Posts Tagged ‘Cruz’

Letter From New York 05 07 2016 Thoughts from yesterday…

May 7, 2016

The town of Fort McMurray, in the heart of Canada’s oil patch, is burning to the ground as I write.  88,000 people are being evacuated.  One who has remained to assist in fueling emergency workers described the city, according to Vice, as a “f**king ghost town.”  Reports are calling the situation barely managed chaos. Convoys are transporting people out of town and 8,000 have been airlifted out.

The Prime Minister of Turkey has resigned after a fight with President Erdogan.  As I understand it, in Turkey it’s the PM who is supposed to have the power while the President does the meeting and the greeting.  Erdogan doesn’t see it that way and has been keeping hold on the reins of power.  This resignation makes it easier for Erdogan to consolidate power.  Turkey is troubled, fighting a Kurdish insurgency, IS, wrestling with refugees and a population that is growing antagonistic to Erdogan.

I still would like to go back to the “Turquoise Coast” of that country, sun dappled and bucolic.

Not bucolic is the state of American politics.  Trump continues to rise and has no opposition on his march to the nomination.  Cruz and Kasich are gone. The Presidents Bush, number 41 and 43, have signaled they will not endorse him. Paul Ryan is “not ready” at this time to endorse Trump.  The Trump campaign approached over a hundred Republican politicos to say something good about Trump.  Only twenty responded; the others were “too busy.”

As I gave my last lecture, the students were commenting on how exhausted they were of the political season and the near certainty that Trump will be the Republican nominee has only heightened their distaste for politics; all suspect an ugly, brutal slugfest between the two candidates, neither of whom they admire, assuming Hillary is nominated, as it looks she will. The aspirational nature of politics has slipped away from us.

And before it is done, something like $4 billion will be spent on this election, twice what was spent in 2012.

President Obama implored reporters to focus on issues and not “the spectacle and circus” that has marked coverage so far of the 2016 Presidential race.  After all, being President of the United States is “not a reality show.”  Amen…

A Fort Valley State University student, in central Georgia, was stabbed to death as he came to aid three women who were being harassed and groped near the school cafeteria.  Rest in peace, Donnell Phelps, all of nineteen.

Two are dead and two are wounded in shootings is suburban Maryland, three at Montgomery Mall, where I have shopped and one at a grocery store nine miles away.  One man is believed responsible.  If it is the man police suspect, he killed his wife last night when she was at school, picking up their children.  He was under court order to stay away from her.

It is a grey afternoon as I write this, in a stretch of chill, grey days and news like the above deepens the pall of the day.

If you are feeling grey because “Downton Abbey” has slipped into the past, its creator, Julian Fellowes, took Trollope’s novel, “Doctor Thorne” and brought it to life.  Amazon has purchased it and will stream it beginning May 20.  Fill a hole in your viewing heart.

In my heart, I want a new iPhone and I am probably going to wait until the fall when Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, tells us that the iPhone 7 will give us features we can’t live without.  What they are, I don’t know.  I am writing this on a train going north and can’t stream on Amtrak’s wifi.

Speaking of Amtrak, I booked a trip from New York to Minneapolis on the train for July 20th to visit my brother and his family.  I am taking a train to DC, the Capital Limited out of there to Chicago and the Empire Builder from Chicago to Minneapolis.  I hope it will be good fun.

Fun seems to be what we need these days.  Our politics are not fun.  The constant barrage of shootings is not fun, not remotely.  The economy, while growing, isn’t growing fast enough which is not fun.

What will be fun is that Lionel and Pierre are going to be at their home across the street from me this weekend and I will get to see them.

Letter From New York 04 25 2016 From beheadings to Deflategate…

April 25, 2016

I’m not sure where the term “dog tired” came from but that’s what I am today, “dog tired.”  When I woke it was a grey, chill day, unremittingly grey.  At class I was struggling to get my rambunctious students to pay attention while I was helping them fill in the background of what they needed to know about media history.   

Most of them are graduating in three weeks and there are only four more classes for them and you can sense them stampeding toward the doors. 

Leaving them, I went down to Relish, the little cafe by the train station and had an egg white omelet, reading a mystery by Louise Penny while eating.  Coming home, I did a conference call and then prepped for some interviews I am doing for our community radio station tomorrow.

The American Dance Institute has purchased a rundown lumberyard in Catskill and is converting it to performance spaces and living quarters for artists while they’re in residence.  It’s an exciting project…

I am talking to Chris Bolan, their Community Relations Manager, tomorrow about the project.

So right now, I am listening to jazz, sipping a much needed martini and working on  figuring out kitchen organization.  I have more stuff than space.  What goes?  What stays and where does what stays, go?

One of the reasons I felt tired or maybe a bit depressed was that as I was walking toward my class, the phone pinged and the BBC reported a leading gay activist in Bangladesh had been hacked to death, not too long after a liberal blogger had been similarly dispensed.  I felt sad, angry, helpless, wanting to do something to change the tide of hate sweeping the world and not knowing at all what to do about it.

The afternoon brought news that a Canadian in the Philippines has been killed by an Islamist militant group.  His name was John Ridsdel, described as brilliant and compassionate; he was a 68 year old tourist from Calgary, Canada.  Beheaded, of course, in keeping with tradition.

On the American political scene, Cruz and Kasich made a pact to stop Trump by Kasich withdrawing from Indiana in favor of Cruz and Cruz withdrawing from Oregon in favor of Kasich.  After great fanfare this morning, it seems to have fallen apart by the afternoon.

It was not a good day for the New England Patriot’s Tom Brady as the courts upheld his suspension from the first four games of the season.  Deflategate has not gone away; its repercussions are still being felt and Brady’s legacy is at stake.  He could still appeal but his chances aren’t good.  The NFL may well have won.

Hard for me to figure this out as I am not a football fan; never a big fan, I was totally lost to the sport when the concussion revelations began to happen.

It is a mellow night at the cottage.  It is 7:30 and the sun has not yet gone away.  There are buds on the trees and the rhododendron are starting their bloom.  The jazz has energized me and I am happy now.  Somehow, in writing this, I have shed this day.  And I am grateful.

Thank you.

Letter From New York 03 05 2016 From Churchill to Yemen…

March 6, 2016

Winston Churchill used to say he was chased by the “black dog,” depression.  It chased him his whole life and he ran, mostly successfully, from it his whole life. Sometimes, when the “black dog” felt particularly close, Winston would sometimes go off to Morocco and paint, drink and think and probably write.  He wrote more than Dickens and Shakespeare combined.

He may well have been a manic-depressive.  During the war he was followed around by his personal physician, Lord Moran, who prescribed upper and downers to manage the moods of the great man.

He was black dogged by depression and I was thinking about that last night as I rode home on the train, black dogged myself.  I had gone down to the city yesterday, had a full day of appointments and when I stepped on the train last night I was exhausted and felt the old black dog nipping at my heels.

When I got home, I went to bed almost immediately and fell asleep early watching an episode of “Doc Martin,” about an English doctor only marginally more cranky than I was last night.

When the morning broke, I was my usual sunny self and, while sipping tea, worked on next week’s lectures.  The day was spent on that and the Saturday chores.  Young Nick was here and we did things that needed to be done, mounting a light fixture, cleaning, sorting, rearranging, bringing in wood and dealing with the trash.  The things we do on Saturday.

Going down to the Dot, I welcomed Alana back from three weeks in Costa Rica and then, after an omelet and a Bloody Mary, came home to write my letter, which often is one of the most pleasurable times in the day. 

Turning on the floodlights so the creek is illuminated, I sorted through the last couple of days.

The rise of Trump has been a constant cause for conversation though as I returned home, I discovered Ted Cruz had won the Kansas caucuses and he is at least as frightening to me as Trump.  Both of them seem to me to be wack-a-doodles from some other dimension.  This earns me no points with my conservative friends but it’s true; it’s how I feel.

Caitlin Jenner wants to be Ted Cruz’s “trans ambassador.”  I am not sure he’s interested in having one.

Popular comedian Louis CK has implored his fans not to vote for Trump, likening him to Hitler.  Trump, not necessarily looking to support Louis CK’s view of him, announced he would increase the use of torture if he were President.

“Downtown Abbey” ends tomorrow night.  I have already seen the last episode as I subscribed to the feed through iTunes.  Let’s tip a hat to Alistair Bruce, who was in charge of making sure it was historically accurate.  He did a magnificent job.

A fire is burning in the stove; I’ve rearranged some lights in the house.  I like the effect as I sit here at the dining room table, the creek lit in front of me, jazz playing and my thoughts running.

Four nuns and twelve others were killed in Yemen during an attack.  Gunmen entered the building, handcuffed the victims and then shot them.  It’s not yet clear who carried out the attack.  The Pope has decried it; the nuns were members of the order founded by Mother Theresa.

Boko Haram, the scourge of Nigeria, is suffering from a food crisis.  With all the people who have fled them, no is left to grow crops or herd animals and they are beginning to starve.  Hungry and desperate, they are ruthlessly raiding which, I suspect, will only increase the cycle they have created.

And in my cycle, I am going to sign off for tonight.  I need to be up in the morning, work on my lectures and then to church.  I signed up to do coffee hour on Easter Sunday, not quite realizing that it was a major, major thing and I am now expected to come up with something quite spectacular.  Cookbooks are out.  Recipes are being reconnoitered. 

I have a meeting about this tomorrow at 12:30.  I think I may have over stretched and I will rise to the challenge.