Ryan on abortion exceptions: Rape is just another ‘method of conception’

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/08/24/ryan-on-abortion-exceptions-rape-is-just-another-method-of-conception/

By David Edwards
Friday, August 24, 2012

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says that he personally believes that rape is just another “method of conception” and not an excuse to allow abortions.

During an interview with WJHL this week, Ryan was asked his view about Rep. Todd Akin, who recently asserted that women could not get pregnant from “legitimate rape.”

“Specifically where you stand when it comes to rape, and when it comes to the issue of should it be legal for a woman to be able to get an abortion if she’s raped?” WJHL reporter Josh Smith wondered.

“I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life,” Ryan explained. “But let’s remember, I’m joining the Romney-Ryan ticket. And the president makes policy.”

“And the president, in this case the future President Mitt Romney, has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now.”

MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted that responses like this were probably the reason that Romney is refusing to take any questions about Akin or abortion.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/08/24/ryan-on-abortion-exceptions-rape-is-just-another-method-of-conception/

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GOP: A Party That Hates Women

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/gop-party-hates-women

Romney and Ryan envision an anti-woman economy and society, but women are increasingly key to winning elections.

By Marshall Auerback
August 24, 2012

Missouri GOP senatorial candidate Todd Akin’s absurd comment that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape” is disgusting. It also points to a deeper problem within the GOP.

Plainly, this is a party that hates women. And given the huge gender gap opening up in favor of President Obama over the presumptive GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, this has important implications for economic and social policy going forward. Because if they win, the Democrats are less likely to embrace the draconian fiscal austerity proposals now advocated by Romney’s advisors, along with the party’s regressive social agenda.

The current Republican Party is a perverse coalition of the top 1 percent and the socially conservative right. The latter are not well off for the most part. The Koch brothers (and others of that ilk) have managed to convince the have-not religious fundamentalists to vote against their own economic interests and support their internal colonialism through economically regressive policies which are exacerbating the country’s mounting economic inequality.

This is untenable over the long run. Skewing income distributions by shoveling money to the top always ends in a big political upheaval. The social conservatives are older and aging and becoming less of the total electorate. Someday the GOP’s infernal combination will blow apart because the top 1 percent will be rejected by the masses and the numbers of the social conservatives will dwindle too much.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/gop-party-hates-women

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American Sociological Association Poised To Act Against Anti-Gay Regnerus Study

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/american-sociological-association-poised-to-act-against-anti-gay-regnerus-study/discrimination/2012/08/24/47385

by Scott Rose
on August 24, 2012

Reposted with permission

The American Sociological Association says they “will do something like submit briefs” on the Regnerus study and issues surrounding it “to the relevant courts,” adding “This is a big deal, which happens rarely.”

Mark Regnerus is the University of Texas at Austin researcher who took $785,000 of National Organization for Marriage-linked money and then produced an invalid sociological study demonizing gay parents.

The demonizing study appears to have been commissioned on a political deadline for pernicious anti-gay-rights exploitation during the 2012 elections.

Eight major professional associations including the American Medical Association filed a brief in the Golinski-DOMA case analyzing the Regnerus “study” as scientifically invalid.

Yet, those concerned about the way the anti-gay study undermines the trust on which science is based have been concerned that until now, the American Sociological Association (ASA) had not taken action against Regnerus and his study.

There is precedent for the ASA taking action when one of its members distorts the scientific record to demonize a minority. For example:

“In 1985, the American Sociological Association (ASA) adopted a resolution which asserted that Dr. Paul Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism’ and noted that ‘Dr. Paul Cameron has repeatedly campaigned for the abrogation of the civil rights of lesbians and gay men, substantiating his call on the basis of his distorted interpretation of this research.’ The resolution formally charged an ASA committee with the task of ‘critically evaluating and publicly responding to the work of Dr. Paul Cameron.’ At its August, 1986 meeting, the ASA officially accepted the committee’s report and passed the following resolution: ‘The American Sociological Association officially and publicly states that Paul Cameron is not a sociologist, and condemns his consistent misrepresentation of sociological research’.”

