Letter From New York 05 09 15 A day after the anniversary of the end of WWII

It is Saturday morning and I am preparing to drive from Baltimore with Lionel and Pierre to Frenchtown, New Jersey, where James Green, our mutual friend, is having his annual Cinco de Mayo party, which happens to be his birthday. Then we are going to drive to Claverack where L&P will spend the night before returning to Baltimore.

Yesterday was many things. It was a slightly off day for me. I slammed my finger in a door, which didn’t feel so good. And, in a combination of a bit of bad luck and a bit of bad planning, I missed my train from Baltimore to DC by three minutes.

I determined that I could either beat myself up or I could go with the flow as much as possible and I chose the later after a long conversation on Thursday evening with Lance McPherson, a friend, about the value of not beating oneself up.

I had good meetings in DC and found my way back to Baltimore and then on to a lovely dinner at Ouzo Bay, a restaurant in Harbor East.

Yesterday, if you missed it, was the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Seventy years ago the Germans surrendered and the fighting ceased.

Russia did it up big, having the largest end of war anniversary celebration in history. Thousands of troops marched. Planes screamed through the skies overhead and new armor was displayed, demonstrating how much the Russians have built up their arsenal in the last few years.

Most European leaders attended festivities in their own countries and so avoided having to attend to Moscow’s celebration. There is that pesky matter of Ukraine. The biggest guest in Moscow was the Premier of China.

There were events at Gdansk, formerly Danzig, which is war the war actually started.

Yesterday, too, it became absolutely clear that David Cameron had won an unexpected win and a big win at that to return as Prime Minister of the UK with a majority in Parliament. He will not have to look to the Liberal Democrats for help, not that they could be much help as they were trounced and lost most of their seats, resulting in Nick Clegg, their leader, stepping down. Ed Miliband, who was leading the Labour Party, also resigned because of their defeat.

Pollsters had predicted a breathtakingly close race and it wasn’t. Their reputation is tarnished right now.

Not stepping down is Nicola Sturgeon, who leads the Scottish National Party, which won almost all the Scottish seats in Parliament.

UKIP, the far right British party, did not do very well either.

However, all of this leads Cameron into very stormy political weather. He has promised a referendum on Britain’s place in the European Union and Nicola Sturgeon is agitating for another vote on Scottish independence. It will be an interesting tightrope for Mr. Cameron.

Nepal is still shattered but foreign journalists and helpers are leaving. The death toll has climbed above 7,000. The UN called for $435 million dollars in aid for the country but so far only about $23 million has been forthcoming. Hundreds of bodies still lie beneath the ruins and aid is still slow in reaching the remotest parts of the country. In a few weeks the Monsoon season will arrive.

In discomforting news, North Korea claims it has successfully test fired a ballistic missile from a submarine thus increasing the range of their nuclear weapons. Another worry for the world.

Liberia, once one of the centers of the Ebola outbreak, has been declared Ebola free now that no new cases have been discovered for six weeks.

In poor Yemen, the Houthis are claiming that Saudis have launched over a hundred raids on the country in the last day. Supplies still float at sea and people are beginning to starve. There is some talk of a truce but no real movement.

At home in America, tornadoes have ravaged Oklahoma with more storms predicted. Golf ball sized hail fell in Norman, OK.

Republican Presidential hopefuls are gathering in South Carolina to line up support at a gathering there. But apparently Jeb Bush won’t be there nor will Chris Christie or Rand Paul.

I will not be in South Carolina. I am leaving now for Frenchtown and then home.

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