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    16 February 2006

    An Ethics Case for Senator Specter

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    Man Wahsington is dirty!

    If their ever was a Republican that I like, Specter is it... er... was it.

    Sen. Arlen Specter helped direct almost $50 million in
    Pentagon spending during the past four years to clients of the husband of one of his top aides, records show.

    Specter, R-Pa., used a process called "earmarking" 13 times to set aside $48.7 million for six clients represented by lobbyist Michael Herson and the firm he co-founded, American Defense International. The clients paid Herson's firm nearly $1.5 million in fees since 2002, federal lobbying records show.

    Herson's wife, Vicki Siegel Herson, is Specter's legislative assistant for appropriations. She deals with Specter's work on the Senate Appropriations Committee and its defense subcommittee, where all the earmarks originated. Siegel, who uses her maiden name at work, is a former lobbyist for defense contractors who has worked for Specter since 1999. (Related stories: Firm's clients benefiting | Anti-terror projects involved)

    Posted by Geoff (and of course I like some Republicans)

    15 February 2006

    Drinking Liberally - Charleston, SC

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    a-hunting we will go ... a-hunting we will go ... heigh, ho, the derry-oh, a-hunting we will go ...

    Any suggestions for what to talk about tomorrow night? Well, if you can't decide, here's a suggestion:

    "Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt ... making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, of course, (was) shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird." -Jon Stewart

    If that's not enough to tempt you to Voodoo, maybe Randy Maatta will. Yep, DL Charleston got word just yesterday that either someone from his campaign or the candidate himself will be joining us! Maatta is Democratic candidate for Congress (First District). Imagine - the possibility of a REAL public servant in Washington representing us, instead of that good ol' boy who wants to burn the woods down. At least that part of the woods W doesn't sell. Grrrrrrrrr.

    America was born in the taverns...and now we're returning to promote democracy one pint a time. Hope to see you all this week!! 1st one there - grab the tables!

    Voodoo Lounge
    15 Magnolia Dr
    Every Thursday
    5:30 pm until the thoughts run dry

    Bowling Liberally
    Elks Lodge
    Sam Rittenberg
    Friday night
    7:30 until 11 (if you want a chance to win $$)
    $1.75 games, free shoes, $1 beer
    larry_carter_center at yahoo dot com

    Reading Liberally
    a strong possibility! more info as it develops!

    Liberally yours,
    marilyn, Leslie & Sadie

    Posted by Geoff

    14 February 2006

    Instapundit gets hammered by Greenwald

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    I mean just pounded.

    Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds accuses me today of "degrad(ing) the blogosphere" because I wrote a post at Crooks & Liars observing that Reynolds had done nothing to denounce the violence-advocating and epithet-spewing remarks of Ann Coulter at last week's highly prestigious Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and I encouraged C&L readers to e-mail Reynolds and ask why this was. As I documented here, the CPAC is one of the most important Republican events of the year, and its invited speakers along with Coulter included Dick Cheney, Ken Mehlman, Bill Frist, Newt Gingrich and Reynolds himself.

    As I explained in the C&L post, my belief that Reynolds has an obligation to either denounce or defend Coulter's comments is largely based on the fact that Reynolds routinely lectures Democrats on what he claims is their obligation to denounce "extremists on the Left" – even when the extremists in question are totally fringe and inconsequential figures who have nothing to do with Democrats, and – unlike Coulter here – don't have huge throngs of followers and aren't invited to be the featured speaker at the most important political events of the year. I specifically cited this post from Reynolds self-righteously taking Democrats to task for their grave moral failure in remaining silent about that oh-so-significant, long-standing icon of the Democratic Party, Ward Churchill.
    Republicans have been playing this game for years. They wildly inflate the importance of fringe, extremist figures and then -- every time one of those individuals makes an intemperate remark or comment that can be wrenched out-of-context and depicted as some sort of demented evil -- they demand that Democrats ritualistically parade before the cameras and either condemn those individuals or be branded as someone who is insufficiently willing to stand up to the extremists "in their party."
    Republicans have spent the last five years courting the most extreme and radical elements of their party, while the media allows them to present a mainstream and moderate face to the public. While we were given John McCain, Rudy Guliani, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as the prime-time speakers at the GOP Convention, Republicans cowtow in the dark to figures like James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Coulter. It is time that they either embrace those alliances in the open or repudiate them.
    Now, having said all of that, Reynolds' condemnation of Coulter, once he was finally prodded into making it, is quite potent and clear. He says that Coulter inflames the divide between Muslims and the West and therefore, because winning hearts and minds is our most important objective in the war on terrorism, Coulter is "objectively pro-terrorist." I can't quibble with that.

