Letter From New York 06 07 15

The sun is beginning to set in Baltimore; golden light is pouring into the apartment of my friends, where I am curled on the couch writing.

We are all just back from seeing “Spy” with Melissa McCarthy. Very funny, lots of action, and it makes me appreciate her talents even more.

It’s been a pleasant weekend, with a surfeit of food and I feel I must go on a week long fast to compensate.

As we were walking back from the movie, I realized that yesterday was June 6th, the 71st anniversary of D-Day. Somehow it didn’t register yesterday, despite seeing stories about the day. There was a wonderful picture of women pouring off boats on the Normandy beaches, nurses to care for the wounded. Also, there was an interesting story about Hitler’s reaction, which was one of glee, as he felt sure that his German troops would push back the Allies. It was, of course, the beginning of his end.

It is left to be seen if today’s vote in Turkey marks the beginning of the end for Erdogan, its President. He wanted to set in motion the transformation of Turkey from a Parliamentarian system to a Presidential system. His party, the AKP, did not get the mandate he was hoping for; in fact, it did not achieve a majority, which leaves the country in some uncharted territory. The Kurds have been ascendant and now have received enough votes to sit in Parliament. A coalition government might be hard to form. Stay tuned.

The G7, meeting in southern Germany, made an agenda item of the Greek crisis. Canada and the US urged European leaders to find a solution. The crisis hangs over the world’s economy and if a solution is not found will certainly rile markets. The Greeks have exasperated their lenders with rhetoric and brinkmanship and an unsatisfactory set of proposals. The EU has been intractable in its demands – at least it appears to the Greeks that way.

On this beautiful Baltimore day, the world keeps spinning, though being a weekend it seems a bit less frenetic.

The Italians are saying they won’t accept more refugees and the Royal Navy rescued another 1000 attempting to cross the Med. I am sure there is fighting in Ukraine but it didn’t make the headlines. The Iraqis are advancing and pushing back at IS after the fall of Ramadi.

Raif Badawi is a Saudi blogger who was convicted of defaming Islam and was sentenced to ten years in prison and a thousand lashes. The Saudi Supreme Court upheld the sentence and it is questionable he will survive the thousand lashes to serve the ten years. The world is outraged; the Saudis don’t care. King Salman can overturn the Supreme Court because, of course, he’s King. But will he?

People are beginning to parse the silence of Denny Hastert, former Speaker of the House. Indicted for lying to the FBI about his withdrawal of money from banks, it has been revealed that the money was hush money to someone named as “Individual A,” supposedly sexually abused by Hastert when he was a high school wrestling coach. A woman has since come forward saying the her now dead brother was abused for years by Hastert for years and that he didn’t come forward because he felt no one would believe him. He died of AIDS in 1995; Hastert attended the funeral.

Two men convicted of murder escaped from a maximum security prison in New York by digging out of their adjacent cells and crawling to freedom through the sewer system. There is now a $100,000 reward for their capture. They could be anywhere.

Uber, the car service has pulled out of East Hampton, causing a furor by its devotees. Local rules make it almost impossible for the independent owner operators to work there. Celebrities and other users are slamming the town with messages and emails complaining about it. They feel they have lost their designated driver.

That’s a very first world problem.

Have a good night!

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