Whence springs Todd Akin's belief in magic, rape-proof vaginas?

Justine Larbalestier provides some context for Republican MO senate nominee Todd Akin statement that, "from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

It turns out that this belief in magic sperm-rejecting vaginas was the kind of thing that was believed in 1785, when Samuel Farr argued in his groundbreaking treatise on law and medicine that:

Samuel Farr, in the first legal-medicine text to be written in English (1785), argued that “without an excitation of lust, or enjoyment in the venereal act, no conception can probably take place.” Whatever a woman might claim to have felt or whatever resistance she might have put up, conception in itself betrayed desire or at least a sufficient measure of acquiescence for her to enjoy the venereal act. This is a very old argument. Soranus had said in second-century Rome that “if some women who were forced to have intercourse conceived . . . the emotion of sexual appetite existed in them too, but was obscured by mental resolve,” and no one before the second half of the eighteenth century or early nineteenth century question the physiological basis of this judgement. The 1756 edition of Burn’s Justice of the Peace, the standard guide for English magistrates, cites authorities back to the Institutes of Justinian to the effect that “a woman can not conceive unless she doth consent.” It does, however, go on to point out that as matter of law, if not of biology, this doctrine is dubious. Another writer argued that pregnancy ought to be taken as proof of acquiescence since the fear, terror, and aversion that accompany a true rape would prevent an orgasm from occurring and thus make conception unlikely.

(Quote from Thomas Laqueur’s Making Sex).

Justine notes that Farr's work was written in the same century in which Mary Toft was widely believed to have given birth to rabbits.

So yeah, that the kind of "science" that Todd Akin will bring to the Senate.

“Legitimate Rape” and Other Craptastic Beliefs From the Olden Days


  1. If only we could harness the power of nature and instigate the Bruce effect, then we would never have to deal with these ridiculous people again.

    1. Coming from a protestant pro-life background, I certainly saw this a number of times in pro-life ‘information’ leaflets.

      1.  I guess that no one likes to remember that correlation does not equal causation…

        My guess is that the odds of getting pregnant from a rape aren’t a whole lot different than the odds of getting pregnant from a consentual encounter, ie, most of the time women don’t get pregnant from any single instance of unprotected sex, but women can get pregnant from it, and likewise, women don’t usually get pregnant from rape, but can get pregnant from it.

        I can’t readily find statistics on the matter, and I suspect that any statistics wouldn’t be very accurate as rape is apparently under-reported, but I wouldn’t be surprised if conception rates aren’t all that different.

        1.  From an Atlantic.com article on the topic:
          “According to a 1996 article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, “among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.”
          (I know, I know, this doesn’t provide the rate compared to consensual sex –someone else can look that up!)

  2. Please note his statement is not actually untrue: “from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” It is his understanding of the information passed on.

    Unfortunately that means I wouldn’t refuse to vote for him because of lies but, instead, because he has the comprehension skills of the average 3 year old.

    1. Similarly, while he was a Senator, Bill Frist, who is also a medical doctor, when asked whether HIV could be transmitted through tears and sweat, refused to give a straight answer.

      What’s unfortunate is that when a medical doctor provides false or deliberately misleading information or just says something really stupid they can have their license revoked. It rarely happens, but at least it’s possible.

      When a legislator provides false or deliberately misleading information or just says something really stupid in many cases the only option is to wait for the next election and hope that someone better will run as their opponent.

      1. I have a very hard time believing that a (credible) medical doctor would make such a claim. I don’t know if there exists a group of MD’s that are equivalent to climate-change deniers, but I certainly hope not. My faith in humanity is already teetering at the edge of the cliff.

        1. It’s the “credible” part that does it. I was, after all, talking about Bill Frist. He lost any credibility he might have had when he claimed to have diagnosed Terri Schiavo as conscious based solely on his review of “about an hour” of edited videotape.

          I sincerely hope, though, that I didn’t just send your faith in humanity over the edge.

          1.  It’s hardly you that would push me over the edge – it’s these events and statements.

            The only thing that’s keeping me hanging from a root like Wile E. Coyote is how roundly this is getting denounced.

