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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Party Of The Working Class??? 🤣🤣🤣

The newly-branded GOP, attached at the hip to the former guy, is now calling themselves the “Party of the working class”, a misnomer at the very least.  The party that supports tax breaks for mainly the 1% at the top of the economic spectrum can hardly be the party of the working class.  A party that supports racism and bigotry is not, in my view, for the working people.  However, don’t take my word for it … listen to an expert.

A friend sent me the following video last night.  For some reason, I have missed several of Robert Reich’s columns, but this one video strikes down the GOP’s attempt to redesign itself, to do grievous harm to the people of this country while telling them that the party is “for the people”.  No, they are not.  Take a look at what Mr. Reich has to say …

♫ A Place In The Sun ♫ (Redux)

Tonight I am sad … sad, depressed, hopeless, angry.  I won’t go into the reasons … you’ve all heard them before.  But, what it means is I’m in need of me some Stevie Wonder to chase away the blues.  I know I just played this one in November of last year, but … I hope you’ll bear with me, sit back and enjoy that golden voice of da man, Stevie Wonder!  I hope he’s right, that there is a ‘place in the sun’ for us all.


Last night (Tuesday), I couldn’t seem to find a song in my heart, thus there was no song in yesterday’s lineup … yesterday’s non-existent line-up.  Tonight, I was folding laundry, and I asked myself if there was a song in my heart, and … the only one that came was Louie, Louie by Paul Revere and the Raiders, but alas … I played that one already back in, I think November.  So, I went on with my a.m. post, trolling the news, responding to emails, and suddenly I caught myself whistling Stevie Wonder’s A Place in the Sun.  BINGO!  It was not only the fact that I love the tune, always love to hear Stevie, but the lyrics seemed apropos of … something.  They speak to the way my own heart feels this week.

There isn’t a lot of background on this song, at least not that I could find in a quick search.  Released in 1966, it was written by Ronald Miller and Bryan Wells, and was one of Wonder’s first songs to contain social commentary.  This was Stevie’s third Top Ten hit since 1963 and hit #9 on the Billboard pop singles chart and # 3 on the R&B charts.

A Place In The Sun
Stevie Wonder

Like a long lonely stream
I keep runnin’ towards a dream
Movin’ on, movin’ on
Like a branch on a tree
I keep reachin’ to be free
Movin’ on, movin’ on

‘Cause there’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
And before my life is done
Got to find me a place in the sun

Like an old dusty road
I get weary from the load
Movin’ on, movin’ on
Like this tired troubled earth
I’ve been rollin’ since my birth
Movin’ on, movin’ on

There’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
And before my life is done
Got to find me a place in the sun

You know when times are bad
And you’re feeling sad
I want you to always remember

Yes, there’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone…

Songwriters: CLARENCE PAUL / RONALD MILLER / BRYAN WELLS
A Place In The Sun lyrics © Almo Music Corp., Emi Music Publishing France, JOBETE MUSIC CO INC, STONE DIAMOND MUSIC CORP

Saturday Surprise — Musical Roads???

I came across something last night on the Amusing Planet website that I thought you might enjoy reading about … musical roads!

A Japanese engineer by the name of Shizuo Shinoda was digging with a bulldozer when he accidentally scraped some markings into a road with its claw. Later when he drove over the markings, he realized that the vibration produced in his car can be heard as a tune. In 2007, a team of engineers from the Hokkaido Industrial Research Institute refined Shinoda’s designs and built a number of “melody roads” in Japan. These roads have grooves cut at very specific intervals along the road surface. Depending on how far apart the grooves are and how deep they are, a car moving over them will produce a series of high or low notes, enabling designers to create a distinct tune. The closer the grooves are, the higher the pitch of the sound. The critical ingredient in the mix is the speed of the car.

The Civic Musical Road in Lancaster, California. Photo credit: roadtrippers.com

There are four melody roads in Japan, one each in Hokkaido, Wakayama, Shizuoka and Gunma. They all play different tunes. They stretch between 175 to 250 meters, and are carved with thousands of groves. Aside from street signs, the roads are marked by colored musical notes painted on the surface of the road which alert motorists of the incoming musical interlude. The grooves are laid down on the side of the road near the curb and not in the middle, so drivers have the option to either go over them or avoid them. In order to hear the tunes, they need to keep the car windows closed and drive at 28mph keeping one wheel over the grooves . Drive too fast and it will sound like a tape on fast forward. Drive too slow and it will have the opposite effect.

The first musical road, however, was not Japanese. It was created in Gylling, Denmark, by two Danish artists Steen Krarup Jensen and Jakob Freud-Magnus, in October 1995. Called the Asphaltophone, the street is made from a series of raised pavement markers, spaced out at intermittent intervals so that as a vehicle drives over the markers, the vibrations caused by the wheels can be heard inside the car.

Grooves on a melody road in Japan. Photo credit: Yusuke Japan Blog

The idea of musical roads has caught engineers in several other countries. There is one “Singing Road” in South Korea close to Anyang in Gyeonggi. It plays the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. Unlike other melody roads, it was designed not to draw tourists but to help motorists stay alert and awake. The Singing Road is located on a particularly treacherous section of a highway where lots of accidents occur due to dozing and speeding. 68% of traffic accidents in South Korea are due to inattentive, sleeping or speeding drivers.

The U.S. got its first melody road in 2008. It was originally built on Avenue K in Lancaster, California, for a Honda commercial. The Civic Musical Road, named after Honda Civic, stretches for a quarter-mile and plays back a part of the Finale of the ‘William Tell Overture’. But the intervals are so far off that the melody bears only a slight resemblance to the original tune. Later, when residents complained that the grooves produced too much noise from nocturnal drivers, they relocated the strip to Avenue G.

Another musical road is located in the village of Tijeras, in New Mexico. Driving over the grooves at 45mph causes the car to play the famous song “America the Beautiful”. The project was funded by the National Geographic Society, and overseen by the New Mexico Department of Transportation who said that the real motive behind the musical road is to get drivers to slow down.

Grooves on the musical road in Tijeras, in New Mexico. Photo credit: drivenfordrives.wordpress.com

A sign ahead of the Civic Musical Road in Lancaster, California. Photo credit: roadtrippers.com

Photo credit: Yusuke Japan Blog

I guess you have to have better hearing than I do to hear the tunes, but even so, I think it’s a rather cool idea!

I hope you all have a wonderful, sunny weekend!

Snarky Snippets For A Rainy Day

Rainy days seem to make me more snarky than usual … I wonder why that is?  Well, it isn’t raining yet, but the clouds are moving in rapidly, so I might as well go ahead and get my suit of snark on.


A new trial?  HELL NO!

Predictably, Derek Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, has filed a motion asking for a new trial.  Who could have seen that coming, eh?  He cited a number of “reasons” for the request, including the judge’s decisions to not sequester the jury during the trial, to not change the location of the proceedings and to not grant a new trial because of publicity that he claims included the intimidation of the defense’s expert witnesses.  He also claimed “that the jury committed misconduct, felt threatened or intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings, and/or failed to adhere to instructions during deliberations.”  Interestingly, however, he provided little or no detail to support his complaints.

His single “example” that the jury had been tainted revolves around a single juror and Nelson’s supposed complaint stems from the fact that said juror had attended the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington, when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  Say WHAT???  So, now we are disqualified from serving on a jury if we have attended an event, one that was attended by tens of thousands of people including notable celebrities, civil rights leaders, and even members of Congress???

It is highly unlikely that Chauvin will be granted a new trial, and if he is, it is even less likely that the outcome would be any different than the first trial.  The entire world has seen the indisputable evidence.  It is merely a delaying tactic … Chauvin and Nelson are hoping that the memory of that video of him killing George Floyd will fade in peoples’ minds, but that is NOT going to happen.  What will happen, if Chauvin is granted a new trial, is that tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be wasted.  Precious time and court resources frittered away on an attempt to set a racist murderer free.  Frankly, I have spent all I plan to spend to try this horrible excuse for a man.  He has been proven guilty and will be sentenced on June 16th.  Anything else is unacceptable, is a waste of time, money, and resources that could better be spent elsewhere.


Hand over da memo!

Earlier this week, a bit of positive news came when Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court in Washington ordered the Department of Justice to release a March 2019 legal memo clearing former President Trump of potential obstruction of justice charges following the Mueller investigation, with the judge accusing former Attorney General William Barr and agency lawyers of deceiving the public.

Judge Jackson gave the DOJ two weeks to release the legal memo in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW).  The Justice Department under Barr had argued that the memo should be withheld because it falls under exceptions to the public records law for attorney-client privilege and deliberative government decision-making.

The reality I think we are all aware of is that there was nothing honest or open about William Barr’s assessment of the Mueller Report, and that there is something in that report that has been kept from both the public and from Congress that proves Donald Trump and/or those working on his behalf did, in fact, condone Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.  Soon, perhaps, we will have the proof we need, as well as some hope that the former guy may finally pay a price for his traitorous dishonesty, for subverting the voice of We the People.

May 17th, one week from next Monday, is the deadline Judge Jackson gave the Justice Department … stay tuned!


And from the annals of ridiculous lawsuits …

Stephen Miller

Former presidential aide, Stephen Miller – the white supremacist with ties to Nazis – has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration.  Why, you ask?  He claims the Biden administration’s funds reserved for “socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers” discriminate against white people.  I don’t know whether to laugh or throw something!

The complaint comes from America First Legal (AFL), a group founded and subsidized by Miller, whose mission statement on their website is to …

“Fight Back Against Lawless Executive Actions and the Radical Left.”

In a statement announcing the lawsuit, Miller cited words from the late Martin Luther King, Jr., writing, “Americans ‘should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’”  How DARE an avowed white supremacist quote the late, great, Dr. Martin Luther King!  And frankly, if Mr. Miller and his band of merry racists were to be judged by the ‘content of their character’, they would likely be found to have not a single redeeming quality in their ‘character’.

I hope this lawsuit is laughed out of the courts and that this organization soon disbands, for their only purpose is to destroy diversity and create an all-white fascist nation.  Sigh.  Oh, and the AFL group is also complaining about school children learning the true history — the good, the bad, and the ugly — of this nation.  What a group, eh?

Chocolate Covered Reasons.

Hugs. Such a simple thing, and yet such a powerful one. Imagine a world where people set aside their superficial differences and treated everyone with respect. Imagine a world (post-pandemic, obviously) where people hug each other … just because. Our friend David started his blog, The Buthidars, back in 2014 for all the right reasons, but I’ll let him explain that to you. Every now and then, Filosofa needs to set aside the politics, the social injustice, and just post something positive. I can’t think of anything more worthy of that than David’s Buthidars, so please, give yourself a bit of a break and head over to talk to David about hugs!

The BUTHIDARS

Way back in 2014 I started this blog after deciding it was time to leave Facebook where I ran a similar site but with many more members. Sometimes what we start in one place doesn’t always translate well in another. I had to be prepared for that. When I started here I did so with the following explanation.

About The Buthidars

The Buthidars is a religion free Order where people of all ages, colours and creeds can come together as one all-inclusive group united towards seeing peace in the world.
You will hear ( from me ) about Hugs as I maintain you can’t hug with a weapon in your hands.
You will see the reason I think Hugs are important to us as people, ourselves and others.
You will I hope learn to understand why I ask people to leave religion at the door as they visit and if…

View original post 712 more words

♫ Do You Believe In Magic? ♫

Last night, I played Creeque Alley by The Mamas and The Papas, and part of the music trivia for that song was the fact that it referenced a number of other musicians and groups from that period (1960s).  Two of the people mentioned were John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky, two members of the group The Lovin’ Spoonful.  In a comment, our friend Clive from across the pond subtly hinted that perhaps that was an indication that I should play a song by The Lovin’ Spoonful sometime soon.  So, here it is sometime soon!  My first inclination was to play Summer in the City, even though it’s so cold here tonight that I have the heat on!  But alas, I just played that one a few months ago — the only Lovin’ Spoonful song I’ve played, as it happens.  So then I was torn between Do You Believe in Magic?, Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind, and You Didn’t Have to be so Nice.  Magic won out, but feel free to tell me your favourite!

The song was written by band member John Sebastian and released in 1965.  It charted at #3 in Canada, #9 in the U.S., and nowhere else that I can find!

Sebastian and Yanovsky were in a group called The Mugwumps, and made a name for themselves playing clubs in Greenwich Village. When the other Mugwumps – Mama Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty – moved to California and formed The Mamas And The Papas, they formed the band and Sebastian began focusing on songwriting. The Lovin’ Spoonful started playing electric instruments to get away from the folk music sound and attract a younger contemporary rock audience.

The Lovin’ Spoonful played regularly at a famous club called The Night Owl Cafe. Said Sebastian:

“We were playing pretty steadily for the local people from Greenwich Village who were part of the jazz scene or part of the kind of downtown ‘in crowd.’ They were ‘finger poppers,’ guys who played chess, ‘beatniks.’ But there was this one particular night as we were playing, I looked out in the audience and saw this beautiful 16-year-old girl just dancing the night away. And I remember Zal and I just elbowed each other the entire night because to us that young girl symbolized the fact that our audience was changing, that maybe they had finally found us. I wrote ‘Do You Believe In Magic’ the next day.”

Turning down an offer from Phil Spector because they didn’t want to “be swallowed up under his name,” The Lovin’ Spoonful signed to a new record label called Kama Sutra. This was the first song they recorded for the label, and it was the first of a string of hits for the group.

Sadly, the group’s fame ‘n fortune was to be short-lived.  The beginning of the end was when Zal Yanovsky was arrested for possession of marijuana in San Francisco and and pressured by police to name his supplier. He was a Canadian citizen and feared that he would be deported and barred from re-entering the U.S., so he complied. The incident resulted in a public backlash from the counterculture against the band, with a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Free Press (according to music critic Ralph Gleason) “urging people not to buy Spoonful records and not to attend their concerts …”

Although Yanovsky went on to release a solo single and album, his musical career was severely harmed.  The same month, May 1967, John Sebastian also left the group.  Although they had a couple of moderate hits after that, the band never fully recovered and in early 1969, they split up.

