Greta Thunberg — Simply Amazing

I have written before about the young Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, and in fact she was one of my ‘good people’ one Wednesday last December.  Sometimes an activist will start like gangbusters, and then after a few months you hear nothing more about them, but not so Ms. Thunberg.  I see her name in the news at least once a week, and she has been inspirational to many young climate-conscious groups around the world.

Today, she is back in the news, and in a big way! A couple of big ways, actually.

Greta-Thunberg

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and The 1975’s Matty Healy pose for a photo. (Photo: Jordan Hughes)

The first is that she is featured on the first track of the forthcoming album of British pop-rock band The 1975.  In the track, Greta delivers a speech about the global climate emergency, against an instrumental background by the band.  Now, I have never heard of The 1975, but I give them two thumbs up for this effort, as well as the fact that all proceeds from the track will be going to the climate action group Extinction Rebellion.

The full text of Greta’s speech on the track is at the end of this post.

In an interview with The Guardian, Greta said …

“I’m grateful to get the opportunity to get my message out to a broad new audience in a new way. I think it’s great that The 1975 is so strongly engaged in the climate crisis. We quickly need to get people in all branches of society to get involved. And this collaboration I think is something new.”


The second thing is that Greta has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year.  She was nominated by Freddy Andre Oevstegaard, a parliamentary representative in Norway …

“We have nominated Greta because the climate threat may be one of the most important causes of war and conflict.”

greta-2.pngThe Norwegian Nobel Committee will announce its latest laureates in October, and those selected will receive their prizes in December.  I do so want to see her win it!


And the third thing that has put Greta in the news this week is that she will be coming to the U.S. next month to attend a United Nations summit meeting on global warming in New York!  Now, you may remember from my previous post about Greta that she does not fly on airplanes because of the CO2 emissions, so you may be wondering how she plans to get here.

“Good news! I’ll be joining the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York. I’ve been offered a ride on the 60ft racing boat Malizia II.”

Malizia-2

Malizia II

Malizia II, is outfitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate electricity. That should make the entire trip possible without burning any fossil fuels.

Boris Herrmann, who will skipper the boat, said the voyage would not be the luxury cruise that a high-tech yacht might conjure in the popular imagination. The Malizia II is built for speed, not comfort. It has no kitchen, refrigeration system, air-conditioning or showers.

Think about this one for a minute, folks.  This young woman is so committed to saving our planet that she is willing to spend two weeks on a small boat, eating mostly freeze-dried and vacuum-packed meals, in order to do her part to save the environment.  Greta is sixteen years old … most kids her age are attached at the hip to their cell phones, ipods, laptops, and wouldn’t dream of missing a shower or a hot meal, let alone spend two weeks in a small boat on choppy seas!

Greta will be accompanied on the trip by a filmmaker; her father, Svante; and Pierre Casiraghi, the head of the Malizia II racing team who is also the grandson of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and the American actress Grace Kelly.

Greta is, with her parents’ approval, taking the year off from school to campaign against climate change, also plans to attend the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in December in Santiago, Chile.

I was impressed by this young woman when I first wrote about her eight months ago, but today … the only word I have is “WOW!!!”  She puts us all to shame, and particularly those who would “deny” climate science in order to justify their own greed.


I would like to end with a quote that was sent to me tonight by a very special friend:

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” – Helen Keller

Ms. Thunberg is doing something that she can do … let’s all try to do just one thing more that we can do to help heal and protect our home, planet Earth.


Full text of Greta’s speech on The 1975 track:

We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis.

And we need to call it what it is. An emergency.

We must acknowledge that we do not have the situation under control and that we don’t have all the solutions yet. Unless those solutions mean that we simply stop doing certain things.

We admit that we are losing this battle.

We have to acknowledge that the older generations have failed. All political movements in their present form have failed.

But homo sapiens have not yet failed.

Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands.

But unless we recognise the overall failures of our current systems, we most probably don’t stand a chance.

We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.

Solving the climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that homo sapiens have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it. We have to stop our emissions of greenhouse gases.

And either we do that, or we don’t.

You say that nothing in life is black or white.

But that is a lie. A very dangerous lie.

Either we prevent a 1.5 degree of warming, or we don’t.

Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, or we don’t.

Either we choose to go on as a civilization or we don’t.

That is as black or white as it gets.

Because there are no grey areas when it comes to survival.

Now we all have a choice.

We can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions for future generations.

Or we can continue with our business as usual and fail.

That is up to you and me.

And yes, we need a system change rather than individual change. But you cannot have one without the other.

If you look through history, all the big changes in society have been started by people at the grassroots level. People like you and me.

So, I ask you to please wake up and make the changes required possible. To do your best is no longer good enough. We must all do the seemingly impossible.

Today, we use about 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.

So, we can no longer save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed.

Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.

So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.

paragraph divider 2

We’re Better Than This … Or Are We?

