“We are going to continue with this race for the US Senate.” – Todd Akin on the Mike Huckabee radio show
For those of you who donate to candidates, here’s a way to help…
As much as I believe Claire McCaskill is not nearly as strong on progressive economic issues as she should be, this is a very good opportunity to send a message. I don’t donate to candidates, so providing a link so you can is the strongest statement I can make.
Just got off a call with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Nancy Keenan and others. They weren?t acting gleeful, but the GOP platform that codifies the Todd Akin-Paul Ryan no exception for abortion, not even for rape or incest, just strengthens the current narrative that Republicans don?t respect women and our right to self-determination. It was happening just as Akin said he was staying in.
The most insulting aspect of the language in the GOP platform is religious conservatives call it the “human life amendment,” excluding the woman from the human right to consider her own life first. It’s such a stunning pronouncement that should send a clear message to everyone.
It?s a beautiful moment of serendipity that will aid Democrats until November, unless Romney can wrestle the narrative back to the economy, without stepping on his taxes.
This post has been updated.
The GOP?s Ignorance Quotient, that is.
On August 19th, Representative Todd Akin, the GOP Senate nominee fromMissouri answered a question about abortion. He avowed that he was nearlyabsolute on the topic?no abortion ever for any reason, not even rape. Akin said,"It seems to me, from what I understand fromdoctors, that?s really rare. If it?s a legitimate rape, the female body hasways to try to shut that whole thing down.?
As ignorant as this sounds, it?s not thefirst time such an off-the-wall idea about a woman?s body and its secretionshas been presented as fact by a Republican Congressman.
In 1988, the Repub Representative from PennsylvaniaStephen Friend said that the odds that a raped woman will become pregnant are?one in millions and millons and millions? Friend backed his assertion up with hisbelief that rape causes a woman ?to secrete a certain secretion? and thiscertain secretion kills bad sperm.
In 1995, the Republican state Representativefrom North Carolina Henry Aldridge reported to the House AppropriationsCommittee that, "The facts show that people who are raped ? who are trulyraped ? the juices don't flow, the body functions don't work and they don't getpregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever."
In 1998, during his Senate campaign inArkansas, Republican candidate Dr. Fay Boozman said that hormones generated byfear prevented rape victims from getting pregnant. Dr. Boozman was an ophthalmologist.He said he had picked this information up about women?s bodies while he was aresident at the University of the Arkansas Medical Center in the 1970?s.
In 1999, a physician and former president ofthe ?National Right to Life Committee? John C. Wilke wrote an article in ?ChristianLife Resources. Wilke said: ?Finally, the factor in what is certainly one ofthe most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that'sphysical trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors canalter her menstrual cycle. To get and stay pregnant a woman's body must producea very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by apart of the brain that is easily influenced by emotions. There's no greateremotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. Thiscan radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantationand even nurturing of a pregnancy. So what further percentage reduction inpregnancy will this cause? No one knows, but this factor certainly cuts thislast figure by at least 50 percent and probably more.?
On Monday, Vanessa Heggie posted a blog in UK?s ?The Guardian?. MsHeggie said a legal text written about the year 1290 included a clause based onan old-old-old wives? tale. Miss Heggie reported that part of the text said, ?If,however, the woman should have conceived at the time alleged in the appeal, itabates, for without a woman?s consent she could not conceive.?
One would have assumed that fancifullore from the year 1290 might have been discounted and finally disproved in theUnited States by 2012. One would have assumed this, except in the antediluvian,troglodyte, nonsense-spewing, myth-loving, ignorant Republican Party, that is.
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Hot God via ShutterstockAs Hurricane expert, and former GOP presidential hopeful, Pat Robertson would say (you'll recall that Robertson said God caused Hurricane Katrina to punish us for abortion): God really doesn't want Mitt Romney to win the election.For the second time in four years, God has sent a hurricane to disrupt the GOP convention. Last time, it was Hurricane Gustav...
Fueled by an unprecedented hot and dry year, one of the most damaging wildfire season on record has already burned almost 7 million acres across the U.S, including nearly 1.4 million acres still burning. Beyond that, this season’s wildfires have taken a toll on thousands of residents who have had to evacuate homes. Meanwhile, hundreds of homes have been lost, and in several western states, the fires have hurt tourism industries that generate more than $35 billion. The price tag of fighting record fires has also been high for states that are already facing crunched budgets: Utah has spent $50 million, while California is at $17 million and counting.
