Posts Tagged ‘Caroline Kennedy’

Letter From New York 08 05 15 Thoughts from the train heading north…

August 5, 2015

The last letter I wrote was from a train headed south. This one in being started while riding north, headed back home for a day before a quick trip to the Vineyard. I’ll arrive on Friday and leave on Tuesday with a day back in Claverack and then to the city for a couple of days.

The Hudson River is steel grey and the sun is shielded behind clouds, giving a grey hue to the whole world. I am happily munching popcorn and sipping a Diet Pepsi while the river glides by to my right. It feels good to be headed home and I’m looking forward to my time on the Vineyard.

I’m having a good afternoon. I’ve been grumpy the last two days and this morning became dissatisfied with being grumpy and determined not to be. So far, so good.

The field has been declared for the Fox debate among the top ten Republican candidates. Leading the pack: The Donald. Almost everyone I know of is panting to watch the debate, eager to see how he performs because it will be a performance.

My family was Catholic. My two siblings and I attended Catholic school through high school. My brother’s entire education was in Catholic institutions as well as my sister, who, after high school, entered the convent. I rebelled and went to the University of Minnesota. My sister left the convent, got married, got divorced, got remarried. My brother is also divorced and remarried.

Today, Pope Francis encouraged Bishops to be gentle with divorced Catholics, to not treat them like pariahs. Still no communion or confession but a little reconciliation can go a fair way. Not deviating from church teaching, Pope Francis still managed to sound conciliatory and healing.

The Malaysian Prime Minister announced today that the piece of a 777 found on Reunion Island in the western Indian Ocean is from MH 370, the first piece of evidence regarding the fate of the flight that has been found. At lunch, a friend said to me: at least we now know aliens didn’t abduct them.

Obama is working hard to sell the Iran deal, lobbying via speeches at various places. He has written off the Republicans and is hoping to convince wavering Democrats to stay the course with him.

USA Today had a good editorial about the deal today. It argues there is no real alternative; if it fails because of the U.S., the coalition that has brought Iran to the table will fall apart. Here is the link:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/08/05/iran-nuclear-deal-obama-congress-editorials-debates/31067637/

Tomorrow morning at 8:15, a temple bell will toll and tens of thousands of people will be silent. The representatives of a hundred countries will be present. It is 70 years ago since the first atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima. The U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, will be there.

To some degree, we all have lived in terror since.

The survivors are called the hibakusha. Every year the names of those who have died since the last memorial service are added to the peace park’s cenotaph.  In total, there are 292,325 names inscribed.

The train arrived in Hudson and Jerry, my favorite cab driver, brought me back to the cottage. When I first moved here, he taught me how to pronounce the name of my town, Claverack, as if I were a native and not a weekender.

I am now sitting on the deck with the creek glittering in the setting sun. A chipmunk is settled on the deck near me, completely unfazed by my presence. The birds are chirping, the sky is blue with a light splattering of clouds.

The peace of the moment is overwhelming.

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.