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.

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Black History Month — Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson died today at the age of 101.  When the ‘breaking news’ flashed across my screen, I was working on a different post, but I quickly switched gears.  Some of you may not recognize her name, so let me tell you just a bit about Ms. Johnson.

Katherine Johnson loved to count.

“I counted everything. I counted the steps to the road, the steps up to church, the number of dishes and silverware I washed … anything that could be counted, I did.”

And so it began for this young girl from West Virginia in the U.S. Born in 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Johnson’s love for mathematics was inherent, an inclination she had from birth. At a young age, she was ready and anxious to go to school. She could vividly remember watching her older siblings go to school and wishing so much that she could go with them. The opportunity to attend school finally did come. Johnson so excelled that she began her studies in the second grade, then moved into advanced classes. By age 10, Johnson was in high school.

In school, one teacher stood out to Johnson. Miss Turner taught geometry, and Johnson couldn’t wait to take her class. The teacher was a great encourager to the students and a strong mentor to many of them. Johnson did so well in her classes that she graduated early from high school, and at age 15 she entered West Virginia State College. She had two years before having to declare a major, so Johnson wavered between English, French and mathematics. One of her professors at West Virginia State College helped Johnson with her choice. She told Johnson, “If you don’t show up for my class, I will come and find you.” And so it was, through part threat and part joke, Johnson steered her way into what was already her first love: mathematics.

At West Virginia State College, Johnson became immersed in academia and the mathematics program. She loved being surrounded by smart people, she said, and knew all of the professors and students on campus. One of her professors, the renowned Dr. William W. Schiefflin Claytor, recognized the bright and inquisitive mind that Johnson had. “You’d make a great research mathematician,” he told her. Then professor Claytor did something else. He told Johnson that he would help her become one. Johnson said…

“Many professors tell you that you’d be good at this or that, but they don’t always help you with that career path. Professor Claytor made sure I was prepared to be a research mathematician. Claytor was a young professor himself, and he would walk into the room, put his hand in his pocket, and take some chalk out, and continue yesterday’s lesson. But sometimes I could see that others in the class did not understand what he was teaching. So, I would ask questions to help them. He’d tell me that I should know the answer, and I finally had to tell him that I did know the answer, but the other students did not. I could tell.”

He saw that Johnson took all of the mathematics classes listed in the catalog that were needed to pursue her life’s passion, and even went so far as to create a class in analytic geometry of space just for her. At age 18, Johnson graduated summa cum laude with Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics and French!

Johnson ended up teaching after college; at that time, teaching was the only option for her in her community. And then one day, at a family function in the 1950s, a relative mentioned to Johnson that the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the predecessor to NASA, was hiring. They were specifically looking for African-American females to work as “computers” in what was then their Guidance and Navigation Department. In the 1950s, pools of women at NACA did calculations that the engineers needed worked or verified. Johnson immediately applied for the job, but the agency already had filled its quota for the year. By the time the next year rolled around, Johnson had applied again and found herself with two contracts on her table. One was a contract to teach, and one was to work for NACA. Remembering what professor Claytor had always told her about becoming a research mathematician, she took the job at NACA.

Johnson began working for NACA in 1953. She started as one of the women who worked on problems assigned from the engineers in what was then the Guidance and Control Branch. As Johnson worked on the problems, she would ask questions. She didn’t want to just do the work — she wanted to know the “hows” and the “whys” and then the “why nots.” None of the other women had ever asked questions before, but by asking questions, Johnson began to stand out. She was told that women didn’t participate in the briefings or attend meetings; she asked if there were a law against it. The answer, of course, was no, and so Johnson began to attend briefings. NACA was just beginning its work on space. Space itself may be perceived as a series of plane surfaces, and as Johnson became known for her training in geometry, she began to work with the team more and more. Eventually, she became known as a leader, and the men increasingly relied on her. She remembers quite clearly her experience at the time.

“The women did what they were told to do. They didn’t ask questions or take the task any further. I asked questions; I wanted to know why. They got used to me asking questions and being the only woman there.”

It was this inquisitive nature that made her a valuable resource to the team and the only woman at the time to ever be pulled from the computing pool to work on other programs.Katherine-Johnson-2In 1957, Katherine provided some of the math for the 1958 document Notes on Space Technology, a compendium of a series of 1958 lectures given by engineers in the Flight Research Division and the Pilotless Aircraft Research Division (PARD). Engineers from those groups formed the core of the Space Task Group, the NACA’s first official foray into space travel, and Katherine, who had worked with many of them since coming to Langley, “came along with the program” as the NACA became NASA later that year.

