Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Passenger Rights

Filed under: Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:05 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

You have rights as an air traveler.

During the holidays, a lot of people travel. I avoid it as much as possible, mainly because I used to travel a lot and get pretty irritated with air travel these days. For one thing, since 9/11, security measures have gotten pretty onerous, which is too bad because most of them don’t really do anything to address actual safety. But, before I go off on a rant about my favorite subject (ie. Security theater), let me say that the worst thing about flying these days is the flying and the airline companies themselves. I know it’s a business and that we should be thrilled to get so far as quickly as we do, but they really play fast and loose with things like passenger comfort, over-booking and taking little to no responsibility when things go wrong.
Good news, though, you do, in fact have rights! Did you know that you may be entitled to compensation for delayed flights or missed connections? It’s true! You can read more about your air passenger rights, and get help if you feel like you’re due something from the airlines who lost or damaged your luggage or forcibly booted you off your flight due to over booking, at AirHelp. I have to admit, as of this writing, I haven’t used them, so I can’t speak to their actual effectiveness, and I don’t get anything from them to link to their site, but just having your actual rights laid out may be of significant enough benefit that I felt it was worth sharing.  Oh, also, their fee for helping you is 25% of whatever you’re due, but I still think it’s worth it, as otherwise travelers would just be out the whole amount.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!


Happy Independence Day

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:17 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

On this day in 1776, more than 230 years ago, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.

It is a national holiday here in the States, in case that wasn’t clear to my non-US readers. I think, though, that a lot of people here have forgotten just why the day is so important. Oh, sure, it’s nice to have a day off. In fact, I’m enjoying it now, having gotten up late and not planning an overly taxing day. But, the Fourth of July, Independence Day, is about a lot more than hot dogs, BBQ, fireworks, parades, and apple pie.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
(You can read more at Wikipedia.)

These words, these ideas, are the basis of all the rest of our government. Oh, to be sure, these principals have not always been applied well or without bias, but the are what underlie all our political striving in this country. We are far from perfect, and certainly there are things wrong with our government, but it is still, I think, the best, most free, form of government we have. It’s something our forefathers fought and died to create for us. It’s something that many have fought and died for since then. I think it’s important to remember that. There was a time in our history, which only spans a little over 230 years, that Americans fought and died for their freedom, our freedom.

I think we all need to consider that as things like the Patriot Act and the pseudo-security invoked with claims of protecting us from terrorism. I’ve heard all the arguments, too, how people with nothing to hide have nothing to fear, how we must do anything within our power, no matter how heinous, to prevent further acts of terror. I’ve seen my fellow Americans dehumanize detainees in Guantanamo Bay based on their religion of choice or the region of their birth. Gentle readers, there is no excuse, no justification, for the erosion of our civil liberties. There is no argument strong enough to convince me that erasing hundreds of years of good work, sacrifice, and service that so many have given so that I can do something as simple as write a blog, take pictures of public spaces, or attend the religious institution of my choice. That, my friends, is what our founding fathers were securing for us on this day in 1776, these freedoms that we so take for granted.

So, enjoy your hot dogs, have a slice of apple pie, watch that parade and admire those amazing fireworks. But, let’s not forget that today is more than the Fourth of July, remember that today is Independence Day.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."
   --Henry Ford

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