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.


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 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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Filosofa Stomps Her Feet

STAY BACK!!!!  Filosofa is in a horrid mood … approach at risk of life and limb!!!! 

I am in a horrid mood tonight.  I have expressed hatred toward my body, the country in which I live, and a number of politicos here.  Let me share just a few of the red-hot thoughts rambling through my mind tonight as I wish I were anywhere else but here …

Israeli arrogance

My father was a Jew.  My paternal grandparents narrowly escaped Hitler’s reach, and my great aunt Margaret and great uncle Rip (Rinehart) spent more than two years in Hitler’s death camps.  This was the legacy with which I grew up in a few short years after the Holocaust.  That said, I am not a fan of the Israel land grab nor of Benjamin Netanyahu and his cruel brand of leadership.  After all this time, I am more empathetic to the Palestinians for what has been done to them than to the Israelis.  The Holocaust ended 76 years ago.  The Jews can only expect to play on the sympathies of the world for so long, and today they have become the oppressor, rather than the oppressed.

Yes, both sides share fault, but Israel is greedy and arrogant and … the Palestinians are being/have been driven from their homeland.  Netanyahu deserves a life behind bars while other, less greedy, more functional minds attempt to sort this out.

Male/evangelical arrogance

I am a woman.  As such, there are some things that I consider to be nobody’s business but my own.  One of those things is my body.  If I were pregnant (never mind that, at age 70, it would be something for the record books) and could not afford in one way or another to raise a child, it is MY DAMN business, not Ted Cruz’ or Franklin Graham’s or YOURS!  If I decide to have an abortion, it is entirely MY DAMN business, not yours.  Unless, of course, you plan to take my child, raise it as your own, provide for its every need, including a college education?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  It’s a funny thing that those who call themselves “Pro-life” actually don’t give a royal fuck about a child’s life once it is born, once their will is forced upon a woman.  At that point, when asked to contribute to that child’s welfare, the blonde airhead “pro-lifer” backs up a few steps, holding her hands out, saying, “Oh no … no no no … this isn’t my problem!”

Evangelicals and the rest can take their f*cking ‘right to life’ platform and stick it where the sun don’t shine!  The Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on the case of a Mississippi law that, going against the ruling of Roe v Wade, seeks to ban most all abortions.  I realize that the people of Mississippi are not highly educated nor sophisticated, but damn them … they are NOT going to dictate to every woman in this nation!  You know what, Justices Barrett and Kavanuagh … go to bloody hell!  Neither of you have any idea what it is like to be a single working mom, struggling to raise your children with no damn help!  Listen to Elvis’ “In the Ghetto” sometime … think about those lyrics, so very real for so many of us!

Facebook ‘standards’

A few days ago, Facebook ‘chastised’ me for a comment I left on a post about the ignoble former guy.  They removed my comment, which said, “Oh hell, shoot him and put him out of our misery” several hours after I had posted it and after it had received a number of ‘likes’.  Facebook sent me no less than two messages explaining that my comment violated their ‘community standards’ and after a number of people had given a thumbs-up to my comment.  Frankly, I don’t give a royal shit, for I’ve been considering dumping Facebook for some time now.  But, I admit it galls me a bit that I am chastised for something that is far more mellow than other comments that have been allowed.

Then yesterday, I came across the daily Claytoonz cartoon/editorial, and noticed a note at the end of his post that said …

“I am appealing, but this cartoon has already been removed by Facebook and my account has been suspended for 24 hours. I’ll update if there is a change to that.”

This is the ‘toon that got him suspended …

Being a bit of a mischief maker, and not giving a royal f*ck if Facebook bans me for life, I copied the ‘toon to my own Facebook page to see how long it would take them to either chastise, or worse yet, ban me.  Twelve hours later, the ‘toon is still on my FB page and I’ve not yet received one of their nasty little notes.  Hmmmm … maybe I’ll have to try harder?

Nite nite …

I am going to bed now, hoping to sleep off this horrible mood that has taken over my psyche, that has made me want to yell at everyone, including my own self.  Buenas noches, amigos.

