Well, what do you plan to do about it? – you must VOTE

Once again, our friend Keith is spot-on in his assessment of the current situation regarding the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Far too many of those who are crying ‘foul’ helped bring about this situation by their failure to vote in 2016. Thank you, Keith, for your wisdom and for reminding us how very important our right to vote is.

musingsofanoldfart

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a hero to many, especially women and the disenfranchised. Her career must be celebrated. Like Thurgood Marshall before her, her record of success in arguing cases before the Supreme Court, justified her inclusion in this institution. She served America well.

As for the indicting language directed at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over holding a vetting process and vote of a new SCOTUS nominee before the election, this is the normative process. Yet, we must also understand when McConnell conducted his treachery. It was in 2016 when he chose to not follow normal process to vet and vote on a pretty well respected candidate named Merrick Garland, who won near unanimous consent for his current position. When a politician does not follow normal process, take it to the bank it is political. And, McConnell cannot go to the bathroom without it being political.

Now, we are…

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Lies, Lies, And Still More Lies!

It was widely published on Monday that the U.S. passed the 200,000 mark of deaths from the coronavirus, but in truth, according to the highly credible reports I get daily, we passed 200,000 around the middle of last week – Wednesday, I believe.  Minor detail, perhaps, but it proves what I’ve been saying all along – you cannot trust a damn thing that comes out of the federal government anymore.  Another example …

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled a new guidance acknowledging that the coronavirus can spread through the air.  Well duh … otherwise why would they have been recommending that everyone wear masks when in a public venue?  But then, the CDC reversed itself, took the guidance off their website, saying it was a draft that had been “posted in error”.  More likely it simply didn’t meet with Donald Trump’s approval. toon-trumpAnd speaking of Trump, though I’d rather not, he held a rally somewhere in Ohio yesterday where he claimed that the virus isn’t really that bad, and said that it mostly kills “elderly people” and people with “other problems,” adding, “It affects virtually nobody.”  IT AFFECTS VIRTUALLY NOBODY????????  More than 200,000 people have DIED from the coronavirus and he has the unmitigated gall to tell such a brazen lie???  And what … do those of us who are ‘elderly’ or have ‘other problems’ not count for anything?  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  The saddest part is that the damn fools who attended that rally will no doubt believe his every word.  They get what they deserve, but the rest of us deserve better.  This country deserves better than what we currently have.toon-trump-2The one thing that has had the most severe negative impact on Trump’s approval rating has been his bungling of the coronavirus pandemic, so naturally he wants to minimize that, but We the People have a right to be able to believe what our government tells us.  As of today, I don’t think we can believe a single word that comes from this administration.  For example …

Yesterday, the Federal Reserve reported that household income in the U.S. is at a record high, despite job losses as a result of the pandemic.  Interesting that while record numbers of people are struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table, household income is “record high”.  Also not true.  What is true is that the rich got richer while the poor got poorer.  According to the Associated Press (AP) …

“The full recovery of wealth even while the economy has regained only about half the jobs lost to the pandemic recession underscores what many economists see as America’s widening economic inequality. Data compiled by Opportunity Insights, a research group, show that the highest-paying one-third of jobs have almost fully recovered from the recession, while the lowest-paying one-third of jobs remain 16% below pre-pandemic levels.”

Very few of us ‘average’ people will have seen an increase in our household income, but some people, if told they are better off today than a year ago, will believe it, even as they wonder where next month’s rent is coming from.


The list of lies we are being fed by the very people whose salaries we pay is longer than my arm.  Be aware, don’t believe a damn thing that is put forth by this administration or any of its agencies.  Do your own research, question everything.  And for Pete’s sake, vote this evil maniac out of office in a few weeks!

♫ Only The Lonely ♫

After playing Eagles’ songs most of last week, I was rather at a loss as to where to go next.  I asked a few of you for suggestions, and John H suggested Roy Orbison and mentioned his “Black and White” concert.  So, I took a look, and found my song for tonight!

This is a sad song, and given the multiple tragedies in Orbison’s life (his wife died in a car accident, his home burned down, killing two of his sons) one might think this song was a product of his personal sadness.  But, according to Roy Orbison, you’d be wrong …

“I’ve always been very content when I wrote all those songs. By this I’m saying that a lot of people think you have to live through something before you can write it, and that’s true in some cases, but I remember the times that I was unhappy or discontent, and I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t communicate, and I certainly couldn’t write a song, no way. All the songs I wrote that were successful were written when I was in a contented state of mind.”

Roy Orbison wrote this with his songwriting partner Joe Melson, but intended to offer the song to either Elvis Presley or the Everly Brothers, but the Everly Brothers persuaded Orbison that he should cut it himself.  I think the story of how Orbison and Melson hooked up is fun …

After several years without much success in the music business, and sharing a tiny apartment with his wife and new baby, Roy Orbison had taken to sitting in his car to write songs when, in 1958, his acquaintance Joe Melson tapped on the car window and suggested they collaborate. – Wikipedia

This song reached #1 in the UK and #2 in the U.S.

Only the Lonely
Roy Orbison


Only the lonely (dum-dumb-dummy doo-wah)
Know the way I feel tonight (ooh yay, yay, yay, yeah)
Only the lonely (dum-dumb-dummy doo-wah)
Know this feeling ain’t right (dum-dumb-dummy doo-wah)


There goes my baby
There goes my heart
They’re gone forever
So far apart


But only the lonely
Know why I cry
Only the lonely (dum-dumb-dummy doo-wah, ooh yay, yay, yay, yeah)
(Oh, oh oh oh oh ooh-ah-ah, only the lonely)
(Only the lonely)


Only the lonely (dum-dumb-dummy doo-wah)
Know the heartaches I’ve been through (ooh yay, yay, yay, yeah)
Only the lonely (dum-dumb-dummy doo-wah)
Know I cry and cry for you (dum-dumb-dummy doo-wah)


Maybe tomorrow
A new romance
No-o-o more sorrow
But that’s the chance
You’ve got to take
If your lonely heart breaks
Only the lonely (dum-dumb-dummy doo-wah)


Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Joe Melson / Roy Orbison
Only the Lonely lyrics © Barbara Orbison Music Company, Roy Orbison Music Company, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG Rights Management

Words To Ponder …

Ibram-X-KendiMost every one of us would say, if asked, that we are not racist.  We don’t think of Black people as intellectually inferior as our ancestors did, we don’t see them as someone to be feared or hated simply based on skin colour.  We have spoken out for equal rights for Blacks and other minorities, defend equal voting rights, housing rights, and employment rights for all.  But, is there a difference between being ‘not racist’ and being ‘antiracist’?  Dr. Ibram X. Kendi thinks there is, and after listening to him explain last night, I’m inclined to agree.

Dr. Kendi is an author, historian, and scholar of race and discriminatory policy in the U.S.  He currently serves as director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, and previously held the same position at the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at the American University.  I have read one of his books, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, and am hoping to read his next to latest, How to be an Antiracist, for which he won the 2016 National Book Award for Non-Fiction.  He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2019, as well as numerous other awards and honours.

In the U.S. today, in light of the recent killings of innocent, unarmed black people by police, the Black Lives Matter movement is more widespread than at any other time.  Unfortunately, it has taken a back seat to such matters as the upcoming election and the coronavirus pandemic, but still, many more people are, it seems, becoming aware of the systemic racism that never went away in this country.  And now, we have a president who would re-write the history of our nation to eliminate such dark eras as slavery, making it more important than ever that we stand up, that we do not allow the darkest days of our history to be whitewashed, but that we own them and learn from them.

I’d like to direct you to the clip my friend Herb sent me last night that I found thought-provoking, and that made me take a closer look within my own self.  This is a 12-minute clip from a June interview of Dr. Kendi with Stephen Colbert, where Colbert steps outside his jokester persona and asks serious, intelligent questions of Dr. Kendi.  Please take the time to watch, listen, and think about Dr. Kendi’s words.

What did you think?  Did it make you stop and ponder a bit?  If you’re interested in Dr. Kendi and his work, please check out his website.

Letter To Republican Senator

What follows is the letter I wrote this morning to the republican senator from my state, Senator Rob Portman.  Feel free to amend and use as a template to send to your own senator, if you feel so inclined.


21 September 2020

Dear Senator Portman …

I am writing to you today to ask that you withhold your vote on the confirmation of any candidate for the Supreme Court between now and January 20th.  I’m sure you have received many such letters, as well as some by those who hold the opposite view, but please hear me out.

