Sunday, October 12, 2008

Travel Observations

I have been traveling for nearly a week now, and as I flew home today two things occurred that I would like to share.

The first happened as I was going through security. I fly a lot and know that occasionally everyone gets pulled out for special screening. But it's been my observation that – at least in my case – this happens based on some random (translate: unlucky) code written on your boarding pass, and I knew that had not happened today. So I was pretty surprised when I got pulled out of line – after already going through the initial metal detector - by a guy wearing a headset. "Ma'am," he said. "You need to step aside for a moment." Good grief, I was thinking. What now? Did I forget a tweezers or something equally dangerous in my luggage? He called on his head set for a female screener to do a pat down.

I was wearing a sweatshirt like top which has a front pouch pocket. I like this for flying since I can stick my boarding pass, cell phone, etc, right there and have them very handy. The female screener arrived and immediately patted down my front midsection – and discovers my… (drum roll) reading glasses. She showed them to the man who had pulled me out of line, who still did not release me until he reported over his headset that "the midsection screen was clear." I don't know whom he was talking to or where I was being watched from, but just the small odd bulge caused by my READING GLASSES was noticed.

Based on this, I am much more inclined to think that the idea that Gov. Palin was too frightened to wear any sort of prosthetic pregnancy through airport security is likely, explaining why no one really noticed she was pregnant on April 17th as she flew from Dallas to Anchorage. (Or why she was NEVER challenged on the ten previous flights she took from Febraury 23rd on...and not all of these were on Alaska Air.) The chances of it being detected I now think were probably greater than I had previously assumed. If they had patted her down for any reason – and it just happened to me, just about the most innocuous flier imaginable – and found it, there might have been real repercussions. It was a risk she could not take.

The second happened as I was checking email, waiting for my flight. Sitting next to me in the boarding area were an elderly Jewish couple from Fort Lauderdale. I'd say they were both close to eighty. Her name was Zellie, his was Howie. They have twelve grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and have visited Israel nine times. They used to live in New Jersey. I learned all of this (and a lot more) in about ten minutes. I chatted with Zellie for a while then, when she picked a new victim (a woman sitting across from her) I got out my laptop to check email. In my in-box was an email with an attachment sent in by someone who has been corresponding with me since the beginning of my efforts. The attachment was a spoof wanted poster, like you'd see on the side of a milk carton, entitled "Where's Bristol?"

I opened the graphic and was staring at it, when Zellie piped up next to me. "I'm so glad," she said, "that someone is doing something."

I glanced over at her, and realized she was looking at my computer screen. My first thought was regret over not having one of those privacy filters that I've seen advertised, and for a moment I missed the sense of what she was saying. "What?"

She pointed to the poster. "I'm glad someone is doing something," she repeated, "about that Bristol Palin thing." I realized then that she did not understand that the poster was a joke.

"Really? Why is that?"

She looked at me, her eyes implying that I was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. "Well, you don't really think that poor little girl is pregnant, do you?"

I wanted to see where this was going. "I don't know what to think," I said, noncommittally.

"Well, she's not," Zellie asserted. "And I'm glad someone is doing something. Because those people have something terrible planned for her, just you wait and see."

So here's my open message to "those people:" Zellie is a bubbe from Fort Lauderdale, who probably does not even own a computer. She's almost certainly never surfed "left wing" websites or read a "radical blog." (Like this one, I guess.) Based on her demographic, it's a good bet she may have voted Republican in the past. And she knows that the whole Bristol story stinks, to the point that she's sitting in an airport, telling a random total stranger, that "something terrible" is planned for "that poor little girl."

You guys got more of a problem than you think.


Anonymous said...

I have said this before on your blog...that they need to start putting Bristol's picture on milk cartons and in post offices up in Alaska. Maybe she's hidden away with Darth Cheney in the Republican Death Star...

Sarah Palin is toting the other three kids all over the country for her own political gain. Why aren't Willow and Piper in school?? She carries the baby like a sack of potatoes until the photo opp is over then passes him off to one of her daughters. She even brought them into the Lion's Den (ie Philly Fliers game) last night to use them as human shields against the resounding boos.

But then again, this is a woman who charged the state of Alaska tens of thousands of dollars for her family's travel on official state business...she has been using them as props her entire political career. It has been known in Alaska that Palin takes her kids to functions, meetings, and trips, then dumps them with aides that provide daycare for her. This ethics violation is only the beginning.

I think someone needs to start an investigation into Where is Bristol Palin. Someone should contact that Nancy Grace from seems like her Casey Anthony gig has hit a brick wall and she could use a new project.

FW from VA

Anonymous said...

