Friday, November 26, 2010

The Media Gaslighting Of America

The slang term “gaslighting,” from the movie “Gaslight,” refers to a form of psychological abuse where you try driving a sane person crazy by denying changes in reality. In the movie, the evil husband tormented his wife by dimming their home’s gaslights a little each night, then insisting he didn’t: “No, dear, if you think the lights are getting dimmer, you must be losing your mind.”

Poor woman. Yet she’s better off than I am; she had only to worry about that one abusive guy, and once she escaped him the entire rest of her country was grounded in sane reality. I’m in the opposite boat: a happy, healthy home life too boring to write about, but the rest of America’s been gaslighting me ever since the World Trade Center went down. Never has the insanity been greater than with the recent inexplicable controversy surrounding the TSA nude scans and grope-downs.

Is the light of freedom dimming in America, or am I imagining things? Among my journalism colleagues, a large contingent swears it’s just me. Like many of my fellow Americans, I’m outraged by the notion of government sexual assault masquerading as security. Yet when we say “My freely chosen bedmates and doctors are the only ones allowed to see my naked body or touch my genitalia,”there’s no shortage of respectable mainstream pundits telling us we’re selfish at best and crazy at worst.

Shut up and be scanned – The airport security devices may be intrusive, but they're also a necessary evil,” said some nameless editorial writer in the Los Angeles Times. The Today show ran a sympathetic feature about TSA agents who spend their workdays fondling people’s genitalia, and think it’s unfair when flyers get all rude and cranky rather than passively adopt submissive-criminal poses while the fondling takes place: Being a TSO means often being verbally abused. You let the comments roll off and check the next person; however, when a woman refuses the scanner then comes to me and tells me that she feels like I am molesting her; that is beyond verbal abuse.”

In Politico, Michael Kinsley urged compliance in a long screed which boiled down to “I’ve never had problems with the TSA, so why should anyone else?” William Saletan of Slate called the Opt-Out Day protest “idiocy” and told travelers, “Ignore these imbeciles. Their plan would clog security lines and ruin your holiday for no good reason.”

Even my Guardian colleague (and former editor) Richard Adams disagrees with my opposition to the new TSA procedures, but – well, he’s British. I don’t know how things work in the UK, what lofty national principles make idealistic Britons proud of their country, but “American constitutional freedoms” surely aren’t it.

My fellow American journalists are different. We all grew up hearing about the importance of first amendment guarantees, especially free speech and a free press, and every newsroom in America has at least one employee with Thomas Jefferson’s quote tacked above his desk: “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

The “opinion of the people” doesn’t matter to TSA authorities. And Jefferson wasn’t promoting the Fourth Estate so it could make the other three look good. Even in the most oppressive totalitarian societies, there’s perfect freedom to write paeans to the glory of the state. The first amendment isn’t about journalists urging our fellow citizens to suck up any misgivings about government misbehavior and go along to get along; it’s about shining a light on government power, not denying when the lights go dim.

Mass gaslighting isn’t the only way American journalism’s changed these past few years. The internet vastly altered the media landscape, and our legal system thus far seems reluctant to grant mere “bloggers” the same first amendment protections as official “journalists.” If the government believes journalists enjoy constitutional protections other writers don’t, sooner or later it’ll establish a bureaucracy to set officially sanctioned journalists apart from the rest. The Department of Journalism Licensure will naturally need a proper logo, and I know just what’ll work: a picture of a vacuum cleaner and a rooster – whose lovely multicolored tailfeathers reflect America’s rich tradition of Diversity – with both items paired over the motto “Government’s cock will not suck itself. That’s what a free and independent media is for.”

The lights are getting dimmer here, no matter who denies it. I won’t shut up and meekly submit to TSA tyranny, and I won’t wear any rooster badges either.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kids Of The Future

"Mommy, when freedom died in America, why didn't you and Daddy do anything?"

"Well, sweetheart, our tickets were non-refundable and if we missed our flight we'd have to eat Chinese take-out at home for Thanksgiving rather than Grandma's delicious turkey."

