Posts Tagged ‘Zika’

Letter From Claverack 09 29 2106 Musings at Twilight…

September 30, 2016

As I have been sitting here, listening to “Smooth Jazz” twilight has become almost night.  The last glimmerings of the silvery light are slipping away.

This week I have been dog sitting Marcel, Lionel and Pierre’s poodle, who will soon turn sixteen.  Every night, he takes me for a walk.  We leave my cottage and he marches me over to his house, across the street from mine and takes me for a tour of his yard.  He goes to the front door and looks at me uncomprehendingly when I do not let him in.

He is reluctant to leave once he is on his home territory; actually, he fights me.  He doesn’t want to come back to my house but eventually he realizes that he is not going home tonight and walks with me back to my place.

He is very smart, is little Mr. Marcel.  And sweet.  And I am enjoying his company right now though I realize my own time for pets is past.  I still come and go too much to give any pet like Marcel a real home.  And I am single.  Were there a partner, it would be easier.

There are soft sounds from woodland creatures that filter into my time here at the laptop, soft sounds from the night outside.

It is, this moment, a soft and gentle world that seems unconnected with all that is happening beyond me.  I feel, here, encapsulated, as if the outside world did not exist.

But it does.

The Syrians under Assad and their Russian allies have been brutally pulverizing Aleppo.  It has only become worse since the last time I wrote.  It is the kind of brutality we have not seen for a long time.  And, as I said before, I wonder about the poor boy in the ambulance.  Has he survived this assault?  I wonder about that day and night. I am haunted by wanting to know.

Here, at home, there was a horrific crash of a New Jersey Transit Train at Hoboken.  One person is dead.  100 are injured, some seriously.  I texted my friend Mary Dickey to check on her.  She had changed her plans today and did not take the train into New York City.  Just as something had diverted her the morning of 9/11 or she would have been under the Towers when one of the planes hit.

Congress overturned Obama’s veto of a law that would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia.  Personally, I think it was a political move that will have unintended consequence.  The Saudis are rethinking their alliance with us and it opens the door for a lot of problems we don’t want to have.  Like everyone in Iraq suing us for our “meddling.”

Not quite knowing how to parse this but right now there are reports that Trump may have violated the embargo that was in place during the 1990’s with Cuba.  If true, it will wound him with Cuban Americans in Florida, which is essential in his path to the Presidency.

Trump has had both a good year and a bad year.  He is the Republican nominee for President, a reality no one thought possible six months ago.  His net worth, according to Forbes, has dropped by $800 million this last year but it still leaves him with 3.7 billion dollars, according to the magazine.  Forbes is generally thought of as a conservative publication.

Samsung, the company of exploding Galaxy Note 7s, has a new problem.  Its washing machines are also exploding.  So glad I did not choose to get a Samsung gas stove when I bought new appliances for my kitchen.

It’s a brand in trouble.  Big trouble.

We were facing a government shutdown tomorrow but it has been avoided.  The government is funded until December 9th, after the elections.  Zika funding was approved to the tune of $1.1 billion.

It is a quiet evening here.  I have looked into the world and now I am going to take myself to bed, watch a little video and go to sleep, happy. The way I woke this morning.

 

 

 

 

Letter From New York 03 20 2016 Quiet thoughts from the quiet cottage…

March 21, 2016

It is quiet in the cottage; I am savoring the silence.

Today is Palm Sunday, a service I have not attended for a bucket of years.  Doing so today, I read a small part in the Easter gospel.  It was all faintly reminiscent of my Catholic childhood.  The priest, however, was a woman.

After the service, Sally Brodsky and I did a tour of the kitchen and made a pact to touch base on Wednesday as to what we might need for Easter Sunday brunch.  I am currently awash in recipes and will have to sort out which ones I will use before Thursday’s shopping.

Following church, I made a trip to Lowe’s for wall plates for the electric switches in my bathroom, freshly repainted by young Nick and his crew.  The dark blue and white wallpaper is gone and a fresh coat of green and white glistens in the bathroom.  The old vanity is gone and I am searching for a mirror that will fit beneath the new light fixture.

All pleasant diversions from the world with its rat a tat of news, a mixed bag this weekend.

Obama is in Cuba, hoping to nudge that country into being a bit more liberal.  His critics say he should have waited until some liberalizations had made their way into Cuban life.  As President, you almost never win; your foes will pounce on every move.  Certainly that has been true of this president.

Starwood Hotels have entered into an agreement to take over three legacy properties in Havana and modernize them.  The deal was made even as a Chinese Insurance Group is bidding to take them over.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, has reaffirmed that Merrick Garland will not get a vote on his nomination for the Supreme Court.  Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, has said that the Republican Senate should “man up” and give Mr. Garland a vote up or down.

Some Senators are beginning to break with McConnell over the vote, especially in contested states.  They’re getting heat from their constituents.  In this most unpredictable of years. it will, of course, be interesting to see what transpires.

