Five at 8 – 9/15/09: Which rights would you defend?

1) – It’s not illegal to carry a handgun in Minnesota. It’s not illegal to fly an old airplane that’s a threat to nobody in Minnesota. But when a president comes to town, guess which one becomes illegal? The Star Tribune carries the report today of Josh Hendrickson, recently released from jail, who defended his Second Amendment right by bringing two guns to last Saturday’s rally. “The Second Amendment isn’t suspended just because the president’s in town,” said Hendrickson.

stearman.jpg Meanwhile, over at my end of town — South St. Paul Airport — a man took off in his antique Stearman Airplane. Had people on the ground not radioed to him that he needed to land immediately, he would’ve shortly thereafter faced an F-18 jet. The government had clamped a no-fly zone around the area. Even RC airplanes and those Estes model rockets were prohibited. Of all these things, which represented the greatest threat?

People — and appropriately so — want to protect freedoms under the Constitution. And in the above scenario, the obvious conclusion to explain the unfairness of it all is that there’s no inherent right to fly in the Constitution (people couldn’t fly when the Constitution was written). But why is it always guns and not, for example, warrantless searches, dangerous people who are incarcerated even though they’ve served their jail time, or people held without formal charges that prompt people to action when it comes to the Constitution? How do we choose which rights to defend when all carry equal weight? Discuss.

2) How many people are running the shower a little longer before stepping in today? University of Colorado Boulder scientists have found that you’re bombarded with million of bacteria when you first step into the shower thanks to the shower head. “For most people, taking a shower is not dangerous, but if you are immune compromised, such as the elderly or pregnant, it could be,” the researcher says.

3) On a paw and a prayer. A good read from the Associated Press on an interesting program. This week, Pilots N Paws “is seeking to transport 5,000 animals to safety in a flurry of flights designed to raise awareness of the charity and draw attention to the importance of spaying and neutering,” the report says. Pilots fly to other areas of the country to pick up shelter dogs from overwhelmed shelters (the South seems to be a particularly bad place to be a dog), and bring them back to areas that know how to treat pooches better — Minnesota, for example.


Page 4 at this link has the story of one local man who’s part of the effort.

4) I’ve got to find this poem. It was Boxelder Bug Days last weekend in Minneota. A group of poets and friends of the late Bill Holm used the opportunity to honor the local poet who “was a party all by himself.” His next-door neighbor shared a poem Holm had written before his death. “Revenge of the Geese” looked at the “miracle on the Hudson” airplane landing from the perspective of the birds who struck the plane’s engines, the Marshall Independent reports.



Much of the debate over health care reform concerns finances – how to cover more people and how to pay the costs of their coverage. Setting aside the problem of how to pay for it, what would you change about the health care experience?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: MPR News Fellows recently discuss environmental policy.

Second hour: Roger McGuinn.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield answers questions about the H1N1 flu. This morning on the CBS Early Show, H1N1 “sufferer” Harry Smith was again interviewed live from his bedroom. “I’m doing great,” he said in an interview that failed if the goal was to scare us, which it was.

Second hour: T.R. Reid, speaking to the Commonwealth Club of California about his book, “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: How to turn 10 million books into digital form.

Second hour: LeBron James takes your phone calls. He was on Daily Show last night in another reminder of the New Yorkers’ keys to success: Buy it.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
LeBron James
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Healthcare Protests

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – It’s Primary Day in St. Paul, a day in which voters go to the polls to vote for candidates they don’t know much about.

President Obama is on a Rust Belt tour, speaking to autoworkers in Ohio. John McWhorter will discuss whether racism plays a role in criticism of President Obama, a topic which should keep the NPR Ombudsman occupied for a few days.

  • govtmule

    Amendment IX

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    Amendment X

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    These are the two that are most under pressure in the last 100 years to the point where they are unrecognizable.

  • Bob Collins

    What was the very first step that you believe undermined each? Quite often we look at the most recent, but it would be interesting to look at it from the other direction.

  • Not to be argumentative, but the Stearman was the greater threat. That plane is a workhorse and could have been loaded up with plenty of high explosives. And once the plane is over a metro area, you can’t shoot it down without risk of considerable loss of life. Just guessing now, but a Target rooftop impact/explosion could have brought down how much roof on how many people?

