Steve Pollock

Since 1963.

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 87)

‘Splaining Things to the Kids

A Democratic Socialist explains «what Democratic Socialism actually is»: Not just a return to the halcyon days of the New Deal.

“I’m a staff writer at the socialist magazine Jacobin and a member of DSA, and here’s the truth: In the long run, democratic socialists want to end capitalism. And we want to do that by pursuing a reform agenda today in an effort to revive a politics focused on class hierarchy and inequality in the United States. The eventual goal is to transform the world to promote everyone’s needs rather than to produce massive profits for a small handful of citizens.

“Democratic socialists share goals with New Deal liberals. But they want to go further.

“Pooling society’s resources to meet people’s basic needs is a tenet of social democracy, one that’s been advocated domestically by much of the labor movement and many of its political supporters among New Deal and post-New Deal liberals. This is a vision we share. But we also want more than FDR did. A robust welfare state in an economy that’s still organized around capitalists’ profits can mitigate the worst inequalities for a while, but it’s at best a temporary truce between bosses and workers — and one that the former will look to scrap as soon as they can.”



Those Who Forget the Past …

Looks like my second book (about microburst crashes) just gained a new chapter, «as described at AvHerald». Passenger-point-
of-view videos are also posted; pretty amazing. (Don’t watch if you can’t deal with intemperate language spilling out of people who are slammed to the ground and cheating death.)

And if you want to know what really happened with any airliner incident, big or small, Simon of AvHerald knows all. How he gets what he does from his Czech Republic base is amazing.

[A caveat: The comment section of AvHerald, like every other comment section in every other corner of the internettubesweb, is highly toxic. So, read Simon’s reports on the day’s incidents/accidents, but ignore the comments. Fair warning. The capacity of people to be nasty to each other upon the slightest context will always amaze me.]

A somewhat weird good morning Rochester today as steam from a power plant drifts across the rising sun. Wind is calm, …

Posted by Steve Pollock on Monday, February 1, 2016

Arriving, Late 2013: 'A Threatening Sky'

A Threatening Sky: Braniff 250 and Other Bitter Lessons of the Early Jet Age by Steve Pollock will be published by «McFarland Publishing» in the Christmas 2013/Spring 2014 time frame. McFarland is a quality publisher which produces around 400 books per year for public and academic libraries, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and electronic vendors. They have been extremely supportive for this project and I am excited to work with them and get this story into print.

While Braniff 250 will be the touchstone of the book and get the most detail/attention, other incidents/accidents will be detailed along the way. Those include Pan American 115 (North Atlantic 1959); Northwest 705 (Miami, 1963); United 764 (O’Neill, NE, 1963); Eastern 304 (New Orleans, 1964); Braniff 250 (Falls City, 1966). In addition, the involvement of Dr. Ted Fujita, creator of the Fujita Scale of Tornado Intensity, will be detailed; he provided key scientific research into the Braniff crash.

Overheard in the House

From the right-wing side of the aisle comes this absolutely fabulous quote (wonder how long his staff worked on this gem?). It’s off-the-charts hyperbole, infinitely untrue, but a classic, nonetheless. Is this really what you Republicans are reduced to?

“You’ll be getting your pre-natal care from TurboTax!!”


Beagle Escape

They led us on a merry chase, but cold, dark, and snowy meant that they were soon back and wanting inside to their warm, priviliged lives.

Facebook Fail

After a dispute of a couple weeks, I’m finally rid of Facebook and all of its horrible, horrible design, navigation, usability, corporate snobbery, etc. It feels so good!

Of Interest: 12-Jul-09

• In Minneapolis, the New York Times turns up «a fascinating, heartbreaking, and ultimately, important story» of povery, terrorism, Somalia, teenagers, Facebook, and oddly enough, the building used to depict Mary Richard’s later apartment on the Mary Tyler Moore Show back in the 1970s, all of which may add up to the “most significant domestic terrorism investigation since Sept. 11,” 2001.

• On PBS, «Bill Moyers has a bull session with the former corporate communications director of Cigna Health Care, Wendell Potter», who describes his come-to-Jesus moment in Wise County, Virginia, where he was faced with the truth about his industry and what it has to American health care. A full video of the session, plus word-for-word transcript, is available and should be watched by every American, especially Barack Obama.

i• In Washington state, «brother and sister recant» 20-year-old claims of sexual abuse that sent their father to prison; brother tells judge “he made the allegation after months of insistent questioning by now-retired Clark County sheriff’s detective Sharon Krause just so she would leave him alone.” Krause allegedly gave the sister ice cream; that cone put daddy in prison for 20 years and slapped a sex offender label on him that is proving hard to scrape off.

