Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Hastert’

Letter From New York, via the Vineyard 06 22 2016 Far from the madding crowd but all too aware of it…

June 23, 2016

It is peaceful here in Edgartown, sitting watch a sailboat motor past my window.  The harbor has been filling up with more boats each week that I have been here.  The moorings are filling up with boats of all kinds, small and large.  Far away, just outside the harbor sits a huge motor yacht.  I think it’s been here every year I have. 

Tomorrow, by this time, we should know if Britain has decided to “Brexit” or not and on Friday we will see how the markets respond.  It will be, I am told in newspaper reports, a slow unwinding that will take at least two years.  On the way home from the bookstore, I heard a report that those in Britain who would support Trump are those who support “Brexit.”  They are older, rural, and less educated.   The young in Britain support remaining but have a shabby record of voting. 

It is too close to call.

Jo Cox, the British MP, murdered by a man shouting “Britain first!” as he killed her while she was campaigning against “Brexit” would have turned 42 today.

Right now, led by Representative John Lewis, Democrats are staging a Congressional “sit in” to push Republicans to do something about gun control after four separate bills on the subject failed to pass, blocked by Republicans.  John Lewis is an older African American who cut his chops in the civil rights era and is taking what he learned there to literally the floor of Congress.  Representative Joe Kennedy, a scion of that famous clan, is also on the floor with him.  As is the New York Congressman just to the south of me, Sean Maloney, an openly gay man who lives with his husband and children in Rhinebeck.

Trump is stumping.  He speechified and NPR annotated.  Here is the link: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/23/us/politics/donald-trump-speech-highlights.html?_r=0

Worth reading…

Mr. Trump owns a golf course in Scotland.  Locals have raised a Mexican flag in view of the course to articulate their displeasure with the man.  He promised 6,000 jobs.  He created 150.

Since last writing, Trump has said, “You’re fired!” to Corey Lewandowski who had been his campaign manager.  Apparently, Trump’s family pressured him into it.

In Pakistan, the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assassination of Amjad Sabri, a Sufi Muslim singer, shot while heading to a performance, shortly after leaving home.  The Pakistanis are outraged.  The Taliban claimed his form of singing mystical Islamic poetry was “blasphemous.”  Most thought it beautiful.

There are at least hundreds of thousands in the Federal Prison System. Inmate No. 47991-424 is Dennis Hastert, once Speaker of the House, now imprisoned because he lied about bank transfers that were being paid to cover up he had sexually abused a boy when he was a wrestling coach.

In disturbing news, it appears the Pentagon is not letting people know if Americans are being wounded or killed in Iraq and Syria as it would “not be helpful.”  By the time the Mideast fiasco is finished we will have wasted five trillion dollars.  Five trillion dollars…

There is a lavender light over the harbor, the water is peaceful.  I am writing while watching the news with my friend Jeffrey as I slip into another almost bucolic evening in the Vineyard.  Here it is peaceful, far from the madding world.

Letter From New York 06 09 15 From gloomy days to bright news…

June 9, 2015

Yesterday, I spent the day in meetings and in transit. On the train coming back to New York, my laptop was low on battery power and the outlet seemed a bridge too far as I was in an aisle seat on a train going north and the outlet was near the window, occupied by chargers owned by the young lady sitting next to me. So I settled in and napped and read a book. She got off the train at Metro Park and I powered up as much as I could in the short time between there and New York City.

The result: no letter yesterday.

Today is another grey and gloomy day in New York, as it was mostly grey and gloomy in Baltimore over the weekend, as it has seemed mostly grey and gloomy for the last month or so, which, according to reports, was the wettest May in years, hence the grey and gloomy.

In a bit, I’m off to have lunch with my sister-in-law’s sister and her husband, who are in New York. Cliff and Barb are lovely people and we attempt a lunch or dinner whenever they are in New York.

Mostly, I am in a good mood this morning though I wonder what my mood would be like if I was Albert Woodfox, a Louisiana man who has spent forty-three years in solitary confinement. He has been ordered released though Louisiana says they are going to fight it. He was accused of killing a prison guard in a riot. Twice tried, and twice the verdict was overturned.

I think of myself as reasonably self-reliant but forty-three years alone would cause me to go over the edge, I suspect. Louisiana has temporarily blocked his release though hope remains.

In other prison news, the search is on for two killers who escaped from Clinton in upstate New York. They used power tools to escape – and one wonders how they got power tools – cutting through steel, down six floors, through a steam pipe, out the steam pipe and through a manhole. Authorities are guessing they had inside help. They are questioning a female prison employee but have not charged her with anything.

They could, at this point, be anywhere and the search has expanded across all of North America. I am sure they are looking for a new life though it is going to be hard to find when everyone is looking for you.

As Caitlin Jenner starts her new life, some things are still following her from her old life. When still Bruce Jenner, she was involved in a car crash in Malibu that resulted in a fatality. The dead women’s stepchildren have filed a lawsuit, as has the woman who owned the third car involved in the pile-up. At this point, it is not expected that Jenner will be charged.

