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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Voting Rights — Going … Going … ???

Most states are passing laws that restrict voting rights, especially those of Blacks, Hispanics, the poor, the elderly and the young, and some of those laws are positively draconian!  For example, our friend Suze reports that …

“My own state has a bill under discussion that would make it a felony to provide transport to a voting site to anyone “not within their immediate family.”

So, if your neighbor’s car is in the shop being repaired, and the nearest polling place is ten miles away, you are forbidden to take them to vote???  I think not!  If such a law were passed here, I would double down on my determination to drive my friends and neighbors to the polling station and dare anybody to cross me!  Toss me in jail if you will … I won’t back down!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …

Just this morning, Suze informed me that the bill failed in the State Senate … by one vote … ONE LOUSY VOTE!

And then there’s this little tidbit …

Election officials in rural Georgia county to vote on whether to close 6 of county’s 7 polling places

They would close fully 86% of the polling places, meaning every person would have to travel further and wait longer in line just to cast their vote.  WHAT THE SAM HELL is wrong with these damn fools???  Said one resident of Georgia’s Lincoln County …

“I don’t like it at all, because we are such a long county.  Now seven may be too much, but one is definitely not acceptable for especially the elderly coming all the way into town to do that.”

Thanks to many states expanding the options for early voting and postal voting due to the pandemic in 2020, we saw the highest voter turnout numbers in more than a century.  If the states are allowed to continue with their pattern of obstruction without overriding federal legislation or action from the courts, we may well see the lowest voter turnout in the history of the nation this year.

Meanwhile, the Senate Minority Leader, Kentuckian Mitch McConnell, yesterday made this statement:

“African-American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.”

Yep, you read it right … he actually said that.  Obviously, Mr. McConnell doesn’t see Black people as Americans at all, but rather sees them as “other” and doesn’t believe it is his job to give them equal representation!  It is interesting to note that in the current Congress, there are 56 Black Democrats and only two Black Republicans … this in itself should tell you something about the Republican Party and its racist ideology.

And yet, in the face of all these attempts to keep We the People from exercising our right to vote, to have a voice in our government, some 52 members of the United States Senate have refused to enact two bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.  WHY???  Because the more people who are able to vote, the less likely Republicans are to win at the polls.  Yes, it’s that simple, folks.  The majority of people 18 years of age and older in this country lean more toward voting for Democrats whose ideology is to put the people … ALL of the people … first, as opposed to the Republicans who pander only to the wealthy and large corporations.  Things like education, the environment, minimum wage laws, and more simply do not matter to today’s Republican Party.

Still, We the People continue working hard to pay our taxes to support these men and women who laugh all the way to the bank as they pat themselves on the back for screwing us over.  The situation is untenable and sooner or later the people of this country will tire of being walked on by those whose salaries we pay.

There are many things that need to be addressed by our federal government but there are two that are critical to our survival:  the environment and voting rights.  Both of these issues are being ignored or opposed by the Republicans in Congress.  Please, my friends, let them know how you feel with a phone call or a letter and above all else, let’s vote the slackers out of office and elect men and women who care enough about our future to do the right thing.

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due!

President Biden is doing the best he can, folks, given what he has to work with!  No one man can solve all the nation’s problems … he needs the help of others, but the only thing President Biden is getting from others is obstruction and criticism.  Thus far, I think he’s done a pretty damn good job, considering that not one single Republican in Congress has found their conscience in the pile of dirty laundry they left lying about the floor of the Capitol.  But it’s not only the Republicans … even members of Biden’s own party are wringing their hands and saying he “should do this …” or “shouldn’t have said that …” instead of supporting his efforts.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick and damn tired of the media focusing on what President Biden didn’t accomplish, calling his first year in office a ‘dismal failure’, and blaming him for everything from the price of sugar to the high rate of Covid cases/deaths.  The reality is that he has accomplished a lot and would have accomplished much more, had it not been for the obstruction of the Republicans in Congress.  The media … ALL of it … needs to stop and think, needs to be more honest and give credit where credit is due!  Bill Press is an author, journalist, and radio talk show host who I’ve highlighted here a few times before.  His latest column is spot on regarding the painting of President Biden with a very dark media brush …


Bill Press: Biden lays blame where it belongs

BILL PRESS JANUARY 20, 2022

One year ago, Joe Biden took the oath of office as the 46th president of the United States. So, it’s only fair to ask the question, on Jan. 20, 2022: “How’d that first year work out?” And, indeed, that was the entire focus of Biden’s news conference on January 19.