TSA Sex Assaults: Your Tax Dollars At Work

Little commentary today, but it's worth checking out the ACLU database of passenger travel stories under the new TSA regulations. Many of these events would not be allowed on broadcast television; they violate FCC standards, but not the TSA's. Here's a sampling of some of the less-offensive stories:

For the menfolk:
While in the "private room"... the agent inappropriately touched my genitalia (more than once) and made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. The agent also pulled down my shorts (about halfway), and I had to ask the agent to let me pull them back up. I was inappropriately touched, groped, rubbed, massaged and sexually harrassed. The procedure was violating, degrading, invasive and humiliating.
- Scott in New Mexico
In all of these years and the thousands of flights and millions of airlines miles I have never been so humiliated. If my choice is to risk having my genitalia spread all over the internet and my body exposed to unknown radiation or to have my testicles bounced and my buttocks stroked I will not fly any commercial airline.... our humanity and our dignity are being violated. I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!
- Dennie from Texas

3 or 4 TSA employees came over, basically surrounded me and very loudly proclaimed what a jerk I was for refusing the scan, were laughing at me, repeatedly berating me. The "supervisor" then spent 15 minutes examining every part of my body - it was intrusive, humiliating and without a shadow of a doubt, intended to punish me for electing to not be irradiated.
- Aaron from New York

The TSA agent squeezes my thighs and runs his hand up until they touched my testicles on both of my legs. This was done in full view of everyone in line. This was very uncomfortable, humiliating and seemed very unnecessary. If given the choice, I will do everything in my power to drive rather than take any commercial flights if this is the new standard of TSA screening.... I do not feel safer. I feel violated....
- Max, North Carolina
And let's not forget America's admirable commitment to women's rights:
I was wearing a sanitary napkin, so the agent notified her supervisor that I had a "foreign object." It took about 10 minutes for her to walk 70 feet, speak with the supervisor, and return. Then she collected my carry-ons and began swabbing items in each of them. This process took a verrrrrry long time.... It was obvious to me that this was punitive for refusing the body scanner.... Finally I was told to remove my sanitary napkin. By the time I got to the gate the jetway had been removed and I was not able to board.
- Suzy in California

The TSA agent used her hands to feel under and between my breasts. She then rammed her hand up into my crotch until it jammed into my pubic bone.... I was touched in the pubic region in between my labia.... She then moved her hand across my pubic region and down the inner part of my upper thigh to the floor. She repeated this procedure on the other side. I was shocked and broke into tears.
- Mary in Texas

In the 4 times she explored the area where my inner thigh met my crotch, she touched my labia each time, and one pass made contact with my clitoris, through 2 layers of clothing. I told her I felt humiliated, assaulted and abused.... In my work as a nurse, if I did what the TSA did against a patient's will it would be considered assault and battery, and I did not see how the TSA should have different rules.
- Chris

I was shaking and crying the entire time. I was begging them to hurry up but they kept stopping and telling me to calm down. It is impossible to gain composure when a stranger has her hands in your underwear. A crowd gathered and watched and I never felt so humiliated. After it was over, I ran into the ladies' room where I vomited and cried until my plane was boarding.
- Melissa, Massachusetts

This new procedure was absolutely humiliating. She touched my limbs, my torso, my breasts, and rubbed my vagina with her fingers three separate times. I might have understood one rub. Three rubs was NOT acceptable. My pants were thin cotton.... As soon as I left the security area, I began to cry. My husband and I had spent one of the best weeks of our lives together for our honeymoon, and it was destroyed on the way home.
- Tiff, North Carolina
This is what the American government now stands for.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Airline Traveler Is Vicious. When Attacked, It Will Defend Itself

The agents of the Transportation Security Administration have been sobbing their little hearts out because they just can't understand why Americans have to be all rude and cranky rather than passively adopt submissive-criminal body poses while uniform-wearing thugs fondle their genitals. Union officials are especially outraged that people who are just following orders should actually be blamed for what they do:
“Our concern is that the public not confuse the people implementing the policies with the people who developed the policies,” said Sharon Pinnock, the union's director of membership and organization.
Boo farking hoo, you craven authoritarian apologist. "Implementing policies" = "just following orders." That does not excuse your behavior.
Aviation and security blogger Steven Frischling said he has received comments from TSA front-line screeners complaining of verbal abuse.

