What have you been reading?

This weeks quotation:

“If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future”

Winston Churchill



It is a way to reward old friends and win new ones 

The America Alone policies of the last US administration created vacuums. If China and Russia now have more global influence and power, it is courtesy of ignorant foreign policy. This article provides another example of how China and Russia are taking advantage of the missing US presence to gain a foothold where Western influence is declining.  Extract:

Many have turned to China and Russia for help. A report published on April 28th by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a sister company of The Economist, shows how the two countries are filling a “vaccine vacuum” by helping poor economies secure doses. They have shipped millions of jabs to developing countries stuck at the back of the global queue.

The Economist – April 29, 2021

My most enduring memory was during a golden sunset in Jerusalem. A group of Palestinians had gathered to have a barbecue. When they saw our group, they called up to us to join them.


Managing the Conflict is No Solution 

The Trump / Netanyahu showtime peace agreements with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco exposed for what they are. Shameless attempts to add to their respective election platforms. Did anyone seriously believe that those agreements were anything more than for election credentials. There is no Middle East peace without resolving the Palestinian question. Extract: 

Yet Israeli politicians ignore the conflict. The Palestinian issue did not feature in any of the four elections Israel has recently held. Most Israelis are comfortable with the “anti-solutionism” of Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, who shows little interest in pursuing a permanent settlement with the Palestinians. His domestic rivals are edging closer to a deal that would push him out of power. But, before the recent violence, they said little about how they would handle the conflict.

Palestinian leaders have made it easy for Israel to give up on peace. Hamas is more interested in firing rockets than improving the lives of Gazans. Its rival, Fatah, has not done much better in the West Bank. The party’s leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is in the 17th year of a four-year term as Palestine’s president. He seems concerned mainly with preserving his own power. On April 29th, blaming Israel for restricting voting in East Jerusalem, he indefinitely postponed elections that Fatah was likely to lose.

The New York Times newsletter of Tuesday, May 18 lays out the arguments that both sides are making in a succinct fashion. Follow its hyperlinks for more background. I like the applicability of the Churchill quotation above to this enduring conflict.

The Economist – May 12, 2021 

Norwegian Sunset


Atlantic Crossing on PBS 

This series tells the story of Crown Princess Martha’s lobbying efforts to obtain US assistance for Norway during World War II. The series spends a lot of time on the personal relationship between her and Franklin Roosevelt and infers that the relationship was intimate. Also, the program seems to credit Roosevelt with thinking up the Lend-Lease concept . It was, in fact, a Winston Churchill proposal from December 1940. 

I usually enjoy Masterpiece Theatre presentations. I keep waiting for Atlantic Crossing to improve but it doesn’t. It portrays FDR as a lazy, lascivious  man and Martha as, well, just blah! If anyone comes across well, it is Eleanor Roosevelt. 

Lisbon – A City on the Rise?

March 7, 2023

Lisbon’s seven hills and waterfront make it visually spectacular. The second oldest capital in Europe, the city has energy. Busy streets and squares, full restaurants, and vibrant night life – the city pulsates. And, the population seems young. All signs of a city on the rise? Earthquake A 1755 earthquake destroyed 85% of the city […]

Cities and Towns, The Affordable Housing Problem

February 8, 2023

People living on the street have come to symbolize the global housing crisis but they are only the tip of the iceberg. While the examples of Finland and Houston demonstrate a focussed plan pursued diligently can resolve the housing situation for the chronically homeless, addressing the affordable housing problem is much more complex.  Defining Affordability […]

I Love to Dance

January 29, 2023

I love to dance. This is not something new for me. I can’t remember when I didn’t like to move to the music. My first memories of watching others dance come from my childhood in Cape Breton where I would watch the adults square dance. Then, there were the step dancers who would often accompany […]

Cities and Towns 8, A City is About People

January 19, 2023

Kings Cross, once a thriving industrial and transport centre in London, was effectively closed  off  to the public by the end of the 20th century.   Then in 1996, the decision was made to move the British terminus for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from Waterloo to St-Pancras. The landowner saw a re-development opportunity for […]

NEOM - the Wall

Cities and Towns 7, Cities and Towns Evolve

January 8, 2023

I have postulated that cities and towns evolve. That towns and villages first grow in areas where the basics to support life were plentiful. Typically, that means good agricultural land and good access to water. Other valuable considerations include safety, and resilience. The bonus – access to trade routes.  Walt Disney and the Fully Formed […]

Christmas Poem 2022

December 22, 2022

A Visit from Saint Nicholas A Poem by Jonathan Potter – December 2022 ‘Twas the first mask-free Christmas, when all through the stores  The vaccinated children were spewing their spores;The shoppers were eagerly starting to riotAs the introverts longed for some quarantine quiet. The public healthcare workers were tracing the pathOf the flu and RSV, […]