Signs and Wonders
Karl Rove
Associated Press/Photo by David Goldman
Karl Rove

Signs and Wonders 09.05

2012 Conventions

Toxic Karl. Karl Rove has famously withdrawn support for Missouri congressman Todd Akin and his bid for the U.S. Senate. Now, conservative icon and Missourian Phyllis Schlafly is saying that Rove "has made himself toxic to Republicans by his incredibly offensive and dangerous statement suggesting the murder [of Akin]." Wait a minute. Murder? Well, Rove said it was a joke when he told, as BusinessWeek reported, 70 big donors to his Super PAC, American Crossroads, that if Akin is "found mysteriously murdered, don't look for my whereabouts." Schlafly, who has been a delegate to the Republican National Convention almost continuously for the past half-century, added, "Karl Rove is an embarrassment to the Republican Party" and should resign from the party. That's not likely to happen. The hard reality is that Rove is not an embarrassment to the Republican Party. Just the opposite: He is what the Republican Party has become.

Eating organic. Is eating organic really better for you? Not according to a new study from Stanford University. According to the Associated Press, the Stanford study "concluded there's little evidence that going organic is much healthier, citing only a few differences involving pesticides and antibiotics." Senior researcher Dr. Dena Bravata said, "I was absolutely surprised." She added that "there are many reasons why someone might choose organic foods over conventional foods," from environmental concerns to taste preferences, but when it comes to individual health, "there isn't much difference."

Election integrity. A federal appellate court last week blocked a Texas law requiring citizens to show photo identification before voting. Greg Abbott, the state's attorney general, said Texas would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. "Today's decision is wrong on the law and improperly prevents Texas from implementing the same type of ballot integrity safeguards that are employed by Georgia and Indiana - [which] were upheld by the Supreme Court," Abbott said in a statement. Texas legislators passed the law in 2011, requiring voters to show one of six types of photo ID before casting their ballots. A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said the law's impact would fall "heavily on the poor," and stated that a high percentage of African-Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty. Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told CitizenLink that other states where voter-ID laws have been enforced have actually seen an increase in the number of racial minorities at the polls: "They unjustifiably discounted the experience of states like Georgia and Indiana, whose photo-ID laws have been in place now for a number of years and have had no discriminatory effects on minority voters." Legislators in Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin also passed voter-identification laws last year.

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DNC notebook. The day before the Democratic National Convention started, Occupy Wall Street protesters staged a march in the host city of Charlotte. They expected thousands. Only about 800 showed up. Most media accounts say the police outnumbered the protesters. On the same day, a Christian group organized a prayer rally called Charlotte 714. More than 5,000 people attended that event. The Occupy protest led all the local news programs Monday night and was the "above the fold" story on the front page of the Charlotte Observer the next day. The prayer event was barely mentioned on television, and was relegated to the local section of the Observer. Go figure.

By the way. Hurricane Isaac postponed the first day of Republican National Convention. Remnants of Isaac found Charlotte on Monday and caused early closure of CarolinaFest, the opening public "street party" for the Democratic National Convention. These remarkable providences caused me to wonder if the translation of these roaring weather events into human speak is "a pox on both your houses."

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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