Calling Cassandra

Many years ago I wrote short attempt at humor tale that eventually ended up on an old blog:  Cassandra Grousing  It was based on a Robert Heinlein quote that Cassandra didn’t get half the kicking around she deserved for the unpardonable sin of being right.

Recently a new book:  Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes put forth the idea that we really need to pay attention to those possibly going against general thought but need to be heard.  The authors, Richard Clarke & R. P. Eddy give solid examples of previous events when the ignored Cassandras were right in everything from military to technology, economy and environment.

So play Cassandra.  Put forth a warning that is being ignored at the highest level that you would like given an impending disaster the attention it deserves.


60 thoughts on “Calling Cassandra”

  1. “Put forth a warning that is being ignored at the highest level that you would like given an impending disaster the attention it deserves.”

    Jamie, how’s this one:

    do NOT destroy real life (not virtual) printed manuals and other how-to books basic to all things necessary to live   that do not need batteries, wires, screens to read and can be carried in hand wherever that hand winds up.  this includes silly things from campfire recipes to how to tell which mushroom and berry you can eat without killing yourself.  all during Irma, I kept grousing and worrying about florida legal community’s e-filing and e-record keeping (bw, think what mischief those solar flares are going to do today).

    pat-ssandra predicts in scary voice:  there’ll come a day when the national grid breaks down, when fuel and batteries run out, when municipal water systems don’t work, when people turn to one another asking “do you know how to….?”  mark my words!  please, in pencil on paper or chisel it in stone.

  2. There is still a problem with the gas supply here.  Still none this morning.

    My great-grandma said there would be lights as far as the can see & there will be so many bad folks that the good will lock themselves inside.  At that point, the end is at hand.

    I think something so big, so unimaginable will happen, that everything will destroyed…and then, those that remain will rebuild & hopefully, they will remember the lessons.

  3. “those that remain will rebuild & hopefully, they will remember the lessons”

    bid, hard slog for them if they don’t have a handy set of hand tools, a boy scout manual, maybe fox fire or old farm  books and other helpful info to look at…   and maybe the golden rule emblazed alongside their lizard memory.

  4. Patd

    Great one.  Do it not only individually since there are all sorts of books on survival with the basic skills easily available for personal libraries, but do it in multiple places.  Consider what may have been lost or took centuries to recreate with the burning of the Library at Alexandria.  When the world was hit with the fall of the Roman empire, the little ice age, and plagues to sink into the “dark ages”, it was the monastic orders preserving wisdom in silence who opened the doors to The Renaissance.


  5. Clarke’s book had at top of list warnings about artificial intelligence, bio-hacking, mutating viruses to name a few.  perhaps a healthy dose of distrust of your helpful robot is in order and knowing the abcs of disengaging/turning  them off.   as for biohacks and viral mutants, I quake at the tho’t.

  6. dexter! welcome back.  good to hear from tony, ladyfaire, solar and other long lost trail friends during these stressful times.  now if ping pong, purple, mqw, Kathleen et alia will check in so we know they’re safe.  here’s to the tm family…

  7. All of this brings up one of my favorite Heinlein quotes:

    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

    -Robert A. Heinlein

  8. Prepare yourselves for survival now; things can change on a moment’s notice. Learn how to defend yourself and what little is yours==your immediate family, the food in your sacks or hut, hovel or exurban house. Be prepared to kill unwanted strangers. Read Leon Uris book Exodus. It’s a real primer on survival.

  9. I think I will have a cup of disaster coffee and ponder the correctness of Cassandras.

    We are in a hybrid time of an existential time in our lives.  The old analog way-of-thinking and living is passing while planet earth reacts to our ever growing numbers.   Younger humans think digitally and receive their information and process it so differently than us old timers.  Many baby boomers have the advantage of living in both an analog and digital world, but things are changing.  Millennials now out-number any generation and hip-hop has replaced rock and roll as the top music.    Humans are in for a rough time, it appears.  For many obvious reasons.  But, we will never get out of the funk while trump is in the WH feeding millionaires and billionaires while starving the common citizens and not providing safety, science and service to the needy.  No food, no health insurance, so many clinging to Maslov’s pyramid while the flooding continues.  Make America Fake, Again.

