ve begun negotiations with some other guests. I spoke with Joe Wilson the other day and he said he’d be “honored” to appear, and I have a request in to the Rob Miller campaign as well. There should be other programs related to the November election. After that, I hope to branch out a bit. For instance, the Shop Tart has indicated her willingness to grace us with her presence, and I hope to grill her about how to sell ads, since she’s so infuriatingly good at it. (Speaking of the Tart — next week I’m going to write her another guest spot on current politics, so watch for that as well.)

After Caroline left, Jay and Gene and I got to chatting about doing some “radio” versions of the show. This would allow us to do more of them, since we could do them over the phone and not have to coordinate schedules with guests. But that’s preliminary. We’ll see. In the meantime, we need to work the bugs out of our studio. For instance, this morning I turned we turned the thermostat way down to keep Caroline and me from roasting under the lights. Afterwards, as I was talking with Jan and Gene, I noticed poor Julia huddled in a blanket, leaning toward her Mac for warmth.

So there are adjustments we’ll have to make. But first, we have to get the first installment of the revived show up. Watch for it next week.