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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The Week’s Best Cartoons 12/3

I don’t want to write about Elon Musk/Twitter, don’t want to write about Kanye West & Nick Fuentes, don’t want to write about Kevin McCarthy or the Georgia runoffs … in short, I think I’m on ‘bad news’ overload.  Lucky for me it’s Saturday and I can count on TokyoSand over at Political Charge to have spent time finding the best of the week’s political ‘toons for us!  Thank you once again, TS!!!


Per TokyoSand …

Honestly, I really don’t want to talk about what’s been trending all week on social media. I hate that we’re living in a world where Nazis are a regular part of the conversation. Alas, editorial cartoonists react to the the news of the hour, and so here we are. Here’s some of the most effective cartoons I saw this week. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons here!

♫ Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show ♫

Are you sick of Neil Diamond yet?  Okay, rawgod, I know you requested an entire month, but I’m just about ready to move on for a bit.  Not, however, before playing the one that Roger requested!  And so tonight, I give you Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show!  When it was mentioned, I didn’t think I was familiar with it, but as I listened to it earlier this evening, I did recognize the tune, though I don’t think I ever paid attention to the lyrics. 

According to SongFacts …

Diamond performed this on The Johnny Cash Show, where he explained: “This song was written about a revival meeting I was at in Jackson, Mississippi. I went there because I was curious, and also because I was a college kid who had all the answers – no one was going to teach me anything and I could lay a few answers on them. I sat in the back of this tent meeting and I got really caught up in the music – clapping, the singing – tremendously exciting. After a while I felt something about the people – there was a tremendous yearning, looking for answers. Trying to ease a very hard burden of very rough lives. After a while the music stopped and a preacher walked out. I remember thinking that all the education I had, all the books, all the words, all the learning I went through at college didn’t mean anything to these people, I had nothing for them. So I found myself pulling for this man who was about to give them something that I couldn’t even begin to give them.”

This marked a turning point for Diamond, as it was a character-driven song as opposed to something personal and introspective. This allowed Diamond to play a character on stage, and he quickly developed into a very charismatic performer. In the liner notes to his boxed set In My Lifetime, Diamond wrote: “This recording became a hit and was to make a showman out of me. How could you not let go of your inhibitions when playing such a wonderful character?”

I was surprised to learn that Peggy Lee, Dolly Parton, and Sonny & Cher have all covered this song! This song peaked at #22 in the U.S., but I cannot find any information about it’s success or lack thereof in other countries. 

Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show

Neil Diamond

… Hot August night
And the leaves hanging down
And the grass on the ground smelling sweet

… Move up the road
To the outside of town
And the sound of that good gospel beat

… Sits a ragged tent
Where there ain’t no trees
And that gospel group
Telling you and me

… It’s love, Brother Love say
Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show
Pack up the babies
And grab the old ladies
And everyone goes
‘Cause everyone knows
Brother Love’s show

… Room gets suddenly still
And when you’d almost bet
You could hear yourself sweat, he walks in

… Eyes black as coal
And when he lifts his face
Every ear in the place is on him

… Starting soft and slow
Like a small earthquake
And when he lets go
Half the valley shakes

… It’s love, Brother Love say
Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show
Pack up the babies
And grab the old ladies
And everyone goes
‘Cause everyone knows
‘Bout Brother Love’s show

… Hallelujah, brothers
Halle-hallelujah
I said brothers
(Hallelujah) Now you got yourself two good hands
(Halle-hallelujah) And when your brother is troubled
You gotta reach out your one hand for him
(Hallelujah) ‘Cause that’s what it’s there for
(Halle-hallelujah) And when your heart is troubled
You gotta reach out your other hand
(Hallelujah) Reach it out to the man up there
(Halle-hallelujah) ‘Cause that’s what he’s there for

… Take my hand in yours
Walk with me this day
In my heart I know
I will never stray
Halle, halle, halle, halle, halle, halle, halle

… Love, Brother Love say
Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show
Pack up the babies
And grab the old ladies
And everyone goes

… I say love, Brother Love say
Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show
(Halle, halle)
Pack up the babies
And grab the old ladies
And everyone goes

… Love, Brother Love say
Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Neil Diamond

Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show lyrics © Universal Tunes

Friday JohnKu – AKA -TGIF – FRI-Yay/Good News

No, today is not Wednesday, not yet time for a ‘good people’ post, but I think we could all use a little break from the crises and disasters – both at home and around the globe – as we head into the weekend. My friend John Howell tells the story of an entire community of good people that warmed my heart as I think it will yours. Thank you, John!

