A Date To Remember

By Jamie, Trail Mix Contributor

Challenger Disaster

30 years ago today I was standing in the media room at the US Chamber of Commerce.  We were there to watch the Challenger blast off as Christa McCauliffe had been booked to speak as one of her first engagements following her “Teacher In Space” flight.  We all gasped horrified and silent, some crying through the constant replays of the explosion

Within just a few minutes I heard the way that Americans tend to handle such tragedies as the man who had booked her appearance uttered, “She could have just said no.”  From that point on the jokes descended into the black humor hole that seems to result following such events.  For some reason, as a culture we do this following a major blow just to get to “Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, and Start All Over Again.”  It doesn’t mean we care less; only that we won’t be stopped by the dangers that exist in all human activities.  Unfortunately, it also seems to be a quality we are losing.

Modern media for the sake of ratings and politicians for the sake of votes have climbed on the “be afraid, be very afraid” bandwagon.  Whether it is Ebola, Illegal aliens or marauding Muslims they seem to bounce from scare to scare in a permanent state of hysteria that then gets echoed all over every communication platform. Constant fear has the capacity to destroy freedom and when faith in freedom of action disappears, so does democracy.

When it comes to the ghoulies, ghosties, long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, I for one plan to whistle in the dark, tell another really bad joke, and just say no.

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Author: Jamie

Retired writer/editor

53 thoughts on “A Date To Remember”

  1. wow, from wapo editorial board

    SEN. BERNIE Sanders (I-Vt.) is leading in New Hampshire and within striking distance in Iowa, in large part because he is playing the role of uncorrupted anti-establishment crusader. But Mr. Sanders is not a brave truth-teller. He is a politician selling his own brand of fiction to a slice of the country that eagerly wants to buy it.


    Mr. Sanders is a lot like many other politicians. Strong ideological preferences guide his thinking, except when politics does, as it has on gun control. When reality is ideologically or politically inconvenient, he and his campaign talk around it. Mr. Sanders’s success so far does not show that the country is ready for a political revolution. It merely proves that many progressives like being told everything they want to hear.

  2. now they’ve made me mad.  not nice.

    “The Islamic State’s ability to inspire individuals all around the world to commit acts of terror has been one of the most worrying aspects of the militant group’s rise. However, there have been repeated reminders that the “lone wolfs” it inspires may not be so capable of organizing elaborate terror plots – even if they still have the potential to cause harm.

    That point has been hammered home by the case of Sevdet Besim, a 19-year-old man on trial in Australia for allegedly planning to commit a terror attack in Melbourne last year. Besim has been accused of attempting an unusual method for a terror attack: packing a kangaroo full of explosives and setting it loose on Australian police officers.”


    what next? violent takeovers of bird sanctuaries and wildlife refuges?

  3. more debates on the horizon according to wsj:

    Mr. Sanders agreed to participate in the New Hampshire debate, but only if Mrs. Clinton’s campaign agreed to a proposal for three additional forums. Both campaigns said they wanted the debate to have the DNC’s blessing as well — which the party has not yet provided.

    “We are glad that Senator Sanders has changed his mind about a debate next week in New Hampshire. We have always been willing to add additional debates beyond the six that had been scheduled and look forward to starting discussions on scheduling debates in April and May,” said Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon.

    The Challenger disaster is one of those events, like the JFK assassination and September 11, 2001, when you remember where your where and what you were doing when you heard the horrific news.

    On January 27 Hillary Clinton appear at a fund-raiser to get some of that Philadelphia money she loves.  The event was hosted by executives at Franklin Square Capital Partners, a $17 billion investment fund.
    Reminding voters of her ties to the financial sector on the eve of the Iowa caucus seems like a political death wish.

  6. Great subject, Jamie.

    My and my fellow NHerites’ televisions are being bombarded daily with political ads from presidential candidates.  Most of them are Republican.  And they are asking us to be afraid…  every one of them except for Kasich.  It’s nauseating.

    I do see Hillary ads and a few of Bernie’s with Garfunkel’s “America”.  It’s a nice ad…  I really like it. But for every Democratic ad I see…  there’s 6 or so Republican ones. If Bernie does get the nomination…  if anyone here thinks he’s going to compete with the Republican’s nominee barraging of television ads with small money donations from regular folks…   I’d love to have some of whatever you’re smoking.