    Ever since 9/11, that’s not a Tom Clancy scenario. We forget how many medals were posthumously awarded to US aviators who got shot down but then managed to kamikaze into a Japanese war ship. Americans have a history of “suiciders” from the Alamo to suicide-by-cop, and the no-fly precaution makes a lot of sense.

    Presidential visits are inconvenient, no doubt about it.

  • Bob Collins

    I hear this allegation a lot, Mark, and it’s generally low on merit. It also ignores one of the main complaints of aviators on this issue. Small planes have never been used in a terrorist attack in the U.S. And they’re singled out while methods that HAVE been used in terror attacks get a free pass.

    Ryder Trucks have been. Ryder Trucks “loaded up with plenty of explosives” (actually fertilizer). There was no ban on Ryder Trucks in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday. And we already know that a Ryder Truck can do plenty of damage in an area.

    “Load up with plenty of explosives” How many explosives? The useful load of a Stearman C3 is about 1,000 pounds. Take the pilot away, maybe 800 pounds. Take gasoline away, 46 gallons at 6.5 pounds each gallon, and now you’re down to about 500 pounds.

    That’s not insignificant, but Oklahoma City needed 4,800 pounds of explosives.

    Now, the Stearman is a fabric airplane. There’s no mass to it. And if you use it to somehow detonate explosives on top of a cement target center, where’s the blast going to go…down through the roof….or up and away?

    Of course, there already IS security for Target Center. One mile north of South St. Paul, the airspace for MSP goes to the surface. you can’t go in without authorization. The F-18s are already in the air, and nobody is going to get an airplane that goes, what, the 18 miles to Target Center without an F-18 intercepting.

    So there really ISN’T a risk involved, one that’s signficant enough to rise above the risk posed by a gun within yards of the president.

    And certainly not one that approaches the risk posed by a Ryder rental truck.

  • Good points, but now I’m worried they’ll start banning trucks from downtown next time he comes back.

  • Bob Collins

    That would imply some capability of consistency or scale to match a threat. Not much of that happening.

  • govtmule

    In general it is the broad mis-application of the Commerce clause, particularly at the beginning of the New Deal which required Roosevelt to increase the size of the Supreme Court in order to increase the reach of the federal government.

  • Tyler

    Reading the MST article, this incident with Josh Hendrickson sounds like a non-incident to me. He’s not even mentioned as being one of the more obnoxious “Obama lied, grandma died” protesters there. There’s no indication that he intimidated or did anything objectionable to anyone. This offends people?

    I’ve always carried a pocket knife with me, and from time to time I’m scolded by someone who can’t fathom the depths of madness that would drive someone to have a knife with them in public (knives are not “weapons” under the penal code). Hendrickson’s defense given is much the same as my own: I always grab it on the way out the door, when legally permitted to do so.

    That said, maybe it *was* poor judgment to go packing at that event, but I sympathize with Hendrickson because he is RIGHT. Our rights to an attorney, to refuse a search, to not quarter soldiers against our will, to speak our minds, to worship freely, and to possess firearms are not circumstantial.

    I reject that the exercise of our constitutional rights is evidence of inadequate restriction of them.

  • Bob Collins

    I’ve read dozens of these gunner stories and one gets the feeling that they’d like to get arrested so they can assume the martyr-for-the-cause role. That’s hard to do when the cops just ask you about your gun, make sure you’ve got it legally, and then move along.

    There didn’t appear to be an actual “issue” in the story. Nobody prevented him from doing anything, nobody violated his Constitutional rights.

    However, what I DON’T understand is why — again from what I understand — a guy with an apparent conviction (he just got out of jail) in an assault case still gets to carry a gun until his permit is up for renewal.

    If you’re convicted of drunk driving, do you get to keep your license until your license is up for renewal?

  • kennedy

    A significant purpose of counter terrorism activites is to make the public feel safe. People are more likely to feel threatened by a plane flying overhead than a truck parked in the street.

    We are not always logical. Travel by car is more dangerous than travel by air, yet people don’t hesitate to text while driving (raising their risk even further).

  • Bob Collins

    Exactly. it’s the ILLUSION of security, rather than security.

    It’s a descendant of duck-and-cover in which kids could survive a nuclear bomb, merely by hiding under their desks. We look back now and thing, “how could they have been so stupid as to believe that if kids hid under their desks, a nuclear blast couldn’t touch them?”

    But, of course, they didn’t believe that. It was to create the illusion of safety where no actual safety exists.

    But that’s not a good reason not to point out that we’re still doing that.