Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Letter From New York 12 11 2014 Feeling a bit like a country gentleman…

December 11, 2014

It is a winter wonderland outside the cottage today; three or four inches of snow fell overnight and once again transformed the landscape into a perfect winter scene. I am finding delight in the beauty.

Feeling quite like the country gentleman this morning, I lingered over coffee and the NY Times. The steady din of noise since the release of the Senate Report on torture has diminished a bit.

Obama is in an uncomfortable position; some Democrats are accusing him of a cover-up of a program he ended. Abroad, some international bodies and certain countries are howling for prosecution. At home, we seem to be saying let bygones be bygones with a Get Out Of Jail card being handed to those involved.

Jihadists are swearing revenge for our “torture” which seems to me to be a case of the kettle calling the pot black.

Down in Washington there is brinksmanship over passing a $1.1 trillion budget. Democrats are howling because of some late night insertions of rules that would relieve Wall Street of some regulation. Petitions are being circulated. Denouncements are being made.

A deal will probably happen.

Out in California, the north part of the state is preparing for potential flooding from heavy storms that are potentially going to break the worst drought in the state’s history. I think I read that this drought was the worst in 1200 years!

Falling oil prices are a blessing and a curse. There was an almost three hundred point dive on Wall Street yesterday as a result. The common motorist is a bit relieved to find gas for under $3.00 a gallon in most places – but not here in my little town. Still up around $3.25 in Claverack.

It is also, despite the constant rattle of depressing news, the Holiday season and I spent a frustrating half hour on the 800flowers.com website attempting [and finally succeeding] in ordering a gourmet basket. Either the site was slow or my connection was lousy but it was a painful enterprise. But still, it was one of the last things to do on my Christmas list.

We’re down to fourteen days until Christmas and I feel remarkably ready; usually at this time of year I’m feeling a bit of panic! I guess that is the upside of being a country gentleman for a period.

Sometimes I love this inactivity and other times I chafe and feel jealous of my friends who are off doing things with great purpose. I am lounging my way toward Christmas and now am about to leave to have a Holiday lunch with a friend.

Letter From New York

April 29, 2013

Or, as it seems to me…

The sun is setting but you can only tell because the light is fading.  The glorious weekend of sun and warmth in the Hudson Valley is ending in a curtain of grey that descended a couple of hours ago.  Below me the creek flows clear and clean, having glistened all weekend with sun sparkles dancing on its waters.  A magnificent bald eagle perched for a half hour or so on one of the embankment’s trees.  I watched him peruse the land before he spread giant wings and flew to the north, low along the creek, seeking prey I suppose.

Prey.  I wonder if that is how the Boston Bombers thought of the people that were killed and wounded?  Prey:  a person or thing that is hunted.  Prey is what people around the world have become, hunted by individuals who wish to do indiscriminate harm to a general population with whom they disagree for some reason.

Back in Iraq [remember Iraq?] the Sunnis are being preyed upon with lots of car bombs.  In Afghanistan, something is blowing up on what seems like a daily basis.  Syria.  Well, Syria is the whole caboodle – bombs, rockets, IUD’s.  Nerve gas?  May be.  The Israelis and the French say so and the Obama administration is carefully considering its opinion and its options as it once said: nerve gas use is one step too far, the red line, the Rubicon. 

Shootings go on unabated in this country – and elsewhere.  Italy had two policemen shot as the new government was sworn in. 

We have a cornucopia of violence in the world. 

After my last letter, a good friend asked me if all this made me angry as well as sad.  OF COURSE it makes me angry.  And what is frustrating is to whom do I direct my anger?  At Congress, for failing to pass background checks even though 90% of the country seemed to want them, according to polls.  Yes, I am angry at Congress and background checks are only part of the reason I am angry at Congress.  This bunch seems to be a particularly inept set of boobs but then Washington somehow has always seemed to attract an inept set of boobs.  Another friend of mine, in her brief time in Washington, sat next to a Senator only to realize he was one of the stupidest men she had ever encountered.  How do we elect stupid people?  And we do, not always, but we do.  How else do you explain Michelle Bachman?

And it is not just the U.S. that has this problem.  Every democracy seems to have this problem.  It seems one of the issues with democracy.  Go back to the Greeks.  I’m sure they had their fair share of elected boobs. 

Last night I was at a dinner and found myself silent while listening to people talk about gun control.  I said nothing because there was no room in what was being said for a dissenting opinion.  Minds were made up and I wasn’t ready to spoil a pleasant social gathering with a dissenting opinion in a room that had no space for it.  And that made me sad.  We’re polarized and unable to discuss opposing opinions.

Yet, interestingly, I found myself in all of this, a greater admirer of America than I usually am – and I have been aware of how fortunate we are since I was a kid, returning from Honduras.  There I was confronted with how lucky I was as a middle class American kid.  I had hot water every day.  I had my own bedroom, my own bathroom.  I had…so much, in comparison.

And despite all our faults, our boobs in Congress, our rapacious corporations and their lobbyists, we are still an amazing experiment in the history of the world.  Flawed and faulted, I admit, but still an amazing experiment still being worked on in the laboratory. 

As the night turns from grey to black, here at Claverack Cottage, I am hoping we continue to experiment and that we find success in the laboratory of history.