President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

Take your partisan hat off for the moment. Whether you like his politics or not, you have to agree that Biden proved once and for all – despite relentless smears by Donald Trump – that he’s more than up for the job. He not only gave the longest news conference in presidential history, but he also proved knowledgeable and up to date on the widest possible range of topics: from Ukraine to Yemen, from COVID-19 to voting rights, from inflation to the supply chain.

You probably also agree that the big show dragged on far too long and, at times, Biden talked too much, especially when he mused about how the West might respond differently to a “minor” invasion of Ukraine by Russia vs. a “major invasion.” When, in fact, the only correct answer is that “any” invasion of Ukraine by Russia is unacceptable and will be dealt with severely.

Not surprisingly, Biden walked into the East Room facing a skeptical, if not hostile, group of reporters. With few exceptions, in the days leading up to Biden’s press conference, news outlets had basically already written off his first year as a total disaster. You heard it over and over again: Biden promised to do big things, he promised to deliver on voting rights, he promised to work with Republicans and restore national unity – and he’d failed at all three.

Yet, by the time the news conference ended, in his own plain-spoken, and sometimes plodding style, it was Biden who’d proven the media wrong about all three.

Getting big things done. Did Biden achieve everything he set out to do? Heck, no. What president ever has? In four years, let alone one? But, as Biden was quick to point out, he could, and did, brag about “enormous progress” on several fronts: record economic growth; 6 million new jobs created; unemployment down to 3.9 percent; new business applications up 39 percent; record investment in rebuilding America’s ports, bridges, and highways; from 2 million to 210 million Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and from zero to 1 billion home test kits available. Yes, Biden admitted, he faced “a job not yet finished,” but he’d still accomplished a great deal in his first 12 months. And he wisely said he’s willing to break up his “Build Back Better” bill into smaller pieces to add that to his list of accomplishments. Score One.

Voting rights. Biden admitted that failure to pass voting rights legislation is the biggest disappointment of his first year, but you can’t blame him for not trying. He endorsed both bills, lobbied senators for their passage, and even supported ending the filibuster to make it happen. But there are limits to what a president can do. Blame Senate Republicans, 16 of whom, including leaders McConnell, Grassley, and Cornyn – previously voted for the Voting Rights Act, but refused to do so again for fear of alienating Donald Trump. And blame especially two stubborn, blockheaded Democrats, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Score Two.

Unity. The reality is, it takes two to tango. And, in the past, Biden’s always found Republican tango partners. No longer. “Did you ever think,” he asked, “that one man out of office could intimidate an entire party?” Biden acknowledged that times have changed: “I did not anticipate that there would be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done.” National unity is impossible when one political party always says no. Score Three.

On this point, Biden was at his best. All-out Republican opposition, he noted, raises the question: “What are you for?” The truth is, we know what Republicans are for. For eight years, they were for nothing but stopping President Obama. For four years, they were for nothing but whatever Donald Trump wanted (which turned out to be nothing). Now they’re for nothing but stopping President Biden. For 13 years, they have not put up one new idea. They stand for nothing. They’re the party of nothing.

Perhaps unwittingly, Biden has given Democrats a strong argument to take into the midterms, by challenging every Republican opponent: “What are you for?” Other than making Donald Trump happy, they have no answer.

A Chuckle For The Day

I thought a bit of timely humour would be good today.  Alexandra Petri is a Washington Post columnist offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.  While there isn’t much to laugh about in the news these days, sometimes I think we need to laugh anyway … or at least chuckle.


‘Let’s ban algebra, too!’ adds Fla. legislator who is clearly not three kids in a trench coat

By Alexandra Petri

Columnist

TALLAHASSEE — Florida legislators are working hard to pass a bill that, as the Associated Press observed, would “prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel ‘discomfort’ when they teach students or train employees about discrimination in the nation’s past.”

“This is good,” added one legislator, in a trench coat and hat, whose voice sounded somewhat muffled, as though it came from around his rib cage. “But it doesn’t go far enough.” His whole body swayed and undulated strangely.

“Yes!” his head added. “It is good, but we need to pass more laws.”

“More?” one of his colleagues inquired, handing him a drink of water. He missed grabbing the water the first time and then poured it all over his face and body, and a voice from beneath his belt said, “Stop it, Jeremy!”

“History is good to ban, but it is not enough,” the legislator said, when he had composed himself. “History is actually way less discomfortable than lots of other subjects, and if we are really serious about ending discomfort, we should ban those first.”