A Pair Of Mini-Rants

I actually had three things to rant about today, but I ran out of time and space, so I shall have to save the third for another day …

Lies, Denials, and False Equivalencies

The Republicans who are falsely claiming that the attack on Congress and the Capitol on January 6th was little more than a bunch of tourists are doing this entire nation a disservice.  They are treating us as if we are too damn stupid to have seen and remembered what was right before our eyes.  On a normal tourist day, are five people killed?  On a normal tourist day, are 140 police officers injured?  On a normal tourist day, do the tourists crap on the floors of the Capitol building?  No, no, and no.  We are not that stupid, Mr. Clyde, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Gosar and the rest of you who are trying to pull the wool over our eyes!  Normal tourists do not break down doors with a battering ram to enter the building, nor do they break out windows or climb to the 2nd story from the outside like deranged Spidermen.  They do not carry guns into the Capitol.  They do not cause some $30 million worth of damage to property that does not belong to them, but rather belongs to We the People … We the People whose hard-earned tax dollars will have to pay to repair the damage.

It is my sincere hope that every single person who entered the Capitol uninvited on that day spend time in prison.  The most serious offenders should spend at least the next 20 years in a cell, giving them ample time to consider their perfidy.  Some claim that those who were just “swept up in the heat of the moment” should not be punished.  I disagree.  If they entered the Capitol, they broke the law.  If they were there, saw the violence, and stayed … they are not law-abiding citizens, not good people, and they must be punished, though granted at a lower level than those who destroyed, maimed, and killed.

Congress is in the process of establishing a ‘bipartisan’ commission to investigate the events of January 6th and those events that played a role leading up to the day.  A few Republicans are on board with this commission, however, they want to expand the scope of the investigation to include last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.  WHAT THE SAM HELL does the one have to do with the other?  Nothing, that’s what.  Black Lives Matter has become a scape goat for the Republican Party, a “whaddabout” issue for them to rebut any and all of their own wrongdoings.  If the Republicans in Congress wish to investigate Black Lives Matter protests, they certainly have the right to do so, but under a separate commission from the one that is established to investigate the murderous, treasonous events of January 6th.

Integrity???  HA HA HA … Don’t Make Me Laugh!

Isn’t it strange to hear Republicans speak of election ‘integrity’, when the very word ‘integrity’ has been erased from their vocabulary?  Honesty and integrity are a thing of the past that Republicans no longer adhere to, yet they claim to be the ones who are so concerned over the fairness and integrity of elections.  Their answer, of course, is to disenfranchise as many of the people who would vote against them as possible, such as Blacks, Hispanics, the poor, working single parents, the elderly, college students, and the disabled.  Get those people off the voter rolls and what’s left?  White dudes.

Trouble with that is that this is NOT a nation of only white dudes.  This is a salad bowl of many cultures and ethnicities, all of whom live and work here, all of whom pay taxes!  We have a right to a voice, too!  There was NO measurable voter fraud in the 2020 election … this has been proven in court cases, re-counts and audits too numerous to count.

Recently a few corporations have spoken out against the voter suppression bills being proposed or passed in nearly every single state, but … a funny thing happened on the way to the forum … they aren’t exactly backing up their words with their actions.  According to an article in Popular Information, a newsletter put out by Judd Legum …

Several large corporations that have recently issued public statements supporting voting rights — including Google, Deloitte, and Citigroup — are also funding and collaborating with a top Republican group advocating for new voter suppression laws. Internal documents obtained by Popular Information and Documented reveal the corporations participated in a “policy working group” on “election integrity” with the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), a party organization that is actively supporting new voter suppression bills. Participation in the roundtable required a minimum annual contribution of $15,000 to the RSLC.

For example, on March 31, Google’s SVP for Global Affairs, Kent Walker tweeted that the company is “concerned about efforts to restrict voting at a local level” and “strongly support[s] the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”

A week later, Google’s State Policy Manager, Joe Dooley, was listed as a participant in a private RSLC policy working group led by the organization’s “Election Integrity Committee.” The April 6 presentation, obtained by Popular Information and Documented, details an array of proposals to suppress voting, including purging of voting lists, more stringent voter ID requirements, and targeting of voting centers. The RSLC also opposes any federal action to protect voting rights. The meeting was run by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R), who has embraced Trump’s lies and conspiracies about election fraud. 

