Thursday Reads: Demographics, Anti-Science Republicans, and Biblical Views of Rape

Good Morning!!

The meme of the day yesterday was that Latino voters reelected President Obama. As usual, the role of women in the election is getting short shrift. In fact, the gender gap this year was even bigger than in 2008. At HuffPo, Laura Bassett writes:

According to CNN’s exit polls, 55 percent of women voted for Obama, while only 44 percent voted for Mitt Romney. Men preferred Romney by a margin of 52 to 45 percent, and women made up about 54 percent of the electorate. In total, the gender gap on Tuesday added up to 18 percent — a significantly wider margin than the 12-point gender gap in the 2008 election.

Women’s strong support in the swing states gave Obama a significant advantage over Romney, despite his losses among men and independents. While Obama lost by 10 percentage points among independents in Ohio, he won by 12 points among women in the state. In New Hampshire, women voted for Obama over Romney by a margin of 58 to 42 percent, while men preferred Romney by a narrow 4-point gap. Pennsylvania showed a 16-point gender gap that tipped the scale toward Obama.

Yes, Latinos voted for Obama by a wide margin, but guess what? There was a gender gap there too.

Overall Obama won three out of every four votes (75%) cast by Hispanic women and 63% of Hispanic men, a 12-point gender gap. Four years ago the gap was only four points as Obama won 64% of men and 68% of Latino women. Romney won 35% of Latino men and 24% of women.

Here’s another interesting demographic factoid: there isn’t much of a gender gap when it comes to voters wanting to keep abortion legal, and that holds true with Latinos as well as voters overall.

Exit poll results found that about two-thirds of Hispanics (66%) said that abortion should be legal while 28% disagreed. Among all voters, a somewhat smaller majority (59%) would allow legal abortions while 37% were opposed.

There is no gender gap on views on abortion among Hispanics or among all voters, according to national exit polling. About two-thirds of men (64%) and Latino women (67%) would permit legal abortion, as would 58% of all male voters nationally and 60% of women.

As Dakinikat noted yesterday, Republicans are busy trying to figure out how to attract Latino voters, who represent about 10% of the U.S. population. But they refuse to recognize the power of women voters, and they apparently haven’t noticed that overall, the majority of both men and women disapprove of Republicans using the government to control women’s bodies.

If the anti-science-and-math Republicans hadn’t disdained Nate Silver’s predictions, they could have been forewarned. On October 21, Silver wrote about the “historically” huge gender gap in 2012.

If only women voted, President Obama would be on track for a landslide re-election, equaling or exceeding his margin of victory over John McCain in 2008. Mr. Obama would be an overwhelming favorite in Ohio, Florida, Virginia and most every other place that is conventionally considered a swing state. The only question would be whether he could forge ahead into traditionally red states, like Georgia, Montana and Arizona.

If only men voted, Mr. Obama would be biding his time until a crushing defeat at the hands of Mitt Romney, who might win by a similar margin to the one Ronald Reagan realized over Jimmy Carter in 1980. Only California, Illinois, Hawaii and a few states in the Northeast could be considered safely Democratic. Every other state would lean red, or would at least be a toss-up.

IMHO, it would behoove both Democrats and Republicans to keep in mind that women are more than half of the electorate, and we are sick and tired of being pushed around.

In other news,

it came out yesterday that Mitch McConnell offered Marco Rubio the opportunity to run the NRSC for the midterm elections in 2014, but Rubio turned the job down. From Real Clear Politics:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has been courted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to take over the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2014 midterm season, but the freshman lawmaker declined the entreaty, sources told RCP.

It might seem early to think about the next campaign cycle, but Senate leadership elections will take place in short order. And given the GOP’s losses in Senate races Tuesday night, the party is looking to make some changes.

McConnell probably hoped that Rubio could help the party with it’s diversity issues.

Rubio, a rapidly rising star in the party after his huge but unlikely victory in the 2010 election, is a favorite of McConnell’s. And as a 41-year-old Cuban-American capable of delivering some of the party’s best speeches, he’s someone the GOP brass likes to put in front of the cameras. Not only is he inspirational, but he helps the diversity-challenged party bridge several divides with voters.

What’s more, Rubio is a star fundraiser who was able to pull in hundreds of thousands of dollars for Mitt Romney’s failed presidential bid, a skill that would be a boon to the Senate campaign committee. Of course, he can still be used by the NRSC to raise money, but he wouldn’t have to deal with the party’s divisive primaries as one of its leading strategists.

Much to McConnell’s chagrin — and for the second time in several months — Rubio’s career will not go in the direction that the Kentucky senator had been hoping for: When Romney was poring over running-mate prospects, McConnell was pining for Rubio, and he made his preference well known.

I just had to share this:

Dick Morris’ attempt to explain why he was so wrong in his prediction that Romney would win the election in a landslide, taking 325 electoral votes.

I’ve got egg on my face. I predicted a Romney landslide and, instead, we ended up with an Obama squeaker.

According to Morris, if Romney had won with 325 electoral votes it would have been a landslide. If Obama wins Florida, he’ll get 335 electoral votes, and it won’t be a landslide–it’ll be a “squeaker.”

The key reason for my bum prediction is that I mistakenly believed that the 2008 surge in black, Latino, and young voter turnout would recede in 2012 to “normal” levels. Didn’t happen. These high levels of minority and young voter participation are here to stay. And, with them, a permanent reshaping of our nation’s politics.

