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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Brad Pfeiffer: When things just don't add up

  • The truth is that this Romney-Ryan ticket does not look good for women at all.
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  • Folks, I’ll be the first to admit when I’ve been wrong, and I now believe I was wrong a few columns back in my assessment of Mitt Romney.  I said, in so many words that I didn’t believe that he would take us backwards on hard-won reproductive rights for women.   I didn’t realize that the former Massachusetts governor had changed so much on this and other issues.  I guess I still thought of Mitt as the liberal guy who was sometimes to the left of Ted Kennedy on issues such as gay rights and reproductive rights for women.  I admit that I was negligent and I hope that readers will forgive me for not keeping up with Mitt’s latest convictions.
    The truth is that this Romney-Ryan ticket does not look good for women at all.  Missouri’s Republican Representative Todd “legitimate rape” Akin and Paul Ryan were hand in hand in co-sponsoring legislation last year that threatened women’s rights to abortion in cases of rape.  In his debate with Biden, Ryan further exposed himself as one who believes that it’s best for elected officials to make decisions for women about personal reproductive health issues.
     Ryan, who is openly Catholic, loves to talk about the importance of his “faith” and appears to fall in line with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a group now struggling to appear morally credible in light of the Church’s child molestation scandals.  All of this should make American women very concerned about their reproductive freedoms.
    Romney used to present himself as liberal-minded, but now seems to be wooing the far right when he expresses his desires to effectively destroy Planned Parenthood.  We can’t kid ourselves about the far right.  They are still an overly zealous minority that can seriously assault reproductive rights.  Last November they successfully got a “personhood amendment” on the ballot in Mississippi.  This amendment would have given human rights to a fertilized egg.  The amendment would have undercut access to safe and legal abortions and outlawed many forms of birth control.  Fortunately, Mississippians for Healthy Families, good religious leaders, college students, and civil rights activists rallied to defeat the bill.
    The Romney-Ryan ticket is just not adding up in favor of women.  The next president could nominate one or more justices to the Supreme Court.  Women’s rights are at stake.
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    The teacher ordered the children to add together all the numbers from one to one hundred.  The was the 1700’s -- long before calculators were invented.  Most of them set to work, tediously scratching on their papers:  One plus two plus three plus four… etc.
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     But young Gauss saw it differently.  He understood that he could add the numbers in any order so long as he got them all.  So he added front to back:  1 + 100, 2 + 99, 3 + 98… etc.  He quickly realized that he would have 50 pairs and that each sum was 101.  He knew then that the answer was 50 times 101, which equals 5,050.  He had the answer in seconds and the teacher didn’t get much of a break.
     Yes, there are different ways to add numbers.  Whichever way it’s done, the answer needs to be correct.  These days, wouldn’t it be nice if a bright young child stepped up to tell some of these politicians that their numbers are just not adding up?  Well…the child wouldn’t even have to be that bright.  Bill Clinton said it in simple, humble enough terms:  It’s just the arithmetic.
     I look at it this way:  If they earned their money in a just and fair way, the upper crust are entitled to their personal mansions, personal yachts, personal servants, and personal aircraft.  They’re even entitled to openly whine about needing more tax breaks.  But they can’t have their own personal form of nonsense and call it arithmetic.