Can we say, “talking out of both sides of their collective mouths”?  More and more it seems that we are going to come to blows over this issue, for the people in this country are NOT going to simply sit back and say, “Oh, okay … we’ll give up our rights to vote and let the white dudes decide everything for us while we keep paying them.”  Well … some probably would, but NOT ME!

♫ Both Sides Now ♫ (Redux)

I have nothing left of myself to give tonight … I need only to find my bed and hopefully sleep sans phantom cat and sans nightmares for once.  So, I am reduxing a song I played over a year ago, but with an addition.  When I first played it, I mentioned, but did not include the Joni Mitchell version, and tonight I am remedying that oversight!

This song was the first hit song written by Joni Mitchell, whose version appeared on her 1969 album Clouds. Mitchell recalled:

“I was reading Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King on a plane and early in the book Henderson the Rain King is also up in a plane. He’s on his way to Africa and he looks down and sees these clouds. I put down the book, looked out the window and saw clouds too, and I immediately started writing the song. I had no idea that the song would become as popular as it did.”

Joni Mitchell had been through a very difficult time when she wrote this song’s lyric. In 1965, she gave birth to a baby girl, but struggled as a single mom (the father was an old boyfriend who left soon after Mitchell got pregnant). She married a musician named Chuck Mitchell that year, but soon after the marriage, gave up the child for adoption. Soon, her marriage was on the rocks, and in 1967 they split up.

I might have liked Joni Mitchell’s version a lot better had I not heard Judy Collins’ rendition, and for me, there was no other.  Collins is known as a folk singer, and has recorded songs written by Leonard Cohen, Pete Seger, Bob Dylan and many others.  Her recording of this song provided her first hit, and also brought exposure to Mitchell, who went on to a very successful career as both a songwriter and performer.

Both Sides, Now
Joni Mitchell/Judy Collins

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons every where
Looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and ferries wheels
The dizzy dancing way that you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way

But now it’s just another show
And you leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions that I recall
I really don’t know love
Really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say, “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

Oh, but now old friends they’re acting strange
And they shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

It’s life’s illusions that I recall
I really don’t know life
I really don’t know life at all

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Joni Mitchell
Both Sides, Now lyrics © Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing

Jolly — Ho Ho Ho — Monday!

Good morning, and welcome once again to Jolly Monday where our whole raison d’etre is to help you start the week off with a smile!  So, how was your weekend?  Mine?  Meh … weekend, weekday, they’re all pretty much the same for me these days, but I’ve got no complaints.  I caught the little kids from down the street eating the unsalted, unshelled peanuts – shell and all – that I put out for the squirrels yesterday and had to tell them not to take the squirrels’ peanuts, for they would make them sick.  Which is probably true, considering the squirrels and birds walk all over the peanuts all day long, and the birds are not particular about where they poop!

Well, let’s go see what Joyful has cooked up for us this morning, and then we’ll go find some fun stuff to get this week rolling on the right foot … er wheel?


Sometimes I like to just play around with the Amazing Fact Generator over on the Mental Floss website.  I always learn something useless but interesting and fun!  A few samples from this week …

  • Floccinaucinihilipilification—one of the longest words in the English language—is the act of estimating that something is worthless.
  • Honey hunters in Mozambique use special calls to recruit the services of birds known as honeyguides. The birds lead the humans to bees’ nests and in return, they get the leftover beeswax.
  • In 1998, a Georgia student was suspended for wearing a Pepsi shirt to “Coke in Education Day.”
  • In her will, author Dorothy Parker left her estate to Martin Luther King Jr. and the NAACP following his death. The organization still owns the rights to her work today.
  • Opossums don’t “play dead.” When frightened, they become overexcited and pass out.

I found a few jokes that actually made me chuckle yesterday.