In 2012, 13% of the vote was cast by blacks. In 04, it was 11%. This year, 10% was Latino. In ’04 it was 8%. This time, 19% was cast by voters under 30 years of age. In ’04 it was 17%. Taken together, these results swelled the ranks of Obama’s three-tiered base by five to six points, accounting fully for his victory.

Morris could have done what the Obama campaign did and looked at the latest census numbers, but right wingers don’t believe in empirical evidence. But the real cause of Morris’ failure to make the correct prediction was Sandy and Chris Christie.

But the more proximate cause of my error was that I did not take full account of the impact of hurricane Sandy and of Governor Chris Christie’s bipartisan march through New Jersey arm in arm with President Obama. Not to mention Christe’s fawning promotion of Obama’s presidential leadership.

It made all the difference.

See? Morris’ mistaken prediction had nothing to do with Morris’ stupidity and the fact that he lives in the Fox News right wing bubble.

Harry Reid says he will take action to reform the filibuster rules.

From HuffPo:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged on Wednesday to change the rules of the Senate so that the minority party has fewer tools to obstruct legislative business….

“I want to work together, but I also want everyone to also understand, you cannot push us around. We want to work together,” Reid said.

“I do” have plans to change the Senate rules, he added. “I have said so publicly and I continue to feel that way … I think the rules have been abused, and we are going to work to change them. We will not do away with the filibuster, but we will make the senate a more meaningful place. We are going to make it so we can get things done.”

I sure do hope he means that.

Finally, a longer read.

I think we all agree that the Republican Party has been taken over by right wing religious nuts who claim to take the bible literally–even though they tend to pick and choose which parts of the Bible to pay attention to and which parts to ignore.

During the past couple of years, we watched Republicans in statehouses around the the country do their darnedest to take away women’s access to abortion and even contraception.

Mitt Romney chose as his VP a man who tried to change the definition of rape and who believes that rape is just another method of conception.

A string of Republican officeholders and candidates unself-consciously revealed themselves to be utter troglodytes who had bizarre notions about rape and who were quite willing to force victims of rape and incest who were impregnated to bear their perpetrators’ offspring.

If anyone thinks Republican crazies will change their minds just because women successfully voted down Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock and Rick Berg, I think they’d be sadly mistaken. I want to recommend an article I read at Alternet a few days ago: What the Bible Says About Rape. It’s long, but a very important read. Here are the opening paragraphs:

Christians of many stripes are scrambling to distance themselves, their religion, or their God from Republican comments about rape . The latest furor is about Washington State congressional candidate John Koster, who opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest and added for good measure that “incest is so rare, I mean it’s so rare.” Before that, it was Indiana candidate Richard Mourdock, who said, “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen” backed up by Texas senator John Cornyn insisting that “life is a gift from God.” These men share the January sentiment of Rick Santorum: “the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you.”

Those Christians who see the Bible as a human, historical document have the right to distance themselves. Those who see the Bible as the unique and perfect revelation of the Divine, essentially dictated by God to the writers, do not. The fact is, the perspective that God intends rape babies and that such pregnancies should be allowed to run their course is perfectly biblical.

I am not going to argue here that the Bible teaches that life begins at conception. It doesn’t. The Bible writers had no concept of conception, and no Bible writer values the life of a fetus on par with the life of an infant or an older child. One does say that God knows us while we are developing in the womb, but another says he knows us even before . Levitical law prescribes a fine for a man who accidentally triggers a miscarriage . It is not the same as the penalty for manslaughter. Therapeutic abortion is never mentioned, nor is the status of the fetus that spontaneously aborts. Under Jewish law, a newborn isn’t circumcised and blessed until he is eight days old, having clearly survived the high mortality peri-natal period. For centuries the Catholic Church believed that “ensoulment” occurred and a fetus became a person at the time of quickening or first movement, sometime during the second trimester.

However, if we take the viewpoint of biblical literalists and treat the Good Book as if it were authored by a single perfect, unchanging Deity, then a man is on solid ground thinking that rape babies are part of God’s intentions.

As long as the Republican Party is controlled by “christians” who take the bible literally, women’s rights to autonomy are threatened. No woman should vote for any Republican as long as this state of affairs continues.

Now what are you reading and blogging about today?


Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

Fall is here, and suddenly, I find myself seeking out foods made with pumpkin, like pumpkin-apple muffins. I’ve never had a pumpkin spice latte, but I’m thinking of trying one. I found a recipe for pumpkin syrup on line.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

INGREDIENTS
1½ cups water
1½ cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
3 tbsp. pumpkin puree

DIRECTIONS

Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Toss in the cinnamon sticks and whisk in the remaining spices and the pumpkin puree. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, without letting the mixture come to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and store in your container of choice. Store in the refrigerator.

To make a pumpkin spice latte, combine 2 ounces of hot coffee or 1 shot of hot espresso (about 1-1½ ounces) with 5-6 ounces of steamed low-fat milk. Stir in 1½-2 tablespoons of the pumpkin spice syrup. Taste and adjust amounts accordingly. Top as desired with freshly whipped cream, ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce (optional – sort of).

I’ve also heard that pumpkin oatmeal is really good. I’m might try that with the leftovers. Now, let’s see what’s in the news this morning.

Yesterday, I posted about Romney’s crass exploitation of the death of former Navy Seal Glen Doherty in the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Last night I learned that Doherty was active in the fight to prevent right-wing fundamentalists from completely taking over the U.S. military. Mikey Weinstein, who has fought the good fight for years, wrote about it at Huffington Post.