This song has been featured on the soundtracks of a number of movies, and is a popular song in ads, having been featured in ads for Mercedes Benz, McDonald’s, Burger King, Kohl’s, Dash Detergent and the Trump Casino.  (That last one maybe makes me like the song a bit less, but I’ll get over it)

Do You Believe in Magic
The Lovin’ Spoonful

Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart?
How the music can free her whenever it starts
And it’s magic if the music is groovy
It makes you feel happy like an old-time movie
I’ll tell you about the magic, and it’ll free your soul
But it’s like trying to tell a stranger ’bout a rock ‘n’ roll

If you believe in magic don’t bother to choose
If it’s jug band music or rhythm and blues
Just go and listen it’ll start with a smile
That won’t wipe off your face no matter how hard you try
Your feet start tapping, and you can’t seem to find
How you got there, so just blow your mind

If you believe in magic come along with me
We’ll dance until morning till there’s just you and me
And maybe if the music is right
I’ll meet you tomorrow sorta late at night
And we’ll go dancing baby, then you’ll see
How the magic’s in the music, and the music’s in me

Yeah, do you believe in magic
Yeah, believe in the magic of the young girl’s soul
Believe in the magic of a rock ‘n’ roll
Believe in the magic that can set you free
Ahh, talking ’bout the magic

Do you believe in magic?
(Do you believe like I believe?) Do you believe, believer?
(Do you believe like I believe?) Do you believe in magic?
(Do you believe like I believe?) Do you believe in magic?

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: John Sebastian
Do You Believe in Magic lyrics © Trio Music Company, Alley Music Corp.

We Are Not Okay

I guess a lot of us were naïve back in November when we celebrated Joe Biden’s win for the office of President.  I know I definitely was.  Oh sure, I knew we’d have to listen to the former guy pout and whine for a couple of months, but then he’d be gone, I thought, riding that train of irrelevance into obscurity for the rest of his life, and the nation could begin to heal.  And yes, I realized that Republicans weren’t going to just suddenly find their consciences again on January 20th and that everything would be a bed of roses … after all, Mitch McConnell was re-elected along with a fresh batch of nasties.  But still, I thought we were finally back on track to a government for the people, of the people, and by the people.  I was wrong … dead wrong.

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman writes about where we stand today, the good that is happening under the Biden administration, but also the dangers that we still face in the months and years ahead, and a prophetic warning, if we don’t get our act together.


Trump’s Big Lie Devoured the G.O.P. and Now Eyes Our Democracy

By Thomas L. Friedman

Opinion Columnist

President Biden’s early success in getting Americans vaccinated, pushing out stimulus checks and generally calming the surface of American life has been a blessing for the country. But it’s also lulled many into thinking that Donald Trump’s Big Lie that the election was stolen, which propelled the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, would surely fade away and everything would return to normal. It hasn’t.

We are not OK. America’s democracy is still in real danger. In fact, we are closer to a political civil war — more than at any other time in our modern history. Today’s seeming political calm is actually resting on a false bottom that we’re at risk of crashing through at any moment.

Because, instead of Trump’s Big Lie fading away, just the opposite is happening — first slowly and now quickly.

Under Trump’s command and control from Mar-a-Largo, and with the complicity of most of his party’s leaders, that Big Lie — that the greatest election in our history, when more Republicans and Democrats voted than ever before, in the midst of a pandemic, must have been rigged because Trump lost — has metastasized. It’s being embraced by a solid majority of elected Republicans and ordinary party members — local, state and national.

“Denying the legitimacy of our last election is becoming a prerequisite for being elected as a Republican in 2022,” observed Gautam Mukunda, host of Nasdaq’s “World Reimagined” podcast and author of the book “Indispensable: When Leaders Really Mattered.”

“This is creating a filter that over time will block out anyone willing to tell the truth about the election.” It will leave us with “a Republican Party where you cannot rise without declaring that the sun sets in the East, a Republican Party where being willing to help steal an election is literally a job requirement.”

This is not an exaggeration. Here is what Representative Anthony Gonzalez, one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, told The Hill about the campaign within the party to oust Representative Liz Cheney from her House G.O.P. leadership position, because of her refusal to go along with the Big Lie:

“If a prerequisite for leading our conference is continuing to lie to our voters, then Liz is not the best fit. Liz isn’t going to lie to people. … She’s going to stand on principle.”

Think about that for a second. To be a leader in today’s G.O.P. you either have to play dumb or be dumb on the central issue facing our Republic: the integrity of our election. You have to accept everything that Trump has said about the election — without a shred of evidence — and ignore everything his own attorney general, F.B.I. director and election security director said — based on the evidence — that there was no substantive fraud.

What kind of deformed party will such a dynamic produce? A party so willing to be marinated in such a baldfaced lie will lie about anything, including who wins the next election and every one after that.

There is simply nothing more dangerous for a two-party democracy than to have one party declare that no election where it loses is legitimate, and, therefore, if it loses it will just lie about the results and change the rules.

That’s exactly what’s playing out now. And the more one G.O.P. lawmaker after another signs on to Trump’s Big Lie, the more it gives the party license at the state level to promote voter suppression laws that ensure that it cannot lose ever again.

Kimberly Wehle, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and author of the book “How to Read the Constitution — and Why,” writing in The Hill on Monday, noted that “as of late March, state legislators have introduced 361 bills in 47 states this year that contain limitations around voting, a 43 percent increase from just a month earlier.

