Tag Archives: airports

Ethics Salvage, 8/9/018: Here’s Why There Were No Ethics Alarms Posts Yesterday, And More

Good morning? What’s good about it?

My plan, as it is most days I travel, was to arrive at my destination (New Providence, NJ), check into the hotel, and spend the evening catching up on ethics posts, then get up early, compose an ethics warm-up. maybe another post r two before I lose control of the day in the onslaught of seminar-leading and more travel. It’s a good plan. Unfortunately, nothing went right. My original flight, into Newark airport, was cancelled after an hour’s delay: Newark had stopped all air traffic. I switched airlines and bought ticket to LaGuardia, where I was told that my client’s limo service could pick me up and take me to my destination.(My program was to start at 9:00 am today.) I got on the plane, we left the gate, and waited. It was storming in New York City and environs. After two more hours, the plane returned to then gate, where we were told to wait around. If things started up at LaGuardia, we were going to have to seize the moment, get on the plane and take off. Never mind: after a half hour or so, that flight was cancelled too.

Thus I ended up at the end of a line of about a hundred travelers , while a single American Airlines agent tried to handle each crisis, a process which appeared to bid fair to last until Christmas before they would get to my urgent need to be in Springfield, N.J. in time to meet up with my colleague and perform a three hour musical ethics seminar for a paying audience of over a hundred lawyers. My ProEthics partner and spouse was simultaneously coordinating with Mike, the musician, on his way to the hotel from Brooklyn, the New Jersey Bar, and the airlines, trying to develop plans B (an early morning flight from Dulles or National and a mad dash to the seminar), C (an overnight train trip), D ( driving to New Jersey), and E (hiring someone to drive me, so I didn’t fall asleep at the wheel). Cancelling was never an option: I’m a show-biz guy, and the show must go on.

For some reason an American agent came over to the back of the endless line, and said, conspiratorially, “Who wants to go to JFK?” About 2o of us eagerly followed her to another gate, and I eventually found myself on a plane to JFK—which stalled on the tarmac, because JFK had halted take-offs and landings too. After an hour or so, the pilot announced that he had “timed out” along with the rest of the crew, and that we were returning to the gate, de-planing, and would wait for a fresh pilot who was en route, assuming his plane arrived.

Well, to cut out a lot more twists and turns, eventually I got to JFK, paid $250 to have a car take me to my hotel in New Providence, and got to bed at around 4 am,  with a scheduled pick-up by a limo service to take me and Mike to the venue at 8. The limo driver got lost, incidentally. Then it was a blur of a three-hour interactive seminar (Mike, as usual, was brilliant), back to the airport, more delays, and home by about 7 pm last night. I started this post around 9, found myself unable to think, and went to bed.

My friend Tom Fuller is fond of saying that if you have no options, you have no problem. I had no options, but I do regard not being able to get posts up in a timely fashion a big problem.

I was, however thinking about multiple ethics issues that arose during my odyssey–actually, a Cyclops and some Sirens, even Scylla and Charybdis,  would have been welcome diversions from Airport Hades—and will pass some of them along now: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Daily Life, Etiquette and manners, Professions, Workplace

Ethics Alarms Déjà Vu And The President’s Infrastructure Proposal

The President has proposed an infrastructure upgrade, more or less. I don’t care about the numbers: whatever it is, it’s not enough. It is, however, something, and infrastructure renewal is a national emergency, indeed a crisis, that should not be derailed by partisan bickering and gamesmanship. Will it further exacerbate the ballooning debt? Yes. Unlike much of the spending that has dug the nation a deeper hole than it is likely to ever escape, however, infrastructure is not discretionary spending.

Jonah Goldberg just issued a mind-meltingly ignorant and dishonest column for the Los Angeles Times titled “Is American infrastructure crumbling? Hardly.”

Shame on him. This is Trump Hate as national suicide. Our infrastructure has been crumbling for decades, with each year of neglect guaranteeing bigger expenses and hidden burdens on the economy, not to mention that cholera outbreaks when the sewage pipes and water pipes start breaking coast to coast.

I’ve been writing about this unethical nightmare of irresponsible leadership and government for years, here and elsewhere. Nothing has changed. Where necessary, as you read these excerpts from 2010 and 2011, just change the name of the President or the parties. The situation hasn’t changed, other than getting worse:

From Blame Everyone for Infrastructure Ruin: Unethical, Irresponsible Priorities from Reagan to Obama…

In the early Eighties, I oversaw and edited an independent study funded by the Highway Users Federation and the National Chamber Foundation called “Transport Tomorrow,” exploring the immediate need for transportation infrastructure repair and expansion in all modes of transportation: roads, railway, waterway, and airports. In the process of learning how dire the need for massive construction and repair was if America’s future commercial needs were to be met, the study commission made a disturbing discovery: urban water and sewer systems were crumbling too. There was literally not enough money to fix all the roads, bridges, tunnels, water mains and sewer pipes that had to be fixed, and the consequences of not doing so would be economic paralysis and worse, disease and even social unrest.