Fiction Favorites

100 Farmers, Neighbors Help Harvest Iowa Farmer’s Crops After He Died Suddenly From Cancer

BYLOUISE CHAMBERSTIME NOVEMBER 26, 2022

Paul Baker, courtesy of Melissa Baker

Today’s good news story was brought to my attention by blogger and author Noelle Granger. It comes from the Epoch Times Newsletter, and here it is in its entirety. Thanks so much, Noelle, for submitting this one.

When an Iowa farmer died suddenly and unexpectedly from lung cancer, his neighbors rallied together within days to reap the corn crops he left behind. His family, deeply humbled, are grateful for the tight-knit community that showed their love and saved their harvest.

Born and raised in Creston, Iowa, Paul Baker farmed around 500 acres of land, raising beef cattle, soybeans, and corn. Nobody, including Paul and his wife of 46 years, Lynn Baker, had any idea Paul was battling cancer.

After he became seriously ill…

View original post 751 more words

♫ Solitary Man ♫ (Redux)

I last played this one in May 2021, a year-and-a-half ago … I try not to redux within two years, but since we’ve been doing Neil Diamond this week, I thought it only fair that I play my own personal favourite!  Now, when I played this last time, Clive mentioned the Johnny Cash version … one that I knew existed, but hadn’t ever heard.  So, Veni, Vidi, Vici … and since I do value diversity in most things, I have included Cash’s version this time ’round!  I still prefer Neil Diamond’s, but I have to admit that Johnny Cash has a really nice voice! 


This was Neil Diamond’s first charting single as a recording artist, though he had moderate success previously as a songwriter writing songs for other artists, including the Box Tops and the Monkees.  Of Solitary Man he said …

“After four years of Freudian analysis I realized I had written ‘Solitary Man’ about myself.”

In a 2008 interview …

“Solitary Man was my first song where I tried to really raise the level of my songwriting. It was inspired by the Beatles’ song ‘Michelle,’ which was also written in a minor key. I don’t think I’d ever written a song in a minor key before, it was the first and it kind of broke the dam for me.”

The song would go on to be covered by many others, including T.G. Sheppard, Johnny Cash, HIM, and others, most of which I have never heard.

 

Solitary Man
Neil Diamond

Melinda was mine ’til the time
That I found her
Holding Jim
And loving him
Then Sue came along, loved me strong
That’s what I thought
Ya, me and Sue
But that died too

Don’t know that I will
But until I can find me
The girl who’ll stay
And won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man

I’ve had it to here
Bein’ where love’s a small word
Part-time thing
Paper ring

I know it’s been done
Havin’ one girl who’ll loves you
Right or wrong
Weak or strong

Don’t know that I will
But until I can find me
The girl who’ll stay
And won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man

Don’t know that I will
But until I can find me
The girl who’ll stay
And won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man
Solitary man
Solitary man

Songwriters: Neil Diamond
Solitary Man lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

Rights And Freedoms — Part I — Freedom of Speech

1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 15 December 1791


Throughout the centuries, very few limitations have been placed on the First Amendment even as people pushed the envelope using it as cover for everything from child pornography to outright threats of violence.  Let’s make something perfectly clear up front here, since today all I hear is people proclaiming their ‘rights’:  Your freedom, your ‘right’ stops where it crosses the line of another person’s freedom or rights.  Period.

You have a right to exercise your freedom of religion by holding a religious ceremony for whatever purpose you see fit, but you cannot hold it on my lawn.  You have a right to tell me what you think of me, but not to threaten me or my family with bodily harm.  And I have a right to set limits in my own home, such as you do NOT have a right to bring a gun into my home. 

Two of my overseas friends last week, David in the UK and Andrea in Australia, both made essentially the same comment, that the United States has too many of the wrong sort of freedoms.  I didn’t have to think about it long … about 15 seconds, I think … to realize that they are both right and that I fully agree.  Our Constitution gives us a number of rights, but we have abused them, for we seem not to remember that with rights come responsibilities.  You have a right to say what you think, but also a responsibility not to cause harm.  You have a right to worship as you please, but also a responsibility to recognize and honour the fact that others have the same right and may not share your same views.

I was a teen during the Vietnam War years when protesting was almost a career for some, and yet I never saw the same sort of hatred, the incitement for violence, the outright lies that I am seeing in our country today.  Sure, young people were angry in the 1960s that our government was sending our young men – brothers, boyfriends, husbands – to fight a war halfway across the world that we knew could not be won.  But we didn’t threaten to kill.  We knew better than to cross certain lines of decency.