“Go on!” his colleague said excitedly. A small crowd was beginning to form around him.

“The book bans are good,” the legislator’s midsection went on, while his hands attempted to straighten his hat but knocked it off instead. “Less reading is good. English is a big source of discomfort.”

“Yes!” one of his colleagues agreed, picking up the hat and handing it to him, which only took three tries. Several other legislators nodded aggressively. “They are trying to indoctrinate our youth with critical race theory, and we won’t let them! They want White people to learn about events that happened in the past, which causes discomfort, and we will not have it!”

“It’s not just learning about events that happened in the past that makes you feel discomfort,” the mysterious legislator in the trench coat said. “Algebra actually causes way more discomfort than history.”

“And geometry,” his rib cage added.

“And biology!” his face continued. “The law is good because it sounds like history is pretty much banned, but what about math? What about science? What about the part of science where sometimes they make you dissect a frog?”

“Or P.E.!” his midsection shouted.

“We should have clearer laws against all of those, so that people don’t feel discomfort. White people, Black people, people in general.”

“And pop quizzes,” said his head. “And French. And book reports!”

His colleagues nodded uncertainly.

“We’ve got to protect everyone from discomfort at all costs,” the legislator went on. “That’s the most important thing. That’s what people need to do right now. Make clear laws against any subject that could possibly cause discomfort.”

He produced a list that was written in pencil on a sheet of graph paper that said, “More Subjects To Ban To Preserve Freedom,” which appeared to be just a list of every subject taught in middle school, with a crudely drawn picture of Naruto in the corner.

“Thank you for this,” his colleague said. “We are going to give this the consideration it deserves.”

Another legislator looked puzzled. “But then, what will they learn?” he asked.

But the legislator in the trench coat with the good ideas had already vanished as mysteriously as he had come.

Good News, Bad News

Starting with the good news …

The U.S. Supreme Court made a right and proper judgment on Wednesday (for a change), ruling against the former guy in his attempt to hide evidence of his own and others’ involvement from the House committee investigating the attempted coup on January 6th 2021.

Trump wanted to prevent the Congressional committee investigating the insurrection of January 6, from gaining access to White House records for that day and the days leading up to it, invoking executive privilege. The justices overwhelmingly, 8-1, ruled against him.  Executive privilege can only exist while you’re an executive … which Trump no longer is!

The ruling on Wednesday opens up a trove of documents to congressional investigators who have sought them to determine Trump’s actions and mindset in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 attack, as well as what he did as his supporters were rioting at the Capitol.

Among the documents sought by the committee are speech drafts, call and visitor logs, handwritten notes and other files previously kept by senior Trump aides like chief of staff Mark Meadows, adviser Stephen Miller, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and White House associate counsel Patrick Philbin.

The only member of the high court who signaled he would have granted Trump’s request for emergency relief was Justice Clarence Thomas who has proven time and time again that he has outlived his usefulness on the Court.  To me, the surprise in this ruling was that the three justices appointed by Trump during his tenure in the Oval Office, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, all voted against his interests and for truth, justice, and democracy.

A half of a thumb-up for the Court for (finally) doing the right thing.


And then, the bad (really bad) news …

The two bills languishing in the Senate that would have protected our constitutional right to vote, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, are DOA – Dead On Arrival, thanks to 52 people … 50 ‘Republicans’ and Joe Manchin and Kyrsten B. Sinema.  Given the draconian laws that have been passed in some 40+ states that would disenfranchise Blacks, Hispanics, the poor, the elderly, and the young, voting will no longer be ‘fair and equal’ or just or democratic.

The last best hope, and it is a slim one indeed, is that the courts rule against the states’ aggressive measures to skew the outcome, but given recent history, I’m not holding my breath on that one.

A number of groups have already said they will withdraw their support from Manchin and Sinema over their unwillingness to protect our voices at the polls, but unfortunately neither of them are up for re-election this year.  Both will be up for re-election in 2024, leaving us with few choices for removing them from the Senate for another three years.

The United States Constitution gives the Senate the power to expel any member by a two-thirds vote, but given the current makeup of the Senate and the fact that the 50 Republican Senators seem to love Manchin and Sinema (and why wouldn’t they, for both are Republicans at the core), the odds of that happening are slim-to-none and it has not happened since 1862.

I wrote a scathing letter to my own Republican Senator Rob Portman tonight indicating that I was highly disappointed to find that neither he nor any other Republican in the Senate could find even a smidgeon of conscience.  Under ordinary circumstances, I would have informed him that I would be actively seeking to ensure his bid for re-election fails, but I cannot do that, because he is retiring at the end of this term.