First, in February of 2016, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, when President Barack Obama nominated a very moderate judge, Merrick Garland, to fill Scalia’s seat, you stated in part …

“I have concluded that the best thing for the country is to trust the American people to weigh in and to have the confirmation process take place in a less partisan atmosphere. Awaiting the result of a democratic election, rather than having a nomination fight in this contentious election-year environment, will give the nominee more legitimacy …”

To change your mind about that now, when the country is even more divided than it was in 2016, is the ultimate hypocrisy and I must question your motives.  I know that Mitch McConnell is an unconscionable sycophant of Donald Trump, as are many of your other colleagues, but I always thought you were better than that.

Throughout your nine-year tenure as a U.S. Senator representing Ohio, I have seen you as a moderate, and while I disagree with you on some things, I was proud when you changed your mind and came out in support of same-sex marriage and voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.  Granted, I’ve been disappointed by your stance on climate change … too little too late … and other issues such as abortion, but overall you have always seemed one of the better republicans in Congress.

Now, however, you appear to be willing to compromise the integrity of the United States Supreme Court, and I must ask you why?  Do you not realize the implications of a court divided 6-3?  Do you not realize that not only will Roe v Wade be endangered, and thus women’s rights, but also Obergefell v Hodges, thus endangering the rights of the LGBT community?  Do you remember that the Court is supposed to provide checks and balances on the Executive branch, not simply rubber-stamp the president’s wishes?

I would like to remind you that you were elected to represent ALL the people of not only Ohio, but the United States.  Donald Trump appears to believe that he is obligated only to those who slavishly support him, but I would like to think you are a better man than he is.  Please remember that your constituency includes both democrats and republicans, as well as those like myself who are independent.  Your constituency includes people of all races, and people of every and no religion.  You do not solely answer to white, male, republicans, but to every man, woman and child, regardless of party affiliation, ethnicity or religion.

In closing, I ask you to seriously consider what I have said, seriously consider withholding your vote on Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, in order to give We the People an opportunity to have our voices heard.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen, taxpayer, voter

A Matter of Principles

Today, while the nation mourns the death of one of the most consequential figures on the Supreme Court in modern times, other forces are working to further decimate the democratic processes and take this nation another step closer to an autocracy.  Robert Reich, as always, sums it up well.


Rushing to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell shows power trumps principle

The justice who died on Friday night stood for the integrity of democracy. The Senate leader stands only for Republican gains

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

People in public life tend to fall into one of two broad categories – those motivated by principle, and those motivated by power.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday night at the age of 87, exemplified the first.

When he nominated her in 1993, Bill Clinton called her “the Thurgood Marshall of gender-equality law”, comparing her advocacy and lower-court rulings in pursuit of equal rights for women to the work of the great jurist who advanced the cause of equal rights for Black people. Ginsburg persuaded the Supreme Court that the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection applied not only to racial discrimination, but to sex discrimination as well.

For Ginsburg, principle was everything – not only equal rights, but also the integrity of democracy. Always concerned about the consequences of her actions for the system as a whole, she advised young people “to fight for the things you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you”.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, exemplifies the second category. He couldn’t care less about principle. He is motivated entirely by the pursuit of power.

McConnell refused to allow the Senate to vote on Barack Obama’s nominee to the supreme court, Merrick Garland, in February 2016 – almost a year before the end of Obama’s second term – on the dubious grounds that the “vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president”.

McConnell’s move was a pure power grab. No Senate leader had ever before asserted the right to block a vote on a president’s nominee to the supreme court.

McConnell’s “principle” of waiting for a new president disappeared on Friday evening, after Ginsburg’s death was announced.

Just weeks before one of the most consequential presidential elections in American history, when absentee voting has already begun in many states (and will start in McConnell’s own state of Kentucky in 25 days), McConnell announced: “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

This is, after all, the same Mitch McConnell who, soon after Trump was elected, ended the age-old requirement that supreme court nominees receive 60 votes to end debate and allow for a confirmation vote, and then, days later, pushed through Trump’s first nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

Ginsburg and McConnell represent the opposite poles of public service today. The distinction doesn’t depend on whether someone is a jurist or legislator (I’ve known many lawmakers who cared more about principle than power, such as the late congressman John Lewis). It depends on values.

Ginsburg refused to play power politics. As she passed her 80th birthday, near the start of Obama’s second term, she dismissed calls for her to retire in order to give Obama plenty of time to name her replacement, saying she planned to stay “as long as I can do the job full steam”, adding: “There will be a president after this one, and I’m hopeful that that president will be a fine president.”

She hoped others would also live by principle, including McConnell and Trump. Just days before her death she said: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Her wish will not be honored.

