Letter From New York 04 19 15 At the end of a weather glorious weekend…

The weekend is winding down in Claverack and it’s been good. Dinner at the Red Dot with my friend Paul, his daughter, Karen, and her fiancé, Andrew on Friday, followed by yesterday’s lovely lunch with Jack Myers, which itself was followed by an evening of glorious violin and piano music. Yevgeny Kutik was on the violin; Dina Vainshtein on the piano. It was two hours of music by luminaries such as Prokofiev as well as lesser lights such as Cesar Franck. Everyone in the audience was appreciative of the music coaxed from their instruments.

In the afterglow of the concert I went for a cocktail at Ca’Mea where I ran into a couple of people I knew as well as a lady who had, too, just been to the concert. We both liked the Prokofiev the best.

Then I wandered home and curled up with a few more episodes of “The Unbeatable Kimmy Schmidt” on Netflix, binge watching until later than I should have.

Morning brought church with a good sermon by Mother Eileen and a quick bite to eat before getting paint samples for the living room. It’s looking stale and so it’s time for a change.

Walking around the circle, I listened to the news on my iPhone, off my Newsbeat app, and soaked in part of what has been a weather glorious weekend.

While it is perhaps antediluvian of me, I still have an AOL email account. I have had one since something like 1992. Can’t read any messages for the last two days. Every time I try to open an email, I get a technical error message. And their help desk is pretty thin unless you pay the monthly charges, which I quit doing years ago. So I’m a little frustrated.

Frustrated, too, is the gentleman who flew a gyrocopter onto the Capital lawn, resulting in a full security review. Doug Hughes wanted to raise awareness about the need for campaign finance reform. He brought with him 535 letters, one for each member of Congress. Instead of focusing on the message he was carrying, news media have been focusing on his security breach.   He is unhappy his campaign reform message has been lost in the din.

In another Mediterranean tragedy, another boat capsized north of Libya with perhaps as many as 950 on board, with hundreds said to have been locked in the hold and unable to escape. So far only 28 survivors and 24 bodies have been recovered. If the numbers hold, this will have been the worst single tragedy for refugees seeking a better life in Europe. 3,500 died last year attempting to make it from Africa to Italy or Malta.

Many of these refugees, including the ones on the capsized boat, are setting out from the Libyan coast. On that very coast, a new video has been released purportedly showing IS members beheading 16 Ethiopian Christians while footage later in the video captures IS shooting 12 more Ethiopian Christians in the back of the head out in the desert.

The ugliness of absolutism beats on.

It is also raising concerns about IS finding a good foothold in Libya, not all that far from the Italian coast.

Back in India, Rahul Gandhi, heir apparent to the Congress Party, has returned from a two month “sabbatical” and is locked with current Prime Minister Modi in a battle of words to proclaim how “pro-poor” each one is.

In Yemen, the Houthis mock suggestions they will surrender under the air barrage led by Saudi Arabia. In Iraq, the Kurds have pushed IS out of an oil refinery and have broadened the buffer zone around Kirkuk, an oil rich city. Iran is seemingly determined to make it as difficult as possible to get a deal done by June 30, a deal being made even more difficult by Putin selling missiles to Iran. With western sanctions, Russia needs the cash.

Needing to perhaps hit a restart button is the Director of the FBI, James Comey, who published a piece in the Washington Post that suggested that Poland and Hungary helped the Nazis during WWII, quietly complicit in what was going on. Poland was not amused. The US Ambassador was summoned this afternoon for an apology.

Unapologetically, the sun is beginning to set and the day is fading to grey. I have a few tasks to do around the house and then I am going to curl up with a good book or may be a few more episodes of “The Unbeatable Kimmy Schmidt.”

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