Posts Tagged ‘Tiffany Martin Hamilton’

Letter from Claverack 09 25 2016 A bit of a rant…

September 26, 2016

In my last letter I wrote:  Two of the most deeply disliked individuals in America are running for President.  There is no joy in Mudville.

It was the only reference in my letter that I could find in re-reading it twice to Hillary Clinton.

Some of my readers took umbrage with me as they were disappointed in my characterization of Hillary Clinton.  To say the least, I was surprised.

It seemed to me a factual statement, not a judgement.  Tonight, at a party, I mentioned this to Tiffany Martin Hamilton, the first Democratic woman to be Mayor of Hudson.  She too was surprised it would bring umbrage.

I am voting for Hillary Clinton for President.  She is the most qualified person to be President.   By the time this over, I will probably have given Hillary Clinton’s campaign more money than I have for any other candidate in my life because the idea of a Trump Presidency scares the hell out of me.

That does not change the fact that one of the challenges of this campaign is that a significant number of Americans dislike her; it is one of the challenges for those of us who support her to help her overcome.

One of my smartest friends, sighed one day to me:  there is no situation the Clintons can’t make worse. [He was and is a Clinton supporter.] And it has been demonstrated time and again.  I confess that the handling of her pneumonia drove me to distraction.

The reality is that those of us who support her must help address the concerns over her apparent lack of transparency and encourage her campaign to do better.  It is infuriating to me because she is so qualified and has managed to garner a visceral dislike that is beyond reason.

One of my closest friends, a very liberal Democrat, will not vote for her.  He lives in New York and, if he lived in a swing state, would vote for her.  But because he lives in New York, a state he doesn’t consider a swing state, he will vote Libertarian because he has a visceral dislike of Hillary Clinton.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the problems we must honestly face to help Hillary Clinton become the next President.

This race should not even be close.  But it is because for two decades the Republican Party has demonized both Bill and Hillary Clinton and have waged an effective campaign to discredit them.  And they have not always helped themselves.

It is so frustrating to me.

At the Hudson Bed Races on Saturday [more about that in my next column], three acquaintances of mine are making active plans to leave the country if Trump wins.

These are people who are taking concrete steps to leave, putting together an action plan and putting in place the steps in that action plan to make it happen.

It makes me crazy that anyone would be thinking this way over a Presidential election but we are.  It feels like we have reached a desperate moment in America’s history.

A few minutes ago I watched a video of college students being asked fundamental questions of American history which most of them couldn’t.  They could answer all the questions about popular culture.  It is a sad fact that has been realized in a number of different studies of college students and by my own experience in teaching.

This may be the closest to a rant I will do.

Please understand I am frustrated and I am frightened.  A Trump Presidency will be a catastrophe for this country.  The Republican Party I grew up with and respected is unrecognizable and has lost all the respect I had for it once it made Trump its candidate.

We are at once of the most critical moments in our Democracy and there are those who say the future of our Democracy may be decided by this election.





Letter From New York 01 07 16 Thoughts on a hard day…

January 8, 2016

Stock market rout   Jamison Teale   Christ Church  Hudson  Roy Moore   Alabama Gay Controversy  Tiffany Martin Hamilton  Tommy Ragland  Charlie Hebdo Anniversary  Oklahoma earthquakes  Netflix  Bill Clinton  Hillary Clinton  John Kerry  Syrian Peace Process  Iran  Saudi Arabia  California storms  Ted Cruz  Burns, Oregon

Well, I was smart enough today to not look at the market as it was another BAD day as China’s market shudders riled every other market in the world.  While they were plunging, I had a pleasant day. 

Answered emails, ran errands and wrote out the first draft of my syllabus for my class that starts on the 20th.  It was actually kind of fun, if headache inducing.

Now it is evening and I have turned on the lights outside, classic jazz is playing and I think I will light a fire as it is going to be chill again tonight.

My Christmas tree is still up and I am not taking it down until Sunday.  Having been gone for two weeks, I feel I deserve a little more time with it.  It is a white artificial tree and I think this is its last year.  But it has been a beautiful, for me, tree.

