Just A Few Thoughts …

I frequently write about the income disparity in this nation.  I’m not a fan of great wealth, see it as unnecessary hoarding while others do without, and I do support government-funded programs that help people in need.  One person often comments on these posts with his opposing view, saying the wealthy earned it, let them keep it … all of it.  Of course, there is a fallacy in that the majority of very wealthy people actually inherited most of their wealth and have not done much to earn it at all, apart from hiring wise people to advise them in their investment strategies to increase their wealth.  Recently this person, whose comments I largely ignore, said that if people simply learned to “invest more wisely”, there wouldn’t be poverty.

Wisely, I did not respond to his comment, for at that moment my answer would not have been calm and reasoned.  Obviously, this person has zero understanding of poverty.  WHAT is there to invest, if you cannot even afford to pay the rent, utilities, and have some left over to buy food???  Even for the average mid-range earner, investment opportunities are largely limited to an employer’s 401(k) plan, for at the end of the month there is little left over.

It is the ignorance born of wealth and entitlement that bothers me the most.  The wealthy don’t even attempt to understand the other 99% of the world … they live in ivory towers, sheltered and shielded from poverty, from the homeless, and even from the very people who are, by their labours, helping the rich get richer.  They oppose a substantial increase in the minimum wage rate, for that might cut into their own profits just a bit.  They oppose helping the poor, falsely claiming that they are poor because they are too lazy to work.  They oppose such healthcare programs as Medicare for All because they have access to the finest medical care available and don’t understand what it’s like for the family who cannot afford to take their sick child to a doctor this week.

Yesterday, I read that President Biden will soon unveil his promised infrastructure plan, the first part based on repairing roads, bridges and railways, and the second part focused on families and children.  Already, however, Republicans are calling it useless and a waste of money.  Why?  Because they don’t live in Flint, Michigan where the water is still not safe to drink.  Because they don’t, as a rule, drive over the unsafe bridges and on the highways filled with potholes … instead they travel by private jet or helicopter.  There can be no mistake … the Republican Party, once called the “Party of Lincoln”, is a party that exists solely for the wealthy and that is largely funded by the wealthy.  Lincoln would be appalled by what the party has become today … a bigoted, corrupt organization that is doing everything in its power to keep the poor “in their place” and to return Blacks to the days of Jim Crow.

The Republican Party claims to be in favour of ‘smaller government’, but this is a nation of 330 million people … just how small do they think the government can be, and yet serve those people?  Given that most every Republican in Congress is either well on their way to being a millionaire, or is already one, is it really any surprise that they have no comprehension how the rest of us live?  What does it take?  We pay their salaries out of our meager incomes, and in return we get … NOTHING.  They do not represent us, they represent the heads of corporations like Exxon-Mobil, Kraft Foods, AT&T, and so many others.  They represent people who have more money than you or I can even imagine, who have never struggled to pay the bills, buy food, or seek medical attention a single day in their lives.  And now, as they see their ship may soon run aground, they are doing everything in their power to take away our voice, our right to vote them out of office.  Rather than consider altering the party’s platform, becoming more humanitarian, supporting policies that help people and the environment, they cling to their old ways, cling to the plutocracy, and rob us of our right to participate in the government that we fund.

Rather than pay taxes that could fund such things as infrastructure, feeding the poor, building renewable energy facilities and more, the wealthy spend their money to buy politicians who will do their best to ensure none of these things that would help people can happen.  “Whatever it takes” to keep the poor from rising out of the ashes, to keep the working people from seeing a brighter future, the wealthy and the Republican Party will support it.  There are notable exceptions such as those who have signed on to the Giving Pledge, but they are the exception, not the rule.  Those born into wealth cannot understand what they have never known and it is easier to turn a blind eye than to see how the rest of us struggle.

I am against great wealth … it is the hoarding of money that could ultimately make so many lives so much better.  I make no apologies for my views, for I have experienced that which almost no wealthy person ever has … I have been without a home, I have had my electricity turned off because I couldn’t pay the bill, and I have been denied medical care when I hadn’t the money to pay.  Perhaps the Republican Party should have to live that way for a while and perhaps they would find a bit of humanity within their shriveled little hearts.  Until something changes, this nation cannot realistically be called the “United” States because we are not.

There Can Be No Compromise On Voting Rights!

Every person 18 years of age or older has the right to vote in the United States.  Per the Fourteenth Amendment, states will lose their congressional representation …

“… When the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime.”

Since 1787 when the Constitution was first amended, we have passed laws to include women “inhabitants” and to lower the legal voting age to 18 instead of 21.