          2. Frist, I believe, knew better, but felt he had to cater to a certain demographic for what he thought was a greater good in harnessing political power.  Akin likely believes what he says.  There are MD’s who were historically educated in science, but practice in crazytown

        2. My faith in humanity went off that cliff a long, long time ago.  Modern events only serve to increase terminal velocity speeds.

        3. “I have a very hard time believing that a (credible) medical doctor would make such a claim”

          Plenty of persons who graduate from medical school can make this claim, why are you focusing on “credible”?

          1. Attending and graduating from medical school implies an understanding of science. Akin’s claim – or the claim of the doctors he cites – demonstrate a complete lack of scientific sensibility.

        4. I have a very hard time believing that a (credible) medical doctor would make such a claim.

          You must not know very many doctors. I worked in a hospital (in San Francisco no less) and spent the 80s listening to physicians talk about how AIDS was caused by the body revolting against the unnaturalness of anal intercourse.

  3. I just finished a fascinating book, “The Destiny of the Republic” by Candice Millard, about the assassination of James Garfield.  Turns out what killed him was not the assassin’s bullet, but massive infection from doctors poking their unwashed fingers into the wound.  At the time (1881), the notion of germs was dismissed by the U.S. medical establishment as claptrap.  So, yeah, lots of ignorance out there.  But in the 21st century, we should know better.

    1. Not sure how accurate this is, but I heard that in the war between the states, the South’s wound survival rates went up significantly when they ran out of silk thread for sutures. 

      They resorted to using long hairs from horses’ tails, which they had to boil to remove the coarse outer layer and leave a smooth core that was usable as a suture thread – while the North had good supply lines, so they had plenty of good silk thread to carry around in their unsanitary, bloody, surgery bags…

      1. Makes sense.  Another point the book made was that docs liked to hang their suture threads on their coat buttons for easy access.

        1. Indeed.  You’ll notice I didn’t call it the War of Northern Aggression.

          So, the Vietnam War – y’all lost that, are you OK calling it the American War?  Because that’s what the winning side calls it…

          1. @google-4b3c8a17ed014a95db54ba5b738648c0:disqus  – I’m just taking the piss.
            Seriously though, it was a war; the warring parties were states of the USA – i.e. unlike a typical civil war where there are guerilla-type groups fighting for both sides in every region, in the US Civil War (see, @ChicagoD:disqus I’m using the term you want) each state decided, though its legislature, which side to join.  In that, the fact that it was a war between the states of a federation is a distinguishing feature of the US Civil War, compared to other civil wars.

  4. In the eighteenth century it was commonly believed that female orgasm (as well as the male’s) was required for conception.

    Therefore, at that time, rape leading to pregnancy implied that even if the sex was against the woman’s will, at some level she still enjoyed it.  Of course, in these more enlightened times we know this is not the case. 

    I’ve heard some senators are old fashioned but this one takes the biscuit.

    1. Incidentally, (depending on which studies you ask) 5-20% of rape victims experience an orgasm during rape. This is a horrifying thought, and I in NO WAY mean to imply that these women “secretly enjoyed it”. I bring this up to reinforce the point that there is often very far from a 1-to-1 relationship between mind and body… our bodies are biological machines, running largely on autopilot, and respond to stimuli without consulting the conscious brain  first, or considering the horrific implications to the psyche.

        1. Are you skeptical that it ever happens, or just that the numbers are that high? I’ll look for some original sources, I only recently was made aware, through mostly anecdotal evidence of victims sharing thier stories and how hard it is to even suggest due to th deep volatility of even the thought of such a thing.

    2. Focusing only on the first sentence, that’s actually more woman-friendly than a lot of views on sex. The idea that if you want a kid she’s got get hers too (and if you want help on the farm, you better get some kids) is much better than “female orgasms are a myth” or “nice girls don’t enjoy sex.”

  5. This is consistent with the GOP’s position that any post-Enlightenment science has a strong liberal bias. 

  6. Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    And this moron has finally said something that I bet many of his cohorts believe, which would explain why they poo-poo the idea of rape and abortion as just being tools used by “sluts”. 
    What I find disturbing is they have wives who haven’t smothered them in their sleep yet for being so stupid.  But then they often have the money to work around the laws the impose on little people.