And so, we are left with few choices and little voice.  One thing we can and must do to whatever extent possible, though, is offer to help those who would otherwise be disenfranchised by helping them with unwieldy registration forms, providing transportation, child care, or whatever else they need to ensure they can cast a vote and vote the clowns out of office in November!

Filosofa Is Grumpy …

Apologies in advance … I am in rant mode today!


Of all the men (and a few women, but mostly all men) who occupy seats in Congress and call themselves “Republicans”, there is not one who possesses a conscience.  Not a single one.  Oh sure, a few actually stood up to the former guy last year, but even they have now reverted to form and are toeing the party line … whatever the party line is.  And so, I have this to say to every Republican who has an office in the Capitol …

WAKE THE HELL UP!!!  WE THE PEOPLE PUT YOU IN OFFICE AND WE CAN DAMNED WELL TAKE YOU OUT!  IF YOU TAKE AWAY OUR RIGHT TO VOTE, WE WILL FIND A WAY TO TAKE AWAY YOUR CUSHY JOB, YOUR OFFICE, YOUR FREE TRANSPORTATION, AND HOPE YOU END UP WORKING IN A FACTORY FOR THAT MINIMUM WAGE THAT YOU HAVE REPEATEDLY SAID SHOULDN’T BE RAISED!!!  AND THAT GOES FOR YOU, JOE MANCHIN AND KYRSTEN SINEMA, AS WELL!!!

Whew!  Sorry, folks, but I just had to get that one off my chest.  We the People were guaranteed the right to participate in our government, to have a voice about who represents us, centuries ago and now, all of a sudden, the entire Republican Party is working diligently to steal that right from us.  I, for one, will not sit quietly by watching the demolition of our rights in this nation without raising my voice and maybe a fist or two!


If you live in Orange County, Florida, be advised that your local health department wants you to die.  Yes, you heard me right.  The Orange County Health Department has placed its Director, Dr. Raul Pino, on administrative leave.  Why?  Because he is in favour of people being vaccinated in an effort to eventually end this horrible pandemic that has ruled our lives for the past two years!!!  After finding that out of the 568 active staff at the department, only 77 had received a COVID-19 booster, 219 had two doses of the vaccine and 34 had only one dose, Dr. Pino wrote in an email …

“I have a hard time understanding how we can be in public health and not practice it.  I am sorry but in the absence of reasonable and real reasons it is irresponsible not to be vaccinated. We have been at this for two years, we were the first to give vaccines to the masses, we have done more than 300,000 and we are not even at 50% pathetic.”

And for this, he was suspended from his position.  According to a statement issued by the Orange County Department of Health …

“As the decision to get vaccinated is a personal medical choice that should be made free from coercion and mandates from employers, the employee in question has been placed on administrative leave, and the Florida Department of Health is conducting an inquiry to determine if any laws were broken in this case.

The Department is committed to upholding all laws, including the ban on vaccine mandates for government employees and will take appropriate action once additional information is known.”

The ‘Department’ would better serve the people by demanding every one of their staff be fully vaccinated and encouraging the vaccine, rather than punishing people for promoting it!


And speaking of Florida …

According to the Associated Press

“A bill pushed by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that would prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel “discomfort” when they teach students or train employees about discrimination in the nation’s past received its first approval Tuesday.”

BULL***T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Maybe, just maybe it’s about damn time that ‘white people’ start to feel a bit of discomfort for how Black people have been treated throughout the history of this nation and are still treated today!  Maybe if they feel a bit ‘uncomfortable’, they will take a stand and be a part of the movement to end racism in the U.S.  Any ‘white’ person who believes that they are somehow ‘superior’ to others based solely on skin colour deserves to be made to feel uncomfortable, deserves the feelings of guilt that they and their ancestors have earned.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …

Good People Doing Good Things — Little Things Mean A Lot

Sometimes all it takes to be a ‘good people’ is a little bit of kindness …


A reward for his hard work

Recently, Laura-Nicole Anderson needed some electrical work done at her home, so she called on Seyton’s Electrical, based in Hull, England.  Turns out the work was fairly extensive, and the electricians spent several hours a week for six weeks working in Anderson’s home.  Her young son, Theo, was “obsessed” with the workers and didn’t miss any opportunity to help them or be around them.  According to Anderson, he …

“… hounded them with questions, kindness and constant offers of help!! He made them refreshments, forced cookies upon them and insisted they gave him more jobs to do. Every question he asked they answered with such kindness, really making time for him despite being really busy.”

