Leave it to Sarah Palin to be the one member of her party who thinks Todd Akin should drop out of the Missouri Senate race, not because what he said was "offensive" or "outrageous," but because, darn it, he's not extreme enough. He's too "status quo," says Sarah, "and the status quo has got to go."
And failed half-term governor and national joke Palin has some unsolicited advice for Akin:
Todd Akin has said he's not going to drop out, and bless his heart, I don't want to pile on Todd Akin, because in some respects I understand what he was trying to say here, in standing on principle that he doesn't want to be perceived as a quitter, but you gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. Believe me, I've walked before, and I know when you have to hold that mantle and then hand it someone else in order to progress a positive agenda. That's what I had to do in Alaska.Well, Sarah, congratulations on your walking experience and all, but not everyone thinks the best way to "progress a positive agenda" is to quit your job half-way through so you can star in a failed reality TV show. In fact, you're the only one who thinks that.
But hey, who knows better than you the importance of quitting, right? Too bad it's too late for Todd Akin to take your advice, Sarah. Not that you've ever understood the way things work. Including what "gloating" means:
Well, I won't gloat about it, but, um, I was right, and Sarah Steelman's supporters and campaign staff ... we were all right.Don't look now, Sarah, but you just gloated. Bless your heart.
Tampa Mayor: We're "prepared" to call off Republican convention if Hurricane Isaac hits. [...]
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TPM Reader TF plumbs some more of them ...What strikes me about this whole flap is that Akin's response, and Republicans' response to him, is that use of the phrase "legitimate rape" was what was offensive. Akin's "apology," as well as many statements[...]
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?Rape is rape and there?s no splitting hairs over rape.? As for the president?s claim that Romney-Ryan will restrict birth control, Ryan calls that ridiculous. ?Nobody is proposing to deny birth control to anybody,? says Ryan. Ryan says women won?t fall for these side issues. ?And I don?t think they?re going to take the bait of all these distractions that the President is trying to throw at them.? – Paul Ryan Distances Self From Todd Akin
AS THE REPUBLICAN Party once again cements their image and policy prescriptions as being overtly anti-women’s freedoms, the Democratic Party intends to offer an opposite image. Mitt Romney says he would allow exceptions for abortion in the case of rape and incest. Then why isn’t he asserting himself on the Republican platform and denouncing the Akin Plank? The platform means nothing, so why not give the religious conservatives a bone, right?
Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, tried to deflect questions on behalf of Mr. Romney, saying on Fox News that ?this is the platform of the Republican Party, it is not the platform of Mitt Romney.? – With Abortion in the Spotlight, a Challenge for Romney
Don’t kid yourself, there is nothing in Mitt Romney’s past that proves he can hold the line on any principle, let alone women’s right to self-determination.
From the National Journal comes the Democratic view of women’s rights and who will be among those to outline them:
The leaders of the two largest abortion rights groups in the country are among a slew of prominent women expected to escalate attacks on Republican nominee Mitt Romney?s positions on women?s issues at the upcoming Democratic convention.
The Democratic National Convention Committee on Wednesday was releasing a list of female speakers heavy with symbolism, including Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund; Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America; Lily Ledbetter, the inspiration for the equal pay law signed by President Obama; and Sandra Fluke, the former law school student insulted by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh for advocating health insurance coverage of birth control.
Not only did Todd Akin’s insultingly ignorant statements on rape do damage, but at the very same instant religious conservatives proclaimed no exception on abortion rights even in the case of rape or incest, handing down the cruelest standard of all that no woman should be forced to meet.
That it’s not a conservative notion to have the state or federal government making a woman’s most wrenching decision for her should be obvious.
However, today’s conservatives are religious conservatives and fundamentalists. The poster boy is Todd Akin, though considering Paul Ryan was party to redefining rape as “forcible,” something that would even make Ronald Reagan blush. In the interview excerpted at the top, Paul Ryan stands by his “pro life” record, which puts a woman’s life second to an unborn egg.
Republicans now stand for something that no true conservative could abide. That these people aren’t voting for Gary Johnson reveals the philosophical bankruptcy that exists on the right.
As for the “left,” as much as it even exists, because there’s nothing close to the Tea Party on the progressive side, people who oppose Obama on the economy, the lack of jobs, environment, as well as his drone and war policy, are either not voting or going with Jill Stein.
That so-called conservatives think they can hoist abortion with no exceptions on American women, including those who are against abortion rights but believe there should be exceptions in the case of rape and incest, is just one reason Pres. Obama has a double-digit lead with female voters, which puts him on target to win in November.