In the Fifteenth Amendment, the right to vote is not to be …

 “… denied or abridged on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

So, what part of this do the legislatures in 43 states not understand?  What part of this do the Republicans in Congress not understand?  They have allegedly read the damn Constitution … with the exception of some like Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Greene, who cannot read!  It’s as plain as the noses on their pocky faces!  Everybody over the age of 18 has the right to vote!  Read that again!  Better yet, perhaps Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia needs to read the Constitution before he opens his mouth again!

There are two bills that have passed the House of Representatives and are now awaiting consideration in the Senate.  S1 and S4 are about voting rights.  We should not need new federal laws to give us the right to vote … WE ALREADY HAVE THAT RIGHT!!!  But, sadly, the states, particularly those in the South and those run by Republican governments, are passing bills willy nilly that would rob us of those rights.

Manchin says that any legislation on voting rights must have the support of the Republican senators … WHY???  They aren’t about to support our right to vote because they know damn well, they have even stated, that if everybody can vote, they don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of winning another election.  They aren’t going to compromise, they want to dominate the discussion, the landscape.  They want only white, Christian male voters, if the truth be known.  They don’t want Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Asians, or really even women voting.  They don’t want college kids voting.  The majority of people in this nation would not vote for a Republican today if they offered … a Krispy Kreme Donut!

The State of Georgia just shoved through demonic voter suppression legislation.  The bill passed both chambers of the legislature in the span of a few hours before Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed it into law yesterday evening.  The new law imposes new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, empowers state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water.  WTF???  You’re going to make is such that they will be forced to stand in lines for HOURS to vote, yet they cannot be provided with life-sustaining WATER???  What a bastard!

Voting rights advocates say the state’s rapid-fire action — and plans in other Republican-controlled states to pass restrictions of their own — underscores the need for federal legislation to set a national baseline for voting rules.  In my book, the only ‘rules’ should be that the person be 18 or older.  Nothing else matters!  I may not have two forms of photo ID … in fact, I don’t.  It doesn’t matter!  I pay taxes, I’ve lived here all my life … I have the right to cast my vote.  If I don’t, then I no longer wish to live in this hellhole!  If my Black friends Rob & Aundrea or my Muslim friends Ali & Maha don’t have the right to vote, then why are they bothering to pay taxes to support a government that has robbed them of their voice?

I am fortunate to live in a state where it is relatively easy to vote by mail and where voting laws are not being altered, but for the majority of people in this country, it will be harder to vote in the next election unless S1 & S4 are passed by the Senate.  That is the goal of the Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures around the nation.  Are we going to let them get by with it?  I certainly hope not, for the sake of this nation that has already seen far too many of our rights go down the tubes.

Funny, isn’t it, that the fools on the hill will go ballistic over “protecting gun rights”, but they don’t give a royal f*ck about our voices, our rights to participate in our own government – the one that we fund!!!

Joe Manchin calls for ‘compromise’.  Well, we’ve been compromising for ages now … on healthcare, on education, on wasteful military spending, on foreign affairs, on just about everything.  There is no room for compromise on voting rights … there is no wiggle room at all.  We all get to vote!  Understand that, Republicans???

Tidbits From A Snarky Mind

As I said in yesterday’s Snarky Snippets post, it is getting easier to find positive things to snark about, but today I’ve got a bit of snark rolling out of my ears in the form of steam, so … I shall share it all with you!


Has Grassley’s time come?

Grassley-1Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa is still debating whether to run again in 2022 for another 6-year term.  Grassley is 87 years old and has been in the U.S. Senate for 41 years.  He is currently serving his 7th term.  While he may not have made up his mind, it seems that the people of Iowa have decided it’s time for him to retire.

According to the latest Des Moines Register poll, 55% of Iowans want Grassley to end his political career next year as compared to just 28% who said they would like to see him run for another term. More than one-third of Iowa republicans say the time has come for him to retire.  I would agree. He, like Mitch McConnell, is a poster boy for term limits.

At 87, he is the second-oldest member of the chamber — only California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein is older — and if he did run and win an 8th term, Grassley would be 95 by the time it ended.  Grassley has consistently been popular among Iowans, and it is widely believed that he is the best bet for the Republican Party to hold on to that senate seat, but it seems the people aren’t too keen on voting for a man 89 years old, as he will be by election day.

If Grassley decides not to run, he will be the 6th Republican senator to decide not to seek re-election in 2022.  Let us hope there aren’t even worse ones waiting in the wings.


Lunacy in Ohio

I am sickened and disgusted that two Ohio state legislators, Jon Cross and Reggie Stoltzfus, have proposed legislation to make June 14th a state holiday in honour of the former guy.  To date there are 11 cosponsors for the bill.  People have lost their bloomin’ marbles!!!  If they succeed, I will do everything in my power to move myself and my family out of this state of numpties!  But wait … there’s more!

In North Eastern Ohio there is a park named Mosquito Lake State Park.  Another Ohio state representative, Mike Loychik, wants to rename the park after the former guy!  I swear I don’t know why I live in this state with this bunch of loons!