Now, some might be annoyed by the constant presence of a small child asking questions and causing interruptions, but these employees of Seyton’s Electrical had greater patience and, when the work was done, they showed their appreciation for all of Theo’s ‘help’ with a note and a payslip!

In truth, I don’t know as I would have had as much patience, but isn’t it wonderful that they did?

Theo loved spending some of his wages on buying an Easter egg for his brother! So sweet!! #actofkindness #thorntonsbunny #kindness #sharinghispennies #love #passingiton Seytons Electrical


The heart of a stranger

In Colorado, a young man named Fallon has an excellent knowledge and a love for music.  Fallon was born with Williams Syndrome, a genetic disease that is characterized by mild to moderate intellectual disability or learning problems, unique personality characteristics, distinctive facial features, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) problems.

Several years ago, Fallon discovered a certain guitar in J.B. Hart Music Co., about an hour from his home in Montrose.  Every few weeks, Fallon would travel to the store just to play that guitar he called the “Pantera guitar”, meaning the Dean Dimebag Darrell ML Guitar.  This went on for a couple of years, and an employee of J.B. Hart said, “We were shocked he knew some Dimebag riffs.”

Eight months ago, while he was in the store playing it, a customer took notice of Fallon. It moved the customer so much that he returned to the store later, purchased the guitar, and asked the music shop to give it to Fallon anonymously the next time he came in.  According to Hart Music’s Facebook page …

This is Fallon. Over the last couple of years, he would visit the store from Montrose. His request each time was to play the “Pantera” guitar, meaning the Dean Dimebag Darrell ML Guitar. We were shocked he knew some Dimebag riffs. Fallon is impacted by Williams Syndrome and has an excellent knowledge and a love for music. His dream was to own this guitar.
Eight months ago, when he was in the store playing it, another customer took notice of Fallon. It moved this customer so much he returned to the store later, purchased the guitar, and asked us to give the guitar to Fallon anonymously the next time we saw him.
However, we didn’t see Fallon until today. We tried finding him to no avail. Today, his family came in the store, and we learned they had moved to Texas and returned this week for a visit. It was a wonderful experience to gift Fallon his dream guitar as a gift from a kind stranger. His mom burst into tears, and Fallon beamed with excitement. It was a special moment. There are still good people in this world.

Now, this isn’t just some $50 guitar … I checked it out, and it sells for anywhere from $900 to $1,400 and up, so this was quite a gift!  Thumbs up to that anonymous customer for bringing that huge smile to young Fallon!


She kept her promise!

Marrion Forrest, 86 years old, was in her local convenience store a few days ago to pick up a few things.  As she was checking out, Walter the cashier suggested she buy a lottery ticket, for it was up to a cool half a million dollars and … well, who couldn’t use a half-mil?  Marrion followed his suggestion and left the store after telling Walter that if she did end up winning, she would “take care” of him by sharing her earnings.

Well, long story short, Marrion did win, although not the half-mil but only $300.  Still, that’s not a bad return on the dollar she spent on the ticket.  But the best part of this story is that Marrion kept her promise to Walter.  The next day, she returned to the store with balloons and an envelope that read, “Walter won!” and contained $150!  Marrion’s granddaughter Heidi Forrest, tagged along to capture the moment …


Meet Pirate Kitty

This story isn’t necessarily about a ‘good people’, but I found it heartwarming and funny, so I’m sharing it anyway.

A three-year-old ginger cat dubbed “Pirate Kitty” has brought joy to a Brisbane neighborhood by gifting homeowners stolen toys.

Last March, Kay McCall and her husband were moving into their Ferny Hills home when a cat popped over the fence for a pat and quickly became a daily visitor. One day the McCalls noticed a few toys in the backyard. Then another, and another.

“Most days the presents kept coming, and some days there was just one, and some days there was quite a few, and some days there were none.”

For months, the McCalls enjoyed waking up each morning to discover what the cat had brought them. After accumulating an entire table full of gifts, Kay posted photos of the cat’s haul to a local community Facebook group.

As it turned out, the McCalls were not the only home visited by the Pirate Kitty. Dozens of residents commented that he had brought them toys, too.

“Everyone fell in love with him on the spot, and he sort of became … a community icon. There was actually a sense that he was the community’s pirate cat.”

Eventually, she managed to track down the cat’s owners and established it had a loving home. However, just before Christmas, the Pirate Kitty’s owners decided they could no longer keep their pet safely, and asked Kay to help find him a new home. Ingrid Moyle, a resident who had been following the Pirate Kitty’s adventures, said her family “had a lot of geriatrics pass in the last few months, so we had a kitty-sized hole in our hearts”.

