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A STORM'S A COMING: The Biblically-named Isaac is now a tropical storm and could soon be a hurricane. It's currently making its way through the West Indies and on track for a possible landfall in Florida next week. Good thing one of the country's two major political parties isn't staging its national convention in Tampa at that time. Wait, what's that you say? Oh.
PLAN B: GOP convention organizers say they have a backup plan in place should Isaac decide to crash Mitt Romney's nomination party. What that plan is exactly, no one's saying. But Florida officials have made it clear they won't be afraid to put safety over showmanship and are ready to postpone the convention if need be. The best guesses for what would happen in that event is that the GOP would relocate to another storm-free city or possibly stage some convention business online. Either way, it's sure to be a logistical nightmare.
WHO MAKES THE CALL? Why that would be Florida Governor Rick Scott, who no doubt isn't relishing the possibility that he'll have to tell his fellow Republicans that they don't have to go home but they can't stay here.
REPEAT PERFORMANCE: This isn't the first time that Mother Nature has caused headaches for Republicans. It was only four years ago that Hurricane Gustav made landfall in Louisiana just as the GOP was kicking off its convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. That led organizers to cancel a host of opening-day events and forced then-President George W. Bush to stay in D.C. and address the delegates via satellite.
SPEAKING OF RERUNS: The major networks have told Romney that they are limiting coverage of the convention to one hour on the final three nights. That means viewers will likely miss Ann Romney, who is set to address the delegates on Monday night. Instead, ABC (Castle), NBC (Grimm) and CBS (Hawaii Five-O) are opting for reruns of their hit shows, and the advertising profits they bring in, the New York Times reports.
OBAMA'S PLANS: The president won't be at the GOP party (wherever it may happen) but it looks like he'll entertain himself with a good old-fashioned college road trip. The Los Angeles Times reports that "the president will barnstorm college towns in a trio of critical states next week, making a play for a key piece of his electoral coalition just as students return for the fall semester." Among his stops: Ames, home to Iowa State; Fort Collins, home to Colorado State; and Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia.
HAPPY WEDNESDAY and welcome to the afternoon Slatest newsletter, where today's edition contains mature language. Our mother must be so proud.
AKIN REMAINDERS: The Missouri Senate candidate is ever-so slowly fading from the front pages now that he's made it clear he's not dropping out. But the Todd Akin Apology Tour did make a few stops on the network morning shows, where the conservative confirmed Paul Ryan wanted him to drop out and admitted his faulty grasp on exactly how women's bodies work.
AND YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT IT: Akin's fellow Republican Senate hopeful, Mike Baumgartner, really, really wants to stop fielding questions about abortion and instead talk more about his topic of choice: ending the war in Afghanistan. After a local reporter in Washington state pressed him on the former earlier this week, Baumgartner responded with a late-night email telling him to "f*ck off." His office later apologized, but Baumgartner then retracted said apology saying his staff sent it out without his knowledge.
WHILE WE'RE ON THE TOPIC OF PROFANITY: The Atlantic has posted a series of heat maps showing Twitter profanity.
RUNNING THE TRAPS—
NYT: "Random genetic mutations in children that become more numerous with advancing paternal age may account for as many as 30 percent of autism cases, researchers reported."
WSJ: "An outbreak of antibiotic-resistant bacteria raced through a top research hospital at the National Institutes of Health in 2011, killing six patients and possibly contributing to the deaths of five others, researchers reported."
AP: "Nine Silicon Valley residents who presided over the epic three-week patent trial between smartphone titans Apple Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. began deliberating the multibillion-dollar case Wednesday."
EVOLUTIONARILY SPEAKING: "Mitt Romney should get 100 percent of the female vote." So says Kevin D. Williamson in the National Review's traffic-bait new cover story. The XX Factor's Amanda Marcotte responds: "Reading the piece in its entirety ... it becomes clear that when Williamson claims that Romney's out-of-touch bully arouses 'women,' he means 'Kevin Williamson.' The entire three-page piece borrows its tone from websites where women swap fan-fiction stories in which Edward and Jacob kick Bella out of the house so they can really get down to business."
WHY DO SO MANY MINORITIES LACK ID? Forrest Wickman investigates.
VOWEL MOVEMENT: Rob Mifsud explains how Americans near the Great Lakes are radically changing the sound of English: "American linguistic diversity as a whole isn’t dying—it’s thriving. Despite our gut-level hunch about the direction of the language; despite the fact that 70-cent, three-minute, off-peak, coast-to-coast long-distance calls that cost four inflation-adjusted dollars in 1970 are now free; despite cheap travel, YouTube, and the globalization of film and television, American dialects are actually diverging."
WHAT YOUR HOST IS GOING TO READ AS SOON AS HE HITS SEND: Christopher Hitchens' "unpublished jottings," as annotated by Slate editor David Plotz.