Filibuster mania

President Biden has been quiet on the subject of the filibuster, but yesterday during an interview with ABC News he opined …

“I don’t think that you have to eliminate the filibuster; you have to do it what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days. You had to stand up and command the floor, and you had to keep talking. It’s getting to the point where, you know, democracy is having a hard time functioning.”

And that is the truth, my friends.  For years now more bills have failed in the senate largely because of the filibuster than I can count.  There are some critical bills coming up in the Senate, covering voting rights, gun laws, police reform, etc.  To have them all fail simply because the Republicans in the Senate are determined to play games with our lives is unconscionable.  Mitch McConnell, however, is throwing threats around, should the rules for the filibuster be changed to make it more difficult to obstruct legislation.

“Everything that Democratic Senates did to Presidents Bush and Trump, everything the Republican Senate did to President Obama, would be child’s play compared to the disaster that Democrats would create for their own priorities if — if — they break the Senate. Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues. Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin — can even begin — to imagine what a completely scorched earth Senate would look like — none. None of us have served one minute in a Senate that was completely drained of comity, and this is an institution that requires unanimous consent to turn the lights on before noon.”

As I said before, McConnell is a poster boy for why we need term limits … his power has gone straight to his head and he no longer believes that good governance is important or that he has a responsibility to the people of this nation!  Sadly, McConnell’s term doesn’t end until 2026, so there are only two ways he will be leaving the senate:  voluntary retirement or death.  He’s just stubborn enough to refuse to do either.

**Note to readers:  It is now 1:00 a.m., and I put this post on the schedule two hours ago.  Just this minute did I realize that … OH SHOOT … this is Wednesday … Good People Doing Good Things day!!!  My sincerest apologies … this is the result of a cluttered and aging mind.  Good People will be on Thursday morning this week … thank you for your understanding and patience!

I Want My Mail!!!!

On December 12th, my daughter mailed a package to my friend in the United Kingdom for me.  The postal clerk informed her that it would not likely arrive before Christmas, but that if she were willing to pay an extra $30, she could get guaranteed delivery within 10 business days.  That would have put the package arriving on or before December 24th, Christmas Eve.  Perfect!  Except, the package did not arrive until January 20th.  Such is the state of affairs at the U.S. Postal Service today, under the management of one Louis DeJoy.  Only 38% of non-local first-class mail arrived on time in late December, compared with 92% in the prior year.

postal-service

Trump appointed DeJoy to the position of Postmaster General to head the USPS in June for one reason only – to attempt to slow or halt mail-in ballots for the November election.  DeJoy immediately cut hours, forbade extra trips to deliver excess mail, removed & dismantled hundreds of mail sorting machines, and removed many collection boxes from the streets.  Again, the only goal was to interfere with our votes, to keep our ballots from reaching their destination in time during the year of the pandemic when mail-in voting would be at an all-time high.

When President Joe Biden took his oath of office on January 20th, he almost immediately fired a number of high-level Trump appointees, with more certain to go in the coming weeks, but guess what?  Biden cannot fire Louis DeJoy … only the Board of Governors can do that.  Unfortunately, many of the members of the Board of Governors were appointed by … Donald Trump.

DeJoy was not qualified to take on the position of Postmaster General, his previous experience being the CEO of a for-profit logistics company, but qualifications never bothered Donald Trump overly much, since he himself had zero qualifications for his own job.  DeJoy also had some conflicts of interest in that he did not fully divest himself of his interests in certain companies that are considered competitive with the USPS.  DeJoy, by the way, has a net worth of $110 million.

But wait, it gets even worse.  DeJoy is reportedly preparing to unveil plans for another round of service cuts and operational changes as soon as this week.  The new plan will include more service cuts, higher and region-specific pricing, and lower delivery expectations.  Postal workers are up in arms and want President Biden to do something.  According to Mark Dimondstein of the American Postal Workers Union …

“We want a Board of Governors that understands fundamentally this is not called the United States Postal Business. It’s not a profit-making business. It’s here to serve the people.”

Here to serve the people.  Such a simple concept, isn’t it?  But over the last four years, ‘serving the people’ has become a thing of the past.  Donald Trump’s government was here to serve only one person:  Donald Trump.  Joe Biden is working hard to turn that around, to ensure that government does serve the people – all the people.  But, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Biden’s efforts will no doubt be stymied by the ignorance of a certain party in Congress.

Yesterday, I received a phone call and an email from the Canadian pharmacy where I order my insulin.  They informed me that I should order now, because deliveries to the United States are taking anywhere from 4-8 weeks!  I used to order my insulin and have it within 5-7 business days, but now it could take up to two months!  Bullshit!

