When the sheriff is the law(5×8 – 1/16/13)

First this programming note: I will be live-blogging President Obama’s remarks on gun control and then hosting a live chat here starting at 10 a.m. Join me with your reaction to the announcement.


Pine County Sheriff Robin Cole says he will not enforce any aspect of President Obama’s gun rules if they infringe on constitutional freedoms.

In a letter to constituents, reported by the Duluth News Tribune, Cole says state law provides plenty of public safety protections now.

“I do not believe the federal government or any individual in the federal government has the right to dictate to the states, counties or municipalities any mandate, regulation or administrative rule that violates the United States Constitution or its various amendments.”

Several sheriffs around the country are doing the same thing. In Oregon, Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller says the likely new rules violate his oath to uphold the Constitution. Click the letter to read it.


It’s the same story in Jackson County, Kentucky where Sheriff Denny Peyman says the Constitution is like the Bible. “Either you believe it or you don’t believe it. The Constitution, either you believe it or you don’t. Either you live by it or you don’t,” he told Fox.

Related: Schools reject more-guns idea. (St. Cloud Times)


Williston, N.D., may have lots of oil; but it doesn’t have many women.

And that’s a problem for the women who do live in the Oil Patch, the New York Times says.

Many said they felt unsafe. Several said they could not even shop at the local Walmart without men following them through the store. Girls’ night out usually becomes an exercise in fending off obnoxious, overzealous suitors who often flaunt their newfound wealth.

“So many people look at you like you’re a piece of meat,” said Megan Dye, 28, a nearly lifelong Williston resident. “It’s disgusting. It’s gross.”

One solution? A gun.

At the urging of her family, Barbara Coughlin, 31, who recently moved to Williston after her 11-year marriage ended, is now getting her concealed weapons permit so she can carry a Taser. Ms. Coughlin, who wore silver glitter around her eyes at work as a waitress on a recent day, said her mother and stepfather, who live here, advised her to stop wearing the skirts and heels she cherishes, so she does not stand out like “a flower in the desert,” as her stepfather put it. Her family hardly ever lets her go out on her own — not even for walks down the gravel road at the housing camp where they live.

“Will I stay for very long? Probably not,” she said. “To me, there’s no money in the world worth not even being able to take a walk.”

Related: Report says Minnesota should spend $10 million to help trafficking victims.

3) THE $28,000 DIET

If only there were a way to prevent kids from being obese so their parents don’t have to spend $28,000.

Related: Nutrition education program for food stamp recipients faces cuts


St. Paul has already lost Macy’s; is it about to lose Lawson? The company that bought the formerly big software company is thinking about abandoning the big building in downtown that once heralded the city’s comeback, according to the Business Journal.

The move, if it occurs, should prompt a renewed look at whether it’s worth it to plow taxpayer money into private business. Macy’s got city money to stay downtown, and decided to blow town the minute it legally could.

Lawson was another one of then-mayor Norm Coleman’s projects to lure business downtown, stealing the software developer from Minneapolis. Saint Paul still owes money on the project.

Is it too early to start worrying about the insurance company formerly known as the Saint Paul?


Meet the 2012 Sports Illustrated Sports Kids of the Year.

Bonus I: Ever wonder what those football players are saying? It’s probably not this, eh, Adrian Peterson?

Bonus II: The silver lining of flu season. People who don’t like to shake hands have a good excuse not to shake hands. (Boston Globe)

Bonus III: The Norwegian photographer whose subject is wolves. (Lens blog)


This morning, President Obama is expected to call for wider background checks on gun purchases, restrictions on assault weaponry, federal research into gun violence and other measures to reduce gun violence. Today’s Question: What do you think of President Obama’s initiatives to reduce gun violence?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: A look at the new common core English standards.

Second hour: The state of tobacco control report card.

Third hour: The NRA and American politics.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham, speaking on Thomas Jefferson. He’s the author of the new best-selling book, “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.”

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The Poltical Junkie.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Lance Armstrong had a turbulent relationship with sports reporters during the years he faced doping allegations. Now that he’s reportedly coming clean, it may come as no surprise that he’s turned to mainstream media as a conduit for redemption. NPR reports on Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong, and the fallen cyclist’s media strategy.