Posts Tagged ‘Roger Ailes’

Letter From Claverack 09 06 2016

September 7, 2016

The day painted itself grey this morning, from the moment light crept into my bedroom, it was grey, the kind of day that promises rain and provides none, save a few drops when I was running an errand on Warren Street.

Fresh from what I thought was a successful first day in the classroom, I stopped at the Post Office and picked up my mail and sat on my deck, opening it, and just staring out at the day.  The air was lightly water touched by not too much.  But for the grey, it was a perfect sort of day.

At the college, I talked with one of my colleagues for whom there is terminal election fatigue.  She knows for whom she is voting, nothing in the shouting is going to change her position and so she feels no need to participate more.  It simply makes her crazy.

As it has for many people in this oddest of election seasons.  A few months ago, a commentator I was listening to said something like:  Who knows?  It’s 2016.

And that remains true.  It’s the wild and wooly 2016, an election season they will be talking about as long as politics is discussed, which is a very long time.  We are still discussing the politics of the Athenian democracy 2500 years later.  Countless tomes have been written about the Romans, their Republic and their Empire.  A thousand years from now some crepe skinned academic will be dissecting one small sliver of this campaign in a form of media we probably can’t conceive of but it will be happening.

Me?  I generally wake up happy and go to bed happy and know there is only so much I can do to shape events but what I can do, I do.

Tonight, I am writing earlier than I did last night and the verdant green in its grey frame fills my window.

Directly in front of me are two Adirondack chairs made for me by John McCormick, father of my oldest friend, Sarah.  He had made some for his daughter, Mary Clare, for her home in West Virginia.  When I bought the cottage, he asked me if he could make anything for it.  Adirondack chairs I said and there they are, in front of me, a wonderful bonding to a man now gone and a testament to all he and his family mean to me.

In this calm and quiet, I feel celebratory to have made it alive through the first day of class.  As I was preparing to head over to the college, I played music that pleased me, from the Great American Songbook.  Tonight there is no music.  The only sound is the ticking of an old clock that has been in my family for more than 125 years.  I think of it as the heart of the house.  But it drives some people crazy.  It just makes me smile.

The EpiPen conversation goes on.  Some say it actually costs only $30.00; some say it’s only about a dollar that goes into the actual medicine.

Isabelle Dinoire, the world’s first face transplant recipient has died, aged 49.  She was transplanted when her face was mauled by a dog.  RIP.

Obama cancelled a visit with the Philippines President after he called Obama “the son of a whore.”  Later President Duarte regretted his comment.

There was an incident when Obama arrived in China.  No one seemed to have agreed upon the protocol.  Everyone looked bad.

Kim Jung Un, the little paunchy, pudgy dictator of North Korea, celebrated Labor Day by sending off ballistic missiles that landed within 300 kilometers of Japan.  No one is happy except for the pudgy dictator who is now facing a new set of sanctions which he doesn’t care about.  He will let millions die because of them as long as he keeps his power, his toys and the instability he creates.

One can only imagine what this man’s childhood was like…

Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift have broken up after three months. This is HUGE news.  OMG!

Fox has settled with Gretchen Carlson in her lawsuit with them and Roger Ailes.  Twenty million dollars.  At the same time Greta Van Susteren has left the network under cloudy circumstances but then what is not cloudy in the world of Fox News these days?

And now it is dark.  I will turn on my floodlights and enjoy the creek at night.

It is a good day.  I survived the first day of a new class and felt good about it.

Today I woke up happy and I go to bed tonight happy.  May all of you who read me do the same.

 

 

 

Letter From Claverack, New York 09 02 2016

September 3, 2016

As I was sitting on the deck, there came a slight chill in the air, a harbinger of times to come.  It is still a luxurious green outside the window but it was getting just a little chill and so I returned to the dining room table to write this.

It occurred to me that working on these letters has contributed to my happiness over the years, particularly since I began to have more time at the cottage, a chance to collect my thoughts and ruminate upon the world in which we live.

It has been a good day.  Waking early, I journaled for a bit, read the daily summary of the news in the NY Times, drank coffee and then went down to the eye doctor.  I have an aggressive cataract in my right eye that must be dealt with.  Cold comfort that they tell me it is not age related.  The surgery needs to be done.  I am nervous and it is now scheduled for November 9th.  It has been a hindrance of late so I am glad it will be handled.

From there I treated myself to lunch at Ca’Mea while reading “The Romanovs,” a NY Times best seller about the dynasty that ruled Russia for 300 plus years and came to a sad end in a room in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg in 1918, the last Tsar and his family and their retainers shot to death.

While I knew something of the end of the Romanov Era as I had studied Tolstoy, Chekov and others of that “Silver Age” I have known very little of the earlier Romanovs.  They had some particularly gruesome ways of killing their rivals.

Returning home, I napped a bit and then went out to the deck to do some prep work for my class.  I am now very much looking forward to it.

Touching in on the news of the day, I can only find myself smiling over the absurdity of it all.  One of Hillary Clinton’s laptops, chock-a-block with emails was lost in the US Mail.  I roll my eyes.

In what should come as NO surprise, Hispanics really, really don’t like Donald Trump according to America’s Voice’s poll, a pro-immigration group that did a large poll among Hispanics.  He is doing dramatically worse than Mitt Romney.  Hispanic Republicans are deserting Trump, particularly after his immigration speech in Arizona.

Brazil has ousted its President.  Dilma Rousseff is gone and “Brazil has turned a page,” according to its new President.  For the Brazilian people, let us hope so.

Long ago, I was getting on a flight in Atlanta, going God knows where but Mother Theresa and some of her nuns were getting on the flight with me.  I saw her walk by, followed by her coterie.  It was before I went to India.

She is about to be a saint though when I was in India there were many who found her less than saintly.  I have a friend in India, a Beverly Hills Jew who is now a sadhu, who worked with the Gandhi’s when they were in power.  He railed against Mother Theresa, claiming she was the ultimate “fixer” in Calcutta, now Kolkata.  He despised her and there are those in India who are devoting their lives to dispelling what they call the myth of Mother Theresa.  I don’t know the truth.

It is dark now. The floodlights have been turned on so I can see the creek.  I have lights on the front of the house, year round that I often light.  My former neighbor, Karen Fonda, once called me to tell me how happy seeing the lights made her.  When I turn them on, I think of her.  She is now in assisted living, sinking into the hell that is Alzheimer’s.

Hurricane Hermine is moving out of Florida and into the Carolinas.  Yesterday, I phoned my sister who lives in Florida to see how she was doing. Okay, a few power outages but generally well.  While New York City was having rain today, my part of the Hudson Valley was sunny and cheerful.

Roger Ailes, recently ousted as Tsar of Fox News, is now advising Donald Trump.  No one seems to be paying much attention to this.  Ailes has been accused by many women of having made inappropriate sexual suggestions to them.  He was finally toppled when Megyn Kelly, not well liked by Trump, but a Fox News star, met with the legal team investigating Ailes and corroborated the stories.

No one seems to care.

Well, I think it’s a wise move on Trump’s part as Ailes created the wild conservative movement we now have in America.  But unwise in that Ailes is discredited by many at this moment.  Interesting to see how this serpentine relationship works itself out.

 

 

Letter From The Train 08 25 15 Black holes, Putin’s justice and barbarians on the march…

August 25, 2015

It was a hot, muggy day in New York. About four this afternoon, as I was strolling back to the office after a meeting on Park Avenue South, a walk of about fifteen minutes, I determined that I would go home even though I have a meeting tomorrow in the afternoon.

It’s a gorgeous day and I want to be home, sleep in my own bed and listen to the insects buzz outside while I sit on the deck and watch the creek, lit up by floodlights beneath the deck.

The markets bounced upwards most of the day before closing another 205 points down. The China rout continues; one Chinese billionaire by the name of Wang has lost thirteen billion dollars so far. That’s a big bucket of dollars.

The outrage of the world about the destruction of the temple to Baalshamin continues. Much has been destroyed by Islamic militants in the last year, including the temple to Baalshamin as well as the two statues of Buddha destroyed by the Taliban in Afghanistan some years ago and treasures in Timbuktu.

Barbarians. Barbarous in the way they treat treasures and barbarous in the way they treat people.

Refugees are swarming across the world. The island of Kos in Greece is overrun and the Mediterranean is filled with boats of every size carrying souls from Africa. From Kos, thousands have made their way by hook or crook through the Balkans to the border of countries like Hungary, which is scrambling to build a fence to hold them back. The refugee problem is the worst it has been since the end of WWII.

Germany alone will be taking in 800,000 refugees this year, four times last year’s total. I don’t think we take in that many immigrants in a year and Germany is a fraction of our size. If I am remembering correctly, Germany has some eighty million people living there. They will be adding one percent to their population this year. That is a lot of assimilation.

The Baltic countries are balking about taking in even a couple of hundred refugees and anti-immigrant rallies are all over in Germany. The immigrant problem has overwhelmed Merkel’s agenda as thoroughly as Greece did.

Putin’s Russia has just sentenced Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director, to twenty years in a Labor Camp for plotting terrorist attacks against Russians after their annexation of the Crimea. The Russians say the bruises on his body after his arrest were from S&M sex he had before his arrest.

The chief prosecution witness against Sentsov withdrew his testimony halfway through the trial, announcing he had been tortured to get it.

Ah, the joys of Putin’s democracy…

Think of Sentsov in the months to come. He will haunt my thoughts for a while.

Megyn Kelly is flourishing despite The Donald’s tirades against her on Twitter. She has been gone on an eleven-day vacation, which may or may not have been scheduled. Her return resulted in her best ratings of the year, even though she didn’t mention Trump.

Her boss, Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News, has demanded that Trump apologize. What is an ice cube’s chance in hell?

Sex sites have taken a beating recently. Ashleymadison.com was hacked. 15,000 of their email accounts were linked to .gov or .edu addresses, causing some wonder about our government officials and our educators. Josh Duggar was a member, furthering the nation’s perception of him as the sleaziest man alive. Lawsuits are landing on their doorstep.

Today rentboy.com was raided and six present and past employees were arrested. It is alleged it was actually a site for prostitution and not for companionship. I think the allegation may prove true.

Stephen Hawking, the legendary physicist, speaking is Stockholm has said that if you fall into a black hole, don’t worry. There is a way out. You might pop out in an alternative universe. Do I find that comforting? I’m not much worried about black holes, not having encountered one in my life but, if I do, I will remember this as I am sucked in.

Letter From New York 02 24 15 Contentious Times…

February 24, 2015

Waking in New York City this morning, I grabbed my mobile and checked the weather. There was a wind chill of 5 to 10 below zero. I wanted to curl back up and wait for the day to warm. Thankfully, despite the cold, it was brilliantly sunny and therefore I felt brighter if not warmer. After a couple of cups of coffee and a hot, hot shower I ventured out into the world; my cheeks were burning from the cold by the time I made it from Riverside to Broadway.

After a few errands and some work on my Indian Visa application, I headed south to the West Village where I met up with my friend Mick Kaczorowski, Executive Producer par excellence, recently departed from Discovery, for a long, good catch-up lunch.

After lunch, I headed to Staples and purchased a printer for the NY apartment and then sat down to blog.

There is the growing brouhaha over whether Bill O’Reilly of Fox News “embellished” his war reporting credentials. David Corn in the magazine Mother Jones wrote an article about Mr. O’Reilly having his own “Brian Williams Moment” and Mr. O’Reilly responded with what I gather is typical vitriol by calling Mr. Corn a “guttersnipe.”

I don’t watch Bill O’Reilly or Fox News. I don’t watch CNN either. I am a cord cutter so I don’t have cable in my home. But in the moments I have had exposure to Mr. O’Reilly, I have found him distasteful so I haven’t searched him out online either.

His efforts to quell the controversy don’t seem to be working. They just seem to put the spotlight more on a situation that would probably have gone away if he had ignored it. But that is not the O’Reilly style. He has gone on to threaten a reporter from the NY Times and has drawn the ire of several colleagues who were with him in Argentina during the Falkland War. One of them has called his version of events a “fabrication.”

O’Reilly covered the war from Buenos Aires. There was a riot while he was in Buenos Aires. He did cover that. One reporter described that riot as the “chummiest” riot he had ever seen but there is footage that O’Reilly showed on his program last night.

The video shows unrest and chaos but no shots being fired. One person reporting on the O’Reilly tempest said that O’Reilly had “yet to find the bodies.”

Nothing much will come of this. Fox News likes controversy and I’m sure it will give a boost to their ratings. Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News and master spinmeister, is thoroughly behind the consistently high rated O’Reilly. NBC launched an investigation into the Brian Williams story; Fox News will not look deeply at O’Reilly’s actions.

It says much about the organizations.

In other media news, Keith Olberman was suspended from ESPN for a few days over churlish tweets about Penn State.

Things continue to be tense in Ukraine and it is now being called this generation’s West Berlin.

There have been more suicide bombings in Nigeria and masked men kidnapped an 87-year-old American missionary, the Reverend Phyllis Sortor. Soldiers from Chad claim they have killed over 200 Boko Haram fighters.

The three British schoolgirls who flew on their own to Istanbul last week to apparently join IS have successfully managed to cross over into Syria. Also in the land of IS, dozens of Assyrian Christians have been abducted and taken from their villages. Thousands more have fled.

In less violent news today, Greece made more concessions and a four-month extension has been granted them to work out their future. Markets in New York and London ended up for the day.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell is working on a deal to keep the Department of Homeland Security from being defunded. It will be interesting to see if he can get the Republican Congressmen to go along with the scheme.

And, as widely expected, President Obama vetoed the Keystone Pipeline Bill, issuing in a new period of contentiousness between the White House and Congress.

What will be contentious for me is seeing if I can get the new printer printing tonight. I must remember to read the instruction book!