Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) became the most prominent Republican to call on Indiana senate candidate Richard Mourdock to apologize for claiming, during a debate on Tuesday night, that pregnancies resulting from rape are a “gift from God.” The Arizona senator told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Wednesday night that he would withhold his support until Mourdock “apologizes and says he misspoke, and he was wrong and he asks the people to forgive him”:
President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans — [pauses for audience laughter(!)] — and to heal the planet. MY promise is to help you and your family.
But then you see that picture in the video of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and say, WTF?
I’m afraid the premise of this inane ad is, well, so inane that you’ll just have to watch it yourself to see — but please put on your head vise first to avoid rapid cranial expansion:
See, Obama supposedly promised he would “heal” the world, but — and I know this is going to shock all Americans, particularly those voters so disgusted by both political parties that they are still undecided — there are still bad things happening in the world!
Darn you Barack Obama for not ending all strife, for not bringing about world peace!
I guess this is Romney’s closing argument: “If you’re disappointed President Obama hasn’t delivered on his ‘promise’ to solve all the world problems, vote for me. I won’t promise to heal anything, so you’ll never be disappointed in me.”
This ad is ludicrous. Aside from the fact that Obama was talking about global warming, the President merely said that future generations would say “this was the moment … our planet began to heal” — not that he’d solve every problem in four years.
I suppose team Romney wouldn’t run an ad this late in the game that they had not tested with swing voters. But those kind of focus groups are flawed in part because they test the ads under ideal circumstances — people paying close attention and then thinking and talking about the ads.
In fact, many people stop paying attention to the TV screen when the umpteenth political ad comes on, so as a rule, I think, an ad ought to work for one of those low-information/low-interest voters who might be in the kitchen or on an iPad while listening to the TV. For them, this ad accomplishes very little.
I look forward to the Romney ad featuring hospitals filled with people that Obama didn’t heal.
More right-wing politicians are warning incoming international observers not to interfere in the U.S. elections, or else. Among them is Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot, who sent the head of an Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers team a terse letter informing them that any attempt to meddle in voting will result in arrest and prosecution. The OSCE did not take kindly to the insinuation in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
“The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable,” [Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR),] said. “The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections.”
The ODIHR Director also stressed that any concerns or reports that the election observers intended to influence or interfere with the election process were groundless. He underlined that OSCE/ODIHR election observers adhere to all national laws and regulations, as well as a strict code of conduct.
“Our observers are required to remain strictly impartial and not to intervene in the voting process in any way,” Lenarčič said. “They are in the United States to observe these elections, not to interfere in them.” Yet Abbott isn’t convinced. He repeated his warning Wednesday on Fox News:
In an example of the sudden Republican distrust of these observers, Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) said in a statement that the idea that the United Nations “would be allowed, if not encouraged, to install foreigners sympathetic to the likes of Castro, Chavez, Ahmadinejad and Putin to oversee our elections is nothing short of disgusting.”
Despite all the fearmongering, the OSCE monitors have agreed to (and are mandated to) abide by state and local law. According to OSCE spokewoman Giovanna Maiola, the team will be observing the complete election process, focusing on a number of areas on the state level, including the overall legal system, election administration, the campaign, the campaign financing and new voting technologies used in various states.
According to new data from economists Moritz Schularick and Alan Taylor, the U.S. has done better than should have been expected, considering the nature of the Great Recession. The same can’t be said for the UK:
The pink range indicates the expected recovery path. As we noted in our original column, the US exceeds expectations here. The US growth path manages to emerge from and stay above the predicted range by years 3-4-5 (i.e. 2010–12). In contrast, the UK path is disappointing, and can’t really be called a recovery yet.
Even using the maximal measure of excess credit based on bank and shadow bank data to bias the forecast path down as far possible, it is still not possible to account for the UK’s dismal performance. The UK was on a similar path to the US in years 1-2 (2008–09), but falls well behind the US in years 3-4 (2010–2011), only to drop below the forecast range in year 5 (2012).
As the U.S. was at least attempting to stimulate the economy — despite the protestations of Congressional Republicans — the UK adopted the Tories’ austerity package. Now it seems that only the Olympics are providing any bright spots for the UK economy.
Our guest blogger is Sally Steenland, Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Indiana Senate nominee Richard Mourdock (R)
U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (R-IN) outraged millions of American women and men when he said in a debate last night that rape pregnancies are “a gift from God” and that women who become pregnant from rape should be denied abortion care.
