Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

Letter From New York 02 28 2016 A day of almost unending travel…

February 28, 2016

As my train heads north out of Penn Station, the setting sun glints golden light off the towers that have sprung up over the years on the Jersey side of the Hudson River.  In the relatively balmy weather, runners are trotting up the paths that line the Manhattan side of the river while traffic on the West Side Highway is bumper to bumper.  I am skimming by it all.

This is the second to last leg of my trip back from Greenville, South Carolina, where I visited friends.  From their house to the airport, airport to Newark, the Rail Train to NJ Transit to Penn and now from Penn to Hudson, then by car to home.  I think I will be tuckered out by the time I get to the cottage tonight.

It’s the Academy Awards tonight and Lionel and Pierre are having folks over to watch on their large screen television.  I’ll go there but am not sure how long I will last.

The individual who has been showing all the qualities of lasting is Donald Trump, the much mocked man of the combover has defied his critics and all the pundits and the Republican Party is starting to realize he probably has a good chance of being the nominee.

He has stepped into some trouble [when hasn’t he?] when he refused to disavow the support of David Duke, the former head of the Ku Klux Klan and by failing to disavow the KKK itself.  His opponents, of course, jumped on it.  Rubio declared this failure made him unfit to be President. 

As usual, Trump backpedaled on Twitter once he got a handle on the fact his foot was in his mouth.

Will he live to fight another day?  Of course.

According to many reports, the Republican grandees are horrified, frightened and desperate to stop him and have no idea about how to do so. They have been losing their grip on the party since the Tea Party genie got let out of the bottle and now this…

Clinton, as in Hillary, is gleefully delighted in her win yesterday in South Carolina.  She and Sanders are on the march to Super Tuesday from which she hopes to emerge with a daunting delegate lead. 

The game is afoot, would say Sherlock…

An Ohio Baptist minister was shot to death today as he was walking back to the pulpit as the choir sang. The shooter may have been his brother.

In Indiana, three young Muslim men were shot “execution style” and the police are working to understand what has happened and how it happened.

In Baghdad, seventy have died from suicide bombers linked to IS.

In the European Refugee Crisis, 70,000 may be trapped in Greece next month as borders are closing.  Spring cannot come soon enough for the refugees.

36 Russians have died in a methane gas explosion in a coal mine.

The Syrian Truce is fraying as the army has attacked and the Russians have been sending out airstrikes.

I could go on.  The litany of bad news is seemingly endless.  And while there aren’t a lot of “feel good” stories today, the sun in the west is glowing red orange as I move north.  Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.

In the room at my friends where I stayed there was a pillow that was stitched with the phrase:  old friends are the best friends.  That’s very true.  Old friends are old friends for a reason.  We have endured and are still there for each other.

My mantra of gratitude was said today as I rode up the escalator at Penn from the NJ Transit train.  A little late but not forgotten…

Letter From New York 02 26 16 As the beat goes on…

February 26, 2016

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m sitting looking out the windows of my friends’ rental in Greenville, SC where they are living while their new home is being built a few blocks from where I am sitting.  The apartment is gorgeous and their new home will be even more beautiful.  They’re liking Greenville and I’m happy for them.

While we were touring the construction site of their home, my phone made one of the noises it does when a breaking news story pops up.  Governor Chris Christie has endorsed Trump while continuing to harass Marco Rubio. 

Talking politics is always touchy and I can honestly say, as I think almost everyone would agree, that we haven’t seen anything like this in politics during our voting lifetimes.

It’s been a busy week and last night I slept for nearly twelve hours and that was after a two hour nap.  I am still worn down it seems.   So I am, as my sister suggested, listening to my body and resting when it says to rest.  Which is relatively often…

It’s cool here, though very bright and sunny. 

My brother has been in Honduras and is on his way home.  He texted me this morning and I was glad and will be gladder when he’s home.  He goes once or twice a year to give medical care to those living in the back of beyond.