Jamison Teale, the Senior Warden at Christ Church [where I attend services] and his longtime companion, James, were married on New Year’s Day by Hudson’s first woman mayor in her first official function.  They are coming for dinner on Saturday with the church’s Musical Director, Tom Martin, father to Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton of Hudson.

One of my errands today was to find them a small wedding present.

While James and Jamison married easily here in New York, the Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, Roy Moore, has ordered that state’s probate judges not  issue marriage licenses to gay couples.  Federal authorities immediately ordered them to do so.  Some have thrown up their arms and aren’t giving marriage licenses to anyone.

Ah, Justice Moore, this has been decided.  No back pedaling allowed I think.

One probate judge, Tommy Ragland, summed it up best, saying, “We have a Chief Justice who is confused.”

One of the other errands I did today was to look for a clock radio to replace my ancient one that no longer works.  You know, they are rather hard to find.  Not nonexistent but hard to find.  I am going online to see what I can find there.

My toaster also broke and I looked at those too and thought they all looked shoddy.  More investigation needed.

It is the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.  Let there be a moment of silence.

The French police killed a man brandishing a meat cleaver today, who was screaming “Allahu Akbar [God is Greatest].”  He was wearing a fake suicide vest.  That confuses me.  Why bother?

Oklahoma had a swarm of 70 earthquakes yesterday.  In 2013 they had a couple of hundred.  In 2014 they had over 5,000.  That is an exponential increase.  2015 statistics are currently being gathered.  There is a suspect:  fracking.

Earlier this week Netflix was available in 60 countries.  Today it is in 190 countries.  130 countries “turned on” Netflix while its President and CEO was giving a speech at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

I’ve attended a couple and they are always mind boggling.  This year is not quite so much according to pundits but still generating lots of wow.

Politics continues.  Bill Clinton is stumping for Hillary in Iowa.  Lots of people I know would like him back but since he can’t….

Cruz is cruising in Iowa which frightens the bejesus out of me. 

California is pummeled by storms and that worries me about friends there though I hope it is helping the drought.

In Burns, Oregon the unlawful occupation of a wildlife center continues.  On social media people have been asking what would be happening if the occupiers were black or Muslim instead of gun totting white guys who are outraged over Federal land policy?

There are no easy answers to anything.  Kerry says that the Saudi Arabia/Iran feud will not slow down the Syrian peace process but how can it not?  I mean, how can it not?

I am taking solace in the cottage and in my hope that our better angels will prevail.

Letter From New York 11 04 2015 A beautiful day to ponder world complexities…

November 4, 2015

Hudson River. Howard Bloom Saves The Universe. Election Day. Tiffany Martin Hamilton. Hudson, New York. Christ Church. Kentucky Election. Houston. San Diego Shooter. LGBT. UC Merced. David Cameron. Sharm al Sheikh. Russian Plane Crashes. Justin Trudeau. Obamacare.

Once again, I am headed south on the train to the city, doing a round trip. I have a lunch in the city and then I am turning around and getting out of Dodge and won’t be back until Monday, when I come into town for a couple of days of meetings and Howard’s podcast taping. His podcast is “Howard Bloom Saves the Universe” and is available on iTunes and other podcasting sites. Check it out. He’s great!

The day is another beautiful one. Yesterday was a perfect fall day with the temperature reaching seventy degrees while cool enough at night to justify the use of the Franklin stove. Walking through the neighborhood, I savored the muted colors and the light on the pond into which my creek flows.

The river glistens a burnished copper from the colors of the season.

Yesterday was spent mostly glued to the computer screen, accomplishing digital tasks. My walk was a welcome interlude.

In a way the day felt like an interlude, despite being glued to the screen of my laptop. I didn’t notice much about the world and reveled mostly in the comfort of my cottage.

Yesterday was Election Day. In Hudson, our county’s “big city,” there was a hotly contested Mayoral race that appears the Democrat won. Absentee ballots are yet to be counted though those mostly tend toward Democrats. If it holds, Tiffany Martin Hamilton will be the first Democratic Mayor of Hudson in my memory.

She’s the daughter of the choir director at Christ Church, where I attend services.

Around the country, conservatives had a big night. They voted down an LGBT anti-discrimination effort in Houston and booted the Democrats out of the Kentucky Governor’s mansion.

Pundits this morning, as I was driving to the station, posited that Democrats were not well organized and Conservatives were. In all these places, voter turnout was low. I feel such frustration when people don’t vote.

As I continue, I am sitting in the Acela Lounge, watching CNN on the monitor. There is a live “incident” near the San Diego airport; a shooter is active and planes are being diverted. The shooter has a high-powered rifle and has come close to hitting police.

They are also talking about a nine year old African American boy in Chicago who has died in gun violence, shot multiple times. Mayor Rahm is saying there is a “special place” for the person who did this. I agree.

At UC Merced, there were five people stabbed before police killed the man wielding the knife.

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has delayed flights to and from Sharm el Sheikh while a British team makes a determination about security at the airport there. Cameron and the Brits are concerned that a bomb may have brought down the Russian plane recently, losing all aboard, including 25 children. American Intelligence is suggesting the same.

An affiliate of IS claims responsibility.

A Russian built cargo plane went down yesterday in the Sudan. Children were some of the victims there too.

Justin Trudeau has been sworn in a Prime Minister of Canada and half his cabinet is female. It is, after all, 2015, he points out.

Now that we are two years into Obamacare, a map of the uninsured shows that most of them are in the South and Southwest. Surpised?

And the death rate for middle aged white men who have not received a high school degree has skyrocketed. One article suggests they are dying of despair.

All this violence and despair are hard to imagine as I head back north, the sun just beginning to set in the west, the sun a bright slash across the river. It is peaceful; I am in the café car, sipping a wine and writing, heading north to my cottage, after a good lunch with friends, all soft and right in my world while knowing it is not soft and right in so many other places.

Letter From Columbia County 09 08 15 A day for me…

September 8, 2015

It has been a hot and humid day in Columbia County. Waking early, I went out onto the deck to read the Times and drink my coffee before the heat of the day descended upon me.

The Pope is loosening the parameters for an annulment in the church and there was much in the paper about the refugee crisis in Europe. The markets were trending upwards before the open and succeeded in closing up.

Today was all about me. After playing host to my brother and family I felt like I needed a day to myself. After reading the paper, I went to town to collect a week’s worth of mail and to do some shopping for staples.

It is apparent we are in an election season in Columbia County. Everywhere there are signs for candidates. They have increased exponentially since I went to New York City to spend time with my brother. Lawns are littered with them.

Bill Hallenbeck, a Republican and the incumbent Mayor of Hudson, is running for reelection against Democrat Tiffany Martin Hamilton. He probably will win; the town is still deeply Republican though the drift has been slowly toward the Democrats.

I’ve never met Hallenbeck though have always thought, based on what I have read in the papers, that he seems a bit out of his depth as Mayor. Still, he has served two terms…

My friend Larry and I met for lunch at Ca’Mea and then I went with him to collect things he had bought for the new loft above the renovated barn on his property.

While we were there, eating at the bar, surrounded by folks, there was animated conversation about the refugee crisis in Europe and, of course, about The Donald. The fellows to Larry’s right were astonished that Trump is the Republican frontrunner.

As am I…

The refugee crisis is astonishing. The situation is desperate. And there is no unified response even now from the EU. They are making it up as they go.

For a moment today, I thought I should go and volunteer to help out on the island of Kos or in Hungary but I don’t think there is a mechanism for such offers for help.

The day is fading. I am on my deck, a soft wind blowing from the west, cooling me a little. Across the creek, I realize the first leaves are changing. Yellow mixes with green and I grieve for what is going and am open to what is coming.

The seasons are beginning to turn.

As they turn all over the world, the refugees in Hungary are enduring cold nights now while my air conditioning keeps me comfortable.

It will be awhile before the leaves all turn and there will be more nights when I will be able to sit at my circular picnic table, viewing the creek and enjoying the moments.

Then will come real fall and after fall will come winter and then spring and then summer and I will be observing it all from my deck.