The first evidence of Connecticut's failing is right on every single one of the license plates it issues - its nickname, the "Constitution State." Seriously, is that the best you can do? If your claim to fame is that you beat everyone else to the punch with a codified written basis for government, you need to re-examine how your state rolls. It also goes by the "Nutmeg State," although nobody really has a good idea why, so it doesn't count.
What sorts of higher education establishments call Connecticut home? The flagship campus of its university is in the absolute middle of nowhere. Their basketball teams are too cool to play all their games on campus, relocating half of them to Hartford. (We'll talk more about that building later.) The only redeeming factor for UConn is that it's the alma mater of Long Island native and tfo-certified HOT PIECE Sue Bird. Further educational douchebaggery can be found by rolling down Interstate 91 to New Haven, which is home to Yale. That school's claims to fame are repeatedly getting pwned by Cornell in hockey (often in their stupid-looking arena), giving newsprint space to the original sex columnist, and educating the Bush dynasty.
Amazingly, some companies who seek profit also are headquartered in Connecticut. Subway and Bic have their flags planted in Milford; while I do love me some footlong Cold Cut Trios (NOT Combos), I have moved on to Zebra pens. Every time I drive around the Long Island Sound to or from my ancestral home, I pass the headquarters of the WWE in Stamford. Vince McMahon may have succeeded in making a lot of money, but his injection of his own self into the on-mat affairs of the WWE is a bit over the top. Pfizer has research interests on both sides of the Thames River; those fools may have produced Viagra, but they were principally involved in one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in recent memory. The Hartford was so unoriginal that it named itself for its home city. And just to the west in Bristol is the campus of ESPN, the self-proclaimed "Worldwide Leader in Sports." While that may be the case, and SportsCenter is the greatest television program ever conceived or aired, they also gave us the X Games. Essentially a fake Olympics for events that can't pass IOC muster, they also have the burden of having the SMF as one of their principal sponsors. And speaking of the Navy, it totally dominates the Armpit of New England, between Electric Boat and SUBASE New London. When I first arrived here, the base was very much on the BRAC chopping block. Eventually it was spared, and I was happy at the time, as I thought I wouldn't be moving to another new town in the Navy. Of course, I was wrong about that. Every person from outside New England feels that submariners would have been very well-served by relocating the boats around the country. But it's the "Submarine Capital of the World," and as long as there's a United States and it's dominating all things below sea level, we'll be there. The Armpit also houses two of the largest casinos in the world; both have developed in the last twenty years, undoubtedly as an attempt to salvage some quality of life for those of us unfortunate enough to live there.
The actual cities of Connecticut are no better. Its largest is Bridgeport, and that place greatly unnerved me when I had to stop for gas there one time. It also produced somebody who has no business being in the public eye (more to come). The only thing I'd ever want to do in Bridgeport is catch a ferry to Port Jefferson. The second largest is New Haven. There used to be a travel guide for ECAC Hockey on the internets, and the preferred course of action for the Elm City was simple: "Leave." The capital, Hartford, is known as the insurance capital of the world. Well, that and the fact that the roof of the Hartford Civic Center (now XL Center) caved in 1978, seriously cramping the style of the then-New England Whalers. Hartford did recently get a marginal upgrade, as many of my college friends kick it in style there. And my current residence of New London? The "Unsung City" (for very good reasons) is best known for being another marine gateway to Long Island. It also was, like Pfizer, principally involved in one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in recent memory.
Connecticut has produced national championship collegiate basketball teams, and Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma are both masters of their craft. But on the major professional level, only one team has ever called the Nutmeg State home - the Hartford Whalers. They played in the Civic Center until 1997, when they relocated to Raleigh, where they eventually lifted the Holy Grail of Sport (you know it as the Stanley Cup, and I still haven't forgiven Hayden Panetierre for licking it). Contrary to the belief of one of my collegiate associates, the Whalers have not gone undefeated over the last eleven seasons. The biggest pro team rolling in Connecticut is the Sun of the WNBA, who play in the Mohegan Sun Arena. Like their ice-going counterparts before them, they have yet to deliver a championship. Hell, even the Boston Celtics stopped playing a couple of home games in Hartford several years back.