Regnerus has been guilty of using his invalid “findings” to incite the public to misunderstandings about, and discrimination against gay parents. For example, writing in Slate, Regnerus said that his study:

“…may suggest that the household instability that the NFSS reveals is just too common among same-sex couples to take the social gamble of spending significant political and economic capital to esteem and support this new (but tiny) family form while Americans continue to flee the stable, two-parent biological married model, the far more common and accomplished workhorse of the American household, and still—according to the data, at least—the safest place for a kid.”

There are concerns that when NOM-linked leaders of the Witherspoon Institute gave Regnerus a $55,000 “planning grant,” Regnerus and those NOM-linked Witherspoon officials colluded on the Regnerus’s booby-trapped study design before Regnerus obtained his full $785,000 in study funding. Journalists have been thwarted in their efforts to evaluate the parties’ relationships, as the parties are refusing to cooperate with Freedom of Information Act Requests made for communications related to the study.

According to Philip N. Cohen, Council Member of the ASA’s Family Section:

“It now appears, I am glad to say, that the ASA will do something like submit briefs on this issue to the relevant courts (not just about this article but about the issue more broadly). This is a big deal, which happens rarely — and the suspicion is that it might become relevant in what history will judge as a landmark Supreme Court decision about civil rights.”

Earlier, Cohen had reported that the ASA was considering promulgating documents that would clarify “that the Regnerus study does not support the conclusions offered.”  (Bolding added).

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.

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The Family Research Council’s Dangerous Direct Mail

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/todd-akin-on-gay-rights-n_b_1824604.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


The Family Research Council’s staff truly were victims when a gunman, Floyd Corkins, entered their headquarters and shot a security guard before being wrestled to the ground. Even hate groups have the right to be free of hate crimes. Those who work at such organizations should never have to fear for their safety, and their families should be able to leave them each morning without having to worry about their well-being.

Nonetheless, it was the zenith of chutzpah, and a tad unseemly, for FRC president Tony Perkins to hold a press conference the next day to portray his organization as victims of a liberal smear campaign: “Let me be clear that Floyd Corkins was responsible for firing the shot yesterday,” said Perkins. “But Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy.”

Who is Perkins kidding? By that reasoning, one could argue that Perkins has given out more licenses than the DMV, given his history of overheated rhetoric. After all, this is a man who started his political career by purchasing former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke’s mailing list.

Most worrisome most about Perkins’ reckless rhetoric is that he has repeatedly made the phony case that liberals and the gay and lesbian community are trying to take away the rights of Christian fundamentalists. If one examines FRC’s direct mail campaigns, it appears as if Perkins is deliberately trying to incite his followers.

For example, in an April 10, 2012, fundraising appeal, Perkins ends his rant against marriage equality by offering a specious “religious liberty” argument: “We can’t afford to lose. This is not just about marriage. This is about losing the freedom to raise our children in the faith — because the Left wants to drive our faith into hiding, in a dark and forgotten corner of our culture.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/todd-akin-on-gay-rights-n_b_1824604.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Dana Milbank Mainstreams Hate

From DC Metro Weekly:  http://www.metroweekly.com/news/opinion/?ak=7671

The Washington Post columnist’s inside-the-Beltway support for the Family Research Council makes bigotry a value of the political class

By Sean Bugg
Published on August 22, 2012

It was only a few days ago that the world of Washington politics and punditry was in its most self-congratulatory mode: Politics was about to get serious again, with Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan as a running mate being the magical unicorn powder that would finally spur ”serious” discussion of the nation’s problems. But then, it being August in an election year, everything got really stupid, really fast (thanks, Missouri).

Actually, first things got really scary. No one can downplay the act of violence at the headquarters of the Family Research Council (FRC). A man connected to our community decided, for reasons as yet unknown, to take a gun and shoot people he disagreed with. The fact only one person was shot and no one died doesn’t lessen the impact. Our community understood that and came together quickly and decisively to denounce the shooting and offer sincere sympathy for the security guard who was wounded and the staff who were terrorized.

But when FRC president Tony Perkins chose the next day to aggressively attack the LGBT community, claiming that by labeling his organization as a ”hate group” — as the Southern Poverty Law Center has done — the shooter had been given a ”license to kill.” Later Perkins extended blame for the shooting to President Obama, as well.

