Posts Tagged ‘Oriental Star’

Letter From New York O6 04 15 An evangelical mess, among other things…

June 4, 2015

I am traveling down to DC on Amtrak, having five meetings in DC tomorrow before heading up to Baltimore for a weekend with friends. It is grey and gloomy again today, which has been the theme of this week’s weather. It doesn’t do much to keep the spirits up. I am yearning for a little sunshine though I think I have a couple of days more of this before the weather changes.

What isn’t changing is the growing numbers joining the Republican race for the Presidential nomination. Rick Perry, who ran in 2012, has thrown his hat back in the ring, hoping he will not open his mouth and insert his foot as much as he did last time.

Chafee of Rhode Island has joined the much smaller list of contenders for the Democratic nomination.

It will be an interesting nomination season, particularly on the Republican side as there are more to come. Jeb Bush will make an announcement on June 15th. Allee all outs in free!

As I was scouring some websites today, there was a quote from George Soros about his concern that we are on the brink of WWIII, certainly not a happy thought. And that remark was underscored by a Czech NATO officer, musing about what might happen if Russia overwhelmed the Baltic States. Could that result in a use by the West of nuclear weapons?

Even the whisper of WWIII should give us a major case of the willies. The sad thing is that the whispers are there as the global situation deteriorates. I have a slight case of the willies as I ride the rails into the nation’s capital.

The bright hope that infused the world at the end of Communism has grown dim. Can we bring back the light if we all clap loudly enough, the way Tinkerbelle is saved in Peter Pan?

US military leaders and ambassadors are being called to Stuttgart by Pentagon Chief Ashton Carter, to discuss preparedness in the face of Russian aggression. Ukrainian President Poroshenko warned of all out war with Russia as fighting renewed in the rebel east, near Donetsk. It appears the last suburb of that city has fallen to the rebels.

Meanwhile, Putin is going to be visiting Pope Francis on June 10. Think Francis can talk any sense into the man?

In what is shocking news, if true, is that the Red Cross, which raised half a billion dollars for Haiti relief, has apparently spent very little of that in Haiti and has built only six homes instead of the thousands it promised.   It seems unbelievable though the Red Cross is being very quiet about what they actually spent there, which is raising suspicions.

I’ll have to find another charity to donate to, I guess.

The rescue operation for the Eastern Star, the Yangtze cruise ship that capsized, has come to an end and it is now a recovery operation. During the day, dozens of bodies were brought to the surface. A hole has been cut in the hull of the vessel and the grim work continues.

Allegedly a group of grieving relatives who got too nosy were beaten by local police and shuttled into a building and told they were not to talk to the press.

It is the 26th anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square. Leaders of the protest are no closer to returning home than they were when they went into exile. I will pause for a moment of silence in memory.

Former FIFA Vice President, Jack Warner, of Trinidad and Tobago, has announced his is going to spill the beans about the wrong doing in the football organization. Let the chips fall where they may, he says. And it will be interesting to see where the chips do fall.

Also falling was the stock market, rattled by Greece missing a payment, down by almost 171 points. Greece and the EU are playing a game of chicken. Let’s hope no one gets hurt. Because if someone does, it is not going to be good for the rest of us.

It’s not a good day to be a Federal Employee. The records of four million US government employees got hacked today. No word on who done it but employees were warned to check their credit reports and keep a watchful eye out for fraudulent activity.

I am not a great fan of Piers Morgan but he did a devastating article about the Duggar molestation scandal, which can be found here:

It’s an evangelical mess.

Letter From New York 06 02 15 Muddling through…

June 2, 2015

It’s been downright chill in New York City today and I wish I had worn a wool sweater instead of a cotton one. I am heading this evening up to Hudson; Alana, my friend who is the owner of my favorite bistro, The Red Dot, is having a special Japanese meal at the restaurant and asked me if I could be there for it. Hard to say no to such a good friend so I am up tonight and back tomorrow.

When I get to the cottage, I may have to turn on the heat, as it will be chiller there than it is in the city. If I weren’t coming back to the city in the morning, there’d be a Franklin stove fire in my future.

What is not in the future for Sepp Blatter, head of FIFA, is more time as head of FIFA. I subscribe to VICE News and its news of the resignation popped up on the upper right corner of my screen while I was on a conference call. The paper trail is moving closer to him in regards to the corruption scandal. His right hand man, Jerome Valcke, apparently was a recipient of a letter that links him to the alleged $10,000,000 bribe for the World Cup to be held in South Africa.

Bruce Jenner has now officially become Caitlyn Jenner, doing so with a splash in a Vanity Fair spread. She gained a million twitter followers more quickly than Obama did when he launched @potus. As someone who remembers her when she was Bruce and the triumphant Olympian, I can only imagine what a journey this has been for her. So public a life, so private a journey.

Last night on the Yangtze River, a river cruise ship named the Eastern Star or Oriental Star, depending on how you translate its Chinese name, was sailing through a storm when high winds struck and the ship capsized. So far, only fourteen people have been found alive of the 456 aboard. One survivor, a cruise director, floated fifty miles downriver before rescue.

There was no distress signal and the first realization of the disaster was when a few survivors reached shore and raised the cry.

Most of the passengers were elderly Chinese on holiday.

The Patriot Act, with some revisions, was resuscitated on the Hill today and will go to President Obama for his signature, which he has pledged to do. I have some mixed feelings about this. I have friends who rant that the Patriot Act has turned us into a police state while others are equally adamant that it is absolutely necessary for protection.

The process has elevated Rand Paul who worked against it and weakened Mitch McConnell, who thought it should be passed without revisions. Somewhere along the line he miscalculated the misgivings of his fellow Senators.

To me, whatever you think of Snowden, he revealed some unsavory aspects to our spying that have left, at least me, uncomfortable.

The situation in Syria is deteriorating. IS has begun to encroach upon Aleppo and non-IS affiliated rebels are accusing Assad of using his air force to support IS against them. Which in the convoluted realities of Syria today might actually be true.

A meeting of anti-IS countries concluded a meeting with Secretary of State Kerry attending by video link. Everyone agreed more needs to be done but didn’t seem to come up with any concrete steps beyond muddling along in the same way they currently are.

Which is what we’re doing, muddling along through one of the great crises of our time.

The EU seems to be muddling along through the Greek crisis, with more meetings scheduled for tomorrow. The EU financial ministers can’t seem to get their arms around the political realities on the ground in Greece.   Greece is living through a Great Depression experience and is desperate, which is why Tsipras was so overwhelmingly elected. He promised to change that and Greece needs some positive changes.

In a startling rewrite to biology books, the endangered smalltooth sawfish, has found away to avoid extinction. They have now seemed to have mastered “virgin births.” Seen occasionally in animals in captivity, it is not entirely unknown but what happens to men when women can experience “virgin births?”

On the train going up north, it has been a frustrating ride. North of where we were, a Metro North train had become disabled and we waited thirty minutes for the track to be cleared. I will probably arrive in time for dessert. But so it goes when you travel the rails, in America.