United they fall

Listen to this tone-deaf former CEO of Continental Airlines, commenting on a passenger — claiming to be a doctor — being forcibly dragged off of a United Airlines plane. The customer’s crime? Refusing to take $800 to voluntarily give up his paid-for seat on an overbooked flight. Apparently, when there aren’t enough takers on these offers, a computer program determines who the best candidates are to be bumped, in order to accommodate customers with more expensive tickets. Follow-up: it’s been reported that four seats were needed for employees of United Airlines.

The condescending tone is unbelievable. He actually says the passenger acted, “like a child that didn’t want to leave.” Then he praises the CEO of United Airlines for being a nice man, and “a really human fellow.” This sort of an attitude is not only infuriating to customers, it is counterproductive to companies. Obviously, United is not nice or human, otherwise they would have a more flexible policy to deal with these situations.

United should have offered more money until somebody said yes. Would this lead in the future to passengers staying put to bid up the price before agreeing to deplane? Sure, which was undoubtedly why the ceiling was set by management at only $800. But now, between the bad publicity and the lawsuit that will undoubtedly be forthcoming, United stands to lose much more than what it otherwise would have cost the airline.

The Beginning of the End

My working life started shortly after my 16th birthday, and I went full-time immediately upon graduation from college 40 years ago. I’ve been with my present employer for the past 36 years, and one month from today I shall be a retired April Fool.

Fortunately my health is fine and I’m jumping out of the workplace door, rather than being pushed, as has happened to many technology workers of my generation. It had long been thinking about taking early retirement a year from now anyway, so I’m really not moving the schedule up by all that much.

And yet deciding to call it quits was a very long and difficult process, and none of the reasons behind it are happy ones, so I will not be celebrating the event. Any doubts I had about my decision vanished when my father’s health declined suddenly and he needed to be placed in a nursing home. Flying back and forth to Phoenix to deal with this crisis has been a job in itself.

What will I do with my time after the situation with my father settles down? Honestly, I don’t know yet, but as this blog has shown I have a lot of varied (albeit nerdy) interests, and I’ll find ways to have some fun.

Hypocrite in Chief

He’s an habitually lying hypocrite, and I don’t see how he can last the full four years; but, then, I didn’t see how he could possibly be elected.


For Trump, the costs come with an additional perk: Some of the money flows into his own pocket. While Trump has removed himself from managing his company, he has refused to divest his ownership, meaning that he benefits from corporate successes such as government contracts.

Trump’s frequent travel belies his repeated criticism of Obama as a “habitual vacationer” enjoying taxpayer-funded golf getaways. It also comes after his own promises: He told the Hill newspaper in 2015, “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done.”