Posts Tagged ‘Armenian Genocide’

Letter From New York 05 03 2016 Trump triumphs and the world shakes…

May 4, 2016

Just now, a CNN update flashed across the screen of my laptop while I was finishing the final exam for my class.  It projected that Trump will win Indiana and the first thing I thought was:  I wonder how many Republicans are wishing they had hemlock tonight?

The impossible is happening.  The Donald is on pace to win the Republican nomination, a thing thought unthinkable only six months ago.  There seems no stopping him.

Cruz, I am sure is bereft, not that I feel much for him.  Cruz or Trump?  What a choice?

Speaking of bad choices, medical errors are now the #3 cause of death in the US.  I was shocked but somehow not quite surprised.  In my recent medical experience at Columbia Memorial Hospital, the gastroenterologist there diagnosed me with conditions I didn’t have.  I learned that after seeing my usual gastroenterologist in New York City.

I just went to the great god Google and discovered the US is number 37 in terms of how good its health care is though I think we spend more than any other country in the world on health care.  And now medical errors are our #3 cause of death?   What gives here?  Who is paying attention?  Frankly, I am more scared than I was…

Today is World Press Freedom Day.  Who knew?  Though it has been on my mind today as I wrote the final exam for my “Media & Society” class.  The importance of a free press to a democracy is incalculable.  And so few countries really have a free press.

It is that magical time of night when the light has almost faded and there is still just enough light to see the budding trees outlined against the sky.  There is such beauty in this place, softening the harshness of the world outside.

An American Seal today was killed in a skirmish with IS in Iraq.  The wars go on and will continue to go on.  IS is retreating but is not broken.  The Iraqis do not have a really credible fighting force in the field as far as I can tell.  The Kurds seem to be doing yeoman’s work while Turkey pushes them down.

Recently it was the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, which, according to the Turks never happened.  Yet there is credible evidence it did.  Why do we get caught up in keeping mythologies alive?  Would it not be better to move beyond the past?  It was a century ago, another time.  Man up.

Putin, the problem…

When oil prices were high, he took the credit for the country’s uptick.  Now that oil prices have collapsed he his not manning up to the fact it’s a problem.  It’s the West’s fault. To keep attention off the failures of his regime, he has been pointing fingers at the West.

He is like the Tsars of old.  And that is what Russia has been always used to.

Here in New York, Sheldon Silver, once one of the most powerful politicians in the state, just received a sentence of twelve years in prison for corruption.  New York rivals Illinois in the corruptness of its politicians.  Several more are up for sentencing in the weeks to come.

The Tony nominations are in and “Hamilton” has scored a record breaking sixteen.  It is hard to see “Hamilton” as it is sold out for months to come and scalper’s tickets are almost $2,000 a ticket.  You have to be in the 1% to make that happen.  I certainly can’t.

And as I am finishing this, there is an alert from CNN that Ted Cruz is dropping his bid for the nomination after a stinging defeat in Indiana.  Is this true?  I am finding it hard to believe.  We must wait for the morning to see what happens.  Wait!  The BBC has just announced Cruz is gone…

It is beginning to look like Trump versus Hillary and that will be a slugfest to watch, if not to enjoy.

Letter From New York 04 24 15 2015, a big year for anniversaries…

April 24, 2015

First of all, my apologies…

I thought the Bruce Jenner/Diane Sawyer interview was last night and it is tonight. I misread the paper yesterday. Sorry about that.

But it is tonight and the Kardashians are gathering to watch it together. He’s their stepfather. Bruce says that 2015 is going to be a wild ride. And I am sure that it already has been for him.

2015 is a big year for a lot of things.

Los Angeles has a large Armenian community and thousands of them marched today to remember the Armenian Genocide. The centenary of that gruesome event is happening today.

2015 is also the centenary, celebrated tomorrow, of Gallipoli. The Allies in World War I wanted to break the back of Turkish participation by capturing Istanbul. They landed at Gallipoli and remained there for months, unable to advance, starving, dying and suffering from dysentery. Something like 45,000 Allied troops died there as did 80 some thousand Turkish troops.

