Kicking Off The Weekend With … ‘Toons!

Wolf-FridayHey friends!  It’s Friday and time for the weekend.  I don’t know about all of you, but I have found this to be an exhausting week.  It seems we barely recover from one Trumpian abomination before we are hit with the next one.  When does it end, we ask?  It ends when we throw the buffoon out of the White House, but meanwhile we have to find a way to alleviate the pain, and today I propose we do it with a bit of humour.  Needless to say, the political cartoonists have been working overtime this week …


Mass shootings have taken much of the spotlight in recent weeks, after the ones in El Paso and Dayton two weeks ago.  The NRA and republicans (kind of hard to tell them apart these days) took up their usual mantle, claiming that guns aren’t the problem … almost anything else is, such as mental health and their new “devil”, video games …

gunsguns-3guns-4COLORguns-6guns-7


When Ken Cuccinelli announced a re-write of the Emma Lazarus poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty, and claimed that the welcome of the tired, poor huddled masses meant only Europeans with plenty of money, the cartoonists fingers were itching.  My fingers were itching, too, but mine were itching to wrap themselves around Mr. Cuccinelli’s neck, for I have no talent with a pencil!

libertyliberty-2Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump and the Statue of Libertyliberty-4


Trump continues his infernal trade war, though he did walk it back a step last week when retailers panicked at the thought of Chinese tariffs on certain goods right before they start buying up junk for the holidays. Meanwhile, though, the tariffs are hurting the U.S. as much as any, especially the farmers.

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump's trade wartrade-war-2trade-war-3


Mitch McConnell is always good for a joke or two.  Funny thing, that he relaxed certain sanctions against Russia, and then Russia invested money into a factory in ol’ Mitchie’s home state of Kentucky.  Add to that his refusal to even allow the Senate to consider legislation to put in place election security measures, and you can see how he came by the nickname of “Moscow Mitch”.  I hear he isn’t too fond of the moniker … but, if the shoe fits …

Moscow-MitchMoscow-Mitch-2


This week, the Idiot-in-Chief announced new rules that would weaken the Endangered Species Act (as well as the Clean Water Act), in the interest of the logging and fossil fuel industries.  

Endangered Species Actanimals-2


And lastly, just because I find this one fitting …

Trump-deflecting


Have a great weekend, my friends!

Israeli’s PM Netanyahu Is Siding With Trump And His GOP Cronies Racist Rhetoric/ Policies

Today, the world finds out that Donnie Trump and Benji Netanyahu are brothers in bigotry, in hatred of “other”. The first thing I saw when I woke this morning was that Trump was urging Netanyahu to bar two Congresswomen from traveling to Israel. 15 minutes later, my phone dinged with the “breaking news” that Netanyah had acceded to Trump’s wishes. This, my friends, is the epitome of racial hatred, of white supremacy, or religious exclusion. Our government is now complicit in religious terrorism. Neither Trump nor Netanyahu deserve the positions they hold, and I deem them both evil, greedy, arrogant beings. I will applaud when they are ousted from their positions, hopefully in leg irons and handcuffs. Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

REPS. OMAR/ TLAIB

I’m shocked at Israel’s officials decision to bar two Muslim US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel based on an August 15, 2019 demand from the republican President Donald Trump. Until August 15, 2019,  the Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer had said US Reps. Tlaib and Omar would be allowed to visit Israel “out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America.”

On a personal level, I had literally started planning a trip to Israel, a trip that’s number one on my bucket list. I’m crushed because I can’t visit a country that’s trumpeting/ amplifying the president’s Trumpian Republican Party’s racist rhetoric/ propaganda that GOP officials have chosen to implement as their 2020 campaign strategy. What kind of country does Israel want to become?

If Israelis want an explanation as to why hate crimes in USA have risen dramatically…

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This Is A Speech???

The Idiot-in-Chief spoke to a group of people outside of Pittsburgh yesterday.  We paid the costs for him to go there and give a speech, the title of which was “America’s Energy Dominance and Manufacturing Revival.”  The title is a joke anyway, for the U.S. in no way dominates energy, and in fact we are failing to do what we need to in promoting renewable energy over fossil fuel energy.  But, beyond that, the entire speech was a joke.  Let’s look at a few of the things he said … my own snarky remarkys are in blue.

On the supposed benefits of natural gas over renewable energy: “When the wind stops blowing, it doesn’t make any difference does it? Unlike those big windmills that destroy everybody’s property values, kill all the birds. One day the environmentalists are going to tell us what’s going on with that. And then all of a sudden it stops. The wind and the televisions go off. And your wives and husbands say: ‘Darling, I want to watch Donald Trump on television tonight. But the wind stopped blowing and I can’t watch. There’s no electricity in the house, darling.’”  Is it clear to everybody now that Trump has no conception of how wind and solar energy work, and that he is in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry?

On his love of trucks: “I love cranes, I love trucks of all types. Even when I was a little boy at 4 years old, my mother would say, ‘You love trucks.’ I do, I always loved trucks, I still do. Nothing changes — sometimes you know you might become president, but nothing changes — I still love trucks. Especially when I look at the largest crane in the world, that’s very cool. You think I’ll get to operate it? We’ll put the media on it and I’ll give them a little ride, right?”  This is relevant to anything … how?

On pundits suggesting he might not leave office willingly: “Can you imagine if I got a fair press? I mean, we’re leading without it; can you imagine if these people treated me fairly? The election would be over. Have they ever called off an election before? Just said, ‘Look just let’s go, go on four more years.’ You want to really drive them crazy? Go to #ThirdTerm, #FourthTerm — you’ll drive them totally crazy.”  Be afraid, my friends, for this is not the first time he’s alluded to overstaying his welcome.

On what Trump perceives as a trade imbalance with Japan: “They send us thousands and thousands — millions of cars, we send them wheat. Wheat. That’s not a good deal. And they don’t even want our wheat. They do it because they want us to at least feel that we’re OK, you know, they do it to make us feel good.”  This remark is just so utterly stupid that I’m left stuttering.  No nation is buying anything just to “make us feel good”!  We’re talking international trade, not a game of checkers!

On the price tag of the presidency: “This thing is costing me a fortune, being president. Somebody said, ‘Oh, he might have rented a room to a man from Saudi Arabia for $500.’ What about the $5 billion that I’ll lose — you know, it’s probably going to cost me, including, upside, downside, lawyers, because every day they sue me for something. These are the most litigious people. It’s probably costing me from $3 to $5 billion for the pleasure of being — and I couldn’t care less, I don’t care. You know if you’re wealthy, it doesn’t matter. I just want to do a great job.”  Trump is profiting “bigly” from being president!  First, he and his children travel all over the world at our expense.  Foreign dignitaries stay in Trump hotels when they visit the U.S.  And here’s one for you … just yesterday, an article in Politico said that the U.S. Secret Service had spent some $20,000 at a Trump hotel in Canada when they had to accompany Trump’s eldest son on one of his hunting trips.  Trust me, Trump is racking in the dough from this gig. He went on to ramble about such things as the Academy Awards, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, once again referring to Warren as “Pocahontas”.  It was, for all intents and purposes, naught more than a campaign rally, though it was intended to be a presidential speech at a new Shell facility that is nearing completion in Pittsburgh.  And here’s the kicker … he took credit for Shell building the facility, but Shell actually announced the facility back in 2012, when Barack Obama was president.  It had not a thing to do with Donald Trump.

The stock market is taking a hit today.  I wonder who he will manage to blame for that … Hillary Clinton?Shaub

America and Guns

This afternoon’s post comes from Simeon Levine, a young man of 17 years living in Australia. Though he lives 9,500 miles away, in another hemisphere, and has only spent 17 years on this planet, Mr. Levine sees as clearly as any, more than most in this country, the culture of guns in the U.S. Thank you, Simeon Levine, for this post and for your generous permission to re-blog!

Levine Lowdown

On the 3rd and 4th
of August 2019, 32 people were killed and 51 injured in two separate mass
shootings in America. Hundreds of family members and friends left grieving, and
bystanders forever replaying the traumatic circumstance again and again inside
their heads. Communities destroyed by the loss of life, thousands fearful of
the future and millions left shocked and overwhelmed by the situation.

I am Australian. I
feel helpless. I can’t even begin to gain a comprehensive understanding of the
American system and the obsession with guns. In April 1996, the Port Arthur
massacre left 35 people killed and 23 injured, one of Australia’s largest mass
shootings, and one of the last mass shootings. After the massacre, Prime Minister,
John Howard, restricted the legal ownership and use of self-loading rifles,
shotguns and tightened recreational shooters guidelines. A “buy-back” scheme
was introduced, costing millions of dollars, but protecting the lives…

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Sources of *Sigh*s

As most of you who have followed this blog for any length of time know, I am a lover of animals.  I have often said I prefer goats, bears, lions, snakes and spiders to most humans, especially these days.  So, you might imagine the low-throated growl that has been emitting from me ever since reading the following headline this morning …

U.S. Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act

First, he destroys the camaraderie of the nation, turns brother against brother, mother against child, and friend against friend.  Then, he destroys the environment, not only of the nation, but of the entire planet, by reversing nearly every environmental protection regulation on the books and pulling the U.S. – against the will of the majority – out of the Paris Climate Accords.  And now … now he is destroying the beautiful wildlife, many species of which were here on earth long before humans were, and all of which are more worthy of life than humans!Bald Eagle.jpgThe story:

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is a key legislation for both domestic and international conservation. The act aims to provide a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.  Under the current law, assessments about which species should be labeled as ‘endangered’ must be made solely based on science, without consideration for economic impacts.  But, if the new ruling is allowed to go into effect, regulators would be forced to conduct economic assessments — for instance, estimating lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat — when deciding whether a species warrants protection.

David Bernhardt

David Bernhardt (Why are all of Trump’s minions like him:  fat, old, white, male???)

The ruling appears to be in the interest of the fossil fuel and logging industries.  David Bernhardt, Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, is a former oil and gas lobbyist who has long been a critic of the Endangered Species Act, saying that it places an “unnecessary regulatory burden” on companies, such as coal, oil and gas companies.

Environmental groups, Democratic state attorneys general and Democrats in Congress denounced the changes and vowed to challenge them in Congress and in the courts.  But, as we have seen, both Congress and the courts have had very limited success in stopping the runaway train that is Donald Trump.Grizzly Bear.jpgMake no mistake … allowing thousands of species to become extinct will have a significant impact on this planet, as will allowing the fossil fuel industry to continue operating unregulated.  The human species is on the brink of bringing about its own extinction, and frankly, I’m not so sure that’s an altogether bad thing!  We are not trying to live in harmony with nature but are rather trying to dominate and destroy nature.

I have a terrific idea!  Since Trump is removing the protections for both the environment and wildlife, let’s also remove the protections for Trump … protections, I might add, that we the taxpayers pay with our hard-earned money!  No more Secret Service protection for Donnie!


And in other news … if you didn’t think that Donald Trump had brainwashed republicans before, this will surely convince you.  According to a recent study by Pew Research, while most Americans continue to say it would be too risky to give U.S. presidents more power, the share expressing this opinion has declined since last year. Most of the change has been among Republicans – especially conservative Republicans. The study found that …

Currently, 66% of the public says “it would be too risky to give U.S. presidents more power to deal directly with many of the country’s problems.” About three-in-ten adults (29%) offer the contrasting opinion that “problems could be dealt with more effectively if U.S. presidents didn’t have to worry so much about Congress or the courts.” In March 2018, 76% of the public said it would be too risky to give presidents more power.

Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (51%) now say it would be too risky to give presidents more power, down from 70% last year.

The share of Republicans who say presidents could operate more effectively if they did not have to worry so much about Congress and the courts has increased 16 percentage points since then, from 27% to 43%.

There was a reason the framers of the Constitution put in place three independent branches of the federal government, a system of “checks and balances”, to provide oversight.  Donald Trump has already largely trampled the Constitution in this area, for any time he cannot get his way through Congress or the courts, he simply writes an ‘executive order’, or circumvents the system altogether.  And now, we find that increasingly, republicans are fine with that.  At this point, I would say we are already experiencing an autocratic government, and teetering on the brink of a dictatorship.  This is no longer just a nightmare scenario, my friends, but a clear and present danger. So yes, be afraid … be very afraid.

Saturday Surprise — Quoth The Raven, Nevermore!

Good morning and welcome to the …weekendI missed Saturday Surprise … was it last week, or the week before?  Anyway, I am told by Gem that young Benjamin was disappointed, and I cannot let down my youngest reader, so I have something special in mind for today that I think all of you, from youngest to oldest will enjoy!  Our friend David told me something last week that I had to confirm via Google.  I think David was a bit miffed with me when I told him I thought he was pulling my leg (not that he would ever do such a thing!), but it turns out he was right.  He told me that ravens guard the Tower of London!  Well, not only was he right, but the stories surrounding the ravens are fun and fascinating!

The legend of the Tower ravens

It is said that the Kingdom and the Tower of London will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress. There are seven ravens at the Tower today — the required six, plus one spare!

Charles II (reigned 1660–85) is thought to have been the first to insist that the ravens of the Tower be protected after he was warned that the crown and the Tower itself would fall if they left.

The King’s order was given against the wishes of his astronomer, John Flamsteed, who complained the ravens impeded the business of his observatory in the White Tower.

There are numerous variations of the legend, but we’ll stick with this one, for I’m writing a post, not a book, and there are other fun things.  This is the earliest depiction of the ravens in a drawing from 1883 titled Ravens in the Tower of London.Ravens-Tower-London.pngNow, you might wonder what keeps the ravens in the tower grounds.  Well, from the book by Boria Sax, City of Ravens: The Extraordinary History of London, the Tower and its Famous Ravens

“The ravens are now treated almost like royalty. Like the Royals, the ravens live in a palace and are waited on by servants. They are kept at public expense, but in return they must show themselves to the public in settings of great splendour. So long as they abide by certain basic rules …”

And it was just those “certain basic rules” that got one Raven, George, exiled for his bad behaviour.

George had a very good assignment, for a raven in the 1970s. Living at the Tower of London, he was fed better than any raven would have been in the wild—a steady diet of raw meat and blood-soaked biscuits. He lived alongside a small corps of other ravens, where visitors streamed by each day. The one restriction on his life was movement: With one wing clipped, he was confined to the Tower grounds.

raven-2That captivity chafed, though, and George would not abide it. George figured out how to climb a fire escape, perch high up on a wall, and glide down safely. Finally, in 1981, he went AWOL. Apprehended at a pub, he was forced to return to duty at the Tower. But still, he could not uphold the standards demanded of his station. Five years after, the Tower announced:

“On Saturday 13th September 1986, Raven George, enlisted 1975, was posted to the Welsh Mountain Zoo. Conduct unsatisfactory, service therefore no longer required.”

His final offense? He had destroyed five TV antennas in just one week.  In 1996, two more ravens fell out of favour and were dismissed from the Tower for “conduct unbecoming Tower residents.”  In 1981, Grog the raven decided to leave the surroundings of the Tower for those of a pub, after 21 years of faithful service to the Crown.  In contrast, a raven named Mabel was kidnapped from the Tower soon after World War II, a mystery that has never been solved.

raven-3And then there’s the tale of two ravens named James Crow and Edgar Sopper.  James Crow, who was a much-loved and long-lived raven, had died. After noticing the commotion surrounding the other raven’s death, Edgar Sopper decided he could “play dead” in order to bring more attention to himself. His trick was so convincing that the ravenmaster fully believed that Edgar Sopper had died. When the ravenmaster picked up the “corpse”, Edgar bit the man’s finger and “flapped off croaking huge raven laughs”.

In April, 4 raven chicks were born to Huginn and Muninn … take a look at proud ravenmaster Chris Skaife tell the tale …

It is the first time in 30 years that new raven chicks have been hatched in the Tower of London, so needless to say, there was much joy!  Only one of the chicks will be staying at the Tower of London once they’ve all matured. Depending on which one gets to stay, it will be named George or Georgina, in honor of its birthday on April 23, also known as St. George’s Day. The other three will be sent to a breeding specialist in Somerset.raven-trash-dutyIn addition to Muninn and Huggin, and eventually little George or Georgina, the other ravens at the Tower of London include females Erin, Poppy, and Merlina, and males Jubilee, Harris, Gripp, and Rocky.  Jubilee was presented to the Queen to mark the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and later released in the Tower, bringing the total number to eight.

Jubilee and Munin Ravens

Jubilee and Muninn

For everything you always wanted to know about the tower ravens, watch ravenmaster Chris Skaife answer all those questions you didn’t even know you had!

And on that note, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Keep safe and do something fun!raven-on-watch

Deconstructing government in Trump’s America

The important things, as I have said before, are slipping under the radar. Jeff, from On the Fence Voters, has shone a spotlight on one such thing. This administration is working so hard to destroy not only the nation, but the entire globe. Please take a minute to read Jeff’s assessment. Thanks, Jeff, for keeping us informed!

On The Fence Voters

Bannon’s prophetic prediction playing out before our eyes at USDA

In the early days of the Trump administration, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon declared that the President’s cabinet picks are well suited to implement a complete “deconstruction of the administrative state.” The quote by Bannon is relatively well known. Unfortunately, large swaths of the American people do not understand that that deconstruction is not only alive and well, but proceeding with lightning speed—with no end in sight.

To put it in more simpler terms, the administration is on track to weaken regulatory agencies and other bureaucratic entities, faster and more extreme than any previous Republican administration had ever tried to do. And it’s not like George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan didn’t try mightily to achieve this end. After all, less and smaller government is one of the main objectives of most Republicans as it is. But the…

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Good People Doing Good Things — Young People

The news from the past week has been the stuff that nightmares are made of, and I think we are all ready for some good news for a change, a heartwarming story or two, yes?  As always, I have been out digging for good people, and as always, I found some!  I always like it when I find young people who at an early age have discovered the joy of helping others, and so tonight I’ve decided to highlight a few such youths …


Max Bobholz, from Green Bay, Wisconsin, was only 12 years old when he came up with the idea to create a charity to provide baseball equipment to children in Africa.Max-Bobholz.jpgWhile watching the 2012 Little League World Series on his television, a profile of the Ugandan team describing how the players sometimes lacked shoes and often shared bats and baseballs gave Max an idea. He thought about all of the extra bats, balls and equipment that he and his friends had in their garages and homes.

Max’ parents weren’t too keen on the idea at first, but they realized he was serious when that year he told them that all he wanted for Christmas was their help in turning his idea into reality.  With their help, he founded Angels at Bat and, thus far, he has donated over 10,000 pieces of equipment to kids in need in Kenya and Nigeria! Along with this, Max has traveled to Africa several times to donate equipment and the trips double as opportunities for Max and others to teach baseball to children who’ve never played it.

His charity has grown to include six branches in other towns around the USA, and Angels at Bat was recognized as the primary source of baseball equipment for the entire country of Kenya by the President of Kenya’s Little League.  Last year, Max started college at the University of Wisconsin, but he says he will still be continuing his work with Angels at Bat, that he intends it to last “beyond college and beyond my lifetime.”

Recently, Max, now age 18, was honored by CNN as one of 5 Young Wonders, for his amazing spirit of giving and service.


Sonika Menon’s family has always made a really big deal over birthdays.  Awareness that other kids weren’t so lucky came to Sonika when she was 14, growing up in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.  Sonika formed the Birthday Giving Program, a nonprofit that brings birthday parties to kids and families in need, but it goes even beyond that.  I’m going to let Sonika’s personal message from the Birthday Giving Program’s website tell you a bit about it all …

Sonika-MenonMy name is Sonika Menon and I am the founder of The Birthday Giving Program, a 501c3 organization. My cousin, Rinna Talwar, is the founder of the Senior Citizen Division. We decided to start this program to help those who aren’t able to afford a family member’s birthday. While watching our own parents go all out on our birthdays, we realized that there are many who are less fortunate than us. Through this program, we found out that we could make a difference one person at a time.    

We serve children, teenagers, mentally/physically challenged adults, and senior citizens. Teenagers and adults are neglected by many other charities because they are harder to provide for, but The Birthday Giving Program has decided to take on this challenge. Our program currently supports the northwest suburbs in Chicago, Illinois.    

These birthday bags are able to teach children the importance of giving to others. Adults receive the privilege of knowing that people love and care for them no matter what challenges they face. Eventually, both children and adults realize their potential to have an impact on the lives of others.    

For a single parent, the cost of a birthday can prove to be burdensome. Birthdays can prove to play a significant role in a child and adult’s life. They give children and adults the confidence, respect, and love they need to commemorate their existence in the world.   

I am going into 10th grade this year. In high school, I am planning to create a club to help recruit more volunteers. Rinna Talwar is going into 9th grade and is hoping to bring The Birthday Giving Program to her school through Student Council. After consulting with directors of various organizations, The Birthday Giving Program expanded to provide achievement parties as well as welcome boxes while still continuing the birthday giving concept. Our goal is to provide for as many people as possible and the sky’s the limit! 


Katie Stagliano was just nine years old when she planted a cabbage seed in a garden outside her house. She cared for it every day by watering it, weeding it and giving it plant food.  It grew to be HUGE! Forty pounds huge!Katie-Stagliano.jpgKatie wanted to do something special with this very unique cabbage.  With her mom’s help, she decided to donate it to a local soup kitchen to help feed the hungry in her community of Summerville, South Carolina.

When she arrived to make her donation, she saw a long line of people waiting for food. Then, Katie served her cabbage to the guests. As the many people thanked her, she knew she could and should do more to help.

With the help of her parents and school, Katie’s Krops was born. Katie’s Krops plants gardens to grow food that is donated to local soup kitchens to feed the hungry.

Katie-StaglianoKatie’s dream is to end hunger around the world.  So, after she created several gardens in her community, she decided to do more.  She wanted to help other kids create gardens in their communities. There are now over 100 Katie’s Krops gardens growing across the United States! All of the gardens are led by kids between the ages of 9 and 16. They have donated thousands and thousands of pounds of fresh produce to people in need!


Too often today we hear only the negative side, and more than once I’ve heard that the problem with today’s kids are that they are lazy, not being raised right, selfish, etc. Max, Sonika, and Katie are just three examples of the good things young people are doing to make the world a little better place.  Let’s try to focus more on the good, and less on the not-so-good, shall we?

Behind the Author: Filosofa’s Word

Last week, one of my relatively new readers, Mathew|Blog of the Wolf Boy, sent me an email asking if I would be willing to participate in his weekly feature, “Behind the Author”, where he does interviews with fellow writers/bloggers. I was honoured, and especially since mine is one of the few political blogs he follows, so it would be a bit outside the ‘comfort zone’ of his blog. Mathew generously gave me permission to share the interview with my own readers, so … take a look!

Blog of the Wolf Boy

Hello again friends, bloggers and muses,

Welcome back to another installment of Behind the Author. This is where we journey behind the scenes in one writer’s life to understand a little more about them and how they’ve ended up where they are now. As always, the point is to better understand the inner sanctum of successful writer’s and bloggers. However, they’re also meant to be fun and personal as well.

Today’s Guest: Jill Dennison of Filosofa’s Word

Today’s Behind the Author is going to be unique from the other interviews of the past, because Jill Dennison is a political journalist/blogger in the USA. Some of you may have differing political views, and that would be unfortunate, but now is not the time for people to remain silent when the entire world is in a crisis. So, if you’re not fond with the contents of this interview, because it does not…

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♫ We Are The World ♫

Hello my friends.  With a heavy heart tonight, I was not going to do a music post, but two special people convinced me, without realizing that they had a thing to do with it, to do one … and this one in particular.  I shall explain …

A few nights ago, I was chatting via email with our friend Ellen, and she noted that while sometimes one doesn’t feel that they have a song in their heart, they should … sing anyway!  Tonight, I felt as if I had no song in my heart, and really, I just wanted to go to bed.  But, somewhere in my head, I heard Ellen saying, “C’mon, Filosofa … sing anyway!”

And the second motivator was another dear friend, Dutch (Larry Woller) who posted on his own blog this song … We Are The World … and everything just suddenly clicked into place.

This was a benefit single for victims of famine in Africa. It raised over $60 Million, which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other impoverished countries.

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote this song, and Quincy Jones produced it. This talented trio was perfect for the job: Quincy Jones was the hottest producer around, and his Rolodex (what would now be a contact list) was filled with the biggest names in music; Richie had written songs that went to #1 on the Hot 100 each of the previous seven years (“We Are The World” made it eight); Michael Jackson had the biggest album of 1984 with Thriller (produced by Jones) and was the biggest star in the world.

The USA For Africa project began as an idea calypso singer Harry Belafonte had for a benefit concert featuring black musicians. In late December 1984, looking for artists to participate, Belafonte called Ken Kragen, who managed an impressive roster of talent, including Lionel Richie. Kragen convinced Belafonte that they could raise more money and make a bigger impact with an original song; Belafonte agreed and Richie came on board to help.

Kragen asked Quincy Jones to produce, and Jones enlisted Michael Jackson. Richie got Stevie Wonder involved, and from there, word got out and many members of the music industry signed on to help. The project from conception to recording took about a month.

This all-star charity single was inspired by Band Aid, the British group Bob Geldof put together the year before to record Do They Know It’s Christmas?. Band Aid, which included Bono, Phil Collins, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Sting, served as a template, showing how a disparate group of famous artists could come together in one day to record a song.

The stars who sang solos were, in order, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Michael Jackson (again), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, and Kim Carnes. Bob Dylan and Ray Charles were also featured on the song and given close-ups in the video.

Harry Belafonte, who had the original idea for the project, was in the chorus but didn’t get a solo, joining Bette Midler, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, LaToya Jackson, Bob Geldof, Sheila E., and Waylon Jennings as backing singers.

Quincy Jones was responsible for managing the egos of all the stars. It went very smoothly considering some very famous people did not get to sing a line. Most of the singers knew Jones personally and respected his wishes that they check their egos at the door.

Just goes to show what we can accomplish when people of all sorts come together for a common cause.  I think … though the cause is different … this song has just as much meaning for our world today as it did when it was released in 1985, some 34 years ago, don’t you?

We Are the World
U.S.A. for Africa

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, send them your heart
So they know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
And so we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day, so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, let me hear you!

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (said we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, come on now, let me hear you

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, yeah

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
And we’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world, we are the world (are the world)
We are the children, yes sir (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, ooh-hoo!

We are the world (dear God) (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (all right, can you hear what I’m saying?)
There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives

Songwriters: Michael Jackson / Lionel Richie
We Are the World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc