Posts Tagged ‘Scott Walker’

Letter From New York 09 21 15 Some stories are hard to comprehend…

September 21, 2015

It is dusk here in the city. I have just come from the taping of one of Howard Bloom’s podcasts. Sometime this week it should be live and when it is, I will share the URL. Today we talked about sin. The show’s title: Howard Bloom Saves the Universe.

As I left Howard and was descending into the subway, I realized it was cool. It had been my intention to go to Thai Market and write but I realized by the time I was finished it would be chill. I’m going to need a jacket tonight so I came back to the little apartment and opened my laptop.

It has been an okay day, up early to do some work and then a few other errands. Tomorrow I’m moderating a panel for the Religious Communicator’s Council on blogging, followed by coffee with the producer for that, my friend Mary Dickey, and then a meeting in Chelsea and then off to the train.

On Wednesday, I am driving over to the Cape.

There’ll be many things that will occupy my mind as I drive, I’m sure. The world is a rocky place these days.

Croatia is crying for help with the refugees and migrants that have crossed into the country. European leaders meet but seem to come to no conclusions on what to do. It feels likes million are on the move, though I am sure the numbers are not that high. Hungary has taken to posting warnings to refugees and migrants in Lebanon and Jordan NOT to come.

One of the issues Alexis Tsipras faces is that his country is a major transit point for those attempting to reach Western Europe. His is a country overflowing with crises. Reelected, he must now really govern.

David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister, is fending off allegations he had sex with a dead pig in an initiation ceremony for the exclusive Piers Gaveston Society, named after the supposed gay lover of Edward II, while at Oxford. Oh those wacky Brits!

Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Governor, is suspending his campaign for President, warning there may have to be many more dropouts if Republicans want to stop Donald Trump, who has slipped while Carly Fiorina has risen. The merry dance goes on, Rome burning while the fiddler plays.

Bernie Sanders is the “passion” candidate for the Democrats while Hillary Clinton is the conventional one. The size of crowds they are attracting, with Bernie drawing more than Hillary, is causing Hillary’s detractors to, well, detract.

In a particularly disturbing story that was featured in the NY Times this morning, American soldiers and officers have been told to ignore the painful cries of young boys as they are sexually assaulted by their Afghan counterparts for fear of seeming culturally insensitive.

It was a story I had to read a couple of times to comprehend.

The Emmys are over. Jon Hamm got one, at last. Viola Davis won Best Actress in a drama and gave a heartfelt speech, which I read today.

Last night, leaving the reception for my friends Kris and Eric, I realized I was just a short distance from my friends, Mary Clare and Jim. I phoned them, we got together, I surveyed their new apartment and then we walked down the hill to a little restaurant near them. I’ve known Mary Clare forever and it was such fun to spontaneously join them.

I’m off now to get some food, do a little reading and get to sleep so I can do a good job moderating tomorrow.

Letter From New York 07 13 15 Thoughts while traveling south by train to New York City…

July 13, 2015

The ride on Amtrak from Hudson to New York is one of the most beautiful train rides in the country, if not the world. There are a couple of bad patches like the gravel pit that seems to go on for quite a while and there is the passage by Sing Sing Prison, ominous, concrete and barbed wire. But 90% of the ride is astounding. Right now I am passing gently rolling hills that look much as they must have when Henry Hudson sailed the river centuries ago.

Opting to come in on a post noon train, I sat on the deck this morning with coffee in hand, listening to the birds sing and reading the New York Times. It was quiet, peaceful and soul soothing.

The markets have bounced up on having a deal with Greece in sight, despite the wariness of some European governments about the sincerity of the Greeks in keeping promises they’re making. There is a long road to go because this is just an agreement to negotiate. But, as someone once said to me, something is always better than nothing.

The Greek banks are still closed and cash is very, very short.

Scott Walker of Wisconsin surprised no one by announcing he is running for the Republican nomination for the Presidency. Donald Trump still holds the lead in the polls for the Republican pack.

Chapo Guzman, “El Chapo,” escaped yesterday from a prison in Mexico. A nearly mile long tunnel was dug to his shower in his cell. Slipping in to the shower, he stepped into the tunnel and is now on the run. This is his second escape from a maximum-security prison. Last time he stayed free for thirteen years. There is, of course, a manhunt on but his escape has made Mexicans more cynical, and more distrusting of their officials. Bribery and/or intimidation are suspected factors in the escape. “El Chapo” has an estimated worth of $ 1 billion.

We have just glided by Indian Point, the nuclear reactor that sits on the Hudson River. Always controversial, its detractors want it closed. A couple of recent incidents have made people nervous.

Brian Gallagher is on the train with me. He’s the right hand of Joe Boardman, who is the President of Amtrak. Brian and I chat regularly about our favorite long distance routes. I need to go to Minneapolis this summer for my annual familial visit and I am probably going to take the train one way. I love the sense of traveling that trains provide, of moving through space on your way to a place.

Right now, as I move south, I also wish there was a boat that sailed from New York and put in at Hudson for a stop. I would love to make the trip by water, also a great way of having a sense of traveling.

While I am moving down the Hudson Valley, in Vienna there are more last minute efforts to hammer out an Iranian nuclear deal despite rumors that an announcement would be made today that there was a deal in place. Perhaps not until later this week, if it happens at all.

The Iraqis are planning on an offensive to take back its largest province, Anbar, from IS.

The President of Nigeria has fired all the heads of his armed forces and will replace them. It has been expected. The chaps fired were the ones who didn’t make any progress against Boko Haram. Now that Boko Haram has lost much of its territory, Nigeria having had help from Chad and Cameroon, it has stepped up suicide attacks.

For those whose day is not complete without a bit of royal update, Prince William launched his career today as an air ambulance pilot.

Right this minute, I am south of Croton Harmon, with a stunning river view. West Point slipped by on the far shore not long ago.

Once in town, I am meeting a friend and then we are joining a third friend for our quarterly Indian dinner, tonight at Pipalli, on 29th near Lexington, in the heart of “Curry Hill.” Nick, David and I have been doing this for three or four years, always a good chance to get caught up and have a martini, our official drink.

Tomorrow, I will let you know how it is.

Letter From New York 03 01 15 Waiting, expectantly…

March 1, 2015

Classical music, mostly Mozart, plays in the background. As I left for church this morning, a dusting of snow was falling and then it stopped. None falls now but we are predicted to have another three to six inches tonight.

Church was followed by a long and lazy brunch at the Red Dot; folks from Christ Church populated the table. It seemed a good third of the restaurant were folks who had been to the 10:30 service there.

We talked of many things. Some church related. Some not. I met new people, always a nice thing. As it became 3:00, I had to bid my adieu and head home so that I might get today’s blog written and still have enough time to prepare dinner. I am planning a salad followed by chicken pasta with vodka sauce.

Simple but hearty, I hope.

Simple is not a word used for the world today.

As I type, Netanyahu is flying toward the US, with some signs of tensions easing as seen by a statement from Secretary of State Kerry that he was “welcome” to speak in the US. But half of US voters, according to polls, think that the speech should have gone through Obama.

Back in Israel, 180 former military and security officers held a press conference denouncing Netanyahu’s actions, declaring that the speech was making things worse for Israel. Some of the founding generals of the group, Commanders for Israel’s Security, are legends in Israel.

Netanyahu is sparking controversy, at home and abroad.

In Russia, between 30,000 and 70,000 people marched in remembrance of Boris Nemtsov, a Putin critic, who was shot down on Friday night. There are a number of Putin critics who have been eternally silenced in the last decade. Putin has called this murder “vile” and promises to find who did it.

We will follow this.

There is now video which seems to show the three British girls who left home to join IS, have actually crossed over into Syria. Nearly 60 young British Muslims have left the UK and made the journey to Syria. Back in Britain their parents are heart broken after the girls did not heed their appeals to return home.

Iraq is reportedly about to commit to an offensive campaign to reclaim Tikrit, hometown of Saddam Hussein. At the same time a few of the Assyrian Christians that were captured by IS have been released. No reason has been given for their release though it has been noted by the press that all of them were over fifty while another report states they paid money to a Sharia Court for freedom. In the meantime, another two hundred Assyrian Christians remain in the hands of IS.

In Venezuela, several Americans have been detained for espionage and a number of American politicians, including George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, as well as some sitting Congressman, have been banned from travel to Venezuela. President Maduro is accused by his critics of attempting to distract his country from a collapsing economy. Oil, the country’s economic backbone, has seen huge price declines in the last six months.

Down in the Washington, DC, area CPAC, a conservative political group met, and in their straw poll, chose Rand Paul over everyone else. At this conference, Scott Walker of Wisconsin said, “If I can take on a 100,000 protestors, I can take on the world.” Some took it that he was equating Union Protestors with IS and he has been having to defend his remarks, telling folks he was talking about leadership and not making a parallel between the two.

Scott Walker was number two in the CPAC straw poll.

Speaking of DC, a weeklong bill was passed that funds the Department of Homeland Security but there seems to be no long-term solution on the table. This is something to be watched this week.

I am watching the weather outside my window. The snow was supposed to have started in earnest four hours ago. It isn’t here yet and I am hoping it misses us. My snow tolerance is nearly exhausted.