The Constitution State has also been deficient in exporting musical talent. Two prime examples come to mind. One is Cassie, who hails from New London and had one big hit ("Me & U") back in 2006. She's kind of hot, but apparently she can't perform on stage for shit, as even she admitted that her shows were "pretty bad." And hailing from Bridgeport is the previously alluded to John Mayer. He ironically titles his first album "Room for Squares." I say "ironically" because a square is exactly what he is. His music doesn't move me to do anything, and music should provoke some sort of emotion, whatever it may be. I never thought of Jennifer Aniston as particularly smart, but now that she's with John Mayer, I never will. For more evidence on this, I turn it over to one of my friends, who really, REALLY hates John Mayer.
Now we come to the two superior epic fails of Connecticut. The first is Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005). A decade ago, Pfizer wanted to build a new plant in New London's Fort Trumbull section, and the City of New London wanted to jump-start its economy; the city had been declared "a distressed municipality" by a state agency in 1990. They combined on an evil scheme - seize the needed land via purchase or eminent domain, and turn it over to Pfizer. They ran into a two-pronged problem. One, the Fifth Amendment says in part, "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." Two, Susette Kelo and others refused to sell and were familiar with the Constitution - and it was on. In trial court, the verdict was split; some of the takings were upheld, while others were disallowed. The Connecticut Supreme Court gave the heroic landowners the worst possible outcome; the partial affirmation and partial reversal meant the whole land grab was upheld. The black robed nine in Washington knew this was important, so certiorari was granted, and it was on to the court of abso-tively final appeal. And in June 2005, by a 5-4 decision, it was decreed that governments can take land from anybody, for any purpose, and give it to whoever they want. In one of her last writings from the bench, Sandra Day O'Connor wrote a great dissent, summarizing the likely outcome thusly:
Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more.This decision was met with a fierce re-commitment to property rights, with many states banning economic development seizures. Susette Kelo's house was moved elsewhere in New London, and the firm developing Fort Trumbull has had difficulty obtaining financing for the project.
There is, in fact, something worse that Connecticut's position that "all your land are belong to us." If you are a fan of the sauce, you need to find another state, STAT. Last call is a reasonable 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, but reverts to 1 a.m. during the rest of the week. If you want to play the home game, the Nutmeg State doesn't make it easy. Alcohol can't be sold after 9 p.m. on most nights. I say "most nights" because old school blue laws are still very much alive in Connecticut - NO alcohol sales on Sunday! I am most fortunate that I can get around this rule, because that blue law doesn't apply on SUBASE (it's in the Constitution - article I, section VIII, clause XVII). But if you don't have access to a military installation, you better stock up on Saturday, or cross state lines - and if you live in New Haven or Hartford, that's not a trivial task. The war on booze applies to the return of containers as well. I can't bring my empty Samuel Adams bottles to the Wal-Mart in Waterford - alcohol isn't sold there, so its bottles and cans can't be returned there. And I had to haul three cases of spent doses of Vitamin Y back to my ancestral home, because they aren't accepted in Connecticut. Mega-boo.
A few final points to wrap this up. When you search for Connecticut on Encyclopædia Dramatica, you are redirected to the Yuppie page. I'd rather spend a night surrounded by haircut-pimping fools, drinking Heinekens and Jäger bombs until four in the morning, than be marooned with a group of typical Connecticuters. David Letterman has a long history of poking fun at the Connecticut State Police in his Top Ten Lists. John Rowland, the previous Governor of the state, had to resign and ended up in prison on fraud charges. I was recently playing blackjack at Mohegan Sun, and one of the other players asked the dealer why he'd relocated from New York City. She queried as to whether it was for the women - and the dealer and I immediately broke down laughing. Connecticut may be number one in per capita income, but it's 55th out of 50 states in ruling. In this, it trails all the other real states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U. S. Virgin Islands, and Canada. The destruction of the Constitution State would supply the entire planet with lulz for at least 100 years. If you haven't yet gotten my drift, Connecticut sucks!