Letter From New York 03 12 15 Some charming and some not so charming things…

The sun has been out brilliantly all day and the temperature has been around fifty degrees. Though it has been a bright and cheery day, I have only enjoyed it by sitting at my dining room table while working on the speech I will be giving at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, on March 29th. Since this morning I have been attempting to find a through thread for my remarks. I am speaking at a conference that seems to be largely about robotics and applying engineering and technology to social problems. I suppose that out of all this I can find things to say and to hope the students will ask a lot of questions.

All in all, I’m looking forward to it. As usual, I started the day with coffee and The NY Times. It is a pleasant way to ease myself into the day.

I woke with regret that opensalon.com shut down abruptly this week. It was the other site I posted my blog on, other than WordPress and I consistently got more views there. Now it’s gone. Minutes after I posted my last blog there, I received an e-mail saying: good-bye, we’re done. Good-bye.

Nobody is saying good-bye to the open letter written by the 47 Republican Senators to the leaders of Iran. The normally conservative New York Daily News blasted them as “traitors.” The Ayatollah has slammed them back while continuing to support the Iranian team that is negotiating but he thinks, after the letter, that we are “deceitful and backbiting.” Somewhere between 165,000 and 225,000 people have signed petitions asking they be tried for treason. Germany has piled on, too, more than irked by the Letter of 47.

Nor is anyone saying good-bye to the Clinton email fiasco though it seems quieter out there today. Notable is that not many Democrats are piling on her for the ruckus she has caused and that may be because no one is really contesting her run for the Presidential nomination.

In Ferguson, MO two police officers were shot outside police headquarters, throwing kerosene on the fire that still burns there. Thankfully, while seriously hurt, their lives are not in danger. As resignations from city officials were beginning to tamper down the heat, this only makes it worse.

In Moscow, the rumor mills are spinning wildly as Putin has been visibly absent for the last week, skipping some important dates in his diary. He will not be making a speech this year to the FSB, successor the KGB, as he usually does. He has cancelled trips. All unusual for the macho man, Putin. The rumors run from him being ill to staying put to contain an internal Kremlin power struggle. Shades of the Soviet past.

Boko Haram seems to be in retreat in Nigeria. IS seems to be in retreat in Tikrit.

IS has accepted the allegiance of Boko Haram, they announced today in an audiotape, saying their “Caliphate” had now grown to include the territory held by Boko Haram.

In a new twist to the Nigerian situation, South African mercenaries are fighting alongside Nigerian soldiers. Apparently they have been around now for a while and have had a positive influence in turning the tide though the South African government has said they will be arrested on their return.

Not returned are the three British girls who crossed through Turkey to join IS. It is now being reported that a spy working for one of the coalition countries fighting IS, helped them across the border and is now in Turkish custody.

In much brighter news about something British, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, visited the set of Downton Abbey today, shooting its sixth season at Ealing Studios. She apparently charmed everyone.

Charming, too, is the day I’ve had and now I am prepping to go off to Coyote Flaco to have their fajitas, I think. Then home to sleep and off to the city tomorrow for a few meetings.

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