“The measures include things like enhanced power for poll ‘monitors,’ fewer voting drop-boxes, restrictions on voting by mail, penalties for election officials who fail to purge voters from the rolls, and enhanced power in politicians over election procedures.”

Although G.O.P. supporters of these bills insist that they are about election integrity and security, Wehle added, “the lack of actual evidence of fraud and mismanagement in the American electoral system totally belies those cynical claims.”

This is the equivalent of lighting a fuse to a bomb planted beneath the foundations of our democracy.

Imagine if all or many of these measures are passed — and in 2022 and 2024 Republicans manage to retake the House, Senate and White House with, say, only 42 percent of the popular vote, effectively establishing minority rule. Do you know what will happen? Let me tell you what will happen. Disenfranchised Democratic voters will not sit idly by. They may refuse to pay their taxes. Many will take to the streets. Some might become violent, and our whole political system could become paralyzed and start to unravel.

Yet, this is precisely the path that Trump’s G.O.P. is setting us on.

Personally, I have reservations about where the left of the Democratic Party is pulling Biden on some economic, immigration, foreign policy and education issues. But Biden and his party are putting forth real ideas to try to address the real challenges that an increasingly diverse 21st-century America needs to address to become a more perfect union. The best tool for keeping the Democratic Party close to the center-left on more issues is a healthy Republican Party that hews to the center-right.

We don’t have that. We have, instead, a G.O.P. trying to cling to power by leveraging a Big Lie into voter suppression laws that leverage the party back to power by appealing solely to a largely white 20th-century America. Trump’s G.O.P. is making no effort to offer conservative alternatives to the issues of the day. Its whole focus is on how to win without doing that.

Which is why it is incumbent on every American to support in every way possible the few principled Republican legislators fighting this trend from the inside — like Liz Cheney, Representative Adam Kinzinger and Senator Mitt Romney.

What I learned covering the struggle for the future of the Arab-Muslim world post-9/11 is that the war of ideas inside is everything. Sure, it is important for outsiders to condemn bad behavior, but their voices have limited impact. Real change happens only when the war of ideas is won by insiders, working from the roots upward.

On Monday, CNN quoted Cheney as telling Republican donors and scholars at a retreat for the American Enterprise Institute in Sea Island, Ga.: “We can’t embrace the notion the election is stolen. It’s a poison in the bloodstream of our democracy. … We can’t whitewash what happened on Jan. 6 or perpetuate Trump’s Big Lie. It is a threat to democracy. What he did on Jan. 6 is a line that cannot be crossed.” A “peaceful transfer of power must be defended.”

She could not be more right. And without a war of ideas inside the party, one that is won by principled Republicans, we run the real risk of a political civil war in America over the next election.

Things are not OK.

Unless more principled Republicans stand up for the truth about our last election, we’re going to see exactly how a democracy dies.

Can’t Win Honestly? Then Cheat!

It’s a sad statement when one of the two political parties is so certain they cannot win in a fair and honest election that rather than change their ways, they do everything in their power (and some things that really are not in their legitimate power) to ensure half the people in the nation will not be able to cast a ballot in upcoming elections.  It is the equivalent of a child sneaking a cookie before supper, for he knows if he asks, he will be told “No, not until after supper.”  Only with much more serious and far-reaching consequences.

Today, Florida Governor and 2024 presidential hopeful, Ron DeSantis signed into law an extremely restrictive voter suppression law that he claims will place guardrails against fraud, even as he acknowledged there were no serious signs of voting irregularities last November.  But, DeSantis and the entirety of the Republican Party feel threatened by the fact that times are changing, people are becoming less tolerant of the bigotry that is the cornerstone of the Republican Party and … well, if you can’t win honestly, then you cheat, right?

The media, for the most part, was not allowed in to view the signing ceremony.  One exception:  Fox ‘News’.  Go figure.  DeSantis staged the signing on a live broadcast of Fox & Friends this morning, flanked by a small group of GOP legislators in Palm Beach County.  Other media organizations were shut out.  Freedom of press???  Or is that, like voting rights, being killed?

Look closely at the picture … see any Black faces there?  But it isn’t only Blacks and Hispanics the Republican governor and legislators are trying to disenfranchise.  According to Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida …

“The legislation has a deliberate and disproportionate impact on elderly voters, voters with disabilities, students and communities of color. It’s a despicable attempt by a one party ruled legislature to choose who can vote in our state and who cannot. It’s undemocratic, unconstitutional, and un-American.”

Do you remember when you were in school and each morning you had to stand and recite that ‘pledge of allegiance’ to the flag?  Being the rebel I am and have always been, I stopped doing that by about 2nd grade, and no matter what they threatened me with, I refused to stand or say the words that even back then rang false. I followed the example of Colin Kaepernick, before he was even born!  One line in that pledge calls the United States “one nation, indivisible …”.  Apparently, they were wrong.  I think they better be re-thinking that one and calling it “one nation, deeply divided”.