More and more these days I am disgusted by the behaviour of some of my fellow humans in this country.  Okay, so we have fools in our government who believe it is okay to denigrate people, to tell lies and issue meaningless threats, but do we really need to emulate them?  I realize there have always been people for whom violence, or the threat of violence, was a way of life, an answer to all their problems, but today I’m seeing more and more of it.  How many times have we read in the past 7 months about someone threatening a store employee for merely doing his or her job, enforcing a store policy to wear a mask while inside the store?  So many that I’ve lost count.

Just last week, a man in Pennsylvania shot a clerk at a cigar store for being told he must wear a mask inside the store.  Then when police went to the man’s home to arrest him, he pulled an AK-47 automatic rifle and fired at police.  The man’s attorney, attempting to justify his actions, said he was “just not handling the pandemic well.”  And this is just one of many such incidents.  Is this, then, to become our new ‘norm’?  Come on, people … surely we’re better than this???


Kill the messenger?

The cruelty of humans never ceases to amaze me.  Dr. Anthony Fauci … you all know the name by now … is probably the most reliable source for information about the coronavirus pandemic.  He is, as I recently noted in another post, highly qualified and a top expert in the field of such things as infectious diseases and pandemics.  Those who respect science and the opinions of experts, listen to him.  Others listen to Donald Trump and his minions who have repeatedly and consistently denied that the pandemic is a big problem … nothing to see here folks, it’s all going away soon … and turned their backs on the recommendations of the experts, much to our detriment.  Okay, fine, but …

fauci“Getting death threats for me and my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security is just amazing. I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that people who object to things that are purely public health principles are so set against it and don’t like what you and I say, namely in the word of science, that they actually threaten you. That to me is just strange… I wish we did not have to go through that.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci

Yes, my friends, people are actually threatening not only Fauci, but his family as well … threatening to kill them!  WHY???  Apparently because they don’t like his recommendations and/or predictions.  He recommends wearing masks, recommends certain areas of the country need to remain shut down, recommends schools stay closed, and predicts that the virus isn’t going to magically disappear as Trump claims it will.  So … if you don’t like what someone says, the answer is to threaten to kill them?  This is a sad, sad statement about the values, or lack thereof, of some people in this nation.  No, I don’t believe the majority, or even a significant number of people would do such a thing, but the fact that there are some people who would is appalling.


He didn’t like masks, so …

A Florida man, James Copenhaver, was dining at Ricky T’s Bar and Grille in Treasure Island, Florida, when he spotted a young boy wearing a mask, sitting at a nearby table.  Copenhaver himself was not wearing a mask, and apparently took umbrage at the young boy wearing one.  He walked over to the boy and told him to remove his mask.  He then asked the child to shake his hand, and the boy refused.  What he did next is yet another example of the cruelty of which humans are capable.  He grabbed the boy’s arm, leaned in close to his face and spat in the boy’s face, saying, “You now have the coronavirus.”

He wasn’t, however, content with that, but walked over to the nearest restaurant employee and attempted twice to punch the man … for what reason remains a mystery, other than that Mr. Copenhaver had apparently had a few too many drinks.

CopenhaverThe employee Mr. Copenhaver tried to punch managed to get Mr. Copenhaver outside, wrestle him to the ground and hold him until the police arrived, at which time he was arrested on charges of simple battery and disorderly conduct.

Who does this to a child???  Frankly, if somebody did what he did to my child, he would likely be lying in a hospital bed or a morgue right now.  Again, no I don’t think this is representative behaviour for the vast majority of people in this country, but … I do see it happening more and more frequently and I find it highly disturbing.


I repeat what I said in the beginning … this is no way to solve the many problems facing the people in this nation.  I really want to believe that we are better than this, but it gets harder by the day.

♫ This Is It ♫

This song, written by Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald, has an interesting and touching etiology.  The two wrote the song after Kenny’s father had a serious heart problem and didn’t’ know what to do about it. So they came up with this song about a man who is suffering terrible pain, looks to find his miracle and needs to “stand up and fight.”

After Loggins won a Grammy for the song in 1980 (Best Male Pop Vocal) he played it for his father, who lived 4 more years.  Says Kenny Loggins of this song …

“The best musical statements are usually the ones that aren’t calculated and the ones that come out in the largest chunks. Michael McDonald and I must have written ‘This Is It’ four times. The first three times it was a love song, ‘Baby I this, baby I that…,’ and we both said, ‘Eh! This is boring. This song is not working as a love song.’

Then I had a fight with my dad when he was going into the hospital because he gave me the feeling that he was ready to check out. He’d given up, he wasn’t thinking in terms of the future, and I was so pissed at him. It was real emotional. That afternoon, I was meeting with Michael to work on new tunes and I walked in and said, ‘Man, I got it. It’s “This Is It”.’ And Michael said, ‘This is it?’ I said, ‘Trust me. This is it.’ But that one took a while.

