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 — CHAOS!

This is our only chance for the next four years to decide who will be the president of this nation, and the Republican Party and its representatives are attempting to curtail our constitutional right to cast our vote.  This year, because of a pandemic that is once again raging out of control, many of us cannot or will not spend an hour or more in line inside a building waiting to vote, nor should we need to.  A large number of us, myself included, requested mail-in ballots and will be voting by mail, or by dropping our ballots off in person at a designated drop box.

However, the United States Postal Service, now run by a man, Louis DeJoy, who has no experience, whose only qualification for the job was the large sums of money he has donated to Donald Trump, is so inefficient that it took ten days for me to receive a letter that was mailed from 15 miles away!  That could be a problem if someone mailed a ballot on, say, October 30th, or even today!  The girls and I took our ballots to the drop box at the Board of Elections, but some people, especially senior citizens, may not have that luxury.

There are numerous lawsuits in many states to expand voting rights, to allow ballots received after November 3rd as long as they were postmarked on or before that date.  Republicans are, naturally, opposed to anything that expands voting rights.  The good news is that people have been voting, despite the obstacles thrown in their way by the not-so-grand old party, and this morning I read that 51% of the number of people who voted in 2016 have already cast their votes this year!  That is truly inspiring … I think it quite possible that in spite of the GOP’s best efforts, we will have record turnout this year.

Here are some of the latest legal developments related to voting rights cases per the New York Times – some positive, others not so much:

Pennsylvania: The state’s highest court has ruled that election officials should count mailed ballots that arrive up to three days after Election Day. Pennsylvania Republicans are trying to get the Supreme Court to reverse the order, so that only ballots received by Election Day will count.

North Carolina: Republicans and the Trump campaign have asked the Supreme Court to block the state’s board of elections from extending the deadline to receive mail ballots. The board has said ballots can arrive until Nov. 12, as long as they were mailed by Election Day.

Wisconsin: The five Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court sided on Monday with Republican officials in Wisconsin, ruling that ballots must arrive by 8 p.m. on Election Day to count. (A lower-court ruling would have allowed state officials to count any mailed ballots postmarked by Election Day and received up to six days later.) In response, the state’s Democratic Party is urging voters to return mail ballots in person — to a drop box or clerk’s office — rather than mailing them.

Nevada: The Trump campaign has sued to stop the counting of absentee ballots in the Las Vegas area, evidently hoping to challenge the signatures on many ballots. Last night, the campaign and Nevada Republican Party filed a separate lawsuit, seeking detailed information on the vote-counting process.

Texas: The state’s top court yesterday upheld a policy announced by Greg Abbott, the Republican governor, which limits each county to a single drop-off box for mailed ballots. The state’s largest county — Harris, which includes Houston — is home to 4.7 million people.

Michigan: A conservative judge yesterday overturned an order by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, and ruled that people could carry unconcealed guns at polling places on Election Day.

In many of these cases, Republicans have argued that changing voting rules because of the pandemic could lead to fraud (a claim that’s largely baseless) and that allowing ballots to be counted after Election Day leads to confusion and chaos.

Democrats have argued that protecting people’s right to vote, during a national crisis, should be top priority. Democrats have also pointed out that some Republicans have changed their position on the counting of mailed ballots: When late-arriving ballots seemed likely to help George W. Bush in Florida in 2000, Republicans argued that the state should count them.

The Michigan decision is appalling.  Why the hell does anybody need to take a gun with them to vote???  This is possibly the most ridiculous judicial decision I have ever heard and can only lead to trouble.  In my book, anybody being allowed to take a gun into the polling place constitutes potential voter intimidation.  Now, given that the majority of gun-nuts in this country are republicans … does anybody else see a problem here?

If at all possible, my friends, take your ballots to an official drop box, or don your masks and hand sanitizer and vote in person, for I simply do not trust the USPS to get the ballots delivered on time.

♫ Everybody Plays The Fool ♫

First released in 1972, this song was written by J.R. Bailey, Rudy Clark and Ken Williams.  It was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best R&B Song at the 1973 ceremony.

