Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Schock’

Letter From New York 03 20 15 As the snow swirls on the first day of spring…

March 20, 2015

Outside the window of the office where I am sitting, big white flakes of snow are falling today, the first day of spring. I am hoping that by the time I return from India, winter will finally have loosened its grip on the northeast.

It has been a tiring winter and no on will be sorry to see it go.

I have had a busy day, spending the morning packing for India and then off to a couple of meetings, now with a little space between one meeting and the next so I thought to get off today’s Letter.

Part of the time I was in one of my meetings, the conversation turned to all the changes happening on the media landscape. While I don’t think television networks are going to go away anytime soon, especially since “cord cutting” is real but minimal, I do think we have probably hit some kind of tipping point in the television landscape.

During television’s prime time, people watching Netflix, which has emerged as a behemoth on its own, consume a third of the Internet’s bandwidth. Next year, it will spend more money on content than the BBC, which is staggering.

It is reported Apple will launch a TV service with approximately 25 networks, which will probably only accelerate the changes happening – if it indeed happens. Apple has always seemingly had a love/hate kind of thing going with content. This time, though, I am guessing it will happen.

Media is the business being most disrupted these days it seems to me.

The word “disrupted” adequately describes the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu. Now John Boehner, Speaker of the House, is on his way to pay “Bibi” a visit. The press is wondering if the leaders of the US and Israel can pass olive branches back and forth. Right now there are only hard feelings.

Hard times have fallen on Representative Aaron Schock of Illinois, who abruptly resigned recently. It is being reported that the Justice Department is opening an investigation into his affairs. Subpoenas have been issued, according to sources, and served on his staff in Peoria.

The Iranian nuclear talks have broken off but will resume next week. It is getting very close to the make it or break it moment. We will see what happens.

What didn’t happen in Europe today was that the lights didn’t go out. Europe is far ahead of the US in the use of solar energy and there were concerns that today’s solar eclipse could have a huge effect on the European power grid. Thankfully, it didn’t. Fossil fuels rode to the rescue during the time of the eclipse.

The dollar is down and oil is up which resulted in the market trending higher today. As I am writing the Dow Jones is up 225.

Not up but down is the maximum area of Artic Sea ice this year, at its lowest point in recorded history, in fact.

Vanuatu is still reeling from the effects of Cyclone Pam, communications are still patchy at best and the island nation has been transformed from a lush green tropical forest to a dirty brown now that foliage has been ripped away by the winds. Fires are burning all over the islands that make up the country as residents try to clear the land.

While it is still almost two years before the Obamas leave office, speculation is growing as to where they might live once they leave the White House. It is not expected they will return to Chicago. Today, a major Obama supporter and donor, through a series of companies, purchased the home outside Honolulu that was used in the television series “Magnum, PI” back in the 1980’s. In political circles it is being whispered that the Obamas would like to return to Hawaii, at least part time, when finished in the White House.

Outside, the snow continues to fall, thick, white flakes, swirled around by the wind, giving the impression I am looking into a snow globe.

Letter From New York 03 18 15 The Day After…

March 18, 2015

As I start this, I am sitting in the café car of a train that will soon head north, bringing me back to the Hudson Valley. Once back, I am heading over to the Old Inn on the Green, a restaurant in Great Barrington, MA for a small farewell party for Lionel and Pierre, who are moving to Baltimore shortly after I return from India.

Riding the train down into the city this morning, a bevy of bald eagles flew north above the Hudson River as the train rumbled south. It was a magnificent sight to watch them soar over the river, their great expanse of wingspan helping them sail north.

There was a panel today at the “God Box” at 475 Riverside Drive in New York. Actually named The Interchurch Center, it was built in the early ‘60’s by the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation to house, exclusively, not for profits that have a religious affiliation of some kind.

Church World Services is there and hosted a meeting of the Religious Communicators Council today for a panel on Twitter that I moderated. Also on the panel was Jaweed Kaleem, the Senior Religion Reporter for The Huffington Post, Ryan Koch, formerly of the State Department and now at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Teri Tynes, web and social media strategist for the General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church.

It was great. I love moderating panels and all the panelists were in very good form.

The very big news of the day was that “Bibi” Netanyahu received a victory, bigger than could have been expected, in yesterday’s Israeli elections. I know much more now about Israeli politics than I ever have. My thinking is that I will keep up with the Israeli scene. I follow an Israeli political blogger, Dan Berman [Mind Crawl on WordPress]. As a member of the Left he was depressed this morning.

In Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, 19 people, 17 of them tourists, were killed today in a terrorist attack. They were getting off a bus to go into a museum. Two of the attackers are dead and a manhunt is on for at least one other.

There has been a shooter situation in Mesa, AZ, a suburb of Phoenix. One is dead, five have been wounded and police were hunting a bald white man with a tattoo on his neck. He is apparently now in custody.

Markets rallied today on the careful wording of statements from the Fed and its Chairperson Janet Yellen on the timing of a rate increase.

Sounding much like the Tsars of yore, Putin declared that the peoples of Russia and Ukraine were “one people” while admitting that Western sanctions had been painful. 100,000 thousand people screamed “Russia! Russia!” while he spoke. It is the one year anniversary of the annexation of Crimea by Russia.

Even as Tsar Vladimir was speaking, the EU is working to decide how to counter the growing threat of Russian propaganda, which is at a fervor level not seen since the Cold War.

Michelle Obama and her two daughters have arrived in Tokyo for a visit to promote education globally for girls. At the same time, Caroline Kennedy, JFK’s daughter and current Ambassador to Japan, has been receiving death threats. Authorities are taking this very seriously and are attempting to find out who has been calling the Embassy and issuing the threats, in English.

Representative Aaron Schock of Illinois has announced he is going to resign. He has been widely in the news of late but not in a good way. He redecorated his office in Washington based on the BBC series “Downton Abbey” and then was questioned about the number of aides he brought to New York for a conference. There were a number of very expensive dinners involved.

It is too bad for him. He could have easily spent the rest of his life in Congress. He is a Republican in a severely red district.

In the tech world, Apple seems to be investigating launching a streaming service this fall. It is reported to be in talks with Viacom, Discovery, Disney and others about including their content. It is not in discussions with NBCUniversal. There has been a falling out between Apple and NBCUniversal parent, Comcast. If it happens, it is another blow to the traditional TV business.

The afternoon sun glitters silver over the Hudson. The ice is breaking up and we are rolling toward home.