♫ Earth Song ♫

Much of my writing of late has been about the environment — climate change, the IPCC and NCA reports, the utter failure of the U.S. government to address the obvious and imminent threat.  When our friend David mentioned this song a few days ago, I went back to listen to it for the first time in years, watched the video, and knew the time was right to remember this song.

Michael Jackson, known for his socially-conscious music, released this song, dealing with the environment and animal welfare, on November 27, 1995.  The music video you are about to see was shot in four separate geographical locations, including the Americas, Europe and Africa.  According to Michael Jackson …

“I remember writing ‘Earth Song’ when I was in Austria, in a hotel. And I was feeling so much pain and so much suffering of the plight of the Planet Earth. And for me, this is Earth’s Song, because I think nature is trying so hard to compensate for man’s mismanagement of the Earth. And with the ecological unbalance going on, and a lot of the problems in the environment, I think earth feels the pain, and she has wounds, and it’s about some of the joys of the planet as well. But this is my chance to pretty much let people hear the voice of the planet. And this is ‘Earth Song.’ And that’s what inspired it. And it just suddenly dropped into my lap when I was on tour in Austria.”

The song has won numerous awards, perhaps none more important than the Genesis Award: 1995 Doris Day Music Award, given each year for animal sensitivity.

In 2008, a writer for the Nigeria Exchange noted, “Earth Song drew the world’s attention to the degradation and bastardization of the earth as a fall out of various human activities”.  Ten years later and we still haven’t gotten the wake-up call.

The video, directed by fine art photographer Nick Brandt had an environmental theme, showing images of animal cruelty, deforestation, pollution, poaching, poverty and war. Jackson and the world’s people unite in a spiritual chant—”Earth Song”—which summons a force that heals the world. Using special effects, time is reversed so that life returns, war ends and the forests regrow.

Earth Song
Michael Jackson

What about sunrise
What about rain
What about all the things that you said
We were to gain
What about killing fields
Is there a time
What about all the things
That you said were yours and mine

Did you ever stop to notice
All the blood we’ve shed before
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying Earth, these weeping shores

Aah, ooh

What have we done to the world
Look what we’ve done
What about all the peace
That you pledge your only son

What about flowering fields
Is there a time
What about all the dreams
That you said was yours and mine

Did you ever stop to notice
All the children dead from war
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying earth, these weeping shores

Aah, ooh
Aah, ooh

I used to dream
I used to glance beyond the stars
Now I don’t know where we are
Although I know we’ve drifted far

Aah, ooh
Aah, ooh

Aah, ooh
Aah, ooh

Hey, what about yesterday
(What about us)
What about the seas
(What about us)
The heavens are falling down
(What about us)
I can’t even breathe
(What about us)
What about apathy
(What about us)
Drowning in the seas
(What about us)
What about the promised land
Preachin’ what I believe
(What about us)
What about the holy land
(What about it)
What about the greed
(What about us)
Where did we go wrong
Someone tell me why
(What about us)
What about baby boy
(What about him)
What about the days
(What about us)
What about all their joy
Do we give a damn

Aah, ooh
Aah, ooh

Songwriters: Michael Jackson
Earth Song lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

J-j-jolly M-m-monday, F-f-friends!

That sound you hear is my teeth chattering, and all the typos in the forthcoming post are a result of my hands shaking.  It’s c-c-cold!!!  And it isn’t even winter yet!  I am ready for spring … perhaps I’ll plant some flowers here …flowers-2I presume you are all surviving this harrowing season?  I have given up on trying to convince the girls that we ought to skip it this year, and am rather just going with the flow, trying to keep up with baking, shopping, decorating, wrapping and so forth while carving out a bit of time to breathe.  It’s about the best I can hope for at the moment.

Grab a warm drink & a Christmas cookie (I baked them just for you guys!) and let’s go find something to start the week out with a smile, or possibly even a chuckle, shall we?


It has been cold here, with temps in the teens the past several days, but not nearly as cold as it is for our friend Hugh out  in Minnesota!  Last Wednesday in southern Minnesota, a tractor-trailer got stuck on an icy hill.  Luckily for driver Craig Helgeson, Lizzie and Jacob Hershberger enlisted the help of their team of 13-year-old Belgian draft horses, Molly and Prince, to give the stuck truck a hand.  I was actually amazed that only two horses were able to pull that much weight on an icy slope, but they did it.  See for yourself!


