Postcards from the security state (5×8 – 5/23/13)

Show us your papers, the fallout from the vaccine scare, what Zach left behind, the Legacy debate, and Moorhead owners push back,


It’s unlikely the world of private aviation is going to get people too worked up about an obvious change in the government detaining of citizens — most people don’t fly airplanes — but The Atlantic’s James Fallows has been following an increasing number of cases in the U.S. where pilots who have done nothing wrong are being detained and searched without explanation. There was a time when that would be considered illegal in the country.

To say it again: I am not contending that the aviation world is being inordinately picked-upon. Overall it is a privileged part of society — and demographically it skews toward older white males who are politically conservative, have money, and often have military experience. Ie, these are people who are not generally the object of police profiling for terrorist or other criminal tendencies. So if the security state is leaning heavily on them, you can extrapolate to other groups.

Since Fallows wrote an original piece on his blog about one incident, he’s gotten details about others.

It’s an extremely good read.


Great Britain is in the midst of a measles outbreak, NPR’s Shots blog reports. Why? Apparently because of the disproven theory on the evils of vaccines:

Childhood vaccination rates plummeted in Great Britain after a 1998 paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield claimed that the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella had caused autism in a dozen children. That study has since been proven fraudulent, but it fueled fears about vaccine safety in Great Britain and the United States.

“This is the legacy of the Wakefield scare,” Dr. David Elliman, spokesman for the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, told The Associated Press.

Most of the measles cases have been in children and teenagers between the ages of 10 and 18, according to British health officials. In that age group, vaccination rates dropped below 50 percent in some parts of England after the Wakefield paper was published.


It’s hard to stand one more story about dead children, but when Stillwater student Zach Sobieski lost his battle with cancer this week, he left a hopeful story behind, along with the music he loved.

His song has hit #1.

“He wanted to be able to find a cure for osteosarcoma, but also, knowing he was going to be leaving the world, he wanted to be able to take care of the people he loved,” Scott Herold, the founder of Sobieski’s record label tells WCCO. “It’s hard that Zach’s gone, but man this is really awesome. It’s beautiful.”

Sobiech’s funeral is being held today in Stillwater.

Related: When University of Minnesota men’s pitching coach Todd Oakes went to the mound to talk to his pitcher yesterday during the game against Illinois, he was wearing a surgical mask. He’s battling leukemia and had a bone marrow transplant and doesn’t want to risk infection. But he does want to keep coaching.

“Never give up. Never give in,” he said in an interview last month.


Sportsmen and other outdoor enthusiasts are pressuring Gov. Mark Dayton to veto the spending bill for the state’s Legacy fund, an issue that took a backseat to other high-profile issues at the Capitol this year.

Legacy money comes from a portion of the state sales tax, a provision voters approved several years ago for arts and outdoors. The battle is over the the question: What is “outdoors?” Is it habitat and wildlife — mostly in more rural parts of the state? Or is it parks, open space, and water in the cities?

And it’s shaping up as a battle of former big names for the Minnesota Vikings. Legendary coach Bud Grant wrote a letter on Tuesday to the governor urging him to veto the bill. Today, the Pioneer Press reports that former player Paul Krause is urging Dayton to sign the legislation, which comes from the legislative group in charge of determining how the money will be spent.

He singles out two of the projects contained in the metro parks initiatives: restoration of Trout Brook in Dakota County and prairie restoration adjacent to state lands purchased with Legacy funds. “Just because wildlife habitat is owned by a county park system — rather than the DNR — should not make valuable wildlife land ineligible for habitat restoration funds.”

Krause is hardly alone. A host of metro park districts, from Minneapolis to Scott County, have been drafting letters to Dayton urging him not to veto anything, according to e-mails obtained by the Pioneer Press.

Many of those calling for a veto point to a statement, recorded on video, that then-candidate Dayton made at Game Fair in Anoka County: “I will veto any legislative attempts to usurp the authority of the Lessard-Sams council.”


Moorhead residents are pushing back against the city’s announcement this week that it might stop providing sandbags to residents of the city who live near the Red River.

The city says residents should “pony up” for more of the cost of holding the flood back. Fargo Forum reports the residents say they already have plenty of money invested.

Schramm, who has lived on Rivershore Drive since 2007 in a home her father built in the mid-1970s, said the fact that she and her husband have put roughly $20,000 into their private dike is proof they have “ponied up” to protect the city.

“I grew up in the town, and this town is very important,” Schramm said. “And I don’t think the people should say we don’t care about them because we always have.”

Zimmerman said “in most cases” residents along the river do not have private levees.

“For those people that have built a dike like that, they don’t need sandbags so there really isn’t an issue for them” if the city stops delivering bags, he said.

Politically, it’s a near risk-free stance for the city. Only 87 homes are left standing along the Red River in Moorhead.

Related: In Cross Hairs of Tornadoes, a Town’s Residents Stay Put (NY Times)

Bonus I: Read the divorce papers closely. In Texas, the Associated Press reports, a woman has ruled a a North Texas lesbian couple can’t live together because of a morality clause in one of the women’s divorce papers.

Bonus II : What does Google Glass say to people? “Don’t come near me.”


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: How communities recover from a disaster.

Second hour: The healing power of holding a grudge.

Third hour: Do voters and candidates really understand what policies truly affect small business owners?

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): A special from the America Abroad series, hosted by Ray Suarez: “Immigration and the Global Talent Search.”

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Jarrett Krosaczka is the author of 20 childrens books. They include the Lunch Lady series — an award-winning, kids favorite — starring the school cafeteria superhero. NPR interviews Jarrett Krosaczka on its Backseat Book Club.

  • Dave S.

    Re: #2, your copy-and-paste seems to have left out words that were hyperlinks in the original, with unfortunate results. It should say “That study has since been proven fraudulent,” and “The BBC has mapped the fall and rise of vaccinations…”

  • Onan

    1) The “security state” has gone overboard. People don’t realize that until it effects them – Take your shoes off before boarding an aircraft. No nail files. No liquids over 3 oz. and now unlawful searches in the name of “Homeland Security”…it goes on and on all in the name of 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11…nine-eleven.

    When will it stop?

    2) Why don’t they keep unvaccinated children out of public schools?

    Bonus I) Oh, snap.

  • David


    Please keep us up to date on the pilots in the event other media outlets do not pick up the story (likely).