I had the extreme good fortune, honor and privilege to work alongside Glen for years as a longtime member of the Advisory Board of the four-time, Nobel Peace Prize-nominated, civil rights charitable organization I founded and currently serve as president of called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). We currently are assisting over 30,000 American military personnel fighting against Christian fundamentalist religious extremism in our own armed forces. Glen selflessly served as a passionate, ’round-the-clock’ supporter of MRFF based on his fervent belief in its mission to protect the secular nature of the U.S. Military and the imperative this secular nature has to our national security. Separation of church and state in the United States military was not a trivial matter for Glen. It was his mantra.

Based upon our profound, mutual working experiences with MRFF, I’m truly fascinated about what Mitt Romney actually “learned about him”. During his chance meeting with Glen at that Christmas party a few years ago, did candidate Romney learn about his close personal and professional relationship with MRFF? Other fascinating learning opportunities for Mr. Romney regarding Glen’s deep support of and belief in MRFF and what we stand for may have revealed to him some very “uncomfortable” facts about the life of this true American Hero.

Please click the link and read the list of initiatives that Doherty supported. Of Romney’s shameful use of Doherty’s story for political purposes, Weinstein writes:

As informed citizens of the United States, we are all too aware of the rampant grandiose hyperbole generated as a result of our political campaigns. This absolutely disgusting, opportunistic travesty however was so much more, and so much lower, than the usual political ‘pablum’ that courses through our normal campaign emissions. This “performance” was simply naked and shameful exploitation of the life and memory of an actual American Hero. Romney did not “know” Glen. His insinuation that he somehow had a connection to Glen is disingenuous at best and a naked lie at worst. It is bold and bald untruthfulness. As Alfred Tennyson said, “A lie that is half truth is the darkest of all lies.” A timely and heartfelt apology is truly in order here.

I couldn’t bring myself to watch the Warren-Brown debate last night, but I read a good review of it at Dailykos by Joan McCarter. Apparently the moderator this time wasn’t an idiot.

What a refreshing Massachusetts Senate debate. From the beginning, when moderator Jim Madigan (thank you WGBY and public television), announced that the questions would be from and based on what the public had sent in, there was hope. When the first question was not about Elizabeth Warren’s heritage, but instead about unemployment and job creation, you knew we were in for a debate of substance.

Without that initial attack on Warren to set Brown up, he came off a little discombobulated. Brown was often scattered, incoherent, and thrown off by the time clock, resorting to mixing all his talking points on “bipartisan” and “job creators” into a mish-mash of word salad when he found himself with extra time. That was regardless of the question asked of him. He also failed in controlling the nasty, taking several cheap shots at “Professor” Warren, including blaming her salary and benefits as a Harvard professor for the spiraling costs of higher education.

This debate featured a far more Republican-sounding Brown that any of the previous debates. He railed about tax hikes, on his fealty to Grover Norquist, on the job-killing Obamacare. It was a bizarre juxtaposition to see the guy the tea party was so excited to get elected in 2010 and the “second-most bipartisan senator” fighting for the same brain. The results were bad for Brown.

Read the rest at the link. I’m still glad I didn’t watch it. Watching Paul Ryan tonight will be bad enough for one week.

In another hard-fought Senate race in Missouri, Claire McCaskill has released three new ads in her battle with Todd Akin. Each ad features a rape survivor talking about Akin’s anti-woman policies. Here’s one of the ads:

You can watch the other two ads at the above link.

There’s another terrific war-on-woman ad released by Deb Butler, a Democrat running for the North Carolina state senate. The ad features a transvaginal probe.

North Carolina state Senate candidate Deb Butler has released a new ad that slams Republican incumbent Thom Goolsby for supporting anti-abortion legislation.

“He wouldn’t dare show you this, but this is Thom Goolsby’s contribution to women’s health,” Butler says in the ad, holding a trans-vaginal ultrasound wand. “A medically unnecessary and invasive procedure that is now required by state law. He promised us his first priority would be jobs, but instead he’s following us into the doctor’s office.”

The New York Times offers Trip Gabriel’s Six Things to Watch for in the Biden-Ryan Debate. Gabriel predicts:

1. Biden will hit Ryan (and Romney) with everything he’s got.

Expect Mr. Biden, who is able to deliver cutting sarcasm without seeming angry, to continue to make up for Mr. Obama’s passivity at the first debate by accusing Mr. Romney of dissembling about long-held policies.

2. Biden will attack the Ryan budget.

Republicans and Democrats both rejoiced when Mr. Romney picked Mr. Ryan because the ticket was married to Mr. Ryan’s audacious House budgets with deep cuts in federal spending.

Although the budget, which Mr. Romney has largely endorsed, does not specify how programs will be cut, Mr. Biden will happily fill in the blanks by saying that an equal, across-the-board cut would mean eliminating 38,000 teachers and dropping 200,000 children from Head Start.

The remaining issues are Medicare cuts, the fiscal cliff, foreign affairs, and possible gaffes, especially by Biden. Of course we’ll have a live blog of the debate tonight.

The Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear a suit against telcoms who received immunity for spying on American citizens.

The Supreme Court has ended a 6-year-old class-action lawsuit against the nation’s telecommunications carriers for secretly helping the National Security Agency monitor phone calls and emails coming into and out of this country.

The suit was dealt a death blow in 2008 when Congress granted retroactive immunity to people or companies aiding U.S. intelligence agents.

Without comment, the justices turned down appeals from civil liberties advocates who contended this mass surveillance was unconstitutional and illegal.

This month the justices are set to hear a separate case to decide whether NSA officials can be sued for authorizing this allegedly unconstitutional mass wiretapping.