In the face of this looming and undeniably real disaster, the Reagan Administration did—pretty much nothing. Neither did the Bush, Clinton and Bush II administrations, and even the Chamber of Commerce failed to make infrastructure repair one of its key issues. Oh, there were new projects, of course, and when a major bridge started to dump cars into rivers it was repaired. Holes were patched, pipes were replaced here and there. But the full-fledged commitment to the unsexy and incredibly expensive job of keeping the infrastructure sufficient to meet the needs of the nation, and protecting it from the ravages of use and time was deferred, and deferred, and deferred. Something was always more important: wars…tax cuts…the environment…health care. The Obama Administration is following this irresponsible pattern, except it has combined with the profligacy of the Bush Administration to push the Federal deficit into unprecedented dangerous territory. New taxes on just about everybody and everything are going to be needed to stave off financial ruin, and there will be little political will to spend any of the income on something as mundane, but crucial, as sewers.

The problem, however, has become infinitely worse since 1983, when “Transport Tomorrow” was released, and then as now, the attitude of our elected leaders is to let the next guy deal with the problem. Is this responsible? No. Is it cowardly? Yes. Is it a blatant, intentional and knowing distortion of priorities that will threaten American prosperity, jobs, and lives? Absolutely….

From Ethics Heads-Up: When the President Talks About “Investment in Infrastructure,” Pay Attention: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Government & Politics, History, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership

Travel Ethics: Of Restroom Horror, Furious Apes and Dying Canaries

horrified_look

Perhaps with the sole exception of running into Larry Craig, my biggest fear in airport restrooms is encountering a bathroom stall that appears to have been last used by one of the baboons of the Kalahari. Why, in the name of humanity, would there ever be a reason for someone to leave a toilet seat dripping in urine, or the floor in front of the toilet covered and piled high with soaked and soiled toilet paper, or the toilet bowl filled with something that looks like it was deposited by an incontinent yak? Who among my civilized-appearing fellow travelers is secretly engaging in the manners of an Australopithecus? What ‘s the matter with these people? Continue reading

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Filed under Daily Life, Etiquette and manners

More Airport Encounters: Saying Thanks To An Accidental Mentor

Better late than never.

I previously wrote about the dilemma of whether to impose on celebrities who you encounter as they engage in the necessities of life (though I did not mention the time I was using a Kennedy Center urinal next to Colonel Sanders). I generally have ambivalence about the situation, but when I saw former Senator Alan Simpson standing at my gate as I disembarked at La Guardia, there was no question in my mind. I crossed over to him immediately, shook his hand, and said thank you.

I owe him, you see. Continue reading

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Celebrity Encounter Ethics

You're welcome. But now I'll never know what Eddie Murphy is really like!

I run into a lot of celebrities when I travel. I assume everybody does who travels very often; I know that I am better at recognizing them than the average person because my celebrity knowledge spans multiple generations, I have a good memory for faces, and I have always watched way, way too much television. And it happened again today: I was having my usual battles with an airport self-service check-in kiosk, this one in Atlanta, when I realized that the traveler enduring similar annoyances (“We have no record of your itinerary. Please enter the code that we call something other than what it is called on your ticket receipt before you get frustrated and have to wait in line to speak with an agent, because you know that’s what is going to happen.”) was the young actress-singer, Raven-Symone.

She was traveling alone, and it seemed clear that nobody around us had any idea who she was. Strange: doesn’t everyone watch “The Cheetah Girls,” “Dr. Doolittle 2” and re-runs of “That’s So Raven” on the Disney Channel? The encounter immediately sent me into Marshall Celebrity Recognition decision mode: what is the ethical way to treat the rich and famous if you are insignificant and lowly, and close enough to assassinate them? Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Daily Life, Popular Culture

Hole-in-the-Roof Ethics: If Obama Asks For Massive Infrastructure Renewal, the GOP Must Support It.

Seldom is a solution to a problem so obvious, and so conducive to bi-partisanship. It is a solution to two problems, really: America’s dangerously rotting infrastructure, and the nation’s dismal unemployment rate. Spend the money, trillions if necessary, to repair and replace existing roads, railway beds, waterways, sewer systems, airports and bridges.  It still won’t get us where we need to be, but we’ll be much better off than if we let the current deterioration continue, and we’ll save money in the long run, too—real savings, not phony health care reform savings that evaporate once reality kicks in.

There is no justification not to do this, nor is there any legitimate excuse for any elected official not to vote for it. (And no, not wanting to give the President a victory is not legitimate…or ethical, or patriotic.) Repairing the infrastructure isn’t “discretionary spending,” it is essential, unavoidable and cost-effective spending, unless it is diverted into new boondoggles and pork. No new structures, unless they replace unrepairable old ones. No light rail systems or bullet trains; what is needed is basic maintenance and repair….everywhere. It is already late, but “better late than never” has seldom been as appropriate. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Environment, Finance, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, U.S. Society

Web Ethics Complaint File: Rotten Etiquette in “Etiquette Hell”

The topic: rude behavior in public dining

There is nothing quite as exquisitely frustrating as having one’s commentary misrepresented elsewhere by a sloppy blogger, and then watching the nasty comments pile up by posters who never bother to read the original post. That is what is happening to Ethics Alarms, and thus me, over at an otherwise virtuous site called Etiquette Hell.

The site, or blog, or forum, or whatever the hell it is commented on the Starbucks post, with the inept headline: “Hogging all the tables in a crowded establishment.” That’s not what the post was about. That is a misrepresentation. The post was specifically about coffee shops that provide free wi-fi, and how customers abuse the privilege and benefit by camping out with their laptops for unreasonable amounts of time,  forcing patrons who need to use the tables for the primary purpose they exist to provide—allowing someone to eat and drink comfortably—to go elsewhere, or to stand. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Daily Life, Etiquette and manners, The Internet, U.S. Society, Unethical Blog Post, Unethical Websites