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Comic books, guns lead comment topics

Comic books, gun control, biofuels and politics were among the topics that inspired MinnPost commenters in the past week or so. Here’s a sampling of their thoughts:

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Jay Michaels was one of the readers who appreciated Judith Yates Borger’s Monday story about her husband, John Borger’s, recent donation, “U of M gets major collection — of comic books”:

Thanks for the article — it really resonated with me.

My two-year-old likes to fly around the house wearing only a towel on her head saying, “I’m a Batman, I’m a Batman. …” — don’t know where she gets it.

Lisa Schiltz said:

What a beautifully written story! It’s not just an interesting story about a fascinating new community resource, but it’s really a testimony to love — layers and layers of different types of love. Thanks for sharing the collection with all of us, John. And thanks for sharing the story with all of us, Judy!

Nona McLean added:

I’m going to nerd out very briefly to note that comics are a medium, not a genre. Saying you don’t like the graphic novel genre is like saying you don’t like the film genre, or the TV genre, or the book genre.

Comics, as a medium, can cover any genre — comedy, science fiction, action, romance, and, yes, superheroes.

(Also, graphic novels are published as single volumes; comics are serialized and then sometimes collected into volumes that are called graphic novels even though they aren’t. Okay. Done nerding now, I swear. Great article!)

And Jean Tracy commented:

Both a lovely story and a love story. Thanks so much for sharing it. ‘Twas such fun to see you and John on “Almanac” Friday and to hear both of you tell your story, too.

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A Feb. 28 Community Voices essay titled “Guns, rights and the U.S. Constitution,” by Matt Ehling, sparked some lively comments:

B.D. Maginnis said:

An excellent job, Matt.

Should be required reading for ALL Minnesotans. This country was founded by armed citizens, and needs to remain protected by same.

Would that the liberal anti-gun zealots realize that it is THEIR failed policies that make self defense and the assurance of the ability of an armed response a more vital necessity than ever before.

Daniel Kitzmann weighed in:

This is far and away the most cogent, well-reasoned guest commentary I’ve ever read on this site. And I offer these kudos as one who is sympathetic to some measure of gun control, even though I believe qua the 2nd Amendment it is unconstitutional and thereby insidious. (I have a similar contradictory and conflicted mindset about abortion: I am moderately pro-choice, but I do not believe the Roe decision constitutional.) In any case, Matt’s essay here is truly excellent.

John Olson had a brief addition:

One word: outstanding.

Fred Hundt said:

I’ve been following this Supreme Court case and Matt’s article is the most well-crafted discussion I’ve seen on the topic. Hopefully the Court will give a clear decision on the individual-rights aspect of the Second Amendment and we can all move forward from it.

Harry Rossman added:

The larger issue is all rights. As I see it, a right is that human action which is considered to be completely acceptable by society. In addition, in any direct conflict between law and a right, the right wins given no wrong-doing. Yes, I know that laws can be interpreted to infer or show some form of wrong-doing, However, I am referring to some direct action which is recognized as wrong-doing by society.

Although keeping the right of self defense and the means to do so goes back to the beginning of time, there are other rights which are also at risk. Freedom of speech, assembly or the right to be secure in your person, papers and property without reasonable suspicion and accusation.

The Patriot Act and the McCain-Feingold Communications Act are two which come to mind. Both of these are based on the idea to preserve what is right and good. Both essentially destroy what is right and good by implementing the very tools which our constitution and society have deliberately rejected.

Most especially in the heat of the moment, step back and consider carefully.

Shawn Christianson had another view:

This is an awful article. The concept that the Constitution should be interpreted exactly how the founders wrote it is ludicrous. He says that we must stick to what the constitution specifically says and that we should craft our public policies and legal arguments in concert with its careful mandates. This is ridiculous because so much has changed that the founders could never have anticipated. The Constitution, although a brilliant document, was never meant to be in use this long, and they never could have foreseen some of the problems that we have today.

