Posts Tagged ‘Denmark’

Letter From New York 01 27 16 Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and Michael Jackson all get in a car…

January 27, 2016

As I type, the train is sliding south towards New York City.  To my right, the sun is setting and the fading glints of golden sun are reflecting off the ice floes in the Hudson.

Friends warned me yesterday when they heard I was coming in to bring my boots.  The city is warming up and the snow is melting, creating rivers at the intersections.

There are a couple of meetings and then I get to see Kevin, my nephew, and to give him his wedding anniversary present to carry back to Washington, DC, where he and Michelle live.

Ammon Bundy, of the Oregon Stand-Off fame has been captured while one of his top lieutenants and frequent spokesperson for the group, was shot down after, reportedly, charging at the police.  According to reports, the dead rancher, LaVoy Finicum, had vowed to die before he went to jail.

About eight occupiers are still within the Refuge and are managing a live YouTube stream from there.  One faced the camera and said, “They’re coming to kill us.”  The FBI has been taking a patient stance on this one, letting time play out.

Playing up, or perhaps acting out, is Donald Trump who won’t appear on the Fox Republican Debate because Megyn Kelly is one of the moderators.  He used the word “bimbo” in relation to her in a tweet.  The tweet went : “I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, because that would not be politically correct. Instead I will only call her a lightweight reporter!”

What would a day right now be without another piece of mind from The Donald?

Perusing the entertainment news this evening, I fell upon a story of a new film, based on a Vanity Fair story, that has Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando all jumping into a car together to reach New York after 9/11.  The movie that will star Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor and Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson.  Brian Cox is Marlon.  Wait, Joseph Fiennes is a white actor best known for “Shakespeare in Love.”  Ahhhhhh, what are they thinking?  We’ll find out someday.

But what a concept, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and Michael Jackson in a car crossing America, together!  Sounds like an absurdist play… I think.

The Iranian President is visiting Italy.  A museum there covered its statues of naked men and women to be sure he wasn’t offended. When Italian journalists questioned this, no one has taken responsibility.  It happened but no one seems to have ordered it.  President Rouhani didn’t ask for it.  The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, didn’t suggest it.  The head of the museum is shrugging his shoulders.

Do you remember the DeLorean?  It is making a comeback!  A company has been formed and will make about four a month, to be sold for about $100,000 a piece.   It’s the car Marty McFly and Doc Brown flew into the future with in the “Back to the Future” series of films.

The Fed has hinted today that it is possibly still on track for a March rate hike which caused another day of market swoons.  But not for Facebook, it soared on rising revenue! But Apple, darling Apple, fell after reporting its best quarter ever but folks are worried it doesn’t have much up its sleeve for the future.

After the Nazis occupied Denmark and began ordering Jews to wear a yellow star, the Danish King started doing the same in an act of solidarity with his Jewish subjects.  Today Danish lawmakers passed a law that allows Denmark to seize the valuables of refugees seeking asylum there. 

It doesn’t seem a very Danish thing to do and underscores how frightened Europe is about the influx of immigrants.  The Danes are going to make the immigrants live in specific areas or camps which is going to increase their isolation and their dependance on the Danish government.

The US, historically, simply lets immigrants in and lets them go about their business, making us incredibly diverse and relatively peaceful in our diversity.  Europe doesn’t seem to be following our example — we haven’t done it perfectly but over time we have gotten more right than wrong.

The golden tinged sun has set; it is dark, the city approaches…

Letter From New York 02 31 15 A Day in Delhi…

March 31, 2015

It is relatively mild in Delhi today; rain last night broke the heat. In the morning I am off to Jaipur. If I can swing it, I will go to Goa for a day but so far the flight schedules aren’t accommodating. A friend surfaced there and I’d like to see him before I head back to the States on Sunday.

My friend Raja and I were supposed to go together to his wife’s shop in Delhi but he got caught up in an unexpected shoot and so I hired a car and driver and set off on my own. In the long ago and far away when I first was in Delhi, I would sometimes walk around Connaught Place and so I did again today.

It is largely filled today with international brands. Spread out in three concentric circles, it must have at least three or four McDonald’s. I passed at least three Van Heusen stores, Tommy Hilfiger, Levis, etc.

There were a couple of folks eager to direct me but I didn’t take their suggestions; instead I continued on my walk.

I also went to Diili Haat [I think that’s how it’s spelled], an open market where I got into the spirit of the bazaar and haggled over things I was bringing back as gifts and souvenirs. I also went to one of the Cottage Industries locations and vaguely remembered having been at one before and feeling like it was a bit overpriced. Wonderful rugs but I wasn’t feeling like $8,000 on a rug.

It was a good time, by myself, with Soni, my driver always at the ready. If I don’t get to Goa, I will ask for him again on Friday to take me around to places. In the morning, I am off to Jaipur with my other Delhi friend, Sanjay, and Andy, one of his friends. They have business there and while they do their business, I will sightsee.

