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November 16, 2016

                        warning that Lusitania was targeted for attack
DEAD WAKE--a little light reading to take my mind off the great disruption, lent by Matt.

The Lusitania was the British ocean liner that precipitated America's entry into WWI when sunk by a German U-boat. One hundred twenty-three US citizens were among the 1,198 killed.

If I can get even one new idea or image out of a book I consider it time well spent. This one delivered what I feel is an all too apt metaphor for this political moment. Picture the scene...

It's a beautiful day just off the coast of Ireland, sun shining and the sea like glass, a rare circumstance in those parts. The fastest and most luxurious passenger ship of its day is just hours from its destination after a week at sea. Suddenly, a torpedo is seen cutting a telltale wake through the clear green water.

Dozens saw it coming for 30 helpless seconds as it closed the distance. A lucky shot, it blew a tremendous hole in the hull and triggered a larger, second explosion within. She was traveling at 18 knots when struck. In such a crisis, the first step is to reverse engines to stop the ship so lifeboats can be lowered, but the controls were disabled so it kept chugging forward, forcing water in even faster. The Lusitania was burning, exploding, driving herself under, yet passengers on deck cheered when the captain, wishing to forestall panic, assured them she would not sink.

Some took off their life jackets and waited.

The survivors were more proactive.