Letter From the Train 09 10 15 On the train south, with an eerie landscape slipping by…

It is a grey and almost cool day as I ride the train south to the city; tomorrow I am making a day trip with a client to Washington, DC. The Hudson River is almost bronze in color, with small waves rocking the boats at anchor. It is a day that feels depressing; I have worked hard to be cheery and not cranky.

Mostly I have succeeded.

Bernie Sanders is “stunned” by the fact he is pulling close to Hillary Clinton in polls in key states like Iowa. Hollywood Democrats are re-thinking their support for her; wondering if Joe Biden will cease biding his time and jump into the race. One headline today from the Washington Post suggested it might be time for Hillary to go into panic mode.

On the Republican side, Trump and Ben Carson, both outsiders, are now doing a bit of infighting, while dominating the field. Carson questioned The Donald’s faith and Trump, of course, shot back. He also took a slam at Carly Fiorina, saying something that sounded like he thought she was ugly. He responded, nah, not her face, just her persona.

It certainly is keeping things amusing if not just a little frightening.

Scientists stunned the world with the announcement of a new human ancestor, Homo Naledi, found in a dark cave in South Africa by a team that was supported, in part, by the National Geographic Society.

That estimable group has now sold the majority interest in all its media properties to 21st Century Fox, including the venerable magazine, raising nearly three quarters of a billion dollars for the society. For the first time in its history, National Geographic Magazine will be a for profit operation.

I was stunned when I heard the news. Somehow it feels wrong.

Today there was a procedural vote to disapprove the Iranian Nuclear Deal. It was blocked by a vote of 58 to 42. Obama will not have to use his veto. It was a significant win for Democrats. We will all see how it plays out over the next decade.

A mist is now hovering over the river, obscuring the west bank of the Hudson. It is barely visible and slight streaks of rain are splashed against the window next to me. It is oddly comforting to be here, sitting on the train and watching the eerie landscape slide by.

We just slipped by Bannerman’s Castle, a structure built in the 19th century as a munitions depot that has fallen into ruins. It looks like a haunted castle, sitting on a small island that hugs close to the east bank of the Hudson. Dark and threatening clouds hover over the river.

IS is offering a Norwegian citizen and a Chinese citizen “for sale” in their online magazine. The Chinese government has not responded and the Norwegians have said they won’t pay ransom. A wealthy individual could rescue them, I suppose. The amount requested is, according the Norwegians, substantial.

To assist President Assad of Syria cling to power, the Russians have sent military advisers and troops to that country, bolstering Assad and his forces at a time when they seem to be losing on all fronts. Syria has been close to Moscow since 1955 and Putin is determined not to let it slip from his side. It complicates the equation for everyone.

In a story that brought me a smile, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, is now the longest reigning British monarch, having now reigned longer than her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria. She has now been Queen since 1952 and Britain today is much different from Britain then, wildly more diverse with great gaps in wealth between the cities and the countryside. Through it all, the slow devolution of a great Empire, Elizabeth has been there, a calming presence.

How it will go with Charles on the throne is yet to be seen. But in the meantime, good on you, Ma’am…

The rain has increased. It looks like a scene from a thriller out my window. Soon I will be arriving in New York.

Have a good evening.

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