February 16, 2004

President Bush has pardoned David McCall, a Plano, Texas businessman who pled guilty to bank fraud in 1996. He and 4 others pled guilty to creating a scheme to hide bad loans from bank regulators during the Savings and Loan scandals of the 80s and 90s. Prediction #1: the Republicans who howled in self-righteous anger at Clinton’s pardons as he left office in 2001 will come up with all sorts of reasons why this is totally different and nothing like… Read more

February 15, 2004

The Washington Post is reporting on the framing of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which has been proposed in Congress to ban gay marriages nationwide, that it is so poorly written that even its proponents don’t know what it would prevent and what it would allow. The article begins:In the spring and summer of 2001, a group of conservative legal scholars including former Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork hammered out the proposed text of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage…. Read more

February 15, 2004

On March 24th, the US Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments on Elk Grove Unified School District v Newdow, the pledge of allegiance case. The 9th circuit court of appeals ruled against the school district in 2003 and the school district appealed to the Supreme Court. Goldstein Howe’s indispensible SCOTUS blog has links to a number of briefs filed on behalf of Newdow, the respondent in the case, and on behalf of the school district as well. This is… Read more

February 14, 2004

My thanks to Ed Darrell for pointing me to an article by Peter Gomes in the Boston Globe. Gomes is the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and minister of the Memorial Church at Harvard. Of the recent court cases involving gay marriage, he writes:We have seen this before. When the courts eventually invalidated long-established laws sanctioned by church and society that forbade interracial marriage, the so-called “miscegenation” laws that obtained in many parts of this country within living memory, the… Read more

February 13, 2004

Robert Bork has joined the faculty of the law school at the University of Richmond. According to the press release announcing his appointment,”Judge Bork is one of the most prominent and controversial American legal intellectuals of modern times,” Smolla said in announcing the appointment. “He is widely regarded as one of the most influential conservative constitutional law thinkers in America.”So far, so good. Hard to argue with that, Bork is both controversial and influential. But here’s where we hit a… Read more

February 13, 2004

This story just keeps getting worse. In New Delhi on Friday, French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin said that the French government would consider exempting Sikhs from the new law banning religious clothing and symbols:After meeting a delegation led by chairman of the National Minorities Commission Tirlochan Singh, Villepin said: “We understand perfectly that we need to solve this problem taking into account the specificity of Sikh community, which is very well respected in France. There are traditions between France… Read more

February 13, 2004

Alan Leshner, the head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has written an article concerning the recent controversy in Georgia over evolution in science classes. What he writes seems to support my contention that all of the public handwringing over the superficial issue of whether to use “evolution” or “changes over time” was a planned distraction. He writes:In preparing draft standards, Georgia officials sought permission from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s… Read more

February 13, 2004

In the midst of yesterday’s Darwin Day celebrations around the world, you might have missed this little tidbit. Some folks in Australia have begun giving away the Wilberforce Award, named of course for the Bishop Wilberforce who debated the validity of evolution against T.H. Huxley at Oxford in 1860. The award is given to an individual who “through the silly nature of their arguments or actions, have inadvertently done the most to promote evolution as a fact”. This year’s winner… Read more

February 13, 2004

Russell Husted also left a couple of comments in response to my fisking of Mitt Romney’s Wall Street Journal op-ed piece about gay marriage. Russell wrote:Ed, you say “he’s right on the general point that marriage predates our constitution and our nation, but he is wrong to imply that there has been anything like a consistent conception of marriage over those millenia and across cultural lines. The definition and limitations of marriage have varied dramatically over the centuries, both within… Read more

February 13, 2004

Russell Husted, a fellow blogger not to be confused with Rusty, left a couple of comments in response to postings far down on my page, so I thought I’d move them up toward the top and answer them before they scroll off entirely. I hadn’t noticed them until now. One was in response to my post concerning the Richard Dawkins incident. Russell wrote:You said of the question:”Can you give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which… Read more

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