Medical Marijuana

Sharp Question for Dull Politician on Medical Marijuana

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Frequent Hit and Run commenter Jennifer (Abel) writes in the Hartford Advocate of a politician who opposes a proposed "compassionate use" medical marjuana law in Connecticut:

Why should it be illegal for [Mark] Braunstein [a local medical marijuana user] to smoke? Because marijuana's bad for you. So bad those who smoke it should go to jail? Yes, because it's against the law. Why? Because it's bad for you.

How long did [state Rep. Toni] Boucher think that paralyzed guy at the college should spend in prison?

There followed a long silence broken by Boucher's response: "That's a ludicrous question."

Indeed it is, but the law makes it relevant. If Braunstein deserves prison, then for how long? Boucher says that's not for a legislator to decide: "We're not the judiciary."

Full story.

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  1. Drugs are bad, mkay? That’s the position of ignorant slut Toni Boucher, and nothing is going to sway her.

  2. Boucher says that’s not for a legislator to decide: “We’re not the judiciary.”

    I don’t think Boucher fully understands what legislators do. It’s not all taxpayer-funded junkets and sexually-available interns!

  3. Hooray, I finally get all Jennifer’s coyness on the other thread re: Able/Abel. I’m gonna sleep good tonight!

  4. Jennifer,

    Good stuff. Keep on keepin’ on. That could have appeared in Reason. Have you sent them your resume?

  5. Boucher says that’s not for a legislator to decide: “We’re not the judiciary.”

    Why in hell not – they want to decide everything else for us!

  6. (Not to imply that you shouldn’t be satisfied and/or thrilled to be writing for your current publisher.)

  7. Good one Jen,

    Stick it to them.

  8. Jennifer-

    Congrats on hittin’ the big time.

    πŸ˜‰

  9. when asked how long guys like Braunstein should be in jail the agent went off the record to say that the DEA wouldn’t likely arrest a paraplegic for smoking pot in his house.

    Umm Don’t you go to some sort of journalistic purgatory for reporting “off the record” responses? Good quote, just curious over the rules of the game.

  10. The Advocate is a pretty good weekly, as far as these things go. They had a great piece busting on this cop for trying to search some poor guy’s car for drugs without any real cause. Apparently he thought there was something suspicious about a Jew driving around West Hartford, which it just ain’t.

    Kudos to Jennifer, btw.

  11. sings:
    creeping like a communist, it’s knocking at our doors. Turning all our children into hooligans and whores
    REEFER MADNESS!

  12. So is Jennifer part of the MSM now?

  13. Hooray, I finally get all Jennifer’s coyness on the other thread re: Able/Abel. I’m gonna sleep good tonight!

    I know, hey? Doherty completely ruined that joke.

  14. Warren, she quoted him anonymously, which should absolve her sin of an off-the-record quote.

  15. Was Jennifer OK with being outed? Who’s next — Pro Lib? TWC? Thoreau? Joe?

  16. They had a great piece busting on this cop for trying to search some poor guy’s car for drugs without any real cause. Apparently he thought there was something suspicious about a Jew driving around West Hartford, which it just ain’t.

    [modest] Yes, that was a marvelous little piece. Guess who wrote it? [/modest] I’d post the address here, but it’s a thousand letters long and would throw off the format of this thread.

    So is Jennifer part of the MSM now?

    Actually, I’m part of the semi-alternative media. (I say “semi” because I suspect real alternative papers aren’t owned by major corporations who make their staff writers pass pre-employment drug tests.)

    Thanks for the link, Brian! Between that and my phone-sex story getting on BoingBoing and fark, I’m having one hell of a day.

    Not getting a damned bit of work done, of course, but I’m having a fine time all the same.

  17. Was Jennifer OK with being outed?

    Any half-assed attempts I once made at online anonymity vanished when I started linking to my good stories over at Grylliade and my own blog.

  18. The link to the story about the Jewish guy getting hassled should appear if you click on my name in this post.

  19. Great work Jennifer!

    OT: I heard from a loosly connected DC type that Fred was going to announce today. Must have been false as it is a bit late in the day now and have not heard a word.