Biden cannot fire DeJoy directly, but what he can do is fire the entire Board of Governors and replace them with men and women who care about doing the right thing, who have a conscience, who care about the people of this nation.  Congressional democrats are urging President Biden to do just that …

“My solution starts at the top: firing the whole board who presided over Trump and DeJoy’s wrecking of USPS. Clean house.” – Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. of New Jersey

The current Board of Governors consists of one democrat and four republicans.  Isn’t it a damn shame that our ability to send & receive mail, our ability to receive life-sustaining medication is controlled by partisanship?  Republicans are paid out of our tax dollars the same as democrats … so why are they not attuned to the needs of We the People?  Donald Trump exacerbated this, but he did not create it … it’s been building for a long time.  According to The Washington Post …

“DeJoy has told mail industry officials he intends to remain in office to roll out an agency reorganization… The plan, parts of which were outlined to a Senate panel in August, includes geographic pricing and longer delivery windows. He’s entertained leasing out Postal Service properties and offering non-mailing services, such as private financial services.”

usps-3‘Private financial services’???  WHY???  It is the Postal Service, not the Banking Service!  So, does Biden fire the entire damn Board of Governors and send DeJoy packing?  Seems a simple solution, but this may be a case where Occam’s Razor* does not apply.  There would, no doubt, be a hue and cry from the congressional republicans if he took this path.  However, there are three vacant seats on the Board, and if Biden appoints people of conscience to those seats, then it is likely the Board would be willing to give DeJoy the boot.  In a statement issued by the White House yesterday …

“Only the Board of Governors of the US Postal Service has the power to replace the Postmaster General. The President can, however, nominate governors to fill vacancies on the board pending Senate confirmation.  President Biden’s focus is on filling these vacancies, nominating officials who reflect his commitment to the workers of the US Postal Service — who can deliver on the post office’s vital universal service obligation.”

I hope, for all our sakes, that Biden moves swiftly on this for in some cases, our very lives depend on it.  Meanwhile, I recommend that if you send holiday cards or packages via the USPS, you start your shopping immediately and have them in the mail at least three months before you want them to arrive!

*Occam’s Razor states that the simplest explanation/solution is usually the right one.

A Letter to a Republican Senator

Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will begin on Tuesday.  Currently, it does not appear that the requisite 2/3 supermajority will vote to convict Trump, despite overwhelming evidence that he inspired and incited the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.  If this be the case, if he is acquitted and therefore allowed to run for office again, then justice will not have been served.  More importantly, it would set a dangerous precedent for future presidents and at some point, perhaps sooner than later, the people of the United States will lose their freedoms to a power-hungry dictator.

It was with this dark thought in mind that I composed the following letter to the Republican senator from my state, Rob Portman.  I know that a single letter from me will not change his mind, but I’m hoping he hears many voices telling him to please vote to convict, and that at the end of the day, he will follow his conscience.  Feel free to copy, alter, and use this letter if you feel so inclined.


Dear Senator Portman,

I write to you today regarding the upcoming impeachment trial of Donald Trump.  You are one of 100 people who will decide the ultimate fate of this nation, and I want to be sure you understand the seriousness of your role next week. 

While I have not seen the evidence that will be presented to the full Senate next week, I have read enough to know that there is sufficient evidence that many of Donald Trump’s actions over the two months after the November 6th election were the run-up, setting the stage for what happened on January 6th.  He claimed voter fraud before the first vote was cast, he filed hundreds of lawsuits sans evidence, he riled his base with claims that he “won bigly” and that there was “massive voter fraud”.  When lawsuits were thrown out of court, recounts taken, and the election certified for Joe Biden, he claimed the election had been ‘stolen’ from him.

I know, and you know, that Joe Biden is the rightful President of the United States.  While Trump received more votes than I would have expected, 81 million of us rejected his erratic, inept, and incompetent ‘leadership’, especially in light of his bungling response to the pandemic that has taken so many lives of our loved ones.  More to the point, there is sufficient evidence that he replaced Pentagon personnel in order to slow the response to the attack on the Capitol that he knew was coming, for he had incited it.  He called on his followers to ‘fight’, and then watched from the safety of the White House, with a grin on his face and his son’s girlfriend dancing in the background, as our voices were very nearly snuffed out. 

The events of January 6th were not only an attack on you, Senator, and on all your fellow members of Congress, but on We the People, the voters, the citizens, the taxpayers who support your policies and pay your salaries. 

I realize you will not run for re-election in 2022, so perhaps the fate of the nation does not matter much to you.  But for ten years now, we have paid your salary out of our own hard-earned income, and in return, we ask that you support those things that are in our best interest, such as ensuring that no future president can ever act as unconscionably as Donald Trump has and expect to go unpunished.