In 1960, she and engineer Ted Skopinski coauthored Determination of Azimuth Angle at Burnout for Placing a Satellite Over a Selected Earth Position, a report laying out the equations describing an orbital spaceflight in which the landing position of the spacecraft is specified. It was the first time a woman in the Flight Research Division had received credit as an author of a research report.

Then in 1962, President John F. Kennedy charged the country to send a man to the moon. Johnson became part of the team, and she began to work on calculating the trajectory for America’s first space trip with Alan Shepherd’s 1961 mission, an early step toward a moon landing. She went on to do the calculations for the first actual moon landing in 1969.Katherine-Johnson-5In 1962, when NASA used computers to calculate John Glenn’s orbit around Earth, Glenn had one request: He wanted Katherine Johnson to personally recheck the calculations made by the new electronic computers before his flight aboard Friendship 7 – the mission on which he became the first American to orbit the Earth.

Katherine-Johnson-4Johnson worked at the agency until 1986, when she retired after 33 years of service. During her tenure at NASA, Johnson received many prestigious awards, including an honorary Doctor of Law degree and an honorary Doctor of Science degree. In 2015, at age 97, Johnson added another extraordinary achievement to her long list: President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.

Johnson’s pivotal role, along with others at NASA, was highlighted in the 2016 film Hidden Figures, based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly.  The film was nominated for three Oscars, including best picture. Though it won none, the 98½-year-old Mrs. Johnson received a sustained standing ovation when she appeared onstage with the cast at the Academy Awards ceremony that February.

R.I.P. Ms. Johnson, and the nation thanks you for your great contributions.

 

 

Jolly … Monday Aleady???

sleepyheadWh-wha-WHAT???  It’s … Monday?  Again?  Already?  Are you sure?  I’m not ready to start another week yet.  Sigh.  Well, the upside of it being Monday is that … I get to spend a bit of time with you guys, my friends!  Even though I was caught off guard, I see that Jolly has laid out a spread fit for a king, so help yourself to a cuppa and a bite to eat, and let’s go find some fun stuff, shall we?


Jolly!!!  Where’s Benjamin’s milk???

jolly milk


Why?  Just … why?

golden-arches  I suppose it was inevitable … only a matter of time.  I like scented candles … we have probably 20 Yankee Candles from seasonal to holiday, floral to pine.  But, I’m not likely to run right out to get this latest in “aromatherapy”.  McDonald’s of Big Mac fame has introduced a line of scented candles:  100% Fresh Beef, Ketchup, Pickle, Cheese, Onion, and Sesame Seed Bun. “Burn together for maximum deliciousness,” reads a description of the candle pack on the fan club website.McDonalds-candleFrankly, I never thought a McDonald’s burger smelled all that appealing to begin with.  But wait … that’s not all.  The candles are a part of a new line of … McDonald’s merchandise that includes matching Quarter Pounder mittens for couples, a calendar, a Quarter Pounder with Love locket, a fan club T-shirt and pin, and an “I’d rather be eating a Quarter Pounder” bumper sticker.

I cannot even begin to guess what prompted all this, but … seriously???  But, even more surreal is the fact that people are actually buying this stuff!  I went to their website to snag some pictures, and except for the calendar, everything is “Sold Out”!  No longer need I wonder about the sort of people who support Trump (oops, sorry, I let a bit of political snark sneak in there … it won’t happen again).  McDonalds-merch$25 for a bloomin’ calendar???  I don’t think so!  But, take heart!  They do have McDonald’s clothing still available!McDonalds-clothes

* Credit for this story goes to my special granddaughter Natasha, aka Miss Goose!


Your daily “Awwww” moment

A man named Brett was having a drink with his mates at The Amble Inn in Corindi Beach, in New South Wales, Australia the other night.  By the time the night was done, Brett had saved a life.  He noticed a gecko in his beer, but at first assumed the staff was playing a prank on him.  The staff, however, denied it and said the gecko must have fallen into his beer.  Well, Brett did what any of us would do … he fished the little fellow out and … gave him CPR!  Watch …

Doesn’t that just warm the cockles of your heart?  Some say the gecko was likely only playing dead, one of the defense mechanisms used by such critters to trick predators, but I like to think ol’ Brett saved his little life!


Meet the “Wag Brigade”

I came across this in my virtual travels, and thought it was a pretty cool idea!  According to the article in Bored Panda …

Feeling down? Stressed out about flying? Is Life giving you lots of lemons and you can’t make lemonade fast enough? Well, if you’re passing through San Francisco International Airport, you might just run into the Wag Brigade: a group of 22 fluffy and adorable dogs (+ 1 precious airport therapy pig named LiLou) who are at your service and ready to melt all your worries away.wag-brigadeThe airport partnered up with the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to introduce passengers to dogs that are certified by the Animal Assisted Therapy Program. The animals roam around and help improve everyone’s mood.