That should be enough to get some discussion started. Now what are you reading and blogging about?


Wednesday Reads

Good Morning, I have some political news items for you this morning….and they stink!

Boston Boomer mentioned this in the comments last night, Paul Ryan vs. The Stench – Roger Simon – POLITICO.com

Paul Ryan has gone rogue. He is unleashed, unchained, off the hook.

“I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him,” Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa, told The New York Times on Sunday.

I guess the way to distance yourself is to start calling your running mate the “Stench.”

Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.”

Even before the stench article appeared, there was a strong sign that Ryan was freeing himself from the grips of the Romney campaign. It began after his disastrous appearance on Friday before AARP in New Orleans. Ryan delivered his remarks in the style dictated by his Romney handlers: Stand behind the lectern, read the speech as written and don’t stray from the script.

There is also this nugget from the Stench, I mean Mitt Romney:  Mitt Romney Stops Supporters from Chanting ‘Ryan’ to Ensure They Say His Name Too

In Vandalia, Ohio, today, after Mitt Romney thanked running mate Paul Ryan for his stump speech, rally attendees instinctively began chanting “Ryan, Ryan,” as rally attendees are wont to do.

Feeling left out, Romney demanded the crowd quit chanting wrong, and proceeded to demonstrate the correct way to chant at his rally.

In his defense, Romney supporters really aren’t very bright.

Video at the link.

Well, I think it is safe to say that lots of the GOP supporters and affiliates aren’t that bright either? Va. GOP orders affiliate to remove ‘offensive’ Obama photos – The Washington Post

Virginia Republican Party officials on Tuesday ordered their Mecklenburg County affiliate to remove photos portraying President Obama as a witch doctor, a caveman and a thug from its Facebook page.

The altered photos have been on the Mecklenburg County Republican Committee’s page for months but drew attention outside the rural southwestern enclave after a luncheon event this week with Republican Senate candidate George Allen.

“These kinds of images have no place in political discourse — period,” said Pat Mullins, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. “They are offensive, tasteless and should never have been posted anywhere, let alone a local unit’s Facebook page. The Republican Party of Virginia condemns this sort of imagery in the strongest possible terms. I am in the process of contacting our Mecklenburg County unit to inform them that this is unacceptable behavior from any local unit associated with our party.”

I don’t know, the hate is so blatant! And the stupid doesn’t stop with GOP campaigns and committees, case in point: Madonna: Obama Is ‘A Black Muslim In The White House,’ Deserves Votes (VIDEO)

Madonna brought her MDNA Tour to Washington, D.C. on Monday night, and added a bizarre dose of politics to the show.

“Y’all better vote for f–king Obama, OK? For better or for worse, all right? We have a black Muslim in the White House. Now that’s some amazing s–t,” she said. “It means there is hope in this country. And Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man, goddamnit.”

Ugh….you can check that out if you like.

I wrote about Spain last night, but this morning news is reporting Greek government sees first big anti-austerity strike | Reuters

Flights and trains were suspended, shops pulled down their shutters and tens of thousands took to the streets on Wednesday in Greece’s first big anti-austerity strike since a coalition government took power in June.

In Athens, more than 50,000 people chanted: “We won’t submit to the troika (of lenders)” and “EU, IMF Out!”.

The rally marched past Athens’ central Syntagma square to parliament to protest against a new round of belt-tightening demanded by EU and IMF lenders as the price for fresh aid.

“We can’t take it anymore – we are bleeding. We can’t raise our children like this,” said Dina Kokou, a 54-year-old teacher and mother of four who lives on 1,000 euros a month.

“These tax hikes and wage cuts are killing us.”

Oh, and did you all see this? Todd Akin Counts on Support of Home-Schoolers – NYTimes.com

Steve Hebert for The New York Times

Supporters of the embattled Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin at a rally Wednesday.

On a recent Wednesday, when many teenagers here were doing homework or playing after-school sports, 17-year-old Ania Bishop, in an ankle-length skirt with American flags, was cheering at a political rally for Representative Todd Akin.

Oh, as if I did not feel sick enough…

The rest of her family was there, too: her father and teenage brother, both in “Stand With Todd” T-shirts, and her 6-year-old sister, who sat cross-legged at her mother’s feet. They listened while Mr. Akin, the Republican seeking to unseat the incumbent Democrat, Claire McCaskill, in one of the year’s most closely watched Senate races, reiterated his anti-abortion stance to the approving crowd. The mother, Ellen Bishop, says she spends 10 to 15 hours a week working on Akin campaign matters, while her children put in about 6 to 10 hours. Because the children are home-schooled, she said, they can translate their campaign work into lessons.

Campaign work into lessons? Looks like indoctrination to me!

Finally, Hermit crabs move into 3-D printed Guggenheim-shaped shell – GadgetBox on NBCNews.com

Guggenheim-shaped shell

Peter

Peter Moosgaard

Peter Moosgaard’s “Guggenheimer / I need a fighter!”

An Austrian artist has coerced some hermit crabs into adopting shells created by a 3-D printer — shells in the shape of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Hermit crabs don’t actually make their own shells, but rather find ones that once belonged to snails and other creatures. But population imbalances and other ecological troubles have led to a shortage of shells, and consequently hermit crabs have moved into things like beer cans and other trash.

A project started in 2011 called Project Shellter aimed to use Makerbot printers to create perfect little 3-D printed shells, and has successfully made a number of homes for stricken crabs. Austrian art student Peter Moosgaard decided to take things a step further and use the shell as a platform for expression. His crabs get shells that look like the Guggenheim.