Remember a few weeks ago when I told you about some ugly food-themed sweaters out for Christmas … I think one was Taco Bell and I don’t recall the other.  Today I have found yet another, but frankly, I kind of like this one.Dough Boy sweaterAfter all, who doesn’t love the Dough Boy? General Mills said the sweaters are available in two designs that each feature the Pillsbury Doughboy enjoying the Christmas season. The first sweater (pictured above), titled “Let it Dough,” features the Doughboy and Pillsbury crescent rolls, while the other, dubbed “It’s Lit,” features the mascot with a decorated Christmas tree.Dough Boy sweater 2.jpg

You can get on on Pillsbury’s website for a mere … well, scratch that, for both sweaters are temporarily unavailable, but you can sign up to be notified when they become available.


From the annals of really, really bad ideas comes this …
bacon vending machine.jpgYep, folks, it is exactly what it looks like … a bacon vending machine.  Now, I know at least one person who I shall not name here who would likely think this is a great idea and that there should be one on every street corner.

The Ohio Pork Council, a trade group for Ohio pork producers, installed a vending machine at Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences that dispenses cooked, ready-to-eat Smithfield, Hormel and Sugardale bacon.  For just $1, you can get either a slice of fully cooked bacon or a handful of fully cooked bacon bits.  Now, I dug out the ol’ calculator and concluded that at that rate, it brings the cost of a pound of bacon, for which I typically pay $4, to somewhere around $16.  That’s some markup just for the convenience of clogging your arteries with the push of a button!

There is a bright side … proceeds will be donated to Ohio State’s meat science program.


I always enjoy some of the strange, yet humorous signs that are out there … here are a few that are guaranteed to make you either shake your head and roll your eyes, or chuckle.

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I wouldn’t want to live here … self-fulfilling prophecy, etc.

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I’ll take my own shower, thank you very much!

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Oopsie!

And what would Jolly Monday be without one funny animal video?

jollyHave a great week, my friends … keep warm, smile a lot and share your beautiful smile!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!

juice boxOops!  I almost forgot … sorry Benjamin!

An Overflow Of Snarky Snippets …

Today is your lucky day!  I have far more to do than I can possibly accomplish, nearly everything in the news sets me off on a grouse or a grumble, and my family has long since tired of listening to me, telling me to “go write a blog post or something”.  And so you are the beneficiaries of today’s snarkiness!  Thrilled, aren’t you?


I have lost count of how many times I have said we need to overturn Citizen’s United, need to remove money from the equation of elections.  The utterly obscene amounts of money that are spent by corporations and lobbyists to promote candidates come with a hefty price tag … one that We The People always pay.

On November 6th, Americans spoke loud and clear when we sent a number of women and minorities to the House of Representatives.  We said, “We are sick and tired of being left behind.  We are sick and tired of our voices not being heard, of only those people who have millions, or billions of dollars being listened to.  We are sick of our government representing only the top 1% and to hell with the rest of us.”  And so, we elected new blood, people who are not yet so jaded that they cannot see the forest for the trees.  And they will do the jobs they have been elected to do, despite pressure from others to ‘conform’ to the old ways.

On Tuesday, the incoming freshman lawmakers attended an orientation event sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.  The event was billed as a bipartisan event and on its website the school says the sessions are designed to help incoming House members “forge bipartisan relationships and learn practical skills of lawmaking just one month prior to taking the oath of office.” Uh-huh.

Who were the speakers at this event?  Corporate CEOs and Corporate lobbyist groups.  Guess who else was there?  Donald Trump’s former chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn.  Hold on to your hats … you’re going to love what he told the newbie members-elect …

“You guys are way over your head, you don’t know how the game is played.”

Say WHAT???  This, Mr. Cohn, is not a game … this is people’s f-ing lives!!!

Goldman Sachs, the financial behemoth where Cohn was CEO before joining Trump’s administration were at the event.  The heads of General Motors, Johnson and Johnson and Boeing were there. There was not a single labor leader or community activist, nobody who represented the average citizen.  Only people who represent that all-important upper echelon, the infamous 1%.  And we wonder why we have the most corrupt lawmakers ever in the history of the nation?  Wonder no more.


The FBI has changed its mind and decided that one of the currently most radical white supremacist groups in the nation is not, after all, an extremist group.  What, they’re just a bunch of kindergarten kids going around the country promoting political violence?

According to the Proud Boys website …

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Lovely looking bunch of “proud boys”, don’t you think?