The first recording of the song to reach the Top 40 in the United States was by the R&B group The Main Ingredient, a trio consisting at the time of Cuba Gooding Sr., Tony Silvester and Luther Simmons, Jr. Their version of Everybody Plays the Fool rose to #3 in the U.S.

The Main Ingredient was a Harlem group that began as the Poets.  This song was actually written for country singer Charlie Pride, but according to Cuba Gooding …

“He listened to it and decided it wasn’t country enough for him to sing. He said, ‘I’ll never be able to sell this as a country song. It’s more like a pop song.’  So we gave it to our arranger, put an orchestra behind it, and recorded it ourselves. But we never liked it — we never believed it was going to be a hit record. We wanted to be more like the Temptations or the Four Tops, and that’s what the rest our album was about.

They sent us on a European tour for two weeks, and when we came back, ‘Everybody Plays the Fool’ was the hottest record on pop radio.”

The record surprised them by becoming the group’s first big hit. But oddly enough, the group, who until that time had been firmly entrenched as an R&B group, at first couldn’t get airplay for it on soul stations.

“Black stations wouldn’t even play it. They said it wasn’t R&B. RCA signed me to a three-year contract as the lead singer for the group, everybody was rolling in dough because of the song, but the black stations wouldn’t play it.”

Eventually, that would change, of course, and the song sold more than a million copies, was awarded a gold record, and was nominated for a Grammy as R&B song of the year.

Aaron Neville recorded a cover of this song in 1991 which also hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching #8 in the fall of that year, and it spent 20 weeks on the chart. This was Neville’s third Top 10 hit on the pop chart, following Tell It Like It Is and his duet with Linda Ronstadt, Don’t Know Much.

Since I like both versions almost equally well, I offer up both for your listening pleasure!

Everybody Plays The Fool
The Main Ingredient

Okay, so your heart is broken
You sit around mopin’
Cryin’ and cryin’
You say you’re even thinkin’ about dyin’
Well, before you do anything rash, dig this

Everybody plays the fool sometime
There’s no exception to the rule
Listen, baby, it may be factual, may be cruel
I ain’t lyin’, everybody plays the fool
Falling in love is such an easy thing to do
And there’s no guarantee that the one you love
Is gonna love you
Oh-oh-oh, lovin’ eyes they cannot see
A certain person could never be
Love runs deeper than any ocean
You can cloud your mind with emotion
Everybody plays the fool, sometime
There’s no exception to the rule
Listen, baby, it may be factual, may be cruel
I want to tell ya that
Everybody plays the fool

How can you help it when the music starts to play
And your ability to reason is swept away
Oh-oh-oh, heaven on earth is all you see
You’re out of touch with reality
And now you cry but when you do
Next time around someone cries for you

Everybody plays the fool, sometime
They use your heart like a tool
Listen, baby, they never tell you so in school
I want to say it again
Everybody plays the fool
Listen to me, baby

Everybody plays the fool, sometime
(No exception) no exception to the rule
It may be factual, may be cruel, sometime
But everybody plays the fool
Listen, listen, baby
Everybody plays the fool, sometime
They use your heart like a tool

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Kenneth Williams / Ralph Bailey / Rudy Clark
Everybody Plays The Fool (Re-Recorded / Remastered) lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Carlin America Inc

Good People Doing Good Things — Woody & Luna

Just over a year ago, August 14, 2019, I wrote a ‘good people’ post that included a story about Woody Faircloth who, along with his then-7-year-old daughter, Luna, started a non-profit,  RV4CampfireFamily, to purchase RVs for people whose homes had been destroyed by the devastating Camp Fire that killed 85 people and destroyed 14,000 homes, leaving over 50,000 people homeless.  At the time I wrote that post, Mr. Faircloth and his organization had provided RVs for temporary housing to 65 families, and ultimately provided RVs for 80 families.woody-luna-fairclothAs we all know, this year has brought in a new batch of devastating wildfires on the West Coast, and Woody Faircloth is back on the job.