The New York Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk initiative may not be getting guns off the street or reducing crime, but it is certainly making an impact on public opinion. A new poll by the New York Times found that a significant majority of New Yorkers think police favor whites over blacks. The sentiment is especially strong within the African American community; 80 percent of the respondents agreed that police favor whites, compared to 48 percent of white New Yorkers. The poll also found that a majority of black New Yorkers think stop-and-frisk has led to the harassment of innocent people.
This perception may come from the fact that the NYPD made more stops of young black men in 2011 than the total number of young black men in the city. Police have been accused of practicing racial profiling through stop-and-frisk, which would explain why attitudes towards the policy fall along racial lines:
Opinions about stop-and-frisk fall are divided by race. Fifty-five percent of whites described the use of the tactic as acceptable; 56 percent of blacks called it excessive. Among Hispanics, 48 percent said it was acceptable and 44 percent said it was excessive. Republicans, independents and residents of Queens generally support the practice; Democrats and Manhattanites generally deem it excessive.
Overall, 64 percent of New Yorkers say the police favors one race over the other, a steep rise from the early years of the Bloomberg administration, when less than half of residents agreed with that sentiment. The perception of police favoritism has not been as widespread since the final years of Mr. Giuliani?s tenure, when race relations were noticeably more tense. (The question has not been asked in a Times poll since 2003.)
These views, in many cases, appear to have been influenced by personal experience. A third of the New Yorkers surveyed, including 37 percent of black people, said police officers had used insulting language toward them. A fifth of the respondents said they had been stopped by a police officer because of their race or ethnicity, and almost all were black or Hispanic, and more likely to be young and male.
Besides damaging their relationship with minority communities, the NYPD has also alienated journalists and activists through the program, prompting several allegations against police officers for beating up, intimidating and arresting anyone who films them.
Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) announced that he will continue with his race for the U.S. Senate, during an appearance on the Mike Huckabee radio show Tuesday afternoon, and clarified his claims that women who face “legitimate rape” cannot become pregnant.
Arguing that he misplaced the word “legitimate,” Akin explained — during a follow up interview with Dana Loesch — that he meant to argue that women sometimes lie about being raped:
AKIN: You know, Dr. Willkie has just released a statement and part of his letter, I think he just stated it very clearly. He said, of course Akin never used the word legitimate to refer to the rapist, but to false claims like those made in Roe v. Wade and I think that simplifies it….. There isn’t any legitimate rapist…. [I was] making the point that there were people who use false claims, like those that basically created Roe v. Wade.
Following up on guidelines generated by a report on transgender healthcare last month, the American Psychiatric Association has issued official position statements on the care and civil rights of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. The new statements reflect this year’s editions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM-V) that will identify being transgender as “Gender Dysphoria,” removing the classification of “Gender Identity Disorder.” The APA explained the importance of standing up for the trans community, citing the “significant discrimination, prejudice, and the potential for victimization from violent hate crimes, as well as denial of many basic civil rights, protections, and access to health care, to the severe detriment of their mental health. Here are the new position statements:
APA POSITION STATEMENTS
The American Psychiatric Association:
1. Recognizes that appropriately evaluated transgender and gender variant individuals can benefit greatly from medical and surgical gender transition treatments.
2. Advocates for removal of barriers to care and supports both public and private health insurance coverage for gender transition treatment.
3. Opposes categorical exclusions of coverage for such medically necessary treatment when prescribed by a physician.
The American Psychiatric Association:
1. Supports laws that protect the civil rights of transgender and gender variant individuals.
2. Urges the repeal of laws and policies that discriminate against transgender and gender variant people.
3. Opposes all public and private discrimination against transgender and gender variant individuals in such areas as health care, employment, housing, public accommodation, education, and licensing.
4. Declares that no burden of proof of such judgment, capacity, or reliability shall be placed upon these individuals greater than that imposed on any other persons.
A lot of public education remains to be done about transgender identities, but no longer designating them as a “disorder” is an important step. As with non-heterosexual orientations, affirmation is key to supporting the mental health of all members of the LGBT community.
We usually have our live chats with Blue America candidates on Tuesdays at 11am (PT)/2pm (ET). But our newest candidate, Dr. Syed Taj, sees patients on Tuesdays and he asked if we could move the chat to Wednesday. I think that's a good reason to move the chat-- so, we'll be meeting Dr. Taj live tomorrow here, same time.
Dr. Taj's Michigan district is the newly drawn 11th, covering southwestern Oakland and northwestern Wayne counties. He?s spent 40-plus years in the medical field, working his way up to Chief of Medicine at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan, and in 2008 became a rare Democrat elected to the Canton Board of Trustees. You might know the 11th district from the electoral scandal that led to former Congressman and failed-Presidential candidate Thaddeus McCotter?s resignation earlier this year. This leaves taxpayers on the hook for a $650,000 special election to fill his remaining term, which Dr. Taj has opposed and will not participate in.
