Posts Tagged ‘Alexis Tsipras’

Letter From New York 09 21 15 Some stories are hard to comprehend…

September 21, 2015

It is dusk here in the city. I have just come from the taping of one of Howard Bloom’s podcasts. Sometime this week it should be live and when it is, I will share the URL. Today we talked about sin. The show’s title: Howard Bloom Saves the Universe.

As I left Howard and was descending into the subway, I realized it was cool. It had been my intention to go to Thai Market and write but I realized by the time I was finished it would be chill. I’m going to need a jacket tonight so I came back to the little apartment and opened my laptop.

It has been an okay day, up early to do some work and then a few other errands. Tomorrow I’m moderating a panel for the Religious Communicator’s Council on blogging, followed by coffee with the producer for that, my friend Mary Dickey, and then a meeting in Chelsea and then off to the train.

On Wednesday, I am driving over to the Cape.

There’ll be many things that will occupy my mind as I drive, I’m sure. The world is a rocky place these days.

Croatia is crying for help with the refugees and migrants that have crossed into the country. European leaders meet but seem to come to no conclusions on what to do. It feels likes million are on the move, though I am sure the numbers are not that high. Hungary has taken to posting warnings to refugees and migrants in Lebanon and Jordan NOT to come.

One of the issues Alexis Tsipras faces is that his country is a major transit point for those attempting to reach Western Europe. His is a country overflowing with crises. Reelected, he must now really govern.

David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister, is fending off allegations he had sex with a dead pig in an initiation ceremony for the exclusive Piers Gaveston Society, named after the supposed gay lover of Edward II, while at Oxford. Oh those wacky Brits!

Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Governor, is suspending his campaign for President, warning there may have to be many more dropouts if Republicans want to stop Donald Trump, who has slipped while Carly Fiorina has risen. The merry dance goes on, Rome burning while the fiddler plays.

Bernie Sanders is the “passion” candidate for the Democrats while Hillary Clinton is the conventional one. The size of crowds they are attracting, with Bernie drawing more than Hillary, is causing Hillary’s detractors to, well, detract.

In a particularly disturbing story that was featured in the NY Times this morning, American soldiers and officers have been told to ignore the painful cries of young boys as they are sexually assaulted by their Afghan counterparts for fear of seeming culturally insensitive.

It was a story I had to read a couple of times to comprehend.

The Emmys are over. Jon Hamm got one, at last. Viola Davis won Best Actress in a drama and gave a heartfelt speech, which I read today.

Last night, leaving the reception for my friends Kris and Eric, I realized I was just a short distance from my friends, Mary Clare and Jim. I phoned them, we got together, I surveyed their new apartment and then we walked down the hill to a little restaurant near them. I’ve known Mary Clare forever and it was such fun to spontaneously join them.

I’m off now to get some food, do a little reading and get to sleep so I can do a good job moderating tomorrow.

Letter From New York 01 26 15 Storm a’comin’!

January 26, 2015

For the last half hour, the deer have been madly racing back and forth across the drive, first to the east and then back to the west. Perhaps they are attempting to decide where to shelter from the storm that is a’comin’.

Eastern seaboard Governors have been going on the radio all day, warning folks of the apocalyptic storm which is bearing down on the Northeast. All day we have been prepping. Down in the city the snow has started to fall while here in Claverack, the first flakes are just beginning to tumble from the sky.

It threatens to be worse in the city than here, but not by much. The latest I heard was a prediction of 12 – 18 inches with freezing temperatures followed by the possibility of another 12 inches tomorrow.

Currently, I am cozy in the cottage. The danger we face, other than not being potentially able to get out of the house, is that the heavy snow might bring down the power lines and electricity will go.

In case of that, I have candles at the ready; water in the tub to flush toilets and as much wood as I can handle in the house. In situations like this before, the Franklin stove has warmed the house quite nicely. I’ll have books and magazines to read by that candlelight and hopefully we’ll make it through.

It will be interesting. If there is no blog tomorrow, it will because there is no power, no Internet and no heat. I’ll be holed up, living as if I were in the Wild West.

For the first time I can remember, this winter storm has been named: Juno, who was the Roman goddess of women and marriage and wife of the big cheese, Jupiter.

In the meantime, beyond the storm-centered northeast, the world has been ticking on. Alexis Tsipras is now formally the Prime Minister of Greece and is receiving congratulatory phone calls from other European leaders, also telling him, nicely, that they’re not budging on the Greek debt situation.

