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* As a result of traveling - approximately 40 hours of driving over six days, Chicago to Roanoke, Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay to Roanoke and back to Chicago - I ended up watching Big Trouble Rob's latest media appearance, promoting The Loneliness of the Long Distance Governor on the Today Show. (Nothing revelatory for Blago-watchers.)
Coincidentally, I was catching up on my home state's governor's race at the same time, which features Republican candidate Bob McDonnell, a family-values misogynist and homophobe who's slightly less regressive than Alan Keyes, but without the charm. His crazypants two-decades-old master's thesis has become national news, fairly or not; he was an actual grownup when he wrote it, but it was awhile ago. I don't know, but I'm not sure it matters, since he's blazed a trail of bone-chilling creepiness. Here's my favorite instance:
"The objections to her continuing as a judge were varied, but they were colored by a suggestion that she might be a lesbian. On that point, McDonnell said that anyone who violated the state's crimes-against-nature law shouldn't be a judge.That was when a cheeky Daily Press reporter asked McDonnell if he had ever violated that law — which criminalizes oral or anal sex even between husband and wife — and McDonnell replied, 'Not that I can recall.'"
No wonder he's so cranky.
More seriously: "In 2004, McDonnell also supported House Bill 1403. That measure prohibited minors from accessing emergency contraception unless a parent obtained a written statement from a notary public in advance [Ed. note: !!!]. The bill further imposed a mandatory waiting period, even for rape or incest victims, a ridiculous provision since emergency contraception is less effective the longer the delay in accessing it."
This all might just be grimly amusing of McDonnell wasn't ahead in polls.
I guess what I'm saying is that this is a very important state election and one worth following, and that if anyone could make me feel sympathy for Rod Blagojevich, it's Bob McDonnell.
* I think I figured out why Indiana drivers are so bad: it's because the state is so flat. Having grown up in Virginia, and having had my memory refreshed by driving much of it over the past few days, I think driving with semis on mountain interstates - 50 mph uphill, 90 mph down - you learn to use the passing lane as it is intended.
* If you're ever near Buckley, WVa, make sure to hit Tamarack. Great book selection; almost done with The Buffalo Creek Disaster, an incredible insider account of the trial that followed the disaster itself (highly recommended to my law-school readers), with The Battle of Blair Mountain awaiting. Also plan on making spoonbread from Joseph Dabney's classic, Beard-award-winning cookbook.
* Is it possible to get sassafras root in Chicago? When I was a kid, I made sassafras tea and jelly (probably from a Foxfire recipe), but at home I could just go dig it.
* Being able to use headphones and read while commuting is really a great blessing, don't you forget it.