Some Food For Thought

Late last night, I was trying to clean up my inbox before heading up to bed when I came across Robert Reich’s latest newsletter.  I found it both thoughtful and thought-provoking, so I am sharing it with you today.


Is there still a common good?

Yes. And I’ll tell you where to find it, and how to preserve it

By Robert Reich

We’ve gone through the shameful first anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol and of the refusal of 147 members of Congress (all Republicans) to certify all the electors from states that voted for Biden, on the basis of no evidence of fraud. So far, no political figure has been charged with any criminal wrongdoing. We’ve seen 34 voter-suppression bills enacted by 19 Republican state legislatures; at least 8 give state legislatures the power to disregard election outcomes. More than 400 additional voter suppression measures are now being prepared. And we are now witnessing a struggle in the Senate to reform the filibuster so that voting rights legislation can be enacted. All of which raises a basic question: Is there still a common good?

I was at the impressionable age of fourteen when I heard John F. Kennedy urge us not to ask what America can do for us but what we can do for America. Seven years later I took a job as a summer intern in the Senate office of his brother, Robert F. Kennedy. It was not a glamorous job, to say the least. I felt lucky when I was asked to run his signature machine. But I told myself that in a very tiny way I was doing something for the good of the country.

That was more than a half century ago. I wish I could say America is a better place now than it was then. Surely our lives are more convenient. Fifty years ago there were no cash machines or smart phones, and I wrote my first book on a typewriter. As individuals, we are as kind and generous as ever. We volunteer in our communities, donate, and help one another. We pitch in during natural disasters and emergencies. We come to the aid of individuals in need. We are a more inclusive society, in that Black people, LGBTQ people, and women have legal rights they didn’t have a half century ago.

Yet our civic life—as citizens in our democracy, participants in our economy, managers or employees of companies, and members or leaders of organizations—seems to have sharply deteriorated. What we have lost is a sense of our connectedness to each other and to our ideals—the America that John F. Kennedy asked that we contribute to.

Starting in the late 1970s, Americans began talking less about the common good and more about self-aggrandizement. The shift is the hallmark of modern America: From the “Greatest Generation” to the “Me Generation,” from “we’re all in it together” to “you’re on your own.” In 1977, motivational speaker Robert Ringer wrote a book that reached the top of The New York Times bestseller list entitled Looking Out for # 1. It extolled the virtues of selfishness to a wide and enthusiastic audience. The 1987 film Wall Street epitomized the new ethos in the character Gordon Gekko and his signature line, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

The last five decades have also been marked by growing cynicism and distrust toward all of the basic institutions of American society. There is a wide and pervasive sense that the system as a whole is no longer working as it should. Racism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance are on the rise.

A growing number of Americans feel neglected and powerless. Some are poor, or Black or Latino. Others are white and have been on a downward economic escalator for years. Some have been seduced by demagogues and conspiracy theorists.

Is there a common good that still binds us together as Americans? Yes, and it’s not the whiteness of our skin, or our adherence to Christianity, or the fact that we were born in the United States. We’re bound together by the ideals and principles we share, and the mutual obligations those principles entail.

After all, the U.S. Constitution was designed for “We the people” seeking to “promote the general welfare”—not for “me the selfish jerk seeking as much wealth and power as possible.” During the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II, Americans faced common perils that required us to work together for the common good. That good was echoed in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms”—freedom of speech, of worship, from want, and from fear. The common good animated many of us – both white and Black Americans—to fight for civil rights and voting rights in the 1960s. It inspired America to create the largest and most comprehensive system of public education the world had ever seen. And it moved many of us to act against the injustice of the Vietnam War, and others of us to serve bravely in that besotted conflict.

Americans sharply disagree about exactly what we want for America or for the world. But if we are to participate in the same society we must agree on how we deal with our disagreements, our obligations under the law, and our commitment to democracy.

It’s our agreement to these principles that connects us, not agreement about where these principles lead. Some of us may want to prohibit abortions because we believe life begins at birth; others of us believe individuals should have the right to determine what happens to their bodies. Some of us want stricter environmental protections; others, more lenient. We are free to take any particular position on these and any other issues. But as political equals in this democracy, we are bound to accept the outcomes even if we dislike them.

