Return of the gladiators

Former sports editor Ira Lacher argues that the “game” of professional football “is becoming more of a troubling spectacle.” -promoted by Laura Belin

It starts again soon. This week, the smack of rock-hard plastic on far softer bone and tissue signals the onset of yet another professional football season. For tens of millions of Americans, it is the culmination of a seven-month foreplay of offseason news, tryout camps, the college draft, the preseason and, finally, at 7:20 P.M. Eastern time, Packers vs. Bears, the start of a five-month orgiastic swoon.

Professional football perfectly defines what most of us believe America is: a society constrained by the norms of civilization and polity but with a savage undertow, which flows for 21 weeks a year, from September through February.

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On fan safety, baseball strikes out

After another foul ball causes a serious injury, Ira Lacher reflects on Major League Baseball’s failure to insist on more protective netting at ballparks. -promoted by Laura Belin

“The holder of this ticket assumes all risks and danger incidental to the game of baseball…”

This disclaimer, or a variation of it, is known as the Baseball Rule. It is printed on every ticket to all major-league and most minor-league baseball contests. It is intended primarily as legal protection for the ballclubs, an agreement that if a fan is injured by a thrown bat or thrown or batted ball, they can’t sue the club for damages. It’s classic buyer beware, and it has governed attendance at baseball games for generations.

But that era may be entering the late innings.

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Iowa House approves bill to let kids hunt with handguns

Children supervised by a responsible adult would be able to hunt deer with a “pistol or revolver” under a bill the Iowa House approved on March 20, mostly along party lines.

House members rejected a Democratic effort to restore language that had gained bipartisan support in committee and would have required minors to complete a hunter education course before using such weapons for hunting.

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How safe do you feel? Your gender likely influences your answer

Amanda Hardy teaches at a state university and is a licensed mental health counselor in Iowa. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I teach a course on poverty and housing at one of our state universities. Every year, I ask my students to explore issues relating to privilege very early in the semester. I believe it is necessary to be constantly reflecting on the ways our positions and experiences play in our thinking and doing while we address heavy and often divisive topics like inequality. I have been teaching this particular course for seven years.

I adopted this particular exercise (an adaptation of Dr. Renee Cramer’s “Continuum of Identities and Experiences”) as a means to begin our conversations and personal reflecting in the fall of 2016. While being intentional and reflective on the role of our personal experiences was always a central part of my course, I–like most instructors–was on the lookout for a better way to enhance our learning and engagement around this issue.

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IA-01: No, Rod Blum, wife-beaters and child abusers should not have guns

Caleb Gates is a constituent of Representative Rod Blum in Linn County. -promoted by desmoinesdem

In 2014, the National Association for Gun Rights and Iowa Gun Owners sent then Congressional candidate Rod Blum their federal candidate survey about various gun-related issues. This survey (enclosed below) asked if Blum would support repealing the “Lautenberg Domestic Misdemeanor Gun Ban.” The Lautenberg Amendment, enacted in 1996 and named after Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, barred anyone convicted of domestic violence from purchasing a gun.

The Lautenberg Amendment also made it a crime to knowingly sell a firearm to anyone convicted of domestic violence. Domestic abuse victims need such protections because, according to the American Journal of Public Health, these victims are five times as likely to end up dead if their abuser can access a gun.

But Blum wanted to repeal the Lautenberg Amendment, in essence saying, wife-beaters and child-abusers should have guns.

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