Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

Say “United,” and the instant mental image is of a bloodied passenger being dragged off of a flight. The airline met that brand crisis with a statement the public greeted with ire. So that may be why United is “quietly” rolling out a new program to deal with overbooking — the practice of selling more seats than a plane actually houses, which is the stated reason the bloodied passenger was dragged down an aisle.

Some hobbyists are train spotters and plane spotters. I am a yacht-spotter. What triggered this column was seeing Lady Sandals, a mega-yacht at Penn's Landing on the Delaware River. I Googled Lady Sandals—135' and once owned by Nicolas Cage. Google supplied dozens of interior and exterior photographs of the ship. At that same pier, I spotted McFarland, a massive dredger operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. I chatted with a member of the crew and was invited aboard for a tour the next day.

The postal service is not a federal agency. It does not cost taxpayers a dollar. It loses money only because Congress mandates that it do so. What it is is a miracle of high technology and human touch. It's what binds us together as a country. … The letter is mailed from Gold Hill, Oregon. The 1,100 residents of this lingering gold-rush town, mostly mechanics and carpenters and retail clerks in other places, wake with the sun and end their days with walks to the aluminum mailbox bolted to a post at the edge of their yards. In between, Carrie Grabenhorst

The most popular president in modern history that served at least one full term was Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Why? When he came to office, Ike had nothing to prove. He'd already successfully commanded the greatest invading army in history. His accomplishments: ending the Korean War; creating the Interstate Highway System; lighting a firecracker under civil rights when his Supreme Court passed Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and he signed the Civil Rights Act (1957); spending a lot of time working to lower his golf handicap.

With Eisenhower in charge, a high comfort level existed in the country. The president and Congress quietly and competently took care the people’s business so we could do our jobs, feed our families and raise our kids.

Ike’s approval rating never fell below 50 percent. In the end, he handed a peaceful and prosperous country to his successor. Based on presidential approval ratings, it's clear we don't like activist presidents. We're comfortable with chief executives who do what's necessary and no more. With the exception of Gerald Ford, an unelected caretaker CEO, all presidents since Eisenhower have been activists. And a number of activist presidencies imploded—Vietnam, Watergate, Iran Hostage Crisis, Iran-Contra, Lewinsky, subprime catastrophe and bank bailout.

A half century later, our activist president is trying to sell health care reform to the electorate and is suddenly up to his ears in alligators.

The situation might have been avoided if just one of his advisers had a background in marketing.

As readers know, in order to create this e-zine, I spend 45 minutes to one hour a day, seven days a week, surfing the Internet and downloading news stories and feature articles for my private archive. It currently contains close to 40,000 entries in 154 major categories—indexed and cross-indexed.

In the four years I've been publishing, a number of readers have asked what software I use to create the archive. I tell them that I don't use software, and that I've created my own system.

As you can see from the “IN THE NEWS” e-mail, Stan Fineman would like to know how I do it.

So here goes.

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