Cool.

Help me out today and post some links in the comments…


North Dakota Senate Candidate Rick Berg: Todd Akin on Steroids

North Dakota Senate candidate Rick Berg

Rick Berg is currently the at-large Representative for North Dakota, and is running for the Senate seat held by retiring Senator Kent Conrad. Yesterday evening, Buzzfeed reported that in 2007, when Berg was a state representative, he voted for a bill that would make abortion a “Class AA felony,” punishable by life in prison without parole. This penalty would be applied to a woman who obtained and abortion and anyone who helped her do so. Here’s the relevant text from Think Progress:

A new section to chapter 12.1-16 of the North Dakota Century Code is created and enacted as follows:

Intentional termination of human life – Preborn children. A person is guilty of a class AA felony if the person intentionally destroys or terminates the life of a preborn child. A person that knowingly administers to, prescribes for, procures for, or sells to any pregnant individual any medicine, drug, device, or other substance with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of a preborn child is guilty of a class AA felony. A person that intentionally or knowingly aids, abets, facilitates, solicits, or incites a person to intentionally destroy or terminate the life of a preborn child is guilt of a class C felony. For purposes of this section, “preborn child” includes a human being from the moment of fertilization until the moment of birth.

The bill contains a separate section that says that a doctor who “provides health care” to a pregnant woman must “make every effort” to save both mother and fetus. If there is “accidental or unintentional injury” during this care, the doctor is not guilty of homicide. But the bill doesn’t specify whether the health care could include an abortion or whether the women who sought the abortion would still be considered a murderer.

According to Think Progress,

Berg was quick to denounce the comments of a fellow Senate Candidate, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), when he claimed that a woman couldn’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape.” Berg called the statement “insulting and reprehensible,” and “condemn[ed] them in the strongest terms possible.”

But like vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, Berg didn’t indicate to the media that he essentially agrees with Akin that a woman who is impregnated through rape or incest should be forced to carry the perpetrator’s child against their will.  I was somewhat shocked to learn that Rick Berg’s wife is a primary care doctor.

But the most shocking part of this story is that Rick Berg was given a brief speaking role at last week’s Republican National Convention. From the Bismark Tribune:

North Dakota Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rick Berg got a few moments in the spotlight at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.

The Republican congressman spoke for two minutes about North Dakota’s low unemployment, job growth and state budget surplus. He says North Dakota provides a contrast to the sluggish national economy.

Berg says North Dakota doesn’t “burden our job creators with red tape” and that people “trust the individual, not big government.”

Here’s Ed Schultz talking about Berg, who is a millionaire, and admitted he didn’t know what the minimum wage is.

North Dakota Senate Candidate Heidi Heitkamp

Fortunately, Berg has a Democratic opponent, former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp. In a poll taken in late July, Heitkamp was leading Berg by 6 points. Unfortunately, it’s not clear what Heitkamp’s views on abortion rights. I’ve posted a video of her below. She sounds fairly conservative, but she would obviously be far better than Rick Berg!

Here’s her website.


Thursday Reads: Convention Hangover Edition

Good Morning!!

I’m really beat after two nights of watching the horror show down in Tampa, so today’s post is going to be a link dump. Luckily, there are lots of good reads out there.

Yesterday we were talking about how the media is handling the blatant lies of the Romney campaign on welfare and medicare. Some media outlets have actually begun calling them out and using words like “false” and even “lies.”

Some links on that topic–some of which come from yesterday’s comments, because I think this is such an important issue.

Jonathan Chait: Mitt Doesn’t Care About Your Facts.

Brian Beutler: A Critical Juncture (h/t RalphB)

James Fallows: Bit by Bit It Takes Shape: Media Evolution for the ‘Post-Truth’ Age (h/t JJ)

Robert Reich: How Romney Keeps Lying Through HIs Big White Teeth

Dave Wiegel: “You Didn’t Build That”…But You Sure Did Edit It.

Now, some important reads on Romney/Ryan and race-baiting.

Harold Meyerson: In modern GOP, the old South returns (h/t RalphB)

Ron Fournier: Why (and How) Romney is Playing the Race Card (h/t JJ)

Joan Walsh: Paul Ryan and the GOP’s New Dog Whistle Politics

By now everyone knows that a CNN camera woman was harassed at the GOP Convention. Two attendees reportedly threw nuts at her and said “This is how we feed animals.” They were removed, but no one knows if they were permanently banned. CNN has chosen not to reveal the camera woman’s name or the names of the perpetrators–why?

Greg Sargent: CNN should reveal details of nut-throwing incident

Digby: CNN is fighting the perception of being biased against racist thugs

Digby harked back to the famous incident when Dan Rather was attacked by a security person at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 and pointed out that Rather and Walter Cronkite didn’t shrink from commenting on the thuggish behavior.

Several links about Tuesday night’s top speakers, Ann Romney and Chris Christie

Connor Friedersdorf: Chris Christie’s RNC Speech Misled Viewers on Medicare

Andrew Rosenthal: Chris Christie: But Enough About Mitt, Let’s Talk About Me

Errol Lewis: Tough Truths About Christie’s New Jersey

Politico: Chris Christie’s Flop at the GOP Convention

E.J. Graff: Ann Romney Loves Women!

Adam Serwer: Ann Romney and the Subversive Conservatism of ABC’s ‘Modern Family’

Don’t Miss this one! Ed Kilgore: Who’s Zoomin’ Who on Abortion?