Our central obligation as citizens is to preserve, fortify, and protect our democratic form of government. We must defend the right to vote and ensure that more citizens are heard, not fewer. We must require that presidents be elected by the will of the people, and prevent political parties and state legislatures from disregarding the popular vote. We must get big money out of politics so the moneyed interests don’t have more political power than the rest of us.

Democracy doesn’t require us to agree. It requires us to agree only on preserving and protecting democracy. This meta-agreement is the essence of the common good.

Those now attacking American democracy are attacking the common good that binds us together. They are attacking America.

We must join together — progressives and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, inhabitants of blue states and of red states, business leaders as well as leaders of nonprofits and of the public sector — to rescue American democracy from those who now seek to destroy it. There is no time to waste.

Your thoughts?

♫ What the World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin and John ♫

As I peruse the headlines, read the news stories from the U.S. and around the globe, I am discouraged, ashamed to be a member of the human species at times.  In every ‘corner’ of the globe, hatred is raising its ugly voice:  North Korea, Myanmar, Brazil, and others.  Here in the U.S., we are seeing a surge in racism, mass shooting sprees, and lawmakers who seek to overturn the Constitution, to take away our rights as citizens.  I no longer recognize this world … there are days I no longer wish to be a part of it.  I was thinking tonight of a song, Jackie DeShannon’s “What the World Needs Now is Love”, and I recalled this one, a compilation of that song and another.  I think we need to keep this song close to our hearts today, tomorrow, and … until we can learn to live together in peace. 


I started looking for the right song for tonight … for once there was none stuck in my head … and happened across Jackie Deshannon’s 1965 hit, What the World Needs Now is Love.  I thought perhaps, in these times of troubles all over the world, in the Middle-East, the UK, the United States, and many more places, this might be an appropriate song to play.

As I looked for a bit of information, a bit of trivia about the song, I was led to another song and it is this that I play for you tonight.  I don’t intend these music posts to be in the least bit political, and my apologies, for this one is, in a sense.  But it is also … it speaks to us today, I think, just as it did in 1971.  Today, some of the issues are different … Vietnam has ended, but Syria and Yemen have not.  And some of the issues are yet the same … racism, prejudice, bigotry.

This is a remix of two songs, the aforementioned What the World Needs Now is Love combined with Abraham, Martin and John, first recorded by Dion in 1968 as a response to the assassinations of both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy earlier that year.

Tom-Clay.jpgTom Clay was a disc jockey in 1971, working for radio station KGBS in Los Angeles, California when he created this remix.  The narrative includes sound bites from speeches of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr., and makes a heartfelt social/political comment.

Again, I apologize for bringing a socio-political statement into my music posts, but when I heard this song … it just … did something to me and I wanted to share it.  I promise a more uplifting music selection tomorrow, but I do hope you will take just a few minutes to listen to this one.  I have included the lyrics to both of the original songs.

What the World Needs Now
Jackie DeShannon

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, lord, if you want to know.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.
No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.

Songwriters: Burt F. Bacharach / Hal David
What the World Needs Now lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Abraham, Martin And John
Dion DiMucci

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin And John lyrics © Stonehenge Music

♫ What the World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin and John ♫

I played this song in December 2018.  It seems this song gains meaning with each passing year, for it is more apropos today than ever.  Listening to the song tonight, in preparation for this post, I had to stop the music and catch my breath, with tears rolling down my cheeks.  Sadly, there are no Abrahams, Martins or Johns today, at least not that I can see.  Oh how we need them!


I started looking for the right song for tonight … for once there was none stuck in my head … and happened across Jackie Deshannon’s 1965 hit, What the World Needs Now is Love.  I thought perhaps, in these times of troubles all over the world, in the Middle-East, the UK, the United States, and many more places, this might be an appropriate song to play.

As I looked for a bit of information, a bit of trivia about the song, I was led to another song and it is this that I play for you tonight.  I don’t intend these music posts to be in the least bit political, and my apologies, for this one is, in a sense.  But it is also … it speaks to us today, I think, just as it did in 1971.  Today, some of the issues are different … Vietnam has ended, but Syria and Yemen have not.  And some of the issues are yet the same … racism, prejudice, bigotry.

This is a remix of two songs, the aforementioned What the World Needs Now is Love combined with Abraham, Martin and John, first recorded by Dion in 1968 as a response to the assassinations of both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy earlier that year.

Tom-Clay.jpgTom Clay was a disc jockey in 1971, working for radio station KGBS in Los Angeles, California when he created this remix.  The narrative includes sound bites from speeches of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr., and makes a heartfelt social/political comment.