  10. There looms an impending disaster in Washington, and Chuck and Nancy better recognize it.  SFB will be re-elected in 2020 if the dems and he work together to get things accomplished.  Regardless of how important and compatible with democratic ideals the accomplishments might seem at the moment, the end result will be far worse than foregoing momentary gain would be.  The first sign of that occurred last week and I believe it is a harbinger of a dreadful 7 1/2 years of the equivalent of a political plague (black or red – you make the call). Nancy, Chuck, the next time SFB calls you and the pugnican leadership to the WH for a chat, JUST SAY NO.

  11. BW

    The Left Hand of Darkness was a favorite when it came out.  It had so much to say about political and gender roles.  Way ahead of its time.

  12. I’ll leave the Cassandra stuff to those who are attracted by such stuff…  I gave it up for Lent 🙂

    Pogo…  I hear you and understand your concern.  BOTOH, we here at this blog have pounded on the repubs for being obstructionist for years.  We’ve pointed out how “Obamacare” is really “Romneycare” hashed over… yet the repubs want to kill it so as not to give the dems a “win”.  We’ve extolled how being so fiercely partisan makes them unable to govern…  even if it serves their constituents interests.  I’m not sure I want to see the Democrats go the same way.  I have faith that both Nancy and Chuck know to be very, very leery of SFB.

  13. My Cassandra: A world without ice.

    Day 4 without power. So many things you take for granted when the grid is up. Spent half a day yesterday trying to find ice, as our refrigeration is just about gone. Found it on 5th stop, a 7-Eleven several miles away. When power returns and I simply shove a glass into the ice dispenser I’ll be more appreciative of its glory.

  14. pogo, renee is right… no time for another party of “no”…need critterville to remember how to compromise, how to get things done and even tho’ half-assed at least half an ass is better than none.

    and like quotes in this excerpt from  new Yorker  article on ken burns:

    In the first episode of “The Civil War,” Foote, using words that some viewers found hard to take, described the Civil War as the result of a kind of misunderstanding. “We failed to do the thing we really have a genius for, which is compromise,” he said. “Americans like to think of themselves as uncompromising. Our true genius is for compromise. Our whole government’s founded on it. And it failed.”


    After speaking admiringly of Andrew Jackson, Trump said, “People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?” Trump’s remarks were widely criticized as fatuous. Alexandra Petri’s comic response, in the Washington Post, was in the form of a letter from Sullivan Ballou: “Ah! But yet my heart fondly wishes that Andrew Jackson could have done a deal.”
    Burns and I were speaking before white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, and before Trump expressed his chagrin about “the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments” commemorating Confederate figures. Burns, who has sharply criticized Trump in public, calling him “an infantile, bullying man,” said that he actually agreed with the President on the question of compromise and the Civil War. “I think he got excoriated for the wrong reason,” he told me. “Yes, this is our genius, and we didn’t do it.” The Senate had just voted on repeal of the Affordable Care Act. When Senator McCain cast the decisive vote against repeal, Burns e-mailed three words—“Profile in courage”—to his friend Mark Salter, who is McCain’s long-time adviser and former speechwriter. Given current political conditions—and the history of Republican implacability about Obamacare—it was curious to hear Burns say, the next day, that in American politics “the problem now is lack of compromise.”


  15. Renee & PatD, I know, I know.  But Jesus H Christ, 8 years of SFB scares shit out of me.  I really do want to see stuff done (so long as it’s OUR stuff), but I don’t want to see Dems get played by SFB.

  16. but I don’t want to see Dems get played by SFB.

    Pogo… neither do I.

    Craig… that’s funny about the ice.  We here in the wild and wooly north hate the word “ice”.  We remember that ice storm of Dec.  2008 that left thousands of us without power for up to 12 days.  We weren’t worried about cooling… we were worried about getting heat.  Rick and I have a back up wood stove, so we were fine.  Plus… with electric pumps for our wells, we no longer take flushing a toilet for granted.

  17. Jamie, if you can’t find anything more appropriate for tomorrow, there’s a thread post submitted via dashboard and  awaiting you in the draft list titled “A Drafty September 14”.  It’s a half-assed attempt and mostly wiki written, but as I said earlier half of an ass is better than no ass at all.

  18. am afraid ole crafty myrtle, doing a brer rabbit “don’t throw me into the briar patch” routine,  will use this as a repeal/replace vehicle and cause havoc
    Sanders will introduce universal health care, backed by 15 Democrats

    Sanders’s bill, the Medicare for All Act of 2017, has no chance of passage in a Republican-run Congress. But after months of behind-the-scenes meetings and a public pressure campaign, the bill is already backed by most of the senators seen as likely 2020 Democratic candidates — if not by most senators facing tough reelection battles in 2018.

    The bill would revolutionize America’s health-care system, replacing it with a public system that would be paid for by higher taxes. Everything from emergency surgery to prescription drugs, from mental health to eye care, would be covered, with no co-payments. Americans younger than 18 would immediately obtain “universal Medicare cards,” while Americans not currently eligible for Medicare would be phased into the program over four years. Employer-provided health care would be replaced, with the employers paying higher taxes but no longer on the hook for insurance.

    Private insurers would remain, with fewer customers, to pay for elective treatments such as cosmetic surgery — a system similar to that in Australia, which President Trump has praised for having a “much better” insurance regimen than the United States.

    But the market-based changes of the Affordable Care Act would be replaced as Medicare becomes the country’s universal insurer. Doctors would be reimbursed by the government; providers would sign a yearly participation agreement with Medicare to remain with the system.


  19. Universal Health Care comes in several forms used by Countries that provide it to their citizens.  The US could opt for modifications to the Medicare for All model as a way to transition from Employer based to government based program

    Basic Models of Healthcare




  20. As if we needed more adventures, Dad feeling congestive with chest pain, so we’re in emergency room getting tests and xrays now. Almost turned away when we saw this outside the entrance.

  21. upside down photo above a mistake but decided it’s better that way. And that menacing look kinda scary when entering a hospital.

  22. Patd

    I looked on the dashboard and don’t see it listed.  Also did a title search and it came up nothing found.  Not sure where it went.


  23. Craig, positive thoughts headed your way. About the picture–incredible chutzpah in having that mounted. If pictures are to be displayed, they should be of the hospital chain of command, their names, titles, and how to contact them. The VA inspector general and leadership should be included. Only then should a (same size) photo of the president be displayed with the same contact information.

  24. Gosh, I hope your Dad will be OK.

    May you have nothing worse than lack of ice to deal with now.

    *Maybe the pic was upside down because the WH is in distress.


  25. Laughed at Chuck & Nancy.  They were trying to drag an answer out of someone on NPR:  Chuck Schumer & Nancy… ? Answer:   His wife.  Ha!

    Craig, Can you guy get gas down there?  How about sending some over to TX.  We’re still out!

  26. I dunno, mcconnell might be wrong yet again. A powerful 2018 campaign with the theme : ripofflicans (your local ripper) tried to take people’s health coverage away. They – (s)he also prevented YOU from getting even better coverage.

  27. In support of Bernie’s Initiative:

    Subject: Medicare for All!


    Health care should be a basic right for everyone in the United States. It’s a national shame that so many Americans have to choose between lifesaving health care and going into debt or bankruptcy. Now that we’ve defended the Affordable Care Act from repeal, we need to improve on its limitations and make sure that no American is uninsured.

    That’s why I signed a petition to The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate, which says:

    “The American people are ready for Medicare for All, and it is time for Congress to act. We must ensure that everyone has access to quality, affordable health care—and not at the mercy of private insurance companies that profit by denying care.

    Will you sign this petition? Click here:

  28. ugh, their first diagnosis is that he’s got shingles. We’ve been putting cream on an itchy spot on his back, had no idea that’s what was going on.

  29. back to that menacing expression, especially for a hospital. Worthy of a caption contest.

    “Scram, you whiny malingerers”

  30. Sorry to hear your Dad is feeling stressed but if it brought him to a doctor to catch shingles early that is a good thing.

  31. shingles? ugh indeed.  had he not gotten the shingles shot?  I understand that even with  the shot it sometimes only lessens the symptoms in some folks but doesn’t prevent it wholesale.   in any case, sympathy  to your dad. I hope early treatment does its job.

  32. Jamie, I don’t see it either.  curious.  it was there big as life in the all posts list as well as the list of drafts.   oh well, i’ll try to reconstruct it and post again.

