Posts Tagged ‘Tony Blair’

Letter From New York 10 25 15 Back and Forth…

October 25, 2015

Diana Sperrazza. Hudson River. My Townie Heart. Catholic Synod. Pope Francis. Vatican. Tony Blair. Iraq as a mistake. George W. Bush. Chris Christie. Amtrak Quiet Car. Law and Justice. Hurricane Patricia. Kristy Howard. Princess Diana. Titanic. Biscuit from Titanic. Maureen O’Hara. Thomas Sternberg. Staples.

The fall colors are luscious as I ride south into the city on this grey day; without those colors the world would be a very drear place. The Hudson River is a sheet of slate grey; the weekend boaters have mostly dragged their boats to land. Sunday morning sails have been discontinued until the spring.

My friend, Diana Sperrazza, is having a book signing party for her recently published book, “My Townie Heart.” She labored for fifteen years, finished it and had no luck finding a publisher until one day she did.

Find it here, on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=My+Townie+Heart

Good read.

A three-week summit, or Synod, of Catholic clergy in Rome has come to an end, finishing with a document that is considered by some to be very ambiguous on matters of divorce and homosexuality. In his closing remarks, Pope Francis seemed to be chastising the conservative faction of the Church, encouraging the clergy to be more generous and understanding. He reminded them that the Disciples of Jesus had ignored the blind Bartimaeus but Jesus did not, stopping to engage him. Francis spoke of the “temptation of the spirituality of the mirage.”

One of the things we like about this Pope is that he asks all of us to be better Christians and, if not Christian, better human beings.

Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the U.K. at the time of the Iraq invasion is offering some apologies for the invasion. He’s sorry about the wrong intelligence and some of the wrong decisions that were made after the invasion. There was a lack of understanding of what would happen when the Saddam Hussein’s regime fell. That’s an understatement. Hello, IS!

Once the U.K.’s most popular politician, he has been since branded by some as a “war criminal.”   It has been a stunning turn for the man who, for a time, seemed more popular here than his counterpart, George W. Bush.

New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie, who is also a candidate for the Republican Party’s Presidential nomination, was booted out of an Amtrak “Quiet Car” this morning for talking too loudly. He was returning from Washington, DC, where he appeared on “Face The Nation,” accusing the President of promoting lawlessness because Obama supports “Black Lives Matter.” I would like to have seen him being kicked out of the “Quiet Car.” I am sure it was a small spectacle.

Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded, slipped in status by the time it made landfall and Mexico and Texas have been spared the worst.

In Poland, a right wing party, Law and Justice, seems to have won elections there with 39% of the vote.

A young British woman, Kristy Howard, has died at the age of 20. She had raised millions of pounds for Francis House, a facility opened in 1991 by Princess Diana. She had been born with a back to front heart and was given a few weeks to live when she was 4. Her brief life astounded many, including me.

We have had an unending fascination with RMS Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. Some memorabilia from it will be auctioned this week in London. A biscuit from one of the lifeboats sold for about $23,000. It was saved by a passenger on the Carpathia, which picked up the survivors from the ill-fated liner.

Maureen O’Hara passed away yesterday. I remember her from sitting in front of the television watching NBC’s “Saturday Night at the Movies.” I saw all kinds of great films, including hers. She made it to 95, dying at her home in Boise, Idaho. She had moved there not too long ago to be near her only child, a daughter.

Also gone is the man, Thomas Sternberg, who co-founded Staples.

The world continues moving along.

As I am moving along, now heading back north after the book signing, the sun having come out to play, giving the afternoon a vitality the morning did not possess.

Letter From New York 05 27 15 FIFA in trouble with Germany “a bordello”

May 27, 2015

It is a warm day in New York City, a day that started cloudy and is ending with sun shining down. In not so very long, I’ll be off to a restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen to meet my friend Caroline Ely for a drink. It’s been awhile since we have seen each other and time to catch up.

While drinking my morning coffee, the news was being splashed all over the place that FIFA officials had been arrested early in the morning in Zurich, Switzerland. The Swiss made the arrests in an understated way, giving the men time to dress and gather their belongings and, in at least one case, had the hotel staff hold up a sheet to shield the arrestee from the news people who had started to gather.

It’s another blow to FIFA, an organization that has been dogged by rumors of corruption for years. American officials are seeking the extradition of a number of FIFA officials for having taken over $150,000,000 in bribes, “year after year, tournament after tournament,” according to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

In Texas, hundreds have been ordered to evacuate after at least fifteen people have died in weather related accidents, as storms pounded the state with torrential rains. Oklahoma, too, is suffering from the pounding from Mother Nature, who, my friend and writer, Howard Bloom, has pointed can be a b**tch.

The Republican race for the Presidential nomination has become more crowded now that Rick Santorum, last seen in 2012, has thrown his hat into the ring also. There will be enough of them soon that they can form their own team though I don’t think they will want to as they’ve got some intense competition going on between them. Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana set off a storm when he tweeted that Rand Paul was unfit to be Commander in Chief.

I don’t see the two of them cooperating on the field of play.

Jindal is only thinking about joining the Republican fray but it’s likely he will. Rand Paul is already in.

The Vatican has declared that the Irish vote to constitutionalize same sex marriage is a “defeat for humanity.” I feel a little defeated that they feel that way.