• In Anchorage, the Crazy Train continues puffing up the tracks as soon-to-be-former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin «announces she will campaign for anyone who will have her» (including conservative Democrats) and that even her own son is not a Republican (he’s “unaffiliated” like his daddy, meaning, one assumes, a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, which, among other things, “advocates an in-state referendum which includes the option of Alaska becoming an independent nation,” according to its website).

• In Washington, D.C., it was revealed that «Dick Cheney ordered the concealment from Congress of a CIA counterterrorism program» and that Attorney General Eric Holder is contemplating opening a criminal probe of possible CIA torture. President Obama is sticking to his “let’s move forward stance” and appears worried that healthcare reform will be “derailed by partisan bickering over torture.”

• In Los Angeles, «LaToya Jackson believes she knows» who the real killers are.

• Yale University Press produces a book called Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, which reveals that «Ernest Hemingway was “for a while on the KGB’s list of its agents in America”». The book is co-written by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, and is “based on notes that Vassiliev, a former KGB officer, made when he was given access in the 90s to Stalin-era intelligence archives in Moscow.” The book apparently has no definitive answer to the main question posed in the article: “Was he only ever a pseudo-spook, possibly seeing his clandestine dealings as potential literary material, or a genuine but hopelessly ineffective one?”

Another fabulous summer week in America!


Doggoneit, an Anniversary

I’m reading, and enjoying, a new book:«Dog On It». I usually confine my mystery reading to James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux books, but I made an exception for this one, because the twist is that it’s told from the private eye’s dog’s perspective. Chet is a police dog helping his buddy find a missing girl. It appears to be the start of a series.

I know that bad things happen to the hero in detective stories; he gets mussed up and beaten up and cut up and all, but then he solves the case, gets the girl, and everything’s cool. But when the hero is the dog, it’s a little tough to read about him getting … well, mussed up and beaten up and cut up and all. We’re kinda weird, we humans; we don’t really wince when this stuff happens to other human characters, but if they’re animals and we get all soft and squeamish and junk.

In the first half of this book alone, Chet the hero gets dog-napped, sliced with a knife, attacked by a cougar, caged up by evil Russian mobsters, choke-chained, shot at, lost in a mine and stuck all over with cactus needles. And he comes through all of it just dandy. Sorry if that’s a spoiler for those of you intending to read the book.

But. There’s a part where he escapes the dognappers and ends up in a three-day kill shelter and is strapped onto the gurney to be put down. (Again, sorry if that’s a spoiler, but it should also be obvious that Chet will survive … there wouldn’t be any more story if he was killed off, right?) He’s rescued literally at the last second (okay, I’ll leave that part a surprise).

Woooosh. That’s a relief. But the point I’m getting to, and I do have one, is that I read this part of the book tonight, almost exactly two years to the moment after we lost our beloved Bayley Murphey Beagle, who was put down after being poisoned by tainted Chinese pet food.

Frank and I both had shed some tears this evening over this sad anniversary. So reading the scene in the Chet book was quite jarring. And the most disturbing part is probably that Chet (fictional though he is) gets to get up and walk away and be reunited with his guy. Bayley did not. And that stinks.

Now, Bayley was very, very sick. Suffering a bit and in need of the relief, kidney functions gone. He was 12-and-a-half, getting way up there for a beagle. So, it had to be. But I still beat myself up about it even two years later. What if I hadn’t switched his food to the Petsmart house brand when we moved to California? What if I had recognized he was sick sooner than I did? What if I had given him a few more days to see if things turned around?

All pointless, but these are the thoughts you have.

I realize I’m kind of a silly ol’ fool here. Still whining about a dog who has been dead for two years. But Bayley was special, and a special part of our lives. I really don’t want to be the kind of person who is unaffected and unmoved by anything, even a dog and his impact on your life.

I still miss Bayley. I always will. I love him and am grateful for all the great love and laughter and joy and warmth that he gave us. Everyone should have companions like Bayley, human, dog, or otherwise. We were blessed.

Rest in peace, sweetheart.

P.S. On a happier note, Chet the Dog has his own «blog». Check it out!

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