  • When my local barista handed me my change, one coin stood out. “Look at that. You rarely get one of these old wheat pennies nowadays,” I said, tapping the sheaf of-wheat design. I handed her the penny. Turning it over and over in her hand, she said, “You know, I always thought they were made of copper.” —Linda Neukrug

  • I tried having my mother’s phone disconnected, but the customer-service rep told me that since the account was in my dad’s name, he’d have to be the one to put in the request. The fact that he’d been dead for 40 years didn’t sway her. Then a solution hit me: “If I stop paying the bill, you can turn off the service, right?” “Well, yes,” she said reluctantly. “But that would ruin his credit.” —Jeannie Gibbs

  • To resolve conflicts between management and staff, I brought both sides together and asked employees to jot down key words on a flip chart. One participant complained about management’s tendency to interfere and wrote the word nitpicking. A manager leaped to his feet to ask, “Shouldn’t there be a hyphen between nit and picking?” —E. Howson

  • It was my first night caring for an elderly patient. When he grew sleepy, I wheeled his chair as close to the bed as possible and, using the techniques I’d learned in school, grasped him in a bear hug to lift him onto the bed. But I couldn’t clear the top of the mattress. So I grabbed him again, summoned all my might, and hoisted him onto the bed. When the night shift nurse arrived, I recounted what had happened. “Funny,” she said, looking puzzled. “Usually I just ask him to get in bed, and he does.” —Erin Dockery

And now, it’s … the moment you’ve all been waiting for … drumroll please 🥁 … ‘TOON TIME!!!!

And last, but never least, if it’s Jolly Monday, we must have an adorable critter video!  I think you’ll fall in love with this one — I did!

And for our good friend Hugh … feel better soon, dear friend!

Well, folks, that’s a wrap for this Monday morning.  I hope you’ll share those beautiful smiles this week as you see people who seem to be lacking one of their own.  A smile is one of those things that multiplies when shared!  Have a wonderful week ahead!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa, Jolly & Joyful!


The Week’s Best Cartoons 5/15

As always, our friend TokyoSand has compiled the best editorial/political cartoons from the past week.  Naturally, a great number focus on the Republicans ousting of Representative Liz Cheney from her leadership role in the GOP, but there were other issues as well, such as the renewed fighting between Israel and Palestine, voter suppression by the Republicans, and more.  Thank you so much, TS, for finding the best of the lot for us!  Here are just a few samples, but be sure to check out the full post!

See All The ‘Toons Here!

♫ Music with Soul ♫

I’m doing something just a bit different for today’s music post!  This was a Saturday Surprise post back in January of 2018, over three years ago!  Since I didn’t do a Saturday Surprise post this week, and since I’ve had some of these very songs burning through my head all day, I thought I’d redux this one with a number of great songs!  You can think of it as a Sunday Surprise post and a music post combined!

Saturday kittensWelcome, my dear friends!  Once again it is the weekend and I’m sure you all have big plans for fun things, yes?  My weekend is beyond quiet, for daughter Chris is in Kansas City, Missouri, for a band competition.  Although she is not competing this year, she and some of her bandmates have gone for the fun and experience (I think a few go just for the barbecue!) Since Miss Goose and I are both quite reclusive, we have to set our alarms for every few hours so we remember to talk to each other.  The house is eerily quiet, and it is snowing outside, so a rather peaceful weekend.  That said, I am still under the spell of mind bounce, simply cannot stay focused, so I decided to just let it bounce and share a bit of this and a bit o’ that for the Saturday Sunday Surprise.  Let us start with a nice bit of music to set the ‘Saturday Sunday mood’ …

The live clips are never of the same sound quality as the studio recordings, but I like watching these guys.  The song was written by Robert Lamm, the keyboardist and singer for Chicago, after a particularly exhilarating 4th of July spent in New York’s Central Park, where there were steel drum players, singers, dancers and jugglers.

Like most Chicago singles, this didn’t make the charts in the UK. In the U.S., however, it was their biggest chart hit to that point and also their first gold single, which at the time meant selling more than a million copies. This song contains some of the most famous nonsense singing in rock: after Robert Lamm sings the line, “Singing Italian songs,” he sings some made up words approximating the Italian language.

Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
People talking, people laughing
A man selling ice cream
Singing Italian songs
(Fake Italian lyric)
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For Saturday

Another day in the park
You’d think it was the Fourth of July
Another day in the park
You’d think it was the Fourth of July
People dancing, really smiling
A man playing guitar
Singing for us all
Will you help him change the world
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For today

Slow motion riders
Fly the colors of the day
A bronze man still can
Yell stories his own way
Listen children all is not lost
All is not lost
Oh no, no

Funny days in the park
Every day’s the Fourth of July
Funny days in the park
Every day’s the Fourth of July
People reaching, people touching
A real celebration
Waiting for us all
If we want it, really want it
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For the day


Hey Keith … you do like Chicago, right?

That was fun … let’s try another …

Sam Cooke … ah, they don’t make ’em like him anymore … King of Soul.  Did you know how he died?  At only 33 years of age, Cooke was shot in the chest by Bertha Franklin,   the manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California.  Franklin claimed that she acted in self-defense after he broke into her office residence and attacked her. Her account was immediately disputed by Cooke’s acquaintances.  It’s a long and strange story, still an unsolved mystery, but one which I will not go into, for this is supposed to be a happy post.

Now that I’m into music mode, how about one more?

One of my all-time favourites and I usually belt that one out as I mop floors on Friday, or in better weather when I walk ’round the track at the park … and I dance to this one, too!  No comments from the peanut gallery, please!  Shortly after recording Dock of the Bay, Redding was killed in a plane crash, and the song became the first posthumous number-one record on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts.

Well, it seems like this post had a mind of its own and decided to make this a musical Saturday Sunday Surprise.  Have you got time for just one more?  Please?

What’s not to love about Ray Charles, eh?

Well, friends, I know you have errands to run and things to be done, so I suppose this ends our time together for this Saturday Sunday.  Thanks for joining me for a brief trip down memory lane … I had fun and I hope you did too!  Keep safe and warm … until next week …

Happy Saturday.jpg

A Few Coronavirus Thoughts …

With some 156.2 million people in the U.S. partly or fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, there is much to be pleased about.  That is, after all, nearly half the population of the country.  But wait … it’s not quite time for cheering and bow-taking just yet, for there are still the other half that are not yet vaccinated.  A large number say it infringes on their “rights” and they do not plan on being vaccinated.  Others are still convinced by the conspiracy theories that the pandemic is a hoax, or that the vaccine is the government’s way of implanting a microchip in their body, though for what purpose is anybody’s guess.

The bottom line is that while at one point last month, 100,000 were being vaccinated every day, the number has slowed down significantly, and many states are requesting that the government send them less than originally requested.  I have a couple of points to make about the current status quo.

First, the State of Ohio, a state that is withholding the extra $300 per month in federal unemployment benefits passed by Congress and signed by the President as the American Rescue Plan, is now planning to use those funds to establish a lottery to bribe people to get vaccinated.  Yes, you heard me right.  Rather than use the money for the purpose for which it was intended – helping people buy groceries, pay bills, seek medical treatment – it will be spent to award five $1 million prizes to people who get the vaccine in five weekly drawings beginning on May 26th. Talk about a reverse Robin Hood — taking money away from those in need and giving it to those who will never again struggle to buy food, if they ever did. We have to PAY people to protect their own health???  What the hell is the matter with people???  Meanwhile, struggling families will still be facing unpaid rent and utility bills, and wondering how they will feed their children.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

This is not and never was the purpose of those funds!  Governor Mike DeWine, who I have long considered to be one of the saner, more moderate Republican governors, made the announcement in a speech last Wednesday and seemed quite pleased with himself.  I find it abhorrent that he’s playing a lottery game with people’s lives, and I strongly suspect his decision to redirect funds that were supposed to be used to help the unemployed survive, to providing a financial windfall for just five people is illegal.  Remember folks, this is federal money, so your tax dollars are in play here!  In addition, he has said that he would be lifting all health orders that were enacted during the pandemic on June 2, except for those affecting nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.  That includes the mask mandate, social distancing rules for bars and restaurants, and more.  Which brings me to my second point.

