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Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.comBut ? but the basic principle here ? basic principle is that you don?t deploy forces into harm?s way without knowing what?s going on; without having some real-time information about what?s taking place. –[...]
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If for nothing else, you have to give the 2008 and 2012 GOP tickets for getting their lines straight. On Thursday, John McCain rejoined Mitt Romney in support of embattled Indiana Republican Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock. That McCain would come around after accepting Mourdock's "apology" for proclaiming rape-induced pregnancies gifts from God should come as no surprise. After all, McCain like Romney is a former supporter of Roe v. Wade who turned anti-abortion champion in order to secure the Republican nomination. And as it turns out, McCain mocked the very idea of a "health of the mother" exception to the abortion ban his party demands. That's just like Paul Ryan, who dismissed it as "a loophole wide enough to drive a Mack truck through."
As this handy chart shows, in their perpetual quest to erase women's reproductive rights, Mourdock, Todd Akin and others among the GOP's best and not-so-brightest have been trying to "shut down" rape as a legitimate basis for abortion. But during an October 2008 debate with then Senator Barack Obama, John McCain used "air quotes" to dismiss "an exception for the mother's health and life" altogether:
"Just again, the example of the eloquence of Sen. Obama. He's [for] health for the mother. You know, that's been stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything. That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, 'health.'"
As it turns out, McCain was just echoing the position of Mitt Romney's running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
Ryan's jaw-dropping disregard for the health and safety of American women came during the 2000 debate over the so-called "partial birth abortion" bill. As NPR explained, the very rare intact dilation and extraction (used only 2,200 times out of 1.3 million procedures performed in 2000) was resorted to precisely to protect the health of the woman in certain late-term pregnancies. The alternative, NPR noted, "can involve substantial blood loss and may increase the risk of lacerating the cervix, potentially undermining the woman's ability to bear children in the future."
Mitt Romney's new running mate was having none of it. During House debate on April 5, 2000, Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin told the House that "the women I have spoken to wanted nothing more than to have a child and were devastated to learn that their babies could not survive outside the womb. They made difficult decisions with their doctors and families to terminate pregnancies, to preserve their own health and in many cases their ability to try to have a child again." Afterwards, Paul Ryan rose to denounce that position:
Mr. Speaker. I just have to take issue with the comments that have been preceding this debate. This is not a political issue. This is a human issue. Let me just say this to all of my colleagues who are about to vote on this issue, on the motion to recommit. The health exception is a loophole wide enough to drive a Mack truck through it. The health exception would render this ban virtually meaningless.
Ryan's 2000 gambit failed. But in 2003, President Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act into law. And by 2007, the United States Supreme Court adopted Ryan's attack on "abortionists" and the health and safety of American women.
Ending the "health of the mother" exception isn't just in keeping with Paul Ryan's personal record. It also happens to be enshrined in the 2012 Republican Platform, which with its call for a so-called "Human Life Amendment" would necessarily eliminate all abortions in all cases. For his part, Governor Romney, who has endorsed bogus "fetal pain: legislation, state "personhood" initiatives and defunding the entire federal Title X women's health program, has said that his disagrees with the GOP platform on that point.
Or at least, he does now.
During his first run for the White House, Romney explained to the late Tim Russert that his previous "unwavering" pro-choice position (one inspired by the death of a "dear, close family relative" from an illegal abortion 50 years ago) had been merely "theoretical"--and was now inoperative:
RUSSERT: You--will not see you wavering on that issue. You now have said you support the 2004 Republican Party platform, which says this: "We say the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We" suggest "a human life amendment to the Constitution." Such amendment would ban abortions all across the country. Why such a dramatic and profound change after pledging never to waiver on a woman's right to choose?
ROMNEY: Well, you know, Tim, I was always personally opposed to abortion, as I think almost everyone in this nation is. And the question for me was, what is the role of government? And it was quite theoretical and, and philosophical to consider what the role of government should be in this regard, and I felt that the Supreme Court had spoken and that government shouldn't be involved and let people make their own decision. And that all made a lot of sense to me. And then I became governor and the theoretical became reality, if you will.