  20. Was Jennifer OK with being outed? Who’s next — Pro Lib? TWC? Thoreau? Joe?

    I hope it’s not me! If anyone reveals my full name to the Intertubes, by God, I’ll…

  21. An agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency was willing to speak on the record about the importance of upholding anti-marijuana laws, but when asked how long guys like Braunstein should be in jail the agent went off the record to say that the DEA wouldn’t likely arrest a paraplegic for smoking pot in his house.

    The Advocate editors were OK with this? “Off the record” in print journalism means NOT FOR PUBLICATION. It doesn’t mean “not for attribution.”

  22. “We’re not the judiciary.”

    They’re not doctors either.

  23. I believe “off the record” here means that the agent didn’t want to be identified.

  24. Quite an acerbic article. Not surprising, coming from Jennifer, the online poster. Surprising though to see it in print.

  25. The Advocate editors were OK with this?

    It wouldn’t be in there if they weren’t. They did cut out what I thought were some good lines, but that happens pretty frequently. Not that I’m complaining; they let me get away with quite a bit. I’m glad they kept the last line in there.

    I believe “off the record” here means that the agent didn’t want to be identified.

    Yep.

  26. And so it went: why should it be illegal for Braunstein to smoke?

    It’s got what plants crave.

    So bad those who smoke it should go to jail? Yes, because it’s against the law. Why?

    It’s got electrolytes.

    How long did Boucher think that paralyzed guy at the college should spend in prison?

    ……. It’s got what plants crave.

  27. Jennifer deserves extra credit for generating “a long silence.” I’ve interviewed Toni Boucher before, and she generally emits a non-stop stream of utter vacuousness.

  28. Quite an acerbic article. Not surprising, coming from Jennifer, the online poster. Surprising though to see it in print.

    Being allowed to let my own voice come through in my stories is EXACTLY why I applied for this job in the first place, and why I absolutely love it and adore my editors. (No sarcasm here.) Here’s the first two paragraphs of my other story this week, a generally dry piece about a property-tax increase:

    Energy and other costs are rising for Connecticut consumers. To mitigate their impact on your budget the thing to do is talk to your income source (most likely, your boss) and say, “I’m going to need a lot more money, and if you don’t give it to me I’ll confiscate your house.”

    Just kidding. That’ll get you fired and possibly arrested, unless you’re a town government and your income stream flows with taxpayers. Residents of West Hartford (and every other municipality in America) have little recourse if their property tax bills rise faster than they can absorb the increase.

  29. I believe “off the record” here means that the agent didn’t want to be identified.

    I wasn’t asking about the agent. I was asking about the editors of the Hartford Advocate, who presumably know the distinction in question here.

    There’s a reason one doesn’t see the phrase “a source said off the record” in the print media: It’s oxymoronic. If the information is off the record, then it’s not meant to be RECORDed in print. If the information is meant to be unattributed, then it is presented as “a source who asked not to be named,” or what have you — which of course one sees all the time.

  30. No, Mr. Boucher, it’s a ludicrous situation. The question is as reasonable as one could hope for, given the circumstances.

  31. “Jennifer (Abel)”

    So that’s why you “oughta know.” Keep asking these local F-wad politicians the hard questions.

  32. No, Mr. Boucher, it’s a ludicrous situation.

    I thought it was Ms. Boucher?

  33. Nice piece, Jennifer, but I’ve been reading your work for years πŸ™‚

    I’m not really as anonymous as all that for obvious reasons, so I’m not one of those who might be outed. Besides, everyone knows that I’m Bruce Wayne.

    And joe? He’s Ted Kennedy.

  34. “And joe? He’s Ted Kennedy.”

    Nah, if joe were Ted Kennedy, his posts would get a lot less coherent after about 4:00 PM when he’s hit his fourth whiskey sour of the day.

  35. Like I said, he’s Ted Kennedy.

  36. ?