In a quiet little Kansas town, Hesston, not far from Wichita, 38 year old Cedric Larry Ford was served with a restraining order.  90 minutes later he shot 17 people, three of whom died, and among the fourteen others, several are in critical condition.

And the beat goes on…

Former Mexican President, Vicente Fox, told Trump there was no way Mexico was going to “pay for that f**king wall.”  Trump asked for an apology.  He only got a verbatim repeat from Fox, on live TV, on Fox Business News.   

Trump, who is against immigration, uses a lot of immigrants at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida private club, mostly from eastern European countries.  He also settled out of court a suit about use of illegal Polish workers on the Trump Tower in New York.

Netflix’s new “Fuller House” got panned by critics.  Now I have to watch an episode, just to see what the critics are talking about.

98% of Facebook employees are white.  Apparently some of those folks have been scratching out “Black Lives Matter” on Facebook walls and replacing it with “All Lives Matter.”  Zuckerberg has told them to stop.

The Americans and Russians have brokered a ceasefire in Syria and it’s one which doesn’t include the Nursa Front or IS so I wonder just how ceased the fighting will be?  Hopefully, much needed supplies will reach the desperate and there are lots of them in Syria.

Certainly, it is not desperate here where Jan is prepping shrimp and grits, to be served with a good white wine and where I will shortly raise a martini to friends not present. 

Including all of you…

Letter From New York 07 06 15 On the train, riding north…

July 6, 2015

Another grey summer day… Outside the sky is filled with clouds, hiding the sun, casting a great pall on the day. It has become the norm not the exception. So I am taking it all in stride and not allowing the grey to take my good spirits away, as I am in good spirits. Having had a good weekend in Baltimore, I am now on the train, gliding north, slowing down for a stop in Philadelphia before heading out for the stretch into New York, including the now infamous curve where a Regional train derailed.

The world’s markets have had a muted response with far less turbulence than had been feared. The Euro slipped against major currencies. Yanis Varoufakis, the Minister for Finance in Greece, resigned. Statements that he made saying Greece would start to use an “alternate” currency seems to have pushed him out. He said other European Ministers did not want him at the table. He will “wear the creditor’s loathing with pride.”

Probably good he is gone, replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos, a Greek negotiator called in when Varoufakis got too strident.

The European Central Bank is not pumping further money into the Greek banking system, a reality that is putting more pressure on those banks, which will stay closed for the next few days. Greeks are stocking up on staples, as they haven’t a clue what the future will hold. Some Greeks think Europe is purposely is working to push Greece out of the Euro and back into the Drachma.

It is a Greek drama being played out.

The British press is still having a field day with Princess Charlotte’s Christening and it is also taking time, in a hundred different ceremonies, to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Srebrenica massacres. In an act of genocide, thousands of Muslim men and boys were gathered up and slaughtered in that town. Serbians hate it when the world calls it “genocide” but it probably was…

President Obama made a rare visit to the Pentagon today to be briefed on the progress we are making against IS. He states that we don’t have a “complete strategy” for training Iraqi troops. And that is true.

An Iraqi jet accidentally bombed a section of Baghdad, killing twelve. How does one “accidentally” bomb one’s own capital? Enquiring minds would like to know.

Hundreds of thousands gathered for the Pope’s Mass in Guayaquil, Ecuador where he extolled the virtues of the family. He has chosen to go to three of South America’s poorest countries with his message of hope and spirituality.

In South Carolina they are debating whether to remove the Confederate Flag from the grounds of the state Capital. Lindsey Graham, Senator from that State, is, like many Republicans, attempting to distance himself from The Donald and his anti-Mexican statements.

I am almost feeling sorry for the GOP. But not quite.

Not feeling sorry for but definitely impressed by Warren Buffet, “The Oracle of Omaha” who just deposited $2.8 billion in five different foundations’ accounts. Worth $70 billion, he is determined to give much of it away.

Prince Alwaleed, the 34th richest person in the world, has just announced his is giving away his entire thirty some billion dollar fortune.