Within minutes of DeSantis signing the bill into law, lawsuits were filed.  The League of Women Voters of Florida joined the Black Voters Matter Fund, the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, and others in assailing the new law in a federal lawsuit filed minutes after the signing.  A separate lawsuit by the NAACP and Common Cause alleges that the new law makes it more difficult for people who are Black, Latino or disabled to vote.

My hope is that the courts will strike down all these restrictive measures too many states are taking to try to disenfranchise us, to shove their will down our throats, but sadly I’m not as confident of that as I once was.

♫ Creeque Alley ♫

I sat back earlier tonight, closed my eyes, and waited for a song to come to me.  Well, a song didn’t come to me, but a group did … The Mamas and the Papas!  Checking my archives, I found that I haven’t played very many by them, and they certainly deserve a wider venue than what I have given them thus far.  There wasn’t much verifiable trivia in my two usual ‘go-to’ sources, SongFacts and Wikipedia, so I delved deeper, went further afield, and hit the jackpot!  I apologize for the length of the post, but I found the trivia fascinating … all news to me … and I thought/hoped you would, too.  If not, then just skip to da song!

From a website titled Best Classic Bands

Numerous autobiographical songs have been written since the dawn of rock, but few have told the story of a band’s formation as vividly and colorfully as The Mamas and the Papas’ “Creeque Alley.” Released as a single in late April 1967, it climbed to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100; it also appeared on the quartet’s third album, Deliver, which itself rose to #2.

The song, credited to the group’s husband-and-wife co-founders John and Michelle Phillips, chronicles the events leading up to the 1965 creation of the Mamas and the Papas, which also included Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty. The lyrics are stocked with names and places, some of which may have been (and still are) unfamiliar to fans of the group. We’ll break it down.

First, there’s the song’s title. Creeque (pronounced creaky) Alley is a real place, one of a series of alleys (actually named Creeque’s Alley and owned by the Creeque family) on the docks on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. The soon-to-be members of the Mamas and the Papas spent time there shortly before changing their musical direction and taking on their new name. There they were still performing folk music, at a club called Sparky’s Waterfront Saloon, and basically trying to make ends meet and figure out their futures.

The song’s story line only makes passing reference to the Mamas and the Papas’ time on the island though, and never mentions Creeque Alley by name. It starts in the years leading up to the seemingly preordained coalescence of the four singers.

The first line, “John and Mitchy were getting’ kind of itchy just to leave the folk music behind,” refers to John and Michelle’s activities as folk singers in the early ’60s. John Phillips, then 26, had been singing with a folk group called the Journeymen when he met 17-year-old Michelle Gilliam during a tour stop in San Francisco. They fell in love and, after John divorced his first wife, married on Dec. 31, 1962, moving to New York where they began writing songs together while Michelle did modeling work to earn some cash. By late 1964, with the rock scene exploding, John and Michelle had become, like many others, “itchy” to move away from folk. It wasn’t all that easy, they quickly discovered, and the couple, along with Doherty formed the New Journeymen in the meantime. (Trivia note: Early New Journeymen member Marshall Brickman, who was replaced by Doherty, went on to co-write some of Woody Allen’s best-known films and won an Oscar for Annie Hall.)

In the meantime, other similarly inclined folk artists were coming into one another’s orbits. First, there were “Zal and Denny, workin’ for a penny, tryin’ to get a fish on a line,” which refers to Zal Yanovsky and Dennis (known as Denny) Doherty. Both Canadians, they’d been working together in a folk trio called the Halifax Three in their home country. “In a coffeehouse Sebastian sat” brings into the picture John Sebastian, the New York City-born singer-songwriter who at the time was part of the Even Dozen Jug Band and would soon form one of the most beloved American rock bands of the era. And then there were “McGuinn and McGuire, just a gettin’ higher in L.A., you know where that’s at.” McGuinn, of course, was Jim (later Roger) McGuinn, whose group the Byrds would vault to the top of the charts with their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” in the late spring of ’65, while McGuire was Barry, whose rendition of P.F. Sloan’s protest song “Eve of Destruction” struck a nerve that summer, also catapulting to the #1 position.

The first verse leaves off with a name-drop of the fourth member of the Mamas and the Papas: “And no one’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass.” Cass Elliot (born Ellen Naomi Cohen), originally from Baltimore, she also had a background in folk music when she came to the attention of the other folkies in the song. She’d sung in a trio called the Big 3 with Tim Rose and Cass’ husband, James Hendricks (not to be confused with New York scene regular Jimi Hendrix), but like the others she saw the proverbial writing on the wall and wanted to expand her range of music. The “gettin’ fat” remark has a double meaning, however: not only was Elliot physically large but she was the only future M&P member who was making a decent living with her music, singing jazz in the Washington, D.C., area.

