It's a morning in early August when Detroiters awaken to find a piece of Hong Kong rising in their midst. Beneath the shuttered skyscrapers of Grand Circus Park, the multi-story setpiece for Michael Bay's Transformers 4 buzzes with work crews painting balustrades and roofing life-sized tong lau. It has been little more than a week since Detroit became the largest city in the United States to declare bankruptcy.
Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor
The Republican Party hasn't been known for its sterling record on disability rights lately. Last December, 38 GOP senators memorably tanked the UN Convention on Persons With Disabilities over the pleading of former Senator Bob Dole, walking past his wheelchair to cast "no" votes and sparking widespread outrage among disability groups. In the past week, however, many disability groups have applauded an Iowa law allowing blind residents to carry concealed handguns, a rule change that has raised eyebrows from Iowa sheriffs to The Colbert Report.
The permits have been issued as an effect of 2011 conceal-and-carry legislation that made Iowa a "shall grant" state—"shall grant" being the legal equivalent of Heston's infamous "from my cold dead hands" in terms of who can be denied a permit by a state sheriff—a law that’s now getting national attention thanks to a report in the Des Moines Register. There are exactly six restrictions on who can and cannot get these permits. You can even complete the state certification online, leading some sheriffs to suggest that people could become licensed to carry concealed handguns even if they couldn’t see well enough to sign the application form without assistance. Excluding the blind from the "shall grant" legislation's broad language would violate the Americans With Disabilities Act, says Jane Hudson, executive director of Disability Rights Iowa. As a result, Iowans whose visual impairment legally rules out getting behind the wheel of a car are now being licensed to wield deadly weapons with fewer restrictions than ever before.