And then one review said it was your average boy-girl song and the writer didn’t understand why people were making such a big deal out of it. The fact of the matter was, he didn’t understand the song and it didn’t move him because he wasn’t in a situation to be moved. But immediately after that, I got a letter from a girl who had just recently gotten out of the hospital from a life-and-death situation and that was her anthem. She was holding onto it. That means so much more to me. She hadn’t read the press about my father or anything. All she knew was that the song was on the nose for her, exactly what Michael and I intended. That makes you feel like you’re doing something important.”

This Is It
Kenny Loggins

There’ve been times in my life
I’ve been wonderin’ why
Still, somehow I believed we’d always survive
Now, I’m not so sure
You’re waiting here, one good reason to try
But, what more can I say? what’s left to provide?

Are you gonna wait for a sign, your miracle?
Stand up and fight

Make no mistake where you are
(This is it)
You back’s to the corner
(This is it)
Don’t be a fool anymore
(This is it)

The waiting is over, no where to run
No where to hide
No time for wonderin’ why
It’s here, the moment is now, about to decide
Let ’em believe
Leave ’em behind
But keep me near in your heart
Know whatever you do, I’m here by your side

For once in your life, here’s your miracle
Stand up and fight

Make no mistake where you are.
(This is it)
You’re goin’ no further
(This is it)
Until it’s over and done.
(No one can tell what the future holds)
Oh oh oh oh.
(Who makes the choice of how it goes?)
It’s not up to me this time.
(You know)
Comes a day in every life
(This is it)

Make no mistake where you are
(This is it)
You’re goin’ no further
(This is it)
Until it’s over and done
(This is it)
One way or another
(This is it)
(No one can tell what the future holds)
(This is it)
Your back’s to the corner
(This is it)
(You make the choice of how it goes)
(This is it)
(No one can tell what the future holds)
(This is it)
One way or another

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Loggins Kenneth Clark / Mc Donald Michael H
This Is It lyrics © Milk Money Music, Tauripin Tunes

75 Years Ago – 6 August 1945

Today, 06 August 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima by the United States.  I know many disagree with me, but in my opinion, the bombing of Hiroshima, and three days later Nagasaki, were nothing short of war crimes, of crimes against humanity.  Approximately 210,000 people died as a result of those two bombings.. These people were not the military brass who were leading the Japanese army and navy in attacks against the allies, nor were they even the soldiers who were following orders.  They were innocents — senior citizens, women, children, civil servants — people who were only going about their lives until suddenly … BOOM … they no longer had lives to go about.  I will always believe that the use of nuclear weaponry is wrong.  Period.

Three years ago at the observance of the anniversary, Japan held their annual ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, attended by some 50,000 people representing 80 nations.  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for global cooperation to end nuclear weapons.

“For us to truly realize a world without nuclear weapons, the participation of both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states is necessary.”

In July of that year, the United Nations reached its first agreement to ban nuclear weapons. But Japan, along with the nine nuclear-armed nations, including the United States, refused to take part in the negotiations and the vote, saying it does nothing to counter the “grave threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program.”

Japan already adheres to a policy of not possessing, producing or allowing nuclear weapons on its territory. It is the only country to have ever come under nuclear attack.  So far.

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres issued a message calling for the United States and other nuclear-armed countries to do more to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

“Our dream of a world free of nuclear weapons remains far from reality. The states possessing nuclear weapons have a special responsibility to undertake concrete and irreversible steps in nuclear disarmament.”

Every president since 1945 has worked toward test bans and global reduction of nuclear weapons … until the current administration who, we learned in May, is considering resuming nuclear testing.   Trump has withdrawn the United States from arms treaties including the landmark INF agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. Additionally, he has failed to extend the New START accord, which expires early next year.  If it expires without renewal or a replacement, then we will have no treaty in place controlling the two largest nuclear arsenals. There will be no trust, no verification. Today, there are about 14,000 nuclear weapons worldwide according the Arms Control Association, most of them held by the United States and Russia.

Contrary to the “dream of a world free of nuclear weapons”, in February 2017 Trump told Reuters that “if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack.”  Trump, in fact, has said some chilling things along those lines:

  • Trump said he might use nuclear weapons and questioned why we would make them if we wouldn’t use them. – March 2016
  • “Europe is a big place. I’m not going to take cards off the table.” (Answering a question whether he would ever ‘nuke’ Europe) – March 2016
  • Trump said that “you want to be unpredictable” with nuclear weapons – January 2016
  • Trump reiterated that it was important to be “unpredictable” with nuclear weapons – March 2016
  • Trump said he’d be OK with a nuclear arms race in Asia – May 2016

He has made other, similar comments, and I won’t go into detail here, but suffice it to say that he does not, apparently, realize what the use of nuclear weapons by any country on the globe would mean for the future of mankind.  Or perhaps he does …

In my opinion, the absolute worst invention in the world … ever … was the invention of nuclear weapons that are capable of killing hundreds of thousands of people in a matter of seconds.  This is not a toy, not something funny to play around with, and it is damn sure not something that should be used to threaten other nations.

