Archive for the ‘Paris Killings’ Category

Letter From Claverack 04 21 2017 The past fights the future…

April 21, 2017

Apple blossoms dressed the trees in the orchards as I drove along 9H earlier today, the first, best sign of spring I’ve seen though, once having noticed them, I was aware that small buds of green were appearing on other trees.  The ones outside my windows don’t seem to be sporting them and I’m sure they will come eventually, which is how this spring has seemed – eventually we will get there – just not yet.

It has been a quiet sort of day.  Earlier I spent some time at OMI, an art center near me that I have known about but had not visited and that was my loss.  The two-hundred-acre campus is dotted with sculptures, the main building with art exhibits.  Today quite beautiful children were painting, running around in young life’s exuberance, bringing smiles to all the adults.  I offered up a thought for good lives for them; the future does feel cloudy right now.

It’s not just that this is a gray day.  Generally, I am an upbeat sort of person [or at least I think of myself as that] and today I’ve not been.  The state of the world has been weighing on me, both close to home and far from here.

Close to home, I am burdened because a friend sent me suicidal texts and I was incredibly concerned and finally asked the police to do a “welfare check.”  They did.  He then texted me he wanted nothing more to do with me.  Truthfully, I did the right thing and, at this moment, it hasn’t turned out well. For me and, I expect, not for him as he is in deep trouble and won’t admit it.

Candles to be lit; prayers to be said and to continue, as best we can.

Paris is continuing as best it can after a policeman was shot yesterday and two badly wounded by a terrorist who was killed as he was fleeing.  IS claims responsibility and France is having elections on Sunday.  The far-right candidate, Marie Le Pen, is threatening to remove France from the EU so that it can control its own borders.

She has a chance of winning.

The far right is making its might felt all over the place.

And that is so worrying to me.

For a brief, shining moment in my life it seemed we might actually be headed toward a global society and it has not happened.  It was around the time the Berlin Wall went down, a moment I will forever remember.  Driving down Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles, headed west, my bestest friend, Tory Abel, called me on my car phone and said: do you know what’s going on?  As I was listening to classical music, I didn’t.  The wall was falling.

There are all kinds of suppositions about why that magic moment did not result in a better world.

Right now, I am reading a book about “the weekend” in British homes in the 1930’s and one of the revelatory bits was about a British Lord who became a Muslim because he saw Islam as the bulwark against women getting the vote and having shorter skirts and working.

He would probably have a lot in common with IS.

Change is hard.  And changing centuries of tradition is hard and people will fight it.  IS is fighting it.

When all of this works itself out, I won’t be here.  It will take more than a lifetime.

And that is history in the making.  It takes lifetimes to work itself out.

If you are not aware of it, Chechnya is conducting a campaign against gays.  It is putting us in camps, not unlike the Nazis; there are tales of torture and death.  Can this be happening in the 21st Century?  Apparently so.  The reports are horrific.

The President of Chechnya has declared he will eliminate the gay community by the beginning of Ramadan on May 26th.

Putin has declared there is no evidence this is happening and that is Putin’s view of the world: no horrible thing is happening.  There is no sarin gas is Syria, there is no campaign against gays in Chechnya, there is no fill in the blank.

 

 

 

Letter From New York 01 10 16 Thoughts in a worrisome world…

January 11, 2016

It is Sunday evening and I am at the dining room table, looking out at the creek, lit by the floodlights I have set up to illuminate the creek at night.  Soft, classical jazz plays in the background.

For the most part, Christmas is behind me.  The tree is down and headed for recycling now that most of the lights have burned out.  I think I’ve had seven years from the tree so I can’t complain.

Though I realize as I look around I forgot a few things which I’ll have to take down over the coming week.  There is still a wreath on my door and one hanging in the dining room.  How I missed that I don’t know.

My heart is not into taking down Christmas.  I tend to become a bit melancholy in the process and apologized to young Nick about my moodiness as he dismantled Christmas while I assiduously cleaned up after last night’s dinner party.

While I sit here writing, the world is gearing up for the Golden Globe Awards, which I won’t watch but is the official opening of awards’ season.  I did my PGA voting as soon as it came in because I didn’t want to forget.

The question being asked in this awards’ season is whether “Revenant” will finally propel Leonardo DiCaprio towards an Oscar?

I don’t know nor do I much care, truth to be told.

