Five at 8 – 7/21/09

1) Concealed carry. There’s a phrase we don’t hear about much anymore. When the Legislature passed the law that required sheriffs to issue carry permits for handguns in 2003, opponents feared shootouts in the streets. Road rage would lead to gun fights. Proponents suggested would-be perps would be scared away by would-be victims with guns. There haven’t been shootouts and the crime rate is down, although there’s no data showing concealed carry is the reason. Make of that what you will (and I know you will!) But now the debate is going national.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune has filed an amendment to the defense authorization bill that “would allow armed citizens with state-approved concealed-carry permits to cross into another state that also allows the carrying of concealed weapons,” U.S. News reports.

As usual, the issue of the amendment will overshadow the Washington way of doing business– i.e. attaching amendments that have nothing to do with the intent of the legislation to which it’s attached.

2) Is there a double standard when men are the victim of domestic violence? . Ned Holstein, a public health specialist with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the founder of Fathers & Families, wonders why Steve McNair getting shot by his girlfriend didn’t get more coverage.


Law enforcement, the judicial system, the media and the domestic violence establishment are still stuck in the outdated “man as perpetrator/woman as victim” conception of such violence. Yet more than 200 studies have found that women initiate at least as much violence against their male partners as vice-versa. Men make up about a third of domestic violence injuries and deaths in heterosexual relationships. Research shows that women often compensate for a disadvantage in physical strength by employing weapons and the element of surprise – just as Ms. Kazemi did.

Holstein talked about his article yesterday on Talk of the Nation. A 2006 University of New Hampshire study found men worldwide are more likely to be victims of abuse in dating relationships.

3) You know how people tend to be more, umm, aggressive online than they are face-to-face? Apparently it’s that way, too, with the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has posted Sonia Sotomayor’s answers to written questions from several senators. Read them here.

John Cornyn tried — again– to pursue the “activist judges” allegaton, asking Sotomayor if she’s aware of any federal case that “mae law.”


It is the role of Congress, not the federal courts, to make law. I believe that it isthe role of the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, to “interpret” law, which is to say that those courts endeavor to determine the effect of the governing law, whether constitutional or statutory, in the context of the factual situation a case presents. In the history of the United States, there have been federal court cases–including Supreme Court cases–that have since been recognized as wrongly decided. I do not think of these cases as courts “making” law, however, as that role belongs to the legislature.

Which, when you see it in writing, makes it more obvious that she didn’t really answer the question. But it leads to an interesting question — one that Cornyn asked : Did Brown vs. the Board of Education “make law” or merely “interpret it?”

4)Who’s better informed: Newspaper readers or Web surfers? Michael Kinsley of Slate asks.” What? No “radio listeners” option? Slate is conducting an experiment by having two journalists disconnect from online and get all their news from the newspaper. Here’s a story you won’t find in the morning paper: Twins blow a 10-run lead; lose to terrible team.

5) Classical music is hard work. You have to learn the etiquette of it. Like when to clap and when to provide a dignified silence. And you have to perfect getting all snooty like the person quoted in the BBC Magazine article:


“Everybody seems to be texting and tweeting and nobody seems to spend any time in contemplation. It’s not pop music. It’s not about waving your lighter around. There is no physical participation for the audience. It is a quiet involvement. One or two people clapping can spoil it for everyone.”

Quite.

Bonus: People who listen to me with Mary Lucia on The Current will, no doubt, want the update on the ball-slasher caper in Duluth. A man has been arrested for breaking into gyms and slashing the exercise balls. “It’s just a weird thing that I do,” Christopher Bjerkness tells the Duluth News Tribune. “They say that I’m a threat to society, but I don’t feel so.” It’s a story that’s more sad than funny.

Who knew? Jockeys aren’t just along for the ride.

TODAY’S QUESTION

The recent deaths of six servicemen with strong Minnesota ties are a reminder of the human cost of the wars Americans are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The number of Minnesota deaths in connection with the two wars now stands at 79; the national death toll as of Monday was 5,044. Do such numbers have any effect on your support for the war effort ? How do you define a war worth fighting?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Has Obama let down progressive Democrats? Or were progressive Democrats expecting too much?

Rate President Obama’s performance so far(survey)

Second hour: A new novel by Mayo Clinic doctor and obesity researcher James Levine tells the story of a young Indian girl forced into a life of prostitution. Dr. Levine says the novel sprang from a visit to the slums of Mumbai and encounter there that haunts him to this day.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – University of Minnesota’s top water expert, Deborah Swackhamer, will be in the studio to answer questions about the quality of Minnesota’s water. Second hour: The Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and the Syrian Ambassador the U.S. speaking recently at the Aspen Ideas Festival about the prospects for Mideast peace.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The health care debate. Second hour: Writer Chris Hedges targets pop culture and what he calls the “cultural embrace of fantasy.”

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Somali groups are holding a news conference today “to voice their response to the ongoing investigation of the missing Somali men.” From the sound of the press release, it may get into the “who speaks for Somalis?” angle. MPR’s Laura Yuen is covering the story. The U.S. Postal Service is considering closing 24 7 offices in Minnesota. That’s got some people upset in Duluth and Rochester Minneapolis. Tim Nelson reports that story. Say, when’s the last time you waited by the mailbox for an important letter?

From Washington, Laura Sydell reports on the difficulty classical musicians have making a living. If only we could pay them with applause.

  • GregS

    The first two items on today’s list get me shaking my head. Both issues cleave the cultural divide of bias, perception and values.