  7. So whatshisname is skipping the debate….   good…  cuz I intended to do the same thing whether he was there or not.  I’ve had enough of the hate and the fear mongering.  At first it was entertaining … now for me it’s just stoooooopid.  I will find some cooking show to watch instead.

  8. The Challenger disaster is one of those things in the world which has deep personal meaning for a few people, personal for a larger number, associated meaning (like patriotic) for a huge number, and nothing to a big number of people.  For me the disaster is a personal one.  One I cannot explain much about.

    The day it happened I was in a meeting in what is called a vault.  It is a special room or building which is constructed to prevent entry of people not on the invited list and most especially any escape of noise or electronic signals to prevent anyone from seeing inside or listening to the meeting inside.  I worked in a deep black program.  You will have to search for that.

    My life was changed when she broke up.  I still have a pain when I think of the good ship breaking and plunging into the Atlantic.  In the meeting we did not know what happened.  It was only during a break and opened the door were we informed of what happened.  Stunned is the best description of the immediate feeling.  Very sad was next.  And, almost a feeling of nausea.

    Pissed off was how I felt when the analysis of the failures was presented.  As an engineer I could not accept that report.  But, I had to.  It pointed out many failures, which to me meant many points that someone initialed a checklist instead of saying “No” or “stop”.

    Looking back at the path of Space Transport System (STS) from beginning until untimely termination for the austerity program, I saw the potential for a new world turn into a political offering to a group of people who never would accept a new world.


  9. Patd

    No nutcase had better mess with my kangaroos.  Our Australian member Bill Woerlee sends me new ones from his hike in the Canberra hills every morning. Click to enlarge. It really is a great photo of the mob.



  10. Patd

    Bernie or at least his spokesperson has been unusually whiny even for him about the debates.  Instead of just going along with the agreement of O’Malley & Clinton about doing one more immediately and then discussing dates for later ones, it’s been “we are not going to let Mrs. Clinton dictate debate schedules” blah blah blah.

    If Bernie ends up the nominee, I will vote for him just because of SCOTUS but right at the moment he is living up to his reputation for being angry and difficult.

  11. Jamie…

    he seems upset at the Democratic party.  Well….  before he decided to run for president he didn’t bother with the party…  he’s been an independent for a long time.  Now he wants to lecture them on debate schedules….    too funny!


    Been reading that he never goes out with his colleagues…   to be an effective president one has to form relationships and allies.  I know it’s been a criticism of Obama and he’s taken steps to correct this…   will Bernie?

  12. Angry & difficult is the best foil for whatever the GOP decides to run.

    And, I’m not smoking anything.  Bernie has a clear idea of what to do and how to get there.  Obstacles are just things to overcome.

    As for the media, I read somewhere that they were nothing more than “scare merchants.”

    Last week, the Zika virus was a 30-second blurb. Now it’s a top story, especially on Merck-driven NBC.  They are probably scaring up customers for a new vaccine.  West Nile is a lot worse, unless someone is pregnant.

    The stories they should cover get little attention.  No money in them, or, they are protecting their corporate overlords.

    I wonder if they will focus on Trump, in his absence, or if the remaining GOoPers will turn on each other?  Trump was probably smart to give them a chance to rough each other up; makes his job easier.

    Poor kangaroo.  How freaking evil do you have to be to think of something like that?

    I saw a butterfly today.  The buds on the trees are getting full.

  13. Hillary Clinton and the audacity of political realism by Ezra Klein

    “In mid-2014, Noam Scheiber tracked down 10 former Iowa precinct captains for Barack Obama and asked whom they were supporting in 2016. The answer? Overwhelmingly, they were backing Hillary Clinton — the very candidate they had worked so hard to beat in 2008. Seven of the 10 ex-Obama organizers told him they’d become “enthusiastic” Clinton supporters, and an eighth said she was “slowly coming around.”

    The reassessment of Hillary Clinton was driven in part by the disillusionments of the Obama years. “Watching the system not change really made an impact on these people,” Scheiber told me. “I don’t think they want to get burned again.”

  14. Blue

    “And, I’m not smoking anything.  Bernie has a clear idea of what to do and how to get there.  Obstacles are just things to overcome.”