Since 1992 I have been a member of the Television Academy and my membership is up for renewal and while I suspect I will renew I am not sure why.  It feels much less relevant than it did when we were fighting to make cable an integral part of the Academy and then to make a place in the tent for “new media.”

I salute my friend Bob Levi, retired now from Turner, who with Jeff Cole and myself and a few others fought and fought hard to make a place in the Academy for those digital pioneers way back in 1999.  Jeff and I were the Founding Governors for the Interactive Media Peer Group though I have discovered since then there are others who make that claim.  Excuse me!  I was there.

It’s Sunday night and most people are wondering what the market will do in the morning.  Continue to swoon or make a comeback?  Don’t know.  I’ll check the futures in the morning.

Sean Penn did an interview with Mexican Drug Lord “El Chapo” at his HQ in the Mexican jungle.  It appeared in Rolling Stone.  Some laud it, some hate it but it is interesting reading.  Celebrity triumphs in journalism in this case…

Ted Cruz was born in Canada of an American mother.  Donald Trump is questioning whether is he meets the legal requirements to be President.  Some time ago Ted Cruz renounced his Canadian citizenship but that hasn’t stopped Trump who is currently trailing him a bit in the polls in Iowa. 

I think it will get worse between now and the caucuses in Iowa.

The world is an unbroken trails of woes right now – and I’m not talking about the Republicans. 

Merkel’s generosity to refugees is under question after New Year’s attacks on women by men described as North African or Arabic. 

We have people of white origin holding a bird preserve in Oregon demanding a rollback of Federal control of lands in the West.

North Korea may or may not have tested a hydrogen weapon but it did test an atomic something which is always worrisome.

And, you know, everything is worrisome.  It always has been and will always be so and so tomorrow I will get up and live my life as best I can in this worrisome state.

Letter From New York 01 07 16 Thoughts on a hard day…

January 8, 2016

Stock market rout   Jamison Teale   Christ Church  Hudson  Roy Moore   Alabama Gay Controversy  Tiffany Martin Hamilton  Tommy Ragland  Charlie Hebdo Anniversary  Oklahoma earthquakes  Netflix  Bill Clinton  Hillary Clinton  John Kerry  Syrian Peace Process  Iran  Saudi Arabia  California storms  Ted Cruz  Burns, Oregon

Well, I was smart enough today to not look at the market as it was another BAD day as China’s market shudders riled every other market in the world.  While they were plunging, I had a pleasant day. 

Answered emails, ran errands and wrote out the first draft of my syllabus for my class that starts on the 20th.  It was actually kind of fun, if headache inducing.

Now it is evening and I have turned on the lights outside, classic jazz is playing and I think I will light a fire as it is going to be chill again tonight.

My Christmas tree is still up and I am not taking it down until Sunday.  Having been gone for two weeks, I feel I deserve a little more time with it.  It is a white artificial tree and I think this is its last year.  But it has been a beautiful, for me, tree.

Jamison Teale, the Senior Warden at Christ Church [where I attend services] and his longtime companion, James, were married on New Year’s Day by Hudson’s first woman mayor in her first official function.  They are coming for dinner on Saturday with the church’s Musical Director, Tom Martin, father to Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton of Hudson.

One of my errands today was to find them a small wedding present.

While James and Jamison married easily here in New York, the Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, Roy Moore, has ordered that state’s probate judges not  issue marriage licenses to gay couples.  Federal authorities immediately ordered them to do so.  Some have thrown up their arms and aren’t giving marriage licenses to anyone.

Ah, Justice Moore, this has been decided.  No back pedaling allowed I think.

One probate judge, Tommy Ragland, summed it up best, saying, “We have a Chief Justice who is confused.”

One of the other errands I did today was to look for a clock radio to replace my ancient one that no longer works.  You know, they are rather hard to find.  Not nonexistent but hard to find.  I am going online to see what I can find there.

My toaster also broke and I looked at those too and thought they all looked shoddy.  More investigation needed.

It is the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.  Let there be a moment of silence.

The French police killed a man brandishing a meat cleaver today, who was screaming “Allahu Akbar [God is Greatest].”  He was wearing a fake suicide vest.  That confuses me.  Why bother?

Oklahoma had a swarm of 70 earthquakes yesterday.  In 2013 they had a couple of hundred.  In 2014 they had over 5,000.  That is an exponential increase.  2015 statistics are currently being gathered.  There is a suspect:  fracking.