  37. Jennifer is like John Stossel without a cheesy moustache.

  38. ? ?

    Those smileys rock.

  39. NoStar,

    Or a penis!

  40. jf, you are making assumptions about John and/or Jennifer. And that means you just made an ass out of umptions.

  41. If Braunstein deserves prison, then for how long? Boucher says that’s not for a legislator to decide: “We’re not the judiciary.”

    I got twenty bucks that says she’s in favor of mandatory minimum sentences.

    The dumb cow.

  42. And that means you just made an ass out of umptions.

    And I’d ask you, what else are umptions good for?

  43. Incidentally, while I know Jennifer helpfully linked the article to her name, I like urltea.com for handling links to long URLs: http://urltea.com/ebe

    It even automatically dumps the new, short address into your clipboard (except on Mepis Linux, for some reason).

  44. If Braunstein deserves prison, then for how long? Boucher says that’s not for a legislator to decide: “We’re not the judiciary.”

    Right on. Because of Congress decided they’d have to pass a mandatory minimum law.

    Oh, wait.

    Nailed ‘er, Jen. Well done.

    The Advocate editors were OK with this? “Off the record” in print journalism means NOT FOR PUBLICATION. It doesn’t mean “not for attribution.”

    “I’m going off the record” means “I’m about to tell you something and limit how you can use it.”

    “This is off the record” means “I’m going to tell you something, but you can’t use it until you find another source.”

    “This is not for attribution” means, “I’m going to tell you something you can use as long as you don’t tell who told you.”

    Ethically, the source rules.

  45. Here’s an idea: Pro-pot advocates use the VT massacre to advance their position. They do this by claiming that if marijuana were legal, the chances that the massacre occurs nosedives . . . if only Cho could have toked some bud and mellowed out a bit, you know?

  46. Congratulations on the article, Jennifer. The phone-sex piece was really good, too. Keep up the good work.

  47. You know, after I posted about the cop harassing the jewish guy, I remembered that I distinctly thought to myself a few weeks ago ‘they’re sure giving this Jennifer Abel chick a bunch of space.’ And indeed it was you on that same story. Makes sense. Kind of makes me sad I moved from Connecticut forever this week.

  48. All of us should write letters to the editor praising Jennifer to high heaven. Even the trolls should write in.

  49. Pro Lib,

    Done.

    Shouldn’t you be tying up loose ends for the big day or something, rather than putzing around on the interweb?

  50. As for the mini-pogrom, the cop may have been onto something more subversive than drugs, as in “Beware, lest your heart be misled, and you turn away and worship strange gods and prostrate yourselves before them.”

  51. Ethically, the source rules.

    Yup.

    Again, I’m not talking about a source’s use of the phrase. I’m a journalist of many years at a major metropolitan paper — I know all too well that “off the record” can mean wildly different things to the various sources who use it, at least those who don’t regularly deal with the media. That’s newspapering 101: Clarify precisely what a source means when he says it.

    But what I also know is that “off the record” means only one thing inside journo-land: This information is not to be published based on this source. Which is why it jumped out at me in the story.

    Relaying someone’s off-the-record comments in your paper — while explicitly pointing out they were uttered off the record! — is like blaring a message to other potential sources: “Here at the Advocate, we’re willing to betray you!”

    As a newspaper, you just don’t go around saying, “This is what so-and-so told us off the record,” no matter what so-and-so himself meant by the phrase. Not if you want to keep getting valuable information, at least.

  52. Any half-assed attempts I once made at online anonymity vanished when I started linking to my good stories over at Grylliade and my own blog.

    A blog doesn’t have to out you. Just don’t fill out the “my profile” link. And you’ll be just as anonymous as your posts on H&R.

  53. Boucher I meant, of course. Not, uh – oh, ,never mind.

  54. highnumber,

    In my culture, the male has no detectable role in the wedding ceremony.

  55. Probably not. But if Braunstein eats willow bark rather than aspirin, why should he go to prison?

    That’s the money quote.

