Grounded

Those of you who have followed Filosofa’s Word for more than a year may remember a series of posts that I re-blogged by justascottishgirl, a young woman from Scotland who, in late 2015 to mid-2016 took time from her own life to volunteer helping refugees on the Greek Isle of Kos. Her tales were often heartbreaking, but I was so impressed with what she and others were doing – giving of themselves for the cause of humanity – that I shared her story a few times in March 2016. She eventually returned to Scotland, but has now moved to the Greek Isle of Kos. She has started a new blog, titled From Greece With Love, and shares her very astute thoughts on not just the refugee crisis, but the terrible inhumane incidents taking place around the globe. I am sharing, with her permission, the first post on her new blog where she starts with a question: How does one stay grounded with all the terrible things happening around the world? She concludes with: “Stand together, show love where you find hate and don’t let fear win.” Just A Scottish Girl is an excellent writer, thinker, and humanitarian extraordinaire, and this post is well worth the read. Please take a few moments to read her words, for they reflect what most of us are thinking in these troubled times. Thank you, Scottish Girl, for all you do, for your beautiful heart, and for permission to share your thoughts and words.

From Greece With Love

All through life when times get tough, when things start to run away with us or when things start to get too much we often hear the advice “stay grounded.” We are told to “keep our feet on the ground” to balance us, to remind of something solid, something steady that can help bring us down from those dizzying heights that challenging times can take us to. But what happens when that safety net fails, when you can no longer trust the earth to keep you steady?

Recently I experienced a rather nasty earthquake which has left this question playing on my mind. When we live in a world of such uncertainty, how exactly do we stay grounded when we can’t even trust the ground we walk on?

But this idea of losing trust in your surroundings goes further than a shift in tectonic plates, for me personally anyway. Over…

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♫ Another Saturday Night ♫

I seem to be on a roll of breaking my own mandate not to highlight the same artist twice in a week or two, but this song just seemed to be the appropriate thing for a Saturday!

Sam Cooke wrote this when he was touring England in 1962 with Little Richard.  Cat Stevens also recorded it in 1974, and later (1993), Jimmy Buffett of Margaritaville fame recorded it, but … I always prefer the Sam Cooke version.  I didn’t realize it, but this was the first song Cooke released after the tragic drowning death of his 18-month-old son, Vincent.

Cooke was one of the first African-American artists to truly cross over onto the Pop charts and resonate with white audiences. Cooke cultivated his crossover success, opening up venues to African-American artists that had largely been denied them.

Another Saturday Night
Sam Cooke

Another Saturday night
And I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause I just got paid
Now, how I wish I had someone to talk to
I’m in an awful way
Let me tell you ’bout it, lookie here

I got in town a month ago
I seen a lotta girls since then
If I could meet ’em I could get ’em
But as yet I haven’t met ’em
That’s why I’m in the shape I’m in

Here, another Saturday night
And I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause I just got paid
Now, how I wish I had someone to talk to
I’m in an awful way

Now, another fella told me
He had a sister who looked just fine
Instead of being my deliverance
She had a strange resemblance
To a cat named Frankenstein

Here, another Saturday night
And I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause I just got paid
Now, how I wish I had some chick to talk to
I’m in an awful way, yeah

Man, another Saturday night, ain’t got nobody
If I’d’ve been back home now, I’d’ve been swinging
Two chicks on my arm
Lord, sad weekend
Let me tell you now, huh

It’s hard on a fella
When he don’t know his way around
If I don’t find me a honey
To help me spend my money
I’m gonna have to blow this town

Here, another Saturday night
And I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause I just got paid
Now, how I wish I had someone to talk to
I’m in an awful

Here it is, another Saturday night
And I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause I just got paid
Now, how I wish I had some chick to talk to
I’m in an awful

One more time, another Saturday night
And I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause I just got paid
Now I wish I had some chick to talk to
I’m in an awful

Songwriters: Sam Cooke
Another Saturday Night lyrics © Abkco Music, Inc

Saturday night

Saturday Surprise — Critters!!!