I am not of the school of thought that we should craft an entirely new Constitution; however, we cannot interpret it directly — there is too much that it was never meant to deal with. To do so would be foolish and wouldn’t provide any context for issues like abortion, wiretapping, e-mail searches, etc., because if you interpret this amendment this strictly you must do so with the rest of the document which leaves no room for the document to work in the way that has been keeping it alive for the last 200 plus years.

An excerpt from Daniel Kitzmann’s response:

Shawn’s dissent strikes me as a textbook straw-man argument, with a few red herrings included for good measure.

To advocate that we “craft our public policies and legal arguments in concert with” the Constitution’s mandates is not necessarily to endorse so-called “strict constructionism,” a term whose meaning varies by user, but in constitutional jurisprudence usually connotes to certain conservatives what Biblical literalism is to religious fundamentalists. …

I read Matt’s argument about gun control as a careful analysis and weighing of individual versus group rights, qua the text and context of the Constitution, not as a mindless dance around the idol of strict constructionism.

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Ed Felien had this to say about David Brauer’s Monday MinnPost.World essay, “A war in Latin America?”:

Good analysis, but you neglect to mention that Uribe is a well known cocaine trafficker. His father was the Don of Colombia, and Uribe had extensive contacts with Pablo Escobar’s Cartel. Colombia is yet another of the U.S.’s client narco-terrorist states, along with Afghanistan (where our liberating opium warlord friends brought opium production back from 0% of the world’s supply to 93% this year). As is the case in Afghanistan, the U.S. sides with the big growers and wages war on the small farmers. The same is true in Colombia.

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Robert Moffitt commented on a Wednesday Community Voices piece, “Minnesota should move boldly toward greener biofuels,” by Don Arnosti, director of the forestry program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy An excerpt:

“Farmers in Minnesota and other corn-belt states are plowing up land that used to be protected under the federal Conservation Reserve Program to take advantage of record-high corn prices. Corn production is expanding into what had been hay, pasture and marginal farmland.”

I don’t think you lay this at the feet of corn ethanol, Don. As I’m sure you know, CRP acres are kept out of production for a set period of time. Every year, contracts expire and a certain number of acres again becomes available. It is just as likely that the farmers may plant wheat or soy on these lands — like corn, the prices for these grains are higher than when the farmer put their land in CRP.

Barring a bad farm economy or poor crop prices, chances are these acres would be in production anyhow, ethanol or no.

I agree that cellulosic ethanol and Prof. Tilman’s native grass “Miracle Fuel” sounds good — on paper. Backers of cellulosic ethanol need to do what the corn farmers did a decade or two ago — get this idea out of the lab, pool their funds, build cellulosic ethanol plants on the co-op model, and organize to obtain more public policy supports for production, research and infrastructure.

Matty Lang commented:

Nice piece, Don. I agree wholeheartedly on using native prairie grasses to replace (in part) coal and natural gas (and I’d add that nuclear needs to be replaced and not expanded) in our electric generation portfolio. On the rural economic development side, we would also do well to enable more small scale and community owned wind developments. During off-peak times or when the grid cannot take all of the wind energy being produced, farmers can use wind to produce clean hydrogen via electrolysis or to produce needed products like ammonia, for example.

We need to move away from our old, dirty, coal and nuclear based centralized electricity generation, transmission and distribution system to a new, clean and decentralized system that generates energy closer to where it’s consumed. Distributed, combined heat and power facilities can take advantage of Minnesota prairie grasses in this way.

I’m not at all a fan of chasing a slightly better than bad ethanol adventure, however. On the transportation side, we need to free ourselves from the oil addiction by changing our land use patterns back from a conventional model (suburban development) to a traditional model (urban development) so that we can reduce the need to drive altogether. Then we need to electrify both our freight and people transport systems and improve the bicycling and walking environments.