Although I often disagree with your views, I know that you are a decent man with a conscience.  You have two choices … you can follow your conscience and vote to convict Donald Trump on the charge of inciting a coup to overthrow a fair and honest election, or you can play to the party line, even though in your heart you know it is wrong.  Which will it be, Senator?  Will you do the right thing and sleep with a clear conscience at night, or will you put the Republican Party’s interests above those of the people you represent?

If you and your fellow senators vote to acquit Donald Trump, he will have the opportunity to rise from the ashes and destroy this nation as we know it.  He is not a president, never was, and is not a believer in democratic principles, but rather would install himself as king given the chance.  If that happens, the responsibility will fall squarely on your shoulders and those of your fellow senators.  The choice is yours, Senator Portman … please think long and hard, and choose wisely.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen, independent voter, taxpayer

An Eventful Evening

I was in the middle of a post that I had hoped to finish in time for this morning’s post, but I was interrupted and since I cannot corral my thoughts tonight, I am going with a post of a more personal nature.

Sometime between 4:00 and 5:00 this evening (Monday) I happened to walk by the living room windows that face our street, and saw not one, not two, but three Sheriff’s vehicles on the street.  Curious of course, I stepped out onto the sidewalk and saw that there was a fourth Sheriff’s car parked further down the street.  The officers seemed to have congregated around the apartment two doors down from mine.

Now, the sight of police here in da hood is nothing unusual, but that many is a bit concerning.  The next time I looked out, perhaps 15 minutes later, there were seven Sheriff’s vehicles and an unmarked SUV into which police were loading a dog … a police dog, I presume.

Those of you who know me know that I have little tolerance for drama and chaos, so around 7:00 I stepped out back on my patio and yelled at the police who were standing around their vehicles parked in the grassy backyard, “Hey … I’d like to know what the hell is going on!  I live here, I have a right to some information!”  Yeah, okay, maybe not the brightest thing, but in my defense, I hadn’t noticed the big guns they were holding.  Luckily, a very kind deputy came to my patio, calmly told me that there was a ‘very dangerous hostage situation’ and urged me to please go back inside.  I did.  I may not be the brightest bulb in the pack, but by this time my brain had engaged.

Checked the local news, but there was nothing to be found.

Below is a picture of my ‘quiet’ little street at about 9:00 p.m.

standoff

The house with all the lights on where that bright green light is shining is ours.

By this time, there were more than ten Sheriff’s vehicles surrounding our building, front-to-back and the street was closed off on both ends (it is a single block street with two buildings of attached townhouses on either side.)  An hour or so later, a SWAT team had been called in and spotlights were all over the place.

Finally, around 9:30, there was news on a local Fox channel saying it had begun as a domestic violence situation and escalated when the police showed up.  The man had a gun and had barricaded himself in his apartment.  Just before 11:00, daughter Chris went to bed (she gets up at 5:00 a.m. for her job), and granddaughter Natasha, aka Miss Goose, went upstairs to shower.  At last … a moment of quiet to sit down and work on my post!  Until …

BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM …

Rapid gunfire … a searing pain from chest to back made me wonder briefly if I had been shot, but I was out of my chair and halfway up the stairs, so I figured I wasn’t the one they shot.  Checked on both girls, they were fine.  I returned to my ‘office’ at the kitchen table, but by that time, shaking like a leaf, I knew my post for this morning just wasn’t going to happen.

Sheriff’s deputies were walking up and down the street, between buildings, and through yards, so my first thought was that despite there being at least 50 cops, all with big guns, they had somehow missed, and this guy was on the loose.  Double-checked that both exterior doors were locked.  Checked the news … no updates.  I wanted to go out and ask one of the deputies, but Miss Goose was prepared to forcibly wrestle me to the ground … she may be little at barely 5’, but she’s got youth on her side!

At 11:58, I received a text message from my beautiful Iraqi friend Maha, who lives next door, saying …

“Juju everything is good.  He is die.  Police they killed him.”

And thus ends my exciting evening, although as of this writing, 1:17 a.m., there are still a SWAT van and at least six Sheriff’s vehicles on the street, with crime scene tape cordoning off the area.

But the events of the last 8 hours or so have made me think.  This was terrifying … and angering.  But there are people in the inner cities, people in other countries, who live through this scenario on a routine basis.  DAMN!  We complain over the smallest things … lately I have been bitching because my dishwasher is not working, and the apartment management has been slow to repair it.  But … wow … at least I’m alive to wash those dishes by hand.  We complain because we cannot go out and enjoy a Saturday night dinner at our favourite restaurant, because we must wear a mask to the grocery store.  You know what, folks?  We … most of us, anyway … have it so easy compared to so many people around the globe.  We take for granted things like being able to step outside our door without fear of being shot.  Tonight, I got just a small taste of what some people live through daily …

DAMN the gun culture in this country, and in fact DAMN the person who invented guns in the first place.  DAMN those people who think their ‘rights’ matter more than other people’s and who  think that violence is the answer to their problems.   And on that note, I shall try to catch up on some emails, for da hood is still swarming with police and there will be no sleep for Filosofa tonight.