    1. Pro tip: smothering someone is tough when the smotheree’s brain obviously already functions without oxygen.

    2. This implies that the wives themselves are smart enough to want to smother them.  They married these asshats in the first place.

    3. “Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

      We learn from history to figure out what other people are going to gleefully repeat over and over. Thinking that anybody’s going to stop these misbehaviors and regressions is far too optimistic.

      1. Now we need to get them to sign a pledge to not take those new black magic antibiotic things, and let nature thin their numbers naturally with “social” diseases from the hookers.

        We can remind them they can just get their body to purge those evil things from their systems by thinking about it.

  7. I suppose just saying “rape culture is why” is not a helpful explanation.  But yes, for the record, this is the kind of stuff.  This.

      1. There’s a decent background on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_culture

        Short version: Rape culture is a culture where victims of rape are blamed for being assaulted, where perpetrators of rape are apologized for, where even reporting a rape to authorities is risky for the victim. Basically, our culture is broken in many ways that permit and facilitate sexual violence.

        1. Thanks. Also thank you for being less snarky than internet normal, because now I see my question totally deserved a “let me google that for you” response.

      2. What, like, highly placed candidates for office who perpetrate a myth that there is “legitimate” & thus also “fake” rapes? Something like that?

        1. Mordecai – I think the really offensive thing here is that a man who influences government policy on reproduction doesn’t even know how reproduction works. He has ignored the facts and manufactured new ones to suit his factually incorrect world-view. Even more offensive is that once he was caught out as ignorant, he didn’t even admit his ignorance instead saying he ‘mis-spoke’. So basically the man believed pro-life propaganda, he now knows the real story, and his position is still not going to change. It’s just sad how no-one in politics is able to say “I was misinformed and this new information has caused me to change my thinking on this issue”. Even worse, there’s nothing to hold him accountable for being ignorant even though his magical thinking can potentially directly harm millions of women.

          The legitimate/illegitimate thing is really just a case of Akin expressing himself really, really poorly. A key difference between pro-life and pro-choice thinking on abortion is that pro-lifers think that a woman who has consensual sex and then claims rape has no right to abort a resulting child. They’re stuck on this scenario, seeing the unborn fetus as the victim of the woman’s lies. Since consent is hard to prove in court, and cut-and-dried rape cases are rare (since it is often he said/she said (genders used for convenience)) they prefer in their minds to err on the said of caution and forbid abortion for everybody, the rights of the fetus being more important to them than the rights of the woman carrying the child. Pro-choice people are not necessarily “pro-abortion” but they believe that access to safe abortion services are a necessity for women’s health. (Because the demand is there whether or not the state allows abortion, which gives rise to unsafe back-alley abortions) Many also believe that up to a certain point in the pregnancy, getting an abortion is the woman’s prerogative, seeing as whether or not a child /should/ be born is not an equation one can solve. It’s not a question government should answer, the only one with enough information is the mother. Pro-choicers prefer to err on the side of never forcing a woman to remain pregnant when she doesn’t want to be, and recognize that the question of whether any particular abortion is right or wrong isn’t one that can be definitively answered, least of all by the kind of people who believe that women who are raped can’t conceive.

          1. I think the offensive thing is that anyone, anywhere in government, is insisting that some rape survivors aren’t legitimate survivors, is victim-blaming, and is providing tools for other victim-blamers.

  8. Compare with Ron Paul’s statement from Feb 2012, “If it was an honest rape…” That was the start of his response when Piers Morgan asked him what advice he’d give to one of his own daughters if they were raped.

    He wasn’t saying anything as magical as Akin’s fantasy, but {it sounded like} he was saying even if it happened to his own daughters, he would have to make sure they weren’t lying about it, because you know how women just cry rape now and then.


    1. I wonder if it would be worth my while to collate all the various instances Ron Paul has invoked honesty in his speeches, conversations, books, and interview, and reinterpret them based on what I now know about his conception of honesty.

    2. All I can come up with is that there is a group of far-right politicians who are (a) utterly unfamiliar with what actual female desire looks and feels like and (b) who see women not as human equals but as permanent adult children incapable of truly knowing their own minds.

      In this scenario, in order to properly guide childish, emotional women, normal sexual reality could encompass mental manipulation and escalating levels of force – which would then necessitate distinctions like “honest rape” to separate their own actions with women from those inflicted by a stranger.

