Watching TV with my dad. The new Todd Akin commercial came on.

  • Todd Akin: "My six-second mistake is well known, but..."
  • My father: "No, Todd. It wasn't a six-second mistake. It was a six-second glimpse into your soul, and we found out just what a dark, evil place it is. Go away."

Michelle 2016.

Moved to tears by Mrs. Obama; just donated (again) to the campaign. Go get ‘em, Michelle.

Why I will not be voting for Todd Akin.

devancoggan:

Today, my U.S. representative lost any semblance of respect I might have had for him.

In case you haven’t heard, Todd Akin is currently trying to win a Missouri senate seat. A Republican, he is currently serving as the U.S. state representative for my district. Today, he said in an interview:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

There is no medical basis for this comment. A study by the American Journal of Obstetricians reported that there are more than 32,000 rape-related pregnancies in the U.S. per year. As a reminder, Akin co-sponsored the 2011 bill trying to redefine rape as “forcible,” discounting forms of drugged rape, statutory rape, or incest.

Akin is challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill, the current incumbent. She released the following statement regarding Akin’s comments:

“It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape. The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive.”

There is so much wrong with Todd Akin. As a Missourian, I have been exposed to some of the hatred and lunacy he has unleashed on this country. I have blogged about him in the past, but let’s rehash why I will not be voting for Todd Akin. 

As a daughter, I would see my family’s business struggle under Akin’s plan for health insurance. My family co-owns a small business in Missouri which has seen its health insurance rates drop under Obamacare. Akin plans to cut this and force our rates up once again.

As a friend, I would see my gay friends and family members unnecessarily targeted. Todd Akin has repeatedly tried to constitutionally define marriage as one man and one woman. He has also voted against prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and against punishing anti-gay hate crimes. While attacking an individual’s right to marry is an intensely personal belief (one that I do not agree with), it is absolutely never acceptable for a political leader to prohibit the punishment of hate crimes.

As an individual, I would see my religious liberties stripped from me. Akin is a fervent supporter of “Christian rights,” including teacher-led prayer in public schools. He also co-sponsored a bill “recognizing Christianity’s importance to western civilization.” He has said that “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God” and that we should use the Bible as a “blueprint” for economic, education and government policies. He also believes God delivered his Republican primary win. 

As a young adult, I would see my future devastated. Akin is a supporter of off-shore drilling and encourages drilling in wildlife preserves. He has also fought in Congress to bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases while refusing to support alternative energy methods. In addition to attacking our environment, he has compared student loans to a “stage 3 cancer of socialism” and would fight to make it impossible for all but the rich to attend college.

As a woman, I would see my status denigrated to that of a second class citizen. He has voted to block Planned Parenthood centers from providing life-saving cancer screenings. He also believes the morning-after pill causes abortion and should consequently be outlawed. Not only does this show a complete inability to grasp basic biology, but it shows just how much he radically opposes women’s rights.

I cannot in good faith vote for a man with such blatant disregard for women, religious minorities, gays, and students. He is offensive and loves to pontificate about things he has no knowledge of. As a Missourian, I believe that Akin is entirely out of touch with his constituency and would poorly represent his state. A vote for Akin would be wrong both for Missouri and this country. 

“For the first eight years of our marriage, [Michelle and I] were paying more in student loans than what we were paying for our mortgage. So we know what this is about.

And we were lucky to land good jobs with a steady income. But we only finished paying off our student loans—check this out, all right, I’m the President of the United States—we only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago.”

President Obama in North Carolina today on why Congress has to act to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling (via barackobama)

The Contraception Crusade

(reblogged from my other blog: devancoggan)

I am mad.

I am a real, proper mad, which doesn’t happen very often. To piss me off, you have to do something pretty heinous, like say something nasty about my little brother or engage in animal abuse. But although I don’t get mad very often, when I do? It’s a bit scary. One time I punched a hole in my bedroom wall. I have pictures if you don’t believe me. 

But that’s not the point. The point is that I have had it up to here with the contraception debate currently raging in Washington. I always hesitate when going on political rants, and I have tried to hold back recently. I shook my head in disgust when the congressional hearing on birth control didn’t include any women. I marveled at how prohibiting employers from denying to cover contraception was a violation of religious freedom. 

But then Rush Limbaugh spoke up, and I lost it. Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student, was supposed to speak at the congressional hearing. She intended to take a primarily medical view on the debate, including an anecdote about a friend who needed contraception to prevent the growth of cysts. She was not allowed to speak. Yesterday, while discussing Fluke, Rush Limbaugh said she was a “slut.” 

“What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex — what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”

Wait, what

Looking beyond Rush Limbaugh’s proclivity to idiotic comments, it’s an interesting look into the contraception debate. The truth is that if Fluke had been a man, the question of her own sexuality would not have even entered the conversation, but because she was a woman speaking up in favor of contraception, it was assumed she was a promiscuous harlot. If women had been allowed to testify at the congressional hearings, their testimonies would probably have been ignored in lieu of attacks on their moral character.

The contraception debate is getting ugly, and I’m getting more and more frustrated. The SNL weekend update with Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler was a hilarious yet frighteningly accurate response. Meyers kicked it off by saying:

“The congressional hearing, held to debate Obama’s birth control mandate, was criticized for not including any women… Though that makes sense once you learn that the hearing was held in the congressional tree house.”

