[imgcontainer right] [img:larry-gibson.jpeg] Larry Gibson spent much of his life attempting to protect his beloved West Virginia mountains from coal strip miners. He died Sunday. [/imgcontainer]

We thought the time for Rep. Todd Akin to remove himself from the Missouri Senate race had passed — but it hasn’t.

The Washington Post tells us this morning that the Republican has until September 25 to petition Missouri courts to remove his name from the ballot. 

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is hoping Akin stays in; Republicans shocked by Akin’s comments about rape and pregnancy want him out. 

It’s not just the rape remarks that have people wondering. Akin said earlier that federally backed student loans were a “Stage 3 cancer of socialism.” And even though he lives in an agricultural state, Akin has always voted against the Farm Bill.

Democrats and Education — The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss reacts to an Atlantic Magazine article entitled “How Michelle Rhee is Taking Over the Democratic Party.”  

Rhee is the former superintendent from Washington, D.C., who promotes standardized tests, vouchers and charter schools. She has been embraced by so-called education “reformers” in the White House.

Strauss begs to differ. “The real issue here is how much the Democrats have acted like Republicans when it comes to school reform and efforts to privatize public education,” Strauss writes. 

No Disaster Bill, Please — A coalition of 13 farm groups has asked Senate leaders to refrain from passing the ag disaster bill passed by the House just before it recessed in August.

Chris Clayton at DTN reports that the groups contend the disaster bill is only a quick fix that would delay consideration of a complete Farm Bill. 

Divorce and Family Size — A new study finds that the bigger the size of the family, the smaller the chance of divorce. 

Catholics and Lutherans Unite — The Lutheran Social Services and the Catholic Charities of St. Paul agree that an amendment to the Minnesota constitution that would require a photo ID for voting should be defeated. 

The two charities say they are against the requirement because it would disproportionately affect poor voters. The LSS has had Lutheran congregations to put a statement in their Sunday bulletins.

Community Cancer Clinics — The head of the National Grange writes that cuts to Medicare Part B funding could wind up in closing cancer treatment services in rural areas. 

Edward Luttrell writes that Part B pays for Medicare services provided by doctors, generally in their offices. This includes cancer treatments and care of rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Luttrell writes:

For many doctors, further cuts to Part B reimbursements would make it completely financially unsustainable for them to continue to treat patients. In an understandable effort to stay afloat, many will restrict the number of new enrollees they treat or opt out of Medicare entirely….

These effects are going to be felt everywhere. But they will be particularly pronounced in rural areas. Small, rural clinics face higher drug acquisition costs than their big-city counterparts. That means these doctors will have little room to maneuver if rate cuts go into effect.

Larry Gibson Dies — Mountaintop removal opponent Larry Gibson died Sunday while working someplace on Kayford Mountain in West Virginia, the area he fought for decades to protect. He was 66 years old.

Gibson had a simple gospel about his mountains: “Love em or leave em; just don’t destroy em.”

See photo above.

Monumental Failure — Politico describes the inability of the House to pass a Farm Bill as a “monumental legislative failure….” 

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