Not long ago, the Republican Party issued an edict of sorts claiming that the seditious attempted coup on January 6th 2021 was “Legitimate Political Discourse”.  My jaw still drops when I hear that.  NO, IT WAS NOT!  Police officers died defending the Capitol and democracy on that day. Property belonging to We the People was damaged, there were threats to the lives of Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi. And the goal was to overturn the will of the people, to deny our voices, to essentially overturn the United States government and the Constitution. It was not discourse, it was not civil, and it was NOT what the framers of the U.S. Constitution had in mind back in 1787. 

I cannot condone, nor should anyone condone, the use of foul language or threats of bodily harm … that is not ‘freedom of speech’, that is incitement of violence.  When people condemn or threaten those in the LGBTQ+ community, that is NOT freedom of speech … that is robbing someone else of the freedom to live in safety, being who they are.  Again … your freedom STOPS at the point where it infringes on mine or another person’s.  You do NOT have the right to dictate who a person should marry, whether a woman should have a child or not, what religion – if any – a person observes, where they live, or what they believe.

We are a nation of rights and freedoms, but we have historically abused them, never more so than in this, the 21st century.  If we continue to abuse them, we will lose them.  No, that is not hyperbole … at some point, we will lose the freedom to say what’s on our mind if we cannot do so within the confines or decency and respect.  Perhaps James Madison, the chief author of the First Amendment, gave people too much credit for humanity, compassion, and human decency.  Perhaps they did not realize that at some point, destruction and inciting violence would be classified as ‘free speech’, else they might have put some constraints on that ‘right’.  Or, perhaps people then were kinder, more deserving of a nearly unlimited freedom of speech.


We hear a lot these days about individual ‘freedoms’ and ‘rights’ but very little about the responsibilities that accompany those freedoms and rights.  Over the course of the next week or two, I plan to do another post or two on other of our rights such as freedom of the press and the 2nd Amendment, the ‘right’ to bear arms.  Please feel free to make suggestions if there are other ‘rights’ you would like to see discussed.

DeSantis Is No ‘Golden Boy’

It seems that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is on the path to becoming the Republican Party’s next ‘golden boy’, now that the former guy has perhaps placed the final straw on the camel’s back with multiple losses in the mid-terms and then his meeting with the ignoble white supremacist Nazi, Nick Fuentes.  But make no mistake … DeSantis is not worthy, perhaps no more so than the former guy.  One of my favourite columnists, Frank Bruni, tells us why.


He’ll be sold as a paragon of reason. Don’t buy it.

By Frank Bruni

01 December 2022

Elon Musk is a geyser of gibberish, so it’s important not to make too much of anything he says. But a recent Twitter thread of his deserved the attention it got, if not for the specific detail on which most journalists focused.

They led with Musk’s statement that he would support a Ron DeSantis candidacy for the presidency in 2024. That obviously disses one Donald Trump, though it should come as no surprise: Magnates like Musk typically cling to the moment’s shiniest toys, and DeSantis, fresh off his re-election, is a curiously gleaming action figure.

But how Musk framed his attraction to the Florida governor was revealing — and troubling. He expressed a desire for a candidate who’s “sensible and centrist,” implying that DeSantis is both.

In what universe? He’s “sensible and centrist” only by the warped yardsticks of Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Kari Lake and the like. But those yardsticks will be used frequently as various Republicans join the 2024 fray. And therein lies real danger.

Trump’s challengers will be defined in relation to him, casting them in a deceptively flattering light. They’ll be deemed steady because he’s not, on the ball because he’s out to lunch, enlightened because they don’t sup with Holocaust deniers. They’ll be realists to his fantasist, institutionalists to his nihilist, preservationists to his arsonist.

None of those descriptions will be true. Some will be persuasive nonetheless.

That dynamic is already doing wonders for DeSantis as he flies high over a very low bar. “Look!” say Republicans eager to take back the White House. “It’s Superman!” Hardly. But his promoters are hoping that the shadow of Trump produces such an optical illusion.

“Plenty of Americans across the partisan divide would have good reason to root for him,” Jim Geraghty, the senior political correspondent for the conservative journal National Review, wrote in a recent essay in The Washington Post that praised DeSantis. Parts of it made DeSantis sound consensus-minded, conciliatory. That’s some trick.

