Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Tuesday, January 24th, 2012.


SOTU Thread

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Obama Administration

Comment away, on SOTU or whatever you like. I’ll be back about 10:30 EST to clear out the spam filter.

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When Facts Don’t Support Their Position, Fetus People Lie

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Obama Administration

Some academic researchers just released a study saying that in the U.S., abortion is safer than childbirth:

Dr. Elizabeth Raymond from Gynuity Health Projects in New York City and Dr. David Grimes of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, found that between 1998 and 2005, one woman died during childbirth for every 11,000 or so babies born.

That compared to one woman of every 167,000 who died from a legal abortion.

The researchers also cited a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which found that, from 1998 to 2001, the most common complications associated with pregnancy — including high blood pressure, urinary tract infections and mental health conditions — happened more often in women who had a live birth than those who got an abortion.

In their report, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, Raymond and Grimes write that the findings aren’t surprising given that women are pregnant for a lot longer when they decide to have a baby and so have more time to develop complications.

Harwood said previous studies have also shown the safety of legal abortions.

This really isn’t earth-shattering news. There have been studies going back many years, done in many industrialized nations, that say pretty much the same thing.

However, the Fetus People can’t let that stand, because one of the rationales they put forward for outlawing abortion is that it’s a terribly dangerous procedure that causes women to die or get cancer or go crazy, none of which is supported by medical data. But who needs facts when you’ve got God?

So at a major abortion criminalization site, the Fetus People* are complaining that the Reuters article doesn’t cite data or statistics, even though the Reuters article plainly states that the entire study is published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, a publication apparently kept hidden from Fetus People. And they complained that the physicians and medical school professors quoted in the article, most of whom did not work on the study, are known to be advocates for legal abortion. In the minds of the Fetus People, this in itself revokes their right to free speech, apparently.

Now, here is the fun part. The FP article cites a study by the World Economics Forum that, the FPs said, shows that women living in countries that criminalize abortion have lower maternal mortality rates than those who live in countries with legal abortion. The truth is just the opposite, according to Alan Guttmacher

Where abortion is legal on broad grounds, it is generally safe, and where it is illegal in most circumstances, it is generally unsafe. For example, in the United States, where abortion is legal on broad grounds, induced abortion results in 0.6 deaths per 100,000 procedures. In Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, abortion results in 30 and 460 deaths per 100,000 procedures, respectively

But what about the WEF study? The FP link led to another FP article that called out statistics for Ireland and Poland, which (they said) shows that countries with restrictive abortion laws have lower maternal death rates. Of course, Ireland and Poland are unique in that women in those countries can just hop over to the nearby country next door for abortions. In Ireland it’s just a quick ferry ride to good ol’ pro-choice Britain, and in Poland “abortion tourism” is commonplace.

So, while few abortions are performed in Poland and Ireland, it’s most likely the rate of abortions among Polish and Irish women are about the same as in neighboring countries. The FP’s examples are meaningless, and their claims are bogus. It doesn’t even qualify as cherry picking, IMO. It’s just a plain flat-out lie.

And, of course, there is no correlation between abortion rate and abortion law. Guttmacher:

Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is high, at 29 and 32 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and Latin America, respectively—regions where abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. In Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds, the abortion rate is 12 per 1,000.

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*I call people working to criminalize abortion “Fetus People” not because of their alleged concern for every fetus, but because their brains are underdeveloped. Also it’s a lot easier to keyboard “Fetus People” than “people working to criminalize abortion.” I refuse to call them “pro-life”; obviously, they aren’t.

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Rabble Rouser

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n00t, Obama Administration

In the last post I linked to a Steve Koracki article about Newt’s flat performance last night.

The atmosphere for the debate the Peacock network hosted in Florida Monday night was a marked departure from what we saw in South Carolina last week. Whereas Fox and CNN amped their live audiences up beforehand and encouraged boisterous responses during the proceedings, the NBC opening was comparatively sober; this time, it didn’t seem like it had been farmed out to a team of NBA producers. When moderator Brian Williams opened the telecast, the crowd was silent and respectful, and it remained so for virtually all of the next 100 minutes. …

… on Monday, there was no energy in the hall for Gingrich to feed off of, and no one on the media panel willing to step up and play his foil. From the very beginning, his responses were jarringly flat and unfocused. When an unusually sharp and focused Mitt Romney came after him hard in the debate’s early minutes, Gingrich seemed unsure how – or even whether – to engage him. And when Romney dismantled Gingrich’s defense of his lucrative Freddie Mac work like a seasoned prosecutor, the normally loquacious former speaker was literally left speechless.