As a wildfire tore through Berry Creek, California, last month, it destroyed the homes of six of the community’s seven volunteer firefighters along with the department’s fire station.  Nonetheless, the firefighters kept on doing their job, rescuing people, trying to put out fires and save homes even after having lost their own.US-CALIFORNIA-FIREBerry Creek is only about 14 miles from Paradise, where last year’s Camp Fire was centered, and the Berry Creek fire department had helped with that one too, so they were already known to Woody Faircloth.  Faircloth described the fire chief, Reed Rankin, as “a big bear of a man. He’s always got a cigar in his mouth, and he loves his community.”  Chief Rankin was among the ones whose homes had been destroyed.  Losing his home forced Rankin to sleep in his truck. He says he lost more than $100,000 worth of tools for his drilling business.reed-rankinFaircloth and Luna sourced a brand-new RV for him and delivered it personally. When they arrived, Faircloth says, the chief had nothing left but the clothes he was wearing.  The RV, which Rankin will share with another one of his firefighters, has several pop-outs and a living room. Upon seeing the RV, Rankin told Faircloth, “It’s shocking; it’s amazing.” While thanking him, the fire chief added, “It’s a home, somewhere to call home for now. … Winter is coming on here in another month and a half, and at least we have somewhere to be.”

I am unable to embed the video that accompanies this story, but you can find it on the CNN Heroes page.

Despite all he lost, Rankin says he is not leaving Berry Creek …

“I’m definitely going to somehow rebuild. Hopefully, FEMA will help us out. And I’m just gonna do the best we can, but I’m not leaving.”

Katherine Molohon is another Berry Creek firefighter now living in a mobile home provided by Faircloth’s organization. She learned that she lost her home while on the job.

“We were driving through, trying to get people evacuated, drove by my house — I said, ‘Bye house’ and kept going.”

The fire forced Molohon and her partner to live in a shed on her mother’s property before EmergencyRV.org provided shelter.  After seeing the RV that would become their temporary home, Molohon described it as “so wonderful. It’s more than words can say. This is just awesome.”

Between last year’s fires and this year’s, though, Woody and Luna have not been idle, but have expanded their mission.  They responded to the coronavirus pandemic by partnering with a Facebook group called RVs 4 MDs to provide mobile homes to frontline medical workers so they could self-isolate while continuing to fight the pandemic.  They changed the name of their non-profit to EmergencyRV in order to reflect the broader scope of the project.

They are fielding requests from people who lost homes in the storms that hit the Gulf Coast as well as the Iowa derecho. They are also working to find RVs for firefighters in Oregon.  You’ve just got to love this man and his daughter … they are doing so much to help so many …

Faircloth describes his nonprofit as a win-win for the people donating RVs and those receiving them.

“People have RVs that may be used once or twice a year, or maybe they don’t use them anymore at all. When they donate them to us, we can immediately deploy them to people that need them most. … It’s super powerful and just an amazing gift from the donors.”

Now, the main ‘good people’ here are obviously Woody Faircloth and his daughter Luna, but I think the firefighters who are risking life and limb to battle these horrendous fires round the clock every year, and the selfless first responders who are working tirelessly to save lives, and those who donate to the cause deserve a shout out as well.

Thank you, firefighters, doctors, nurses, and every other person who is taking risks to help the rest of us.  There are no words adequate to express our gratitude for all that you do without expectation of receiving anything in return.  Our hearts go out to you, and you have reminded us that there are people … lots of people … in this world who care.

USA Can’t Even Measure Up To One Of Trump’s Sh*tHole’s Country’s Leader In Tackling COVID 19

Hmmmm … seems like maybe the U.S. is lagging behind even ‘third-world’ countries in managing the pandemic! Thank you, Gronda, for this enlightening post! Meanwhile, the U.S. needs some real leadership — something that has been sorely lacking for almost four years!

Gronda Morin

Remember when Donald J Trump was spouting off about sh*thole countries in places like Africa and how his GOP cronies in the US Congress were mum as he vented on these racist leanings.