Today, let us simply remember the atrocities, the horrors, of August 6th and August 9th, 1945.  And let us hope that somehow, someday, we can have a world free of the nuclear threat.

In Memory …

hiroshima-8.jpg

Related posts:

On President Obama’s Visit to Hiroshima

A Serious Conversation

A Bit Of Un-Masked History

Comparisons have been made more than a few times between today’s coronavirus pandemic and the pandemic of 1918 known as the Spanish Flu.  Turns out that one of the issues we are grappling with today, mask-wearing, was a big issue back then, too.  I thought this bit of history from the New York Times was quite interesting!


The Mask Slackers of 1918

As the influenza pandemic swept across the United States in 1918 and 1919, masks took a role in political and cultural wars.

christine-hauserBy Christine Hauser

Aug. 3, 2020

Updated 12:29 p.m. ET

flu-1The masks were called muzzles, germ shields and dirt traps. They gave people a “pig-like snout.” Some people snipped holes in their masks to smoke cigars. Others fastened them to dogs in mockery. Bandits used them to rob banks.

More than a century ago, as the 1918 influenza pandemic raged in the United States, masks of gauze and cheesecloth became the facial front lines in the battle against the virus. But as they have now, the masks also stoked political division. Then, as now, medical authorities urged the wearing of masks to help slow the spread of disease. And then, as now, some people resisted.

In 1918 and 1919, as bars, saloons, restaurants, theaters and schools were closed, masks became a scapegoat, a symbol of government overreach, inspiring protests, petitions and defiant bare-face gatherings. All the while, thousands of Americans were dying in a deadly pandemic.

1918: The infection spreads.

The first infections were identified in March, at an Army base in Kansas, where 100 soldiers were infected. Within a week, the number of flu cases grew fivefold, and soon the disease was taking hold across the country, prompting some cities to impose quarantines and mask orders to contain it.

By the fall of 1918, seven cities — San Francisco, Seattle, Oakland, Sacramento, Denver, Indianapolis and Pasadena, Calif. — had put in effect mandatory face mask laws, said Dr. Howard Markel, a historian of epidemics and the author of “Quarantine!”

Organized resistance to mask wearing was not common, Dr. Markel said, but it was present. “There were flare-ups, there were scuffles and there were occasional groups, like the Anti-Mask League,” he said, “but that is the exception rather than the rule.”

At the forefront of the safety measures was San Francisco, where a man returning from a trip to Chicago apparently carried the virus home, research archives show.

By the end of October, there were more than 60,000 cases statewide, with 7,000 of them in San Francisco. It soon became known as the “masked city.”flu-2“The Mask Ordinance,” signed by Mayor James Rolph on Oct. 22, made San Francisco the first American city to require face coverings, which had to be four layers thick.

A ‘pig-like extension of the snout’

Resisters complained about appearance, comfort and freedom, even after the flu killed an estimated 195,000 Americans in October alone.

Alma Whitaker, writing in The Los Angeles Times on Oct. 22, 1918, reviewed masks’ impact on society and celebrity, saying famous people shunned them because it was “so horrid” to go unrecognized.

“The big restaurants are the funniest sights, with all the waiters and diners masked, the latter just raising their screen to pop in a mouthful of food,” she wrote.

When Ms. Whitaker herself declined to wear one, she was “forcibly taken” to the Red Cross as a “slacker,” and ordered to make one and put it on.flu-3The San Francisco Chronicle said the simplest type of mask was of folded gauze affixed with elastic or tape. The police went for gauze masks, which resembled an unflattering “nine ordinary slabs of ravioli arranged in a square.”

There was room for creativity. Some of the coverings were “fearsome looking machines” that lent a “pig-like aspect” to the wearer’s face.

Mask court

The penalty for violators was $5 to $10, or 10 days’ imprisonment.

On Nov. 9, 1,000 people were arrested, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. City prisons swelled to standing room only; police shifts and court sessions were added to help manage.

“Where is your mask?” Judge Mathew Brady asked offenders at the Hall of Justice, where sessions dragged into night. Some gave fake names, said they just wanted to light a cigar or that they hated following laws.

Jail terms of 8 hours to 10 days were given out. Those who could not pay $5 were jailed for 48 hours.flu-4The ‘mask slacker’ of San Francisco is shot.

On Oct. 28, a blacksmith named James Wisser stood on Powell and Market streets in front of a drugstore, urging a crowd to dispose of their masks, which he described as “bunk.”

A health inspector, Henry D. Miller, led him to the drugstore to buy a mask.

At the door, Mr. Wisser struck Mr. Miller with a sack of silver dollars and knocked him to the ground, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. While being “pummeled,” Mr. Miller, 62, fired four times with a revolver. Passers-by “scurried for cover,” The Associated Press said.

Mr. Wisser was injured, as were two bystanders. He was charged with disturbing the peace, resisting an officer and assault. The inspector was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

In Los Angeles, ‘To Mask or Not to Mask.’

That was the headline for a report published in The Los Angeles Times when city officials met in November to decide whether to require residents to wear “germ scarers” or “flu-scarers.”

Public feedback was invited. Some supported masks so theaters, churches and schools could operate. Opponents said masks were “mere dirt and dust traps and do more harm than good.”

“I have seen some persons wearing their masks for a while hanging about their necks, and then apply them to their faces, forgetting that they might have picked up germs while dangling about their clothes,” Dr. E.W. Fleming said in a Los Angeles Times report.

An ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr. John J. Kyle, said: “I saw a woman in a restaurant today with a mask on. She was in ordinary street clothes, and every now and then she raised her hand to her face and fussed with the mask.”

In Illinois, the right to choose, and to reject.

Suffragists fighting for the right to vote made a gesture that rejected covering their mouths at a time when their voices were crucial.

At the annual convention of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association, in October 1918, they set chairs four feet apart, closed doors to the public and limited attendance to 100 delegates, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported.flu-5But the women “showed their scorn” for masks, it said. It’s unclear why.

Allison K. Lange, an associate history professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology, said one reason could have been that they wanted to keep a highly visible profile.

“Suffragists wanted to make sure their leaders were familiar political figures,” Dr. Lange said.

‘Four weeks of muzzled misery’

San Francisco’s mask ordinance expired after four weeks at noon on Nov. 21. The city celebrated, and church bells tolled.

A “delinquent” bent on blowing his nose tore his mask off so quickly that it “nearly ruptured his ear,” The San Francisco Chronicle reported. He and others stomped on their masks in the street. As a police officer watched, it dawned on him that “his vigil over the masks was done.”

Waiters, barkeeps and others bared their faces. Drinks were on the house. Ice cream shops handed out treats. The sidewalks were strewn with gauze, the “relics of a torturous month,” The Chronicle said.

The spread had been halted. But a second wave was on the horizon.

By December, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was again proposing a mask requirement, meeting with testy opposition.flu-6Around the end of the year, a bomb was defused outside the office of San Francisco’s chief health officer, Dr. William C. Hassler. “Things were violent and aggressive, but it was because people were losing money,” said Brian Dolan, a medical historian at the University of California, San Francisco. “It wasn’t about a constitutional issue; it was a money issue.”

By the end of 1918, the death toll from influenza had reached at least 244,681, mostly in the last four months, according to government statistics.

1919: A new year

In January, Pasadena’s city commission passed a mask ordinance. The police grudgingly enforced it, cracking down on cigar smokers and passengers in cars. Sixty people were arrested on the first day, The Los Angeles Times reported on Jan. 22, in an article titled “Pasadena Snorts Under Masks.”

“It is the most unpopular law ever placed on the Pasadena records,” W.S. McIntyre, the chief of police, told the paper. “We are cursed from all sides.”

Some mocked the rule by stretching gauze across car vents or dog snouts. Cigar vendors said they lost customers, though enterprising aficionados cut a hole in the cloth. (They were still arrested.) Barbers lost shaving business. Merchants complained traffic dropped as more people stayed home.

Petitions were circulated at cigar stands. Arrests rose, even of the powerful. Ernest May, the president of Security National Bank of Pasadena, and five “prominent” guests were rounded up at the Maryland Hotel one Sunday.

They had masks on, but not covering their faces.

The Anti-Mask League.

As the contagion moved into its second year, so did the skepticism.

On Dec. 17, 1918, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors reinstituted the mask ordinance after deaths started to climb, a trend that spilled over into the new year with 1,800 flu cases and 101 deaths reported there in the first five days of January.

That board’s decision led to the creation of the Anti-Mask League, a sign that resistance to masks was resurfacing as cities tried to reimpose orders to wear them when infections returned.

The league was led by a woman, E.J. Harrington, a lawyer, social activist and political opponent of the mayor. About a half-dozen other women filled its top ranks. Eight men also joined, some of them representing unions, along with two members of the board of supervisors who had voted against masks.

“The masks turned into a political symbol,” Dr. Dolan said.flu-7On Jan. 25, the league held its first organizational meeting, open to the public at the Dreamland Rink, where they united behind demands for the repeal of the mask ordinance and for the resignations of the mayor and health officials.

Their objections included lack of scientific evidence that masks worked and the idea that forcing people to wear the coverings was unconstitutional.

On Jan. 27, the league protested at a Board of Supervisors meeting, but the mayor held his ground. There were hisses and cries of “freedom and liberty,” Dr. Dolan wrote in his paper on the epidemic.

Repeal came a few days later on Feb. 1, when Mayor Rolph cited a downturn in infections.

But a third wave of flu rolled in late that year. The final death toll reached an estimated 675,000 nationwide, or 30 for every 1,000 people in San Francisco, making it one of the worst-hit cities in America.

Dr. Dolan said the story of the Anti-Mask League, which has drawn renewed interest now in 2020, demonstrates the disconnect between individual choice and universal compliance.

That sentiment echoes through the century from the voice of a San Francisco railway worker named Frank Cocciniglia.