E.J. Dionne: In defense of Juan Williams (and Chris Matthews)

Today is the last day of the GOP Convention, and tonight is Mitt’s big moment!

Gail Collins: Renovating Mitt Romney

Dana Millbank: Republicans playing Brutus

Michael Kinsley: Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Todd Akin: Going for distance

Now what are you reading and blogging about today?


Sunday Reads: Man on the Moon

Good Morning

Today’s post will be a quick one, I’ve come down with a sinus/upper respiratory infection, so I’m a little tired. Saturday we lost the first man to walk on the moon.  First man on moon Neil Armstrong dead at 82

U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong, who took a giant leap for mankind when he became the first person to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 82, his family said on Saturday.

Armstrong died following complications from heart-bypass surgery he underwent earlier this month, the family said in a statement, just two days after his birthday on August 5.

As commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. As he stepped on the dusty surface, Armstrong said: ““That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Those words endure as one of the best known quotes in the English language.

There is a cool picture of Neil Armstrong on this obit from the New York Times. Neil Armstrong, First Man on Moon, Dies at 82

NASA

Neil Armstrong, photographed inside the lander after the moonwalk on July 20, 1969

Click on the link to see more pictures…I really think that smile says it all.

A quiet, private man, at heart an engineer and crack test pilot, Mr. Armstrong made history on July 20, 1969, as the commander of the Apollo 11 spacecraft on the mission that culminated the Soviet-American space race in the 1960s. President John F. Kennedy had committed the nation to sending men to the moon in that decade, and the goal was met with more than five months to spare.

On that day, Mr. Armstrong and his co-pilot, Col. Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., known as Buzz, steered their lunar landing craft, Eagle, to a level, rock-strewn plain near the southwestern shore of the Sea of Tranquillity. It was touch and go the last minute or two, with computer alarms sounding and fuel running low. But they made it.

With the state of NASA funding these days, it makes a sad point to think where our space program is heading. On the other hand, the  moon might be the safest place for women, if the GOP wins in November…

Iowa View: Much at stake in this election affecting the rights of women

Sunday, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day and the 92nd anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. We’ve come a long way and owe thanks to the many remarkable women whose sacrifices ensure that all women are afforded full citizenship. Civil rights leaders dreamed of equality and self-determination, and we should reflect on the progress we’ve made and the challenges we still face.

Much has changed in the last century. Women won the right to vote and to run for public office. We won the right to equal pay and equal opportunity for work. We won the right to make decisions about our health care.

Today’s political battles, while just as heated and just as contentious, are slightly different. Women aren’t fighting for their basic human rights; they are fighting to preserve them. And never have the lines been more clearly drawn than in the 2012 presidential election.

March for women’s rights this Sunday

As the war on women rages on, Defend Women’s Rights marches will fight back Sunday.

This week started off with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s comments that seemed to suggest a belief that women who are raped are less likely to get pregnant. This was just one more drop in the bucket, if the bucket is reasons why men who don’t understand how reproduction works shouldn’t get to legislate policy that affects it. Remember when Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown was barred from participating in a House debate after daring to say the word vagina during an abortion debate? As Brown said at the time, “If I can’t say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?”

People at the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week who find vaginas “lewd,” and yet work tirelessly to strip away reproductive rights, will surely be offended by some of what protesters are bringing to the convention. People with CODE PINK, for example, will be dressed in giant fluffy vagina costumes.

Women’s rights, of course, is broader than just reproductive rights. And a range of issues, including immigrants right, the pay gap, housing and welfare will be addressed at nationwide protests Sunday.

Why Women Rights Will Be Taken Away Forever if Mitt Romney Wins the Presidency

Several Supreme Court justices from the liberal side may retire during the next presidential term.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is about to turn 80, and there are four justices in their 70’s.

The New York Times summed it up by saying, “The winner of the race for president will inherit a group of justices who frequently split 5 to 4 along ideological lines. That suggests that the next president could have a powerful impact if he gets to replace a justice of the opposing side.”

What would that impact be on women’s rights? Considering what Republicans have attempted to pass in Congress, which destroys women’s rights and gives them to lawyers in DC, the impacts could not be more severe.

The party who worries about government involvement in health care wants to make women’s life choices for you. By looking at the Republican platform and the statements of Todd Akin, you will see that there is a razor thin line that prevented women from losing their rights already. You are about to lose that razor thin line. Obama must be re-elected, or women will face government intrusion in their lives unlike anything they have ever experienced. Justice Ginsburg was born in 1933, think about that. Sandra Day O’Conner, who retired in 2006, was born in 1930.

It is a frightening thought…

Why should the statements of Todd Akin concern you so much? It’s not that one guy is so important. You should be concerned because Paul Ryan and dozens of Republicans co-sponsored legislation that worked to redefine rape. Also, they co-sponsored legislation to redefine constitutionally defendable life, with the full rights of a citizen, as occurring from the moment of fertilization.

What does this mean for women? No abortion and no morning after pill. Maybe, not even birth control. You and I might both be pro-life, but does that mean a bunch of lawyers should make your decisions for you?

The question of being pro-choice asks, “whose choice?” The “personhood,” bill was unconstitutional. This goes against previous rulings by the Supreme Court. What happens if the razor thin line that protects women’s rights is sliced?

We are relatively certain that at least one Justice will retire, but there are possibly three retiring in the next term. Imagine how the constitutional questions would be answered regarding women.

Please read the rest at the link…we have talked about the prospects of women’s rights with Romney/Ryan…there is nothing more to say.

There is a ridiculous interactive here at this link…A New Guide to the Republican Herd – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com

No, it is not a herd of dick heads or assholes…it is a bunch of pink elephants.