      This way there is plenty of room ethically for being really really “convincing” before you get into, you know, REAL rapey-rape.

    3. Great interview, I had no idea that Ron Paul engaged in quantum mechanical theorizing when defending the morality of deciding for women what their rights are!

      from .30 – 1.30 

      “Well, you don’t know if you’re taking a life” 

    4. With those sociopaths the first assumption always seems to be that the victim is lying. Which must make one suspect that “consent” isn’t something they’re confident has always been present in their own partners.

    5. Isn’t it obvious if the only way you could get a legal abortion was to claim you’d been raped, there would be more false claims of rape?

        1.  I’ve heard something similar, from someone who argued against criminalizing spousal rape (in other words, it wouldn’t be rape).  (I recall that in some US state, it was not illegal to rape one’s wife.) He didn’t deny it was a problem, or that it happens, but rather that women would clog the courts with false rape accusations to get back at their husbands.

          1. Because stopping false accusations is more troubling to some people than the act of rape. That’s consistent with Akin’s “legitimate rape” and Ron Paul’s “honest rape”. Some rape is going to happen, you can try to stop it, but my God, think of the men whose lives may be shattered by dishonest, illegitimate claims of rape. Won’t someone please think of the men??

      1. I suspect that for the Todd Akins’ of the world, most rape claims would be considered not really rape anyway. Regardless, since rape can’t possibly cause pregnancy (due to magic vaginas) there is no need to worry about giving anyone an abortion no matter the veracity of their claim.

        This isn’t really about rape, honest or otherwise. It is about slowly closing down legal and safe access to abortion on every front, by any means necessary. Logic and science are not TA’s priority.

  9. If he actually believes this claptrap then why does he bother preventing rape victims from having access to the Morning After Pill?

    1.  You have failed the first test by trying to apply logic to statements like this. If you want any hope in understanding these people, you have to stop that. Right now.

    2. Is that really all that hard to understand? If you think that women can only get pregnant from consensual sex, then any woman who says she needs post-coital contraception is admitting that (a) she’s lying about having been raped and (b) she wants an abortion. If you grant his (antique, Victorian) premise, the rest is simple logic.

      1. Apparently some right-wingers are making the distinction between forcible rape and statutory rape, and don’t want teenage girls getting abortions just because their parents want them to (assuming that the sex was consensual but under the local age for legal consent.)  Because traditionally, they could “go visit grandma” and then put the child up for adoption.  (For many of them, it’s also that they’re pigs who don’t believe that “date rape” is something men should be punished for.)

  10. And this is what happens when laws about the rape of women get unilaterally written by men…

    1. “And this is what happens when laws about the rape of women get unilaterally written by assholes

      fixed it for you.

      1. Honestly, I think my version is is more accurate. To maintain such a position NOW, after women have been speaking out about female sexuality, is to be an asshole (or, at least, wilfully ignorant). To maintain such a position historically – when women neither spoke nor were asked – is a simple case of empathy failure and I-know-best. With the observation that one needs to ejaculate in order to impregnate anyone in mind, men imagine themselves being raped by a woman and conclude that if they orgasm, it can’t be that bad. From there, it’s a simple “and the same must be true for women”.

        Put otherwise: you don’t need to be an asshole to think that everyone else experiences the world exactly like you do and has the same options available to them, you just need to be clueless.

        1. Your statement is not accurate, because there are women in both houses of congress who can vote for or against said legislation, or propose legislation of their own, so there is nothing UNILATERAL about it, as it’s not only men who are involved in the process.

          Also, your statement implies that all men share the same political beliefs, which is not true.

          Also your statement implies that no women would share those beliefs, which is unfortunately not true either.

          So, my statement is more accurate, because only assholes, be they male or female assholes, would propose such legislation with regard to rape.

          And I don’t really buy the distinction between being clueless and being an asshole either. Not in this day and age. That’s no longer an excuse, especially not for an elected official. Sorry, but you’re mistaken in that regard as well.