The CDC suddenly reversed course and said that it is no longer necessary for those who are fully vaccinated to wear a mask in public venues.  I think this is the height of stupidity for a number of reasons.  First, how can you tell who has been fully vaccinated at a glance.  You can’t.  Republicans have been running around sans mask whenever they could get by with it since day one, and we all know there are many who will simply shed the mask whether vaccinated or not.  Second, over just the past two days, there have been 65,000 new cases reported in the U.S.  Granted, that number is significantly smaller than it was a few months ago, but 65,000 is nothing to sneeze at, either.  I may not be as bright as the scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), but when I hear we’re still averaging over 30,000 new cases each day, then I know the virus is not gone, is not ‘under control’.

So, what happens in the coming few weeks when every Tom, Dick and Harry sheds his mask and goes back to living a ‘normal’ life, frequenting bars, restaurants, amusement parks, sitting within inches of others, nobody wearing a mask?  Take a wild guess?  Yep, the number of cases will rise, the number of deaths will rise, and we’ll be halfway back to square one.

I have as much difficulty wearing a mask as anyone.  Last week, I wore one for 20 minutes and almost passed out for lack of oxygen.  But I will continue to mostly stay home, go only to the grocery store once a week with a mask on my nose and mouth, and a bottle of hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes in one hand.  If I can nearly die of suffocation from wearing a mask but do it anyway, then surely the rest of the fools in this country can wear one too.

I saw a comment on Twitter yesterday where a guy said “I will continue wearing a mask in public, because I don’t want to be mistaken for a Republican.  That would be so embarrassing.”  I have to agree with him.

Look, people, I think President Biden and his team have done one hell of a good job getting the vaccine where it is needed, encouraging the public, but the truth is we are not out of the woods yet.  Let common sense be your guide, please.  Remember that there are a number of new variants out there, and it has not yet been determined whether the current vaccines are fully effective on each of them.  Oh, and yes, I will be getting the vaccine soon, along with my granddaughter, and no, I will not enter that damn illegal lottery!  They can keep their blood money.

The Gun Culture — A Guest Post By Ben Berwick

A week or so ago, I asked if any readers outside the U.S. would be interested in doing a guest post about how people in other countries view our gun culture.  Earlier this week, I published Roger’s excellent post, and today I have another excellent offering from Ben Berwick of the United Kingdom, blogging at Meerkat Musings.   His message is short, sweet, and to the point:  while there once may have been justification for guns in the hands of civilians in the U.S., there is absolutely no evidence in this, the 21st century, that guns make people safer.  They don’t.  Thank you, Ben, for this excellent assessment from across the pond!

Allow me to preface this post with the note that I understand the historical importance of guns to US society. Once upon a time they might have been seen as a necessity. Somewhere along the line, they shifted from what could be argued as a necessary evil to a cultural symbol. Now, in some parts of the USA, guns are worshipped as fervently as Jesus.

That history is now more like mythology. Guns are considered vital, regarded as the only way to stop the government from rising up to enslave the people. Access to firearms is what will turn the tide, should the government ever go on a quest to turn from democracy to tyranny.

This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to the outsider looking in. Back in the 18th Century, when the weapons available to the people and government were virtually the same, it would have made sense, but now? An armed populace will still not be capable of resisting warplanes, drone strikes, missiles and artillery. I know of arguments that targeting soldiers on the ground would have the desired effect of removing forces from occupied territory, but that assumes insurgents would be capable of any organised action in the wake of heavy assaults. Against an invading force this tactic might eventually convince the aggressors to go home, but against your own government’s forces? They aren’t going anywhere.

So it seems like guns are desired out of paranoia and a deluded belief that the disparity between civilian hardware and US military hardware (and training) can be overcome by the sheer quantity of weapons. This ‘safety net’ is required at any cost, even the the high collateral damage suffered in mass shootings (and in general, day-to-day US life). This seems like an absurdly high blood price to pay for a cause that would be virtually impossible to achieve in today’s world.

I can’t understand it. I can’t understand how it can be that guns are held up as such a mighty symbol of freedom. Why would deadly weapons be more important than the right to vote? The right to peaceful assembly? The right to free speech? Surely these are more important than guns? And before anyone says you need guns to have the others, tell that to the peoples of the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Canada and Japan, to name but a few countries. Guns are not a cultural symbol to those countries, but they have all of the aforementioned rights.

