New Goldblog Hero, Plus Senate Fun, Plus Other Excitement


I'm still moving around a bit, sorry for the spotty blogging (or "spogging," I guess). I'm actually sitting in the Denver Airport right now, listening to a large group of people waiting for the Frankfurt flight who are yelling at each other in German. It's an even more charming language to listen to when it's loud. (My aversion to German doesn't actually have that much to do with the Shoah; there are languages that grate, and languages that don't. German, to me, grates.)  I have a couple of hours here because Frontier Airlines has real difficulty making its planes get to and from the correct airports on time. (Maybe it's just me, but I've never bought a ticket on a Frontier flight that wasn't late, or canceled.) I know, bitch and moan, bitch and moan. I still have a job in journalism -- what right do I have to complain about anything? My apologies.

I'm happy about two things right now, though -- one, I found, via Seth Lipsky, a new hero -- a commercial pilot who is willing to risk his job in order to let the world know that the Transportation Security Administration is providing the American flying public with security theater rather than with actual safety:

A Tennessee pilot who says he's tired of being manhandled by security agents is waiting to see if he will lose his job because he refused a full body scan.

ExpressJet Airlines first officer Michael Roberts was chosen for the X-ray scan Friday at Memphis International Airport. The Houston-based pilot says he also refused a pat-down and went home.

The 35-year-old Roberts told The Commercial Appeal newspaper he wants to go to work and not be "harassed or molested without cause."

The simple fact that pilots -- men and women in charge of flying enormous missiles at tremendous speeds over American population centers  -- are subjected to the same onerous security procedures as the average 87-year, wheelchair-bound grandmother (who pose obvious threats to air travel) means that our current security systems are idiotic. Does it make any sense at all to deny a pilot with proper identification the right to carry a Swiss Army knife, or a bottle of shampoo, onboard an aircraft he commands?

Speaking of shampoo, when I went through security a few minutes ago here in Denver, a TSA agent instructed those of us on the coiled-line-of-death (the most dangerous place in America is the TSA security line, which is completely and utterly exposed to bomb- or gun-wielding terrorists) that we should place our Ziploc bags of shampoo and other liquids on the X-ray belt. I haven't done this in a year, and I haven't been stopped in a year. I still put my liquids in a Ziploc, just in case, but obviously this rule is no longer being enforced. Except that TSA still demands the Ziploc anyway. If someone can explain this discrepancy, please feel free to write me.

Another cause for happiness: I spent the day yesterday with Michael Bennet, the senator from Goldblog (and also Colorado) who is running to keep the seat to which he was appointed two years ago, and who is gaining momentum in his race. Bennet is a friend-of-the-blog, and the brother of the editor of this fine magazine, so please discount anything I say about him, including my observation that he is a very fine senator and a credit to the state of Colorado. Or let me put it this way: If you're reading this right now and you vote in Colorado, your choice is between a brilliant young senator who has the economic interests of his constituents at heart and who has an obvious mastery of the foreign policy challenges facing the United States, and a man who believes that women who are impregnated by rapists should be forced by law to bear their rapists' children. It's a close call, in other words.

Anyway, to reiterate, please discount anything I say about Bennet's opponent, Ken Buck, who told friend-of-Goldblog David Gregory on Meet the Press that he believes that homosexuality is akin to alcoholism, because this blog is predisposed toward Bennet. Is that clear?

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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