    I am not quite sure what the big deal is with Sen. Thune’s bill, other than a bias driven desire by some to lash out at gun-owners.

    It is common for states to recognize permits issues else where. For instance, Minnesota permit holders can carry in: AK, AZ, ID, IN, KY, MI, KS, MO, MT, OK, SD, TN, UT and VT.

    As for male victims of domestic violence, I am glad the media is slowly coming around on this. Sadly, it comes late. We have known about this for 30 years.

  • LK

    I think the real mystery of the Duluth Ball Slasher is how he knew which houses had exercise balls, as well as where they were stored in those houses. Did he break into random houses and rummage around in closets and basements until he found a ball? How many houses did he break into that didn’t have a ball?

  • Jason

    The Twins story was in my morning paper, btw. Good work by the Strib. I bet it was a bad night for the sports desk at 12:59 a.m. when that game probably got over.

  • Kim V

    I definitely think the Steve McNair tragedy was an example of intimate partner violence, where the abuser is a female and the victim is a male. Why I think it’s not being framed in this way is because victims are seen as weak, submissive, and not able to defend themselves. These are not considered acceptable traits for a big football player, but may make more sense to people when used to describe Rihanna (or possibly women in general?). This is why the patriarchy hurts men too: it makes it unacceptable for men to be the victim. Gender stereotypes hurt everyone. I’m greatly simplifying the issue, but that’s the only way I can see why this story hasn’t received more coverage or why it wasn’t called domestic violence/intimate partner violence.

  • GregS

    This is why the patriarchy hurts men too:

    What patriarchy was that?

    Tossing around terms like “patriarchy” is a big part of the problem. It is the language of bias.

    Seriously, the term has not accurately applied to any aspect of western civilization in more than a half-century.

    The one place it still survives is in Women Studies classes as a phantom to rally the troops against, everywhere else, it amounts to little more than a “huh, what?” or a “yeah, I read something about that in a Women’s Studies class.”

    The reason domestic violence against men is grossly under-reported is damned simple.

    A man would have to be a fool to an incident.

    There is tremendous political and social pressure for police to arrest the man no matter who the violent party is.

    Take a look at the numbers.

    We have known since Dr. Murray Straus’s research 30 years ago that in simple assault DV incidents, women are the violent party half the time, yet look at the arrests for simple assault DV.

    One woman is arrested for every ten men.

    With stats like that, why should a man take the risk of calling in an assault?

  • bsimon

    GregS writes

    “I am not quite sure what the big deal is with Sen. Thune’s bill, other than a bias driven desire by some to lash out at gun-owners.

    It is common for states to recognize permits issues else where. For instance, Minnesota permit holders can carry in: AK, AZ, ID, IN, KY, MI, KS, MO, MT, OK, SD, TN, UT and VT.”

    I am not sure why Sen Thune’s bill is necessary. This sounds like a state issue – they issue the permits and, as Greg documents, they already negotiate reciprocity. The danger in Sen Thune’s bill is if it allows people denied a permit in one state to cross the border into another & acquire a permit there that then lets them carry nationwide. This is a state issue, not a federal one.

  • John P.

    Classical Music: “One or two people clapping can spoil it for everyone”

    This article may help explain why classical music has such a rough time attracting a mass audience. God forbid it should be fun or exciting. I love the music, but wouldn’t want to commit a faux pas.

  • GregS

    BSimon writes

    “I am not sure why Sen Thune’s bill is necessary. This sounds like a state issue – they issue the permits and, as Greg documents, they already negotiate reciprocity. The danger in Sen Thune’s bill is if it allows people denied a permit in one state to cross the border into another & acquire a permit there that then lets them carry nationwide. This is a state issue, not a federal one.”

    I am not sure where you got that interpretation. From the USNews article linked above.

    “that would allow armed citizens with state-approved concealed-carry permits to cross into another state that also allows the carrying of concealed weapons. The reciprocity amendment is being offered by South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who says it would require those crossing into a neighboring state to follow the rules governing concealed weapons in those localities.”

    I see nothing in the bill allowing “venue shopping”

  • bsimon

    GregS writes

    “I see nothing in the bill allowing “venue shopping””

    If that were the case, the bill would be unnecessary. As you noted above, states can now establish reciprocity. What Thune’s bill seems to do is force states to accept other states’ criteria for whom is eligible to carry a concealed weapon.

    For instance, State A might restrict concealed carry permits to off-duty law enforcement and people who pass stringent training requirements. State B might restrict permits only to people who ask their sherrif nicely for the privilege, but require no training. Thune’s bill seems to force State A to honor the permits granted by State B, despite holders from State B not being required to demonstrate competence in the use of their weapon. That, in my mind, is an example of the Feds overstepping their bounds and infringing on each State’s rights to determine what laws apply within their jurisdiction.

  • GregS

    BSimon,

    Oh, I get it.

    For instance if a state wants to issue its own currency, why should it be forced to accept the currency of another?

    This was the case before the feds stepped all over the states to adopt a national currency.

    The same was true with drivers licenses. States with high thresholds of certification used to restrict the driving privileges of residents from other states.

    Do you also hold federal laws mandating national (and international) recognition of driving privileges as an example of rampant federalism, or even one-worldism?

    Thumes amendment simply makes common sense.

    But back to a point you made eariier, “The danger in Sen Thune’s bill is if it allows people denied a permit in one state to cross the border into another & acquire a permit there that then lets them carry nationwide”

    Where did you get the idea that states could or would issue permits to non-residents who had been denied permits in their own state?