There was an extensive article today from the BBC outlining life in Mosul under IS. It does not sound pretty. Woman must go out in black from top to bottom and their faces must be covered. If a man is convicted of adultery, he is thrown from the roof of a tall building; a woman is stoned. Thievery is punished with the removal of a hand. Minorities are being persecuted and thus areas of Mosul once occupied by them stand empty as minorities have fled for the most part. You will probably be flogged if you are caught smoking a cigarette. People seem to be living in terror and stay shut up in their houses.

As we all know, it is the summer of Presidential candidates. Rick Santorum is stumping through Iowa and an astounding four people showed up at an event. There were more reporters than voters. Rick brushed it off and said it was all part of “the plan.” Jeb Bush will likely announce his candidacy next Monday. Probably about time – he has begun to get questions about acting like a candidate without actually having declared his candidacy.

Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House, declared his innocence today of lying to Federal investigators about movements of money, allegedly made to “Individual A” as a result of “past misconduct” on Hastert’s part. He’s been accused of sexual abuse to male minors during his time as a wrestling coach in Illinois but that’s not what he’s been indicted for; that’s for lying about the money movements.

The Fifth Circuit Court, highly conservative, upheld the toughest provisions in Texas’ Abortion Laws, which might result in 13 of 21 clinics closing in that state.

102-year-old Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport, was denied the right to defend her doctoral thesis in 1938 because she was part Jewish. Today, the University of Hamburg awarded her a Doctorate after her successful oral defense. According to the University, she was “brilliant” and not just for her age.

Letter From New York 05 29 15 Riding up the Hudson, ruminating on the world…

May 30, 2015

It is a stunningly beautiful day as I ride the train north, having slipped out of town early. To my left, the Hudson runs wide with sun glints coming off the silver grey surface of the water. It is sunny and warm, with a soft breeze blowing with low humidity. Saturday will probably be like this though there is rain in the forecast for Sunday with cooler temperatures.

My mood is better today; I feel less weighted by the world and its events. I feel more accepting that there is ONLY so much I can do individually and that as long as I feel I am doing that, I can breathe a little easier.

It is still a crazy world. In my home state of Minnesota, a Muslim couple was picking up their son at the home of one of his friends. While waiting for him in the car, they were approached by a woman with a rifle who forced them out of the car and marched them at gunpoint to the house where they told her their son was so that they could prove it to her.

The boy was there.

The woman is facing charges of assault, terroristic threats, terroristic threats-reckless endangerment and maybe some more.

This kind of occurrence just strikes me as so un-Minnesota like. You know, Minnesota nice, it’s baked into us.

She must have skipped that part of the cultural indoctrination.

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is being charged with lying to the FBI about cash withdrawals from banks that allegedly were going to “Individual A.” Apparently, Hastert was paying hush money to a man for inappropriate behavior years ago when he was a schoolteacher and a wrestling coach. Everyone who knows the Former Speaker is shocked as he always was a “stand-up” kind of guy.

He has made no statements but has resigned from his law firm and from the Board of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

In reading about this I was reminded that the Speaker of the House is second in succession for the Presidency. The thought of John Boehner being two heartbeats away from the Presidency is sobering, at least to me.

In the midst of probably the worst sports scandal in the last century, FIFA President Sepp Blatter was re-elected. While it seems unbelievable to me, he had a lot of support from Africa and South America, enough to propel him back for another term. The aftershocks of this affair will continue for a long time and there may be more arrests.

Cuba has been taken off the list of states that sponsor terrorism, paving the way for the normalization of relations. Visiting Cuba is on my bucket list, has been since I read Hemingway who had a home there.

Dressed in a burka, an IS devotee blew himself up at a mosque in Saudi Arabia, killing four, including himself.

In Pakistan, gunmen hijacked buses and ended in a battle with security forces. Nineteen civilians were killed.

North Korea, widely suspected of the hack attack against Sony Pictures, has something called Bureau 121, a cadre of 6000 hackers devoted to discovering ways to create digital trouble. Apparently, many of them operate out of China, some in the basement of well-reviewed restaurant.

Not a happy thought.

Out in California Michael Jackson’s fantasyland named “Neverland“ is for sale for $100,000,000. But now it’s called Sycamore Valley Ranch. It’s a stunning place for those who have a spare hundred mil.

The rain ravaged states of Texas and Oklahoma are going to be receiving drinking water from the breweries of Anheuser-Busch, which halted production of beer at one plant in Georgia and switched to canning drinking water, which is desperately needed. At least thirty-seven are dead in the two states.

Amazon is planning to create its own private label for a variety of foods. Called Elements, its first products were diapers and baby wipes. It is also opening data centers in Ohio that will employ about a thousand people. Amazon just keeps on growing…

Ross Ulbricht, creator of Silk Road, a dark Internet site for the sale of drugs, was sentenced to life in prison today.

The train is rolling into Hudson and I need to gather my things up and make my way over to my car for the short drive home before dinner at the Dot!