She happily adopted the Pirate Kitty.

Republican Hypocrisy on MLK Day

I’m a little late posting this, but I found it in yesterday morning’s newsletter from The Root and think it is worth sharing, even late.  I fully agree with Mr. Rawls … Republicans are working to destroy everything that Dr. Martin Luther King fought for and they do not have a right to so much as speak his name.


If You’re A Republican Lawmaker Planning To Post An MLK Quote On Monday, Just Don’t.

Republicans take MLK day off or better yet, tell the truth about his history.

By

Murjani Rawls

When I was a kid, I remember the first time I learned about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr–you know, the Disneyland version. There were slight mentions of protests and arrests–however, my teachers gave the most significant amount of time to King’s “I Have A Dream,” the speech he gave in 1963 at Washington D.C. and his principles of non-violence. We constantly emphasized one quote:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Then, we jumped right to his assassination in 1968—the end. But we knew everything about the American Revolution, the Boston Tea Party, and how George Washington crossed the Potomac River with his powered wig intact.

It wasn’t until I got older that I learned about the march in Selma, Alabama/”Bloody Sunday,” the Poor People’s Campaign, J. Edgar Hoover ordering surveillance of his activities with the F.B.I., or that his house got bombed in 1956. Much of that research were things to do on my own.

On M.L.K. Day Monday, there will be a lot of Republican lawmakers and congressional representatives posting the same variation of quotes. It’s either from the one I mentioned or from his “Strength To Love” sermon in 1963.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

It will be from the same cast of people actively working against voting rights legislation across the country, acting as though Jan. 6th is no big deal and further diluting what we learn with this “Critical Race Theory” movement. So, I will ask them for this holiday and others:

Just skip it. Take the day off.

Tell your intern to go ahead and delete that scheduled post. Maybe there’s a big WhatsApp chat you are all in, and you pick the quote to post. Put those notifications on silent.

Or better yet, here are a few that you can use:

From his “Letter From Birmingham Jail” in 1963:

“For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

From his “Beyond Vietnam” speech in 1967:

“The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve.”

From his “Where Do We Go From Here” speech in 1967:

“We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism are all tied together. And you can’t get rid of one without getting rid of the other.”

From his “The Other America” lecture in 1967:

“It may be true that morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law can’t make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important also.”

During Super Bowl LII, Dodge promoted their new Ram Truck in a commercial with some excerpts from King’s “Drum Major Instinct” speech in 1968–completely using them out of context. Even though, in the same address, King spoke to the evils of consumerism.

This is the climate Republicans aim for as they go through history and erase all the bad parts. Because as sunny as the “I Have A Dream” speech is made out to be, it doesn’t show the many beatings, threats, arrests, and prison time that King and many civil rights leaders endured for progress. Many ultimately lost their lives for the rights which are being attacked to this very day.

Truth feels like something you can twist to your likening these days, but history remembers everything. No matter how often you try to ignore it, themes from the past will come back if you don’t address them. The Supreme Court made a ruling in 2013 to strike down parts of the 1965 Civil Rights Act. Ironically, some of the congressional representatives who post the “feel good” MLK quotes were alive when that legislation passed and cheering as it gets broken down.

So, I say this. The facade isn’t worth it. We see right through it. You might be drafting this post as you read this, but as Jay-Z once said on Takeover, “We don’t believe you/you need more people.”

Jolly Cold Monday Afternoon!

G-g-good M-M-Monday a-afterrnoon my friends!  It’s c-c-cold here with temps in the single digits and a few inches of snow outside!  Are any of my friends in Australia in need of some company this week?  Brrrrrrrrrr.  We’re having Jolly Monday a few hours later than usual this week, because it is Martin Luther King Day and I wanted to lead with that this morning, but never fear, we are here!

Well, here it is, the beginning of another week.  Do you realize that January is already more than halfway over?  Before you know it, it’ll be time to start planning the Thanksgiving meal again!  My girls still have their Easter baskets out from last year … not much point in putting them away now, is there?  Anyway, Joyful has some nice warm treats to help you stave off the cold today, while we all have some fun things in store for you.  So, grab a snack and a cuppa something warm, and let’s have a few laughs, shall we?