Amy Poehler then showed up as a guest star, and her comments on the “Really?!?” segment were flawless.

“Really? Really, Congress? You held a congressional committee on reproductive rights and you did not invite any women? Really? That would be like not inviting any men to a congressional committee debating the Maxim Top 100.”

Poehler closed the segment by pointing defiantly at the camera and yelling, “Don’t tell me what to do!” Cheers to that, Amy. 

I’m baffled as to how this is a question of religious liberty. The Blunt amendment currently floating around Congress is sponsored by my own senator, Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and if enacted, it would allow employers to refuse to cover certain kinds of health care based on religious or moral convictions. The funny thing is that this has never before been an issue, as Christian Scientist employers, for example, have never been allowed to refuse to cover their employees’ medication on the basis of religious liberty. This is not a question of religious liberty but a thinly-veiled attack on contraception. I can only quote Jon Stewart, who said on Feb. 13, “You’ve confused the war on your religion with not always getting everything you want. It’s called being a part of society.” 

(As a side note, don’t even get me started on Sen. Blunt. For a guy so concerned about First Amendment freedoms, he seems quite eager to constitutionally prohibit flag desecration and constitutionally allow school prayer. He’s also got an abominable record when it comes to the environment and gay rights, but that’s a blog post for another time.)

One of the things that has routinely amazed me about the debate is the complete non-importance put on contraception’s health benefits. A November study revealed that almost 60 percent of American women use birth control pills for purposes other than pregnancy prevention. I have a very close friend who has suffered from ovarian cysts for much of her life, and she was recently told she has an ovarian tumor which needs to be removed with surgery. Like Fluke’s friend, she relies on birth control pills to prevent the development of future ovarian cysts. It’s not an invitation to have wild sex; it’s a medical necessity. 

A few days ago, the hashtag #Its2012WhyYouStill was trending on Twitter. Ignoring the grammatical error and its proof of humanity’s further descent into anarchy, I couldn’t help but think, it’s 2012. Why are we still debating birth control? It’s time to give women control of their own health. It is not your First Amendment right to impose your religious beliefs upon others. 

motherjones:

Birth control is a lot more expensive than an aspirin between your legs. Click through to find out how much you’ll spend in a lifetime.

This is an awesome tool, and it shows just how ignorant many politicians are about the realities of birth control. Looks like almost $12,000 for me, and that’s with insurance.

“Wanna be commander-in chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenenient.”

Barack Obama

“Has anybody been watching the debates lately? You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change. It’s true. You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have healthcare and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay. That’s not reflective of who we are.”

President Barack Obama • tugging on some low-hanging fruit from the GOP debates. Good timing, bro. (via zainyk)

This man could be our president.

Meghan McCain's 7 Tips for Republican Hopefuls

Clarity, before I start: I am not a Republican. I am anything but a Republican. If a Republican wins the 2012 election, I may move to Britain and become a hermit in the English countryside with 12 cats. All the same, if there was a Republican candidate who followed these incredibly intelligent campaign tips, I would be impressed. Some of my favorite excerpts:

  • "You are not cooler than President Obama. No, you are not. No, seriously, you are not, not even you, Sarah Palin—no matter how many motorcycles you jump on in a sexy leather jacket. Obama is the cool kid; let him be the cool kid. You should instead take on the role of the smart candidate, the serious candidate, the one who isn’t concerned about how well you dance on Ellen. You should want to fix the economy and stop the bleeding that is going on in Washington. We are living in some of the most serious times this country has ever faced, and the next election can’t turn into a popularity contest. At the end of the day, even if you are cooler than Obama, the media will never let you be cooler. This isn’t a battle you can win.”
  • "That means stop making confusing commercials. Don’t use Fred Davis, the man responsible for viral political commercials such as this one. The infamous political ads like Carly Fiorina’s “Demon Sheep” and Christine O’Donnell’s “I Am Not a Witch” are so confusing, it’s almost like they were paid for by Democrats. Stick to clear, concise messages. Do not use gimmicks. Gimmicks belong almost anyplace except a Republican presidential primary. You’re not trying to be cool, remember?”
  • "You’ve got to do interviews outside of Fox News. This isn’t an option, you can’t become president talking only to Greta Van Susteren.”
  • "This is the most important… forget the extreme rightYou aren’t going to be their candidate anyway, Michele Bachmann is. Those people also wouldn’t vote for Obama if their life depended on it. Reach out to independents, women, and Republicans like me. The ones who struggle with feeling isolated in our own party. We will come out and support you with unbelievable enthusiasm if you don’t treat big-tent, socially liberal Republicans like us as a mutation in the original design. There isn’t anything wrong with Republicans like me, and trust me, there are a lot more of them out there than you realize, and some of them are just hitting voting age.”

As a side note, if you haven’t seen Carly Fiorina’s demon sheep commercial… Well, don’t let me deny you the joy: here it is.

Religion and Representation - NYTimes.com

Excerpt: This is increasingly the face of religion in America — fluid, fluctuant, questioning, nonconformist and in many cases unaffiliated.

That’s why a report this week by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life about the religious composition of the 112th Congress caught my eye. According to the report, the unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics, the unchurched, uncommitted, etc.), at 16.1 percent of the population, is the largest religious group in America without representation in Congress. (Six members, about 1 percent, did not specify a religious category.)

Carly Fiorina and the Demon Sheep. Best political ad I have ever seen.

sr