Again, I apologize for bringing a socio-political statement into my music posts, but when I heard this song … it just … did something to me and I wanted to share it.  I promise a more uplifting music selection tomorrow, but I do hope you will take just a few minutes to listen to this one.  I have included the lyrics to both of the original songs.

What the World Needs Now
Jackie DeShannon

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, lord, if you want to know.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.
No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.

Songwriters: Burt F. Bacharach / Hal David
What the World Needs Now lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Abraham, Martin And John
Dion DiMucci

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin And John lyrics © Stonehenge Music

Quotations On Presidential Responsibility

A few short, but very relevant quotes from a variety of presidents over the past century, by Charles French. Thank you, Charles …

charles french words reading and writing

In any time of crisis, the United States looks to its President for true leadership, for someone who can guide and understand the magnitude of the times, for someone who can also accept responsibility.

TRUMAN_58-766-06_(cropped)

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“The Buck Stops Here!” (from desk sign)

Harry S. Truman

abraham-lincoln-60558_960_720

(www.pixabay.com)

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Abraham Lincoln

president-john-kennedy-403379__340

(www.pixabay.com)

“Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

                                                                          John F. Kennedy

theodore-roosevelt-393205_960_720

(www.pixabay.com)

“Power always brings with it responsibility.”

                                                                         Teddy Roosevelt

Sometimes, leaders do not rise to the necessary levels during such times of need.

Donald_Trump_August_19,_2015_(cropped)

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“I don’t take responsibility at all.”

                                                                        Donald Trump

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♫ Abraham, Martin and John ♫

Most nights when I post my music post, I am feeling in the need of something upbeat, or something Motown to calm my frazzled nerves and remind me of a seemingly happier day.  Tonight, however, I am feeling more … introspective.  Looking back at what might have been … and what was.  So, instead of light and happy, or sad and sappy, tonight I give you …

A tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, all icons of social change: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy.  This song was written in response to the assassination of King and that of Robert Kennedy in April and June 1968, respectively.  More than 50 years … can it really have been so long ago?  I remember it … truly as if it were just a few weeks ago.  As I listen to this song, I cannot help but choke … remembering … the hope these men brought us … how I wish they were here today … 😢

The original version was recorded by Dion Francis DiMucci, better known simply as Dion.  Although the song has been recorded by many of my favourites such as Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, the Brothers Four, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston, and Smokey Robinson, to name a few, the Dion version remains my favourite.  And so, I bring you, in honour of four truly great men whose lives, because they were great, because they worked tirelessly for equality for all, were cut far too short …

Abraham, Martin And John
Dion DiMucci

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin And John lyrics © Regent Music Corporation, Stonehenge Music

S-S-Snarky S-S-Snippets!

Folks … the time has come … for … SNARKY SNIPPETS!  Yes, I’ve not done any for at least a day now, and I have several tabs hanging open that I thought would be perfect for a snippet here and there, so … here we go … !!!


Scott-WarrenYou may remember a post I wrote back in May about a man, Scott Warren, who was about to go on trial because he had committed a terrible crime … he had provided food, water and shelter to a pair of immigrants who were crossing the Arizona desert.   Warren was part of a group called No More Deaths or No Mas Muertes that provided immigrants struggling across the desert with food, water, clothing, and a bed for a night.  Humanitarian aid, not anything criminal or seedy … the barest essentials required to sustain life.

His trial that started last May ended in a hung jury, but this time, his second trial, the jury unanimously agreed that he should be found not guilty of harboring undocumented immigrants.  Score one for common sense and decency!!!  Says Warren …

Scott-Warren

Scott Warren (center) of Ajo, Ariz., celebrates with his attorneys Amy Knight and Greg Kuykendall outside court in Tucson, Ariz. on Wednesday.

“The government failed in its attempt to criminalize basic human kindness.”


Back in the early days of Trump’s tenure in office, I did a little thing that brought me a bit of a sense of being a rebel, a part of the resistance.  Every time I was at a bookstore, most often Barnes & Noble, I would turn any Trump books I saw backward on the shelves. I rather saw it as a public service, keeping people from having to look at the face of ugly.  I got caught once or twice, but the staff there all know me and only gave me a wink and a nod for my ‘crime’.  I’ve since stopped doing it, for now there are at least 30 different books on the shelves with Trump’s ugly mug on the front, and I have better things to do with my precious bookstore time than to spend it all turning books around, just making more work for the staff.