The Wag Brigade program started in December 2013 and ever since then, the doggos have been meeting and greeting everyone who’s feeling a bit down or in need of a pick-me-up.

And LiLou the pig joined the team not too long ago. She’s hypoallergenic (instantly a 10/10 for me), she knows how to do lots of tricks: she can greet you with a wave, stand on her back hooves, and perform with her toy piano! (Obviously, not all at once, though that would be impressive.)

LiLou

LiLou is the one on the left

According to Jennifer Kazarian, the manager of the Wag Brigade program, back in 2013 they …

“Had noticed a trend with a few other Airports that had started similar programs and I was asked to take a look at those programs to see if I could create something fun and unique to SFO. The idea for therapy dogs in Airports got started the day after 9/11 when an airport employee at SJC brought his therapy dog into work to ease passenger jitters and anxieties.”

wag-brigade-2We were curious to find out where the animals go and what they do when they’re off duty.

“All of the Wag Brigade animals are personal pets and when the animals are off-duty they accompany their human handlers as they go about their day-to-day routines. Most of the animals live in San Francisco and they enjoy fun dog activities like playing fetch at the beach or the park! Some even pick-up additional volunteer shifts at local hospitals, nursing homes, colleges, and Puppy Dog Tales Reading (PDT) Programs.”

wag-brigade-3

For more information and pictures, check it out on Bored Panda!


How about some funny memes to bring a chuckle?

meme

Oops … I did it again, didn’t I?

meme-1meme-2meme-3

meme-4

🤦  Anybody care to recalc?

meme-5meme-7

meme-8

Isn’t that Sarah Huckabee Sanders?  (Oops — again!)

meme-9meme-10


And, a few toons?

toon-1toon-2

 

toon-3toon-4toon-5toon-6toon-7toon-8toon-9

 


And as always, if it’s Jolly Monday, then there just must be a funny or cute animal video!  I loved this one … it brought both smiles and a tear.


jollyOkay, folks … I do hope you found something to get your week started with a smile.  Now, go forth and share that beautiful smile … show the world how it’s done!  Keep safe and have a wonderful week!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!

♫ Save The Last Dance For Me ♫

I was rolling smokes a while ago, doing a mental checklist.  Comments answered?  Check.  Jolly Monday scheduled?  Check.  Email cleaned up?  Check.  Music post?  Oops … I knew I had forgotten something.  So, the song I was whistling at that moment was Tom Jones’ I Who Have Nothing, which is a great song, but … I already played that one last September, and I did promise new content after last night’s redux.  The other song that I found myself whistling, then humming, was this one … Save the Last Dance for Me.  I knew I had done songs by The Drifters before, but lo and behold!  I haven’t played this one yet!

This song tells the story of a couple at a dance. He tells his wife that she is free to dance and socialize with other men throughout the evening, but she should not forget that she is going home with him. Inspiration for the song came from a very personal experience.

The songwriting team of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman wrote this song. In Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life & Times of Doc Pomus, Alex Halberstadt explains that one night, Pomus found a wedding invitation in a hatbox, and back came his most vivid memory from his wedding: watching his brother Raoul dance with his new wife while Doc, who had polio, sat in his wheelchair. Inspired, he stayed up all night writing the words to this song on the back of the invitation. Shuman had played him a soaring Latin melody that afternoon, and he wanted the words to sound like a poem translated into English – something along the lines of Pablo Neruda. By the second verse, a hint of jealousy and vulnerability creeps in with the lyrics, “If he asks if you’re all alone, can he take you home, you must tell him no.” Pomus ended his night of songwriting by writing down the words that would become the title: Save The Last Dance For Me.

Pomus and Shuman were writers for Atlantic Records, where they worked with the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who produced this song. Leiber and Stoller were great with Latin rhythms, which is what they used here and what Pomus had in mind with the flow of the lyrics. Leiber and Stoller were using The Coasters to record most of their songs at the time, and had asked Pomus and Shuman to write songs for The Drifters.

The Drifters lead singer for this song was Ben E. King, who a few months later started scoring solo hits with Spanish Harlem and Stand By Me. When they were recording the song Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertegun told King how the song was inspired by Pomus watching his wife dance with another man at his wedding, and King drew on that story to wring out the emotion in his vocals.