Theoretical, that is, in the same way that Mitt Romney and the GOP believe the "health of the mother" is merely theoretical. And if Romney becomes President of the United States, he and his Republican party are committed to finding ways to shut that whole thing down.
- Puritans and Poltroons: how the parties react to failure, by Mark Sumner
- Romney economic adviser says the poor have it just fine, because they have microwave ovens, by Hunter
- A review of California's ballot measures, by Dante Atkins
- Wearing the wrong color socks to school could get a child sent to prison, by Denise Oliver Velez
- The rogues gallery attempting to stop equality, by Scott Wooledge
It would take about 80 days of nonstop viewing to see all 58,235 of the typically 30-second Ohio presidential advertisements that have aired in the last month. New York-based Kantar Media?s CMAG compiled for Bloomberg the presidential ads on broadcast TV in Ohio between Sept. 24 and Oct. 24.
It?s official ? both Mitt Romney and President Obama have surpassed the $1 billion mark, if you include the campaigns, political parties and super PACs.
The Seattle Times Co. sponsored political ads in its paper with claims that aren?t entirely true, the Seattle Times reports. If that sounds a little twisted, it is.
Hurricane Sandy may be unprecedented in East Coast storm history
With computer models locked in on the eventuality of a punishing blow for East Coast from Hurricane Sandy (with the latest model runs favoring the northern mid-Atlantic), analyses suggest this storm may be unlike anything the region has ever experienced. [...]
Model simulations have consistently simulated minimum pressures below 950 mb, which would be the lowest on record in many areas.
?MODELS SHOW PRESSURE WELL BEYOND WHAT HAS EVER BEEN OBSERVED NEAR THE NJ/NY COAST (EVEN EXCEEDING THE 1938 LONG ISLAND EXPRESS [HURRICANE])?, writes NOAA?s Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC). [...]
WJLA meteorologist Ryan Miller notes 66,549,869 people live in the National Hurricane Center?s track zone for Sandy. A large percentage of these people will likely contend with tropical storm force winds - 40-60 mph, if not somewhat greater.
Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud.
The operator of Japan's quake-struck Fukushima nuclear power plant said on Friday it could not rule out the possibility that it may still be leaking radiation into the sea.
Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock was already an extremist, not to mention not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, before he offered up his opinion on abortion and rape the other day. But I'm sure that even as he scrambles to contain the damage from his remarks, he can't quite understand what all the fuss is about. He expressed an opinion that is, among many millions of religious Americans, totally mundane: that God loves every baby and blastocyst, and therefore even a pregnancy that results from rape is good in His eyes. This episode reveals a couple of important things that are worth reiterating before we move on to the next campaign controversy, about both abortion and religion.
Folks like Mourdock whose position on abortion is that the only reason it should be allowed is if the pregnant woman is going to die any moment without it?and there are lots of them, including 15 Republican Senate candidates?at least have a position that is consistent with the principle they claim to believe in, which is that every life is precious. The now-"moderate" position on abortion, the one that Mitt Romney has?that there should also be exceptions for rape and incest?makes sense only if you think that the life of the fetus is not really the point, but what matters is the virtue of the woman. If she was raped, then her sexual purity is intact, and she can have the abortion. If, on the other hand, she had sex voluntarily and got pregnant, then she can't have one. Only if the woman can demonstrate (to men, by the way) that she isn't some kind of slut who thinks she can have sex whenever she wants, can she then decide whether to carry her pregnancy to term. The most forthright statement of this position was probably the South Dakota Republican legislator who allowed that there was one circumstance under which he'd approve of an abortion, which Digby labeled the "sodomized virgin exception." Asked to describe the situation in which an abortion could be allowed, he said, "A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated." You'll notice that it's not only necessary for her to be a virgin, but also for her to be planning on saving that virginity, so even her thoughts are pure.
