northwest airlines is going down

Or, why I think Northwest Airlines is going to fold in the next year if they don’t get their act together.

Or, why I think Northwest Airlines is going to fold in the next year if they don’t get their act together.

My parents were told late last week that their original flight from Dayton (Ohio) to Seattle through Minneapolis was canceled and they were re-booked on a flight through Detroit instead. This flight was scheduled to leave earlier than the original one, so they booked a hotel room in Dayton the night before with a 4am wake-up to get to the airport in time.

Their day began with a 2am fire alarm in the hotel that didn’t get shut off for an hour. This is the only screw-up of the day that is not Northwest Airlines’ fault. After the alarm was turned off, they decided to go ahead and stay up, rather than trying to sleep for another hour or so.

They arrived at the airport in plenty of time for their flight, and everything seems to be okay until they are on the plane, which sat for an hour waiting for mechanics to fix a problem. Finally, everyone was told to get off the plane and go stand in line at the other end of the airport where they would be re-booked on different flights.

Except that the flight they were supposed to be on was never officially canceled in the computer system, so no one could get re-booked. On top of that, even when the customers could get re-booked, both printers at that station were broken. Neither of the airline employees at the counter knew what was going on with the flight. In fact, they told the people in line to call some numbers to see if they could find out what was happening. At no point did any management person come down and explain anything or try to fix the problems.

After several hours of standing in line, my parents were told that the best they could get was a United flight that would arrive in Seattle tomorrow night, and they would still be returning on Northwest Tuesday afternoon. They declined and went home.

Here’s the rub: Their original flight through Minneapolis was not canceled at all. It left on time while they were standing in line. And, they weren’t the only ones on the Dayton-Detroit-Seattle flight who had been told the Dayton-Minneapolis-Seattle flight was canceled and had been re-booked through Detroit.

Along with the “mechanical problems” that delayed my Northwest Airlines flights in December, this is the reason why I think the airline is going down and will likely fold in the next year if they don’t get their act together.

nasig part two

Knowing that it was my only opportunity to do so, I slept in again on Thursday. At some time close to noon, Bonnie and I made our way down to Hell’s Kitchen for lunch. I had drank a bit too much the night before, so I didn’t have my normal appetite. However, the mahnomin porridge was excellent and just what I needed. They also made an Americano good enough to rival Starbucks. After brunch, we headed over to the conference hotel and picked up our registration packets. I had a few minutes to kill before it was time to meet for the NASIG skits rehearsal. (Yes, there was much teasing from my friends about me being a thespian.) This year was the 20th NASIG conference, so there was a bit more hoopla in the schedule of events, the skits being part of the anniversary part/dinner on Friday evening.

The opening session of the conference was much the same as previous ones with various members of the conference and program planning committees speaking about how great it was to be at NASIG again. The local historian and pictures segment was interesting if only for the flavor of the bias the historian had. He spent most of the time showing pictures of buildings in Minneapolis and Saint Paul that no longer existed along side of pictures of dismal office buildings and freeways that have replaced the old buildings. I understand his dismay over the period of time when old buildings were demolished and their history and unique architectural design unvalued, but really, we got the message and there was no need to continue to harp on it.

The Awards and Recognition Committee decided to create a new award to be given periodically to members who have significantly contributed to the organization. The first award winner is Tina Feick, who later showed her thespian skills in the NASIG skit about dorm life. Given the years she has been a part of the organization, the campus conference experience must have been quite familiar to her, and that came through in her performance on Friday evening.

nasig part one

Last year’s planes, trains, and automobiles route to the NASIG conference was a fun experience, but the schedule was such that I arrived right before the beginning and left immediately after the closing session. This meant that I missed the social networking aspect of the conference at the beginning and that I didn’t have time to do a bit of sight-seeing and decompress at the end. This year I decided to arrive a bit early and stay a bit longer, and I’m glad I did.

I landed in Minneapolis on Tuesday evening, and my college friends Becky & Michelle picked me up. We stayed up late catching up on the years gone by, and then I caught some sleep on their rather comfortable couch. The next morning, Michelle and I went out and found a few geocaches hidden in the neighborhood. One more notch on my GPSr for a new geocaching convert. We went to a Panera for lunch, and I was able to make use of the free Wi-Fi to log our finds.

