grounding our fears in flight

My socialist friend is in flight right now. I'd like to think it's not going to be an impediment to her travel that she believes George Bush is an idiot, we should have free health care, and Michael Moore is a journalist. But this news puts all that into question.

Travellers facing increased security in transcontinental flight (Washington Post):

Under the agreement, airlines flying from Europe to the United States are required to provide data related to these matters to U.S. authorities if it exists in their reservation systems. The deal allows Washington to retain and use it only "where the life of a data subject or of others could be imperiled or seriously impaired," such as in a counterterrorism investigation.

According to the deal, the information that can be used in such exceptional circumstances includes "racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership" and data about an individual's health, traveling partners and sexual orientation.

We shouldn't have been joking that carrying one open cloth bag from Trader Joe's (sans toothpaste tube) would rouse suspicions with the terrorist security watch. these are not funnies.