That Mitt Romney won’t stand firm to oppose this religious extremism, which has no place in modern politics, says something fundamental about his character.
Lose women, lose the election.
What Mitt Romney can do to get women back begins with saying he’d support the Lily Ledbetter Act, but also paycheck fairness. But it begins with taking on the most extreme elements of his own party so that the victims of rape and incest have recourse to access a legal procedure. Tampa may get a tropical storm, even a hurricane next week, but Romney making those declarations is as likely as Tampa freezing.
Heaven knows my record isn't perfect, and I have more than seven years of archives to attest to the veracity of that statement. Some of my classic "D'oh!" moments include voting for Dukakis in the primary in '88, and more recently I was one of the loudest voices calling for former KC Mayor Mark Funkhouser to run for the job he lost four years later in a humiliating primary defeat. A quick "google" will show anyone who doubts it that I was even more "wrong" than I was "loud" in that instance. Funk was so unpopular when he left office that when he left town for a job back east somewhere no one noticed he was gone for months, until his house went on the market. I got that one so wrong that I was exactly 180-degrees from right. Yesterday when I predicted Akin would drop out of the race a couple of minutes before five, I was utterly and completely wrong. Like I said, I've been wrong before and will be again, probably before lunch.
Akin's decision to stay in and brazen it out, at least for now, is just about the best news I've had lately, and to put that in the proper perspective, I had major surgery and a benign pathology report last month. I don't think I have ever been so overjoyed in my life - weddings and births in the immediate family and the day of Jesse Helmes' funeral excepted. Good for Akin. I didn't believe that I had lived a good enough life for the fates to smile on me so, but there it is. I don't know if it was me or Claire McCaskill, but one of us has been living right, and in case it's me I'm not changing a thing. Akin staying in - whether he stays in until November or gets out in September - is the best news Claire McCaskill (or the state's political bloggers) could have dared to hope for. We're all throwin' pinches of salt over our left shoulders for luck, and then pinching ourselves to see if we're dreaming.
I really went back and forth on whether he would hang tough or bow out. Certainly bowing out wouldn't have solved the problems the MOGOP has to deal with that are coming down the pike, it would have just switched them out for a different set in a basic "remove and replace" operation. If Akin had dropped out, the tea-folk and the evangelical right would have been in open revolt, and they are far more important to GOP electoral success than the establishment Republicans in the state like to admit. There would have been no GOTV on the GOP side, because that is church-driven, not party driven. An Akin exit might even have delivered the state to Obama. The only prayer Romney has here (PPP had us a one-point toss-up a week ago) is for the evangelicals who don't believe he's a Christian or a conservative to show up at the polls to vote against Obama in sufficient numbers to put him over the top.
So what we are left with is a GOP candidate that isn't sweating his pariah status with the establishment Republicans or the "libruls" in the cities. Making both groups mad is a feature, not a bug, with the 30-percenters and bible-bangers who make up Akin's base of support.
His decision to stay in widens the chasm between the business and religious wings of the Missouri Republican Party. It also means the state party is due for either a reckoning or a split, and there's no getting around it any longer.
Akin won the primary, but he wasn't the establishment choice. He horrifies the establishment because he really believes the nutty things he says, so losing the establishment support is a badge of honor to his die-hard, wingnut, base of support.
Losing the money, on the other hand, might could matter. Already the ten-point lead he had over Claire McCaskill last week has narrowed to one point. Part of it was his horrifying and pig-ignorant comment about rape and pregnancy, but part of it is the sudden cessation of vile, heinous attack ads that Karl Rove's dark-money outfit has buried her under for the last year-and-a-half.
Whether he stays in all the way to election day or asks a court to remove him from the ballot by the drop-dead date of September 25th remains to be seen, but I suspect that he's "in for a penny, in for a pound" and he is not only going to go down with his freak-flag flying, he is going to take some other state-wide candidates with him. If he stays in all the way to election day and if Democrats hold the Senate, the Democratic candidate wins the open Secretary of State contest and the Democratic challenger unseats the Lt. Governor, Todd Akin will be a bigger goat than all the 2010 wingnuts who wanted to be Senators - Sharon Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Ken Buck and Joe Miller combined. And it couldn't happen to a more vile and reprehensible guy.
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Today, Fox's The Five suggested teachers' pensions have led to budget problems for school districts and are to blame for the increased yearly school supplies spending parents are seeing this year. But decreased revenues and state and local budget cuts are causing school funding to shrink, not pensions.