We cannot meet our energy needs with crops from the land alone even if we planted over the entire state with prairie grasses. Our farms will need to produce energy from the wind and the sun (as well as store it via electrolysis for use when and where its needed) as well as some from the earth (including geothermal). …

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Amy Sanders took issue with Christina Capecchi’s Tuesday post,  “‘Guiltary’: Twinges of betrayal bother some women Obama fans”:

Petty beefs with her campaigning? You can call them that I guess, but I’d say Hillary’s … Rovian style of politicking is one of the things that has turned many voters away. She is the candidate who said, “… well, now the fun part starts … when she told reporters in Iowa of her plans to start attacking her fellow Democratic candidates. It has only gotten worse since then. The dislike of these tactics has nothing to do with her gender and has everything to do with Americans wanting a fundamental change in how politicians do business.

It is historic that we have a female who is a contender for the nomination; likewise it is also historic that there is an African-American candidate. If we are feminists, we should not have to apologize for supporting the candidate who we believe is the most qualified and best suited to lead our nation. For me, that candidate is Barack Obama. No apologies. No guilt.

Nancy Gruver added:

As New Moon’s founder, I smiled reading about how New Moon strengthened your feminist analysis of culture. Glad to know it worked!

Have to say that I’m with your grandmas on the Clinton/Obama decision, even though I’m not a grandma yet! I like Obama but don’t feel he’s ready for the presidency this time. Of course, if he’s the nominee, I’ll proudly support him. …

Grace McGarvie posted a short quote:

As for the ‘woman thing’?

“Me, I’m voting for Hillary not because she’s a woman but because I am.” — Robin Morgan

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Thomas Swift commented on Britt Robson’s Feb. 28 story, “Debt now, debt later: Minnesota’s declining economy wreaks havoc on state budget”:

This is an excellent opportunity for the Governor to actually lead. If he needed a justification to do an in-depth audit of the states spending, followed by a bold program of cutting the weeds (he didn’t) this is it.

This is no less an opportunity for those perfectly abled among us that have come to rely on the government for their day-to-day survival to realize that protecting and encouraging a vibrant business climate is the key to their future health and well-being.

That epiphany would, of course, be followed by a robust weeding of the majority our left leaning elected officials.

The days when a politician can pander to the anti-capitalist left while taking credit for the financial rewards that system brings to the society at large are done, at least for now. …

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Jon Austin opined on Sharon Schmickle’s Feb. 29 story, “The next big battle at the Legislature: stem cells”:

Could it be that Minnesota’s Democrats in the legislature are actually following a plan?

Ms. Schmickle’s article certainly suggests that the Dems are trying to bring up a series of politically volatile issues that either 1) split the Republican party (the transportation bill); 2) embarrass Governor Pawlenty (the Molnau ouster), or 3) force our VP-Wannabe-in-Chief to make unpopular vetoes (stem cells).

In the latter case, as Ms. Schmickle notes, there’s unlikely to be enough votes in the legislature to override a veto but there is consistent support for such research among the general population (as high as 2-to-1 depending on the poll) and particularly among those oh-so-important “moderates” that Senator McCain is going to need to have a chance at winning in November. That might make it harder for Governor Early Endorser to remain on the Veep short list.

Of course, a stand against stem cell research probably makes the Guv more attractive to Senator McCain as a way to appease the right side of his party (which is putting a pretty good press on him to backtrack from previous positions). That way he could stick to his current moderate-pleasing positions while signaling to the right that their views would be represented at the table.

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On the sports front, John Olson commented on Steve Aschburner’s Tuesday post, “Favre’s big announcement: A contrast of happy, sad faces”:

Like the last Oldsmobile to roll off the assembly line a few years back, the announcement of Brett Favre’s retirement ended an era.

When Favre came to the Packers from the Falcons in 1992, there were some other fine quarterbacks playing at that time: John Elway, Dan Marino, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Phil Simms, Jim Kelly, Boomer Esiason, Warren Moon.

That is not a bad group of quarterbacks to be associated with.

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