See below links to reports regarding how the leader Macky Sall of one of the president’s sh*thole countries, Senegal with extremely limited resources, has successfully contained the spread of the COVID19 pandemic within his country.  It has become evident that the White House can’t even begin to measure up to the leadership of one of his listed sh*thole countries to contain/ prevent the spread of a coronavirus within the USA.

Recently, President Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in a CNN interview with its host, Jack Tapper, blurted out a truth many of us had been suspicious about for months, “We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we…

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♫ The Tracks Of My Tears ♫

If you’ve read my rant from earlier this morning, you’ll know that I needed to de-stress, I needed peace … and when I need peace, when I need to remember to breathe, I turn to Motown.  I last played this one on Christmas Day, December 25th 2018, nearly two years ago. 


Miracles leader Smokey Robinson came up with the concept when he was looking in the mirror one day, and thinking, What if a person would cry so much that you could see tracks of their tears in their face?

Miracles members Smokey Robinson, Warren Moore, and Marv Tarplin wrote this song. Robinson penned the lyrics; Tarplin, The Miracles’ guitarist, came up with the riff. Robinson recalled: “‘Tracks of My Tears’ was actually started by Marv Tarplin, who is a young cat who plays guitar for our act. So he had this musical thing [sings melody], you know, and we worked around with it, and worked around, and it became ‘Tracks of My Tears.'”

Robinson had the music Tarplin wrote on a cassette, but it took him about six months to write the lyrics. The words started coming together when he came up with the line, “Take a good look at my face, you see my smile looks out of place.” From there, it was a few days before he got the lines, “If you look closer it’s easy to trace… my tears.”

What to do with those tears was a problem, as he wanted to say something no one has said about tears.

“One day I was listening, and it just came – the tracks of my tears.  Like footprints on my face. So that was what I wrote about.”

The Tracks of My Tears
The Miracles

People say I’m the life of the party
‘Cause I tell a joke or two
Although I might be laughing loud and hearty
Deep inside I’m blue

So take a good look at my face
You know my smile looks out of place
If you look closer it’s easy to trace
The tracks of my tears

I need you
Need you

Since you left me if you see me with another girl
Looking like I’m having fun
Although she may be cute, she’s just a substitute
‘Cause you’re the permanent one

So take a good look at my face
You know my smile looks out of place
If you look closer it’s easy to trace
The tracks of my tears

Outside I’m masquerading
Inside my hope is fading
I’m just a clown since you put me down
My smile is my make up
I wear since my break-up with you

Baby, take a good look at my face
You know my smile looks out of place
If you look closer it’s easy to trace
The tracks of my tears

Songwriters: Marvin Tarplin / Smokey Robinson / Warren Moore / William Robinson Jr.
The Tracks of My Tears lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

ABOMINABLE!!!

The symbol for the Republican Party is the elephant, and for the Democratic Party is a donkey.  I think somebody got it wrong, for quite frankly every republican in the current administration and in Congress is a Grade-A Jackass, aka a donkey.  They wasted no time last night, not only confirming Amy Barrett to the United States Supreme Court, but also swearing her in right then and there.  The two most unconscionable moves that senate republicans have made this year were giving Donald Trump carte blanche to destroy lives when they failed to do their duty in February and refused to convict him at the end of the sham of an impeachment trial, and this, shoving through a closed-minded, religious freak on to the Supreme Court within short weeks of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.

I echo the words of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer …

“The American people will never forget this blatant act of bad faith. They will never forget your complete disregard for their voices, for the people standing in line right now voting their choice, not your choice.” 