The Queen, Elizabeth II of Great Britain, arrived today in great pomp and circumstance to deliver “The Queen’s Speech,” which she has done sixty times during her reign. Before she arrives, the Houses of Parliament have their basement swept by the Queen’s Guard to ensure there is no Guy Fawkes in waiting. He led the Gun Powder Plot in 1605 to blow up the Houses of Parliament.   He has a day named after him in England.

What the Queen said was dictated by what Cameron wants but it gets said with such grand style.

Tony Blair, once Great Britain’s Prime Minister, has been, for the last eight years, the envoy to the Middle East. He will step down next month. He resigned to Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the UN. He had been working on the behalf of the Quartet [Great Britain, the European Union, the United States and Russia]. Diplomacy gets complicated.

Angela Merkel is the most powerful woman in the world, according to Forbes, ruling a country that has now become known as “the bordello of Europe.” Germany legalized prostitution in 2002 and a huge sex trade has built up worth $16 billion a year. There are fancy places for the prostitutes to practice their trade and sex tourists load onto busses and head for Germany. It doesn’t seem to bother Angela much.

Also in Germany, there was an evacuation of part of Cologne today when WWII bombs were found undetonated while working on a construction project. Apparently happens not infrequently. Something like a thousand bombs were defused last year. They are a hazard out in the North Sea where wind farms are being built. Clearing bombs is more than a cottage industry in Germany.

I had coffee with a friend this morning who told me that Germany blew up two “dirty” nuclear bombs during the final days of the war. I had never heard that and when I attempted to research it, I found stories about it, including one that Hitler was a German traitor, actually an Illuminati and he did what he set out to do, break Germany’s back.

There is a lot out there on the Internet and it’s not all true or pretty. Beware.

And now I am going to publish this and head for drinks with my friend Caroline.

Letter From New York 04 07 15 From the heat of Delhi to the chill of the Northeast…

April 7, 2015

Outside the cottage, it’s grey and damp, all the colors very muted after the riot of hues, which was India. I can hardly keep my eyes open and am crying for a nap.

I made this an easy day, collecting two plus weeks of mail, sorting it, paying some bills, attempting not to do any serious mental work as my brain is more than a little cloudy.

It is both good and a bit odd being home; hard to grasp I have come and gone from India, that it was real and not a dream. I have thank you notes to write. My friend Sanjay was incredibly generous and that humbles me. Everywhere I went in India, people went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and respected.

I got out just before the burning heat of summer descends on the country; there were little tastes of it along the way and I’m glad to be missing it.

Tomorrow I must get down to work, having a few things due on Thursday when I will be going back to the city. I’ll be there Thursday and Friday and then again most of next week.

Next, I need to sort out the things which I brought back for people, little gifts from the markets and the things from my friend, Jag’s, Crazy Daisy store in Delhi.

To fight the chill, I have lit a fire in the Franklin stove and turned up the heat a bit. Jazz plays in the background.

Spring is not willing to grab the land and bless it with warmth. Old man winter is grumpily holding on, determined we not forget him too soon this year. And he has been successful.

While I have been acclimating to being home, Rand Paul has declared he is running for the Presidency, number two in the Republican game. He is likely to be followed by as many as twenty more. It’s a banner year for Republican contenders.

Speaking of things Washington, a power outage affected much of DC this afternoon, including the White House, which went on a back-up generator, and the State Department where a spokesperson used the light on her phone to continue handling questions.

The EU is a bit in the dark about why Prime Minister Tsipras of Greece is gallivanting off to Moscow to visit with Putin. It is making them nervous; Tsipras’ flirtations come as the tortuous negotiations over Greece’s debt continues. In another gambit, Greece has declared that Germany owes it about 280 billion Euros in war reparations. Germany asserts these claims have long been settled.

It’s the day many have been waiting for: HBO Now [as opposed to HBO Go] is available on iOS devices. It means you can now watch “Game of Thrones” without a cable subscription. It is going to be REALLY interesting to watch how this plays out. HBO and sports are two major reasons people keep their cable subscriptions. One reason down…

Now that Tikrit is back in the hands of the Iraqis, they have begun discovering a series of mass graves believed to hold the remains of 1700 Iraqi cadets who were captured by IS and murdered. While this gruesome task is going one, there is another task in front of the liberating Shia forces: to win the hearts and minds of the Sunnis who mostly inhabit the region.

For years, Tony Blair, the former Labour Prime Minister of Britain, has been keeping a very low profile. He has “issues” with Mr. Miliband, who is now leading the Labour Party. But he has recently declared his “full support” for Miliband, who loudly repudiated the policies of Blair to gain leadership of the party. Blair is warning about holding a referendum on Europe, which Tory Prime Minister Cameron is advocating.

Strife continues in Yemen; there are reports bombs hit a school, killing a number of students. Aden is being bombarded by air and from the sea. The country may descend into a worse humanitarian crisis than Syria and that probably would only play into the hand of Al-Qaeda. The Houthi rebels are being supported to some extent by Iran while the Saudis are full blown in their efforts to restore the previous government. It is a crisis threatening to spiral out of control.

Now I am going to do my best to catch a quick nap before going over to Coyote Flaco for some fajitas. I didn’t find those in India.