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

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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.

It's worth reading this piece from Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund Executive Director Jasjit Singh on the controversy surrounding a later-withdrawn penalty given to Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah for his "unsportsmanlike" touchdown celebration of kneeling in Muslim prayer. The NFL just demonstrated how it thinks about diversity:

Unfortunately the fans watching the game felt, if they, as a Jew, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, or Buddhist have a different way of praying than let’s say Tim Tebow, who has become known for his trademark prayer stance, they too would be quickly and swiftly ostracized.

There's so much good stuff about Rep. Steve King (R-IA) in Sahil Kapur's profile today, but I especially like an anecdote in which, during his time in the state senate, he said to a female Democratic colleague: "You women don't understand — guns are for men what jewelry is for women."

When he asked that colleague, Johnie Hammond, about it she told TPM:

"There are so many things to be outraged about in Steve's philosophy. I mean, humanism! People! When he talks about calves like cantaloupes, what is that?!" Hammond recalls a conversation the two had back in the legislature when she chided him for using the term "pro-abortion," and he obliged. "Steve needs more of those conversations where you see the humanity in the Democrat."

It's a good read.

Though McDonnell wiped his tears and said his "trust remains in the Lord" as he left the courthouse after his guilty verdict on 11 counts of corruption, his trust will likely also remain in the legal appeals process and his lawyer said as much. Catherine Thompson looks at the grounds on which the McDonnells are likely to appeal. Mainly, they seem to center on what constitutes an "official act" and how the jurors were asked to interpret that question.

During the North Carolina debate tonight, Republican nominee Thom Tillis trotted out a new line of attack that his fellow Republican Senate candidate in Colorado, Cory Gardner, tried out this week too: Win over women voters by trying to seem in favor of greater access to contraception by pushing for over-the-counter access.

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Some weird and very big news out of Kansas: Democratic Senate candidate Chad Taylor just dropped out of the race. Why? It seems that even though Taylor was getting within spitting distance of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), who just fended off a tea party challenger in the primaries, faced a very big spoiler in the race.

Independent candidate Greg Orman, who Democrats clearly hope will be an Angus King-type Independent who would caucus with their kind in the Senate, has been polling ahead of Roberts in the race. Roberts' campaign manager is already calling the news a "corrupt bargain."

Did Democrats counter-intuitively just put Kansas in play by dropping out?

A debate broke out on Twitter among three male journalistsNew York Times’ Nick Confessore, Politico’s Alex Burns, and MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin — on Thursday afternoon: Does Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), whose anonymous colleagues she said told her she was “porky,” "chubby," and “fat” during the months just after she had a baby, have a responsibility to name her harassers? Confessore and Burns say yes, Sarlin says no.

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McDonnell confessed last week that he's living with a priest during the corruption trial against him. But it's now been revealed that that priest was arrested for a sex crime in 2002 — one that McDonnell himself advocated for keeping on the books as a state delegate.