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Kay Steiger

Kay Steiger is an associate editor at Talking Points Memo. She formerly worked at Raw Story, Washingtonian magazine, the Center for American Progress and The American Prospect. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, the Guardian, Jezebel, AlterNet and others. She graduated from the University of Minnesota. Contact her at kay@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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Kansas' budget shortfall — announced just days after tax cut-and-spend conservative Sam Brownback was re-elected — may actually be twice as bad as we thought: $546 million vs. $239 million.

I'd love to encourage TPM readers to take a moment to read a heart-wrenching excerpt from Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind by Sarah Wildman. It's a fantastic book, and the excerpt, about the correspondence between her grandfather and those seeking to get Valy out of the Reich. Back then, $300 was an insurmountable sum for a recent immigrant. It's a fascinating read.

With less than a week to go before Election Day, many of the handful of exceedingly close races could tip the Senate’s balance in one other respect: the number of women serving in the U.S. Senate.

In 2012, the number of women serving jumped to 20 — the highest it’s ever been at one time in U.S. history (there have only ever been 44). It was dubbed this generation’s Year of The Woman — a call back to 1992’s Year of the Woman after Anita Hill’s testimony spurred women into office — when the number of women in the Senate went up by five.

The current female senators are dominated by Democrats: just four of the current class of women in the Senate are Republicans, and one of them is Susan Collins, reliably one of the most moderate of Republicans in the chamber.

But those numbers could change on Tuesday.

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Outgoing Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is apparently refusing to give up his $2.4 million in leftover campaign cash to the DSCC to help elect a Dem in that state (despite Harry Reid's personal appeals).

Republican Thom Tillis, who is hoping to unseat Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) managed to call the social safety net "de facto reparations" while defending his vote in favor of apologizing for slavery. Takes some talent to do that.

Before running out to watch "Gone Girl" this weekend, be sure to take a minute to read Shannon Kelley's epic rant about the "Cool Girl" rant from the book that went viral. A sampling from Kelley's take:

And Cool Girl’s mission (besides being hot — the absence of which renders any girl, no matter how many burgers she’ll put down pre- or post-threesome — Not Really That Cool) is to leave the men surrounding her comfortable. Ergo, she is never angry, and is resolutely unruffled by those things that render so many other girls tragically Uncool, among them: thoughts, feelings, concerns about the patriarchy.

Above all, Cool Girl is unchallenging.

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