In Syria, Kurdish fighters have driven ISIS troops out of Kobane, the much-contested Syrian border town. In Iraq, there has been some headway against ISIS also. Kobane lays in ruins with most of its population now refugees in Turkey.

A hobbyist has come forward in Washington, DC to admit that he was the one who crashed his drone into the White House lawn last night, precipitating a lockdown of the President’s house. It’s been a not very good year for White House security. Small drones are especially troublesome – and potentially dangerous.

While not being dangerous to us earthlings this go round, a mountain-sized asteroid is slipping by earth tonight. It is thought an asteroid about this size collided with the earth about 65 million years ago, bringing an end to the Age of Dinosaurs. Scientists are studying this one to help them know how to knock one off it threatens to collide with earth. Can’t do it yet which is why I am glad this will be a near miss.

The Church of England has installed its first female Bishop with a minimum of muss; only one man stood up and shouted about it being wrong. I had expected more.

Obama is in India. Apparently he and Prime Minister Modi have been glued at the hip since his arrival, which is not what usually happens. Apparently Modi is a great fan of Obama’s and modeled his recent, successful campaign to become India’s Prime Minister after Obama’s two wins.

Dark has fallen across Claverack. The snow is only lightly falling right now and the temperature is dropping.   I will think good thoughts and say prayers that the power stays on, allowing me a day of having little to do but cozy in the country.

Letter From New York 01 25 15 Acts of men and weather must be left to others…

January 25, 2015

Waking early, sunlight danced off the creek while the geese sailed up it, as if there were no concerns in the world. All day, it was bright and sunny. Now, as I sit down to write, the light is beginning to fade and the temperature is about to plummet. Another storm is on its way, threatening inches of snow and deep cold.

As I usually do, the day started with coffee and the NY Times.

The Greeks went to the polls today and, as the day ends, it appears that the Anti-Austerity Party is going to win the day. No one has been hurt more in the west than the Greeks by the recession. They have depression levels of unemployment and social programs have been cut back; the Euro Zone has imposed harsh measures on the country. It has been a brutal period. Suicides became more common and an air of despair settled on the country.

Now, they seem to be saying: we’re not taking it anymore! If the anti-austerity party has won, there will be shaking across Europe. Lots of people in Spain and Italy are tired of austerity, too. The French aren’t so keen either. This will embolden their movements.

Antipathy runs particularly high toward Germany, the largest economy in the Euro Zone and mother hen to austerity as a way of life.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the morning. Will the markets across the world panic? This is exactly what they didn’t want. Alexis Tsipras is head of the Syriza party, which is anti-austerity. To actually govern he may have to become more centrist and he may not have won a clear majority so he’d have to create a coalition government, for which some are hoping.

But this is a turning point and there will be fraught days ahead for Greece and for Europe, with financial tensions high. Hopefully everyone will keep their heads and wits about them.

Greece, poor Greece, could end up significantly worse if things don’t get played correctly.

While Greece teeters on the edge, Obama is in India to cement relations with that country. From there he goes to Saudi Arabia to pay his respects at the passing of King Abdullah, who, from some reports, couldn’t stand Obama. But appearances must be kept.

In Nigeria, the Boko Haram has started an offensive against the major city in the Northeast, Maiduguri. Secretary Kerry is in Lagos, the commercial capital, visiting with the current President and his chief rival in upcoming elections, about how to deal with the Boko Haram. While we are closely watching ISIS as they try to establish their “Caliphate” in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram is attempting to do the same thing in Nigeria and they are just as deadly and cruel as the fighters of ISIS.

And that is all far away; here the deer are roaming the yard and the fading light is being reflected off the snow. The blizzard watch is being upgraded to a blizzard warning and I can feel the temperature dropping. It is now developing into a major – if not historical – storm with potentially two feet of snow coming for the city and here. The Mayor of New York is saying it may be the worst in the history of the city. Blimey!

In a fun bit for today: 100 years ago the first transcontinental phone call was made between Alexander Graham Bell in New York and his former lab assistant, Thomas Watson, in San Francisco, 39 years after their famous first call. Added to the call were the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, and the President of AT&T, Theodore Vail. So it was also the first conference call.

In the not too distant future, a martini awaits and I will focus on other things. There is little I can do about the impending Greek crisis and less that I can do about the Boko Haram. I will leave them to other, hopefully wiser, men.  And both them and the weather to God.