    But that leads to a rather glaring question, which is this: why is someone so extreme, hateful, and destructive so wildly popular among Bush followers; why is she continuously treated as a respectable and important figure among "conservatives"; and why have so few of the prominent Republicans who participated at the CPAC not condemned her, ever? If one is a supporter of Bush, as Reynolds is, aren't those rather pressing questions?

    Go read...

    Reynolds' record

    Posted by Geoff

    13 February 2006

    Darwin Week - Charleston, SC

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    I have trouble believing this given the level of wingnutia in my part of the country:
    On the 197th birthday of Charles Darwin, ministers at several hundred churches around the country preached yesterday against recent efforts to undermine the theory of evolution, asserting that the opposition many Christians say exists between science and faith is false.

    At St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church, a small contemporary structure among the pricey homes of north Atlanta, the Rev. Patricia Templeton told the 85 worshipers gathered yesterday, "A faith that requires you to close your mind in order to believe is not much of a faith at all."

    In the basement of an apartment building in Evanston, Ill., the Rev. Mitchell Brown said to the 21 people who came to services at the Evanston Mennonite Church that Darwin's theories in fact had compelled people to have faith rather than look for "special effects" to confirm the existence of God.

    "He forced religion to grow up, to become, really, faith for the first time," Mr. Brown said. "The life of community, that is where we know God today."

    But anyway, the College of Charleston is hosting its 6th anual celebration of Darwin Week in Charleston.

    Monday, February 13 - Dr. Michael Ruse
    Molecules to Men: Progress in Biology from Diderot to Dawkins.

    What is the nature of progress and what is its relationship to evolution? Dr. Ruse considers this question from the 18th century perspective of Diderot to the 21st century perspective of Dawkins. Why did Darwin and Mendel not destroy the idea of progress and why does it flourish now?
    4:00 PM, Stern Center Ballroom. Sponsored by the Biology Club.

    The Evolution-Creation Struggle
    There is a major dispute today in America over the truth about origins -- did organisms including humans come as the end process of a long evolution, as described by Charles Darwin, or are we somehow miraculously produced as described in Genesis (or by Intelligent Design)? Dr. Ruse will trace the dispute back to the Enlightenment, show why it is an American dispute, and offer reasons for its long persistence.
    7:00 PM, Second Presbyterian Church sanctuary. Reception and book signing to follow in the fellowship hall.

    Dr. Michael Ruse is Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. He is the author of over twenty books, including Darwin and Design (Harvard), The Evolution Wars (Rutgers), and Can a Darwinian be a Christian (Cambridge). His visit is sponsored by the congregations of First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, Second Presbyterian Church, the Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery, Circular Congregational Church, and the College of Charleston School of Science and Math.


    Tuesday, February 14 - Dr. Jeffrey Camper, Dr. Wade Worthen, and Dr. Michael Svec
    Teaching Evolution in Turbulent Times.
    Critics of evolutionary theory are mounting assaults on public school curricula across the USA. South Carolina's 2005 high school evolution standards have not been spared from the controversy. In this three-part presentation, Drs Camper, Worthen and Svec will describe the philosophy of science, the scientific merits of evolutionary theory, and the pedagogical issues surrounding the latest debates. This presentation will be particularly useful for school teachers.
    4:00 PM
    , CofC Science Center Room 121.

    Dr. Jeffrey D. Camper is associate professor of biology at Francis Marion University, Dr. Wade B. Worthen is Professor of Biology at Furman University, and Dr. Michael Svec is Professor of Education at Furman University. Their visit is sponsored by the Lowcountry Hall of Science and Math.

    Posted by Geoff

    Cheney Shoots Friend

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    He must be practicing for Iraq. I'd heard the insurgency was in its last throes and Cheney has been itching for some payback and he was a bout to enlist for the first time to, you know, serve his country. But that trigger-finger got a little too itchy Sunday when he shot his Texas friend in the face.

    But like all things in this White House, they tried to cover it up.

    Stress could have caused this also. That big bad AG Fitzgerald has been getting pretty close to the big guy lately, some senators are calling for a probe this morning. Wrong attorney Dick!

    Posted by Geoff


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