The secret world of rape or, I enjoy being a girl

Today’s news:

[Rep. Steve] King supports the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” It would ban Federal funding of abortions except in cases of forcible rape. Right now, Medicaid also covers abortions for victims of statutory rape or incest – for example, a 12 year old who gets pregnant.

Congressman King says he’s not aware of any young victims like that.

“Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter,” he said.

All this talk about legitimate rape is making me seethe. It’s just as well that I didn’t have a daughter, because I’d be worried every time she went out the door. But if there’s one thing I know about rape, you can only lessen the odds – you can’t eradicate them completely. And if I had a daughter, I would not want her to walk trembling through this world. I would not want her to think she can’t trust anyone.

And yet, I can’t forget the forcible rapes (the “good” kind) that happened to the women I know. The friend waiting at the bus stop who got pulled into a car. The teenager who was surrounded on a suburban street, gang-raped and impregnated. The good girl from a religious home, raped by her grandfather and then her father. The young girl on her college orientation weekend, whose guide forced himself on her and left her pregnant. The young student, raped as a tourist in a foreign land. The young professional raped by her old boyfriend after he ran into her at a party. (Acquaintance rapes? Rule of thumb: Once you gave it away, it’s no longer yours to keep. I can’t even keep track of those.)

These girls, these women: You know what their crimes were? That they dared to think they could just walk around, like they weren’t women. As if the world belonged to them, too. Like sex wasn’t something that men could just take from them, as long as they were stronger and could catch you off guard. It’s not yours to give, it’s theirs to take.

Men don’t always understand that rape is all around. They think if they wouldn’t do such a thing, no one else would.

Rape is exciting. Rape is glamorous. We see it in the movies, that transcendent moment when the woman just stops struggling and gives in to what we all know she really wants. I remember watching “Blume in Love”. Wikipedia says, “The plot concerns the efforts of Stephen Blume, a Beverly Hills divorce lawyer played by Segal, to regain the wife (Anspach) who has divorced him.”

It doesn’t mention that the method by which he “regains” his wife (like yards in a football game, I suppose) is by raping and impregnating her. And then they all live happily ever after. A romantic comedy!

I remember feeling distinctly angry after that movie. My then-husband didn’t. “Yes, but they were married, it wasn’t like they were strangers,” he said. Yes, I know that emotional ties are complicated. But it was clearly a rape. (Oh, and Roger Ebert didn’t even mention the rape in his review. It just wasn’t … important, I suppose.)

We see it on TV all the time. Whenever a women is raped by someone she knows, she falls in love with her rapist. It’s just the way it is. Search “rape” on YouTube and see what comes up.

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The fraudulent ‘fraud’ squad

Talking Points Memo on the creation of the voter fraud epidemic:

Hans von Spakovsky, one of the charter members of the Fraudulent Fraud Squad, claimed that there was such “recent” evidence of a problem with impersonation fraud, and he cited to a grand jury report issued in 1984 by the Brooklyn (N.Y.) district attorney’s office. (Put aside the fact that 1984 is not so recent.)

I asked von Spakovsky for a copy of the report. I heard nothing from him, even though he had contacted me in the past pitching items to include on my Election Law Blog. I wrote to the president of the Heritage Foundation, where von Spakovsky works, asking for the report, and noting that good scholarship requires that scholars make their data available for verification. Silence. TPM ran a story on it. Silence.

A law librarian at UC Irvine finally was able to track down a copy of the report from the district attorney’s office. And guess what? The grand jury found lots of shenanigans by election officials and party officials (including party officials hiding in the ceiling of the men’s room of the Brooklyn Board of Elections to change voter registration after dark). But virtually no cases of voter impersonation fraud and nothing done without the collusion of election officials.

But by then, von Spakovsky had moved on. In a syndicated column, he wrote of an election allegedly stolen by at least 50 illegal votes cast by Somalis voting in Kansas. When I pointed out on my blog that the court examining these claims found no proof of illegal voting and that the election took place in Missouri, not Kansas, he corrected the column’s reference to Kansas, but did nothing to remove his discredited claim of fraud in the election.