Geraghty added: “Given the bizarre state of American politics during the Trump era, DeSantis would represent a return to normality.” The “given” in that sentence is working overtime, and “normality” fits DeSantis about as well as “sensible” and “centrist” do.

It is not normal to release a campaign ad, as DeSantis did last month, that explicitly identifies you as someone created and commanded by God to pursue the precise political agenda that you’re pursuing. Better words for that include “messianic,” “megalomaniacal” and “delusional.”

It is not sensible to open a new state office devoted to election crimes when there is scant evidence of any need for it. That is called “pandering.” It is also known as a “stunt.”

It is not centrist to have a key aide who tweeted that anyone who opposed the “Don’t Say Gay” education law in Florida was “probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children.” Those were the words of Christina Pushaw, who was then DeSantis’s press secretary and “transformed the governor’s state messaging office into a hyperpartisan extension of his political efforts,” as Matt Dixon noted in Politico, adding that she “used the position to regularly pick public fights with reporters on social media, amplify right-wing media outlets and conservative personalities and attack individuals who oppose or challenge DeSantis.”

DeSantis’s response to her derisive and divisive antics? He made her the “rapid response director” for his re-election campaign. Because that’s the normal, sensible, centrist thing to do.

DeSantis used his power as governor to punish Disney for daring to dissent from his political views. He used migrants as political pawns and sent two planes full of them to Martha’s Vineyard. He pushed for an extreme gerrymander in Florida that marginalized minority voters. He’s a darling of the National Rifle Association.

And the signature line from his stump speech is that Florida is “where woke goes to die.” I’m with him on the destructiveness of peak wokeness, but base-camp wokeness has some lessons and virtues, which a sensible centrist might acknowledge and reflect on. Can’t Florida be where woke goes to decompress in the sun and surf and re-emerge in more relaxed form?

DeSantis himself might currently reject the labels that Musk gave him: It’s the right-wing-warrior side that promises to propel him most forcefully through the primaries, should he enter them. But he or any nominee not named Trump would likely segue to the general election by flashing shades of moderation.

In DeSantis’s case, there’d be chatter galore about his 19-point re-election victory as proof of his appeal’s breadth. But another Republican, Senator Marco Rubio, won re-election in Florida by sixteen points, suggesting that forces beyond DeSantis’s dubiously pan-partisan magnetism were in play. And Florida is redder than it used to be.

The extremists and conspiracists so prevalent in today’s Republican Party have distorted the frame for everyone else, permitting the peddling of DeSantis as some paragon of reason. Be savvier than Musk. Don’t buy it.

♫ Cracklin’ Rosie ♫

Well, since I played Neil Diamond the first three nights of this week, I guess we might as well make it officially Neil Diamond Week here at Filosofa’s Word!  Today, by the way, in case you hadn’t looked at the calendar, is the first of December, meaning our friend Clive will be starting his Advent Calendar of daily Christmas-themed tunes, but I refuse to start playing Christmas songs this soon!  Maybe around December 23rd, but not yet!  Anyway, digging back in the archives, I decided to play this one tonight, mainly because of the interesting story rawgod added to it when I first played it back in 2019!  I have another up my sleeve for tomorrow, so be sure to pop back in if you have time!


Two reasons for this song tonight … first, I love the song, the tune, the rhythm … it just rather makes you want to tap your foot, else get up and dance a bit, yes?  The other reason is that it is stuck in my head, thanks to our friend rawgod, who told me a story about the origins of the song.  Now, the official version, the one Neil told people, goes like this, according to both SongFacts and Wikipedia …

“Cracklin’ Rosie” is a bottle of wine. Neil Diamond got the idea for the song from a folk story of an Indian tribe in Northern Canada who had more men than women. He told David Wild at Rolling Stone: “On Saturday nights when they go out, the guys all get their girl; the guys without girls get a bottle of Cracklin’ Rosie, that’s their girl for the weekend.”

But rawgod has a different version, and I believe his, for he has never given me a reason to doubt his word.  And, I found a tidbit of information to make me think rawgod’s is the true version.  He gave me permission to tell his story here …

“… listen to the words of the song mentioned in the subject line, and if you want read the “meaning” of the lyrics. They will tell you a story. I will tell you the truth.
Unfortunately I cannot remember the date, but early in his career Neil Diamond was doing a cross Canada tour, travelling by train “by himself” from town to town. Of course, one night he stopped in Winnipeg, where I lived. After seeing him in concert, I was walking around downtown Winnipeg, more or less aimlessly, I guess, when who should I see but Neil Diamond. In Manitoba, all wine and spirits are sold in government controlled stores, and they conveniently, at the time, had a store just across from the Canadian National Railway depot. Neil was walking past that store when he checked his watch, and dashed into the store. Of course I followed him in (how could I not), hoping to maybe actually speak to him, or get his autograph or something, but he was almost panicking. Looking at his watch over and over, he asked the clerk what was the cheapest bottle of wine they sold. “Cracklin Rose,” was the answer (pronounced Ro-zay, from the acute accent over the e). In those days all liquor was kept behind the counter to prevent shop-lifting, I guess, and the clerk showed him a bottle. Neil asked “How much?” and the clerk answered something like $2.95. “I’ll take one,” he said and threw a bunch of change on the counter. He took the bottle of wine in its plain brown paper bag, and headed out the door, ran across Main St., and disappeared into the bowels of the train station.
Apparently he got there in time to catch his train, though just barely.

“Cracklin’ Rose, you’re a store bought woman,” and “a poor man’s lady.” They “got on board.” I think they had a very fine time together. When the song came out in 1970 it was his first million seller, and except for the store clerk who probably had no idea who Neil Diamond was at the time, and of course Neil himself, I was the only witness to the true birth of that song.”

Now, rawgod is as honest as they come, even to the point of being painfully so sometimes, but I also found a comment on a website dedicated to Neil Diamond this comment:

maudie says:
September 13, 2006 at 2:27 pm
I read in the notes to “In mY lIFETIME” album that the song is about a cheap bottle of wine that was sold up in Canada. I don’t think Neil would say that if it weren’t what he sang about.

Time doesn’t permit me to dig deeper, and I’m sure you’d like to get to listening and tapping your feet, right?  Thank you, rawgod, for giving this song some additional meaning!  I appreciate it!

Cracklin’ Rosie
Neil Diamond

Cracklin’ Rosie, get on board
We’re gonna ride till there ain’t no more to go
Taking it slow
Lord, don’t you know
Have made me a time with a poor man’s lady

Hitchin’ on a twilight train
Ain’t nothing there that I care to take along
Maybe a song
To sing when I want
Don’t need to say please to no man for a happy tune

Oh, I love my Rosie child
She got the way to make me happy
You and me, we go in style
Cracklin’ Rose, you’re a store bought woman
You make me sing like a guitar hummin’
So hang on to me, girl
Our song keeps runnin’ on

Play it now
Play it now, my baby

Cracklin’ Rosie, make me a smile
Girl if it lasts for an hour, that’s all right
We got all night
To set the world right
Find us a dream that don’t ask no questions, yeah

Oh, I love my Rosie child
You got the way to make me happy
You and me, we go in style
Cracklin’ Rose, you’re a store-baught woman
You make me sing like a guitar hummin’
So hang on to me, girl
Our song keeps runnin’ on

Play it now
Play it now
Play it now, my baby

Cracklin’ Rosie, make me a smile
God if it lasts for an hour, that’s all right
We got all night
To set the world right
Find us a dream that don’t ask no question, yeah

Songwriters: Neil Diamond
Cracklin’ Rosie lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

On The Path To Plutocracy

Everything … literally everything … in the United States is a business.  Healthcare is a business.  Prescription drugs are a business.  Education is a business.  These things are all venues of profit for the already-wealthy, carefully guarded by members of Congress who are beholden to those with the money. This, my friends, is capitalism run amok.  Today’s Congress is afraid to take a single step forward for the people without consulting with the owners of the fossil fuel, pharmaceutical, technology industries and others.  Environmental regulations?  Not if they’re going to cut into the profits of corporate America!  Affordable or universal healthcare?  You’re kidding, right?  Affordable insulin and other life-saving medications?  Not a chance.  Free college?  Who do you think you are?

This is, in part, the result of the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission (FEC) back in 2010 that gave carte blanche to corporations to spend obscene amounts of money to literally buy a politician’s vote on issues important to them. It is also, in part, due to the fact that so many of our legislators are themselves among the millionaires who have various interests that are better served by laws that favour the wealthy.

Plutocracy is a government controlled exclusively by the wealthy, either directly or indirectly. A plutocracy allows, either openly or by circumstance, only the wealthy to rule. This can then result in policies exclusively designed to assist the wealthy, which is reflected in its name—the Greek words “ploutos” and “kratos” translate to wealthy and power or ruling, respectively, in English.

Plutocracy doesn’t have to be a purposeful, overt format for government. Instead, it can be created through the allowance of access to certain programs and educational resources only to the wealthy, thereby making it so that the wealthy hold more sway. The concern of inadvertently creating a plutocracy is that the regulatory focus will be narrow and concentrated on the goals of the wealthy, creating even more income and asset-based inequality.

Plutocracy more often arises informally and is implicitly embodied in constitutional, legal, or regulatory measures that create barriers to participation in politics and political life that can be met only through the possession or expenditure of significant wealth.- https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/plutocracy.asp

Why do you think the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 has not been increased since 2009?  Inflation has increased on average by 2.26% per year since 2009, for a total of 33.74% by 2022.  The purchasing power of that $7.25 today is approximately $5.35, and still Congress refuses to pass legislation to raise it.  Worse yet, the federal minimum wage for restaurant servers and other ‘tipped’ employees is $2.13, the assumption being that they will earn enough in tips to make up the $5.12 difference.  Can you imagine covering your monthly bills on just $7.25 per hour, or less than $1,000 per month after taxes?  Heck, that wouldn’t even pay our rent, let alone utilities, car payment, and food!

Guns … Nobody in their right mind actually thinks it’s a good thing that we have more guns than people in the U.S.  But … the gun manufacturers and their lobby, the NRA, put lots of money into the pockets of our members of Congress to ensure that there will be few, if any, restrictions on gun ownership.

Healthcare … take a look at this map of the countries (in blue) that currently provide universal health care to ALL residents …

Why isn’t the United States one of the ones that cares about the health and well-being of its citizens?  Because of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries who would stand to lose some bit of their profits.  They donate to politicians in exchange for the politicians striking down any ideas of establishing a universal healthcare system.

And yet, while prices rise, people struggle to buy food, pay their rent & utilities, and often go without medical care, corporate profits are zooming!

The wealth disparity today is greater than ever before … I think you can see why. Far too many members of Congress have pledged to their corporate donors that they will protect them against such things as an increase in federal minimum wages, universal healthcare, strict gun regulations, and even environmental regulations.  In 2018, the fossil fuel industry spent $84 million on congressional campaigns to help anti-environmentalists win seats.  Their profits today matter more than the lives of our grandchildren tomorrow.

So, what do We the People do?  Well, first and foremost we VOTE!  Research the candidates, their own wealth and who their donors are, then vote those who are beholden to the fossil fuel, agriculture, insurance, gun manufacturers and other industries OUT of office!  We have literally become a plutocracy, a government largely controlled by the wealthiest 1% of the nation.  But we DO still have the right to vote, even though more and more states are trying their level best to restrict our votes, especially those of the poor and minorities.  You’ve heard the term, “Use it or lose it”?  That applies here … if we shrug our shoulders and say, “Meh, what’s one vote gonna do?”, then we may not get a chance next time around.

Yes, our government is now, by definition, a plutocracy, but we can turn that around … maybe.  If we vote wisely in 2024, if we let our elected officials know loud and clear that we are sick of being trampled by the causes of the wealthy, then maybe we can make a difference.  If we don’t try, we’ll never know if we could have changed the course of the future.

James Ferguson Web

THERE WAS APARTHEID, AND THERE IS STILL APARTHEID — IF WE CHOOSE TO LOOK AT THE TRUTH

I’ve been friends with rawgod for many years now, and I have to say that this is by far the BEST post he has ever done! It is a timely post, a humanitarian one … a reminder to us all. The video is particularly interesting and I learned a lot from it about Apartheid in South Africa only a short 50 years ago … and as I watched, I thought, “Is this where the U.S. is headed?” (I recommend using the closed captioning for the video, as the narrator’s accent is sometimes difficult to keep up with, at least for me) Thank you, rg, for this excellent post.

Ideas From Outside the Boxes

On Sept. 12, 1977, Bantu Stephen Biko was murdered by the South African government. They considered him the biggest threat to their apartheid way of life. Little did they know that he had already accomplished his goal of raising the consciousness of the black people of South Africa. It took another 17 years before Apartheid was officially ended, but it would not have happened without the hard work and great insight and organizing ability of Stephen Biko.

I have been singing his praises for more than 40 years now, but few seem to really care. So, when I found the video below, I just had to post it. It is only a summary of his life and work to make South Africa free, and does not present the real struggles he went through daily, but it is something.

So why do I keep coming back to the life and accomplishments…

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