          1. I think we’re talking about different things. I was talking about the historical context as described in the bottom part of the post. You (correct me if I’m wrong), are referring to Akin’s views (which, thankfully, are not yet part of any proposed legislation) in the top part. My bad if I didn’t make it clear. I fully agree with you for anything regarding the present. In the past though, I don’t think there was a greater incidence of assholes, just a lower diversity among people in power… and lack of diversity produces lots and lots of crap decisions with a lot less malicious intent than such decisions would otherwise take.

  11. and speaking of rabbits:

    “Long ago El-ahrairah made a deal with Frith. Frith promised him that rabbits were not to be born dead or unwanted. If there’s little chance of a decent life for them, it’s a doe’s privilege to take them back into her body unborn.”

    so, bunnies can do this. perhaps Mr. Akin is confusing his species

  12. Amazing that we can put machines on Mars, have a deep understanding about chemistry, biology, physics, social science and technology… and yet… there are people in this country that have the audacity to even hint that there is a scientific justification for this kind of false and deeply violent, misogynistic medieval thinking.

    This man should never, ever be allowed in politics again, let alone a civilized society. This isn’t from a lack of information. This isn’t a lack of education. This is from a deep-seated hatred of women and desire to completely dehumanize them based on his world view.


    1. Sadly I think you’re being generous when you say “we …have a deep understanding about chemistry, biology, physics, social science and technology…”

      It’s true that there are a large number of people who do have a deep understanding of these subjects, and there are those of us who, in spite of our efforts, can’t claim to have a deep understanding but at least have learned enough to trust those with the deep understanding.

      The problem is there’s also a large number of people who have a deep mistrust of science. If there weren’t we wouldn’t have to listen to statements like this, much less have to worry about legislation that allows teachers to say that evolution is a “controversial belief”.

    1. I wondered a similar thing.  Not stemming from duck reproduction, but some other bit of trivia that, like the old telephone game, had little relationship to the original fact.

      For instance, I remember reading (about 10 years ago in Science News or something of that level) that women having an affair were more likely to become pregnant from their lover than their husband.  An odd statistical quirk that may have since been dis-proven.  Same for the proposed mechanism along the lines of increased blood flow due to, yada yada yada, leading to higher fertility.

      I can see where someone would make the logical mistake of assuming less desire resulting in less fertility means zero desire results in zero fertility.

      Dumb comment from a dumb guy based on a distorted fact.  But I am fascinated to find out where such dumb stuff originates.  Kind of like tracking cholera back to a well.

      1. For instance, I remember reading (about 10 years ago in Science News or something of that level) that women having an affair were more likely to become pregnant from their lover than their husband.

        Sounds perceptual, like how it always rains just after you wash your car. Perhaps they have a better recollection of the furtive couplings with their lovers than of the desiccated conjugations with their husbands, even though they had both in the same day.

        1. The study controlled for the obvious, right; that women having an affair were likely sleeping with their side pieces way more often than they were with their boring ol’ husbands?

    2. So the reason Todd Akin is not giving birth to rabbits is not that he is male and human but that he did not enjoy being raped by a duck?

  13. I’m not at all surprised to see that Akin’s statement was based on 18th-century beliefs that conveniently placed some sort of blame for rape on a woman. However, I was a little surprised to read about a female orgasm being necessary for conception written so far back. I recall in my youth that not only was female orgasm often dismissed as unnecessary for any reason and unladylike to boot, but there were serious doubts from some (male) scholars as to whether there even was such a thing.

    1.  Keep in mind  the citation makes no mention of the woman needing to have an orgasm to conceive, only that if she conceives, “then obviously she enjoyed it.” In other words, as many have stated before me; a shitty way of rationalizing rape.

      I find it hard to believe that men of the 18th century were veritable “Don Juan’s” who sole desire was making sure women enjoined themselves in bed.

      1. It took it from that very last part: ” Another writer argued that pregnancy ought to be taken as proof of acquiescence since the fear, terror, and aversion that accompany a true rape would prevent an orgasm from occurring and thus make conception unlikely.”

  14. Hey, so he didn’t misspeak! He didn’t say that he was referencing science or quoting doctors of this century, did he?

  15. As “funny” as this is, I am frightened for our future when these are the people “in charge” of laws affecting all of us.  Somehow these fools need to be exposed in a way that no one would vote for them.  Oh how I wish.