In a rare bonehead move by Atlantic Records honchos Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, they relegated this song to the B-side of another Pomus/Shuman composition called Nobody But Me.  It was Dick Clark who broke the song when he flipped the single and played Save The Last Dance for Me on his show American Bandstand. The song gave The Drifters their only #1 hit.

Emmylou Harris in 1979 and Dolly Parton in 1984 have had Country hits with this song, and Michael Bublé reached #99 in the US with his version.  But, with apologies to Harris, Parton and Bublé , I still prefer the Drifters.

Save The Last Dance For Me
The Drifters

You can dance every dance with the guy
Who gives you the eye, let him hold you tight
You can smile every smile for the man
Who held your hand ‘neath the pale moonlight

But don’t forget who’s taking you home
And in whose arms you’re gonna be
So darlin’, save the last dance for me, hmm

Oh, I know that the music’s fine (oh, I know, yes I know)
Like sparkling wine go and have your fun
Laugh and sing but while we’re apart
Don’t give your heart to anyone

But don’t forget who’s taking you home
And in whose arms you’re gonna be
So darlin’, save the last dance for me, hmm

Baby, don’t you know I love you so?
Can’t you feel it when we touch?
I will never, never let you go
I love you, oh, so much

You can dance, go and carry on
‘Till the night is gone and it’s time to go
If he asks, if you’re all alone
Can he take you home, you must tell him, no

‘Cause don’t forget who’s taking you home
And in whose arm’s you’re gonna be
So darlin’, save the last dance for me

‘Cause don’t forget who’s taking you home
And in whose arm’s you’re gonna be
So darlin’, save the last dance for me, hmm

Save the last dance for me, hmm, hmm
Save the last dance for me, hmmm
Save

Songwriters: Doc Pomus / Mort Shuman
Save The Last Dance For Me – Re-Recording (by Original Artist) lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Spirit Music Group

The Week’s Best Cartoons ⚡ 2/22

And, to break the darkness of my last post, here is TokyoSand with the best cartoons of the week! Thank you, TS!

Political⚡Charge

Here are some of the best editorial cartoonists in the country with their visual opinions about this week’s news:

Trump Pardons / Roger Stone

By Steve Sack, Star Tribune

By Lalo Alcaraz

By Ann Telnaes, Washington Post

ByJim Morin, Miami Herald

Russia’s Back

By Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News

The Primary

By Signe Wilkinson, Philly Daily News & Philly Inquirer

ByDavid Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star

By Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

And Other News

By Nick Anderson

By Ed Hall

By Marc Murphy, Louisville Courier-Journal

ByDavid Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star

By Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Want an email with the political cartoon roundup every Saturday? Subscribe today!

Can’t wait until Saturday to see cartoons? Follow me on Instagram at @DHStokyo!

You can also find my…

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♫ Blackbird ♫ (Redux)

I really don’t know why, but this one, that I played back in September of 2018, came to my mind this evening and begged me to play it again.  And so, I am.  Tomorrow, I promise something brand new … well, not brand new, but something I’ve never played on this blog before.

Paul McCartney wrote this about the civil rights struggle for African-Americans after reading about race riots in the US. He penned it in his kitchen in Scotland not long after Little Rock Nine, when the federal courts forced the racial desegregation of the Arkansas capital’s school system.Little Rock Nine“I was sitting around with my acoustic guitar and I’d heard about the civil rights troubles that were happening in the ’60s in Alabama, Mississippi, Little Rock in particular,” he told GQ. “I just thought it would be really good if I could write something that if it ever reached any of the people going through those problems, it might give them a little bit of hope. So, I wrote ‘Blackbird.'”

McCartney-meets-little-rock-nine-2

McCartney with two of the Little Rock Nine

Blackbird
Paul McCartney

Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free

Black-bird fly
Black-bird fly, into the light of a dark black night

Black-bird fly
Black-bird fly, into the light of a dark black night

Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise
you were only waiting for this moment to arise
you were only waiting for this moment to arise

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
Blackbird lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

The Purge Continues …

It was on the 8th of this month that I wrote “The Purge Begins …”   At that time, I had no intention of it requiring a follow-up, or becoming an ongoing saga, but that is exactly what has happened.