He is absolutely correct … we will never forget what the following jackasses have done to us:

  1. Alexander, Lamar — Tennessee (retiring at the end of this term)
  2. Barrasso, John — Wyoming
  3. Blackburn, Marsha — Tennessee
  4. Blunt, Roy — Missouri
  5. Boozman, John — Arkansas
  6. Braun, Mike — Indiana
  7. Burr, Richard — North Carolina
  8. Capito, Shelley Moore — West Virginia
  9. Cassidy, Bill — Louisiana
  10. Collins, Susan M. — Maine
  11. Cornyn, John — Texas
  12. Cotton, Tom — Arkansas
  13. Cramer, Kevin — North Dakota
  14. Crapo, Mike — Idaho
  15. Cruz, Ted — Texas
  16. Daines, Steve — Montana
  17. Enzi, Michael B. — Wyoming (retiring at the end of this term)
  18. Ernst, Joni — Iowa
  19. Fischer, Deb — Nebraska
  20. Gardner, Cory — Colorado
  21. Graham, Lindsey — South Carolina
  22. Grassley, Chuck — Iowa
  23. Hawley, Josh — Missouri
  24. Hoeven, John — North Dakota
  25. Hyde-Smith, Cindy — Mississippi
  26. Inhofe, James M. — Oklahoma
  27. Johnson, Ron — Wisconsin
  28. Kennedy, John — Louisiana
  29. Lankford, James — Oklahoma
  30. Lee, Mike — Utah
  31. Loeffler, Kelly — Georgia
  32. McConnell, Mitch — Kentucky
  33. McSally, Martha — Arizona
  34. Moran, Jerry — Kansas
  35. Murkowski, Lisa — Alaska
  36. Paul, Rand — Kentucky
  37. Perdue, David — Georgia
  38. Portman, Rob — Ohio
  39. Risch, James E. — Idaho
  40. Roberts, Pat — Kansas (retiring at the end of this term)
  41. Romney, Mitt — Utah
  42. Rounds, Mike — South Dakota
  43. Rubio, Marco — Florida
  44. Sasse, Ben — Nebraska
  45. Scott, Rick — Florida
  46. Scott, Tim — South Carolina
  47. Shelby, Richard C. — Alabama
  48. Sullivan, Dan — Alaska
  49. Thune, John — South Dakota
  50. Tillis, Thom — North Carolina
  51. Toomey, Patrick J. — Pennsylvania
  52. Wicker, Roger F. — Mississippi
  53. Young, Todd — Indiana

The ones in (red) are up for re-election next week … VOTE THEM OUT!  Meanwhile, if you have ever voted for any of the above people, you should first write a letter of apology to We the People, then go bash your head against a concrete wall 50 times to see if you can knock some sense into it!

Yes, I’m angry … no, wait … not angry … FURIOUS!

The ignoble Mitch McConnell plainly stated that they did not act in the interests of We the People, nor did they act out of any sort of values or conscience … they acted only because they could, because they had the majority.  Oh, in case you’re interested, Susan Collins of Maine was the only republican to vote “nay”, but don’t give her too much credit, for she has licked Trump’s boots enough times in the past, and by her own admission, she wasn’t actually against Barrett’s confirmation, just against the way it had been ramrodded through against the will of the people of this nation, some 70+% of whom supported waiting and letting the next president nominate the justice who would try to fill the shoes of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Ms. Barrett damn sure cannot fill those shoes!

So, republicans … while we’ve all talked about working together to narrow the partisan divide in this country, you 53 people, and any who support a single one of these unconscionable asses, have just widened the gap even more … something I didn’t think possible.  I hold each and every one of these 53 people responsible for what happens in the future to our right to healthcare, to LGBT rights, and to women’s rights, for Ms. Barrett is against all of those and more.

Until tonight, I have had strong reservations about the next president adding justices to the court, but as of tonight, I do hope that Joe Biden adds a minimum of four more justices and nominates fair, impartial, honest justices, not narrow-minded bigots like Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and now Barrett.

Food For Thought …

Today it is likely that Amy Barrett will be confirmed by a majority in the U.S. Senate.  Unconscionable?  Yes, for many reasons, but nonetheless inevitable.  In yesterday’s edition of The Guardian, Robert Reich wrote about what needs to happen next, assuming that Joe Biden is the next president and that the democrats can keep a majority in the House and gain a majority in the Senate – once considered unlikely, but far more realistic today.