    I love it, you made me laugh! You go with your enthusiasm, its great…

  15. Calling All Teens Who Don’t Want to Grow Up in Trump’s America

     01/28/2016 09:23 am ET | Updated 9 hours ago

    Arianna Huffington     “Matthew is 13 years old, in the eighth grade. He won’t be able to vote this November. But we at The Huffington Post were so inspired and encouraged by his message — with its decidedly un-Trumpian wisdom, humility and hopefulness — that we’re launching a contest for teens to tell us: why don’t you want Donald Trump to be president? Because as we approach this election, it’s more important than ever to hear the voices of young people who will live with its consequences, even if they aren’t able to cast a vote.
    So if you’re 13 to 19 years old and, as Matthew put it, “don’t want to have to live down a reputation of America as racist and hostile throughout your late teens and early twenties,” here’s how it works:”


  16. Tony -Like they sing in South Pacific, “…if you don’t have a dream, how ya gonna have a dream come true”?

  17. And when it comes to right wing preaching be afraid be very afraid:  Another song from South Pacific

    You have to be taught before it’s too late

    Before you are six or seven or eight

    To hate all the people your relatives hate

    You have to be carefully taught

  18. I have a serious question about whom the two parties allow to run.  For instance, Donald Trump has never really been a republican.  He’s just Donald Trump.    I have the same question about Bernie Sanders.  I like Bernie. A lot.  But he’s not a democrat.  Never ran as a democrat.  Ran as an independent.. wore it like a badge of honor.  So why is he running to be president on a democratic ticket?

    Do the parties not have any say in who runs and who doesn’t?   We just finished an election.  The Liberals won, and their platform was out ages before the election ran.  If someone had a fetus fetish, they were invited to run for a different party (choice is the official party plank). Same with Super Christians.  They were invited to run for another party.

    I’m perplexed.

  19. I think the filing is different for each party. It only makes sense to try to work within one of the party systems.  If you run as an indie/greenie/whatever,  do you get invited to Dem or GOP debates?   If you are in the pack, too, you will likely get more media attention rather than only being a curiosity for awhile.

  20. Blue, yes a dream is important.. to strive for the greater good.. All the candidates running to be the democratic nominee have their own versions of a dream for this country.. Democrats are very lucky.. I just shut those Republican fools off. Rubio “When I’m President” and Christi Hillary Clinton, Hillary… Trump i did not miss…

  21. SJWNY

    Thanks, love your posts and positive thinking as well.. I laugh all day at work and talk myself out of any bad attitudes.. Enthusiastic, you bet :0)

  22. Jamie, good thing the cage free ‘roos are down under. ’cause if they were here, they’d  be prime game for the barbee, breeder mills or plastered with nascar ads.  we don’t do unto animals well.  think bison.  think grizzly. think us.

  23. surprisingly, the top winner in cillizza’s Winners and Losers from the 7th Republican presidential debate:

    Rand Paul: Maybe the Kentucky Senator just needed to take a debate off. After not making the main stage in the 6th debate (and refusing to appear in the undercard debate), Paul was a major player in this one. He showed off his trademark willingness to needle the other candidates — he went after Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz at various points — but also offered nuanced thoughts on racial profiling and abortion. This was the Paul who many political observers — myself included — thought we might see in this campaign: A candidate willing and able to speak to issues his party has struggled to address in recent years.  Too little, too late. But, at least he had a moment.


    his top loser was a whiner. interesting list and reasons for winners and losers.  a media activity more interesting than the debate itself it seems.

  24. sturge, tho’t about your days with the uscg when I saw this last night re the

    calamity crew

    Their boat, The Nora, isn’t so much an accident waiting to happen as it is an accident that keeps happening — over and over again…….

    So, how many times have they had to call for assistance during their voyage? “We called the Coast Guard 29 times,” said Weise.

    And that’s just since the boat left Norway last summer.

  25. tony, don’t miss that Colbert vid posted above. absolute genius. wouldn’t be surprised if the other gopers adopt it for their last minute ad campaigns.

  26.  This from Joan’s piece above, amazing read..

    “I don’t feel that way anymore. I’ve come to feel passion for Clinton herself, and for what I see as a movement that supports her, even though only Sanders is judged a “movement” candidate. I believe she’s evolved back to be the progressive Democrat she used to be, more progressive than her liberal husband. Some of my feelings remain defensive, but in a warmer sense: I really don’t want to see her abused again. I’m tired of seeing her confronted by entitled men weighing in on her personal honesty and likability, treating the most admired woman in the world like a woman who’s applying to be his secretary. I’m stunned anew by the misogyny behind the attacks on her, and her female supporters, including my daughter. I’m sick of the way so many Sanders supporters, most of them men, feel absolutely no compunction to see things through female Clinton supporters’ eyes, or to worry they might have to court us down the road, take special care not to alienate us lest we sit the race out in November, if our candidate loses.”