  56. Posting under an assumed name does have it’s drawbacks, eh?

  57. It’s exciting to see you in print, Jennifer. I think you write very well. And of course, your topics are gonna be interesting for me!

    Thank goodness for independent, and quasi-independent, media.

  58. Pro L–

    I think you still have to show up, at least. And say something when prompted.

  59. Jennifer = teh awesome

  60. thoreau and Brian Doherty are shills for Big Jennifer

  61. PL is a shill for Big Fat [Ethnic] Wedding!

  62. Heh. I just read the Mezuzah story.

    A few years ago, I was stopped – twice – in Beacon Falls for “failure to stop for stop sign” (the one at the end of the Route 8 offramp). The first time, I was willing to give the cop the benefit of the doubt that, maybe/possibly/perhaps I pulled a Hollywood.

    The second time, though… since I made it a point to stop and count to five before proceeding, um, no.

    Of course, it didn’t help that my ride at the time was a 1985 Chevy van, or that I had just come from Kun Tao and was thus dressed head-to-toe in black and had my bag of training gear next to me.

    (Both times I received “written warnings” FWIW.)

    JMJ

    P.S. On the pot and idiot lawmaker issue, I’d say it’s a siren call for rampant jury nullification, except for the fact that Connecticut has a booby prize waiting for a FIJA person on a jury (at least if they make the mistake of revealing how they came to their vote on the verdict):

    FOR PETIT JURORS IN CRIMINAL CAUSES.

    You solemnly swear or solemnly and sincerely affirm, as the case may be, that you will, without respect of any persons or favor of any person, decide this case between the state of Connecticut and the defendant (or defendants) based on the evidence given in court and on the laws of this state, as explained by the judge; that you will not talk to each other about this case until instructed to do so; that you will listen to and consider what the other jurors have to say in deliberations about this case; that you will not speak to anyone else, or allow anyone else to speak to you, about this case until you have been discharged by the court; and that when you reach a decision, you will not disclose the decision until it is announced in court; so help you God or upon penalty of perjury.

    Thus and therefore, since nullification ain’t the “law as explained by the judge” you’ve just set yourself up for a perjury charge.

  63. I’m really beginning to detest living in CT.

  64. Chuck,

    Well, yes, I do have to be there and stand where I’m told. The minister said that he’ll tell me what to do, so I need know nothing. Perfect.

    Timothy,

    Maybe so, though I’m about as WASPy as they come. And we’re non fat. However, Almost-Mrs. Libertate is half Columbian. I wonder if that means lots of coffee or something? I better study their quaint folkways πŸ™‚

    Incidentally, I went to a Greek wedding/reception a few years ago. It was a blast. Even the Greek Orthodox ceremony was fun. At least, it was fun compared to the other types of services that I’ve attended (including a 2 1/2 hour mass–ye gods).

  65. Jennifer,

    You da man! All kidding aside, I like your writing, and I have always admired your posts here on H&R as well.

  66. An inexpert paraphrase from my lovely and talented wife, Shannon:

    “When a reporter makes a politician angry, that’s how you can tell she’s doing a good job.”

    So how can we get Jennifer into the White House Press Corps?

  67. That could have appeared in Reason. Have you sent them your resume?

    I was going to, before realizing they might suspect I’d be the kind of employee who spends all her time posting on Internet forums when she’s supposed to be working. God knows why they’d think that. Damn malicious gossip.

    I really need to get some work done now.

  68. Oooh, good point.

  69. they might suspect I’d be the kind of employee who spends all her time posting on Internet forums when she’s supposed to be working.

    Well, if HnR is the main place you goof off, I’m sure your power could be harnessed for good. You could be *originating* the posts. Anyway, get back to work for your current employers, and good on ya for your snarky, well-written article, Ms. Abel!

  70. So how can we get Jennifer into the White House Press Corps?

    By telling the old bat sitting on the front row that Bush and Cheney resigned so she can do her drinking at home instead of smelling up the press room.

    The Jennifer can sneek right in to the empty seat.

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