Guns kill. It is their purpose. They are designed from the ground up to be deadly. There is no evidence that they make a situation safer. There is no proof they act as a deterrent. There are countries where guns are virtually absent from society that have a proven record of being safer than the USA. I’m not going to reproduce the statistics that I’ve posted before. They are available to anyone with access to Google. If someone wants to show guns actually make life better, then by all means, prove it.

The $10 Lazies

I’ve mentioned before the criticism by Republicans of the extension of the additional $300 unemployment benefits passed by Congress (well, the Democrats/humans in Congress) and how the Republicans have been hyper-critical, saying it encourages people to stay home rather than get jobs. Republicans totally miss the mark there, and their math is deserving of an ‘F’ grade! Fellow-blogger Joseph Urban has written a post about how some Republican-led states are actually attempting to refuse the money! Methinks the courts will have something to say about this … at least I hope so … but meanwhile, people are in desperate need. Thank you, Joseph, for bringing this to the forefront and for your kind permission to share it here on Filosofa’s Word.

The Old Liberal

This Congress passed a bill giving all unemployed Americans an additional $300 a month to help them until they can return to the workplace. I t was part of the massive covid relief bill which had unanimous Democratic support. And unanimous GOP rejection. As in all laws the GOP does not like, many GOP-run states are simply refusing to enforce it. They are rejecting the additional monies which help the poorest working families in their states.

As of 2 days ago the following states, all with Republican governments, chose to not allow their unemployed citizens the additional funding. Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Missouri have all told their poor unemployed: Sorry, no extra help for you. Yesterday, Ohio joined the parade.

To be clear, this money comes from the federal government. Which means most of it comes from the “blue” states which…

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♫ Back In My Arms Again ♫

It’s been a while, I think, since I played any Supremes’ songs and tonight I was in the mood for their upbeat style, so I went in search of (and found) one that I haven’t played here before!

This was The Supremes’ fifth consecutive #1 hit in the US.  It was, as most of The Supremes’ music was, written by the songwriting team of Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland, known collectively as Holland-Dozier-Holland.  I did not know this, but The Supremes were the most commercially successful of Motown’s acts and the most successful American vocal group, with 12 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, all but one written by Holland-Dozier-Holland.

This was released in 1965 at a time when the friendship between the three — Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard — was becoming strained, as Mary and Florence became frustrated that Diana Ross was becoming the main focus of the group.  Perhaps as an appeasement, Mary and Florence’s names are mentioned in the third verse …

How can Mary tell me what to do
When she lost her love so true?
And Flo, she don’t know
‘Cause the boy she loves is a romeo

The song went to #1 in the U.S. and Canada, #40 in the UK.

Back in My Arms Again
The Supremes

All day long, I hear my telephone ring
Friends calling giving their advice
From the boy I love, I should break away
‘Cause heartaches, he’ll bring one day

I lost him once through friends’ advice
But it’s not gonna happen twice
‘Cause all advice ever gotten me
Was really long and sleepless nights

But now, he’s back in my arms again
Right by my side
I got him back in my arms again
So satisfied

It’s easy for friends to say let him go
But I’m the one who needs him so
It’s his love that makes me strong
Without him, I can’t go on

This time, I’ll live my life at ease
Being happy loving whom I please
And each time we make romance,
I’ll be thankful for a second chance

‘Cause he’s back in my arms again
Right by my side
I got him back in my arms again
So satisfied

How can Mary tell me what to do
When she lost her love so true?
And Flo, she don’t know
‘Cause the boy she loves is a Romeo

I listened once to my friends’ advice
But it’s not gonna happen twice
‘Cause all advice ever gotten me
Was really long and sleepless nights

I got him back in my arms again
Right by my side
I got him back in my arms again
So satisfied

I’m satisfied
So satisfied, I’m satisfied
I’m satisfied, so satisfied

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Edward Jr. Holland / Lamont Herbert Dozier / Brian Holland
Back in My Arms Again lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC