Who cares about ‘women’s issues?’ (5×8 – 4/5/12)

Do women care more than men, 45 minutes of Helen, death of the cookie, politics and the Minnesota wolf, and a heaping helping of Minnesota.


Do women care more about “women’s issues” than men? Trick question? Slate.com says they don’t, a conclusion that comes after an appearance by Nikki Haley, the South Carolina governor, on one of those morning TV talk shows in which she said “women don’t care about contraception.”

Writing in Slate, Libby Copeland refutes the contention that the recent reintroduction of issues once settled isn’t likely to hurt the politicians who reintroduce them.

Women do care about contraception, of course, but political scientists have consistently found that women appear to care no more and no less about the whole spectrum of so-called women’s issues than men. Women associate more strongly with the Democratic Party than men, but, as political scientist Karen Kaufmann points out in her book, Unconventional Wisdom, concerns over reproductive issues don’t appear to figure into this. “Questions of abortion and women’s rights are two issue domains where gender differences generally do not exist,” Kaufmann writes. Rather, as I wrote in this piece on the history of the gender gap, women tend to be more liberal than men on matters like social welfare and military defense, and this accounts for women’s closer alignment with the Democratic Party.

There’s one other conclusion: Women don’t think alike.


WBAY in Green Bay has obtained and posted the entire audio from this week’s incident in which a woman landed a plane at an airport in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., after her husband died at its controls. (I wrote about it here). It’s about as compelling a 45 minutes of air-to-ground audio as you’re likely to hear anywhere (I posted the audio on my aviation blog) h/t: Matt Kummer

Today, meanwhile the New York Times is the latest — and largest — news organization to leave out a critical piece of information to explain her expertise in the emergency: she’d flown an airplane by herself before.


Hands down, the best flying experience of all airlines was the chocolate chip cookies that were baked on Midwest Airlines flights. The tradition continued when Frontier Airlines bought the airline. Now, the cookie is dead.

“During that review, it was determined that the cookie did not align with either the perception or the financial reality of a low-cost carrier,” a Frontier spokeswoman said this week. “We were the only domestic low-cost carrier offering a free perishable snack.”

This is airline-think. “The other airlines treat you like garbage, so we will, too.”

She said an airline review of catering and food procedures will offer passengers “new and exciting changes in the coming months.”

What exciting change? The cookies will be replaced by Pepperidge Farm goldfish crackers and animal crackers.

The Cranky Flier blog posits that these and other changes are a symptom of a not-so-exciting change in airlines — de facto three cabins of class.

You won’t see a one-size-fits-all fare again. Bag fees will stay, but if airlines offer bundles correctly, they’ll be able to push more people to pay more for a grouping of services at the time of ticket purchase. That, however, requires online travel agents and Global Distribution Systems (GDSes) to start selling flights in a manner that makes sense.

If I go to FrontierAirlines.com, I see my three options in front of me and I can pick what I want. I don’t see that on online travel agent sites – instead I just see the lowest fare without any sense that there are additional purchase options. And in the GDSes, it’s a big mess. We recently sold a Classic Plus fare to a Cranky Concierge client but could only do so by sifting through the fares to find which one was Classic Plus. Then I had to force the flights to price at that fare in order to ticket. Then I couldn’t even assign a seat – had to call Frontier to get the Stretch seat that came with the bundle. That sucks.

Once that hurdle is gone, bundling will become easier for more airlines to roll out broadly beyond their own websites. But that shouldn’t stop them from offering this kind of thing now. I hope we see more of what Frontier is doing here.


Has a political ad ever featured wolves before? A bill at the Legislature creating a hunting season on wolves in Minnesota began airing this week:

The ad comes from the organization, “Howling for Wolves.”

The National Resources Defense Council says the situation shows that caution is necessary when it comes to managing animals that have just been taken off the endangered species list:

Here at NRDC we’ve made no secret of the fact that we think that wolves are fully recovered in the upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan) and no longer need Endangered Species Act protections. In fact, NRDC wrote a detailed comment letter to the federal government saying just that. But even then, we said that the success or failure of delisting would hinge on whether or not these Midwest states could responsibly manage their wolves. Of all the management plans in the Midwest–plans that the federal government relied on when it removed the wolf from the Endangered Species List–the Minnesota plan was one of the best, not least of which because it called for a five-year moratorium on hunting after any delisting. Now it seems like Minnesota is about to unilaterally change course and allow the immediate hunting and trapping of 400 wolves. Wisconsin just enacted a similar hunting plan, despite the vociferous objections of its Native American communities.

The Minnesota House approved a hunting and trapping plan for wolves on Tuesday. The bill also lowers the restitution value for wolves killed illegally to $500 from its previous $2,000.


A series of time lapse images from a recent spring break trip to the North Shore:

(h/t: Perfect Duluth Day)

Bonus: There’s a reasonable chance that the pioneers of the sport of baseball are turning in their graves. Miami opened its season last night, proving it’s not Iowa. Or heaven.


The Legislature is considering a bill to allow the sale in Minnesota of the same sorts of fireworks available to consumers in Wisconsin. Current law limits Minnesota sales to on-the-ground novelties like snakes, fountains and sparklers. The change would open the way to sales of bigger and potentially more dangerous fireworks like skyrockets. Today’s Question: Should bigger and more powerful fireworks be sold in Minnesota?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Being diagnosed with cancer at any age is a terrifying thing, but for young people, a cancer diagnosis can mean falling into a treatment limbo. Young adults are often faced with receiving treatment among children in pediatric wards, or with elderly patients in more traditional oncology wards , and neither option addresses the specific needs of a young adult population.

Second hour: Paul Nicklen, photographer for National Geographic and author of “Polar Obsession.”

Third hour: Once again, the discussion on requiring or strongly encouraging national service has surfaced. Recent commentaries note that common connections, mutual understanding and a national story decrease as the class divide continues to grow. Can service unite a country and create solutions by bringing people of all classes and backgrounds together?

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Live National Press Club luncheon address by IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Weight loss surgery: It’s risky, but could it be an answer for diabetics?

Second hour: Could cyclists be their own worst enemies?,

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Summer airfares are climbing as a result of higher fuel costs, reduced capacity and decreased competition. For more than a decade, air travelers have been catching a break on airfares. They haven’t come close to keeping pace with inflation. But now airlines are trying to better match their fares with their costs and achieve what’s often so hard for them to do –make a profit. Many Twin Cities travelers are trying to figure out how –or if — they can fly affordably this summer. Many may be taking to the highway rather than the sky. MPR’s Martin Moylan will have the story.