Posts Tagged ‘Iran Deal’

Letter From Martha’s Vineyard 08 07 15 The day after the night before…

August 7, 2015

Sitting at the kitchen table at my friends’ home on Martha’s Vineyard, I have a stunning view of the harbor in Edgartown. The sky is a muted blue, I am facing Chappaquiddick, sailboats bob at anchor. I came in on the ferry from Woods Hole and Jeffrey picked me up in his motorboat, the “Mata Hari.”

It seemed fitting, as today is the anniversary of her birth, back in 1876. The French executed her as a German spy in October 1917.

The easiest way to get to Martha’s Vineyard from the cottage was for me to drive to Woods Hole and take the ferry from there, which I did. The drive was about 4.5 hours, longer than it needed to be because I made a few stops.

Listening to “The Roundtable,” a morning panel discussion of the news on Albany’s NPR station, WAMC, I heard an exegesis of last night’s Republican debate, dominated, as all supposed it would be, by The Donald. One of the panelists, when asked what he thought, stuttered for a moment and said, “It was good television.” Not necessarily a good debate, but good television.

Telling for what was to have been a serious policy conversation. My friend, Jan Hummel, wrote to me once that she did think Trump was saying what was on his mind and she wished all politicians would do that and stop their political correctness. Trump declared the Presidency of George W. Bush “a catastrophe.”

Apparently Ohio’s Kasich presented himself well. It was 50/50 on Jeb Bush. Good marks for Fox’s format and a fair amount of commenting on the amount that Roger Ailes, President of Fox News, involved himself but that’s not unusual for Ailes, who is more “hands on” than most Presidents.

The talk then turned to our state’s Senator, Chuck Schumer, who came out against the Iran Nuclear Deal. The panel felt it came down to the fact he is running for re-election and needs, politically, to be against it. Schumer, who is Jewish, is very close to Netanyahu and strong armed Democrats to go to the speech Netanyahu made to Congress. Most of the emails coming in during the broadcast castigated Schumer though some were supportive.

It is a problem for Obama [who arrives today on the Vineyard for his two week vacation]. It gives cover for other Democrats to say no to it.

Jon Stewart said good-bye last night and the reviews of the show were very good. As suspected, even if I had been able to watch, I wouldn’t have been awake for it. I dozed off about 9:30; book tumbled to my side and woke up at 4:30 with the light still on.

IS captured a town in Syria and, as they do, rounded up a number of citizens, including dozens of Christians, and herded them up a mountaintop. There is no word as to their fate.

A typhoon is bearing down on Taiwan, thousands are fleeing and two are dead already.

North Korea is creating its own time zone, moving the clock back half an hour. It doesn’t want to be in the same time zone as South Korea and Japan. It wants to break free from Imperialism. When the Japanese occupied Korea they brought the peninsula into coordination with their time zone. So there!

Some reports are saying that the piece of 777 debris washed up on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean is from MH 370. Some are saying that it probably is. The conflicting statements are causing anguish for the survivors of those onboard. Some feel there is a great cover-up occurring and that their relatives and friends may be alive somewhere but hidden.

What is not hidden from me is that Jeffrey has finished his shower and is now ready to get a drink in town. So I need to get myself ready to join him.

Good evenings, all!

Letter From New York 07 23 15 A perfect day in Columbia County…

July 24, 2015

In the west, the sun is slowly setting, a great golden orb pulsing through the trees and almost hurting my eyes as I sit at my desk typing. It has been a magical summer day in Columbia County. Rising early in a cool morning, I sat on my deck reading and sipping coffee, reminded of summer mornings when I was a child in Minnesota. Then the sun was glittering off the creek. Snapping a shot of it, I sent it to Nick Stuart, my friend who is currently touring Southern California with his daughter Francesca. He returned with a shot of a greyish morning in LA, with downtown Los Angeles visible in the background of the shot.

It is Thursday night and another week has slipped away. Last Friday night I was headed north, plumped with the excitement of having a full week at the cottage. Now that time has slipped away and it has been very sweet. Friends have visited, I have had friends for dinner, books have been read, shopping has been done and now that time is coming to an end. Next week I will be back in the city.

World events swirl around me while I am here and I make note of them but feel far from them. We have done a deal with Iran, something that seemed impossible. Republicans are going to attempt to derail it. Interestingly, the Ayatollah Khamenei seems to have decided he is okay with it. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Ash Carter, the Secretary of Defense, has surprised Baghdad with a visit to discuss the preparations to retake Ramadi from IS. How strange it is that I have become so familiar with such unfamiliar names of places like Ramadi. Years of war have caused them now to be tattooed on my brain.

Obama is about to make a visit to Kenya to address the Global Entrepreneurship Summit; Kenya is agog with excitement. Obama’s father was Kenyan of the Luo in the west of Kenya. “Mama Sarah,” his grandmother, will go to Nairobi to see him but he will not go to the ancestral lands of his father. Kenya is deeply invested in the success of Barak Obama. Schools are named after him; children are named after him. He is the “native” son who has become the leader of the most powerful nation on earth.

Ah, the sun has slipped down and the sky is now a soft pearl grey. Twilight has arrived while I review the events of the day.

NASA has announced the finding of a near Earth twin, Keplar 452b. Well, may be an older cousin like planet but one that holds the possibility for all the factors NASA believe are necessary for life. Heavier gravity, older than earth, but in the “Goldilocks” zone, it may well be a place where life has evolved. Hopefully, radio telescopes are looking at it to see if there are messages that might be coming from it. Unfortunately, it is 1400 light years from here. We will need warp drive to get there.

Donald Trump is in Laredo, Texas. I would so like to chat with my friend Alicia who is from there. Would love to get her take on his visit. He is causing constant conniptions in Republican circles, even more so now that he is thinking of running as a 3rd party candidate. They see catastrophe in front of them. The Donald is leading in the polls! And if he doesn’t get the nomination, he might not go away! Ouch!

How rich is he? Hard to tell from the forms filed but Forbes is guessing $4 billion.

The Euro is up on the progression of Greece obtaining new loans from the EU. Reading an article just now it seemed like it’s Peter borrowing from Paul to pay…I have to say it seems more and more like a house of cards that will only work if there is a reduction in Greece’s debt, which is unsustainable. The country can’t survive with the amount of debt it has.

The sun is almost gone. Evening is upon us. The light has turned on for the fountain in the courtyard. Soon it will be summer dark.

What a wonderful summer day it has been. I am going to curl up with a new book or a good movie and let the day slip away. Tomorrow I have lunch with a new friend and then dinner at home with my friends Susan and Jim; we know each other from the train.

Perfect. May your day be perfect too!

Letter From New York 04 03 15 Good Friday in Delhi…

April 3, 2015

To my great surprise, I discovered that today, Good Friday, is a national holiday in India, created as such in an effort to secularize India. My friend, Sanjay, thought it was an excellent idea.

Felled late last night by Jaipur’s version of Delhi Belly, I spent an uncomfortable night, waking tired but with the storm having passed. So far, so good today. I’ve been incredible lucky health wise in India, except for last night.

Meeting Sanjay for breakfast, I declined to go with him on a business meeting he had and went back to my room and slept an extra hour, which was good for me. I read a little, did a few emails and then Sanjay and I headed out of Jaipur toward Delhi.

As I have become accustomed to doing, I willed myself into nap mode on the drive back, finding it easier on the system to not watch in real time the continuous close calls that make up a day on the road in India. I popped an eye open to see that we were virtually on top of another vehicle. Closing my eyes again, I went back to my happy place.

On the part of the trip when I was awake, Sanjay commented to me that he is discouraged by how India does not pick up after itself. He said that it was always dusty and dirty but not trashy, now trash lines the roads in some parts. Such is India. Up and coming and down and dirty.

At one point, we drove through Gurgoan, a city within the city of Delhi, skyscrapers swarming the landscape, modern buildings that look like they belong in Phoenix or Des Moines or any other mid-sized American city. It’s where the advertising agencies have settled along with most of the cable networks, like Discovery.

Next time you suspect your customer service call has been directed to India, it may well be to one of the buildings in Gurgoan.

From my long night last night, I am planning to stay in my room and recuperate. I’m still a bit tired.

Tomorrow morning, I am having a late coffee with Kiran Karnik, who was head of Discovery India at the time I was out helping with the launch. He has gone on to do many more things, including leading NASSCOM, the association for the software industry in India.

Following that, my friend Raja is picking me up so he can introduce me to his wife, who has been down in Mumbai, and so I can see at least one of the shops she runs in Delhi.

Sanjay’s wife, Natasha, has been in Thailand and is returning tonight. Hopefully the three of us will have dinner on Saturday, my last night in India this trip. Sunday at 1:05 I should be lifting off for the long flight back to New York, crossing at least nine time zones and ending in New York at 11:00 PM on Sunday. It’s my intention to go straight to the little apartment in New York, line my bags up like good soldiers and dive into sleep.

While I slept, President Obama announced a framework for a deal with Iran in the Rose Garden. Apparently, it is more detailed than expected. Not unexpected is the war of words that will follow, accompanied by some gnashing of teeth, as Kerry and Obama continue to work to a final agreement.

A thirty-seven year old man, Louis Jordan, survived sixty-six days at sea before being rescued by a container ship. During the ordeal, his boat capsized several times, all his equipment was smashed and he learned to harvest fish that found his laundry enticing.

Nearly 150 individuals, mostly students, were killed in a Shabab attack on a Kenyan University in Garissa, in the eastern part of the country. They came in, separated Christian from Muslim and killed the Christians.

For Christians, this is the holiest time of the year, the time when Jesus was crucified, died and rose from the dead.

It is remarkably sad that religious hatred rips this world apart as fiercely as it did when the Christ lived, walked the earth, preached and died.