With the open seat, Dr. Taj has a more than favorable chance to win. His opponent is Kerry Bentivolio, reindeer rancher, failed business owner and part-time actor who has never held elected office. He has strong ties to libertarian financiers and Tea Party activists but has been ostracized by the Republican Party establishment, having taken large donations from Liberty for All Super PAC, affiliated with Ron Paul. Bentivolio sells his candidacy on the belief that America?s greatest achievements were gross infringements of government that are bankrupting our nation, all while lauding the tax giveaways for the rich that left us in this mess in the first place. Although he never balanced a budget, he did bankrupt a company but Bentivolio claims to know how best to address our federal deficit. With student loans, tax reform, the environment, energy, education and health care, he supports the Ron Paul, everyone-for-themselves prescription. These are dangerous Tea Party talking points, not real solutions.
Dr. Taj likes his chances and knows that, with the right help, Democrats can take back a district once designed to be a Republican stronghold. ?I?m running to bring sanity and reason back to our political process,? he tells us.
?As a physician and small business owner, I know how the medical and financial sides of our health care system actually work. This experience has taught me how to treat the symptoms of a problem and when to treat the actual problem. My number one priority in Congress is to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as we know it because these are public trusts, not merely entitlements. We need proactive leadership in Congress, not more of the same obstructionism that?s left faith in public institutions at historic lows.?
This is a guy who knows his stuff, and people across Michigan are taking notice. The Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Observer and Eccentric Newspapers, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), the Michigan Nurses Association, the American Federation of Teachers, among others, have endorsed him. Dr. Taj is enthusiastic about his campaign and with good reason: as well as President Obama, Senator Carl Levin would also have won in the new district in 2008, making it not as conservative as people have come to believe.
Coming off a clear primary victory against a lunatic LaRouche Democrat in August 7, Democrats' first task is presenting voters with the stark choice they face in November: Bentivolio, a Ron Paul minion and star of a low-budget conspiracy film that blamed the Bush administration for 9/11; or Dr. Syed Taj, a distinguished physician, public servant and proven champion of the progressive movement with fantastic ideas to bring to the table. Health care is much more than a consumer good or service, which is why we need real medical professionals in Congress to write healthcare legislation, not lawyers or career politicians.
Dr. Taj can win this race, but he needs our help. Please consider helping his campaign and Blue America prevent another Tea Party, right wing extremist from shutting down Congress by contributing here on our Act Blue page. And come meet Dr. Taj tomorrow at 2pm (ET) at here at CrooksandLiars.
The Administration of Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania is stamping its feets about Justice Department requests for documents on the state's new voter ID law. They don't want to turn over the data on how many voters could be disenfranchised the law, for fear[...]
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In addition to endorsing a complete ban on abortion through constitutional amendment, the Republican Party platform will also include opposition to same-sex marriage, reports the Washington Post:
Barbara Ann Fenton of Rhode Island suggested that the 112 members of the GOP platform committee endorse new language that would call for religions to define marriage in their own way but allow government to offer civil unions to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. [?]
Other delegates said support for traditional marriage is a bedrock Republican principle.
?Government extends benefits to marriage because marriage benefits society,? said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a delegate from Louisiana. ?It benefits children, which in turn benefits society.?
One of the obstacles facing President Obama as he runs for reelection is his middling approval with young voters. They formed the bedrock of his volunteers and supported him by large margins in 2008, but have been hit hard by the sluggish economy?the unemployment rate for 18- to 29-year olds was 12.7 percent in July, more than 4 points higher than the national average. He still maintains a high approval rating among the demographic?58 percent according to the latest Gallup survey?but it?s eight points lower than his final performance in 2008.
For Republicans, this means an opportunity to capitalize on discontent and make inroads that could harm Obama?s standing in states like Colorado, Virginia, and North Carolina, which have disproportionately large shares of younger voters. But because the current GOP is congenitally unable to compromise or moderate, it will leave that opportunity on the table.
You could extend this basic analysis to almost every other demographic group. The sluggish economy means that Republicans could have made gains with traditionally Democratic constituencies like women and Latinos. But the party?s refusal to move away from its base has left them even more likely to support President Obama. It?s a huge failure of politics, and if Republicans can?t generate huge turnout among their loyalists, it will cost them the election.Political parties in the United StatesPoliticsUnited StatesInternational Democrat UnionJacksonMichiganRepublican PartyDemocratic PartySame-sex marriageBarack ObamaSocial Issues