Letter From New York 02 07 15 Before the storm…

Soft jazz has been playing in the background almost all day. It is still chill out and we’re facing another winter storm, promising another foot of snow and brutal cold. Feeling a bit of cabin fever, I went out for a walk around my circle and then went and put in a few groceries in case the storm is even worse than they are predicting.

Grey and rather depressing, I found the music helped alleviate my mood, which was also brightened by a spontaneous text message from my godson, telling me he was thinking of me and that he loved me. It made the grey day bright and cheery inside me.

Sitting here with a fresh cup of tea, I have been reading the day’s news. My usual routine was broken this morning and I didn’t have a chance to read the NY Times as young Nick was coming to help me much earlier today than he normally arrives on Saturday. We piled in a stock of wood in case the electricity goes so I can heat the house with the Franklin stove, made our weekly trip down to the Transfer Station [aka “the dump”] and cleaned up all the marks we had left hauling in the wood.

While I slept last night, suicide bombers blew themselves up in Baghdad, taking at least 40 others with them and injuring dozens more. ISIS claimed responsibility for one of them, near a packed restaurant, while the others have not been claimed by any group. It is another case of Sunni against Shia.

Jordan has escalated its attacks on ISIS and is striking them both in Syria and in Iraq. One Jordanian official says they will continue until ISIS is destroyed. The UAE, which had suspended its bombings after the capture of the now dead Jordanian pilot, has now rejoined the fight and is basing a squadron of F-16’s in Jordan.

Meanwhile, in Mosul, one of its two stronghold cities, messages are being blared from the city’s mosques that any family with more than one son should give one up to become a jihadi. Apparently, an underground has formed in Mosul and is attacking ISIS. Interesting.

In Africa, the Boko Haram are also trying to carve out an Islamic State, and are being challenged by troops from the African Union. Nigeria has been mostly unsuccessful in combating them but its neighboring states are committing troops to the effort. They have had better luck.

Ukraine festers, despite the efforts of Merkel and Hollande. Europe is dividing over what to do next and it may well be that Europe is now “too civilized” to do too much. They are also heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies and there is still some winter left to this year and more winters to face. Some are calling for the US to make more natural gas available to Europe so that the EU will feel, perhaps, a little more able to stand up to Russia.

The UK newspaper, The Telegraph, had an article today that questioned whether Putin was strategic, cunning or just plain mad. It is a question worthy of asking. His actions seem to defy logic, which is another reason it is hard to deal with him.

Feeling he has become the news rather than just reporting on it, Brian Williams will not be appearing on The Nightly News for at least the next few days. The storm around him has been getting bigger, even since yesterday. There are unconfirmed rumors that Tom Brokaw is badgering for his dismissal amid other reports that Brokaw has known for years that the story Williams was telling was untrue but that he had done nothing. It is also being reported that some time ago, NBC News told Williams to quit telling the story. He didn’t and now he is in the cross hairs of news organizations all over the world. Ouch.

The days are growing longer. Even a couple of weeks ago, it would be almost dark by now, as I sit finishing my blog for the day. It causes a smile.

Now I’m off to prepare to go to a friend’s for dinner, a good night, hopefully, before the storm begins.

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