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State of Wonder

State of Wonder

By Ann Patchett

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Ear to the Ground

Public Opinion Shifts on Pot, Colbert Declares War on Scarborough, and More

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Posted on Apr 4, 2013

Assault on Weapons: Less than 12 hours after the Connecticut state legislature passed gun control legislation that advocacy groups have called “the strongest and most comprehensive” in the country, Gov. Dan Malloy signed the package into law. Among other things, the measures require background checks for nearly all private gun sales and ban the sales of high-capacity magazines. The reforms were enacted more than three months after the gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. “This is a profoundly emotional day, I think, for everyone in this room,” the Democratic governor said. “We have come together in a way that relatively few places in our nation have demonstrated an ability to do.” (Read more)

Weed Wins: A new Pew Research Center survey finds that for the first time in more than four decades of polling on the matter, a majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana. The national survey found that 52 percent of those polled say pot should be legal, with 45 percent saying it shouldn’t be. That’s a dramatic difference from a poll conducted in 1969, when only 12 percent were in favor of legalizing the drug. And even in the last three years, the pro-legalization faction has grown by 11 percentage points. (Read more)

Leave It to the Constitution: When it comes to the issue of legalizing gay marriage, a majority of Americans believe that it should be left up to the U.S. Constitution—and not individual states—to decide, a new poll from Quinnipiac University found. According to the survey, 56 percent believe the Constitution should be the deciding factor in whether or not gay couples should be allowed to marry. On the other end, only 36 percent believe the decision should be left up to the states. Of the poll’s respondents, 50 percent believed same-sex marriage should be legal in the country, while 41 percent opposed it. (Read more)

What Would Reagan Have Done? Patti Davis, the daughter of Republican icon Ronald Reagan, told The New York Times in a recent telephone interview that she believes her father would have supported allowing gay couples to wed. In the interview, Davis acknowledges that she didn’t talk about the issue with the former president before he died in 2004. However, she did offer several reasons why her father would have bucked most of the party on the matter. Among them, according to the Times: “his distaste for government intrusion into private lives, his Hollywood acting career and close friendship with a lesbian couple who once cared for Ms. Davis and her younger brother Ron while their parents were on a Hawaiian vacation—and slept in the Reagans’ king-size bed.” (Read more)

Hair Raising: A new political action committee is looking to help candidates solely based on whether they have a “sufficient” amount of facial hair (party affiliation be darned). As Bearded Entrepreneurs for the Advancement of a Responsible Democracy (BEARD) PAC founder Jonathon Sessions explained, “With the resurgence of beards in popular culture and among today’s younger generation, we believe the time is now to bring facial hair back into politics.” Noting that it had been 125 years since Benjamin Harrison, America’s last bearded president, was elected, BEARD PAC Communications Director Andy Shapero said, “We’re hoping that with our support, bearded individuals will shrug off over a century of political irrelevance and start running for office again.” (Read more)

Video of the Day: Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert isn’t happy that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough ran a pro-Mark Sanford “infomercial” during “Morning Joe” on Wednesday. Sanford’s Democratic opponent in the South Carolina special congressional election is, of course, none other than Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of “The Colbert Report” host. The late night comedian said he hadn’t planned on bringing his show into the race, but felt compelled after he saw Scarborough’s wholehearted endorsement in which he also said, “It’s going to be ‘Morning Joe’ versus ‘Colbert Report.’ ” Colbert responded, “Oh, it is on.” 

 

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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