We have a few cute pictures that made us go “Awwwwwwwwwwwww”, and we think you will too …


And of course, the staple of Jolly Monday is always the ‘toons …


I was in the mood for a ‘knock-knock’ joke or two …

  • Knock! Knock!
    • Who’s there?
    • Mikey
    • Mikey who?
    • Mikey isn’t working, can you let me in?
  • Knock! Knock!
    • Who’s there?
    • Scold
    • Scold who?
    • Scold outside, let me in!
  • Knock! Knock!
    • Who’s there?
    • Needle
    • Needle who?
    • Needle little help getting in the door!
  • Knock! Knock!
    • Who’s there?
    • I am.
    • I am who?
    • You tell me!!

Okay, corny I know, but every now and then I just like a good knock-knock joke!  Now, because we have a few very dedicated bacon-lovers here on Monday mornings, here’s a bit of bacon humour …


And last but never least, it just isn’t Jolly Monday without a cute critter video …


I hope you all have a great week … keep warm and safe, and share those beautiful smiles I see on your faces!  Until next Monday, love ‘n hugs from Filosofa, Jolly, and Joyful!

Honouring Dr. Martin Luther King …

Today is Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday in the United States to honour one of the greatest men who ever lived in this country.  I first wrote this tribute to Dr. King in 2017, and each year I reprise it, with slight changes or minor additions, for I find that it still says exactly what I wish to say.  Given the increase in racism in the United States in recent years, I think the above quote seems more apt today than ever before.  So please, take just a minute to, if nothing else, listen once again to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  In these troubled times, it is good to be reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream.  More than ever, I wish we had a few Dr. Martin Luther Kings fighting for equality and justice for all today.


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.” 

“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

mlk-3Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on 15 January 1929.  He would have been 93 years old last Wednesday, had he lived. On this day, we celebrate not only his life, but also his legacy. Martin Luther King Day celebrates not only Dr. King, but the movement he inspired and all those who helped move forward the notion of equal rights for ALL people, all those who worked tirelessly during the civil rights era of the 1960s, as well as those who are continuing the good fight even in this, the year 2022.  Dr. King’s fight lives on, for we have moved further away than before from his dream.

Dr. King, along with President John F. Kennedy, was the most moving speaker I have ever heard.  To this day, I cannot listen to his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech without tears filling my eyes.  If you haven’t heard it for a while, take a few minutes to watch/listen … I promise it will be worth your time.

This post is both a commemoration and a plea for us to carry on the work that was only begun, not yet finished, more than five decades ago.  Today we should remember some of the great heroes of the civil rights movement, those who worked tirelessly, some who gave their lives, that we could all live in peace and harmony someday: Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lena Horne, Marva Collins, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, Roy Innes, Medgar Evers, Stepen Bantu Biko, Booker T. Washington, John Lewis, Percy Julian, Marcus Garvey, Desmond Tutu, E.D. Nixon, James Meredith, and so many more.  I am willing to bet there are some on this list of whom you’ve never heard, or perhaps recognize the name but not the accomplishments. If you’re interested, you can find brief biographies of each of these and more at Biography.com .

Yet, while we celebrate the achievements of Dr. King and the others, there is still much to be done. Just look around you, read the news each day. Think about these statistics:

  • More than one in five black families live in households that are food insecure, compared to one in ten white families
  • Almost four in ten black children live in a household in poverty, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups
  • Among prime-age adults (ages 25 to 54), about one in five black men are not in the labor force, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups
  • Although blacks and whites use marijuana at approximately the same rate, blacks are over 3 and a half times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession
  • For every dollar earned by a white worker, a black worker only makes 74 cents
  • Black families are twice as likely as whites to live in substandard housing conditions
  • Black college graduates now have twice the amount of debt as white college graduates
  • The likelihood of a black woman born in 2001 being imprisoned over the course of her lifetime is one in 18, compared to 1 in 111 for a white woman
  • Similarly, the likelihood of a black man being imprisoned is 1 in 3, compared to 1 in 17 for a white man
  • Of black children born into the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution, about half of them will still be there as adults, compared to less than one-quarter of white children

Data courtesy of the Brookings Institute – for charts and supporting details of above date, please click on link. 

And of course the above data does not even touch upon the recent spate of hate crimes, racial profiling, and police shootings against African-Americans.  There is still much of Dr. King’s work to be accomplished. But who is left to do this work?  Most of the leaders of yore are long since gone. There are still noble and courageous people out there carrying on the programs and works of Dr. King and the others, but their voices are perhaps not as loud, and there are none so charismatic as the late Dr. King.