  33. also bronchitis. We’re getting our meds and heading for the hills before they come up with something else.

  34. Jamie, I posted it again as a draft (A Drafty September 14) and also sent a copy to your webthings … hope one of them gets thru.

    it’s neither that profound nor entertaining so not to worry if it gets lost again.

  35. “Only those who voted for me can see the nurse.  Those who contributed to my campaign can see the doctor.  All others are on your own….  and we won’t pay burial expenses.”

  36. U.S. bans use of Kaspersky software in federal agencies amid concerns of Russian espionage

    The U.S. government on Wednesday banned the use of a Russian brand of security software by federal agencies and gave them three months to remove the software amid concerns the company has ties to state-sponsored cyberespionage activities, according to U.S. officials.

    Acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke ordered that Kaspersky Lab software be barred from federal civilian government networks, giving agencies a timeline to get rid of it, according to several officials familiar with the plan who were not authorized to speak publicly about it. Duke ordered the scrub on the grounds that the company has connections to the Russian government and its software poses a security risk.

    “The Department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks,” the department said in a statement. “The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security.”


  37. Thanks Pat

    I got it, added a picture of Roosevelt signing the act and scheduled for tomorrow AM.


  38. Every time I see that picture I think of Trump saying he liked it because “It makes me look like Churchill”

    That idea should put you off your feed for a couple of days.

  39. From the above article

    In one of his last speeches as a senator, Domenici acknowledged in 2007 during a debate over a failed immigration bill that his mother had entered the country illegally from Italy and was briefly detained by federal agents during World War II when he was a child. She eventually became a U.S. citizen.

  40. Got home and the power is back on! So now we only have to deal with exploded trees, a nasty pool, bronchitis and shingles. One step at a time.

  41. Craig…  sorry to hear about you dad not feeling good.  Maybe BlondeW is right…  you should get him out of that stressful situation.  Sounds like he can’t live alone at the moment.  I wish you, Dad, and Toby well.

  42. craig, your dad might start uncharacteristically complaining due to the shingles.  condition affects the nerves, kinda unique problems that haven’t been felt before and are unexplainable to the sufferer and the caregiver. some people have phantom pains even afterward.   be extra patient with the patient.   your storm circumstances are stressful and that condition thrives on stress.  glad the power is on.  that will help calm things a bit.

  43. Hi, Dad !

    Bronchitis can also stress. Take you meds and vitamins, and don’t play the tough guy.

    I’m surprised that you only experienced itching. My shingles was/were(?) excruciating whenever anything rubbed across it – like a gentle breeze, f’rinstance – YOWWW !

    Get well soon, Dad.


  44. Thanks all for kind thoughts. And to Jamie, Pat et al for keeping the trail fires burning. It has been an “interesting” week as the Chinese curse goes. Believe it or not it has been sort of fun. Reminded us of our camping, fishing and hunting days in the Ocala National Forest.

  45. Craig

    Irma was a very big lemon.  Glad you found a way to make lemonade (if not coffee).  Hope Dad feels better soon.   Anyone who had chicken pox as a child (majority of us elder types) really needs the shingles injection.

    Things today’s kids will wonder what what chicken pox was.  Reminds of an old Matt Dennis lyric


  46. Shingles are the worst.  I hope they gave him an Acyclovir shot or something.  Nerve pain is the worst.

    Hope things are much less “interesting” going forward.

  47. Having power back on goes a long way to making everything else better

    as Winston Churchill said….”When you are going through hell — keep going!”

  48. So sorry to hear about the elder Mr Crawford’s misfortune. I had ocular shingles that travelled down into my mouth. Sympathetic to anyone with that awful affliction.

    How’s Toby taking to the new landscape outside your door?

  49. Craig: Sorry to hear your dad has another stressful situation to endure. I had a bout about 15 yrs ago and was told that I’m susceptible since I had Chicken Pox as a child. After reading a couple of comments I actually don’t know if they gave me a shingles shot…guess I’d better check. Hope your dad feels better soon.
    That trump pic is frightening and has no place outside a hospital! “Uninsured and undocumented may not enter!”

  50. Then again, it may not be shingles. His original complaint sounds more like the second diagnosis. In any case, the improved climate inside the house should help him feel markedly in better spirits. I bet that goes for all three of you.

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