Arrested on Kearny Street in January, Mr. Cocciniglia told the judge that he “was not disposed to do anything not in harmony with his feelings,” according to a Los Angeles Times report.

He was sentenced to five days in jail.

“That suits me,” Mr. Cocciniglia said as he left the stand. “I won’t have to wear a mask there.”

♫ Dance With My Father ♫ (Redux)

Every song I looked at or that popped into my head this evening … I had already played.  Nonetheless, I have had a delightful hour or so listening to old favourites!  So finally, I decided on a replay of this one, for it is a beautiful song and one that I love … I hope you will, too.


Luther Vandross, with help from Richard Marx, wrote this song shortly after he suffered a stroke on April 16, 2003, that left him in a coma for two months and eventually killed him two years later on July 1, 2005. The song is a tribute to his late father, and very poignant as it was one of Luther’s last songs. His father died when he was young, and Luther’s most poignant memory of his dad was him dancing in the house with his kids.

At the 2004 Grammy Awards, Vandross, by then confined to a wheelchair, appeared in a pre-taped video segment to accept his Song of the Year Award for “Dance with My Father”, saying, “When I say goodbye it’s never for long, because I believe in the power of love”. 

His last public appearance was on May 6, 2004, on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

I love this song, but it always leaves me with a tear or two.

Dance with My Father
Luther Vandross

Back when I was a child
Before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high
And dance with my mother and me
And then
Spin me around ’till I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure
I was loved

If I could get another chance
Another walk
Another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
How I’d love love love
To dance with my father again

When I and my mother
Would disagree
To get my way I would run
From her to him
He’d make me laugh just to comfort me
yeah yeah
Then finally make me do
Just what my mama said
Later that night when I was asleep
He left a dollar under my sheet
Never dreamed that he
Would be gone from me

If I could steal one final glance
One final step
One final dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
Cause I’d love love love to
Dance with my father again

Sometimes I’d listen outside her door
And I’d hear how mama would cry for him
I’d pray for her even more than me
I’d pray for her even more than me

I know I’m praying for much to much
But could you send her
The only man she loved
I know you don’t do it usually
But Dear Lord
She’s dying to dance with my father again

Every night I fall asleep
And this is all I ever dream

Songwriters: Luther Vandross / Richard Marx
Dance with My Father lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

Good People Doing Good Things – Little Kids With BIG Hearts

This is only the second time in the 3+ years I’ve been doing ‘good people’ posts that I’ve repeated one, but tonight I am having some vision issues and really need to give my eyes a break from the computer.  I first posted this in March 2017, so it will be new to many of you.  I think you’ll agree that these kids give us hope for our future …


Children may only be able to do small-scale deeds, but it shows us that though their bodies may be small, their hearts are big. And since these pint-sized do-gooders hold our future in their hands, it is good to see that they already have a sense of caring for others, a sense of humanity.


You are never too young to understand the value of helping others.  Second grader Phoebe Brown was running errands with her mother last week in Independence, Missouri when she came across a winning, $100 scratch-off ticket, just lying on the ground. For a fleeting moment, Phoebe admits, the thought of a spree in the toy department held a certain appeal, but it didn’t take long for her to remember that her school was having a canned food drive that week, and she ended up spending the entire $100 on canned food to donate to those less fortunate.  Her good works even inspired her dad to match every dime she spent!  At the end of the food drive, Phoebe’s class had collected 541 items of food, making them her school’s winner. As a fun reward, Phoebe and her classmates were invited to shave their gym teacher’s beard.

Wed-beard.png


A group of schoolboys in New South Wales, Australia, were about to board a bus and head home after a rugby league game when they noticed an 81-year-old gentleman moving his woodpile from the front of his home to the back, one piece at a time.  Without hesitation, the boys and their dads jumped in and moved every last piece of wood for the man.  A small gesture?  Perhaps, but it is a sign of respect and caring, a sign that these kids are being taught values and compassion.  Hats off to the rugby team at Cooma North Public School!

Wed-boys-woodpile


jaden-sink-3Westboro Baptist Church, best known for its intense hatred of most everything, is located on the East Side of Topeka, Kansas, directly across from Equality House, a resource center established by the non-profit group, Promoting Peace (interesting juxtaposition, don’t you think?).  Equality House and Promoting Peace is a whole story unto itself, but that will have to wait for some other Wednesday, because today’s story is about a six-year-old girl named Jaden Sink. After Jaden’s dad tried to explain to her that Westboro members promote messages of hate, Jayden decided she wanted to raise money toward spreading messages of love and peace. So Jayden opened a lemonade stand … not just any ol’ lemonade stand, but a pink lemonade stand, mind you!  And in the first day of business, she made $1,400!  I think this is proof that love sells better than hate!  By the end of that summer in 2013, Jaden had raised more than $23,000, all of which she donated to the cause of peace.

