Letter From New York 06 15 15 From manhunts to the Magna Carta

When I woke this morning, rain was pelting down on the roof and the world was infused with dark grey. The creek, so clear yesterday, was now brown from the rain that had roared down during the night. It was the kind of day when one’s immediate reaction is to go back to bed, pull the covers over your head and work to get back to that interesting dream you’d been having when the alarm went off.

But I didn’t. Going out to the kitchen, I turned on the coffee pot and began to plan my day. Yesterday, there were several errands I needed to get done but didn’t so I determined to use the morning to accomplish them and then head back to the city in the afternoon.

Scheduled for the 1:30, I finally got out of Hudson at 2:30 and then lost most of another hour due to the fact we were now behind a slow moving local Metro North Train. It was fine. Before leaving, I went to Relish, across from the station and had lunch and then on the train, caught up with some reading I needed to do.

The city is as grey as the country, with rain forecast again for tomorrow. Unusually, I am going back to the country on Wednesday. I feel like I need some cottage time and have some work to catch up on that doesn’t require me to be in the city so I am going to do it from the cottage.

Today is the official 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta and Britain’s Royals were out in force to celebrate. David Cameron, the Prime Minister was there, extolling the virtues of the document. A few years ago on a late night talk show, Cameron couldn’t remember that Magna Carta is Latin for “Great Charter.” That didn’t stop him today for speaking of its long-term effects.

What I hadn’t known until today was that the Magna Carta lasted only a few months. As soon as King John has put his great seal to the document [he never really signed it], the King sent messengers to Rome asking the Pope to nullify the agreement. In September 1215, the Pope did just that. But like all great ideas, this one couldn’t be killed and it kept returning, becoming an inspiration for democratic leaders around the world.

The International Criminal Court is disappointed that South Africa did not follow through on a South African judge’s ruling that President Bashir of Sudan be detained in that country for possible transference to international authorities regarding accusations of genocide against Bashir. It seems that the South African authorities kept their eyes closed until Bashir’s plane was out of South African airspace.   A probe will be held but it won’t help the ICC from capturing the man.

Nasir al-Wuhayshi, a top Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader, has apparently been killed in a drone attack. Also, over the weekend, there were airstrikes in Libya with the purpose of taking out Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a notorious Al Qaeda operative who has escaped death several times. He is known as “The Uncatchable” for his ability to escape. In the early days of his career, when he was a cigarette smuggler, he was known as “The Marlboro Man.” The US is going to be very careful in announcing that he is gone. They’ve been stung several times before when he has been declared dead and then showed up alive.

Still alive and still on the run, are the two escapees from Clinton Prison in upstate New York. The search is now entering its tenth day. Joyce Mitchell, who worked in the prison’s tailor shop, has been arraigned for helping them. Supposedly, she sneaked them tools and was going to drive them away the night of her escape. Part of their plot was that they were going to be picked up and then would go to Joyce’s home, kill her husband and then all of them would go on the run. Joyce had a panic attack and went to the hospital for treatment instead. She has apparently said she couldn’t go through with it because she loved her husband.

Fact is stranger than fiction.

Not fictional is that the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John C. Nienstedt, and an auxiliary bishop, Lee A. Piche, resigned today following charges that the Archdiocese didn’t do enough to prevent child molestation, particularly in the case of a now de-frocked priest who is serving time for molesting two boys.

I grew up a Catholic in that diocese and many of my friends who still live there are Catholic. The really liberal ones despise Nienstedt and I am sure are rejoicing his departure.

To no one’s surprise, Jeb Bush announced his run for the Republican Presidential nomination. His logo has his name “Jeb” but no mention of “Bush” as he works to distance himself from his brother.

More to come… It’s been a busy day and shortly I will be off to say hello to a friend who is just back from two weeks in Greece.

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