red-panda-e1534572781553.pngHi Friends!  The weekend is finally here, we all survived another week, and now it’s time to have some fun!  I had a great idea for today’s post … 🤔 … 🤔 … but it seems to have slipped my mind.  Drat!  I knew I should have written it down, for these days my mind is like a sieve, and even when I talk to myself, I forget what I was saying! forgetfulWell, let’s just have a few cute/funny animal stories, then, for I am in the mood for cuteness.  First, let me share my own bit of cuteness.  Remember back when I wrote about the Significant Seven (now the Significant Six) and I told you how Izzy is so skittish that she spends most of her day under the sofa, and won’t let any but Miss Goose near her?  Well, a few days ago I was deeply engrossed in my writing when I sensed that I was being watched. I glanced up to see this little face about 4 inches from mine, staring intently.

20180816_150646.jpg

Isabella, aka ‘Izzy’


Recently, Bored Panda did a piece about the ten rarest dog breeds.  Most of them didn’t look much different from breeds that we are familiar with, but this one, the Lagotto Romagnolo, stood out.Lagotto

According to the article …

Lagottos are affectionate, devoted and not at all demanding. Combine that with how adorably fluffy these dogs are and you’ll want one — if you can find one. The Lagotto Romagnolo is an ancient breed originating in the Romagna region of Italy, according to the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of Canada, and are not only efficient water retrievers but they’re best known for being the only purebred dog in the world recognized as a specialized truffle searcher. And sticks, apparently.

A specialized truffle searcher!  Who knew?  But isn’t he adorable, in a strange sort of way?


Vizsla is yet another dog breed I’ve never heard of until today, but they originated in Hungary, and are known for their loyalty, as well as their hunting skills. Murray and AJMeet Murray … a Vizsla housemate of human AJ Allee.  Now, I remember the last dog I shared my home with, and when I arrived home from work I was greeted with wet sloppy kisses and knock-down hugs from my 130-pound Rottweiler-Border Collie mix who thought he was still a pup.  But AJ comes home to a slightly different sort of welcome from Murray …

Yep, you got it … Murray keeps watch for AJ’s return from the highest point on the house – the roof!  The first time it happened …

“We didn’t realize it until neighbors came and rang our doorbell. It was terrifying because we were afraid he would jump or fall. He moved so quickly on the roof and ran to the edge, then stopped.”

AJ says he tried to find ways to block Murray’s access to the roof, but he always found another way to get up there, so after three days he finally gave up.  Periodically passers-by will stop to inform AJ that there’s a dog on his roof!


I have heard of Silkie Chickens before, but had never actually seen one.  Well, technically I still haven’t seen one up-close-and-personal, but … meet Marshmallow, the Silkie Chicken …marshmallowAccording to Marshmallow’s housemate, who is known only as WyrmsWorks, Silkie Chickens are …

“They’re bred to be less physically capable so they’re easy to contain, and they’re also bred to be very calm and trusting, with no emphasis on maintaining normal survival capabilities. They are very easy to catch and don’t try to run from predators soon enough because they’re just too calm. Silkies can not free range, they will get themselves killed one way or another. They are special needs as far as chickens go. As long as they’re kept safe they make perfect pets, though.”

One day, Wyrm (hope he doesn’t mind the nickname, but I don’t feel like typing his full ‘name’) couldn’t find Marshmallow, so, he went in search of and found her …Silkie in trashYep, in the trash!  Since the height of the trash bin would have made it impossible, Wyrm was puzzled and couldn’t figure out how she got in there … and better yet, WHY!  So, a bit later, he watched from a distance, and found that she was … trying to escape from a barnyard rooster named Waffle who was attempting to … well … you know!  Has Waffle never heard of #MeToo???  Turns out that poor Marshmallow was so frightened that she jumped atop a cat stand near the trash, from there tried to perch on the ledge of the trash bin, but instead, being not very well-balanced, fell in!  Poor Marshmallow.

And then another day, Marshmallow decided to play in the dirt! Silkie in dirtDirty silkieWhich made a bath a necessity.  When a Silkie Chicken gets a bath, this is what they come out looking like …Clean silkie


And last, but not least, what would a post about cute critters be without a fun video?  Watch this kangaroo try to get on a swing!


Okay, folks … time for you guys to go attend those weekend chores, go shopping, throw some burgers on the grill, take the family to the zoo, or whatever is on the docket for the weekend.  Just make sure you have some fun, take some time to relax and enjoy life, for Monday will be here soon enough!

Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhh … I just remembered what I was going to write this post about … automobile genders!  Well, there’s always next Saturday.  In case I forget, remind me.weekend

Still More Head-Shaking Moments …

say whatA few things crossed my radar this morning … things that either made me say “Say WHAT???” (I seem to say that a lot lately, had you noticed?) or shake my head (or fist).  So, for your head-shaking pleasure, I bring you a few random bits ‘n pieces …


Who to blame … who to blame …

Shortly after I published my post about the ridiculous military parade Trump had scheduled for November 10th at a cost of $92,000 or more, it was announced that the parade has been canceled, or postponed until next year at least.  At the time, no reason was given, but I assumed it had something to do with the cost.  I was fairly certain that Trump would not be a happy camper, and I wondered who he would choose to blame for his own folly.  Wonder no more … the lucky target of Trump’s wrath is none other than the mayor of Washington D.C., Muriel E. Bowser.  Though he didn’t name Ms. Bowser specifically, but referred to “local politicians who run Washington, D.C.”, Ms. Bowser saw the finger pointed directly at her.Trump tweet

Notice how, he is going to make sure the taxpayers pay, after all, by traveling to Paris for no other reason than to prove, once again, his petulance.  And, with the money he doesn’t spend on the parade, he is excitedly going to buy himself more toys in the form of jet fighters. Maturity just oozes from his pores, don’t you think?

muriel bowserMayor Bowser, however, is not taking this lying down!

“Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad).”

City officials say it was just over a week ago that Bowser received a letter from U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen saying the event would take place “on or about Nov. 10, 2018” and discussing the need for planning and coordination with city agencies.  Rather short notice.  Still, the portion for which the city would bill the Pentagon, $21.6 million, is only about 23% of the total cost – the bulk of the cost is actually attributable to the Pentagon for military equipment, personnel, and related costs.  The idea is still ridiculous and the time and money spent on planning this parade was a waste of our money.


Another favour to the wealthy …

There is a reason … a number of reasons, actually … that publicly-held corporations are required to produce quarterly financial reports.  The reports disclose extensive details about their operations, including profit and revenue, and are used by investors to assess the health and well-being of the company in order to make investment decisions.  But Trump’s buddies in the world of ivory towers have complained to him that they don’t like having to file the quarterly reports and would far prefer to only do the reports twice a year instead of four times.

“In speaking with some of the world’s top business leaders I asked what it is that would make business (jobs) even better in the U.S. “Stop quarterly reporting & go to a six month system,” said one. That would allow greater flexibility & save money. I have asked the SEC to study!”

The idea is unlikely to be popular with either the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) or with shareholders because the quarterly reports provide important insight into a company’s potential trouble spots and force its executives to address shareholders’ concerns.


Take mine … PLEASE!

Trump is foolishly revoking security clearances of any who have offended him in some way.  He is shooting himself in the foot, and putting the nation at risk in doing so, for the knowledge, experience and insight of those whose clearances he is revoking is invaluable and could be crucial one day.  But, that is a whole ‘nother story … nobody ever expected Trump to act reasonably or intelligently.

McRaven

Admiral William H. McRaven

William H. McRaven is a retired Navy admiral and was commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014. He oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.  When McRaven heard that Trump had revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, he penned the following open letter:

Dear Mr. President:

Former CIA director John Brennan, whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday, is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him.

Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.

Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs.

A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.

Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.

If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be.

The letter speaks for itself.

♫ Hero ♫

Tonight’s song, Hero, by Mariah Carey, has been the subject of a bit of controversy, but then Carey herself is steeped in a bit of controversy ranging from plagiarism to being a bit of a diva.

In 2001, Carey performed the song at the “Tribute To Heroes” telethon for the victims of the terrorist attacks in the US., and it was included on a benefit album, God Bless America, which helped the Twin Towers Fund.9-11_honor_heroes_full

This song was originally written, unsolicited, for the Dustin Hoffman movie of the same name, but the producers of the movie ultimately chose Luther Vandross’ Heart Of A Hero. According to Walter Afanasieff,  who wrote the music …

He was recording the Music Box album with Carey at the time, and during a break he, “was sitting at the piano and told Mariah about this movie. Within two hours, we had this incredible seed for this song, ‘Hero.’  It was never meant for Mariah to sing. In her mind, we were writing a song for Gloria Estefan for this movie. And we went into an area that Mariah didn’t really go into – in her words, it was a little bit too schmaltzy or too pop ballady or too old-fashioned as far as melody and lyrics.”

Hero was the subject of two copyright plagiarism cases; one by a former limo driver, Christopher Selletti and the other by Rhonda Dimmer, filed in 1993 and 1996.  Neither party’s suit was successful, but since Carey has been involved in similar suits over other songs, one wonders.

She insists on being photographed only from her right side, and during a 2000 tour, she insisted on a rider to the contract that Cristal champagne and bendy straws would be provided backstage at her concerts.

All that aside, though … I just like the song, and think she sings it beautifully, so without further ado …

Hero
Mariah Carey

There’s a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don’t have to be afraid
Of what you are
There’s an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

It’s a long road
When you face the world alone
No one reaches out a hand
For you to hold
You can find love
If you search within yourself
And that emptiness you felt
Will disappear

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you, oh, oh

Lord knows
Dreams are hard to follow
But don’t let anyone
Tear them away, hey yeah
Hold on
There will be tomorrow
In time you’ll find the way

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you
That a hero lies in you
Mmm, that a hero lies in you

Songwriters: Mariah Carey / Walter Afanasieff
Hero lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

The Senate Stands Up To The Bully …

“We swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution, including the First Amendment. Today, every senator upheld that oath by sending a message that we support the First Amendment, and we support the freedom of the press in the face of these attacks.” – Senator Brian Schatz, 16 August 2018

We should not need a Senate resolution to declare that the free press is not “the enemy of the people”.  It is rather akin to needing a Senate resolution to declare that parents should not beat their children to death, or men should not sexually abuse women.  It is already the damn law!  The U.S. Constitution protects the free press, so why do we need a Senate resolution to acknowledge the law?  Why?  Because we have a buffoon instead of a president who has, for 71 years, gotten what he wants by bullying, and he thinks he can still do that in the White House.

press-enemy-NixonSo, while we should not need the Senate to confirm that the press is not the enemy of the people, it is comforting to know that the Senate unanimously voted to confirm, for the sake of the madman in the Oval Office and his blind-faith followers who hang on his every word.

“Resolved, that the Senate affirms that the press is not the enemy of the people; reaffirms the vital and indispensable role that the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance the most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms of the United States; and condemns the attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press as an attack on the democratic institutions of the United States; and it is the sense of the Senate that it is the sworn responsibility of all who serve the United States by taking the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States to uphold, cherish, and protect the entire Constitution, including the freedom of the press.”

The resolution mentions a number of former leaders who have spoken on behalf of freedom of the press:

  • Benjamin Franklin in 1722 wrote, ‘‘Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech.’’;

  • Thomas Jefferson in 1786 wrote, ‘‘Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.’’;


  • James Madison in 1789 introduced the freedom of the press in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution of the United States;


  • James Madison based the freedom of the press on the Declaration of Rights of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which in 1776 declared, ‘‘The freedom of the Press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments.’’;


  • President Ronald Reagan proclaimed August 4, 1985, as Freedom of the Press Day, stating that ‘‘Freedom of the press is one of our most important freedoms and also one of our oldest.’’;


  • President Reagan also said, ‘‘Today, our tradition of a free press as a vital part of our democracy is as important as ever. The news media are now using modern techniques to bring our citizens information not only on a daily basis but instantaneously as important events occur. This flow of information helps make possible an informed electorate and so contributes to our national system of self-government.’’;


  • Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in International Soc. for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Lee, 505 U.S. 672 (1992), ‘‘The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is beside the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.’’;


  • The United States Supreme Court also affirmed the history and intent of the freedom of the press in New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), stating, ‘‘In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.’’;


  • Tyrannical and authoritarian governments and leaders throughout history have sought to undermine, censor, suppress, and control the press to advance their undemocratic goals and actions; and


  • The United States, including the long-held commitment to and constitutional protection of the free press in the United States, has stood as a shining example of democracy, self-government, and freedom for the world to emulate.

That this resolution was passed unanimously without a single dissenting vote even among the boot-lickers on the right side of the aisle, speaks volumes.  It tells us that even Mitch McConnell and all the rest are disturbed by Trump’s denigration of the press, and that they understand that the press is the only thing standing between a ‘president’ and a dictator.  However, it should be noted that this is only a non-binding resolution, meaning it does basically nothing more than send a message to Trump & Co saying that the Senate supports the free press and does not agree with Trump calling them the enemy of the people.  The law already exists in the form of the Constitution … we just need Congress to enforce that law upon the president.

An Ego Trip …

The people who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 did so based on certain things that they believed in, that they believed would make their lives better, and he promised to fulfill their wishes.  One of those things was a smaller government that provided fewer services.  The reasoning was that if the government shrunk, had fewer employees and provided fewer services, money would be saved and taxes could be lowered, thus putting more money in the pockets of the working class.

However, theory and reality are often not quite the same, and the reality here is that Trump has cut services to the poor and disadvantaged, he has cut taxes for the wealthy, but the working class is no better off than they were before, and in fact have less now than they had before.  Why?  There are a number of reasons, including massive amounts of waste by Trump’s cabinet and by Trump himself, the tax cuts were only to the wealthy, Trump’s tariffs are causing prices to rise, and this …

Trump Military Parade To Cost Taxpayers Nearly $100M

What a colossal and foolish waste of our money!!!

This ego trip was initially, we were told, to cost a mere $12 million.  That would have fed 2,307 average families for a full year, but hey … Trump’s ego is far more important than feeding hungry kids, right?  But now, the estimated cost, $92 million, could have fed 17,692 average families for a full year!  How do we justify this?  What is the purpose of this ‘military parade’?  The answers are that we cannot possibly justify it and the only purpose is to stroke the ego of the megalomaniac in the Oval Office.

The parade is scheduled for Saturday, November 10th, and is to start at the U.S. Capitol and end at the White House where, undoubtedly, the 5,000-7,000 troops who are marching will be expected to salute Trump.  Now, not only is the parade costing an exorbitant amount of money up front, but there is a likelihood that there will be ‘after-the-fact’ costs to repair Pennsylvania Avenue.  Initially, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that no tanks would be included in the parade, for they would cause “damage to local infrastructure”.  But now, because Trump wants them, eight tanks will make their way to the White House on a street that taxpayers will then be required to repair.

Now, how did this all come about?  Well, remember last July when Trump happened to be in France during their annual Bastille Day celebration?  As a part of the festivities, there was a military parade, and Trump, exactly like the child who, upon seeing his friends new toy, then insists that his parents buy the same toy for him, decided that he must also have a military parade.  And so, during a meeting at the Pentagon on January 18th, Trump ordered just such a parade for himself.  The Washington Post got wind of it and published the story, after which the White House issued a statement that said Trump “has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”  Hello?  First, very few, if any Americans will travel to DC to watch this costly display of foolishness. Second … show our appreciation to whom and for what???  Are we supposed to be appreciative to Trump for destroying our environment, our schools, our reputation, and our very nation?  I think not.

Trump originally intended the parade to be on July 4th, Independence Day, but apparently it couldn’t be pulled together quite that soon, so he settled for the November date, which is one day before Veteran’s Day and also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  What Trump fails to realize … or simply doesn’t care … is that the Bastille Day parade in France is a long-standing tradition, dating back to 1880!  And, France’s Bastille Day parade is a celebration of citizen’s rights, not military might. The U.S. has no such tradition, nor do we need one.

The U.S. has not held a major military parade in Washington since 1991 to mark the end of Operation Desert Storm. That parade reportedly cost approximately $8 million and was paid for with about $3 million in government funds and the rest with private donations.  Trump’s parade, all $92 million, would be paid for with taxpayer dollars.

Our economy is on the verge of a downturn, due largely to some very poor decisions on the part of Donald Trump and his minions.  The average wage earner has not seen an increase in his or her real wages in years, and in fact, today’s real wages have dropped to 1974 levels (more about this in a future post).  Trump takes credit for a lot that is not his due, and is spending our money willy-nilly on such foolishness as a parade to show American’s gratitude to him, when we should be showing him the back door!  This is nothing but yet another ego trip for Donald Trump at a huge cost to We The People.

Note to Readers:  This evening, a couple of hours after this post was published, it was announced that the parade has been postponed until 2019!  Perhaps sometimes our voices are heard?

Hearts Are Breaking, The Beloved Aretha Franklin Has Passed At 76

Today, the world lost a great talent, but she left us a beautiful legacy that will live on forever. Friend Gronda has made a perfectly beautiful tribute to this fantastic lady, and I wish to share it with you today. Thank you, Gronda.

Gronda Morin

I became a fan a little later in her career, when she had that iconic role in the “Blues Brothers,” a movie I do watch about once a year.

She’s a beloved soul singer, talent extraordinaire who’s voice is instantly recognizable by anyone who loves music.

I’m grieving for a major loss to a talent who made a difference in this world.

Here is the rest of the story…

On August 16, 2018, BBC News published the following report, “Aretha Franklin, ‘Queen of Soul’, dies aged 76″

“Aretha Franklin, the “queen of soul” known for hits like Respect and Think, has died in Detroit at the age of 76.”

The legendary singer was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and announced last year she was retiring from music.

“Franklin had more than 20 US number ones over a career spanning seven decades.”

“She gave her final performance last November at…

View original post 499 more words

♫ I Have Nothing ♫

I try to make it a practice never to repeat the same artist in a period of a week, or even two, but … tonight this one takes on the personal and keeps looping in my head, over and over, and in an effort to exorcise the demon, I offer you once again, my friends, Whitney Houston!!!

I Have Nothing
Whitney Houston
Share my life
Take me for what I am
‘Cause I’ll never change
All my colors for you
Take my love
I’ll never ask for too much
Just all that you are
And everything that you do
I don’t really need to look
Very much further
I don’t want to have to go
Where you don’t follow
I will hold it back again
This passion inside
Can’t run from myself
There’s nowhere to hide
Don’t make me close one more door
I don’t want to hurt anymore
Stay in my arms if you dare
Or must I imagine you there
Don’t walk away from me
I have nothing, nothing, nothing
If I don’t have you, you, you, you, you
You see through
Right to the heart of me
You break down my walls
With the strength of your love
I never knew
Love like I’ve known it with you
Will a memory survive
One I can hold on to?
I don’t really need to look
Very much further
I don’t want to have to go
Where you don’t follow
I will hold it back again
This passion inside
I can’t run from myself
There’s nowhere to hide
Your love I’ll remember forever
Don’t make me close one more door
I don’t want to hurt anymore
Stay in my arms if you dare
Or must I imagine you there
Don’t walk away from me
I have nothing, nothing, nothing
Don’t make me close one more door
I don’t want to hurt anymore
Stay in my arms if you dare
Or must I imagine you there
Don’t walk away from me
No, don’t walk away from me
Don’t you dare walk away from me
I have nothing, nothing, nothing
If I don’t have you, you
If I don’t have you, oh, oh

Songwriters: David W. Foster / Linda Thompson Jenner
I Have Nothing lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

“Liberal” Is NOT A Dirty Word!

An article yesterday morning in The Washington Post unveils the republican’s latest strategy for winning in the November mid-terms:  using the word ‘liberal’ as if it were a four-letter adjective.  It isn’t.liberal-1According to Merriam-Webster, a liberal is “A person who believes that government should be active in supporting social and political change”.

According to the Oxford Dictionaries, a liberal is one who is:

  • Willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own
  • Open to new ideas
  • Favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms
  • Favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political and social reform
  • Concerned with broadening a person’s general knowledge and experience, rather than with technical or professional training

I see nothing in any of these definitions that makes being a liberal a bad thing, and yet I hear the word spat out by republicans, almost as if by being a supporter of a liberal ideology, we are something vulgar, something akin to the unidentified substance on the bottom of your shoe.

For decades, people on the left or center of the political spectrum have been referred to as “bleeding heart liberals”.  So, what exactly, does that mean?  By one definition, it is “Someone who is particularly compassionate and concerned about people who face disadvantages, whether temporary or institutionalized.” But to those who would use the term as an insult, it implies that caring about anyone other than yourself and your immediate family is somehow “bad,” and caring for those less fortunate than you is somehow “stupid.”

By any realistic definition, I have no problem with being called a liberal.  I would, of course, prefer that the word not be spat at me such that I need to clean my glasses after being called such, but still, I do not consider it an insult.  And I have no problem being called a ‘snowflake’, for as I tell those who call me that, it is a compliment– snowflakes are beautiful and unique. The one that really offends me is being called a “libtard”, for it indicates something that nobody with a brain should use. Perhaps we should simply remember that it is a reflection of those who use the term and their intellectual capacity, or lack thereof.

Back in the day, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s liberal ideas earned him the titles “Moosejaw” and “momma’s boy”, by journalist Westbrook Pegler, who coincidentally also coined the term “bleeding heart liberal”. The term came into its own during the 1950s when Joe McCarthy, called Edward R. Murrow one of the “extreme Left Wing bleeding-heart elements of television and radio.”

On the other side of the aisle are the conservatives who see the world as a challenging place in which there is always someone else who is ready to steal your lunch. Confronted by a potentially hostile environment, the best course is to take precautions and to ensure your own well-being and that of your family.  Most sane people, liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, would agree that the first priority in our life is taking care of our family.  It is why we go to work every day and come home every night.  But taking care of our families and helping others need not be mutually exclusive.

The difference, I think, comes in the definition of what ‘taking care of our family’ means.  For most of us, it means having a job so that we can meet the needs of a place to live, food on the table, bills paid, a car to get around in, health care, and the ability to put aside a bit for a rainy day.  That is enough for me.  My needs are met … there is no need for a bigger house, a fancier car, or steak on the table every night.  If that makes me the object of scorn by conservative republicans, so be it.  I am far more content than they, for I am not always wanting more.

The divisiveness in this nation today is both toxic and dangerous.  We have a so-called president who is inciting violence against the free press by calling them the ‘enemy of the people’, and we have the opportunists like Alex Jones who intentionally rile the masses and drive a wedge between right and left.  And now, in desperation, for the GOP must surely realize that people are getting fed up with their antics, the republican candidates’ modus operandi will be to denigrate democrats by calling them liberals in a tone that indicates nothing good.

Being a liberal is not a bad thing – it simply means we care more about people than we care about wealth.  It means we are willing to settle for a bit less if it means somebody can feed their children tonight.  If that is scorned and mocked by certain politicians and their followers, then in my book, it says something about them, not us.  Liberal is not a bad word … it is a perfectly legitimate ideology and it is past time that people wake up to the reality that we are all, like it or not, on this planet together and will survive a lot longer if we learn to get along.

Michael Drejka Charged With Manslaughter For Killing Markeis McGlockton – Stand Your Ground Law

I have been following with interest the latest use of the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law … the same law that saw George Zimmerman go scot-free after murdering the unarmed Trayvon Martin in February 2012. In this case, another unarmed black man, Markeis McGlockton, was shot and killed in a dispute over a handicapped parking space by a legally disinterested party, Michael Drejka. The story was on my list to write about, but had not yet made it to the top of the list when I read this excellent post by blogger-friend Xena. If the evidence in this case is properly presented and considered by the jury, this one should have a different outcome than the Trayvon Martin case … let us hope. Thank you, Xena, for this highly informative post!

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

Markeis McGlockton

I saw the video for this case when it first happened, and also read that the Sheriff refused to arrest Michael Drejka because of Florida’s stand your ground law.  When I saw the video, it was my impression that the shooter was an elderly man.  Maybe it was his posture or the fact that he fell to the ground so easily.  It turns out that Drejka was 47-years old on July 19, 2018 when he shot and killed 28-year old Markeis McGlockton.

Here is the video.

Comments were quickly posted on Twitter protesting that Drejka was not arrested.  Thinking that an elderly man might be afraid of a younger man pushing him to the ground, I sighed at the thought that he could avoid arrest using stand your ground in his defense.  Then, I watched the video again and saw where Markeis’ girlfriend Britany Jacobs, was getting out…

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