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COLUMN

Happytown

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You know that not-so-subtle feeling whenyou go out on a limb and you can hear it cracking, yet you still stand there, in a void of silence and heady breezes, waiting for the inevitable? A hitch, a rumble and then – bam! – you’re falling, only to be yanked up by an uncomfortable wedgie from the branch beneath you. That, dear readers, is how we’re uncomfortably choosing to define “backlash” this week, bookending seven days full of backlashes that have left us here, in this courtroom of truth, with a neck brace and a long story to tell.

Sure, we could go on and on about Newt Gingrich and his Very Sour Grapes move to hold the Republican Party of Florida accountable for the early primary move that – because of arcane bylaws – may mean the divvying of Florida’s 50 Republican delegates rather than the total going toward the Romney ramrod, but we’ll leave the Gingrich nightmare to August (or whenever he combusts). Instead, we’ll talk about what really happened last week when the right branch hit the left branch and we all passed out from whiplash beneath the political version of The Giving Tree.

Unless you were trapped in a padded womb, by now you’re well aware of the giant pink eye that landed on the pulled faces of Susan G. Komen for the Cure last week. The breast-cancer tackling, “Race for the Cure” running ladies of nonprofit lore announced that, effective Jan. 31, they would no longer be funding Planned Parenthood and its liberal women’s health crusade that doesn’t often include ladies who lunch. Uh-oh! Komen’s founder and CEO Nancy Brinker sat the whole thing out in a pink bunker for a couple of days, until she surfaced on the television Thursday to assure the viewing public that there was nothing political about the move. Planned Parenthood, she said, was under investigation, which made it ineligible for the annual $700,000that Komen was providing.

Believe whatever correct conspiracy theory you want about the resulting social media explosion last week – the revelations that the Komen foundation is a top-heavy machine of ineffectiveness that sues people and dyes foods artificially pink; that the foundation’s vice president, Karen Handel, is a pro-life automaton who hates gays and yet still lost a bid for the Georgia governor’s office; that the group also pulled $12 million in funding from embryonic stem cell research that actually could produce a cure for breast cancer; that Komen is now painting handguns pink in Wisconsin “for the cure” – but the fact is, Brinker and company were blindsided by the public outcry that followed their decision. There were splatters of pink bloodeverywhere. (Handel resigned on Feb. 7.)

So what’s this “investigation”? Here’s where the Florida part comes in: U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, launched a probe into Planned Parenthood’s finances last year based on a report by pro-life group Americans United for Life; that group’s president, Charmaine Yoest, has been lobbying against women’s reproductive rights since the Reagan days, and in a story published on Feb. 2 in the Washington Post, Yoest referred to the fund-slashing as “some of the best news of my entire life,” calling Planned Parenthood “very fashionable amongst a certain philanthropic set.” Horrible.

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