  16. Mr Akins further elaborated that “a man who has comitted rape generally doesn’t inform the stork as they could be used as material witness against if charges were pressed. This fact makes a pregnancy very unlikely. ” He continued “C’mon, am I the only one that got the talk?” before finally closing with a rant on sexual education, insisting it should be introduced “at least as early as 11th grade.”

  17. Hey look – something I can actually do something about. I live in Missouri and Mr Akin won’t be getting my vote.

  18. … work was written in the same century in which Mary Toft was widely believed to have given birth to rabbits.

    as opposed to the current century, when it’s widely believed that a magic dude made people out of mud dolls and a talking snake tricked the first woman into corrupting the entire human race? then the magic dude saved humanity by having a ghost impregnate a minor against her will, and making a baby who saves us by feeding us his blood and flesh?

  19. It turns out that this belief in magic sperm-rejecting vaginas was the kind of thing that was believed in 1785

    Republican idiots continue their inglorious efforts of sending humanity backwards until we reach the stone age.

  20. Via a friend on Twitter:
    “Rape is the forcible ravishment of a woman, but if she conceive it is not rape, for she cannot conceive unless she consent.”
    – Sir Henry Finch, Law, or a Discourse Thereof (London, 1627)

  21. Are they pulling these guys straight out of the past with a time machine or something? How can people who grew up in modern times seriously be this backwards?

        1.  A Slightly Longer

          We try so
          hard to make them know

          That rape
          is just a big no-no.

          We talk, we
          shout across the land

          But these
          dumb shits don’t understand!

          common sense avoids their ear,

          Let’s punch
          some sense in from the rear

          they’ll have perspective put

          When the
          shoe is on the other foot.

          It may be
          bad to wish them harm,

          I try so
          hard to just stay calm,

          But if this
          method makes them change,

          It might be
          worth a little pain!

  22. I’m sure he was trying to, and surely has locked in that key ‘undecided’ rapist voting group. 

    1. Todd Rapekin is crazy but, depending on how big the Men’s Rights movement is in Missouri and on how voraciously the anti-choice constituent votes, he might be crazy like a fox.

  23. Well, to be fair, he didn’t say he was talking about non-leech-bearing doctors nor the kind that don’t have a barber practice on the side.

  24. The associative arrangements of America mean that all the best and brightest people from places like Prague, Oklahoma (see the earlier story about the valedictorian) move to cities to go to college and get jobs, leaving behind a poor, uneducated, fundamentalist rump occupying the “heartland” between the coasts. This rump clusters together and self-reinforces their ridiculous and paranoid beliefs, and they’re now uniting under the banner of the newly transformed Republican party, which has become a quasi-fascist authoritarian movement. They are transforming rural areas into a sort of pre-enlightenment zone more akin to the tribal areas of Pakistan than a first-world industrialized nation. Hence you see things like creationist museums and abortion providers being run out of town. This fellow clearly represents a lot of citizens’ views, otherwise he would not be a CANDIDATE FOR THE SENATE, for crying out loud! This is what much of America is becoming.

    And thanks to the way our government is structured – with representation more based on geography than population – these rump areas are increasingly determining our political culture. The rump is cynically manipulated by the plutocrat class into giving them everything they want (via things like FOX News and talk radio), while the urban educated class can only watch, impotent, mouths agape, as these people determine the fate of our nation.

    When the future Gibbon pens The Decline and Fall of America, surely this will be included in the dynamics of collapse. 

    1. What is baffling is how the populace of the rump failied to notice that their states have the highest unemployment rates, highest infant mortality rates, lowest percentage of people graduating from college, generate the least amount of income and require the most federal aid.  Worse, as faith based reasoning increases and education decreases, the ability to detect the links between disastrous policies and resulting economic decline, becomes more and more rare. Increased rates of teen pregnancy didn’t dissuade anyone from advocating abstinence only sex education. It doesn’t help that television news reporting has devolved to a he said / she said format devoid of facts, logic, or conclusions – a format that perpetuates the notion that nothing is really true and no one can really “know” anything.

      Everyone talks about job creation but where are these jobs to come from if not from new developments in science and technology and the resulting services that support them? How then can anyone, ever, opt to cut education spending or censor science education? What jobs do conservative Republicans imagine the middle class will be doing in 15 years? The 1% only need so many pool boys.

