Thursday, August 24, 2006

United Assclowns

Perhaps a new slogan for United Airlines could be Unbound Incompetence.

My luggage reached me today.

I checked it in at the airport on Sunday August 20th at 10:30 am.

I saw it again only nine minutes ago at 9:30pm, today, Wednesday August 24th.

For three days while in Canada my luggage was "delayed baggage". A pleasant turn of phrase that, isn't it?

What that meant was no toiletry articles, no clean clothes.

I was on business not on pleasure.

So the first day I had to conduct business in the type of attire we fly in nowadays which as you know is increasingly casual.

I was assured by the delayed baggage call center for United Airlines which as you can only imagine has been outsourced to India, yes, that's right if you fly United Airlines and your luggage is lost you will be dealing with endless, polite protestations of how dreadfully sorry they are and damn little actual action to return your luggage.

United Airlines call center in Indiana has eight more days of employment before they are all laid off. That's eight more days of every fifth person you speak to being on the same continent you are.

Now I work with people from the Indian subcontinent and other places close to it.

I must have been spoiled by their competence, work ethic, ingenuity and ability to rise above challenges encountered.

Its likely that the call flows used by United Assclowns..err United Arline's outsourcer for that call center to not have included what to do when there is conflicting information. This would be an excellent opportunity for me to provide some "coaching feedback" for them. I will enjoy it, I doubt sincerely that whomever I deal with will.

Example:

United Airlines baggage handlers swear up and down that your bag is in the right airport, in customs for a foreign country.

The customs personnel and baggage handlers swear up and down its not there.

You drive to the airport after your luggage has been "delayed" for 44 hours to find out that, no really, its not there.

You call the United Assclowns call center only to have someone reading from their script argue with you about it being on site with you despite you having already searched.

Yes, this is what happened to me.

To top this all off that day four,yes, four times I had been disco'd while the Indian agent went "to check on the status of my luggage".

I was unfailingly courteous to everyone at United Assclowns...err...Airlines irregardless of where the call center was.

It was not their fault my luggage had been rifled through by the TSA who did not take the time to re-zip the closures on my bag and then it was repeatedly "expedited to my location" only to arrive at the airport in my original destination
after I had already left that country and was en route to my home.

Should you be considering who to do business with for your work or personal travel bear this in mind; Who will be taking your call for lost luggage?

One other item to cover; Canadians are really nice. The people in Canada made a horrid travel experience endurable.

I will have to look into purchasing some Canadian products.

I could use one of those C-7's with what looked to be an Elcan the guard matching behind the band I saw had.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

NBA Player Arrested For Shots Fired Near White House

While I am not impressed by professional athletes in the least I do not ascribe them subhuman intelligence or neanderthal like behavior.

Perhaps I was wrong.

One NBA player is determined to prove me wrong in my fair mindedness.

A former NBA player Charles Baxter was arrested by the Secret Service for firing shots near the White House
.

I know of the affinity alot of players have for illicit substance abuse. Frankly I do not care if they do imbibe illicit drugs or not.

All I ask is that for the love of all that is holy you do not be so stupid as to use a firearm near one of the most heavily surveilled areas in the world; the White House.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Courage To Speak Out

It takes great courage to speak out against those who could strike back at you.

That type of intestinal fortitude is what saved thousands of lives this week.

The foiling of the plot to blow up planes in the air over the US and UK all began with a phone tip from someone worried about an acquaintance.

That is correct, one brave soul worried about what someone in their community was up to made the call to the authorities resulting in thousands of saved lives.

My grateful thanks to that unnamed individual who though fearing likely retribution made the call to save the innocent.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Equalizer

Anti-gun zealots want to see the world rid firearms, ridding the world of the equalizer that has long made the physically weak able to fend off the strong.

None to be used in crimes, self-defense or war.

As if magically all struggles would cease as these weapons were removed.

As one with a more than passing interest in mankind's history I know this to be a delusion.

Strife existed before we armed ourselves with more than Mark 1 Mod 0 Rock.

What would it be like to be returned to a world where firearms were no longer available?

Imagine this man, the Viking raider, coming to your home.


What will he want? Any coin, art work, prescious metals, your live stock, your food and the use of any of your daughters.

How would you, the common man or woman resist an armored foe? Will you try to stop hm with your rake, shovel, true pruning implements?

I assure you between his armor and shield he will be able to put thirty inches of his sword through you.

For those who think you would have similar weapons of your own know that the raiders never worked alone. They worked in teams.

Unlike firearms where a few hours of instruction and practice makes an individual somewhat competent, edged weapons require many hundreds if not thousands of hours to master.

Even if you had the resources to commit long, hard hours of daily practice with spear, shield and sword how would you fair against ten men come raiding?


You would only have the time to provide a horrible spectacle for your wife and children to see before they too fell prey to the raider.

Now what of the troops whose job it is to defend you?

The knights, squires and men-at-arms who recieve land grants to be your masters so the fruit of your labors can be taxes to provide them with the time to train in the use of edged weapons, what would you do to resist them when they decided that the taxes on your farm had just gone up so they could receive a bit of the graft (for those who do not know tax farming you are in for a treat).

Would you be able to enforce your will against a despot surrounded by armored men?


Would you be able to stop the republic from becoming a despotism?

How would you enforce your will?

The Second Amendment enumerates the rights of Americans to resist despotism by recognizing the right to be armed in order to resist tyranny with effective weapons.

Imagine a nation without the Second Amendment or firearms. How would you resist the forces of a government turned to tyranny?

You would not be able to.

Even on the individual level of a unarmed man and woman how would a 130 pound woman effectively resist a 200 pound man?

Would the woman suddenly become a martial arts expert beating him senseless as seen in any number of silly hollwood movies?

Although it is chic currently to show pixie like women thrashing two hundred pound men it is far more likely that the disparate levels of physical force would result in the woman becoming a victim.

Think about a world without firearms, where the strong can control the weak.

Where only those with the wealth and time to practice with weapons for hours daily are the strong.

Honestly look at your life and decide which you would be the lord or the peasant.

That is your world without firearms.

Hat tip to the thousands of Historical Reenactors who provide a healthy reminder of our past.

Also thanks to authors such as S.M. Stirling whose works are available at Amazon.

Cold Hard Logic

The debate about firearms ownership is often viewed in terms of emotion rather than fact.

"Wouldn't the world be a better place if all just got along, etc" seems to be the idea behind gun control. As if aberrant, violent behavior among those who commit violent crimes would suddeny cease if one of their tools became unavailable.

Of Arms and The Law has a link to an excellent article on this here.