Eve of Destruction

Everything that is happening in the U.S. today — the pandemic, highest death toll ever, Trump attempting to silence our voices, dirty cops being let off the hook, racism, civil rights protections for women, minorities, LGBT people under the 1964 Civil Rights Act being removed as Trump attempts to ‘burn it all down’ before he is forced out — it all makes me feel that this song is the right one for the day … perhaps more so today than ever before.

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.
No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan, 1965
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Hello 2016 … er, um … 2021

I started to write a New Year’s post last night … it began like this …

Well, my friends, we made it through this year of sheer hell.  Most of us have survived not only the coronavirus pandemic, but also the pandemics of hatred and stupidity that have taken over our newsfeeds and the headlines in every major news source.  Sadly, I must remind you that a ‘new year’ is but a manmade contrivance to help us keep up with our lives, not an actual reset of events.  That said, I think 2021 will start just as 2020 ended … with a raging pandemic and political chaos; with people dying by the hundreds or thousands, with a megalomaniac and his bootlickers attempting to turn this republic into an autocracy by overturning our votes.  Nothing changes just because when the clock strikes midnight you pop the cork on a champagne bottle, kiss your loved ones, and turn the calendar to January 2021.  You won’t wake up in the morning to find that Donald Trump is in prison and that we actually have an intelligent, concerned president.  You won’t wake up to find that you can now go out for dinner, take in a movie, or pop over to the mall for a bit of shopping without wearing a mask.  You still won’t find toilet tissue, Lysol, or Clorox disinfectant wipes on your grocery shelves.  You will still be limited to two packages of meat at your local grocery store.  You will still be worried sick about sending your child back to school.  And more than 1,813,000 people will still be dead worldwide of a virus that is nowhere near being controlled. 

Um … not quite the tone I was shooting for, but very much an honest assessment.  Then, I began to wonder what my New Year’s post five years ago, the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 was like, so I went digging around in the archives.  I think you will find my words kinder and more hopeful back then, plus I think that, knowing what we know now, you will find some humour in it! 


I do not quite understand why it is, but most of us welcome in the new year with great hope for the next 365 days, almost as if we believe that the slate we were using for the past 365 days was wiped clean at the exact moment the ball hit bottom in Times Square, and we are now starting afresh with new hopes, new dreams, a clean slate on which to write a new story, a better one.  Okay, okay … I am not going to be a the one to dash those dreams, those ethereal images that you are seeing with such joy.  Life will see to that soon enough, probably when you awaken in the morning and turn on the news, pick up the morning newspaper, or boot up the computer.

Do you make resolutions at New Year’s?  I do not, so I am always curious about people who do.  Oh sure, I hope that I can do better at certain things than I have in the past, but that is pretty much a daily hope of mine.  Do people who do make resolutions start thinking about their resolutions a week in advance?  A month?  I once had a friend who made his resolution on the morning of January 1st … same resolution every year … when he awakened with a massive hangover and resolved then and there to quit drinking, effective immediately.  His resolution usually lasted for about 12 hours.  Have you ever made a resolution and actually kept it throughout the year?  I don’t think I personally know anybody whose resolution was anything other than a dim memory by January 31st, so I am curious if some people who do make resolutions actually do manage to keep to them.

I do not make resolutions, but I think about, based on the past year, what the year 2016 might bring.  It would be lovely, and I am sure some say this is their hope for the new year, to think that within the next twelve months we will see peace and prosperity around the world, an end to wars in the Middle East, an end to racism and bigotry in our own nation, more love and tolerance, less hatred toward our fellow man, and an end to the highly annoying facebook memes that attempt to compress complex socio-political issues into a single sentence.  Who wouldn’t love to see an end to ISIS, Boko Haram, al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations?  These are dreams we could all share, even if we are divided on who should be the next president of the U.S.  But sadly, just like the person who buys a lottery ticket and goes to bed dreaming of a new home, a new car, and telling his boss “I quit”, when we look back a year from now, I am pretty sure those problems will still exist, others will have joined them, and people will still be … well, human.

Filosofa is not a cynic, contrary to what you may think.  I am actually known in my circle of friends as quite the optimist … annoyingly to some.  But I am a pragmatist, a realist, and as such I do not live in a world of dreams.  One of the readers of this blog commented yesterday that we need to say to ourselves, “okay, the world is a mess … now how do we fix it?”  I like that attitude. So, while I do not make resolutions, I do have hopes.  Unlike hopes for world peace, an end to all war, etc., my hopes are that people will start asking themselves “what can I do to make the world a little bit better?”  And then start looking for answers.  The answers are all around you, if you just realize what the question is.  Many years ago, my answer to this question was, and still is, to treat everybody as human beings.  These days, I try to make a difference by writing, in hopes that I might be able to make just one person think about things that matter.  Most of us, realistically, are not in a position to bring about world peace.  We cannot all be Mother Teresa or Gandhi.  We cannot all be leaders of nations.  But we can make small differences within our own small spheres of influence, in our community, in our neighborhood.  We can volunteer one day a month at a homeless shelter or food pantry, we can help a neighbor who is struggling, we can donate unwanted clothing or food items to the poor.  We can find ways to fight violence without resorting to more violence.  We can talk a little bit nicer to people, say “good morning” and “thank you so much” to the young person who bags our groceries.  Think that doesn’t make a difference?  Think again.

So my hope for the new year is that we all try very hard to find the small things that we can do to help people we come into contact with every day.  No, it will not end the conflict in Syria, it will not eradicate Iran’s enriched uranium supply, and it will not remove Donald Trump from the presidential race, but a lot of little deeds add up to making the world just a little bit better.  You can be part of the problem or you can be part of the solution … your choice.

In closing, I wish each and every one of you a year of peace within your own family and circle of friends, good health and that you be able to meet all of your needs.  Happy New Year!

Jolly New Year Monday!

Happy Monday morn, my friends!  Come on in out of the cold … just toss your coats over there … Jolly is the coat keeper for the day!  This is always a weird week, I think.  Christmas is over, all except the cleaning up, putting away, etc., and it’s a short week, with New Year’s Eve on Thursday.  When I laboured outside the home, I always hated this week … trying to catch up from the previous week, but not really being able to because most people took a vacation week, and I couldn’t get the answers I needed.  I’m very much a creature of routine, and when my routine is wrecked two weeks in a row, I tend to get rather dark ‘n grumpy.  This year, however, I’m trying to be laid back … with everything else happening in the world, the small stuff really just doesn’t much matter.

So, did you all have a nice holiday?  I know many of you, especially in the UK where very strict lockdown regulations are in place, missed spending the holiday with your families or friends, but hopefully by next holiday season things will be vastly improved.

So, if it’s Monday it must be time for some humour to start the week out, right?  Grab a snack – Joyful wouldn’t let me in the kitchen, so I have no idea what she’s cooked up this morning – and we’ll go in search of a few chuckles.

tea              baconJollys girlfriend Joyful

good-xmas-donuts-2     juice boxes


The secret to a longer life?  Math!

Kane_TanakaI found this both interesting and the last bit highly humorous.

The world’s oldest person, Kane Tanaka, turns 118 on Saturday.  She was born in 1903, and lives in a nursing home in Japan, where she wakes up at 6 a.m and enjoys playing board games. Her secrets to longevity: eating good food and practicing math.

Practicing math???  Whoa … I better stop using the calculator on my phone to add 2+2 and start using my noggin a bit more, yes?


Uh-oh Santa … should’a stuck with the reindeer!

An unidentified Northern California man thought it would be cool to dress as Santa Claus and deliver candy canes to children in his community … via a motorized parachute.  Neighbors say he flies around the neighborhood often in his vehicle, but this time there was a bit of a hitch … ol’ Santa got entangled in a set of electrical wires!

He flew into a maze of power lines and wound up suspended in them, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

Santa-wires

The man, who wasn’t identified, was not injured. Video from the rescue shows the red-white-and-blue aircraft dangling overhead as Santa sat fastened to the pilot seat. Neighbors watched from the ground as crews worked.

Santa-wires-2Power was shut off during the rescue to about 200 customers in the Rio Linda area, according to Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District spokesman Chris Vestal.

“It’s unfortunate, but we all need to remember that there’s still a lot of good out in the world, there are people doing good things and to look at the brightness of the holiday season.”

“W/o a scratch & full of good cheer we made sure Old St. Nick will use his reindeer when he sees you later this year,” the fire department said in a tweet after the incident.


So, how about some New Year’s themed ‘toons?

toon-Maxine-2toon-Maxinetoon-15toon-15toon-14toon-13toon-12toon-11toon-4toon-5toon-5toon-6toon-7toon-8toon-9toon-3toon-2

"I told the downstairs neighbors they had to take their tree down by New Year's."