“The basic tenet of the group is that we are “Western chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.” Like Archie Bunker, we long for the days when “girls were girls and men were men.” This wasn’t controversial even twenty years ago, but being proud of Western culture today is like being a crippled, black, lesbian communist in 1953. Our group is and will always be MEN ONLY(born with a penis if that wasn’t clear enough for you leftists)!”

The group claims not to be white supremacist, however according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) …

“Their disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. Proud Boys have appeared alongside other hate groups at extremist gatherings like the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Indeed, former Proud Boys member Jason Kessler helped to organize the event, which brought together Klansmen, antisemites, Southern racists, and militias.”

In November, the FBI categorized the group as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism”.  That was actually fairly mild, if you ask me, for I would categorize them as a bunch of bigoted, chauvanistic, murderous white supremacists.  But yesterday, for reasons unbeknownst to anyone of good sense, the FBI recanted, saying they did not mean to designate the whole group, rather to characterize the potential threat from individuals within that group.  Would somebody please explain to me what the Sam Heck the difference is?  Nobody would join the group for any reason other than to follow their violent, bigoted ways, so … why is it only certain unnamed individuals and not the entire group that pose a threat?  Oh wait … perhaps one of Donnie Trump’s family is a member and that is why the designation had to be changed!  I call B.S.


On November 6th, We The People spoke.  We spoke loud and clear.  We made clear that we are not all a bunch of bigoted louts as some would like us to be, and we made clear that we value substance over form.  We elected to the U.S. House of Representatives two very qualified women who are of the Muslim faith.  Why?  Because they are the best qualified to make laws that are in the best interest of the people of this nation … that is, ALL the people, not just the wealthy few.

Ilhan Omar (left) and Rashida Tlaib

The two, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are both Democrats and both well-qualified for the jobs to which they were elected.

However, there is one man, Earl Walker Jackson a protestant minister and wanna-be politician, who doesn’t think these two women should be in Congress. Why?  Because he claims …

E.W. Jackson

E.W. Jackson

“Folks, I’m still trying to get over this whole issue of Nancy Pelosi allowing these women — these Muslim women — and apparently other women in Congress are now going to start, if this movement takes root, are going to start wearing the hijab on the floor of Congress. So what are we now gonna do? We’re going to turn Congress into an institution of Sharia law? I mean, folks, this stuff is just crazy … Lord help us. Floor of Congress is now going to look like a, it’s going to look like an Islamic republic.”

Mr. Jackson, by the way, is African-American and a disgrace to his race, for he has often made statements that were derogatory to gays, blacks, and Democrats and other minority groups.  However, he is outdone this time, for representative-elect Omar had the best imaginable response to Jackson’s bigoted statement …

“Well sir, the floor of Congress is going to look like America … and you’re gonna have to just deal.”

clappingYes indeed, folks, we’ve got some new blood coming into Congress!


And now I hope I have gotten enough of the snarky out of my system so that I can proceed with the weekend, for I have much to accomplish this weekend and little enough time and energy with which to do it.  Have a great weekend!

♫ Against All Odds ♫

Some people are born with talent oozing out of their pores, while others of us do well to remember which sock goes on which foot each morning.

Philip David Charles Collins, aka Phil Collins, is an English drummer, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and actor. He was the drummer and singer of the band Genesis and is also a solo artist. Between 1982 and 1989, Collins scored three UK and seven US number-one singles in his solo career. When his work with Genesis, his work with other artists, as well as his solo career is totaled, Collins had more US Top 40 singles than any other artist during the 1980s.

My claim to fame is that I can fold a really neat stack of towels.

Collins originally wrote this song for his album Face Value and titled the song How Can You Just Sit There?  But he decided he didn’t like the song well enough to include it in the album and it was set aside.  Until … movie director Taylor Hackford, who was directing Against All Odds at the time, appeared at the end of one of Collins’ concerts to ask him to write the title song for the film.

As was the case with several of his early solo songs, it was inspired and written shortly after the breakup between him and his first wife, which he says transformed him from being a musician into also being a lyricist.

“That song was written during my first divorce. My first wife and the kids had gone and I was left there. The song was written out of experience as opposed to a ‘what if’ song. If that personal stuff had not happened to me at the time, I probably would never have made an album, and if I was to have made an album eventually, it probably would have been a jazz/rock thing. Without that stuff I wouldn’t have felt the stuff I felt sitting at a piano night after night, day after day writing stuff.”

Against All Odds
Phil Collins

How can I just let you walk away
Just let you leave without a trace?
When I stand here taking every breath with you, ooh ooh
You’re the only one who really knew me at all

How can you just walk away from me
When all I can do is watch you leave?
‘Cause we’ve shared the laughter and the pain
And even shared the tears
You’re the only one who really knew me at all

So take a look at me now
Well there’s just an empty space
And there’s nothing left here to remind me
Just the memory of your face
Ooh, take a look at me now
Well there’s just an empty space
And you coming back to me is against the odds
And that’s what I’ve got to face

I wish I could just make you turn around
Turn around and see me cry
There’s so much I need to say to you
So many reasons why
You’re the only one who really knew me at all

So take a look at me now
Well there’s just an empty space
And there’s nothing left here to remind me
Just the memory of your face

Now Take a look at me now
‘Cause that’s just an empty space
But to wait for you is all I can do
And that’s what I’ve got to face

Take a good look at me now
‘Cause I’ll still be standing here
And you coming back to me is against all odds
It’s the chance I’ve got to take
Take a look at me now

Songwriters: Phil Collins
Against All Odds lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC

Saturday Surprise — Office Christmas Party

If there was one thing I dreaded even more than the Annual Review in my other life as an accountant, it was the office Christmas party.  I generally avoided them at all costs … as it was, I spent most of my waking time each week with these people, about half of whom I didn’t even like, so why on earth would I want to spend what little ‘free’ time I had with them, too?  And, as you probably all know by now, I have a stubborn streak about the length of a football field, so telling me that I must do something is the best way to ensure that I won’t do it.toon-Maxine-office-partyAs the season, I am told, is upon us, I thought it might be fun to indulge in a little Christmas Office Party humour.  And besides, we all need something to laugh about, right?party-1

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I went looking for funny stories about Christmas office parties, sure there must be many, but every one I found pertained to either people having sex with co-workers, or getting drunk and being disgusting, none of which do I find humorous.  And so instead, to wrap up Saturday Surprise, I give you this …

Clueless

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s column from yesterday is astute, to-the-point, and well worth the few minutes it takes to read it.  He hits the nail on the head regarding Trump’s trade ‘negotiations’ with China.

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The Art of the Imaginary Deal

On trade, Trump is a rebel without a clue

Are we going to have a full-blown trade war with China, and maybe the rest of the world? Nobody knows — because it all depends on the whims of one man. And Tariff Man is ignorant, volatile and delusional.

Why do I say that it’s all about one man? After all, after the 2016 U.S. election and the Brexit vote in Britain, there was a lot of talk about a broad popular backlash against globalization. Over the past two years, however, it has become clear that this backlash was both smaller and shallower than advertised.

Where, after all, is the major constituency supporting Donald Trump’s tariffs and threats to exit international agreements? Big business hates the prospect of a trade war, and stocks plunge whenever that prospect becomes more likely. Labor hasn’t rallied behind Trumpist protectionism either.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans believing that foreign trade is good for the economy is near a record high. Even those who criticize trade seem to be motivated by loyalty to Trump, not by deep policy convictions: During the 2016 campaign self-identified Republicans swung wildly from the view that trade agreements are good to the view that they’re bad, then swung back again once Trump seemed to be negotiating agreements of his own. (We have always been in a trade war with Eastasia.)

But if there’s no strong constituency for protectionism, why are we teetering on the brink of a trade war? Blame U.S. trade law.

Once upon a time, Congress used to write detailed tariff bills that were stuffed full of giveaways to special interests, with destructive effects on both the economy and American diplomacy. So in the 1930s F.D.R. established a new system in which the executive branch negotiates trade deals with other countries, and Congress simply votes these deals up or down. The U.S. system then became the template for global negotiations that culminated in the creation of the World Trade Organization.

The creators of the U.S. trade policy system realized, however, that it couldn’t be too rigid or it would shatter in times of stress; there had to be ways to relieve pressure when necessary. So trade law gives the executive the right to impose tariffs without new legislation under certain circumstances, mainly to protect national security, to retaliate against unfair foreign practices, or to give industries facing sudden surges in foreign competition time to adjust.

In other words, U.S. trade law gives the president a lot of discretionary power over trade, as part of a system that curbs the destructive influence of corrupt, irresponsible members of Congress. And that setup worked very well for more than 80 years.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t intended to handle the problem of a corrupt, irresponsible president. Trump is pretty much all alone in lusting for a trade war, but he has virtually dictatorial authority over trade.

What’s he doing with that power? He’s trying to negotiate deals. Unfortunately, he really, really doesn’t know what he’s doing. On trade, he’s a rebel without a clue.

Even as he declared himself Tariff Man, Trump revealed that he doesn’t understand how tariffs work. No, they aren’t taxes on foreigners, they’re taxes on our own consumers.

When trying to make deals, he seems to care only about whether he can claim a “win,” not about substance. He has been touting the “U.S. Mexico Canada Trade Agreement” as a repudiation of NAFTA, when it’s actually just a fairly minor modification. (Nancy Pelosi calls it “the trade agreement formerly known as Prince.”)

Most important, his inability to do international diplomacy, which we’ve seen on many fronts, carries over to trade talks. Remember, he claimed to have “solved” the North Korean nuclear crisis, but Kim Jong-un is still expanding his ballistic missile capacity. Well, last weekend he claimed to have reached a major trade understanding with China; but as J.P. Morgan soon reported in a note to its clients, his claims “seem if not completely fabricated then grossly exaggerated.”

Markets plunged earlier this week as investors realized that they’d been had. As I said, business really doesn’t want a trade war.

Let’s be clear: China is not a good actor in the world economy. It engages in real misbehavior, especially with regard to intellectual property: The Chinese essentially rip off technology. So there is a case for toughening our stance on trade.

But that toughening should be undertaken in concert with other nations that also suffer from Chinese misbehavior, and it should have clear objectives. The last person you want to play hardball here is someone who doesn’t grasp the basics of trade policy, who directs his aggressiveness at everyone — tariffs on Canadian aluminum to protect our national security? Really? — and who can’t even give an honest account of what went down in a meeting.

Unfortunately, that’s the person who’s now in charge, and it’s hard to see how he can be restrained. So the future of world trade, with all it implies for the world economy, now hinges largely on Donald Trump’s mental processes. That is not a comforting thought.Text dividers

Killing Us For Profit

It’s a familiar scene in households where a toddler or two reside.  Mommy is going through the house picking up the toys, and other detritus left behind by the toddler, and the toddler is going right behind her, tossing all the toys right back into the middle of the floor.  Only in this case, “Mommy” is all the nations on the globe except the U.S., meeting in Poland for the COP24 where they debate the best ways to keep greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere.  And the “toddler” is Donald Trump, alleging to represent the United States, seeking to put more of those same gasses into the atmosphere.  Only difference is that mommy can pick up the toddler and stick him in a playpen or high chair, distract him momentarily, and finish the clean-up.  Unfortunately, the other nations have no power to curb Donald Trump’s destructive urges.

The latest is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to revise its “New Source Performance Standards” for coal power plants, allowing coal-fired generators to emit more CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity generated.  In short, it is a reversal of one of the Obama administrations regulations that requires new coal plants to invest in technology such as carbon capture and storage.

Andrew WheelerEPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, made quite clear what the priorities are, and a clean environment, a sustainable Planet Earth, are definitely not in the equation:

“By replacing onerous regulations with high, yet achievable, standards, we can continue America’s historic energy production, keep energy prices affordable, and encourage new investments in cutting-edge technology that can then be exported around the world.”

I’m not sure who Mr. Wheeler thinks will be buying all that coal, though, for most all nations are investing in renewable energy sources and are hoping to sever the bonds of fossil fuels as soon as possible.  And who, Mr. Wheeler, will mine that coal or buy it when there are no humans left on this earth?

Think of it this way … a classroom of children are each making cards for their mother for Mother’s Day.  Every child is engrossed in cutting, pasting and colouring that special card for mum.  Except one … little Donnie.  Not only is little Donnie sitting with his fat little arms crossed and a scowl on his face, making it clear that he has no intention of making a card for his own mother, but he periodically gets up, walks over to another student and rips their card, or pours ink on it, throws it on the ground and stomps on it.  This is what Donald Trump is doing … he is refusing to allow the U.S. to do our part to try to combat the disastrous effects of climate change, but he is determined to ruin the efforts of other, more conscionable nations.

“This is just one more foolhardy move by a misguided administration that will be judged harshly by future generations.” – David Doniger, senior strategic director of the Climate & Clean Energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Today’s proposal is nothing more than another thoughtless attempt by the Trump Administration to prop up their backwards and false narrative about reviving coal at the expense of science, public safety, and reality.” – Mary Anne Hitt, senior director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.

This is not the first action of Trump and his minions to attempt to revive a dying coal industry.  Prior to this, he rolled back regulations regarding carbon emissions and mercury emissions, as well as coal ash.  What’s next?  A requirement that every household install a coal-burning furnace?

The reality is that his actions will not save the coal industry.  It is a dinosaur headed for extinction, and in this case, the sooner the better.  U.S. coal consumption has declined over the last decade and this year is expected to be at its lowest level in 39 years. Coal has struggled in the U.S. to compete with cheaper electricity produced from natural gas and renewable energy.  And along those lines, there is some good news …

Xcel Energy, which provides electricity to 3.6 million customers in eight states, has become the first major U.S. utility committed to delivering 100 percent carbon-free power by 2050.

Equally remarkable, the plan Xcel announced on Tuesday promises an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. The company stated that “its 2030 goal can be achieved affordably with renewable energy and other technologies currently available.”

According to CEO Ben Fowke …

“This risk of climate change isn’t going away and we want to be the company that does something about it and hopefully inspire others to do something about it too.”

Do you hear that, Mr. Donald Trump???

Xcel has said it can already buy new renewable power plants for less money than it costs to simply operate existing coal plants.  In August, Colorado state regulators approved an Xcel plan to shutter two Colorado coal plants and replace them with renewables plus a battery storage, while saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.XcelColorado’s governor-elect, Jared Polis, said …

“One of the great things about this transition is it will create tens of thousands of good, green jobs that will never be outsourced. It’s not only about carbon; it’s also about cleaner air, which means people will be healthier. We’re showing the country the way.”

Do you hear that, Mr. Donald Trump???

There are cities, states and corporations within the U.S. that are determined, despite the whims of Trump and his wealthy cronies, to work toward a sustainable environment, but they cannot do it alone.  We need a federal government that puts life before profit.  We need a federal government that helps and supports efforts such as those being made by Xcel Energy and others.

Lest you fail to understand the urgency, a report released Wednesday by a consortium of researchers known as the Global Carbon Project finds that global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are likely to have increased by about 2.7% in 2018, after a 1.6% increase in 2017.  That’s a 4.3% increase in just two years!

Do you hear that, Mr. Donald Trump???  You are killing us all in your quest for more wealth!

♫ Up Where We Belong ♫

Earlier this week I wrote a post, the title of which was Who Knows What Tomorrow Brings, a line from this song.  Well, as these things happen, the song got stuck in my head … I seem to have given myself an earworm, and the only way I know of to exorcise it is to share it with my friends!  I’ve always loved this song, loved the voices of Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker, but I did not realize it was the theme song to the movie An Officer And A Gentleman.  But it almost wasn’t …

Once the song was recorded, the film’s director, Taylor Hackford said that “the final version was absolute magic—or at least Joel (Joel Sill, who was head of music at Paramount at the time) and I thought so.”  But, when they presented the song to the executives at Paramount, Michael Eisner and Don Simpson, they hated the record and said it would never be a hit.  But, as time was running out and the budget had long since run out, the two ultimately agreed and the song was released as a single on 22 July 1982, to promote the movie, which was released six days later.

Will Jennings wrote the lyrics. He’s responsible for the words to many famous songs, including My Heart Will Go On, Looks Like We Made It, and many of Steve Winwood’s hits.  Of the lyrics he says …

“I am a working class person and these people in the film trying to make it, they are my people. The mountain imagery is about striving for the top – people often don’t hear the lyric right – it is ‘Where eagles cry, on a mountain high’ instead of ‘Where eagles fly, on a mountain high’ – if you have ever heard an eagle cry, the power and beauty of it and all the wild freedom of it, you will get the distinction. As far as “All I know is the way I feel…’ well, if you have nothing else to tell you what to do in your life, you have to go with the way you feel… if you are lost, you have only your instinct and passion to guide you.”

Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Saint-Marie wrote the score for the movie and the music for this song; they got married the following year.

Joe Cocker’s life and career could cover an entire post … or a few.  Sadly, he died in 2014 of lung cancer.

Up Where We Belong
Joe Cocker/Jennifer Warnes

Who knows what tomorrow brings
In a world few hearts survive
All I know is the way I feel
When it’s real, I keep it alive

The road is long
There are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world below
Up where the clear winds blow

Some hang on to used to be
Live their lives looking behind
All we have is here and now
All our lives, out there to find

The road is long
There are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know
Where the clear winds blow

Time goes by
No time to cry
Life’s you and I
Alive today

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know
Where the clear winds blow

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong

Songwriters: Jack Nitzsche / Buffy Saint-Marie / Will Jennings
Up Where We Belong lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

07 December 1941

FDRYesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And, while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense, that always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt