Letter From New York 03 16 2016 Riding into New York…

The Hudson River is nearly mirror still as I rumble south on the train, into New York for a visit to my gastroenterologist for a [ugh] colonoscopy, a follow-up to my stay in the hospital last month.

The morning was full of news about the primaries.  Trump, as had been expected, trounced Marco Rubio in his home state of Florida and Rubio, also as expected, withdrew from the race.

Bernie Sanders is wondering about what next as Hillary Clinton handily beat him in Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina and, of course, Florida.  It is looking like she eked out a win in Missouri, beating Bernie by a mere 1500 votes the last time I looked.

Kasich took his home state of Ohio so he is still playing the Republican game of musical chairs.

53% of Americans would choose Trump to be the Republican nominee.  61% don’t like him.  Go figure.

Trump is preening in his victories, winning everywhere but Ohio.  He claims there will be riots if the Republican Party denies him the nomination.  Even in victory he summons images of violence.

While there will likely not be physical violence, there will be much name calling and shouting now that Obama has nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Scalia’s death.  Republicans have vowed not to move on the matter until there is another President, keeping their fingers crossed a Republican will occupy the White House.

Congressional chaos…

In the streets of DC and its environs there was another piece of chaos on the streets.  After two electrical fires within the last year, the new head of the Metro ordered it shut down for twenty-four hours while they inspect it to ensure it is safe.

Having once lived in DC, I can only imagine what the day was like and be grateful I wasn’t there.  It’s how I usually get around DC.

Also, the Fed is being dovish about raising rates.  The dollar falls, gold rises as do the markets, modestly.

In Brussels, an Algerian, illegally in the country, was killed in a raid by police.  At least two others were detained; an Islamic flag was found with them.  Belgian police are promising more raids.

In Nigeria, two female suicide bombers killed twenty-four at a mosque.  A bomb placed on a bus in Pakistan killed fourteen.

Angelina Jolie has met with refugees in Lebanon and Greece in a bid to bring the spotlight on them.  Germany’s Merkel thinks only Turkey can stem the flow and has called for a Pan-European meeting to address the issue.

The Kurds in Syria are calling for a Federalization of Syria, creating more independence for them.  No else seems very much in favor of the solution, especially Assad, who sees it as the beginning of the break-up of  his country.

Putin has announced in the last couple of days that Russia has accomplished its mission in Syria and is beginning a withdrawal of a majority of its forces.  Indeed, half the Russian planes have departed but eyebrows are raised as to whether this is actually going to be the kind of withdrawal that Putin intimates.

“The Happiest Place on Earth” is Disney owned.  However, the happiest country on the planet is Denmark, which has held the top spot for three of the four years that the World Happiness Report has been issued. 

Next are Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, The Netherlands,  New Zealand, Australia and Sweden.

Poor Burundi is the unhappiest country.  Just above it on the list are Syria, Togo, Afghanistan, Benin, Rwanda, Guinea, Liberia, Tanzania and Madagascar.  Poor and riven with war or disease or both, they are at the bottom.

You’re wondering where the US is on this scale, aren’t you?  We’re number 13, actually a little higher than I thought we might be.

Russia is number 110 and China is 83rd and India is 118th.

If interested in Hollywood and the often salacious stories that come out that place,  a new book is due out, “James Dean: Tomorrow Never Comes,” by Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince, claiming that James Dean and Marlon Brando had an on/off sadomasochistic sexual relationship from their meeting to Dean’s death in a car accident in 1955.

Long dead but still capable of steaming up the book sales.

New York approaches.

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