But Jaden’s story didn’t end there.  The story of Jaden’s pink lemonade stand went viral during that summer of 2013, and other children jumped happily on the bandwagon.  Today, there are some 70 stands worldwide, with all proceeds going toward Equality House’s anti-bullying initiatives.  Says Jaden, “We’re giving [the money] to the rainbow house to help people who are sick, and to help people be nice to each other.”  That’s my kind of kid!

Wed-Jayden-Sink


When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005, it made history as one of the five deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history.  Then-10-year-old fifth-grader Talia Leman, seeing images of the destruction on the news, launched a charity urging kids to trick-or-treat for New Orleans, ultimately raising more than $10 million for the Hurricane Katrina foundation. From there, she founded RandomKid, a nonprofit that provides resources for young people who want to make a worldwide impact on any issue. Among the company’s successful efforts are reusable water bottles, which helped fund a water pump for an African village, and a push to provide crutches and artificial limbs to Haitian earthquake victims. Here is an example of a kid who started out doing small things and ended up doing some pretty big things!


Many of these stories are about small acts of kindness, but these children have the right idea, and I would not be surprised to see them make major differences in the world one of these days.  Hats off to the kids, of course, but also to their parents who have obviously taken the time to instill compassion, kindness and caring about others into the hearts of their children.

Is this what a president for the common man does?

Trump supporters seem to be unaware of the many ways in which they are voting against their own best interests, or effectively shooting themselves in the foot, when they vote for Trump. Keith provides a few of these examples in his excellent post this afternoon. Thank you, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

Many of the Trump base have no idea they are voting against their economic interests. This advertised populist, common man president, fails to let folks know the following:

– in his first two hours of being president, he repealed a regulation that would have reduced homeowners insurance premiums for securing mortgages with the less than 20% down, that was scheduled to go in effect February 1, 2017. This would have helped about one million low income homeowners.

– he has hobbled the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that was very successful, but banks and credit card companies did not like it. The CFPB penalized these companies for fraudulent and aggressive lending practices, with 95% of the fines going to cheated consumers. In short, the CFPB helps folks who are targeted.

– he eliminated a new requirement that said all investment advisors have to be fiduciaries, meaning they must put your interests…

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Ignorance is Bliss

Our friend Jeff from On the Fence Voters has written a thoughtful post about the current state of affairs in the U.S., or rather the ignorance that created the monster who created that state of affairs. There is much food for thought here, and I hope you’ll take a moment to read and consider his words. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

The dumbing down of America began long before the current president rose to power. It’s easy to blame the man, but in this case, he’s merely jumping on the bandwagon and taking the ignorance to new and immense heights.

For all of his faults, and there are too many to list here, recognizing the stupidity of so many Americans and capitalizing on their failure to reach even the bare minimum of intellectual curiosity might be his most significant and long-lasting contribution to America’s decline.

All you need to do is scan the news every day for examples of how far we’ve gone from being the envy of the world to a country ultimately coming apart at its seams, flailing and hurtling head-first into a world of conspiracy theories, lies, racial division, and absurdity…

*Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas tests positive for Covid-19 and claims that it was the mask itself…

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♫ Aubrey ♫

Frustratingly, I cannot find much in the way of a backstory or trivia about this song.  David Gates of Bread wrote this song after watching the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, starring Audrey Hepburn. The song itself had nothing to do with the movie, but the moodiness of the film had set him up to write it.

“I hardly ever write any ‘name’ songs, but I loved that name and the way it flowed in that particular melody. That may be the best melody I’ve ever written.”

It appeared on Bread’s 1972 album Guitar Man. The single lasted 11 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #15. In Canada the song reached only #41 on the pop singles chart, but reached #6 on the adult contemporary chart. In New Zealand, “Aubrey” reached #8.  The Brits apparently didn’t like it.

Aubrey
Bread

And Aubrey was her name,
A not so very ordinary girl or name
But who’s to blame?
For a love that wouldn’t bloom
For the hearts that never played in tune
Like a lovely melody that everyone can sing,
Take away the words that rhyme it doesn’t mean a thing

And Aubrey was her name
We tripped the light and danced together to the moon,
But where was June
No it never came around
If it did it never made a sound,
Maybe I was absent or was listening to fast,
Catching all the words, but then the meaning going past,

But God I miss the girl,
And I’d go a thousand times around the world just to be
Closer to her than to me

And Aubrey was her name,
I never knew her, but I loved her just the same,
I loved her name
Wish that I had found the way
And the reasons that would make her stay
I have learned to lead a life apart from all the rest
If I can’t have the one I want, I’ll do without the best

But how I miss the girl
And I’d go a million times around the world just to say
She had been mine for a day

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: David Gates
Aubrey lyrics © David Gates D/B/A Kipahulu Music

Who You Gonna Trust?

If you call a plumber to repair a leaky pipe, and he diagnoses the problem, hands you an estimate for a new piece of pipe and attachments plus his labour, you don’t typically tell him that he’s wrong and you don’t need a new pipe, only a piece of duct tape.  If you have pain in your side, you go to the doctor, and he tells you that you have appendicitis and need an operation, you don’t typically tell him that he’s wrong and you only need an antacid.  When things go wrong, we rely on experts to diagnose and fix the problem.  Experts have specialized education, training and skills that we lack, so we trust them to take care of the problems that occur, whether with our homes, our cars, or our bodies.

Within the administration of our federal government, we have experts in all fields from the environment to housing to public health and more.  Two of those public health experts are Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.  Let me tell you just a little bit about them …

fauciDr. Fauci graduated first in his class from Cornell University Medical College with a Doctor of Medicine in 1966. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, now known as New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine. In 1968, Fauci joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a clinical associate in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation (LCI) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In 1974, he became Head of the Clinical Physiology Section, LCI, and in 1980 was appointed Chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation. In 1984, he became director of NIAID, a position he still holds as of 2020. In that role he is responsible for an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research on infectious and immune-mediated illnesses. He has turned down several offers to lead his agency’s parent, the NIH, and has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts to contend with viral diseases like HIV/AIDS, SARS, the 2009 swine flu pandemic, MERS, Ebola and COVID-19.

He played a significant role in the early 2000s in creating the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and in driving development of biodefense drugs and vaccines following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Dr. Fauci has been a visiting professor at many medical centers and has received 30 honorary doctorates from universities in the U.S. and abroad.

Dr. Birx received a BS in chemistry from Houghton College in 1976, completing her undergraduate studies in just two years. In 1980, Birx earned an MD from the Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University.  From 1980 to 1994, Birx served as an active duty reserve officer in the United States Army. From 1994 to 2008, Birx was active duty regular Army, achieving the rank of Colonel.

birxFrom 1980 to 1989, Birx worked as a physician at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In 1981, Birx completed a one-year internship and did a two-year residency in internal medicine. From 1983 to 1986, she completed two fellowships in clinical immunology in the areas of allergies and diagnostics, where she worked in Anthony Fauci’s lab. From 1985 to 1989, Birx was the assistant chief of the Walter Reed Allergy/Immunology Service. Birx started her career as a clinician in immunology, eventually focusing on HIV/AIDS vaccine research.  From 1986 to 1989, Birx worked at the National Institutes of Health as an investigator specializing in cellular immunology.  From 2005 to 2014, Birx served as the director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA), part of the agency’s Center for Global Health.

In January 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Birx to be the Ambassador at Large and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program.

I think there can be no doubt that Drs. Fauci and Birx are experts in the field of immunology, infectious diseases, and public health.  In the past week, Donald Trump has dissed both of these experts and their opinions.

Last week, Dr. Fauci testified before a House subcommittee that the U.S. has seen more cases than European countries because it only shut down a fraction of its economy amid the pandemic.  On Saturday, Trump tweeted …

“Wrong!  We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases.”

This is akin to saying that if I just don’t go down to the basement where that pipe is leaking, it won’t be leaking.

And then came Dr. Birx’ turn.  On Sunday Birx said the US is in a new phase in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and that the deadly virus is more widespread than when it first took hold in the US earlier this year.  She also did not rule out the possibility that the nation’s coronavirus death toll could double by the end of the year to 300,000 and that most schools should offer only online learning this year.  Trump fired back on Monday …

“So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!”

And then …

“With the exception of New York & a few other locations, we’ve done MUCH better than most other Countries in dealing with the China Virus. Many of these countries are now having a major second wave. The Fake News is working overtime to make the USA (& me) look as bad as possible!  Much of our Country is doing very well. Open the Schools!”

Nancy Pelosi had criticized Dr. Birx last week, saying she had lost confidence in her for she was helping Trump spread disinformation about the progress … or lack thereof … being made in the U.S. in combatting the virus.  Historically, Dr. Birx has tended to paint a rosier picture than Dr. Fauci, less inclined to risk disagreeing with Trump, but she now seems to agree that the virus is spinning out of control here.

In contrast to Trump, Joe Biden took to Twitter in response to Trump’s tweet attacking Birx:

“It’s hard to believe this has to be said, but if I’m elected president, I’ll spend my Monday mornings working with our nation’s top experts to control this virus — not insulting them on Twitter.”

Now, I began with a brief overview of the credentials of both Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx.  Donald Trump has now denigrated both of these highly respected experts.  Take a look at the credentials of Donald Trump in the field of medicine and public health …

blank-pageYep, that’s it, folks … he has none.  Who you gonna believe, two highly qualified experts who have dedicated their lives to the study of medicine, or a television clown who has dedicated his life to screwing people?  To date, the U.S. has 4,862,174 reported cases, or 26% of the world’s 18,443,484 total.  We also have, as of this writing, 158,929 reported deaths, or 23% of the world’s 697,189 total.  And, most experts agree that the U.S. data is under-reported by at least 30%.  So no, my friends, we are not “doing very well”.  Donald Trump is wrong and the experts are right.  What a surprise, eh?  I strongly advise we believe the experts … our very lives depend on it.