Letter From New York, October 30, 2013

Or, as it seems to me…

Usually I write my letters from the bucolic setting of the cottage, on quiet Sunday evenings.  Tonight, however, I am sitting in the Odyssey offices and my fingers got itchy for the keyboard and my mind needed the stretching that comes from putting words to digital paper.

It will be Halloween tomorrow night and I will likely be in the city, surrounded by a borough’s worth of children [and adults] dressed for trick or treat.  I vaguely remember being a child and working Bryant Avenue for a bag full of treats – I didn’t have any tricks up my sleeve.  There is something joyfully innocent in all the ruckus that comes with kids and Halloween.  Huge amounts of sweets will be given out and dentists all over the land will gleefully rub their hands together at the thoughts of the cavities coming.  One woman in North Dakota plans to hand out “fat letters” to obese children.  Now that’s a bummer. 

It is definitely turning nippy here in New York.  We went from a string of impossibly beautiful days to a string of days when the weather could best be described as: eh.  Which mostly describes my mood: eh.

I just passed over the headlines a while ago.  Sebelius has gently self-flagellated in front of Congress, apologizing for the blunders that have brought a harsh spotlight on the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare.  She may be forced to resign though so far the President hasn’t demanded a head on a platter.  While she was apologizing the President was defending up in Boston while that state’s former Governor Mitt Romney went on record as blasting AHA once again.

The NSA [National Security Agency] is defending itself even as the revelations of what it’s been doing keep getting bigger.  Seems they are interested in everyone from Angela Merkel down to you and me. Sir Martin Sorrell, head of WPP, one of the biggest ad agencies groups in the world, has gone on record on NPR as saying that all of this has damaged “Brand America,” which it has.  Not irreparably, but damaged none the less, so Sorrell says.

Facebook, of the screwed up IPO, has rebounded and is now trading far above its original price point, making early investors finally happy.  Stocks, in general, are up, if down slightly today.  Happy we have avoided a shut down, the markets are ignoring that this is just a temporary fix and we have kicked the budget can down the road a bit – to past Christmas at least.

Vladimir Putin is, according to Forbes, the most powerful man in the world.  The President of the U.S. is number two.  Does this prove that it’s good to be the dictator?  I believe Angela Merkel of Germany is the fifth most powerful person in the world despite the fact she couldn’t keep the NSA from spying on her cell phone conversations.

We have had a lot of embarrassments lately, haven’t we?  I mean the very public, very bad, simply awful debut of the website of the AHA [Obamacare] and all this spying that the NSA has been doing, exposed by Snowden, who is holed up in Russia with the world’s most powerful man.

There’s good news.  Our deficit is DOWN to $680 billion!  Down to 680 billion.  We’re doing something right, I guess.

While the budget deficit is down, gun deaths went up again as six more people died in a North Carolina shooting today.  It appears to have been a custody dispute gone really wrong.  About 10,000 people have died from gunshot wounds since the Newtown massacre nearly a year ago.  It’s a drumbeat that just won’t stop.

And that’s sort of the way it is today, October 30th.  A bit like the constant line from the Laurel and Hardy movies:  now that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into! We move from mess to mess right now and it would be possible to get pretty discouraged from all of it.  But what else to do?

Vote!  It’s Election Day next Tuesday.  Time to make your voice heard! 

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