Posts Tagged ‘Rouhani’

Letter From New York 01 27 16 Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and Michael Jackson all get in a car…

January 27, 2016

As I type, the train is sliding south towards New York City.  To my right, the sun is setting and the fading glints of golden sun are reflecting off the ice floes in the Hudson.

Friends warned me yesterday when they heard I was coming in to bring my boots.  The city is warming up and the snow is melting, creating rivers at the intersections.

There are a couple of meetings and then I get to see Kevin, my nephew, and to give him his wedding anniversary present to carry back to Washington, DC, where he and Michelle live.

Ammon Bundy, of the Oregon Stand-Off fame has been captured while one of his top lieutenants and frequent spokesperson for the group, was shot down after, reportedly, charging at the police.  According to reports, the dead rancher, LaVoy Finicum, had vowed to die before he went to jail.

About eight occupiers are still within the Refuge and are managing a live YouTube stream from there.  One faced the camera and said, “They’re coming to kill us.”  The FBI has been taking a patient stance on this one, letting time play out.

Playing up, or perhaps acting out, is Donald Trump who won’t appear on the Fox Republican Debate because Megyn Kelly is one of the moderators.  He used the word “bimbo” in relation to her in a tweet.  The tweet went : “I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, because that would not be politically correct. Instead I will only call her a lightweight reporter!”

What would a day right now be without another piece of mind from The Donald?

Perusing the entertainment news this evening, I fell upon a story of a new film, based on a Vanity Fair story, that has Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando all jumping into a car together to reach New York after 9/11.  The movie that will star Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor and Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson.  Brian Cox is Marlon.  Wait, Joseph Fiennes is a white actor best known for “Shakespeare in Love.”  Ahhhhhh, what are they thinking?  We’ll find out someday.

But what a concept, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and Michael Jackson in a car crossing America, together!  Sounds like an absurdist play… I think.

The Iranian President is visiting Italy.  A museum there covered its statues of naked men and women to be sure he wasn’t offended. When Italian journalists questioned this, no one has taken responsibility.  It happened but no one seems to have ordered it.  President Rouhani didn’t ask for it.  The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, didn’t suggest it.  The head of the museum is shrugging his shoulders.

Do you remember the DeLorean?  It is making a comeback!  A company has been formed and will make about four a month, to be sold for about $100,000 a piece.   It’s the car Marty McFly and Doc Brown flew into the future with in the “Back to the Future” series of films.

The Fed has hinted today that it is possibly still on track for a March rate hike which caused another day of market swoons.  But not for Facebook, it soared on rising revenue! But Apple, darling Apple, fell after reporting its best quarter ever but folks are worried it doesn’t have much up its sleeve for the future.

After the Nazis occupied Denmark and began ordering Jews to wear a yellow star, the Danish King started doing the same in an act of solidarity with his Jewish subjects.  Today Danish lawmakers passed a law that allows Denmark to seize the valuables of refugees seeking asylum there. 

It doesn’t seem a very Danish thing to do and underscores how frightened Europe is about the influx of immigrants.  The Danes are going to make the immigrants live in specific areas or camps which is going to increase their isolation and their dependance on the Danish government.

The US, historically, simply lets immigrants in and lets them go about their business, making us incredibly diverse and relatively peaceful in our diversity.  Europe doesn’t seem to be following our example — we haven’t done it perfectly but over time we have gotten more right than wrong.

The golden tinged sun has set; it is dark, the city approaches…

Letter From New York 07 16 15 Observations as I have wandered the town…

July 16, 2015

It has been a lovely day in New York City. The day dawned warm, sunny and not humid. As I walked up 93rd Street to the subway, I cherished every moment, looking up at the trees, moving slightly in the wind. People were out walking their dogs, chatting with them as they did morning duty. There is a bulldog I see occasionally; he has a face only a father could love. He walks sprightly with him on many a morning as I am making my way to Broadway and the subway.

As I took the 1 train to 28th, my car had scattered bunches of tourists. There was a young French couple, a small group of Germans; some folks with mid-western twangs. It is the fabric of the city this time of year. Later in the day there was a group of older tourists from Italy on Fifth Avenue, getting their bearings before strolling down the block.

Today, having only had a light dinner, I was hungry and stopped at the little Greek diner on the corner of 28th and 7th, appropriately called The Greek Corner. The menu has Santorini splashed across its cover. Once I asked the waitress if the owner came from Santorini. She shrugged and said: no, he’s from Sparta. I suspect he thought Santorini more beautiful than Sparta.

She is from Spain and was not terribly friendly at first but now she smiles a little when I come in. She now expects me not to need a menu though, like today, I sometimes ask for one. She always tries to serve me coffee even though I have never had a cup there.

Places like The Greek Corner are disappearing from New York City. There are articles in The Times chronicling their vanishing in all the boroughs.

As I was eating my food, another aspect of New York shuffled through the door, a homeless man, looking for water, smelling of dirt and urine. He was being respectful and the Spanish girl filled a cup for him with water and he shuffled away. It breaks my heart to see men and women like this, scattered all over the city.

As I walked down 7th Avenue to 30th, there is a woman who is there everyday, selling fruit. Yesterday, I wanted to ask her about her story, how she came to be selling fruit on 7th Avenue in New York, far from her homeland.

Since my last letter, a deal has been announced with Iran on its nuclear program. I am not sure how I feel about it, good or bad it is a path that is being played out. The Republicans and some Democrats have vowed to scuttle it and Obama says he will veto any legislation that will stop it. Rouhani of Iran is attempting to sell it through to his people and the all-powerful Ayatollah Khamenei. Neither of the men have an easy job.

The Iran drama has just reached a new stage and for some reason elicits a sense of exhaustion from me for reasons I can’t quite name. Despite the agreement, there is the reality of Iran, Saudi Arabia, the US all vying for position in the Middle East.

The Great Game continues, I guess.

TLC has cancelled, officially, the suspended “19 Kids and Counting” after the oldest son admitted abusing five underage girls, including two of his sisters. There was a celebration on Twitter that was quite amazing, I’m told.

In Chattanooga, TN, a shooter was killed after he had killed four others. The man identified as the shooter has an Arabic sounding name and one official, at least, has said it probably is a case of domestic terrorism. It happened at a military facility. The young man was born in 1990, which would make him twenty-five. He was so young to choose a path of violence. What rage burned in him? In any of these young men and women who seem to find killing so easy?

To no one’s great surprise, Dylann Roof, accused in the Charleston killing of nine churchgoers, had a troubled childhood. He grew more silent and withdrawn as time went on, using drugs and having non-violent run-ins with the law.

Tomorrow, North American Muslims will be celebrating Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting observed by Muslims. There will be gifts given and much family time enjoyed.

The potential for hate crimes makes it hard for some to enjoy. Recently, a man in New York fractured the jaw of a 19-year-old Muslim woman, while spewing anti-Muslim remarks.

As I write this, the world is waiting for the verdict in the case of James Holmes, who killed twelve and injured seventy in a shooting in a theater showing “Batman” in Aurora, Colorado. Before I post this, we should know.

Tomorrow is the year anniversary of the downing of MH17, brought to earth over Ukraine. There are at least two investigations going on. One has indicated it believes the most likely scenario is that Ukrainian separatists brought down the plane. There is talk of a UN Tribunal. Mr. Putin thinks it “premature.”

Lest we forget, Emmy nominations were announced today. Streaming services rise and broadcast slips in numbers of nominations.

The phone has buzzed three times. The verdict is in for James Holmes; he is guilty of murder and faces the death penalty.

Letter From New York 02 08 15 As the snow falls…

February 8, 2015

About fifteen hours later than was predicted, snow has begun to fall in Claverack. We are supposed to get another eighteen inches tonight if the forecast actually holds. It will be interesting to wake up in the morning and see what we actually have gotten. I am supposed to go into the city tomorrow but have a feeling I may have to cancel my meetings and reschedule them.

Freshly back from the Red Dot, my favorite local place, I am sitting at my desk, looking out at the small snowflakes which are falling, growing slowly in their intensity and size. It’s been another one of those grey and gloomy days and I went down to the Red Dot for both a bite to eat and a bit of company. Living alone sometimes leads to a bit of isolation, which I do my best to counter with forays into the world.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany and the de facto leader of the EU, is facing her biggest challenges right now. Desperately, Europe is attempting to defuse the growing crisis in the Ukraine and the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine are meeting tomorrow in Minsk to see if they can avert a spiral into chaos. Meanwhile, she is also attempting to manage Greece’s rebellion against austerity. The former chairman of the Fed, Alan Greenspan, has predicted that Greece will leave the Eurozone and that the Eurozone itself is doomed unless there is greater political connectivity – in effect, a United States of Europe. That’s grim.

Brian Williams’ problems continue to grow. More and more folks are calling for him to resign and it seems that he will be irrevocably damaged even if he keeps his job, which is becoming more doubtful by the day.

Out in the Mideast, Jordanian planes continue to pound ISIS. Jordan is claiming it has destroyed 20% of ISIS’s military capacity. The immolation of the Jordanian pilot, Moaz Al-Kasasbeh, has apparently united the Arab coalition against ISIS, which is the opposite of what they expected. The globe is uniting in their condemnation of ISIS in a way they haven’t before.

In Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing a crisis and may well lose his leadership position in his party, echoing what happened to his predecessors. Internecine warfare seems to becoming the norm in Australian politics, regardless of party.

Iran is indicating this is the best opportunity there will ever be for a nuclear agreement. President Rouhani of Iran, a moderate, is walking a fine line against the religious leaders of Iran while our Congress is talking about more sanctions, which could scuttle the talks. President Obama has said that he will veto such sanctions but everyone is walking a tightrope right now. Rouhani’s Foreign Minister, Zarif, was criticized for taking a walk with Secretary of State John Kerry. Rouhani struck back at the critics but he is playing a very limited game of cards. He is not the final say in Iran. Khamenei, the religious leader, has the final say.

Ah, what a world in which we live, full of discord and violence, while at the same time, so full of beauty. My deer are crossing the yard as the snow falls around them, moving slowly off to the west, beautiful in their passage and innocent in their lives. Jazz still plays on Pandora and soon I will leave to watch the Grammies with friends.