Well, it turns out that at the library in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, someone has been hiding books!  Not, mind you, books about Trump or that are favourable to Trump, but rather books that criticize Trump. They wind up misfiled in out-of-the-way corners where readers will be sure not to find them.

Library Director Bette Ammon received a note from the prankster …

“I am going to continue hiding these books in the most obscure places I can find to keep this propaganda out of the hands of young minds. Your liberal angst gives me great pleasure.”

anti-Trump-books.jpgWhile none of the books in the latest incidents appear to have been stolen, some have been hidden in ways that made it nearly impossible to find them when patrons wanted to check them out. They have been discovered inexplicably filed in the wrong sections, hidden behind a row of Stuart Woods novels, or shelved with the spine facing inward.

After a local television station did a story about the missing books, one person called Ms. Ammon to praise whomever had hidden them, complaining that the library only carries books that represent a liberal point of view.Idaho-libraryThis isn’t the first time the Coeur d’Alene library has gone through this situation.  Back in the 1970s, Richard G. Butler, a former engineer at Lockheed Martin in California, bought land north of Coeur d’Alene to build a compound for a white supremacist group known as the Aryan Nations.  Long story short, city leaders successfully led efforts to combat the racists, and in 1986 the city was awarded a Raoul Wallenberg Civic Courage Award for its role in combating the hate group and used funds from that prize to establish a collection of human rights literature in the library.

It included books about the Holocaust, the persecution of African-Americans and the history of various religions. Then the books started disappearing.  The library ultimately decided that the best way to protect the books was to put a lock on the floor-to-ceiling glass cabinet where they were kept. They stayed there until Ms. Ammon took over the job in 2005 and decided they should be integrated into the rest of the library’s collection.

The latest wave of book disappearances started in 2018.  Over the months, they found books moved from prominent displays to the wrong stacks, or hidden behind rows of books against a back wall, near a pillar labeled “TEEN ZONE.”  Some dealt with social issues, such as “The Women’s Suffrage Movement.” One book, “Guns Down,” detailed a political strategy for defeating the National Rifle Association.

Hmmmm … I’m getting ideas here … and we will likely be at Barnes & Noble sometime this weekend …


Yesterday, it was announced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was formally charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, making him the first Israeli premier to be indicted while in office.  (Are you listening, Bill Barr?)

The cases against Netanyahu centers on allegations that the prime minister and his wife, Sara, accepted more than $260,000 worth of luxury goods in exchange for political favors and that Netanyahu interceded with regulators and lawmakers on behalf of two media companies in exchange for positive news stories.  Interestingly, during the three years this investigation has been ongoing, Netanyahu has frequently referred to it as a “witch hunt”.  I think Donnie & Benjamin must have gone to the same school to learn how to distract and obfuscate, for they seem to speak a common language!

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, William Barr’s counterpart, made this statement that I think Mr. Barr should read carefully …

“I made this decision with a heavy heart but with a whole heart and a sense of commitment to the rule of law. Law enforcement is not a discretionary matter. It is an obligation that is imposed on us. It is my duty to the citizens of Israel to ensure that they live in a country where no one is above the law and that suspicions of corruption are thoroughly investigated.”

Key phrases here:

  • Rule of law
  • No one is above the law

Rather than hindering the investigation into Trump, William Barr should be taking the role that Mandelblit took and be leading the investigation.  We have the same rights the Israeli people have, to live in a country where corruption is thoroughly investigated and where no one is above the law.

Netanyahu has, predictably, acted in much the same manner as Trump, demanding that an independent body review the prosecution, or “investigate the investigators”.  In a combative address Thursday night, Netanyahu called the indictment “a coup attempt” driven by a corrupt set of prosecutors.  Sound familiar?

Surprisingly, I’ve not seen any response by Trump to Netanyahu’s indictment … perhaps his tweety-machine is broke?  We can only hope.


Just a brief note that today marks 56 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.Kennedy


Well, folks, that’s all the snippets I have time for today, but you know I’ll be back with more before much time passes.  Have a wonderful weekend!