I wonder where this PLUB would find himself in that herd? Lawmaker who thinks gays a threat to children crashes boat into children

A homophobic Maryland lawmaker has admitted to being drunk when he accidentally crashed his boat into a boat full of children.

Maryland delegate Don H. Dwyer Jr was drinking with another man on his boat on the Magothy River in Pasadena around 7pm when his boat struck a smaller vessel with five children on board.

Four of the children were injured with one, a five year old girl, taken by helicopter to Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Two adults on the boat were unharmed.

The smash was so severe that Dwyer’s boat sunk in the river.

Dwyer later admitted to having a blood alcohol level of 0.2 – twice the legal limit.

‘It is true that I was drinking while operating my boat,’ Dwyer told a press conference outside the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he is being treated.

‘No one, no one, should be drinking and operating a motor vehicle or powerboat.’

‘I deeply regret my actions, and I ask for forgiveness from the public. My heart and prayers go out to the family that was involved in the accident, and I pray for them to have a speedy recovery.’

What an asshole!

And just one more link for you this morning, proof that Akin’s beliefs are going to send us back to the Middle Ages: Jennifer Tucker: The Medieval Roots of Todd Akin’s Theories | History News Network

THE now infamous beliefs about pregnancy that are held by Representative Todd Akin — the Republican nominee in a hotly contested Senate race in Missouri, who remarked earlier this week that the female body will try to “shut that whole thing down” in the case of “legitimate rape” — are obviously at odds with modern science. They are, however, in step with medieval science, even if Mr. Akin doesn’t seem quite aware of the similarities.

In the Middle Ages, as the historian Thomas Laqueur has written, there were two different views of reproduction. According to the Hippocratic model, both parents made seeds from materials throughout their bodies, a process called pangenesis. Both male and female seeds were needed to make a new person.

Oh, seeds…yeah, and for fertilizer we can use all the bullshit spewing from the mouths of those pink elephants up top.

Have a wonderful Sunday, post your thoughts or links in the comments below.


Thursday Reads: Ignorance Is Bliss Edition

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity — Rev. Martin Luther King

Good Morning!!

Over the past year, we have been exposed to the amazing ignorance of members of the Stupid Party, formerly the GOP.  We sat through countless inane Republican primary debates, listened to idiotic speeches by stupendous morons like Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain.  We’ve watched Congressional Republicans like Paul Ryan propose crazy budget plans and wage and insane war on women’s rights and women’s access to health care.  If it weren’t for the Democratic Senate, we’d goddess only knows where we’d be right now.

Mitt Romney finally won the Republican Primary by flooding the airwaves with millions of dollars worth of negative ads against other members of the Stupid Party.  And now we’ve watched for months as this blithering idiot repeatedly changes his mind on every possible issue and contorts himself into whatever he thinks the most extreme and ignorant members of the Stupid Party want him to be.

For the past few days we’ve dealt with the fallout of an interview with Missouri Stupid Party Senate Candidate Todd Akin in which he opined about “legitimate rape” vs. … what? The kind where she was asking for it and then lied about it afterward? The kind where she didn’t fight hard enough to get bad enough wounds to prove she didn’t ask for it? Who the hell knows? All I know is that those ignorant words from a very ignorant man have angered a hell of a lot of Americans and probably reset the presidential campaign.

I have to admit, I’m a bit fed up at the moment. So in the spirit of the insanity we’ve been living through, I’ve gathered some wacky reads for you this morning–mostly on the theme of ignorance. Here goes.

If you’re a woman, you must read this hilarious post at Jezebel on one of those stupid interviews the entertainment media loves–where they talk to men about what’s wrong with women. Lindy West writes:

I’ve been doing some scholarly research, and I noticed this thing that’s been really dragging society down for the past few millennia: it’s that everything is wrong with you. You are gross. First of all, your hair is gross, because it is not long and thick enough. But don’t strap fake hair to your head! That’s also gross! Also, what the fuck is up with your skin? It is so dry and scaly like a lizard (but not one of those sexy lizards)! Except uuuuuuugh, do you have to take so long putting on your idiotic woman-lotion? This penis isn’t going to fondle itself! CHOP CHOP. Now, I know all this contradictory minutiae regarding your attractiveness can get confusing (especially with your lipstick-encrusted walnut brains!), but luckily, plenty of guys are generous enough to explain what they don’t like about you in great detail. Over and over. You’re welcome.

For your edification, the good folks over at Yahoo have compiled a list of the “15 Biggest Beauty Turnoffs from Real Guys”—yet another survey of “real guys” to reinforce the precise line of shit we women need to walk to remain attractive to them (it’s the least we can do, really). Because that media trope never gets tired.

Click on the link to read the whole thing. If it doesn’t touch a nerve, I’ll be shocked.

And speaking of beauty, here’s a great piece about Scott Brown, or as Charles Pierce calls him, Senator McDreamy.

Soon after the congressman, Representative Todd Akin, said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that women who are victims of “legitimate” rape rarely become pregnant, both Senate candidates here seized on the comments for their own benefit.

Senator Scott P. Brown, a Republican who is locked in a tight re-election battle against Elizabeth Warren, used them to distance himself from his party — a necessity in deep-blue Massachusetts. He was the first Republican senator to call on Mr. Akin to quit his race for the Senate. As Mr. Brown told a group of women here on Tuesday, he was feeling a little heady from the experience.

