December 22, 2008

"Homeland Security"

A few weeks ago, as I was checking out what the
other Mount Allison Bloggers were writing about,
I came across a
little snippet about Jerilea Zempel.
Apparently over the summer she created an 'artistic
exhibit'consisting of a black SUV covered in yarn on
the University's Swan Pond.

Jerilea Zempel - c. SCS
It was originally described as an exhibit transforming "an oversized, macho, gas-guzzling vehicle into a technological ghost by shrouding it a white, fuzzy cover, reminiscent of women’s handwork from another time, another place."

However, after being stopped at the border she was pulled aside and her car was searched and she was questioned, and she was finally welcomed to the US, she responded “US..SR,” under her breath, and "At that moment the car cozy in Sackville took on a new absurd and infuriating meaning: it was my Homeland Security Blanket."

Somehow the Colbert Report picked up n the "story" and had a short segment about it. Because of a recent deal between CTV owned-Comedy Network and Comedy Central, you can't access videos from the Comedy Central website from Canada or access Comedy Network website from the US. So here is the link to the video in Canada (which doesn't offer an embed option) and below is the video for people in the US:

Her story is a bit more about overzealous border guards
than "Homeland Security" It's certainly not as alarming
as stories detailing new, expanded authority given to
border guards allowing them to
"copy books, documents,
and the data on laptops and other electronic devices
without suspecting a traveler of wrongdoing" and to stop,
search, and
detain anybody they want without probable
cause within 100 miles of the border. There have been a
lot of measures that intrude on personal privacy and the
Constitution...but this one seems to cross the leap cross
over the line bit too far.

I understand how it is important to be able to set up
checkpoints past the physical border, but in practice
is far too widespread to be limited to legitimate
national security concerns, as internal security is not
the job of the border guards.

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