♫ We Didn’t Start The Fire ♫

This Billy Joel song was mentioned twice in comments recently, by Keith and Ellen.  The lyrics are a stream of consciousness list of more than 100 events that Joel felt his generation was not responsible for. Many of the references are to the Cold War (U.S. vs. Russia), a problem his generation inherited.

we-didnt-start-fire

Joel says he got the idea for the song after a conversation with his friend, Sean Lennon, son of Beatle John Lennon, on the event of Sean’s 21st birthday, .  The conversation went like this:

Lennon: It’s a terrible time to be 21!

Joel: Yeah, I remember when I was 21 – I thought it was an awful time and we had Vietnam, and y’know, drug problems, and civil rights problems and everything seemed to be awful.

Lennon: Yeah, yeah, yeah, but it’s different for you. You were a kid in the fifties and everybody knows that nothing happened in the fifties.

Joel: Wait a minute, didn’t you hear of the Korean War or the Suez Canal Crisis?

According to Joel …

I had turned forty. It was 1989 and I said “Okay, what’s happened in my life?” I wrote down the year 1949. Okay, Harry Truman was president. Popular singer of the day, Doris Day. China went Communist. Another popular singer, Johnnie Ray. Big Broadway show, South Pacific. Journalist, Walter Winchell. Athlete, Joe DiMaggio. Then I went on to 1950 … It’s one of the worst melodies I’ve ever written. I kind of like the lyric though.

Musically, the song does leave something to be desired.  Blender magazine rated this the 41st worst song ever in its 2004 article “Run for Your Life! It’s the 50 Worst Songs Ever!” Comparing it to “a term paper scribbled the night before it’s due.”

But the song carries a message, and that overrides the flaws in the composition, at least for me it does.

My thanks to Keith and Ellen for reminding me of this song and its message …

We Didn’t Start the Fire
Billy Joel

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, “The King and I” and “The Catcher in the Rye”

Eisenhower, vaccine, England’s got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, “Rock Around the Clock”

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, “Peyton Place”, trouble in the Suez

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, “Bridge on the River Kwai”

Lebanon, Charlse de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly, “Ben Hur”, space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, “Psycho”, Belgians in the Congo

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichmann, “Stranger in a Strange Land”
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

“Lawrence of Arabia”, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

“Wheel of Fortune”, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Songwriters: Billy Joel
We Didn’t Start the Fire lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ What the World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin and John ♫

I started looking for the right song for tonight … for once there was none stuck in my head … and happened across Jackie Deshannon’s 1965 hit, What the World Needs Now is Love.  I thought perhaps, in these times of troubles all over the world, in the Middle-East, the UK, the United States, and many more places, this might be an appropriate song to play.

As I looked for a bit of information, a bit of trivia about the song, I was led to another song and it is this that I play for you tonight.  I don’t intend these music posts to be in the least bit political, and my apologies, for this one is, in a sense.  But it is also … it speaks to us today, I think, just as it did in 1971.  Today, some of the issues are different … Vietnam has ended, but Syria and Yemen have not.  And some of the issues are yet the same … racism, prejudice, bigotry.

This is a remix of two songs, the aforementioned What the World Needs Now is Love combined with Abraham, Martin and John, first recorded by Dion in 1968 as a response to the assassinations of both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy earlier that year.

Tom-Clay.jpgTom Clay was a disc jockey in 1971, working for radio station KGBS in Los Angeles, California when he created this remix.  The narrative includes sound bites from speeches of John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr., and makes a heartfelt social/political comment.

Again, I apologize for bringing a socio-political statement into my music posts, but when I heard this song … it just … did something to me and I wanted to share it.  I promise a more uplifting music selection tomorrow, but I do hope you will take just a few minutes to listen to this one.  I have included the lyrics to both of the original songs.

What the World Needs Now
Jackie DeShannon

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don’t need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, lord, if you want to know.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.
No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.

Songwriters: Burt F. Bacharach / Hal David
What the World Needs Now lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Abraham, Martin And John
Dion DiMucci

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin And John lyrics © Stonehenge Music

President Reagan’s Daughter Speaks …

This morning I came across this OpEd by Patti Davis, daughter of former President Ronald Reagan.  Her words ring true, her thoughts are those most of us have been having for the past two years.  I thought the piece worth sharing with you …