Charles, Prince of Wales, and his son, Prince Harry, are there to lead the British delegation to the remembrance. Australians and soldiers from New Zealand died in the thousands there too. It was the their military debut on the world stage and it is remembered every year there and on the centenary, the Prime Ministers of both countries have traveled to Gallipoli to be present for the ceremonies.

While that conflict has long been ended, the one in Yemen seems nowhere near ending. The Houthis have advanced and the Saudi led coalition has bombed back. 150,000 Yemenis have been displaced and the country is collapsing. Nearly everything they need has to be imported and right now almost nothing is coming in as cargo ships are detained in the waters off Yemen.

A number of Afghans and Pakistanis were arrested in Italy today, accused of planning to carry out Al Qaeda attacks, including one aimed at the Vatican.

In the United States there has been a huge buzz all day about the demise of the Time Warner Cable and Comcast merger. Called off today, it once looked like a sure thing. But since the deal was announced the media revolution that is occurring caused the spotlight to shift from cable homes reached to broadband houses served. If the deal had gone through, the combined companies would have owned, according to some estimates, as much as 57% of broadband service to US costumers.

That was too much for anyone.

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota was a lonely voice a year ago in disapproval of the deal. He is hardly alone now.

Feeling a bit isolated today is Ed Miliband, Labour’s candidate for Prime Minister of Britain. He set off a row by claiming in a speech that the migrant disaster in the Mediterranean could be traced back to a lack of planning after the fall of Gadhafi. The Tories declared he had reached a new low.

We’ll see. The elections are two weeks away. A new low could be just around the corner.

Not going to Poland are the Night Wolves, a Hell’s Angels sort of biking group in Russia that is very fond of Putin as Putin is fond of them. They planned to ride through Poland on their way to celebrate Soviet victories in World War II, 70 years ago this year. Nope, said the Poles. Russia is “indignant.”

Less indignant will be some parts of American society now that Abercrombie & Fitch is set to dial down the sexiness of their advertising. No more male shirtless models everywhere.

The NASDAQ had its highest intraday moment in history today, propelled by Google, Amazon and Microsoft, the tech triumvirate. They all soared on individual good news.

Good news here is that sun is out. I saw “Ex Machina” last night and it was good; not what I expected but good and disturbing at the end.

In about an hour I will head over to Penn Station to take the 5:47 train up to Hudson. Lionel and Pierre will be home this weekend to attend a birthday party and we’ll all go to the Dot tonight.

Should be a good weekend.

Letter From New York 04 23 15 Posting and running…

April 23, 2015

It’s grey and drab here in New York and a little on the chill side. I have been working part of the afternoon at my friend Todd’s office while he is prepping for production on some show or other. All I know is that there are lots of clothes for little girls hanging in the office.

I looked at the clock and realized I would have to rush this blog a bit as it was later than I thought. I’m slipping away to see “Ex Machina,” a movie about artificial intelligence, in a little while with a friend.

Loretta Lynch was finally confirmed as Attorney General after a record-breaking wait for confirmation. There was a part of a bill on human trafficking that I believe Republicans objected to and they tied Ms. Lynch’s confirmation to the passing of that bill. Well, they must have come to an agreement because the bill has passed and Ms. Lynch was confirmed.

Also in news from Capitol Hill: the Benghazi Committee wants to hear from Hillary again on her email and about the event in 2012. It’s another piece of bad news in a week that has been rough on the candidate. The NY Times had a story about the flow of money to the Clinton Foundation that, at the very least, leaves one uncomfortable.

I probably won’t be able to see it but Bruce Jenner is sitting down tonight with Diane Sawyer for an interview. It should make for fascinating viewing. I’d like to know what’s really happening with the former Olympian.

Once he stood as if on Olympus but now he is on probation. That’s what the court decided for David Petraeus, former commander in Afghanistan and CIA Director, for leaking secrets to his mistress.

