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December 17th, 2017

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Democracy in Action

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Sept. 3, 2014

Democracy in Action

Steve Grossman, Massachusetts' state treasurer, who is running for governor, performed heroically at a candidate forum in March. The Boston Globe reported that Grossman "fervently answered questions on everything from transgender rights (to) sex education (and) issues facing (the) aging members of the (gay/transgender) community" while simultaneously passing a kidney stone (which most victims rate as "level 10" pain -- the highest on the medical scale, described by some as comparable to childbirth). [Boston Globe, 3-26-2014]

Steve Wiles gathered only 28 percent of the vote in his North Carolina state senate race in May after revelations that he -- lately an opponent of gay rights -- was until about four years ago a gay male who worked as the female impersonator "Mona Sinclair" at a gay nightclub in Winston-Salem. As recently as April, however (three weeks before a newspaper's revelation), Wiles was categorically denying that he used to be Mona Sinclair. "That's not me," he said. "That's him," said a man who worked with him at the club. Said the club's then-co-owner: "I have no ax to grind against him. I just think he's a liar." [Winston-Salem Journal, 5-3-2014]

The Alaskan government is scrambling to fulfill its obligation to welcome native communities' votes on a state tax resolution in August. That means paying translators (at up to $50 a hour) to set out the measure for communities using the languages Yup'ik, Inupiak, Siberian Yupik, Koyukon Athabascan and Gwich'in Athabascan. (The tax measure must also be available on audio -- for those communities that rely on the "oral tradition.") For example, the yes-or-no tax question in Yup'ik is "Una-qaa alerquun ciuniurumanrilli?" [Washington Times, 7-29-2014]-- Tough Love: Missouri state Sen. Rob Schaaf (who is a medical doctor) was credited in a July New York Times report with leading the resistance to the state's establishment of a database of controlled-substance prescriptions. (Sen. Schaaf champions "patient privacy" over curbing the wanton overuse of pain medications, even though the other 49 states have such databases.) In an earlier debate, Dr. Schaaf suggested drug abuse is self- regulating: "If (drug abusers) overdose and kill themselves, it just removes them from the gene pool." [New York Times, 7-20-2014]

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