      But then I guess there is a very politically active segment of the US population that thinks a return to biblical times is just what God wants.

      1. While I certainly agree that folks in rural areas often vote against their own financial interests, I have to disagree with your blanket statements about rumplanders states. I’ve compiled some helpful info graphics.

        Highest unemployment:


        The Southeast is pretty depressed, but the midwest is doing OK. Highest unemployment: California.

        Highest infant mortality rates


        The southeast has the highest levels, but most of the lowest levels are in lightly populated states. Hard to draw a solid rural vs. urban comparison.

        Lowest percentage of people graduating from college:


        The percentages are all over the map, but the lowest percentage is in Connecticut (11.7%) and the highest is in South Dakota (60.7%).

        Generate the least amount of income:


        Lowest: Arkasas, Mississipi, West Virginia. Highest: Connecticut. How much of that disparity in income is offset by similar gradations in cost of living? Hard to say from such a simple infographic.

        Require the most federal aid:


        Per the writeup there:

        Alaska received nearly twice the national average, taking in $20,351.13 per resident, the most of any American state. The state with the second-highest total in per-capita federal funds received was Virginia, at $19,734. The state receiving the least federal money per resident was Nevada, which obtained $7,148.49 per capita, followed by Utah with $7,434.65 per capita.

        -Summer Glau

        1. My blanket statements were based largely on the information provided by the US census bureau and, admittedly, used a pretty nebulous notion of “rump” states that included ideas like evangelical religious beliefs and conservative family values more than geographical cohesiveness.  My intention was to link states through their poverty, lack of education and conservative religious values – and this holds true.

          These are the states with the highest statistical correlation between conservative, evangelical values and poor economic indicators and, thus, my idea of “the rump:”

          Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, West Virginia and Oklahoma.

          And here are my sources:

          Lowest percentage of the population earning a Bachelor’s Degree  (2009)

          Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. 

          Source: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/education/educational_attainment.html

          Federal individual income tax returns by state (again from the US Census, this time most recent available figures are 2008). The states with the lowest reported income per capita are:

          Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia

          Source: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/federal_govt_finances_employment/federal_individual_income_tax_returns.html

          Highest Amount of  Federal Aid to State and Local Governments per capta: (2007) :

          Wyoming, Alaska, Louisiana, Mississipi, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island and West Virginaa


          Highest Infant Mortality Rates for 2006 – again from the US census:

          Mississipii, Louisiana, Alabama, Tenessee, Arkansas, South Carolina, Deleware, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Ohio.


          Highest unemployment Rates (2008)

          Michigan, Rhode Island, California, Mississipi, South Carolina, Alaska, Nevada, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida and Georgia


          Highest percentage of people below the poverty line:

          Mississipi, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee

          source: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/ranks/rank34.html

          Voted Republican in the last 3 Presidential Elections:

          Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississipi, Mousori, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennesee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming

          source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_presidential_election_results_by_state

          Highest percentage of White Evangelicals:

          Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alabama, West Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississipi, Kansas, Georgia and Virginia

          source: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/2004/11/State-By-State-Percentage-Of-White-Evangelicals-Catholics-And-Black-Protestants.aspx

  25. I just wonder: if he had to spend some time sharing a prison cell with Biggy McButtstretcher whether he would call that “legitimate rape” or “the other kind”?

  26. It’s always hard to understand the machinations of a severely conservative mind.  But the Akin episode gave me insight into one reason why we always hear about conservatives being so adamant about denying abortions for rape and incest: they see it as the expedient loophole that “everyone” will use when a traditional abortion would be illegal.

  27. Todd Akin – Too dumb for Missouri

    I hope.

    This message brought to you by “A guy who lives in Missouri and really hopes this guy doesn’t win as that shit would be embarrassing.”

  28. So – being a resident of MO, if his opposition can’t ride this wave of fortune to another term in office, I have officially lost all hope for my state and country. Yet, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, since we ARE the state who once elected a dead person over a viable live candidate. What silly gooses those GOP office holders are…

  29. The missing context is that Akin isnt alone. This has been an elephant in the room for decades including the notion that women should enjoy rape. It’s about time there is a serious discussion and these attitudes are brought out in the open. 

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