For those of us with multi-generational and still functioning memories, except for techno-centric system difficulties, there’s little to be optimistic about with respect to the present state of governance at just about every level, in these apparently ‘disunited states of America’. For this archaic member of the so-called “Greatest Generation,” time seems to have U-turned into reverse mode, by more than ninety years. Although it had backed away from the League of Nations and World Court, The U.S. in 1921 (the year before this commentator was born) convened separate conferences on limiting naval tonnage and non-use of asphyxiating gasses; to which most nations agreed. The U.S. avoided signing a commitment against the use of armed force, without congressional approval, which somehow seems not to have been given.
The governor’s budget is based on a huge promise – that he will keep the budget growth to less than 2%. The governor presents this number as a simple feat, keep to the rate of inflation and he can use some of the revenues for a tax cut.
At five, I take the old farm path, past the horses.
The sky is purple, with long stretches and swaths of other colors across the silent evening, one horizon to another. Some previous snow is still clinging to the north sides of barren trees, as well as lying on a few upper branches. Hard to believe there'll be greenery again, one day.
Like many in the Hudson Valley, I took the loss of Pete Seeger personally. He was a great national and international figure having received over 20 honors and awards including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, the Harvard Arts Medal, the Kennedy Center Honor and been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame to name a few. For us who lived in and near Beacon, NY where he had lived for 65 years, he was a local hero. The sloop Clearwater and the attention it brought to the Hudson River actually led to an actual clean-up of terrible pollution. Now, the river can be fished and it’s safe for swimming.
So what if you threw a party, and no one came? Ask Vladimir Putin about that. He’s got a big old party going on right now in Sochi, a term that now invokes sentiment far beyond its Olympic ideal. In now a matter of hours, Sochi will begin its two weeks hosting the Winter Olympic Games, an event that’s been so long in the making it feels like it should already be over.
The confluence of bad news items has thrown the Turkish economy into a tailspin. Once the darling of Wall Street and a model for emerging markets, Turkey is now in the economic doldrums. Since the world downturn in 2008 Turkey has been faltering. The miracle of economic prosperity from 2002 to 2003 attributed to Premier Erdogan, now seems like a chimera.
One of the state’s most important public priorities is ensuring that New Yorkers have access to affordable and high quality medical care as well as providing health services to those who are poor or needy. Tens of billions of dollars are spent to meet those demands and this week the governor’s health budget proposal was the subject of a legislative public hearing.
Sometimes, an actor who once upon a time earned a certain celebrity but has long since disappeared from the limelight makes a triumphant return to center stage. Such is the case right now with Bruce Dern. These days, Dern is back in full force playing a grizzled, alcoholic senior citizen in Alexander Payne's NEBRASKA. Dern's letter-perfect performance earned him a top acting prize at last spring's Cannes Film Festival. He now is winning best actor awards from film critics' groups, and the question of the moment is: Will he walk off with the Best Actor Academy Award?
Pete Seeger is gone. I first met him at Buck’s Rock Work Camp when I was 14. He was standing on the big cement porch, surrounded by kids. After hearing him, nothing was the same. He was my lifelong hero. I had few others. I wasn’t alone -- many of you first heard Pete at camp or school. That’s how he made his living during the time he was blacklisted.
Every moment of every day, worldwide, we all realize one of the profound predictions of James Clerk Maxwell – which was that something called radio waves, traveling at the same speed as that of light, must exist.
There've been other profound predictions in science of course – for example, astronomer Le Verrier's prediction about where to find the planet Neptune.
But this little essay is about a man who was initially called 'Dafty' at school – born in Scotland in 1831, and who lived for only 48 years.