Posts Tagged ‘Current Events’

Letter From Claverack 03/02/2017 From Saba to a Trump Speech…

March 3, 2017

It has been about ten days since I’ve written; I just went back and looked.  Last time, I was on Saba, writing when I wasn’t able to sleep.  Tonight, I am back at my dining room table, floodlights on, looking out over the creek, having just returned from Coyote Flaco with Pierre, sharing chicken fajitas.

When I reached the cottage this afternoon, I felt I’d been away for a week, at least.  Monday morning, I went down to DC for some meetings for the Miller Center on the Presidency and then to New York last night to have a wonderful dinner with my friends, David and Annette Fox.  It’s a quarterly event; we gather at their marvelous UWS apartment, order Indian and catch up on our lives.

It is very hygge.  As was the dinner party I gave last Friday night for Fayal Greene, her husband, David, Ginna and Don Moore, Lionel and Pierre.  Leek soup, sautéed scallops in a brown butter sauce, and carrots in a lemony oil garlic sauce, with a baked polenta to die for, followed by a flourless chocolate cake provided by Ginna and Don, via David the baker.


It was an extraordinary evening.

And I, at least, need evenings like this to keep me sane in these extraordinary times.

On Tuesday evening, in Washington, after an early dinner with my friends Matthew and Anne, which followed drinks with my ex-partner and his now fiancé, I watched the address to Congress by our President, Donald Trump.

To the great relief of almost the entire world, he did not go off the rails and sounded presidential.  It was, Tuesday night, all about the delivery.  Wednesday morning people started to parse what he said.  Even the conservative writers that I read, and I do read some, found a lot of flaws with the speech.

Short on specifics.

Fact checkers found a lot of fault, pointing out Trump claimed as victories some things which had been in play for a year at some corporations.  Ford isn’t keeping production in the US because of Trump; they are pulling back on their Mexican plans because those plants would have built small cars and people aren’t buying them.  They’re buying gas guzzlers because gas is cheapish again.

When talking with David and Annette, I said that if Trump had not held it together last night, his presidency would have begun to unravel.  He would actually be President but, in reality, his claim to power would have begun collapsing.  Lots of people on his side of the aisle are slightly unhinged by his behavior.  McCain and Graham are frankly, I think, apoplectic.

And he held it together and while he should have been able to take a victory lap, Wednesday morning brought the revelation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had said in confirmation meetings he had not met with any Russians in the run-up to the election, actually had two meetings with the Russian Ambassador, one in his office on Capitol Hill.

Republicans are excusing while Democrats and some Republicans are accusing.

This is a wild ride and I’ve never seen anything like it.

Sessions has since recused himself from all investigations regarding anything Russian but there are those on both sides of the aisle who smell blood in the water.

While we were having political meltdowns, Amazon’s vaulted cloud computing world went offline yesterday for 4 hours and 17 minutes because of a typo in a command.  OOPS.

It’s a little scary.  150,000 websites were affected.  Amazon is the king of cloud storage and that’s a big oops for the King.  I would not have wanted to be the head of that division yesterday.

And, before Tuesday’s Trump speech, we had the foll der wall of the biggest Oscar mistake in history.  First “La La Land” was announced as Best Picture but it really was “Moonlight.”  Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were humiliated and PwC, the accountants, were more than humiliated.  They handed out a wrong envelope.


When it happened, I was safely in the arms of Morpheus, having strange dreams of Mike Bloomberg dating the pastor of my church, Mother Eileen.

Snap Inc. had a very successful opening on the market today; it was the biggest initial offering since Facebook and they have a rocky road to travel and they are a force to be reckoned with and it will be wonderful to see how it plays out.  The next Facebook? Or the next troubled tech company, which is where Twitter is today.

It’s time for me to say goodnight.

By hygge.  Regardless of your political persuasion, it will help us all get through.




Letter From New York 01 11 09

January 13, 2009

Letter From New York
January 11, 2009

It is a Sunday evening; as the sun set last night snow began to fall. When I woke this morning, there was a foot in the circular drive of the house. It had been my intention to go into the city and meet some friends but as soon as I opened the door I knew it wasn’t going to be my day to go to the city.

So I curled up in the cottage, read magazines, talked to friends and family, had a fire in the stove, listened to music, did paperwork, spent time with myself. On Tuesday I have to go out to Los Angeles, something that came together on Friday and so it felt good to be able to spend some unexpected time with myself in my home.

Out there in the world, it is not a pretty place. Both Hamas and Israel are rejecting the cries for ceasefire so the dying goes on. Particularly difficult to see are the photos of children hurt, frightened, scared to death by forces they didn’t create but which are shaping their lives going forward. All around the world protests and counter protests are being staged. Support Gaza! Support Israel! Supporting either side isn’t getting the killing stopped. What is particularly troubling is the charge that Hamas is using innocent civilians as human shields. Israel says it is near to achieving its goals in Gaza. However the offensive will continue. Why? May be because Hamas is lobbing bigger rockets into Israel. None of this, of course, is doing much to resolve the underlying issues but it is doing a good job of making sure they don’t soon get resolved.

While Gaza suffers, Hollywood gathers to award the Golden Globes. It’s the official beginning of the march to The Oscars. No matter what the shape the world is in, we continue to celebrate the work done in movies and on television. The Oscars were a constant during the Great Depression and will be a constant through whatever it is we end up calling this crisis.

The ripples continue from the Madoff affair, people constantly performing exegesis on the events, attempting to understand how a fraud of this dimension could have gone undetected, especially by his own sons – who seem to have little to say about the matter. Meanwhile, it has now become apparent that it will take years to unravel the mystery of the affair. Meanwhile, Mr. Madoff is working out a defense. Insanity is being floated; it hasn’t resonated well so far. We’ll see if they actually use it.
In one of the rare instances of sane behavior on the part of the Bush Administration, we discovered this weekend that they denied the Israelis high tech bombs so they could attack the Iranian nuclear facilities. It was a rare instance of restraint on their part, for which I am grateful – one of the few things from this Administration for which I am grateful.

This has been the week in which Forbes did a study of the effects upon billionaires, giving us a look at twenty-five of them who have been ravaged by the crash. Some of them are barely millionaires any more. There is one man who has in the last nine months lost twenty-five BILLION dollars. Losses all around are staggering.

It is winter and I am warm and cozy in the cottage. Europe has been living under the threat of freezing because of a gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia. Pictures from eastern Europe showed people shivering on trains that weren’t being heated to save fuel. A deal was done between Ukraine and Russia that resolved the problem; it began to, not surprisingly, unravel almost immediately. The EU is scrambling to save the deal – one fifth of its natural gas flows through the Ukrainian pipeline and temperatures are dropping.

What I am seeing at the end of this cozy Sunday in the cottage is that the world is in a very hard place and it seems that the issues may be insurmountable. However, we are human and in the human heart beats hope and hope is what we need right now.