From the op-ed page of today's Wall St. Journal.... Straighten Up and Fly Right By HEATHER MAC DONALD http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110194850394688792,00.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries Some excerpts. The government antidiscrimination hammer has hit the airline industry most severely. Department of Transportation lawyers have extracted millions in settlements from four major carriers for alleged discrimination after 9/11, and they have undermined one of the most crucial elements of air safety: a pilot's responsibility for his flight. Transportation's action against American Airlines was typical. In the last four months of 2001, American carried 23 million passengers and asked 10 of them not to board because they raised security concerns that could not be resolved in time for departure. For those 10 interventions (and an 11th in 2002), DOT declared American Airlines a civil-rights pariah, whose discriminatory conduct would "result in irreparable harm to the public" if not stopped. . . . . Somehow, DOT lawyers failed to include in their complaint one further passenger whom American asked not to board in 2001. On Dec. 22, airline personnel in Paris kept Richard Reid off a flight to Miami. The next day, French authorities insisted that he be cleared to board. During the flight, Reid tried to set off a bomb in his shoe, but a stewardess and passengers foiled him. Had he been kept from flying on both days, he too might have ended up on the government's roster of discrimination victims. ...Jehad Alshrafi is typical of those who were included in the suit against American. On Nov. 3, 2001, this Jordanian-American was scheduled to fly out of Boston's Logan Airport (from which two of the hijacked planes -- including American Flight 11 -- departed on 9/11). A federal air marshal told the pilot that Alshrafi's name resembled one on a terror-watch list -- and that he had been acting suspiciously, had created a disturbance at the gate, and posed unresolved security issues. The pilot denied him boarding. Alshrafi was later cleared and given first-class passage on another flight.... ...American contested DOT's action, but fighting the government civil-rights complex is futile. In February 2004, the airline, while denying guilt, settled the action for $1.5 million, to be spent on yet more "sensitivity training." American's pilots were outraged. "Pilots felt: 'How dare they second-guess our decision?'" says Denis Breslin, a pilots' union official. Not satisfied with just one scalp, DOT lawyers brought identical suits against United, Delta and Continental. Those carriers also settled, pledging more millions for "sensitivity training" -- money much better spent on security training than on indoctrinating pilots to distrust their own security judgments.