And, I have a few cute pictures to share with you …

cute-pic-1cute-pic-2cute-pic-3


The highlight of my life the past month or so has been a pair of grey squirrels that appear every morning outside my ‘office’ (kitchen table where I write this blog) window.  After a couple of days watching their antics, I started putting a handful of unsalted, unshelled peanuts out every morning for them, which they take great joy in.  Then, wanting to give them a more nutritious diet, I did some research and ordered a bag of “Critter Crunch” from the Audubon Society, which they also enjoy, but they still prefer the peanuts.  They hop all around the patio, jump from the wrought iron rocking chair to the top of the grill, to the handlebars of Miss Goose’s bicycle!  They are beginning to trust me a bit more, I think, and I smile every time I see them through my ‘window on the world’.  Their latest antic is teasing one of our cats, Pandi.  If she is sitting in the windowsill, they jump up on the outside window ledge and … I swear I think they laugh at her!  Her tail twitches, then quivers, she bats at the window, and the squirrels just sit there.  It is, truly, the highlight of my day.  So, I went in search of a cute squirrel video for this week’s Jolly Monday …


Well, my friends, it’s that time … time for us all to be about our appointed chores.  But take heart … it’s a short week!  Meanwhile, as you go about your week, please take time to lend a helping hand wherever you can, and share those gorgeous smiles with people who look like they need one.  Have a safe and happy week.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa, Jolly and Joyful!

Filosofa Ponders Thanksgiving 2020

Today, in the United States, it is a holiday called Thanksgiving.  I won’t go into the history of the holiday, for frankly the history we all learned in our early school years was a white-washed lie.  But, for most of us the holiday lives on anyway, as we try to spend it with family and friends, remembering that no matter what is happening outside our front door, we still have much reason to be thankful … we live, we breathe, we have family and friends who love us, a roof over our head and food on our table … so much more than some people have.

That said … this year is a different kind of Thanksgiving.  The pandemic has had us in its grip for ten long months now, many of us have lost loved ones, our lives have been turned topsy-turvy, some have lost jobs and even their homes.  It feels … almost surreal, almost like a dream (nightmare) from which we keep hoping to waken.

For four years now, we in the U.S. have lived under a regime whose modus operandi was ‘divide and conquer’ and we have all paid a hefty price.  We are exhausted from it all, from trying to stay atop the latest ways in which our government was undermining our very foundations, blatantly disregarding our democratic processes, and indeed, our very lives.  We’ve lived with the most corrupt regime ever to occupy the highest echelons of the federal government in this country – if we thought that Richard Nixon was a crook … well, he looks like a cute puppy compared to the band of criminals whose salaries we’ve paid for four years now.

Today it was announced that new unemployment claims jumped to 78,000 from 18,000 the week before.  In the week of the election, nearly 26 million adults – 12% of all the adults in the nation – reported that their household didn’t have enough to eat.  As many as 40,000 people are behind on their rent or mortgage payments and at risk of losing their home.  When you look at this, you have to wonder – is there really anything to be thankful for?

My answer to that is that yes, despite it all, there is a lot to be thankful for.  We have just elected a good man, a decent and kind man to be our next president.  He is an intelligent man, has decades of experience in our government, first in the Senate and then for eight years as Vice President.  He is carefully choosing the best of the best for his cabinet and administration advisors.  He cares about the environment, he cares about the average person, he has a plan … he has a plan.  Joe Biden said something yesterday that was exactly what my favourite former boss once said to me … he said he wants his experts to tell him what he needs to know, not what he wants to hear.   That … that in itself is a breath of fresh air.

Yes, problems will still remain and I have no illusions that they can be resolved in a single four-year term, but … Biden and his team will do their level best to repair as much of the damage that has been done to this nation as possible.  Biden will be a president for the people, not just the wealthy CEOs of big corporations.  I listened to a clip from Joe Biden’s pre-Thanksgiving speech earlier tonight and I suddenly felt more confident, safer, and more hopeful than I have in the past four years.

The one thing, though, that We the People must do in order to help restore some semblance of order in our world is find a way to start resolving our differences.  This nation is more divided today than at any other time since 1865.  Hatred and violence are constant and exhausting.  We must begin finding ways to listen to one another, to forge a middle ground where we can meet halfway, for if we don’t, our nation will fail.  The ‘United’ States will become a conglomerate of separate countries, constantly at war with one another.

I will admit that my heart is not into the holidays this year, and were it not for the girls, I would be quite content to skip Thanksgiving and Christmas altogether.  I’m sure some of you feel the same.  But friends, when we stop and think about it, we do have much to be thankful for.  So, you can’t travel to Aunt Sadie’s for Thanksgiving dinner, or host Grammie ‘n Grampie.  It’s not the end of the world.  It’s sad, but it’s not the end of the world.  Take a deep breath, remember that tomorrow the sun will come up, it will be a new day, and 24 hours closer to January 20th.  And now, I ask you to listen to this short clip, just 2 minutes 45 seconds, of parts of Joe Biden’s Thanksgiving speech yesterday.  And then, off you go to cook that turkey or emu, as it were!  Enjoy your Thanksgiving, keep safe, don’t over-stuff your bellies,  and remember … you have much to be thankful for … we all do.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa.