Monday, February 28, 2011

TSA Refuses To Allow Husband To Videotape Patdown

When I first heard about the new scanners in airports, I did some research and wrote a column on the topic. By the time all of this happened though, my husband and I had already purchased tickets for a vacation so I knew it was possible that I would have to deal with this myself.

I knew the airport we would take off from Standiford Field, Louisville International Airport which does not have the scanners but our destination, Miami International Airport, does so I realized this could affect me if I was randomly selected.

Well guess who was randomly selected?

I said I was not going in the machine and they said that’s fine, you don’t have to, you can opt out. They directed me through the metal detector and out of the way to wait. The lady at the metal detector yelled out to a group behind her, “We need a female for a pat down!”

I stood there for a minute and nothing happened and she yelled again.

“We have a female pat down!”

I started pacing and she said stay where you are and yelled again for a female pat down. I heard the snap of the rubber gloves and knew someone was finally ready for me.

She had me collect my bag and put it on a table near the pat down area and proceeded to tell me what she was going to do, where she was going to touch me and if it I was okay with the procedure.

I said, “Well, no, it’s not okay for you touch me.”

She looked surprised and nervous and then called a man over. She explained to him that I did not give permission for her to touch me and so she wanted him to be there with her when she did it.

He looked at me and said, “You opted out of the machine so we need to give you a pat-down. If you don’t give us permission, we can escort you out of the airport if you prefer. So do you give permission?”

I said, “No. I might end up accepting a pat down but I want to be very clear that I object to this treatment.”

He said, “You have to have the pat-down if you want to go any further.”

By this time, my husband was behind us waiting for me. I wanted him to video tape the pat down but unfortunately I did not plan ahead and had my camera in my bag.

I said, “Okay I will allow it if my husband can video tape it for my protection. The camera’s in my bag so I need to get it out and give it to him.”

The guy immediately said “NO, you can’t do that.”

He looked at John and said “Back away sir!” like he was some sort of threat just standing there waiting for me.

I asked if it was written somewhere that I can’t videotape this and he said yes, it’s on our site. I had no idea whether it was or not but I continued, “I just don’t understand why you won’t let my husband videotape this for my protection.”

He was getting annoyed now and said “You can’t do it. We don’t know what you will do with the tape. Do you want the terrorists to see how we do a pat-down? Do you want to help the terrorists?”

I started to object again and make some obvious points about how silly that was when he said, “I’m not discussing this with you any more. You can get a pat down or I will call the police to escort you out of this airport. It’s your choice.”

We stared at each other for a minute before I told the lady to do her thing. They asked me if I wanted to do it in private and I said, “No way. I want everyone here to see what you guys are doing to people.”

As the lady was feeling around my breasts, I asked her if she liked her job. She said “Someone’s got to do it.”

(I have since looked on the website and am still not sure if I could have pushed to get the camera to my husband. Anyone know for sure?)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Better than Big Butter Jesus?

COLUMN NOTES: "Big Butter Jesus" is a reference to a song by Heywood Banks about the statue, known as the King of Kings Statue, pictured here to the left. It has since burned to the ground after being struck by lightning. You can hear Heywood's song at the end of this post.

HARBESON: Want to control Theatair X? Buy it

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Last week, I wrote about Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana’s — or ROCK — continuing spat with Clarksville politicians in regards to Theatair X.

As I wrote, I knew I was reaching my word limit, but my mind kept saying, “Don’t stop; don’t stop.” So I didn’t. I have to say it feels good to write my first column series.

In part one, I said I didn’t think it was wise for ROCK to put faith in a secular man-made organization that uses the threat of violence and I now hope to help ROCK by suggesting other courses of action.

But first let’s get some clarity on ROCK’s accusation of possible corruption in Clarksville government. ROCK’s president implied that Theatair X might be paying off the town of Clarksville. Well, of course they are. We just give a special name to this sort of extortion: property taxes.

Now that we’ve shined the light of truth on that, let’s take a peep into two possible alternatives for ROCK proponents to use instead of trying so hard to get in bed with government.

The first suggestion: follow the Golden Rule. I realize this can be an abstract theoretical phrase so let’s find a real life example, a model of the behavior the rule encourages. I suggest we use Theatair X.

Theatair X clearly lives by the Golden Rule. This business just quietly goes about meeting a market demand without initiating force on anyone. Theatair X never asks government to control what other people do on their private property.

Theatair X respects everyone’s right to self-ownership and does not force anyone to enter their establishment. Theatair X doesn’t put photos up of people who dislike what they do. They just leave them alone to pursue their lives as they see fit.

Theatair X shows us it is possible to peacefully co-exist with those who have different values. They understand they are doing no harm to anyone’s children. Heck, most of us know from experience that children are way more likely to see real live sex at home. Lock your bedroom doors, parents.

Now, I understand that just leaving this business alone still might be difficult. For some, the desire for control can just be so, well, tempting. So let me offer another idea that perfectly fits those with this strong need for control.

Buy the place. Ownership is really the only way to control what happens on a piece of property. Make them an offer. Everyone has a price.

Sure, it might be expensive but I think if anyone has the chance of doing it, it’s ROCK because they have the backing of churches. See, churches don’t have to hand over the government extortion fee — property tax — that businesses do, so the potential pool of money is even greater.

If ROCK persuades all the local religious organizations not to buy property or build until they have enough money to purchase Theatair X’s property, they could finally have control of that area.

This could be better than the King of Kings, Big Butter Jesus!

Yeah, I know it will be more difficult due to ROCK’s work assisting governments in Louisville and Southern Indiana. They have succeeded in effectively decreasing Theatair X’s competition, making their business worth even more. Oh, if only they hadn’t participated in government force.

I hope ROCK, along with everyone else who is interested, will focus all their energy on using peaceful voluntary means to get what they want. Because that kind of action is what really gets me hot.

And speaking of hot!:

Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson isn’t sure what could top Big Butter Jesus, but she and Heywood Banks are sure excited to find out.

Friday, February 18, 2011

No Longer A Virgin

HARBESON: Get ready for a ROCKin’ good time

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — I think I might be developing an obsession with other people’s sex lives. I really never cared before, but since ROCK came to Clarksville, I can’t stop thinking about what other people might be doing.

And now, also because of Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana’s influence, for the first time, I purposely went to a website advertised as having mature content. Really. I was a mature content website virgin until ROCK enticed me with titillating advertisements.

I decided to go to the website I saw on their billboard and it took me to a warning page which, of course, only increased my curiosity. I had to enter my birth date to enter the site. I lied of course and said I was 35. They let me in.

That was so much fun, I exited and lied again and said I was 23. They let me in. Realizing I could pretty much do what I wanted, I lied again and claimed to be 19. All of this entering and exiting the website increased my anticipation.

The first thing I noticed was the site’s border, which looked like splatters of black paint. It reminded me of a Jackson Pollock painting. This made me picture Ed Harris, who played Pollock in a movie. I always thought Harris was one sexy dude.

As I started to fan my flushing face, an attractive lady sauntered out from the right side of my computer screen! It was awesome and with that technology I could only imagine what might happen next.

She introduced herself as MaryAnn Gramig, President of ROCK. I listened for a while. She seemed to be really worried about my protection. I tried to tell her I was prepared but she just kept talking, trying to convince me I was in danger. She was really selling fear, which disappointed me because I was looking for sex.

However, I perked up when she started to make her main point. She was stern, which I have to say was kind of sexy. She also made a fist and put her thumb over the top, continuing her lecture. I wasn’t sure why but this made me think about sex, too. Then I remembered it was a favorite gesture of President Clinton’s.

I was now very anxious to get to the photos I heard were on this site. So I muted the lady and scrolled down the page.

What I saw shocked me — and I’ve been married for 29 years. It was truly eye-opening. The photos were not even close to what I expected. Don’t read any further unless you are older than 18.

What I saw were some really bad photos of the current Clarksville town council. I mean it; these photos are not flattering. I don’t know where ROCK found them but my guess is that they had access to their driver’s licenses.

By now, I had lost all interest in having any fun on this site. As I read the comments next to each politician’s photos, I realized all ROCK wanted to do was tell me they are having difficulty working with government officials to get what they want.

I find it hard to care though. I’ve peacefully co-existed my entire life with Theatair X and ROCK knows others agree. This explains why they tied this latest project with the new enforcement of adult businesses in Louisville. ROCK wants us to fear that those businesses will move here.

But if true, this proves that ordinances don’t change anything at a root level. Such government actions only invade property rights. This is not only highly ineffective because we can see that these ordinances just move people around a bit; it also has the potential to backfire and be used against you one day.

ROCK, along with the vast majority of people, still clings to a superstitious faith in a secular man-made organization that uses the threat of violence to control other people.

But what else can they do? Well, more on that next week. Enjoy the anticipation.

— Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson hopes that if a photo of her ever surfaces on a mature content website, it at least shows her good side.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Basketball Courts as a Government Service

HARBESON: A big ‘whoops’ to government-funded hoops

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — A couple of years ago, the town of Sellersburg decided to lease Nolan Fieldhouse, a site used for basketball and other recreational activities. The fieldhouse was originally built to operate as a private business, but closed when the owner moved from the area.

Sellersburg is losing money on this venture. Lots of money. Last year, the losses were more than $10,000 per month. So what is the proposal now that the lease commitment is about to end and they could just get out?

They want to spend more money and buy it, of course.

On the one hand, officials say that purchasing the property would save money on monthly costs. But then when the details are reported and everyone can see the savings won’t come close to covering the losses, suddenly it’s not about saving money at all. It’s about providing a government “service.”

How can this not be about the money? Well, it has to do with how governments play the game. Let me see if I can explain it in basketball terms. This is how a game scenario would play out if government participated: It’s the last few seconds and the government team is behind. A councilperson pulls up for a jumper and shoots. It’s an air ball, of course, and the buzzer sounds.

Now, a normal game would be over but in this game the government team — and it’s always only the government team that gets to use this special rule — simply directs the scorekeeper to take points earned by the opposing team and give them to the government team.

Understand it better now? Numbers are not as important when you can just take what’s earned by others.

Of course, Sellersburg isn’t the only government that’s involved in playtime. They all do it. It’s costly — the Clarksville Redevelopment Commission just committed funds to the Clarksville Parks and Recreation Department for equipment and property maintenance in the amount of $300,000 — this is per year, for five years.

It’s also divisive; we’ve seen the battles Jeffersonville is experiencing with the new RiverStage, wooded hiking paths and softball fields.

It’s difficult to stop this growth once it gets rolling, but Sellersburg has the chance. If the taxpayers stand strong, maybe they can block this shot and convince the council not to turn more private property into government property.

Maybe Sellersburg can avoid the costs, divisiveness and problems that follow increases in government control.

Don’t misunderstand. Sports facilities are great; I’ve spent a lot of time and money in private sports facilities. But I still do not support using government to force other people who do not use the fieldhouse to pay for it. People can fund the recreational activities of their choice.

If those who enjoy using the fieldhouse really want it to remain, they need to get in the game and find a way to make it happen using private and voluntary means rather than having their recreational choices partially funded by Sellersburg taxpayers, particularly the ones who have no interest in the activities offered there.

Perhaps the person running the Fieldhouse’s Facebook page could focus on networking to search for ways to run it privately rather than encouraging fans to attend government meetings to push for continued government involvement.

I don’t know if the fieldhouse can operate privately and be successful. But if the owner can’t make it work, perhaps someone else wants the property for another business venture. There were other businesses interested at the time Sellersburg decided to lease two years ago.

I don’t know if those businesses or any others would be interested now. All I know is that this should be the property owner’s concern, and not taxpayers who never signed on to take the risk.

Clark County resident Debbie Harbeson has learned how to save lots of money on recreation — she just shoots free throws.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ron Grooms and Ed Clere Teach Me About Football

COLUMN NOTES: Boy, several people kicked my butt in the comments on the newspaper's website on this one. I used to respond to comments, but then I realized that if anyone really cared to discuss one of my columns, they'd send me an email.

HARBESON: I call illegal procedure on legislators’ moves

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — This year, I’m much more prepared to watch the Super Bowl and I owe it all to state legislators Ron Grooms and Ed Clere. Thanks to these guys, I now understand what it means to do an “end run.”

In football, an “end run” means the offense attempts to go around, rather than through, the defensive line. If the team can’t use their running game to gain yardage up the middle, they will often try an end run.

Similarly, Grooms and Clere have been running plays for special interest groups who have been unable to break through local government to get what they want. Both men are using their state positions to introduce legislation which will create new local government entities with taxing authority. These politicians are doing end runs around the communities they represent.

Grooms’ end run involves the creation of a regional airport taxing authority. As Grooms runs with this ball, he repeatedly spits out the phrase economic development, as if it’s something new and wonderful.

In reality, it’s merely a modern-day euphemism for the common good, a phrase that sounds much too socialist to the various business interests he is speaking for, including One Southern Indiana, a specific special interest group that endorsed him.

Not only is Grooms doing an end run around Clark County residents, he also wants to force other counties into his game. This is of course under the pretense that they will benefit.

I’m sure all the residents of these other counties feel the love as Grooms grabs their facemasks, acting as if he knows what is best for them and how his law will make their lives better.

Grooms even has the nerve to use the word “partners” when talking about this plan and how other people should pay for it. As if the idea of voluntary cooperation has anything to do with creating new laws and imposing new taxing authorities on individuals.

Grooms wants us to think his law is different. His law will be good for everyone. This cannot be true because it is impossible. A government action is never good for everyone. Never. Someone always loses the game.

Next, we have Ed Clere and his special interest group who have decided that individuals in Floyd County are failing to prioritize parks properly, so Clere wants to do an end run around them. He wants to create a new government entity with special taxing authority, this one specifically for parks in Floyd County.

However, it’s not just Floyd County residents who should be concerned about this end run. If you live in Clark County, or elsewhere in Indiana, be aware that Clere’s law would create the first park taxing district in the state. How long do you think it will take for “those who know best” to use this end run to increase government in your area?

To politicians like Ed and Ron, though, these increases in government are all good because these actions are perfect for their playbook. Ed and Ron are willing to do an end run around you because they think it’s legitimate to use government force to centrally plan your life and set your priorities.

Observing the behavior of these two legislators adds to the evidence that governments will always tend to grow, no matter which party happens to be in possession of the ball.

We can now see that when those who benefit from government can’t force their ideas of how you should prioritize and spend your money in the local community, they will go to the state-level politicians who are more than willing to try an end run.

Don’t let them fake you out. Keep your eye on the ball.

— Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson always keeps her eye on the ball, which has gotten her into trouble a time or two.