Category: Hubris

11:00 | 11-November-1918

100 years ago today, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the guns along the 440-mile line stretching from Switzerland to the North Sea fell silent. The war started 1 August 1914 just as German Chancellor Otto von Bismark once famously predicted around 1884, by “some damned fool thing in the Balkans;” in this case, the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, a city of agony in the 20th century). But on 11 November 1918, it was finally “all quiet on the Western Front.”

9 November: Schicksalstag

Ausrufung Republik: Philipp Scheidemann proclaims the Republik, 9 November 1918

In the next few days, there will be much remembrance of the events of 100 years ago—the end of World War I. Not as much in the U.S., where World War I is like the Korean War, a largely forgotten conflict, even though 115,516 Americans died between 1917-1918, along with over 320,000 sickened, most in the influenza epidemic of 1918.

German Roofer Finds Message from Grandfather

Message in a Bottle picture

A message in a bottle on the roof of a Goslar, Germany, cathedral was found by the grandson of the writer. An authentic lesson from history: “On March 26, 1930, four roofers in this small west German town inscribed a message to the future. “Difficult times of war lie behind us,” they wrote. After describing …

Continue reading

Squeezed to Death

Cramped | Photo by Gerrie van der Walt on Unsplash

“On every airline flight, a crew member talks to passengers in the exit rows to see whether they can, as Federal Aviation Administration regulations specify, “pass expeditiously through the emergency exit” if needed. Given how passengers have grown in inverse proportion to the spaciousness of airliner seats, anything like “expeditious” evacuation of an entire airliner seems doubtful.”

Of Manifestoes and Buildings and Truman and Stuff

Photo of HIroshima destruction in 1945

[Edited two days later to fix some typos and unclear, stream-of-consciousness-type unclear phrases.] During the recent effort to rename the Russell Senate Office Building, it would have been nice to remember that both Richard Russell, the building’s current namesake, and John McCain, the proposed replacement namesake, (while useful tools to poke the likes of President …

Continue reading

The Conscience Stirs

100 dollar bills stacked.

I pretty much wish I had remained disconnected from FB while also being innovative enough to stay connected to the real people in my life without Facebook’s corrupting middle man kleptocracy. I sense that there is another housecleaning coming; my involvement will need to be further curtailed. I’m thinking of what we can do next … there are far better possibilities, surely, than this unholy mess of greed and venality.

An Army of Teachers

Fact/gut check: Arming 20% of the nation's teachers would result in an army of over 640,000 men and women, as many as… Posted by Steve Pollock on Thursday, February 22, 2018

On Shitholes

Girl reading the Bible.

Every single day is a new low. How low can we go? There is no bottom. So pretty goddamned low. Shithole low.

Shithole Mouth

[Once again, my conscience overflows and will not give me rest without giving vent to something political/religious. So… Posted by Steve Pollock on Friday, January 12, 2018

Shuttling Between Failures

Image of a plane crashing

The story is sordid and long, but the details were made clear by Matt Viser’s excellent Globe piece. To wit: Lorenzo sold the Donald the Eastern Shuttle for an overvalued $365 million (if DT had created a brand-new shuttle from the ground up with brand-new planes, not old worn-out 727s, estimates were that he could have done it for $300 million.) Of course, the money was all borrowed. It was 1989; Eastern (and Continental) were already almost dead from Lorenzo’s sledgehammer and the economy was tanking. Pan Am 103 was bombed, the first Gulf War was about to begin. It was incredibly bad judgement to overpay a bunch of other peoples’ money for something that was guaranteed to tank.

Load more