American bloggers question Rudy Giuliani's pro-choice alignment, while the Brits wonder what life will be like under Gordon Brown. Also, blow jobs are carcinogenic.
Rudy v. Wade: Rudy Giuliani, after several conflicting statements about his take on abortion, is now firmly in the pro-choice camp. Saying he was morally opposed to the procedure, Giuliani added, "It's a matter of your interpretation of how laws should operate, your interpretation of how respect for the rights of others should operate. … I would grant women the right to make that choice." What does this do to the GOP, let alone to Rudy's chance at the nomination?
Dave at College Democrats Blog says: "This is going to radically shift the debate about choice in a direction that favors women's rights. The frontrunner for the Republican nomination is saying that we have to recognize a woman's right to choose. That's significant. If he ultimately ends up winning, the religious right's influence on the Republican Party could be dead."
Liberal netroots blogger Jerome Armstrong at MyDD knew it all along: "This was what I have blogged that would be Rudy's strategy all along, skate through the first states, do some damage to McCain, and score big on Feb 5th. Rudy seemed to have a covert strategy of paying lip service to the small first theocon-driven states, while gathering up funds to be a player on Feb 5th in the big media states. That strategy was terrific, but then they changed it, believing the polls about his being the frontrunner."
He won't be the front-runner for long, according to conservative Rick Edwards at Powerpundit: "You had so much promise, Rudy. If you follow this course of action you're going to blow it big time. It will simply be impossible to ever capture the Republican nomination after offering a 'forthright affirmation' of support for abortion rights. What are you thinking, Rudy?"
Lefty watertiger at Firedoglake has even less esteem for Rudy, whom she doubts is even serious about being president: "Yes, it takes courage to assume an unpopular stand on a subject with the greatest voltage in Republican politics. Yes, you're going to alienate approximately 43% of Republican voters who are anti-choice. Maybe you'll pick up some Reagan Democrats, but not enough to cover the difference. But the point is this: you want to hold yourself out as the 'tough talking iconoclast who doesn't equivocate on tough issues'? Maybe you should have contemplated ALL of the angles playing that part would require before you threw your famously fickle pillbox hat into the ring."
Read more about Giuliani's abortion stance. In Slate, Emily Bazelon criticized Giuliani's home life, John Dickerson looked at his cross-dressing antics, and Rob Donnelly renders an animated discussion between Giuliani and a caller to his radio show.
Brown in: Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown announced his expected candidacy for prime minister Friday, in what many British bloggers thought was an awkward speech. Brown was endorsed by Tony Blair and faces no serious opposition from his own Labor Party.
Liberal Democrat Paul Walter at Liberal Burblings thinks Brown's already off to a wobbly start: "[H]is slogan is 'Gordon Brown for Britain'. This simply underscores the fact that Britain has no choice in the matter, and explains again why Brown has a high poll rating for arrogance."
Mike Hobday, a Labor Party parliamentary candidate for Welwyn Hatfield, endorses Brown: "After 18 years of Conservative Government, a period that witnessed two major recessions and interest rates as high as 15%, Gordon Brown has been an excellent Chancellor of the Exchequer. Over the last ten years, we have seen growing employment, increased propserity and low inflation. We are a better off country now than we were in 1997."
Bel, a Thatcher-nostalgic Tory at Bel is thinking, listened to Brown's speech and "was hoping for a journalist to ask why he equated more spending with better services. I wanted someone to make the point that rather than boasting about the amounts spent, as if he should somehow be congratulated for devising new ways of parting us from our money, perhaps Brown should be hanging his head in shame that despite all this money being spent, there is so little to show for it."
Read more about Brown's announcement.
Not-so-safe sex: A new Johns Hopkins study has concluded that the sexually transmitted HPV virus is a greater cause of throat cancer than smoking or drinking. That means oral sex gets added the ever-mounting list of things that are bad for you.
Bio-technology writer Ronald Bailey at libertarian Reason's Hit & Run wants to know if boys should be inoculated against HPV too: "Last year, some anti-HPV vaccine folks worried that vaccination might encourage female promiscuity. If HPV vaccination becomes mandatory for both boys and girls will this exacerbate the oral sex craze among teens?"
Shelley Batts at science blog Retrospectacle notes that "drinking and smoking did not exacerbate the risk of throat cancer in these patients---it was really *just* the virus. Despite this increased risk, the overall risk even for people who carried HPV, was very low. Its also important to note that the number of patients in the study was low (100 cancer patients, 200 normal controls) so the results should be replicated before you make...er....adjustments in your lifestyle."
Read more about the oral-sex/throat-cancer study.