The second verse begins with a couple of mutual compliments: “Zally said, ‘Denny, you know there aren’t many who can sing a song the way that you do, let’s go south.’ Denny said, ‘Zally, golly, don’t you think that I wish I could play guitar like you?’” And so they headed south from Canada, soon finding themselves at a popular club in New York’s Greenwich Village: “Zal, Denny and Sebastian sat (at the Night Owl), and after every number they’d pass the hat.” (More trivia: The Night Owl would become the home base of the Lovin’ Spoonful, Sebastian and Yanovsky’s group, and much later on would be the site of the famed New York record store Bleecker Bob’s.)

Meanwhile, McGuinn and McGuire were “still a-gettin’ higher in L.A.” and Mama Cass was still “gettin’ fat,” but no one had yet found their destinies.

Verse three gives us some more background on Cass’ run-up to joining the group. She was planning to attend college at Swarthmore, the song says, but instead hitchhiked to New York to see if she could make it in the music world. (Trivia note: Cass never planned to go to Swarthmore—she wanted to attend Goucher College near her hometown of Baltimore. But John Phillips needed a rhyme so he used sophomore and Swarthmore.) Upon her arrival in NYC, she met Denny Doherty and fell in love with him.

“Called John and Zal and that was the Mugwumps” adds the next piece to the puzzle: The Mugwumps were a folk quintet formed in 1964 featuring Elliot, Doherty, Sebastian, Yanovsky and Hendricks. (The John here refers to Sebastian, not Phillips.)

The Mugwumps recorded enough material to be compiled into an album in 1967, which did not feature Sebastian, but the group was short-lived as its members were also “itchy to leave the folk music behind.” The next verse ties up the loose ends and takes us to the point where everyone is on the verge of fame: “Sebastian and Zal formed the Spoonful; Michelle, John and Denny getting’ very tuneful; McGuinn and McGuire just a-catchin’ fire in L.A., you know where that’s at.”

And there you have it: the various figures peel away from folk and move into what was then called folk-rock: Sebastian and Yanovsky teamed with bassist Steve Boone and drummer Joe Butler in the Lovin’ Spoonful; the Phillipses, Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty became the Mamas and the Papas; McGuinn led the Byrds for several years; and McGuire had a chart-topping hit as a solo artist. In fact, says a previous verse, “McGuinn and McGuire couldn’t get no higher and that’s what they were aimin’ at.”)

“And everybody’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass,” goes the final line in that verse, inferring that success had arrived. But there’s some unfinished business, that matter of the time spent at Creeque Alley.

The last chorus/verse informs us that it wasn’t overnight success for the Mamas and the Papas by any means. It’s here, at the end of the song, that the scene shifts to the Virgin Islands. The singers, still called the New Journeymen and minus Cass at first (as the song said, they “knew she’d come eventually”) are cash-poor and borrowing on their American Express cards. They’re “broke, busted, disgusted,” but thanks to some help from a fellow named Hugh Duffy, who owned a boarding house in Creeque’s Alley, the four young singers who would soon be known worldwide were able to start thinking about their future: “Duffy’s good vibrations and our imaginations can’t go on indefinitely,” they sing toward the end of “Creeque Alley.” So the four returned briefly to New York, then all headed out to Southern California to see if they could catch a break.

“And California Dreaming is becoming a reality” is the final line of the song. We all know what that one means.

The song, released in 1967, charted at #1 in Canada, #5 in the U.S., and #9 in the UK.

Creeque Alley
The Mamas & the Papas

John and Mitchy were gettin’ kind of itchy
Just to leave the folk music behind
Zal and Denny workin’ for a penny
Tryin’ to get a fish on the line
In a coffee house Sebastian sat
And after every number they’d pass the hat
McGuinn and McGuire just a gettin’ higher
In L.A., you know where that’s at
And no one’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass

Zally said Denny, you know there aren’t many
Who can sing a song the way that you do, let’s go south
Denny said Zally, golly, don’t you think that I wish
I could play guitar like you
Zal, Denny and Sebastian sat (at the Night Owl)
And after every number they’d pass the hat
McGuinn and McGuire still a gettin’ higher
In L.A., you know where that’s at
And no one’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass

When Cass was a sophomore, planned to go to Swarthmore
But she changed her mind one day
Standin’ on the turnpike, thumb out to hitchhike
Take me to New York right away
When Denny met Cass he gave her love bumps
Called John and Zal and that was the Mugwumps
McGuinn and McGuire couldn’t get no higher
But that’s what they were aimin’ at
And no one’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass

Mugwumps, high jumps, low slumps, big bumps
Don’t you work as hard as you play
Make up, break up, everything is shake up
Guess it had to be that way
Sebastian and Zal formed the Spoonful
Michelle, John, and Denny gettin’ very tuneful
McGuinn and McGuire just a catchin’ fire
In L.A., you know where that’s at
And everybody’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass
Di di di dit dit dit di di di dit, whoa