The National Retail Federation released a survey last month estimating that parents of K-12 students will spend around $688 on their children's back-to-school supplies, up from $603 the year before. The hosts of The Five used this news to launch Fox's latest assault on pensions for public employees.
During the August 22 edition of the show, co-host Dana Perino suggested the reason parents are being required to provide more school supplies for their children is partly because of "the squeeze that a lot of school districts feel because of pensions." Co-host Eric Bolling continued this line of attack by claiming that "the school districts are getting crushed by pensions" because teachers "stay on tenure, they continue to get benefits," and the school districts "can't keep up."
However, public pensions are not the cause of local school districts' budget woes.
A May 2011 report by the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities (CBPP) explicitly showed that "long-term pension shortfalls are not the cause of current state fiscal problems" and explained "[s]tate economies and budgets continue to struggle because of shrunken revenues and higher needs."
Additionally, the report noted:
The long-term nature of the problem means that most state and local governments can fashion a plan that postpones significant additional pressure on state budgets for a few years until revenues have recovered from the current downturn.
In a similar, but more recent, report, CBPP found that "states' ability to fund services remains hobbled by slow economic growth." The report went on explain that state "budget gaps result principally from weak tax collections" because of "the largest collapse in state revenues on record" due to the recession. The loss of revenue combined with the increased education obligations for the states have led to budgetary problems. From the report:
Meanwhile, states' education and health care obligations continue to grow. States expect to educate 540,000 more K-12 students and 2.5 million more public college and university students in the upcoming school year than in 2007-08.
Like the CBPP, a March 6, 2011, McClatchy article, citing Boston College's Center for Retirement Research, stated that public pension obligations account for a very small percentage of spending and are not the cause of states' budget problems:
Pension contributions from state and local employers aren't blowing up budgets. They amount to just 2.9 percent of state spending, on average, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College puts the figure a bit higher at 3.8 percent.
Though there's no direct comparison, state and local pension contributions approximate the burden shouldered by private companies. The nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates that retirement funding for private employers amounts to about 3.5 percent of employee compensation.
Nor are state and local government pension funds broke. They're underfunded, in large measure because -- like the investments held in 401(k) plans by American private-sector employees -- they sunk along with the entire stock market during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. And like 401(k) plans, the investments made by public-sector pension plans are increasingly on firmer footing as the rising tide on Wall Street lifts all boats.
Yet Fox's attack continues on middle-income teachers and other public employees who worked hard to contribute part of their pay toward their pensions throughout the years so they could live modestly at retirement, and this is just one front in their war on unions and workers.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) opposed an exception to a so-called “partial birth abortion” ban when the procedure was necessary to save the mother’s life, according to a 2000 floor speech on the issue. Claiming the women’s health exception included in the bill “wide enough to drive a mack truck through,” Ryan argued uncompromisingly for it [...]
Farmers in Ohio may not be facing extreme drought conditions like their counterparts in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, but record high temperatures and little rain still caused plenty of headaches in the state this summer. Corn yields in the state are expected to fall 29 percent this year. In some areas of the state, farmers [...]
Judge Tom Head, a county judge in Lubbock, Texas, announced on a local television station that he would personally join the resistance against a United Nations’ takeover of American sovereignty, which he says will occur if Obama is reelected: [Obama] is going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the [...]
I couldn't directly answer Danl's question yesterday about beer, since I don't drink it. Of course that didn't stop me from saying a bunch of inane stuff in reply, but that's neither here nor there.
I have never been a big drinker for a number of reasons. One of my dad's favorite sayings came from one of his stepfathers. He'd tell me: "That stuff's for selling, not for drinking." He only drank when absolutely necessary. He said since he wasn't built for physical labor, killing off brain cells wasn't a good idea. I guess I absorbed his outlook--even as a teenager I can only remember a few occasions where I got really drunk, though I did party pretty much every weekend my junior and senior years of high school.
It never became a part of my life. I wouldn't even consider coming home at the end of a bad day and opening a bottle of wine. Just couldn't imagine it. I don't completely abstain, however. A glass of wine now and then, though I drink so infrequently, even that has a far more powerful effect than I'd care to admit.
But cocktails? Nothing I've ever explored. In the last six months I think I've had one Margarita and a sip of someone else's, but before that--it has probably been a couple of decades since I drank anything with hard liquor in it.
Yes, I'm a wuss.
So enlighten me, kind readers--what should I be drinking to expand my very, very narrow drinking horizons?
What am I missing, existing on Diet Pepsi and the occasional glass of Pinot Grigio?
What is your beverage of choice--alcoholic or otherwise?