Mike Rowe, United Airlines and Real Leadership

After that infamous United Airlines debacle, someone on Facebook asked Mike Rowe what he thought.

Unfortunately, he missed the mark.  (Large quote follows to ensure the context is accurate.)

But the facts are clear: if you want to travel by air, you must agree to do what you’re told. If you don’t, you subject yourself to fine, arrest, constraint, forcible removal, and/or a permanent ban from the friendly skies. It’s all there in the fine print.

Personally, I support this policy. I support it because I don’t want to fly across the country in a steel tube filled with people who get to decide which rules they will follow and which they will ignore. I’ve been on too many flights with too many angry people to worry about the specific circumstances of their outrage, or the details of why they took it upon themselves to ignore a direct command. A plane is not a democracy, and the main cabin is no place to organize a sit-in. The main cabin is a place to follow orders.

The problem I have with this is simple.  Today’s leaders and authority figures, whether they are airline pilots, police or government officials, have forgotten one key component of leadership.  TRUST

I will gladly follow leaders when I know they are trustworthy.  Back in the “Good Ol’ Days”, flight crew were considered to be authoritative and customer focused.  Airplanes weren’t as reliable, so you knew you were putting yourself at risk by flying, but you had confidence that the crew cared about your comfort and safety.  In those days, if they had space issues on a plane, they would give you royal treatment for cooperating.  In the case of Doctor Dao, his wife was apparently also on the plane.  Was she also asked to leave?

You want me to follow your orders, then you need to earn my respect and my trust.  If you are in uniform, airlines or otherwise, you start out with a default amount of respect and trust, because of that uniform.  However, your actions are what I will be watching, to ensure my safety and the safety of my family and fellow passengers.  A plane may not be a democracy, but the main cabin is no place to turn loose your untrained dogs of war.  That is exactly what United Airlines did that day.

Where is there freedom from extremists?

I am going through a period of political party discontent.  I’ve always considered myself to be a conservative, joking that I was a little to the right of Attila the Hun.  However, recent years have strained that relationship.  Many of the key leaders on all sides seem to be using tactics based on bullying the public, via a supportive media, to get what they want… irregardless of the consequences.

1. As a Vietnam Veteran, I have an aversion to War, which has led to strong revulsion against many of the so-called Conservative leaders.  They all seem to be fully in support of the military-industrial complex and continuous war.

2. As a Christian, I have an aversion to the small government people, who don’t seem to care who gets hurt in the endless war on governmental services, while at the same time they defend an imbalanced tax system that burdens the most needy, while giving bonuses to those who are already blessed.

My problem is simple.  Every party seems to be running under the control of extremist.  Where do I turn?

These two articles echo my questions, except I cannot accept their conclusions.

Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist

I was poor, but a GOP die-hard: How I finally left the politics of shame

Why Am I Moving Left?

Call them John Doe

A comment about the latest Mall shooting got me thinking. The dummy with the gun wrote that he would be remembered for his actions. Too often someone tries to become famous by doing something evil, thus gaining themselves a place in infamy.

Here is my thought. Why don’t we stop naming them, in the media, in books and on TV, with their real names, but assign them a nondescript alias, a John Doe, to deny them a distinctive place in history. The key would be to never, ever refer to them by name in the media, except by their alias.

“Today, it was reported that the John Doe who shot his friend also posted a journal entry announcing his attentions…”

We could setup a web site to disambiguate the various John Does, to allow researchers to tie specific information to the correct person. Thus, instead of discussing Charles Manson, we could discuss JohnDoe19341112, using his birth date as a key.

Let’s deny them their place in infamy, and add them to an anonymous collection of losers.

Why do we support copyrights?

The original purpose of the copyright was “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” was the first stated purpose of U.S. copyright. The U.S. Constitution ratified in 1788 proposed to do that “by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The first U.S. copyright law, passed in 1790, protected books, maps, and charts if they were created by residents or citizens of the United States. The term of their exclusive right was a mere 14 years, with the right of renewal for 14 more.

See:  The Real Purpose of Copyright

Since only about 4 per cent of copyrighted works more than 20 years old are commercially available, this locks up 96 per cent of 20th century culture to benefit 4 per cent. The harm to the public is huge, the benefit to authors, tiny. In any other field, the officials responsible would be fired. Why not the government legislature members who passed the bills?

FT.com / Comment & analysis / Columnists – James Boyle: Deconstructing stupidity

Government Regulation of Digital Media

According to the EFF, on Tuesday, January 24th, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold hearings on government regulation of digital media in the form of the broadcast flag and the audio flag. But even before the committee hears the arguments, Hollywood lobbyists have already planned the results. Drafts are being passed around Congress by Senator Gordon Smith (D-OR) of a “Digital Content Protection Act” that would make both flags laws at a stroke.

This bill would usher in a new world of anti-consumer electronics, and a chance for the MPAA’s and RIAA’s member companies to seize even greater control over all media distribution and use.

Join the EFF Action Center and help prevent this travesty.

See: Hollywood Plants Its Flags In Our Homes for more information.

U.S. Government led ICANN to redeligate top level domains

The Register has an article about U.S. Government backed policy changes that have led ICANN to redeligate top level domains in such a way as to provide “greater state-controlled censorship on the internet, reduce people’s ability to use the internet to communicate freely, and leave expansion of the internet in the hands of the people least capable of doing the job”

More from the article: “At that meeting, consciously and for the first time, ICANN used a US government-provided reason to turn over Kazakhstan’s internet ownership to a government owned and run association without requiring consent from the existing owners. The previous owners, KazNIC, had been created from the country’s Internet community. ICANN then immediately used that ‘precedent’ to hand ownership of Iraq’s internet over to another government-run body, without accounting for any objections that the existing owners might have.”

Time to Impeach President Bush?

From Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) [epic.org]:

Documents [epic.org] obtained by EPIC in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit reveal FBI agents expressing frustration that the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, an office that reviews FBI search requests, had not approved applications for orders under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. A subsequent memo refers to “recent changes” allowing the FBI to “bypass”; the office. EPIC is expecting to receive further information about this matter.

Some background:

Under Section 215, the FBI must show only “relevance” to a foreign intelligence or terrorism investigation to obtain vast amounts of personal information. It is unclear why the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review did not approve these applications. The FBI has not revealed this information, nor did it explain whether other search methods had failed.

Remember, the issue here is not whether or not the FBI can engage in counterterrorism. The issue is the erosion of judicial oversight — the only check we have on police power. And this power grab is dangerous regardless of which party is in the White House at the moment.

What does President Bush say?

“In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist networks.” President’s Radio Address [whitehouse.gov].

President Bush appears to be openly and willfully violating federal law and the Constitution of the United States. President Clinton faced impeachment for a lot less…


A Russian cracker lured to the United States with a job prospect in April 2001 has been sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $690,000 in restitution. Vasily Gorshkov, 27, was convicted of 20 counts of conspiracy, fraud and related computer crimes. The computer programmer and his colleague, Aleksei Ivanov, were arrested after FBI agents set up a fictitious company and invited the two Russians to Seattle to demonstrate their hacking skills. The two were suspected of gaining remote control of U.S. systems from computers based in Chelyabinsk, Russia. Ivanov is awaiting sentencing.

Of course, they don’t explain why it was legal for our people, operating computers in the US, to break Russian laws to catch him, but not legal for him to break US laws while operating computers in Russian.

Seems slightly inconsistent there…

Freedom to be a Patriot Act

Here is a beautiful kick in the Constitution. HR 3201 wants to insure that everyone flies the American Flag. If you don’t, they won’t do business with you.

What is it about Freedom of Speech that the House of Representatives and Rep. Tom Tancredo R-CO does not understand?

Check out HR 3201 at thomas.loc.gov

What one law?

There is an old question, “What one law would you enact if you were King for a day?”

I have always said it should be “Congress shall make no law that exempts Congress from its application.”

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