Earlier this week Netflix was available in 60 countries.  Today it is in 190 countries.  130 countries “turned on” Netflix while its President and CEO was giving a speech at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

I’ve attended a couple and they are always mind boggling.  This year is not quite so much according to pundits but still generating lots of wow.

Politics continues.  Bill Clinton is stumping for Hillary in Iowa.  Lots of people I know would like him back but since he can’t….

Cruz is cruising in Iowa which frightens the bejesus out of me. 

California is pummeled by storms and that worries me about friends there though I hope it is helping the drought.

In Burns, Oregon the unlawful occupation of a wildlife center continues.  On social media people have been asking what would be happening if the occupiers were black or Muslim instead of gun totting white guys who are outraged over Federal land policy?

There are no easy answers to anything.  Kerry says that the Saudi Arabia/Iran feud will not slow down the Syrian peace process but how can it not?  I mean, how can it not?

I am taking solace in the cottage and in my hope that our better angels will prevail.

Letter From New York 11 14 15 The Real Great War to end all wars…

November 15, 2015

Paris. Hollande. IS. Daesh. Bruce Thiesen. Christopher Hitchens. Hitler. Stalin. Mussolini. Afghanistan.  Alexander the Great. Russia. Viet Nam. Democratic Debate. Jihadi John. Marco Rubio.  Fox News. Libya. Pope Francis.  World War III. Genghis Khan. Fred and Ginger.  The Great Depression. The War to end all wars.

When I finished blogging yesterday, the body count in Paris was below thirty.  Today, when I woke and reached for my iPhone to check the news, 129 were dead, 350+ injured with 99 of them in critical condition.

Friends of mine, Chuck and Lois, have an apartment in Paris and spend a good part of every year there; thankfully they were not in Paris yesterday. 

All morning I felt grim, unbelieving and so very deeply saddened.

Last night’s event has touched the world in a way nothing has since 9/11.

Hollande has all but declared war on IS or Daesh, using the Arabic acronym for the organization.  Countries around the world have lit their most important buildings in the red, white and blue colors of the French flag.

There is the weight of tragedy in the air.  The events were on the mind of ever thinking person I know.

Bruce Thiesen, a fellow blogger, posted this quote from Christopher Hitchens:  This is an enemy for life as well as an enemy of life.

Truer words were never spoken.  It all harkens back to the horrors of World War II, of men like Hitler and Mussolini and Stalin. 

The events of last night have infected my day as they have for everyone I know.  It came to me as I was shopping, for tomorrow is my day to do coffee hour after the 10:30 service, that Hollande is correct; we are at war.

I’ve felt that since 2003, when we invaded Iraq. We are at war. We have participated in wars without really involving the American public.  We fought but the public was to go on with their normal lives, shopping and eating at restaurants and not think about war.

I think that was a mistake.  In some way, shape or form, we should all be engaged if our men and women are fighting.

We should be actively supporting them in some way. 

It’s a favorite rant of mine.  I wanted to be asked to sacrifice if they were being asked to potentially make the ultimate sacrifice.

Now, we are years into this.  Afghanistan is our longest war ever, a place that has bedeviled military leaders since Alexander the Great, the place that was Russia’s Viet Nam, a place the British couldn’t hold at the height of their power.

Tomorrow there will be another Democratic Debate.  Really?  I’m exhausted already and can’t imagine all the campaigning yet to come.  But because of Paris, the debate will be focused more on terrorism and how the candidates would respond.

Jihadi John, the British terrorist who beheaded a number of men, is apparently dead in a drone attack.  On Friday, the head of IS in Libya is believed to have died in an air attack.

At the gym today, the TV at my treadmill was turned to Fox News and I actually didn’t change the channel.  I wanted to know what they were saying.  They brought on Marco Rubio who decried events and blamed them on Obama and said as President he would take the fight to them.

Yes, I do think that will happen.  Probably right now we’ll be led by France which, in righteous anger, will attack Daesh in every way it can.

More war.  Pope Francis suggested we are fighting World War III now, in bits and pieces.  He may be right.

Rubio said it was a “civilizational war” and he is not wrong. 

IS wants to destroy the West.  It hates our civilization with a passion and a fervor not seen, I suspect, since Genghis Khan who swept all before him before he and his Empire became dust in the wind.

It is dark.  Floodlights illuminate my beloved creek.  I am going to make myself a martini and watch a movie that, I hope, will transport me beyond the ugly realities of the day, the way Fred and Ginger lifted the hearts of Americans during the Great Depression.

We may well be now fighting the real Great War, the war to end all wars.