Woman votes and dies, Brown's Office Plays Gay Card, DeMint gets big money, NASA guru hates coal 

"During the election season, she took a liking to Barack Obama and decided she would stick around long enough to vote for him in November — at least that long."

Terry Fitzgerald, whose 93-year-old mother, Dora, voted absentee and then died hours later. The S.C. Attorney General's Office suggested the vote was void since she died before election day. Source: The Post and Courier

Brown's Office Plays Gay Card

An employee of Congressman Henry Brown, a Republican in a hotly contested race to keep his seat, last week appeared to be using a recent cover of the Charleston City Paper to inject homophobia into the race against local Democrat Linda Ketner.

In an Oct. 15 cover story, Ketner was one of several Charleston residents featured in a number of stories on gays and lesbians in the community. In a mass letter to members of the Law Republicans group at the Charleston School of Law, Brown aid Kathy Crawford was quoted as saying that members of the group should take copies of the City Paper to "all of the news/media outlets in the area" and to any "of the big Churches around town."

Crawford said she was embarrassed by the e-mail and that the call to action was actually written by an unnamed friend of hers who had forwarded the message to her. She claimed that she had sent the message on to the Law Republicans under her name by accident, along with a separate paragraph calling for help sending O'Henry candy bars out to voters.

"That was never my intention," Crawford says. "We need people to stuff some envelopes."

Campaign manager Rod Shealy says that Brown has not and will not make an issue of Ketner's "lifestyle choices."

"I suspect volunteers may have further disseminated these media accounts," Shealy says. "But neither Henry Brown nor anyone authorized to speak for the campaign has mentioned her sexual preferences as a campaign issue."

Todd Lewis, the president of the Law Republicans group, says that members responded to the call to stuff envelopes, but have declined the suggestion to use gay-baiting tactics at area churches to sway voters.

"We're not really interested in that part," Lewis says. —Greg Hambrick

$200,474

That's how much Sen. Jim DeMint has received over the last six years from companies tied to earmarks in a recent Defense Department spending bill, regardless of the fact that he has been one of the Senate's most vocal opponents on earmark spending. He was second in campaign cash among the eight members of the S.C. delegation and DeMint's take was a sharp contrast to the mere $18,000 Sen. John McCain collected from earmark recipients. Source: The Seattle Times

NASA's Climate Guru: "No More Coal"

NASA's top climatologist and the director of the Goddard Institute, Dr. James Hansen, weighed in this August on state-owned power utility Santee-Cooper's efforts to construct a new coal-fired power plant near Florence, penning a letter to CEO Lonnie Carter that called the plant "a terrible, foreseeable, waste of money."

Carter replied in September, reiterating his position that some scientists still don't acknowledge a human affect on climate change, and he welcomed the chance to discuss the issue with Hansen. Last week, Hansen traveled to South Carolina to meet with Carter and the utility's board, also participating in press conferences and a public event at the College of Charleston.

"This is an issue of intergenerational equity and justice," Hansen says. "We are leaving a certain problem for our children and grandchildren which will be enormous and not of their doing. We risk passing on to them a planet that is unrecognizable from the one we enjoy now." 

In addition to climate effects, Hansen says coal releases more radioactive material into the air than nuclear generation. He's also concerned about additional mercury deposition and decries Santee-Cooper's current reliance on coal for 78 percent of its power. Hansen condemns scientists hired by companies like Exxon-Mobil and Peabody Coal to downplay climate concerns, and says its far more important to reduce consumption of coal than oil in the coming decade.

"There's enough CO2 in oil to take us well into the danger zone, and it's practically impossible to prevent the use of our remaining oil," he said, adding that the possibility of carbon emission taxes will make coal-dependent power bills skyrocket. "So we're going to have to phase out (coal) emissions. It just doesn't make sense to build a coal plant at this time." —Stratton Lawrence


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