Archive for the ‘Airstrikes’ Category

Letter From New York 11 24 15 That attitude of gratitude…

November 24, 2015

Howard Bloom.  New York City. Thanksgiving.  Metrojet. Claverack.  Howard Bloom Saves The Universe. Anne Frank. Jason Rezaian. Nancy Wiard.  Penn Station.  Chad Dougatz. Metrojet.

It is mid-afternoon and I am beginning this as I am closing in on New York City, on the train.  I’m down this afternoon for Howard Bloom’s Podcast [Howard Bloom Saves the Universe, look it up on iTunes or howardbloom.libsyn.com/.

I have a breakfast in the morning and then I am scurrying back north for the long weekend.  Trains were getting hard to get yesterday – every other one seems to be sold out.

Depending on when I get finished with breakfast, I may take an earlier train.  I’m eager to be back at the cottage, priming for Thanksgiving.  I have a few side dishes to make for the feast I am attending.

It’s cold today and it is going down to a mere 14 degrees tonight in Claverack.  Yikes!  I am wearing my winter jacket and have pulled out my favorite scarf.

But my hardships are minimal.  I could be a refugee somewhere in Europe as the cold settles in on the Continent while, at the same time, finding themselves feared by the countries to which they have been fleeing.

Earlier today, in a Facebook posting, I saw that Anne Frank had applied to come to America but was denied.  We weren’t very open to Jews before the war.  If that visa had been granted we may have been denied her diary but she’d be 77 if she had lived.

That fact saddened me.

People are wrestling with what to do about refugees.  Some of most liberal friends are now feeling fearful of accepting them.  I have been seeing the postings on Facebook.  There is great support for and there is great fear of refugees, both views understandable in the light of current events.

Jason Rezaian, a journalist for the Washington Post and who headed their Tehran bureau is headed for prison for an unspecified period of time.  Holding both Iranian and US citizenship, he seemed a natural for the posting.  The Iranians have convicted him of espionage.

He has languished in prison since July 2014.

Now, I am sitting just outside the studio while Howard is doing his podcast, discussing with Chad Dougatz, the host, the roots of Islamic terrorism. 

Terrorism, the bane of our time…  Just moments ago, my phone buzzed with a notice that the US has issued a global travel alert due to increased threats of terrorism.

My friend, Nancy Wiard, is traveling to the European Christmas markets.  She sent me a message today from Amsterdam, which is close to Belgium whose major city, Brussels, home for the European Union, is under lockdown. 

Multiple operations are underway in Brussels as I type.

It is believed that the bomb that took down the Russian Metrojet was placed under the seat of a fifteen year old girl, seat 31A.

I didn’t get to finish last night.  Today is a beautiful, slightly chill, afternoon on the train heading north.  I’m seated on the river side of the car and I’m watching the Hudson slide by as I move north.

As I headed toward the train this morning, Penn, not unexpectedly was overflowing with people heading out for Thanksgiving.  It, too, had more than its usual contingent of police and soldiers.  In the fourteen plus years since 9/11, I have yet to accept their presence as the new normal.

But, it is, and during Thanksgiving the city is on a higher alert level.  More police, more soldiers, more…

Yes, the world is a grim place.  The Turks have shot down a Russian warplane which kept, according to them, violating its airspace.  Let’s just ratchet up the tensions, why don’t we…

However, I also read an article in the NY Times this morning about the positive health affects of being grateful, so I am attempting to settle myself into my “attitude of gratitude” mode.  It will be a healthier place for me.

It is two days from Thanksgiving and tomorrow I will be prepping my contributions to our annual feast of gratitude and I will do my best to remember all the many things for which I am grateful.

Letter From New York 10 02 15 In rain and mourning…

October 2, 2015

Chill and damp in Baltimore. Oregon shooting. Papal denial. Syrian airstrikes. Allies demand of Russia. Amazon bans rivals. Weak jobs. Market panic?

It is chill and damp here in Baltimore, where I am today to celebrate Lionel’s birthday. It is grey and gloomy, a perfect background for a day which is filled with mourning.

Yesterday, as we all must know by now, a young man, 26, killed nine and wounded 20 before being killed by police. He targeted a Community College in Umpqua, Oregon. Authorities are trying to discern what, if any, connection he might have had to this particular school.

President Obama made a live appearance and was as angry as most had seen him, frustrated by the number of times in his Presidency he has gone on air to offer condolences after a mass shooting.   He warned that his comments would be described as “politicizing” the situation but that this was a situation that should be politicized. It has become routine, said the President, and it has. We have become inured to the tragedies that unfold before us when crazed gunmen slaughter men, women and children.

This young man engaged with others on social media about his intentions. Disgustingly, some respondents encouraged him and gave him tips. No one alerted authorities. Hearing this I was not surprised; my lack of surprise horrified me. I felt thoroughly ashamed of my fellowmen. Who would encourage murder? Are they not culpable?

The young man asked victims if they were Christians. If they said yes, he shot them in the head.

Another young man, a former soldier, Chris Mintz, launched himself at the shooter and was shot seven times.

As I write this, Mike Huckabee is on CNN talking about this tragedy. He has often said that more guns are needed to protect us rather than less. The network’s anchors are giving him a challenging time about his positions.

The Vatican is attempting to push back at the controversy that has bubbled up about Francis’ meeting with Kym Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who opposes gay marriage. The meeting tarnished the glow among liberals from the Pope’s trip to America. It had been described as a private meeting between the two, with the Pope giving her support and a rosary.

Now the Vatican is saying it was not a private meeting but she was part of a group.

Conservatives, including Huckabee, just now, deny the denial.

Both the U.S. led coalition and Russia are leading airstrikes in Syria. All of the U.S. Coalition’s strikes have been against IS. Russia has been targeting both anti-Assad groups and IS. They are using “dumb” bombs, which will cause indiscriminate damage.

Western nations are demanding that Russia only target IS. My sense is that Russia is shrugging its shoulders and is calling all rebel forces, terrorists.

Friction, of course, exists between Russia, and every one else fighting IS. It’s very messy.

Paris meetings today that were to focus on Ukraine probably will now shift to Syria.

Amazon has its own OTT devices and in a push to get them sold, it has pulled other OTT makers like Roku from its shelves. It will be interesting to see what this will do. Their Fire devices have not been particularly successful in the marketplace.

There was a weak jobs report today with only 141,000 jobs added this past month. It has sent the markets into a wobbly day. Credit Suisse is wondering if the markets are panicking.

They are certainly down.

However, despite the national mourning and the bad economic news I am feeling centered and upbeat today while acknowledging tragedy and grief.   I’m off to have my iPhone screen repaired; I shattered it yesterday. Then I am going to see if I can have my haircut.