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are leading their party’s races to the nomination.  Trouble is, no one much likes them.  Hillary has a particular problem with white men in 2016, a group more sympathetic to her in 2008.

Fox News, to me almost a mouthpiece for the Republican agenda, has declared that Trump has an unhealthy fixation on their popular anchor, Megyn Kelly.  They have defended her loudly and often from Mr. Trump’s “comments.”

Breitbart, a very conservative news source, seems to have thrown Michelle Fields, their reporter, under the bus after she alleged that she had been pushed and shoved by Trump staffer Corey Lewandowski.  At first they supported her and then they didn’t and now she has resigned as have at least two other Breitbart staffers.

It makes me think more of Fox.  Not much more but more…

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil is in increasing amounts of hot water over the scandals racking the nationally owned oil company, Petrobras.  There is talk of impeachment.  Former President Lula has been welcomed into her cabinet, making it harder to for prosecutors to touch him.  An attempt is being made to stop the appointment as a move to “pervert” justice.

Protests in the streets, nearly a million people marching.  Rousseff is dealing with some tough issues:  the Petrobras scandal, zika virus, a severe recession and upcoming Olympic games that may not be ready and, if they are, might take place in unprecedented conditions — some of the aquatic events are to be held in waters claimed to be dangerously polluted.

Ian Duncan Smith, not a household name in the US, but an important politician in the UK, has resigned from Cameron’s cabinet after declaring the Tory budget deeply unfair to the working poor.  Some have said the Tories are now engaged in “civil war.”  Not what they need as they are approaching a vote on whether Britain should exit the EU, “Brexit” for short.

It is still quiet at the cottage.  I am going to wrap up now, contemplating that the market for legal marijuana will be 23 billion dollars within four years.

Letter From New York 01 30 16 Uncommonly happy…

January 30, 2016

Hudson Valley  Lionel White  Pierre Font   Downton Abbey  iTunes  Hillary Email Crisis  Hillary Clinton  Bernie Sanders  Iowa Caucuses  Zika Virus  Putin  Russian Economy  Ammon Bundy 

It is a beautiful day in the Hudson Valley, the sun generously warming us into the mid-forties with a high of fifty promised for tomorrow.  The light glints off the creek and the wind is shaking the branches of the trees just outside the dining room window.

When I found myself cognizant this morning, I realized I was happy — for no particular reason, just caught up in a pleasant kind of joy that has remained with me during the day.

Tonight I am cooking for Lionel and Pierre and we’ll watch a movie from my collection.  Having subscribed to iTunes in order to watch the program, I now am in possession of the rest of the season of “Downton Abbey” and can binge if I so choose.

Not one of my students had heard of “Downton Abbey” when I asked them.

A LOT, I suspect, is going to be heard in the next few days about the twenty-two “top secret” emails found on Hillary’s server.  The question remains whether they were “top secret” when she received or sent them; there has been much classification after the fact with her emails.  One of the “top secret” ones seems, according to sources, to have been a publicly published article. 

Whatever the truth, it will be made much of in the days to come and it is especially inconvenient as it is only three days to the Iowa caucuses and Hillary has been losing ground to Bernie.

Suddenly, the Zika virus has become a major health threat, spreading rapidly through the Americas but nowhere more prevalent than in Recife, Brazil.  An impoverished city is being made more miserable by the mosquito born virus which results in some infected mothers to give birth to children with microcephaly, with heads and brains smaller than normal.

At least five countries have advised women not to get pregnant until more is known.  Some are saying Zika could be more of threat than Ebola.

A Russian plane violated Turkish airspace again.  Turkey did not shoot it down but did warn of consequences.

One wonders if Putin is playing with fire because he needs diversions from the rapidly declining Russian economy?  His budget has been slashed again because of the declining price of oil.  The Russian budget has been built on the basis of oil at $50.00 a barrel, which it’s not. 

There are reports that the average Russian citizen is beginning to get restless and are beginning to protest, particularly in towns away from Moscow.  Retirees are having their pensions cut.  And, after a taste of a better life, Russians may not want to suffer silently for Mother Russia.

While I sit watching the placid Claverack Creek, the European Refugee Crisis continues; 37 drowned yesterday while attempting to reach Greece.

Three dangerous inmates escaped from an Orange County, California jail and all three have been returned to custody.  One turned himself in and the other two were captured in a stolen van in a Whole Foods parking lot in San Francisco after an alert woman notified police of the presence there of a van matching the description of one being used by the escapees.

While Ammon Bundy is in custody, the Oregon stand-off continues with some of his followers still at the refuge even though Bundy has told them to stand down. 

The sun is beginning to set, a golden light is falling on the barren trees across the creek.  It is time for me to sign off and begin to cook, distracting myself from the world’s woes.