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.
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."
If only there were a way to prevent kids from being obese so their parents don't have to spend $28,000.
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?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
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.(15 Comments)
From the "Things We Didn't Know Until Today" file comes word that there's a godfather of ice fishing. And, naturally, he's from Minnesota.
But we had to learn this fact from New Hampshire, which this week is learning a thing or two from Dave Genz, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.
The fish and game boss in the Granite State seems to be embracing the Midwest way.
"You know, Yankee mentality," he muses, "What's worked for my grandfather will work for me. But you know we're starting to see the evolution change over here with some of the young guns coming out. So for the next generation coming up that's more instantaneous, the video game folks, this is perfect."
Genz suggested that New Hampshire fishermen on the lake he was at aren't serious fishermen because of the way they do their business.
Apparently, they just sit there and fish instead of using sonar and technical goodies to swing luck in their favor.
Could New York state's new gun law backfire when it comes to people with a mental illness? Some experts think so.
The law would require therapists, doctors, nurses and social workers to tell government authorities if they believe a patient is likely to harm himself or others. That could lead to revoking the patient's gun permit and seizing any guns, the Associated Press says.
It could also lead people who most need help not to seek it or get it.
"The people who arguably most need to be in treatment and most need to feel free to talk about these disturbing impulses, may be the ones we make least likely to do so," said the director of law, ethics and psychiatry at Columbia. "They will either simply not come, or not report the thoughts that they have."
We know this is likely true based on stringent government monitoring of another area: aviation.
As I noted on The Current last week, the government is very strict with the medical backgrounds of people who fly. Any possible health problem -- mental or physical -- can mean the loss of flying privileges.
There's an argument to be made that the nation's aviation system is among the world's safest because of this. There's also an argument to be made that it has made it more likely that someone with a mental or physical problem will fly an airplane.
This is especially true in areas of mental health. Many pilots don't seek help or therapy because they'd be required to report it during their next FAA medical exam. But because they don't want to lose flying privileges, they simply do without it.
At least where guns are concerned, the ramifications are obvious.
"If people with suicidal or homicidal impulses avoid treatment for fear of being reported in this way, they may be more likely to act on those impulses," Dr. Paul Appelbaum at Columbia University said.
And several mental health professionals told the AP that the new law destroys the relationship between the doctor and the patient. "No patient is going to tell you anything if they think you're going to report them," said one.
And yet, there's more talk about tracking people who's sought help for mental illness. In Massachusetts today, Gov. Deval Patrick proposed legislation today requiring courts to send all relevant mental health records to the state's criminal justice information system so the federal government could include this information in a national gun license registry.
Is mental health getting too big of the blame for gun violence? Writing in the New York Times last month, Dr. Richard Friedman noted that people with a mental illness are responsible for only 4 percent of violence in the U.S. Alcohol and drug abuse, he said, are far more likely to result in violent behavior than mental illness by itself.
When the head of the National Alliance on Mental Illness met with VP Biden's task force last week, he suggested the U.S. take steps to improve the mental health system. Too many families wait years to get the treatment they need. The current system is impossible for many to navigate, he said. He also pushed for more availability of mental health services in schools.
Today's plan included a minimal amount of money in that direction.(7 Comments)
You knew that Savage, Minnesota was a shipbuilding port during World War II, right? Me, neither.
But now we do, thanks to Emma Weisner, a student at St. Louis Park High School. She'll represent Minnesota at the opening of a new pavilion at the World War II museum in New Orleans, as part of her project documenting shipbuilding in Minnesota during the war.
In her online effort -- available here -- she documents the shipyards of Duluth-Superior, but notes that Cargill in Savage was the largest of the World War II shipyards in Minnesota because the Navy noticed the company was so good at building barges and ships to haul wheat and grain.
During its heyday, 3,500 people worked at the Savage shipyard, the city's website says.
Most of the ships built were fuel tankers, like the Kishwaukee, which had a long military life, supporting ships in Okinawa and, much later, delivering fuel for Navy planes in Vietnam.
But the ships are all gone now, except for -- maybe -- two. The last Savage-built ship -- the Elkhorn -- was sold to Taiwan in 1972, was renamed Hsing Lung and was last seen steaming around as late as 2008. It's shown here on the left, next to the Pecatonica, also built in Savage.
(h/t: Dan Albright)(2 Comments)
Another effort is underway in Minnesota to allow veterans of one of America's secret wars to be buried in state veterans cemeteries.
The Hmong fighters were recruited, trained, directed,supported, and paid by the United States Central Intelligence Agency to fight in their native Laos during the Vietnam war. But they've not been able to get buried in U.S. veterans cemeteries.
A similar bill was filed at the Legislature last year by Rep. Bob Dettmer. It got one hearing and then died. No Senate companion bill was filed.
Minnesota is believed to have about 400 Hmong veterans, the largest of any state.
At the time, the head of the Minnesota National Guard suggested what the Hmong did wasn't any more special than other allies of the U.S., according to the Star Tribune.
In a letter made available to committee members, Minnesota Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Shellito, himself a Vietnam veteran, acknowledged the role Hmong fighters had in the secret war in Laos, and pointed out that the state has proclaimed a special Royal Lao Armed Forces Day each year. But, Shellito said, granting special rights for Hmong fighters would represent a precedent, and any honor bestowed on Hmong veterans would have to be provided equally to others, such as Vietnamese, Iragis, Afghans, and Somalis.
"As you know, the Laotians are not unique in having served alongside U.S. Forces in the past," he wrote.
Guns, hostages, and the singer who wants to go to prison as soon as her kid becomes a teenager. Who wouldn't?
Here's today's news discussion with Mary Lucia of The Current.(1 Comments)