Newt has been bragging about he’s the best Republican to face Barack Obama in a debate. But what we’re seeing is that Newt really isn’t a very good debater. As Kornacki says, in the South Carolina debates “all he was doing was playing to persecution complex of a fired up, rabidly partisan crowd, whose euphoric response rubbed off on like-minded viewers at home.” It may have been great political theater, but it wasn’t true debating.

Now Newt is saying he won’t allow the television debate hosts to “control” the audiences.

“I wish in retrospect I had protested when Brian Williams took [the crowd] out of it because I think it’s wrong,” he said. “I think he took them out of it because the media is terrified that the audience is going to side with the candidates against the media, which is what they’ve done in every debate.”

Gingrich’s debate performances are widely viewed as having propelled him to an overwhelming victory at Saturday’s South Carolina primary.

His fiery performances often came at the expense of the debate moderators for questions he deemed inappropriate, and the conservative crowds often rewarded the former House Speaker with applause and even a standing ovation for his attacks against the media.

But NBC asked the crowd to hold their applause until the breaks, and moderator Brian Williams didn’t offer any opportunities for Gingrich to go after him.

As a result, some of Gingrich’s attacks that might have energized his supporters at previous debates seemed to fall flat. At one point Gingrich even seemed flustered, and paused in silence to collect his thoughts.

“We’re going to serve notice on future debates that we won’t tolerate — we’re just not going to allow that to happen,” Gingrich continued. “That’s wrong — the media doesn’t control free speech. People ought to be able to applaud if they want to. It was almost silly.”

Does Gingrich think he would ever be allowed to debate Barack Obama in front of a fired-up, hand-picked right-wing audience primed to applaud and hoot and holler? Is he nuts?

When Kennedy and Nixon debated in 1960, they were in a studio with no audience at all.

Imagine President Obama and Newt Gingrich in a studio debate with no audience. Heh.

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SOTU Tonight

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n00t, Obama Administration, Republican Party

I won’t be home tonight to live blog, but y’all can comment away. Credit to the New York Public Library for the image of the fashionable gentleman in the top hat.

Mitch Daniels will be giving the Republican response. Bill Kristol says there is a groundswell of support to nominate Mitch Daniels as president. I haven’t seen such a groundswell myself. But see Mitch Daniels screws middle class working people in his state, before he heads off to give his speech to the pundits:

Indiana under Daniels gave away the store to business interests and they got absolutely nothing in return. Gutted business regulation, gutted environmental regulation, sold state assets, deregulated and privatized public schools, destroyed public sector unions, and the unemployment rate in Indiana is comparable to the midwest states around Indiana, states that didn’t make all the concessions demanded by the “job creators”. The promised jobs never arrived.

When John Boehner speaks of Mitch Daniels he has to claim that Daniels was working on “a climate for job creation.” Not jobs. A “climate” where jobs might blow in like the weather, maybe, sometime, depending. Boehner has to use that odd and abstract language because Boehner knows what the unemployment rate is in Indiana, and he also knows that Daniels is a two-term governor who had a free hand to put in place the whole conservative-libertarian wish list. For years. That’s all in place, but the job creators just keep on demanding more concessions from Indiana, and Mitch Daniels just keeps handing them over.

It’s a sure bet the bobbleheads will gush about how “moderate” Daniels is tonight. He’s not. Well, unless your idea of “moderate” is any white guy dressed in a suit who is not a Democrat.

Charles Pierce:

I think the fact that 10,000 people came out in the middle of the day to protest against Indiana’s egregious attempt to turn itself into Mississippi on behalf of the people who think Mitch Daniels should be president might warrant a little more coverage than it’s getting. After all, every single one of the Republican candidates is in favor of right-to-work laws, including Ron Paul, the last hope for progressive politics. And Mitch Daniels is at the very toppermost of the poppermost of all those holy-Christ-these-guys-are-such-a-sack-of-hair lists of people who might save the Republican brand, if only they’d run. David Brooks, for one, has been spurned and regularly is seen weeping over a picture of Mitch in a heart-shaped frame.

Elsewhere — Newt can’t deliver without a screaming audience.

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