Mourdock’s views are harsh and extremist — and they represent an attempt to impose his unforgiving theological views on millions of Americans who hold very different beliefs. Religious leaders, including clergy and faith experts at CAP’s Faith and Reproductive Justice Institute, are weighing in to condemn his views:
“Rape is an act of overt personal violence and an egregious abuse of power that the God I believe in does not sanction. A woman who is faced with a pregnancy from such a traumatic attack on her body and soul must have all options available to her when deciding whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, including the right granted to her by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 to a safe and legal abortion.” — Rev. Elizabeth Barnum, United Church of Christ minister serving in Rhode Island
“As a Christian pastor, I am deeply offended by Indiana Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock’s claim that the God of compassion and justice would re-victimize a survivor of sexual violence. To believe that God would choose to impose a pregnancy on someone whose most basic bodily agency has been violated is to completely misunderstand God’s agency for those most in need. Scripture commands us: Do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, and the idea that God would “gift” a survivor of rape with a pregnancy is exactly that. It’s blasphemy.” — Rev. Matthew Westfox, Associate Pastor of All Souls Bethlehem Church in Brooklyn, NY, and Director of Interfaith Outreach for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
“As a pastor who has counseled hundreds of women regarding unintended pregnancies, including women who have suffered awful violence in their lives, I was both saddened and horrified hearing the callousness of Richard Mourdock’s words. How could his heart be so hard? God compels us towards acts of profound justice, compassion, and peace. God calls us to be in caring relationships with those who have suffered the most in this world. We are to bear witness and listen, mindful to not let our arrogance and hubris lead us astray.” — Rev. Darcy Baxter, Director of Family Ministries, Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church, Hayward, CA
Obama Suggests He Will Win Because Romney ‘Alienated’ Latinos |
If he is re-elected on Nov. 6, President Obama told the Des Moines Register that “a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community,” according to a transcript of the phone call. Mitt Romney staked out the most extreme immigration positions during the GOP primary, and Hispanic voters have remained skeptical of the GOP candidate who has promised to veto the DREAM Act and supports self-deportation policies. A recent poll shows that 74 percent of Latino voters support Obama compared to Romney’s 26 percent — far from the Romney campaign’s stated goal of winning 38 percent among Latinos.
Chris Kluwe Records ‘Lustful Cockmonster’ Ad For Minnesota Equality |
In September, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe took aim at Maryland Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr. (D) for his opposition to marriage equality, pointing out that loving gay and lesbian couples “won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster.” Now, that colorful turn of phrase has been incorporated into a new radio ad against Minnesota’s marriage inequality amendment. In the ad, Kluwe says that he and his wife just want their daughters to marry whoever they love when they grow up, but the amendment will prevent them from doing that. Listen to it:
Given that the DC Metro system can’t turn down advertising just because they contain ideas the organization or its leaders find distasteful—which, for the record, is a state of affairs I approve of—this is probably the best possible solution to the problem of what to do with prominent Islamophobe Pamela Geller’s nasty ads which suggest that Israel is civilized and the Muslim world is decidedly not:
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said it is adding a line of text distancing itself from all new “viewpoint” ads that reads: “This is a paid advertisement sponsored by [sponsor].The advertising space is a designated public forum and does not imply WMATA’s endorsement of any views express.”
The agency was urged to add a disclaimer to a set of ads that went up earlier this month that opponents said equated Muslims with savages. The agency started to add the disclaimers to all new noncommerical ads last week as the controversy grew, with counter ads and counter-counter ads.
“Metro advertising space is deemed a public forum by the courts, and the ads you see on buses, trains, and in stations comply with existing guidelines and are protected by the First Amendment,” General Manager Richard Sarles wrote in an internal memo. “However, we want to make sure customers know we don’t endorse any of these messages.”
It’s worth noting that WMATA ads, for those of you who don’t live in Washington, are a great expression of the bizarro world that is our city’s dominant industry. You’ll see entire stations covered in military hardware or lobbying campaigns—the Capitol South Metro, which is the dominant stop on the Hill, gets particularly saturated—in addition to universities targeting the kind of kids who intern in Washington with ads telling them that they can be fifteen different kinds of wonk. But Gellar’s ads set a new standard in ugliness and crassness. I’m glad they inspired WMATA to point out that while the system may be obligated to take almost everyone’s money, that Metro is on board with every sentiment that gets splashed on subway cars and station’s walls. And in an environment of unusually heightened political and lobbying competition, there’s something appealing about the idea that the new disclaimers will mark all the other opinion ads that come along in Gellar’s wake. Washington may be the site of heated political contests, but its leading industry isn’t the sum total of the region.
By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Oct 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm
Even though President Obama signed into law the Food Safety Modernization Act — giving the Food and Drug Administration wider power to stop foodborne illness outbreaks before they start — the number of Americans who become sick or die because of contaminated food has increased 44 percent over the last two years, according to a new report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
This adds up to about 48 million people getting sick. But Republicans have threatened to defund the law that helps curb salmonella outbreaks. Meanwhile, the FDA remains unable to implement the reforms because of underfunding:
But while some parts of the law have been enacted, the vast majority of the law’s regulatory framework remains in limbo, sitting in the White House Office of Management and Budget, with no clear timetable for implementation.
“In February, the president’s budget requested $4.5 billion for the Food and Drug Administration. But budget proposals in both the Senate and the House fall below this target, coming in $600 (million)-$700 million below full funding, which the Office of Management and Budget has called ‘harmful’ to food safety regulations,” the Public Interest Research Group says. [...]
Instead of improving, the problem of foodborne outbreaks is getting worse, the report says.
“When comparing 2010 infection incidences with national health objective targets … the only incidence rate that meets the target goal was the incidence of infection with E. coli O157,” the report says. “The incidence of salmonella was three times the 2010 national health objective target, which is especially alarming, as salmonella causes the majority of hospitalizations and deaths from foodborne disease.”
The problem is not limited to U.S. food suppliers, and in its report, the Public Interest Research Group adds that the FDA can’t keep up with demand. About two-thirds of the fruits and vegetables that Americans eat come from foreign food suppliers, but the FDA only inspected 153 of the 189,000 registered foreign food facilities.