Whatever Richard Mourdock might believe in his heart about sluts and virgins, he doesn't have to talk about it because his position is consistent: a life is a life no matter what. Yet when he said that carrying your rapist's baby is God's will, people freaked out. Perhaps that's because, like many religious beliefs, when this one is exposed to the light of day, it looks shocking to so many people. In his later clarification, Mourdock revealed that?again, like millions of religious people?he grapples with the theodicy problem by simply deciding that bad things like rapes are not God's doing, while good things like babies are. "I don't think God wants rape," he said. "I don't think he wants that at all, because rape is evil." So how does this work then? God was totally taken by surprise when you got raped, but now he's going to make it better by blessing you with your rapist's baby?
To my religious friends, I have to say: stuff like this is why it's so hard for those of us who don't believe in God to be "respectful" of religious beliefs. When we see someone on the news say, "I just thank God that we survived that tornado," we can't help but reply, "Really? God just killed twenty of your neighbors and destroyed your house, and you're thanking Him just because he didn't kill you too?" When we see politicians say that the Bible is the word of God and everything in it is true, yet we know they would never try to justify all the things the Bible sanctions, like slavery, genocide, and yes, rape, we get very unsettled when religious beliefs become the driving force behind changes in the law.
Religion offers a great many things to people, none more compelling than the promise of immortality. But belief poses some problems for anyone capable of rational thought, and the persistence of evil and suffering is high on the list. You might say that there are more and less sophisticated ways to think about that problem, and even though the way so many people choose is pretty much the least thoughtful way to handle the cognitive dissonance (God is good, therefore bad things aren't God's fault even though he's omnipotent), there are learned theologians who come up with answers far more complex and perhaps more satisfying. The problem is that those theologians aren't the ones making our laws. People like Richard Mourdock are. The people most eager to increase the role of religion in lawmaking are those with the most juvenile religious views.
There is still the real possibility that Mitt Romney will win this election, but there is no doubt which candidate has the more dominant campaign infrastructure. By basically every metric the Obama campaign does significantly more than the Romney[...]
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Barcode on boarding pass contains "secret" info you can edit to change your name, and whether you're searched.
Radcliffe Haughton, the man who reportedly killed three people and wounded four others at a Wisconsin day spa before taking his own life, should not have been able to legally obtain a firearm. Three days before Haughton’s mass killing, his estranged wife obtained a restraining order against him and he was ordered to turn over [...]
Here's how Mitt Romney's political director, Rich Beeson, describes the auto bailout as a campaign issue in Ohio:
They?ve dropped the auto bailout on us, but ... there?s only so long you can ride that one-trick pony, and they just kept pounding away at it, and so that?s baked in right now and we?re tied.That one trick sure saved and created a lot of jobs, though, didn't it? And if the auto rescue is so easily dismissed as a one-trick pony when the political director is talking to ultimate Beltway pundit Mike Allen, then why is Mitt Romney himself bothering to fear-monger to Ohio audiences about Chrysler sending jobs to China?
When you consider the different audiences for these two different messages, it starts to look a little like the Romney campaign is trying to convince the punditocracy it's in a better swing-state position than it is, while grappling with the real truth of how much trouble it's in when appearing in front of actual voters. And, as Greg Sargent points out, this dismissal of the bailout as a political, not policy, issue shows yet again what a problem it is for the Romney campaign that Mitt was so terribly wrong on this issue.
Please give $3 to help President Barack Obama bring this one home.
As the East Coast braces for a possible direct hit from Hurricane Sandy, meteorologists are closely watching the storm’s “freak” formation. They’re calling it “unprecedented and bizarre,” a “perfect storm,” and a “frankenstorm” that could cause historic storm surges, last for multiple days, and cause over a billion dollars in damage. After hitting Jamaica and [...]