“Molester, pervert, disgusting, an embarrassment, creep. These are all words I have heard today at work describing me. ...These comments are painful and demoralizing,” one unnamed TSO posted on Frischling’s website.

Another said: “Being a TSO means often being verbally abused. You let the comments roll off and check the next person; however, when a woman refuses the scanner then comes to me and tells me that she feels like I am molesting her; that is beyond verbal abuse.”
I don't blame you for remaining anonymous, you sociopathic piece of garbage. You grope innocent people all day, then claim you're the victim when they take umbrage?
“Obviously our work force has received the brunt of the frustration from passengers but seem to be dealing with it quite well, as they have been reassured they are doing a critical job at a critical time,” said TSA spokesman Nico Melendez.
Hmm -- maybe that explains the TSA's willingness to hire people who couldn't even manage to graduate high school. TSA doesn't want an educated, intelligent workforce; they want agents stupid enough to believe groping people's genitalia means they're "doing a critical job at a critical time."
“The thing to keep in mind is that stress affects screeners as much as it does travelers,” said Tom Murphy, director of the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University. Murphy has provided customer-service training to screeners at many U.S. airports. “While senior government officials explore how to achieve optimum security in less intrusive, and therefore less stressful, ways my recommendation to travelers is to try to see this from the screeners’ point of view.”
Translation: this hurts me more than it hurts you. Damn, baby, why you always gotta make me treat you like that?
Stewart Baker, who worked at the Department of Homeland Security as its first secretary of policy under President George W. Bush, suspects the new security protocols and the aggressive reaction of some passengers is hurting TSA morale.

“TSA has made a lot of progress in training its officers to be professional even in the face of unhappy passengers, but the latest protocols — and press coverage of the most inflammatory stories — have led to a much higher level of hostility,” said Baker.

“Instead of making this Wednesday National Opt-Out Day in which a bunch of self-appointed guardians of liberty slow down the line for everyone by asking for pat-downs,” said Baker, “maybe what we need is a day when everyone who goes through the line says, ‘Thanks for what you do.’ ”
C'mon, Winston, you can do it! Win that final battle over yourself. Learn to love Big Brother.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

TSA Backlash: What Next?

If "page views" or "Facebook links" are any indication, my anti-TSA column in yesterday's Guardian is easily the most popular piece of any I've written for them. But I can't take full credit for that; much of the column's popularity stems not from mine own deathless prose, but a simple lack of competition in the mainstream media. Like most Americans, I'm spectacularly pissed off about TSA's state-sponsored sexual harassment .... yet somehow, incredibly, a statement like "I do not consent to being groped or photographed nude by government agents as a matter of course while traveling" is still considered controversial.

Some nameless editorial writer for the LA Times went so far as to tell readers "Shut up and be scanned: the airport security devices may be intrusive, but they're also a necessary evil" ... in my newspaper days, I knew a few journalists like the scribe who penned that. There's a certain breed who believe the Fourth Estate exists to make the other three look good, and first amendment freedom-of-the-press guarantees are important solely so journos can live according to the principle "Government cock will not suck itself. That's what a free and independent media is for."

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security's unelected bureaucrats, people like John Pistole and Janet Napolitano, view themselves as the victims here; only childishly selfish and pointlessly defiant narcissists could possibly have any problem with TSA behavior, they say.

Over at the Guardian I dove into my own column's comment thread long enough to post this:

Concerning the idea that TSA agents deserve any sort of pity or respect in this situation -- no, they do not. Even before "sexual battery" because part of their job description, the agents were uselsss jobsworths whose sole practical function was to violate the rights of American travelers. The only TSA agent worthy of respect is the one who resigns in protest over what his job entails.

I just checked through the archives of my own blog; on August 13, 2006, I discussed a then-current news story, a supposed feelgood story where TSA was taking the toiletries and other items confiscated from travelers, and donating said items to local homeless shelters. Remember: these were the same toiletries confiscated on the grounds that they might be terrorist bombs in disguise. And the items were NOT tested for explosive potential before being donated. As I pointed out, that meant the TSA agents were entertaining one of two possible thoughts::

"1. I know damn well this stuff I’m confiscating from innocent citizens is 100 percent harmless, which is why I have no qualms about handing it out to homeless people, many of whom suffer from mental disabilities; or,
2. This stuff we’re confiscating might be dangerous and deadly. Hmm. Y’know, I think I’ve figured out a way to solve our city’s homeless problem."