With one third of my life savings wiped out in the great Bush stock market crash of 2008, I needed a good belly laugh and the Bristol Missing poster provided it.

By the way, I am Jewish and none of my Jewish relatives or friends of any age like Sarah Palin. Among other things, we were brought up to revere education and someone who went to five low-ranking colleges in six years and whose daughter has apparently dropped out of high school and is engaged to a high-school dropout just doesn't cut it among our demographic. Plus, we have pretty good BS detectors. So don't be so surprised about the Jewish grandmother you met in the airport.

Anonymous said...

As to your comment about the Jewish grandmother probably not even owning a computer, I would like to point out that my 90-year-old Jewish aunt regularly surfs the net, as does my 80-something Jewish aunt, as do my Jewish parents who are close to 80. And all of them grew up poor and never had the opportunity to go to college, so we are lot talking about a group of elitists. I do like your site, but I do think you express shocking ignorance of the Jewish demographic in this country, perhaps due to a lack of exposure.

Audrey said...

Please accept my apologies. I meant absolutely no disrespect to Zellie and Howie. I was judging their (likely) lack of computer literacy mostly based on my own parents, who are almost exactly the same age and literally cannot turn on their cell phone without help. The idea of my folks trying to run a computer is terrifying. Also, I didn't want to go into too long of a discussion, but a few comments she made to me confirmed that she actually did not own a computer. I probably should have stated this right out.

Audrey said...

And to anonymous #2, the reason I was so suprised by the comments she made had nothing to do with the fact that she was Jewish. I had sort of come to think that this was mostly an Internet issue and that mainstream America had been insulated from it simply because it's those of us who have dug deeper - via the Internet - that have suspicions. I mean other than Bill Mahrer, I have not heard ANY mainstream media person mention this issue - or even mention "Where's Bristol?" at all. I was - and still am - a bit surprised that her B.S. detector was on such a high setting. I'm very pleased as well, don't get me wrong.

Jack Bog said...

Good for Zellie.

As for the airport scene, don't I recall that some outdoor sports enthusiast bumped into Sarah Palin in an airport in March or so, and Palin was showing pregnancy at that time? He or she blogged about it. I suppose Palin could have ducked into a ladies' room inside the security checkpoint and put the pillow back on, but I doubt it.

Your glasses were probably picked up by the metal detector, no? A pillow would not have been.

Anonymous said...

No doubt Palin would not have have taken the chance of wearing an "empathy pregnancy prosthetic device" through security in an airport. The headlines if she had been caught would have been the end of her career. This may be the only smart decision this woman this ever made.
I am shocked the media cannot make a bigger stink out of the fact she will not release her medical records until after the election. The American people have a RIGHT to know the truth, whether or not this woman is a bigger liar than she has led us to believe she is.

Audrey said...

I'm pretty sure that the reason I was pulled out was that the glasses showed as an irregularity in the line of my "front." I had passed through the metal detector with no problem, at which point they pulled me out of line, and first made me go through a machine that puffed air at me... and then that's when I had to wait for the pat down. It's clear to me that there was someone "observing" people going through security that was in touch with the guy who pulled me out of line via the headset. Obviously glasses and a fat pregnant belly (fake OR real) look very different. But if a pregnant belly looked irregular in any way at all, it might get subjected to greater scrutiny. I just thought that was interesting.

Audrey said...

You are correct, Jack. There is one reference from someone who did run into to Gov. Palin late in March I believe at the airport, and did say that she was "looking pregnant." In fact, there is a photo, though it is of mid chest up only so not useful for our purposes. But you're right... she definitely did look pregnant at that airport at that time. I would consider this report very credible, as it was posted before April 18 by someone who had no stake in the issue.

I do think that the trip back from Dallas to Anchorage on 4/17 was special and she was not going to risk anything that might get in the way of it. I report my experience mostly because I was surprised that there appears to be a level of security and observation that I was not previously aware of... and I fly a lot.

Jay Raskin said...

Hi Jack, Audrey,
Here is the article

The woman who ran into Palin at the airport, just said, that she "turned to see her pregnant(she has since had her baby) with bags and daughter in tote."

From the picture, she is wearing a heavy coat.
The pregnancy was announced before the meeting in the airport and the blog was put up just 10 days after the baby was born.

Probably the woman just assumed that she was pregnant when she saw her. People remember what they expect to remember. There are lots of psychological tests that show that people reconstruct the past based on present information.


Anonymous said...

If you check the photo of the governor from the polartec link by saving it and viewing the image exif data at an online exif viewer like this one, you will see that the date this photo was taken is in May 2005.
Isn't that inconsistent with the date the blog post was made (late April 2008)?