Never one to shy away from a moment of self-aggrandizing opportunity, National Organization for Marriage (NOM) president Brian Brown immediately began fundraising off the shooting, and this past Tuesday sent a letter to supporters saying, ”We’re not going to allow gay activists to get away with attempted murder!”

This being FRC and NOM we’re talking about, it’s no surprise to us to see them taking advantage of a situation by bending truth, twisting facts and outright lying. They’ve engaged in this behavior for a long time. It’s not second nature to them, it is their nature.

So, into this wades Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who set off a firestorm with a column denouncing LGBT groups for calling FRC a ”hate group.” It’s not hard to compress Milbank’s argument, because it’s not much of one: Because FRC is a ”mainstream conservative think tank” it can’t be a hate group because it’s not the Ku Klux Klan. Apparently, only people who wear a white hood and brandish a swastika can be labeled ”hateful.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.metroweekly.com/news/opinion/?ak=7671

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President Obama Fires Up Las Vegas Crowd

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Jack Willke, National Right To Life Committee Founder, Perpetuates False Rape Pregnancy Ideas

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/24/jack-willke-rape-pregnancy_n_1828936.html


COLUMBUS, Ohio — The discredited notion that a woman’s body can resist conception in a sexual assault has persisted in anti-abortion circles for decades, largely because of the efforts of a Cincinnati obstetrician who is considered a godfather of the movement.

Dr. John C. “Jack” Willke founded the National Right to Life Committee and wrote the influential 1971 “Handbook on Abortion,” which has shaped the thinking of generations of anti-abortion activists.

Rep. Todd Akin’s comments this week on rape and pregnancy helped upend a Senate race and roiled the Republican Party in a tough election year. But they reflect ideas that the 87-year-old Willke began peddling years ago.

“There’s no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape,” Willke wrote in 1999 in the journal Christian Life Resources. “This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy.”

To anti-abortion activists, Willke is a revered figure. To abortion-rights activists, the onetime sex education lecturer perpetuates myths, eschews facts and ignores science. And to fellow physicians, his ideas are pure fiction.

After Akin’s remarks, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said a woman who is raped “has no control over ovulation, fertilization or implantation of a fertilized egg. … To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/24/jack-willke-rape-pregnancy_n_1828936.html

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The Harsh Politics of Rape Pregnancy

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/11093-the-harsh-politics-of-rape-pregnancy

By Sue Sturgis
Friday, 24 August 2012

Date on which Congressman Todd Akin, an anti-abortion rights Republican who is running for U.S. Senate in Missouri, wrongly claimed that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant because the “female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down”: 8/19/2012

Year in which Akin, who holds degrees in management engineering and divinity, first joined the House Committee on Science and Technology, where he continues to serve: 2001

Date on which Akin, speaking on former Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee’s radio show, said he would stay in the race despite calls to resign from prominent Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): 8/21/2012

McConnell’s score from NARAL Pro-Choice America for his voting record on reproductive rights: 0

Year in which former Arkansas State Rep. Fay Boozman, who at the time was running for U.S. Senate, claimed wrongly that fear-induced hormonal changes could block a rape victim’s ability to conceive: 1998

Year in which North Carolina State Rep. Henry Aldridge, an anti-abortion rights Republican from Pitt County, claimed wrongly that “people who are raped — who are truly raped — the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant”: 1995

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/11093-the-harsh-politics-of-rape-pregnancy

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America Doesn’t Need a Birther-in-Chief

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Celebrate the Farmer!

From The New York Times:  http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/celebrate-the-farmer/

By Mark Bittman
August 21, 2012

I was at a farm dinner in Maine the other night, a long table of 60 people eating corn, chicken, salad, a spectacular herb sorbet and other goodies. When one of the hosts arose to ask someone to describe the first course on the table – huge marrow bones from the farm’s cattle– she introduced not the chef but the farmers. Similarly, at a fund-raiser on Cape Cod a week or so earlier, the talk was all about the provenance of the produce and meat rather than the cooking technique. The most popular guy was the oyster grower.

This is a fine trend. With all due respect to my chef friends (many of whom will agree with this statement), most cooking is dead-easy and pretty quick: it takes 20 minutes to roast a marrow bone, and an ambitious fifth-grader can get it right on the first try. A more complicated dish, like the seared corn with chorizo that was served a bit later, might consume an hour and require a bit of skill.