Earlier today, the President accepted responsibility for the deaths of an American and an Italian in an anti-terrorism operation earlier this year.

A group of Iranian cargo ships heading to Yemen has reversed course while the country is still shuddering under bombings from the Saudi led coalition.

The President of Germany has declared the events of a hundred years ago in Armenia as genocide. Turkey will not be pleased.

A battle of words has erupted again between the US/Ukraine/Russia over where the US trainers are operating in Ukraine. Russia is claiming they are in the battle zone in eastern Ukraine; the US and Ukraine say: nonsense.

What is not nonsense is that I am rapidly running of time and so must post and go.

Letter From New York April 13, 2015 With a bit of spring in my step…

April 13, 2015

Yesterday, half way through writing my blog, I stopped and quit. I didn’t like anything coming from mind to fingers to the sheet of digital white paper in front of me. Every word felt flat and unexciting and, worse, devoid of meaning. In a funk, I gave up and took a nap.

It may have been that yesterday was a bit of a funky day as it was the day that Lionel and Pierre departed for Baltimore. They arrived safely, checked into their hotel. We texted back and forth but their physical absence could be felt.

I woke up this morning in not such a funky mood and am now on the train, heading south, for a week in the city. I have a few things to do, meetings to attend and my godson, Paul, is in for New York from LA for business and we’re having dinner on Wednesday evening.

The sun is out and the sky is clear and it’s a warm, lovely day, with hints of blue green in the Hudson River as we roll along it. The dark steel grey of winter seems to be relinquishing its hold on the river. Tankers and barges are gliding south, unhampered by ice. While I was in India, it all disappeared.

Sipping coffee this mid-morning, I feel refreshed and relieved and not so gloomy. Not that the world is less of a gloomy place. But I am shrugging off those feelings and focusing on the brighter parts.

The light is sparkling on the river. Spring seems to be actually arriving and I am choosing hope this spring morning.

Even the Kardashians are giving me something to feel hopeful about; they have been in Armenia from whence the family once came and they have brought a spotlight on the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, which occurred in 1915-16, as the Ottoman Empire was beginning to disintegrate under the stress of World War I.

Pope Francis also commented on the Armenian Genocide, calling it the first case in the 20th Century of genocide, thereby infuriating the Turks, who deny that it ever happened – or, that if it did, it wasn’t all that bad.

Yesterday, the thought of another Presidential campaign was giving me dyspepsia. Today, I am choosing to think of it as an interesting intellectual and educational exercise for the body politic.

Yesterday, as everyone who is literate in the Western world must know, Hillary Clinton has declared, officially, she is running for the nomination – not that I think there ever was any real doubt.

It will be an explosive eighteen months. Let us hope that it will be at least a little amusing.

Republicans have already begun attacking her in tweets and videos. Ah, yes! Let the games begin!

And while Hillary is off to some low-key meetings in Iowa, driving there in her van named after “Scooby Doo,” Marco Rubio has thrown his hat into the ring and is now the third Republican to declare he is running for President after Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. After this it will be a little harder to keep track. There are a lot of Republicans in the wings.

It is also fascinating to me that Apple is beating its own estimates on Apple watch orders. I wasn’t sure anyone but the diehards would really want one but it seems to have struck a nerve with the public. Almost a million were pre-ordered the first day.

In another interesting turn of events, at least some in the world think a deal will be made with Iran on its nuclear activities. Investors, according to the Iranian press, have started to approach Iran about investments in their stock market, including some Americans.

John Boehner is touting “titanic” reform he hopes to bring to Medicare [something I am suspicious of from the get-go] but he is using gifs from the movie “Titanic” to explain his reform. I find that confusing and a little off-putting. May be a little amusing.

Right now the train is slowly rolling through a patch of woods, struggling to catch the spirit of spring and turn to green. Sharp shadows play across the landscape and with a springy step; I look forward to arriving in New York.