Afterwards, Michelle introduced me to one of her hobbies — Half Price Books. I found a nifty Wonder Woman doll and colorful book on the history of Wonder Woman, as well as several sci-fi novels that I have had on my wish list. I would have shopped for more, but I couldn’t remember the titles and authors of everything I’m looking for. It’s probably good that I didn’t, since my suitcase was busting at the seams by the time I left Minneapolis.

Later in the evening, we met up with other college friends now living in Minneapolis at Psycho Suzie’s Motor Lounge for a dinner filled with good food (beer battered cheese curds

straight talk

Neocons will hate this book. Moderates will feel enlightened and emboldened. Liberals will enjoy the occasional pot-shots at Neocons and want more.

Straight Talk from the Heartland : Tough Talk, Common Sense, and Hope from a Former Conservative by Ed Schultz

Ed Schultz is conservative turned liberal talk radio host. His show is syndicated on over 30 affiliate stations in the United States and Canada. The cover of his book, Straight Talk From the Heartland, proclaims that his is the fastest growing talk radio show. Not being a talk radio listener, I missed out on the hoopla surrounding this guy. However, having read his book, I’m now interested in hearing what he has to say on a regular basis. In the midst of his at times bombastic ranting (a trademark of talk radio), Schultz displays a keen intellect and average-guy understanding of the socio-politic-economic realities of life in the 21st century world. Neocons will hate this book. Moderates will feel enlightened and emboldened. Liberals will enjoy the occasional pot-shots at Neocons and want more.

The book is divided into two parts. The first describes Schultz’s transformation from hard-line conservative to left-of-center talk radio host. He outlines the events that brought him to his current ideology and lays out criticism of leaders on the Left and the Right, but mainly the Right. The second part is Schultz’s vision of what holds us together as a country and how these “pillars” are becoming unstable. At the end of each pillar section, he reiterates his main points, making this a handy crib sheet for those who may not wish to read them in detail.

My copy of this book has a handful of paper scraps sticking out of the top, marking the pages that have a particularly insightful or amusing comment. Here are just a few:

On Homeland Security:
“Minnesota, which also shares a border with Canada, has two nuclear plants within thirty miles of Minneapolis. Do you know who lives in Minneapolis? Prince! I am willing to make some concessions for homeland security. I am not willing to sacrifice the funk.” p.73

On Corporate Malfeasance:
“We need Ashcroft to stop spying on the librarians of America, and start focusing on the criminals again. And I’m not talking about Martha Stewart. We need the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to grow some fangs, and start going after the big guns.” p.131

On Class Warfare:
“…I want to make it clear that I’m not advocating class warfare. Every good job I ever had was working for a rich man. Mr. Gates, I don’t mind the big paycheck, but could you at least give me a computer that works? Anytime any company dominates its industry like Microsoft does, there’s little motivation for the company to improve and give the public cheaper and better products.” p.135

On the “Liberal Media”:
“A journalist has to know enough about a topic to explain it to his audience. If he gets it wrong, people will know. So these people see the inner workings of government. They see the problems, they witness the disasters, and pretty soon their experiences tell them things need to change. A liberal is a compassionate proponent of change. So if journalists are liberals, maybe it’s reasonable to assume it was their life experiences that changed them. That’s how it worked for me.” p.201

On Talk Radio:
“Nowadays, it’s all too easy to get caught up in media frenzy. It feels like a new disaster is breaking every hour or so. I know this firsthand: I live, and work, in the bullet-point culture, too. My show is fast-paced. We paint in broad strokes. I provide solid information and opinions, but there’s no time for nuance — even if the President did nuance. So is talk radio the best place for in-depth news? Nah. It’s news delivered with equal helpings of entertainment, advocacy, and opinion, to help the medicine go down. Not all media is created equal.” p.220

Article first published as Straight Talk From the Heartland by Ed Schultz on Blogcritics.org