The rights of the many v. the rights of the few (5×8 – 3/27/12)

Chasing drug use in public housing, rabbits and the tax code, eye on the eagles, trucker bombs in North Dakota, and some shoes for Igor.


Meth dealers are apparently running roughshod over tenants in at least one of the five public housing buildings in Fargo, the Fargo Forum reports. So housing officials are going to send in a drug sniffing dog to identify which tenants have drugs.

Is it a proper response or a slippery slope?

Executive Director Lynn Fundingsland said that in each building, the tenants and/or the FHRA’s property manager requested the search because of reports of drug use and drug dealing in the buildings.

“We’ve got kind of a vulnerable population, so we see it as kind of a safety issue for them,” housing authority executive director Lynn Fundingsland told the paper. He said the older, sometimes disabled, tenants are too afraid to report the dealers.

The alternative weekly, the High Plains Reader, has a different take:

The notion that a man’s home is his castle comes to mind. The notion of privacy in the confines of one’s home comes to mind. The notion of due process and protections against unreasonable search and seizure comes to mind, as well.

Our hats off to FHRA for its positive and significant role in our community. Meantime, we challenge Fargo Housing Authority to not embark on this path utilizing drug detection dogs on premises of its citizens for whom the agency provides home and shelter. That action is an overstep of reasonable bounds and will set precedence for similar action by other landlords who house some 54 percent of Fargo’s population. While we agree that hard-core criminal activity needs to be nipped in the bud, we do not endorse trampling fundamental rights of countless other citizens as an acceptable means to get there.

“Doesn’t bother me at all,” one tenant said. “My pot-smokin’ days are long gone.”

Related: Utah’s governor has signed legislation requiring drug screening for people on public assistance.


Herman Cain, the presidential candidate who was derailed by reports of some marital infidelity, told everyone he wasn’t going away. He’s released a new ad that is… well… here:



The eagles are hatching at the Decorah Eagle Cam:

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Is there a harder working person on the planet than the person who has to come up with a tourism campaign for North Dakota?


(AP photo)

Nothing personal, mind you, North Dakota, but while the Oil Patch is making you rich, what’s the cost in your pride? The Associated Press has details of the latest reason for the state’s natives to flee the hordes coming for work — trucker bombs: Plastic jugs of urine pitched out windows as scores of truckers pass through oil country.

“It is a huge issue, but one of the biggest problems is there isn’t lot of places for these guys to stop to properly dispose of the receptacles,” Tom Balzer, executive vice president of the North Dakota Motor Carriers Association, said.

Well, there’s that. And they’re pigs.

“I don’t know that it’s a case of being disrespectful but of the unbelievable growth out there,” Balzer said.

Organizations participating in the Adopt-A-Highway program have been dwindling, partly because the trucker bombs explode in the heat and most of the retirement-age volunteers decided there were better ways to spend an afternoon.

Some lawmakers decided not to put up signs advising the not-disrespectful truckers not to toss their urine bombs out of the truck because they thought they’d be off-putting.

The truckers could hold onto the containers until they reach a rest area, but apparently they’re too embarrassed to be seen lugging a jug of urine into a bathroom.

Of course, North Dakota doesn’t have the market cornered on pigs. On the New Hampshire coast, last week’s warm weather brought out beach-goers and their garbage.


Can’t someone make some shoes for Igor Vovkivinskiy? The Rochester man (you may remember him from the last presidential campaign) is the largest man in the country and he can’t get shoes, WCCO reports.

Bonus I: While you and I pound the hours away at work, some people get paid to create — and then fly — paper airplanes. There’s an injustice here somewhere. This happened last week via the Pima Air and Space Museum.

Bonus II: Guess where this is:


National Geographic has posted a man of the United States with the dominant surnames listed by region. (h/t: @charlierybak)

Bonus III: How art ends up on postage stamps. (h/t: @MattPetrillo)


The U.S. Supreme Court continues to hear arguments about the Affordable Care Act. Today’s Question: How would a ruling against the health care law affect President Obama’s political standing?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Oral arguments continue today in the Affordable Care Act. Today the heart of the act, the individual mandate, is at stake in today’s arguments.

Second hour: Lots of signs point to a fairly steady economic recovery. The unemployment rate, while still high, is falling; consumer confidence is up; industrial output is nearly back to its pre-recession level; blue chip stocks have recouped their losses. As the November election looms, President Obama will continue to point out his role in bringing America out of the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression, but a key question remains: If the economy is truly in recovery, is the president good, or just lucky?

Third hour: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Guest: Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist based in Lahore. His latest book is “Pakistan on the Brink:The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.”

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Broadcast Journalist Series with NPR Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: How we talk about race.

Second hour: Health care and the Constitution.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – From NPR: When five hardcore, post-punk musicians come together, the sound won’t usually be described as folksy or mellow. But the East London group Dry the River is anything but