The Grateful Dead have played their last concert, closing with an exhortation to the crowds to “be kind.” I doubt there will ever be a band like them again. Never a great fan, I did honor their iconic place in American music. Go in peace; enjoy the next part of your lives.

The next part of my life is an evening in New York. The train is sliding through New Jersey and shortly we will be in New York. I am going to drop some things at the office and then I will head north to the apartment, drop some things and find myself some dinner, probably at Thai Market, my favorite Thai restaurant in the city.

Good evening, everyone!

Letter From New York 05 09 15 A day after the anniversary of the end of WWII

May 9, 2015

It is Saturday morning and I am preparing to drive from Baltimore with Lionel and Pierre to Frenchtown, New Jersey, where James Green, our mutual friend, is having his annual Cinco de Mayo party, which happens to be his birthday. Then we are going to drive to Claverack where L&P will spend the night before returning to Baltimore.

Yesterday was many things. It was a slightly off day for me. I slammed my finger in a door, which didn’t feel so good. And, in a combination of a bit of bad luck and a bit of bad planning, I missed my train from Baltimore to DC by three minutes.

I determined that I could either beat myself up or I could go with the flow as much as possible and I chose the later after a long conversation on Thursday evening with Lance McPherson, a friend, about the value of not beating oneself up.

I had good meetings in DC and found my way back to Baltimore and then on to a lovely dinner at Ouzo Bay, a restaurant in Harbor East.

Yesterday, if you missed it, was the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Seventy years ago the Germans surrendered and the fighting ceased.

Russia did it up big, having the largest end of war anniversary celebration in history. Thousands of troops marched. Planes screamed through the skies overhead and new armor was displayed, demonstrating how much the Russians have built up their arsenal in the last few years.

Most European leaders attended festivities in their own countries and so avoided having to attend to Moscow’s celebration. There is that pesky matter of Ukraine. The biggest guest in Moscow was the Premier of China.

There were events at Gdansk, formerly Danzig, which is war the war actually started.

Yesterday, too, it became absolutely clear that David Cameron had won an unexpected win and a big win at that to return as Prime Minister of the UK with a majority in Parliament. He will not have to look to the Liberal Democrats for help, not that they could be much help as they were trounced and lost most of their seats, resulting in Nick Clegg, their leader, stepping down. Ed Miliband, who was leading the Labour Party, also resigned because of their defeat.

Pollsters had predicted a breathtakingly close race and it wasn’t. Their reputation is tarnished right now.

Not stepping down is Nicola Sturgeon, who leads the Scottish National Party, which won almost all the Scottish seats in Parliament.

UKIP, the far right British party, did not do very well either.

However, all of this leads Cameron into very stormy political weather. He has promised a referendum on Britain’s place in the European Union and Nicola Sturgeon is agitating for another vote on Scottish independence. It will be an interesting tightrope for Mr. Cameron.

Nepal is still shattered but foreign journalists and helpers are leaving. The death toll has climbed above 7,000. The UN called for $435 million dollars in aid for the country but so far only about $23 million has been forthcoming. Hundreds of bodies still lie beneath the ruins and aid is still slow in reaching the remotest parts of the country. In a few weeks the Monsoon season will arrive.

In discomforting news, North Korea claims it has successfully test fired a ballistic missile from a submarine thus increasing the range of their nuclear weapons. Another worry for the world.

Liberia, once one of the centers of the Ebola outbreak, has been declared Ebola free now that no new cases have been discovered for six weeks.

In poor Yemen, the Houthis are claiming that Saudis have launched over a hundred raids on the country in the last day. Supplies still float at sea and people are beginning to starve. There is some talk of a truce but no real movement.

At home in America, tornadoes have ravaged Oklahoma with more storms predicted. Golf ball sized hail fell in Norman, OK.

Republican Presidential hopefuls are gathering in South Carolina to line up support at a gathering there. But apparently Jeb Bush won’t be there nor will Chris Christie or Rand Paul.

I will not be in South Carolina. I am leaving now for Frenchtown and then home.