“Gail and I were laying in bed last night and talking a little bit, as we do every night,” he said, “and I said: ‘Honey, can you imagine? Here I am, Scott Brown from Wrentham, and I’ve got a truck that’s got 238,000 miles on it and, you know, something like this comes up and I’m the first guy in the country to even bring it up and tell the guy to step down,’ ” Mr. Brown said.

He said his denunciation of Mr. Akin’s comments was “really kind of amazing, kind of eye-opening” and “led to other senators and other people and other groups to say, you know what, that conversation has no place in the public discourse.”

Ooooooh! Isn’t he wonderful? He’s my hero — NOT. And Senator, please learn to use the grammatically correct form of the verb “to lie,” okay?  It should be “Gail and I were lying in bed…”

My sister sent me this satirical HuffPo post by Jeremy Blachman: Todd Akin, Chief of Police. Here’s just a sample:

“Folks, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: In a legitimate terrorist attack, the Earth will open up, and a giant claw will pluck the perpetrator right off the surface of the planet and launch him into space. And even if that doesn’t work, the automatic force field should take care of any problem. And if those two things don’t work… well, if those two things don’t work, I suppose you’re also going to tell me that there’s such a thing as gravity. It should be pretty clear to all of us that since no one was plucked off the face of the Earth by a giant claw emerging from within, this must have been merely a misunderstanding. Yes, a misunderstanding that has left half of our community dead, but it’s not a police issue. And, no, just like last time this happened, I will not be considering any alternative explanations.”

Read it all at the link.

On Tuesday, I heard part of the Morning Joe Show. Joe Scarborough went into one of his rants, this time complaining about how stupid the Stupid Party is. From Raw Story:

On Tuesday’s edition of “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough vented his frustration with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin (R)’s refusal to drop out of the race for U.S. Senate and said that he’s tired of his party being the “Stupid Party.” Akin is the Republican congressman who said in an interview earlier this week that a woman’s body can stop conception in the instance of a “legitimate rape,” thus obviating a need for exemptions from abortion restrictions for the victims of rape and incest.

On Monday, Scarborough said that Akin was evidence of a Republican party that had placed ideology ahead of actual electability and fitness to govern. On Tuesday, with Akin (thus far) refusing to get out of the race, Scarborough made it clear that, to his thinking, the mortally wounded Akin campaign could be spoiling the chances for Republicans to take the majority of seats in the Senate.

“Congressman Akin, you’re in denial,” said Scarborough as if he were addressing Akin, “You’re gonna lose if you stay in the race. And, by the way, your loss could make the difference between a Supreme Court justice that could make all the difference in the issues you claim you care about and having a Barack Obama fifth appointee for majority. So you think about that today when you do your little commercial. And think about destroying the Republican majority. Good on ya.”

Mind you, Scarborough wasn’t upset about the content of Akin’s remarks–just their possible effect on the Stupid Party. Scarborough also noticed that Romney and Ryan have been flat-out lying about Obama and welfare reform. Scarborough:

“I’ve been looking for a week-and-a-half to try to figure out the basis of this welfare reform ad,” Scarborough said, concluding that that the attack is “just completely false, and I’m pretty stunned.”

Here’s what Charles Pierce had to say in response to Scarborough:

Please to be giving me a break here, Squint. What Romney and Ryan are doing has been the off-tackle slant, the most fundamental play from scrimmage, in the Republican playbook on a class basis since forever, and on a racial basis since Harry Dent convinced Richard Nixon that, in many dark places in its heart, the whole country was Alabama. The lies that Romney and Ryan are telling about the president’s views on welfare are no more truthless than were Ronald Reagan’s vicious parables about welfare queens driving their young buck sons to the Piggly Wiggly in their Cadillacs in order to pick up a couple of T-bones. (And, not for nothing, but isn’t this the network that kept shoving Pat Buchanan in our faces long past the time it should have stopped doing so?) Romney and Ryan are race-baiting because they are the members of the Republican ticket and that is what the people in that position have done for almost 40 years now. I will grant you that Willard really has become quite a remarkable liar, but his material is far from original.

JJ sent me this one from New Hampshire: Sheriff candidate says he wouldn’t reject deadly force to stop abortions

A Republican candidate for Hillsborough County Sheriff said Wednesday that he believes elective abortions are unlawful and he wouldn’t reject the use of deadly force to stop them.

Frank Szabo said that as sheriff, he would arrest any doctor performing elective or late-term abortions in his jurisdiction.

“There is a difference between legal and lawful,” Szabo said.

Szabo explained the difference by referring to the issue of slavery, which he said used to be legal but was never lawful under the Constitution. He said that even though elective abortions are legal in New Hampshire, with some restrictions, he doesn’t consider them lawful.

But Szabo may have inflamed the issue further when asked if he would use deadly force to prevent an abortion.

“I would respond specifically by saying that if someone is under threat, a full-grown human being, if they’re under threat, what should the sheriff do? Everything in their power to prevent them from being harmed,” he said.

Yes, he would use deadly force to protect the fetus. BTW, what is an “elective abortion?” Aren’t they all elective? We don’t have forced abortion in the U.S. as far as I know.

Remember how enraged the Stupid Party people were when Joe Biden use the word “chains” in a recent speech? Now don’t go any further if you have PTSD (Palin Trauma Stress Disorder), but the “P” woman did the same thing in a recent Fox News interview.

Are the Stupids outraged about this? I haven’t seen any articles about it.

Next week is the Stupid Party National Convention, and we’re going to be seeing a lot more ignorance on display. I hope this post helped prepare you for the coming onslaught.

Now what are you reading and blogging about today?