Letter From Claverack 03 20 2017 First day of spring and an amazing political day…

It’s evening, dark has descended upon the countryside on this, the first day of spring, which was fairly spring like here in Columbia County, with the temperatures scraping fifty degrees.

As I drove around, folks were out, working on repairing their mailboxes on the side of the roads, knocked over by the snow plows.  Since there is no mail delivery on Patroon Street, that was not my worry.

It was a good day.  Woke early, read news and emails, showered, had a conference call about a PBS project I’m working on and then went down to the radio station for a meeting.  From there, I went down to the little café across from the train station and had a bowl of amazing New England Clam Chowder.

Followed by more errands, a visit with my friend Debbie, who is recovering from surgery, and at the end of the day, I was in Hudson and went to the Red Dot for a creamy tomato soup with crab [OMG!] followed by a chicken breast sautéed to perfection, then home, putting away all the things I’d purchased, mostly cleaning supplies that had gone low.

Now I am here, at the laptop, jazz plays on Echo, and I am delightfully cozy in the cottage.  Hygge.

It’s what’s needed.  Sitting with Patrick O’Connor at the Red Dot, I told him I often look at the Food Section of the New York Times before I review the news.  Before plunging into the reality of the world, I feel a need for something comforting, like a new recipe.

And, today, the first day of spring, you needed a good recipe to ease you into a day that has been – interesting, to say the least.

At ten o’clock, as I was having my conference call with WTTW, the PBS affiliate in Chicago, James Comey, head of the FBI, began giving testimony in front of House Intelligence Committee.  While I was having a conference call with WTTW in Chicago, myself in New York and my producer in New Delhi, my text message screen was alight with people asking me if I was watching?

No, I was on a conference call.  And when I finished, I had meetings to go to.  And my email was full of news updates through the day while I was running errands.

Comey acknowledged that the FBI was investigating links between Trump’s campaign and Russia.  There is no information they have that corroborates President Trump’s tweets that the Obama administration “wiretapped” Trump Tower.  Nor does the Justice Department.

While all this was going on, @POTUS, the official Twitter account of the President, was putting a good spin on the testimony.

You know, I’ve seen an awful lot in my life and I’ve never seen anything like this.  Well, maybe Watergate.

And then there’s Uber, an app driven ride service I have frequently used, until recently.  After only seven months, its president quit as the company’s values were inconsistent with his own.    OUCH!

Uber is under great duress as it faces sexual harassment suits and a slew of other ugly issues.  I’m using Lyft now; most of their drivers also drive for Uber and prefer Lyft calls.

Riding in an Uber is painful as most of their drivers just complain about how awful they are while Lyft drivers mostly say how good the company is.  Lyft uber alles!

Norway is the happiest country in the world. What do we have to learn from them?  Or is just about North Sea oil?  No, that’s facetious. The Scandinavians work at being happy, they work at social harmony.  Norway may be happiest and it’s closely followed by Demark and Sweden.

The U.S. has slipped to 14th and I’ll be interested to see where we are next year.

Ladies and gentleman, this is a remarkable time in our democracy.  Pay attention.  Don’t be partisan.  Just pay attention.

 

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