Monthly Archives: October 2012

Progressive Voters guide

Chester County Voters Guide

The fate of Pennsylvania and our nation is in your hands. This year’s election has huge implications for our families, our communities, and our Commonwealth. Our goal is to make smart, informed voting based on progressive values easier for you. So we surveyed PA’s leading progressive organizations to produce a Progressive Voter Guide based on their endorsements — one-stop shopping for highly informed recommendations about the races on your ballot.

The Progressive Voters Guide identifies the candidates with the most progressive track records in Pennsylvania. We recognize that there are other progressive candidates on the ballot, but we decided to include only those who were endorsed by at least one progressive, non-party organization. …

Keep reading at Chester County Voters Guide

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Government Theology is Un-American

by Doug Muder, The Weekly Sift, 10/29/12

If Congressman Mourdock wants to interpret the will of God to the People, he should move to a country where government officials do that, and leave my country alone.

This week, Indiana’s Richard Mourdock became the latest Republican candidate to make the political mistake of spelling out the consequences of his ideology: Not only would he make abortion illegal in all ordinary circumstances, but he sees no reason for a rape exception. He wants the government to force women to bear their rapists’ children.

Politics being what it is, a Rapist Procreation Act could never make it through Congress, even as an amendment to a larger Forced Motherhood Act. So euphemisms and rationalizations have to be employed.

Senate candidate Akin. Two months previously, Missouri senate candidate Todd Akin had made headlines by abusing science to support rapist procreation: Rape exceptions are unnecessary, he claimed, because rape pregnancies don’t happen. At least they don’t happen in cases of “legitimate rape”, i.e., the kind where the woman is penetrated by violence. “The female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he said.

Ignore the fact that no legitimate scientist believes this, so Akin had to search out a phony “expert” who is primarily another anti-abortion extremist. Even giving Akin’s words their most generous interpretation — that he meant to say “violent” rather than imply that the rape itself could be “legitimate” — they’re monstrous. In his view, for example, raped women who are drugged rather than beaten are not worth the law’s notice.

A friend of a friend once met a knife-wielding stranger on a stairwell. He said he wanted to kill her, but she negotiated him down to having sex instead. That also would not be a legitimate rape in Todd Akin’s view, so any possible pregnancy would be the woman’s responsibility, not the knifeman’s.

Or consider this account of an incest pregnancy. Sometimes her father raped her “legitimately” by violence. Sometimes threats were enough, and sometimes she submitted to save her younger sisters. What kind of rape got her pregnant? She doesn’t know.

Akin’s government would punish such men, presumably, but would also make sure that their reproductive strategy succeeds and their DNA is multiplied in the next generation.

Walsh. Illinois Republican Congressman Joe Walsh went a step further than Akin. Not only is a rape exception unnecessary, but a life-of-the-mother exception is unnecessary too — and for the same reason: It never happens. “With modern technology and science,” he said, “you can’t find one instance” of a medically necessary abortion.

Non-ideologues quickly came up with the example of ectopic pregnancy, which killed 876 American women between 1980 and 2007.

Mourdock. Having seen how much heat Akin took for abusing science, Mourdock decided to abuse theology instead. For Mourdock, the magic pregnancy-prevention intervention doesn’t come from the mysteries of female biology, it comes from God. If a woman gets pregnant through rape, that must be “something that God intended to happen.”…

continue reading and follow links at The Weekly Sift

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Romney Says He Favors Abortion in Cases Where It Makes People Vote for Him

The Borowitz Report, 10/30/12

KETTERING, Ohio (The Borowitz Report)—Hitting the campaign trail one day after the arrival of Superstorm Sandy, Republican nominee Mitt Romney tweaked his position on abortion today, saying he now supports it in cases where it makes people vote for him.

“I would make an exception for abortion in cases where the life of my campaign is at stake,” he told a crowd in Kettering, Ohio.

Sandy, which slammed into the East Coast last night, was such a powerful weather system that it prevented Mr. Romney from changing his position on abortion for twenty-four hours.

“It was important for Mitt to come up with a new position on abortion today,” said his campaign manager, Matt Rhoades. “It sends a message to the American people that in the aftermath of Sandy, things are getting back to normal.”

Mr. Romney made no reference to his comments about eliminating FEMA, which have been declared a disaster area.

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How Christian fundamentalism feeds the toxic partisanship of US politics

by Katherine Stewart, The Guardian (UK), 24 October 2012

When evangelicals attack ‘the gay agenda’ of an anti-bullying event in schools, something is sick in America’s religious culture
Katherine Stewart

Mix It Up at Lunch Day is one of those programs that just seems like a nice thing to do.

The idea is that on one day of the school year, kids are invited to have lunch with the kind of kids they don’t usually hang out with: the jocks mix with the nerds, lunch tables are racially integrated, et cetera. Sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center as part of their Teaching Tolerance division, it arose out of a broad effort to tackle the problems of bullying in the schools and bigotry in society – and it appears to have been effective in breaking down stereotypes and reducing prejudice. Over 2,000 schools nationwide now participate in the program, which is set to take place this year on 30 October.

You can argue about how permanent its effects are, or whether other approaches might be better, but the idea of making new friends in the lunchroom seems utterly benign. Right?

Wrong, as it turns out – at least, according to the American Family Association, a radical rightwing evangelical policy group. Mix It Up at Lunch Day is, in fact, part of “a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools”, according to the AFA literature. The program “is an entry-level ‘diversity’ program designed specifically by SPCL (sic) to establish the acceptance of homosexuality into public schools, including elementary and junior high schools,” warns the AFA website. “See if your child’s school is on the list.”

The AFA has urged parents to keep their kids home on 30 October, and claims that at least 200 schools have responded to its charge by canceling the program.

There’s a backstory here. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has fought for civil rights causes since its founding in 1971, conceived and promoted Mix It Up at Lunch as part of their Teaching Tolerance program. The SPLC also, as it happens, named the AFA, along with a dozen other “pro-family” groups, as a “hate group” in 2010, citing, among other factors, AFA’s expressed views on same-sex relationships. The “homosexual agenda” is not the only factor in the SPLC’s decision to include AFA on the list. AFA’s director of issues analysis, Bryan Fischer, has appeared to suggest that what is biblically deemed “sexual immorality” merits punishment by death. He evidently hates Muslims, too, having recently opined that “allowing a mosque to be built in town is fundamentally no different than granting a building permit to a KKK cultural center”.

So, now it’s payback time. The AFA’s jihad against Mix It Up at Lunch Day is its way of saying “I’m rubber, you’re glue.” It has come up with its own list of boycotts and hate groups, and sure enough the SPLC, on account of its “incendiary language”, is on that list.

Funny word games aside, the SPLC is right. It is, by now, well known that the AFA and the kind of interests they represent spread conspiratorial falsehoods about the LGBT community, placing blame for a wide variety of social ills on a “gay agenda”. They also seem to support a certain type of bullying and bigotry in public schools – the faith-based kind – and believe there should be more of it.

One example comes from an AFA cultural ally: Gateways to Better Education, formed in 1991 by Focus on the Family in tandem with a rightwing Christian legal advocacy group that calls itself the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). …

continue reading at The Guardian

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