A child occupies the White House — and the world knows it

Patti-DavisBy Patti Davis
December 17 at 3:34 PM
Patti Davis is the author, most recently, of the novel “The Earth Breaks in Colors” and the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Lately, I’ve been looking at home movies and photographs of my childhood years; I’m working on a documentary about my family’s life before politics claimed us. A time before the world moved in. There is something transformative about looking back at your parents when they were younger than you are now and seeing yourself as a small child gazing up at them, reaching for their hands. It resonates in some deep part of us — they were the first adults we knew, and we relied on them to lead us into a big unfamiliar world. We didn’t know that generations whispered behind us. We didn’t know the pull of ancestry or the fears and doubts that may have trailed our parents throughout their lives. We only knew we were supposed to hold their hands and trust them to keep us from falling.Patty Davis, Ronald ReaganThere is an inherently parental role to being president of the United States. The person holding that office is supposed to know more than we do about dangers facing the country and the world, and is entrusted with making the appropriate decisions to keep us safe and secure. The president is supposed to keep us from falling. What happens when the president is the biggest child in the room — any room? It upends the natural order of things as surely as if a child’s parents started throwing tantrums and talking like a second-grader.

I’m not sure the country has fully comprehended the damage being done by a president who misbehaves so frequently, it’s a news story when he doesn’t. Globally, the United States has lost its power, its aura of seriousness and decisiveness that once made autocrats hesitate before crossing us. Now we are a country that can’t seem to stand up to a ruler who orders the murder and dismemberment of a dissident who was a legal U.S. resident or call out Russia’s intrusion into America’s democratic process. Children know how to scream and sulk; they don’t know how to take control and restore order. They don’t know how to plot out a responsible position and then act on it. A child occupies the White House, and the world knows it.

A friend’s young son thought it was really funny when the president called someone “Horseface.” He giggled when he saw the president on TV telling a reporter that her question was “stupid” and that all her questions are stupid. Nine-year-olds should be able to look up to the president of the United States, not feel that the president is one of them.

Immaturity in adults has serious consequences. My friend, the author Marianne Williamson, once said, “Adults who behave like children do adult damage.” We’re starting to see some of that damage, most recently at the southern border. This president has slammed shut America’s door as loudly as a petulant child slams his bedroom door and shouts, “Go away.” The result is that thousands of migrants are living in squalid conditions just beyond the U.S. border, trying to keep babies from getting sick. This is adult damage, and there will be more.JFKWhat will happen if the country faces serious danger? I was 10 years old in 1962 when President John F. Kennedy addressed the nation about the Cuban missile crisis. I remember sitting on the floor in my parents’ bedroom watching him on television. I remember asking my father if we would go to war. He replied, “I hope not. But the president is doing the right thing.” Kennedy’s somber confidence did make me a little less afraid. At the end of the speech, he said: “The cost of freedom is always high — but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose is the path of surrender or submission. Our goal is not the victory of might but the vindication of right.”

Who would speak to the nation like that if global turmoil turned into a crisis that threatens America’s future?

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Robert Kennedy’s Final Farewell to MLK

Fifty years ago tonight, moments before he boarded a plane in Muncie, Ind., Robert Kennedy learned that the Dr. Martin Luther King had just been shot in Memphis. He somehow knew in his heart that Dr. King would not survive. Kennedy was heading to Indianapolis where he was scheduled to give a speech that night, and on landing, he learned that Dr. King had died.  Kennedy’s aides advised him to cancel his speech, for they knew tensions would be at an all-time high, but Kennedy refused.

Although Bobby Kennedy and Dr. King had an often contentious relationship, disagreeing on a number of issues, Robert Kennedy stepped up to the plate that night.  Rather than his prepared speech, Kennedy gave an impromptu eulogy for Dr. King that became to be considered his most memorable speech.  When he arrived, it was raining, the crowd, predominantly black, was tense and angry.  But Kennedy reached out anyway, and by the end of his speech, one of the gang members who was present said, “They kill Martin Luther, and we was ready to move. After he spoke we couldn’t get nowhere.”

Andrew Young later remembered, “He was in the middle of a totally black community, and he stood there without fear and with great confidence and empathy, and he literally poured his soul out talking about his brother.  The amazing thing to us was that the crowd listened. He reached them.”

Kennedy spoke that night for only around six minutes. But unlike so many other American cities, Indianapolis didn’t burn that night or over the next few days, as did Washington, Chicago, Baltimore and scores of other American cities.

Robert F. Kennedy’s Speech on the night of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Death:

I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort.

In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black–considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible–you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization–black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.

Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.

So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that’s true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love–a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we’ve had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land.

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.