Posts Tagged ‘Kate’

Letter from New York 04 28 15 Notes on a restless world…

April 28, 2015

As I was sitting at a Producer’s Guild event last night about Multi Channel Networks, I was also texting back and forth with my friend Lionel, who has moved recently to Baltimore where, last night, the city was rocked by violence. One person was critically injured, 235 were arrested and the National Guard was called in to help restore order. AOL, where Lionel works, closed for the day and offered hotels to employees who worked in areas where rioting was occurring. At ten last night, Lionel could hear gunshots from his apartment.

Today, President Obama made an impassioned plea for “soul searching” as another city was rocked by violence over the death of a young black man at the hands of police.

Down the road in Washington, DC, the Supreme Court heard the oral arguments on gay marriage. From what I can gather from reading reports, there was no clear indication from the Justice’s questions as to which way the Court will rule in June. Both sides left cautiously optimistic.

In the turbulent world beyond the US, events keep happening that make it easy to be uneasy.

Iran has seized a Marshall Islands flagged cargo vessel, the Maersk Tigris, operated for the Danish Maersk Line. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which forced the Tigris deeper into Iran’s territorial waters, claims the move was over legality and not for military reasons. The US has sent the Farragut to observe. No Americans were aboard.

Indonesia executed eight foreigners convicted of drug smuggling, today. They died at the hands of a firing squad. A ninth, a Filipino woman, was spared at the 11th hour. Australia, whose citizens were among those executed, may withdraw their Ambassador to Indonesia in protest.

Prime Minister Abe of Japan is in Washington to help sew up the Trans Pacific Partnership, which includes the US, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations, including our old nemesis, Vietnam. Abe and Obama are also talking strengthening their mutual defense commitments as Obama is accusing China of using its “muscle” on its neighbors.

Tonight there will be a State Dinner for the Prime Minister and his wife.

Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece, has pushed his Finance Minister into the sidelines as a conciliatory gesture to the Euro Group with whom Greece is negotiating. Mr. Varoufakis is known for his volubility and his strident stands. He has been replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos, an Oxford educated gentleman who is 180 degrees different from Varoufakis.

In Yemen, the number of displaced has grown to 300,000. Saudi warplanes bombed the airport at Sana’a to prevent an Iranian plane from landing.

The number affected by the earthquake is rising. Over 4600 are confirmed dead and the Prime Minister has said that the toll may rise above 10,000.

In the affected area of Nepal live 8,000,000 people. One million of them are children. Nowhere are supplies adequate and people are living in makeshift tents as rain continues to pour down on them. Hospitals are overflowing and lacking supplies. The country’s economy was fragile before the quake and seems ravaged now.

In Rome, Pope Francis’ Pontifical Academy of Science has convened a conference on climate change. In June, Francis will issue an encyclical on climate change that Ban Ki-moon of the UN says will come at a critical time. In September, Francis will address Congress during his visit to the US.

Francis is not the first Pope to take on climate change but he may be the most effective. His is a powerful presence.

Several American conservative groups, including one funded by the Koch brothers, attended the conference in order to refute its findings, not wanting the Pope and the Church to listen only to climate change alarmists.

In a sweet note, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, sent out pastries and coffee to the scores who are camped out in front of the hospital waiting for the Duchess to give birth to their second child.

The day here in New York is winding down. I am going to a screening of the new version of “Far From The Madding Crowd” tonight and will be looking for a nibble on my way there.

It is relatively quiet in Baltimore, according to my last text from Lionel. Supermarkets are closing at six and most restaurants and bars are not opening, battening down the hatches for another night.

Letter From New York 03 12 15 Some charming and some not so charming things…

March 12, 2015

The sun has been out brilliantly all day and the temperature has been around fifty degrees. Though it has been a bright and cheery day, I have only enjoyed it by sitting at my dining room table while working on the speech I will be giving at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, on March 29th. Since this morning I have been attempting to find a through thread for my remarks. I am speaking at a conference that seems to be largely about robotics and applying engineering and technology to social problems. I suppose that out of all this I can find things to say and to hope the students will ask a lot of questions.

All in all, I’m looking forward to it. As usual, I started the day with coffee and The NY Times. It is a pleasant way to ease myself into the day.

I woke with regret that opensalon.com shut down abruptly this week. It was the other site I posted my blog on, other than WordPress and I consistently got more views there. Now it’s gone. Minutes after I posted my last blog there, I received an e-mail saying: good-bye, we’re done. Good-bye.

Nobody is saying good-bye to the open letter written by the 47 Republican Senators to the leaders of Iran. The normally conservative New York Daily News blasted them as “traitors.” The Ayatollah has slammed them back while continuing to support the Iranian team that is negotiating but he thinks, after the letter, that we are “deceitful and backbiting.” Somewhere between 165,000 and 225,000 people have signed petitions asking they be tried for treason. Germany has piled on, too, more than irked by the Letter of 47.

Nor is anyone saying good-bye to the Clinton email fiasco though it seems quieter out there today. Notable is that not many Democrats are piling on her for the ruckus she has caused and that may be because no one is really contesting her run for the Presidential nomination.

In Ferguson, MO two police officers were shot outside police headquarters, throwing kerosene on the fire that still burns there. Thankfully, while seriously hurt, their lives are not in danger. As resignations from city officials were beginning to tamper down the heat, this only makes it worse.

In Moscow, the rumor mills are spinning wildly as Putin has been visibly absent for the last week, skipping some important dates in his diary. He will not be making a speech this year to the FSB, successor the KGB, as he usually does. He has cancelled trips. All unusual for the macho man, Putin. The rumors run from him being ill to staying put to contain an internal Kremlin power struggle. Shades of the Soviet past.

Boko Haram seems to be in retreat in Nigeria. IS seems to be in retreat in Tikrit.

IS has accepted the allegiance of Boko Haram, they announced today in an audiotape, saying their “Caliphate” had now grown to include the territory held by Boko Haram.

In a new twist to the Nigerian situation, South African mercenaries are fighting alongside Nigerian soldiers. Apparently they have been around now for a while and have had a positive influence in turning the tide though the South African government has said they will be arrested on their return.

Not returned are the three British girls who crossed through Turkey to join IS. It is now being reported that a spy working for one of the coalition countries fighting IS, helped them across the border and is now in Turkish custody.

In much brighter news about something British, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, visited the set of Downton Abbey today, shooting its sixth season at Ealing Studios. She apparently charmed everyone.

Charming, too, is the day I’ve had and now I am prepping to go off to Coyote Flaco to have their fajitas, I think. Then home to sleep and off to the city tomorrow for a few meetings.