If McConnell cannot muster the Senate votes needed to confirm Trump’s nominee before the election, he’ll probably try to fill the vacancy in the lame-duck session after the election. He’s that shameless.

Not even with Joe Biden president and control over both the House and Senate can Democrats do anything about this – except, perhaps, by playing power politics themselves: expanding the size of the court or restructuring it so justices on any given case are drawn from a pool of appellate judges.

The deeper question is which will prevail in public life: McConnell’s power politics or Ginsburg’s dedication to principle?

The problem for America, as for many other democracies at this point in history, is this is not an even match. Those who fight for power will bend or break rules to give themselves every advantage. Those who fight for principle are at an inherent disadvantage because bending or breaking rules undermines the very ideals they seek to uphold.

Over time, the unbridled pursuit of power wears down democratic institutions, erodes public trust and breeds the sort of cynicism that invites despotism.

The only bulwark is a public that holds power accountable – demanding stronger guardrails against its abuses, and voting power-mongers out of office.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg often referred to Justice Louis Brandeis’s famous quote, that “the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people”.

Indeed.

May we honor her legacy with action.

♫ (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher ♫

Released in 1967, Jackie Wilson recorded this in Chicago with members of The Funk Brothers, who were Motown’s house band. As detailed in the documentary Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, these musicians were responsible for the distinctive Motown sound, but they didn’t make much money and moonlighted by playing sessions for artists like Wilson. Playing on this track were bassist James Jamerson, drummer Richard “Pistol” Allen, guitarist Robert White, and keyboardist Johnny Griffith.

The song was originally written by Chess Records’ in-house writers and producers Carl Smith and Raynard Miner, and initially recorded by The Dells for the label, but not released.

Released in August 1967, the song reached #1 on the US Billboard R&B chart and, in November, peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #6, and #11 in the UK.

A cover version by Rita Coolidge in 1977 reached US #2. It was a much slower version and the title was amended slightly to (Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher.

(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher
Jackie Wilson

Your love, lifting me higher
Than I’ve ever been lifted before
So keep it it up
Quench my desire
And I’ll be at your side, forever more

You know your love (your love keeps lifting me)
Keep on lifting (love keeps lifting me)
Higher (lifting me)
Higher and higher (higher)
I said your love (your love keeps lifting me)
Keep on (love keeps lifting me)
Lifting me (lifting me)
Higher and higher (higher)
Listen

Now once, I was down-hearted
Disappointment, was my closest friend
But then you, came and it soon departed
And you know he never
Showed his face again

That’s why your love (your love keeps lifting me)
Keep on lifting (love keeps lifting me)
Higher (lifting me)
Higher and higher (higher)
I said your love (your love keeps lifting me)
Keep on (love keeps lifting me)
Lifting me (lifting me)
Higher and higher (higher)
Alright

I’m so glad, I’ve finally found you
Yes that one, in a million girls
And I whip, my loving arms around you, honey
I can stand up, and face the world

Let me tell ya, your love (your love keeps lifting me)
Keep on lifting (love keeps lifting me)
Higher (lifting me)
Higher and higher (higher)
I said your love (your love keeps lifting me)
Keep on (love keeps lifting me)
Lifting me (lifting me)
Higher and higher (higher)

Now sock it to me
Hold me, the other woman
Keep my love going
Higher and higher
I said keep on lifting
Lift me up mama

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Carl Smith / Gary Jackson / Raynard Miner
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

Jolly Monday … It’s Autumn!

G’morning friends, and welcome to …MondayAnother weekend bites the dust and we return to our weekly routine, such as it is.  Today, by the way, is the first day of autumn, and after the hot, humid summer we’ve had, I’m happy enough to see it.

fall-1Fortunately for you, Jolly and Joyful are in better humour than I am this morning, so I’m letting them take over part of Jolly Monday this week.  Joyful has been in the kitchen since well before sunup, and I don’t know what she’s making, but it sure does smell good.  Let’s take a look, shall we?


The House that Bud built?

Have you been considering buying a vacation home, or perhaps a home to retire to in Florida?  Well, look no further! house-4This is a condo listed for sale in Lake Worth, Florida, for the (relatively) low price of $100,000.  Now, take a closer look … yep, those are Budweiser beer cans lining the walls and ceilings.  Every square inch of wall and ceiling, except the bathroom, is lined in genuine Budweiser beer cans!  No … sorry Joe … the cans are empty!

house-7house-6house-5house-3Needless to say, the condo’s former owner, now deceased, was a lifelong fan of the Anheuser-Busch beer.  Budweiser posted pictures of the house on Twitter, and his friend posted …

“This is Budman’s (the former owner of this house) Best friend/daughter figure/former neighbor. I wish he could see the recognition now! Thank you so much for acknowledging his 20+ years and many renovations of dedication to your brand! He would love this.”