I told you about Joseph Maguire, acting Director of National Intelligence being ousted for the sole reason that he was doing his job, and in the course of his job, he apprised Congress that the Russians are continuing their campaign of interfering in our upcoming elections.  Trump doesn’t want Congress, or by extension, We the People to know that his buddy Putin is already working hard to put Trump back in the Oval Office next year.  Maguire was replaced by a highly unqualified Richard Grenell who has absolutely no background in intelligence.  But it doesn’t stop there. Trump-tweet-swampDozens of policy experts have been cleared out of the National Security Council staff. A deputy national security adviser dogged by innuendo about disloyalty was exiled to the Energy Department. A Trump appointee’s nomination for a top Treasury Department post was pulled. The No. 3 official at the Defense Department was shown the door.  Johnny McEntee, a 29-year-old loyalist just installed to take over the Office of Presidential Personnel and reporting directly to Mr. Trump, has ordered a freeze on all political appointments across the government.  But now here’s the scariest part … McEntee also convened a meeting to instruct departments to search for people not devoted to the president so they can be removed, according to people briefed about the session, and informed colleagues that he planned to tell cabinet secretaries that the White House would be choosing their deputies from now on.

This is unheard of.  This makes my hair stand on end. loyaltyBut wait … I’m not done yet.  Grenell has only been acting DNI for three days, and already he has fired Andrew P. Hallman, the popular principal executive, who had been acting as the top deputy.  In his place, he hired Kashyap Patel, a senior National Security Council staff member and former key aide to … wait for it … the weasel Representative Devin Nunes.  Patel’s mandate?  To ‘clean house’. 

It appears that political appointees may also feel the sting of the whip, for those considered insufficiently committed to the president or suspected of not aggressively advancing his agenda will be out. Folks … this is not how a democratic government is run.  Donald Trump referred to himself as ‘king’ in a recent tweet.  The Founders of this nation were very clear that they did not want this nation to ever be under the rule of a king or despot, and yet today, that is exactly where we are headed.

What bothers me most, though, is that some 40% of the people in this nation would rather give up our independence, our right to know what our government is doing, and our right to be free of tyranny, than to give up Donald Trump.  Ask them why.  They cannot give you a well-reasoned answer.  They will call you names … the other night I was dubbed an ‘ignorant bitch’ for asking a reasonable question of a trumpeter.

Republican or Democrat, people simply must wake up very quickly and see these staffing changes as what they are:  a purge.

Last week, Trump pardoned eleven criminals, including former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich, as I told you yesterday.  He is likely to pardon Roger Stone if Stone is denied a new trial.  I can’t help but wonder if his reason is he plans to replace some of those who have been fired with these criminals.  Before you say, “Nah, couldn’t possibly happen”, I’d ask that you think about all the things we’ve said couldn’t possibly happen, yet did happen over the past three years.pardonsTrump’s goal, it would seem, is to ensure that he can act with impunity and the public will never know.  He said in a radio interview that he may drastically limit how many national security officials can listen in on his calls with foreign leaders, breaking from decades of White House procedure. “I may end the practice entirely,” he said.  So, he could make any arrangement with any foreign leader … and we would never know.

Oh … one last thing.  You know those checks and balances the Constitution calls for?  Don’t hold your breath on those working.  Congress?  Well, look what happened with the impeachment trial.  The Supreme Court?  I would laugh, but I’m feeling too ill right about now.  I’m not typically an alarmist, but friends … all I’ve got to say to you about this is … Be afraid … be very afraid.  Better yet … be angry … be furious and vote the bastard out on November 3rd!darkness

All New Snarky Snippets

If ever there is a day that I don’t feel snarky about something, we’ll know that either a) the republicans are all out of office and sanity has been restored to our government, or b) I’m dead.  So, here’s today’s batch of snark from Filosofa!


Who, exactly, is president???

Apparently, Donald Trump forgets the office he holds, for just last night he called for (former) President Barack Obama to be impeached!  On Thursday evening, Trump conducted one of his carnival acts, otherwise known as a rally.  Pundits were left shaking their heads when he said …

“President Obama, 28 times he said, ‘keep your doctor, keep your plan. keep your doctor, keep your plan… Right?  It was a lie. We should impeach him. We should impeach him.  Impeach Obama. Get him out of office.”

Um … isn’t he already out of office?  Did I miss something here?

Many of us have been saying for a long time that there is something seriously wrong with Trump’s mental health, and I think this should be proof enough!  He doesn’t realize, even though he himself replaced President Obama, that Obama is … no longer in office!  Who doesn’t know what???  Next he’ll be wanting to invite Adolf Hitler for tea at the White House!

C’mon, Mike Pence … initiate that 25th Amendment!  Here’s all the proof you need!


Open mouth, insert foot

Last year, Alabama passed one of the strictest abortion bans in the nation.  As I said at the time, lawmakers knew it would be challenged in the courts, and that was exactly the purpose … to push it up the line, all the way to the Supreme Court, thereby giving the Court an opportunity to overturn Roe v Wade.  As a woman, this infuriates me, but we’ve been over all that before, and it isn’t my purpose today to reiterate my position on women’s rights.

In response, Alabama state representative Rolanda Hollis introduced a proposal to force men to have vasectomies when they reach the age of 50, and also calls for mandatory vasectomies after a man sires his third biological child.  Sure, the proposal was never expected nor intended to become law, but rather to show just how unfair, how sexually biased the abortion ban is.  The intent was to make a point, and personally I applaud the effort … though if it were me, I would have done it a bit differently … I would have called for a Lorena Bobbit treatment for any male accused of any form of sexual abuse.

Enter Ted Cruz.  Now, Ted is from Texas, not Alabama, so … I don’t really know why he rang in, but I’m glad he did, for he pointed out the utter hypocrisy of those who would take control of a woman’s body away from her.  Here’s what ol’ Ted tweeted …

“Yikes.  A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take everything…literally! Alabama Democrat proposes bill mandating all men have vasectomy at age 50 or after third child.”

See it?  See the utter and complete hypocrisy???  Ted is appalled that the government might impose its will on men’s reproductive ‘rights’, and yet … he’s perfectly comfortable with the government imposing its will on women’s reproductive rights!  Good one, Teddy!!!  For the record, Ted Cruz is strongly against women’s rights when it comes to the abortion issue.

And just as an aside … since when is a man’s ‘right’ to sire a child …“everything … literally”?  Does he think that is his sole purpose in life?  🙄


Pardon?

Donald Trump got a little carried away with his pardon pen last week.  One of the people he pardoned was Rod Blagojevich.  Actually, I’m surprised he didn’t do it sooner, for I wrote nearly two years ago, May 2018, that he was considering it.  Blagojevich, you may remember, was the governor of Illinois when he was convicted for trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

Now, Blagojevich has spent 8 years of his 14-year sentence and is now a free man.  Is he repentant, ashamed?  Ha ha … you’ve got to be kidding!  No, he is now referring to himself as a “freed political prisoner”.  Hardly, Rod.  Yesterday, he appeared on CNN for an interview with Anderson Cooper where he accused “a handful of corrupt prosecutors” of “lying to the jury” about his actions.

blagojevichDuring his tenure as governor, Blagojevich was charged with corruption and impeached by the state Legislature in 2009. His charges included trying to solicit money for an appointment to former President Barack Obama’s US Senate seat after he won the presidency. He was also accused of shakedowns involving a children’s hospital, a racetrack owner and a building executive.  He broke laws.  He is a criminal.  And yet, he calls himself a ‘political prisoner’, and Donald Trump has now pardoned him.  Why?  Well, one could speculate, I suppose, that it might have a little something with the fact that Blagojevich was once a guest on Trump’s old television show.  Trump’s explanation, tweeted of course …

“Rod Blagojevich did not sell the Senate seat. He served 8 years in prison, with many remaining. He paid a big price. Another Comey and gang deal!”

Oh … so if you attempt to commit a crime, but fail, then you should not be punished, but should be left free to try, try again?

On the same day Trump pardoned Blagojevich, he pardoned ten others, all criminals who deserved the sentences they got, all nasty characters, or as Trump would say about others, “bad hombres”.  Why?  Why now, given that we know he was considering a pardon for Blagojevich as early as May 2018?  Because he can.  When the United States Senate acquitted Donald Trump of the two articles of impeachment, in essence they said … “You can and may do whatever you wish and we will not move to stop you.  We will turn a blind eye, so have at it … give it your best shot!”  And that, my friends, is how monsters are created.

♫ Everlasting Love ♫

Tonight’s song is one that will get the blood pumping and the toes tapping … but … which version???  Mac Gayden and Buzz Cason originally wrote this song for Robert Knight in 1967.  The song has been recorded by a number of prominent artists, with four different versions charting in the United States and an astounding seven versions in the UK, the biggest of which was by the English band Love Affair, who reached #1 on the UK charts in 1968, relegating Knight’s original to #40. However, the Knight version was reissued in the UK in 1974 and reached #19.

Love Affair used session musicians rather than the band itself on their version. The only member of the group who performed on it was their 16-year-old vocalist Steve Ellis.  The highest-charting version of this song in the United States (and my favourite, though I like the others also) was by Carl Carlton, whose cover reached #6 in 1974. Carlton kicked off a career in soul, R&B, and funk in the late 1960s, originally recording as “Little Carl” Carlton, in synergy with Stevie Wonder, who also started out as “Little Stevie.”

Chart breakdown of the “Everlasting Love” covers:

Robert Knight (1967): #13 US, #19 UK
Carl Carlton (1974): #6 US
Rex Smith/Rachel Sweet (1981): #32 US, #35 UK
Gloria Estefan (1995): #27 US, #19 UK
Love Affair (1968): #1 UK
Worlds Apart (1993): #20 UK
Cast From Casualty (1998): #5 UK
Jamie Cullum (2004): #20 UK

U2 released a version of this song on their All I Want Is You single. According to the song’s co-writer Buzz Cason in 2015 …

“We still don’t know why U2 did ‘Everlasting Love.’ It was a very big song in England. A bigger song in England than it was in the States. It was a #1 record by a band called the Love Affair in England, so everybody knew it. So I kind of assumed that it was the same in Ireland where Bono and all those guys were and they just decided one night, ‘Hey, let’s throw this thing together.’  They don’t even do the lyrics right on it. But I raced cars for years and one of my mechanics called me and said, ‘Hey, listen to what’s in the background. That’s U2 singing your song.’ I was like, ‘Oh no, man, that’s got to be somebody else. That can’t be.’ It was just surreal.”

Since the versions that were popular in the U.S. largely flopped in the UK, and vice versa, I’m playing several versions tonight.  Gloria Estefan also recorded this song, and while I love Gloria Estefan’s music, her cover of this song was … meh … so, in the interest of time (both mine and yours) and energy (largely mine), I will leave out her version and play instead, Robert Knight’s (he gets top billing, since it was his song, after all), Carl Carlton’s (because it’s my favourite and this is my blog), and the UK fave, Love Affair’s.  Let me know which you like best.

Everlasting Love
Robert Knight/Carl Carlton/Love Affair

Hearts go astray, leaving hurt when they go.
I went away just when you needed me so.
Filled with regret I come back beggin’ you,
Forgive, forget. Where’s the love we once knew?
Open up your eyes, then you’ll realize here I stand
With my everlasting love.
Need you by my side, girl you’ll be my bride.
You’ll never be denied everlasting love.
From the very start, open up your heart,
Be a lasting part of everlasting love.
Real love will last forever.
Ooh, ooh.

Where life’s river flows, no one really knows
’til someone’s there to show the way to lasting love.
Like the sun that shines, endlessly it shine,
You always will be mine. It’s everlasting love.
When other loves are gone, ours will still be strong,
We have our very own everlasting love.
Real love will last forever.
You give me, you give me, you give me everlasting love

Ooh.

Open up your eyes, then you’ll realize here I stand
With my everlasting love.
Need you by my side, girl you’ll be my bride.
You’ll never be denied everlasting love.
From the very start, open up your heart,
Be a lasting part of everlasting love.
Real love will last forever.

Open up your eyes, then you’ll realize here I stand
With my everlasting love.
Need you by my side, girl you’ll be my bride.
You’ll never be denied everlasting love.

Open up your eyes, then you’ll realize here I stand
With my everlasting love.
Need you by my side, girl you’ll be my bride.
You’ll never be denied everlasting love.

Open up your eyes, then you’ll realize here I stand
With my everlasting love.
Need you by my side, girl you’ll be my bride.
You’ll never be denied everlasting love.

Songwriters: Mac Gayden / Buzz Cason
Everlasting Love lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Downtown Music Publishing, Peermusic Publishing, Royalty Network


Note:  Lyrics vary slightly from one cover to another.  Being that it is nearly 3:00 a.m., I took the lyrics that seemed most prevalent.  Any errors are my own due to exhaustion.

Saturday Surprise — A Bit Of This ‘N That

Good morning and welcome, at long last, to the weekend!!!  I think I’ve found a few fun surprises to get your weekend off to a fun start!


I’d like to introduce you to Herman and Lundy.  The two are a living example of overlooking superficial differences and bonding with ‘other’.  You see, Herman is a pigeon and Lundy is a Chihuahua puppy, yet they are best buds! Herman-Lundy-1Herman the pigeon was rescued from a car dealership in Hilton, New York one year ago. The hapless bird, which turned out to be suffering from some neurological condition, had been found sitting on the pavement for three days before his rescuers realized he was unable to fly.Herman-Lundy-2After wildlife specialists declared Herman untreatable, they prepared to euthanize him—that’s when Sue Rogers stepped in to save him.  Over the course of the last year, Rogers has cared for Herman, keeping him in a crib when not on daily outings to stimulate his little legs.Herman-Lundy-3And then there was Lundy, whose owners, realizing that he was disabled, could not move his legs and therefore could not walk, decided they could not keep him.  Now, Sue Rogers is the founder of The Mia Foundation, a Rochester-based nonprofit dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating animals with physical defects and deformities.  Just so happened that Lundy’s family sent him to the The Mia Foundation, and it was there that Herman and Lundy met.

Herman-Lundy-4Rogers had only briefly placed the two critters together in a bed before they started snuggling. They have since become virtually inseparable.  After Ms. Rogers shared some pics of Herman and Lundy on the internet, suddenly donations began pouring in!  Says Sue Rogers …

“I never imagined the pictures of Lundy and Herman would touch so many people! Almost 5 million people in a little over 24 hours!! Their little story is being shared all over the world! And thank you also for the donations coming in. We really do need them as we have a few surgeries coming up soon! It brings me to tears to think that our little Herman (the pigeon) is known worldwide now! I’ve been called crazy for keeping Herman alive and trying to make his life a happy one. And Lundy… well, who wouldn’t love that sweet little nugget?”

Herman and Lundy even broke into the bigtime already, with a write-up in People Magazine!   Don’t they just melt your heart!  But wait … there’s more!  When I went to The Mia Foundation’s Facebook page tonight, seeking more pictures, I found this …Herman-Lundy-5

Yep, Lundy’s got herself a mobility machine!  An organization called Walkin’ Wheels donated this cart.  Sue says it will take him a little while to grow into it, but once he does … look out world!


Now here’s a new one!  I’ve long said that we (myself included) are entirely too reliant on technology.  Don’t get me wrong … I think technology is great, but … we shouldn’t let it replace our ability to do things for ourselves, to survive without it, if necessary.  Kari Paul learned that lesson the hard way.

Ms. Paul rented a car from car-sharing service, Gig Car Share, which uses an app to book a vehicle, unlock it, and drive away.  But, when she stopped briefly along side a mountain road in a very rural area of California, she had no cell service and … guess what?  Bingo!  She couldn’t start the car, for of course the app wouldn’t work without the WiFi!  Apparently, the car — like ET — needs to “phone home” every few hours to be re-set.

Now, apparently as a backup in case of this very scenario, the car comes equipped with something called a “gig card”, but as luck would have it, that didn’t work at first, either.  Night was approaching, and it was at this point that the company suggested to Ms. Paul that she just sleep in her car!  Eventually, she managed to get the gig card to work, but then Gig Car Share informed her that she had used all her “allotted restarts”, and she would have to keep the car on until she reached her destination.

Ms. Paul tweeted (later, after she finally arrived home) …

Six hours, two tow trucks, and 20 calls to customer service later apparently it was a software issue and the car needed to be rebooted before we could use it @internetofshit

If this is what they mean by ‘smart cars’, then no thanks … I’ll keep my stupid car!


Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  No … it’s Dracula!  Meet the Dracula Parrot, a unique parrot endemic to the rainforest in New Guinea, famous for its resemblance to Count Dracula. Dracula-parrot-1Its official name is Pesquet’s parrot, but is also known as the Vulturine parrot because of its distinctive vulture-like head. It feeds exclusively on figs (not blood), and it’s head is bare to avoid feathers matting from the sticky fruit. It’s a large parrot with a total length of approximately 18 inches. Dracula-parrot-2


Those of us who share our home with furry family members (no, I’m not talking about Uncle Harry … I mean the four-legged sort) know who’s really the boss of the house, and it surely ain’t us!  This short clip shows exactly who rules the roost in one household!


Well, folks, it’s a beautiful day here, the sun is actually showing it’s face for a change, so it’s time for you to get out there and enjoy your weekend!  Keep safe and have a wonderful weekend!sunny-day

How to Win the Democratic Nomination if There is a Contested Convention

Our friend TokyoSand, who last year brought us summaries of all the leading candidates, and every week brings us a compilation of great cartoons, has written a very informative post explaining how a contested convention would work, in the event that no one democratic candidate has a clear majority at the end of the primary/caucus season. Please take a look at it, for this may well be the year that we do have a contested convention! Thank you, TokyoSand!

Political⚡Charge

balloon.jpg

Here we are again. It’s like Groundhog Day but on a four-year cycle.

Every time another presidential election rolls around, talk about the potential of a contested convention bubbles up. It appears to be some sort of political pundit parlor game — going over multiple scenarios about what might happen in the case of a contested (or brokered) convention.

Except this year, a contested convention seems far more likely due to a large number of candidates who are doing well in the polls. The reality of contested convention was being talked about as early as last summer. So, how does this all work? How do you get the nomination in a scenario like the one we have in 2020?

The Normal Scenario

First, let’s do a quick review of how it normally works.

As every state and territory holds its presidential primary or caucus, a certain number of delegates…

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