More recently, von Spakovsky and his co-author John Fund wrote a book in which they rely onwholly discredited allegations that fraudulent voting was responsible for Al Franken’s win in Minnesota over Norm Coleman in the recount and litigation over the disputed Minnesota U.S. Senate race.

This is the modus operandi of the Fraudulent Fraud Squad. Use false and exaggerated claims. Don’t correct the record when proven wrong. Use a bait-and-switch on fraud allegations to justify laws which don’t prevent fraud. Make people believe voter fraud is an epidemic when it’s not. And call those who point out the truth “vote fraud deniers.”

In the meantime, Republican legislatures and election officials change election rules to make it harder to register and vote in the name of fraud prevention and voter confidence, confidence which political operatives have manipulated with unfounded and exaggerated allegations of voter fraud.


A lot of people wanted him punished, including Stratfor, the defense intelligence vendor:

While publicly underplaying the significance of WikiLeaks activity in combating government secrecy, senior execs and analysts at private US intelligence firm Stratfor privately described WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a “terrorist” and “delusion nut” who “needs to be water-boarded” and made to “move from country to country” for the “next 25 years,” Stratfor leaked emails recently released by WikiLeaks and obtained by Al-Akhbar show.

The emails, part of over five million ones to be released, also suggest that senior Stratfor staff were apparently aware of secret charges reportedly by the US government to indict Assange and didn’t mind using “trumped up” charges to lock up the whistle blower well before WikiLeaks had gone after Stratfor. Assange is currently fighting an extradition to Sweden from the United Kingdom in relation to a sexual assault investigation involving two Swedish women that was ordered by the Swedish courts on 18 November 2010.

Most of the Stratfor email exchanges dealing with WikiLeaks and Assange are between mid-2010 to mid-2011.

Uh huh

Yeah, happens all the time that people with their hands handcuffed behind their backs shoot themselves in the back of the head in the back seat of a cop car. In fact, I can’t think of any other possible explanation, can you?

Ready, fire, aim

What? You mean they didn’t test the effects before they let the gas companies drill wherever they want?

Guthrie Health and the Geisinger Health System have joined together to study the health impact of Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.

The study by the two regional health care systems — Guthrie, in Sayre, and Geisinger, in Danville, Pa. — will include development of a health surveillance network that will make patient data available for research purposes.

Health effects that may be investigated first include asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Preliminary results of data analysis may be released within the next year, while other aspects of the research will unfold over the the next five to 15 years, health care officials said.

The long-term goal of the Guthrie/Geisinger study is to learn whether gas operations increase the incidence of diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Researchers also will want to determine whether air pollutants associated with gas drilling are affecting people with asthma and other lung problems.

Should he stay or should he go?

Politico’s reporting Akin is withdrawing, while the Wall St. Journal reports that he’s staying. Is he gone? We should know any minute. Obviously, Democrats would like to see him stay (because it greatly improves McCaskill’s chances) but if he does leave, he presents another problem for Republicans: namely, that Akin clearly represents the far-fringe Tea partiers who voted for him. Does his withdrawal depress their base turnout?

Fearing a likely election victory is now in doubt, Republican leaders and candidates on Monday called on Missouri Rep. Todd Akin to abandon his bid for a crucial Senate seat because of his suggestion that women’s bodies can avert pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape.”

Mr. Akin had been running ahead in polls of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is widely considered the most endangered Senate incumbent. But were he to lose, the GOP’s chances of recapturing a majority in the Senate and enacting a sweeping conservative agenda would be reduced. Republicans control the House and hope to overturn a 53-47 Democratic majority in the Senate.

The high stakes in the race prompted an unusually public campaign by Republicans to persuade Mr. Akin to step aside, despite his victory in a hard-fought primary just two weeks ago. If Mr. Akin does not quit the race by 5 p.m. Tuesday, he would have to seek a court order to do so. Mr. Akin suggested Monday he had no plans to drop out.

Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), who leads the Republican Party effort to win Senate seats, called Mr. Akin Monday, according to a Republican official. Mr. Akin was told that if he stays in, “he is putting not just this seat but the GOP’s prospects for a Senate majority at great risk,” the official said.

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