And that's back when TSA was still more of a national joke than a national outrage.

As for those people still defending the TSA, even now -- the sincere defenders, not the bored trolls -- I am literally in awe of your ability to allow equal parts blind fear and blind faith to wipe out any sense of dignity you once possessed. I look at you with the same horrified pity I feel for the beaten-down residents of the abused-woman shelter, those sad women who still love their batterers and insist "You don't know him the way I do. He only hurt me when he had to" -- oh, my God, you poor damaged thing. I'm truly sorry for the obvious traumas you have endured, I sincerely hope you find the ability to put them behind you and move on .... but I'll be damned and I'll see you damned twice before I'd consent to letting your warped standards of "appropriate treatment" be applied to me.

I do not consent to being photographed naked or fondled by government thugs as a precondition for internal travel in my ostensibly free country, and I will not waste time or effort respecting the craven cowards who think that makes me needlessly defiant.

The backlash against the TSA is heartening ... yet Napolitano and her underlings respond only by digging in their heels. What happens in an ostensibly free representative democracy, when unelected, unaccountable "public servants" point-blank refuse to listen to the wishes of the public they presumably serve? I fear we're about to find out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sex Abuse Via The TSA: It's Actually Come To This

Did you know there really is something to the cliche "I saw red?" Get enough blood pumping through your eyeball veins and damned if an actual crimson flash won't momentarily dim your vision.

Ever since I started this blog (and my professional writing career) in 2006, TSA stupidity has been a basic staple topic: "Why hasn’t some enterprising terrorist outfitted a flat-chested female suicide bomber with plastic-explosive breast implants yet?"

One night last summer I trimmed my hangnails in a hotel room 2,000 miles from my home, an act of anti-government rebellion that could’ve put my name on a terrorist watch list if anybody in the TSA knew that I’d smuggled a set of nail clippers in the single carry-on bag I bring along on business trips."

Though TSA knows it simply must have electricity to play its extremely vital role in keeping America safe, none of the organization’s wise and brilliant leaders, like Kip Hawley, ever once thought “since terrorist attacks and natural disasters are both wont to cause power failures maybe we should have a few goddamned generators lying around in case there’s an emergency.”

"Last week when I flew out of state I carried four ounces of shampoo and eight ounces of conditioner onto the plane with me. That’s right: I made it through with twelve ounces of hair-cleaning materiel where regulation only allowed for six .... A lot of people could die if I share my evil-genius smuggling brilliance with the world. That would be a heavy burden to bear on my conscience, except I don't have one. Are you surprised to learn this? You shouldn't be: if I'm sociopathic enough to bring more than three ounces of shampoo onto an airplane, it naturally follows that I'm callous enough to throw millions of lives away if I think I can get a blog post out of it. "

And as a staff writer for the Hartford Advocate, I reported on "Behavior Detection Officers, TSA agents trained (more or less) to wander through airports looking for secret hidden facial expressions that indicate you're up to no good."

Ludicrous, every last incident, and unconstitutional to boot, yet ultimately silly enough that TSA could be largely dismissed by most as a worthless and frivolous joke. But now they've gone too far. At long last my fellow Americans agree with me: those contemptible bullying bastards with badges have gone too far. Over at the Guardian I explain why the Hobson's choice between nude photography and molestation-style patdowns is nothing more than state-sanctioned sexual assault.

Let the backlash begin, and let it be as merciless as the TSA itself. But (unlike the TSA) let it actually be effective. For starters, I'd suggest disbanding the TSA and blackballing every one of its employees -- up to and including Janet Napolitano -- from ever wielding any form of legal authority over their fellow citizens again.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sand in the Gears of a Corrupt Machine

November 24 -- the day before Thanksgiving -- is National Opt-Out Day (though opting out should ideally be done every day): anyone unfortunate enough to fly in American airspace should refuse to submit to the TSA's virtual strip-search scanner, and insist the molestation-style patdown be done not the some "back room," but in full view of all other witnesses in the airport. Let everyone see how law-abiding citizens are treated in the Land of the Free!