In the current environment of racial divisiveness, we need more than ever to carry on what Dr. King only started. Instead, the past several years have found our nation backtracking on civil and human rights in a number of areas, ranging from discriminatory travel bans against Muslims to turning a federal blind eye to intentionally racially discriminatory state voter-suppression schemes, to opposing protections for transgender people, to parents demanding a re-write of our history to salve their own consciences.  I think Dr. King would be appalled if he returned to visit today.

In a speech on April 12th, 1850, then-Senator and future President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis said:

“This Government was not founded by negroes nor for negroes, but by white men for white men.” [1]

That was wrong then, it is wrong today, and it will always be wrong.  That is what Dr. Martin Luther King fought against, that is what I rail and sometimes rant against, that is why we need activists and groups dedicated to fighting for equality for all people … today, tomorrow, and forever.

Here is a bit of trivia you may not know about Dr. King …

  • King’s birth name was Michael, not Martin.
    The civil rights leader was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, however, his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.

  • King entered college at the age of 15.
    King was such a gifted student that he skipped grades nine and 12 before enrolling in 1944 at Morehouse College, the alma mater of his father and maternal grandfather. Although he was the son, grandson and great-grandson of Baptist ministers, King did not intend to follow the family vocation until Morehouse president Benjamin E. Mays, a noted theologian, convinced him otherwise. King was ordained before graduating college with a degree in sociology.


  • King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not his first at the Lincoln Memorial.
    Six years before his iconic oration at the March on Washington, King was among the civil rights leaders who spoke in the shadow of the Great Emancipator during the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17, 1957. Before a crowd estimated at between 15,000 and 30,000, King delivered his first national address on the topic of voting rights. His speech, in which he urged America to “give us the ballot,” drew strong reviews and positioned him at the forefront of the civil rights leadership.


  • King was imprisoned nearly 30 times.
    According to the King Center, the civil rights leader went to jail 29 times. He was arrested for acts of civil disobedience and on trumped-up charges, such as when he was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.


  • King narrowly escaped an assassination attempt a decade before his death.
    On September 20, 1958, King was in Harlem signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” in Blumstein’s department store when he was approached by Izola Ware Curry. The woman asked if he was Martin Luther King Jr. After he said yes, Curry said, “I’ve been looking for you for five years,” and she plunged a seven-inch letter opener into his chest. The tip of the blade came to rest alongside his aorta, and King underwent hours of delicate emergency surgery. Surgeons later told King that just one sneeze could have punctured the aorta and killed him. From his hospital bed where he convalesced for weeks, King issued a statement affirming his nonviolent principles and saying he felt no ill will toward his mentally ill attacker.


  • King’s mother was also slain by a bullet.
    On June 30, 1974, as 69-year-old Alberta Williams King played the organ at a Sunday service inside Ebenezer Baptist Church, Marcus Wayne Chenault Jr. rose from the front pew, drew two pistols and began to fire shots. One of the bullets struck and killed King, who died steps from where her son had preached nonviolence. The deranged gunman said that Christians were his enemy and that although he had received divine instructions to kill King’s father, who was in the congregation, he killed King’s mother instead because she was closer. The shooting also left a church deacon dead. Chenault received a death penalty sentence that was later changed to life imprisonment, in part due to the King family’s opposition to capital punishment.

Dr. King fought and ultimately gave his life for the values I believe in, the values that should define this nation, though they often do not.  Dr. Martin Luther King was a hero of his time … thank you, Dr. King, for all you did, for the values you gave this nation, and for the hope you instilled in us all that your dream will someday come true.

[1] (Kendi, 2016)   stamped

Note:  Our friend TokyoSand has written a post with ideas for how each of us can help carry on Dr. King’s legacy … I hope you’ll pay her a visit!

The Week’s Best Cartoons 1/15

These days there is so much material for the political cartoonists to work with that I’m surprised any of them are finding time to eat or sleep!  It also makes it hard for us to choose, for there are so many good ‘toons out there that sum up a story in a nutshell.  As she does every week, our friend TokyoSand over at Political Charge has culled the cream of the crop from last week’s offerings.  Here is just a sampling, but be sure to visit TS (link at end) for the full line-up!  Thank you, TS, for all your hard work!


After a bit of a holiday lull, editorial cartoonists were churning out one great cartoon after another this week. Here are some of my favorites. Voting Rights & the Filibuster By Kevin Siers By Clay Jones By Marc Murphy By Lalo Alcaraz By Matt Davies By Walt Handelsman By Nick Anderson Republicans…

See all the ‘toons at TokyoSand’s Political Charge!