Posts Tagged ‘Sepp Blatter’

Letter From New York 10 08 15 From Minneapolis…

October 8, 2015

Speaker of the House. Kunduz. Doctors Without Borders. Russia. Iran. Obama. Putin. Rupert Murdoch and “real blackness.” Paul Prudhomme. Spencer Stone. Sepp Blatter. Svetlana Alexievich.

Letter From New York originates in Minneapolis today, where the sun burst through the sky and it was charming this morning, warm after a light rain last night. But, alas, now the sun has slipped behind dark clouds and rain is threatening.

Tonight I will be having dinner with Jean Cronin Olson, who once, very long ago was a student of mine and in the intervening years, for the most part, we have kept in touch and often when I am in Minneapolis we gather for coffee and a long chat. Tonight it’s dinner at her home with her husband Jon and whatever of her four children will be about.

The idea that my students have adult children is very sobering to me.

Sobering to the Republican Party was the unexpected announcement that Kevin McCarthy, widely thought to be the man who would replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House, was withdrawing his name from consideration. Apparently, he, like Boehner, doesn’t want to content with the forty or so hard to the right, Tea Party Republicans who think they should be running the show.

By all accounts, it’s all rather mad and according to the Washington Post, very much like Neflix’s political drama, “House of Cards.” Now who will be playing Francis Underwood in this real life drama?

President Obama phoned Dr. Joanne Liu, the head of Doctors Without Borders and offered an apology for the bombing of their hospital in Kunduz. At least thirty-three workers are dead. She has acknowledged she “received” the apology but there is no indication that she has accepted it. She wants an independent investigation of the incident.

Russia has been firing missiles from ships in the Caspian Sea at targets in Syria. Four of them fell short and landed in rural Iran. I wonder what the Ayatollah thinks about that?

Putin turned 63 and celebrated with a lot of hockey themed events. He and his staff played against a team of professional Russian players. Not so shockingly in today’s Russia, Putin’s team won! Imagine that! And Putin got a gold medal for the most successful shots. Amazing! Is there nothing this man can’t do brilliantly?

He is, in fact, if not in title, Tsar Vladimir of Russia. But let us not forget the brutal end of the last real Tsar. Nicholas II and his family ended in front of a firing squad.

Rupert Murdoch is one of the “Tsars” of global media. He has become infatuated with Ben Carson and tweeted that he wondered what it would be like to have a “real” black President. Rupert has since apologized. As he should.

In the 1990’s the great television gathering called NATPE [National Association of Television Programming Executives] met one year in Las Vegas and the following year in New Orleans. On one of the New Orleans’ excursions I met Paul Prudhomme, the Cajun chef, who passed away today after at short illness at 75. He shot around his restaurant on an electric scooter. He was near his heaviest at the time, weighing well over 550 pounds. It was a good meal.

Spencer Stone, who helped stop a massacre on a French train a few weeks ago, was stabbed in Sacramento early this morning after leaving a nightclub. Seriously wounded, he is expected to survive.

Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, has been suspended. So have a few other senior officials. One wonders who is running the place though one has wondered that even when they were there.

And finally, Svetlana Alexeivich, a writer from Belarus, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. She tells history through the voices of people who lived it. Hats off.

Soon it is time for me to go and get ready for dinner. May yours be good.

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.

Letter From New York 05 29 15 Riding up the Hudson, ruminating on the world…

May 30, 2015

It is a stunningly beautiful day as I ride the train north, having slipped out of town early. To my left, the Hudson runs wide with sun glints coming off the silver grey surface of the water. It is sunny and warm, with a soft breeze blowing with low humidity. Saturday will probably be like this though there is rain in the forecast for Sunday with cooler temperatures.

My mood is better today; I feel less weighted by the world and its events. I feel more accepting that there is ONLY so much I can do individually and that as long as I feel I am doing that, I can breathe a little easier.

It is still a crazy world. In my home state of Minnesota, a Muslim couple was picking up their son at the home of one of his friends. While waiting for him in the car, they were approached by a woman with a rifle who forced them out of the car and marched them at gunpoint to the house where they told her their son was so that they could prove it to her.

The boy was there.

The woman is facing charges of assault, terroristic threats, terroristic threats-reckless endangerment and maybe some more.

This kind of occurrence just strikes me as so un-Minnesota like. You know, Minnesota nice, it’s baked into us.

She must have skipped that part of the cultural indoctrination.

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is being charged with lying to the FBI about cash withdrawals from banks that allegedly were going to “Individual A.” Apparently, Hastert was paying hush money to a man for inappropriate behavior years ago when he was a schoolteacher and a wrestling coach. Everyone who knows the Former Speaker is shocked as he always was a “stand-up” kind of guy.

He has made no statements but has resigned from his law firm and from the Board of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

In reading about this I was reminded that the Speaker of the House is second in succession for the Presidency. The thought of John Boehner being two heartbeats away from the Presidency is sobering, at least to me.

In the midst of probably the worst sports scandal in the last century, FIFA President Sepp Blatter was re-elected. While it seems unbelievable to me, he had a lot of support from Africa and South America, enough to propel him back for another term. The aftershocks of this affair will continue for a long time and there may be more arrests.

Cuba has been taken off the list of states that sponsor terrorism, paving the way for the normalization of relations. Visiting Cuba is on my bucket list, has been since I read Hemingway who had a home there.

Dressed in a burka, an IS devotee blew himself up at a mosque in Saudi Arabia, killing four, including himself.

In Pakistan, gunmen hijacked buses and ended in a battle with security forces. Nineteen civilians were killed.

North Korea, widely suspected of the hack attack against Sony Pictures, has something called Bureau 121, a cadre of 6000 hackers devoted to discovering ways to create digital trouble. Apparently, many of them operate out of China, some in the basement of well-reviewed restaurant.

Not a happy thought.

Out in California Michael Jackson’s fantasyland named “Neverland“ is for sale for $100,000,000. But now it’s called Sycamore Valley Ranch. It’s a stunning place for those who have a spare hundred mil.

The rain ravaged states of Texas and Oklahoma are going to be receiving drinking water from the breweries of Anheuser-Busch, which halted production of beer at one plant in Georgia and switched to canning drinking water, which is desperately needed. At least thirty-seven are dead in the two states.

Amazon is planning to create its own private label for a variety of foods. Called Elements, its first products were diapers and baby wipes. It is also opening data centers in Ohio that will employ about a thousand people. Amazon just keeps on growing…

Ross Ulbricht, creator of Silk Road, a dark Internet site for the sale of drugs, was sentenced to life in prison today.

The train is rolling into Hudson and I need to gather my things up and make my way over to my car for the short drive home before dinner at the Dot!