But raising and butchering the cows and pigs that produced the marrow bones and meat for the chorizo? Growing the corn? These are tasks that take weeks, if not months, of daily activity and maintenance. Like anything else, you can get good at it, but the challenges that nature (ask the corn farmers of Kansas) and the market (ask Tyson Foods, whose profits just fell 61 percent) throw at you are never even close to being under control in the same way that a cook controls the kitchen.

What a cook doesn’t control is ingredients, and that’s where the debt to farmers comes in. In the last 10 or 15 years, we’ve seen the best New York chefs scouring the Greenmarket weekly and setting up exclusive relationships with farmers throughout the Northeast; that kind of behavior is nationwide. And even before that, Alice Waters hired people full-time to make sure the ingredients her people cooked with were the best.

Continue reading at:  http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/celebrate-the-farmer/

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Protesters ready to face off with police at RNC in Tampa

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Romney’s New Energy Plan Would Doom Humanity

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/environment/romneys-new-energy-plan-would-doom-humanity

Here’s a frightening look at what a Romeny-Ryan ticket looks like for the environment and our future.

By Tara Lohan
August 23, 2012

Let’s not mince words — we’re on thin ice. And it’s getting rapidly thinner. We’re breaking records faster than Usain Bolt but unfortunately we’re running top speed toward the endgame. Our place in the record books is beside titles like “hottest” and “driest” and “most rapidly warming.” This is the hottest year on record so far and today we learned that, “The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming places on Earth at the moment.” This comes from an international team of climate scientists and the findings are just the latest in a stack that don’t bode well for a livable planet.

As Bill McKibben wrote in Rolling Stone last month, “Since I wrote one of the first books for a general audience about global warming way back in 1989, and since I’ve spent the intervening decades working ineffectively to slow that warming, I can say with some confidence that we’re losing the fight, badly and quickly — losing it because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in.”

Nowhere is that denial playing out more clearly than with the Romney-Ryan ticket. Here’s a look at their energy plan and their past record on the environment.

An Energy Plan for the 19th Century

The crux of Mitt Romney’s newly unveiled energy plan is “energy independence” — a phrase so bandied by politicians that it has lost all significance. In fact, according to Foreign Policy , it has been promised by every president since Nixon. So what’s different about Romney’s plan? Well not much, it’s mostly more of the same from the GOP “drill, baby, drill” crowd.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/environment/romneys-new-energy-plan-would-doom-humanity

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From Greenwashing to Workerwashing

From Truth Dig:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/from_greenwashing_to_workerwashing_20120824/

By David Sirota
Aug 24, 2012

Big Industrial Ag pretends to go organic. PC behemoths mimic Apple products. Barack Obama goes to the right of the Republicans on civil liberties. Mitt Romney suddenly portrays himself as a left-leaning moderate on immigration. It seems no matter the arena, the most cliched move in corporate and political combat is to co-opt an opponent’s message, expecting nobody to notice or care.

But as inured as we are to this banality, it’s still shocking to see Corporate America transform the message of organized labor into a sales pitch for … Corporate America. Yes, according to The New York Times last month, that’s what’s happening, as new ads are “tapping into a sense of frustration among workers to sell products.”

One spot for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (read: the casinos) shows a woman climbing onto her desk to demand a vacation. Another for McDonald’s implores us to fight back against employers and “overthrow the working lunch.” Still another for a Coca-Cola subsidiary seizes on the stress of harsh working conditions to create buzz for a branded “Take the Year Off” contest.

“Marketers are adopting the theme of workers’ rights at a time when unions themselves are confronting declines in membership and influence,” notes the Times. “In effect, some labor experts say, they are turning a pro-worker theme on its head to serve the corporate interest.”

In one sense, this is good news for organized labor—at a moment when unions are under assault, the ads reflect polls showing persistent mass support for both the concept of worker solidarity and the economic outrage voiced by worker protests. Indeed, companies wouldn’t be echoing such themes if they didn’t know they were wildly popular.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/from_greenwashing_to_workerwashing_20120824/

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