Broke, busted, disgusted, agents can’t be trusted
And Mitchy wants to go to the sea
Cass can’t make it, she says we’ll have to fake it
We knew she’d come eventually
Greasin’ on American Express cards
It’s low rent, but keeping out the heat’s hard
Duffy’s good vibrations and our imaginations
Can’t go on indefinitely
And California dreamin’ is becomin’ a reality

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Edmund Andrew Phillips / Michelle Gilliam
Creeque Alley lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

A Woman Of Principles

There aren’t too many congressional Republicans for whom I have even a modicum of respect these days.  Liz Cheney is at the top of the list of those I respect.  I don’t agree with her political positions, and quite often detested her father, but … Ms. Cheney has proven herself to be a woman of conscience, a woman who is not afraid to stand by the courage of her convictions.  She has what so many … almost all … Republicans lack these days:  integrity.

And it is because of her conscience, her integrity, her refusal to support the lies being told by the former guy and his minions, that she is almost certain to lose her leadership position as the third highest ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Think about that one … because she is honest, she is to be punished by dishonest people like Kevin McCarthy, who knows damn well that the election results were fair and aboveboard, but for his own political purposes has tied himself to the former guy’s train.

Ms. Cheney has written an OpEd for The Washington Post that I think deserves to be widely read.  I don’t agree with everything she says toward the end of her column, but that doesn’t diminish my respect for her for being one of only a handful of people in her party who put country before self.  I expect to have ideological differences with those on the right … I just don’t expect to be lied to, deceived, and threatened as we all have been by today’s Republican Party. This is what sets Liz Cheney apart from the rest of the party … her honesty.


Liz Cheney: The GOP is at a turning point. History is watching us.

Opinion by Liz Cheney

May 5, 2021 at 5:05 p.m. EDT

In public statements again this week, former president Donald Trump has repeated his claims that the 2020 election was a fraud and was stolen. His message: I am still the rightful president, and President Biden is illegitimate. Trump repeats these words now with full knowledge that exactly this type of language provoked violence on Jan. 6. And, as the Justice Department and multiple federal judges have suggested, there is good reason to believe that Trump’s language can provoke violence again. Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work — confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law. No other American president has ever done this.

The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution. In the immediate wake of the violence of Jan. 6, almost all of us knew the gravity and the cause of what had just happened — we had witnessed it firsthand.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) left no doubt in his public remarks. On the floor of the House on Jan. 13, McCarthy said: “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.” Now, McCarthy has changed his story.

I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law. Each of us swears an oath before God to uphold our Constitution. The electoral college has spoken. More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple Trump-appointed judges, have rejected the former president’s arguments, and refused to overturn election results. That is the rule of law; that is our constitutional system for resolving claims of election fraud.

The question before us now is whether we will join Trump’s crusade to delegitimize and undo the legal outcome of the 2020 election, with all the consequences that might have. I have worked overseas in nations where changes in leadership come only with violence, where democracy takes hold only until the next violent upheaval. America is exceptional because our constitutional system guards against that. At the heart of our republic is a commitment to the peaceful transfer of power among political rivals in accordance with law. President Ronald Reagan described this as our American “miracle.”

While embracing or ignoring Trump’s statements might seem attractive to some for fundraising and political purposes, that approach will do profound long-term damage to our party and our country. Trump has never expressed remorse or regret for the attack of Jan. 6 and now suggests that our elections, and our legal and constitutional system, cannot be trusted to do the will of the people. This is immensely harmful, especially as we now compete on the world stage against Communist China and its claims that democracy is a failed system.

For Republicans, the path forward is clear.

First, support the ongoing Justice Department criminal investigations of the Jan. 6 attack. Those investigations must be comprehensive and objective; neither the White House nor any member of Congress should interfere.

Second, we must support a parallel bipartisan review by a commission with subpoena power to seek and find facts; it will describe for all Americans what happened. This is critical to defeat the misinformation and nonsense circulating in the press and on social media. No currently serving member of Congress — with an eye to the upcoming election cycle — should participate. We should appoint former officials, members of the judiciary and other prominent Americans who can be objective, just as we did after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The commission should be focused on the Jan. 6 attacks. The Black Lives Matter and antifa violence of last summer was illegal and reprehensible, but it is a different problem with a different solution.

Finally, we Republicans need to stand for genuinely conservative principles, and steer away from the dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality. In our hearts, we are devoted to the American miracle. We believe in the rule of law, in limited government, in a strong national defense, and in prosperity and opportunity brought by low taxes and fiscally conservative policies.

There is much at stake now, including the ridiculous wokeness of our political rivals, the irrational policies at the border and runaway spending that threatens a return to the catastrophic inflation of the 1970s. Reagan formed a broad coalition from across the political spectrum to return America to sanity, and we need to do the same now. We know how. But this will not happen if Republicans choose to abandon the rule of law and join Trump’s crusade to undermine the foundation of our democracy and reverse the legal outcome of the last election.

History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short-term political consequences might be.