In other news, there's been a small improvement on the economic front; the McDonald's down the street from me is hiring. They require a high school diploma. If you don't have one but still need a job, you can work for the TSA, which does allow high school dropouts to join its ranks. That's how vital TSA is to national security: burger flippers are held to higher standards of intelligence and education than they are.

But in the interest of fairness, I must admit the TSA has done one good thing: if not for the sartorial stylings of its agents, the three-inch-long fake-fingernail industry would've gone out of business years ago.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why I Loathe Veterans' Day

Because it's the anniversary of the day my father fell off his bicycle, broke his neck and spent the rest of his life as a quadriplegic trapped in a useless body capable of feeling nothing but pain.

Today is sunny and unseasonably warm here in southern New England, just as it was in southeastern Virginia twenty-one years ago. I'm going out for my daily walk but don't expect to enjoy it at all, as I'll be too busy brooding over the explosive grand finale of what was already a hellish childhood.

Best thing about no longer working for a daily newspaper: I don't have to spend Veteran's Day at parades and memorial services, collecting patriotic quotes from bystanders while keeping a big professional smile pasted on my face.

An Andrew Shirvell Discussion Without Any Gay Sex Jokes

When the Andrew Shirvell scandal first made national headlines in September -- Shirvell being the Michigan assistant attorney general who lost his mind when the University of Michigan elected an openly gay man named Chris Armstrong to be student-body president -- I wrote a blog post which simultaneously discussed the issue and answered the age-old Zen riddle "What is the sound of one hand blogging?"

Now, a month and change later, Shirvell has finally been fired from his job, and I wrote a sober and joke-free analysis of the matter for the Guardian. It is a sincere and serious discussion of legal authority and free-speech issues, completely devoid of commentary like "Andrew Shirvell is a homosexual so far in the closet, he's conquered Narnia and is slouching towards Calormen." I also resisted the urge to make the obvious joke about why a blazing homophobe probably shouldn't work for a boss named "Mike Cox." And, although my Guardian piece does include the phrase "homosexual agenda," it appears only as a straightforward quote from Shirvell's blog, rather than in a sentence like "Andrew Shirvell wishes Chris Armstrong would spray his white hot homosexual agenda all over Shirvell's lower back." Because I am not fourteen years old anymore.

Monday, November 08, 2010

American Trichotomy

There are three types of people in America: those who make the laws, those who enforce the laws, and those required to obey the laws. If we were really the free country we claim to be, members of the first two groups would still belong to the third.

This post is in honor of CNN's new pundit Eliot Spitzer, the former New York attorney general who worked to shut down brothels and impose harsher legal penalties on workers there before being elected governor. He might still live in the governor's mansion today had he not been exposed as one of the biggest whoremongers in New York State (though to give the guy credit, he did at least refrain from shutting down the brothels where he wet his own willy). Fortunately for Spitzer, he spent his adult career in either the law-making or law-enforcing classes, so he faced none of the harsh penalties dished out to members of the law-obeying classes when they don't.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Judith Griggs: Stupidest Woman In American Publishing History

Like many Americans in This Economy, I took a professional beating over the last couple years and have yet to completely recover. Still, I’ve at least reached the point where I no longer need hang on to old college-related paperwork, since my writing career’s established enough that a potential new employer would want to see my clipfile rather than college transcripts, and check references from editors and publishers rather than from professors of the last millennium.

So yesterday, while looking through paperwork stashed in an out-of-the-way file drawer, I found and discarded a six-inch-thick pile of old photocopies: transcripts, recommendations and the like. I also found and kept a much smaller pile of my own original writings; mostly grad school term papers with titles like The Emotional Growth of Sir Walter Raleigh as Evidenced in his Poetry, and some early drafts of the unbearably pretentious novella which served as my graduate thesis.