I won’t be sightseeing in Bangladesh anytime soon. Another blogger was hacked to death there, in broad daylight, with meat cutting machetes. He was young and anti-Islamist. Three young men cut him down; two are in custody.

Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings pilot who apparently crashed his plane into the Alps, had been treated in the past for suicidal tendencies.

Denmark has agreed to join NATO’s missile defense system with at least one frigate. They agreed to do this last August. This week the Russian Ambassador to Denmark wrote an op-ed piece in a Danish newspaper warning Denmark they risk nuclear attack by Russia for doing so.

That’s the second time in a few weeks that Russia has rattled the nuclear sword.

Still rattled is the State of Indiana. Many of its Republicans simply don’t understand the firestorm that has arrived over their Religious Freedom Act. They are attempting to clarify it and stoutly claim it is not a cover for LGBT discrimination. Utah, that most religious of states, passed a Religious Freedom Act and it specifically provided protection for LGBT individuals.
More to come on this.

It will be interesting to see if there is going to be more tomorrow on the Iranian Nuclear deal. There is a self-imposed deadline of midnight tonight and it appears there are still hurdles to jump, not to mention i’s dotted and t’s crossed. It is mid-afternoon in Lausanne and they will keep talking until midnight, I’m sure. We’ll know tomorrow if the talking produced any kind of deal.

In Nigeria the election for President is coming to a close. It appears current President Jonathan Goodluck is losing. Mostly, the elections were peaceful. Hopefully, peace will be maintained as the results are announced.

Saudi Arabia continues to pound Yemen and says it will continue to do so until the rebels are finished. Iran seems to be sending some help to the rebels, who are Shia, as is Iran.

We now know that Trevor Noah is going to replace Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.”

And I know that I am going to go to dinner tonight and then off to Jaipur in the morning. More to come from there…

Letter From New York 02 15 15 During the blistering cold…

February 15, 2015

Outside the sun is shining down brilliantly; a bright white light is cast down on the mounds of snow outside my windows. It looks warm and inviting. It is not. The temperature is minus nine, wind chill factor, and will continue to go lower as the day progresses. It is the most brutally cold winter I remember since I have been here and I have commented to many a friend: it’s Minnesota cold.

At times, I have wanted to depart and head to the tropics until it breaks. I dress in layers and my feet are always cold, despite wool socks and boots. But that is the way of this winter. Cold and coldly beautiful, it seems to be one for the record books.

This morning, I rose and went down to Christ Church in Hudson with some friends and then moved on to the Red Dot for brunch. When I left the church, my car was momentarily obscured by the blowing snow. It is that kind of day. While I was out, the driveway was plowed and the walk shoveled, for which I am grateful. Tomorrow I will head down to New York City so I can be in place for an early meeting on Tuesday.

While I organize my week, Denmark is struggling to recover from a young man, freshly out of prison, who killed two and wounded five. It was a bit of a copycat event, modeled after the Charlie Hebdo incident in Paris. The supposed target in the first killing was a cartoonist, Lars Vik, who had satirized the Prophet Mohammed back in 2007 and has been under police protection ever since. The second victim was a young Jewish man who was acting as a volunteer security person at a Danish synagogue for a Bat Mitzvah.

In another act of brutality, the Libyan cohorts of ISIS have released a video purportedly showing the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians. They were singled out for their religion.

It sometimes feels like we are returning to the Middle Ages, when all sorts of heinous acts were justified in the name of religion. Certainly, those who claim allegiance to ISIS seem to be parading medieval characteristics of brutal killing for the sake of religion, not unlike the Christian Crusaders who rampaged through land after land in the late 11th Century, slaughtering Jews after they had paid Bishops for their safety. Eastern Orthodox Christians were also not immune from the wrath of the Crusaders. It was not a pretty time for Christianity and it has only been in the last few centuries that we have begun behaving civilly with each other. Perhaps someday the various branches of Islam will learn to live with each other and with us in a civil manner. But it is certainly not today.

In Ukraine the truce called for last night has slowed but not quelled the violence. Around the city of Debaltseve, a vital rail hub, there is still the sound of shelling. Other areas are seeing relief.

In Nigeria, a sixteen-year-old suicide bomber blew herself up at a crowded bus station, killing mostly children who were selling goods at the station. No one has yet claimed responsibility but it has the earmarks of Boko Haram. How does one get a sixteen-year-old girl to blow herself up?

Moving away from the violence wracking our world, there are rumors that Apple is considering building an electric car. I find this interesting – and not entirely improbable.

While I think I have it difficult with my blistering cold, I am not as unlucky as Boston, which has been hit with more snow and with brutal cold.

As I write this, the sun is beginning to set. Tonight on NBC there will be a 40th Anniversary Celebration of Saturday Night Live. A group of us are gathering to watch the event. It will be quite an event, probably a little raw and ragged at the edges, as the weekly show often is, and also probably full of magic moments, as the show regularly is.