Trump assaulted American democracy – here’s how Democrats can save it

Amy Coney Barrett is heading for confirmation but supreme court and Senate reform is possible if Biden wins and acts fast

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

Barring a miracle, Amy Coney Barrett will be confirmed on Monday as the ninth justice on the US supreme court.

This is a travesty of democracy.

The vote on Barrett’s confirmation will occur just eight days before election day. By contrast, the Senate didn’t even hold a hearing on Merrick Garland, who Barack Obama nominated almost a year before the end of his term. Majority leader Mitch McConnell argued at the time that any vote should wait “until we have a new president”.

Barrett was nominated by a president who lost the popular vote by nearly 3m ballots, and who was impeached by the House of Representatives. When Barrett joins the court, five of the nine justices will have been appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote.

The Republican senators who will vote for her represent 15 million fewer Americans than their Democratic colleagues.

Once on the high court, Barrett will join five other reactionaries who together will be able to declare laws unconstitutional, for perhaps a generation.

Barrett’s confirmation is the culmination of years in which a shrinking and increasingly conservative, rural and white segment of the US population has been imposing its will on the rest of America. They’ve been bankrolled by big business, seeking lower taxes and fewer regulations.

In the event Joe Biden becomes president on 20 January and both houses of Congress come under control of the Democrats, they can reverse this trend. It may be the last chance – both for the Democrats and, more importantly, for American democracy.

How?

For starters, increase the size of the supreme court. The constitution says nothing about the number of justices. The court changed size seven times in its first 80 years, from as few as five justices under John Adams to 10 under Abraham Lincoln.

Biden says if elected he’ll create a bipartisan commission to study a possible court overhaul “because it’s getting out of whack”. That’s fine, but he’ll need to move quickly. The window of opportunity could close by the 2022 midterm elections.

Second, abolish the Senate filibuster. Under current rules, 60 votes are needed to enact legislation. This means that if Democrats win a bare majority there, Republicans could block any new legislation Biden hopes to pass.

The filibuster could be ended with a rule change requiring 51 votes. There is growing support among Democrats for doing this if they gain that many seats. During the campaign, Biden acknowledged that the filibuster has become a negative force in government.

The filibuster is not in the constitution either.

The most ambitious structural reform would be to rebalance the Senate itself. For decades, rural states have been emptying as the US population has shifted to vast megalopolises. The result is a growing disparity in representation, especially of nonwhite voters.

For example, both California, with a population of 40 million, and Wyoming, whose population is 579,000, get two senators. If population trends continue, by 2040 some 40% of Americans will live in just five states, and half of America will be represented by 18 Senators, the other half by 82.

This distortion also skews the electoral college, because each state’s number of electors equals its total of senators and representatives. Hence, the recent presidents who have lost the popular vote.

This growing imbalance can be remedied by creating more states representing a larger majority of Americans. At the least, statehood should be granted to Washington DC. And given that one out of eight Americans now lives in California – whose economy, if it were a separate country, would be the ninth-largest in the world – why not split it into a North and South California?

The constitution is also silent on the number of states.

Those who recoil from structural reforms such as the three I’ve outlined warn that Republicans will retaliate when they return to power. That’s rubbish. Republicans have already altered the ground rules. In 2016, they failed to win a majority of votes cast for the House, Senate or the presidency, yet secured control of all three.

Barrett’s ascent is the latest illustration of how grotesque the power imbalance has become, and how it continues to entrench itself ever more deeply. If not reversed soon, it will be impossible to remedy.

What’s at stake is not partisan politics. It is representative government. If Democrats get the opportunity, they must redress this growing imbalance – for the sake of democracy.

♫ Beyond The Sea ♫

Okay, tonight I’m taking you waaaaaaay back again … all the way back to 1960 when I was but a wee, innocent lass of 9 years (actually, by this time I already knew how to hot-wire a car, had smoked my first pack of cigarettes, and … well, you don’t need to know the rest).  Some of you weren’t even born yet, but I bet you know this song anyway.

This is an English translation of “La Mer,” a French song from the 1940s originally recorded by Charles Trenet. “La Mer” was used in the 1948 movie Every Girl Should Be Married, starring Cary Grant.

Beyond the Sea has been recorded by many artists, but Bobby Darin’s version released in late 1959 is the best known by many, reaching #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, #15 on the US R&B Chart, and #8 in the UK Singles Chart.

This song was also the title for the movie about his life starring Kevin Spacey as Bobby Darin. Spacey himself performed most of the music for the movie.

Beyond The Sea
Bobby Darin

Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waiting for me
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailin’

Somewhere beyond the sea
She’s there watching for me
If I could fly like birds on high
Then straight to her arms
I’d go sailing

It’s far beyond the stars
It’s near beyond the moon
I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon

We’ll meet beyond the shore
We’ll kiss just as before
Happy we’ll be beyond the sea
And never again I’ll go sailing

I know beyond a doubt, ah
My heart will lead me there soon
We’ll meet (I know we’ll meet) beyond the shore
We’ll kiss just as before
Happy we’ll be beyond the sea
And never again I’ll go sailing

No more sailing
So long sailing
Bye bye sailing

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Albert Lasry / Charles Trenet / Jack Lawrence
Beyond The Sea lyrics © Raoul Breton Editions, Round Hill Music Big Loud Songs

Jolly Monday — 🎃Happy Halloween!!!🎃

Good Monday morning, my friends!  How was your weekend?  Mine was a bit more fun than usual this time, for we had a get-together with our friends Maha & Ali yesterday evening.  Today is daughter Chris’ birthday (the BIG 5-0, but I’m not supposed to tell you that!), and Tuesday is Maha’s birthday … about 5 years shy of 50 … so we decided to celebrate both on Sunday.  As always, time spent with them is precious and has been sorely lacking for the past seven months or so.  And now, it’s back to the grind with a cloudy Monday morning, so let’s grab a snack — Joyful started baking at midnight, and has turned out some awesome treats, but sorry bacon-lovers, no bacon today — and find something to start the week out right!


eyes👻 Since Hallowe’en is just 5 days away, I thought I’d make this week’s Jolly Monday post Hallowe’en-themed!  I found some fun things related to Hallowe’en that I think you’ll like.  Let’s start with a couple of Hallowe’en jokes.

Chiseling with Fear

Two men were walking home after a Halloween party and
decided to take a shortcut through the cemetery just for
laughs. Right in the middle of the cemetery, they were
startled by a tap-tap-tapping noise coming from the misty
shadows.

Trembling with fear, they found an old man with a hammer and
chisel, chipping away at one of the headstones.

“Holy cow, Mister,” one of them said after catching his
breath. “You scared us half to death — we thought you were a
ghost! What are you doing working here so late at night?”

“My family are such fools!” the old man grumbled. “They misspelled my
name and here I have to correct it!”

A Bat Story

batA vampire bat came flapping in from the night covered in fresh blood and parked himself on the roof of the cave to get some sleep.  Pretty soon all the other bats smelled the blood and began hassling him about where he got it.  He told them to knock it off and let him get some sleep but they persisted until finally he gave in.  “OK, follow me,” he said and flew out of the cave with hundreds of bats behind him.  Down through a valley they went, across a river and into a forest full of trees.  Finally he slowed down and all the other bats excitedly milled around him.  “Now, do you see that tree over there?” he asked.  “Yes, yes, yes!” the bats all screamed in a frenzy.  “Good,” said the first bat, “Because I DIDN’T!”

Halloween Groaner

A man was walking home alone one night when he heard a “BUMP….BUMP….BUMP…” behind him. Walking faster, he looked back, making out an image of an upright coffin banging its way down the middle of the street towards him….”BUMP…BUMP…BUMP…”

The man began to run toward his home, and the coffin boiunced  after him faster….faster…BUMPBUMPBUMP.

He ran up to his door, fumbled with his keys, opened the door, rushed in, and locked it behind him. The coffin crashed through his door, with the lid of the coffin clapping BUMP…BUMP…BUMP… on the heals of the terrified man. The man rushed upstairs to the bathroom and locked himself in, heart pounding.

With a CRASH, the coffin broke down the door, coming slowly toward  him.  The man while screaming, reached for something, anything….all he can find was a box of cough drops which he hurled at the coffin…and suddenly “the coffin stops.”  ⚰️


eyesOkay, granted that last one was pretty bad, but I bet you at least grinned.  Now here are some riddles that are sure to make you groan and roll your eyes!

What do goblins and ghosts drink when they’re hot and thirsty on Halloween? Ghoul-aid!!!

What is a Mummie’s favorite type of music? Wrap!!!!!

What do you call a witch who lives at the beach? A sand-witch.

Why did the game warden arrest the ghost? He didn’t have a haunting license.

Why didn’t the skeleton dance at the party? He had no body to dance with.

Where did the goblin throw the football? Over the ghoul line.

Why is a ghost such a messy eater?  Because he is always a goblin.

What do you call a goblin who gets too close to a bonfire? A toasty ghosty.


And you know we’ve got to have some ‘toons …

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bat


I found this cool Halloween candy quiz … answers are below … see how many you can get.  I’ll give you a hint, I got 8 out of 28 … but then, I’m not very good at these things, so I’m betting you guys will do better!

  1. A famous swashbuckling trio of old.
  2. Indian burial grounds
  3. Galaxy
  4. What bees make
  5. Round flotation device
  6. Twin letters
  7. Red Planet
  8. Not laughing out loud
  9. Can’t hold on to anything
  10. A famous author
  11. Famous former baseball player
  12. Famous New York Street
  13. A sweet sign of affection
  14. A favorite day of working people
  15. Nut happiness
  16. Pleasantly plumb
  17. Two female pronouns
  18. A feline
  19. Single women look for him
  20. Sun explosion
  21. Bite with a crunch noise
  22. Dry cow
  23. Children of the cane
  24. A lottery amount
  25. Lactic flops
  26. Determines who wins the game
  27. Home of movie stars
  28. Superman’s favorite hangout

Answers …

  1. Three Musketeers
  2. Mounds
  3. Milky Way
  4. Bit O’Honey
  5. Life Savers
  6. M&Ms
  7. Mars Bar
  8. Snickers, Chuckles
  9. Butterfingers
  10. O’Henry
  11. Babe Ruth
  12. 5th Avenue
  13. Candy Kiss
  14. Pay Day
  15. Almond Joy
  16. Cunky
  17. Hershey
  18. Kit Kat
  19. Goodbar, Millionaire, Sugar Daddy
  20. Star Burst
  21. Krackle, Crunch Bar
  22. Milk Duds
  23. Sugar Babies
  24. $100,000 Bar
  25. Milk Duds
  26. Skor
  27. Holywood
  28. Clark Bar

What’s your favourite Hallowe’en candy, by the way?

toon-header


Check out these pooches in their Hallowe’en finery …

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And, as always, we must have a cute critter video.  Typically, I am not a fan of putting clothing on animals … unlike humans, their fur gives them a natural beauty that is not enhanced by human attempts to “dress them up”.  However, Hallowe’en is the exception, and these will definitely make you chuckle … I hope, anyway.


And now, sadly, our Jolly Monday time has come to an end.  I have a birthday cake to bake, homemade spaghetti sauce to get started (the birthday dinner request), laundry to do, and a house to clean.  I hope you all have a wonderful week, and that you’ll share those beautiful smiles I see on your faces.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa, Jolly and Joyful!

The Week’s Best Cartoons 10/24

I thought it was time to lighten it up a bit, and while the political cartoons these days often aren’t exactly funny, they are brilliant in the way they can sum up a situation with few or no words.  How I wish I had artistic talent!  So, instead of the post I had planned for this afternoon, I am sharing instead TokyoSand’s weekly collection featuring the ‘best of the best’ cartoons from the past week.  Thank you, TS, for this excellent collection!


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