Are we more insular as a species, the changing face of high school sports, Wisconsin's voter ID law and the rights that can't be taken away, there's something about Marilyn, and what plants tell us about climate change.
Newspapers are usually very secretive about comics so it was a bit surprising today when I found all of this week's Doonesbury strips posted online. The Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal is one of the newspapers -- like the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press -- that has refused to run the strip this week, running substitute strips that Garry Trudeau put together (which feature almost no dialog or story line, which might be Trudeau's stick-in-the-eye message to the skittish newspapers). You can find the pdf file of this week's Doonesbury here (The Star Tribune is also posting the comic online but only for the day of publication)
(Update 12:53 p.m. The newspaper has now removed the strips)
The strip is tackling Texas' new law requiring women seeking an abortion to have a sonogram first. For the most part, the storyline isn't much different than what Jon Stewart might have on the Daily Show.
I'm guessing this is the one that caused the blowback from editors:
The Doonesbury website has, as you might expect, a vigorous debate going on about this week's series.
Here's one side, for example:
As a mother of two wanted and loved children in Virginia, where they recently passed ultrasound legislation, thank you. I appreciate your guts and your support of keeping the government out of my and my daughters' reproductive business. We teach our children that their private parts are private. When the government forces women to accept whatever touching they mandate and that additionally, we should have to pay for that mandate, I think they should remember that such decisions are not theirs to make, but should be left to the privacy usually enjoyed between a woman and her doctor. Thank you for respecting that privacy.
And the other...
I'm a female in my 40s that has had two (soon three) such sonagrams for medical monitoring purposes (fibroid and polyp). It is not a big deal -- not painful or much more invasive than a pap test -- and certainly not as invasive as an abortion or the process to get pregnant. I'd much rather go through a sonogram than a mammogram. What's the fear, ladies? That you'll actually see a baby about to be murdered? I've seen a sonogram with a coworker's unborn baby sucking its thumb. What's to fear about that? Maybe that you'll develop a conscience? As a female who's had sonograms I know the procedure is not a big deal. You do a disservice to your reading public, and show your ignorance, by indicating otherwise. Obviously some of your readers are equally uninformed about the procedure.
Most of the newspapers who elected not to publish the strip this week said it's an issue that doesn't belong on the comic pages. But -- and again this is similar to The Daily Show, a comedy show which frequently covers the news better than the news stations -- the issue isn't being debated this week in any other section of most newspapers.
But the Fort Worth Star Telegram, an editorial, denied it's because of any cowardice, a charge level, a charge leveled by Rachel Madow last night.
The reason for not printing the strip has nothing to do with left- or right-wing politics. It has everything to do with civility and consistency.
On Wednesday we published an editorial taking to task radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh for his crass language about Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who testified before Congress about health insurance coverage for contraceptives. Trudeau's language, accompanied by graphic images, is equally crude.
Strong, passionate arguments can be made about public policies without crossing the line that both these men leaped over. And if the day comes that the debate about abortion is decided by which side's images are the most graphic, the pro-life folks will prevail.
We've reached the "let's raise the speed limit of I-35E in Saint Paul" stage of this year legislative session at the state Capitol.
Two Republican representatives -- Pat Garofalo and Tara Mack -- today filed a bill to raise the limit to 50.
The little patch of highway between (roughly) the Mississippi River and downtown Saint Paul (I-94) is again to be a battleground between those who want to raise the speed limit -- usually suburban legislators -- and those who want to continue the current 45 mph speed limit that nobody observes -- usually the city legislators.
Garofolo, who lost the battle in 2010, is changing his tactic this time. In 2010, he tried to have the speed limit on the road changed to 55 mph. Last year, an amendment was tucked into the omnibus transportation bill in the waning days of the session in the Senate, which was still awaiting a floor vote when the session ended.
"I don't agree with it anymore, " Sen. Dan Hall, who sponsored a similar in the Senate this, says. "It's ridiculous that Saint Paul holds the rest of the state hostage. It's the only spot on an interstate in the whole United States that's 45 mph."
In 1984, state officials agreed to the low speed limit in exchange for building the highway by upgrading Pleasant Avenue from a parkway to a highway. Trucks were also banned on the highway under the settlement with neighbors in federal court.
If the speed limit is raised to 50, it's unlikely many people would stop there -- most people go faster than that now. And the omnibus transportation bill being considered by the House now provides some measure of protection for those drivers. A provision prohibits speed limit violations of up to 10 mph over the limit from going on a driver's record
(Photo: I-35E construction through Saint Paul in 1971. Minnesota Historical Society.)(34 Comments)
If the Minnesota Twins were a cologne, what would it smell like? Chances are, it would smell like something that couldn't overpower the Yankees' cologne.
There actually now is a Yankees cologne, the AdFreak blog reports.
What does New York Yankees cologne smell like? "We hope it reflects the smell of success, not to sound too cheesy," said Duncan Bird, a veteran of Grey Global Group, BBDO, Anomaly and BBH who's now creative director of the Cloudbreak Group, marketer of the Bronx Bomber scent. "It's not too challenging. It's a very refreshing smell."
Others might have different ideas. Like the smell of money. Or the ghost of George Steinbrenner. Or calzones. Or fear -- from newfound payroll austerity amid commitments to pay Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez into their golden years. Red Sox fans will no doubt have a wide array of profane suggestions.
Cloudbreak could have opted to name a fragrance after one of the Yankees' stars, but why limit things to one man when you can have what smells like team spirit? "Players come and players go," Mr. Bird said. "The Yankees have been around a long time and represent something unique."(2 Comments)
It's good to be a small town in Iowa.
Dyersville, Iowa, home of the Field of Dreams, is in the middle of a fierce debate over the future of the idyllic spot made famous by the Kevin Costner movie.
An option on the site was purchased last year by a Chicago attorney, who stopped "on the way home" from a Minnesota Twins game to play catch with his son. Now, he and his wife are planning a big spread at the site that would, in theory, attract hundreds of youth baseball tournaments.
A study concludes that up to 1,500 players and their families would visit Dyersville every week.
And, the Associated Press says, that's one of the problems. Businesses in the town are worried that the new restaurants and businesses would take what few workers there are in the town. Unemployment is low in the town now.
The AP says the plan also has plenty of environmental concern:
While the project could provide an economic jolt and breathe new life into Dyersville's most valuable asset, it has unleashed fierce emotions that have pitted neighbors against each other and raised difficult questions for leaders of the town of 4,000. Should the city extend water and sewer service to make the project viable? Would enough people come to make it succeed? And if so, would the development ruin the nostalgic, country feel that made this part of rural Iowa a draw in the first place?
"This is one of those projects that has a high risk, but a high reward," said Jim Heavens, a cattle nutritionist who has been the city's part-time mayor for nine years. "If everything goes
according to Hoyle, it would be a boom for the town and a boom for the state and do something nice for youth. If it doesn't work out, there's going to be a lot of pieces to pick up."
Two weeks ago, about a dozen people spoke up at the city council meeting asking for help to protect the city and nearby farms. Others spoke in favor of the project. The council took no action and nobody called anybody a "Nazi cow."
Moving to a window cubicle in the World Headquarters of NewsCut has afforded me the opportunity to spend most of my day watching light-rail construction on Cedar Street in Saint Paul, see the array of construction talents on display, and marvel that someone -- somewhere -- knows eactly what everybody needs to be doing.
So far, however, this is my favorite one:
Her job, when she's not making sure pedestrians can safely cross the street, is making sure the crosswalk area is swept of sand and mud. This is not easy because yesterday, dozens of dump trucks spent the day dumping sand in the middle of the street...
... which, we sidewalk supervisors theorize, will eventually be used to cover up the earth's core that the workers uncovered while moving the various utilities.
In the midst of this chaos, there's a mighty clean crosswalk thanks to someone who went to work today to literally shovel sand against the tide.
(Be sure see Dan Olson's "then and now" post on MPR's The Cities blog)