Letter From New York 03 20 2016 Quiet thoughts from the quiet cottage…

It is quiet in the cottage; I am savoring the silence.

Today is Palm Sunday, a service I have not attended for a bucket of years.  Doing so today, I read a small part in the Easter gospel.  It was all faintly reminiscent of my Catholic childhood.  The priest, however, was a woman.

After the service, Sally Brodsky and I did a tour of the kitchen and made a pact to touch base on Wednesday as to what we might need for Easter Sunday brunch.  I am currently awash in recipes and will have to sort out which ones I will use before Thursday’s shopping.

Following church, I made a trip to Lowe’s for wall plates for the electric switches in my bathroom, freshly repainted by young Nick and his crew.  The dark blue and white wallpaper is gone and a fresh coat of green and white glistens in the bathroom.  The old vanity is gone and I am searching for a mirror that will fit beneath the new light fixture.

All pleasant diversions from the world with its rat a tat of news, a mixed bag this weekend.

Obama is in Cuba, hoping to nudge that country into being a bit more liberal.  His critics say he should have waited until some liberalizations had made their way into Cuban life.  As President, you almost never win; your foes will pounce on every move.  Certainly that has been true of this president.

Starwood Hotels have entered into an agreement to take over three legacy properties in Havana and modernize them.  The deal was made even as a Chinese Insurance Group is bidding to take them over.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, has reaffirmed that Merrick Garland will not get a vote on his nomination for the Supreme Court.  Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, has said that the Republican Senate should “man up” and give Mr. Garland a vote up or down.

Some Senators are beginning to break with McConnell over the vote, especially in contested states.  They’re getting heat from their constituents.  In this most unpredictable of years. it will, of course, be interesting to see what transpires.

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are leading their party’s races to the nomination.  Trouble is, no one much likes them.  Hillary has a particular problem with white men in 2016, a group more sympathetic to her in 2008.

Fox News, to me almost a mouthpiece for the Republican agenda, has declared that Trump has an unhealthy fixation on their popular anchor, Megyn Kelly.  They have defended her loudly and often from Mr. Trump’s “comments.”

Breitbart, a very conservative news source, seems to have thrown Michelle Fields, their reporter, under the bus after she alleged that she had been pushed and shoved by Trump staffer Corey Lewandowski.  At first they supported her and then they didn’t and now she has resigned as have at least two other Breitbart staffers.

It makes me think more of Fox.  Not much more but more…

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil is in increasing amounts of hot water over the scandals racking the nationally owned oil company, Petrobras.  There is talk of impeachment.  Former President Lula has been welcomed into her cabinet, making it harder to for prosecutors to touch him.  An attempt is being made to stop the appointment as a move to “pervert” justice.

Protests in the streets, nearly a million people marching.  Rousseff is dealing with some tough issues:  the Petrobras scandal, zika virus, a severe recession and upcoming Olympic games that may not be ready and, if they are, might take place in unprecedented conditions — some of the aquatic events are to be held in waters claimed to be dangerously polluted.

Ian Duncan Smith, not a household name in the US, but an important politician in the UK, has resigned from Cameron’s cabinet after declaring the Tory budget deeply unfair to the working poor.  Some have said the Tories are now engaged in “civil war.”  Not what they need as they are approaching a vote on whether Britain should exit the EU, “Brexit” for short.

It is still quiet at the cottage.  I am going to wrap up now, contemplating that the market for legal marijuana will be 23 billion dollars within four years.

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