I continue to be amazed when I encounter people who do not understand the significance of voting in this country.

The work I do depends somewhat on federal funding, which is highly competitive and has gotten increasingly so over the last 10 years. The people I work with depend almost exclusively on federal research funding, not only to fund the science they do, but to demonstrate their value to their colleagues. The reasoning goes like this – funding is so tight only the best get funded, if you are any good you will get funded. Prima facie it sounds logical. In reality the funding pool has shrunk significantly each year so the quality is not the issue. Congress is.

Here is an example: the funding stream that supports my work in 2004 gave 20 awards. In 2012 they gave out four. For the whole year. Now those awards not only have to go to top candidates but have to take into account additional variables like size of institution, population served (and other unknown variables), so the actual pool for possible awards in my category is now 1. One person/institution will receive this award to conduct essential, knowledge-producing research in this category. Why is this? Because research federal funding was severely cut during the Bush years and is not a priority to a GOP congress.

So when I talk to academics and they tell me they are too busy to vote, or the hours don’t fit their schedule I want to shake them until I hear their giant brains rattle.

I want to shriek at them, “Who is in office matters to your livelihood and the intellectual progress of our WHOLE FREAKIN COUNTRY you over-educated IDIOT!” But I don’t. I patiently (I hope) connect the dots for them so they understand that people in office who do not believe in science will not fund pure research. Knowledge generation is not the priority of people who say things like “Jobs, jobs, jobs” or “Drill, baby, drill”.

I explain that they have a right to their opinion on abortion but that a Romney/Ryan ticket with its person hood stance also means that IVF is no longer possible. You see all those extra embryos created so your sister-in-law or best-friend can have a successful implant would be people to a Romney/Ryan administration. “People” created in a petrie dish would be prohibited from being destroyed, and doctors would be prosecuted. Those are the kind of policies that loom if the intellectual crowd, always purported to be liberal anyway, doesn’t get out and vote.

Think. Your vote matters and has wide-reaching implications. Locally, regionally and nationally.

Think. How will you fit a visit to the Board of Elections into your busy, busy day?

That’s it for today. I have a three grant deadlines breathing down my neck that I need to go work on. Because one, really amazing research project is too much of a gamble, gotta put in three simultaneously. So really, one person not voting is too much of a gamble in my opinion.

I woke up with a headache this morning from too little sleep and way too much stimulation from the presidential debate, but with a tiny bit more understanding of the bajillion people on this planet that are fanatical about sports.

I don’t watch any sports, live or on TV, other than tennis. And even then only if its on. My family, and many, many other people, spend hours looking at and talking about sports. The only time this obsession had any impact on  my life was when I celebrated holidays with my family and football was on. All of them are screamers. My brothers, sisters, and their spouses and children. As in screaming at top voice at the TV if things in the game are going well, or if they are going poorly. This is a loud & stressful experience.

Last night during the debate, as I was yelling, gesturing rudely, gloating and furiously checking twitter & facebook, I realized I was behaving like a sports fan. Politics, it turns out, is my sport. A blood sport with deeply important, far-reaching, societal and humanitarian implications, but a “sport” nonetheless. Good clean fun.

It certainly explains the disconnect between me and my family. I never understand why they thought football was important, and they never understood why I thought social issues were important. They would have been shocked and baffled to see me throwing my hands up in a touch down gesture when Obama scored laughs with the audience, or when Romney let his shovel of a mouth dig a hole with women.

Before I end this I just have to say – binders full of women? gosh, get married before you have babies?  a flexible work schedule so you can get dinner on the table? – does he really think women will join him & Ryan on their trek back to the 1950’s?

I know the seasons not over yet, but my team clearly won last nights game.

Since I only have a few minutes, I am only going to focus on a few minutes out of the Vice Presidential debate last night.

If you put aside all the “malarkey”, distortions and ideological nuances, what the debate last night gave us was a very clear picture of two forms of government. Answering the question asked by Raddatz, “What role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion”, the candidates gave voters a fundamental choice between systems of government. Continue reading

Sometimes the republicans just make it too easy.

Todd Akin cannot back pedal fast enough to make up for his idiotic comments about “legitimate rape” and abortion. Its not an error, or foot-in-mouth disease, its only the truth leaking out.

Hyper conservatives are being forced to condemn his comments as indefensible and Karl Rove’s PAC is pulling ads. All in all a good day for getting people on the record trying to distance themselves from stupidity. Take Rep. Jeff Flake, who I picked for a random spot check because of his name. Flake is running for Senate in Arizona, tweeted “I oppose abortion, but exceptions must be made for rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother”. You don’t say! Lets look at Jeff’s record for a minute:

That would mean that Jeff has now made his first ever exception to his 100% pro-life record. Kudos Jeff!

Fish in a barrel.

Now that abortion is front and center in the public discussion again, I want folks to remember that this whole “its not really rape” issue exists solely to prevent an exemption for abortion. The crazy talk about women being raped secreting “special secretions” – I wish I made this shit up – so they can’t get pregnant, means that if they do get pregnant, they weren’t really raped. It wasn’t a legitimate or forcible rape, the made up terms that Ryan and Akin favor.  Get it?

I really hope we can get deep enough into the topic to hear about Ryan’s position that the definition of life is tied to economic freedom. It is essential that people understand that when Ryan advocates for fetal “personhood” he fundamentally opposes human rights for women.

I have a slightly different view than Ryan in that I believe economic freedom also belongs to women and is truly possible if and only if they have agency over their reproduction. If, when and how.

It should be a human right for a woman to access any medical procedure that stops conception, interrupts conception or aborts conception for any reason, at any time in their reproductive lives, and up to 24 weeks of gestation of the fetus. This is not a moral decision, a group decision or anything that Anthony Comstock ever should have had his filthy hands on.

Remember when republicans are talking about rape they are always talking about abortion.