  27. and tony, thanks for linking that joan walsh piece.

    the passionate words re her daughter and other hillary supporters were very moving. also liked her observation:  “I hate this point in our election cycle, when pundits fill up the silence compulsively, anxious to get in as many misguided predictions as possible while no actual voters are available yet to prove us wrong.”

  28. Yes, Pat, that Walsh piece, amazing, a must read..

    I almost shared the same part as you.. What an observation.. Also, yes, that question from that young Bernie supporter still sticks with me, never heard a male candidate ever asked such a thing.. Oh and i never will because we all know a women candidate for President must be likable and honest, lol, i’m waiting for someone to ask Trump this, won’t hold my breath..

  29. Jamie…30 years ago on January 30, 1986 I eloped.  Fresh from the judge’s office in Denver, my now ex-husband and I flew to Florida to honeymoon.  We were in Ft. Pierce and it was an eerie time on the beach.  Locals told us they normally watched the launches from Cape Canaveral (some locals still called it Cape Kennedy) and saw the immediate trouble in the sky.   The beaches were loaded with people looking for shuttle parts.  It was terribly depressing.  I guess I missed the foreshadowing of my marriage and how long it would last.  We made it 2001.  It was a disaster at the end, too.


  30. I like Bernie Sanders and it is his America, too.   He is appealing to the wing of the party who is ABH (Anyone But Hillary) and that means mostly young men.  When I watched the last town hall and the young male whippersnapper asked Hillary about being dishonest?  Duh, my Pollyandrew!   Who is not dishonest in politics?   Who keeps secrets?   It was also dishonest for campaigners to break-in to DNC files and steal HRC’s database.  So what?  The dems needs to win, not fight.  This time around the liberal wing (ABH) wants a voice…just better make sure it is not like 19080 when the dems let Ted drive-off that bridge to liberal land.  Reagan smeared us and we suffered under repug policy for 12 years.  The dark ages of my life!

  31. Tylenol…

    That is an interesting question.  It’s one I’ve never thought of before.  Maybe Craig can answer the question of how one gets on a party ticket nationally.   There are many  more people running on both sides than we see in the debates.  I saw sample ballots in our post office yesterday.  I looked at the Democratic one and there’s about 20 names.

    And remember…  your country is run by the parliamentary system.  We’ve discussed the difference between that and our system many times here.

  32. Yes…  the enthusiasm from Bernie supporters is good to see.  My niece and her fiancé are now living in Rick’s father’s house.  They will inherit it once he passes.  In the meantime, they are taking care of grandpa.  She was born here in NH, but raised in a small town just south of Burlington Vermont.  She keeps trying to get me to vote for Sanders and I keep trying to get her to vote for Clinton.  So far, neither one of us has budged….    but we have a lot of fun trying to persuade each other.

  33. Craig knows Iowa…USA Today Iowan Caucus History.  We have Jimmy Carter to thank for Iowa reigning political mania, just when I was going to suggest building a wall around the entire state and get Mexico to pay for it!

    I am also surprised to write that I thought Megyn did a excellent job at last night’s debate.   She also dumped the hairstyle for a more conservative one.  In fact, I thought entire debate team moderators asked some very intelligent and historically accurate questions.  They did not get any real answers from the candidates, however.

    I just heard on Faux News (Stossel) say HRC could have ‘a stroke or get indicted by the general election .’  : O   I am sure they have a giant voodoo doll of her in Ailes’ office.

  34. I also thought Megyn Kelly did an excellent job as well.  Just to be a bit anti woman for a few, her eyelashes were a distraction.  If they had been any longer, she would have had a mustache.



  35. Maybe Craig can answer the question of how one gets on a party ticket nationally.

    I will give it a try.

    First is if you are in a party.  The party may have rules or elections.  Next, are you a member of a major party?  States have laws and regulations regulating the process based on your party and previous elections.  Each state has qualifying requirements, some minimal, some onerous.  Virginia as an example requires certain numbers of signatures from all over the state, which can be rough as Gingrich found out.  So members of parties like the Mazola Party find themselves limited to one or two states

  36. “…eyelashes were a distraction…” I agree totally. I surmised that she wore them on a dare–why else would she wear such monstrosities detracting from her competent professionalism? I’m surprised Chris Wallace didn’t don a Pinocchio nose.

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