Sorting through this juvenilia made me realize I needed to update my resume, adding to the list of clients and publications I’ve written for. (Or “the list of clients and publications for whom I have written,” as I would’ve said in grad school term papers where prepositions weren’t anything you could properly end sentences with.) In such cases I must pick and choose, listing only the most impressive or most recent names because on a one-page resume there’s simply no room to list every single blog, website or print publication containing something I wrote, especially not in today’s cut-and-paste era when entire documents can be plagiarized in less than a second. Specifically, I wonder if I’m not owed a few publishing credits from a local giveaway magazine called Travel Source.

If you spent any time online yesterday – maybe surfing the web while I sneezed my way through dusty old piles of dead-tree media – you probably know the story of Judith Griggs and Monica Gaudio.

Swift recap: Gaudio is the amateur medievalist who runs Gode Cookery, a website devoted to medieval recipes and food history. She also keeps a LiveJournal blog, mostly as an online scrapbook for photos of her knitting projects and Society for Creative Anachronism activities. But on Wednesday she posted something a little different: the now-famous story of how Judith Griggs, editor (and apparently owner and sole employee) of Cooks [sic] Source magazine and its sister publication Travel Source, stole a story Gaudio wrote for Gode Cookery about the history of medieval apple pies.

Gaudio only learned of this when an aspiring-writer friend of hers asked how she snagged the publishing credit. Figuring Griggs had made some sort of honest mistake, Gaudio e-mailed asking for a published apology, and $130 cash donation to Columbia Journalism School. Instead, Judith Griggs sent the chutzpah-laden response that’s been forwarded around the world, part of which allegedly said:
"Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was "my bad" indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things.
But honestly Monica, the web is considered "public domain" and you should be happy we just didn't "lift" your whole article and put someone else's name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me... ALWAYS for free!"
No doubt Ms. Griggs’ contributors write for her for free; problem is, they don’t seem to know they’re writing for her at all. And bragging about her editing prowess is especially ironic considering she made three errors in her first sentence alone: missing comma after “Yes”; “three” should be spelled out rather than a numeral; and the third vowel in “Housatonic” is “a,” not “i” as She of the Thirty Years’ Experience seems to think. Then, too, there’s her complete and utter wronghood regarding how publication and copyright laws actually work.

Anyway, had Griggs paid Gaudio the $130 – and immediately taken down all her publications’ online archives – she might have made the matter go away, with no one other than Gaudio any wiser. Instead, the story went viral and within two hours had spread all over the world. Enthusiastic amateur researchers discovered – at last count – a mind-numbing hundred and one separate examples of Cooks Source plagiarism and/or copyright infringement, not just from minor bloggers who maybe can’t afford to sue, but biggies like Martha Stewart, Food Network and Disney.

There’s reports of more content theft discovered in Travel Source too, and the newspapers and regional magazines I write or have written for all cover pretty much the same swath of New England as Griggs’ plagiarism-fest. I wonder now if I haven’t unwittingly contributed to Griggs’ publication efforts.

And I still have trouble believing anyone can reach such dizzying heights of cluelessness. Griggs committed blatant copyright infringement against Gaudio, was offered the chance to squirm off the hook for only $130, and turned it down? That's like saying no to the guy who tells you “Yeah, you DID just murder my one true beloved, but gimme enough money to clean up the bloodstains and we’ll call it even”: in light of the penalties you’re actually facing here, how can you possibly think this is an offer you can afford to refuse?

I also wonder if I’m not eligible for some special prize, being the One Millionth Blogger to opine on l’affaire Judith Griggs.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A Woman’s Prerogative

I'm a tad embarrassed to admit this after the sturm und drang reader response to my “I ain't votin" column in the Guardian last week, but: I went and voted today after all, after being persuaded by others’ arguments. Most of my votes went to third-party or even write-in candidates with zero chance of winning; the only vote I made for anyone on the Democrat/Republican axis was in Connecticut’s gubernatorial race. If Dan Malloy wins I fully expect to loathe him for multiple reasons, but he offers the possibility of one real, concrete improvement for my state: three years ago the legislature voted to allow medical marijuana, but the governor vetoed it. Malloy, at least, has expressed support for medical MJ and decriminalization.

I’ve got the MSNBC election special on TV right now. If Rand Paul shared more than just a name with his dad, I’d be very happy about his election.
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