Posts Tagged ‘Drachma’

Letter From New York 07 06 15 On the train, riding north…

July 6, 2015

Another grey summer day… Outside the sky is filled with clouds, hiding the sun, casting a great pall on the day. It has become the norm not the exception. So I am taking it all in stride and not allowing the grey to take my good spirits away, as I am in good spirits. Having had a good weekend in Baltimore, I am now on the train, gliding north, slowing down for a stop in Philadelphia before heading out for the stretch into New York, including the now infamous curve where a Regional train derailed.

The world’s markets have had a muted response with far less turbulence than had been feared. The Euro slipped against major currencies. Yanis Varoufakis, the Minister for Finance in Greece, resigned. Statements that he made saying Greece would start to use an “alternate” currency seems to have pushed him out. He said other European Ministers did not want him at the table. He will “wear the creditor’s loathing with pride.”

Probably good he is gone, replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos, a Greek negotiator called in when Varoufakis got too strident.

The European Central Bank is not pumping further money into the Greek banking system, a reality that is putting more pressure on those banks, which will stay closed for the next few days. Greeks are stocking up on staples, as they haven’t a clue what the future will hold. Some Greeks think Europe is purposely is working to push Greece out of the Euro and back into the Drachma.

It is a Greek drama being played out.

The British press is still having a field day with Princess Charlotte’s Christening and it is also taking time, in a hundred different ceremonies, to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Srebrenica massacres. In an act of genocide, thousands of Muslim men and boys were gathered up and slaughtered in that town. Serbians hate it when the world calls it “genocide” but it probably was…

President Obama made a rare visit to the Pentagon today to be briefed on the progress we are making against IS. He states that we don’t have a “complete strategy” for training Iraqi troops. And that is true.

An Iraqi jet accidentally bombed a section of Baghdad, killing twelve. How does one “accidentally” bomb one’s own capital? Enquiring minds would like to know.

Hundreds of thousands gathered for the Pope’s Mass in Guayaquil, Ecuador where he extolled the virtues of the family. He has chosen to go to three of South America’s poorest countries with his message of hope and spirituality.

In South Carolina they are debating whether to remove the Confederate Flag from the grounds of the state Capital. Lindsey Graham, Senator from that State, is, like many Republicans, attempting to distance himself from The Donald and his anti-Mexican statements.

I am almost feeling sorry for the GOP. But not quite.

Not feeling sorry for but definitely impressed by Warren Buffet, “The Oracle of Omaha” who just deposited $2.8 billion in five different foundations’ accounts. Worth $70 billion, he is determined to give much of it away.

Prince Alwaleed, the 34th richest person in the world, has just announced his is giving away his entire thirty some billion dollar fortune.

The Grateful Dead have played their last concert, closing with an exhortation to the crowds to “be kind.” I doubt there will ever be a band like them again. Never a great fan, I did honor their iconic place in American music. Go in peace; enjoy the next part of your lives.

The next part of my life is an evening in New York. The train is sliding through New Jersey and shortly we will be in New York. I am going to drop some things at the office and then I will head north to the apartment, drop some things and find myself some dinner, probably at Thai Market, my favorite Thai restaurant in the city.

Good evening, everyone!

Letter From New York 04 27 15 The drumbeat of news…

April 27, 2015

Waking this morning, I checked the headlines on my phone and saw that the disaster in Nepal keeps getting worse as the country finds itself unable to do much to stem the aftereffects of the monster earthquake. The country is continuously being wracked by aftershocks. There is minimal organizational infrastructure.

Aid organizations all knew that this quake would happen eventually. The Kathmandu Valley is highly seismically active, a place where two tectonic plates meet. They knew it would be very bad.

The death toll is closing in on the 4000 mark. People are still sleeping in the streets, frightened to go indoors. Food and water are running out in some areas and the threat of disease will grow with each passing day.

Four Americans are so far counted among the dead, including a popular executive at Google, Dan Fredingburg, as well as a documentarian who was making a film about the base camp on Everest.

Compounding the difficulties is that the UN and other aid organizations are all attempting to deal with multiple “Level 3” crises in numerous spots all at the same time. There is no Level 4.

In Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and many more places, needs are exceeding resources. Governments aren’t donating as much as usual nor are individuals. Need has never been greater than since the end of World War II.

Elsewhere on the world stage, the leaders of Sudan and Kazakhstan were re-elected with 90 plus percent of the votes in their respective countries. Almost too good to be true, don’t you think?

In Colorado, James Holmes, who in a gun rampage in a movie theater, killed twelve and wounded seventy, is going on trial today. He is pleading insanity though some of his examiners have proclaimed him sane. Prosecutors are protesting his plea.

It is bringing wounds to the surface for the survivors just as the trial for Tsarnaev did in Boston.

He is now facing sentencing and people in Boston torn between death and life in prison.

In Baltimore, thousands showed up for the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died of spinal injuries incurred while in police custody. There have been reports that gang members intend to “take out” police officers. It’s not known if those threats are directly linked to Gray’s death but Baltimore is advising police to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families.

In breaking news, seven police officers have been badly injured there.

Techies will be delighted that Facebook has added video messaging capabilities to its Facebook Messenger.

Jayne Meadows, actress and widow of comedian Steve Allen, died today at 95. Her late husband was the first host of “The Tonight Show” and her sister, Audrey, starred in “The Honeymooners.” She was nominated for Emmy Awards three times in her career.

“Fast and Furious” remained the most popular movie at the box office this past weekend, now having grossed more money than “Frozen.”

“The Bali Nine” are a group that has been convicted of smuggling drugs in Indonesia. They are facing death by firing squad. One of them, Andrew Chan, has married his fiancée in the days just ahead of his scheduled execution. Many governments have been putting pressure on Indonesia not to carry out the executions but there have been no signs of it bending so far.

In Europe, markets rallied as optimism about Greece resolving its debt crisis rose today though many think it is just a matter of time before the drachma becomes the Greek currency again. Some politicians in Europe are talking about the possibility of a Plan B for Greece, which is resulting in the optimism.

In the far east of Russia, workers building a new space port are being told that they will finally receive millions of rubles in back wages after they complained on a call in show with Putin.

Putin says Russia’s “quasi partners” were apparently counting on a collapse in the Russian economy but that, he says emphatically, has not happened.

What is happening today is there is a panel being produced by the Producer’s Guild of America, of which I am a humble member, on multi channel networks, which I am attending tonight.

Outside it is sunny but there has been talk of rain and perhaps hail this evening, so I made sure I had an umbrella with me today, just in case. I am definitely hoping not to have to use it.

Afterwards, I am going out for a drink with my friend, Greg Nelson, and then home to my apartment to catch some sleep. The cottage is being repainted so I am staying away this week.