I just wonder how many beer cans there are!  And I wonder how long it took him to drink all that beer!  Anybody care to make a guess?


How embarrassing!!!

Police in Britain responded to an early morning call from a man who became trapped in a pair of handcuffs in an apparent case of romance gone awry.

The Greater Manchester Police’s Rochdale station said officers responded to a home at 4:30 a.m. Friday to help a couple having difficulty with a pair of handcuffs.  According to the department’s Twitter post …

“Male phoned requesting help as his girlfriend had locked him in some handcuffs and they couldn’t now find the key. Wanted police as he feared the fire brigade would cut them and they were expensive.”

Police said the man was “released” from the cuffs, but the department did not say whether the expensive restraints were damaged in the rescue.

My best guess is that these two are no longer boyfriend/girlfriend after that!


jollyGwammie left me ‘n Joyful to finish up, so we just found lots of ‘toons for you, okay?

toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-4toon-5toon-6toon-7toon-8toon-9toon-10toon-11toon-12


An’ we found a few weally cute pictures of animals …

cute-pic-1cute-pic-2cute-pic-3cute-pic-4


We gots to finish now with a cute animal video, ‘k?


falling spiderBe sure to smile lots at peoples dis week an’ have a weally good week.  Love ‘n hugs from Jolly, Joyful an’ Gwammie, too!

♫ Peaceful Easy Feeling ♫

Last night of Eagles Week!  I hope you’ve all enjoyed it … I know I have.  Tonight’s song has a bit of an interesting origin …

A San Diego singer-songwriter named Jack Tempchin wrote this song sometime around 1969. One night after a club gig in nearby El Centro, he waited around trying to hook up with a waitress, but she left and never came back. With no ride home, he crashed on the floor of the club, but couldn’t sleep. To kill the time, he grabbed his guitar and started composing this song, writing lyrics on the back of one of his flyers.

He finished the song in stages, and made his way to Los Angeles, where he hung out at the Troubadour along with Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther and various other up-and-comers in the West Coast music scene. He was staying with Browne one day when Frey came over and heard Tempchin playing the song. Tempchin made a cassette recording for Frey, who came back the next day with a demo he had worked up with his band that had been backing Linda Ronstadt – the band that would soon become the Eagles.

Peaceful Easy Feeling was included on the Eagles debut album and released as the third single. Tempchin went on to write Already Gone for the Eagles and helped Frey write his solo hit You Belong To The City.  The flyer Tempchin used to start writing the lyrics is now in the Grammy Museum.

This song, like all of those on the Eagles first two albums, was recorded in London, which was a way to minimize distractions for the band.  According to Don Henley …

“They packed us off to England and stuck us in this little apartment, picked us up, took us to the studio, and then we’d go back to this little apartment and drink ourselves to sleep. Then we’d get up the next day and do it all again.”

Jack Tempchin finished writing this song while waiting for his order (a Polish dog) at the Der Wienerschnitzel restaurant in San Diego. On December 1, 2012, the mayor of San Diego declared it “Peaceful Easy Feeling Day” in the city to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the song’s release. The ceremony was held at the restaurant, which marked the table where Tempchin wrote it with a plaque. Tempchin was also given a golden wiener, of which he is quite proud: “Lots of people have Grammys, but they don’t have a solid gold wiener.”

Peaceful Easy Feeling
Eagles

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay
Against your skin so brown
And I want to sleep with you in the desert night
With a billion stars all around

‘Cause I got a peaceful easy feelin’
And I know you won’t let me down
‘Cause I’m already standin’
On the ground

And I found out a long time ago
What a woman can do to your soul
Aw but she can’t take you any way
You don’t already know how to go

And I got a peaceful easy feelin’
And I know you won’t let me down
‘Cause I’m already standin’
On the ground

I get this feelin’ I may know you
As a lover and a friend
This voice keeps whisperin’ in my other ear
Tells me I may never see you again

‘Cause I get a peaceful easy feelin’
And I know you won’t let me down
‘Cause I’m already standin’
I’m already standin’
Yes, I’m already standin’
On the ground

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jack Tempchin
Peaceful Easy Feeling lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc